They’re the best Anime that 1991 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh, Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru 2, Pygmalio, and more!
10: Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh
English: Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh
MAL Score: 6.70
Suddenly, an evil empire, Jaaku, raids the Earth. But the light appears from the Earth, and fights against Jaaku. It is Raijin Oh operated by Eldran. Eldran has protected the earth since the ancient ages. But he was injured during the fight, and Raijin-Oh falls to the ground. On the other hand, Jaaku scatters their weapons, Aku-Darmer, all over the world.
Meanwhile, in Youshou elementary school, they have extra lessons in the 3rd class of the 5th grade. Eldran leaves Raijin Medal to them and asks them to save the Earth for him, and then he disappeared. In this way, the Earth Defense Agency consisted of elementary students is founded.
9: Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru 2
English: Spirit Hero Wataru 2
MAL Score: 6.77
This is the sequel to Mashin Eiyuden Wataru first season.
Wataru has been lived happily on earth after he defeated Doakudar. When he plays around with his friend, Ryujinmaru appears and ask him to fight again. It appears that the 7 Stars Mountain, the source of Mt. Soukai’s rainbow, have been taken over by Doakadar (Doakudar’s brother). If all the stars mountain loses their brightness, Mt. Soukai’s rainbow will fade and everyone will live in the darkness for eternity. Once again, Wataru has to go through all the 7 stars system and destroy this new stronger enemy.
The story itself how it progress is slightly diffrent from its prequel and by that i mean its still has that rpg adventure type when a boss from a realm ( level) has been defeated, wataru and friends do to rises to another level with a secret or extra stage inbetween, the diffrence is that each realm has a discription, the enemy fighters has stats on them like power, speed, stanima and/ or magic.
Artwise its still the same art since its 2 years since the serie started, though it was 1990 so there may be some sight improvements by tape recording and colour editing and stuff compared to late 80’s , but in the biggest part not much is diffrent, same can be sayed by the sound and the OP/ED parts, tough could be repetitive at some parts and episode’s.
The charachters still had their personality like the 1st serie’s , with some new friends, enemys , powers, magical creatures to add, and some returns as well. i really liked how they kept a lot of the chara involved throughout the show end even when it all took a darker tone in the last 5 episode’s , by that
it kept the potential going and even though today it only is famous by a select few outside of japan , overall its worth a watch if u are not minded to watch a kidsshow, but prepare if ever comes a sub-version on bluray or dvd to have some deep pockets, japan import ofc, still worth it!
The basic structure of this season is the same as its prequel: The world is split into seven levels, in each of which a final boss as well as one stage boss for each episode await the hero to be heroically defeated. Only very few side quests distract the hero from this path and helpful characters will make sure to excplain him the next goal of the main quest. Shibaraku and and Himiko accompany him on his quest while other friends from the first season join in later. A around the half of the episodes, some budget seems to have appeared in the studio and gets allocated into character development and story building. After not much happened for over 20 episodes, quickly all characters get some backstory thrown at them for some actual story telling to commence. By this, the end of the series feels a little bit rushed, while the first half felt even more insubstancial than some parts of the first season. All in all however it is still entertaining thorughout all episodes and builds up the expectations that are fulfilled with the OVA “Owarinaki Toki no Monogatari”.
The experience of the magical Soukaizan realm is well underlined by beauiful backgrounds and atomspherical music. In many fighting scenes however, frames are heavily reused and the quality of art heavily varies with the importance of the scene. Although the exclusive use of songs by the band a・chi-a・chi, which is certainly an integral part of the marketing strategy, makes me sometimes feel a lack of variation, all opening and ending songs fit perfectly with the style of the series and are accompanied by good animation. The background music is mostly unobtrusive, only some songs might have been used a little bit less often.
Most main characters where already introduced in the first season. Umihiko is the only notable new main character, I did however enjoy him very much. At first he seems to be quite similar to Toraou, he is however very unique and the only character with a majour backstory. (Umihiko, I love you<3) The other characters are further developed, especially by their relationships. Wataru seems to have grown in confidence and Himiko sometimes behaves even more ignorant of her environment than she already did before, does however also show some development of slowly becoming more mature. Although Shibaraku recieves some character development, he stays a sidekick more than any other character. Kurama (Mr. Bird) is mostly developed in his relationship with Umihiko and Toraou became to have a strong friendship with Wataru, did however not lose his original behaviour. Although the first half of this series only progresses very slowly, it has its funny moments and still portraits a colourful realm of adventure. Enduring the first half is then rewarded with the so far best part of the franchise and while the end leaves several open questions, you will certainly not regret watching this childish, cool and interesting adventure. Please watch the successing OVA, it is very good and gives the franchise a great finale. (Before it returned with Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru. I have however yet to watch that series.) [/collapse]
MAL Score: 6.78
Coult, the prince of the kingdom of Loon, is living a happy life with his father King Stephan and many retainers. He is cheerful, bright, tender-hearted, and gifted by the god Aganade. Coult’s mother Galatea (the daughter of Aganade) married King Stephan. However, Medusa, the daughter of the evil spirit, was envious of her happiness and turned her into a statue together with many villagers when Coult was still a baby. In order to save the other villagers, Stephan pledged allegiance to Medusa, and was forced to promise to make Coult do the same on his 8th birthday.
When the day arrives, Coult declares that he will defeat Medusa and revive the people who were turned into statues. He sets out on a long journey to search for the daughter of the evil spirit.
(Source: Nippon Animation)
7: Dragon Quest: Yuusha Abel Densetsu
English: Dragon Warrior
MAL Score: 6.82
Dragon Quest is loosely based on Dragon Quest III. The names and some of the characters are familar, but the world map is smaller and a very different shape. The two main characters are Abel and Tialah. Tialah receives the legendary Red Stone from the Aliahan Village sage Master Yogi. Soon after, Tialah is kidnapped by the evil Baramos who wants to use the Red Stone to resurrect The Great Dragon and be granted eternal life. Abel swore to rescue Tialah and he is given the Blue Stone, which can only seal the Dragon once it has been released.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]IT IS ALL GODDAMN WORTH IT!!!!! the problem is…. Where the hell should i start??? i still have some remnants of overexcitement & jumping out of the chair moments that i had some hard time to hold me and my childhood in check( yes i was i in my inmagination a fucking young prat again, just like in the happyer days).Toei animation once again shows me why that studio is my #1 fav. by showing traces of stuff what they can do best and what has famed/immortalised them for in the anime world, and thats has been a standard for them since 1984( hokuto no ken) wich made them notable ofc and so on.
Bandai co. was back then a big distributor and giver of ( in partnership with toei amongs other studio’s) videogames based of populair serie’s and merchandise, and had partnerships with developers like sqare enix, wich is since 2003 called squaresoft i believe and namco.
Dragonquest is still one of toei most beloved and prominent products ever since 1986 ( it started out on the Famicon, EU had the nintendo modified for the market, and the PC-Engine system wich is mostly unknown outside Japan) and has been seen as one of the first RPG franchises, little before Shin megami tensei(1987- ongoing) or the Final Fantasy series ( 1987 ongoing)
or the breath of fire serie’s ( 1989-??) to name a couple. sadly i’ve only played some old rpg but never the first release of the serie’s.
The story itself give’s WAY more than the summary says i mean omg shit became intense halfway through!! and remember , its LOOSLY based so it means than some elements and /or npc’s dont even appear in the game itself
but does not take away the potential of what it could do more and adds a extra taste to it in following the ‘Rpg guideline, the further u get and more levels u unlock, the harder the enemies and terrain unlock special artifacts , meeting new charachters, upgrade items ect.ect.
Animationwise, if Dragonball never exsisted, there would never been Dragonquest, like 2 drops of water.
The soundtracks itself fits , but gets repeated a lot during action scene’s.
If we imagined to take a peek inside goku’s head what he is dreaming about to be a legendary hero in a fantasy world we got this:
Young abel = 13 year ol gohan
Slime ( the onion like creature’s abel has a blue one) he calls ChiChi
Baramos the devil= Hatchiyack from the DBZ ova plans to eradicate the sayians ova
Tobi = a long silverhaired trunks
Jikoku= a demonlike overambitious impression of vegeta
just to name a few.
i enjoyed the fullest out of this show and is a FREAKIN DISGRACE that it never had a official DVD release outside japan, yeah keeping the best shit for themself alright ):
Overall, i would watch it all over again because it appears as a kidshow but it give’s a very colourfull and dark aspect in itself , and its damn funny plus its is one show that makes a lot memorable thanks to a lot of positive factors!!!
I LOOOVE DRAGONQUEST!!!! u got + 1 up life
I would recommend this to any fantasy/adventure fans, even if you are not big on Dragon Quest specifically. It is very much a product of its time but I found myself genuinely surprised at some of the directions the story went in when my initial opinion was that it would be a super generic spin off anime to make money off the games popularity when it was beginning to really take off as a series.
Besides the budget feel from time to time, my biggest problems were that it had a slow start and how magic works in this world. Most good adventure stories start off a bit slow, so I get that, but this was my second attempt to watch this and didn’t really get into it till around episode 15ish I believe. My first attempt being back when DQ9 first came out, and between it being hard to find and super slow in the beginning, I just gave up. So if you are not feeling it completely, I don’t think I can blame you for not wanting to stick with it.
The other thing is magic healing is super inconsistent, which I feel is somewhere between a nit pick and a legit issue with the story at times. It really just comes down to what the plot demands at the moment.
So, like I said, if you like adventure stories I would say check it out. It is no Record of Lodoss War, but it really was surprising how well it turned out and how much it succeeded in translating the feel of an RPG adventure into an anime.
6: NG Knight Ramune & 40
MAL Score: 6.88
Lamune is an ordinary 4th grade boy who loves playing video games. He buys one from a peddler girl and helps her sell the rest. At home, he plays the game called “King Sccasher” & beats it. The peddler girl then comes out of the TV screen and asks for his help, calling him “The Blood Relative of the Chosen Hero Lamuness”. She is Princess Milk and takes him to Hara-Hara World where his role is to revive the Guardian Knights. To do this, he had to find an unlock the shrine which held Tama-Q, a robot who became Lamuness’ Advisor Robot, and key to freeing the Guardian Knights. All of the Knights are free-thinking mechas except for King Sccasher which is piloted by Lamuness. Opposing Lamuness is Don Harumage and his minions Da Cider and Lesuka.
5: Future GPX Cyber Formula
MAL Score: 7.33
14-year-old Kazami Hayato is the youngest driver of Cyber Formula, a Grand Prix in which each vehicle is equipped with computers to aid in racing. With the help of Asurada, the most advanced cybernavigation system, and team Sugo, Hayato races to become the winner of the 10th Cyber Formula Grand Prix. Along the way, Hayato will have to learn what it truly means to be a racer and that victory cannot be achieved simply by driving the best machine. In addition, Kazami will have to gain the respect of the veteran racers, thwart those who attempt to steal Asurada, and participate in races outside of Cyber Formula.
In a nut shell, Cyber Formula is about car racing (Grand Prix), but there’s a catch. It takes place in a near future, where the technology is more advanced. All cars are equiped with a computer system that aids the racer in many ways such as giving advice and tips, detecting dangers ahead, and basically fulfilling drivers’ wishes. The computers understand human languages and can somewhat intereact with people.
This TV series was first aired in 1991, so it’s considered as an old school anime I guess.
It is 2015. Kazami Hayato, a 14 year old boy gets involved in an unexpected event that eventually leads him to becoming a driver in Cyber Formula Grand Prix. Racing cars are equipped with advanced computer navigation system that can interact with its driver to aid and fulfil driver’s needs. With “Asurada” a racing machine that was created by his father, Hayato and his team take on the world’s best drivers in order to become the youngest champion in the history of Grand Prix.
In a sense, it has a story of typical sport anime. A main character tries to become the best at what he does, in this case it’s car racing. You will definitely see a lot of car racings in this anime. What makes racing unique in this anime is that each round takes place in different parts of the world with many different and difficult obstacles that racers have to face. It’s not your typical “just go around in circle” car racing. This series also shows us what kind of hardships and challenges that racers face while striving forward to their goals. What makes Cyber Formula shine are all the intense dramas that take place, complimented by some timely humour and heart warming moments.
Well, it’s an old TV series and considering when it came out, it’s not too bad. There are some inconsistencies in that some scenes are flat coloured (one tone) while some scenes have shadings (two tones), but it didn’t bother me too much, maybe because I’m used to a lot of the old school anime series. Character designs are quite nice looking and I felt that the designs suit the personalities very well. The highlights of this anime are the racing machines, designed by one of my favourite artists, Shoji Kawamori. The racing machines look very unique, but believable, which is always important to me. Oh, did I mention they have boosters?
I really loved the soundtracks in the anime. They do have that 90’s nostalgic feel to them, which I enjoy a lot. Intense moments, sad moments, heart warming moments… They are all complimented well by great music (rock music is quite prominent). OP and ED songs are great. I’ve been listening to them since over a decade ago and I still enjoy them to this date. Finally, voice acting isn’t flawless, but it’s very solid as expected like most other anime. I think they found right voices for all the characters.
No story is great without good characters and Cyber Formula has them all. There are some characters who are just like us, who we can relate to. Then there are characters with unique personalities, which strengthens the enjoyment of the show. Another charm to this anime is character developments, mostly the drivers who face obstacles and hardships that they’ve never faced before. I could personally feel for them and sometimes I found myself really rooting for someone who I didn’t think I’d be rooting for before.
I’m not a racing fan and I don’t watch racing. However, Cyber Formula really takes it to the next level not only because it is futuristic, but you can see all the dramas that take place during races (unlike TV broadcasts). I think this anime has great replay value.
I remember when I was a little kid, I’d come home from school and was hardly able to wait for Cyber Formula to play on TV. Not only can kids enjoy this, but I think many grown ups will still find this series quite entertaining. If you can get over the fact that this is an older anime, you will be hooked (especially for sports/mecha fans). There are OVAs, which are sequels to the TV series. They have more mature feel to it, along with skyrocketed art quality!
As I have a special nostalgic attachment to this series, I’d personally give this an overall score of 10. However I know I’m little biased and just objectively speaking, I’d give a solid 8. It’s a fun, unique anime that’s filled with excitement and heartwarming moments. So if you have some time, give this anime a shot!
Never heard of this show until I saw an Artize Music video with footage from one of the OVAs. Found the entire series with English subs and I went to town! Very fun series that feels grounded in how they take physics and engineering then exaggerate it for special moves.
The fact that the legendary Shoji Kawamori was the mecha designer explains how gorgeous the Cyber Formula cars look even after 15 years.
Without spoiling too much, the main characters and racers are a joy to watch. Even though mostly five racers have the most characterization, the show never feels bogged down when it comes to drama. Since it’s a 90s show, lots of old tropes especially in regards to childhood romance or rivalry are here.
The races themselves are surprisingly tense but also believable enough that you don’t feel cheated by the results. The filler episodes that allow Hayato to display his and Asurada’s skills or tools aren’t that engaging but, since this was aimed at kids, I can forgive it.
All in all I was very glad to watch this series. I look forward to the OVA series and I’m glad to have found a simple and fun racing anime.
4: Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi
Japanese: 横山光輝 三国志
MAL Score: 7.36
Around 1800 years ago in China, the ruling power of the Han dynasty became weakened and the flames of war spread throughout the land.
Liu Bei was a young, poor straw-mat seller from the countryside of Hebai Hsing. After pledging eternal brotherhood with the two heroes, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, Liu began building his idea of a righteous kingdom that would aid citizens who suffered from persecution.
This particular version of Three Kingdoms is not a straight adaptation of the novel, but a version based upon Sangokushi, a manga by the famed mangaka Yokoyama Mitsuteru (Gigantor, Little Witch Sally, Giant Robo) in a whopping 60 volumes of tankoban between 1981 and 1987. Despite this, the story remains the same, much to the series’ benefit. Yokoyama’s designs are generally good, if somewhat ‘old-fashioned’ in comparison to character designs of the period. The characters are more archtypes then fully fleshed out people, but this also occurs in the novel. The only bonefide standouts are Cao Cao and Zhuge Liang, who chew screen time with great aplomb. The series becomes a bit of a slog towards the end just before the ‘last battle’, which hurts on a certain level. Unfortunatly the story is ‘unfinished’, with this particular anime series ending around chapter 50 of the novel. Yokoyama never finished his manga version of Three Kingdoms anyway, ending it about three-quarters of the way through the novel. A good series that could have been truely great with better execution, the strength of the source material still stands out nonetheless.
An interesting curio for any anime collection, and should be of particular interest to anime fans of Chinese descent. Also provides a distinct cultural flavor as well.
To start off, the anime covers the events from the end of the Yellow Turban Rebellion up until the Battle of Chibi, at which point the Three Kingdoms finally became close to formation. In this incomplete manner, a more honest title for the series would be “Prelude of the Three Kingdoms” as it only starts to scratch the surface on the conflict between Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, though what material it adapts of the original novel is fairly well done with it’s political machinations and military strategies.
As for it’s characters, whilst many are accurate to what historical records and the novel present them as, they and the story suffer from the main flaw of the series, being mediocre presentation. All of the cast only get enough attention to show their core traits, making even some of the more established names fairly one note. The focus it places upon primarily the Shu faction also heavily limits character appeal for the other sides. For instance, the Wu faction becomes absent after the campaign against Dong Zhuo up until their alliance with Shu, leaving a lot of their history and character drama to simply be infodumped. Despite this, I wouldn’t say their presentation is bad when considering it’s characters at least remain consistent and logical in their goals (something absent from the majority of most series nowadays), but I have simply seen the same characters be presented better in alternate adaptions.
The superficial aspects of art and sound are fine, with the refinement and colourisation of the art allowing it’s characters to be more recognisable than the manga which lacks distinctive designs for many of it’s support cast. Voice acting is fairly good with some well known seiyuu in it’s cast and the music is quite a treat to listen to with it’s imitation of classical Chinese music to fit the setting of the series. Animation is fairly minimal, however, with limited movement and quite fairly limited imagery for the battles.
As for comparing it to the manga, it stands inferior in all but art and some character appeal. The manga covers up until the actual end of the Three Kingdoms era, thus making it a far more complete story. The anime does provide additional character appeal through direction of various emotional moments, whereas the manga focuses primarily on telling the history of the tale rather than providing great character introspection. Still, a complete story is a decisive factor for such a tale, which makes reading the manga a far better alternative.
Overall, Sangokushi can at least hold the title of being the best anime adaption of the tale of the Three Kingdoms due to it’s historical accuracy and consistency, yet it’s bland presentation and incomplete nature make reading the manga a far better option. Better yet, either watch the 2010 live action series Three Kingdoms or read the original Chinese epic all of these are based on.
Story (10/10) Masterpiece
The story follows the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story rather well as I would consider myself really knowledgeable on the story. If you don’t know the story of RToK before watching this you are definitely not going to appreciate is as much as some who is well knowledgeable is. The accuracy and adaptation quality and pacing all for a anime that came out in the earlier 90s, I can’t help but praise the efforts of Studio behind adapting Yokoyama Mitsuteru’s manga.
Art and Animation (6/10) Fine
More Specifically (6.75/10) Fine+
Obviously almost everything back in the 90s that went for over 35+ episode isn’t going to look amazing and the art style and animation for the anime is definitely dated and didn’t age well. Certain scenes although the art style would drastically increase looking really really nice but majority of of was obviously dated so nothing much can be said when it comes to this, it wasn’t ugly just dated and it didn’t really bother since I already know what I was getting myself into, I wasn’t here for this category.
Sound (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.5/10) Good
The opening, BGM and JP VA all were good in the anime adaptation it fit the Sangoku era really well and I really don’t have any complaints about it. It didn’t blow my mind but it fit this type of anime well.
Characters (10/10) Masterpiece
These are based off of ancient Chinese characters of history and their personality where definitely portrayed perfectly as far as we remembered. Liu Bei is virtuous, Zhang Fei is hot headed and rash, Guan Yu is loyal and strong, Cao Cao is ambitious and courageous, Zhuge Liang is a genius and laid back it’s all here. I didn’t feel anything wrong, inaccurate or out of place.
Enjoyment (8/10) Very Good
As a fan of the Sangoku era I am glad I took the time to sit down and watch this classical anime right here. It definitely refreshed my memory of have great the story of RoTK is and I wish it continued. It went from the Yellow Turbans Rebellion and to the end of the Chi Bi battle. The version obviously focus majority of it’s time on the rise of Shu and I don’t mind that because when it came to that aspect I didn’t felt they missed anything.
Overall (8/10) Very Good
More Specifically (8.45/10) Very Good
The anime really make me want to just watch a bunch of war related anime which I indeed will. Souten Kuoro and Kingdom are next on my list. Sangoku lore will never get old to me so no matter the time the anime came out I didn’t matter because I know if they stayed accurate to it I’ll love it and I did. I definitely recommend this anime to any Sangoku fans out there everyone else it depends on if you like War anime because other than that I can’t recommend it for it. There’s a lot of politics and talking behind this one so if you aren’t engrossed or knowledgeable about Sangoku history before diving in you most likely will get bored fast.
3: Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
English: Nadia: Secret of Blue Water
MAL Score: 7.53
In 1889, the world is on the pinnacle of great discoveries in technology. In mankind’s grasp for the future, a sinister foe known only as Gargoyle, obsessed with restoring the former Atlantean empire to the glory it once held, begins his plans to take over the world. Nadia, with the help of a young inventor, Jean Roque Lartigue, and Captain Nemo of the submarine Nautilus, must fight to save the world from Gargoyle and Neo-Atlantis. Based on the Novel ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne.
Of course, no review of Nadia can get around a certain arc in the middle. Episodes 23-34 are directed by a replacement director. The twelve "filler" episodes, in my opinion, aren’t horrible, but they ARE horribly mediocre in comparison to the rest. For those twelve episodes (episodes 30 and 31 excepted), the plot comes to a stand still. Life on a deserted island simply doesn’t compare to the excitement of the main plot. However, that’s not actually the worst part of it. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it hadn’t also distorted the characterization to a nigh-insulting level. More on that later.
So would you be better off skipping the island and Africa arcs? While they have their moments, in my opinion, the answer is yes. The experience would probably be enhanced if you left them out. The director felt only episodes worth keeping from those twelve were 30 and 31 and I’m inclined to agree. Those two are good and should be watched. You won’t lose anything by watching the rest unless you’re remarkably touchy, but you won’t really gain anything either.
Art: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s character designs are as nice as ever, and the animation is generally good. Emotions are portrayed nicely and the complicated technological wonders and battles are quite nuanced and pretty. However, the series IS 20 years old and looking its age.
As for the supposed iffishness in part of the animation during the filler arc, I can’t say I noticed it. It did, however, suddenly become somewhat more cartoonish than previously (like a character running off a cliff and only falling when he noticed it…) It wasn’t very fitting, in my opinion.
Sound: The sound of Nadia is good but not notable. I watched the subbed version and the voices were fine. They suited their characters and the performances were good, as far as I can tell. Nothing much to say on this. In any case, the soundtrack was composed by Shirou Sagisu, so you know its good. The action-comedy parts and the epic struggle for the fate of the world are both handled nicely, but Sagisu’s tracks for the bittersweet scenes really shine. I can safely say the score greatly enhances the emotions of the last episodes, especially the ending.
Character: Nadia’s characters are, in a word, great. The leads and supporting cast are all very well developed, but even the minor bit parts aren’t left as two-dimensional ciphers. The relationships between them are very carefully crafted and actually change believably over time and with new revelations. I personally rooted for Nadia and Jean’s romance.
Especially noteworthy is Gargoyle, who is, in truth, a world-class villain and one of the best I’ve seen in anime. He appears in only about a third of the episodes, but comes off as a true menace who you really learn to hate by the end.
The worst offense of the filler arc is probably the messing with characterization. Nadia herself is by far the worst victim of this. While she has a canonically difficult personality, the the filler arc upgrades this to "annoying bitch". Every flash of likability is negated by another act of irritating stupidity. Especially retarded is her falling in love with some random African kid – a huge slap in the face of the love story that forms the core of the whole series. Thankfully, this and most everything else that happens in the island and Africa arcs is pretty much ignored later on.
Enjoyment: While one can certainly like Nadia solely for its artistic competence, it’s also damn good fun. It’s been a while since I watched a series as engrossing as Nadia. It’s humorous moments are amusing and its sad moments are ridiculously touching. I’ve rarely come as close to crying while watching an anime as during the ending of Nadia. The characters are likable and easy to get into. The series doesn’t take itself seriously all the time, but when it does, so do you.
Overall: Nadia, the Secret of Blue Water isn’t nearly as well-regarded as it should be. I saw a bit of it as a child on television, and expected to at least nostalgically like it when I rewatched it. Instead, the series forced its way into my Top 10 list. It’s an undervalued classic that most people have not heard of and possibly never will because of its age. Do yourself a favor and watch it. And you wouldn’t be doing yourself a disservice if you only watched episodes 1-22, 30, 31, 35-39.
The story begins at a Paris World Exposition Fair where Jean, a nerdy but charming and instantly lovable inventor boy of fourteen, becomes smitten with a pretty, dark-skinned girl his own age. The girl, known as Nadia, is an unhappy circus acrobat with no clue about her past other than a jeweled necklace she wears. After rescuing her from a trio of comic bandits (the Grandis Gang) Jean earns Nadia’s trust. The two set off on an even bigger adventure to find Nadia’s birthplace, which supposedly lies in Africa. Along the way, they have run-ins with a supercharged submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo and his pretty but overprotective first officer Electra as well as a shadowy cult of Nazi-like masked soldiers known as Neo-Atlanteans led by the misanthropic, sinister Gargoyle, who wants Nadia’s pendant at any cost. In the course of their around-the-world adventure, Jean and Nadia adopt an orphaned little girl, Marie, who senses that her new guardians will become more than just close friends. Although Nadia’s explosive temper poses problems, Jean’s patience and loyalty keeps their relationship afloat, and her growing love for the boy gradually transforms her as a person.
Nadia has all the makings of a classic series: a well-rounded cast of characters, unforgettable sequences, and a long, involving action adventure. There is a distinctive “Miyazaki-esque” style to the visual designs of the leads, yet only Jean seems to emerge as a Miyazaki creation. Which is arguably what makes him the most lovable character in the whole show. It’s easy to see why Nadia finds herself falling for him–who wouldn’t want to be with a boy as intelligent, genuinely compassionate, and impossibly generous as Jean? While he does display clumsiness in terms of social graces around the opposite sex, it only makes him all the more appealing as a character. Nadia herself, by contrast, is not always lovable. In addition to having serious anger management issues, she also has unbending and irrational principles about killing, eating meat, or trusting grown-ups. She does, however, display courage and, as mentioned, finds herself growing to care for Jean. Actually, Anno has said that he created Jean and Nadia based on his “light” and “dark” sides. Shiro Sagisu’s music is sometimes bland, although some of the later tracks, notably the Neo-Atlantis themes, are memorable. The opening and ending theme songs as sung by Miho Morikawa are also enjoyable.
For all its assets, however, Nadia suffers from one fatal flaw that prevents it from being the classic it aims to be–it doesn’t always stay afloat throughout its 39-episode count. The first twenty-two episodes are old-fashioned adventure at its best, with humor, young love, traumatic situations which involve death, and compelling, engrossing mysteries as we learn about Nadia, the Nautilus, and the Atlanteans. The production values in these episodes show their age at times, but frankly, they still exude detail and clarity for an early ’90s series. In episodes 23-34, however, it devolves into a painfully dull, unengaging, haphazard, incoherent Saturday morning cartoon, with warped characterizations, and even worse scenarios totally devoid of imagination or credibility. Simultaneously, the animation takes a hit in these dozen episodes, with some episodes looking downright sloppy or dreadfully cartoonish. (In all fairness, these dreadful half-hours weren’t supposed to have existed; distributor NHK requested that they be made after the show became a smash hit in Japan.) In the final five episodes Nadia does recover in terms of artistry and storytelling, delivering a satisfying finale, but it’s hard to compensate for the damage that has been done. Simply put, the show would have been far better if it were eleven episodes shorter.
For their part, however, ADV Films deserves a shout-out for their work on bringing this series to American audiences. The visual and aural transfers are competently done, but it’s their translation that really shines. The English dub, provided by Austin-based Monster Island studios, is notable for casting three actual children in the roles of Jean, Nadia, and Marie–Nathan Parsons (12), Meg Bauman (14), and Margaret Cassidy (11), respectively. For inexperienced youngsters, all three do exceptional jobs, and are amply supported by a similarly entertaining cast of adults, particularly Sarah Richardson, Corey Gagne, Martin Blacker (as the Grandis Gang) as well as Jennifer Stuart (Electra). Ev Lunning Jr. (Nemo) and David Jones (Gargoyle)’s performances do take a bit longer to find their groove, but when they do, they really shine. This dub has taken a lot of undeserved flak from critics who have made the mistake of writing it off on account of the sometimes uneven accents (Jean’s admittingly shaky French dialect in particular takes some getting used to; although Parsons does improve on it as the show goes on). Despite that and the occasional trepidatious moment in the opening episodes, the end result is still a spirited, energetic, emotionally charged dub that really brings its characters to life. It is most certainly a very commendable effort that deserved better recognition than what it was accorded for back in 2001 and even today.
The ADV dub is not the only English track of Nadia to exist. In the 1990’s Streamline Pictures attempted a release of the show. Interestingly, the head of Streamline, Carl Macek, did express interest in paring down the much maligned filler arc. As his version only got about as far as eight episodes, we probably never may know how it would have turned out. Having said that, though, I don’t think the Streamline dub compares favorably to the ADV version. Wendee Lee and Ardwright Chamberlain are both very credible actors, but both are miscast as Nadia and Jean and unfortunately underwhelm. Jeff Winkless is a bit less stiff than Ev as Nemo, but even then his turn isn’t anything amazing. I did like Edie Mirman as Electra (she ties with Stuart) and the Grandis gang doesn’t sound too bad, but on the whole I prefer the ADV dub. It strikes me as the better of the two by far.
Out of curiosity, I did sample a few episodes of the Japanese version. Although some voices are solid (Nemo, Gargoyle, and Sanson), I felt rather indifferent about the others. Marie’s voice is the weakest of the bunch; no offense to the late Yuko Mizutani, but I feel Margaret Cassidy does a far better job of bringing out this little girl’s innocence as opposed to Yuko’s high-pitched shrieking. Likewise, despite Yoshino Takamori and Noriko Hidaka’s solid turns as Jean and Nadia I found myself preferring Bauman and Parsons, if mainly because both characters are supposed to be children. It just feels more natural to hear them voiced by actors of the appropriate age. Despite insistence from some long-in-the-tooth fans that this show should only be appreciated in its native language track, I don’t consider either version better or worse, only different. Whichever one you prefer is a matter of personal preference.
Is Nadia a complete waste of time? Not at all; as mentioned, the characters are fully-realized, and for twenty-two episodes and the final five, the show does indeed deliver an entertaining, consistently engaging adventure story with just the right amount of heart, humor, and drama. It’s just too bad that it goes downhill in the second half (despite delivering a phenomenal conclusion). Otherwise, this series would truly be worthy of the praise it receives as one of the greats. The best way to appreciate Nadia is to view episodes 1-22, then 31 (the only “filler” episode to have any genuine plot development), and finally 35-39. It will provide for a much more pleasing experience.
Well, I say that, but this series wasn’t actually made by Miyazaki… It was his idea, but after some initial financial controversy, the project was picked up by Studio Gainax, a rising animation studio who recently changed their name from Daikon in order to pursue more high profile titles. After already having a successful movie and OVA series under their belt, Gainax decided to take Nadia as their first televised series, and it was highly successful… to a fault, even, but we’ll get to that later.
Right from the first few minutes of episode 1, Nadia shows you exactly what it’s animation style is going to be. We’re shown a few frozen panning shots of people enjoying themselves at a science fair, immediately followed up by the impressive CG effect of an electricity machine. This is indicative of a well allocated budget, where the bulk of the production money will be spent giving motion to scenes that need it the most, while leaving other shots… Not all of which will be as unimportant as these opening ones… High and dry. Thankfully, the budget is managed well enough that those opening shots are the exception rather than the rule, and for the most part, this show does look very good.
While it may look cheap and dated, in terms of it’s visual style, keep in mind that Nadia came out back in 1991, when an anime couldn’t look expensive without actually being expensive, due to the limits of the technology of the time… High frame rate, Miyazaki quality productions were a rare treat, and the lesser spectacles were given a lot more leeway than they are today. Having said that, as cheap as Nadia can occasionally look, there are a ton of moments in the series that look like they could have come straight out of Ghibli itself… The visual of Nadia daringly leaping down from the Eiffel Tower to protect her sacred jewel is only a small taste of this, and it will in no way be the last.
While most of the character designs may seem generic at first, they grow on you more and more as the characters in question develop throughout the story, and their backstories begin to become unraveled. There are only two designs that really stand out right from the start… One of them is Gargoyle and his sinister cult of Neo Atlanteans, the true villains of the series whose actions are unfortunately wrapped in spoilers too heavy to discuss. The second one is Nadia’s, as she’s wearing what has to be one of the most iconic outfits in Studio Gainax’s long history. It works very will with the backstory of her being an acrobat and a utility performer at a circus, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, the reason this design has endured for over twenty years in peoples’ memories is because of how revealing it is. I’m not going to say this is necessarily a bad thing, as I know that women should wear whatever they want to without feeling ashamed, but it does feel kind of strange when you consider that Nadia was wearing a normal looking european dress when we were first introduced to her, implying that that’s how she likes to dress when she’s off the clock… But for the rest of the series, she seems to prefer skin baring clothing so much that she’ll tear entire pieces off of any other outfit that’s handed to her. Again, this wouldn’t bother me if it felt like her decision, and not just that of a horny animator.
But that’s not the only thing about her that’s made her such a fixture of Gainax’s history… She’s also, in general, a very likeable and dynamic character. She’s cautious around new people… Who wouldn’t be, after working in the circus for so long… But she’s willing to give them the benefit of the doubt after she becomes more comfortable with them. Her convictions and principals are also a very strong part of her character. She’s a pacifist, who’s adamantly against the idea of people killing each other for any reason, and while this belief isn’t portrayed as strongly as it was in Trigun and Fullmetal Alchemist, she also takes it a step further by being a strict vegetarian… Yes, she believes that animals and people should both be spared from the wrath of greedy humans, and she’s not afraid to act on those beliefs, even when it may cost her the good graces of her peers. She can be difficult because of this, but she never seems to cross into the territory of becoming unreasonable, at least not until… We’ll get to that later.
Oh, and her baby albino lion has giant balls. Because… Yeah, courage, and stuff. He’s awesome.
Jean isn’t really as complex as his nimble crush, but that’s not to say he’s some bland self-insert character, either… The darker tones of the series take their toll on his happy-go-lucky outlook, maturing him just like the rest of the cast. He also has a very distinct personality, even if other personalities sometimes overshadow his in the story. He’s very open about his feelings for Nadia, that visibly develop from infatuation to actual interpersonal romantic interest throughout the course of the series. He’s very passionate about technology, and not just about his own inventions, but about the technology of the anachronistic Nautilus submarine, as well. He’s fascinated by Nadia and the Nautilus, and will take any given opportunity to learn as much as possible about both, as they respectively become the inspiration and the basis for his future inventions, since only a flying machine can take Nadia to the faraway land she yearns for. But just because he’s an inventor doesn’t mean he can just whip up deus ex machina devices whenever he needs them… Unlike that Mary-Sue technology-bender from Big Hero Six, Jean’s inventions are consistent with his familiarity of technology and the materials available at the time, at least until… Once again, we’ll get to that later.
Surprisingly, those two aren’t always the most likeable characters in the cast(YES I KNOW I’M GETTING TO THAT). I mentioned before that the three villains who attacked Nadia for her jewel go through a heavy amount of development and reveals, and I wasn’t kidding about that… They have a backstory that will redeem their actions almost immediately after you hear it. The motivation that led them to the Nautilus changes soon after they take up residence in it, which is a refreshing development compared to the Team Rocket baddies that they almost certainly inspired. They become more and more relatable as time goes on, and there are points when their roles in the story become even more interesting than that of our two main heroes… In fact, after one of them pulls off the daring rescue of a young orphan girl named Marie from a Giant Enemy Crab, I could see him instantly becoming a fan favorite.
And the English dub, well… It’s not the worst I’ve ever heard, by far, but it’s also not really up to par with the time period in which it was released. It was initially dubbed by Streamline Pictures, and if you’re familiar with their work on films like Vampire Hunter D and Wicked city, then you’d probably guess that Nadia is one of their better dubs… But you’d be wrong, and being worse than those two titles is saying a lot. The dub was picked up by ADV films after Streamline put out the first eight episodes, and ADV completely redubbed them, producing much better results… Mediocre results, yes, but they’re still much better than the awful Streamline dub. While the ADV version isn’t bad by any means, the only actor that really merits any praise is Meg Bauman in the role of Nadia, who puts forth a much more sincere performance than voice acting heavyweight Wendee Lee. Actually, that seems to be a common theme of this dub… A cast full of unknowns who would mostly go on to have very brief careers in the industry did a much better job than a dub full of respected talents and recognized mainstays.
It is worth mentioning, though, that Nathan Parsons has gone on to have a moderately successful live action career. Most recently, he played the role of James in True Blood, which I guess is an interesting bit of trivia.
Aside from her, this is a dub that has to grow on you in order to be enjoyed… There are several characters sporting foreign accents that are fake-sounding, inconsistent and half-committal, with the worst offender being Nathan Parsons in the lead role of Jean. His attempt at a french accent replaces all of the ‘th’ sounds with ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds, but aside from that, he barely inflects when he should. Sanson’s upper-crust accent sounds irritatingly like James from Pokemon(Which makes sense because Grandis sounds like Jessie and Hanson sounds like Meowth, and I don’t think any of this was accidental), and in the role of Elektra, Jennifer Stuart focuses so hard on perfecting her British accent that she barely emotes in the process. As I said before, it’s not a bad dub, and all the performances do grow on you after a while, but unless you’re a hard core dub fan like I am, there’s really no reason to switch the Japanese version off.
So, when I started watching this series, I didn’t know whether or not I’d be able to review it, and I had Mahoromatic on standby just in case. The problem was, of course, that there wasn’t really anything to talk about. It just felt like a really, really well made action adventure/title. It wasn’t terribly deep, but it was well written, wonderfully paced, and it was able to handle a large, diverse cast while showing respect to all of their differences in background. There were clashes between the beliefs and ideals of our main characters, especially where Nadia was involved, and there was an admirable level of ambiguity in regards to who was right and who was wrong. All in all, I didn’t really have anything interesting to say about it, and I was fully ready to review something else… Until IT happened. It, which I’ve been putting off until this point in the review. It, which if you’ve seen the series, you know exactly what It is.
See, as the series was airing, it was earning very high ratings… And deservedly so, all things considered. Because of this, the network got greedy and hired an entirely new director to extend Nadia’s 26 episode run into a 39 episode run, adding in 12 episodes of filler material just to pad their precious success’s run time. If you ask any Nadia fans to talk about the series, this story arc will inevitably be one of the first things they bring up, as it’s believed to be the single worst thing about the series. And having seen it for myself, I can say that this assessment is… Completely accurate.
After some spoiler events occur, Nadia, Jean, Marie and Nadia’s lion cub King wind up stranded on a mysterious island, with no clue where they are, and no hope of summoning any of the ships that they keep seeing out in the distance. And I’ll say right off the bat that this idea, in and of itself, wasn’t a bad one. There are a ton of ways this development could have been a great opportunity to further the depth of the series… But it wasn’t that at all. It’s boring, it drags the pace of the series down to a dead crawl, and it does everything in it’s power to rape, dismember and display the remains of everything that was good about the show up until that point. The animation quality also tanks, looking uglier and cheaper than it ever did before. No joke… This show has worse filler material than Naruto and Bleach combined.
To be fair, I’m not actually bothered by the fact that this filler arc screws up the original material. Representing somebody elses work can be an extremely tough thing to do, and I don’t think anybody should ever be vilified for failing to do so. What bothers me is the outright contempt that the new director, Shinji Higuchi, had for the original material. You see warning signs right from his first episode, which I believe was 23, when the four children of the series are riding a jettisoned mini-sub to reach the mysterious island. The sub starts to flood, and Jean drinks all the leaking water, blowing up balloon-like as though he were a freaking Looney Toon, despite the entire series up until that point featuring no such cartoon physics whatsoever. He then spews the water back up, which in retrospect is pretty good metaphor for the way Higuchi barfed up the rest of Blue Water.
Higuchi proclaims early on, loudly and proudly, that he has no respect for the themes and characters that have been unfortunately entrusted to him. It also becomes clear all too quickly through his treatment of Nadia that he doesn’t possess a very high level of respect or understanding for women or vegetarians, either. Immediately after setting foot on land, Nadia turns her back on the very idea that her companions may have to eat meat to survive for an extended period of time, as the canned food they brought over with the mini-sub won’t last them very long. Instead of working this out with him rationally, she dashes off into the jungle like a monkey and goes feral, which ultimately culminates with her stealing his food cans and crushing them under rocks, despite the fact that the island is clearly shown to be covered with fruit bearing trees. I’m not a vegetarian myself… Far from it, as the partial pizza I just deposited in my fridge will tell you… But when I hear Nadia saying things like “I’ll go a week without food and water to prove that I’m a better survivor than you!” it even offends ME.
That’s not to say Jean is a whole lot better, though… With Nadia reaching levels of likeability that make Asuka Langly Soryu look like Belldandy, Jean is left to fill out the role of ‘smug white male,’ a role that would be more subtly played by Seth McFarlane. It’s Jean’s job in this story arc to be right about everything, sigh and shake his head whenever that angry woman-thing yells at him for no reason, and whip up inventions from the giant piles of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that the island has to offer him in terms of material.
And the relationship building that happens between the two is the absolute worst of it. I don’t consider this much of a spoiler, because it has nothing to do with the plot or ending, so I’m going to describe the moments that begin their relationship in detail… This is going to be a rough patch, so brace yourself.
Nadia finds an old, moldy can of spinach. She eats it… Because it looks so much more appealing than any of the plants on the island… And it gives her a fever. Not a stomach-ache, but a fever. She winds up sick in bed with Jean going out to fetch herbal medicine for her… for the second time in the series, I might add. But he winds up finding a patch of drug mushrooms, which knock him out, so Marie has to drag him back to the tent. Later, Nadia wakes up, completely fine, despite receiving no medical care of any kind, and is told by Marie that Jean tried to help her. She kisses his unconscious lips, and all of a sudden, her attitude completely changes towards him… All because he tried to nurse her back to health. Like a fucking pet.
Oh, and later, after they finally share a consensual kiss under the stars, she blows up at him for not remembering the kiss she gave him WHILE HE WAS UNCONSCIOUS.
In other words, this director has boiled women down to petulant pet dogs… They bark at you for everything, can’t understand or care about your feelings, and they’ll love you forever if you help them while they’re sick or otherwise vulnerable. Puke. Well, at least the relationship development doesn’t wind up mattering, because after they escape the island on a popped balloon that never runs out of air and wind up in Africa, she falls head over heels in love with some sexy African guy, which gives her a new reason to hate Jean. Like a dog finding a new crotch to smell. Oh, and then there’s an episode of music videos.
I wish I could just look past this story arc and consider it non-canon, like so many other people do, but I just can’t. The show does eventually get better, with the animation and writing returning to their former glory around episode 35, but that 12 episode stretch is just unbelievably awful. I’ve heard people say you should skip most of those episodes, taking the entire viewing experience down to episodes 1-22, 30-31, and 35-39, and while that would successfully cut out all the awful, it doesn’t really improve the experience, it just makes it confusing. If you follow this list while watching the series for the first time, you’ll wonder about the things happening in those episodes, like ‘when did this character come back,’ ‘how did these characters come to this point,’ and ‘was that material really as bad as I was told?” Sorry, but those episodes aren’t self contained, and the only way to know how much of an improvement the abridging of the series would be, you’d have to have watched it all the way through at least once… And by that time, the damage is already done, to both the viewer and the series.
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water has been available on VHS in the past, but is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray from Sentai filmworks. Both sets are available online for quite a bit of money, but at the time of this writing, you can find them as part of the Rightstuf.com holiday sale for 30-40 dollars a piece. The collection 1 and 2 DVD sets that were put out a few years ago are available for fairly cheap on Ebay, and you could say the same about the individually released DVDs that ADV put out in the early 2000s. There’s also a series of video games that have never been released stateside, and a movie that I haven’t actually watched yet… Although I’ve heard some not-too-flattering things about it. At least I know that it’s a sequel, and not just one of those BS cash grab retellings.
I really wanted to give Nadia a high score. I really, truly did. If it wasn’t for that filler arc, I’d be calling it one of my favorites of all time with no problem at all. Without them, Nadia is an exciting adventure title that never slows down or panders to the viewer, offering romance, wonder, and new surprises at every turn. There’s some sexism at play, but it’s largely innocent, and hits both genders about equally, never turning into straight up misogyny until the dreaded filler arc. If my initial introduction to this series had been to the episode list that many fans… And even the original director himself… considers superior, I may have given this show a 7, but that sadly wasn’t the case. I can watch it without those episodes, but I can’t review it without those episodes, which is why I’m going to give Nadia: Secret of Blue Water a 5/10.
2: Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken (TV)
Japanese: ドラゴンクエスト ダイの大冒険
MAL Score: 7.60
After the defeat of the demon lord Hadlar all of the monsters were unleashed from his evil will and moved to the island of Delmurin to live in peace. Dai is the only human living on the island. Having been raised by the kindly monster Brass, Dai’s dream is to grow up to be a hero. He gets to become one when Hadlar is resurrected and the previous hero, Avan, comes to train Dai to help in the battle. But Hadlar, announcing that he now works for an even more powerful demon lord, comes to kill Avan. To save his students Avan uses a Self-Sacrifice spell to attack, but is unable to defeat Hadlar. When it seems that Dai and Avan’s other student Pop are doomed a mark appears on Dai’s forehead and he suddenly gains super powers and is able to fend off Hadlar. The two students then go off on a journey to avenge Avan and bring peace back to the world.
The main detractors from this anime are ones that plague many other Shonen anime series. While the story is full of action from the beginning, the real storyline doesn’t start until a few episodes in, which makes the pacing seem a little slow at first. The show also suffers from too many flashback scenes, likely added to pad out episodes in an attempt to keep the anime from running out of source material, as the manga was still in serialization at the time. This became painfully tragic when the anime was canceled in Japan due to the broadcaster wanting to replace the show with a variety show (Ratings were not that bad, and toy sales must have been good enough since they had created toys for characters that never appeared in the anime.) Because of its cancellation the last half of the last episode diverges from the storyline of the manga dramatically, but still does not tie up the story concretely. It is particularly sad, because the point that the anime ends is where the story really starts to take off in the manga.
In the end, while this is an enjoyable anime, it is fundamentally flawed by its ending. Like many other series, if you want to get the full story you need to pick up the manga. Luckily the manga is very much worth snatching up on its own right, but it is still is regrettable that some of the most touching and exciting moments of the manga lack the color and the voice acting of anime. What exists of the anime is worth watching, and fun on its own. I can only hope, that like Saint Seiya, this anime one day makes a return in OVA form so that the deeper story of the manga can be told.
Dragonquest a.k.a Dragon warrior started out in 1986 on the Famicon console( modified in the west and known as the nintendo) wich i believe was developed by Bandai&.co before it was adapted in to books, then anime starting Dragonquest: abel yuusha densetsu in 1989, and even now videogames are available for the nintendo DS systems.
The story is adapted in a way that most rpg elements are there, but the story is a bit extended and slighly adapted, you start as the boy called Dai on a island (starting zone)and is friendly with almost every creature on the island because there was a dark ruler that posseses everything, and only 4 chosen figures could save the land , because of that story Dai wants to become a hero through his retainer and master called brass.
Things really start to kick off when master brass feels increasing dark energy and strange things happen , and therefore trains Dai with spells and magical equipment,
and later on more interesting ( party members) appear wich become’s a very important matter like:
Master spellcaster and swordmaster avan and his apprentice POP,
the brave but lovely long-range fighter Maam
The brave but bold armored crocodile
the knight with a sad past Hyunckel
A princess that needed saving, forgot her name
a very cool thing about it is the follow up of the bosses and the choice to join them, like in the videogame’s but they first need to be ‘dispelled’ and defeated, and the locations and journey all are soooo fun to enjoy watching .
Dragonball orientated animation, child-friendly and coulorfull i mean come on thats clear!
The music was fitting with the mood of every episode and for its time ofc and the al famous soundeffects that only Toei back than did.
I love almost all charachters, from the heroes, side-charachters till the villians because everyone had a story to tell that tied in the past, or something thats unfinished to pursue their goal, and there is no lack of charachter and lore content .
Jumping outta my skin, i had that multiple times during some very intense and dark scene’s , and yelling in happiness when a boss got defeated yes i enjoy it THAT much.
overall : 9 and thats sadly on behalf of the production , i saw the good ol VHS version dat needed a update and a freakin release in the western world, it drives me nuts that serie’s like that is like almost well ….. unheard of or something. damn glad i watched it
The story was well done, even if it wasn’t groundbreaking, the art is fantastic for the time, I loved almost all of the characters and the music was well done.
Not a perfect show by a long shot, even with my biases, but overall, it’s good. The reasons why I enjoy this show are similar reasons to why I enjoy the games, they’re charming and likable, a cozy spot when I just want to have fun.
1: Tanoshii Muumin Ikka
MAL Score: 8.16
Spring has finally arrived in Moomin Valley, giving way to another great adventure for Moomintroll and the rest of its inhabitants. With Snufkin coming home from his winter migration, the locals of the valley finally begin to rise from their hibernation. Finding a mysterious hat, the Moomins cannot bring themselves to throw it away due to its fine quality, instead hoping to eventually find its owner.
While playing games with his friends, Moomin tries to hide in the silk hat. When his friends come looking for him, they are shocked to discover that Moomin has transformed into a hideous creature. Examining himself in the mirror, he is disgusted to find himself completely unrecognizable.
Transforming back to normal after scaring his friends and family, Moomin and Snufkin decide to toss the hat in the river. As it drifts away, they begin to wonder who the hat belonged to and whether its owner will return for their lost possession.
I think it should only be appropiate of me to give my very first review to the very first anime I’ve ever seen… and it would be this! Moomins, or Muumilaakson Tarinoita, as it would be called here in Finland, is without an doubt, one of the very best works of anime, that I’ve ever seen – period. Not necesarily “the best” because of the plot, nor even for the story, but because of the characters, and the world they bring to life, simply just by being there. It’s an iconic classic, that’s what it is!
As a child, I grew up watching this anime, and I didn’t even realize it was an anime, before finishing high school, thinking it’s just some swedish cartoon – yeah, I was stupid! Now, I’m not really good at reviewing something, that I love, so let me just put it bluntly…
Moomins is a fantastic little slice-of-life story in a fantastic world, full of fantastic creatures and stories, that should belong to any little finns bookshelves – Moomins was originally a bookseries first! Not nescessarily ment for little little children per say, but good stuff nontherless!
The story is… well, there really isn’t one! Like I said, it is, down to it’s core, just some slice-of-life storytelling, heavy emphasis being on the slice-of-life. No big conflicts, villains or actual from-the-beginning-to-the-end- story arcs, and that alone can be a very heafty negative to many viewers. There are little mini-arcs here and there, but not any big arcs – just feeling the need to clarify that!
But, what’s the plot, then? There are these cute little moomins, with their colorful and delightful little friends, and because there’s no school, jobs or social insecurity – whatever that is! – they spend their days by just… running around in this ever-so peaceful and beautiful moomin valley, find secrets and solve mysteries, all in a while waiting for ever-looming winter, that will by every coming year, put every singe one of them into a deep sleep, before the next warm summer. It’s basically just… life – nothing more, nothing less! Some minor arcs, or themes may pop up in every now and then, such as the Lighthouse-arc, with it’s themes of isolation and fear of loneliness, the Little Visitors with stranger-danger- warning signs all over, and the King Ruby, with the themes of materialistic obsession, but those aren’t even that long to beging with – about two to three episodes – and won’t take away that certain sence of travel with no goal, as you move along with the show.
The “story” itself is not even that hard to follow, and that’s only to be expected from a show, made for (nordic/melancholic) kids. As a child, you can just let yourself enjoy all the fun adventures, all the lovable characters, and their antics, as well as have a few frights and sad tears here and there – I swear, that Groke still gives me the shivers! But, just because Moomins was originally intented to entertain children – in my mindset, anyway – it still doesn’t mean that it can’t age well, or be even more relevant to us adults! As an adult, you can still enjoy all the same things, as you did as a child, but this time, the innocence of a child replaced by the experience of an adult helps you marvel the subtle philosophies, wisdoms and lessons, that either did scar you for life as a child, or give you now that little spark of hope as an adult, when winter seems to just go on, and on, and the warm days of summer seem ever so distant, and gray. Moomins remainds me – an adult, only by the definition of a word – that not all good things in the world come with a pricetag, and sometimes, it’s okay to just be who you are, flaws and all, and just sometimes, the world itself is way too big and mysterious place, to try to even comprehend it. Moomins feed that little child in me, and I simply love it!
The characters in moomin valley are the force, that keeps this show alive and real. Every single character is like a someone, who you know, used to know, or would like to know, in real life. You want to be hugged by a mama moomin, you want to listen papa moomin’s stories, and have all these crazy adventures with him – or not, if you want to hold your booze *wink*. You want to watch stars with Snuffkin, and wonder, what life even is, and what is it for. You want to play all day with Moomin trollen and pals, and kick Stincky’s ass, when he’s teasing and bullying poor little Ninni – am I spelling it right? None of them are completely morally black or white, and that’s what makes them realistic, and… well, alive, like real people. They may not be the deepest, most multi-dimentional characters you’ve ever seen in terms of a storytelling or characterization, be it in anime or in any other story or media you might know and love, and none of them really change in any meaningful way, but they all feel like real people, and that’s exactly, what I wanted as a child, and expecially now, as an adult – real, lovable and colorful people, with realistic personalities, that are just simple enought, that you feel like you know them good enough, but feel like there’s still something beneath them… something secret, and maybe even a little bit darker, than you’d expect.
That said, Moomins sertainly isn’t for everybody. Some of the stories, themes, situations and characters may indeed scare some of the smallest in the family, and some may not be able to get ovet the fact, that there really isn’t any big picture/lead/red string in the story, or that the characters never really change – they are, what they are, and that’s that – finding the overall show either lacking, overly simple, stupid, even, or being just plain boring. Like already said above, there are some little arcs here and there, like The Exploits of Moominpappa, Moominsummer Madness, and Moominland Midwinter, based on the original books by Tove Jansson, but that’s about it – no big plot twists or revelations of bigger scale. There’s also no actual villain/s, nor big threat/s or conflict/s, and in the end… pretty sad ending too, with two best friends departing, and never seeing each other again – one of the biggest tear-jerkers of my childhood/anime-life!
The original books are also way more darker, and gloomier, with all-so-subtle references on booze, drugs, and even heavier philosophies and darker themes like death, suicide and abandonment, but that’s just us finns for ya! Little bit dark, mixed with a little bit of cuteness! Also, although this series was drawn in Japan, I’ll be damned if anyone can find this in its entirety (26 episodes is NOT a COMPLETE series of Moomins! There are 76 episodes + season 2!) in any other languages than finnish, swedish or japanese, which can also be a big turn-off for some!
All in all, I would warmily recommend this series with a full heart, and not just for kids… or just for finns/swedish. It’s a fantastic world, with fantastic characters, and cute yet meaningful stories and themes, that I for one haven’t yet found from anywhere else, from any other franchise. I’ve always known, that if we all could live even just one year in a place like Moomin valley, we all would possibly be… maybe not better, but changed people, and that thought alone, makes me wanna travel that far away distant place time, and time again.
The series follows the basic formula of nearly every other Anime. Something happens, the Moomin family must fix it and everything turns out well. However, the series isn’t completely episodic. There is a handful of episodes which introduces new characters, while others add background history, giving more depth to the main characters. The best way to watch this is in chronological order.
The animation is fantastic and superior compared with the second series, “Tanoshii Muumin Ikka Bouken Nikki”. Everything is fluid, nothing is crudely drawn and the backgrounds are beautiful. The music is a masterpiece in itself and will stick itself to your brain for months. The same goes for the opening and ending. Season 3 introduces some new music which isn’t as great as the prior, but it still fits the series.
No matter what age you are, you should give this a try. This is a smash hit in scandinavian countries (and, of course, Japan), and with good reason. Every episode will make you feel like home. The enviroments are beautiful and there will be many instances where you wish you lived in the moomin valley: not having to worry about getting a job, going to school or any criminals (Stinky isn’t really dangerous anyways). This is a perfect, peaceful life, where only their own mistakes and curiosity makes each adventure possible. This is the life of the Moomins.
The stories were and still are pretty damn entertaining. They take you to so many different places out of this world, from past to real time. i dunno how to explain but they just were so well written.
The art style was all new when Tove Jansson first published her novel stroies or what ever theyre called. And Japanese made quality work animating it. You could sense clearly all the feelings of the characters and the atmosphere from just looking at it.
For sound im reviewing the Finnish version, cuz thats what i grew up with. The voices of the characters matched the personalities perfectly. Moominmamma has her lovely and calm voice, Pappa has his firm and kinda wise voice and sniff sounds …. well like sniff . I can´t explain it better. The character voices are just so perfect. The music tracks are also something so unbeliveable. Usually they were the biggest aspect when it comes to making the setting and atmosphere of the scene from scary and ominous night in forest to kinda magical and calm winter journeys.
And the characters ohhh boy. Every character had their own, kinda iconic personalities. Mamma is motherly, calm an very kind to everybody. Snufkin is the cool and wise traveller that cares a lot about his friends but still likes to be alone, even though it may hurt him and others. And Stinky, although he was most times playing tricks to everyone, he still has a (relatively) warm heart. And the thing in the character design is that, like us humans we all have those little times when we get full of fury or just burst into happy tears. So did the Moomins, unlike some characters from other shows . From worried father saving his scared son from danger to something unexpected and irreversible happening.
These adventures and their characters will always be the shiny pearl of my childhood.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Tanoshii Muumin Ikka
2. Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken (TV)
3. Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
4. Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi
5. Future GPX Cyber Formula
6. NG Knight Ramune & 40
7. Dragon Quest: Yuusha Abel Densetsu
9. Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru 2
10. Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh