They’re the best Anime that 1996 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Kaitou Saint Tail, Jigoku Sensei Nube, Fushigi Yuugi, and more!
10: Kaitou Saint Tail
English: Mysterious Thief Saint Tail
Japanese: 怪盗セイント テール
MAL Score: 7.54
Meimi Haneoka, 14, is a normal girl during the daytime, but during the night, she assumes the “position” of Saint Tail, a modern-day Robin Hood who steals from thieves and gives items back to their original owners. She is aided by her friend, Seira Mimori, a nun-in-training, and she is chased by her classmate (and soon-to-be love interest), Daiki Asuka (often called “Asuka Jr.”).
Meimi, of course, is Saint Tail and the young detective trying to catch her is her classmate Asuka Jr. You\’ll have to suspend your disbelief with this one as one impossibility after another keep Saint Tail out of the cops\’ grasp. And another thing – it\’s not as if she actually hurt anybody. Who will persecute someone who steals somebody\’s running shoes and return them to the original owner, anyway?
But as I said, you won\’t really dwell that much on the robberies. Like me, you\’ll probably get hooked on Meimi and Asuka Jr. and waiting for the moment that Asuka Jr. finally catches Saint Tail. Lighthearted and cute, this anime is definitely one of my favorite classics.
like 2 episodes for themselves so I give character a 9. 10 for enjoyment I loved this show so much I reached it immediately, yes a 44 episode show. You may be wondering why I left Story for last, well mostly because it’s the shortest but a complex woven tale. This show really centers around the love story between Meimi and Asuka Jr. this is not a only because it is well established in the first episode there seems to be nothing that stands in the way of these feelings. Knowing this before the watching bears no harmful results on ones enjoyment because this show is a love story woven throughout and everything else is merely a backdrop for it to grow. To quote Shakespeare: Life is but a game, men and women, merely players.
9: Jigoku Sensei Nube
MAL Score: 7.54
Nube is a clumsy, easygoing, and very kind teacher, but he has a secret under his glove on the left hand. He has a monster hand, and he also has the ability to sense ghosts and evil spirits. So he protects his dear students from these evil spirits with his monster hand, proving to be very powerful.
Basically, it’s a school story with all the weird and scary things you wish could happen to you in a real school, that is, if you’re into ghosts and that kind of stuff.
Hell Teacher Nube is an anime about a schoolteacher with a demon claw in the place of his right hand, which he covers with a black glove, and all the hilarious and touching and sometimes just weird adventures he has with his students as what seems like the entire pantheon of Japanese lower mythology causes havoc in their school and town.
Nube and the students deal with ghosts, UFO’s, youkai, oni, doppelgangers, curses…you name it, they’ll take care of it.
Urban legends are also incorporated into the episodes…spirits of suicides in bathrooms, ghosts appearing in photographs, odd gods…
What else could you want in a supernatural school anime?
The best part of this anime are the stories. When I watched it, the wonder of all the crazy creatures and the wacky characters was a lot of fun. But what hooked me was that it was my first foray into Japanese superstitious culture. The stories are absolutely great!
Nube is an elementary school teacher who has an Oni sealed into his left hand. During his role as a teacher, he develops a great relationship with his students vowing to always protect them from danger. This is constantly proven when his precious students are attacked by ghosts, yokai, & other supernatural demons. While the series is episodic, it later adds more characters such as Yukime the snow demon & Tamamo a fox sorcerer which increases the quality of the anime.
Episodes contain a blend of comedy & horror, however sometimes its focus will be more on horror which can be very disturbing at times.(Ep31 & 44) Other episodes can be more comedy based or either touch upon an important morality lesson which tend to be some of the better episodes such as ep28 being about xmas. It should also be noted that the main character can vary every episode as some are focused on Nube while others are based on his students.
One of the highlights of this series is Nube himself as he a shonen hero in every respect and is a well written character who shifts from a wise mentor to a comedic love crazed buffoon. I should mention that a love triangle forms in the anime which intentionally was done for laughs but towards the end of the series becomes a very serious subject.
Overall, Hell Teacher Nube delivers in entertainment at times being a much darker version of Goosebumps. It may have a monster of the week formula but it’s not a battle series & provides much more content as a whole. Examples include some of its dramatic storytelling and the good nature of people such as eps (20 &34 aka Nube’s origin) or possibly the best heart touching episodes being 47 & 48. It may take some time to getting into, but you may end up loving this anime. Whenever you finish the anime, I recommend to watching the 2nd movie & the OVAs. The OVA episodes are actually cannon, being based on much later manga chapters with its final episode being the best way to finish the anime series.
Hell Teacher Nube is a supernatural/yokai episodic “monster of the week” show from the mid-90s that is flying under the radar of most anime fans nowadays since it was never really a hit in the first place back then, and as most of the titles that fail to generate a solid initial impact, it couldn’t avoid the fate of being forgotten in time. Debuting in the same year Neon Genesis Evangelion sent bittersweet shockwaves with its controversial last 2 episodes, Rurouni Kenshin became the new fighting shounen attraction after Dragon Ball was quickly running out of steam with Dragon Ball GT, Detective Conan started building its empire drawing the attention of the ones interested in mysteries, the Slayers franchise was getting stronger in the fantasy genre with its second installment (Next), and Sailor Moon, the most iconic and popular magical girl show from the 90s, was saying goodbye with its final season (Stars), among other competent shows that made their debuts in 1996, there was hardly any room left for a fully episodic and simple show like this (which also had to face direct competition in the supernatural genre with the more well-known and established GeGeGe no Kitarou (1996) household series) to make itself a relevant name both in Japan and the West.
I first knew about this show back in 2007, when a local anime specialized TV station started airing it after midnight and I used some of its episodes as background television while I was finishing some of my homework and was preparing myself to sleep, never really paying much attention to it and consequently remembering virtually nothing besides the visuals, character designs and the catchy J-rock opening theme. But there was something about its captivating, youthfully-sinister atmosphere that after all these years did manage to stuck in my mind that encouraged me to revisit it now, 11 years later, with complete dedication. And I have to say that -despite its simplicity- it has been quite a pleasant surprise, and that it’s truly worth the try for those who have no troubles watching old shows with dim colors, simple characters and an episodic monster-of-the-week structure. Watching it has been such a delightful experience, that I just can’t help to try to increase its low awareness levels.
The argument: it follows the paranormal adventures of Meisuke “Nube” Nueno, a kind, funny, lovable and young teacher at Domori elementary school who since birth had an abnormal sensibility to perceive evil ghosts and demons from the spiritual “yokai” world (a faculty that made him an easy target to them and allowed him to evetually become a demon connoisseur and a demon slayer) and the 5th grade naughty students he has in charge, with whom he develops a very close, warm and trustworthy relationship, to the point that he even gets permanently and tenderly bullied by them. Due to a tragic incident (which is told with details in one of the later episodes) before becoming a teacher in that school, he managed to seal a powerful demon in his left hand, which turned it into a monstrous-looking one and which he has to cover with a black glove in order to not reveal his true nature and frighten the people around him. This sealing granted him the ability to fight other demons with said hand, since the power of that demon is at his disposal there.
I have to say that the “horror” tag this show has is kind of misleading. Though it’s about ghosts and demons attacks, it is really not scary or uneasy to watch at all. You don’t watch this to feel frightened, to feel that suspense that true horror works stimulate. No episode will really have you on the edge of your seat nor covering your eyes from shock. It is after all very kid-friendly, there’s no gore, no raw scenes and no body parts flying through the air. There is blood, but nothing that terrible or excessive, and virtually the whole time from the teacher’s part, never from the kids, who are only threatened by the supernatural entities and never physically hurt, so no edgy and cheap child torture here. The tone is really very light, innocent and with lots of goofy comedy the whole time, though it occasionally gets more serious.
As an episodic, “monster of the week” show, most episodes are pretty formulaic with an autoconclusive story; one or some of the students of the class will face –in a certain context- the threat of a yokai world entity (ghost, demon, monster, etc.) that will take advantage of a particular weakness, insecurity, moral fault or dark inner sentiment those children have in order to scare them. When the entity is about to make his act, Nube appears, confronts it and ends up slaying it with the power of the demon he has in his left hand, saving his students in the process, something he is happy to do since he believes it is his mission in this world to protect them from their attacks. Everyone celebrate at the end and the kids learn from the mistakes that allowed the creatures to attack them in the first place.
Despite being formulaic, the episodes still show variety in focus, relevance and tone. Some are very light, while some others are more intense and/or heavy. Some are more relevant than the rest, in the sense that they tackle the backstory and some mild character progression of the characters. Some are just to have simple fun, others to leave substantial moral messages. Some are more disturbing or creepy than the others, or even thought-provoking, like one which involves an artificial biology-class mannequin that started to develop a soul inside and started considering himself as a real normal human being with genuine feelings, a situation that made the class feel uneasy and that led them to face a moral dilemma and to take questionable decisions. And while teacher Nube is the main character and the ones who saves the day, not all the attention is put into him; the show does a good job in giving every character of the class a fair share of focus in terms of number of episodes centered around them (including Nube himself).
Speaking about the characters, they are not realistic and most of them are stereotypical. Nube himself represents a virtuous and beloved shounen hero that will protect the ones he loves no matter the costs. Hiroshi, the main character from the children, is a naughty, hyperactive but kindhearted and brave boy, who likes playing football and has lots of friends. Kyoko is an insecure, neurotic but grounded girl everyone likes to bully (I’d say she’s the most interesting among the children because she is the most mature and can see and analyze the situations they face with an adult perspective). There’s also a malicious girl who likes to gossip and brag of her early developed breasts, an innocent, righteous boy, a spoiled rich kid and a delinquent, among others. But being an unambitious formulaic show, I don’t see any trouble in this. You never come to this type of shows expecting realism and lots of character development and stuff. However, this doesn’t mean they are totally static throughout all of the show’s run. As said before, some of the terrifying incidents with the ghosts make the kids learn important life lessons and grow up as human beings, which is effective.
Anyway, watching all these characters interact, having fun with their teacher and living all those thrilling and mysterious ghost adventures in their own school and surroundings is truly the main appeal of the show and precisely why you come for it, because in all honesty, who wouldn’t have liked to live all this during their elementary school days? Scary and everything, supernatural and paranormal activity has always been a subject that has awakened the interest of people trapped in a boring, mundane daily life, even more in kids discovering the world they live in. And this show really delivers in dragging you to those times when you were a kid fascinated with ghost stories. It appeals to that child wish most of us had of living fun and adventurous supernatural experiences along with our friends and classmates. It does an excellent job in making you wish you would have lived all that to make your school life way more entertaining and memorable, in company of an unorthodox, funny, young and close teacher everyone loves that wasn’t just that typical distant person you treat with a lot of respect and fear looking from below.
The art irradiates a particular charm hard to describe that makes this so addictive and the atmosphere so obscurely lovely. The color palette is colorful enough to not give this image of something that is trying to sell itself as very dark and serious but rather kid-friendly and at the same time dull enough to print in the viewer this absorbing feeling of people being menaced by creatures sneaking from the shadows, especially when action takes place at nights. It perfectly suits the overall tone and direction of the show. Anyway, you just have to see it to understand, it’s kind of hard to do so with cold words. All I’m going to add here is that this youthfully sinister and haunting feel is something that you just dont see very often in modern anime with digital coloring and shading techniques and that cel-animation had an advantage when it comes to this matter.
To conclude, Hell Teacher Nube is a show that, while nothing special in regards of being an episodic show which follows a monster of the week formula, it’s still a show with a fascinating, obscure-but-innocent charm, able to delight and entertain almost effortlessly given it’s likable cast, easy-to-watch condition and absorbing atmosphere. Besides, it is also educative, you can use it to learn a lot from Japanese folklore. And while it obviously won’t work for people who have a hard time getting into monster-of-the-week shows, I believe that those who don’t have troubles with them will find this show to be an overall gratifying experience that is worth the try. 7/10.
Some additional tips/comments:
Being episodic, you don’t really “have to” watch every single of its 48 episodes to understand it and you can skip some of them. However, episodes 20 and 34 are essential, since they tackle the past of the main character and explain more who he is and why he feels he has the mission to protect kids from the attack of ghosts. And if you really want to feel the whole emotional impact the heartbreaking last 2 episodes provide, I’d say it is indeed necessary to have watched the whole show so said impact can in fact, materialize in you.
As a show dealing with ghosts with a gloomy, somber (but still innocent) feel, it is highly recommendable to watch it at nights, and ideally inside your bed. That way you will be able to get more immersed in its exquisit and haunting atmosphere, which is precisely the idea when watching a show like this! The same way you enjoyed more scary shows like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” or “Tales from the Crypt” when you watched them surrounded by the mysterious and menacing feel of the night rather than by the clarity-safety feel of daylight. The feel of this show is such that it just doesn’t work much if watched during the day.
The show gets a little pervy sometimes. You will see some boys conveniently falling into women breasts, some nosebleeds, the teacher fantasizing with naked women, and what may be probably the most annoying issue, an 11 year old girl bragging about her early developed boobs. There’s also an episode where a teenage girl literally suffers from spontaneous body incinerations that burn her clothes leaving her totally naked in front of everyone. But as most of the 80s/90s shows with raunchy stuff, all this is used for more comical rather than erotic purposes, so it’s really nothing that annoying. But if you categorically can’t stand the inclusion of this type of moments in shows involving kids, then it would be better to not try this show.
8: Fushigi Yuugi
English: Mysterious Play
MAL Score: 7.63
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes…
Each character for the most part has their own unique use and contribution to the story and they are presented in ways you get to know them. The characters or heck, maybe even one character will grow on you as you watch from start to finish. I would explain this, but it would be a significant spoiler, and if you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m talking about. Whether that character is good or bad, you’ll love them. Hell, my favorite character Nakago is the primary antagonist and even Yuu Watase, the original manga-ka has admitted that Nakago is her favorite character.
The anime will hopefully satisfy men and women. The story overall is very diverse with its appeal, but it went a little longer than it should have, but it ends in a way where everything is resolved and the characters wonderfully develop. It has romance, adventure, excitement, comedy and action, which I will further get into. However, what will annoy male and female alike is the interaction between Tamahome and Miaka when they really get romantic with each other. It kind of drags and we don’t need that much hugging even if we can appreciate how much they love each other.
Well, the character design today doesn’t really stand out in comparison to most shoujo out there for the most part. The costume designs are a little flamboyant for the setting, but even so, they still compliment the character designs very well where it helps make them stand out a bit more. The action is well coordinated, technical and raw which will appeal to male viewers. The city settings captures the heart of ancient China very captivatingly and truly represents their culture at that time period where they gathered to worship the emperor. However, with the modern day settings, you get a different approach to the school uniform with the blazer and ribbon design you see in lets say Evangelion, than the more mainstream sailor uniform which I thought was unique to anime in the mid-1990s with Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon being the rage back then with those designs, so its nice to see something different. It is also unique to point out in the real world in Fushigi Yuugi, nobody has crazy color hair, but in the book, you got the typical crazy color anime hair which was somewhat of the intention of Watase and the staff at Studio Pierrot. So overall, the art may be descent, but the character design 100% stand out, but the action, costumes, and scenery makes up for it.
The dub of Fushigi Yuugi does have some credible names, but I don’t think the dub was good. First off, Tamahome is played by David Hayter who you may know as the voice of Solid Snake from MGS. When you hear that voice in relation to Tamahome’s image, it just doesn’t match. He makes Tamahome sound gruffy, though it’s not the voice he uses for Solid Snake, but when he does scream, he does scream like Snake. This kind of casting is to me, for the sake of casting a big name and you’re giving him a character he’s not appropriate for. However, this was a role I thought perfectly suited his Japanese counterpart, Midorikawa Hikaru, the voice of Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Granted Midorikawa has played character opposite from Tamahome, he had a different kind of cool that Snake has, but he still has that passion and soft side that really captures him. As a matter of fact, Watase actually wanted him to play Tamahome because he had him in mind when he created the character.
I also enjoyed Kae Araki the voice of Sailor Chibi Moon as Miaka. She does sound annoying with her high-pitched voice, but it was at a certain tone where it really captured the character with all of these emotions whether sad, happy, concerned, or excited. And Seki Tomokazu, my 2nd favorite seiyuu who has played Miyata in Hajime no Ippo, Domon in G Gundam, Kamui in X The Movie, and many others was great as Chichiri, my 2nd favorite character. He is so multi-talented and he demonstrates it very well when you get to know his character more. Overall, the cast is just top notch and they all have great chemistry. Even though the romantic tension between Tamahome and Miaka gets annoying, their seiyuus truly make it believable.
The opening theme song Itoshii Hito no Tame Ni does open with this more traditional approach and then at the right moment, transitions to a more energetic J-Pop song. It’s very unique to me because it captures the cultural and romantic atmosphere of the series. And the ending theme Tokimeki Doukasen has a different kind of energy that is generic but still catchy and semi sexually suggestive in a more innocent sense. The background music is well orchestrated in every sense. Such as traditional Chinese music, more traditional cinematic.
Anyway, I think this is an anime I believe you should try to give a chance even if it may not be your taste. There are all kinds of good qualities this anime has that does make up for its bad ones. Even so, the bad qualities are still there but if you concentrate and stick to what you like, you’ll forget about them. I remember during the days of VHS fansubs, I used to talk to people who cried watching this series. It has all of these great themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and they are presented in a very realistically approachable manner. And believe me, there are moments where you might and I’m not ashamed to admit I have watching this series. The only anime that has achieved me to react like this since is the Kimura vs Mashiba oav of Hajime no Ippo.
Although it is one of my favorite series, there are some parts that to me are considered unsatisfactory. I feel a bit sorry for Chiriko because he was one of the lesser important seishis (the other would be Mitsukake). I am not a fan of Chiriko or Mitsukake, but I do think that they could’ve used more screen time.
I also noticed some discrepancies. It could be due to translation errors, but I’ll say it anyway. There was an episode where Keisuke and Tetsuya go to the Genbu shrine. They went there to see the Byakko miko. One question: why is the Byakko miko in the Genbu and not the Byakko shrine?
I have to mention that I watched the english dubbed version, because I found certain voice dubbers annoying. I hate Tomo’s voice – it is the most annoying voice I have ever heard in my life. Whoever thought of making Tomo’s voice sound that way was nuts and should be locked up in an asylum. Miaka was also a bit annoying. I cringe whenever she would cry out Tamahome’s name.
And now for the positives. I love the story – I think it is well thought of. It was able to mix in elements such as love, friendship, deceit, war, etc. into something really decent and worth watching. I first watched the show 6 years ago, and when I watched it again last month I find myself obsessed once more.
The visuals weren’t bad either – although I can’t say if I prefer seeing genitals on Yui and Miaka. Seeing naked people is bad enough. However, the show is filled with bishonens throughout the show. My personal favorite is Nuriko of course. He is my god. The wonderful art shown at the end of the show via the ending theme was beautifully made and I never grew tired of it.
The music wasn’t bad – most of it were mid 90s music, so I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. I do like the ending song, "Tokimeki no Doukasen". It’s another one of those nostalgic song for me – everytime I hear it I can’t help but feel reminiscent of the year when I first watched Fushigi Yuugi. Some of the insert songs weren’t bad either. Again they were mid 90s styled, but they’re not so bad. I did get tired of the opening song after a while. Hearing "Maiagare Suzaku" for more than 10 times tends to get on my nerves.
I think one reason why the show was suspended on Filipino free TV was because of mild sex and vulgar language. This is definitely not for kids, but I would say it is a must – see for the 16+ crowd (mostly because I saw the show when I was 16).
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it’s very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka’s senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it’s music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It’s nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka’s senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I’m not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well… if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV’s, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn’t wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot… 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C’mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV’s, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV’s aren’t enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it’s only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren’t the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don’t, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all… But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it’s just been 9 years since my first watching, and I’ve developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It’s a classic, and for it’s time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the ’92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in ’93) so it’s not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn’t made at the same time. It’s possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can’t find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I’m going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I’m a Tasuki fangirl)
7: Tenkuu no Escaflowne
English: The Vision of Escaflowne
MAL Score: 7.68
Hitomi Kanzaki is just an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl with an interest in tarot cards and fortune telling, but one night, a boy named Van Fanel suddenly appears from the sky along with a vicious dragon. Thanks to a premonition from Hitomi, Van successfully kills the dragon, but a pillar of light appears and envelopes them both. As a result, Hitomi finds herself transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky.
In this new land, Hitomi soon discovers that Van is a prince of the Kingdom of Fanelia, which soon falls under attack by the evil empire of Zaibach. In an attempt to fight them off, Van boards his family’s ancient guymelef Escaflowne—a mechanized battle suit—but fails to defeat them, and Fanelia ends up destroyed. Now on the run, Hitomi and Van encounter a handsome Asturian knight named Allen Schezar, whom Hitomi is shocked to find looks exactly like her crush from Earth. With some new allies on their side, Van and Hitomi fight back against the forces of Zaibach as the empire strives to revive an ancient power.
Manga, Anime: There are three different manga for this anime, and the two that were released around the same time as the anime are worlds apart. In order to understand this, you need to know a little something about the production.
Escaflowne was in development for about five years. Shoji Kawamori (famous for his work on the Macross series and Eureka Seven) came up with the initial idea for the series after a trip to Nepal, and hashed out the basics of the series with Minoru Takanashi at Bandai, with Hitomi originally as a curvy, long-haired, air-headed girl with glasses, and a decidedly more shonen bent to the series. Sunrise (famous for their work on the Gundam series and Cowboy Bebop) was originally selected to do the series, which was then planned at 39 episodes, and Noboteru Yuki worked with Kawamori, with the director at the time being Yasuhiro Imagawa. The director stuck around long enough to coin the phrase Escaflowne, and then left before production actually started, and the project was shelved. Two years later, Sunrise picked it back up and bought on Kazuki Akane (famous for his work on Noein -To Your Other Self- and the Birdy the Mighty 2008 remake), who then gave the series a complete makeover, bringing in shoujo elements to balance out the shonen, notably, making the men a bit more into bishonen and remaking Hitomi as the girl we know in the series.
The first of the manga titles to come out shared the anime’s name, and was based on the original production ideas, which gave it far more of a shonen bent. This manga was done by Katsu Aki, and ran in Kadokawa Shoten’s Shonen Ace magazine from October 24th, 1994 to November 26th, 1997. It was licensed Stateside by Tokyopop, and the eighth and final volume was released on September 14th, 2004. The second manga title, titled Messaiah Knight – The Vision of Escaflowne, later retitled Hitomi – The Vision of Escaflowne, was released around the same time as the anime, and was a shoujo adaptation based more on the final version of the anime. Yuzuru Yashiro did this adaptation, and it ran in Kadokawa Shoten’s Asuka Fantasy DX magazine from April 8th, 1996 to January 18th, 1997, and has yet to be licensed Stateside. The final manga title is called Energist’s Memories, which is an anthology of several stories from the Escaflowne universe done by several manga authors. It was released in January of 1997, and also has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Escaflowne is a twenty-six episode series (yes, you’ll notice it was cut down from the 39 episodes originally planned) that was produced by Sunrise and Bandai Visual, and directed by Kazuki Akane. It ran on Japanese TV from April 2nd, 1996 till September 24th, 1996. It was licensed Stateside by Bandai Entertainment, and the latest full boxset was released on April 11th, 2006 as part of the Anime Legends collection.
Story: High school track runner Hitomi Kanzaki has a talent for stunningly accurate tarot readings. One day, she has a vision of a young man slaying a dragon, and, later that night, the same young man is transported to her world in a pillar of light, along with the dragon, and he slays it. As soon as the young man, named Van Fanel, has harvested the energist stone that lies in the dragon, the pillar of light returns him back to his world, Gaea, where both the moon and Earth (known as the Mystic Moon) hang in the sky – only Hitomi is taken back with him. As Hitomi tries to find a way home, her latent psychic powers are awakened, which in turn awakens Farnelia’s mech (known as Escaflowne), and she becomes caught up in the politics and conflict between Asturia, Farnelia, and the Zaibach Empires.
You can tell that the story was originally meant for a longer series, but the decision to trim it down to twenty-six episodes came through just when the series came in just as production was beginning, and the director didn’t want to sacrifice any of the characters or plot lines. So, instead, the already elaborately planned plotlines and character development was made to fit into a twenty-six episode series. And, admittedly, while the story and development is a bit jerky, slow at first but then speeding up in others, it still manages to completely and coherently wrap things up in its length, not to mention give the fairly extensive cast of characters good development.
And speaking of characters, I have so much respect for how they developed them. The characters all start out as fairly common shoujo tropes, but are developed into real people and incredibly engaging ones at that. Hitomi especially; she could’ve been this horrible Mary-Sue, but instead she is developed and even grows up a little as she makes her way through Gaea and reacts pretty realistically to her situation. Relationships between all of them are slowly developed, and you aren’t hit over the head with it as they are; when they are finally bought to light or out and out pointed out, you realize, "Oh, that explains it!"
For those of you who are mech fans, you’ll be happy to hear that the mech fights are paid as much attention to as the the story and character development; there’s at least one major fight every other episode. And especially appropriate is how they developed the mechs to match the level of technology that’s found in Gaea.
Gaea is general is built extremely well as a world; just about every aspect you could think of is given thought and explained in ways that don’t make you feel like you’re being hit over the head with the exposition hammer all that much.
The downside of all this is that you feel like you’re getting bombarded with information, and there are a few minor characters that are mostly running gags and who they seem to forget exist for a few episodes here and there and then are bought back into the story to remind the audience, "Hey! They’re still here!"
So, overall, while there is quite an overload on information, and a few gag characters are forgotten here and there, Escaflowne’s story is still pretty good, and all elements of it are given equal loving attention.
Art: Compared to other shows that were airing roughly around this time (Ruroni Kenshin, Martian Successor Nadesico, Ghost in the Shell), Escaflowne’s art is pretty damn good, if not gorgeous. Character designs are given the perfect amount of detail, not to mention as are all the different races on Gaea, mech designs, backgrounds, just everything is absolutely beautiful in this. There are some very strong lines used in this, like what we saw in Ouran High School Host Club. And overall, the quality of the art has aged quite well.
The style of the art has not aged well, though. Facial features are extremely exaggerated, notably with a few noses that could conceivably be used as swords with how pointy they are. Also, CG use in this is fairly obvious, which is a bit understandable, but it’s still a bit painful to watch at times.
Music: The music for this is absolutely spectacular. Yoko Kanno did the work on this, and it’s not the typical jazz soundtrack that I’ve seen from her in Darker than Black and Cowboy Bebop. Instead, here, we get EPIC orchestral scores, with beautiful string work and special emphasis on the cello (used to be a cellist, so it’s always great for me to hear the instrument used so well) and excellent choral arrangements.
The OP is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, Hitomi’s seiyuu, and is just a lovely ballad (well, waltz, actually, it is in 3/4 time) in general. It’s always a good thing when I don’t skip through the OP, and it’s even better when I sing along to it; I did this every episode. The ED is a more stereotypical upbeat JPop number done by a guy instead of a girl, and was very easily skippable.
Seiyuu: This series is chock full of good seiyuu. Hitomi was Maaya Sakamoto’s (famous for her work as Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club and Aeris Gainsborough in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) debut role, and her singing of the OP was her first work singing. Besides Ms. Sakamoto, Jouji Nakata (famous for his roles as the Count in Gankutsuou and Alucard in Hellsing) appears as Folken, and Juurouta Kosugi (famous for his roles as Akio in Revolutionary Girl Utena and Fernand d’Morcerf in Gankutsuou) appears as Dryden.
As for the other seiyuu, the voices fit well, and were acted well, which is all I ask for.
Length: Twenty-six episodes makes the series feel a bit pushed for time. Having the full run of 39 episodes probably would have helped this in the long run, and especially given it some time to breathe. Any shorter, though, and it just wouldn’t have worked.
Overall: Escaflowne has an excellent story and characters, a well-built and animated world, excellent seiyuu and beautiful music. It has a few flaws, mainly from the compressed schedule it was given to air in, and the occasional forgetting of characters but, nonetheless, is a very solid series. It’s not a ZOMG favorite series for me, but I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good series.
Overall: 41/50; 82% (B)
So I’ve been patiently watching the series mainly because I have nothing else to do, and tbh I quite enjoyed the first half of the series. And then they lost me. I mean it’s a fantasy anime, so a fair bit of leeway has to be given to the plot. I can make my peace with the hidden power of fate that the MC uses. I can deal with the mana-mechanical transformer-bots in a medieval setting. Hell, I can even swallow the uber ridiculous goal of the antagonist to control fate, and in corollary, control the world. Classic Villain. Pretty easy to swallow. Then it got weird.
There are a bunch of reasons I pretty much hated the series.
1. The antagonists are a fucking joke. First there’s Dornkirk who is our classic villain in the shadows, pulling the strings, laughing his evil laugh, who not surprisingly at all started out helping people. His goal is to create a world without war. Now thats very ambitious. More ambitious is his chosen method of accomplishing this goal i.e. controlling fate. You would think that he would take some kind of care in choosing his generals and inner circle.
Which brings me to Folken. Seriously dude? You joined his Hitler-esque cause because you didn’t want to kill a dragon? Yeah I know, thats not what happened, but take a moment to think about his actual motivation for joining up with Dornkirk. There really isn’t any. I mean I get why the fortune twins fell for Folken, they were half cat so it makes sense for them to unconditionally love the person who saved them. Folken’s origin story makes me believe his Draconian mother had intimate relations with a fucking cocker spaniel, because in the end he’s basically a rescue.
AND WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THIS DILANDAU CHARACTER? I mean seriously. His only motivation to do anything is “I have a boo boo on my cheek and I must destroy the one who did it and anyone in the way of accomplishing my boo boo revenge”. Really man? Is that all there is to you considering how many fucking times you battled the MC?
2. Which brings me to my second point. I don’t like to be masturbated without the pleasure of a climax. Van has a hard-on for murdering every minor baddie, but for whatever reason when it comes to Dilandau his sword needs Viagra to function. Not to mention Hitomi’s nagging also starts ONLY when Dilandau’s close to death. Why? Why is this barely one dimensional character still alive in the 3rd act of the series? Even the final plot twist with this character…WHY? And more importantly HOW? His condition just resolves itself because….profit? This character gave me the biggest murder boner simply because the writers wouldn’t kill the little bitch off and kept teasing till the very end.
And after all that “cold as ice” acting , Folken’s heart suddenly melts? Because his two pussy cats died? Why? Did I miss something? What was your motivation to join Dornkirk ? What was your motivation in leaving him? Were you sleeping while he slaughtered the first few million people, or did it really take your pussy dying for you to regain your empathy? WTF? THIS, if any of the characters from the antagonists should have been the final conflict. Instead, the writers pussy out and turn him into a good guy at the end. Its pathetic. I bet a nun could jerk me off better than this piece of shit anime.
3. Then there’s… Luck enhanced soldiers made by transfusing synthetic blood created from splicing the genes of the luckiest people…….
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!? WHY NOT A FUCKING SPELL? ITS A MAGICAL WORLD!!! A SPELL WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE BELIEVABLE!!!
Unless you’re as nit picky as me, you probably won’t notice, but the mythology and the world design is in a clash in this anime. Much of it is ok, since we waste most of our time with the bland and often interchangeable characters, but for the most part…ehhh…the world isn’t believable as either fantasy or science fiction.
4. The two main characters finally fall in love. This love is strong. Its history is epic. It will become a tale retold in many forms. It had the power to overcome fate. There was nothing in the way of the two lovers making a life together. Theirs was a perfect ending. “Well, I have go back to Earth for absolutely no reason at all and pine for my lover for the rest of my life” – Hitomi.
In conclusion, I’ve definitely seen animes with worse characters, story mechanics, mythology and plot. Credit where credit’s due. It isnt the worst thing out there, but make sure you don’t watch this anime when you actually have the time to watch it. Watch it while you study for a test or something like that. Keep it in the background so you don’t notice the flaws, and you only see the magical transformer robots and furries. At least that way you won’t pull your hair out from the frustrating stupidity that is Escaflowne.
The first thing about this series that earned it a point in my favor was the wholeness and realness of the characters. Hitomi, the protagonist, in particular earned my approval because she, unlike most anime females, seems very realistic. She’s not the stereotypical "cutesy" girl (God, but I do hate those), nor is she overly self-sacrificing; she’s not one of those violence prone angry chicks, nor is she the tough loner, she’s not a goober who’s always eating, nor is she a femme fatale; she’s just a high school girl growing up in stages with a strong moral code. She’s someone I can imagine meeting if I walk down the street, which, after being innundated with the above stereotypical anime females, is very refreshing. Granted, there are many people who dislike Hitomi greatly, but I feel that she’s a strong character and that many of her actions, if you take the time to really imagine yourself in her situation, are reasonable, or at the least, understandable.
Aside form Hitomi, there are many other chracters involved in the story, each having their own personalities and unique stories. You’ve got Allen, the valiet bishounen knight, who is a bit strung up on the old ways of chivalry, Dilandau, the bloodthirsty psychopathic young general, Van, the moody and quiet crown prince, and a variety of other characters. The characters are so well done that it’s easy to fall in love with even the minor ones such as Gaddes, Allen’s right hand man.
The art style is very good given it’s time period. It is a bit older though, so don’t expect graphics like those of today found in animes such as Full Metal Alchemist and Air. The colors are a bit duller, but that only serves to enhance the overall rustic feeling of the anime.
The musical score for the series is fantastic. The emotions of a scene are captured superbly based solely on the ochestra rhythms. The openning theme is one of my favorites. The ending is a bit odd, but it grows on you. The ending also seems somewhat out of place as it has a sort of slowish techno-pop feel to it.
The main genres are romance and fantasy, but there is also a splash of the mecha realm thrown in. Unlike most mecha animes, the mechs in this are powered by the fantastical powers of dragon heart stones, hydrolics, and mechanical sytems. Their subesquent design is unique and intruiging. While seemingly low tech (the world in which Hitomi falls is not really technologically advanced and has a middle ages feel to it), the mechs are actually impressive bits of machinary. The floating fortresses and air ships, powered by magical stones, are also of interest.
There is not much humor to be found. Given that the story takes place in a world in the thros of war, this is understanable. It is not overwhelmingly, depressingly serious though. They do not make a point of expressing the darkest vices of human nature like Beserk or Elfen Lied. However, the anime does examine the destructiveness of greed, cowardess, hatred, and the problems associated with pursuing science for the sake of science. So, if you’re a fan of the overly goofy or light-hearted series, this one is likely not for you. It is also not likely for you if you’re an action fiend that requires an explosion or hand-to-hand fight every ten seconds. This one is mainly for fantasy/romance (but not the teenaged angst romance or the ten girls single guy romance) types.
One of the main themes of the anime is the conflict of fate versus free will. It makes some very intersting conclusions about how one’s free will affects not only one’s self but all of those around one.
I adored the bizarre twists presented at the end and highly recommend this. At least watch the first three or four episodes to give it a try. The only thing that will disappoint you is the fact that there’s not more of it.
6: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
English: Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン セーラースターズ
MAL Score: 7.92
Like the R Season, Sailor Stars is divided into two arcs:
The first arc (also filler) solves some conflicts from the SuperS season, and also sees the return of the Outer Senshi, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru (now reborn as a child).
The second arc is the actual plot from the manga. Usagi bids farewell to Mamoru, who is going to America to study abroad. In his place comes the Three Lights, an idol trio consisting of three boys, Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten. The new enemy is Galaxia, a woman who desires to rule the entire galaxy by collecting the Star Seeds of humans. Three new Senshi appear, the Sailor Starlights, who also intend to stop Galaxia without Sailor Moon’s help.
First of all, let me tell you, I can agree on why Sailor Moon Sailor Stars wasn’t licensed for the american dub version. If you watch this series, you will find out why. But enough with that matter, let me tell you what I thought of this amazing season of Sailor Moon.
I personally thought the story deserved higher that a 6, at that matter. The story was actually well thought out and planned detail to detail. Naoko Takeuchi had really improved since SuperS. I mean, how the new characters incorperated right into the story perfectly. The Starlights added a new sense of different careers in the story and how Seiya tried his/her best to be like a ‘new’ Mamoru for Usagi.
The art had pretty much improved since SuperS, in my opinion. The detail and different colors use to express the characters was amazing. I really thought that the design of the new senshi outfits was absolutly genius! Also, I must say, Sailor Moon’s Moon Tier was really detailed and perfetly executed the attacks every episode.
The sound in the series really got me into the season more and more. The new opening theme really changed the sense of the series after the same theme song season after season. Change was definetly in order. But I must admit, some of the songs the 3 Lights sang weren’t very good in my opinion. I understand they were looking for their princess for a very long period of time but I never got use to the songs they sang.
The Starlights intro into the series really up-ed my opinion on the rating of Character. Yet, in the anime, how they were changed into Male to Female really didn’t make me happy. I’m sure Naoko diefinetly felt the same way. Anyways, away from that matter, I believe that most of the characters didn’t change that much, yet I enjoyed how they comforted Usagi in her hard times.
The enjoyment of the series difinetly deserved a 10/10 in my opinion. The story brought along many happy, sad, romantic, ect., to the series. I think that Naoko did an exceptional job on this season and the manga at that.
Overall, this series deserves a 10/10! The series was outstanding to me and was one of the first anime I watched when I was young. The series always kept me at the edge of my seat and I really enjoyed some humor here and there. If you are in the mood for an amazing series, I highly reccomend this series to any mahou shoujo anime fan out there. The series was excellent to me and I bet any Sailor Moon fan would agree.
There’s plenty of new scouts from other galaxies and other leaded by another princess. It also features a cool idol group as some of the season’s new characters.
This season was the last season of Sailor Moon and it was never dubbed in English during it’s original release. This season may be still new news to some fans who just watched and were familiar with the original English dub.
Break from Mini Moon-
And of course we get a break from Mini Moon. Even though she is still an important character in it’s first episodes, she does get a break and doesn’t appear through the second arc of this season. This could be a relief to some fans after SuperS.
Yes, this season has plenty of hardships, downfalls, and Sailor Moon will be find herself very heartbroken at times.
Villains are scouts-
Yes! I mentioned there was drama. Not only are there new scouts called the Starlights, the villains themselves are also scouts, which makes it hard to know who to trust.
This is all around a super season and is a must watch for fans. Despite the flaws that Tuxedo Mask is absent from the second arc (but it’s for a reason), and the outers appear very little times. It’s still it’s a great season and you won’t be disappointed.
And this last season was the best one (I missed Mamoru-chan but.. ^^).. We saw friendship, love, longing, and also determination and faith.. of course with the sufficient amount of humour ^^ It has everything in it, and it is an anime that I’d show my children..
Everybody should watch this classic, imo. The storyline, the characters, fight scenes.. all of them were 10/10 for me ^^
(Should I begin watching it again?? ^^)
5: Ie Naki Ko Remy
English: Sans Famille
MAL Score: 7.92
Remy, a cheerful and tender-hearted girl, lives with her mother in a French country town. One day her father returns to the town after a long period working away from home in a city. Her father tells Remy that she isn’t their real daughter, and Remy is almost sold to an evil slave trader. It is Vitalis, a strolling entertainer, who helps Remy. Vitalis discovers her talent for singing and decides to take her in with his troupe.
Okay, yes, the 1977 version made by Dezaki is universally considered by fans to be better than this version, the 1997 version. However! That certainly doesn’t mean that the 1997 version doesn’t have anything that’s good about it or that it isn’t a good show in its own right. In fact, I happen to like them both on the same level, but for very different reasons. I really love Homeless Girl Remy for what it is as its own entity, and I think other people should too, if they just look past the source material and the back story behind this production. Everybody knows the story by now, so I’ll talk about the other stuff. For one thing, the animation for this version may be considered low budget compared to the 1977 version, and yeah, low budget is right as some of the later episodes start to look just a BIT funny-looking. But the rest of the show, while it does have the whole nineties look about it, still looks great. The characters look a bit plain and simple, but everything else is great. The backgrounds are rich and detailed, little things are animated nicely, there are some still frames present but they don’t hurt the final product, and the characters’ movements are down to earth and fluid. Plus, because the colors are a bit muted and soft, it’s very easy on the eyes. I seem to like old school cel drawn animation better than digital animation, as it’s easier on my eyes, though a lot of my favorite shows are colored digitally, so I could probably be biased here. I’m not a discriminatory animation lover, though! Check my top 3 to see how varied my animation preferences are! Taking all of this into account, when compared to other shows of its time, the animation is still relatively nice and well done, so I wouldn’t consider it bad or entirely low budget. The creators needed to make do with what they got, and they definitely did, in my opinion.
Now, time to talk about what I feel is the BEST part of the show: the soundtrack. Now, if you’ve read my review of the 1977 version, you’ll have read that I considered that version’s music to be very passe and outdated. Yes, I still hold this opinion to be true, especially now that I’ve finally gotten to finish this version. And wow, the soundtrack for this version is about a thousand times better than the first one! For one thing, the opening and ending themes are absolutely wonderful! They’re both very soft, melodic tunes sung by soft voiced singers, with great lyrics pertaining to love and being yourself and enduring hardship, and they both fit the show to a T. While I did like the opening of the 1977 version, I felt the song was a bit too upbeat, and the ending was even more so, but to a worse and extremely jarring degree. Homeless Girl Remy’s themes are great, soft, warm, fitting, and they match the tone of the show while striking a good balance between dark and upbeat. I love soft songs with singers that have soft voices, so I could be biased here. The background music is another thing that needs to be praised, because unlike other shows where they tend to put the wrong kinds of music in the wrong places, killing tension or ruining poignant scenes (Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, anyone?), Remy’s soundtrack also fits the entire show to a T. I remember the soundtrack for the 1977 version being VERY seventies and I don’t remember liking some of the music that much. However, the 1997 version is full of nice, classical pieces that know when to be subtle and when to be full of suspense and tension, really bringing out the atmosphere and emotions of their assigned scenes. It’s meant to tug at your heart strings, and it definitely tugged at mine when those moments came, making what I feel are great moments in not just this show, but in anime in general. If a soundtrack isn’t used to its full potential and in context, then it could very well feel cheesy and out of place, ruining the show. Thankfully, Remy’s soundtrack didn’t fall into this pitfall.
The characters are the subject to quite a bit of debate in the WMT fandom, as they were subjected to the most drastic changes. Whether it’s for better or worse varies with each character and with someone’s opinion, and WMT anime are known for having very strong, nuanced, three-dimensional, and well developed characters in every single one of their anime, even during times when kids anime were expected to have simple characters who only have one trait and don’t do much other than to entertain kids and preach a bunch of morals, especially in America, which is happily changing in this day and age (especially moreso with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), albeit slowly. However, while I do adore the characters in this version, I do feel that compared to all the other WMT adaptations, these characters are a little bit weak and underdeveloped. One of the worst offenders is Gaspard, the villain in the second half of the show. He’s really not much more than a walking villain cliche. He’s gruff, he’s mean, he’s pathetic, he’s cruel to everyone he meets, especially the kids he enslaves, all he wants is money money money, and he’ll go to whatever means necessary to get it and use it for his own purposes. If kids don’t do anything for him or do anything he hates, which is basically everything, he whips them and takes great pleasure in doing so. Heck, a lot of the villains in this show are card board cut outs meant to make the good characters look good. I can understand why this is so, however, and while I don’t fault the creators for the circumstances that led to the WMT’s downfall, that’s still no excuse to make a bunch of walking cliche villains who are basically just like every one villainous anime character out there, just not with superpowers or intent to destroy the world, even with a very rushed plot that they had to deal with. The good characters are also subjected to lack of development (Vitalis is the biggest victim of this), but it’s not bad in any way. Remy may have been changed into a girl, but she’s still a very strong and good character who can carry the weight of the show very well, though she isn’t the only one, even though her being compassionate from the beginning has very limited her development, and instead, other characters develop because of her, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but if it gets used a bit much, then characters won’t be able to feel like individuals who can stand on their two feet. Though, with this in mind, try being those slaves under Gaspard’s grubby hand. At least this is justified.
While I do praise the creators for at least trying to make do with what they were given considering the inevitable circumstances, there are still some jarring flaws. One of them appears at the end of the show, but it’s not too spoiler filled so I’ll go with it: one minute Gaspard loses sight of Remy, then when it looks like she escaped and outran him, he somehow manages to catch up to her with absolutely no explanation whatsoever! How was that even possible?! Plus, it does seem to want drama a little TOO badly, because you’ll know right away when something bad happens to Remy in any form, and you’ll be able to predict more from a mile away, and even with 26 episodes, there’s still a tiny bit of filler, and considering the circumstances, the show came out very rushed as a result, leaving a bit of a cheesy and rushed ending, but I liked it for what it was, and I’ve seen worse endings so I’ll let it slide. Plus, there’s a good lesson in that no matter how hard things are, you have to keep moving forward and everything you’ve gone through will bring about a positive outcome in the end, and that’s an anvil that really really REALLY and SERIOUSLY needs to be dropped more often in this day and age where kids are being bullied to the point of drugs, alcohol, murder, and even suicide because they feel there’s no way out and no hope for them. Not only that, it also provides some very heartwarming and refreshing romance in a sea of cliche shoujo anime/manga. What I especially liked about this was that in terms of some things happening, characters actually talk about their feelings and problems instead of bottling them in, which is an oh so common pitfall for most anime and manga nowadays. Wanna know the best thing? NO NARRATOR! I don’t remember being annoyed by the narrator in the 1977 version, but he talks and reveals important secrets in EVERY SINGLE episode, so I can see that being very annoying for many people, as some of what he says is really unnecessary. The 1997 version doesn’t have a narrator, thank God. Plus, even with the show’s warm and idealistic nature, the dark, cold fist of reality crashes down on the characters, and nobody is spared. I think children’s shows need more dark and scary moments instead of trying to hide them out of fear of parents complaining. I don’t see the point of hiding the fact that bad things can and will happen to anyone. This is why I like Japan’s shows, because they don’t conform to political correctness like we oh so sadly have and they take their animation very seriously, their kids shows included (most of the time). I think scary and sad moments in children’s shows/movies are good once in a while because those will actually teach them to be good and kind, and…really, bad things can, will, and do happen to people in real life anyway, so why not show them in advance so they’ll learn how to deal with it that doesn’t involve drugs, alcohol, or anything of the sort?
People, don’t revile this show simply because it’s not the source material or because it’s not perfect. That’s not a good attitude to have. I love the 1977 version, but I love the 1997 version just as much for what it is as its own entity. If one can just look past all the flaws and acknowledge what it DOES do well and right, then you’ll be treated to a great, heart-tugging, heartwarming, nice little shoujo anime. Sure, it’s not the best anime in the world, and not the most polished adaptation, but so what? It did its best and knew what it wanted to be. I know this show will have a place in my heart, and if it ever gets dubbed in English (which is likely never unless some brave and bold person steps up to the challenge), I’d absolutely LOVE to show this to my family, friends, and even my future kids one day! So cut the crap and watch this, and acknowledge it for what it is, not for what it should have been!
Ie Naki Ko Remy is a classic Nippon Animation anime, another one of the “Word Masterpiece Theater, and highly praised by many.
Well, the first half of this anime is fantastic. But the problem comes after Vitalis dies.
Why is the anime not good after Vitallis dies? Well, that’s simple: It’s ILLGICAL AND NO NOTION.
After Vitalis dies, Remi goes home to Gaspard, who forces homeless children to work and bring him money. This is literally the biggest problem of this anime.
Remi is not a dumb girl, but she “becomes dumb” after going to Gaspard’s house. Remi has to run away with everyone, so as not to be mistreated by Gaspard, but the script does not let her.
The children get enough money to survive, but these children prefer to stay in the house of a man who mistreats them, and if they all stayed together, they would have a much better life on the street.
Mattia is a smart boy, and he could manage all the children. Even Remi could run away with all the children to Mrs. Milligan’s house, who is her real mother, but she doesn’t know it.
Anyway, this anime was a wasted potential, because the second half is really bad and clueless
Most of the characters are good, they fulfill their function.
I don’t even remember the OST, just the OP and ED which I like a lot.
The animation is ok.
I was disappointed with this anime because it clearly would be one of my favorites if it followed a good plot like the first half. Unfortunately the second half is just a lot of nonsense, as I explained, for the sake of the script trying to force a drama.
This review I decided to talk more about what made me dislike this anime. Because, as I said before, the first half is really good. It’s really a shame that it didn’t stay at the same level until the end.
4: Slayers Next
English: Slayers Next
MAL Score: 8.03
In the kingdom of Xoana, Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev unexpectedly come across their old companions, Zelgadis Graywords and Princess Ameilia Wil Tesla Saillune. Upon their reunion, the friends end up easily foiling the King of Xoana and his daughter’s dastardly plans of world conquest.
Soon after, it is revealed that Zelgadis is in search of the world’s most valuable magical tome, the Claire Bible, hoping to discover a method to recover his human body among the many secrets sheltered within it. Despite his protests, the rest of the group decides to join in the quest after hearing of his mission. However, just when they were wondering where to start looking for the legendary book, they stumble upon a mysterious priest by the name of Xellos, who claims that he may be of some help in their pursuit.
Thankfully, Slayers Next doesn’t suffer from any of those problems, and it’s great to see chief director Watanabe Takashi (who also directed both seasons of Shakugan no Shana, Shin Hokuto no Ken, Boogiepop Phantom, and almost all the Slayers anime series and movies), continue to work his magic with the show.
Slayers Next is a little different from the first series in that the show has a bit more bite to it than before. This time around Lina and the gang are searching for an item called the Claire Bible, a book that supposedly contains knowledge imparted to man by the Mazoku, and that Zelgadis believes has information on how to return him to normal. Aside from that Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis spend their time fighting, playing tennis, getting kidnapped, destroying castles/towns/anything that makes Lina angry, dressing in drag, and generally making nuisances of themselves.
The “bite” that I referred to stems primarily from the fact that all of the character and scenario introductions were done in the first series, so Next can simply crack on with the story. As with the first series, there are some pretty obvious holes in the plot, but once again the comedy comes to the rescue, and while the humour will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the first series, it retains a degree of freshness thanks to the overall feeling of continuity and the acting talents of the seiyuu. The one area where the plot is actually better than the first season though, is in it’s development of Lina.
As a character, Lina Inverse was pretty one dimensional in the first series. That’s not to say she isn’t fun and approachable, especially in terms of female leads. During the course of the first season though, there was very little in the way of development for her, and while she and the other characters had some very good characterisations, the development on her part doesn’t really begin until Next. While she remains as happy-go-lucky as she was before, certain events in Next serve to temper her personality and actions, giving her character a more rounded persona. That said, these changes are also the cue for some laughs, and become an important factor to the climax of the series, so it was nice to see this tempering process handled in a manner befitting the show.
I will be honest though. As much as I love the characters it should be noted that Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis receive only token development, however in the case of Gourry this can be forgiven since he’s an idiot (all brawn and very little brains, like any good fantasy “hero”). However, the characters remain as good as they were in the first series, and fans will find that they like them even more come the end of Next.
After all, character development isn’t always necessary, and can sometimes ruin a great show, especially one as action oriented as this is.
In terms of art and sound, there’s very little that’s different from the first series – both have aged fairly well. The biggest plus points are that Next retains the whole cast from the original TV show, and that the director and production company are the same as before. This gives the show feeling of continuity in terms of how it looks and sounds, and while one can watch Next as a completely separate entity, it’s advisable to watch the first season of Slayers in order to fully appreciate the second.
Slayers Next is a little different from the original series, but only in terms of how focused the show is this time around. However, the series retains all the charm, humour, action and adventure that made the first season great. Next takes the adventure one step further, and where the first series liked to show Lina as almost god-like at times, Next isn’t afraid to show some of her weaknesses (slugs, for example). While the characters are as likeable as ever, Next gives them a little more room to get themselves into trouble.
Suffice to say that Slayers Next is at least equal to the original Slayers, and is one of the few occasions where the sequel not only adds to the whole, but also improves it (much like Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd Gig, and the Aria: The Natural & Origination).
If you’re a fan of Slayers, then this is a must. If you’re a fan of wanton magical destruction, then this is a must. If you’re a fan characters getting into trouble just because they have “a bit of a bad temper and a complex about their breast size”, then this is a must.
If you’re a fan of action, adventure, romance (the off-the-wall kind that sometimes involves crossdressing), tennis, and magical hijinks and shenanigans, then Slayers Next may be up your street.
But let’s go off from the beginning…
NEXT is a direct successor to the first SLAYERS tv series, and a much better series at that. It gives you much less fillers, more action, funny gags and tons of enjoyment almost every episode.
The story circles around an old and incredibly powerful artefact – Claire Bible. As it contains some old-school anti-demonic magic, Lina wants to get it, no matter the cost. The whole season then focuses on finding the *book* and eliciting ‘the most powerful spell evar’ from it. The plot may seem cliche and quite simple, but as it is ‘The Slayers’ we’re talking about I would not say my last word on it. And neither did the authors.
Very quickly the main story goes off track to some more serious business involving the Mazoku race, kingdom of Seyluun and eventually also Sairaag which you probably remember being destroyed by Copy Rezo at the end of Slayers TV. Our fellow company, this time consisting of Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zell goes off to different places to find out, why are the monsters so interested in Lina and her magic. Occasionally we will also have some cameos of old characters and a considerable amount of new ones introduced too… Xellos, Martina, The Demonic Lord Gaav and his henchmen or Philionell, this is just a tip of an iceberg and believe me, by the end of the series the list of antagonists will grow much bigger and someone *important* will appear too.
The series still is a classic Slayers successor though. It makes you cry when there is a need to, gives you chills the other time and eventually will make you die while laughing at Zelgadis being used as an anchor. The fantasy elements are omnipotent, yet they do not stand in your way like they did in the original Series. Here, everything is so cleverly designed that you won’t even notice that something is actually going on behind the scenes until the scriptwriter allows you to.
The same cup of tea goes for the characters. Those are simply splendid. Lina is as vicious, clever and *cute* as always. Gourry is the very same block of brainless muscles as in the original series and Zell… well, this guy gets a lot of screen time in NEXT and it’s one of the best parts of the crew. The way the group manages to put him off and joke about his prejudices is simply hilarious ;]. The same can be said about the antagonists. Most of them have their own stories to tell and those stories are neat enough to explain why the given character goes this way and not the other one. The final boss is a masterpiece on it’s own. Imagine an overly powerful and demonic Lina combined with unbelievable cunning skills and non-existing self-control… Yes, I know. It’s short to impossible to imagine that ;]. Moreover, finally we get to see some people coupling and talking about relationships. It’s something new in the series and I gotta say it fits superb. Especially since the final cluster of episodes bases on one of those relationships strongly.
Overall, in terms of story and characters this series is second to none and you can look for better fantasy/rpg stories but you won’t find them. It beats the first Slayers viciously and leaves no quarter to Slayers TRY!
The art and music are both something completely else. Although the animation may sometimes seem a bit awkward and outdated (even for 1996 when it was released) it still fits the tone of the series perfectly and does its job without a flaw. You won’t get some picturesque sceneries here though, simply because this series focuses on the people, not backgrounds. Fits me.
The music is, on the other hand, flawless. I sincerely admire the person who wrote the ambient sounds and the score for the series – it fits naturally into every scene you see there, does not disturb you and makes you turn up the speakers. I especially liked the one particular OST track – “The person I want to protect the most in the world” – or so it went. It fits particularly into one single scene close to end of the series, and, well, it’s unforgettable.
Megumi Hayashibara did great job in voice casting Lina, as well as preparing some of the background sounds. The seiyuu work is great in the series. You won’t find a single voice that does not fit the character’s personality.
All in all, a strong point of the series, although like I said in the intro, if I were to compare to the up-2-date series… well, the art would suffer some heavy strikes… :(.
The series is enjoyable like hell. You may have seen it several times but you will always want more. The whole picture is accompanied by very good opening and ending sequences which you’ll never skip.
Summing it all up. Slayers NEXT is a must for all who have watched the original series and enjoyed it as well as anyone and everyone who likes good comedy multiplied with friendship and love factor with some drama elements aaaaaand a flashy finale.
Perfect 9 from me and a recommendation!
As far as the dubbing goes, I am partial to both Japanese and English. They both have voices that fit and don’t fit characters. However that is the beauty of dvds is you can pick and choose your language preference. Aside from that Give a Reason the opening has to be the most popular anime song ever. I hear it everywhere! Also it should be noted later in the series things get slightly more serious, so that is a refreshing change of pace.
3: Dragon Ball Z
English: Dragon Ball Z
MAL Score: 8.15
Five years after winning the World Martial Arts tournament, Gokuu is now living a peaceful life with his wife and son. This changes, however, with the arrival of a mysterious enemy named Raditz who presents himself as Gokuu’s long-lost brother. He reveals that Gokuu is a warrior from the once powerful but now virtually extinct Saiyan race, whose homeworld was completely annihilated. When he was sent to Earth as a baby, Gokuu’s sole purpose was to conquer and destroy the planet; but after suffering amnesia from a head injury, his violent and savage nature changed, and instead was raised as a kind and well-mannered boy, now fighting to protect others.
With his failed attempt at forcibly recruiting Gokuu as an ally, Raditz warns Gokuu’s friends of a new threat that’s rapidly approaching Earth—one that could plunge Earth into an intergalactic conflict and cause the heavens themselves to shake. A war will be fought over the seven mystical dragon balls, and only the strongest will survive in Dragon Ball Z.
The original Dragon Ball was fun, but in DBZ the characters have grown and the maturity is felt throughout the whole series. From the incredible Sayian Saga, an important Frieza Saga and the entertaining Cell Saga to the Grand Finale – Buu Saga, DBZ does not disappoint. It’s not all about the fighting, although the series have probably 4-5 battles that should be written in the anime history books. I was always astonished by the character development which is amazing and to emphasize this, I like the example of Vegeta. He was one of the greatest villains at first and one of the greatest heroes in the end. The way Akira Toriyama changed his perspective throughout the storyline and how he did not rush Vegeta’s judgement of his surroundings is astounding. Goku’s naive greatness and Vegeta’s indestructible pride completes, arguably, the single greatest friendship in anime history.
Still not impressed? Just watch the final DBZ battle. It is grand, it is electric, it is emotional and atmospheric. When two of the most beloved fighters, Goku and Vegeta, stand against the mightiest villain in an empty planet, when the last hope is on their shoulders, when the price of failure will erase everything that is worth living for, they look at the situation and smile: this is how life is supposed to be. A man without a challenge is a man who does not live.
anyone would of course heard of Dragon ball Z which I’m obviously sure
most people who are reading this review have and are not hopefully sleeping under a rock.
Its One of the earliest shounen animes along side others. The show itself has probably had
one of the Biggest impact of a shounen anime I’ve seen in my lifetime growing up besides the likes of attack on titan, Fullmetal Alchemist and Death note and yet till this day
it has many viewers still checking it out. some have finish seeing it, some re watch it, some if not Loads of people own it or they don’t, but they sure as hell know about it already.
This series has its fair share of flaws upon viewing but it also makes up for some of these many moments in the series that are so awesome and unforgettable that in its own right has become an Iconic series in its story along with akira toriyama’s art style alone in the world of anime which is why its easily one of my favorite animes and NO, I don’t mean that in a Nostalgia kind of way,
Here is my review..
Story – 9
In most Shounen animes the stories tend to have similar concepts of the whole Heroes (Underdogs) Overcomes the powerful Villain scenarios where seeing to do the impossible is very typical of course, but that has always been the trait in many cases whether the protagonist of a show is surrounded by friends or enemies.
DBZ is an Old anime that started off in this trend. It was also influence by a lot of movies,
shounen animes such as saint seiya, other mythological stories and a blend of eastern and
western cultural references from the past.
The world of Dragon ball has a lot of these and so much more to its own universe
even though a lot of its focus is on the fighting since it is a battle shounen anime.
The story mainly centers around our main protagonist Goku and his son Gohan
for some years after the previous series Dragon Ball.
Goku for the remainder of the time has trained to become the strongest warrior he
possibly can be, enough to defeat his enemies and of course to look out for his family however what is unknown to him at this point is his brother that is unknown to him Radditz an evil alien warrior who comes to earth seeking goku out which for the
most part changes the many fate of the characters for the entire series to come.
From the point Radditz meets Goku, He is told about his past and his heritage about being part of a powerful alien tribe known as the Saiyans or Saiya-jins If you prefer
It includes the reason why he is here on earth especially from the original Dragon ball series where goku’s own origin at the time was hardly known about and was almost a mystery until now. (pretty much the anime superman’s origin story with some differences mainly with goku who actually was sent to destroy everyone on earth not to save it.)
and long story short,
Goku decides to put aside of what he is and from the rest of the series he, his son gohan, along with his friends and new allies in Piccolo, Vegeta, trunks and other characters continue on fighting against those that pose a threat to the earth along with the rest of other civilizations which becomes a Huge order with some ridiculously over the top relentless training that the characters have to take to ascend pass their limits in order to protect their loved ones and the of course the universe.
Basically Its quite a simple story yet some events can change drastically making it to be an overwhelming struggle at an alarming scale even with the exception of the dragonballs.
The story itself is split into different arcs known as sagas each with a different story scenario and different antagonists who have their own agendas.
The villains play a big key role in the development of certain main characters
as well as the story and fights.
Within the setting of this series there are features similar to the original series for starters the fighters can create Chi / Ki to gain incredible surge of immense power and abilities.
Also from a world setting stand point you have Prehistoric Giant creatures, Futuristic technology, the afterlife, Supernatural elements, Different animal species, wishing the dead back to the living, and of course many memorable moments that the characters do in the series that can range from simply epic, to funny, to sad, to stupid, to strange, to Downright bad ass or Just plain evil which can be seen in every arc.
However there are of course minor issues that I do have about the story and that is mainly with the incredibly slow pacing and lack of progression with certain characters of the original series dragon ball.
Not to mention missed opportunities for other story developments and a little inconsistency with the writing within the arcs sometimes where some might get quite slow and repetitive or might have fillers to drag on some episodes here and there,
Frieza not being able to know what 5 minutes of time is also laughable in this case as well.
The Ki powering up which will also leave viewers having to endure these pacing issues unless they have to skip some seconds or minutes ahead,
But then again those were the 80s and 90s with certain animes.
But that being said these are mainly the issues in my opinion that I feel take a long time for any specific build up with this series only because the anime at the time I know was trying to catch up with the manga from time to time when it was broadcasting on TV channels like toonami and other channels back then which is understandable since its also the case for other
shounen animes of late as well.
I’ve also notice some people tend to think the titled dragon ball referring to obviously the 7 orange magical orbs to grant wishes, tend to hurt and devalue the series mainly because of the insignificance of death most of the time. (which there are)
Now To simply address those who say Death always makes a convincing plot twist for a show to be good, I’ve notice viewers complaining that in ordered to feel something for characters they need to die in order to give yourself some sense of attachment of feelings towards that specific character or moments if you will? but I’m sorry, Is it just me or as a viewer does that seem kinda strange??
let me explain.
If that is the case then most anime should have their main characters dying left and right to make the story better, to feel some sense of pity to the characters along their path in the story (WRONG.)
The fact is, it doesn’t prove anything what so ever yes it can be somewhat important and I can understand if its meant to give some shock value but honestly that sounds very cheap for character development and Plot progression if you ask me, Its already overused nowadays
in a lot of animes without any significance of knowing and enjoying these characters for the most part and yes I haven’t forgotten about that little popular quote itself stating
(PEOPLE DIE WHEN THEY ARE KILLED) or even (YOLO) blah blah blah.
But interestingly enough when you think about it the dragon balls is what made that unique prospect within its own series stand out.
Because It gives the characters that much more of an objective to strive in finding the dragon balls when events could go so horribly wrong which a lot of times is the premise and sometimes seems to be the case throughout the series, its also the same for some villains too like for example when vegeta and nappa arrived on earth vegeta told his saiyan compatriot nappa when you destroyed the city that can also ruin our chances of locating the dragon balls
this is true in a sense if they become reckless in finding them.
You see, That is what the original Dragon ball did within its own series,
If all you cared about was seeing how characters die than there is no sense of this series to begin with here. It would only make the journey seem non-existent to a point since these sagas of the series is mainly about the journey and the battle shounen experience.
So think to yourself, is death necessary in all things always?
That is what makes DB/DBZ unique and different in a good way and If that is not your thing well than I’m sure there are plenty of other animes that take up a lot of serious death tolls for the most part and only guarantee you very little insight about the characters before they are pretty much one foot in the grave.
With all that being said, the story is a mix of intense fights, light hearted comedy and
serious moments too along with a sense of sci fi and supernatural elements to it.
From each arc there are some of the most memorable arcs I’ve seen in shounen animes in general, they may not be as thought provoking as other shows I’ve seen but it still has these enjoyable merits that for a 1989 -1994 series, it can still hold its ground today in terms of that entertainment.
Characters – 10
Like I said about the main issue I had from before with its story was just the lack of some of the character progression from the original series dragon ball who are mainly on the sideline for the most part and ironically at the same time other characters are really amazingly well written including Vegeta, Gohan, krillin, Trunks, and Piccolo not to mention goku and vegeta who have one of the best rivalries in the shounen genre. even some of the villains like Radditz, Cell, and Frieza etc are done amazingly well.
Sure most of the characters are stereotypes here and there but they are of course shonen characters at the end of the day so what do you expect, it is a battle shounen is it not?
The Characters are easily the main driving force of the show and can easily get the blood boiling and muscles pumped up when it goes to the extreme almost bringing out an inner fighter in you especially when watching it. The characters have some really good interactions with one another and can easily make you have a personal attachment to 1 of them in some way in terms of their personality.
Art – 6
Old series tend to have an outdated look for examples the original Dragon ball, Berserk, Evangelion, Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, Shadow Skills, Fist of the north star, Yu Yu Hakusho, Slayers etc,
DBZ is no different in that regard.
Its funny because for its generation the art and animation style in its action was actually ahead of its time of the late 80s and are still till this day entertaining to watch since its a mixtures of very long and short fights and are sometimes done sometimes in an excessively dragged out fashion but with a very Fast pace rate where you see characters having hand to hand combats in this sky with a mixture of projectiles, powerful impacts and explosions along with gut wrenching body blows that always seem to intensify the more you watch.
If I had to describe the action it would be like an over the top street fighter meets the Justice league with some supernatural elements here and there.
And yes Of course, the animation is re-used often which is obviously noticeable and sometimes it can be lacking which is a real shame but thanks to Akira toriyama’s art it actually has a great distinct look to it like for example some of the features in the environment would start to feel the intensity of the battles including where the locations are, especially details to the characters like the look of cell for example to me is one of the most unique looking design for a villain that I’ve seen in anime as he undergoes different transformations not to mention Super Saiyan transformations like Super Saiyan 3 Goku which looks freakin BadAss!! and that is saying a lot for the depiction of the other characters in Toriyama’s art.
No doubt the animation is the weakest aspect of the show which might turn of some people who are looking into animes with great animation But to be fair for others who are open minded this isn’t that much of a big deal though I wouldn’t mind for a newly updated animation for this series as much as anyone would for example like what other animes have started to do like Hellsing Ultimate, evangelion rebuilds and the new sailor moon crystal series reboot etc,
If DBZ had new animation such as that chances are this section could easily be a 10!
but for now its only just passable, animation wise speaking it doesn’t quite
contend too well with others from other battle shounen series unfortunately but its art is
still pretty decent enough regardless.
Sound – 8
Now Sorry if I’m going on a little rant here, but by chance Have you ever heard anyone debating over what sounds better in the series?
Funimation?, Ocean?, Dub Vs Sub Vs DBZ Kai vs Bruce Faulconer vs other dubs, This that yady Yadda, But For me I’m in the group of I’ve seen them all and don’t really care mainly because
at the end of the day its THE SAME FREAKIN SERIES!!!!!
And possibly most, if not, a Hell of a lot of people know the popular story now
OVER 9000 Times Already!!!!!!!!!
Back on topic, seriously besides that for the record both dub or sub were kinda rough around the edges, its obvious that it could clearly be better however a lot people still like to debate over this which i can understand but I don’t see the point as I don’t have anything against any voice actors or Voice actresses after all Nobody is perfect and I have already stated that this is an old school anime not to mention at the end of the day It is a matter of preference.
Ether way, if you do watch this anime and you want a more clearer translation i would also recommend watching DBZ Kai for its Translation its not perfect by any means but its a lot more accurate to the manga still.
So the dubs and subs in some areas can be quite debatable I hear, but i feel both do suit
a lot more in a different kind of way, and for the music the openings and closings is ok, a little cheezy at times and can sometimes leave much to be desired. The music for the dub and sub seems to fit well for some of the overall tone of the series as the music blends in well with the action, supernatural themes, sci-fi themes and comedic themes unfolding in this show, at times again it can sound a little repetitive after a while for a series that is 291 episodes long and so i feel the music is fair no matter which version of the show your watching So to me for this category of sound I’d say its pretty decent still, but it could be lot more better.
Enjoyment – 10
I have re watched this anime series more times than any other anime in general and for a series that finished Decades ago and I’m still in my early 20s I still enjoy the build up with its characters, interactions, morals and a Crazy fun story that is very inspirational like its predecessor dragon ball.
It simply feels like family to me and that is more than enough of an enjoyable series with some of the most iconic and memorable moments and fights that I have grown to love about anime in general to date, simple as that.
If you really need to see an old epic action shounen fighting show its definitely worth giving this a shot.
Overall – 8.5
Now I’ve already stated the positives and negatives towards this without blinding my inner
fan boy to this particular anime. While People might say its overrated like other animes they honestly would have a point, But to others This anime became a gateway to anime in general for a lot of people out there as well as myself back then. Its also a significant template used in other shows to build off on and I couldn’t be any more thankful for this as this is one of my personal favorite animes of all time that pave the way for shounen animes and a lot of others in general to take notes and to get out there in the big pond themselves and do justice like many others. I’m not saying Dbz is the best but it has succeeded globally for what its done and its that simple.
Dragon ball / Dragon ball Z has had its influence for so long now and yet still
continues to pass it down for the next generation.
Without a doubt its just like that saiyan goes
”Legends never die”
It is what it is and for the most part if you’re still skeptical about this anime do not worry because i know its not meant for everyone. But there is a little something for everyone
as it has different forms of entertainment making it a revolutionary Shounen anime
in its own right.
Other shounen anime Reccomendations –
I’ll point you to Yu Yu Hakusho, Rurouni Kenshin, Death note, Fullmetal Alchemist (old and new), Fist of the north star, Saint Seiya, Hajime no Ippo and the Hunter x Hunter series
If you are Looking for a Great Fighting Anime look no further.
I can safely say that Dragonball Z is the King of Fighting Anime.
Dragonball Z is a Fun Anime and also my Favorite!
Dragonball Z is a story about a naive man named Goku trying to be come stronger
but Powerful villains stand in his way and try to take over the world kill him blah blah blah. That is the story in its simplest form.
Now I will review the story. Dragonball Z has Emotional moments, Funny moments,
Really cool fights, Romance and the occasional plot twist.
Dragonball Z story is very enjoyable and will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat or cursing at your TV. The show has allot of Fights and they are Amazing it is what every one wants to see super powerful beings Kicking the Crap into each other.Dragonball Z has quite a bit of Humor as well example: Krillin (not being able to get Girls or getting his but Kicked all the Time) Goku (Food Humor and idiocy)
Vegeta (Goku getting on His nerves).
Although it is My Favorite Anime I will say it does have fillers.
I can safely say not as much as Naruto.
What I liked about the story is the Brilliant fights and it is full of fun Characters.
Dragonball Z art is Good but dated.
I you are planning are planning to watch the series if you are looking for quality I recommend FUNimations new Remastered Box sets. (if you don’t mind wide screen).
I will review the sound in two sections Japanese Dub
on the Background Music and the Voice Actors
and then the English Dub.
First I will start with the Background Music.
The Japanese Background music Can fit the scenes very well but it sounds very old like a seventy’s cheesy Horror movie. What I like about the Japanese Background music is in some scenes the don’t and any background Music whilst FUNimation’s sound track have music in Every scene.
What I don’t Like about the Japanese music is that it can get very annoying.
I am reviewing FUNimation’s Dub and not ocean Dub or any other Dub so this is purely based on Funi’s dub.
Funimation’s music fits in really well with the Fight scenes and that is what I like about it, because it makes the fights more dramatic and cooler but when there is no fighting I Hate FUNimation’s Music Purely because it doesn’t fit the scene’s well.
FUNimation Has Done a Brilliant Job when choosing their voice actors. Each Character voice suits them really well.
The Characters in Dragonball Z a truly Unique.
You Have Goku The Naive Hero of the Story
Vegeta The short Tempered Bad Ass
Gohan The son of Goku.
The Characters all fall into Place although there are some useless one’s and it would not matter if they are there or not. Goku Learns of Vegeta And Vegeta learns of Goku.
They have such Good Characters and they are not your average heroes .
Dragonball Z is a Very Fun series very easy to get into.
Overall I would have to give it a 9/10
2: Detective Conan
English: Case Closed
MAL Score: 8.16
Shinichi Kudou, a high school student of astounding talent in detective work, is well known for having solved several challenging cases. One day, when Shinichi spots two suspicious men and decides to follow them, he inadvertently becomes witness to a disturbing illegal activity. Unfortunately, he is caught in the act, so the men dose him with an experimental drug formulated by their criminal organization, leaving him to his death. However, to his own astonishment, Shinichi lives to see another day, but now in the body of a seven-year-old child.
Perfectly preserving his original intelligence, he hides his real identity from everyone, including his childhood friend Ran Mouri and her father, private detective Kogorou Mouri. To this end, he takes on the alias of Conan Edogawa, inspired by the mystery writers Arthur Conan Doyle and Ranpo Edogawa.
Detective Conan follows Shinichi who, as Conan, starts secretly solving the senior Mouri’s cases from behind the scenes with his still exceptional sleuthing skills, while covertly investigating the organization responsible for his current state, hoping to reverse the drug’s effects someday.
‘Detective Conan” is about a teen detective by the name of Shin’ichi Kudo (known in the dub as Jimmy), who has a charismatic skill of solving crimes that leave the police force and its leading investigators baffled and astounded. One night, when Shin’ichi is at the amusement park with his childhood friend Ran Mouri, he whitnesses two strange men dressed in black carrying out an illegal trade. While watching, he’s accosted from behind by one of the men, forcefed a drug intended to kill him, and knocked out.
When Shin’ichi wakes up, he finds that the drug didn’t kill him, but has caused his body to shrink down to the size of a seven-year-old boy. Shin’ichi confides in his neighbor, the crazy scientest Hiroshi Agasa, who informs him not to tell anybody else about his condition for the safety of those around him and provides his with gadgets to help him around, such as a bowtie that can duplicate any voice and a wrist stun-gun used to put people to sleep. Shin’ichi then goes under the alias “Conan Edogawa” to conceal his identity. In order to get information about the men responsible for his small body, he lives as a surrogate brother to Ran and helps out her father, Kogoro Mouri, who is a mediocre detective with poor deduction skills.
Following Kogoro on cases assigned to him, Conan tries to help behind the scenes any way he can. The problem is that no professionals want to listen to a kid’s advice, so “Conan” deducts as other work. After balancing out all the evidence, he gets everyone’s attention through knocking Kogoro out with a stungun, hiding behind him, and dupliicating his voice while explaining the case.
While not that popular of an anime in North America (despite finding a fair audience among Americans), Conan has a great amount of success in Japan, spanning more than 450 episodes(and STILL GOING!!), 55 tankoban, 10 movies, and 16 OVAs.
At first I thought this anime wasn’t all that interesting and was poorly animated (stopped thinking that after finding it was made in 1996), but after watching the dub more on Adult Swim, I got more attached to the characters, storyline, and everthing that made the show so admirable. For two years I watching both the English and Japanese versions, bought merchandise, and tried to work my way up to the current story development in the manga.
Leaving off the personal experience bits I thought about putting in, I’ll get to the qualities that make “Detective Conan”such a favorite to the Japanese and other nationalities as well.
Now starting with the artwork, I’ll have to go out on a limb and say that it can take some adjusting to at first, with the pointy, “barely-there” noses, the round eyes, and “jug ears” and all the other oddities in the art. It’ll eventually grow on you, nonetheless. Also, the artstyle advances to higher quality in both the anime and manga as animation methods and improve as well as Aoyama’s drawing skills, so the artwork still is able to better itself.
The background music for the series really gives it that “classic detective drama” feel. It’s a combination of jazz, some saxophone jams both slow and quick, as well as some themes that play in the background on occasion. It sets teh atmosphere and tone for the format and purpose for the playing of the episodes.
The cast of characters starts to build thoughout the series, from the tough but sensitive Ran and the overconfident Kogoro to the brooding Ai Hiabara and the individual members of the Metropolitan Police Force. All of them have distinct personalities that may not develop quickly, but are interesting to explore while watching this long series.
The cases, murder cases, suicide cases, puzzles, kidnappings, and cases involving those men in black and their organization, are so brilliantly laid out. You just want to watch every darned bit of the episode to see the conclusion. The way Shin’ichi uses his logic in each episode just makes one think, “Whoa. This show’s amazing.” And the series can get somebody hooked with just deductions alone. However the episodes play out in almost the same format, kind of like Law & Order, with the same episode formula, but different twists and clever setups in the cases that keep viewers coming back for more every time.
Overall, “Detective Conan” is all that and a bag of chips, being possibly my ultimate favorite as well as the favorite of many other fans. It can be a bit boring for those that hate being overloaded with details, but mystery fans and intellectuals are bound to love it.
What’s more fun about it, is that you can exercise your detective skills on who is the culprit on this case. If you got it right, thats a job well done for you and if not, you will get to improve yourself more and more.
The Story follows the adventures of Shinichi Kudo (also known as Jimmy Kudo in Case Closed) a Prodigious young detective who was inadvertently transformed into a child due to poison. It was all started when Shinichi Kudo was in suspicious of the two men dressed in all black. He went to investigate those persons in outskirts of Tropical Land, but only to find out unaware one of the suspicious man in blacks knocks him out from behind and gives him a prototype poison to kill him. And instead of dying because of that poison, it he made him shrinks down to the size of a seven year old. He was suggested by his close friend and Professor Agasa that must keep his identity secret because the Black Organization will kill him and others associated with him should they discover the truth. He will be renaming himself Edogawa Conan to hide his identity in order to protect his beloved ones. He later moves into Ran and Mouri Kogoro.
Even as Conan, he still continues in solving cases one after the other, He help build up Kogoro’s reputation in hoping to find cases related to the syndicate called the Black Organization, who were responsible for his transformation in the first place.
Known as Case Closed & Meitantei Conan; Creator/Artist: Gosho Aoyama
Since: Anime: Jan 8, 1996 & Manga: Feb 4, 1994 (both on-going)
And as you can see the reasons of why i like it much is all written from above as you can read, in addition, its the only anime for me that is irreplaceable and have a big impact in my life and you can appreciate that being a detective is cool and fun work indeed 😀 and Gosho Aoyama, A+ on your work ,especially Detective Conan. The very 1st anime that i ever watch that has the longest ever (but it deserves to be)
Its an anime/manga for all ages. If ever you are new or old to anime/manga take a chance to watch or read it and you will see Just Give it a try.Up until now, i’m keep on watching it haha. so addicting and more new characters + more stories on it that will soon to unveil everything
Gosho Aoyama’s most well known creation tells the story of 16 year old Kudo Shinichi; genius high school detective who one day witnessed illegal trade while on a date at a theme park with his childhood friend Mouri Ran. He is then struck from behind the back of the head with a metal bat by mysterious men wearing all black, and is forced to consume an experimental drug that was supposed to kill him, but is instead transformed into a 7 year old boy while maintaining his intellect. To track down these men, he conceals his true identity to protect his loved ones from any sort of danger and opts to live with his childhood friend because her father owns a detective agency and believes that information regarding the mysterious men may be reported to this agency. This marks the beginning of endless encounters and
complicated mysteries, most of which only he can solve.
I was immediately captivated when I started watching Detective Conan in 2003. I was 14 years old and by then it was already a fairly old anime that made its premier 7 years prior. I am now 24 years old. Making it’s debut in 1996, it has produced over 600 episodes in roughly 20 seasons, over 16 movies, countless OVAs and is STILL going strong. Detective Conan is my favorite anime of ALL TIME. Yeah, i said it. Where do I begin with such a flat out brilliant series? Everything about the anime is simply extraordinary. But what really makes Detective Conan, as well as what makes it my all-time favorite anime all comes down to two things. The first one is the
The cases and mysteries in this anime are mind blowing. I can’t emphasize this enough. The writer is a GENIUS. This show is a sigh of relief from the Scooby-Doo inspired cartoons that presented mysteries to you, that a blind donkey could solve in 20 seconds. The storylines are all well thought out, and the solutions to mysteries are NOT obvious, but can be solved by an observant viewer who thinks, just as Conan does. There will be many cases where you will be utterly stunned by the cleverness of the solution. Whether it’s the murder cases, the romance elements, or the comedy factors, every episode is very well-put together. I learn something new JUST about every episode due to the fact that the writers put so much heart and effort into their work. One example being episode 616 takes place in London. Don’t worry, this review is spoiler free, so keep reading. Did you know that Gosho Aoyama personally went to London himself to gather materials and data at the exact places
the scenes take place during the anime, due to the fact that the main character (Kudo shinichi) is a Sherlock Holmes freak, and he wanted to give the scenes and story of the birthplace of Sherlock Holmes justice? Pretty impressive and praise worthy if you ask me. Anyways, aside from the various ways to kill someone, it teaches you about japanese tradition/culture, medical terminology, world famous structures/figures, and much much more. I soak up Detective Conan like water to a sponge. I get so absorbed and drawn into every episode, that everything around me becomes irrelevant and it’s just me and the episode. It’s captivating. There is no other word for it. EVERY episode is fresh, and EVERY mystery that is solved is profound. The series has wide appeal and I would say it is one of the few shounen animes I have seen that
breaks down age barriers with ease. This is a series that plays to adults just as well, if not more so than to children. I occasionally watch this with my 56 year old father, and can say that he can enjoy watching it as well.
The story is broken into 2 kinds of arcs. I call them the “main arc” and the “everyday arc”. The “everyday arcs” reside over small, one to two episode cases that occur on a normal daily basis, and sometimes have generally nothing to do with the main arc, but are usually very interesting in their own right. These are NOT filler episodes. They are simply everyday occurences that the main cast go through on a daily basis, waiting patiently for clues to make progress. Then there’s the “main arc”. The “main arc” is of course the main storyline and the episodes where progress between the main characters and the main plot advance forward. Getting to watch these episodes that allow the main storyline to progress is similar to the feeling of receiving all the presents you wanted on Christmas day because you waited ever so patiently to get them. Sure the same cycle/pattern occurs almost every episode. And by this cycle I mean that someone dies, and someone is caught as the culprit. But these patterns are executed with grace and near flawlessness that allow you to never get tired of watching this cycle. There is a build up of hype and anxiousness that make you want to see progress of the “main arc”. There are usually long waits between episodes where the plot moves forward, but if you’re patient enough, you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable storyline you will NEVER forget. Most fans, myself included, seem to have grown accustomed to this style and have come to enjoy it.
The second factor that really makes this anime is none other than the characters. What would the show be without it’s godly cast of characters? Nothing.
Each character is engaging and filled with so much depth and personality, it’s hard NOT to love every single one of them. In short, I TRULY believe that they are the greatest cast I’ve seen as a whole, in ANY anime series that I’ve ever watched. I love these characters. The episodes that have the occasional reccuring characters appear, are the ones that you will truly enjoy. The relationships and interactions between the main characters and these reccurring characters is character synergy at it’s maximum level. I won’t go into any detail about specific characters because that would spoil the whole thing for those who have yet to watch Detective Conan. And if by chance you were to start watching from episode 1, and the character art is too old for you, I’d have to remind you that this anime was started in 1996 and the
character art has since been modernized and revamped. Give it time and I PROMISE it WILL grow on you. Anyways, putting all these factors into words to describe these god-like character creations will never be enough to capture how BEAST they truly are. You’d have to watch it to understand.
The catchphrase for this anime is “There is always only one truth!”… And the truth is, this anime Kicks Ass.
1: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
English: Rurouni Kenshin
Japanese: るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚-
MAL Score: 8.30
In the final years of the Bakumatsu era lived a legendary assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai. Feared as a merciless killer, he was unmatched throughout the country, but mysteriously disappeared at the peak of the Japanese Revolution. It has been ten peaceful years since then, but the very mention of Battousai still strikes terror into the hearts of war veterans.
Unbeknownst to them, Battousai has abandoned his bloodstained lifestyle in an effort to repent for his sins, now living as Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman with a cheerful attitude and a strong will. Vowing never to kill again, Kenshin dedicates himself to protecting the weak. One day, he stumbles across Kaoru Kamiya at her kendo dojo, which is being threatened by an impostor claiming to be Battousai. After receiving help from Kenshin, Kaoru allows him to stay at the dojo, and so the former assassin temporarily ceases his travels.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan tells the story of Kenshin as he strives to save those in need of saving. However, as enemies from both past and present begin to emerge, will the reformed killer be able to uphold his new ideals?
The story is deep, intricate, emotional, and touching. Everything from romance, action, suspense, and even some thriller in included in Rurouni Kenshin. There are a total of 95 episodes to Rurouni Kenshin, however, only the first 62 (the first two seasons) are only worth watching because the third season is all fillers. The first two seaons depict the story of Himura Kenshin, also known as Hitokiri Battousai, and his motley bunch of friends in Sagara Sonouske, Myojin Yahiko, and Kamiya Kaoru. Without giving too much away, the first season is based on his stay with Kaoru Kamiya and how he keeps his vow of not to kill. The second season is where the plot develops and we are introduced to a little bit of Kenshin’s past.
To some of the younger fans out there, the animation may seem a bit older and not as new as some of our recent anime like Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist, it still is drawn with very exceptional quality and after the first few episodes, you find that the style perfectly suits the time frame in which the story takes place.
Taku Iwasaki has done a beautiful job with the soundtrack to Rurouni Kenshin as during each and every part, there is the perfect song that fits the scene. This is especially the case during the second season as Iwasaki unveils a multitude of amazing pieces of music that you will undoubtedly look to download.
You will either hate the characters or love them. The character development during the anime is portrayed very well. An example of this is the development of Yahiko from an innocent child to an exceptional swordsman throughout the show. The only qualm people may have is the lack of romance between Kenshin and Kaoru. Though its hinted at very slightly during the first two seasons, there is not much between them. All of Kenshin’s rivals also have unique personalities and Nobuhiro Watsuki has done an excellent job with them.
The only reason I advise you to avoid the episodes 63-95 is that they are pointless fillers. By the time the second arc had ended, the Kyoto arc, the anime had caught up to the manga. So as with all animes, they stopped animating the manga and aired fillers so the manga could develop. However, by the time the manga finished, the fillers were so terribly bad that Rurouni Kenshin had to be cancelled.
That is why after episode 62, I urge you to find the manga and start reading it from Volume 18 to enjoy the amazing story of Enishi and the Revenge Arc. It is there where the true story of Kenshin is continued and completed, and not with the later episodes.
I rate episodes 1-62 a 10/10 because they follow the manga very well..
I rate episodes 63-95 a 6/10 because even though they are pointless, some of the fillers do have good back stories and battle scenes..
A final overall rating of a 9/10 is due to the anime, Rurouni Kenshin (the manga I would give a 10 ^_^). There is no doubt in my mind that if you are looking for an anime with a little bit of everything and looking for an anime that involves mystic sword styles, amazing battles and an "oro-ing red-headed samurai," look no further.
Rurouni Kenshin stars its titular protagonist, Kenshin Himura, a former assassin who became legendary for his skill and body count during the Bakumatsu wars of Japan. Years later, Kenshin becomes a rurouni (an unemployed samurai) and wanders the country now seeking to atone for the lives he’s taken by helping others, and vows to never kill again. He soon meets up with Kaoru Kamiya, the manager of her own dojo. After Kenshin saves Kaoru’s life he’s given a place to settle down in and protect. The two are later joined by the young child of a family of samurai, Yahiko Myojin, and a roughish street fighter named Sanosuke Sagara who mainly battles with his fists. This main four accompany Kenshin as he fights other lost souls from the Bakumatsu who often seek to challenge the new Meiji government who threaten their archaic sword-wielding way of life.
With the manga beginning in 1994, Rurouni Kenshin became a flagship title of the “battle shonen” subgenre that was now truly beginning to acquire momentum, and the franchise is now considered a staple classic of the entire genre. Getting into Rurouni Kenshin now is rather interesting, as it holds this historical evolution inside of its own story. Rurouni Kenshin begins as not fully a battle shonen, being more like that earlier hybrid of action-adventure where fights were frequent but typically short, simple, and bookended by longer exposition or downtime. As the series progresses it changes and benefits from becoming increasingly about the fight themselves as special fighting abilities become more common, villains stick around longer and violent conflicts are hyped, and the pacing changes to nearly non-stop action as entire episodes become centered around the battle ahead.
One way of looking at this progress is that it means Rurouni Kenshin “starts slow” and doesn’t reach part of its full potential in the early stories. This would be true for the manga or anime, but it’s the anime that really suffers from this crawl. Given that the manga was still in development when the anime began, the producers started preparing filler material early on. Shorter stories and plot details from the manga were stretched out to get more of an episode out of them, and many original episodic stories were also introduced between following the manga’s events. Not only this, but parts of those original manga stories were arbitrarily changed, such as Kenshin’s fight with Sanosuke, and nearly always worse off for those changes. The anime also tries to appeal to a younger audience by censoring much of the violence and darker imagery depicted in the manga, an example here being Hannya’s back story.
Despite many of these frustrating concessions, the original storylines of the manga are present enough to still make the anime’s beginning engaging as long as you’re out of the stretches of original filler. The soft-spoken, peaceful Kenshin Himura is a very unique protagonist for shonen anime. The typical shonen protagonist is a young boy, or at the very least someone who begins weak but has a lot of potential to become more powerful or grow as a person. Kenshin is nearly the opposite of this, being a fully developed adult whose philosophies on life are already finalized by his vow to never kill again, and he’s instantly implied to be the best swordfighter in Japan and routinely demonstrates that fight after fight. Kenshin feels almost invincible at points and lives up to his legacy, but how does the action maintain dramatic tension if the match-up results always seem so obvious? The answer is by giving Kenshin two serious handicaps. One is that Kenshin fights using a blade where the sharp edge is on the opposite side so as not to easily kill his opponents and betray his vow, and the second is that vow itself. Kenshin is forced to hold himself back from full strength to prevent killing anyone, which levels the playing field somewhat between his opponents. As Kenshin is forced to face stronger enemies he’s routinely challenged to revert to his merciless killing ways to stand a chance. Because Kenshin does not change much as a person throughout the series, the progression of watching him is centered on revealing more of who he actually is. That is, his personality as a cold assassin. Kenshin also doesn’t spend the series learning new attacks but instead slowly reveals ones he already knows. Kenshin’s fights stay interesting as he’s forced to find openings to incapacitate his opponents instead of killing them, which would actually be far easier.
Kenshin’s love interest is very obviously and immediately Kaoru Kamiya. The original title of the manga was “Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story”, but anyone who recommends this series as a romance would have to be out of their mind. If anything, Kenshin and Kaoru’s relationship is the poorest major part of the storyline. Kaoru’s romantic interest in Kenshin begins almost right after they meet, and from then it doesn’t really evolve beyond this unrequited gushing of Kaoru over Kenshin and falls into a generic anime stasis. Kaoru struggles maintaining agency in the story because nearly all of her thought processes involve Kenshin in some way, and she is almost never, ever seen contributing to major fights. This only gets worse in the anime due to its countless light and comedic filler episodes revolving around Kaoru’s feelings towards Kenshin and his “hilarious” misunderstanding of them. She becomes almost annoying in the anime because of these additional jokes making her character even shallower, and her breakdowns over Kenshin possibly becoming the killer he used to be can cross over into trite melodrama. Given that Kaoru is trained in the art of the sword to the point of teaching it, it would’ve been nice to see a character who’s around at nearly all times actually contributing to the fighting around her. Instead she’s seen as too weak and is never really given opportunities to prove herself in the first place. This also would’ve given her more personal stake in what’s going on rather than nearly all of her actions being centered around Kenshin. It’s disappointing that one of our main characters is one of the show’s few females who can fight and she does nothing with it, instead usually being relegated to cheerleader status and an irritating ditz.
The first 27 episodes of the anime are a mixture of filler episodes and mild to moderately altered adaptations of the manga’s arcs. The best of these arcs is the one that stays truest to the manga, which is the Oniwaban/Megumi arc. This is where the show’s transition to battle shonen begins, with a variety of opponents who use weapons other than swords and specific techniques rather than raw strength and agility. With the exception of the arc’s final fight against Aoshi and the subsequent climax these battles are fairly short and not that interesting, but they are fun to watch now that our opponents are intriguing and have surprising fighting styles to show off. Despite this satisfying arc, the rest of the first season ranges from average to downright boring. Its canonical manga stories are mainly short introductions to characters and the Meiji era setting and culture the series is set in, and we’re prevented from getting to the really good stuff by a bevy of terrible filler that threatens to destroy the quality of the series as a whole.
Rurouni Kenshin isn’t just full of filler, it’s full of some of the worst filler I’ve ever seen. Filler that’s so bad and mishandles the base material so much that it insults the characters and cheapens the surrounding canonical storylines. I’ve already brought up how the lighter tone of the anime and the filler’s focus on comedy relies on Kaoru’s shallower traits and develops her as a worse character than she actually is, but the same goes for everyone else as well. Yahiko is turned into a whiny spoiled brat because there’s more to work with there when it comes to comedy than a stubborn inspiring samurai, and Sanosuke may not be very bright but he’s turned from a badass into a doofus as he’s constantly insulted by Kaoru and Yahiko. The attempts at comedy are the most painfully generic and lazy jokes you’ll come across, as literally the same gags are spread out in filler across this 94 episode series. Kaoru is a bad cook! Yahiko is always complaining and calling Kaoru ugly! Sanosuke is a freeloader! All of this hundreds of times as you’re also forced to put up with extremely dull original storylines that can revolve around main characters being frustratingly stupid (Yahiko stealing Kenshin’s sword), or they revolve around simplistic, awful original characters that only show up once. The typical filler plot is some random helpless idiot needs to be encouraged by Kenshin’s group to not give up at doing whatever, and these episodes can involve the group trying to help a circus girl blast off out of a cannon or Kaoru pinching a sumo wrestler on the ass. And the filler villains are usually the most cartoonish, relentlessly evil brigands that would make a real serial killer look like a more reasonable guy.
The filler in Rurouni Kenshin fails to retain anything that made the original story captivating. For starters, the action (or any excitement at all) practically doesn’t exist in the filler. The series’ excellent ability to capture the grace of the time period its set in by its semi-realistic tone that contextualizes the super-powered characters into something believable is upended by the anime’s constant appeals to children with no regards to quality as it’s doing so. Rurouni Kenshin’s filler is almost always excruciatingly boring, and I’m almost stunned that the anime’s writers could even bear to write around 50 episodes of such trite stories for a living and would never be encouraged to try harder for the sake of their own entertainment. Even something like Dragon Ball Z’s filler sometimes tried to do the base material justice by making its own supervillains and staying close to what the main stories were about. If you’re wondering why I have this series as a 6, then it’s because the anime’s filler is actually what makes up a majority of it and it’s worth a 3 if not even less. But enough about numbers, because it’s time for the part anyone who’s seen the series before was waiting for me to get to.
After about 10 enjoyable episodes of manga adaptations and about 17 mind-numbing episodes about Kaoru being ugly and a bad cook, it’s almost (not) worth it to fully experience the revitalizing whiplash of the series instantly taking the kid gloves off. A mysterious man named Saitou Hajime shows up at the Kamiya Dojo searching for Kenshin. It turns out Saitou is a former member of the Shinsengumi and an old rival of Kenshin’s from the Bakumatsu. Saitou challenges Kenshin to see if his abilities have weakened since he’s settled into a more peaceful life. The anime’s production and sense of direction finally comes alive in this scene, as Kenshin’s warm crimson visage is dominated by the icy navy blues of Saitou that exude from his cold personality and cover the entire screen for the duration of the fight. Yahiko appropriately seems to mimic the perspective of the young audience during this fight as he shouts “I knew it! Kenshin can never lose! Kenshin is invincible!” right before his hero is cut down by Saitou with the same ease Kenshin has been defeating his previous opponents. Kenshin is barely spared, and Saitou insults him afterwards by saying Kenshin Himura as “the wandering samurai” will be of no use to him and the police in the upcoming battle for the nation of Japan. Another man said to be the closest to Kenshin in skill, or possibly better, during the Bakumatsu is raising an army to overthrow the Meiji government. The psychotic Makoto Shishio and his gang of underlings are threatening the country from within the city of Kyoto, and Kenshin leaves for Kyoto as his friends chase after him to make sure the Kenshin they know isn’t lost in the fierce battle ahead.
This is the beginning of the Kyoto arc, and this arc is the sole reason why the Rurouni Kenshin anime has obtained classic status, and it’s a perfect beginning to boot. The creators address the audience and tell them things are going to be different. There’s going to be more violence and blood, and even major characters could die against a villain that’s said to be too much for even the man who just beat Kenshin to handle. The stakes and threat level are higher than ever before, and the new sub-villains are set up early on to give as much anticipation of their battles as Shishio’s himself. Aiding that anticipation is everyone in this arc having unique fighting styles which reach their full potential through more dynamic action sequences than seen before.
Kenshin’s journey across Kyoto introduces several new characters. The aforementioned Saito is a fantastic addition to the series and probably my favorite character period. Saito’s eclipsive moral compass makes him a great character to demonstrate the ethical borderlines of maintaining a samurai code of justice in a more rigid judicial government. He’s a true anti-hero in a series that had previously been defined by righteous do-gooders, and his complete misanthropic disdain for everyone else around him makes his personality starkly stand out and he has both some of the funniest and most dramatic lines in the series. His begrudging companionship with rival Kenshin and the less-skilled Sanosuke makes for a highly entertaining dynamic. The female ninja Misao also contains much of the series’ best attempts at humor, and her relationship with the Oniwaban group is an excuse to bring former opponent Aoshi into the Kyoto arc and make it even bigger. Misao is also never shown being as helpless as Kaoru, and even Kaoru and Yahiko get literally their one important fight of the entire series in the Kyoto arc. Kenshin’s former master Seijuuro Hiko is brought in to establish more of Kenshin’s past as well as some actual growth, and Seijuuro’s every action becomes significant as he’s a monolithic type who’s implied to be the strongest fighter in the series but prefers to stay out of the action as much as possible.
The Kyoto arc just does everything right and is exactly what Rurouni Kenshin had the potential to be. The pacing is brisk and the story filled with large obstacles the heroes must overcome at a moment’s notice, such as Shisho’s army advancing on the city of Kyoto or his heavily armored battleship threatening Japan from the seas. The growing cast is full of universally good additions, and they are divided evenly across this big adventure and are all given at least one special moment to shine. Later shonen works could take lessons from how to effectively manage a big cast of characters as well as Rurouni Kenshin does during the Kyoto arc.
The production team stops cutting corners here and adapts the manga more faithfully, and the increased amount of effort is palpable in the greater quality not just in the writing but in the animation as well. Fights are extremely dynamic with more constant camera movement that darts around the frame, and the characters themselves move very quickly and fluidly with no noticeable framerate skipping. The main reason the Kyoto arc is such a joy to watch is because everything’s always moving. There’s a kinetic soul to this entire production that the rest of the series completely lacks that makes this story, its characters, and its action breathe and come to life. When the studio plays with color like in the aforementioned Saitou fight, all of the story’s events feel more dramatic. The speed and intensity of matches is emphasized wonderfully, and Rurouni Kenshin’s Kyoto arc is the golden standard of 90s shonen anime productions and it even transcends the basic story it adapts from the manga. This all peaks exactly where it should in the final fight against Shishio which is a serious contender for the best match ever in a battle shonen anime. In addition to the scenes often rippling from the humidity caused by the torrents of flame surrounding the arena, the studio also plays with aspect ratio at parts to give a broad widescreen perspective that recalls Rurouni Kenshin’s original influences from samurai films and makes the scenes as intense as those classic film moments.
The Kyoto arc is full of the heart the rest of the series doesn’t have and then some. It has the courage to go beyond the original manga story’s quality and understands the story and its implications well enough to be able to successfully accentuate them into something more powerful but nonetheless faithful. The characters reach the peak of their established personalities and every single one of them grows in some way from the challenges they face. The action is enthralling and absorbing. Everything comes together in this big arc and none of it flounders to deliver a perfectly satisfying experience that deserves to stand the rest of time as a blueprint for a fully-realized battle shonen arc.
Things were looking good for the Rurouni Kenshin anime now that the team was taking it more seriously, but the anime had now gotten too close to the manga to have anything new to adapt. You know what this means: more filler. But after a few episodes of the same terrible junk from the first season, something promising is done as the team decides to write more serious original storyline arcs. They clearly learned something from covering the Kyoto arc and putting so much more effort into it, and I was open for the possibility that the team could finally write filler that did the base story justice even if it didn’t reach the same heights. There’s very little information on Rurouni Kenshin’s post-Kyoto arcs so I had to find out for myself if they were any good. As it is now, most people haven’t even seen anything past the Kyoto arc and still shower the series with perfect scores (this ought to be a federal offense). The anime also makes a strange decision to change the animation and art a bit after the Kyoto arc, but it’s so minor and subtle that its “uncanny valleyness” just makes it even more off-putting whenever the changes stand out. Regardless of how minor the style change is, it’s lower quality than before and these final filler episodes are full of a lot of very still frames with little movement.
Rurouni Kenshin’s first filler arc is… actually tolerable. The storyline come up with here is about the religious persecution and exile of Christians from Japan and their return to take revenge on the country. It’s actually an extremely clever way to stick to Rurouni Kenshin’s historical setting but not settle on the same stories of swordsmen alienated by the new government. It’s another story of disenfranchisement caused by old grudges but with different motivations and different types of characters. The main new character is Shogo Amakusa, a sort of prophet to the Christian movement who claims to have sword skills blessed by God. He fights using the same style Kenshin was taught which makes him an acceptably threatening follow-up to Shishio, and there is ethical conflict regarding their religious motivations as Shogo and his group are willingly taking advantage of their followers’ beliefs for the sake of revenge, even though it may be justifiable for their religious freedom.
Shogo is accompanied by his own gang of villains similar to Shishio, and they also each have distinct character designs and powers. Where this arc particularly falters though is the action goes back to being very simple and dull. The choreography is basic again, the animation goes back to being cheap, there’s no tricks with color or perspective to give the fights that same energy, and the fights don’t build up suspense as they’re all settled in 3 to 5 minutes. It’s a massive disappointment that shows the team hasn’t abandoned their laziness, even if the basic promise of these qualities is more than they’ve done previously. The actual plot is somewhat interesting as Kenshin is given a very serious handicap I won’t spoil, and most of the villains this time around are victims who need to obtain religious freedom but don’t want more violence. Sanosuke is actually the best part of this Christian arc, as he becomes an actual deuteragonist and a major player to the plot with his (actually somewhat touching) relationship with Shogo’s sister, Magdalia. He’s actually focused on in a bigger ratio here than he was in the Kyoto arc. While this arc is ultimately rushed (for literally no reason since they just make more filler after) and doesn’t execute well the same things it copies from the Kyoto arc, some parts of it actually work to a degree and there’s a basic foundation for a good story set up which is more than I can say for the rest of the filler. It’s by -far- the best filler story in Rurouni Kenshin, but that’s less of a testament to how good it is and more of an example of just how little the rest of the series tries. I got a baseline enjoyment out of this arc but as a stand-alone story it’s not good enough to the point where I would recommend anyone watch it.
At this point I was relieved to see any improvement in the filler quality and thought the team might continuously evolve in future filler arcs, but instead the exact opposite happened. Subsequent arcs got increasingly shorter and the characters even worse. After several stupid comedic episodic filler like brought up earlier the team decides to make one of their terrible two filler ideas into a mini-arc. This time it’s the one where Kenshin and co. encourage some pathetic sap to achieve his goals, so you get several episodes of a wimpy nerd crying about swinging a wooden sword being too hard. There’s no threatening villain in this part or anything, just a total bore and flavorless story.
The next arc begins immediately as a group from Europe called the Black Knights have come to Japan seeking an ancient treasure called the Divine Elixir which is said to be able to cure any illness. Ignoring the fact that putting a magical MacGuffin in a historical setting at this point is stupid, the Black Knights are basically the illuminati with a medieval fetish who secretly plan to control the world from the shadows with the money they get from the elixir. The Black Knights we see are a main trio that wield a lance, an axe, and rapier each. This is actually a very solid idea that the original manga itself could’ve used, as the characters being western is a perfect excuse to bring new weapons and fighting styles into the series. Don’t get your hopes up to see any of those fights brought to their potential though, as like in the Christian arc every fight in the Black Knight arc is short and unexciting to watch (though the final is borderline okay). The Black Knight arc isn’t a total pain, but it’s quite worse than the Christian arc because the plot has no momentum whatsoever. Many of the episodes focus on adventure and exploration over any action, and there’s a lot of the characters just wandering around and trying to figure out clues to the elixir. And as we expect, the filler writers are not good at creating entertaining dialogue to carry these slow moments.
After one brief filler episode that’s actually okay just because it dares to develop a certain main character without the manga’s guidance, another mini-arc begins that’s the finale of the series. And what a finale it is, because this is the worst one yet and the most egregious core concept. The Feng Shui arc revolves around magic. Literally magical spells that control dragons made of water and sudden blasts of wind. What an insult that so close to the end of this series they throw in magic that betrays the historical setting like never before. Rurouni Kenshin has always crossed the border of reality into fiction, but it made an attempt to disguise it with its serious tone and convincing explanations for its ridiculous powers. There’s a guy who breathes fire, but oh he does it by carrying oil in his stomach and using flint on his teeth as a spark. It may be total bull, but the idea of it is constructed out of the materials of the setting so that it doesn’t seem too out of place despite being a fantasy. There is no justification for magic because its very definition means it’s conjured from a place outside of reality, and it’s so fitting that the final idea to come out of the filler would remind of us of how poorly the series was understood. It’s not worth covering this arc more other than to mention there are no real fights and the final confrontation is two guys trying to overcome each other’s spiritual force or something like Dragon Ball Z. The anime series ended up being so mishandled that they didn’t even get a proper final episode done in time and the story abruptly ends after this boring arc. They could’ve cut these five episodes and come up with a better ending. They could’ve cut this entire “third season” and the series would’ve ended better. What’s even the point of doing filler if you’re not biding time to adapt the rest of the manga?
The series’ music is pretty solid all around. It’s often anachronistic with its frequent use of electric guitar, but it doesn’t sound out of place because the modern instrumentation doesn’t draw attention to itself. Guitar chords are slow and smooth, almost sounding like a flute and very organic. I think I still would’ve preferred to see a more classical score with more folk instrumentation that matches the setting, but they didn’t screw the pooch from the choice they made and the compositions can be quite nice. The opening and ending themes are good all around too, but only having three openings across 94 episodes is kind of tiring. I do like how they changed the second opening’s animation to include new characters, and the opening during the Kyoto and Christian arcs is especially cool because of the “flickering flame” effect over the arc’s antagonists. I grew to like it even more than the first opening, “Freckles”. Siam Shade’s “1/3 Pure Heart Emotion” is fucking awesome too, especially with its accompanying graffiti art animation.
For those not already familiar with it, the English dub is well done. The casting is what mostly stands out, particularly because I feel the same way about Mayo Suzukaze as Kenshin as many people do about Masako Nozawa as Goku. I realize Kenshin is meant to be effeminate and has a relatively small constitution, but he’s definitely not an 8 year-old boy. I find it impossible to take Kenshin’s original voice seriously, especially during his violent “battousai” phase, and it’s enough that I’d take any dub over the original. Sorry folks. Richard Cansino carries a similar light, gentle tone with him that’s more suitable for Kenshin’s age. Not to mention his starker, sterner tone when Kenshin’s personality switches stands out far more and further emphasizes the difference between each of his two halves while also being more threatening due to his more mature tone. The line delivery isn’t always perfect depending on the assigned actor, however. Dorothy Elias-Fahn as Kaoru can be irritatingly shrill, and Lex Lang can be somewhat monotone as Sanosuke despite being a perfect voice. But Philece Sampler is hilarious fun as Misao.
When everything’s said and done, Rurouni Kenshin deserves better than what this series gave us. Outside of the Kyoto arc, even the material it adapts from the manga is weakened. The filler is an insult to the canonical storylines and setting as well as being downright painful to sit through. If you want a number, I’d gladly slap an 8 on the Kyoto arc alone, but I’m not rating the Kyoto arc. I’m rating all 94 episodes. Even the score I’ve given it is generously curved in the Kyoto arc’s favor because of how the amount of terrible filler dwarfs the length of the Kyoto arc. With this recent trend of manga re-adaptations giving worthy revivals to old manga that was mishandled, I hope to the bottom of my heart Rurouni Kenshin will get the treatment it truly deserves. Funny enough, the outlier in how incredibly well the anime adapted the Kyoto arc here and made it better than it was before with remarkable animation, dynamic perspective, and color theming, makes me think a newer anime would be unlikely to match this series’ adaptation in quality. It’d be worth doing the manga in its entirety again however to improve the pre-Kyoto stories and finally take on what’s after them. Will it happen? Who knows, but I’m waiting patiently.
Maybe we who haven’t gone back and finished this anime until now have prevented a new one from happening. It seems like many people are perfectly satisfied with their memories of this show that’s actually extremely troubled, and it frequently ranks on “best of all time” lists. Ultimately though, this anime as a whole is not a classic, and I recommend no one watch it in its entirety. If you want my advice, then read the manga up to the Kyoto arc, watch the Kyoto arc, and then finish the manga. You could watch the pre-Kyoto stuff too because it’s not -that- much worse, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Let’s let it be known that Rurouni Kenshin needs to come back and become the anime series we wanted it to be.
The characters are great and well developed, which is the sort of thing you’ll expect from a shounen action series, of this calibre. But the character that truly stands out is "Kenshin", with his 3 contrasting personalities; dopy Kenshin, noble protector Kenshin and manslayer Kenshin and it is interesting how all of this is crammed into a single character. However there are a few brat-like characters that can get quite annoying at times but it doesn’t take much away from the show.
There were two things I had to consider when looking into the quality of the animation; the time it was made and how well it depicted scenes. The animation quality of RK is exactly what you’d expect from something made in the 90s however when it comes down to it, it is really good especially during the action sequences. It is able to show the true intensity of the intense fights however those kinds of fights happen to rarely in RK.
The music on the other hand isn’t all that special and there are only a few noticeable good tunes that go well, with the situations. The OP and ED themes are a range of catchy and annoying tunes however you’ll definitely find some of them really enjoyable and hard to get out of your head. Another thing I just have to mention is that RK is one of those few anime that even a Sub anime fan like myself, actually prefered viewing the Eng. Dub version (uncut).
Overall RK is definitely one of the classic Shounen anime series that every shounen anime fan must watch. There a great deal of action, comedy and drama; with a superb story to back it up. The characters are also well developed and bring forth some really emotional moments but some are just plain annoying. Also little things like stupidly thought-up enemies and the huge number of cheesy moments reduce the overall quality of this fine anime. Another thing that badly affected the series was that it ended with a bunch of fillers but if you don’t get bothered by all this, then you’ll definitely enjoy RK.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
2. Detective Conan
3. Dragon Ball Z
4. Slayers Next
5. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
6. Ie Naki Ko Remy
7. Tenkuu no Escaflowne
8. Fushigi Yuugi
9. Kaitou Saint Tail
10. Jigoku Sensei Nube