They’re the best Anime that 2006 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, Tsubasa Chronicle 2nd Season, Noein: Mou Hitori no Kimi e, and more!
10: Konjiki no Gash Bell!!
English: Zatch Bell!
MAL Score: 7.53
Takamine Kiyomaro, a depressed don’t-care-about-the-world guy, was suddenly given a little demon named Gash Bell to take care of. Little does he know that Gash is embroiled into an intense fight to see who is the ruler of the demon world. All of the demons have to pick a master on Earth and duke it out with other demons until one survives. Needless to say, Kiyomaro becomes Gash’s master, and through their many battles, Kiyomaro learns the importance of friendship and courage.
The story is a 9 because I’ve never seen one like it before. There are some pretty sudden twists in the story that kept it exciting and fun to watch. The fillers could be funny, but they were mostly pretty boring. Also, the ending was a bit obvious, so that’s why I gave it only a 9.
I don’t usually criticize art, but if I had to score it, it would definitely be 9. The reason being that for most of the characters, you definitely tell them apart. However, some characters are drawn poorly or they look unnatural so the final score is a 9.
The sound for this anime was great. There was pretty good music overall and the character’s voices matched the character’s personality. The quality was not bad and the music was all very original, however the music could get a little repetitive at times.
As stated before, all the characters are unique and have special personalities. I think that they are all funny and a key part to the anime. There was definitely a lot of thought put into each individual character. Some are a little annoying or unnecessary, though.
Unfortunately, I could only give an 8 for my overall enjoyment because the fillers became very boring and tiring to watch. They were unnecessary sometimes and very repetitive. The action-packed episodes were great though, and some fillers were making me laugh out loud, literally.
For the above reasons, I gave this anime an overall rating of 9/10. It was a very special anime to me and the ending was pretty exciting. The only part I really don’t like is the ending that just leaves you hanging. Even so, I enjoyed this very much and I’m glad I decided to watch it.
Maybe a specific scene to point to as a difference would help my explanation: in the manga, there is a page where Gash is cutely wandering to find what to play with, has a close up :O moment, then it zooms out to him with a traffic cone; he has that on, then repeats the :O frame, then zooms out to a samurai headdress; finally, it is all repeated again with a dog as the newfound object. In the manga, the stopping gives it a firm, comedic pace, and everything just piles up as this cute and funny moment. In the anime, the execution is clumsy and I basically did not even notice the moment at all.
The art is pretty much atrocious, and while it is not like I expected anything incredible, since the manga’s art is below average as well, it hurts the anime more than the manga by making it feel much more like a kid’s product. I am sure part of the consideration has to be budgetary/time, but there are soooo many still shots.
Gash’s voice acting is great, Kiyomaro’s is average, and everyone else’s is pretty much bad or hard to notice in a major role. Demons have fun voices sometimes though, like Umagon/Schneider and Victoreem. The music never does a good job, outside of the goofy songs, of doing anything particularly good or bad…just incredibly average. The goofy songs are pretty well executed, like Tetsu no Folgore is pretty typically funny, not annoying. The opening and introduction songs seemed to be a lot higher quality at the start of the series, but that might just be personal taste. The departure of Gash’s normal, better voice actor for maternity leave is not really the series’ fault, so I am not holding that against it!
There are changes to the plot and bonus stories. I think the bonus stories were a better idea than not, since what other reason do you have to keep watching a series this long (although I would advocate not watching it all the way…I really enjoyed it through about fifty episodes, but I was really bored the rest of the way)? I think some of the changes (especially the ending to shorten the story) weakened the story…matters were not really hashed out well toward the end.
The manga is not perfect itself, but I think that it makes more sense, has a better pacing, and that the art is a lot more compelling to look at. The drama is less grating, what with the endless FRIENDSSSSSSSS! stuff going on, the fights are more cohesive, and you get the full plot, not the version which prematurely ends.
However, saying all that, since it is a touching and extremely fun manga, it is fun to see it in animation, and it is fun to see Gash and Umagon especially in motion with good voice acting!
(I know my ratings are “higher” than 4, but it is not like I suddenly hate the story or characters…so the art, sound, and enjoyment are more applicable here, at least to me).
Zatch Bell is the perfect anime to watch on an early Sunday morning. Chilaxin’ in your pyjama’s on the couch, some slightly soggy cereal in one hand and a tea spoon in the other (though it SHOULD be a fork…), and drowsily laughing and dreading Monday..mmm..yeh…
Story-9~ Nothing too full on, humorous, cute at times, has a good amount of randomness, I didn’t mind the fillers..just ignore them and the story flows quite well. Very good.
Art-9~ Its an anime so…nothing much to say in terms of art.
Sound-9~ Very Melon!!!
Character-9~ Very good and very melon, they all had a moderate amount of different personalities and morals. The designs are original enough. Poor Dr. Riddles.
Enjoyment-9~ What can I say. I rated it a 9.
9: Tsubasa Chronicle 2nd Season
English: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE Season Two
Japanese: ツバサ クロニクル 第2シリーズ
MAL Score: 7.59
Syaoran, Sakura, Kurogane, Fai and Mokona’s journey through to different world’s continue as they search for Sakura’s feathers. The fated journey slowly becomes more complicated for our travelers, as they find themselves diving deeper into more dangerous worlds. Takes place immediately after the first season. Based on the manga by CLAMP.
Animation: This is what I shall always be critical about, I have never liked BeeTrain’s style which tends to drag the story and make everything slower paced than they are supposed to be. Noir and Madlax have been a snore fest for me, Tsubasa Chronicles although having a manga to backup, had almost the same pacing with characters wearing static expressions throughout the episodes with the exceptions of a few gasps and shouts… I mean… they are even lazy to make livelier expressions! And due to NHK restrictions, everything has been toned down. A little more blood and gore like the anime X or as projected in the manga would have propelled this anime to a higher rating, how they tried to make everything bloodless just seemed awkward. Don’t misunderstand, CLAMPs art is still really good, its just the animation that did not live up to standards
Sound: No one has complaints here, Yuki Kajiura’s music continues to excel with some great tracks like Crying Alone, Aikoi and Broken Sword of Justice, in fact, almost everyone would agree that the music is the main factor that still keeps viewers interested. For this season I preferred the ending to the opening, an uplifting, lively song full of hope and happiness, perfectly suited for Syaoran and Sakura’s feelings. The seiyuus gave the same pleasing performances as before.
Story: there were some arcs that were very good, like the Ashura arc, Kurogane’s past and the Piffle arc. Some fillers were quite interesting too while some others like back to ChunHyang’s world were just too repetitive. It was very apparant that they were trying to save the 2nd Syaoran bit as a climax for the next season by dragging out the plot to the extent of turning it into ‘finding one feather an episode’. Therefore as an intermediate bit for the Tsubasa series, this season didn’t leave too strong of an impression, yet it did succeed in leaving some questions and desire for the next season, thanks to the excellent Kurogane arc and the mysterious ‘Syaoran in the tube’ which gave hints to the other side of Tsubasa, a darker and unpredictable plot which was to be unfolded in the future.
Character: The good point of Tsubasa is that the group of main characters are basically lovable, with different personalities and from different backgrounds, yet giving off a feel like they are one big happy family who care for each other very much. Mainly 2 obvious character developments were done in this season, including the background story of Kurogane and most importantly, Sakura does have a bit more development compared to the walking shell in the 1st season. Syaoran, Mokona and Fai were still their usual selves but I never minded that because seeing this group interacting is basically one of the fun moments of Tsubasa. Although thanks to the rigid animation, the characters still gave off a rather stony, lifeless feel. It may just be me but yes, compared to the other animated Clamp works, this seemed too obvious.
I did still enjoy this series, thanks to the excellent music and my love for the Sakura+Syaoran pairing but still I can’t help thinking this could have been handled a lot better with such a strong manga to back it up. In other words, it had potential, but it just didn’t live up to most expectations.
If you are fond of the first season though you might like the second season. However it would be advisable not to read the manga first or you’d get very disappointed with how this anime turned out to be
Tsubasa RESERVoir Chronicle (TRC) – the anime – showed a lot of promise from its very first episode. However, because of the fact that TRC is aired during the children’s hour in Japan, which limits exactly the kind of content they are allowed to put into this anime, and as a result, have disappointed many viewers thinking they would be witnessing a story that was close to what was written in the manga by CLAMP. However, despite all of that, Tsubasa Chronicle still shapes up to be a relatively enjoying series, if you can get through a couple of the more slower arcs and horrendous fillers. The second season is full of more of the same as with the first season, but with more fillers in my mind.
The animation, is pretty much the same as it was with the first season. CLAMP does an excellent job in that department.
Yuki Kaijura has once again put together a very beautiful soundtrack to go along with the second season. He has presented us with more emotional and beautiful scores to go along with the anime and you will find yourself humming a lot of the tunes.
The second season is pretty much a slow continuation from the first season. However, I feel it goes even slower than the first and you just feel like your being cheated out of the potential of a very good anime. However, because it is shown during the children’s hour, that may be a plausible reason that the potential is not being reached. Again, if you have the patience to put up with slow progress and fillers, the relationship between Sakura and Syaoran is what makes this anime worth it.
STORY: CLAMP’s ever so popular (And probably my favorite CLAMP title) massive cross over manga series, Tsubasa, continues on it’s second anime season.
With it’s likable main cast: the determined Syaoran, the kind and sweet Sakura, gruff swordsman Kurogane, the goofy but mysterious Fai, and of course the mascot, Mokona all in toll, most fans are expecting another enjoyable (and hopefully with a faster paced story) world(s) traveling adventure as they continue to collect feathers in order to return Sakura’s lost memories.
And from what I can tell, that’s exactly what the producers were hoping for, that the fans love the characters just enough to watch this season, so they can get away with very pointless episodes, and with little actual story material only follow about three story arcs from the manga that barely cover half of the animes episode span, and the rest of it becoming boring filler episodes (With nine straight filler episodes until its end).
It’s not that these episodes are the most absolutely terrible things in the world, it’s just that the writers, unfortunately, seem to have taken advantage of the traveling to different worlds concept for the sake of being a cash in, with no effort on expanding the story.
And what’s the worse side-effect of a mostly filler season? Little to almost no character development at all.
The cast are simply boring husks of themselves, they don’t develop, they don’t do anything different, they just stay the same.
Going further into laziness, this anime constantly rehashes all of it’s side characters from various other series created by CLAMP, which is another concept that got taken advantage of from the manga, that even fans of other CLAMP titles will tire of these recurring characters. Which was something manga was charming and famous for.
Another noticeable fact is the series main antagonist does little to nothing at all in the story (Less than what what he did in the manga I mean) except a few chats with his female subordinate or a few speeches.
And in the end, hardly any progress is made in the story, that ended up becoming just a waste of time.
ART: Constant low budget animation, that sometimes have obvious quality issues, and Tsubasa deserved better than this, even flipping through pages of the manga looked better than half of the anime, which only adds to the disappointment.
SOUND: But unlike the animation, it appears that they had put effort with a bigger budget for the background music, though there are some techno background music that sounds totally out of place, and the theme music is nothing special compared to season one’s.
The english dub in the first season suffered a lot from the voice actors having to get used to their roles in a slow start up feel, but thankfully in season two it’s not the main problem anymore.
The english cast itself is quite an impressive line up with big name voice actors Vic Mignogna, Chris Sabat, Monica Rial, and Jason Liebrecht voicing the main cast.
Especially Chris Sabat who is well suited for Kurogane and Monica Rial was an excellent choice for Sakura.
But even with the improvements to the english dub, it is still underwhelming.
+ The Tsubasa crew enters in its “second season.”
– Almost no character development at all.
– Very boring filler episodes make up the majority of the season, taking advantage of several concepts the manga has in order to make these episodes.
– Bland theme music and a sub par english dub.
– Disappointing animation.
I feel that by the end of the season many fans will feel that they wasted their time, but not completely hate it, just feel very disappointed that very little of manga’s story made it’s way to the anime’s “second season”.
8: 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.
7: Kekkaishi (TV)
MAL Score: 7.61
Yoshimura Sumimura comes from a long line of “Kekkaishi,” individuals who have supernatural abilities and are able to destroy evil creatures called Ayakashi that venture into the human realm from time to time. The Ayakashi are demons that look to feast on the power emanating from the land of Karasumori, which also happens to be where Yoshimura’s high school is located. Now, Yoshimura must fight to protect his beloved school and hometown. Although, if it were up to him, he would rather be baking cakes than fighting off the ugly characters that show up at night.
Thankfully, Yoshimura isn’t the only one helping to keep the baddies at bay. His childhood friend and neighbor, Tokine Yukimura, joins him in this righteous battle. Despite the fact that they are from rival clans, these two make a fantastic team. And teamwork is something vital to fighting the evil that is closing in, as the Ayakashi attack in waves, looking to claim the land as their own, and a shadowy organization looks on, ready to pounce when the time is right…
Yoshimori and Tokine, our plucky teens, are charged with the seemingly life-long mission to protect a mystical piece of land with their barrier technique. The ability to create barriers of all shapes and sizes by pointing their fingers and shouting "Ketsu!" and destroying the contents of their CGI boxes with "Metsu!" It’s a very cool and unusual technique and the animation remains consistently good throughout the series, so it never gets old watching the two develop their skills, or to watch Tokine take liberties and use her kekkai to smack Yoshimori in the face.
The manga is written by a female so you can expect some good characterization for Tokine. The two heroes are on an even level for most of the anime, and being that it’s written by a female, the relationship and romance has a more deft touch to it. Sexist observation? Maybe, but I can tell you that I didn’t really roll my eyes or get bored with any of the lovey dovey moments sprinkled throughout Kekkaishi.
Populated by interesting and amusing characters, an epically memorable Taku Iwasaki score, refreshing pacing, and creative action, Kekkaishi is the definition of how a shonen genre anime is meant to be made. It does get a tad derivative towards the end, being unable to escape the tropes of the genre, but its still good fun. Each episode also ends with a great Photoshop-like montage of characters, basically summing up the climax of the last 20 minutes.
The producers even had the grace to just end the adaptation at the end of an arc, rather than overtake the manga or descend into filler hell. It’s a bittersweet compromise but one we should accept and respect. For a show sponsored by McDonalds, you’d think greed would compel them to milk everything out of this show, but they knew when to stop. Whether it was due to Kekkaishi not being as sell-able as Naruto or One Piece for example, I don’t know, but I don’t care when what they leave us with is an anime as excellent as this.
So like I said, Kekkaishi is a kind of siege story, a staple of the action-thriller genre that live-action films occasionally excel at, but anime rarely ever touches. Kekkaishi greets the genre head on with shonen enthusiasm and ends up an entertaining show worth watching.
_Kekkaishi_ offers nothing new, nothing spectacular, essentially nothing. It’s not one of those animes that tries to be high brow and thought provoking. In the limitation of its scope, however, the series has done extremely well. The story progresses with fast enough pace that one doesn’t feel the urge to fast forward, often with suspense–in the form of unresolved secrets or crisis–sustained throughout several episodes. The art is excellent as well: very clean and rarely with the exaggeration of either being too ‘shoujo’ or too ‘shounen.’ It’s rather rare these days to see the female protagonist drawn without over-developed body parts, which in this case only makes her more charming and lovable.
The story is simple and rather straight-forward. The basic premise of nearly all episodes lies on the encounter of the two main characters with the invading monster(s) of the week, with stories dedicated to character development revolving around this premise. I am glad to say, however, that the story has not fallen into one of the major caveats of this structure. The conflict resolution does not always depend on the main characters getting stronger (through training, for instance), but also on their character growth and interaction.
Many hints are dropped within the series suggesting the series targets a rather young main audience: too many things are explicitly spelled out for you. The male protagonist’s main drive, for instance, is hammered repeatedly to the audience from his own dialogue. A good thing that comes out of this is that the characters have well-defined personalities that explain why they do the things they do. Every character remains faithful to his/her main trait. This, unfortunately, also makes the characters rather simplistic and two-dimensional, with no room left for surprise. I find it difficult, however, to blame a series dedicated to younger audience for being reductionist in its portrayal of human psyche.
Kekkaishi has your drama, your comic relief scenes, and your thought provoking scenarios all in one AND the best part is that it isn’t long and overly drawn out like Naruto, Bleach, or InuYasha.
As mentioned earlier, it’s got your basic goofy main character who has a crush on his neighbor and later on meets his best friend who happens to be half-Ayakashi (“ghost”/”demon”). HOWEVER, Kekaishi also successfully merges in some well back story plots that defies your average shounen story making it about 100x more interesting and it isn’t drawn out to be annoying. The only reason I don’t give it a full 10 was because I felt the ending could have used a little more “padding” i.e, giving it a slightly more thorough conclusion. It wasn’t completely open-ended, but I do feel that there were maybe one or two knots that could have been tied before ending completely.
Considering that I’m writing this review in 2015 and this anime finished airing in 2008, I’m actually rather impressed with some of the special effects in the show. There were a few questionable shots, but overall I thought the art work was clean, well-done, and interesting. I only give it an 8 though because there were a few awkward shots/angles.
Awesome voice acing (I’m talking about the original Japanese) the voices are all amazing and you really feel like you’re watching something and not listening to someone reading off a script. There are also some very good, well-known voice actors such as Hiroyuki Yoshino and Kenjiro Tsuda. Also, including sound, the voice sound wasn’t as ill-proportioned as some anime can be (i.e, the sound effects and music overpowers the voices making it difficult to hear).
The characters were all very “3D” meaning they really captured the audience’s attention. In my opinion, I really got to “know” the characters more as people than just characters in a story. Even the villain Kaguro, because dang, did that guy have STYLE! He was bad to the core, but there was a certain amount of charm in the way he did things that kind of makes you like him and respect him, but still not “like-liking” him enough to hope he isn’t killed off in the end. He made for a very good villain and normally one would hope to look for “grey villains” in anime that can decide to be seen as good or bad, but not this time. Kaguro was completely black in personality, and it was kind of “refreshing” in a way because often anime creates antagonists who, more usually than not, join the hero side which, although interesting, can kind of become predictably boring after seeing it occur so often.
There is also a good amount of character development and interesting personalities and, like I said, you really “fall in love” with the characters.
Overall and Enjoyment (10/10:
Overall, it was an awesome show with a relatively satisfying ending and I’m actually really depressed now that it’s over. I suggest it for people who want mindless fun, but not to the point of brain dead fluff. I mean, I liked it so much that I managed to write a review for it, which I haven’t even done for my most FAVORITE or favorite shows; so it just goes to show how great this series is, right? 😛
6: Kyou kara Maou!
English: King From Now On!
MAL Score: 7.67
Kyou kara Maou! revolves around Yuri Shibuya, your average Japanese teenager. One day, Yuri sees a classmate being harassed by bullies. Thanks to this intervention, his friend is able to escape, but unfortunately Yuri becomes the new target of the bullies in the process and gets his head shoved into a toilet. But instead of water, the toilet contains a swirling portal that sucks him into another world, largely resembling medieval Europe. There, he is told that he will become the next Demon King due to his black hair and black eyes, traits only possessed by the demon’s royal lineage.
Yuri’s arrival is met with some skepticism by some of the demons, who view him as unworthy to be their king. However, after Yuri wins a duel by utilizing his magical powers, the demons slowly begin to acknowledge him as their monarch. Yuri must now learn what it takes be a true Demon King, as he tries to keep the peace between demons and humans in this strange new realm.
Kyou Kara Maou! is a truly hilarious anime, and it’s filled with so many great characters that it’s impossible not to have a few favourites. The characters and the interaction between them all was what made the anime so good in my opinion, and even though I must admit that the show has its share of filler episodes, I just adored the characters too much to really mind.
Despite the humour, however, Kyou Kara Maou! does have a serious story (once it kicks in) and some very intense episodes with a few plot twists and character back story that isn’t so cheerful, especially coupled with Yuri’s struggle to bring peace to this new world he’s been crowned king of without resorting to war or fighting of any kind.
Yes, Kyou Kara Maou! is lengthy and probably a little cliché, but if you fall in love with the characters the way I did then you’ll wish it had’ve gone on longer. I was sad to see it end, and it’s absolutely become one of my favourite animes. If you like lighthearted anime with darker undertones that’s full of great characters and don’t mind the touches of shounen-ai (or crossdressing boys, for that matter), then I wholeheartedly recommend this series to you!
The story is standard fare, with Yuri progressing and learning new things and helping others. All that is good and everything but it takes about 30-40 episodes till the real story line unfolds. Very similar to Inuyasha, Yuri must prevent the opposing powers from collecting certain peices that will bring the end of the world. It’s a very generic plot but the stories intertwined with the main story are wat make it fairly interesting. The "boy-love" comedy bits troubled me a bit at first but further down it became more and more funny rather than annoying and there were parts thats I actually laughed out loud. Another great part of this show is how it makes fun of itself. Knowing that they are doing an anime thats been done numerous times before, they made different rules and regulations in this alternate universe. Episode 1 will introduce you to some the hilarious laws. Theres even countless puns and gay jokes galore. For what they’re worth they’re all pretty funny.
It also helps that main characters all sound so macho and rough most of the time but also have a flipside/softside to all of them. Their macho side shows about 80% of the time, but their softside is just pure comedy gold in my opinon (personal favorite is Gwendal). But its not all males all the time (thank god), theres also a handful of woman characters in it as well. The girls all appeal to the male audience though with all of them having rather large breasts and beautiful faces. And a lot of the girls have their own silliness that makes this show such a treat.
The art and animation of the show isn’t very impressive at all which is a little surprising considering that it was made in 2004 and having 78 episodes. But i guess its safe to say that the art and animation is about average for for that time frame. Background and static art are all detailed enough but has a nice amount of "haze" to keep the quality from going any higher than low. The characters are drawn pretty good, all main characters having that ‘pretty boy’ look and the girls looking too perfect. If there was a comparison to the character art i think it would be close to Ouran Host Club.
The sound and music are also mediocre as well, typical sound effects but nothing over the top. They’re are pretty generic and im sure you can spot a few sound effects from other anime. The music is also very average/below average. Nothing very memorable about the music. And im not too fond of J-punk as the opening song (and its on ALL episodes) The ending songs do switch up at least and I did find Arigatou~ by BON’z (eps 40-on) to be pretty catchy and nice.
Overall this is, at best, an average shounen/comedy with nothing really memoriable or worth putting on my "favortie anime" list. Its also best if viewed in short sets instead of a 3 day marathon. If you don’t mind your comedy having naked boy’s, boy love, cross dressing, gay love triangles, and other homosexual tendancies worth laughing at (think Darma and Greg), watch this show. But if you dont want to waste your time watching an average show with a dash of shounen-ai then dont watch this. By the way, if you take out the fillers this show can easily be 15-20 episodes (yes thats how many fillers it feels like that are in there)
For a shounen anime, the main part is the path to the end not the plot. Unfortunately path they set isnt as memoriable.
This is the anime that I cried the most in!
I love the action, the adventure, the comedy, everything about this anime is hilarious! It’s great for the younger children even though I’m 17 and I felt like a little kid watching scooby doo in the mornings. This absolutely my most favorite anime in the adorable genre!
I loved how it explained everything, there weren’t a lot of cliff-hangers, it was a magical kind of anime
5: 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.
4: Saiunkoku Monogatari
English: The Story of Saiunkoku
MAL Score: 7.92
Shuurei Kou, the daughter of a noble yet impoverished family, is a clever young lady who dreams of becoming a government official and contributing toward her country. However, her dream is out of her reach as such a position is forbidden to women. While her father works a low wage job as an archivist at the palace, Shuurei has to juggle odd jobs to make ends meet. Then, one day, an unexpected visit changes her life.
Shuurei is called to assist Ryuuki Shi, the new emperor who is known for slacking on his duties and preferring the company of men. Tempted by the generous compensation, she readily accepts the chance to become the young emperor’s consort for six months. Luckily, she is not alone as Seiran Shi, her trusty friend, joins her as Ryuuki’s bodyguard. While tasked with transforming the new emperor into a responsible ruler, court life and politics prove troublesome as Shuurei faces the challenges of her new life.
Set in a fictional country, Saiunkoku Monogatari centers on the idea of meaningful leadership, its adversities and the rewards that come alongside a prospering nation.
At first glance, the plot may seem a bit shallow – a girl becomes the consort of a reluctant Emperor, let the silliness begin! – but wow does it become so much more. Essentially, Saiunkoku Monogatari is an engaging drama filled with political intrigue disguised as a simple reverse harem story. Even the simplest details connect to overall story and the plot becomes more and more developed as the show progresses.
Not much to say here other than Saiunkoku Monogatari does have an overdose of bishies. Don’t let that deter you though. None of the characters are there just for looks.
Pretty well done score. Some of the highlights include anytime Shuurei plays the erhu and the OP/ED themes.
This show has a lot of characters, but they are introduced slowly and all of the major characters have their backgrounds fleshed out enough. Shuurei is easily one of the best female protagonists I’ve come across. She has a girl power! attitude that never comes off as obnoxious. Her interactions with the rest of the cast are entertaining to watch. She has a magnetic personality, but not to the point of ridiculousness (Honda Tohru comes to mind). Though truth is, I kind of like all of the characters. Some stand outs include Seiran (one of my top ten favourite characters ever) and Ryuuren with his crazy flute.
The plot twists, the characters, the everything. I finished this show some time ago, but I wouldn’t mind rewatching it. It’s the kind of show where you miss little details the first time around.
My enjoyment of this show compels me to give it a 10. The story is just so much more than a little blurb of a summary. The characters really grew on me, the soundtrack added to the mood. The beautiful backgrounds always caught my eye. There’s just so much substance to this show – it’s not for someone looking for a simple story. Prepare to be sucked into the world of Saiunkoku Monogatari, I know I was.
The story focuses on Shuurei Kou, a resident of Saiunkoku. She dreams of becoming a government official and throughout the series, we see her chasing that dream, as well as juggling love, friendship and work at the same time.
I greatly admire Shuurei, as well as the other women characters in this series. She\’s definitely not like Miaka, personality-wise (she does look a bit like Miaka). She\’s smart, capable, and courageous; She carries with her all the virtues that women should have, and the story focused more on her qualities rather than her appearance (honestly, the boys are prettier than Shuurei). I believe that Saiunkoku Monogatari is one rare anime that portrays how women can make a huge difference in their societies. First you have Shuurei, who defied all odds and emerged superior in the end. There\’s also Sai Rin, who surpassed her male sibling and became one of the heads of the merchant alliance. There\’s Eiki, who refuses to have anyone tell her what to do.
Even with the slightly feminist theme, I do believe that Saiunkoku Monogatari can gain a male audience. The male characters are also very chivalrous and noble. My favorite would be Ensei and Seiran. Both of them are ready to give up their lives for the future of their loved ones. There\’s also Eigetsu, who is able to accomplish so much at such a young age. If you\’re not satisfied with that, there\’s always the chinese proverbs that are given in every episode (they double as episode titles).
Madhouse never fails to amuse me. I always say that anything Madhouse makes is automatically a must see for me. However, I am a bit disappointed this time. The animation for Saiunkoku Monogatari wasn\’t so impressive (but the last few episodes improved). I noticed that the movements weren\’t so smooth (Fight scenes need work), and I wasn\’t a fan of the color scheme either. It wasn\’t that bad, but it wasn\’t that good either.
Voice acting was very interesting. I actually had a chance to see clips of the voice actors working, and it was very entertaining to watch Houko Kuwashima (Shuurei) and Tomokazu Seki (Ryuuki). I think they did a very good job of portraying their respective characters\’ personalities.
The music wasn\’t that impressive at first either, but in time I started to like it. I even had the lyrics to the opening and ending themes memorized. I guess I didn\’t like it too much because I usually prefer contemporary anime music, but it did fit the theme of the series very well. I think they even used Chinese instruments to produce the music.
Truth be told, I usually prefer anime series that are set in modern time and in the real world. The fact that it\’s set in ancient China threw me off at first, but by watching it I was able to see what a gem it really is. It was very entertaining, educational and even funny at times. Saiunkoku Monogatari was able to sway my preference because it is truly an inspiring tale and it should be seen by everyone (And I can\’t wait for the second season!).
Speaking strictly about Saiunkoku Monogatari, there is an overall plot that contains many shorter stories within it. One of the best things about this series is that it seems spontaneous – one event leads directly to another. However, this shift is never fluid. There are always obstacles that the main character – Kou Shurrei – must overcome. In that sense, it’s much like real life. One of the most consistent obstacles is her being a woman in the "men’s world" of politics. Another main impediment that we can perhaps relate to better, is love. The many men that Shurrei comes across causes her to weigh the importance of work versus love. Being a 17-year-old girl, she is easily confused, and what she decides to do in terms of her relationships is quite a suspenseful part of the anime.
Saiunkoku Monogatari is hilarious, has a plot with amazing depth, components that everyone can compare to, and deals with serious issues in an entertaining way. It’s quite ingenius, and quite frankly, I can’t wait to watch the second season. ^^
Japanese: ディー グレイマン
MAL Score: 8.04
Losing a loved one is so painful that one may sometimes wish to be able to resurrect them—a weakness that the enigmatic Millennium Earl exploits. To make his mechanical weapons known as “Akuma,” he uses the souls of the dead that are called back. Once a soul is placed in an Akuma, it is trapped forever, and the only way to save them is to exorcise them from their vessel using the Anti-Akuma weapon, “Innocence.”
After spending three years as the disciple of General Cross, Allen Walker is sent to the Black Order—an organization comprised of those willing to fight Akuma and the Millennium Earl—to become an official Exorcist. With an arm as his Innocence and a cursed eye that can see the suffering souls within an Akuma, it’s up to Allen and his fellow Exorcists to stop the Millennium Earl’s ultimate plot: one that can lead to the destruction of the world.
I’ll start with the plot, which is far darker than your average shounen. From the very first episode, we are shown a merciless enemy that will exploit any weakness, who’s main weapon, the Akuma (demons) uses the souls of the dead. These are not zombies, just mindless corpses. These are weapons which pull a soul back from heaven and torture it as their power source. A lot of shounens gloss over the concept of death, bad guys are captured alive or shown the error of their ways, people fall unconscious but can be healed, etc. In D. Gray-man, death is very real, and resting in peace is only for the fortunate ones who’s loved ones are strong enough not to be tempted to call them back.
Against the Akuma and their creator, the Millennium Earl, are the Exorcists of the Dark Order. Exorcists are those chosen by God to use ‘innocence’, a mysterious substance which can be used to form weapons capable of destroying the Akuma. The series follows Allen Walker, a new recruit with the ability to see the souls trapped within the Akuma. The plot itself begins slowly, with short arcs in which Allen and his comrades are dispatched to investigate mysterious phenomena which are thought to be caused by innocence fragments. After a few of these arcs, the Noah Clan, allies of the Millennium Earl, begin to be introduced and the focus turns to the war between him and the Dark Order.
The plot is, for the most part, very well paced. Early arcs are kept short, about 4 episodes or so long, with a single ‘filler’ episode in between. Don’t be put off when I say filler. While the plot could easily go without these episodes, I found them all to be entertaining (if somewhat silly at times) and they served well as comic relief within an otherwise serious plot. And if you don’t enjoy them, they do become fewer and further between as the war intensifies and plot arcs become longer. With one exception, none of these longer plot arcs drag on to the point that the viewer just wants them to get on with it. In the one arc in which this does occur, it is saved in part by having another plot running at the same time. Battles often do last across multiple episodes, but in most of these, the battle changes and develops over those episodes, unlike drawn out battles in other shounen which just get repetitive, where the middle episodes can often just be skipped entirely.
The show also boasts one of the best sets of characters of any anime I have seen. Each hero is flawed, and the Earl and Noah are far more fleshed out (in more ways than one in the Earl’s case) than most villains. It says a lot about the quality of a series’ characters when the villains mourning a dead friend can evoke sympathy. They also managed to inspire doubt as to whether the exorcists are in fact the good guys, thanks to the show’s religious imagery.
As for the heroes, each has their own motive, each of which is more complex than the standard shounen motives of just saving the world or becoming the strongest and the like. Allen wants to save the souls of the Akuma, to the point where he can even show disregard for his own or others’ lives at times. Lenalee, the series’ main female character, fights for the sake of her friends and brother, and her past reveals that she may not support the Dark Order’s cause even as she fights for them.
My personal favourite characters were Lavi and Bookman. These two are a master (Bookman) and apprentice (Lavi) of a clan of historians who became exorcists to be close to history as it occurred so that it could be recorded, and while they do fight, they try to minimise how much they interfere. Lavi’s conflict between his duty as a Bookman and as an Exorcist, the loyalty he developed for his friends despite Bookman’s orders to become close to no one, and his doubts as to whether the cheerful, friendly, fun guy is the real him or a mask that he should remove was probably my favourite aspect of the series.
So, here I am singing the series’ praises, yet it got a 9, not a 10. Why? Well, in complete contrast to what I said at the beginning, because it ended. A lot wasn’t able to be explained before the series was cancelled. The last ten episodes or so suffered from trying to rush one of the story arcs after having taken their time over previous ones. The battle in the last three episodes was amazing, but it also wasn’t the final battle that I wanted to see. There is a lot of potential for a sequel, including a development at the end that virtually screamed “to be continued”. I do sincerely hope that there will be a sequel. But if there isn’t, the show ended in the best possible place it could. A clear cut ending is often unrealistic, and endings in which the heroes won but the villain is there in the shadows, not as dead as they thought, muttering “This isn’t over” gets old quickly. Maybe the abiguity was for the best.
All in all, the show is well worth watching, even if you don’t usually commit to long running shounen. Just don’t go in expecting to not have any questions at the end.
The Story has a very original plot. When I started this anime I immediately liked the concept of chosen humans + “innocence” = akuma (demon) butt-kicking “Exorcists”! I knew nothing about it but i decided to watch it based on its good animation and I was not disappointed at all. The characters and their uniforms/weapons all look outstanding!
I found that all of the op. and end. songs are excellent songs that you wouldnt mind listening to each episode. Normally I would skip songs but I listened to all of D.Gray-man’s because they really do suit the anime and sound good! Background music could be a bit better tho…
Character is one of the best aspects of the anime. Each and every character is Amazing! Each main character is lovable, unique, strong, nice-looking and they all have mysterious pasts and secrets. I have found fan clubs for even the evil characters. You wont find out about the evil characters until late in the anime but they are surprisingly loved as well. There might be a few characters you dont like but those would likely be side characters..all the main characters are great! The development of the ALL the characters through out the series always amazed me…
Try not to give up on this anime too early…after watching about 30 episodes I started to get a little bored… But since I loved the characters and was curious about the plot I decided to go read the manga. I was instantly hooked and it became a favorite! The point is that at the start of the anime there are a lot of filler-type episodes (especially before episode 38). Dont get me wrong, these are not the typical useless filler episodes. All most all these episodes are either action-packed or show some character development.
Even in the most serious of times there are humorous moments and great weapons/abilities/battles..
D.Gray-man finished with 103 episodes and not many fillers..In my opinion do not be disappointed with the end of the anime. There are many amazing battles that lead up to the climatic end but a lot of things are left unexplained. I don’t think its confirmed but I am expecting a second season in the future after a lot more manga chapters are released (when the anime ended, it was very close to manga and i guess they decided not to go into fillers…)
Overall this anime is excellent [9-10] and covers almost every genre;
A worthy watch! It can be compared with the popular shounen anime Naruto and Bleach but I found more interest in D.Gray-man which is a bit more serious and in depth. (And a lot less out-stretched if you know what I mean…)
The story was bad to say the least. It was badly paced as most of the time your stuck to seeing something between shonen- anime glued together with a lot of dramatism. And that means that action fight’s are predictable and almost seem pointless and the Allen or Lenalle or other guys from the Order cry after almost every fight about something. The story had so much plot-holes that there were more holes then the plot. Also on the end all you get is about the same were this anime started. The last episode everyone is still fighting akuma’s and more then 100 episodes passed away already.
It was very good. Nowhere in this anime you can see bad animation and it was 103 episodes long. That’s a lot of episodes! Off course it wasn’t anything ground braking and akuma’s could of been made more creepier.
It was awesome. All the time I liked the sound in the anime soundtracks. Specially when Allen played piano. Only reason I didn’t give it 10 was, because few openings could of been a bit more better. Almost all of the openings were top notch, but none of them were something that I would like to listen.
The good guys were decent characters.The main protagonist Allen was an interesting character, but he lacked the brains or the attitude to be a real protagonist. Allen is basically a good guy and nothing more. The protagonist might as well be Lavi or The Krory( The vampire dude). Well at least the good guys had some good character development, but because of the bad story the character development was really hard to see. The villains were just pointless. There goal was pointless and even 3 year old kids have better goals to accomplish. For example, Earl’s goal was to destroy the world. And what will happen to him? Who the hell would want to destroy something his life depends on? Makes no sense.
I kinda enjoyed this anime with a big minus. I liked to watch some of the fights in D. Gray-man, like Krory against Lavi and Allen. Though most of the time the fights were one-sided like Allen killing lvl 1 akuma’s. The comedy in here was like: Should I be laughing or not? So I didn’t crack any laugh at all. Well at least I liked to listen to the music. But once I remember how long this anime was I feel like I wasted too much of my time for almost nothing. I will never rewatch this anime.
The story is rubbish. For 103 episodes it went nowhere and the last episode just ended with a cliffhanger. Character’s are decent. The art and music is quality stuff, but nothing ground-braking.
If you really have nothing to do then go watch D. Gray-man. At the start you will like it , then you will get bored of it somewhere in the middle, then close to the end you will start to like it again and you will want to know what will happen next and at the end you will just get a wtf moment that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a lot of wasted time.
2: 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.
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
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