They’re the best Anime that 2005 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Tsubasa Chronicle, Fantastic Children, and more!
10: Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
English: Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
Japanese: ボボボーボ ボーボボ
MAL Score: 7.49
In a futuristic world, the Maruhage Empire is a militant organization out to steal everyone’s hair, and thus their freedom. But a brave man with an afro of gold and nose hairs of steel stands up against their tyranny. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, trained in the ways of hair, rescues a teenager named Beauty from the grunts of the Maruhage Empire. Together, they start on a journey to defeat Emperor Tsuru Tsurulina IV. As Bo-bobo meets new friends and battles foes along the way, so too does he begin his quest to save all the hairs of the world!
Light-hearted and comical, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo details a wacky adventure in which Bo-bobo and his companions fight all sorts of villains and deviants within the Maruhage Empire, all the while having a fun and exciting adventure.
Most of the time this anime doesnt make sense. And the ultimate story is pretty stupid. but like I said it suppose to be. Its like Scrubs to ER…or better example Reno 911 to COPS.
Its inane, everything in it is for pure humor. Its not suppose to make sense. So don’t judge it by its lame art story and characters. Because thats how its suppose to be.
I really thought the ending was something…completely unexpeceted…you must watch to find out..
a strange show following a gang of fighters rebeling against an tyranical army attempting to rid the world of hair. The characters are armed with the powers of nose hair, jelly, gas and lots of other things. there is very little sense to be had. Almost every main character acts in strange ways with even stranger powers.
If that sounds good to you then give it a watch. Its a hilarious and imaginative show.
If not then don’t watch it. It will give you headaches trying to stick with it.
nothing too revolutionary in terms of art and sound but nothing that will push anyone away.
the story is fun but lacks any real strong moments. most of it is just them going from bad guy to bad guy after every arc with no real goal. It is very fun watching it all if you don’t mind the lack of anything that makes sense.
most of the characters are fun,but none of them can really stand amoung the best and they have weak moments.
overall. fun for me but most sane people will be pushed away
Nose hair stands for everything that is deemed disgusting by society, but is still an important part of ourselves. By using his nose hair as a fighting tool against the Hair Hunters, Bo-bobo demonstrates acknowledging your faults and turning them into advantages. Great anime, great message, 10/10.
9: Tsubasa Chronicle
English: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
Japanese: ツバサ クロニクル
MAL Score: 7.53
During an excavation at the mysterious ruins in Clow Country, Syaoran discovers his childhood friend Princess Sakura appear on the site with wings that disperse into many feathers. As the feather’s disappear to different dimensions, so does Sakura’s memory. In attempts to save Sakura’s life and restore her memory, Syaoran travels through to another world to find a solution. There’s only one thing left he can do. Travel through to different dimensions to collect Sakura’s feathers. Helping out with the quest is Kurogane, an exiled ninja from Japan Country who wishes to return to his world, the runaway magician, Fay, who desires to jump between each world never to return to his own and the white meat-bun shaped creature, Mokona.
The anime had a very promising first episode and the characters seems well thought out and reasonably likable. I found it entertaining and continued onward.
It goes all downhill from there. The plot starts out strong and then begins failing very quickly. There is a massive amount of what I would claim is filler and you really cannot see much progression at all in the story throughout the entire 1st and 2nd series. (I just found out that the third was canceled >_<)
Basically you could skip episodes 10-47 ish and still know whats going on. The part that really got to me was how often they would play a song while slowly moving frames across the screen to take up time during an episode. I know what the characters faces look like and I don’t need to see close ups of them doing nothing for 10 minutes every episode. They never even bothered to come up with new songs, just replayed them.
If you can sit through 52 episodes of sameness and you enjoy that feel free to watch. I have nothing against the characters or the idea behind the show. It just seems to me that they never went anywhere with it. Maybe the manga is better, I wouldn’t know. Hope this review is helpful and not seen as a hate thread.
First of, in case you did not know, CLAMP decided to \"recycle\" a lot of its characters from Card Captor Sakura and other anime in this show. In essence, you will see a ton of familiar faces, but that\’s all they are – faces. For the most part they have completely different personalities and histories. I don\’t know if that\’s because they ran out of ideas for completely new characters or not, but that\’s just the way it is. But don\’t get me wrong, it\’s definitely not a bad thing.
The animation, as usual from CLAMP, is up to par with today\’s standards and what today\’s viewers expect from an anime. It\’s very crisp and clean and very colorful. The relationship between Sakura and Syaoran is something you could shed a tear witnessing the trials they go through, but once again, the slowness of it all prevents a continuous enjoyment of that.
Yuki Kaijura has once again put together a very beautiful soundtrack to go along with this anime. From the very first time the piece named \"A song of storm and fire\" is played with the anime, that alone will urge you to keep watching this anime. However, this anime does progress extremely slowly at times, especially after the first arc and the fillers (you wouldn\’t think there would be fillers in a 26-episode season, but there are) are extremely boring, possibly with the exception of one or two filler arcs.
Even with all of that, its the animation and music that keeps Tsubasa RESERVoir Chronicles – the anime – alive and what keeps its viewers, in my mind anyway. The story has the potential (well, it does if you read the manga) to be amazing, but the fillers and slow progress prevent it from doing so. If you want to know what happens, pick up the manga and start reading it. You won\’t be disappointed. The anime is something you have to be patient with.
CLAMP, in a move of sweeping lack of creativity, decided to make another franchise by reusing their old characters. I gotta say, smart move, CLAMP–your cash cow is ready to be chopped up and sold.
And this is what Tsubasa Chronicle is: a sell-out.
The story is bland and boring. Dimension-travellers bound together for whatever reasons, but you know, viewers won’t care because they get to see Sakura and Shaoran or whatever his name is go gaga over one another once again and two yaoi-fodder guys vacillate between passion and disgust of one another.
The art was mediocre. It wasn’t good, wasn’t bad. Nothing special. Like the sound.
I cannot give the characters a good rating because they aren’t characters. They are just themselves from the old anime transported to a new one to serve a purpose. They aren’t developed, they aren’t deep, it isn’t good.
I was yawning and scratching a lot while watching this–that can’t be good.
Overall, this is unfabulous crap. Don’t watch it. Unless you’re a CLAMP fan and you won’t listen to me.
8: Fantastic Children
English: Fantastic Children
MAL Score: 7.53
A group of enigmatic white-haired children has been spotted at different times and places in Europe for over 500 years. Always with the appearance of 11-year-olds, they behave far more mature than they should be, never grow old, and seem to have supernatural power. What they have been seeking is a girl, and the only clue they have is a picture with a crescent moon. Now, in the year of 2012, an athletic boy named Tohma is about to be involved in this centuries-long mystery.
The beginning of the story is part mystery and part adventure, focusing on a group of half a dozen white haired kids making an appearance through out centuries seemingly without aging and the other time focusing on a kid called Thoma who meets some anti-social girl called Helga and a energetic boy called Chitto. I admit the story was a bit underwhelming at first but once the story unfolds in later episode, you’ll be hooked straight away, it turns into something quite epic and unique, there’s so many twist and turns and you’d just watch episode after episode and without even noticing it’s already over.
The art style can be a bit of a turn off for some people, they might even think this is a kids show but fear not this is quite mature even if the first few episodes are light-hearted they’re nothing compared to what happens next.
Anyway, as you get used to the art, it becomes more apparent that it’s done quite well, lots of attractive looking backgrounds and pretty solid animations.
The background music can really manipulate the emotions of certain scenes, they really help make pivotal moments in the story have more impact. The OP fit the series perfectly too bad I had to skip on occasion since I just really wanted to get on with the story, While the ED is sang by ORIGA the same singer who lent her voice for the majority of the GITS soundtrack.
How they made the connections with each character was great, most of the characters had a certain connection to the main plot, the importance of characters become unpredictable that you’d be shocked when the story finally reveals what their purpose are. Honestly every character was interesting and it was nice to see that they all had a part to play they weren’t just some random people thrown in together to make episodes last longer.
A lot of people would probably just ignore it after looking at the front picture alone, which is too bad because it’s a pretty damn good show with a unique and interesting plot along with a great cast and a solid OST, you might not like it as much as I did but I guarantee it’s definitely worth watching, it’s only real flaw is how lame the name is.
At first glance, this looks like some weird story about kids, targeted at kids. But don’t be fooled by the simple character design or the title. This series is actually quite intense, with a memorable and complex plot and good storytelling that will draw older viewers waiting with bated breath for what happens next. It is definitely not a series just for children.
The story revolves around a group of mysterious children who appear every once in a while throughout Europe. Who are they, where are they from, and why do they keep on reappearing? These are some of the questions that are being answered bit by bit throughout the series. At the same time, the story also follows another group of children who have run away from the local orphanage, and are searching for a place they want to go. At first, it seems that these two main plots have nothing to do with each other, but at the middle of the series, the two plots converge, and the viewer discovers that they are closely connected after all.
There are also a couple of sidestories with a few adults involving something almost supernatural. Although these sidestories seem off-track, they are related to the main plot in one way or another, and are tied together in the last few episodes.
The plot is fairly complex and quite involved, but not to a point where it’s confusing. The story is told in a way that it’s pretty understandable if you pay attention to it. The story is full of surprises, twists, and secrets that will keep the viewer guessing and wondering what happens next.
The tone of the series is mostly serious. But there is room for some bits of humour and lighthearted fun. There are also a few philosophical questions subtlely being looked at, such as what makes us who we are as humans, is it our souls or our current selves? In terms of love, there are many types being explored: romantic, family, friendships, unrequited, and broken.
Even though it doesn’t look like it at first, each character is connected to one another in one way or another, and that connection is revealed piece by piece throughout the series.
The Children of Belfort: This is the name given to seven mysterious white-haired, blue-eyed children who have appeared for 21 times in the last couple of centuries. They’d gather and run away from their homes when they turn 5, and never live past the age of 11. They search desperately for something before their time is up. The way they talk and act make them more like adults than children. At first, they seem cold and distant, and even perhaps malevonant. But as their stories and pasts are revealed, the viewer comes to feel compassion for them, and their mission. Each person has their own stories and own unique personalities that will touch the viewers’ hearts.
Dumas: The mysterious white-haired boy who appears a few times at the beginning of the series. Appearance-wise, he seems to be one of the Children of Belfort, but he doesn’t seem to be working with them. Who he is and his background story will be revealed later in the series.
Helga: She is an orphan who is kind, but seems to be always lonely. She keeps on drawing pictures of a mysterious place that she wants to go, and she would run away from the orphanage to search for the place in her memory. Her friend Chitto is determined to help her get there. At first she seems meek and timid and always in a daze, but as the series progresses, her inner strength is slowly unveiled.
Thoma: He grew up around the Islands, and knows them well. He meets Chitto and Helga by chance, and is drawn to help Helga get to the place she wants to go. He is a determined young boy who is open and shows emotions easily. Little does he know, he’s more closely connected to the Children of Belfort and Helga than he realises.
Dr. Gherta: She is the director and doctor of the mysterious and suspicious organization Ged Group. A brilliant scientist, she’s somewhat single-minded and almost obsessive with her project, which, for most of the series, is unclear and even almost malicious. But the viewer gradually sympathizes with her plight, especially towards the end when she has a few secrets of her own to unravel.
Detective Cooks: A detective who has been investigating the disappearance of these children, he got interested in them because his grandfather was involved with the children during his lifetime, and Cooks became curious of his grandfather’s findings. As more of a spectator, his sidestory gives the viewer some background information and history to the Children of Belfort.
All of the characters are pretty human, and although they main characters are only children, the circumstances that they’re involved in and how they react make them seem older, and thus even an older audience can relate to them. By the end of the series, the viewer is able to sympathize with all of the characters, even if at first they may seem unlikable or malicious.
The character design and art style is certainly unique, though not the prettiest; in fact, the designs could be said to be boring and quite simple. The children are designed more or less short and a bit stubby, and not a lot of details is given in the eye or hair area. The clothing design is also a bit boring, though it has a country-style flavour to it. However, the expressions for the characters are mostly well-done.
The background art is very beautiful, with lots of lush forests and unexplored islands. The setting has a sort of semi-tropical or Central/South American feel to it (the ruins of temples and statues remind me of the Aztec or Mayan ruins, but also has a sort of exotic island feel), or maybe with a dash of exotic Asian feeling too (with some of the statues looking a bit like Buddhist statues, and the colourful and busy marketplace of Middle East). The cities though, take on a more 19th century European flavour (even though the story is set in 2012), with cobble-stone streets and stocky buildings.
In general, the art is just different, and may take some getting used to. Instead of following the latest trend of shiny backgrounds, brightly coloured and detailed character designs, this series is going against the grain by looking back to the style of the older animes. The general colour palette of the series is kind of dark, with mostly grays and greens and blues, with a lot of scenes taking place during storms or at night; it’s not neccessarily drab, but it’s certainly not brightly coloured. There are a few exceptions with the scenes taking place in the forest on the islands, where the colours are contrasted sharply with the darker scences, using lots of bright greens and yellows. But I think this lack of shiny backgrounds and special effects, and simple character design does add to the sadness and longing feeling of the story. And rather focusing on the character designs (and fanservice), the simple art makes the viewer able to pay more attention to the story and character development.
The voices for this series is okay. It doesn’t really stand out anywhere, but it is mostly ear-pleasing and suitable for the characters. And most of the actors do a good enough job bringing out the emotions, especially towards the end, the viewers can almost feel the characters sorrow or joy.
The music is one of the strengths of this series. The opening song "Voyage" by Inori, is dramatic and uplifting, but also gentle and calming, a perfect opening for the series. It is also used as an insert song for one of the episodes, but with a slightly different arrangement, it’s slower, with piano and cello in the background, and adds a sense of sadness to the scene. The ending song, "Mizu no Madoromi" by ORIGA (who sang both of GiTS openings) is sad and nostalgic, as if longing for something, and very fitting to the theme of the series. I would definately recommend getting the opening and ending singles (it’s one of the best I’ve heard).
The background music uses a combination of piano, cello, and a bit of flute. The theme for the Belfort Children is very memorable (with piano and cello), and a bit sad, like the fate of these children. The only downside is that this theme is a bit overused, being played in almost every episode. Helga’s theme (which is mostly flute and cello) is also gentle and pretty, and suits her character well. The background music is mostly soft and sad, with a few upbeat songs for the tenser scenes. It uses raw traditional instrumental sounds rather then edited sound effects, which works well. And I’d recommend getting the OST "Memory of Greecia" as well.
The first half of the series takes place in the current world at the current time, mostly following the adventures of Helga, Thoma, and Chitto, as well as that of the Children of Belfort and the people around them. Then the next couple of episodes focus on the background story and history of the series. Then that last ten or so episodes brings the characters and sidestories from the beginning of the series and tie everything together.
The pace may seem a bit slow for those who are used to action right away and in every episode. Many of the episodes are used to tell the story and advance the plot, or explain the history and background rather than pure action. And because of the complex plot and how everything is weaved together, some parts of the plot may take some time to develop. But I found it interesting enough that it’s not a boring explaination, and it does help to understand the plot much better. And worry not, there are plenty of action interspersed throughout. Personally, I find the pace okay, it’s just that there’s so much to take in and explain that it takes time. I find the plot to be interesting, and not too confusing to understand, and it did leave me wanting to know more after every episode. And in the end, all of the questions that I wanted to ask have been answered, so I find the ending to be satisfying.
Overall, it is an enjoyable series, and I’d recommend it. In fact, I think this series needs more love and attention.
What do I think? I think it could have used a bigger animation budget and could have been cut down from 26 to 22 or even 20 episodes.
Animation is kind of low budget. Fantastic Children looks and feels like it was made in the ’80s. The color palette should have at least been more vibrant. I mean, sure, you have only so much money for your budget. But if you look at, say, Noir, or Requiem from the Darkness, they managed to have some interesting animation without spending a ton of money on it. What if everything looked like the paintings in the ED? OK, maybe that’s impractical, but it’s still possible to look interesting on a budget.
There is way too much time spent on shots of people just standing around, or extended close-ups of people looking surprised. There are a few things where a situation is first explained, then shown. It would have been better if it had just been shown. And, in general, the pacing is just a bit too slow for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Mushishi or Kino’s, but that’s not the style of this series. You can almost but not quite just skip a couple of the early episodes. Just don’t watch eps 1-10 when you feel like watching something where lots of stuff is happening.
There are a few pretty silly things. The guys with hats, for example. It’s also a bit disappointing how not all of the characters that a lot of time is spent with get to actually do much.
Voice acting is good. (The characters get intense towards the end, which is tough to do.) Some of the music, like in the last parts of ep 18, is alright too. (Yes I like the ep 18 Russian version of the ED better. So sue me.) The ED is mizu no madoromi, sung by Origa, by the way. But why oh why did they have to have some of the characters try to sing?
So is it worth watching? Does the ending deliver? Overall I’d give it a 7, which means worth watching but not worth buying, and I’d say it’s better than or but worse than or . The drama and action pick up continuously towards the end, so the second half is better than the first. If you haven’t seen, say, Gankutsuou, I’d suggest watching that before this, but Fantastic Children isn’t *bad* and I don’t regret watching it. The characters aren’t cardboard cutouts, and there’s not anything else like that to make me *dislike* it. There are just better series out there. I guess I’d suggest watching it if you like puzzle series and Final Fantasy. Especially Final Fantasy. I’d say it reminds me most of El Hazard the Magnificent World, minus comedy and with somewhat better characters and somewhat slower paced and a bit less coherent and most importantly minus the awesomeness of cat-based armor technology.
Well, I hope this review can help someone decide whether to watch Fantastic Children, but I somewhat doubt it.
7: Basilisk: Kouga Ninpou Chou
Japanese: バジリスク 甲賀忍法帖
MAL Score: 7.56
For centuries, the Iga and Kouga ninja clans have engaged in a bitter war. But when a ceasefire is ordered by the powerful warlord Ieyasu Tokugawa, the two clans are forced to put down their arms.
Years later, Gennosuke Kouga, heir of the Kouga clan, and Oboro Iga, heir of the Iga clan, have fallen in love. Through marriage, both heirs aim to bring peace to the clans. But their hopes are dashed when flames of rivalry between their clans are reignited, and they are dragged into another war.
Ieyasu’s two grandsons have both claimed to be the next heir to the shogunate. To resolve this dispute, both the Kouga and Iga are ordered to send their 10 best warriors to fight in a bloody battle royale, with each clan representing one of the potential shogunate heirs. Two scrolls with the names of the fighters are given and are to be marked in blood upon the given fighter’s death. The prize for winning is the favor of the Tokugawa shogunate for a thousand years. Torn between their love for each other and duty to their clans, Gennosuke and Oboro must ultimately decide the fate of their clans.
Heartless killing, endless dying. That pretty much made up the story. Almost every character was just blood thirsty, all except this anime’s Romeo and Juliet, aka Gennosuke and Oboro. It’s another story of forbidden love, I suppose. The forbidden love was a foot note for me – I was more engrossed by the fight scenes and the dramatic deaths of the ninjas.
The concept was actually new to me, but I was able to understand most of it. I was familiar with Samurai – themed anime, but I have never watched a serious shinobi anime like this one (that’s right – Flame of Recca doesn’t count). I’m not sure what separates the two, but from what I notice, Ninjas are less moral and are more likely into killing, that’s why the Iga and Kouga ninjas were chosen to fight it out with each other to come up with the decision on who will succeed the third shogun. I am not sure whether or not this really happened (I don’t think so) but there were a lot of historical references that were explained (thank God!). It’s another opportunity to learn about Japanese culture and history!
So the characters ended up killing each other in the way they knew how – using their different techniques of course. They all had unique techniques, from super sticky phlegm to blood sucking skin to deadly glances. These techniques gave spice to the already violent carnage.
Like their techniques, their respective practitioners were equally impressive and different (Although the girls looked alike, and Koshirou and Yashamaru as well). I was sad that some were only shown for a short time, because their personalities and character made it seem like they were going to stick around longer.
I have to commend the voice acting for this one. Even though I’m not that fluent in Japanese, I know well enough Japanese slang to tell that the language they’re using was the one used in that era. They seem to say “Gozaimasu” a lot. Generally, the seiyus brought out the personalities of their respective characters, and that’s always a good thing.
The drawing style was pretty good, but I found that it can be a bit exaggerated sometimes. Body proportions were kinda weird. Everyone and everything seemed to be big. The women had huge, nipple-less chests (Found out from all the naked girl fight scenes). The men had overly large frames, but they are ninjas so I’m not sure about that. The wrinkles on the elders were a bit too extreme. They were kind with Danjou, but poor Ogen. She was so beautiful in her youth and when she got old they made her look REALLY old. There were a lot of hair too – everyone just seemed so hairy. The landscapes and backgrounds were nicely drawn though, and I did detect a hint of CG just to compliment some scenes. I was kinda ticked that a lot of the scenes were in the dark, which made it hard for me to tell what was happening. Oh well, they didn’t have light then anyway. When the scenes were during the daytime, you could tell the colors were done nicely and complimented each other instead of clashing with each other.
I noticed there was a great variety of BGM – most of them were gloomy though. It did fit the series well, but that’s about it. They didn’t heighten the mood of the scene or anything like that. The opening theme singer’s voice (which is actually Oboro’s seiyu) sounded a bit operatic, so I didn’t like the opening theme that much. I liked both the ending songs though, they seemed more current compared to the opening theme. Anyway, all in all the music fit the mood of the anime.
Again I was hesitant with this one – Didn’t really want to watch it at first since I thought it was going to be too serious, but it ended up to be very exciting and likable. Let’s not forget the violence and gore either, It may seem like I like shojo more, but I actually love violent series just as much.
The story is simple – two warring ninja clans kill each other. Don’t let the simple plot fool you though, there is a forbidden love story thrown into the mix aswell, and that is pulled off well. The best way to describe this would be a ultra-violent Romeo and Juliet sort of story. I enjoyed the story very much, but it had it’s flaws. Many of the characters that appear only last for a few episodes, and I felt that they could have been kept along just a bit longer. But, after all, the main premise of this anime is two ninja clans killing each other, so I’m not really that upset.
Art: (10/10) – Outstanding
This is some of the best art I have ever seen in Anime, period. I am not exaggerating one bit. Even if you don’t like the plot, the sound, or the characters, you should watch this Anime just for the art. If I could rate the art eleven out of ten, I would. Simply epic art. Much detail is put into everything that you see. The backgrounds are rich and colorful, but not too colorful, and seem to pop out of the screen at you. The characters are well designed, and convincing. Even some of the CGI, although it is rarely used, is well done. The only bad point I would give the art would be that some of the characters were designed rather oddly, with massive deformations which takes away from the otherwise blatant realism of this Anime.
Sound: 9/10 – Great
There really isn’t much to say about the sound. I watched this series dubbed for the first five episodes then switched over to subtitles. The dub is well done, but it is very strange watching Ninja’s in seventeenth century Japan speaking English. The subtitles are well done, but they were a tad bit small for my taste, although I do have rather bad vision. The one bad point about the sound is that a lot of the characters that are voiced are given very unrealistic voices, and it is hard to see a character in real life speaking that way. Also, some of the sound effects are a bit overdone.
Character: 8/10 – Very Good
The characters aren’t anything special in themselves, but a good amount of character development is done. As said earlier, the two main characters resemble Romeo and Juliet, in a forbidden love scenario. A complaint I have about the characters is also as mentioned before in the art section — many of them are massively deformed with huge tumors and the like. I am not sure if they meant to do this to show that they had no modern medicine, but some of the deformations are so over the top that they would be almost impossible in real life unless the character was suffering from a severe case of elephantiasis. Also, some of the characters are killed off way too soon, and I feel that they could have had use in the plot.
Enjoyment – 10/10 – Outstanding
I watched this show in a matter of three days, which is pretty good if you ask me. This series if very, very enjoyable, one of the best around. If you have some spare time, I would recommend putting aside a weekend and marathoning it with some friends. This anime has a rather good re watch value also.
Overall: 9/10 – Great
This is a very good anime series, and despite some of it’s flaws, is a must see for any fan. I would say that about 95% of the people who watch this will like it. I would say that this series is appropriate for children over the age of fifteen, because it does include violence, scenes of rape, nudity, blood, and mildly suggestive themes. Main Verdict – Buy, rent, or download this anime — it is great!
It is romantic, gory, action-packed, dramatic, deep and beautiful in every way.
The story is a revamp of the old Kouga/Iga ninja conflict. It is interesting and involving. The story is a historical piece, but it becomes so much more because it reminds you that the people involved were PEOPLE, who had lives and loves and everything in-between. The plot follows a bloody death match; there’s execution-style story-telling, and it reels you in from the first episode to the chilling final one.
The art was excellent. Couldn’t do any better. It has a unique style, the colour pallet was amazing, the background art was gorgeous and the animation was astounding (excellent fight scenes).
The characters were deep and three-dimensional. There are more than 10 people you will see who has the focus on the anime on them, but each is interesting and has a backstory to them so it helps us understand who they are.
If you think Naruto is the greatest ninja anime ever, this isn’t for you, because you wouldn’t know quality if it stuck you in the eye with a kunai. There was nothing unfabulous about this anime, so do watch it.
6: Noein: Mou Hitori no Kimi e
English: Noein: to your other self
Japanese: ノエイン もうひとりの君へ
MAL Score: 7.60
During their last summer of elementary school, four friends decide to undertake a test of courage at their local graveyard. Before the test begins, Haruka Kaminogi makes a last effort to pull Yuu Gotou away from his controlling mother. While doing so, Haruka suddenly has a strange vision of blue snow followed by the appearance of an imposing silver-haired man. Later, a similar vision occurs at the graveyard to both Haruka and her friends before they try to escape what they assume are ghosts.
Unbeknownst to the children, the people who appeared before them are Dragon Soldiers: an elite military group from a dimension known as La’cryma. The soldiers have traveled to this dimension to secure the “Dragon Torque”—an entity they believe to be their last hope for survival. However, both the Dragon Soldiers and Haruka are shocked to learn that the Dragon Torque is Haruka herself. She attempts to escape from the Dragon Soldiers as she finds her own last ray of hope—the strange silver-haired man who claims to be another version of Yuu himself.
Most of all, what I truly respected in this series was its character-driven action, as opposed to plot-driven action. The characters were so fleshed out and their relationships and backgrounds so completely delved into, I had grown to feel like they were real people I knew. This was further effective in the juxtaposition that was utilized between future and present selves of these characters (which I will refrain from spoiling further about). The development of relationships between and of the numerous characters in this series, Yuu most of all, was unimaginably compelling and convincing, giving the series an overall true feeling of completion and purpose.
Haruka, most of all, pulled me into the series more and more with the further displays of her distinctive features. Having the ferocity and absolute concern of Hermione from Harry Potter, and the curiosity and strength of Lyra of The Golden Compass, the pleasant down-to-earth character of Haruka was one that you would simply be honored to be friends with. Despite her rough upbringing, her inner strength and selflessness were clear and well-presented in a realistic manner. Yuu, too, was a realistic character suffering from a harsh upbringing and from the effects of strained familial relationships. The relationship found between Yuu and Haruka, and their development, is what I truly believe to be the defining point of this series.
The story, too, gives this series what I believe its distinctness and genius. Carrying across a story filled with Quantum Mechanics, and a great deal of everyday storytelling in a little town in this mix, I believe that the timespaces and parallel universes shown in this series to be an absolutely interesting and entertaining interpretation of Quantum Physics and many of its theories. The unique settings and conflicts only help to improve upon this story.
The only problem I had with the story was the sometimes slow pace of it in the middle of the series. Whereas a lot of information and details given were important, I believed that if I wasn’t motivated enough to finish the series, I might have stopped just because of that slowness.
In terms of art and sound, I believe that Noein also delivers. The art was particularly special (even though there were some parts I believe the CGI to be sort of distracting) with its mix of CGI and line art, and the classical music used was clearly appropriate.
Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable, if not the most, anime series I’ve ever watched. If given the opportunity to watch this series, I suggest and strongly recommend to not let it pass.
Story – 8
I found the story in Noein to be very entertaining, maybe thats because I just love the concept of separate dimensions, different futures with time, and quantum theories in general. This anime revolves a lot around that, and it does it quite well.
Art – 7
The art style is fairly nice, at first its kind of like "man, this stuff looks quite sloppy" but once you learn the purpose of the drawing style you will understand. I found some of the house models to be a bit too FMVish at times, but they did blend in really well.
Sound – 9
The soundtrack of Noein is really good. The music goes in well with whats going on screen, and it blends into the anime really well. Sound effects weren’t bad, and voices weren’t too low, just right.
Character – 10
Character development in Noein is really good, in order not to spoil a single thing, thats all I can really say.
Enjoyment – 10
Noein really had me sucked in the entire series, and I really feel bad for the people who watched this anime weekly. If you’re a sci-fi lover who likes different time-space dimensions chances are you’ll love Noein. If you’re someone who likes good action with a good storyline to support it, chances are you’ll love Noein. If you’re someone who likes character growth and watching characters change due to the storyline, chances are you’ll like Noein.
Overall I slap a 9 onto this anime. It has its moments, and its definitely worth a look into if you fit into any of the categories above.
Noein definitely has a unique look to it, albeit one that’s fraught with inconsistency. The character designs are far from typical, being thinner and slightly more realistically proportioned than the norm. Although it eventually becomes clear that action was not intended to be the core of the series, the animation does have some strong moments, and, particularly in the first half, there’s no shortage of creative futuristic combat. It’s also a CGI-heavy show, with the invading ships from Shangri-La as well as many of the backgrounds being the most noticeable examples. The CGI looks good in general, but there are some painful hiccups. In particular, the model for Haruka’s house sticks out like a sore thumb. In fact, it’s pretty clear that visual quality control is a big issue across the board for Noein—when everything’s working and the show is at its best, it looks fantastic, but the art quality varies on an almost minute-to-minute basis, and at its worst, it looks absolutely dreadful. When I think of the show’s lovely backgrounds and its unusual use of deep, electric reds and blues in its color palette, I want to sing its praises…but then I recall a couple of action sequences that are reduced to stuttering gray messes by lapses in art and animation, and a multitude of moments where the character designs fall noticeably in quality, and it makes me think twice.
The music is acceptable, though lacking finesse. Noein’s plot is an amalgamation of everyday content (like going to school and messing around with friends) and epic sci-fi content (like preventing the universe from disappearing), and the soundtrack strains to accommodate both of these aspects. The former is usually accompanied by tracks in which a recorder is used as the lead instrument, providing a distinctly childish and carefree sound that works well in this context. The more serious content is normally paired with fast-paced orchestral songs and chanted vocals. Both sides of the soundtrack are guilty of going a little over the top at times, and none of the individual songs are particularly memorable, but within the show the score suffices to build the mood.
When it comes to audio track language, I’d choose whatever your preference is, as they’re both more than passable. The English dub contains a nice array of veteran voice actors. Crispin Freeman in particular sounds right at home as the haunted Karasu, his voice carrying his trademark dark edge of emotion and power, but that’s not to leave some others out—Richard Epcar lends a genuinely creepy touch to Noein’s booming, disembodied voice, and Melissa Fahn plays Haruka with conviction. Some secondary characters are not handled quite as well, with some unnatural sounding line deliveries being present. The dub’s script also inexplicably changes a supporting cast member’s gender from male to female, though that’s more of a head-scratcher than a genuine problem. Overall, it’s a very serviceable dub. The Japanese audio doesn’t have a single hiccup that I can note, and if forced to choose at gunpoint I’d probably say that it’s the better track, but it’s a close enough race that you should be fine whether you go with the sub or the dub.
Despite all of the elements of sci-fi and action, it’s evident that character drama is a little closer to the heart of the series. The main cast consists of Haruka, Yuu, and Karasu (who is Yuu, fifteen years in the future). Haruka is the kind of protagonist that’s easy to get behind—kind, level-headed, trustworthy and above all, balanced, not leaning towards any extreme. She’s a pretty open book, not written with a whole lot of complexity, but she projects enough likeability and believability to scrape by with a pass from me. The same can’t be said of the male lead, Yuu, who is neither complexly written nor likeable. He spends most of the series switching schizophrenically between impotently wallowing in self-pity, and courageously risking his life to try to protect Haruka, and his changes in mood aren’t very tactful—you never really know if the Yuu onscreen is the brave, devoted Yuu or the woe-is-me Yuu. Even worse, we don’t know anything about his motivation for going to such great lengths to protect Haruka. A few flashbacks show that the two were childhood friends, but it’s not elaborated on to any significant degree; the show presents their history in the visual equivalent of about three sentences, which makes it tough to give them a lot of thought as a couple, much less the couple that is supposed to be the centerpiece of the show.
Much to its detriment, Noein also has a colossal number of supporting characters. It has a habit of casting one of them into the spotlight for a portion of an episode, then discarding them and never mentioning them or the importance of their actions again. The show struggles to explain even the basic motivations of some of the characters—we never do learn what exactly drives antagonist Atori’s deep hatred of Karasu, why the kids’ elementary school teacher is cool with their dangerous encounters with futuristic beings, or the purpose of the awkwardly introduced love triangle between three members of the Dragon Cavalry. Most of these characters’ pasts and personalities ultimately end up being explained away with a brief flashback detailing a traumatic moment in their lives, and there’s simply no excuse for that. The cast could have been halved, and not only would the series not lose anything, it would probably be better off.
The story, while good on paper, ends up dragging on, and on, and on. I watched intently, but to be honest, that was completely unwarranted; I could probably have slept through a third of the series and still understood the overarching plot, which says a lot about the lack of stringency in the writing. Much as with the characters, the sheer number of subplots that have, at best, a tenuous connection to the story is rather staggering. The show is dangerously lacking in focus, and to quantify that statement a little, I’ll point out that Noein contains no less than two doomsday plots and four love stories, which are all occurring simultaneously in three different dimensions. Sadly, all of those dimensions feel like empty stages rather than worlds worth caring about. In theory, it could be done, but it’s a tall order that the writers here just couldn’t fill, and Noein all but implodes under the workload. The story still has enough interesting content and continuity to be deemed acceptable, but the way that it’s organized and presented is decidedly less than good. Perhaps the worst side effect of this is that some great ideas end up getting buried. I think that a character drama in which children encounter their future selves is a superb concept, but many of the cast’s “future selves” end up being throwaways—one small aspect of a massive conglomeration of plots.
To give credit where it’s due, I actually think that, taken as a whole, Noein is a little bit closer to succeeding than it is to completely failing, and given the amount of elements that it tries to patch together, that’s a pretty big compliment. By all indications, Noein should be an utter disaster, but it isn’t. It’s just not everything that it could have been. In addition, the show feels genuine, and while that’s a pretty vague thing to say, I have to imagine that it counts for something. Though it doesn’t stand up very well to close inspection, Noein has real heart, a lot of outward likeability, and a lot of ambition. It might be a bit of a mess, but it’s definitely not lacking in creativity or artistic vision, and it has at least a couple of powerful moments. So if any aspect of the show interests you, I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and try out a couple of episodes. If you end up disliking it, at least you’ll have satisfied your curiosity, and there’s always the chance you might get more out of it than I did.
5: Doraemon (1979)
MAL Score: 7.72
Nobita Nobi is a normal fourth grade student. This all changes, however, when a blue robotic cat appears from his desk drawer. Calling himself Doraemon, this robot tells Nobita that his future descendants from the 22nd century live in poverty because of all the mistakes he made. Therefore, they have sent Doraemon to serve as a guide and mentor to Nobita, so that their future may change for the better. What Doraemon comes to learn, though, is that Nobita is the weakest and laziest student in the whole school.
To assist in his quest, Doraemon has a four-dimensional pocket with him, in which he keeps various machines and gadgets from the future. Unfortunately, these often result in even more trouble for Nobita. Will Doraemon really be able to achieve his mission of changing Nobita, or will he remain as he is?
To begin, as much as you wish to believe that Doraemon is about a ne’er do well named Nobita and how his life changed for good from the arrival of Doraemon, the plot of Doraemon actually revolves around the fact that Nobita is a boy suffering from a severe mental disability, and all of the characters, including Doraemon, are the product of his imagination. In real life, Nobita would be a little boy on his deathbed who imagined the entire series in order to keep himself entertained and to ease his pain and depression.
From this perspective, the entire series of Doraemon now becomes a series about the different sensations of human life that the little boy would’ve felt had he not fallen into a mental disability. Every time Nobita becomes depressed in the story because he was bullied by Gian or Suneo, he is probably suffering pain from his mental disease; Gian and Suneo are simply the manifestation of his illness. Every gadget Doraemon pulls out of his pouch in order to save Nobita is a manifestation of something in real life used to relieve him of his pain; or rather, it may be the surgical tools of a doctor, since sometimes the gadgets cause him pain if Nobita goes overboard with them.
The settings also provide concrete evidence to the truth behind the series. The mental capabilities of a child is much greater than that of an adult, yet it is not all powerful; it is not able to create objects that he has never seen. Therefore we see that the neighborhood inside Nobita’s imagination is very small, with a sparse number of houses and even more sparse the types of people that can be met. For example, we can only see Japanese people in the neighborhood, there is hardly any foreigners. Furthermore, when Nobita is walking around, we almost always only see blank walls, side-walks, and telephone poles; when Nobita is flying, we can only see the clouds in the sky and numerous trees and houses, with many of the same structural build-up. There are hardly any miscellaneous people or things walking around, in accordance with the fact that Nobita’s imagination can only support what it considers as important.
Now, a little bit about the series itself. At this point, if you continue to believe that Doraemon is about how Nobita’s life changed for the better because of the arrival of Doraemon, you will continue to enjoy Doraemon only as a remnant of a great series of memories, and possibly, a great childhood. However, considering the complexities of the plot as analyzed, Doraemon is actually a chilling insight to how the mind will react when driven to extremities of solitude. It is painful to consider how lonely and hopeless it must be for a child on his sickbed without being looked after by a friend, and possibly abandoned by his family for good. With this in mind, the boy now proceeds to indulge in escapism in order to run away from all of the emotional and physical pain that he is experiencing. We laugh at how silly it is, and gaze in wonder at the impressive gadgets that Doraemon can pull out of his pouch, yet behind the facade of happiness and wonder, behind the cover of the moral lessons, behind the desire and personality of an ordinary school boy, there exists a background of such darkness, such that in rereading the series, one cannot help but wonder at how strong a fortitude a child can possess.
Nobita’s friends are also very important in finding just what exactly the series is trying to do. In the beginning, we know that Nobita is very interested in marrying Shizuka, but becomes very agitated when he learns from his great-grandson that he instead marries Jaiko, Jaian’s little sister. Therefore, immediately in the second episode, he tries to change his fate by imagining himself traveling to the future and then… [I will not write a spoiler]
The changes that Nobita makes because of the arrival of Doraemon gives us a clue that Nobita indeed hasn’t given up hope of his recovery, and wishes to live long enough to give birth to the next generation. However, the fact that Nobita never changes the present from his imaginary excursions with Doraemon to the past and the fact that his own manifestation in his imagination reveals that Nobita accepts the fact he cannot change his sickly body, and is not afraid to face his circumstances head on. A line from the original opening of Doraemon:
How wonderful this is,
if only it would come true.
This dream, that dream,
so many of them.
but really, this is a good anime that teaches children lessons, and probably a classic if you enjoy classics. It’s a long anime, sure, but worth it. Every episode is completely stand alone, and easy to pick up, easy to put down without being confused because there really is no story in each of them.
4: Ueki no Housoku
English: The Law of Ueki
MAL Score: 7.75
Unbeknownst to most humans, a bizarre tournament is held to decide the next ruler of the Heavenly World. In this tournament, 100 Heavenly Beings known as the “God Candidates” are required to search among the middle school students on Earth, and transfer their powers to a student of their choice. The chosen ones will then battle each other, representing their God Candidates. The victor of this tournament will be awarded the “Blank Talent”—allowing them to choose any one unique ability they so desire—while the God Candidate they represent will obtain the position of “God” and become the king of the Heavenly World.
Participating in this grand tournament is Kousuke Ueki, a middle school student who is given the power to turn trash into trees by his homeroom teacher, Kobayashi. Despite the concerns of his classmate, Ai Mori, Ueki embarks on a journey to pursue his own sense of justice after witnessing the people around him misusing their powers for selfish purposes. But as he encounters talented power users such as Seiichirou Sano, Rinko Jerrard, Robert Haydn, and Hideyoshi Soya, he realizes that achieving his goal might be harder than it seems.
This anime starts pretty weak. When you first walk into The Law of Ueki, there’s not really anything to pull you in. It’s a shounen anime. Ok, sweet, shounen I can get in the mood for shounen. So what’s the main character able to do? Turn trash into trees. Awesome! wait what. He can turn trash into….. trees…
That’s pretty much what The Law of Ueki will hit you with. However, that’s what turns this anime into something so brilliant.
You’ve read the synopsis so let’s cut to the chase. The story in The Law of Ueki is definitely not its strongest point. As far as shounens go, The Law of Ueki is ahead of its competitors. Ueki strives towards his goals one step at a time, while meeting characters who ultimately he befriends. Stick in some backstory for the characters and you have the formula that The Law of Ueki pretty much adheres to.
As for the actual plot, I would give it a 8. It’s interesting, because even God has a backstory in this anime. Although the story does take a bit of a dive in the middle, and never really fully recovers. Other aspects of the anime (I.E. the battles, which is what Shounen is pretty much about) more than make up for it.
There’s not much to comment about. Everything is done as it should be. The Law of Ueki isn’t an anime that’s going to wow you with its visuals. Nor is it an anime
that you can’t bear to watch because your eyes are bleeding. The anime doesn’t cut any corners, and battles are animated to what they need to be. There’s no
slow-mo hi-def sword battles in this one. But that’s really not something The Law of Ueki should even be judged on.
The music is simply great. It’s basically your daily allotment of Jpop But of course, does it contribute to the anime? I would say yes. Some
of the fights and situations in the anime really get you pumped because of the added music, and that’s what I believe a 8/9 under music should do for you.
Clearly The Law of Ueki is no Yoko Kanno composition, but hey it gets the job done and it gets it done very well.
The strong point of the anime is right here. At first, Ueki seems kind of empty actually. However, over time Ueki begins to really become that
character you root for. Sometimes his “justice” oversteps the line and you simply facepalm or headdesk, but thats a rare occurance.
The characters are well developed, because their backstories are superb.Each character becomes unique and well defined while all contributing
to the overall enjoyment of the show. Even the character I hated the most (Saru) had his good moments. Although a part of me wanted a little more
“interaction” between Ueki and Mori, alas it was not to be.
What’s the best about the characters in The Law of Ueki, is that the anime also pays attention to the villains. Although they clearly aren’t given
as much attention as the main heroes, The Law of Ueki really nails it by giving them just the right amount of attention. It’s not a 1 minute “blah blah blah
this is why he hates Ueki/wants to win/hates person X/wants to destroy the world” nor is it an episode dedicated to a character who ends up writen off in the recap
time of the net episode.
Overall The Law of Ueki is a superb shounen. The creativity behind the battles makes it a very enjoyable watch just because you think
“Well how is he gonna get out of this one?” That question isn’t simply answered by “OH MY GOD HE HAS ASCENDED AND HE’S KICKIN ASS!” There’s actually thought behind each battle, and that’s what differentiates the average shounen from the great shounen.
Chihuahua Review(short&sweet): This is a good shounen(bunch of guys and action) to watch. There are alot of unique characters. Let me rephrase that there are a lot of UNIQUE powers here.
——————————>In Depth Review:<————————
STORY: This is not, I repeat NOT just some lame, generic kid show. The story here is a for spot to become God. Here angels become god-candidates who choose kids to give powers to and then let them battle. The main character Ueki who believes deeply in justice. This may still sound lame and generic but the story execution was great with fun interesting strategies in every battle. The only real problem is parts of the story didnt make sense. 200 abilities for one person and only 100losers so far(you’ll understand later).
ART: Animation was well and the battles really drawn exceptionally well adding to the fights intensity. However at times the main characters look really young and it was really hard to take them seriously during dramatic moments. It does becomes unnoticeable with the addictive story.
SOUND: The opening and endings were REALLY good in this one and the background music was passable. The voice acting was great here with the infamous Paku, Romi playing the main Ueki. Guess that’s why I thought of Full Metal Alchemist while I was watching this.
CHARACTER: The characters here were really well made and there were alot and after watching it, I doubt there will be a character that youll end up hating. So many powers(trash into trees, towels to steel, etc.) they’re so weird but u cant not like them.>_< The powers even get stronger.
ENJOIMENT: I couldn’t stop watching this when i started it was so addicting I always wanted to find out wat happend next. Everything blended so well! Very close to being a nine overall. Ending was nice and really hope there is a second season(heard rumors).
OVERALL: No matter how generic this anime sounds it is good and definately worth a watch. Even though everything about it is not that great, the execution was amazing.
Recommendation: If you like shounens with a dash of fantasy and magic watch this. If you like this then watch the Prince of Tennis or Full Metal Alchemist.^_^
If you dissagreed OR agreed fully with me on anything feel free to message me and discuss it. Always fun. @_@
The story is based on a knock out tournament (a popular tag which few even classify as a genre of its own) and a final prize for the winner. This concept has been overused like the chunin exam of naruto, or hunter exam of hxh, or a recent example mirai nikki. Yet the execution is entirely different and unique in its own way. The story goes on like this- there are 100 god candidates chosen, and each candidate chooses a student (a middle school student) and gives him a power, and then the students fight between themselves, and whoever wins his candidate becomes the god, and the student gains a null talent, ie any talent he wishes. Moreover if a candidates student attacks a normal citizen the student loses one of his talents, and if they loose all their talents they will vanish without a trace. That is basically the initial setting. It becomes more intense as the show goes on. The few interesting points are the powers of the candidates, like MC has ability to turn trash into trees, another guy can turn towel into iron (looks lame at first, but it is splendidly used).
Animation 7/10 Sound 8/10
Animation is weak, but considering it to be a 2005-2006 anime it is not some exception. It gets it job done. The characters designs are pretty good, though it had room for improvement. No kinds of scenery or stuff is present to comment upon, but animation shouldn’t become a barrier to watching this splendid shounen anime.
Sound was better than the animation. The opening song gave a peculiar vibe of some kind of depressing situation, but it was not much pronounced in the anime, probably due to its excess comedy. The osts were pretty good, and there doesn’t exist much to complain about.
Tournament battles are overused stuff. And the existence of a decent prize is not an exception. And obviously there exists some kind of powerful antagonist with his own perception of talents and stuff. On a broader view there isn’t anything pulling us into the story, but on close examination there exists plenty of elements. First, is the MC, Ueki. He is shown to have a strong sense of justice, and much of the story evolves around the justice factor. Second, is its excess comedy, which was initially used to propel the viewer into watching more ep, and in latter eps, just as a medium to keep the story strong. Comedy is one of its strongest points, (caution : don’t drink water while watching this, else water will be spilled.). Third, is MCs peculiar power trash into trees and the possibilities that arise from. Fourth, and the most important is INTELLIGENT BATTLES. This is its strongest points, it delivers incredible battles. Battles are planned, and luckily the MC can actually think on his own and uses many tricks to baffle his opponents. Once 15 or so eps, pass MC also levels up, in very very interesting ways, as such once past 10 eps, there will be little incentive left to give up this anime. The anime also delves into teacher student relationship, and values of morals.
But still, the story lacks many things. First, the initial pace is slow, it is ok with manga but in anime adaptation, they could have cut quite many chapters and may be they could finish the anime sweetly in 35-40 episodes. The chapters I am referring to are not too integral in the story development, and plays very partial role in character development. In fact, the first few episodes were boring, and focused only on MC, and as result few important characters got introduced as late as ep 20. The anime should have neatly deleted unimportant battles. Even in the latter half some battles seemed to be dragged on. And only final battle remained to be seen.
While characters are mostly typical of shounen animes, their roles are quite varied and unique. There doesn’t exist a character who is powerless at first sight but then after intensive training becomes op. The charcters develop, become better but only according to their capacities. Starting with MC he pretty much masters his powers, and his development his most pronounced. His leveling up is extraordinary, and he uses his new powers very intelligently and there are many spontaneous combos which he uses to defeat his enemies, and at times I was forced to say Brilliant! Other characters like Mori, rinko and Sano play integral role, and they too level up with unexpected variations. They receive ample development mainly because of solid back stories. The characters are carefully chosen by the author and he has intelligently played with them and the role that everyone plays is incredible. (If I were to elucidate it would be a spoiler).
Interestingly, even god is a character and surprisingly has a backstory. Tbh I was quite amazed at the description of the god, and more interestingly he is a prominent source of outright comedy
I srsly enjoyed this anime, mainly because of highly intelligent battles, and some of the battles might even rival that of hxh. I was also amazed at the non cliche powers, among all I liked the antagonists power the most (can’t spoil). The outright comedy was evident and there exists no episode which won’t make u laugh. Added to this was powering up of the characters which added spice to the anime. Lastly and the most important part, that it has a good and actual ending, and not some lame original ending.
Even then there exists many points to be criticized. First, irregular pacing, and dragged on battles. Second some cliche elements like nakama powerboost and some friendship stuff. Third, excess comedy, which at times turned into forced comedy. Fourth and the most important part is that it deals with MIDDLE SCHOOL kids. The anime had vast potentials, and with highschool students and a bit of seinen feel, packed with awesome action scenes and intelligent battles could have turned out better in many respects, because the idea of middle school kids fighting didn’t really appeal to me much. Fifth, teacher student relationship was quite pronounced but again seemed to be a bit of excessive.
On subjective reviewing it deserves 9/10, but on close inspection and objective reviewing I can’t render more than. 8/10. As such the anime should have lasted not more than 35 eps, with fast pacing and appropriate development. Had it acccomplished this feat, it might have become a showcase masterpiece and shared its stage with other good animes.
3: Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven
English: Eureka Seven
MAL Score: 8.08
In the backwater town of Bellforest lives a 14-year-old boy named Renton Thurston. He desires to leave his home behind and join the mercenary group known as Gekkostate, hoping to find some adventure to brighten up his mundane life. However, stuck between his grandfather’s insistence to become a mechanic like him and the pressure of his deceased father’s legacy, the only excitement Renton finds is in his pastime of riding the Trapar wave particles that are dispersed throughout the air, an activity akin to surfing.
Everything changes when an unknown object crashes through Renton’s garage, discovered to be a Light Finding Operation—a robot capable of riding the Trapar waves—specifically known as the Nirvash typeZERO. Its pilot is a young girl named Eureka, a member of the Gekkostate, who requests a tune-up for the Nirvash. Their meeting sparks the beginning of Renton’s involvement with the Gekkostate as he takes off alongside Eureka as the co-pilot of the Nirvash.
– [ Intro ] –
While enduring one of my anime-deprivation periods, I saw Eureka Seven with a high rating. I said why not and proceeded to get all of its 50 episodes. I started watching it only recently, after going through Ergo Proxy. Upon opening the first episode, I went o_0 then 0_0 instantly! Eureka Seven has a great OP and accompanying music! This promised to be a great anime. I could not resist going on after seeing the first episode. I can say I went through the episodes like a breeze, almost refusing to stop!
So, let me just say it here, loud and clear: Eureka Seven is DEFINITELY THE BEST ANIME I HAVE SEEN! It was a total addiction to me, and it still is!
Bear with me, this review will be quite lengthy! Eureka Seven (E7) really deserves it anyways!
– [ Animation = Excellent = 10 ] –
The animation of E7 is really, and I mean it, really impressive! The characters are extremely well drawn. Not your general, wide-eyed anime models but they are definitely well made. Their features are very well-detailed and their appearance is very good. Their clothes are futuristic and kinda cool in a way. E7 involves mechas, and as you could expect, they are quite stiff and roughly drawn. NO! They are the opposite! Their designs are well-polished and smoothly drawn. Here too, the features are very well-detailed. The motion of both characters and mechas are extremely smooth and not glitchy, specially considering that E7 involves something called “reffing” which resembles snowboarding. Even at the apex of fast-paceness, the motion is real smooth. The characters’ movements are natural and not robotic and their poses are very human-like. Granted, the mechas look a bit like Evangelion’s or perhaps even RahXephon’s. But in E7, they are well coloured, and in my opinion, better designed. In a way, the way the characters were designed represent their personality. I’ll leave it at that without elaboration. Go find out for yourself!
Now, the backgrounds and sceneries of E7 are again impressive. Well detailed, well drawn, good play on lighting and atmosphere gives them a truly unique feel. You won’t be seeing much scenery anyway, as most of the scenes will be above clouds. But when you do see real scenery, it’s nice! They vary from the lively towns, to lush and wild nature and colourful flowers, to the dark and grungy industrial zones and to the dark, moody and emotional scenes. The transition between these scenes is so smooth that you rarely notice that you have suddenly changed decors! The light works was well done and will give more life and vividity to scenes. Notice the rock textures and how light is used to bring out the relief. The people at BONES have done something very good here.
The greatest part of the animation lies in the battle and action scenes, particularly those involving the characters “reffing”. The action is so smooth! There are no robotic movements, even when the action is at its climax and everything is going fast. No blurs, no glitches and no flaws! Great!! And also, there are almost no frame re-use except for flashbacks (there are not many). Take for example, in Shaman King. Yoh is always seen summonning Amidamaru and this scene is in most episodes. Here, you won’t find such repeating scenes often. Even if there are some repeats, they are different in their own ways.
– [ Sound = StoryWriter wins! = 10 ] –
I don’t usually pay much attention to sounds and music in animes. Story, characters and animation usually get my attention. With E7 however, things are different! The OST for Eureka Seven is much varied from hard rock to electronic music! The OP music was great and I really enjoyed the music. However, the best song according to me, remains Storywriter by Supercar! I long to hear it again and again, and it has made it to my top favourites! It makes a really great accompaniment for action scenes, trust me. Yeaaaahhhhhh! The techno beats you hear during fights or the rock you hear during major events are g.r.e.a.t!!!!
E7 makes heavy use of music since there are lots of action scenes. However, for every scene, whatever it is (emotional or fast paced), the music chosen is right! It really highlights the scenes and make them so much more interesting! Definitely a good choice of music in E7, and definitely worth a listen! Sound effects too are present and nicely integrated into the scenes. Notice the wind “whoosshhh” when the chracters are reffing, and the sound of flapping clothes. It gives added realism to the scenes. Sometimes, you can hear accompanying explosions after a major bang! It’s nice to note these, just for added realism.
The voice actors did a pretty good job too! However, for some characters like Anemone or MoonDoggie, you can have some difficulty to understand them, due to their accents. Anyway, it’s not a real problem if you got fansubbed episodes, or subbed DVDs.
– [ Story = Complexity and Details = 9.9 ] –
Eureka Seven starts with our main male character, Renton aged 14 in his hometown of Bellforest, enjoying his life, albeit 14 years of boredom as he mentions. One day, a huge robot (an LFO) crashes in his grand-father, Alex’s workshop. Out of it emerges a beautiful young girl, our main female character, Eureka. Dumbfounded by her beauty and mysteriousness, Renton is immediately love-struck. However, the millitary was pursuing Eureka. Eureka is a member of GekkoState – a sort millitia/anti-government, non-conformist reffers group, led by Holland. Eureka must return to GekkoState at all costs. However, Holland had another mission – to get the Amita Drive from Alex, a device developed by Renton’s late father and world hero, Adrock Thurston. To help in Eureka’s escape, Renton grabs his reffing board and tries to deliver the Amita Drive to Eureka who is now escaping in her LFO, the Nirvash. Inspired by his all-time hero Holland, Renton would like to join GekkoState to train as a mechanic. Holland, accepts (although not very gladly), and so Renton becomes GekkoState’s youngest member, and his adventures and romance now start.
Some main characters are Talho, main pilot of GekkoGo. Holland, the commander. Ken-Goh, the weapons expert. Stoner, photographer and editor of Ray=Out magazine which is very anti-government and was hence banned. Hap, second commander and Holland’s friend. Misha, the on-board doctor. Jobs and Woz, the ship engineers. MoonDoggie, catapult operator and secondary pilot. Gidget, communications operator. Hilda and Matthiew, LFO pilots. And Renton and Eureka, Nirvash pilots and main characters. And also, the Nirvash LFO can also be considered a character at the end of E7.
Ok, my description is not very great but story is really one of the greatest strengths of E7. The plotline is really complex and deep. Agreed, you have one main plotline that runs through the entire series. However, what is interesting is the way that plotline is explored from various angles and according to various characters’ point of view. This gives an added understanding of the plotline. You will also see many innovative things like Trappar Particles, LFO’s, Reffing, Amita Drive, and Coralians! Indeed, it’s a very elaborate plotline. Interestingly enough, you will sometimes find the plotline diverging to explore various side characters’ stories eg. William B. Baxter’s story. Don’t worry, it’s here for a purpose – that is of explaining the global situation from different people’s perspective.
The story runs very deep, exploring such things as war and conflicts between friends, companionship, unfaltering loyalty, indomitable will to protect, duty, love, sense of justice, and the loss of close-persons. Sometimes, the emotions get real heavy and the sensitive views might be moved to tears, no joke! It can become very heavy and emotional sometimes, specially scenes involving the above-mentioned. It’s a very well detailed plotline, with many interesting twists that add spice to an already very interesting story. It’s a good blend of romance, action, mecha and adventure. Definitely my type!
Through the course of the story, you will have the opportunity to explore the characters’ past and get to know them better. You won’t find many loopholes or dark points here as everything is well explained. Expect emotional warfare, painful pasts, jealousy, self-sacrifice, the death of companions, inter-crewmate conflicts and resolutions of conflicts by various ways according to the characters, added to some good philosophies about love and the other things I mentioned! It’s a nice lesson in a way.
However, expect a major change of pace after Episode 26. You will be seeing more adult-related things, like blood and death more often. Just a warning. Mind you, many weird and frankly, strange things are awaiting you from Episode 31 and onwards! You would think you are in some kind of toon movie! 😀
The plotline offers no boredom since the characters constantly change and adapt, specially on the emotional level. I like the way the twists in emotions are introduced. It’s subtle, but really present. E7 is really a great piece of work and you will see lots of unexpected things. Pay close attentions to the play on words. The GekkoState assault on Capital Hill really got me stuck.
One thing to hate is the presence of Maeter, Linck and Maurice! Damn! These 3 kids know how to ruin the mood and atmosphere! In my opinion, they got no place in E7! Another is the complexity of some plots! You don’t understand anything at first, but it’s revealed after. Although there are some minor things which are left unexplained, or are not given enough elaboration, it cannot beat the greatness of E7. (Except only one which needed more elaboration). Anyways, if you use your brains a bit, it’s not hard to figure out those un-explainations! 😀
Overall, E7 has a real smooth way for proceeding with the story, smooth and sweet! Just what I’ve been looking. No rush, no incessant/useless main character deaths, no plotholes, no fillers, just pure delight. Good job, E7! Frankly, it has the damn B.E.S.T ending I’ve ever seen so far, surpassing even my previous “favourite ending”, Last Exile. Eureka Seven devoted almost one episode just for ending, a weird (and surreal) ending! Talk about a good finisher! 😀
And now, for a bit of selfishness (shared selfishness IMHO): I WANT EUREKA SEVEN MOVIE TO EXPLAIN EVERYBORY’S ENDINGS! 😀
P.s. Why 9.9 and not 10? Because some important events got left out of the explanations. You could guess what they were, but an explanantion would have been easier. That’s why I substracted 0.1 marks!
– [ Characters = I like the name “MoonDoggie” :p = 10 ] –
Ok, it’s not *just* because I like the name “MoonDoggie” but it’s still a very hilarious name! The characters really deserve that 10. I’ve really seen such a diverse and complex cast of characters. So I think it’s better that I introduce some of the main characters first. I can’t do that for all of them since there are so many (25-like main characters! Sugoi! :S)
Anyways, let’s start by our main character, Renton. He’s what you will call a normal guy. No super-powers a-la-Bleach here. No, he’s just normal, leading a normal life. However, he is still the son of Adrock Thurston, the guy who saved the world. Quite a name to carry around. Renton gets accepted on GekkoGo (GekkoState’s ship). Now, this is not what he expected. Holland is kind of a slave-master! He kinda get beaten up, get used as a.. duh slave, and things like that. Life’s not all pleasant for him, all because Holland is… jealous! LOL! No joke! Anyways, E7 beautifully illustrates his development through it’s 50 eps, going from a not-worth-anything to the.. (Spoiler. Cannot tell you!). He’s got much ahead of him. I really cannot say more without spoiling major things.
Eureka. Beautiful, quiet, mysterious. Love-at-first-sight for Renton, who would do anything to protect her. Her development is well-presented too. Mind you, strange things are awaiting you at the end of E7, be ready for it! This girl has many secrets and lots of potential. Although, she appears to lack emotions (which Renton teaches her), but she’s an adept at LFO combat. Enough here, cuz spoilers are coming if I continue.
On with Holland. The master of reffing and Renton (and all kids’) all-time god (hero/idol) and commander of GekkoState. Holland appears to be a fun character, and somewhat stern. However, Renton was badly mistaken. Holland is just the opposite of what he seems to be. He is like a father for GekkoState, protecting everybody and self-sacrificing for the sake of others. Midway through E7, he undergoes dramatic changes, all for the best.
Talho! The captain of Gekko-Go. She is the leash for Holland, restricting his impulses and setting him in the right direction. She has a secret (ok, not so secret) crush on Holland.
Hap, the everything-doer. Not much to say, but he still has quite a role in E7. Similarly, Woz (strange hat man!), Jobs (Hitman’s son?), Gonzy, Gidget, MoonDoggie (Doggie Nii-san! LOL!), Stoner and the others have their respective roles to play, but they are very diverse from each other, and each’s development is well planned and well presented. Their emotional developments are very well introduced, smoothly and at the correct pace, giving the viewer time to digest the changes and appreciate them.
There are characters on the other side (bad side) if you want, like Dominic, Anemone, the Sages the millitary and Dewey. But I can’t explain about them without spoiling. Expect something Gundam Seed Destiny-like with Dewew. The others are not so bad, but take soooo long to realise it.
The hierarchy is: Sages -> Dewew -> Millitary -> Dominic -> Anemone. Or something like that.
As you can see, there are literally lots and lots of characters in E7, and that goes without mentioning important side characters like Diane Thurston, William B. Baxter and the others. They have important roles to play and are here to reveal parts of the E7 plot to us, in a subtle way. It allows the viewer to get a global view of E7 and from different perspectives. There is literally lots and lots to tell about E7’s cast, but I leave their discovery to you. I can’t spoil the fun furthur.
– [ Value and Enjoyment = YEAH!!! = 10! ] –
If you haven’t guessed by now, Eureka Seven is just great and I really enjoyed my watching experience. I am now going to rewatch it, just to get a clearer view of it. In fact, Eureka Seven is one of the rare anime that I have ever rewatched. And frankly, it deserves it. I would rank the rewatch value as “Very High”. At the end, you will want to rewatch it from the beginning, just to watch the characters and story’s evolution again, from a new and enlightened perspective. And to gain a better understanding of E7’s magnificent story of course!
I really, really enjoyed Eureka Seven and it is now my top favourite. It deserves this space. Eureka Seven is a masterpiece, take it from a fellow fan.
Now, E7 might have some plotholes and some things that weren’t elaborated extensively, just as any other anime have. But the positive aspects of E7 fully compensate for these small (tiny) losses. You won’t even feel them. Nothing is perfect, but I believe E7 approaches perfection up to its nose!
As summary: Rewatch Value? Very High. Enjoyed myself? I kinda went overboard! Was E7 good? Na, no good. It is simply a masterpiece!
– [ Conclusions ] –
Go watch Eureka Seven!! That’s all there is to say. You won’t regret it. I know some people will be dissatisfied with my review, but I am just expressing my opinions. And I consider Eureka Seven to be a true success! Go watch it and draw your own conclusions. I do not think you would regret it. And I am not joking, it really deserves these “10”‘s from me!
Now, I sincerely await a movie. Not because was bad (in fact, it was great. Strange but great!). But because I really want to see more of Renton and Eureka, of Holland and Talho, of MoonDoggie and of Dominic and Anemone. I would like more about their endings, and what has become of them. The mere glances I got at the end is not enough to satisfy my hunger! I hope the creators of E7 can hear me! 😀
Thank you for reading my review. I know it was long. If something needs elaboration, contact me. I will amend the review where needed. Sayonara and go enjoy Eureka Seven!
The show’s supreme craftsmanship provides the spoonful sugar for its less-than-tasty story. It’s easy to watch these fifty episodes when the characters and their world are as creative and eye-popping as “Eureka 7’s.” Bolstering the shows designs and animation is one of the best soundtracks to bless a show; most impressive is the music’s ability to capture each of the story’s emotions with a perfectly mellifluous track.
“Eureka 7” suffers mainly from an identity crisis that ends up degrading the overall story. It begins as a really fun, rebels-versus-establishment adventure set in a world where skaters and hipsters reign as the supreme good guys.
I wish they creators would have stuck with this tone; it’s original and fun and would have lent itself perfectly to a. However, the show soon veers toward a melancholy, internal drama, and, before the fifty episodes are over, “Eureka 7” takes another sharp turn toward silly romance.
Maybe I’m too harsh, though. “Eureka 7” is targeted at teens, and if you can successfully put yourself into the mind of a naïve, romantic teen (see every teen), it’s easier to forgive the show for its flourishes.
Less forgivable, however, is the fragmentation of the story and characters caused by the shifting focus from adventure to drama to romance. Running in so many directions causes “Eureka 7” to roll its ankle, and the show never achieves any emotional impact. This is particularly disappointing since many of the characters had great potential to connect with the audience. Unfortunately, with the changes, the characters lose their original luster, drastically degrade into one-dimensional stereotypes, or drop from the story entirely.
As critical as I may be, please note that I watched “Eureka 7” nearly continually at every chance I got. It is, for the most part, an enjoyable series. To best enjoy this show, appreciate the audio-visual experience and always remember the target audience is young teenagers.
I’m sure you’ve read the synopsis so I won’t be mentioning that here. The story moves quicker than what you would expect from such a long series and this is a good thing as it minimizes any time where it would seem to be boring. This is even more impressive when you realize that there is next to no filler and what filler there is was entertaining and worth watching. The context of the story and the way it evolves isn’t over the top or unbelievable, it unfolds at a steady pace the entire time and doesn’t ever feel rushed or drawn out either. I see that a couple others have said that at times it is hard to follow but that isn’t the case at all if you’re paying attention and overall its an enjoyable journey with a satisfactory ending even if it left you wanting just a couple more answers.
The art is definitely above average, the animation is smooth and the colour scheme works well. It is a great support for everything else and the variation in quality across the span of the series is minimal. There were times when a certain lack of shading was noticeable but they quickly passed. Its not the best around but it is very good and considering the length makes it all the more impressive.
The sound is the only section i’ll score a perfect 10, it really is outstanding. The music from the openings to the endings and everything in-between is enjoyable and not something you’ll get sick of. Every track seems as if it could have been made to be used here and truly makes part of the show what it is. Sound effects and the like are perfectly acceptable, definitely above average. I haven’t heard the dub so I can’t comment on it but the Japanese voice acting fit well and no characters voice felt out of place. Overall a very pleasing experience.
The characters are great, you won’t see any cardboard cutouts here, each character is multi-dimensional and all add to the story. Eureka at first seems distant and not quite developed but thats exactly how she’s meant to be, you find yourself waiting for scenes where she and Renton interact with eachother for this is where alot of entertainment comes from. Seeing her grow as a person from that is quite something. That leads me to Renton, an average kid by all means, at times its downright annoying how naive and childish he really is but he learns from it and by the end you can truly see how he has grown. With all of this you may be asking why I rated it only an 8, thats because of the three kids, maybe I just dislike kids altogether but they cry at the drop of a hat, mess things up due to their own selfishness and are just a plain annoyance, I found myself becoming slightly irate everytime they were on screen. However i’m sure thats how people sometimes feel around real kids as well so if they were given just a little less screen time I guess I could have brushed it off. Overall the character development is really great especially concerning Eureka and Renton, further more apart from the kids I didn’t find myself disliking any character which is a testament to how well made they all really are.
I watched the series in three days and it never felt like it dragged on, I was always eager to see what came in the next episode and overall I really did enjoy this series. It just has the feeling of being enjoyable, taking you on a ride and you find it hard to leave. Once again I felt the kids detracted from this but whatever shortcomings they bring are immediately made up for by the rest. Enjoyment level for this series is high.
In the end its an interesting, enjoyable and great series. Don’t let the length put you off, if you watch anime then this is something you should see.
2: Samurai Champloo
English: Samurai Champloo
MAL Score: 8.50
Fuu Kasumi is a young and clumsy waitress who spends her days peacefully working in a small teahouse. That is, until she accidentally spills a drink all over one of her customers! With a group of samurai now incessantly harassing her, Fuu desperately calls upon another samurai in the shop, Mugen, who quickly defeats them with his wild fighting technique, utilizing movements reminiscent to that of breakdancing. Unfortunately, Mugen decides to pick a fight with the unwilling ronin Jin, who wields a more precise and traditional style of swordfighting, and the latter proves to be a formidable opponent. The only problem is, they end up destroying the entire shop as well as accidentally killing the local magistrate’s son.
For their crime, the two samurai are captured and set to be executed. However, they are rescued by Fuu, who hires the duo as her bodyguards. Though she no longer has a place to return to, the former waitress wishes to find a certain samurai who smells of sunflowers and enlists the help of the now exonerated pair to do so. Despite initially disapproving of this idea, the two eventually agree to assist the girl in her quest; thus, the trio embark upon an adventure to find this mysterious warrior—that is, if Fuu can keep Mugen and Jin from killing each other.
Set in an alternate Edo Period of Japan, Samurai Champloo follows the journey of these three eccentric individuals in an epic quest full of action, comedy, and dynamic sword fighting, all set to the beat of a unique hip-hop infused soundtrack.
Of course, Cowboy Bebop was not Shinichiro Watanabe’s first foray into resonant crossover in anime: Macross Plus was a monolithic amalgamation of Top Gun’s hot-headed romantic drama and sci-fi tropes including a pop-idol hologram version of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL, in turn influencing the famous cyberpunk writer William Gibson to write Idoru, a novel about a Japanese virtual idol and her marriage to a real-life rock star. Of course, all of this was before the invention of the Vocaloid, though I suppose the future imagined by Watanabe and Gibson was, in a way, not so far off.
Anyhow, now that I’ve finished my little history lesson — which I feel is relevant, as having such a perspective may deepen your enjoyment of Samurai Champloo as much as it did for me — let’s continue on to the review. In light of all the prescient futurism found in Watanabe’s other works, it’s rather interesting that he decided to shift his focus to the past and present. Of course, the world’s future is always in its past… and what we have here is, in a nutshell, Edo-period Japan: the remix. Baseball, tagging/graffiti, Van Gogh, zombies, and Catholicism are tossed into the “chanpurū” with a whole lot of revised Japanese pseudo-history. As such the medley of influences and tangential tale-spinning occasionally smacks of filler, but one would do well to understand that this show is simply all /about/ the filler — and this is all for the better, because Samurai Champloo is at its freshest and most hilarious when it’s veering off the rails. It even has the single most entertaining recap episode I’ve ever seen. Even with all this episodic improv, Fuu’s journey in search of a “samurai who smells like sunflowers” provides a compelling core to the story, much like a steady hip-hop beat giving structure to the mix of samples and freestyle verses. Her ronin traveling companions Mugen and Jin mingle like oil and water, and there we have the perfect cast for hilarity and drama.
Samurai Champloo is one good-looking show, with its thick linework giving an impression of manga blended with graffiti style. One episode even takes a quick trip into the psychedelic, with a sudden burst of colorful hallucination, Mind Game style — courtesy of episode key animator Masaaki Yuasa, of course. A wide variety of such notable animators were brought on board and thus the style occasionally varies slightly from episode to episode or even scene to scene, but it’s always pleasing and completely in tune with the show’s theme. Rural Japan has never looked so urban; almost any given scene in Samurai Champloo would be right at home spray-painted on the side of a city building or underpass.
The music, likewise, blends hip-hop, rhythm & blues, and traditional Japanese shamisen. Music often plays second fiddle to the look and quality of the animation when it comes to my enjoyment of anime, but in some cases it becomes just as important. This is one such anime, where the music contributes so greatly to the feel of it that it defines it and sets it apart from other anime — much like the soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts did for Cowboy Bebop. It’s also worth mentioning that rap and beatboxing sometimes enter the dialogue, and it’s always amusing. Admittedly, most younger people these days are far more familiar with hip-hop than they are with the jazz, blues, and big band genres; nonetheless, in the realm of anime this feels a bit groundbreaking, especially with the theme songs featuring Japanese rap lyrics. The world is getting bigger and smaller every day.
Samurai Champloo is a show for everyone. Plenty of great sword-slashing action, clever comedy, and a good share of moments that will tug at your heartstrings — often all at once. If you enjoy anime, this is one you can’t miss.
I recently re-watched the show and felt compelled to write a retrospective/review of the series. While watching Jin, Mugen and Fuu traipse around 19th century Japan getting into ridiculous adventures, I realised Shinichirô Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop is one of the most subversive animes ever made. Taking a staple genre, dressing it up in anachronism, but continually tackling subjects often avoided by the medium.
It takes 25 episodes until a character literally says “I was born in the wrong era.” Champloo is basically saying Japan’s lofty samurai era was actually a shit place to live for common people like us actually thank you very much.
It’s a divisive show that tested the patience of many viewers, drove others away entirely after a few episodes, and frustrated people who were too used to watching a plot move characters forward for 26 episodes. Champloo doesn’t even have characters who move the plot forward. The hook of how the three disparate characters end up travelling together through Edo period Japan is just that, it’s a hook to draw you in.
Samurai Champloo is about, and also not about, three characters hunting a samurai who smells of sunflowers. There’s an episode late into the series which features two street gangs having a graffiti battle across town, and though somewhat amusing also served no benefit towards the journey of the three characters. So if you hop into any forum thread you’ll see a multitude of complaints about it. However, the point of the episode is the same as the theme running throughout the entire show: people from a bygone era rebelling against authority and social norms in a way 21st century people do: through counter-culture.
I’ve gained a new appreciation for this show. It’s been so so long since I saw it, but rewatching it I realise how the story is about how incompatible Tokugawa era Japan is with our way of life; all the things we take for granted were rare luxuries back then. This is an obvious fact for anyone with a remote understanding of Japanese history, but still, the show rams it home with stark contrasts. Each episode highlights a 21st century aspect of our lives, a form of freedom (creative, sexual, geographical, etc) that characters in the 19th century yearned for despite the odds.
It’s set in an era ruled by rigid order, social rules and hierarchies. Stifling to the point of causing grief among the downtrodden populace. Yet a populace we should not treat as foreign aliens. The show asks us to empathise with them; they were just like us. Some of them had our modern spirit and ultimately struggled to exist in such a society as a result. Our heroes are a ronin, vagabond, and an orphan. Fighting against their era’s rules with a modern spirit.
One of the things I love about this show is how the three characters hate each other for the majority of the 26 episodes, but their hatred gives away inch by inch. They initially try to break apart, to run away from each other, but situations conspire to brig them back together, until a turning point where they actively make a choice to stick together, grudgingly recognising that they are of the same fiery rebellious soul. This is infinitely more satisfying than characters who automatically stick together from the outset. Another theme of Champloo is that travelling a journey with strangers can bring you together like family.
Champloo is more known for its scenes that are juxtaposed with modern quirks such as people beatboxing to humorous and surreal effect, and scene transitions that look like a DJ playing with their deck.
Episode topics try to cover every area that is barely explored by other samurai-era anime that are more concerned with traditional ‘fight evil’ plots (or even movies for that matter) from the prevalence of the yakuza co-existing with samurai, the tragedy of women forced into prostitution to pay off their husbands’ debts, human trafficking in the art world, existence of homosexuality, persecution of Christians and Ainu, and graffiti gangs with too much time on their hands. There’s even a hilarious baseball game with members of an American expedition that predates Commodore Perry’s by a few years.
Champloo features one of the best soundtracks ever, brought to you by Nujabes, whose life was tragically cut short in 2010. Instrumental hip hop might bring to your mind a certain perception of what to expect, but the soundtrack is a mixture of traditional beats with Japanese influence, floating ephemeral sounds constantly conjure a feeling of melancholy, or ‘mono no aware’, the fleeting transience of things.
The appeal of the show is ‘style over substance’, however that is a great discredit to what Champloo accomplishes. All the modern quirks in historical context are not just there to make the show stand out visually. The show is about entertaining this idea, this hope, that even back in Edo era Japan there were open-minded people fighting for creativity, individuality and basic human rights. Sure, most of them didn’t last long, but they didn’t die without a fight. Banzai!
The story of Champloo is an original work from Shinichiro Watanabe. The story centers on Fuu’s search for a samurai who smells of sunflowers. As the wanders continue on their travel they encounter many problems, mostly dealing with how to make money for their various expenses some times causing trouble for the three. In the travels many humorous things occur like Mugen entering a beetle type cock fight, Jin and Mugen’s adventure in to the red-light district, or the three entering an eating contest. As the three get closer to the samurai who smells of sunflowers, things begin to unravel leading the three to the most trouble they have ever seen.
Champloo has crisp clean stylistic animation. Characters are draw clean and clear with many details. The landscapes of Champloo are filled with beautiful shots of Japan’s country side. There are even a few scenes were the animation becomes only black and white and seem as they where draw straight from sketches to add to the scene. There is also one part were the colors and animation becomes so lively that it gives the impression of a whacked out hallucination.
The score of Champloo is what sets its self apart from any other anime in its genre. The background music is filled with urban hip-hop to give it a loose free flowing fill to it. A big portion of Champloo is focused on its original sound and it shows. For action scenes we get a fast flowing sound that gives the sword fights a more stylistic feel to them. For the more dramatic scenes we get deeper sounding background music. There are even moments during some flash back scenes were the music that we get to hear a rich Japanese sound to give a deeper feeling to it.
Samurai Champloo focuses around 3 core characters. Mugen is a straight loud mouth anti-hero. Mugen is the wild one of the group, always flying by the seat of his pants. Mugen also seems to have a problem with authority. Mugen is the first to draw and the last to leave a fight. Jin is a noble ronin in the search of a purpose. Jin although quite and wise, he too has some distaste with authority like Mugen, although with different reason mainly because he sees the one’s in charge as waste. Fuu is a young girl in the search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, she keeps these reasons to herself for some reason. Fuu is clumsy and some times naive. Fuu is constantly being kidnapped even though she has two strong bodyguards. And for some reason she keeps a flying squirrel with her to help out sometimes.
Any one who is a fan of samurai action will surely like Champloo. Filled with enough action to keep those hard core action fans at bay, Champloo sprinkles some comedy and drama on top. If you are someone who doesn’t like the hip-hop aspect of Champloo, then at least give it a try, you may be surprised.
MAL Score: 8.68
“Mushi”: the most basic forms of life in the world. They exist without any goals or purposes aside from simply “being.” They are beyond the shackles of the words “good” and “evil.” Mushi can exist in countless forms and are capable of mimicking things from the natural world such as plants, diseases, and even phenomena like rainbows.
This is, however, just a vague definition of these entities that inhabit the vibrant world of Mushishi, as to even call them a form of life would be an oversimplification. Detailed information on Mushi is scarce because the majority of humans are unaware of their existence.
So what are Mushi and why do they exist? This is the question that a “Mushishi,” Ginko, ponders constantly. Mushishi are those who research Mushi in hopes of understanding their place in the world’s hierarchy of life.
Ginko chases rumors of occurrences that could be tied to Mushi, all for the sake of finding an answer.
It could, after all, lead to the meaning of life itself.
Everything is only as it is.”
Mushishi is essentially a series of stories styled after East Asian legends and folktales. In lieu of gods, spirits, and demons, the paranormal phenomena are attributed to more primitive yet no less enigmatic creatures called “mushi”. Dealing with their kind is the expertise of “mushishi”; professionals whose role may be thought of as an amalgam of healer, exorcist, biologist, X-Files investigator, and Jedi master (well, sort of). Ginko happens to be one of these mushishi and he wanders from town to town, looking for interesting cases and lending a helping hand to those adversely affected by these mushi.
As formulaic as its premise may sound, no two incidents are alike and every episode features not only different mushi but a different setting and cast as well (with Ginko as constant exception). Because of these, the series is able to experiment with various concepts and human relationships and none of the stories ever end in a predictable manner. As such, there is little room for stagnation as each tale manages to be unique and refreshing.
The title is often mentioned in the same breath as Kino no Tabi though Mushishi’s oriental setting and animistic influences give it a more distinct flavor and theme. Whereas Kino limits herself to exploring “what if” scenarios by visiting different countries, Ginko takes it a step further by providing possible solutions and emphasizing the importance of living in harmony with nature, with fellow men, and most importantly, with the self.
While not exactly an anti-hero, Ginko’s personality is an unusual mix of benevolence tempered with common sense; a combination of “grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.” Saving lives is part of his job but he also knows when there’s reason still to hope and when it’s time to move on. He may break his own code at times for the well-being of the majority and he’s not above fooling the gullible either just to get by. His expertise stems not only from his knowledge about mushi but also from his understanding of human nature.
Similarly, none of these supporting characters are shoved into stereotypes which plague most anime and manga. No catgirls, lecherous geezers, or single-minded youngsters (Believe it!); just regular folks in unusual circumstances due to encounters with mushi. Consequently, it doesn’t require much effort to empathize with these characters even if most only appear in their respective episodes.
Not only is the theme “everything is only as it is” evident in the content but it also permeates the manner in which the stories are presented. Mushishi doesn’t try to impress; it simply delivers. While other shows of this era tend go overboard with the fancy CG animation, Mushishi’s visuals remain spare yet aesthetically pleasing. Rather than filling up the screen with explosions and fanservice shots at every possible moment, vivid scenes of natural beauty such as raindrops falling from the heavens, cherry blossoms drifting in the wind, and sunlight penetrating the dense foliage are shown instead. Of course, the viewers are occasionally treated to fantastic scenes showing the surreal characteristics of the mushi but these are shown only when called for in the stories and nothing is done in excess. Even the character designs are relatively plain but perhaps these also contribute to the story in their own way since the audience is less likely to judge the characters based on their appearances.
Likewise, the audio takes the minimalist approach. The soundtrack is comprised of simply melodies which are surprisingly effective in evoking various thoughts and emotions. Ranging from haunting and heart-rending to hopeful and bittersweet, the music often eliminates the need for more words in the most crucial scenes. Also worth noting is the lack of exaggerated voice acting which makes the cast sound more like real people rather than cookie-cutter characters.
In addition to its enchanting audio and visuals, Mushishi also serves drama and thought-provoking content in balanced amounts. Its subtle content and execution never insult the intelligence and present several interesting ideas without drowning the viewers in philosophical jargon or sophistry. All in all, Mushishi truly is one of the finest anime specimen out there.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Yuunagi – Writer
itsmee – Contributer/Editor
June – Contributer/Editor
Talamare – Contributer/Editor
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Catogory – Yuunagi, itsmee, June,Talamare
Overall: 10, 9, 8, 9 – avg=9.00
Story: 10, 10, 7, 10 – avg=9.25
Animation: 9, 9, 9, 9 – avg=9.00
Sound: 9, 8, 7, 8 – avg=8.00
Enjoyment: 10, 10, 8, 10 – avg=9.5
In the club wide poll held for Mushishi it received an average overall rating of 9.06
From minute one, Mushishi’s representation of a vast world grabs the eye and doesn’t let go. Lush forests with dew dripping from every leaf; barren winter mountains peppered with stubborn snow-covered trees; an innocuous pond with lilies on the surface of the still water. The series roams from setting to setting, and all are presented with a lifelike attention to detail. The color palette is richly varied, reaching from the brilliant emerald of vegetation to the deep turquoise of the sea to the dusky red of a far-off sunset. Lighting is used to strong effect, whether it’s beams of sun streaming through layers of foliage and mist or a candle’s flame struggling to brighten a dark old house.
And within those habitats, the mushi themselves are creatively rendered as a strange mix of the familiar and the utterly alien. They are shapeless blobs propelled by twitching motions, phosphorescent insects scuttling along the earth, and great legless serpents twisting skyward. Some take the shape of a natural phenomenon, and the sight of a living rainbow exploding from the earth, or a long-restrained cloud breaking free, expanding and floating away, is bound to impress. The animation on the whole is excellent, but the mushi in particular seem to move with a vivid otherworldly fluidity. At least part of Mushishi is about making sense of the mysterious and bringing reason to something that seems unreasonable. The designs of the mushi add some believability to this; it’s quite easy to see how they could be thought of as ghosts, beasts, or legends, able to inspire both wonder and fear. The tranquility of the environments is consistently impressive in a low-key way, but the spectacle of the mushi can be eerie, majestic, and everything in between.
Sound is part of atmosphere, and in the same way that cold urban horrors might use reverberations in dark alleys or the foreboding thrumming of electronics, Mushishi uses a chorus of insects or the roar of drifting snow to surround us, allowing the setting to speak its piece. The music is minimal but startlingly effective, in many cases fitting easily alongside and even seeming to mimic the voices of the earth. Slow piano notes overlap with rhythmic footsteps, a woodwind’s sad screams resemble those of a forlorn bird. So, too, can the score sound almost unearthly, with an ominous progression of bells and chimes sometimes underscoring a haunting ending or signaling the arrival of the mushi. The result is an immersive ambiance where visuals and sound alone can convey dark, brooding tension or innocent curiosity with equal ease. It isn’t just pretty, it’s totally engrossing, exuding pure atmospheric mastery in almost every scene.
Through this vast world walks Ginko, revenant of revenants, our looking glass. Perceptive of the nature of human and mushi alike, he uses words as careful and deliberate as his journeying stride to become the voice of reason and, with an air of serene confidence, impart his knowledge to others. To become a witness to needless death, a bearer of bad news, or a participant in deception is sometimes part of his job description. As an admirer of life and truth, he cares for none of these tasks, but he’ll defy his own nature and undertake them with solemn dedication if he feels that it’s necessary. He is wise, but not infallibly so. Nor is he a complete stoic; outbursts of childlike wonder at incredible sights, sarcastic retorts to smart-mouthed travelers, and emotion-laden shouts of panic and warning to his fellow humans all show him as a little more than just the nonchalant white-haired sage. His development, in the traditional sense, is sparse, but he is afforded a poignant backstory that makes him and his thought process a little less of an enigma.
Of course, Mushishi gently pushes a picture of a sprawling and intricate world where all beings affect each other in ways both seen and unseen, their actions rippling outward in ever-widening circles, and in that sense, Ginko as a character is no different than any other living thing in the show, simultaneously of little and great consequence. He may be our guide, cursed and blessed to ceaselessly wander, but the world doesn’t turn for him. Rather, it’s in what he represents that we might find significance: The quest for knowledge, the insatiable desire to understand even while knowing that the sheer body of things in existence prevents total understanding. The need to capture the meaning of what surrounds us, spread our wisdom responsibly, and use it to form calculated reactions to the world instead of rash judgments. He truly is that silver fish swimming endlessly through dark water, opalescent barbels probing fathomless black crevices, illuminating them, if only for a brief moment. Much of Mushishi’s strength lies in the ability to provoke thought without direct questions, to let an image serve as subtext, and Ginko himself represents an impressively seamless merging of humanity and idea.
Mushishi is episodic, not bound by an overarching plot. It is a series of self-contained stories which vary in theme, but are always skillfully crafted. Most episodes consist of human drama, based on relatable and familiar emotions, infused with an element of the natural world. The episodic format delivers powerful and gripping tales in an extremely brief timetable, a feat which I have no problem appreciating. The scenarios are original, and the writing is rich with little subtleties and metaphors, but each episode can be understood and appreciated as successful story even if you’ve no desire to peer into them deeply. View Mushishi as a progression of intelligent parables full of interesting ideas, or as a bunch of moving and affecting tales; much to its credit, it is both.
Part of what makes Mushishi work is its steadfast refusal to portray anything in terms as simple as “good” or “evil.” Stories where barbaric man stupidly abuses mother nature, or where nature is a hate-filled monster that comes from the hills to eat scared little man, are a dime a dozen, and while they might pass as entertainment, they often fail to say anything worth saying because they handle man and earth as if they’re combatants in a holy war. Mushishi is not so black and white, and it has an idea that scales much better. The mushi are not red-toothed animals seeking to kill in droves. The humans are not greedy savages bent on scorching the earth. Both are just beings, trying to survive in the same place and at the same time. That they will cross paths, have conflicting interests, use each other, and hurt each other is inevitable; such is survival. Each episode is one meeting of mushi and human, one miniscule butting of heads in a massive world, with the implication being that this is simply what happens, everywhere. Instead of vilifying humans or portraying nature as a vengeful power, Mushishi whispers: This is just the way things are. It does give us a small shove by implying that, as the ones with the ability to reason and understand, the responsibility for mitigating the damage that humans inflict (and the damage that humans receive) falls on the humans, but it never degenerates into the preachy heavy-handedness or gross oversimplifications that plague many works with similar themes.
It’s that theme which allows Mushishi to navigate the spectrum of human emotion. Conflict in its world does not arise from moral failings or piggish greed, only from a lack of understanding, and understanding is a sword with many edges. Ask the child who learns of death, or the old man who learns of life. Sometimes the knowledge you gain is liberating, sometimes it’s disheartening, sometimes it’s terrifying. Mushishi can be all of those words and more, but even when it strays to one extreme, it never loses its humanity, its worldliness, or its feeling of being completely natural. Just as it can depict the warm orange rays of the sun and the cold white howl of the snow, it can depict innocent wonder and violent loss, and with equal sincerity. It has balance, and then some.
As a caveat, I will say that this is the kind of series that practically begs me to use the phrase “not for everyone.” It’s dialogue-heavy, more about the thought leading up to action than the action itself; it keeps the big guns of its visual spectacle on a tight leash, letting them explode only after a suitable buildup to assure the maximum payoff; it doesn’t have the conventional storytelling satisfaction of explicitly coming full circle, instead simply tapering off and fading quietly, as episodic series sometimes do. A few episodes will likely be enough to inform you of whether or not it’s to your tastes, and I’ve no doubt that many have labeled (and will continue to label) it as simply “boring.” I understand the origin of this opinion, but I cannot share it. Mushishi is strangely beautiful and intensely fascinating on several levels. Imbibe it a little at a time like liquor, or dive deeply into it and become drunk on its atmosphere, intrigue, and insights. In my experience, neither disappoints.
In order for something to be pretentious, it needs to put up a cover while not including the methods. An anime that has a realistic art style with dramatic characters is pretentious. It looks realistic, but the methods that are used are opposed to it.
Mushishi makes it clear what it wants to be in the first episode. It’s a series that’s concerned mainly with men’s relationship to nature. The mushi are just the physical embodiment of what nature can be. Some have criticized Mushishi for creating a magic system that has no rules but leads to convenience, but that’s untrue. Mushishi doesn’t have an RPG-like magic system because it uses magic to explore themes, not to offer instructions on how to do battle.
The rules the magic in Mushishi follows is the theme of nature. It’s successful in that department. We often see nature portrayed as a calm, peaceful place in contrast to heartless machinery. If the person is especially ignorant, we will even hear about the good old days when men was One With Nature and everything was peaceful and good. Most people see nature though the lens of the Garden of Eden.
Anyone who ever bothered to learn a little about nature – botany or geology or zoology – will understand Mushishi‘s stance on nature. Nautre is unstable, mysterious, powerful and cares nothing about us. Volcanic eruptions and meteors crashing are terrible things, but they’re produced by an indifferent world that has no malice. They just happen. Then again, it’s the same world that gives us great food and visual spectacles. There plenty of time when the terrible and beautiful merge – how many dangerous animals are also beauiful?
The series achieves that by the nature of the mushi. They often benefit and harm at the same time, like allowing people to give birth to a person that died. There is always a sense of wonder and mystery surrounding the mushi. Even Ginko, despite his cold demeanor is also startled by them. What people don’t say enough about Mushishi is that this is how fantasy should be done. It’s not like Martin’s world, which is full of details to make it clear and familiar. It’s truly alien and fantastical.
Where the series falls is in all other departments. The series doesn’t put enough effort into the characters and the stories. They exist solely to present the varying mushi. There are films whose purpose is only to deliver a visual experience, so abandoning conventional storytelling can be a smart decision. It’s not here. It’s not just that 26 episodes make you demand more, but that abandoning conventional storytelling doesn’t help the series’ aim.
The series forgets about the ‘men’ in the relationship between men and nature. The characters feel like they have an outer life. The issues spring from life itself – art, marriage, vision – rather than having a guy preventing another guy from Being the Best. There isn’t enough character psychology to make these issues feel important.
The characters are all interchangeable. I kept waiting for a reason why this person is concerned with vision, or this one with marriage. Nothing is pointless in fiction, after all. In order to bring depth to an issue, you need to connect to the character. Something in the character’s personality needs to be related to the issue so it will affect it. A lot of shounen shows know this, so they tend to give a narcisstic nature to their characters. The character doesn’t just struggle with The Problem but with his own nature. Ikki learns to curb his narcissism and stop swinging between it and depression. Tai learns (or is supposed to) how being a leader works.
Despite these two not being the most developed examples, they make for different stories. You couldn’t put Tai in Ikki’s story, because Tai’s personality is concerned with relationships with others. You couldn’t put Ikki in Tai’s story, because his story is about learning that sometimes you lose some and win some. I could not remember a character that had a situation concerned with his personality. They tend to have generic wants and needs, nothing that’s unique to them. They may be ‘ordinary people’, but people are not clones even when they follow patterns. Or if the series wanted to comment on that, then the similarity should’ve been made important. Nothing is there to emphasize how similar humans are. These are just empty characters.
Ginko is not much better. An episodic series isn’t an excuse to have undeveloped characters. They may not change throughout the series, but they need a personality that will affect every story. A lot of Cartoon Network shows are purely episodic, yet they’re full of quirky characters who create the stories because of who they are.
We get a backstory episode for Ginko, but it doesn’t reveal much. What’s his motivation? Why is he so into mushi? How does all this exploring affected his worldview? There are sometimes hints. In one episode, Ginko agrees with what I wrote above about the cruelty of nature. This is just one instant, though. All Ginko does is visit people, help them solve the problem and that’s it.
That makes him a plot device, not a real character. He exists so we’ll have someone to follow, but how different would the series be if it was a random mushishi in every episode? I do not ask to immidiately reveal who Ginko is. If every episode gave a small piece, it would be enough. The collector, who appears from time to time is the only person with something resembling a drive. He’s really into collecting, and values it more than humans. It’s a little touch that makes him more real than anyone here. There are sometimes other mushishi’s who act a little different, but the difference is never wide enough.
It’s a missed oppurtunity, sure, but not one without merits. It’s as original as people say it is, and a good example of how far storytelling can go. It didn’t live up to its concept, but it’s still good that it’s out there and that it found an audience. Hopefully, one of these someone will pick up these ideas and run away with them. It’s a fun series, but one that should be easy to improve.
3.5 mushi out 5
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
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3. Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven
4. Ueki no Housoku
5. Doraemon (1979)
6. Noein: Mou Hitori no Kimi e
7. Basilisk: Kouga Ninpou Chou
8. Tsubasa Chronicle
9. Fantastic Children
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