They’re the best Anime that 2011 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Toaru Majutsu no Index II, No.6, Dragon Ball Kai, and more!
10: Toaru Majutsu no Index II
English: A Certain Magical Index II
MAL Score: 7.57
As tensions between the world of magic and Academy City continues to rise, Touma Kamijou and his hand of negation must face off against both esper and magician in order to protect the lives of those around him. Of course, he is not alone in his fight; whether by his side or out of sight, allies and enemies both old and new will enter the fray to help him.
Toaru Majutsu no Index II continues the story of action and comedy, as the scale of Touma and his allies’ battle grows ever larger. A conflict is slowly brewing on the horizon, and magic and science will cross paths once again in the war to come.
I once went to the “Women Are Neglecting Kitchens Society” ( Yes, I do know that abbreviates to W.A.N.K.S) Don’t worry, all they do is tell “Women and Kitchen” jokes to each other. Anyways, the committee was proposing “Kamijou Touma” as their society’s mascot. Bear in mind I did not watch any episodes of “Toaru Majutsu no Index” at all so I had to ask, “Who the heck is Touma??”
My membership got instantly revoked.
So after watching the first season, I still did not understand why is Touma is treated like a hero for the W.A.N.K.S. But after venturing into the second season during the great “Nuns vs Touma’s Right Fist” war, I finally understood them..
“Your story wasn’t that entertaining” says Misaka expressing her boredom.
Oh, and providing commentary for this review today is Misaka Clone #10032
So let’s begin the review shall we?
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve continuously watched from the first season into the second season, thus I could significantly notice several changes between the two season.
Once again the story revolves around Kamijou Touma and his RIGHT FIST. Note I do not say RIGHT HAND to avoid any sexual innuendos. Once again, Touma lack of discrimination for women causes him to go out of his way to save any “damsel in distress” nor does he care about holding back when he “rearranging their faces” Along with index and a few other companions, he is again dragged into solving the problems between the two dominating church factions in the story out of his sense of altruism. I can absolutely say you will get hooked onto each episode, there is almost no such thing as “fillers” (Eventhough once in a while I would like that since the story is moving at such an incredible momentum) I did not read the light novels thus in no way am I comparing the anime to it.
The character design improved significantly from the previous season. Combat sequence are getting more serious effects. I love the new opening now and I’ve seen tons of spoof and parodies made about it in NND. This is one of the few openings I would actually listen to instead of skipping. And who doesn’t like the sound effect when Touma uses his RIGHT FIST to dispel magic or espers ability?
Characters! More development here for Touma’s character. And when I say more development, I mean his HAREM is developing! However I felt like they were neglecting Index once again.. Poor Index… Other supporting characters such as Misaka, Accelerator and Kuroko do appear to further compliment the story. Misaka and her tsudere-ness reaches a higher level! The sad part about this anime is that as new characters are being introduced, the older ones which had their own arc are being left by the sidelines.
“I did get to appear momentarily in one of the episodes…” says Misaka proudly.
NO!!! DONT SPOIL THE SHOW FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T WATCHED!! Now go make me a sammich!
“I decline…” says Misaka while looking at the other direction.
Anyways, as blasphemous as it is, I did enjoy the whole religion versus science theme. Ok, so technically all religions are not represented so to correct it, it would actually be a war between the Christian Crusaders and Science. And wow, these Christian Crusaders made Taliban Terrorist looks like wimps, eventhough in reality the existence of espers and magic isn’t really acknowledge. Now the reason I wouldn’t give the enjoyment value of this anime to the maximun score is because the whole Touma tries to reason a girl, girl rejects Touma’s reasoning, Touma’s crush girl’s illusion a.k.a her face, girl defects and becomes his ally, is getting old pretty quick. Sure thats a nice way to add girls to your harem instead of the typical dating sim of buying flowers and chocolates and raising flags every single moment, why not just falcon punch her?? Now, in no way am I or Touma are sexist here.
“Touma isn’t sexist as he indiscriminately punches anyone in the face, male or female” Misaka adds to strengthen the argument.
Well said. So to put it easily, if you’re the type who fancies superpowers and ability users, this would be a good anime for you to watch. Be sure to watch the first season though. And what is a harem anime without a couple of fanservice?? Yes we do have some to satisfy you fetish! For all you lolicon, Miko fetish, and Nun fetish! Not to mention a lot of tsunderes to go around (10,000+ to be exact)
And do not take the religion aspect of this story too seriously, in no way it is connected to reality. This is a fictional world. Otherwise, how else would they be able to acquire magic make up?? What? You didn’t notice they were wearing magic make up?? Whenever Touma punches his enemies’ face with his RIGHT FIST, their faces becomes slightly uglier thus their magic make up was dispelled by Touma’s RIGHT FIST..
“I do not understand your jokes..” says Misaka showing her confusion
Well how about this? Touma lost his right arm when he was a kid so Chuck Norris gave him his right arm since Chuck Norris has the ability to regenerate any of his body part. Thus explains why Touma’s RIGHT FIST is supremely incredible!
“Who is this Chucku Norrissu of which you speak?” Misaka asked in further confusion.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that the To Aru Majutsu no Index series has been less than brilliant but I still found the first series enjoyable. Pretty much every arc would have roughly the same shell: Touma meets a nice girl who is a victim of a horrible plot. Touma then finds out about said horrible plot. Touma confronts the antagonist behind the plot. Said antagonist gives a typical “Good intention but wrong method” excuse before Touma gives an idealistic speech and punches him in the face. Rinse and repeat. Not that I didn’t enjoy it the first few times but it does get old and fast. Even so, the first season did make up for it by filling up that shell with some creative stuff and I was still intrigued with the dark mystery behind the Magic and Science sides. I also fell in love with the comedy and the character interactions which were just priceless.
All of that is mostly done away with in this new instalment. Any creativity the previous arcs had is thrown out the window leaving behind that empty shell I’ve grown to hate, with the only difference being that Touma is now punching girls instead of guys. I think the biggest problem is with the exposition. For example in the second arc, they pretty much throw you into the deep end of plots between churches and a whole load of techno-babble and if you can’t make sense out of it in the first five seconds, well then good luck because they won’t dally around. The comedy is sorely lacking in creativity as well. Let me give you an example of how that contrasts with the first season. At the beginning of one arc in the first season, Touma (who has amnesia) stumbles upon a very oddly dressed little girl. Touma being Genre Savvy enough to realise that anyone who dresses that strangely is someone he must know, decides to greet the girl. Except the girl in question immediately considers Touma an enemy just for greeting her and holds him at knife point. It’s not that he wasn’t exactly wrong in his deduction. It’s just that he’s an incredibly unlucky guy. In this season that type of comedy was mostly replaced with an insufferable amount of Accidental Pervert moments only two of which had any sort of creativity to them. There were some funny moments here and there but nothing like the first season and without that comedy the series loses much of its charm.
And now that you’re left with that empty shell you have the opportunity of realising just how ridiculously irritating Touma can be with his annoying speeches. In one arc, I noticed that when Styl was taken down by the antagonist if you actually notice, the pool of blood coming from Styl gets slowly bigger and bigger whilst Touma spends some precious time preaching to the antagonist about how wrong she is. Not only that but one problem is that anyone who knows even a little about how to argue would know just how terrible his debating skills are. It mostly just consists of throwing a lot of general idealistic principles. And that’s not even the worst thing about his speeches. No, the worst thing is that it’s only ever so far been used to break down incredibly weak motives. This was particularly egregious when the second to last antagonist Touma faces gives what has to be the most retarded antagonist’s motive I’ve ever heard, not just in the To Aru series but in anime generally.
Oh and don’t count on Index to become more important in this series like I did. She doesn’t. Oh she serves as a good plot device in certain key moments but that’s about as far as it gets. She’s far more important in the first season, even when I thought she was being shafted. I wonder why they even call it “Magical Index” anymore.
That said it’s not all bad. The series picks up in the last quarter and that would be mostly due to the introduction of Accelerator as a more central figure. A much more interesting character that provides a more cynical route for all those already irritated with Touma. But even then the last quarter had its flaws so it’s nowhere near enough for me to overlook the poor quality of a whole three-quarter of this season. The soundtrack is at least as brilliant as it’s always been (something I think is largely underrated) with each piece always providing the perfect atmosphere. The animation though has become a lot more inconsistent this season. It’s great in many places but in others I notice a lot of odd and jerky movements and the inconstancy has been a notable pain for me throughout the entire season.
Overall it’s only because I’m a fan of the series that I’m not giving it an even lower rating. But even though the second season was a bitter disappointment, I still look forward to the third season (which although hasn’t been announced yet is still a forgone conclusion). I’ve been promised by several Light Novel readers that the story really does get much better after this. Pushing aside the obvious problem that it would have to take 48 episodes to finally pick up, if season three does reach my expectations then I will simply consider this season a part of the story that bridges the gap between season one and three. So in conclusion, if you’re a fan of this series and you’re willing to watch 24 episodes of mostly mediocre stuff, all for the sake of understanding season three when it finally picks up then go for it, but make sure to lower your expectations. If you’re not a fan and you’re not in the least bit curious about what happens (even though you’re reading a review of it) then don’t bother.
A Certain Magical Index should really be renamed, and I have the perfect title: A Certain Frustrating Show. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been so frustrated with a show quite like this before, not because it’s bad, but because it’s good, and very enjoyable – but for some bizarre reason, the show never uses its latent potential to become something truly outstanding.
Let me get one thing out of the way first: Index II is a significant step-up from the first series, the first episode was actually better than nearly every single moment of the original series (minus Accelerator’s little mini-arc) and actually got me looking forward to a show that I thought would only be marginally better than its prequel, instead, what I got was a series that involves a lot of evil Roman Catholics who are more extreme than most actual religious extremists, a lot of idealistic speeches and a lot of women being punched in the face.
Another thing I should get out of the way, if you’re an easily offended religious person (specifically, a Roman Catholic) or a fairly hardcore feminist who believes that all men are “pigs”, then this probably isn’t the show for you, seeing as, more than likely, you may be offended by the shows content at some point.
Having said that, I don’t think the show is actually trying to be offensive, it’s just unfortunate that certain aspects of the show – which I’ll cover later on – can be misconstrued as either racist or misogynistic depending on your beliefs. If you’re able to get past these issues, then there’s a good chance that you may be able to enjoy the show despite its faults.
Now that I’ve covered the obligatory “If you’re easily offended, don’t watch it” section, I should probably move onto the reason you’re (probably) still reading this review, that is, the part in which I’m actually reviewing.
Index II continues to follow the misadventures of everyone’s favorite unfortunate protagonist, Kamijou Touma, and his exploits as he tries to deal with the looming threat of the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and…the Roman Catholic Church, because apparently, the Roman Catholic Church seems to have nothing better to do with their time than try to take over Academy City – occasionally they mix things up a bit by not going after Academy City itself, but generally speaking, the Roman Catholics serve as the main antagonists for the most part.
They also happen to make some pretty poor antagonists at that, usually guided by poor motivations and weak reasons which are broken down by Touma’s equally weak idealistic speeches which serve as a constant reminder that, despite having his occasionally cool moments in Index (and to a much greater extent, Railgun): Kamijou Touma is an idealistic buffoon, whose only redeeming feature is that he happens to have one of the most overpowered abilities in the history of fiction.
However, poor antagonists aside, the most infuriating aspect of Index II’s story is its own inability to capitalise on the clear potential that it actually has here, I’m not joking when I say that the potential for a really outstanding story is absolutely huge here. The story has a lot of really good ideas that, frustratingly, are hardly ever capitalised on for the majority of the run time – we still for example, don’t actually know what Imagine Breaker is, all we know is that Touma’s only redeeming feature is able to negate any supernatural ability that is thrown at him – magical or otherwise. No explanation is given as to why it is he has this power, what its full potential actually is, or why it’s capable of negating supernatural abilities in the first place – it becomes clear in one of the later arcs that there is clearly a lot more to Imagine Breaker than meets the eye, (although this statement is kind of redundant, seeing as it was obvious) but that’s about it.
Index too doesn’t seem to serve any more importance than she did last season, in fact, there are several people who have argued that she was actually more important in the first season, even though there are arcs in which she doesn’t actually appear at all. The MAL synopsis for this show is actually very misleading; if there are any of you who think that Index will serve a greater role in Index II then think again, she won’t, and you’ll be left feeling very disappointed. She’s still just as annoying as ever mind you, so there are some definite pro’s to this particular con of the story.
There are plenty of other occasions when the story fails to capitalise on its potential too, for instance, why doesn’t it introduce any other saints besides Kanzaki Kaori? Surely the Church of England has other magicians it can send besides Stiyl, right? Just what exactly are Aleister’s plans? Are there any other interesting Espers besides Misaka and Accelerator? Who exactly are the other Level 5 Espers anyway? (although Railgun S has already partially answered that question for me) There are a lot of other questions that I’d really love to ask, because this show still hasn’t answered them, although I’m fairly sure that when Index III comes out, (it’s a question of when, not if) I’ll be getting my answers – in fact, I’m starting to think that Index II decided to purposely dodge any questions I may have purely for the purpose of getting me excited for the inevitable third season – and if that was the case, it succeeded.
Another issue with the story is the woman punching, personally, I wasn’t as bothered by this as some people may actually be, but I can certainly understand why it can be seen as an issue. Nearly every arc (with a few notable exceptions) revolves around Touma punching the antagonist – in this case, the main female villain of the arc – in the face, and potentially rearranging it whilst he’s doing so; I’m fairly sure that Index II’s intention wasn’t actually to be misogynistic, in the same way I think it’s just using the Roman Catholic Church because of the various pieces of Christian symbolism it can use rather than being racist about it.
It’s not all bad though, the last two arcs are actually really good and really enjoyable, for a few notable reasons, one of which being that they actually serve to progress the story and in a very notable way. The final two arcs are huge indications that something really big is coming, and make a large change to the sometimes filler-like feel of certain arcs (the Daihaseisai arc feeling like it was just dragging on, especially towards the end). Another reason is that Accelerator ends up becoming the main character for a time, which is a nice change of pace when compared to Touma. Everyone’s favorite psychopathic anti-hero with a heart serves as a much more interesting main protagonist (which is why his little arc in the original series was by far the best thing about it), not to mention, he gets the good villain too, with his main enemy serving as a much more interesting, well motivated antagonist in comparison to Touma’s villains.
Another notable aspect of Index II’s story is that this time, it doesn’t bombard you with lots of terminology, which was a huge problem of the original series, instead, any new terminology is actually explained and, more importantly, serves as relevant information to the plot – even if in some cases, it’s arc limited. This makes it much easier to sort out plot details in your head, but it never feels like it’s just spoon-feeding you either, which is nice.
The final thing about the story is, that, well, it actually goes somewhere…eventually. The original series never went anywhere with its plot, despite hinting that it clearly could, and whilst it takes a while for Index II to go somewhere, when it does eventually move, there are significant leaps in progress in comparison to the original.
Animation is also better than the original series, attacks look cooler and pack more of a punch in terms of visual clarity, the series animates rather well and it’s obvious that Index II is getting the best part of the budget that I didn’t know J.C Staff actually had.
It’s not perfect however, there are some times when the animation becomes quite choppy and inconsistent, with the occasional off-model appearing every now and again, as well as some static images appearing here and there too. These are minor gripes however, as for the most part, Index II is generally rather good to watch and look at, especially when characters are bringing out their most powerful spells or Esper ability.
Similar to the first series, the OST doesn’t really have that many notable tracks to go with it, although there a couple of tracks worth mentioning, probably because the show likes to play them a lot – Kyuuketsu Koroshi is a nice track that brings an atmosphere that wouldn’t be out of place in a good detective show, Gensou Koroshi is essentially Touma’s illusion breaking theme song, Nichijou provides some amusement when it’s covering the daily lives of the characters. It’s not a bad mix of tracks, although there are definitely better OST’s out there.
Opening and ending themes fare similarly to the previous series, with the one notable exception being the second opening, See VisionS, which is the series best opening by a long stretch and, funnily enough, becomes the shows opening theme when the story actually decides to become interesting.
Voice acting is pretty strong too, now that I actually understand why it is that the various Misaka’s speak like they do, I now actually think that it was a pretty clever choice as opposed to an annoying inclusion that actually does makes a lot of sense in context. Despite his character, Atsushi Abe is actually very good as Touma, and there are often plenty of times that his performance is able to sell the character despite the stupidity of his speeches (were it not for the fact that what he’s saying is rather stupid, Abe puts so much effort into the role that he’s capable of fooling you into thinking that what he’s saying is worth listening to). Rina Satou still delivers well on Misaka – I’m inclined to like her more now seeing as I actually liked Railgun. Satomi Arai is actually pretty funny whenever she screams “Onee-Sama” as Kuroko, Rina Hidaka is fairly adorable as Last Order now that I understand more about the character…the list goes on.
There are a few notable performances in the voice acting as well, although, for different reasons. Rie Kugimiya does her trademark squeal as Sister Agnese, whether this is a good thing or not is entirely up to you, I personally didn’t mind it. My man Keiji Fujiwara is a great addition to the cast as Accelerator’s villain, Kihara, bringing a sadistic, cynical performance that totally fits with an arc revolving around Accelerator. Yuka Iguchi is…well, she’s Yuka Iguchi, I didn’t like her in the original series and honestly, my opinion of her hasn’t changed all that much either.
Once again though, the best actor in the show is by far Nobuhiko Okamoto as Accelerator, he’s able to pull off every scream, every insult, every single psychopathic laugh with amazing sincerity, all whilst being able to bring emotional depth to a character who, for all intents and purposes, you should probably hate and would do whatever it takes to avoid if you saw him on the street. It’s Okamoto’s performance when Accelerator’s not screaming that really sells it, his world weary voice and seemingly apathetic attitude showing that, underneath the psychopath, is a very lonely and unloved boy who’s just trying to get by and find people that he can actually get along with – which is probably why he goes so far to help Last Order and why they play off each other really well.
The characters of Index are a group of people who you will share a mixed relationship with, on the one hand, there are characters who are actually rather good, Accelerator being the most obvious example followed by Misaka, as well as characters who you will probably really dislike. I’ll make this clear now, if you didn’t like Index in the first series, forget about liking her here, she hasn’t changed, she’s still annoying and the moments when she bites Touma are not funny. The show does actually have some cool characters like Stiyl and Tsuchimikado, but they’re never usually on screen long enough for you to actually say “Yeah, these guys are actually really good characters.” and that’s actually a recurring issue with a lot of the characters in Index, there are definitely some cool characters here, but that’s all they are: cool. You won’t see any characters of any noticeable depth unless they’re either main characters, or you watched Railgun and got to see Misaka’s life fleshed out more. It’s that irritating issue of when a show has too many characters, and doesn’t know what to do with them, so you’re left with two-dimensional to one-dimensional characters.
Then there are the antagonists, a completely mixed bag of characters who range from decent (i.e Kihara) to pretty lacklustre (i.e most of Touma’s villains) – Biagio Busoni I should add, is a total waste of Emperor Wakamoto’s voice, in fact, if it turns out that they end up going up against God in Index III, Wakamoto should play God, that would be an appropriate role for him (for God I mean, ’cause he doesn’t even come close to Emperor Wakamoto after all).
The most polarising character however, is Kamijou Touma himself. The main problem with Touma is that, well, he’s a buffoon, an idealistic one at that, spouting out his ideals whenever his altruism gets him caught up in the final fight of the arc. Although, there is something there that doesn’t make me totally dislike him – and I’m not just referring to his ability either. Kamijou Touma is a genuinely nice guy who goes to great lengths to ensure that everyone, be they friend or enemy regardless, turns out better for it, his altruism truly knows no bounds. Whilst I can’t necessarily vouch for his brilliance as a character, he certainly does have some admirable traits about him, and if someone bothered to fix his idealistic speeches and terrible debating skills, I’d probably be saying I like the guy.
With all this being said though, Index II is an immensely enjoyable show. I managed to get through it in two days and I’m really looking forward to Index III (from what I know, the light novels are supposed to get really good once all the filler style stuff is out of the way), and flaws aside, when Index II is going at full swing, it’s actually a hard show to fault – despite its issues, Index II has a considerably high entertainment factor. The comedy is actually legitimately funny and gets past cheap gags that were never really funny to begin with such as Index biting Touma, the action sequences are very good and are great to watch, and similar to the last season, the arc like structure allows you to pretty much watch the show at your leisure without feeling too bad about not watching for a bit. There’s a lot going for Index II.
I should also point out that, Index II is not a bad show, it’s actually a good show – and it’s fantastic in comparison to the first season. It’s just a shame that, despite all its pros in comparison to the first series, its many cons, such as the frustrating inability to actually capitalise and fully exploit the good ideas that it actually has, prevent it from being truly outstanding, which is a really frustrating issue indeed. I’ll just hope for now that, when Index III is confirmed, I’ll finally be able to enjoy To Aru Majutsu no Index at its best and that I’ll finally be able to say “It’s totally worth watching the first two seasons for.”
Until that point however, it really will just be A Certain Frustrating Show.
English: No. 6
Japanese: NO.6［ナンバー シックス］
MAL Score: 7.57
Many years ago, after the end of a bloody world war, mankind took shelter in six city-states that were peaceful and perfect… at least on the surface. However, Shion—an elite resident of the city-state No. 6—gained a new perspective on the world he lives in, thanks to a chance encounter with a mysterious boy, Nezumi. Nezumi turned out to be just one of many who lived in the desolate wasteland beyond the walls of the supposed utopia. But despite knowing that the other boy was a fugitive, Shion decided to take him in for the night and protect him, which resulted in drastic consequences: because of his actions, Shion and his mother lost their status as elites and were relocated elsewhere, and the darker side of the city began to make itself known.
Now, a long time after their life-altering first meeting, Shion and Nezumi are finally brought together once again—the former elite and the boy on the run are about to embark on an adventure that will, in time, reveal the shattering secrets of No. 6.
NOTE: For my sake, I’m writing Nezumi, as Nezumi, and not “Rat” like in the subs, and Shion instead of Sion, like the MAL character page.
Story – 8/10. No.6 is a utopia, there is no poverty, there are no conflicts, there are no problems. You will live happily and peacefully within these safe walls, and you will wear this lovely bracelet that is your identity. Oh, and one last thing: if you doubt us, we won’t hesitate to eliminate you. Ignorance really is bliss.
On his 12th birthday, Shion hides and helps an injured Nezumi, a VC. This leads to being stripped of his rights to live in Cronos and qualification to enter the Special Course. There’s a time skip, and suddenly it’s four years later and instead of studying ecology, Shion’s a park worker. After witnessing two people strangely die, he’s taken away by the Bureau of Safety. At that point, he’s rescued by Nezumi and whisked away to the Western District to discover the truth about No.6.
No.6 is listed as Sci-fi and Action, but there are also elements of Fantasy and Shounen-ai. Yes, shounen-ai. I’m not sure if I view it as a good thing, or bad. I mean, I’m a fan of yaoi/shounen-ai, so that probably contributes largely to the fact I enjoyed it, but I know there are a ton of people who aren’t comfortable with it.
If you’re a fan of shounen-ai, you will enjoy this. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure it would be able to appeal to any other audience beside BL fans…
Aside from the homosexual content, No.6 starts off with an intriguing plot – and I won’t lie, I’m a total sucker for utopia/dystopia stories. But like a lot of people, I thought this had a lot of potential to be something amazing, but it never did reach what it could have; whether it’s because of the length of the anime, or because it got side-tracked by shounen-ai fan service, I’m not sure. I kind of feel like a lot of loose ends weren’t dealt with.
Art – 7.25/10. The art… isn’t one of No.6’s stronger points. While it isn’t terrible, it isn’t amazing. The characters are sometimes really awkwardly drawn/animated, such as Shion’s scar or his blushing. But the background and scenery are amazing, and the OP was done beautifully. Especially the last thirty seconds.
Sound – 9/10. I won’t lie; I strongly disliked the OP at first. I thought it was really strange sounding and the singer’s voice was abnormally high… but as the episodes went on, I’ve grown to like them quite a bit. I found myself watching and listening to it on replay. Anyways, it suited the feel of No.6 perfectly. And ohmygosh, the ED. EDs are something I skip over all the time. Not this one. I couldn’t. This one I liked right away. It felt incredibly sad, almost like nostalgia. As cheesy as this sounds, my heart clenches when I hear it. Background music was very subtle, but added wonderfully to the overall feel.
The voice actors also did a pretty good job. Nezumi’s singing was nice… though, it took a bit of time getting used to little Shion’s and little Nezumi’s deep voices…
Character – 8/10. I cried. I got so emotionally attached, that tears came pouring out when Nezumi began singing in the last episode, despite how confused I was.
In the beginning you’re introduced to 12-year-old Nezumi. Running around from authorities in what seems to be a sewage system, panting, with blood trickling down his arm. He meets a dead end, where steel bars are closing off on an opening, preventing chances of escape. Then you’re introduced to 12-year-old Shion. Right away their lives are contrasted. Shion’s sitting at his desk in the middle of Safu’s presentation; there hasn’t been any real hardships he’s been through in life since being ranked as having highest intelligence.
Shion is naive, innocent, kind, and for the most part, ignorant like many other No.6 citizens. Nezumi is sharp-tongued, gives of an arrogant vibe, and is artsy. Yes, their personalities have been done before, but I don’t think you’ll get bored of them… Shion and Nezumi are actually quite likable. As the anime progresses, you see moments of complete contradiction to their personalities which I found quite interesting. Shion has a darker, more aggressive side that comes out when it comes to Nezumi, and Nezumi definitely has a soft spot when it comes to Shion. This might make them seem out of character at times, but I think that’s the point. They bring out entirely new sides of each other.
As for the other supporting characters: Karan, Inukashi, Rikiga, even Yoming, – they’re pretty okay. You know general information about their life and their past, but not in great detail. They’re not exactly incredibly developed characters either, but the anime was only 11 episodes long.
The only one I found kind of strange was Elyurias/Safu. I didn’t really understand her presence or character…
Enjoyment – 10/10. I enjoyed this 10/10 easily, even the second time going through. I grinned and I worried, I eagerly clicked each episode and got frustrated over waiting for the next one. With this anime, I watched it each episode from beginning to end, OP to ED. Stating it simply: I loved watching it [and rewatching it.] The last episode did confuse me a bit, but I’m seriously longing for more.
Overall – Each category is weighted differently for me, and of course, there are always miscellaneous factors. I consider Story to account for 25% of the overall ranking of animes, Art 10%, Sound 10%, Character 25%, and Enjoyment 30%.
[80% x 0.25] + [72.5% x 0.10] + [90% x 0.10] + [80% x 0.25] + [100% x 0.30] = 86.25%
Round it up, and that’s how No.6 gets a 9/10 from me… and my first review on MAL. ^_______^
The first three episodes of the show were really interesting. Not fantastic, but enough to get me excited. There’s a strong sense of mystery pervading the first episode: Why is this kid being pursued? What’s that thing in the center of the city making a strange noise, one that causes those that hear it to listen in seeming awe and reverence? The second episode continues to add questions, while starting up the plot proper as prettyboy Nezumi helps hero Shion escape No. 6 before Shion can be taken to the Ministry of Love. Excuse me, I meant the Correctional Facility. The third episode gives us our look outside the city, so we can see a town built from freedom and poverty, distinct from the strict control of the supposed utopia beyond the walls. At the end of episode 3, Nezumi, who has stated his disgust at No. 6, promises to reveal to Shion why he hates Shion’s former home, and why Shion should too.
And then episode 4 comes, and we get nothing. Then episode 5 comes, and we get nothing. Episode 6? Nope. Episode 7? Still nothing. The show spins its wheels for four episodes, and Nezumi and Shion’s interactions in each episode can be summed up like this:
Nezumi: I hate No. 6! I want to destroy it!
Nezumi: I’ll tell you later!
Shion: I love you, Nezumi.
Nezumi: I hate you because you love No. 6!
Shion: Why should I hate it?
Nezumi: I’ll tell you later!
And so on. Eventually, something happens that causes them to actually decide to get off their asses and finally do something. This is episode 8. There are only 3 episodes left after this. They spend this episode seeing a guy who helped build the city, and getting answers from him. Why Nezumi didn’t take Shion to him as soon as possible and keep the plot going is beyond me. We do learn some very important things this episode, though! Namely, the government of No. 6 is actually… evil! This was in no way obvious based on the previous seven episodes, and is a giant shock to everybody. We also learn about something called Elyurias, but what that actually is isn’t explained yet.
The next bit will be a bit spoilerish. It shouldn’t be too hard to guess the basics of what happens, but if you’re really picky about avoiding spoilers you’ll want to skip ahead, or stop reading and go do something that isn’t watching this show.
The final three episodes end by showing a staggering display of incompetence by every single character and organization in the show (save for one, although that character is basically lucky). Nezumi and Shion infiltrate the Correctional Facility by the dumbest luck ever. Had things gone slightly not their way, they would have died instantly the second they entered the building. They wouldn’t know where they should even be going in this place if it wasn’t for a magic voice inside Shion’s head. The guards of the supposedly secure facility are dispatched with ease by the two infiltrators. And then when Shion and Nezumi finally get to where they were going, the person they were trying to save has freed herself just fine thanks to the previously-mentioned magic voice. A resistance movement within No. 6 tries to do something, but they just kinda set off some bombs and talk to no one in particular. Random eco-magic destroys No. 6, everyone who survived is happy, or something. We don’t learn much of anything, and just when we think we might we get a huge slap in the face for thinking that we should know what the hell we just watched.
Those of you who pay close attention to the plot may notice that nothing Shion and Nezumi do actually affects it. They don’t destroy No. 6, they don’t save the West District, they don’t save the person they were supposed to save, they don’t save the innocents in No. 6 from the danger they’re in. (The last one in particular was what Shion really focused on trying to do, before the show forgot that he was supposed to do that.) Everything that the heroes try to accomplish is done for them, and had Shion and Nezumi not been in the show, the plot would have been exactly the same. (I suppose there’s one thing Nezumi does to help take down No. 6 at the very end, but nothing in the anime canon is preventing the one person who actually did anything useful from doing that as well. There’s a reason for it in the manga, but the anime contradicts that reason.)
Character development was just as teasing as the plot. Sure, the relationship between Shion and Nezumi was cute, and the world needs more romances that don’t make a big deal about the gender of the participants, but it didn’t go much of anywhere. We’d watch Shion and Nezumi say the same things, and maybe kiss a couple times. It goes over better than the plot, since at least you know what’s going on between the two, but still, it could have progressed a lot faster and gone a lot deeper. (I’d bet Nezumi would not have any problems going really deep into Shion’s… feelings.)
At least the art looked nice, and the music wasn’t so weird as to be completely distracting. I think that I’ll probably remember the music most fondly, not because it was particularly amazing, but just because it was really strange. Also, Safu is the best character and I wish she’d be in the show more. (Apparently she has an expanded role in the anime compared to the novels, and considering how little she’s involved in the anime…) Unfortunately, that isn’t nearly enough to make this worth anyone’s time, not when you could be reading the novels. Or Brave New World. Or 1984. Or watching Steins;Gate. Or Lucky Star. Or Blue’s Clues. (At least you got to know the answers to the mystery at the end of each episode.)
(Update: Someone informed me that No. 6 is considered to be a novel, not a light novel. I’ve changed that up above. I’ve seen conflicting information about this, though, but this change hopefully will still make sense. If it doesn’t, just pretend I said ‘book’ each time I said ‘novel’. If that still doesn’t work for you, replace it with whatever you want.)
Watching the next batch of episodes had me hooked because there was so many things going on with Shion and Nezumi, both apart and together, plus the background of No. 6 and how it got the way it is. The horrible acts committed by them et al. I thought I was in for a good treat. And on top of it all, the two male characters were falling in love, not just some boy love teasers some animes throw out to bait Yaoi fans into watching. I’ve always wanted to watch an action anime where the male leads fall for each other but it isn’t a drama or romance show. Mirage of Blaze is the only other anime I can think of that was action and yaoi. So I was on cloud nine.
However, somewhere along the way the show lost focus and had no idea what it was going to do with the characters or the No.6 city itself. It begins to trip and falter and just does not know how to pick itself up. The characters essentially become cardboard cut outs and just placed in scenes and seem to not really do anything.
For example, Shion and Nezumi seem to have conflict about their viewpoints on how No. 6 should be handled with people dying. Nezumi wishes to destroy the city while Shion wants to save the people. Yet neither character does anything about it. Then the writers tried to focus on the female character (I forgot her name) the girl who was in love with Shion. But they have no idea what to even do with her by this point, it’s just her walking around thinking about Shion, then when she decides to do something she gets taken.
So I’m thinking, fine, I guess this will cause Shion to act and maybe cause some tension between he and Nezumi. And they do act by going to save her. Meanwhile, the story takes a whole new focus on these forest people and alluding to the girl and Nezumi having a connection. But this goes NO WHERE!
The connection between Shion’s mother being one of the creators of No.6 goes NO WHERE
The Radical group who wants to take down No. 6 from the inside, goes NO WHERE
Finding out why or how No.6 turned out the way it did, goes NO WHERE
I tried to figure out what was happening here with this show that started out so good and the only thing I got is that the show lacked a human villain. When you have a city or institution as the villain, having a personification of the city would help. After all who is behind the city? Who is the one giving the orders for these terrible acts to take place? Sure Nezumi and Shion are fighting against the city, but who is the one they have to beat? Who does the radical group have to go after to free themselves of No.6?
So yeah, the writers try to solve this glaring issue by making the girl who loves Shion into a magical forest goddess that they have to beat. *eye roll*
Then at the ending when everything seems so bleak the girl transforms into a large magical bee and destroys the city walls with bee tornado for Shion because having him do it himself would take more episodes than they were willing to write. She also grants instant life with her LGBT rainbow powers then float away with her magical bees.
Yes an action Scifi post apocalyptic anime transforms into a fantasy magical anime at the end.
By this time I am just watching for Shion and Nezumi’s love story. But I’m given NOTHING but a second kiss on the lips and the characters deciding to part ways for unexplained reasons. Honestly, I would had been better off just watching the first episode and just using my own imagination to come up with what happens.
8: Dragon Ball Kai
English: Dragon Ball Z Kai
MAL Score: 7.71
Five years after the events of Dragon Ball, martial arts expert Gokuu is now a grown man married to his wife Chi-Chi, with a four-year old son named Gohan. While attending a reunion on Turtle Island with his old friends Master Roshi, Krillin, Bulma and others, the festivities are interrupted when a humanoid alien named Raditz not only reveals the truth behind Gokuu’s past, but kidnaps Gohan as well.
With Raditz displaying power beyond anything Gokuu has seen before, he is forced to team up with his old nemesis, Piccolo, in order to rescue his son. But when Gokuu and Piccolo reveal the secret of the seven mystical wish-granting Dragon Balls to Raditz, he informs the duo that there is more of his race, the Saiyans, and they won’t pass up an opportunity to seize the power of the Dragon Balls for themselves.
These events begin the saga of Dragon Ball Kai, a story that finds Gokuu and his friends and family constantly defending the galaxy from increasingly more powerful threats. Bizarre, comical, heartwarming and threatening characters come together in a series of battles that push the powers and abilities of Gokuu and his friends beyond anything they have ever experienced.
Many like me who have seen the original and yet have seen this and thought well Kai is obviously the same isn’t it?
Well Yeah thats because it is But there are differences here and there to mention but it isn’t as major as a lot of people like to assume so I will be making some comparisons here that you’ll expect to see in this review since this is based on my analysis of this show from watching it twice alongside Dragon ball Z.
Story – 9
The story is sped up much more better compared to the original for obvious reasons of course, It sticks to major characters along with the main plot, less over the top screaming (Though there is that occasionally at times) and less deviating to different locations with little going on in them. better direction of how the pacing is handled within the story to how it is in the manga though I would argue that some certain moments in this version like the original happened quite differently in the manga.
The short prologue to the beginning of what happened to Goku’s father Bardock was a nice touch compared to how the original started off. It sets the story very nicely by showing bardock’s assault on frieza’s army and also the major difference was a removal of the fillers from the original which I like a lot about this.
Now for me I enjoyed some of the fillers from the original anime such as Gohan surviving out in the wilderness as part of his training or Goku and Piccolo amusing test driving episode or even seeing some of the characters trying to find the dragon balls or just randomly seeing some of the supporting characters in their own segments like Tien, Krillin, Yamcha, Chichi etc.
The fillers were also placed in some of the right spots in the story to give some fun easy going highlights towards characters and even progression for example gohan on his adventure out in the wilderness by piccolo to adapt to his surroundings and to not be afraid had a nice throwback to the original dragonball that in a way keeps it connected.
To me, Some of the Fillers like these are still a joy to watch personally unlike some certain animes that just shoehorn filler episodes to disrupt the flow of their story and action badly
(cough cough Bleach and Naruto)
The Filler from the original offered a nice casual distraction away from the main plot but also kept up in the right places as well as still offering the action, drama and humour to the show as a whole, I mean sure the negative to that is filler episode could tend to drag but they were also placed in convenient places that to me made sense and I wish a lot of shonen animes would do this. (I could go, But moving on)
But to note I also know from the original anime you have fillers that are just too slow and time wasting, For the love of god I totally did not like the whole fake Planet Namek filler and Goku when he fell off snake way when he met those 2 annoying Orges, including the fillers that stretch the length of certain episodes or just random added silly moments which I also wasn’t a fan of.
Now with Kai most of these fillers are pretty much gone which really helps viewers to stick with the main plot which in term keeps it more direct and maintains that balance of content and at least help it to not completely drag on for very long which is a major improvement.
Art/Animation – 6
Honestly I am however disappointed with Toei animation.
A series that finished a long time ago, that was beloved by loads of fans all round the world gets this reboot in 2009 and did they improve on art and animation? honestly.. Not that much at all.
This very much annoys me to say this but Dbz kai in terms of its animation capturing the same dated 4:3 ratio like the original did with certain colour correction and contrast but with the very same style of animation which in today standards of art and animation is undeniably lazy from Toei Animation standards considering this reboot came out in 2009!! Just unacceptable.
I have no problem with the art/animation with the original series since it came out in the late 80s/Early 90s, but Come On Now!.. this is practically the same with little certain things that they kinda enhanced which look like anybody could do on PowerPoint!
What seems very good from the very opening of truly great animation that would of suited the series as whole for it in this era of animation only comes to slap people in the face when they see this and say where is the improvement on the animation?? (No way only in the opening!?….Really? Surely they had a lot more time right?)
The original recycled animation has been limited but still not showing enough of that change that should of been implemented with better quality in the first place and some of the uncut blood and violence is replace by bruises which looks silly and yes even though the manga isn’t too violent it still looses some of its believability at times when something violent occurs
which does make me sympathies with those that did not warm up towards this series but again another thing is at least its not bad compared with the original in terms of missing features to the characters and what not.
As a really good example look at original JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders reboot. It got an updated look of the animation as well as other features in their new series to bring its source material of the manga to life so why not Dragon ball kai??
I get that the studio works on other different shows in Japan now and then but Is it really that much of a chore for them to do so for their most profitable franchise besides just animating the opening? They might as well just get Madhouse to work on it like they did for Hunter X Hunter 2011 if they aren’t really up to the task.
Music – 6
Right Okay..I honestly feel pretty mixed about this one.
While Kenji Yamamoto was originally the music composer behind The music of this series but had to be replace because of some corporate music scandal he had done.
before this show was release on DVD/bluray to the public they had the music to be replace with the former composer from the original series in 2009 which yet again is a problem, like the animation the music score sounds too dated like I’m watching an old detective show that sounds like 1966 The Green Hornet, The Hell!? seriously its Dragon ball Z!!!
So Understand that the mixes of genres of this show falls under Battle Shounen, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts,
Sci Fi, Super Power which adds a lot of variety for this show so It should feel and sound like it has its own uniqueness here especially to other music soundtracks nowadays but it unfortunately doesn’t since this anime has more of an out of date feel to it now which does not make me feel invested towards the episodes as much at times.
I LOVE the music composer Kikuchi Shunsuke from the original series I’ve nothing against him, but his soundtracks for a reboot version/ Remastering of this series up to this point just doesn’t really make me feel excited or engage to whats happening on scene especially since certain Iconic soundtracks are not present there like the original show and with this issue I feel, It just doesn’t really resonate with me when something is taking place.
Of course I am aware that Kai added a few new music scores in place of the show and they sound good but are only once during different characters moments which makes it pretty pointless honestly.
It was more better in the original because it was more authentic and done so well for particularly in that time period of anime back then.
The Opening Is okay, not really topping the original in anyway since the original Opening sounded so Iconic and with this opening I just felt it was played too much that but could’ve added more instead of hearing the same opening song throughout 97 episodes and again In no way competes with the opening of Dragon ball Z CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA since its so Iconic from the previous installment.
Voice Acting – 9
The dub and sub on the other hand are probably the highlight of Kai itself especially the dub as it is well handled by funimation.
It adds a lot more verbal curses than the original from previous works of there own, Good thing about this show its that it sticks closer to the Japanese dialogue of its source material.
For me the stand out performance from the dub easily was Chris Ayres as Frieza, Sean Schemmel as Goku, Dameon Clarke as Cell and Chris Sabat as Vegeta and Piccolo. I was also very happy that I heard other different voices for a change too, Though I do however miss Kyle Hebert as the narrator for his charismatic energy for the intro but doc Morgan does do a good job also.
Other voices like Colleen Clinkenbeard as Gohan in english is sort of okay but not that good, It can sometimes sound a little jarring and irritating at times especially when she forces her vocals too hard along with the screaming and I preferred her less as gohan as the show went on and I’m not a fan of when she has to voice Kid Goku since its basically the same as another character that she voices such as Luffy and to me it just does not fit for kid goku or gohan since all I’m hearing from her is her performance as luffy.
Not to mention she voices 18 who doesn’t even sound like she’s related to 17 as his twin sister who I felt the original sounded more close to it even in the Japanese, though her little kid version of gohan isn’t too bad. There was also a few annoying script changes as well in certain scenes too. But overall a great dub.
Now also, to be fair In comparison to Nozawa’s performance as Goku and Gohan I do think it would be unfair to compare voice performance here as some of the Japanese voice actors i feel don’t always sound as right in their roles regardless if Akira had a hand in picking certain individuals, but that isn’t my place to say because I do at times like their performance.
(P.s I’m Not trying to start a Dub Vs Sub debate here folks)
Also I like to mention the opening and closings is quite upbeat and laughably offer the best animation of the show by leaps and bounds.
but yet again, only having 1 opening can be repetitive for 97 episodes, honestly it would of been nice if they had done a few more openings each with a different song but Alas! Its only a minor nitpick.
As for the characters – 8
As Similar to the original, Cool heroes, Wicked villains, Memorable action, Plot as well as a great build up that follows through different stages of the narrative just like the manga counterpart now that the dialogue in this series expresses the show more better. Its demonstrates pretty much the same cast of colourful characters that still represents themselves in their colourful own way the more you watch you start to feel some sort of connection to one of these characters that define a lot of fun traits within the shonen genre and it’s easy to see why.
The characters have their own drive about them that strive to be the best of themselves despite their flaws which will resonate sharply with the viewer but it also gives interesting context to prior events that happens within each Arc which becomes clearer even through my 2nd rewatch.
Personal Enjoyment – 8
I have to admit the first half I really enjoyed a lot but I felt by the second half it felt like it got a little bit tedious going into Cell’s Arc even towards the final third of the show, it weirdly enough ends at Trunks going back to his own timeline to end the chaos without finishing off the rest of the series but It was pretty much a simple yet a decent conclusion until Dragon ball Kai 2014 pretty much wraps up the original series.
Final Verdict – 8
Now there could of been a much more improved version of this no doubt about that, but I feel Dbz kai did a decent job on its reboot to the original despite falling short in places where its production was very lazy which earns this series this rating
Its still a great series for anyone who want an introduction to watching battle shounen anime or just want to check out what the original series of Dragon Ball Z is.
It sticks close at hand to its source material even if you don’t want to fully watch the original at least this is a more condense way to get through with ease and not too long to feel drawn out. Sorry if my review came off being serious but that is how I properly critic and say what I say with honesty.
Also PLEASE watch Dragon ball if you can, Its basically The prequel of Both Dragon ball Kai & Z since that doesn’t get as much love as the sequel does in general. Or if it’s not your thing than the Manga would likely be a better option. Until then Thanks for reading. ; )
I’ll just focus on Kai and the changes it has
Ok, so the story in dragonball has never been really complex or deep, but it’s still fun to watch.
In my opinion, the biggest improovement Kai has over DBZ is that all the anoying fillers are gone and now the story goes, mostly, acording to the manga. No more eternal power charging, no more eternal “he is so strong” internal monologues a no more feeling that nothing really happened in the last 10 chapters. Yeah there are some fun filler missing, like when goku and picolo go to the driving school, but in the end what is gained with the exclusion of the filler is far more than what is lost.
I’ve read here that the story got cut out, that’s not true, they just cut out all the filler that made the original Dragonball anime a pain to whatch for the poeple that have read the original manga.
The art in dragonball has allways been decent considering the times when it was released. But just as the new opening makes you believe at first, this could have been a real remake but the only thing we get here are the exact same animation but on a higher resolution, that’s all.
The audio has been remade and sounds great. After finishing KAI I watched some episodes of the original anime and the difference was clear.
I also liked some of the aditions to the soundtrack, though not all of them.
At least to this date, this is the best way to watch dragonball.
If you are a newcomer to the world of dragonball you will be able to see the story and fights just as Toriyama made them in the original manga.
If you already saw the original anime or manga you will be able to go throught this all time classic once again without having to be tortured by the neverending fillers.
It’s good, but it could have been so much more.
I really would have loved to see a real remake with the kind of animation that we get in the opening of kai.
The story to DB Kai is no different from the original series. The Earth is paid a visit by a being named Raditz whom claims to be Goku’s brother; Raditz reveals to him that he’s not even of Earth, instead he comes from a different race called the Saiyians whom lived on Planet Vegeta. They eventually battle, and Goku as well as his allies learn that Raditz isn’t the only one out there from that race, nor is he even close to the strongest. They then prepare themselves to battle against the last two warriors of the Saiyan race.
I will mention now that the removal of various filler such as Snake Way, Garlic Jr., and various other things was definitely a plus. The show moves quite better without the constant distractions; but the truth is, even without the filler, DB Kai can still be a chore at times with situations dragging along for too much time, and the outcome simply not being a good enough pay off for some of the waiting. In any case, the overall story is fun, and DB Kai works its way up to the final battle against Cell.
DB Kai manages to keep the action well paced enough, and character personalities are fleshed out. However, things could have been so much better had the only change to the show been the various filler. One thing DBZ did well was its voice acting for the English dub and character interactions. Some serious fans will catch the removal of some dialog and it may bother them, it sure as hell bothered me because Vegeta especially had some good lines, like his threat to beat on Yamcha for practically no reason. The changing of voice actors got on my nerves as well; Colleen Clinkenbeard is annoying as hell as Gohan, and had I never seen this before I would have been wishing for his brutal death at the hands of Frieza. Now speaking of Frieza, they have Chris Ayres playing him. I hate everyone Ayres, Chris and Greg Ayres have a very annoying, whining, saccharine feel that gets on my nerves quick. Colleen Clinkenbeard also voices Android 18, and she just feels all types of wrong here. Meredith McCoy is by far the best to play her; she brought a sinister yet sexy appeal to 18 that carried over to her facial expressions and even fighting.
Another thing DBZ always did amazingly well was introduce intense music scores. Funimation’s BGM is probably this anime’s best quality and they know it, yet for some reason they use boring elevator music, with no variation or anything new through out the entire duration of the show. Vegeta and Piccolo’s addictive themes that described their characters so well? Gone. The terrifying BGM of death when Frieza goes off to kill Vegeta while King Kai narrates this is the evil Prince’s last stand? Jettisoned… for some irritating trash that doesn’t enhance the scene at all. I can list plenty more examples, but this proves to me that not everyone understands the effect music can have during some scenes.
The animation and artwork appears to be remastered, but the only thing actually new is the opening. I don’t have much of a problem with this, still this could have been better updated. At least DB Kai delivers the action well enough and there’s plenty going on that can turn a new comer into a fan. There’s loads of fisticuffs and brutal beatings to go around.
As I look around there are plenty of people that really enjoyed Kai more than DBZ. I can honestly say that I understand that because it does trim a lot of the fat and focuses more on character and story development, along with action which is the main selling point. Unfortunately for me, I look for other things in my anime and music means a lot to me; a great soundtrack can actually mask flaws in a work, and DBZ was full of them yet the BGM smoothed things out making it more tolerable. In addition, there are things that seems changed for the sake of it. None of the voice actors from the original died while this was in production, so I see no reason for the change in cast, nor the removal of some lines.
Despite my dislike for this remake, if that’s what it is, I still recommend it to fans so they can see it for themselves; but I highly advise to be prepared for these various changes. I already know plenty of individuals who had the same issues with this as I did.
Highs: Some of the removal of filler does work, enjoyable action
Lows: Altering of cast and BGM is a huge blow for me
7: Heartcatch Precure!
MAL Score: 7.79
Young flower enthusiast Tsubomi Hanasaki is often modest and quiet. But with her family moving to a new town, she aims to reinvent her image at her new school as someone more confident and outgoing. On moving day, she dreams of a mysterious tree in the sky guarded by a warrior named “Cure Moonlight.”
Tsubomi quickly learns that this was no ordinary dream when she encounters two mysterious fairies—Chypre and Coffret—who are being hunted down by a strange woman. When the woman summons a giant monster to attack the city, Tsubomi finds herself transforming into a warrior to fight the enemy! Taking on the alias “Cure Blossom,” Tsubomi learns that the woman is part of a villainous group that aims to turn the world into a lifeless desert, with her new duty being to stop it from happening. As Tsubomi continues to battle more monsters and uncover the secrets behind Cure Moonlight, will she find the confidence needed to overcome her timid nature?
What this anime is, is about 40 episodes of filler. Filler seems to be the no-no word for an anime to be a very good anime, see anime like Naruto for instance. However, as some hallmarks of anime like Cowboy Bebop prove, filler doesn’t have to make an anime bad, and can make the series even greater. This is the case with Heartcatch as well. While the series uses a pretty distinct formula: the main group of girls have a minor conflict, and we’re introduced to a character of the week that is having a similar conflict, that drives them to despair. One of the generals catch them in sorrow and steal their sou- …um heart flower and turn them into a Deserterian, the girls transform and fight the monster, the general mocks the character of the week for their stress , one of the girls, usually Tsubomi argues for the good nature of the character of the week, the purify the COTW and the COTW’s conflict is resolved, we learn about some “Flower Language 101” (which isn’t just made up by the creators, Google it) and its case closed. Even though the formula is, for the most part, rigid, it rarely gets tedious and they even throw some new tricks into the bag such as the general piloting the Desertarian like its a mecha. Even though they’re only one episode long, two tops, they stand on their own nicely.
But its not just episodic narratives all the way through, about 10-15 episodes is dedicated to advancing the story, whether it be introducing new cures, or the excellent last 6 episodes, which pretty much sealed the perfect 10 that I gave the story. The ending probably ranks along with Code Geass and Madoka Magica among the best endings in my book.
They do cut a lot of corners sometimes with the animation, using a bunch of CG for stuff like the activation items, and occasionally sloppy animation. Also the reuse of animation for things like transformations and finishing moves may turn some people down. However, at several points they show how good the animation team is, especially during the final 6 episodes.
The designs are a whole different ballgame, they are very versatile and can work in many situations. Not to mention they are heart-attack-inducing adorable! Also, the Gold Forte Burst animation is jaw-dropping to say the least.
The soundtrack is very excellent. The series got dark and it got tragic sometimes. The art and the soundtrack really are the two things that made these moments so great. One thing I have yet to mention is how the series uses parallelism to great effect in this series. At one point the song “Heart Goes On”, initially used during the fashion show that was built up to for several episodes, is used during the climax of the series. The soundtrack helped the series make me cheer, laugh, and nearly cry.
I’ll not spend a century focusing on ALL the characters, but they all are solidly built. Tsubomi develops throughout the series from a coward to a bright and loving hero. Yuri Tsukigage is a minor character for nearly half the series, but nearly steals the spotlight from Tsubomi near the end, not to spoil a whole lot. The rest of the cures are excellently built and a great ensemble. The characters of the week are of special mention as nearly all of them get a detailed backstory, except for the last one, who just gets his sou-…heart flower snatched right after he remarks how he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and he is never seen again. They serve as a Chekhov’s Gun near the end as they help the cures not lose hope when the bad guy is nearly about to win.
Speaking of bad guys, I guess I have to mention them.
The generals are excellent characters, you sympathize with them, but ultimately root for the cures to triumph. They are quirky but not to be trifled with. Excellent.
Sabbaku is defininely worth mentioning as a great character. His best traits are best left undiscussed due to MAJOR spoilers. But near the end reminds you of a certain other masked villain that you’ll probably recognize unless you live under a rock.
Dark Cure while kinda vague, definitely acts as a solid adversary, espescially for the final cure.
The big boss, Dune, is a fabulous villain in more ways than one. He nearly accomplishes his goal, which makes him probably the most capable villain I know of, and takes all the strength the cures can muster to defeat. GG Dune.
I was hesitant to give this anime a perfect 10, but this anime is one of the best series I have watched. And to think its a kids’ show.
RECOMMENDATION: VERY HIGH
Now the heart tree will get better!
Your move My Little Pony!
Another point in Heartcatch’s favour is the animation style. It’s done by the same team who did Casshern Sins, which is a bit of an odd mix. Casshern Sins is a great show, but it’s hella depressing post-apocalyptic material, and to have them do a Precure seems like a match made in “didn’t think this through properly” land. But it works, certainly in the animation style department. Heartcatch is stylish. The designs seem to be made with movement in mind, rather than other Precures where the characters don’t move freely at all and every fight scene is simply them panning across the screen (*cough* Fresh Precure *cough*). The animators are rather happy to let their characters go deformed for the sake of more fluid animation, but the artstyle suits the free-flowing designs quite well. Heartcatch’s fight scenes are far and away the best out of the Precure franchise, albeit that’s not particularly high praise. In comparison to other action anime, it doesn’t compare to Bones or Gainax level material, but it sure is pretty to look at.
The transformation sequences are…well, actually they’re not all that bitching at all. At least, the main two aren’t. They decided a cell phone was too unoriginal for this version of Precure, so instead decided to use perfume as a Precure transformation aid. Full points for originality I guess, but this does mean what you get is a spray-on Precure costume, which is rather underwhelming. It’s only until the third Precure shows up that we get a proper bitchin’ transformation sequence
Not that Heartcatch solved all the problems of the previous Precures. The magical pets are still as annoying as fuck. The BUY OUR TOYS still isn’t that well integrated into the plot. No really Precure, I’m cool with your amazing gospel 2nd ending song having awesome CGI dancing in it, but it’s jarring when every instance of BUY OUR TOYS is accompanied with the product in question being in CGI itself. It makes it stand out all the more jarringly, especially when they have to go through gimicky actions that the toys can also do. Like, come on. What sort of magical girl has to wind up their wand before they can use it? But the fact that it had a brain and wasn’t painfully stupid with its episodic plotlines far outweigh the problems I had with BUY OUR TOYS and annoying magical pets.
Precure is a cartoon aimed at little girls. Kids like repetition, or so I’ve been told. I did too, when I was, like, 4. Heartcatch’s non-plot related episodes follow such a strict formula that they start to get boring after a while. It’s the same problem I had with Hell Girl, and even that tried to mix things up a little more than Heartcatch ever tried to. Every episode follows the exact same damn pattern, to the point that they start to blend together. This is Not Good for an episodic show. Each episode should have something that makes it stand out from the rest. That was the one where they all talked backwards for the episode. That was the one where the colours all inverted. I dunno, I’m not a scriptwriter, but there’s nothing remarkable about most of the episodes. They don’t try to make them stand out, except on very rare occasions. Even the ones where plot-related stuff happen, the show still goes through the exact same motions. It doesn’t matter how great your formula is, it will be less interesting with every repeat of the formula if you don’t mix it up a bit.
Then there was the plot. Yeah. The plot. For gods sake, why do even the apparently good Precure villains fall foul of the pathetically dumb Precure villain syndrome? Dark Precure is Cool. She has a single black wing and is amazingly overpowered compared to our heroes. Then why does she not attack them? There is a scene where she is about to deliver the finishing blow, but then retreats because Mysterious Voice From The Sky calls her away. There was no reason for her to be called away either, she just went anyway. And it’s not like the villains don’t realise what a threat the Precures are to them. I don’t necessarily mind that the underlings are stupid, spending their time admiring themselves in the mirror. They’re meant to be stupid, and the show embraces that. But why are Sabaku and Dark Precure not attacking the Precures when they realise what a threat they are? What the fuck do they spend their time doing in the dark castle? She had no problem defeating Cure Moonlight back in the day, why not these two Precures before they get stronger? Oh wait yeah, I know. Precure Villain Syndrome. Give them a stick and a banana just out of their reach, they’ll proceed to choke on the stick.
But even the plot with the good guys is stupid. Every single revelation to the plot was lame. The revelation who the fancy man who kept saving them was an incredible anti-climax. The reveal of who the third Precure would be was a let down. Every time a plot related incident would occur in the episode, it would never result in something I particularly cared about. The plot related episodes were never particularly good, apart from maybe introducing a new bitchin’ transformation sequence or new move. The best episode of the series was the Mother’s Day one by an absolute mile, and that had nothing to do with the plot. It was just a well-directed episode that told a powerful message. But non-plot related episodes, as I explained earlier, got repetitive and dull. I found myself watching the next episode previews to see if anything potentially different would happen. But this too was a misnomer, as new events never succeeded in improving the quality of the episodes. Next episode has a new Precure, hopefully that will improve the quality, right? Nope, still the same old stuff it has been pumping out since episode 1, except now there’s an extra part to the transformation sequence.
I reached the episode where we got the fourth Precure. But her becoming a Precure was telegraphed to us for the past several episodes, so there was no joy in seeing it be realised. How she came about gaining the power to become a Precure was done via several randomly introduced plot elements over the past few episodes, such as a magical flying castle and the fact the Heart Tree can apparently travel across time and space, and that magical pets come from heart seeds, and all sorts of totally randomly introduced plot points for the sake of advancing the plot. But it’s not like the show ever changed. The villains were still being stupid. The Precures were still going through the same routine. The end of the episode showed the fourth Precure doing her bitchin’ transformation sequence and getting ready to fight Dark Precure. I thought to myself “well that was boring, but I gotta see the next episode because she fights Dark Precure in it”
…and stopped myself. I had fallen into that trap. I’m not watching the anime to see what’s happening. I’m watching the anime to see what’s going to happen. Nothing that’s ever happening in the present ever entertains me. Only the promise of changes in the future keep me going. Even if there is something worth watching, it comes out of non-foreseeable, non-plot related events like the Mothers Day episode. And there was where I dropped it. Episode 33. At the very point of the grand reveal, I gave up.
Tsubomi, the protagonist of this story, is a shy girl who definitely didn’t fit with what the image of what the standard Precure protagonist looked to me, I think that this is played very nicely through the story and seeing her open up more while keeping what makes her be her was so satisfying to see. Together with the cheerful and absurdly lovable Erika by her side, they form the main duo of the story for a good time before the other Precure join.
Those episodes with them alone were “the weakest” part of the series to me (saying that in quotes because they were still enjoyable) and were focused on giving the spotlight to side characters (mostly classmates or the family of the MCs) and our girls helping them both via interactions, and by kicking ass defeating the “Desertrians”, monsters created by the enemies of this story combining an object and the wiltered hearts of the characters. This anime uses the fact that Tsubomi loves flowers very strongly using that detail, with the flower each character has having a meaning that fits with their problem.
Once the other and equally nice Precure join the group, the plot starts to really pick up and only gets better and better, with very emotional moments and solid development for the characters. I don’t want to possibly overhype it, but honestly the final episodes were some of the most epic I have watched.
With a nice main cast is also needed a nice villain side, and The Desert Apostles did a successful job on that. Precure does a very good job at being lighthearted while also not shying away when it has to be darker, and the villains were a good example of that in execution, I enjoyed the interactions and comedy moments between them and/or with the Precures a lot and they ended up being very memorable as well when it came to the more serious parts involving their characters.
The art style of the series is so visually appealing and allows for a wide array of nice reactions and goofy movements from the characters while looking perfectly fitting with the show, and the great designs by Yoshihiko Umakoshi (Casshern Sins, Boku no Hero Academia, Doremi, Mushishi…) definitely were a part of that, the action scenes are also solid, abundant and well animated, not to mention the nice transformation scenes of the characters. The soundtrack of the series is also nice and has some very memorable tracks.
After only saying more and more positives I guess that it’s time to say the problems I had with the series, which honestly didn’t affect my opinion in the long run:
– The first is the already mentioned slower start, while I always enjoyed watching the episodes, I didn’t feel that it hooked me in nowhere as much as Hugtto or Princess Precure (which I watched right after) did, so I wasn’t feeling as hyped and also a bit worried that maybe I wouldn’t end up loving it as much as I wanted to, but yeah, that got fixed later on, boy it did.
– The second is the mascot characters of the main duo, that honestly were pretty annoying at first and I was never a fan of the “a heart seed is coming out!” scene after they defeat the Desertrians they face (and thank god the animation of that part got more polished, they are clearly pooping it, c’mon!) But they grew on me as the episodes passed and even took the spotlight in a comedy focused episode that made me laugh really hard and I loved.
– Lastly, this just seems to be a thing with the franchise as a whole. As a series that lives by selling the toys they make based on the anime they know that they have to advertise them, and how they do so? By making the objects the girls use look exactly like they would as a toy and even use CGI for some, this makes total sense but at times I couldn’t help but feel like “man, they are really trying to sell the product here”, which let’s be honest, it’s pretty stupid thinking about it: of course they are not making anime because why not, we wouldn’t get more if it didn’t sell! It’s a matter of getting used to it, and why lie, I freaking want a Flower Tact! I’m not surprised at all that this is the best selling entry so far.
If you haven’t watched any Precure yet and you’re reading my review you might feel put off by the last two negative points and think that this is in anime that only kids might find enjoyable, but I can promise you that this isn’t the case and that anyone has a chance to really enjoy it, the characters are very compelling and likeable, the comedy is solid, the action is nice looking and the story is interesting and has some darker moments that definitely surprised me seeing. This franchise is so painfully underwatched in the west and I hope that this slowly changes as time passes. Nice anime I can’t recommend enough and a totally good point to start with the franchise.
MAL Score: 7.89
Ishiyama High is a school populated entirely by delinquents, where nonstop violence and lawlessness are the norm. However, there is one universally acknowledged rule—don’t cross first year student Tatsumi Oga, Ishiyama’s most vicious fighter.
One day, Oga is by a riverbed when he encounters a man floating down the river. After being retrieved by Oga, the man splits down the middle to reveal a baby, which crawls onto Oga’s back and immediately forms an attachment to him. Though he doesn’t know it yet, this baby is named Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV, or “Baby Beel” for short—the son of the Demon Lord!
As if finding the future Lord of the Underworld isn’t enough, Oga is also confronted by Hildegard, Beel’s demon maid. Together they attempt to raise Baby Beel—although surrounded by juvenile delinquents and demonic powers, the two of them may be in for more of a challenge than they can imagine.
As you can probably tell, Beelzebub is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this approach works very well for the story being told. The main characters, particularly Furuichi, seem aware that they part of a show that routinely sets them up with ludicrous scenarios, as if to test their reactions, and they are not shy about calling out some of the more preposterous elements that arise. Characters also address the viewer directly, which adds a nice touch of humour to the show while making the situations more relatable. I found this approach more satisfying than one where we are asked to accept ridiculous circumstances at face value.
The show has a lot of heart, and can also be surprisingly creepy at times; these are demons and the underworld we are dealing with after all, but this never lasts for very long, which is a pity because I think the show would have benefited from playing up the darker themes for longer periods to counter the otherwise jovial tone, which becomes a bit tiresome over a 60 episode arc. Still, the show maintains enough originality to entertain and the delivery of punch lines remains top notch for the most part.
One place where the show does disappoint terribly is in character development. Its remarkable how little the main characters change over the course of the series. This actually turns out to be a main detractor for the comedy as the show goes on because I often found myself wishing for fewer farces and more feeling. Some decent character growth would have solved this issue, but alas there just isn’t enough of that to go around. Relationships are especially frustrating. Waiting for something interesting to happen between characters other than fights with comically named “special attacks” is like watching paint dry; there just isn’t a lot going on there. The supporting characters fare a bit better in this respect, in particular with an entertaining story arc involving a multi-player FPS.
To add to this, the filler episodes quickly become an annoyance. Simply put, there are too many of them. This wouldn’t be so bad if these episodes contributed something towards developing characters, however, they do not. And in the end I kept feeling like these episodes were simply taking away valuable time that could be better used oh say, developing characters.
Overall though Beelzebub is a well written series which keeps track of its story plots, at least until the last episode, so you almost never see characters “forgetting they did something”, or acting out of character, which is very impressive for a farcical comedy like this. Eventually though, lack of character development and some nonsensical villains make it hard for me to call this anime great. Halfway through this series, if you’re not being entertained by the humor, chances are you aren’t being entertained by anything else. And this is unfortunate, because the show had all the right ingredients to make it absolutely amazing. Still, I would recommend watching the series because you will not regret doing so, if only because it is very different from a lot of what is out there. Moreover, I managed to find a much more satisfying end by basically ignoring the last episode and switching to the manga to get more out this series. The story of Beelzesama and his contractor Oga Tatsumi, does not end at episode 60, and for my money, is definitely worth catching up on.
You’re probably asking to yourself when picking up this Anime “Will this make me laugh so hard I can’t breathe?”. The simple answer is YES and let me explain why.
The names of the central characters the story of Beelzebub revolves around is Tatsumi Oga and Baby called Beelzebub. Tatsumi is a delinquent at the worst school in his area and Beelzebub is the son of a demon who was destined to take over the world. From there, wacky stuff happens in EACH EPISODE that will have you on the floor crying for laughter. Honestly, I would say that the story is of less importance than how the characters were executed since it is a comedy.
Before watching Beelzebub, I didn’t think that Anime could be so funny that I would consider it a masterpiece(This was also before I watched Gintama). Most Comedy Anime to me at the time seemed too tryhard/forced and that you would essentially need to be Japanese to laugh at the jokes. That all changed when I watched Beelzebub. I loved EVERY CHARACTER. Each of them had something to offer as a whole for the comedy so that nobody was left out. What would have played out as a normal thing in other Anime, Beelzebub turned on it’s head into pure laughter. I don’t want to spoil much but just keep what I said in mind because it’s true.
The music is pretty good also and each episode doesn’t feel like it’s dragging on. I honestly wish I could watch it all over again for the first time because I love it so much. It’s up there with Gintama as the funniest Anime of ALL TIME.
So just give it a try and see if you like it.
Art: 8/10 Very good art. Not too shabby.
Sound: 9/10 Nice voices. The baby’s voice is adorable.
Characters: 9/10 Super likable characters. Most of them are so funny. Decent character development.
Overall: 8/10 If you like to laugh. Watch this anime. If you’re one of those people who THINK they have a sense of humor, but low-key don’t. Don’t watch this anime. 😀
5: Tiger & Bunny
English: Tiger & Bunny
Japanese: TIGER & BUNNY （タイガー アンド バニー）
MAL Score: 7.90
In Stern Bild City, those with special abilities are called “NEXT,” and can use their powers for good or bad. A unique organized group of NEXT appear regularly on Hero TV, where they chase down evildoers to bring limelight to their sponsors and earn Hero Points in the hopes of becoming the next “King of Heroes.”
Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, known as “Wild Tiger,” is a veteran hero whose performance has been dwindling as of late, partially due to his inability to cooperate with other heroes. After a disappointing season in which most of the other heroes far outperformed Tiger, he is paired up with a brand new hero who identifies himself by his real name—Barnaby Brooks Jr.
Barnaby, nicknamed “Bunny” by his frivolous new partner, quickly makes it clear that the two could not be more different. Though they mix as well as oil and water, Tiger and Bunny must learn to work together, both for the sake of their careers and to face the looming threats within Stern Bild.
The most obvious attempts to capitalise on the success of these comic-book creations have come from television and cinema, but while shows like “Heroes”, “Chronicle” and “Misfits” have found a degree of success, the majority of attempts to reinvent, reboot or revamp the superhero genre have ended in ignominy.
Which is where Tiger & Bunny swagger onto the stage.
Set in Sternbild City (a fictional version of New York), the story begins 45 years after super-powered humans known as NEXT first began to appear. In the decades that followed, individuals with superhuman abilities took on the roles of heroes and villains, and over time the constant to and fro between both sides became a form of entertainment. Fast forward to NC 1978, where the forces for good have their own specialised broadcast – “Hero TV”, corporate sponsorships, and a chance to accrue points in order to win the coveted title of “King of Heroes”.
Every day brings new challenges for these intrepid do-gooders, but Sternbild City has been built upon many secrets, and when Barnaby Brooks Jr. takes his place amongst those who stand for truth and justice, the shadows of the past begin to move once more.
At first glance Tiger & Bunny may seem like nothing more than a super-powered “buddy” show, and to a certain degree that’s a fair assessment. The plot is relatively straightforward (but also rather predictable), and although there are several elements that add a veneer of complexity, none of these affect the pacing or progression of the storyline – mainly because it has been split into two major chapters. This has the effect of setting a “deadline” for the conclusion of certain arcs, which in turn adds a brevity to the narrative that prevents the atmosphere becoming stale.
Unfortunately some viewers may find themselves annoyed by the fact that certain episodes appear to deviate from the main plot by focusing on one or more of the supporting characters. Now while this usually a valid complaint, these “fillers” often serve as a platform to introduce themes, characters or events that may have a lasting effect on the story proper. In addition to this, the episodes in question have very little impact on the flow of the narrative, and in a very real sense this show is a good example of how “fillers” can add to the whole story.
When it comes to the visuals, Tiger & Bunny certainly looks the part, but it’s not without its flaws. The artwork is of a good standard, with a nice variety of character designs, settings, and outlandish costumes that uphold the reputation of superheroes everywhere. The series is well animated for the most part, and while there are the usual (and very minor), anime-related problems when it comes to wardrobes, one particular issue continues to crop up throughout the show.
Technology has progressed to the point where computer generated imagery can often be blended with more traditional animation to good effect, but for some reason Sunrise has decided to be a little more ostentatious in its approach – which has led to a few complications. The main problem lies in the movement of the heroes after they don their costumes, and in several action sequences the studio’s attempts to exaggerate the actions of the characters can make the entire scene look more than a little … odd.
That said, many viewers may forgive the slightly weird feeling they get from the CG, but only because the overall look is decidedly refreshing and the show makes very good use of some rather nice visual effects.
Tiger & Bunny features two opening sequences, both of which introduce the main heroes (with particular attention paid to their sponsors), alongside a few short scenes that display their powers. The only real difference between the two OP’s are the songs attached to them – “Orion o Nazoru” by Unison Square Garden (a rather upbeat rock song), and “Missing Link” by Novels (a surprisingly bittersweet rock ballad). The series also features two closing sequence, the first of which is a fairly simple affair that focuses on the characters of Kaburagi Koutetsu and Barnaby Brooks Jr. while “Hoshi no Sumika” by Aobozu plays out. The second ED is much more in keeping with the great traditions of the anime industry as it uses still images of the characters alongside some fairly basic visual effects – all to the J-Pop stylings of Tamaki’s “Mind Game”
When it comes to background music it seems like Tiger & Bunny is on firmer ground, and much of the soundtrack is littered with anthems that echo of heroism, action, and good old comic-book cheese. In addition to this there are a wide range of well defined audio effects, and overall the series is remarkably balanced in terms of its choreography.
As one might expect from a superhero tale, the dialogue is awash wish one-liners, catchphrases and other sentences that tend come out of the mouths of costumed vigilantes. That said, the script is surprising in both its intelligence and humour, and although there’s the ever-present shadow of cheese, it’s not enough to deter the voice actors from delivering some fine performances. Hirata Hiraoki and Morita Masakazu are in good form as the laconic veteran Kaburagi Koutetsu (a.k.a. Wild Tiger), and the fiery young Barnaby Brooks Jr., but while the two have a good on-screen rapport, the cornerstone of the dialogue is the camaraderie between the heroes as a group.
One of the nice things about Tiger & Bunny is that the characters represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and although the majority of them are adults, the show also tries to offer some insight into the personalities of the more prominent teenaged heroes. Koutetsu is a particularly interesting individual – a widowed father who rarely sees his ten-year old daughter (who lives with her grandmother), because of his “work”, and this lays a very strong and unusual (for anime that is), foundation for development. A big plus is that rather than travel down the Ikari Gendou route towards a “bad end”, the writers have decided to adopt an approach that’s more akin to “Lethal Weapon”, with Koutetsu in the role of the aging veteran.
On the other hand, Barnaby Brooks Jr. is Batman.
The problem is that where Barnaby is concerned, nobody has tried to think outside of the box (as they do with Koutetsu), and it’s for this reason that his background is one of the biggest stereotypes in the world of superheroes. Because of his origins, many of the changes in his personality over the course of the series can feel derived, and this is especially true where his relationship with Koutetsu is concerned. Thankfully the show has a pretty good set of supporting characters, and unlike many other anime, the series uses the relationships between the majority of the characters rather well.
If one compares Tiger & Bunny to its Western counterparts then it manages to hold its own, but only just as the weight of the superhero genre in America and Europe is enough to crush almost any challenger. That said, the series is a refreshing change from the shounen fare that’s being served these days, and one of the most laudable aspects is that Sunrise haven’t been afraid to take inspiration from Western media.
Which brings up one small but important point.
The majority of popular heroes were created decades ago, and since then there have been many attempts to update them so that they always appear to be in keeping with modern trends and tastes. Unfortunately these changes are only skin-deep, and aside from recent titles like “Heroes”, “Misfits”, “Kick Ass”, “Chronicle” and “Super”, the majority of Western tales don’t really serve as a good reflection of modern times, even if their core message remains valid. It’s in this particular area where Tiger & Bunny stands above many other stories, mainly because of its focus on “reality TV”, celebrity culture and corporate sponsorship. In a very real sense the anime highlights a direction that has been blatantly ignored, and while the whole concept may seem alien to diehard fans of Western comic-books, the simple fact is that modern superhero stories tend to follow the same formula that has been the mainstay of the industry for decades.
Overall, Tiger & Bunny is an enjoyable take on the genre that blends several old ideas and puts them in a setting that, while futuristic, is more a reflection of modern society than many people might initially believe. The mixture of super-powered shenanigans, comedy and drama is very much in keeping with the best traditions of action movies everywhere, and in all honesty that’s probably the best way to approach the series.
But that doesn’t automatically make it no-brain entertainment.
Then I saw that episode 1 was on Hulu. HULU? Was this legitimacy? OK, so I watched it. It was not what I was expecting. It’s not about Mafia or mecha. It’s about SUPERHEROES! Why couldn’t somebody just come out and say so? But mind you, this isn’t like the other Japanese superhero animes that are re-makes revolving around American-made characters. This ain’t Wolverine or Iron Man, folks. No, this is good stuff. GOOOOOOD. Just count how many times I use “awesome” and “cool” in this review.
Here we have bright and saturated visuals, comedy, some pretty sweet action sequences, loveable characters, and enough drama and melodrama to keep a sieve full. And an interesting twist on athlete sponsorship.
This is Stern Bild, the bright city of the (American) future, where citizens are kept safe by the troop of the city’s resident heroes. But these heroes aren’t freelancers or government employees. No, they’re privately sponsored. After all, it takes big bucks to get those suits done at the dry cleaners. But that sponsorship doesn’t just mean they get corporate logos slapped all over them like a biker or racecar. No, they have to let camera crews follow them around, to broadcast their feats in reality-TV style.
Our main character is one of these heroes, Kotetsu, whose hero name is Wild Tiger. Back in the day, he was cool. But now he’s older, and has lost his shine. And his tween daughter thinks he’s an absolute dweeb.
When his current hero company goes under, he gets transferred to another, where they aren’t too thrilled about having an old has-been hero. So they make the unusual decision to partner him up with another hero, and sell them to audiences as a team. They pick one that has the exact same superpower as Wild Tiger. And it happens that this guy’s everything that Kotetsu is not: fresh, new, young, arrogant, no sense of humor, dutiful to the sponsors, and he uses his real name for his hero work. Everyone knows that heroes are supposed to have a secret identity! Young upstart.
So Kotetsu’s partnership with Barnaby Brooks Jr. gets off to a rough beginning. And it stays that way for a loooooong time, while Kotetsu keeps trying to loosen “Bunny-chan” up. (Yes, Barnaby is the ‘Bunny’ in Tiger & Bunny.) But Bunny isn’t a hero just to do good. He has a specific goal in mind, and he won’t let Kotetsu’s goofiness distract him.
It turns out they will both need to learn a lot about each other to get this partnership to work.
MOST EVERYTHING ELSE:
I tried a few minutes of some of the animes based on Marvel characters. I didn’t like them. And judging by their low MAL ratings, most other people don’t either. But this is an original story. Fresher, brighter, and with no comic book (or manga) to compare it to. But you can still see classic superhero roots, in the villains particularly. They’re generally very flashy, unlike real criminals. And hey, we even get a mad scientist.
Even though Tiger and Bunny are our main characters, there is a whole cast of heroes that they work alongside: ice-caster Blue Rose (who has a crush on Tiger), the fire-shooting Fire Emblem, wind-warping Sky-High, hunky Rock Bison, tomboyish Dragon Kid, and Japanophile Origami.
And there’s non-hero characters. Kotetsu’s daughter Kaede, his mom, his former boss Ben. His suit-maker, Saito, with the quiet voice (he gets his own subtitles, since apparently Tiger is the only one who can hear him). Agnes, the producer of HERO-TV, the reality show that follows the heroes around. Legend, the hero that saved Kotetsu as a kid, and encouraged him to become a hero himself. The rogue Lunatic, dispenser of vigilante justice, who I think most people wanted to get more screentime. (I wanted to see more of him too; after all, he’s the only guy whose suit had bell-bottoms. BELL-BOTTOMS.)
It has a couple of story arcs. Some are as short as one episode, and give us a close-up look at the life of one of the heroes in the story. Other arcs span several episodes, as our heroes battle the villain of the moment. But there are clues scattered throughout the series that are used later.
The action scenes are generally pretty cool. There isn’t one every episode, but when they come, they are, like, AWESOME!!!!
There’s comedy aplenty, of the light kind.
But what’s at the core of the show is DRAMA. Lots of it. If the scene involving the little boy and the trading cards doesn’t impact you some way, then you should just stop watching, because that’s the melodramatic slant in this show. There’s the drama of a dad trying to get his kid to say he’s cool. Promising to meet with her, but then having to break his promise because he has been called to an assignment. There’s the drama of a man whose goal is to take revenge for his parents who were murdered. You almost wonder if Barnaby suffers from depression, since he keeps getting bogged down in melodramatic angst, and takes it out on anybody who tries to get close to him. And the one who tries to do that is our very own Kotetsu. Barnaby is in serious need of some professional counseling.
Incidentally, there is a bit racial variety. Which is unusual for anime, but was probably obligatory since the story is set, after all, in a place much like the United States. We have a couple of black characters: The mayor of Stern Bild (à la Obama, I’m sure); Ben, who is Kotetsu’s former boss and current mentor; and Fire Emblem (a lot of viewers chew out his character because he is the cliché gay character you see a lot in anime; oh well, the makers are still Japanese after all). And Kotetsu and his family, and Saito are Asian…or more specifically, Japanese. No other kinds of Asians around apparently. And all the other characters are probably white.
The animation is very awesome. The setting is often the sparky-lit city at night. Outlining is done in brown instead of the usual black, so the everything looks “warm” and alive. Action scenes are done well. And there’s lots of CGI. Which makes some purists mad. The suits are where you see it most. Some people squawk at this, which isn’t fair, because it’s usually done pretty well, especially for the chunky suits that Tiger and Barnaby wear. The only place where it doesn’t work very well is Fire Emblem’s skin-tight suit. Though his cape with the creeping-flames pattern is cool. I’d want one of those myself.
Style. There’s lots of style. There’s something about this that almost says “superheroes are a fashion statement.” Well, that and the fact that Tiger and Bunny almost ALWAYS wear the same clothes. It’s just begging for people to cosplay them. And the music seems to fit in with the style. The music is cool. Awesomely awesome. It varies from jazz to opera and places in-between. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Pixar movie “The Incredibles.” Something about that retro-esque heroes-in-real-life feels very similar to this.
MAKE SURE to watch after the ED in each episode. Often, there’s a little bit of extra story at the end before the previews roll. And by then you might as well watch the previews too, since they’re usually narrated by either Tiger or Barnany, and begin with him saying “Hi, I’m Tiger, the member of Tiger and Bunny who wears a beard!” or something else idiotic. Also, the episode titles are all in English, and based off some proverb. Tiger doesn’t even try to say the next episode title, but Barnaby does, and sound pretty horrible. Some people said it was worth it to watch each episode just to hear Barnaby’s Engrish at the end.
Some viewers felt that the final arc in the series was a bit lame. I wouldn’t say it was terrible, but it definitely did go for the cliche situations of “superhero meets the big boss” and more. Not necessarily bad, but it raised the bar pretty high for itself by then. But fans are waiting to see if there will be a second season….
WHAT IT’S NOT:
It’s not primarily action. We don’t get a full-blown action sequence every episode.
It’s not primarily comedy, unless you want to laugh at Barnaby’s childish attitude, or Kotetsu’s blunders. Which ARE funny.
There’s very little ecchi. Unless you count Blue Rose’s costume.
There’s little romance. Blue Rose obviously has a thing for Kotetsu, even though he’s a generation older than herself. (It’s OK Blue Rose, I sorta do too.) Yaoi fans may be disappointed that nothing goes on between our two main characters. (Though that hasn’t prevented scores of Yaoi doujinshi from being made.)
It’s also not hugely….intelligent. I have to say this for people who are expecting an amazingly intricate and solid plot. While the story overall is good and throws a few cureveballs, there are some mental goofs. But that is all forgiven because the drama is SOOOO feel-good, and the characters are so loveable.
I can say I’m very happy to see this show as popular as it is. I wrote a review after seeing episode 4, when the show’s MAL rating was below 7. Now it’s above 8. I’m happy it’s getting love.
Unlike most shounen series which are primarily about an action or suspense-driven story, Tiger and Bunny’s partnership, or attempt at a partnership, is the main draw. You care about them, and the other characters. You REALLY CARE. You might even say this is meddling in seinen territory. Which is probably why this attracts viewers from all sorts of demographics. If you like drama, and a little action, comedy, nice music and animation, and an interesting setting, please, please give this a try. But beware. You might just get hooked.
I have been told that I recommend this anime a bit too much.
That’s because it’s so underrated. Every time i tell someone to watch it, they give me shit like “I don’t watch mech” or “Looks gay”
IT IS NOT FUCKING MECH. Learn to read the damn tags.
As for the gay part, people can ship whichever characters they want, doesn’t make it canon. As long as you avoid the doujins, you’re good. Unless of course you like that kind of stuff, which is perfectly fine.
I do admit the banner doesn’t look too appealing. Trust me, the anime looks much better.
Anime about people with special abilities are far from rare. But they are rarely done well. Tiger & Bunny is about people with special abilities called NEXT. Some of these NEXT are chosen by sponsors to be superheroes. These superheroes are in a competition on live TV. Hero TV is the most popular show on TV. The hero with the most point at the end of the season is crowned as the ‘King of Heroes’
I found the idea of commercialised superheroes to be really fresh.
What is more important, the competition or people’s lives?
The story explores the main duo. It highlights the contrast in their views of justice and what it means to be a superhero. Another notable character is a vigilante, Lunatic, who believes that all criminals must die. He also happens to be my favourite character, his backstory was really touching. I actually gave a shit about him, and I’m a sociopath.
It’s no just a mindless action, comedy though. It does make you think a bit. Since I didn’t open with a real quote, here you go-
“The justice you speak of is truly weak and frail.”
The character designs are unique and I quite like them. The costumes/suits are all very different.
The visuals are stunning, even Redline pales in comparison. There’s just a slight problem when the characters are in their costumes, the CGI is a bit jerky and looks weird. But this isn’t a major problem and is only noticeable in a few scenes. Other than that Eyegasm.
The two openings were very different from each other, but both were excellent. Orion wo nazoru is a cheerful song while Missing Link is a more emotional. The first ending was decent and the second was even better.
The voice actors did a brilliant job, especially Hirata Hiroaki.
I also checked out the english dub, but I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t think Yuri Lowenthal was able to pull off Bunny’s character very well.
So I recommend sticking to the sub.
The OST is absolutely brilliant.
This is one of the major strengths of Tiger & Bunny.
Each and every character is well written. We are shown the backstory of all relevant characters. There is a considerable amount of development in most characters. The supporting characters especially standout.
Tiger is a 40 year old man, with a teenage daughter. This is one of the things which sets Tiger & Bunny apart. The main character isn’t a perfect teenager. He has several existing problems. Including his relationship with his daughter.
Bunny is a cliched character. But that’s one of the reason he stands out. cause he’s the only one like that.
Lunatic is my waifu.
Well we all love superhero movies and we all love anime. Why wouldn’t we love this.
The show really has something for everyone. Even a tad bit of fanservice, which you won’t specifically notice unless you want to. It’s pretty funny. And was a fun ride altogether.
It’s a 10/10 Masterpiece you will love it.
Now stop reading this shit and go watch it.
4: Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou
English: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – Demon Capital
Japanese: ぬらりひょんの孫 千年魔京
MAL Score: 7.97
Long before Rikuo Nura was born, the legendary youkai Nurarihyon, leader of a “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons,” fell in love with a human woman. Though the two would initially find happiness, a threat from the terrifying fox-demon Hagoromo Gitsune would get in the way of their relationship.
In the present, Rikuo has taken his rightful place as the heir to the Nura Clan. While he has accepted his youkai side, he must continue to maintain the secret of youkai, a difficult task when faced with the Keikain onmyouji clan and his youkai-obsessed friend, Kiyotsugu. Even so, Rikuo will do what he must to protect those important to him.
The reappearance of the sinister Hagoromo Gitsune marks the start of Rikuo’s most fearsome trial yet. The frightening creature bears a personal vendetta against his family and will stop at nothing to see her dream come to fruition. The world stands at a precipice, an all-out war that will drag Rikuo centerstage.
But even so, I decided to watch this new series, the sequel to the first show. And dear god it has surpassed the first series by a thousand miles! I couldn’t be happier with it! This new show is definitely more exciting, productive and interesting than the first one by far!
Story: 9 (Great)
If you’ve watched the first series, you’ll know that the main character is Rikuo, who is 1/4 Youkai (demon) and is chosen to be the successor of the Nura Clan. The original series does an excellent job of making us want more…and never giving us what we want. Sorry, but it’s true. Whenever there was a fight starting, the bad guys would just retreat after two minutes or so, making the audience have to wait longer just to see the same looping battle over again. That is definitely part of the reason I disliked the first series after only a few episodes (I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t up to my expectations).
But mostly what made me angry about it was the serious lack of character development from beginning to end. Rikuo was constantly saying he didn’t want to be the successor, to the point that it was really annoying. He also didn’t fight his own battles very well. It was quite ridiculous.
Now that I’ve briefly covered the first series. I’m happy to say that this second series is one of the greatest step-ups from any prequel I’ve seen. With only a few episodes, I’ve become hooked and will most definitely watch it until the end. Rikuo has already shown how badass he can become in Youkai form and the shounen-style battles have already gone beyond my expectations!
In the beginning of the show, we get to see Rikuo as a kid, which seemed a bit boring for a little while but gradually became more interesting. It did give a bit more insight to how Rikuo acted as a child, which is basically the same as he acts now, except that he loved Youkai as a child and wanted everyone to love them as well. But now he hides the fact that Youkai exist, for the obvious reasons, because nobody will believe him.
To be brief, if you disliked the first series story as much as I did, don’t think that this second one will be the same at all. It is a great improvement and definitely a must-watch for Shounen-anime fans!
Art: 9 (Great)
The art is still pretty much the same as it was in the first series. Even though the story in the first one wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been, the art was still spectacular, and still is. However, I feel like even NnM 2 has better art than the first because it is a bit more eerie and intense.
Sometimes in anime we see some really awesome fights; but having a cool fight in broad daylight with bright colours swarming all around sometimes can kill the intensity of a fight (sometimes, not always). Which is why NnM 2 is definitely at the top with the art.
The first few fights we see take place just as the sun starts to go down or late at night (for obvious reasons, because Rikuo can only turn into a demon at night). It really grabs our attention with the moonlight glow and then of course the additional bright neon attacks that really light up the scene for a few brief moments.
Just having a dark lit style makes NnM 2 different from general shounen animes, which is something that I can always look forward to and admire.
Sound: 8 (Very Good)
There are some very “big names” in this show, or rather, very popular voice actors and actresses doing the voices of the characters.
For starters, we have Fukuyama Jun as Rikuo. He has been in, well, just about everything. He’s extremely famous and has done hundreds of voice roles (ranked number 3 on top favorite people for MyAnimeList). He is very talented and knows how to sound wimpy or epic for when the time is right of course. He does both Rikuo’s somewhat higher pitched, young child’s voice AND the voice of his demon side. Even though that doesn’t sound totally amazing when said, the difference in voices is quite drastic, and it’s impressive that he can do both of them so perfectly.
Next we have Hirano Aya as Ienaga Kana. Also a very popular voice actress, in fact, she is ranked number 1 on top favorite people for MAL. She has also done hundreds of voice acting parts, in other words, she’s really good. Kana’s character may not be my favorite, but her voice is spectacular. She has the right emotions and most importantly the right ‘tone’. I am not always a huge fan of the high pitched and whiny high school anime girls just because their voices make me want to scratch my ears off. Hirano Aya has a beautiful medium voice, not too low and definitely not too high.
Next we have Keikain Yura voiced by Maeda Ai, who is quite the opposite of the previous two. She has barely been in any shows worth mentioning and rarely has been the main character in shows. But for NnM and NnM 2 I really think they picked the right person for Keikain Yura. She is similar to Hirano Aya because she has a good medium voice but unlike Hirano, she doesn’t always capture the perfect emotion needed for the scene
Lastly we have Oikawa Tsurara (Yuki Onna), yet again another famous voice actress (ranked number 8 on top favorites). I believe that she purposely changed her voice to fit Yuki Onna, because it is obviously not her regular voice, and it definitely fits Yuki Onna, but either way it can annoy me sometimes. Oikawa is talented and has a great voice, but the character voice that she has in this show isn’t that amazing.
Overall the sound (voice acting) in this show is great to listen to, and the creators definitely picked the right people for the main characters.
Character: 8 (Very Good)
I mentioned earlier that the character development in the first series wasn’t the greatest, in fact it seemed to spiral backwards with development rather than pushing forward. NnM 2 took a huge leap in the very beginning and is managing to make up in character development that the first series lacked.
Nura Rikuo – I have come to love his character in just a short while because of how much he has stepped up since the first series. He isn’t being nearly as whiny and annoying as he was before. He still hesitates and disagrees with the Youkai ways, but is more willing to accept things now and is wanting to become stronger which makes him so much better.
Ienaga Kana – I am still torn between liking Kana and hating her. The thing I like about her is that she is brave and cares about her friends a lot, but what I dislike is her inability to act. But maybe I’m being too harsh, because she IS human and is pretty much in the dark when it comes to Youkai. She is also kind of oblivious; some things that should be really easy to notice go right past her without much thought, which is probably why she is so ‘in the dark’ about demons and such. So there’s good and bad to her character.
Keikain Yura – In the first Nurarihyon no Mago, I couldn’t stand her character. She believed herself to be strong and she showed a bit of potential, but in the end she was pretty much just a weak human being. That was in the first one. The second series has really showed how amazing she can be and shows how strong she really is. Even though she does of course have a few moments of weakness and ends up being on the sidelines, she is still doing much better than the first series where it was mostly just painful to watch her fight.
Oikawa Tsurara (Yuki Onna) – In the first series and even now, Yuki Onna has showed a lot of potential, but has always seemed to fall short in one way or another. She hasn’t changed a whole lot from beginning to end. Basically all she has shown that she can do is throw some ice around and call out to Rikuo. Hopefully she will improve by the end of the series, but for now she is mostly a sideline character.
One of the best things about this second season is that we get to see Rikuo’s grandpa a lot more in flashbacks and such. He plays a much bigger role than before. In the first season, all we really knew was that he was the leader of the Yokai at one point, but that’s about it. There was no history lesson given to the audience at all, which was part of what made the first one so uneventful. NnM 2 gives a great insight to what happened in the past, and what’s surprising is that the flashbacks aren’t boring!
Come on, in several animes, there’s a flashback that makes us all want to fall asleep because we couldn’t care less about it. With this show, I actually want to learn more about what happened because it is so interesting and exciting!
Anyone ever wonder what happened to Rikuo’s dad? That’s something that was never really explained in the first series. Well, I won’t give any spoilers of course, but you DO find out what really happened. Another plot progession that makes this series amazing!
There are definitely some new characters and enemies to be excited about, such as Yura’s brother, who happens to be a huge jerk. And most of all, the enemies look more promising than the first series where the bad guys were pretty lame and not threatening.
Enjoyment: 9 (Great)
I am always looking for some new exciting shows to watch. Nurarihyon no Mago may not have fulfilled that want at all, but Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou is at my expectation level for a good, interesting anime.
Art and Sound are good things to have high scores on, but for me personally, my enjoyment is all based on the Story and Character, that is what matters the most when it comes to a good anime. And since I think both of those are pretty outstanding, my enjoyment is of course a high number as well.
Overall: 9 (Great)
I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a great show to watch. If you haven’t seen the first, I won’t tell you to go watch it, because that was quite painful for me personally. You can probably get away with starting Nurarihyon no Mago 2 and still get what’s going on.
Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou is better than the first series in every way possible, if you’ve seen the first and haven’t started the second, definitely give it a shot, you might find that you really love it!
//WARNING: This review will compare a lot first and second season of Nurarihyon. Lazy readers better go to conclusion. Sorry if I´m way too biased for the awesomeness of this anime//
SM has one of the most consolidated stories you´ll ever see. All the points that didn´t make much sense on the first season are fully explained here. The consolidation of the Nura Clan, the beginning of the First Nigh Parade of One Hundred Demons, Nurarihyon´s personality and, if I may add, awesomeness (not sure that word exists, but let´s think it does) and such are included here. The director knew how to make a strongly-story-based series and drove the anime with quality, taking care of the plot so there weren´t any holes. The episode director knew what was on his hands, and, as it is, produced a linear sequence, where the flashbacks and the real-time happenings were clearly separated and the cliffhangers were right placed( they still were annoying. I mean, who likes cliffhangers?) Also, they did a good transition into a more comedy-driven series than in the 1st season. The remarks and reactions felt as many other anime´s we´ve seen, but it didn´t damage the quality of the show as a hole. If so, it added to it a little more of what it lacked before.
We find out a lot more about Rikuo´s family and encounter truly hateful villains. Not the ones who have a valid reason to do evil as it seem to be on vogue. Even after you know their reasons, they keep on being as wicked and insane as ever. But try not to get way too ahead of yourselves on this matter, as there is more than meets the eyel on the villain´ s side.
SM shows that characters depth is as important as the plot. What I truly liked on this season is that Rikuo´s both personalities became one. His speech still changes as drastically as in the first season when it comes to the Nigh Version, but now it really feels like him. No matter if he is polite or uses a yakuza-slang, he is himself. That is, on my opinion, a huge success on what it represented his character. He becames more of a shounen MC : his remarks, his bratty attitude when he faces his superiors, the way he takes things head-on, his compassion of the wrong-and-tricked-onto-it-doers, and a lot more of things give him that shounen hero feeling. Even so, Rikuo keeps his originality as a character, being honest, unhesitant and taking his own decisions. He behaves as the virtuous child who was presented upon us since the beginning, and that is truly appreciated.
In reference to the rest of the cast, I will be briefer. The one who´s gotten more development from the female cast is Yura Kekain, as she´s a MC on this season. She´s gotten a lot more depth in plot and story matters as before and has gained more attention than before (her Kyoto-slang is as funny as always). In the case of Tsurara, her feelingstowards Rikuo have evolved from the blind faith to something more deep and romantic. Now that Rikuo´s gotten more serious, she finds herself on the need to redefine her role as a member of his Night Parade. This happens to other members, namely Kurotabo, Aotabo, and Kubinashi. Everyone starts realizing that Rikuo doesn´t need to be protected, but rather to be trusted and accompanied. Kana doesn´t get as much spotlight, and there´s a point where you wonder what happened with her, as she went from main to side-character.
Yes, I´m going to be honest. What drove me to Nurarihyon no Mago was the 2nd opening of Sennen Makyou. I found it somewhere which name I can´t remember anymore (not that it matters now). L.M.C is a band that knows how to make the right songs for the right story-arcs. They did a great job on Reborn! (first time I heard of them) and they keep on being a reference when it comes to Theme songs. Both OP sequences were awesome, where the second one is the best. Kataze *Size does a good job on the ED sequences, and here I recommend once again the second one. The BGM was beautiful made and placed, being sometimes as darker as it was needed, but with beautiful pieces thrown here and there.
The best! They took the right amount of light and dark, the right colors and tones to each of the parts. Even the blood looked real, and we all know how hard it is to find real looking blood on some series. The night and day sides of the story were well done, and the art took a huge advance from what it was before. Is as you go through the art evolution of the mangaka, which is a plus to this series.
My most sincere regards to the team which created and gave life to this season. Now that I finished this anime I know I took the right decision when I decided to watch it and I´m even taking into consideration reading the manga. Iit takes a good plot and characters to make a horror-hating girl like me to enjoy this. My camp of genres has broadened a little after this. I sincerely encourage anyone to watch this, be it you like the genre or not.
+the art is more refined. It has the right color palette and tones,
+both OP and ED sequences as the BGM are awesome,
+more main characters,
+development and depth in both the MC as SC (side-characters),
+better than the prequel.
To you who´s read till the end of this biased review of a well-produced-shounen-series-lover girl as me, I encourage you to watch this anime. I found it as a piece of 24 episodes that shouldn´t be missed.I myself can´t wait anymore for the OVA that comes on December.
Starting here, i need to say that first season wasn’t really good. But differently from most people i’ve enjoyed it pretty much specially because of Rikuo’s growth. When i watched it i could see a completely different person from the beggining, with more courage to fight and other things.
However in season 2 i felt like the season one was completely shit. Here you have more fights, more strong villains, more ACTION! If the first season could be boring sometimes for being “slow” the second one is completely different! Training, fights, Rikuo’s father story, Nurarihyon story… This couldn’t be better.
The art on this is pretty solid. The animation itself isn’t the best one but is good. Is pretty well done in some scenes. (9/10)
The sound is exceptional. Both openings gave me goosebumps and the soundtracks are amazing. Fits the series really well (10/10)
The best thing in Nurarihyon no Mago is that every character of the Night Parade has importance. Don’t really mind if it’s weak or strong, but everyone of them appear being important. The enemies are way better and strong of the first season. Rikuo as the leader needs to surpass himself to fight against them which makes this even better, Rikuo needs to grow up one more time. The only thing that could appear more is the humans friends, but this isn’t really a problem (10/10)
Nura was one of the series that entered me on the anime world. I guess it was one of my first, maybe after Naruto and FMA. But i need to say that i’ve rewatched it and i felt like it was my first time watching. I’ve truly enjoyed it and hope that my little review show you guys a bit of how amazing this is.
The only thing that makes me sad about this is because we don’t have season 3… Maybe one day.
MAL Score: 8.31
With the promise of granting any wish, the omnipotent Holy Grail triggered three wars in the past, each too cruel and fierce to leave a victor. In spite of that, the wealthy Einzbern family is confident that the Fourth Holy Grail War will be different; namely, with a vessel of the Holy Grail now in their grasp. Solely for this reason, the much hated “Magus Killer” Kiritsugu Emiya is hired by the Einzberns, with marriage to their only daughter Irisviel as binding contract.
Kiritsugu now stands at the center of a cutthroat game of survival, facing off against six other participants, each armed with an ancient familiar, and fueled by unique desires and ideals. Accompanied by his own familiar, Saber, the notorious mercenary soon finds his greatest opponent in Kirei Kotomine, a priest who seeks salvation from the emptiness within himself in pursuit of Kiritsugu.
Based on the light novel written by Gen Urobuchi, Fate/Zero depicts the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War—10 years prior to Fate/stay night. Witness a battle royale in which no one is guaranteed to survive.
At the end of 2006 the developer began collaborating with Nitroplus in order to create a prequel light novel series, but this time the story was penned by the relatively unknown Urobuchi Gen (with Type-Moon co-founder Takeuchi Takashi providing illustrations). Set ten years before the events in the visual novel, Fate/Zero chronicles the events leading up to and during the fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City, Japan – the same place where the battle will be held in Fate/Stay Night. After three successive failures in the contest, the Einzbern family recruits the notorious mercenary Emiya Kiritsugu, also known as the “Mage Killer” – a man who is willing to use whatever means are necessary to realise his goals.
Meanwhile, the other principal magic families – Matou and Tohsaka – are preparing for the coming conflict, and although the church is taking part as well, they have also sent someone to assist the Tohsaka family – Kotomine Kirei.
At first glance it may seem as though Fate/Zero is just another action anime, but nothing could be further from the truth. The series has a very different tone than either Fate/Stay Night or Unlimited Blade Works, and in many ways it has more in common with the dark, brooding atmosphere of the Kara no Kyoukai movies. That said, the series does assume that the viewer has some familiarity with the franchise, but this is balanced by a much tighter plot than that of either of its predecessors, and more focus on preparation, planning, and even dialogue between the different parties. The result is that the narrative has far more depth and structure than one might expect in a supernatural action anime, and there are layers of subtext that are gradually added as the series progresses.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Fate/Zero is that it’s a far more mature story than the original visual novel or its adaptations, and unlike many other shows, there are very few occasions where the characters engage in pointless conflicts or endeavours. The series carefully tries to avoid insulting the viewer’s intelligence by adopting a patient, methodical build-up to the action set pieces, and on many occasions the story focuses on information gathering and planning. In addition to this, the battle lines shift constantly as the combatants form short-term alliances in order to counter the moves of other opponents, but there’s always the understanding that the foundation of these is nothing more than “the enemy of my enemy”.
In truth, this anime has far better examples of tactics and strategy than anything found in Code Geass, and certain plots are Machiavellian enough to give Death Note a run for its money.
When it comes to production values, Fate/Zero could be considered the final evolution of everything Type-Moon and Ufotable have learned from each other during their long collaboration on the Kara no Kyoukai franchise. The series looks every bit as good as one might expect, and the darker colour palette is offset by the high standard of animation. That said, although the action sequences are fluid and very well choreographed, the real testament to the quality of Ufotable’s work are the subtle differences in the way the characters move.
While there are plenty of new faces in this prequel, it’s actually the design of recurring characters like Sabre that really sets the standard. Fate/Stay Night’s popularity turned her into one of the most iconic female leads in anime, but while she may appear to be exactly the same in Fate/Zero, there’s an edge to her features and a preciseness to her movements that was missing in the original series. This fact is also true for the characters that are unique to this show, and even Tohsaka Rin’s “adventure” has been given the same level of care and attention to detail.
The series opens with a well choreographed sequence that blends action with a montage of the main participants in the Holy Grail War, all set to the rather pacey rock song “Oath Sign” by LiSA. Each episode closes with “Memoria” by Eir Aoi, a bittersweet rock ballad that fits well with the images of the heroic spirits as pieces on a game board and at moments in their own history. Fate/Zero also has one of the most diverse scores in a 13 episode anime, with martial themes, operatic pieces, strange little tunes with drums or pianos as the major instrument, and more besides. The audio effects or of a very high quality, and the clash of steel on steel is as sharp and clear as the sound of the lightning whenever Rider makes a dramatic appearance.
One of the areas where Fate/Zero excels is the dialogue, and while there are occasions where conversations go on a bit too long, the script is intelligently written, rational, and insightful. One of the best examples of this is Rider’s discourse on the true nature of kingship and Saber’s reaction to it, but even that is nothing more than words on paper as everything lies in the delivery – so it’s a good thing that the acting is of a high standard.
Kawasumi Ayako reprises her role as the King of Knights (Saber/Arturia) from Fate/Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works, but her performance here is markedly different. Her portrayal of Saber is colder, deadlier, and far more focused than before, while Tomokazu Seki’s performance as the King of Heroes (Archer/Gilgamesh), is more arrogant, more proud. That said, it’s Ootsuka Akio in the role of the King of Conquerors (Rider/Iskander), who really steals the show, and his testosterone-fuelled proclamations and battle-born wisdom are one of the pillars that support the series.
When it comes to development, a large group of characters often means that some will undoubtedly fall by the wayside. Fate/Zero neatly sidesteps the entire issue of development because it’s first and foremost a prequel of an existing story, but in addition to this the series has created a set of individuals who leave extremely strong impressions on the viewer, and much like Baccano!, there is a distinct lack of a true main character. Because of these factors the series can focus on showing how each of the combatants became what they are, and this plays a major part in one’s enjoyment of the anime.
The emphasis on characterisation rather than development allows for a remarkable degree of definition, and although it’s ultimately the personalities of each individual that captures the viewer’s attention, standing at the top of them all is the King of Conquerors – Rider. His addition to the franchise has been nothing short of a revelation, and while die-hard fans will continue to worship the ground that Saber and Archer (not Gilgamesh, the other one), walk on, Rider’s enjoyment of life, his exuberance and almost boyish eagerness for battle and glory, have captured the imaginations of many fans.
In many respects he, more than any other character, is the epitome of the heroes of old, but simply having a bunch of overzealous combat junkies beating each other to a pulp isn’t really entertainment (unless you have an IQ equal to your shoe size), so there has to be something to balance it – and there is. Each of the mages taking part in the Holy Grail War is more like a chessmaster, planning as many moves ahead as possible, whilst preparing themselves for anything their opponents may try.
The simple fact is that Fate/Zero wouldn’t work as either a story or entertainment if it was just the mages or the heroes, and it’s this aspect of the series that separates it from not just its predecessors, but also many other action anime out there.
Unfortunately it’s not all sweetness and light.
One of the main criticisms of this series is the episode about the young Tohsaka Rin, which many people found unnecessary. Now although there’s some truth to that perception, one could also have the opinion that Rin’s actions tie-in to an event in the previous episode, and together they lead up to the end of the series. Both are fair arguments, but in all honesty the whole thing doesn’t really fit with the rest of the anime, and it seems like nothing more than an attempt to allow Matou Kariya some long overdue screen-time.
Fate/Zero isn’t a perfect show, but while it does have several minor issues (and one “filler” episode), it does exactly what it sets out to do – capture the attention of the audience and make them want more. The story is intelligent, and while conversations and discussions can sometimes feel a little tedious, the dialogue is often quite interesting – moreso than the show’s predecessor’s anyway. Although the series can boast stylish, fast-aced action set-pieces, it also studiously avoids combat for the sake of gratuitous violence.
That said, Fate/Zero is still a prequel series, and at this point only half of the story has been told. Unfortunately the anime industry has a habit of messing things up, but given the quality of this show, the fact that the original story was written by Urobuchi Gen, and the knowledge that the series is being produced by Type-Moon’s long time collaborators – Ufotable, fans can be cautiously optimistic about the second installment.
All we can do is wait and see …
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that Emiya
used to make me smile.
And I knew if it had a chance
Fate/Zero could make those haters dance
and maybe, we’d all be happy, for a while…
But Studio DEEN made me shiver
As Blade Works was delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more ep
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about ufo (in all it’s pride)
But something touched me deep inside
So bye, bye crappy CGI
Urobuchi writing this stuff (I could really just die)
TYPE-MOON fanboys jerking left and right
Singing this’ll be the day that I cry!
This’ll be the day that I cry!
Did you read the tale of Bluebeard?
And do you have faith in all that’s weird?
(Sakura could tell you so!)
And do you believe in Hassan’s code?
Can the grail save your mortal soul?
And… Can you teach me how to lance… r~eal slo~w?
Well I know that Ilya’s in love with him,
so’s her mom, Saber, and even Rin.
Lancer kicks off his shoes
because he’s gruff and cannot choo~se!
Waver’s a lonely teenage angsty fuck,
with no parents, no magic, he just sucks
But he knew he was in luck
He started singing
“WHY WHY OH AH WHY
BRING THIS CHARIOT DOWN AH
OH NO WHY
RIDER STOP OR I MIGHT JUST DIE!”
Singing this’ll be the day that he dies,
Singing this’ll be the day that he dies…
Now for ten years, we’ve gone back in time
To a prequel that is far well rhymed
But that’s not how it used to be
When ufo animated the kings and queens
that everyone thought would get picked up by DEEN
In a way that delighted you and me~
Oh and while the DEEN was looking ’round
For another show they could just drown…
It was just absurd
ufotable had returned!
And while they read a book of Gen
The masters started animatin’
The prequel to a decent shonen
We were singing bye, bye, cheesy old lines
About people getting killed right when they die
And I saw tons of reviews delicately try
To explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Animation, pacing, my blood is racing
when I think about Saber’s graces
10/10 and growing fa~st!
So land right down on your ass!
Go download this show, it’s got a ton class!
It’s a show that you will be able to love… a~t last!
But there’s a halftime, I must quick presume
You know about, I know it too!
But you should all get up and dance,
before you never get the chance!
Cuz by Spring 2012 the show will be revealed
You’ll be behind and unable to feel,
I’m telling you now, I always squeal
that Fate/Zero blo~ws
O ALEXANDER, RIDE!
DRIVE YOUR CHARIOT TO THE BATTLE
AND WIN EVERY TIME!
THIS SHOW IS JUST GREAT!
I COULD NOT EXPLAIN WHY
IN ANYTHING BUT RHYME
NO ANYTHING, NOT ANYTHING!
Story – 3
Firstly, I think it is a bit of a cheat essentially splitting fate zero into two separate series, so that all the good bits can be condensed into ‘one’ of those series. Nonetheless, I will still assess this as a single series, in terms of setting the stage for the second season.
Fate Zero has a great set up. A survival game with some interesting aspects (such as the wish granting prize and the involvement of the church) as well as 7 moderately even teams (in terms of likeability and development). At its earliest points, it is unclear who is going to win this survival game, but, rather disappointingly, this quickly deteriorates into having a clear ultimate winner. This can still be equally as successful however, as long as this group has a stronger underlying connection with the story. Which is more or less covered in the second season.
Fate Zero suffers with a great depravation of detail. Although I’m sure the manga and novels cover this, it can’t be an excuse to not cover anything at all. I am at a loss as to why the church is involved (was Jesus a hero?), why absolutely none of the world gives a single flying shit about entire cities getting threatened with destruction. The same is true with the history of the Holy Grail wars; did they have a single impact on anything we are currently watching? Do the writers have a single bloody clue about the heroes in Fate Zero? (I think not, ie, don’t try and make yourself look clever by saying this is a historical figure, then change their name, characteristics, life story and even gender) Etc. This lack of detail also seems to be confusing the participants of the game, half of them don’t know what is going on. Nor why they are even involved. Lazy.
Lastly, and this is what really grinded my gears, Fate zero (season one) has absolutely no balls. It is never willing to dramatically change the course of the survival game. All we ever see is a series of straight forward fight scenes with no conclusions and loads of conversations on who is the most noble champion. I accept that this is the first season, but with literally no progress and a very basic set up in terms of detail, it raises the question whether the first season was even needed.
Characters – 7
Ideal for this genre. Entertaining and one dimensional.
There is an interesting relationship between the heroes and their respective masters. Each hero is their own individual with their own ambitions, which often conflict with their masters. Three command spells that demand absolute obedience are all the masters have to keep their servants in check. The relationship between the master and servant is crucial in this survival game and is well covered in this anime.
Every character offers a different attitude on the battlefield and character interactions can be quite intense. This is well embodied by the fact that, in the most cases, the servant is nearly a complete opposite of their master. These conflicts make for some interesting interactions seeing that they have to work together to achieve the same goal.
Having such a large cast of characters, and having each character’s attitudes exaggerated (for entertainment purposes) tends to strip the realism of the show. The cliché characters in Fate Zero are largely responsible for the overall childish atmosphere (as well as the fight scenes themselves). Which could well be what you are after, but this is something to keep in mind.
Art and music- 9
The art and animation was phenomenal. The fight scenes were choreographed very well and they were truly a sight to behold. If only the scenery was something more stunning than a dockyard. The soundtrack, as you may know was composed by Yuki Kajiura (composer of Sword art online and mahou shoujo madoka magica for example). She has her own distinct style and if you liked any of her other works, I’m sure you will also like this soundtrack.
Personal Enjoyment – 2
If my personal disdain hasn’t already been evident, here is my chance to make it clear. Firstly, I’ve never been a fan of an action based anime. It always gets out of hand and fate zero isn’t an exception. Unfortunately, Fate Zero doesn’t have much else to offer besides the action. This thus limits how intelligent the anime can be. The best it can do is detail certain moves or powers of the heroes, and it tries to do this with the idea of a noble phantasm. This said power is essentially a secret and extremely powerful move that each hero has, that supposedly stems from their history. These end up having such vague connections and meanings and are all RIDICULOUSLY convenient to the situation. Poor effort. Lastly, Fate zero needs to grow some balls. 13 episodes of literally no advancements in the survival game was so frustrating and it felt like a huge waste of time. The fights were nice though.
Fortunately, Fate Zero 2nd Season advances almost immediately and thus is instantly more enjoyable. Just to be clear, this review isn’t a response to an irrational hatred of the fate zero universe. Far from it, I liked the second season a great deal, and I can see that with the detail that the manga could possibly offer, it can be really great. But as it stands, Fate Zero the anime is a rather pointless and is not needed for the second season.
As this is such a highly rated anime, I would love to hear from those that do think this is amazing, because I need some convincing.
English: Gintama Season 2
MAL Score: 9.06
After a one-year hiatus, Shinpachi Shimura returns to Edo, only to stumble upon a shocking surprise: Gintoki and Kagura, his fellow Yorozuya members, have become completely different characters! Fleeing from the Yorozuya headquarters in confusion, Shinpachi finds that all the denizens of Edo have undergone impossibly extreme changes, in both appearance and personality. Most unbelievably, his sister Otae has married the Shinsengumi chief and shameless stalker Isao Kondou and is pregnant with their first child.
Bewildered, Shinpachi agrees to join the Shinsengumi at Otae and Kondou’s request and finds even more startling transformations afoot both in and out of the ranks of the the organization. However, discovering that Vice Chief Toushirou Hijikata has remained unchanged, Shinpachi and his unlikely Shinsengumi ally set out to return the city of Edo to how they remember it.
With even more dirty jokes, tongue-in-cheek parodies, and shameless references, Gintama’ follows the Yorozuya team through more of their misadventures in the vibrant, alien-filled world of Edo.
That’s right. The #1 show is back – and I am damn excite, son.
To any of you who haven’t watched the first season, please do. but if you wouldn’t want to commit yourself to a 201 episode show, feel free to just skip ahead to season two and try an episode or two. The storyline’s arranged in inconsistent arcs, meaning you can pick it up from any arc – as long as you get an explanation on the origins of the different characters.
I assume all of you know the general setting – a Samurai who lives in a modern era in which aliens are a part of our (humans) daily lives. There’s an ongoing ban on swords, so being a Samurai is obviously forbidden by law.
Though there’s no rule against a wooden sword, is there?
In the last year, our friendly studio Sunrise had enough time to stack up material for a long-lasting second season, while our beloved mangaka had time to improve and write arcs which without a doubt – have the Gintama effect. Holding tears in your throat, and two minutes later laughing like a maniac – only to be in tears again a few minutes later. The long touchy speeches are back, the unexpected plot turns are back, everything we longed for in this Gintama-less year, is back.
It might be important to specify the fact that Gintama is now well funded, and is in HD. Can you imagine seeing Gintoki pick his nose in 720p?! Insane!!!
The first arc is the comeback we all wished for, every character you knew is making an appearance, though you should ready yourself for a surprise – they’ve all changed.
I promise this – starting at the first 15 seconds up to the end of the 24 minutes of awesome, you’ll be smiling, laughing, perhaps even crying if you’re touchy. Enjoy.
I was skeptical as hell for the return of the Gintama anime. To be honest, I went into this anime wanting to slam it as hard as possible, especially upon seeing it’s overbearingly high-score. But I won’t, because to be frank, I can’t.
I don’t really think a lot of reviews, complex and heavily-illustrated need to be written about this anime to get a feel for what it’s about so let me get straight to the point: It’s ridiculous over-the-top comedy, plain and simple. Of course you can’t forget the awesome stories built from these insane gags, too.
The scripting, the scenario, specifically the way that the anime envelops you inside – making you a returning character as well, are all ingeniously meshed together.
And of course, after five years… brought to you in 16:9 format.
…With even better songs than ever (hard to believe, I know).
If you haven’t seen Gintama before, I recommend checking it out, and I know 201 episodes sounds like a grueling task, but after seeing the pilot episode for the second series, I was left more than satisfied. This episode is reason alone to watch the over two-hundred preceding it.
Even if you’re familiar with Gintama and think you’re ready for Gintama’, let me be the first to tell you; you aren’t.
Note: I don’t believe this review needs to be edited every week, as most episodes are either episodic or self-contained within an arc. If you’ve braved the first 201 episodes, don’t miss season two.
1: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
English: Hunter x Hunter
MAL Score: 9.06
Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.
Along the way to becoming an official Hunter, Gon befriends the lively doctor-in-training Leorio, vengeful Kurapika, and rebellious ex-assassin Killua. To attain their own goals and desires, together the four of them take the Hunter Exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death. Throughout their journey, Gon and his friends embark on an adventure that puts them through many hardships and struggles. They will meet a plethora of monsters, creatures, and characters—all while learning what being a Hunter truly means.
HxH is about a young boy named Gon who embarks on a journey to find his father. After learning that his father left him at a young age to become a Hunter, Gon decides to follow in his footsteps not only to find him, but also to see what was so special about the profession that made his father choose it over him. Although a story of finding one’s father is simple, it is the path that is taken towards this end that makes the series truly special. HxH is made up of several arcs that are all extremely well-written, which brings me to the best part of the series, the writing. Hunter x Hunter (2011) boasts one of the finest writing in the world of shonen; the depth and flow of the story, enthralling characterizations, strong dialogue and impressive world-building are all crafted into a fascinating tale that can absorb viewers into lengthy marathons.
The amount of variety that is packed into HxH’s story is also very impressive. HxH successfully dabbles in several genres in six story arcs tackling survival, fighting tournaments, crime thriller, virtual realities, war and politics. Not only that, the series is also able to undergo significant tonal shifts with ease (light to dark and vice versa). Sometimes, these shifts in tone occur after an arc ends though other times, it even occurs mid-arc. Another thing about HxH is that its arcs are connected with one another, with each arc naturally following the one before it. This creates a natural transition that highlights what the series really is, a journey. As for pacing and development, they are excellent. For the most part, HxH is very well paced. The series does a fantastic job at keeping its viewers engaged, time will fly by as you watch most episodes and you’ll find yourself breezing through the show. Excluding two recap episodes, HxH has no filler episodes. Due to this, story progression is solid with the plot moving forward with each episode.
Although HxH initially gives off a light hearted impression, it gives off a good one. Not the kind of “light heartedness” that makes you say “this is childish and below me” but the kind that appeals to everyone. HxH gives off that classic and charming shonen vibe that has been lost in recent years, and it does so with its head held up high. Eventually though, the series takes a dark turn. Although most HxH story arcs are light hearted, both Yorknew and the Chimera Ant arc are two of the best and darkest arcs shonen has to offer. Yorknew can be described as a dark thriller in a big city. The central theme of the arc is revenge and it is similar to Death Note in terms of thrill and atmosphere. On the other hand, the Chimera Ants arc can be described as an attempt by the Hunters Association to control an outbreak of a dangerous man-eating species. It is the darkest and most thematically powerful arc in the series tackling themes such as identity, human nature and survival of the fittest. The arc has drawn comparisons to Yu Yu Hakusho’s Chapter Black for its seinen-like nature and is similar to Shingeki no Kyojin, where the protagonists experience a strong sense of despair in the face of a vastly superior, hostile species. The series undergoes major tonal shifts in both arcs with the color palette, music, atmosphere and amount of violence changing significantly.
However, what sets the series apart from other battle anime is its unorthodoxy and unpredictability. Shonen tropes and storytelling methods are undermined throughout the series. The main character for example, Gon, fails more than he succeeds. Power-ups based on emotion or willpower are non-existent and fighting in the series is radically different from other battle anime. The main protagonist is not the main focus of every arc either. At certain points in the series, you could even say that Gon has taken a supporting role, especially during the later portions of the CA arc where he isn’t given as much focus due to the grand scope of the story. The standard battle anime formula of “lose-train-win” is also undermined. Although there is training, it does not always translate to a victory, nor does it propel the protagonists over or to the same level as their main adversaries in terms of strength. For the most part, the protagonists assume the underdog role. Although they have incredible potential, they are still kids who have a lot to learn. In terms of storytelling, unpredictable developments are commonplace. One thing that continues to amaze me with this show is how it leads viewers into thinking that the story will progress in this direction, only to change course and arrive at a completely different outcome. A good example of this would be the series’ arcs which often end in an anti-climatic manner. Basically, there are a lot of scenes and story developments that you won’t see coming because they defy conventional shonen storytelling or are unpredictable in their own right.
The series’ unorthodoxy can also be seen in its fights which are primarily cerebral. In addition to being well-executed, HxH fights are smart and involve a lot of strategy. Raw power is a factor but it is not the factor that decides battle outcomes, actual power (nen abilities), experience and strategy are all taken into account. If a main character is outclassed by an opponent in all or most categories, he is likely to lose. Moreover, main characters are not given any special treatment in combat. This smart approach to fighting is further enhanced by nen, a unique and complex power system held by defined rules. The concept of nen, its principles, aura types and many applications on the battlefield reveal the huge amount of thought that was put into it. I still remember having to pause episodes, even research a bit during its introduction, just to digest it in its entirety.
The appearance and writing of the series also create an effect of cognitive dissonance, the simplistic look of the show mentally conflicts with the brilliance and unorthodoxy of its writing. As new viewers delve deeper into HxH, they realize that there is much more to the show than its cover art and synopsis suggest. Expectations of the series being immature, simple or generic are progressively overturned as the show reveals its surprising underbelly.
As for sound, HxH has a line of great soundtracks that started off decent but got better as the series progressed. With the exception of a few minor characters, the voice acting in this series is excellent. As a person who has never seen the old series it’s hard to believe that these aren’t the original voices because they fit extremely well, especially those of Gon, Killua and Hisoka whose voice actors do a perfect job of capturing their characters.
HxH also has great art and animation. It amazes me how a long-running series like HxH delivers consistent quality animation episode after episode, especially during the fights. The series does a great job of capturing facial expressions and everything from the lighting, shading and colors adjust perfectly depending on the mood of the scene or the tone of the arc. As one reviewer (nagaiyume) said, the bright colors of the show might need some getting used to, though it is usually fans of the old series who have this problem. Personally, I think it fits the show perfectly. It adds to the charm of the series by complementing its sense of adventure, uplifting atmosphere and unique appeal as a shonen that looks simple but is actually remarkably deep.
Although HxH’s primary strength lies in its writing, its characters come pretty damn close. HxH has a huge cast of characters. They have quirks, dreams, inner demons, world views and overall, really likable personalities. To top it off, most of them don’t follow generic character archetypes. Although some may initially come across as “generic”, these assumptions are gradually undermined as the series progresses.
If there’s one thing I want to emphasize in the character department it would be the series main villains. When it comes to characters, this is where the show shines the brightest. HxH villains are extremely well-written (with the exception of the Bomber who won’t apply to most of what I’ll say below). Not only are their characterizations independently impressive, they are also distinct from one another; no two villains are the same. This distinctness does not only apply within the series but outside of it. You won’t find another Hisoka, Chrollo or Ant King in any other anime. This is what makes HxH villains so compelling, in addition to having really impressive characterizations, they are also original. Although I excluded one out of the four main villains from most of what I wrote above, all HxH villains do have one thing in common. Each villain strikes fear into audience, the series does a good job of establishing the level of danger these characters bring to the story and our protagonists.
However, while HxH is a great series it isn’t perfect. The series doesn’t have a strong start, it takes three episodes for show to get going. I’ve seen a lot of people drop HxH early and it sucks because the first two episodes don’t capture the series at all. Things start to get mildly interesting in the third episode, after that, the series just gets better and better. HxH also suffers from occasional BGM misuse. There are odd sound choices for some scenes. Sometimes they don’t really fit, other times they don’t fit it all. Lastly, the Chimera Ant arc also has minor issues with both Togashi and Madhouse to blame. Togashi’s fault lies in his writing during the middle of the CA arc which I think, pales in comparison to the rest of the series. HxH has made a name for itself for holding a consistent high level throughout its run; it’s a series that’s just so engaging and easy to marathon. However, I believe this consistency took a hit mid-CA arc (due to handling of the story and pacing) specifically, episodes 89-98. Don’t get me wrong though, I think there are a fair number of good episodes within that 9-episode stretch but unfortunately, they are surrounded by mediocre episodes that break the consistency of an otherwise exceptional arc. Madhouse’s fault lies in its adaption of the manga chapters comprising episodes 113 and 115, which were dragged out in order to have episode 116 handled by their best animation team. Episode 113 was actually well paced except for one atrocious sequence while episode 115 as a whole was generally poorly paced.
A clarification about the “slowed down pacing” of Chimera Ant arc:
If you’ve been reading up about HxH, you’ve probably seen some people complain about the “poor pacing” during the “narration heavy episodes” of the CA arc. Well if you’re wondering how much truth is there to this statement and were going to ask me about it, my answer would be it depends.
At episode 111, the palace invasion (climax of the CA arc) begins and narration begins to play a huge role in episodes in order to (1) pack a whole level of depth into the story and (2) increase dramatic tension. Rather than a high octane “action fest” people would expect from a shonen arc climax, the palace invasion takes a psychological heavy route wherein a character’s thoughts and mental state are given more focus than the actual action. This psychological focus together with the narration slows down the pace considerably in the sense that episodes begin to cover a lot less in narrative time. However, despite this “slowed down pace”, the pacing of these episodes remain solid with good amount of manga chapters being covered during each of these episodes and the duration of scenes being on point (except for episodes 113 and 115 which I mentioned earlier in this review).
In the end, it depends if the narration works on you or not. If you like the psychological approach and experience an increase in suspense then you’ll have no problems with the pacing and are in for one helluvah of a ride. However, if you don’t like the psychological approach and feel that the narrator’s heavy presence breaks your immersion then you’re in for a grueling experience. Of course, there are other combinations such as liking the psychological route but not feeling the immersion or maybe the narration just didn’t work on you completely. Well, if this happens to be the case then you’ll end up with mixed feelings. On the bright side, most people who end up watching the invasion end up enjoying the narration. However, if you happen to be one of the good number of people who end up not liking the narration don’t worry, only episodes 111-118 of the palace invasion have heavy narration. After episode 118, the narration begins to decrease and episodes eventually reach a point where they are “back to normal”.
Heads up to people looking for action:
Although I love the fighting aspect of the series and consider it to be a strong plus, I’ll leave this out there for the sake of subjectivity. HxH does not cater to everyone. Although fights in the series are well-executed, they are also short (1-10 minutes) and happen less in comparison to other battle anime. Moreover, the focus on strategy in battles might be off putting to people who prefer fights with more brawn and less brain. If you’re expecting an action heavy series like Yu Yu Hakusho then you will be disappointed. This is because HxH is a series that relies on its story to reel in viewers. Personally, I think this is how fighting in shonen should be done. Fighting should be able to entertain and also make you think. It shouldn’t drag on for too long at the expense of the story without leaving you underwhelmed.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) is an intelligent battle anime with a fantastic story, excellent characters and fights that involve a lot of strategy. Separating it from most of its genre, the series subverts shonen tropes and boasts unpredictable plot progressions that make it truly unique.
Story: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Characters: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Art: 9/10 (Great)
Sound: 8/10 (Great but occasionally misused)
Enjoyment: 10/10 (Extremely high)
Overall: 10/10 (Masterpiece)
“You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want”. (Hunter Election Arc).
I don’t have words enough to describe what was this 148 episodes for me.
I’ll not spend this review talking about the Synopsis, because It’s right here on MAL.
I need to tell you, why you must watch this masterpiece, and what it represents to me.
First of all I’m gonna talk about the final episode. I felt Joy, sadness, angry (Togashi hurry up with the manga! hahah), and of course, satisfaction. Satisfaction because I heard my friends (you NEED to watch it), because it wasn’t time wasted, because those 148 episodes, and the nights that I spent watching, were worth, really. Hunter x Hunter is a complex anime, a peculiar story, something that, certainly, will mix up with your feelings, with your thoughts, with your conception of a Shonen.
What do I mean? It’s not that simple. But I’ll try to clarify: Don’t think that you’re about to find predictable arcs. Don’t think that the heroes gonna always beat the villains (In some parts of the story… nobody wins). Don’t think that training and good skills can ensure that you’ll defeat an enemy, sometimes you’ll need more than that. Behold what humans can be (and Togashi show us really well in Chimera Ant Arc). Behold what friendship can be, in all it’s complexity. You’re not gonna see in this anime that kind of Main Character that is AWESOME for no reason, no training. Togashi will make you understand the personality of the characters and their powers. Power, I mean, Nen or aura (vital energy), similar to what we see in other shonens like, Dragon Ball (Ki) or Naruto (Chakra). It’s presented to us really well how the “Nen system” works. The explanations are long in some episodes, but simple to understand.
Talking now about the animation: Hunter x Hunter is breathtaking . Indeed, it can be said that Madhouse did an excellent job with the remake . I was amazed with what I saw in some episodes. I confess that many of them I’ve watched over and over again, just to observe the details of the animation, and not only what was happening in the story ( Episode 131 I’ve watched 4 times ). In the end , I’m grateful that Madhouse animated Hunter x Hunter from the beginning .
The characters.. oh they are unique, really. It’s quite impressive how Togashi gave to them a variety of personalities. You’ll not gonna enjoy only the four main characters (although many consider that the main are Gon and Killua, since the story focuses more on the two of them from a certain phase). Hunter x Hunter have a significant character development on the supporting ones too, and, of course in the villains (you’ll love them, believe me). I don’t have a favorite character in this show. It’s impossible to choose one. Watch it and you’ll experience what I’m saying.
You mean this show has nothing bad?
Yes it has.
1) The worst thing in this show is: It ended.
Okay, joking aside, I think is the worst part is the beginning. You have to watch 4 or 5 episodes to feel in the mood to still watching. Many people just gave up in the first episodes. I can ensure you, go on and watch it til the end.
Particularly I don’t like so much The Hunter Exam Arc, the first arc of the story. If you compare with the other arcs it’s really not the best one. I have in my heart this two arcs: Chimera Ant Arc and Yorknew city Arc.
The second thing many fans of the show complains a LOT, is the Opening song. Why? 148 episodes, different openings, but… THE SAME SONG. For me it wasn’t a problem at all. I love the song, and… I think I watched the opening “one hundred and forty-eight” times and I sang it. Hahaha. But I really wanted to see a new song too.
The third thing is totally my personal opinion: the narrator. Your first contact with him will be in the begining of the early episodes. He will explain what is a Hunter.
The narration it’s something that we don’t see a lot in other animes. I like it, it’s brilliant and I totally understand that this add gives the anime the suspense and it’s particular style.
The advantage of having a narrator, in my opinion, is the ”observer factor”. Instead of exploring the point of view of all the characters, we have that peculiar element that seems to know everything and adds important information to the audience.
But, eventually, the narrator annoys me, specially in the Chimera ant Arc. I mean: we see what’s going on, it’s not necessary an explanation!
Of course that the ”narration effect” will depend on the way you receive it. Sometimes will give that “slow motion” you’ll need to absorb what’s going on, but in a few episodes it’s really overused.
In conclusion, I have to thank above all, you Togashi Yoshihiro. You’re brilliant. You can make unique characters, outstanding plots. You still go on, and on, in successive hiatus in the manga, and everyone complains a lot (even me), but then what you show to us is so amazing that makes it worth waiting. Thank you for exist and for this awesome masterpiece.
For you that didn’t watch it yet, do not be fooled by the first few episodes or with the synopsis. Both of them will give you the impression that you’re about to see a generic shounen. Insist. This is a kind of anime that in each episode everything seems to evolve: the story, the setting, the characters. You will be hooked, unable to stop watching .
And then my friend, you will start to feel pain. Yes, pain, when you realize that you’re at the 100º episode and there is only 48 episodes left.
Embrace this adventure called Hunter x Hunter! xD
As you all have likely read the synopsis of hxh, it certainly stands out from most other shounen ever made. There is a kid that decides to go on an adventure, for a particular purpose, meets friends, becomes stronger and eventually defeats powerful opponents. It doesn’t come off as a very complex or intriguing story/plot, nor is there a generic/forgettable cast and an amassed other facts that would remind you of how forgettable this show probably is. Believe me it’s not.
Beyond the first few episodes which this generalised speculation derives from, you will see that hxh differs from most shounen in terms of intelligence (strategic battles, clever arcs and plot) and the pacing of the whole show throughout each arc is outstanding. The absence of fillers throughout the 148 episodes ( excluding recaps) makes this show that much less frustrating to watch.
You may have heard an arc in particular, that the MAL community keeps on raving about: the Chimera Ant arc. Without throwing any spoilers in this review, the hype is worth it. This arc is, by most fans of the franchise, seen as a masterstoke and with good reason. The previous arcs create a substantial build-up to the C.A arc which makes the emphasis and usefulness of the arc that much more prominent.
However, the only factor that prevented my rating of a 9 to a 10, was the slow start and the half-open ending; while it not bad and was a good conclusion to the show, left the viewer rather unsettled with the whole experience.
Where hxh really shines is in the shows’ magnificent cast. As stated in my introduction, typically, most shounen do not have the best cast of characters that anime has brought out to the community, and more often than not defeat their enemies using the all-mighty force that is ‘the power of friendship(!)’ which brings sweet victory and joy to the protagonists of the show. Forget this ever existed in anime when watching hxh, as the sincere friendship that is witnessed between the main cast is nothing short of magnificent. It is realistic and evolves over a long period of time.
What makes the characters of hxh further at a stand-point, is that the antagonists are (for the most part) just as likable as the protagonists. Every character is very well developed ( every = any character that mattered to the story) and therefore does not make you want to spurt out the words ” Wow, this character sucks ” , with the exception of the bomber which, when watching the series, you will notice that had no real purpose for doing things to the extent that he did.
Finally, I will talk about my three favorite characters of the series:
I love Gon. At first he seems like your everyday generic protagonist that has no potential to evolve as a person. He comes across as useless and annoying.Then along the way something happens to him; something that is rarely in a protagonist like him. This is called ‘ Character Development ‘. The development that Gon receives throughout the series is fantastic and will make you love him until the end. He truly is desperate to find his father and the audience can see how he never throws in the towel.
There’s something really likable about white-haired guys in anime and Killua does not fall short in this aspect. He has a broad and complex backstory, and again, like Gon, significant development, which is seen to play a phenomenal role to how realistic the friendship between Gon and Killua is. His background as an assassin and his scarring childhood coupled with his raw talent and one-of-a-kind personality makes him a lovable and three-dimensional character.
Without spoiling much, Meruem is truly an unbelievable antagonist. At first you envision he is ruthless for no purpose, and comes off as a cliche and rather irritating being. With the meeting of another character you see how he evolves and how his facade in his personality makes him one of the best,if not the greatest character in the series.
Art and Animation: 10
When watching an anime that has a plethora of episodes such as hxh, one would expect a decline and rise in animation from time to time. However, Madhouse did a terrific job at keeping the animation and art as consistent and fluid as possible. The amount of money that was spent purely on budget really surprised me and the animation only gets better as the series progresses. When entering the C.A arc, you will see that Madhouse used their best animators to produce stunning images intertwined
with outlines, shadows and fluency that serves as ‘eye-candy’ when watching the series. Battle sequences are as well a proof of how much effort is poured into this show, as the studio does not tend to cut corners, e.g using the same background over and over again.
The opening and endings’ animation improves significantly st time progresses, which blows my mind when comparing the differences in appearance. That is to say, the animation was brilliant at the start of the anime as well.
The opening: ‘Departure’ is used throughout the entire anime although it switches between two different versions of the song, as well as changing the animation sequence each time, and this amazes me as every opening suits the anime perfectly! I did not skip the opening even once when watching the series; instead I stared smiling and singing along to the music.
The endings are all fantastic in my opinion, and I love all the songs that are presented to the audience at the end of each episode. The order for me goes
1>4>2>3>5=6 (5 & 6 are different sections of the same song) but I love them all nevertheless.
The ost of the anime is one of the best I have heard in any anime. My personal favorite is ‘ A kingdom of Predators’. It consists of a great variety of orchestra (mostly in the C.A arc) and lots of violin and piano that can be heard as well. However, sometimes the ost is not played at the most appropriate moments which prevents a score of 10 being given.
Monumental credibility must be given to the voice actors, and for Gon in particular, which is seen especially at episode 116, the mere brilliance that is spurted as ’emotions though words’ is extraordinary. The only complaint that I sometimes hear arriving from people is that the narration in the C.A arc ( for around 10 episodes) is irritating and overwhelms the episodes, making them seem extremely slow-paced. I tend to disagree with this argument , as the pacing seems to only benefit by the narration of those episodes, as it was a crucial moment in the series where narration was essential. I hope you won’t find this narration an issue, since I certainly didn’t.
Wow what a joyful ride this was. It keeps you hooked from early on and urges you to watch the next episode after experiencing the wonderful ending of each arc. The enjoyment factor, of course, originated from the entirety of the show. If any of the above were to be done poorly, the show would not come out to be nearly as enjoyable as it was. I not once felt bored during this series, and I believe that the pacing is fabulous. There’s not a single moment that leaves the viewer wanting to skip ahead or fast-forward. As a result, I am almost certain that you will watch this show, engulfed by the brilliance of this anime.
Believe me when i tell you this: this show is a near masterpiece; as close of a masterpiece as a show of this genre gets. Don’t be fooled while watching this anime, and drop it due to its slow start, as you may miss out on a truly miraculous experience.
Thank you for reading my review of Hunter x Hunter (2011). Have a great day. RedInfinity out.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
2. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
4. Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou
5. Tiger & Bunny
7. Heartcatch Precure!
8. Dragon Ball Kai
9. Toaru Majutsu no Index II