They’re the best Anime that 2011 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Fractale, Cardfight!! Vanguard, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam, and more!
MAL Score: 6.95
The story takes place on an island, where a “Fractale System” is beginning to collapse. One day, Clain finds an injured girl called Phryne under a cliff. She disappears leaving a pendant. Clain sets out for a journey with the girl-shaped avatar Nessa to look for Phryne and discovers the secret of the Fractale System.
Before Fractale aired, the director Yamakan declared that moe was the cancer that was killing the anime industry and that he would create a show that stepped outside that and appeal to a wider audience (not quite in those words, but that was the general gist of his ramblings). He even managed to get himself a slot in the famous Noitamina timeslot, a place dedicated to hosting anime that don’t suck, for his upcoming personal original anime production Fractale. This is all pretty ironic to look back on, because Fractale proved to be:
2. Bearing a whole lot of other standard anime tropes
Fractale sets itself out as a sci-fi show set in a post-scarcity world where nobody interacts with each other because they can create doppels to do that for them. Therefore everyone lives in complete luxury in whatever setting with whatever types of people they choose to live with. It’s an interesting setting and one that Fractale occasionally explores but never attacks, almost as if they brought up that plot point by accident and it has nothing to do with the overlying theme of the anime. Occasionally the show will come across a character who uses the Fractale system in certain ways that seem like a fascinating exploration of that character’s psyche, but then abandons said character pretty quickly.
One of the points brought up early on by the Fractale system is that people living in it don’t experience proper human contact. The whole point of the first episode is showing the main character, Clain, and his bafflement and embarrassment with meeting a real live in the flesh human girl, who proceeds to strip in front of him. You would think this would therefore be a running theme throughout the show, but that was ignored pretty quickly. The closest it got was having another female character call Clain a pervert in about 5 times per episode. I’m guessing the show thought it was being funny by saying this? I dunno, it’s not like Clain was doing anything perverted anyway, was that the joke?
It did try to cover basic human interactions as part of the plot, but this was even more laughably tackled. Over the course of the show, Clain sees these people he has joined up with, the Lost Millennium group, who are against the Fractale system, mow down old grannies. It offered the viewer two sides of the story, the Fractale System and the Lost Millennium group that opposed it. But that one good scene was instantly devalued by ignoring it from there on in and introducing another eviler group of the Lost Millennium, making the massacre of grannies from the group Clain were with seem like a totally cool thing in comparison. This comes to a head towards the end where Clain joins in the granny genocide campaign, telling the Good Lost Millennium group that it’s OK that you kill people because you’re my friends!
That’s just the themes seem to appear more often, but other parts of the plot make far less sense. The plot finishes up on a revelation that God is not 16 years old, but actually 10 and therefore pure. What this had to do with anything I have no idea, but Fractale seemed to like telling us this in a very dramatic fashion. The Fractale System bad guys were equally baffling, also obsessed with purity for whatever reason and generally being a deranged bunch of lunatics who filled their armies with suicidal grannies. For a show that seemed to be presenting both sides of the arguments, surely you shouldn’t have the Fractale guys be such a bunch of lunatics who like licking the face of our brave heroine?
Now this could all be fine in another series. You can be silly but still have a lot of fun. First off, Fractale isn’t fun, unless 10 references to Clain being a pervert per episode is your idea of a good time. But mainly, Fractale pretends it’s deep. It’s all about Themes and Issues and is Like Totally Serious. But it brings up these points with no idea what it’s doing with them. It’s like it has taken ideas and scenes from other anime it’s seen, realised that these scenes make this anime great and stuck them into Fractale without realising why these scenes make that other anime great. You can have psychotic villains who lick their pure heroines, but not in a show where your also trying to present a balanced view of those sides of the conflict.
The reason I hate Fractale is because it offends the story-telling lover part of me. This is not something that is apparent in the early episodes. This is something that only rears its true ugly head in the later episodes where it tries to bring its plot to some sort of nonsensical conclusion. It has taken a lot of different plot points but has never considered how they tie in together. It’s thrown out scene with Deep Meaning without realising that the meaning that scene protrays has nothing to do with whatever previous scenes the show has had, or even contradicts previous plot points. I’m guessing the Fractale Production Committee meeting went something like this.
— OK guys, this anime Fractale is going to be so awesome! It will have a girl who you can only touch if you like her. That means Love is important and stuff
–And his parents will be a water cooler and a pink lampshade
–And then the rest of the team will betray him, but he was actually working for the priestess all along
–The big-breasted girl will actually be an old man
–But then it will turn out it was his dad all along
–She was talking to the Cart Driver, who turns out was actually the main character!
Yamakan: –Great Ideas! We’ll put them all in!
I’ve said this on more than one occasion, that I’d like to compare this series with Last Exile or Allison to Lillia, because I strongly feel that that is Yamakan’s vision for Fractale. It isn’t so much about the story, but it’s about the fabulous combo of pre-industrial age technology meets young man’s (or girl’s) adventure. Series like these usually focus a lot more of the setting of the story, like the common people’s way of life, community relationships, the environment, the history than most other shows do. This is probably Yamakan’s take on the cincept, with a little furturistic element to it. And I really like that. Fractale shows the fun in a frugal and simple way of living, clean and honest community life, its conflict with furturistic technology, and a young man’s adventure in his role and approach towards this conflict.
Whereas the show fails hard on its execution and characters. First of all, there is too little revealed about the Fractale system itself, and we the audience are left with too many questions about practically everything that is going on. That won’t be a problem if the characters are interesting enough to drive the show along, but they aren’t. Clain is constantly being led by the nose by everyone around him, and his actions are always a result of how the story drives him, when it should be the other way around. Phyrne and Nessa are as mysterious as the Fractale system itself, and everyone else is there just to fill up the screen time. In the ending, there’s wasn’t a resolution or anything. It feels like it all happened as a matter of course. I’ll keep this spoiler-free, but it’s a happy, but really dumb ending.
Another thing that’s sorely missing from Fractale is satisfying animation, which is something I’m expecting to see from an anime using this concept. I’m totally expecting spectacular backgrounds, detailed characters or equipment, or at least smooth animating, but Fractale delivered none. I can’t explain how disappointed I was.
So in all, Fractale is okay. If you understand and love the concept of animes I was talking about, you’ll enjoy Fractale to a certain extent. Otherwise, it probably isn’t something for you.
Story Style: Miserable
I really liked the colorful and simple style of the show so I looked more into it. I read the summary and thought it could be really okay. And then I made the mistake of watching it.
It is the kind of overall bad that I cannot pin point just where they went horribly wrong. It is like that time you tried making dinner and you followed a recipe pretty strictly but it tasted awful and you didn’t know what you did to ruin everything.
All of the characters are faceless and not worth mentioning, I can’t even remember any of the music and I was rewatching a few episodes today to reminisce the pain I suffered from enduring this god forsaken piece of crap. The story even had potential but the implementation was just wonky.
I recommend this anime to anyone looking for an ironic marathon with a friend. The two of you can laugh at how bad it is for weeks to come.
9: Cardfight!! Vanguard
English: Cardfight!! Vanguard
Japanese: カードファイト!! ヴァンガード
MAL Score: 7.02
Cardfight!! Vanguard features a world where the game Cardfight!! Vanguard is becoming the latest craze among trading card games, becoming a part of everyday life for people all over the world. The game is not limited to Earth alone; battles between the creatures used by the players take place on another planet called Cray.
The story begins with Aichi Sendou, a timid middle schooler whose meek attitude often leaves him a target for bullies. Aichi was given a very rare card, “Blaster Blade”, when he was very young. It’s his one treasure that gives him hope. That is, until it gets taken from him. Although Aichi has never played Cardfight!! Vanguard before, he challenges the thief to a game in order to win the “Blaster Blade” back. This high-stakes game quickly draws Aichi into the world of Vanguard battles, which will test and change his worth as both a player and a person.
It becomes obvious pretty early on with Cardfight!! Vanguard that whoever said “Don’t judge a book by its cover” was…clearly not talking about this show. Yes, Cardfight is a show you can and should judge by its cover, as that judgment will determine whether or not you should watch the show. But I’ll get to that later. Let’s run the bases:
The story is basically thus: people play card games. Or rather, card game. Vanguard is the “big thing” in the world of Cardfight, as one might expect. For at least half the series, this basic idea is what the show runs on. It occasionally shows signs of wanting to do something more, but I have to be honest: most of it comes off as cheesy and laughable. But, well, that’s only the first half of the series. Somewhere along the line, you start to be able to actually take the show seriously and like it. Its pacing seems slow at first (expected with 65 episodes of run time), but it’s all the better to develop characters and situations with. In the end, Cardfight actually becomes a great story about learning who you are and understanding others through the lens of this card game. Power of Friendship is nothing new to anime, but it can still be done well, and Cardfight pulls it off.
Obviously it’s not without its perks. If you’re not into the card game thing (which really shouldn’t be the case if you even pick the show up, but still), you’ll have a hard time getting into the meat of things. Then there’s the deal with Psyqualia; although the last couple episodes make it obvious that more is coming, we don’t learn much about this rare ability that is very important to the plot. We don’t know where it comes from, how it chooses people, how it really works, how it may possibly be controlled, etc. All we know is that it has a tendency to bring out the worst in people.
Nevertheless, the perks tend to be minor and shouldn’t bother you too much if you go into the show knowing what to expect: lots of card games. And lots of card games you will get.
Art and animation is reasonable for what seems to be an average-budget kid’s show. Many settings and details are rather plain, but the card fights are all well-animated and the monsters all look pretty cool and distinguishable. It’s obvious where they put the effort, and really: what else would you expect?
Now, I could have sworn when I first heard him that the main character in this was voiced by a woman, but I was wrong. Seriously, for a long time Aichi sounds very girly and wimpy. It’s odd at first, but you get used to it, and when Stuff Starts Happening, it gets better.Voice work is, again, of fairly standard quality; it’s good, usually well done, and generally not poor. There is, at least, nothing for me to complain about. Music is quite well done. The second opening in particular is a great way to get hyped, especially in the final 15 or so episodes when things really start to get heated. In-series music stays suitably light-hearted. It is, essentially, “game music.” It never takes itself too seriously (well, until the last episode), and this turns out to be for the better.
As I mentioned before, Aichi sounds very wimpy and girly for a long time. This is because he is. As an example, when asked what he would do in a dangerous situation, his response is to “always be sure I have a path of retreat behind me.” I know what you’re thinking: “Not another wimpy male lead! I’ll pass!” And no, it’s not the most pleasant thing to behold. But in a way, I was able to accept it. I remembered that this show is aimed more at kids than someone my own age, and since I knew it would go on for a while, I was able to bear it even though I didn’t like it (just the character, not the show). I was rewarded in the end. Aichi gradually grows into a mature character with a backbone that I was proud to see through. As his ability in Vanguard grows, so does he. He learns to fight his fights, help others, and make a name for himself.
65 episodes leaves room for a lot of characters, but I don’t want to go into full detail on all of them or I’ll be here all night. Basically: the important characters all get their time, and the side characters get a reasonable amount, good and bad. Kai just seems like you’re typical, stone cold, bad friend for a long time, and though he really only turns into a jerk with a heart of gold, seeing what he went through really makes you understand and relate to him as a character, and this also leads into the development for the series’ main villain, Ren, who is a huge, overconfident (well, he largely does have the ability to back it up) asshole that you just can’t wait to see defeated (note: that isn’t a bad thing).
Skipping over a few characters to the negative side: Katsumi, an eventual friend of Aichi, is the comic relief who is…just not funny. He’s a loser who thinks he’s awesome, and the gimmick gets really old really fast and just never dies. That’s the worst of it, but Doctor O, the guest commentator for tournament Cardfights, I think was also supposed to be humorous, and again, isn’t. He’s just kind of strange. But luckily, he isn’t overdone.
Here’s the important part of the review, as I hinted at in the first paragraph: if you read all that and thought, “Doesn’t sound like a show I’d ever want to watch,” trust yourself; don’t watch it. You’re probably not going to like it. I went into this wanting a show about card games just for a fun twenty minutes every week and got exactly what I wanted. If that’s what you want, go for it; you won’t be let down. But it has to be stressed: you really must know you want this if you’re going to enjoy it. It’s not going to surprise you and turn into something epic if you’re not prepared to watch a lot of card games (65 episodes, remember?). You’ll probably just drop it before you hit the ten episode mark.
Think about what you want. If you’re ever thinking, “Yeah, I could use a fun show about a card game to kill some time,” that is when you should watch this. It is very much a kid’s show (read: not average MAL age), so you need to be either young enough or old enough to really enjoy and respect it.
Personally, I went into it thinking it would be as I just described: a time-killer every week. Watch some card games for fun. It was never high on my priority list, but I always looked out for it. But then somewhere along the line it turned into something more. It became highly anticipated, and eventually it was the show I looked forward to the most every week (and by Winter 2012 I was keeping up with 20+ shows). If you ARE willing to watch and have fun with the show’s first half, you’ll be more than excited to continue as you get further on in the series.
I don’t consider myself the greatest of reviewers, but I wanted to do this show some justice and provide both sides of the spectrum: the kind of person who will like it and the kind of person who won’t. Otherwise I feel most people wouldn’t ever give this show more than passing glance and just write it off as some twenty minute commercial for a children’s trading card game. And it largely is just that, but it’s also more than that. It’s nothing amazing, and it never tries to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s still a good series.
Now, I’m off to buy a starter deck and choose my new avatar…
The story follows a young timid boy named Aichi Sendou who is a had time socialising with his peers at school. The thing that kept him going in life was his rare card Blaster Blade which he received when he was a kid. It’s an important rare card from “Vanguard”, a card game with the imaginary world of “Planet Cray” as its stage. From the day he reunited with the person who gave him that card “Toshiki Kai”, Aichi’s everyday life began to change.
The story of Cardfight Vanguard is pretty good but at the same time pretty flawed but for let’s talk about the good starting with the first 2 episodes.
This is easily the best first episode I have ever seen in a card game because not only does the show does a fantastic job at establishing the game itself as well it’s characters, world-building and themes but it also a great job at drawing the audience in into the show. I loved how nicely paced where the first cardfight was as it nicely explained all the rules about the game itself making the viewer interested in buying the actual cards itself.
The one thing that this show has over other card game anime is that the show is narratively grounded. Most of the dialogue, characters and even the cardfights were grounded where many scenes of the anime actually happen in real such as communication failure, misplaying, teammates looking out for each other when times at rough to even skill and luck that can put you into a winning side or a losing side.
Out of all the card game anime that I have seen Cardfight Vanguard was the only card game anime that I was really infested in as most of the fights were won/loss by pure skill and luck rather than asspulling and Deus ex machina bullcrap that plagued Yugioh anime since 2000.
Along with the shows, grounded feel comes in the show’s world-building. I don’t mean by city establishments but about the player diving into the hobby of card games where not the show a lot of realistic details such as having people open actual booster packs a tournament setting in a local shop where we spectators and players enjoying the game of Cardfight Vanguard as well a having an official national/regional tournaments that are professional in design and tone. This was easily the one thing that Cardfight Vanguard has over any other card game anime like Yugioh, Selector WIOXSS and Future Card Buddyfight and am glad the show put a lot of effort of making the life as a vanguard player feel very realistic and relatable.
Speaking of realistic Cardfight Vanguard least in season 1 by far the most realistic card game anime to ever exist as from start to finish the anime is very grounded in nature we see the highs and lows of set vanguard player, for example, Aichi, in the beginning, was a timid player who is not that good with game who often makes misplays just like a real new vanguard.
However, the series progresses where after Aichi and the rest of Q4 lose they first nationals as well Kai giving him the motivation to get better Aichi starts to become a more confident fighter. However, due to Psyqualia Aichi starts to have a downward spiral where he almost completely himself as it starts being this cruel to not only his opponents where he completely slaughtered them in a Cardfight but his fellow teammates calling them weaklings.
However, after Kai destroyed his Psyqualia winning spree Aichi starts to reflect off all the bad things he has done while he was consumed by Psyqualia and from there Aichi becomes a much better person where he doesn’t rely on gifted power to win as being a loving caring person.
(End Of Spoilers)
Cardfight Vanguard biggest strength is how the show portrayed it’s realistic portrayal it’s themes that actually happen in real life. Themes of teamwork, commutation, redemption, regret, were beautifully explored in the anime as each of the 4 characters one of two of these them into they respective characters arcs that goes on in the story.
Unfortunately, Cardfight Vanguard does have some flaws. The second half in pacing and at times quality times was inferior as the soon as Q4 loses the first national tournament the story starts to drag quite a bit where many of the episodes are just a repeat of the first half but with less charm put them for the most part. As much I love seeing Aichi using his Psyqualia to brutally destroy his opponents in cardfights I feel like the other content such as Team Q4 second journey of being the national champions to be pretty lacking until the final 5 of the series.
Along with team Q4 second journey being less exciting compared to the first comes in the show predictably where almost every single cardfight in the second half seemed to have thick plot armour at various times competently ruins cardgames. I won’t any of the cardfights as it will to big spoiler territory but all I say that I was a bit I was a bit upset when a more grounded card game anime such as this has deiced to take the predictable route that was for the most part not fun. This is stuff that I expect from Future Card Buddyfight and sure that show was a bit predictable but least that show was self-aware of itself plus team Balle du Soleil journey of winning the ABC and Gaen Cup were not a chore to watch compare to this.
The biggest problem that I had with Cardfight Vanguard season 1 is Ren as well the poorly executed Psyqualia elements. Ren himself was a decent villain at as he simply to gather many skilled cardfighters under his leadership in Team Asteroid, however, thanks to a terrible line that Ren said in one episode he quickly devolved into this generic power-hungry villain who simply wanted to take over the world using his Psyqualia. It was a shame because I kinda liked him as a character.
As for the Psyqualia elements it was okay in the beginning but the further the show progresses the less sense it make thanks to show subpar build up of it as it just came out of nowhere especially in the last 3 episodes as the show tried to make Psyqualia more epic than it actually is but failed due to shotty directing as the show barely truly shows the true existence of Psyqualia enough for the viewer to care.
Overall despite the flaws that I mentioned, I thought the story of Cardfight Vanguard to above average. It may have a lot of good things but at the same time, it has quite a bit of mediocre things that at various points hurts the show.
When it comes to the characters in Cardfight Vanguard I thought there were solid for the most part.
First up we have Aichi I’m going, to be honest with you I really liked him a lot.
Until Cardfight Vanguard all the card game protagonist he doesn’t suffer from card game protagonist syndrome where they all overpowered and lucky throughout most of the game Aichi is a card game protagonist where he actually loses his matches quite a lot especially in the beginning as just a fairly vanguard player who has still had yet to truly come out from his shell. His character development and progression were very satisfying to watch as he is this weak kid who gets bullied and picks on for a living to this more confident person who is not improving his social skills but he also capable of fighting against the strongest players in the country. This is a card game anime done right as I getting tired of seeing theses overpowered card game protagonist simply winning by either getting too lucky or by a contrived Deus ex machina that the plot magically decided to pull out off its ass. Overall Aichi is a great character that I enjoyed from start to finish.
Next, we have Kai and am going to be real honest I don’t really care for him all the much especially in the beginning. He’s not a bad character but the way he’s portrayed in the plot was very cliche and boring. He’s your typical overpowered character who lucksakes his way to victory where he hardly loses a cardfight. I may have a spot soft for overpowered characters in anime as along the set is self-aware of his overpowered as well be an interesting/ likeable character but Kai, for most of the shows run, is neither of these two things and as a result, Kai is a pretty weak character substance wise. However, I will give Kai this in the final 2 fifths of the show he becomes a much better character where more sympathetic as well having strong character development where he starts caring for his teammates. Despite that, he was a pretty decent character but at the same time, he could have been a lot better.
Now we have my favourite character in the show Misaki. Out of all the characters in the show, she’s the most developed of the bunch. She has a tragic backstory where she lost her parents in a car accident whereafter that car incident she became socially withdrawn to others especially to vanguard where it only brings out her worst memories that cause her physical pain. However, as the series progresses she starts to be more sociable where during the cardfight against a newcomer Emi aka Aichi’s little sister she’s stars to realise how fun vanguard really is as a game. I also feel like she was the most constantly relatable character in the show where her character flaws were better executed than Kai and Kamui as the show goes a great job at making us the viewer about all of her issues that she has to overcome. Her final fight in season 1 is the perfect example of this as she finally grows as a character who is not playing Vanguard. Awesome character well-done Busihiroad.
Finally, we have Kamui and I have a love/hate relationship with this character. In the first half, he was stereotypical bro character who supports and cares for the protagonist well being. He was also pretty annoying as well he is the main cause of the bad comedy as well a contrived love junior love triangle that barely went anyway.
While I didn’t like him in the first half he due to his bratty Beauvoir the second half completely redeems him where not only he becomes a more mature kid but he a nicely told redemption character arc he completely redeem himself of all the actions that did in the first half such as arguing with Kai and leaving the team when the team needed him the most. This was one of the things I liked about this season. They took a character that would be in people character shitlist and did a 180 where he later transformed him a much likeable and relatable character who has character flaws. I really liked how the show closes his character arc where despite him losing the match against Tetsu in a final couple of episodes he proved that he has the right to play in a national level alongside with his teammates.
The rest of the characters of Cardfight Vanguard were sadly pretty forgetful. Apart from Miwa, and at times Emi who were interesting and enjoyable, the side characters were not all that interesting as they feel like character stereotypes that we have seen before in card game animes in the past not to mention some of the side characters in the show were pretty annoying. Cough Nagisa and Katsumi.
Overall the characters in Cardfight Vanguard were good but not great.
Now we get to the weakest part of Cardfight Vanguard the visuals. Am going to be dead honest with you guys the visuals in Cardfight Vanguard were pretty lacklustre. The character designs may look good and appealing but that’s not my problem with Cardfight Vanguard visuals am talking about the animation. Now I understand that card game anime was meant to be low budget as they meant to advertise the cards but I feel Cardfight Vanguard abuses it’s low budget to a point where many of the scenes of the show are still frames, recycled footage and stiff movement. The saddest part about is that this show came out in 2011.
The soundtrack is awesome as most of the songs were very memorable and iconic.
Some of my favourite tracks include Rens, power,Kai’s Theme, Kamui’s theme, Misaka;’s Theme, Despair, Battle of Psyqualia and Kai determination. On top of having a memorable soundtrack, I really adored how the tracks were directed in the anime as gives many key scenes from the anime more impact making the key scenes more memorable. The soundtrack was so good I downloaded all the songs on my computer and I actually play some of the tracks when I am cardfighting with friends.
The first opening theme Vanguard” by JAM Project (eps 1-33) is a pretty good song that fits the lighthearted strip tone of the first half.
The second opening theme. Believe in my existence” by JAM Project (eps 34-65) is in my top 30 favourite anime openings of all time.
The ending themes, on the other hand, were not memorable minus ending 1 and 3.
Now for sub vs dub. The sub from what I heard was pretty good but nothing too special. The dub is actually good. Yeah, it may start off cheesy where certain characters sounded a bit stiff but as the series progresses the characters improved to a point where gotten used to the roles. My favourite performance in the dub was Roger Rhodes as Ren, James Beach as Aichi and Carol Anne Day as Misaki. Unfortunately, thanks to Bushiroad awful business move the first season of Cardfight Vanguard has been blocked in countries such as USA/UK and some other places in the world however if want to watch it dubbed go to 9anime as it has the same dub that was released in 2012/2013.
So after 6 years since my first watch of Cardfight Vanguard what do I think of it. Well, I think Cardfight Vanguard Season 1 has held up nicely over the years. It had some good intriguing theme exploration, the plot despite being predictable in the end was solid and the main characters were nicely developed. It, unfortunately, has some problems though. The comedy is unfunny, the side characters apart from Miwa and at times Emi were pretty forgetful, the second half pacing wise was inferior to the first half and the production values were pretty lacklustre. Despite these flaws, I still find the first season of Cardfight Vanguard to be a pretty satisfying watch that I enjoyed.
If you’re looking for a card game anime that is grounded and easy to watch then I recommend Cardfight Vanguard Season 1. It may not be perfect but it’s a pretty solid show that you should check out.
At first I enjoyed how laid back the show was. It was the first marketing vehicle anime I’d watched where card games didn’t decide the fate of the world. Then that changed when the series antagonist shows up. The show doesn’t suffer tremendously, even weaving in a “believe in your own power” theme, but I still want a slice of life card game anime one day.
Considering how recent this show is, the art quality rather lacking. The character designs are interesting, but the animation seems rather low budget. But since the show’s still airing, I suppose they had to cut corners somewhere.
The music really did its job in setting the mood. The orchestral music made the towering dragons and knights seem like legendary titans. There was also some awesome guitar music when things got exciting.
This show has a wide variety of character types, from the blundering Morikawa and hot blooded Kamui, to Kai and Ren who feel like they’re from Final Fantasy. With such a diverse cast, you should easily be able to find a favorite. Something to be noted, however, is the abundance of Yaoi fodder between two of the main characters. Not that this is a problem, but if you thought yugioh was homoerotic, this show’s ten times more.
I found Cardfight Vanguard to be quite entertaining. It brought back fond memories of my days as a yugioh player. If you also want a rush of childhood nostalgia, or are just looking for a new TCG to play, then this is the anime for you.
8: Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam
English: Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing
MAL Score: 7.08
“I’ve made up my mind! I’m going to steal that ship!”
All source of life originates from the Grand Lake.
At this very sacred lake, the battle between the Ades Federation and the Turan Kingdom has just begun. The Ades Federation, armed with massive battleships and its sights set on conquering the world, declares war on the Turan Kingdom. With the Federation’s troops encroaching on their beloved country, Turan now lies on the brink of collapse. As this is happening, the princesses of Turan look on as a small vanship named Vespa cruises above their heads.
“We shall now commandeer your flagship and take her from this battlefield. The choice is yours. Die here, or survive with us Sky Pirates!”
The Vespa continues to weave through the barrage of bombs, while the fleets of the Federation close in on Turan.
What are the motives of Luscinia, the man leading the Ades Federation into the war? And what is the secret behind “Exile”?
(Source: Animax, edited)
Let’s talk about the good first though. Last Exile was a standard-bearer for how to integrate CGI into hand-drawn animation well, keeping only the machinery CGI. Last Exile Fam is that except bigger, better and with more intricate detail. The scale of the CGI models for the battleships is phenomenal. They really give the sense of these giant clunky machines that were built by real people, with insignias and rivets and everything. Asides from simply looking impressive, this also helps flesh out the world by designing everything so well. The variations between the bad guys factory produced fancy ships and the pirates less conventional looking weapons to the Russian women’s pointy fighter jets. There’s a real sense of different cultures conveyed through the designs. It feels like a proper world. There’s a great sense of epic scale to these battles too, because you can feel how immense these ships are. Compared to something like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, where the space battles may as well have been some kid on his playroom floor going “pew pew pew”, when a ship explodes in Last Exile Fam, it really gives the sense that a monster has been taken down. The pitched battle sequences here are probably the best in any anime I’ve ever seen.
The way the different cultures are portrayed ties into the other big area I feel Last Exile Fam excels at: The politics. Each nation has a reason for fighting and reasons for wanting peace, but what it does really well is how it is portrayed. It’s not done through some boring narration over a shot of people fighting. When you just throw names of nations and political ideals at you, it just goes in one ear and out the other. You have no reason to care. Last Exile Fam does this well by having the politics centre around a small group of characters that are central to the conflict and it’s their ideals and personalities that shape the direction. On one side we have the two Princesses of Turan and on the other we have the military one-eyed general and his teeny tiny Augusta. It all works because it explains why these people are fighting through character development, which is how politics in a story should be conveyed. OK, it’s a little too keen on making the military general start massacring people, but his reasoning are logical and human. You understand why he’s doing it.
The problem starts when the person they use to watch this conflict through the eyes of is a complete brainless twat. As far as I’m concerned, Princess Millia is the main character in this story, or at least she should be. She’s the character with flaws and the one with the real human investment in this conflict, both for political and personal reasons. She is the one who is developing slowly through her encounters with different nations and people. However the person she chose to ride around with is Fam. Fucking. Fam. The most brainless moronic single-minded simpleton to ever grace the skies. A character who mindlessly blunders her way through anything and everything, not having the mental capacity to doubt herself or justify her actions beyond her witless adherence to the genki philosophy. This character archetype has slowly but surely become one of my most hated, up there alongside the Yuji Everylead the Bland. The problem here is that genki juvenile idiotic energy is treated like A Good Thing. Her justification to just jump into things because it feels right should not be something that constantly rewards her. It’s not that I can’t enjoy a stupid character. Yuki in Future Diary is an idiot, but he gets punished for his idiocy, and is therefore incredibly entertaining to watch. People just conform to Fam’s way of thinking, degrading the intelligence of the conversation around her.
Possibly my favourite episode of the series so far was the flashback one to the Grand Race where Fam is only 6 years old, part of the reason being because her idealistic energy flying in the face of actual facts fitted someone who was only 6 years old. Every single other character from the flashback had since developed. But not Fam. Oh no. She remains exactly the fucking same. The next episode had a scene where Fam said she wanted to return to the times like the one where the Grand Race took place, only for the Russian chick to point out that there was an assassination there that highlighted that there was unrest beneath this seemingly happy scene and it was merely a mask for the problems in the world. But such a complex issue couldn’t fit into Fam’s tiny brain, so she just blunders on saying she wants to recreate that day anyway. What’s worse is the other characters agree with her. They get sucked in by her stupidity, their own brains abandoning their skulls in the face of this black hole of intelligent writing.
I like this new rendition of Last Exile. I love the scale and intensity of the battles, the development of characters such as Millia and the military commander, and how well realised the world is. But Fam is a giant gormless genki wart on this otherwise great series, degrading everything she comes into contact with. Fuck you Fam, you suck.
::Update upon finishing the anime::
In the end, I had to hike the score up from a 7 to an 8 for Fam finally admitting around about the 4th last episode that she had been a naive twat the entire time. Too little too late perhaps, but it gave the character some much needed development.
Truly, Gonzo was having a tough time and needed a strong comeback that will allow it to stay in business, so they chose to milk one of their old successful and popular titles. Was it a wise decision? Probably, it was. Does the new show turn out to be good? Well, let’s find out.
The story is pretty simple. A young sky pirate girl named Fam Fan Fan is accidentally caught in a war unleashed by bad, bad Ades Empi— I mean, Federation. (But hell, it is ruled by an empress!) Fam along with her friend, Giselle Collette, saves life of a Turanian princess named Millia who asks the sky pirates for help in the noble quest of liberating her country.
And here we come across the most obvious and fatal flaw of Gin’yoku no Fam — the protagonist and title character, Fam herself. Firstly, she is the worst kind of a pacifist who honestly believes that all people in the world can easily throw away their differences, lay down weapons and then just fly in the vast blue sky, full of joy and happiness. Fam never questions her ideals while on war where, big surprise, people are dying because somebody isn’t able to just give up on his goals, be it revenge, greed, survival of relatives, or anything else. To be fair, this naïve faith is not a bad trait, but the fact that she always holds to it no matter what is really stupid and irritating. Well, Fam receives some character development near the end of the series but it was too damn late for me to like her. Secondly, the way plot revolves around her is unbearable. Her Noble Phantasm is Deus Ex Machina: The Slayer of Suspension of Disbelief. Fam can fly in the middle of the battle and never be harmed, she can infiltrate enemy’s flagship with ease, hell, she can probably go back in time and save John Lennon or something. I get that she is a genius pilot but there are limits to how far the writer can stretch it. Thirdly, she is voiced by Toyosaki Aki-shi. It’s just personal and very subjective but I can’t stand Toyosaki-shi as a seiyū of protagonist in this kind of show. Her voice is hammered into my mind with air-headed clumsy girls, so no way I can take her as a world saviour seriously.
That’s it with Fam, now I want to say two words about other characters. Giselle seems like a pretty generic sidekick to me, but that’s okay because she rarely steals the spotlight. On the other hand we have Millia and she is one of the better parts of the series. Millia receives a lot of character development from start to finish, she can be irritating at first but she gets better little by little and progresses a lot throughout the show becoming one of the small number of Gin’yoku no Fam characters I feel little sympathy for. Another interesting character is the main antagonist, Luscinia Hāfez, the Premier of Ades Federation. Yes, his actions seem unreasonable and more I think of them less sense they make, but most of the time watching the series I spent on figuring out how far he can and will go, how much of him believe that his way is the only possible solution for the crisis. That was some kind of pleasure.
One thing people complained a lot about Gin’yoku no Fam was fanservice. Their point was this series seems like a sequel to Strike Witches not to Last Exile. To be fair, there is not much fanservice here and what is present is not really annoying. The only thing got on my nerves was Millia trying to take over the ship with her maid uniform. Yeah, it was played for laughs but this scene stood out too much and was too damn stupid, so I just cannot let it slip by. On the other hand, cameos of Last Exile’s characters (kinda fanservice too) were utterly pointless. They were lazily written into the new series for appearance’s sake only. For example, Dio’s overall impact on the plot is exactly zero, so I get this sticky feeling that Gonzo here is just trying to draw attention of the original series fan base.
And one more thing before I call it a day. Let me bring up the philosophy, the basic idea of both series. It’s pretty simple: the war is bad. We can see it through both the original series and Gin’yoku no Fam. The problem with the latter is how that idea was integrated into the plot. In Last Exile we have the Guild. It enforces strict rules of combat resulting in a lot of casualties, casualties that can be avoided if you break the rules. But if you do it, you will be punished by the Guild because it has superior technology and can easily crush you. And even if you follow the rules, a member of the Guild can call off the engine of your ship on a whim, just because he thinks it’s fun. So you’re screwed no matter what you do. This is unfair and cruel. This is war, guys, and this is why it’s bad. And what can Gin’yoku no Fam offer? We have our protagonists flying here and there and talking about friendship. We have loli Empress crying because fighting is making her sad. Oversimplification and child’s play. The war is bad. The oranges are orange. Care to explain why Gin’yoku no Fam is about war and not about oranges, Gonzo?
So, overall, is this series a powerful comeback? Hell no. I won’t cry if Gonzo returns to animation studio asylum. Gin’yoku no Fam is certainly a nice try but its shell is sadly empty. The setting is cool, but the plot while having a good build-up is too much of a cliché and the characters are either annoying or just simply not memorable. To be fair, this series has some good scenes and nice background music but that’s not enough. I rate it 7 points. Too high, maybe, but at least it’s not as bad as war.
Throughout the early episodes of the series, I remember having favorable opinions for the show; it reminds me of the brilliance of the first season, the vast world, and even one of the first reasons I started liking anime, because Last Exile was one of the earliest shows I’ve watched. I hated Millia, but I liked Fam, and that Toyosaki Aki did a pretty good job on her. As long they keep this up and moving on to the real story, it would turn out really good.
It didn’t have a good story. After the first, say, 1/3 of the story, one of the most prominent problems began to show up: the lead character Fam. There are many, many things said about her character, I think I can sum it up as having no depth, no variance in personality, and no character development. She wasn’t unique in any way, and she doesn’t have any kind of background except for being really good at piloting. She has a one-dimensional personality and only one approach to every single problem in the story. And she learned nothing and changed nothing throughout the entire story. As you would expect, things becomes really boring, fast.
Then… when it comes down to the important moments, the storytelling was pure shit. When did the primary enemy change from Sera to Luscinia? All that screentime on Orang just for his 10 seconds of fame? A single message from Sera to end all conflict, instantly? A single ship shows out of nowhere and starts shooting everything, and the battle ends right there? The pacing is also terrible. Episode 19 contain one of the most important battles in the story, yet they rushed through it so as to begin the next part.
And finally, the story, which also disappoints. The ending left me confused about Luscinia’s real objective in the end. Was he trying a Lelouch here? If so, it was terribly executed, because both Liliana’s and his actions were really unjustified. I found it so un-agreeable that I’m still hesitant to believe that was supposed to be the conclusion to the story. The final impression of the story almost always rests on the ending, and such an unsatisfying ending is pretty much the worst you can do.
Oh wait, just one more. Of the two most important, and most anticipated weapons our main characters can wield, one never showed up, and one blew up on a whim. What a good idea, right?
I could talk more about the things that this series did wrong, but I don’t want to turn this more into a list more than it already does. The most enjoyable episode turns out to be a recap of the previous season. So, is this a complete waste of time? Well, the show does have several good points. The production values are excellent, being Gonzo’s supposed flagship material after all. I never think that they quite captured the “steampunk” feel as compared to the previous season, but I supposed that’s subjective. Since the animation quality often matters a lot more to me than other people, I must say that this isn’t a complete waste of time; I did enjoy it a fair bit. If you would have me recommend this to people, I can only say that this is a huge disappointment; especially if you’ve watched the first season.
Story Style: Really, really bad
7: Battle Spirits: Brave
Japanese: バトルスピリッツ ブレイヴ
MAL Score: 7.09
Two years ago, the world was saved by Dan Bashin and the other light bearers of the cores. Having once risked his life in Grand Rolo’s strife, Dan no longer finds passion in the mundanity of everyday card battles. When Dan desires to clash against stronger opponents, he is approached by Mai Shinomiya. She offers to bring him to the future, the stage of a new conflict where Dan’s strength is needed.
The two arrive in the year 2650, where civilization has been ravaged by the struggle for power between mankind and an otherworldly race known as “Mazoku.” As humanity begins to crumble under the dominance of the Mazoku, the hardened light bearers are destined to cross paths once more. Armed with new cards from the future, Dan and the other warriors must yet again bear the fate of humanity on their shoulders.
Art: too good.
Sound: good. Especially you can observe it while the battle spirits fight goes on.
Characters: Barone character is the one which seems to change a lot. He thinks of the humans in another perspective . Most amazing characters- though were not shown quite frequently -are the queen of mazoku and the wife of a captain of mazoku -Duke (who work hard for both the species). Both of these ladies understood their environment and planned well their future. For instance, Queen perceives that here court officials are trying for a coup d’etat, plans beforehand. She even understands others though the way they battle. She bowed to Dan when duke was defeated in a battle with Dan. She hold on to her promise with Dan. But her bow to Dan makes her to face severe consequences, she never quivered. Again duke’s wife seems to understand the emotions of people around her. In the final episodes, she comforts mai well. She even accepts a human as a son so that her husband’s ideal may be achieved.
What i do not like in this series:
1. To show Dan more mature and serious.
2. To forcefully show romantic relationship or at least hints between Dan and Mai.
3. Search for the 12 zodaic cards is not executed well. I mean to say is that for some episodes these were shown and for some Dan says we got 8 we need some more. No struggle at all shown for achiveving the cards from Suzuri’s prospective.
4. Clackey is left completely side character.
Finally i disliked this series. So i gave very low ratine in my watch llist.
6: Digimon Xros Wars: Aku no Death General to Nanatsu no Oukoku
English: Digimon Fusion
MAL Score: 7.12
Returning to the Digital World, Taiki and Shoutmon learn that the Bagra Army has taken it over and reformatted the world to have Seven Kingdoms, each ruled by a general.
The story continues from where the first part left off and Taiki has returned to the Digimon World (from the real world) in order to stop bad guy Baguramon from destroying everything. He arrives to find that quite a few months have passed in the Digimon World since his departure(since time passes differently between the worlds) and Baguramon, during this time has reshaped the entire world to his liking and is preparing to initiate D5(kinda like a digimon apocalypse) which would result in him gaining control of both the Real/Digimon worlds and all dimensions.
His lackeys, called the Death Generals, have each been appointed a certain area of the Digimon World where they will reigns supreme and each of them must be defeated before Taiki and his friends can even hope to face and stop Baguramon.
The rest of the story is about how Taiki and his friends defeat the big baddy and save the worlds. Pretty cliche but executed nicely.
Art is crisp as before and is basically a blend of the style of the older seasons and mecha shows in general. Since this series is focused on mecha fusion action, don’t be surprised to see some of the ridiculous fusions/monsters you would find here. Also, unlike the first part, basic FANSERVICE is present in this one. Though, it must be added that it doesn’t get in the way of important things.
Sound is much, much better than before. The new tracks are very much likable and the opening “New World” is pretty good. Like the part before it, this part also lacks an ending song. Most of the fusion insert songs are really good.
Not really the main focus of the story but yeah, there is character development. However, it is limited to the main cast and not every minor character but you won’t miss that. And it is pretty basic at best so if you’re going into this show for the character development, you might as well not watch it.
Honestly, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I could swear the ending was better than the other Digimon seasons I’ve watched but your experience will vary. Depending on how much you know about Digimon and its monsters. You’d only appreciate it if you are somewhat familiar with Digimon/monster shows in general. It is not exactly made for someone new to the series so If you’re new to Digimon, you’re better off watching the earlier seasons.If however you are on the lookout for ridiculous/overblown action of the likes of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann(TTGL), you’d do well to check the series out.
A nice series to get into if you’re familiar with Digimon. Also, this is part 2 with regards to continuity so you’d need to watch the other part before heading here. If you don’t care much about the monsters and are looking for overblown action in TTGL fashion, this one’s for you!
This is a direct sequel to the Digimon Xros Wars and this review will take that into consideration since I’ve already expressed a lot of flaws of this show on that anime’s review section.
One the main flaws was the lack of creativity in character design. This time we get a few more examples of new digimon and not all of them are mecha and/dragon types. However, there were still a lot of old digimon.
The animation gets a little bit worse for some odd reason and but the audio gets better.
Now, let’s talk about story: it still moves at a very fast pace, always focusing on the main plot points but this time around it’s not as repetive. Battles are decided through strategy and different Digimon combinations and moves… or so it seems during the first half of each of the first 12 or so episodes. There’s always some stupid reason breaking that beautiful and satisfying victory about to happen and so we get the usual fight we’ve seen a thousand times already. Despite this, Kuriha and Nene play a more decisive role and we get to see different Digifusions of quite a few different Digimon. Despite this, I feel that there a lot of missed opportunities to see awesome fusions between some of the bosses and our heroes.
1) Kuriha is nothing but a bipolar sun of a rotten egg. This guy has two moods in life: smug tsundere or outright villain. I could not care less about his backstory and anytime he has the spotlight, I just roll my eyes
2) Yuu’s role in the story is cringe at its finest and it’s a shame that it takes so long for his arc to end
3) The fact that Beelzebubmon is the only Digimon never used in any fusion this particular season makes it too obvious that he would eventually die
4) Olegmon should’ve been used to fuse with Kuriha’s, Nene’s or Taiki’s team. Anything would be better than the usual cliché sacrifice route.
Overall, this season showed a lot of potencial in a few episodes but Yuu, Kiriha and the lack of creativity in battles on the 2nd part of this sequel are too much for me to fully enjoy it.
Final score: 6/10
5: Persona 4 the Animation
English: Persona 4 the Animation
MAL Score: 7.51
Yuu Narukami moves to Inaba, a seemingly quiet and ordinary town, where he quickly befriends the clumsy transfer student Yousuke Hanamura, the energetic Chie Satonaka, and the beautiful heiress Yukiko Amagi. Shortly after Yuu’s arrival, a chain of mysterious killings begin to occur on foggy days. At the same time, rumors about a strange television channel—dubbed the “Midnight Channel”—spread like wildfire; when staring into their TV screen at midnight, a person may see their soul mate.
After witnessing the most recent murder victim on the Midnight Channel, Yuu attempts to watch it again, only to realize that he can traverse into the TV and reach another world overrun with “Shadows,” evil creatures of the dark. Realizing the link behind the hidden dimension and the murders, Yuu and his friends attempt to crack the cases by exploring the diabolical world of the Midnight Channel using their “Personas,” awakened manifestations of their “true selves.”
The story is pretty typical for what you would find in most JRPGs these days, but one of the unique things about the Persona franchise has been the blend between the dating-sim styled day-to-day activities and the RPG combat. Most of the action takes place in a world hidden by all but a few lucky people granted the power of a Persona, the manifestation of the person’s psyche which is used to fight shadows inside of the TV world. While it’s fairly generic and comes with its fair share of clichés, it works well because the story is self-aware and does not try to take itself too seriously. It’s a fairly light-hearted story even in the midst of all the murders, kidnappings, and crazy things going on.
There isn’t any inherent problem with the story here because it’s simply being taken from an already well-written series. The story was fine in the game, and for the most part it’s fine here too. What there IS a problem with, however, is the pacing.
The pacing can be likened to teleportation. It’s a disorganized mess of scenes abruptly changing from one to another with a calendar flashing for a few moments. No, the people behind the adaptation don’t care about pacing– instead they use the calendar as a lazy excuse to not deal with coherent pacing. You might have the main character sitting at a table talking with the group for all of around 30 seconds and then the calendar will simply flash on screen, skipping past several days and taking you into a completely different scene with almost no link or correlation with what just happened. Sometimes the days flash by so fast that you don’t even know what the hell is happening any more. Sometimes you will have a dungeon given three entire episodes dedicated to it, and another dungeon will have less than half an episode. It makes no sense.
The calendar system and the day-to-day activities worked fine in the game, but this is not the game. It does not work here and it does not fit. This is an anime, not a video game, and the people behind the anime should at least try and make sure it translates properly into a condensed, strictly visual form. You can’t simply take the game and then slap it into an anime. You need to make adjustments, you need to make changes, and you need to make sure it fits the medium that you are adapting it to. The staff behind the Persona 4 adaptation don’t understand this important philosophy. It instead feels like they’re awkwardly trying to recreate the feel of the game, but failing pretty miserably at it. I felt like I was getting a headache at times trying to follow the constant warping of the characters.
So, if you haven’t played the games, don’t expect to understand much of what is going on. You will probably be lost and confused amidst the pacing, especially when important plot points and characterization is skipped upon and barely explained. There really needed to be two seasons of anime here because it’s clear as day how rushed it is.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only problem here. Both the animation and the art style are also poorly done. There is a strange lack of color throughout the entire show, which is odd given how colorful and vibrant the game was. Each character is drawn poorly and colored in with ugly looking gradients, something that you would expect from a high school computer animation class, not a commercial product created for thousands of people. It’s all very bland and amateurish. There’s also a startling lack of animation here. One character will have their mouth flap while everybody else in the background is static and motionless, often complete with disproportional faces and odd expressions, looking stupefied. For a lack of a better term, it’s very ‘derp’. Even when there is a decent amount of animation happening on screen it’s usually done poorly with glaring mistakes in between movements, usually body parts morphing into strange shapes. Either they were lacking budget or something went horribly wrong in the production of the anime… either way, it has some of the worst art and animation I’ve seen in a mainstream anime. For all the years it took for the series to get a ‘proper’ anime adaptation, when it looks as poorly as this, well… was it really worth it?
On the plus side, the music is very nice and the remixed and new tracks are greatly appreciated. It helps to spice things up a little bit from the game, though there are problems even here since the background songs will abruptly switch from one to another with complete dissonance and shifts in tone. The music itself is good, but the application of the music is not. Instead of awkwardly switching between music all the time, the staff could have opted to just use silence or ambient noise from time to time instead, and save the music only for the scenes where it truly fits in. It should feel natural, and here it just stands out in a really unpleasant way.
Sadly, there just isn’t much good I can say for the anime. There’s a few brief moments of hilarity scattered here and there, and while it’s nice to see all the characters fully animated, the entire time I was watching it just made me want to go replay the game instead. A good adaptation wouldn’t make you want to do that. The anime is nothing more than fanservice for people who have played and enjoyed the games, and even as fanservice it fails in some pretty major areas.
Maybe other people will enjoy it more than me, but Persona 4 deserved so much more than this.
Persona 4 is one of the best video games that I have had the chance to play. Despite being highly acclaimed by critics both in Japan and in the West, Persona 4 remains somewhat of a niche title and this more or less transfers to the anime adaptation too. As a result, those who have played the game are the ones best-placed to be able to fully appreciate the anime series, but new fans will also find a very good anime thanks to Aniplex doing a commendable job with the existing game material.
The opening episodes set the story up quite well with mysterious deaths, the TV world, shadows and personas. The main character, along with another high school student, get involved through various circumstances and then strive to solve the murder cases, meanwhile gaining new friends and abilities. However, it does take a while before huge plot developments start to occur, and these are spread out unevenly over the course of the series. As a result, the pacing is off throughout certain episodes and some important revelations are only lightly touched upon. Social links are a crucial feature in Persona 4; these are several side stories which detail the interactions and bonds that form between the main character and supporting characters. Certain social links are arguably more enjoyable to watch in the anime rather than play in the game, as there’s original material which fleshes them out better. Others, however, feel rather rushed.
The game features several short anime-styled cut scenes, and the anime series is similar in terms of artwork and animation. Character designs, which have been copied from the game, are simple and sharp. This means it’s decent, but compared to certain other anime it’s probably not as visually striking. In some episodes the animation is quite inconsistent; for example, facial expressions are usually good but sometimes become lifeless. Nevertheless, the battle scenes featuring personas and shadows are mostly excellent and full of action, appropriate BGM and variation. It’s also amusing that the anime retains the look and feel of a video game; the main character’s stats appearing halfway through each episode, as well as the calendar being displayed when each day passes are just a couple of examples.
The sound, in my opinion, is the best aspect of this anime. Poor music alone can’t make-or-break a series, but that is irrelevant anyway when it comes to Persona 4 The Animation. The background music is composed by Shoji Meguro, who also composed the music for the game, and it doesn’t disappoint, especially during battle scenes. A lot of the music has been recycled from the game and rightly so; why change something that’s already superb? The OP and ED themes are new, but they’re done in the same style as the OP: sung in English but still sounding incredible. The Japanese VAs have done a good job (which is expected as they also voiced the characters in the game, and therefore have previous experience), and more often than not they suit the roles well.
There are several characters in P4, and most seem to have made the transition from game to anime. The main character, Yu Narukami, was previously a silent protagonist but now has a voice and his own personality. The latter is initially quite bland but develops as his stats and social links develop; after a few episodes he becomes central to a fair few hilarious quips and situations. The rest of the main cast are a varied but likeable bunch, and each viewer will probably have their own favourites. This anime series has an interesting method of introducing the main characters and molding their personalities, by which I mean that it’s incorporated into the Midnight Channel, one of the major plot points. Aside from Yu Narukami, some members of the main cast start out as plain high school students, but their backgrounds and insecurities are revealed as the anime progresses. As mentioned, the battles are entertaining but rather than just having persona-users as mere spectators, they feel pain when their personas are attacked, which raises the stakes and makes them more involved. Finally, the appearance of two mysterious characters (Igor and Margaret) at the beginning of each episode help to summarize which social links or bonds of friendship were developed by Yu in the previous episode.
Now, I’ll assume that the majority of Persona 4 veterans will agree that it was a brilliant, or at the very least good, game for the Playstation 2. Therefore, it has two important challenges: to satisfy those who’ve played the game, and to appeal to those who haven’t but are looking to watch a good anime series. The anime is a faithful adaptation, so anyone who liked the game can now enjoy watching it as a TV series. It’s vastly entertaining and contains mystery, action and adventure in a high school/small town setting. Admittedly, the story does take a while to get going for those unfamiliar to P4, due to questionable pacing and an initial monster-of-the-week feeling to episodes. However, get past this and you’ll find a decent series that’s slightly different to others in its genre.
If the quality found in P4 The Animation becomes the usual standard for anime adapted from games, I’d definitely watch more of them. It complements the game adequately and while it remains quite faithful the anime also includes a lot of new stuff, as well as a heavier use of comedy. These changes allow Persona 4 The Animation to be watched as a standalone series, but at the end of the day existing P4 fans should enjoy the anime more because seeing how it handles the familiar characters and story from the game is great fun; newcomers will probably score the series a bit lower. Video gamers can look forward to more of Persona 4 in future: an updated port of the original game on Playstation Vita, and a spin-off fighting game on PS3/Xbox360.
Note: An unaired episode that adapts the video game’s True Ending is scheduled to be released in August 2012.
There seems to be misconception that if an adaption is faithful enough to the source material, than it’s garanteed to be good-so long as the source material was good in the first place. This is incorrect because when a story is written for certain medium, it tends to work best in that medium because that’s what the story was designed for. Persona 4 fundamentally works best as a video-game, because that’s what it was written for. You could still make a good television series out of it, but in order for that to happen you have to actually change stuff and play around with it.
The first of these problems is the pacing. Persona 4 is a game where you live out the player-protagonist’s highschool life day by day, with trips to the TV world every few weeks. It takes about 60-80 hours to beat, and features a very slow pacing. For a 25 episode television series, they of course would need to compress the overall story.
For example, it’s not until a whole hour into the game until the player-protagonist actually gets to fight some Shadows. Since fighting Shadows is apart of the show’s premise, you of course need to include that in the pilot. Therefor, the writers had to rush through the first hour of the game and compress into a 20-minute episode, which results in an overtly fast pacing.
Secondly is the formulaic structure that comprises the majority of the plot. It roughly goes something like this: “Episode A: The heroes find out who’s on the Midnight Channel, and try to gather information on them so that they can save them from the TV world –> Episode B: The heroes go into the TV world, and rescues the victim. The victim then joins their party and helps out in the next story arc–> Episode C: Filler episode –> Repeat.”
The formula was no problem in the game, since the slow pacing made it so you barely even noticed the formula in the first place. However, since the formula goes through a mere three episodes of the anime, the quicker pacing makes it seem more repetitive.
Lastly, there’s Yu’s ability to summon multiple Persona’s, and acquire ”Social Links.” In the video-game, these are only briefly explained, but it’s no problem because it makes sense in the context of a video-game. But with The Animation, they still don’t bother to give an in-depth explanation, and it no longer makes any sense because it doesn’t have the context of a game to back it up. In the game it makes complete sense from a game play mechanic, but in The Animation it serves absolutely no purpose other than to occasionally show off some of the obtainable demons.
This is one of those shows where it starts out rather nicely; even though the first few episodes suffered from such overtly-fast pacing, they were otherwise rather enjoyable and of decent quality. After episode 4 however, the series started to steep deeper and deeper into mediocracry, and it wasn’t until episode 21 (near the end of the series) that it finally started to be of exceptional quality. This is partially due to how the series quickly starts to focus less on the mystery aspects of the plot, and more on the formulaic nature of rescuing people from the TV world and forming Social Links. In other words, barely anything interesting actually happened for a large part of the series.
When each character is introduced in their respective story-arcs, they are indeed compelling characters with a good amount of depth to them. However, as soon as they face their inner selves and are rescued from the TV world, they quickly degrade into flat one-dimensional characters. They’re all still likable to a certain extent, but not enough to make slice-of-life episodes (i.e. the filler episodes) worth watching.
The fight scenes were also underwhelming, usually feeling rushed. They barely have any tension to them, and usually ended far sooner than you would have liked them to. A few times they tried to mix up the fights by adding in some zany element, such as the male characters turning into old men, or the a hot liquid appearing on the floor that impaired the characters movements. Sometimes it worked, but other times it was just added a bit of stupid and unnecessary comedy.
If there’s anything that saves this show from being terribly mediocre, it’s the final four episodes that manage to pull a few plot twists and make the whole mystery plot actually interesting.
Overall Rating: 6/10.
For the most part this is a mediocre series, but it had enough saving qualities for me to rate this as “above average.” For a short while each character was compelling and complex, and the last four episodes were of exceptional quality.
But even so, I highly recommend you avoid this series, and just play the original video-game. I wouldn’t call the game a masterpiece or anything, but it’s certainly better than The Animation is virtually every way.
MAL Score: 7.54
Hamburgers that grow out of the ground like four-leaf clovers, mountain ranges carved out of ice cream, and warm servings of mac and cheese that stew deep within the stomachs of volcanoes fill the landscape. This world of delectable natural wonders has reached a prime age of exploration—the Gourmet Age! Citizens and chefs alike aspire to taste and prepare the finest dishes, while adventurers called “Gourmet Hunters” seek out delicious rare ingredients.
Possessing a unique set of skills, the wild and passionate Gourmet Hunter Toriko is infamous for discovering 2% of all known ingredients. Together with his friend Komatsu—a highly skilled chef working at a five-star hotel—Toriko strives to complete his Full Course Menu of Life. But it isn’t going to be easy; in order to obtain the most delicious ingredients, Toriko must battle against obstacles like deadly monsters, evil organizations, and food itself!
Quoted from a manly midget chef…
You know the first thing that crossed my mind when I read that quote was covering a cow with ketchup then proceed to pound the cow into bolognese sauce.
Im just kidding of course, that isn’t call MANLY… that’s called animal abuse…
So chances are if you stumble upon this anime, you’re not watching it just to fill up your boring life with some boring junk. No.. You hunt for exotic food on a daily basis. And you need an anime that teaches you the RIGHT way to do it…
Well, introducing Toriko, the only anime currently airing that will not only satisfy that hunger urge but will also teach you how to be more MANLY than you were before.
What would you say if I said that World Peace could be obtain if everyone in the world combined their powers to produced the most delicious full course menu in the universe?
You would probably say “BURRRRRP!!” Cause that’s how the end of World Hunger sounds like. Now all that’s left is the homeless people.
(Now people, feeding the homeless to the hungry would solve those two world problems, but we wouldn’t want to resort to cannibalism now do we?)
Let’s see how this anime can be used to solve other problems?
So you just opened up an art gallery and you’re not raking any cash because an art gallery is partially a public good. (No duh..)
Open up a mini restaurant in your gallery. Watch Toriko (especially the one piece crossover) and get inspiration on drawing animals which apparently looks like it had sex with food and produced offspring. Make your visitors hungry and they’ll pay a visit to your mini restaurant for brunch. Problem solved
Toriko has a huge variety of animal species, though not as much as Pokemon which has a total of 600++ up to date, but at least some of them are edible and each is designed with it’s own unique features. The artwork for Toriko is similar to One Piece. If you like One Piece, then you definitely would love this. If you like Two Piece then go to the toilet… *crickets* Yeah, yeah lame joke… pfft…
So you work with a bunch of unmotivated voice actors who does english dubs for an anime.
And they sound horrible (more than usual anyways)
Get them to watch Toriko. The seiyuus for this anime are top notch. They portray their character well in the anime. It’s like the directors forced the seiyuus to starve during the recording to make them sound like a bunch of hungry men. What can I say about the opening? One word… “GATSU!!” No seriously, it’s like getting your guts punched with a thousand fists of manliness.
So you have a son, and he’s a wimp. Nothing wrong about that, but he is due to national service soon. And you don’t want the other kids to bully him.
Get him to watch Toriko. Make him into a man. Toriko is an exampled role model.He says his prayers before and after eating his meal. How often do you see people say their grace before they eat? Not only that, Toriko only kills animals that he deems worthy to be eaten. He does not just willy nilly kill any of God’s creation. Only a REAL man could do that.
For every manly character, there will have to be a less manly guy to enhance the manliness of the main character.
For Batman, there is Robin. For Sherlock Holmes, there is Dr. Watson. In this case, for Toriko, there is Komatsu. Komatsu has his own set of special culinary abilities that furthur compliments Toriko’s manliness. If Toriko was the fork and spoon, Komatsu is probably the condiments.
What about the wimpy son problem?
Heck, just show the government his MAL profile that he is currently watching “Toriko” He’ll be exempted for life.
In fact, “Toriko” isn’t really an anime.
The German government classified “Toriko” as “Handbuch für Männlichkeit”
Translation, Handbook for masculinity. Yeah, everything sounds manlier in German.
The only problem about this anime is that it was further degraded from its masculinity compared to the manga due to a significant degree of censorship. Lower your hopes for gore and blood. On the bright side, with the absence of graphic violence, how kids who haven’t hit puberty can watch the anime and start training the the path of manliness…
Overall, as proven above, watching Toriko solves a whole tons of problems. I give this anime a rating of 8. Cause that’s the number of packs you’ll have after watching this anime. Yes, that’s right, 8 packs! One more pack and you can play tick-tack-toe on your abs. How awesome is that? Not as awesome as Toriko though. Tough luck kiddo.
I’d like people to watch it but I will be honest. Toriko is mediocre at best. Despite its simple and not-too-intelligent premise, the story unfolds itself and turns out to be very complicated. For the first time in the history of shounen anime, the main character’s voracious appetite has a convincing reason: some people in this world have gourmet cells which can evolve and ultimately level up as they consume high-quality food. Because these cells demand an immense amount of energy, characters usually eat a lot. This constant need for better food makes the story dynamic. Villains and heroes vie for the best food to become stronger which opens up possibilities of immense change. As they get stronger, they search for the ultimate food that can make one the most powerful. Thus, many different groups, both righteous and evil, clash with each other over food. As the story progresses it gets very complex but nothing is out of control, the anime preserves its integrity. In other words, the basic premise is nicely developed.
The animation successfully creates its original world. There’s a lot of talk on food. The beast and plants of the world are an amalgamation of different species of ours. They often look childish. Moreover, the world is very colorful. Bright colors are preferred for animation. This adds to the childish aura of the anime. Nevertheless, the animation is well done. Colorful scenes make fight scenes more fluid and add an extra dimension. As it’s expected from all 100+ episodes anime series, the budget of each episode is low. But when it comes to major fights it does not disappoint. Nothing top notch, yet well done.
The sound is not exceptional either. Voice acting is well done. It brings out what it aims to do. Music is not so great as to be memorable. It still fits the general mood of the anime. You don’t feel like songs are out of place.
One positive side of Toriko is that it doesn’t have many filler episodes. The number of filler episodes is 18 (13% of total) which is significantly lower than almost all long-running anime.
Toriko isn’t great at character department either. Though many characters are usual clichés, there are some positively peculiar ones among them. One positive thing is that they are older than 21. This is consciously chosen because they usually consume a lot of alcoholic beverages. However, it isn’t used in a meaningful way. They don’t differ much from younger shounen heroes. The main character Toriko is a nice lead. What he lacks, his partner Komatsu provides. They complete each other (sadly, this isn’t a love story). Toriko’s friends Sani, Coco shine in terms of power. The anime does not fall into the trap of overpowered main character standing alone against the enemy, reducing the rest to a bunch of useless spectators who are there only to get impressed by the main character. Also, female characters do not have overgrown breasts, an oddity in this age.
Overall, I enjoyed Toriko. Unlike other shounen, it requires a little more patience to be immersed in its world. But it’s painfully mediocre.
Many people have told me how much they hated the anime & prefer reading its manga, which is fine but I’m here to give my honest opinions about the animes pros & cons.
Toriko’s concept is one of hunting & cooking where our heroes “The 4 Heavenly Kings” (Toriko, Coco, Sunny & Zebra) explore the unknown lands of the Gourmet Age where exotic food stimulates power resulting into a war which purpose is to obtain “GOD”; the most sacred dish on the planet.
As a story, Toriko slowly builds up into hype moments where strength is taken to gargantuan levels & takes careful consideration of minor details which later deliver in the payoff in both exposition & combat. Most arcs can range from exploring, fighting or just eating which can vary per viewer but thankfully there aren’t any major filler arcs that affect the overall story. (Most of them just range from stand alones or 2 eps)
Similar to Dragon Ball & One Piece, Toriko carries that same adventurous feel & welcomes its viewer into a imaginative world filled with unique animals & technology. A highlight of the series are its subtle references to Fist of The North Star with Toriko, Coco & Zebra being based on Kenshiro, Toki & Raoh among other things.
As expected of battle shonens the series does deliver on fights sadly most of these battles do contain watered down violence. This is the main reason why most people just ignore the anime yet the adaptation serves better as a gateway due to its few crossovers with One Piece along with its soundtrack & usage of atmosphere in either the laid back scenes or the intense ones.
Flaws of the anime include its later decrease in animation quality around the 100s & the filler ending to the series as the manga is still ongoing. Also I’m certain characters such as Komatsu & Tina will affect viewing experience in a negative way. While I suggest to do what you think is better (watching or reading) please give the series a chance as it was only recently in 2013 where people began to become fans of the series. While some scenes can feel dragged & its food concept ridiculous, don’t forget that even Dragon Ball pokes fun in itself due its name choices (such as Trunks, Dr. Briefs, Tambourine, Drum & Piano).
Don’t let misconceptions affect your judgement as you may end up liking the series whether you watch or read it. Toriko is not the greatest series but does pay tribute to shonens of the 80s & 90s where it follows a straight forward story that offers imagination, gritty battles, monstrous villains & heroic characters.
3: Dragon Ball Kai
English: Dragon Ball Z Kai
MAL Score: 7.71
Five years after the events of Dragon Ball, martial arts expert Gokuu is now a grown man married to his wife Chi-Chi, with a four-year old son named Gohan. While attending a reunion on Turtle Island with his old friends Master Roshi, Krillin, Bulma and others, the festivities are interrupted when a humanoid alien named Raditz not only reveals the truth behind Gokuu’s past, but kidnaps Gohan as well.
With Raditz displaying power beyond anything Gokuu has seen before, he is forced to team up with his old nemesis, Piccolo, in order to rescue his son. But when Gokuu and Piccolo reveal the secret of the seven mystical wish-granting Dragon Balls to Raditz, he informs the duo that there is more of his race, the Saiyans, and they won’t pass up an opportunity to seize the power of the Dragon Balls for themselves.
These events begin the saga of Dragon Ball Kai, a story that finds Gokuu and his friends and family constantly defending the galaxy from increasingly more powerful threats. Bizarre, comical, heartwarming and threatening characters come together in a series of battles that push the powers and abilities of Gokuu and his friends beyond anything they have ever experienced.
Many like me who have seen the original and yet have seen this and thought well Kai is obviously the same isn’t it?
Well Yeah thats because it is But there are differences here and there to mention but it isn’t as major as a lot of people like to assume so I will be making some comparisons here that you’ll expect to see in this review since this is based on my analysis of this show from watching it twice alongside Dragon ball Z.
Story – 9
The story is sped up much more better compared to the original for obvious reasons of course, It sticks to major characters along with the main plot, less over the top screaming (Though there is that occasionally at times) and less deviating to different locations with little going on in them. better direction of how the pacing is handled within the story to how it is in the manga though I would argue that some certain moments in this version like the original happened quite differently in the manga.
The short prologue to the beginning of what happened to Goku’s father Bardock was a nice touch compared to how the original started off. It sets the story very nicely by showing bardock’s assault on frieza’s army and also the major difference was a removal of the fillers from the original which I like a lot about this.
Now for me I enjoyed some of the fillers from the original anime such as Gohan surviving out in the wilderness as part of his training or Goku and Piccolo amusing test driving episode or even seeing some of the characters trying to find the dragon balls or just randomly seeing some of the supporting characters in their own segments like Tien, Krillin, Yamcha, Chichi etc.
The fillers were also placed in some of the right spots in the story to give some fun easy going highlights towards characters and even progression for example gohan on his adventure out in the wilderness by piccolo to adapt to his surroundings and to not be afraid had a nice throwback to the original dragonball that in a way keeps it connected.
To me, Some of the Fillers like these are still a joy to watch personally unlike some certain animes that just shoehorn filler episodes to disrupt the flow of their story and action badly
(cough cough Bleach and Naruto)
The Filler from the original offered a nice casual distraction away from the main plot but also kept up in the right places as well as still offering the action, drama and humour to the show as a whole, I mean sure the negative to that is filler episode could tend to drag but they were also placed in convenient places that to me made sense and I wish a lot of shonen animes would do this. (I could go, But moving on)
But to note I also know from the original anime you have fillers that are just too slow and time wasting, For the love of god I totally did not like the whole fake Planet Namek filler and Goku when he fell off snake way when he met those 2 annoying Orges, including the fillers that stretch the length of certain episodes or just random added silly moments which I also wasn’t a fan of.
Now with Kai most of these fillers are pretty much gone which really helps viewers to stick with the main plot which in term keeps it more direct and maintains that balance of content and at least help it to not completely drag on for very long which is a major improvement.
Art/Animation – 6
Honestly I am however disappointed with Toei animation.
A series that finished a long time ago, that was beloved by loads of fans all round the world gets this reboot in 2009 and did they improve on art and animation? honestly.. Not that much at all.
This very much annoys me to say this but Dbz kai in terms of its animation capturing the same dated 4:3 ratio like the original did with certain colour correction and contrast but with the very same style of animation which in today standards of art and animation is undeniably lazy from Toei Animation standards considering this reboot came out in 2009!! Just unacceptable.
I have no problem with the art/animation with the original series since it came out in the late 80s/Early 90s, but Come On Now!.. this is practically the same with little certain things that they kinda enhanced which look like anybody could do on PowerPoint!
What seems very good from the very opening of truly great animation that would of suited the series as whole for it in this era of animation only comes to slap people in the face when they see this and say where is the improvement on the animation?? (No way only in the opening!?….Really? Surely they had a lot more time right?)
The original recycled animation has been limited but still not showing enough of that change that should of been implemented with better quality in the first place and some of the uncut blood and violence is replace by bruises which looks silly and yes even though the manga isn’t too violent it still looses some of its believability at times when something violent occurs
which does make me sympathies with those that did not warm up towards this series but again another thing is at least its not bad compared with the original in terms of missing features to the characters and what not.
As a really good example look at original JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders reboot. It got an updated look of the animation as well as other features in their new series to bring its source material of the manga to life so why not Dragon ball kai??
I get that the studio works on other different shows in Japan now and then but Is it really that much of a chore for them to do so for their most profitable franchise besides just animating the opening? They might as well just get Madhouse to work on it like they did for Hunter X Hunter 2011 if they aren’t really up to the task.
Music – 6
Right Okay..I honestly feel pretty mixed about this one.
While Kenji Yamamoto was originally the music composer behind The music of this series but had to be replace because of some corporate music scandal he had done.
before this show was release on DVD/bluray to the public they had the music to be replace with the former composer from the original series in 2009 which yet again is a problem, like the animation the music score sounds too dated like I’m watching an old detective show that sounds like 1966 The Green Hornet, The Hell!? seriously its Dragon ball Z!!!
So Understand that the mixes of genres of this show falls under Battle Shounen, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts,
Sci Fi, Super Power which adds a lot of variety for this show so It should feel and sound like it has its own uniqueness here especially to other music soundtracks nowadays but it unfortunately doesn’t since this anime has more of an out of date feel to it now which does not make me feel invested towards the episodes as much at times.
I LOVE the music composer Kikuchi Shunsuke from the original series I’ve nothing against him, but his soundtracks for a reboot version/ Remastering of this series up to this point just doesn’t really make me feel excited or engage to whats happening on scene especially since certain Iconic soundtracks are not present there like the original show and with this issue I feel, It just doesn’t really resonate with me when something is taking place.
Of course I am aware that Kai added a few new music scores in place of the show and they sound good but are only once during different characters moments which makes it pretty pointless honestly.
It was more better in the original because it was more authentic and done so well for particularly in that time period of anime back then.
The Opening Is okay, not really topping the original in anyway since the original Opening sounded so Iconic and with this opening I just felt it was played too much that but could’ve added more instead of hearing the same opening song throughout 97 episodes and again In no way competes with the opening of Dragon ball Z CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA since its so Iconic from the previous installment.
Voice Acting – 9
The dub and sub on the other hand are probably the highlight of Kai itself especially the dub as it is well handled by funimation.
It adds a lot more verbal curses than the original from previous works of there own, Good thing about this show its that it sticks closer to the Japanese dialogue of its source material.
For me the stand out performance from the dub easily was Chris Ayres as Frieza, Sean Schemmel as Goku, Dameon Clarke as Cell and Chris Sabat as Vegeta and Piccolo. I was also very happy that I heard other different voices for a change too, Though I do however miss Kyle Hebert as the narrator for his charismatic energy for the intro but doc Morgan does do a good job also.
Other voices like Colleen Clinkenbeard as Gohan in english is sort of okay but not that good, It can sometimes sound a little jarring and irritating at times especially when she forces her vocals too hard along with the screaming and I preferred her less as gohan as the show went on and I’m not a fan of when she has to voice Kid Goku since its basically the same as another character that she voices such as Luffy and to me it just does not fit for kid goku or gohan since all I’m hearing from her is her performance as luffy.
Not to mention she voices 18 who doesn’t even sound like she’s related to 17 as his twin sister who I felt the original sounded more close to it even in the Japanese, though her little kid version of gohan isn’t too bad. There was also a few annoying script changes as well in certain scenes too. But overall a great dub.
Now also, to be fair In comparison to Nozawa’s performance as Goku and Gohan I do think it would be unfair to compare voice performance here as some of the Japanese voice actors i feel don’t always sound as right in their roles regardless if Akira had a hand in picking certain individuals, but that isn’t my place to say because I do at times like their performance.
(P.s I’m Not trying to start a Dub Vs Sub debate here folks)
Also I like to mention the opening and closings is quite upbeat and laughably offer the best animation of the show by leaps and bounds.
but yet again, only having 1 opening can be repetitive for 97 episodes, honestly it would of been nice if they had done a few more openings each with a different song but Alas! Its only a minor nitpick.
As for the characters – 8
As Similar to the original, Cool heroes, Wicked villains, Memorable action, Plot as well as a great build up that follows through different stages of the narrative just like the manga counterpart now that the dialogue in this series expresses the show more better. Its demonstrates pretty much the same cast of colourful characters that still represents themselves in their colourful own way the more you watch you start to feel some sort of connection to one of these characters that define a lot of fun traits within the shonen genre and it’s easy to see why.
The characters have their own drive about them that strive to be the best of themselves despite their flaws which will resonate sharply with the viewer but it also gives interesting context to prior events that happens within each Arc which becomes clearer even through my 2nd rewatch.
Personal Enjoyment – 8
I have to admit the first half I really enjoyed a lot but I felt by the second half it felt like it got a little bit tedious going into Cell’s Arc even towards the final third of the show, it weirdly enough ends at Trunks going back to his own timeline to end the chaos without finishing off the rest of the series but It was pretty much a simple yet a decent conclusion until Dragon ball Kai 2014 pretty much wraps up the original series.
Final Verdict – 8
Now there could of been a much more improved version of this no doubt about that, but I feel Dbz kai did a decent job on its reboot to the original despite falling short in places where its production was very lazy which earns this series this rating
Its still a great series for anyone who want an introduction to watching battle shounen anime or just want to check out what the original series of Dragon Ball Z is.
It sticks close at hand to its source material even if you don’t want to fully watch the original at least this is a more condense way to get through with ease and not too long to feel drawn out. Sorry if my review came off being serious but that is how I properly critic and say what I say with honesty.
Also PLEASE watch Dragon ball if you can, Its basically The prequel of Both Dragon ball Kai & Z since that doesn’t get as much love as the sequel does in general. Or if it’s not your thing than the Manga would likely be a better option. Until then Thanks for reading. ; )
I’ll just focus on Kai and the changes it has
Ok, so the story in dragonball has never been really complex or deep, but it’s still fun to watch.
In my opinion, the biggest improovement Kai has over DBZ is that all the anoying fillers are gone and now the story goes, mostly, acording to the manga. No more eternal power charging, no more eternal “he is so strong” internal monologues a no more feeling that nothing really happened in the last 10 chapters. Yeah there are some fun filler missing, like when goku and picolo go to the driving school, but in the end what is gained with the exclusion of the filler is far more than what is lost.
I’ve read here that the story got cut out, that’s not true, they just cut out all the filler that made the original Dragonball anime a pain to whatch for the poeple that have read the original manga.
The art in dragonball has allways been decent considering the times when it was released. But just as the new opening makes you believe at first, this could have been a real remake but the only thing we get here are the exact same animation but on a higher resolution, that’s all.
The audio has been remade and sounds great. After finishing KAI I watched some episodes of the original anime and the difference was clear.
I also liked some of the aditions to the soundtrack, though not all of them.
At least to this date, this is the best way to watch dragonball.
If you are a newcomer to the world of dragonball you will be able to see the story and fights just as Toriyama made them in the original manga.
If you already saw the original anime or manga you will be able to go throught this all time classic once again without having to be tortured by the neverending fillers.
It’s good, but it could have been so much more.
I really would have loved to see a real remake with the kind of animation that we get in the opening of kai.
The story to DB Kai is no different from the original series. The Earth is paid a visit by a being named Raditz whom claims to be Goku’s brother; Raditz reveals to him that he’s not even of Earth, instead he comes from a different race called the Saiyians whom lived on Planet Vegeta. They eventually battle, and Goku as well as his allies learn that Raditz isn’t the only one out there from that race, nor is he even close to the strongest. They then prepare themselves to battle against the last two warriors of the Saiyan race.
I will mention now that the removal of various filler such as Snake Way, Garlic Jr., and various other things was definitely a plus. The show moves quite better without the constant distractions; but the truth is, even without the filler, DB Kai can still be a chore at times with situations dragging along for too much time, and the outcome simply not being a good enough pay off for some of the waiting. In any case, the overall story is fun, and DB Kai works its way up to the final battle against Cell.
DB Kai manages to keep the action well paced enough, and character personalities are fleshed out. However, things could have been so much better had the only change to the show been the various filler. One thing DBZ did well was its voice acting for the English dub and character interactions. Some serious fans will catch the removal of some dialog and it may bother them, it sure as hell bothered me because Vegeta especially had some good lines, like his threat to beat on Yamcha for practically no reason. The changing of voice actors got on my nerves as well; Colleen Clinkenbeard is annoying as hell as Gohan, and had I never seen this before I would have been wishing for his brutal death at the hands of Frieza. Now speaking of Frieza, they have Chris Ayres playing him. I hate everyone Ayres, Chris and Greg Ayres have a very annoying, whining, saccharine feel that gets on my nerves quick. Colleen Clinkenbeard also voices Android 18, and she just feels all types of wrong here. Meredith McCoy is by far the best to play her; she brought a sinister yet sexy appeal to 18 that carried over to her facial expressions and even fighting.
Another thing DBZ always did amazingly well was introduce intense music scores. Funimation’s BGM is probably this anime’s best quality and they know it, yet for some reason they use boring elevator music, with no variation or anything new through out the entire duration of the show. Vegeta and Piccolo’s addictive themes that described their characters so well? Gone. The terrifying BGM of death when Frieza goes off to kill Vegeta while King Kai narrates this is the evil Prince’s last stand? Jettisoned… for some irritating trash that doesn’t enhance the scene at all. I can list plenty more examples, but this proves to me that not everyone understands the effect music can have during some scenes.
The animation and artwork appears to be remastered, but the only thing actually new is the opening. I don’t have much of a problem with this, still this could have been better updated. At least DB Kai delivers the action well enough and there’s plenty going on that can turn a new comer into a fan. There’s loads of fisticuffs and brutal beatings to go around.
As I look around there are plenty of people that really enjoyed Kai more than DBZ. I can honestly say that I understand that because it does trim a lot of the fat and focuses more on character and story development, along with action which is the main selling point. Unfortunately for me, I look for other things in my anime and music means a lot to me; a great soundtrack can actually mask flaws in a work, and DBZ was full of them yet the BGM smoothed things out making it more tolerable. In addition, there are things that seems changed for the sake of it. None of the voice actors from the original died while this was in production, so I see no reason for the change in cast, nor the removal of some lines.
Despite my dislike for this remake, if that’s what it is, I still recommend it to fans so they can see it for themselves; but I highly advise to be prepared for these various changes. I already know plenty of individuals who had the same issues with this as I did.
Highs: Some of the removal of filler does work, enjoyable action
Lows: Altering of cast and BGM is a huge blow for me
2: Tegamibachi Reverse
English: Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Reverse
Japanese: テガミバチ REVERSE
MAL Score: 7.76
After Niche carries the wounded and stunned Lag back to the Bee Hive, the Letter Bee finally begins to piece the puzzle together. Now he knows what’s happened to Gauche, why the Marauders are so focused on stealing mail and the actual intent of the group controlling both, Reverse. However, when he’s forbidden to reveal the truth, Lag is soon forced out of the artificial sunlight and back into the world of perpetual night. And soon Reverse’s plot to take down the Letter Bees and overthrow the Amberground government begins to accelerate. If things weren’t already bad enough, the giant insect creatures called gaichuu are apparently evolving into something new; there may be traitors working within the Hive; and Niche’s sister, who’s definitely not human friendly, shows up to turn family drama into a full-scale siege! It all spells serious trouble for the Letter Bees, but if anyone can weather the storms and gloom of night, Lag and his team are the ones who’ll deliver.
STORY: At initial glance, it doesn’t seem very original, NOT CLICHE either, but hardly something very unique. Letter-delivering. Very mundane. Not so in this anime. Letter Bees go on very dangerous missions, transversing many miles through the flickering light of Amberground, they face the constant threat of ‘gaichuu’. This particular story follows Lag Seeing- the world’s most adorable/lovable protagonist, a letter bee searching for his idol and his saviour – Gauche Suede; in the most basic, basic terms.
The first season has very llttle plot development in terms of the previously mentioned concept, IN fact, it is safe to say the first season really just ‘sets the scene’ in 25 episodes, so by the time you reached the finale, you have a very thorough understanding of what being a letter bee entails, their impact on the lives of the civilians, the huge social divisionsof Amberground, basic knowledge on all the characters encountered so far, etc.etc.
The Second season is when the plot really gets moving. Don’t get me wrong, the first season was absolutely beautiful exhibition of the greatness of the human spirit. Beautiful and extremely moving. However, the second season is so extremely addictive and exciting because you are immersed in the journeys of all the protagonists and all their successes and failures are amplified tenfold for you, and in the most basic terms, season 2 retains little episodic elements of season 1 and is also much more exciting because there is significant plot movement.
ART AND ANIMATION: I’ve combined these two because there isn’t much I can say about them as I’m not an expert, but the art is beautiful and the animation is excellent. While watching this anime the last thing you’ll be unhappy with is the art, (which is actually pallettable ART), and the animation, (which is smooth, non-jittery and enjoyable to watch, I.E. looks like it’s done by ACTUAL professionals) 0o0
SOUND: WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUl…. Music that is actually music, voice-acting that is actually done with emotion, openings and endings you actually want to watch, all in all, very impressive.
CHARACTER; Ahhh, the characters/ protagonists were most definitely a hiighlight of the anime. On a general note, every single character of the series is an actual character, with emotions, development, (however small), history (however much touched on), hopes, dreams, and aspirations, NOT 2 dimensional stereotypes, which many animes have succumbed to. Not this one. The main character – Lag Seeing, is the biggest crybaby I have ever come across. EVER. But in a weird warp he is also the most endearing and moving and emotionally sensitive soul I have also come across in all fiction, and the real world. He is type of character you wish you knew because he would be the greatest friend that would always be loyal to you and love you. AND FOR ONCE THE PROTAGONIST IS NOT A PERVERTED TWAT. AND you LOVE HIM FOR IT. Also, Lag Seeing, from the very first episode undergoes a huge emotional journey. Wrenched away from everything ever known, he grows a great deal in only the first few episodes; he learns the meaning of the words ‘friendship, love, and journey.’ Understanding first hand the experience of being a letter, it inspires him to able to give what Gauche Suede, (the letter bee that delivered Lag) gave him. This character development does not stop for one second in the duration of the both series.
His dingo – Niche is an equally interesting character. Adorable, but equally deadly, in many ways, she is the polar opposite of Lag, but in another weird warp they make an unbeatable team. The relationship entails many hardships, as all realtionship do, but also triumphs through them, which really contributes to not only the likability of these two characters, but the whole series.
THEMES: I could write a whole essay on this one. And I would. Happily. But for review purposes I will TRY to keep it succint. 😛 Sorry reader. OKK… Tegami Bachi is chocablock filled with themes. In fact, I don’t think the word ‘themes’ quite entails what this show offers intellectually. Obviously, it can be interpreted very differently, but this is just my personal opinion. But Tegami Bachi is most definitely about communication. Duh. Delivering letters is just the front. In Tegami Bachi, letters are communication devices that allow addressers and addressees to read into one another’s innermost feelings and wishes. It is a portal into one’s heart, where people can really use time to think carefully and articulate what they really want to say ONTO paper. And it is the letter bees job to carry all that emotion and ‘heart’ emanating from that flimsy bit of paper that could have so much significance on someone’s life, safely to their destination. This immortal secret is what (I think) the series tries to teach us. Unlike many deep meaningful series it doesn’t preach right behaviour or good morals. It TEACHES. Yes, teaches. Teaches about friendship, explored through the interaction and the community of all the letter bees, and the friendships between letter bees and their dingos, that immortal bond so overlooked, prime examples constantly dotted throughout the series. (I’m trying not to spoil it). It also teaches, about respecting others, and in not the way you’d expect. That particular lesson broke my heart to pieces. It really exemplifies the meaning of sacrifice, and what true friends do for one another. Another major theme explored is ‘good and evil’. Suprisingly I felt absolutely no enmity for the villian of the second season. I did hate a particular someone for the atrocious betrayal of trust but I won’t specify who. Watch if you want to find out. 😀 Anyway, the series goes back deep enough into a character’s history that I was able to emphasize enough with the villain to understand the reasonings behind their actions. weird….
On a smaller note, the one thing that I wish that some important questions were answered. It seems like, while the series is absolutely great, the producers/directors forget about a few aspects of the Lag’s history, and while it touches on it lightly is not nearly enough for fans to draw respectable conlcusions from it. Which is extremely unfortunate.
ENJOYMENT: I think it’s pretty clear from the rest of my review how much I LOVED LOVED LOVED this series. There has been a couple of negative reviews and what I really plead to you is to give this anime a chance. This anime really changed what I thought of anime as a whole, it was a refreshing, touching, at times heart-breaking series, forever immortalised in my heart, and I believe with every inch of my soul that it’ll have some place in yours too.
The animation was beautiful like I said before. Great graphics, lighting, colour, just made me happy =D. It was all lies to try and deceive me.
Other than the bitchy crying 24/7, outstanding sound. The music at most scenes was wonderful and fit perfectly. The voices did too, but I haven’t heard such great music that sorta made me feel good in other shows. I feel weird talking.. or typing about how I feel. Oops I did it again.
Not much to say here, these characters were original. I would give it a 10 if it wasn’t for Gauche’s stupid memory loss thing which caused him to think he was Noir and leave HER POOR SISTER BEHIND JUST LIKE THAT EVEN THOUGH HE SAID HE’D HELP HER FIX HER LEGS. What the fuck.. now that I think about it…… WHY, NOT, ASK, DOCTOR THUNDERLAND FOR SURGERY?
YOU DUMBSHIT GAUCHE, DUMB SHIT.
I enjoyment-ed nothing. Nothing from the story plot. But the music and art was enjoymentingfull =D. (My own word)
Now to the story.
Letter Bee left us with a cliffhanger. Reverse continued on from that, with a story which pretty much says “Fck you all, we’re gonna hide the story behind Lag’s mother, the artificial sun and gonna take away Gauche with all his memories gone like the assholes we are, you motha fckers can go watch Pokemon.” Well fk you people too. This continued series solves NONE of the questions people may have, all it does is give more questions like a fking math teacher, and tells us to solve it or leave it. And then we’re left thinking of what might have the story about Lag’s mother and the Sun been about.
I loved season 1.
Hell with season 2.
There are still things from last season still present that makes this series unique and enjoyable to watch. The atmosphere in this series is absolutely phenomenal. We are completely immersed into the distinct world in “Tegamibachi”, in the constant darkness shined only by the faint light of artificial sun, and the desolate landscapes between towns. Character design was also wonderful, the unique Letter Bee uniform, the cute designs for kids, and the cool (almost bishounen) looks of the adult Letter Bees. Other than the Gaichuu still looking like video game rendered, this series is pure visual pleasure to watch.
However, ‘REVERSE’ still has many flaws evident in the previous season. Lag Seeing is still a crybaby who cries EVERY single episode. There are extremely poorly made fillers (although far fewer in numbers). The ability to see memory of others is shameless abused as a deliberate plot device, as Seeing and others continue to use their abilities to invade personal privacy. Characters’ actions or motivations not making any sense, and even plot holes such as knowing things a character was never told about. Horrible, horrible character and location naming sense (“Lag Seeing”? “Jinro”? “Blue Notes Blues” (wtf?)) And of course, the highly predictable nature of the story itself that was a constant loop of melodrama. The ending lacked resolution, and much of the mystery about the ‘Tegamibachi’ universe and Akatsuki remain unexplained.
Lag Seeing’s voice is clearly female as usual and quite annoying at times, but I’m used to it by now. Everyone else’s voices are near perfect matches, quite smooth and emotional when needed. BGM sounded very generic as last season, used in all the right places, but just lacks something that moves your heart. Both OP/ED were of very poor quality, not particularly fitting well with the series, nor as catchy as ones from the first season.
Two seasons of ‘Tegamibachi’ were very disappointing because it had so much potential. The premise was so unique and had so many possible developments built in, but the story and characters were simply incapable of reaching their full potential. Lag Seeing’s character remained a crybaby to the end, the use of their abilities too corny, and pacing was absolutely horrible and seemed to drag on forever. It also gave me the impression of the characters saying and doing same thing over and over. The story was so horribly written near the end that it was almost insulting.
The theme of this anime was delivering thoughts and feelings, but it had failed to reach my heart.
1: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
English: Hunter x Hunter
MAL Score: 9.06
Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.
Along the way to becoming an official Hunter, Gon befriends the lively doctor-in-training Leorio, vengeful Kurapika, and rebellious ex-assassin Killua. To attain their own goals and desires, together the four of them take the Hunter Exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death. Throughout their journey, Gon and his friends embark on an adventure that puts them through many hardships and struggles. They will meet a plethora of monsters, creatures, and characters—all while learning what being a Hunter truly means.
HxH is about a young boy named Gon who embarks on a journey to find his father. After learning that his father left him at a young age to become a Hunter, Gon decides to follow in his footsteps not only to find him, but also to see what was so special about the profession that made his father choose it over him. Although a story of finding one’s father is simple, it is the path that is taken towards this end that makes the series truly special. HxH is made up of several arcs that are all extremely well-written, which brings me to the best part of the series, the writing. Hunter x Hunter (2011) boasts one of the finest writing in the world of shonen; the depth and flow of the story, enthralling characterizations, strong dialogue and impressive world-building are all crafted into a fascinating tale that can absorb viewers into lengthy marathons.
The amount of variety that is packed into HxH’s story is also very impressive. HxH successfully dabbles in several genres in six story arcs tackling survival, fighting tournaments, crime thriller, virtual realities, war and politics. Not only that, the series is also able to undergo significant tonal shifts with ease (light to dark and vice versa). Sometimes, these shifts in tone occur after an arc ends though other times, it even occurs mid-arc. Another thing about HxH is that its arcs are connected with one another, with each arc naturally following the one before it. This creates a natural transition that highlights what the series really is, a journey. As for pacing and development, they are excellent. For the most part, HxH is very well paced. The series does a fantastic job at keeping its viewers engaged, time will fly by as you watch most episodes and you’ll find yourself breezing through the show. Excluding two recap episodes, HxH has no filler episodes. Due to this, story progression is solid with the plot moving forward with each episode.
Although HxH initially gives off a light hearted impression, it gives off a good one. Not the kind of “light heartedness” that makes you say “this is childish and below me” but the kind that appeals to everyone. HxH gives off that classic and charming shonen vibe that has been lost in recent years, and it does so with its head held up high. Eventually though, the series takes a dark turn. Although most HxH story arcs are light hearted, both Yorknew and the Chimera Ant arc are two of the best and darkest arcs shonen has to offer. Yorknew can be described as a dark thriller in a big city. The central theme of the arc is revenge and it is similar to Death Note in terms of thrill and atmosphere. On the other hand, the Chimera Ants arc can be described as an attempt by the Hunters Association to control an outbreak of a dangerous man-eating species. It is the darkest and most thematically powerful arc in the series tackling themes such as identity, human nature and survival of the fittest. The arc has drawn comparisons to Yu Yu Hakusho’s Chapter Black for its seinen-like nature and is similar to Shingeki no Kyojin, where the protagonists experience a strong sense of despair in the face of a vastly superior, hostile species. The series undergoes major tonal shifts in both arcs with the color palette, music, atmosphere and amount of violence changing significantly.
However, what sets the series apart from other battle anime is its unorthodoxy and unpredictability. Shonen tropes and storytelling methods are undermined throughout the series. The main character for example, Gon, fails more than he succeeds. Power-ups based on emotion or willpower are non-existent and fighting in the series is radically different from other battle anime. The main protagonist is not the main focus of every arc either. At certain points in the series, you could even say that Gon has taken a supporting role, especially during the later portions of the CA arc where he isn’t given as much focus due to the grand scope of the story. The standard battle anime formula of “lose-train-win” is also undermined. Although there is training, it does not always translate to a victory, nor does it propel the protagonists over or to the same level as their main adversaries in terms of strength. For the most part, the protagonists assume the underdog role. Although they have incredible potential, they are still kids who have a lot to learn. In terms of storytelling, unpredictable developments are commonplace. One thing that continues to amaze me with this show is how it leads viewers into thinking that the story will progress in this direction, only to change course and arrive at a completely different outcome. A good example of this would be the series’ arcs which often end in an anti-climatic manner. Basically, there are a lot of scenes and story developments that you won’t see coming because they defy conventional shonen storytelling or are unpredictable in their own right.
The series’ unorthodoxy can also be seen in its fights which are primarily cerebral. In addition to being well-executed, HxH fights are smart and involve a lot of strategy. Raw power is a factor but it is not the factor that decides battle outcomes, actual power (nen abilities), experience and strategy are all taken into account. If a main character is outclassed by an opponent in all or most categories, he is likely to lose. Moreover, main characters are not given any special treatment in combat. This smart approach to fighting is further enhanced by nen, a unique and complex power system held by defined rules. The concept of nen, its principles, aura types and many applications on the battlefield reveal the huge amount of thought that was put into it. I still remember having to pause episodes, even research a bit during its introduction, just to digest it in its entirety.
The appearance and writing of the series also create an effect of cognitive dissonance, the simplistic look of the show mentally conflicts with the brilliance and unorthodoxy of its writing. As new viewers delve deeper into HxH, they realize that there is much more to the show than its cover art and synopsis suggest. Expectations of the series being immature, simple or generic are progressively overturned as the show reveals its surprising underbelly.
As for sound, HxH has a line of great soundtracks that started off decent but got better as the series progressed. With the exception of a few minor characters, the voice acting in this series is excellent. As a person who has never seen the old series it’s hard to believe that these aren’t the original voices because they fit extremely well, especially those of Gon, Killua and Hisoka whose voice actors do a perfect job of capturing their characters.
HxH also has great art and animation. It amazes me how a long-running series like HxH delivers consistent quality animation episode after episode, especially during the fights. The series does a great job of capturing facial expressions and everything from the lighting, shading and colors adjust perfectly depending on the mood of the scene or the tone of the arc. As one reviewer (nagaiyume) said, the bright colors of the show might need some getting used to, though it is usually fans of the old series who have this problem. Personally, I think it fits the show perfectly. It adds to the charm of the series by complementing its sense of adventure, uplifting atmosphere and unique appeal as a shonen that looks simple but is actually remarkably deep.
Although HxH’s primary strength lies in its writing, its characters come pretty damn close. HxH has a huge cast of characters. They have quirks, dreams, inner demons, world views and overall, really likable personalities. To top it off, most of them don’t follow generic character archetypes. Although some may initially come across as “generic”, these assumptions are gradually undermined as the series progresses.
If there’s one thing I want to emphasize in the character department it would be the series main villains. When it comes to characters, this is where the show shines the brightest. HxH villains are extremely well-written (with the exception of the Bomber who won’t apply to most of what I’ll say below). Not only are their characterizations independently impressive, they are also distinct from one another; no two villains are the same. This distinctness does not only apply within the series but outside of it. You won’t find another Hisoka, Chrollo or Ant King in any other anime. This is what makes HxH villains so compelling, in addition to having really impressive characterizations, they are also original. Although I excluded one out of the four main villains from most of what I wrote above, all HxH villains do have one thing in common. Each villain strikes fear into audience, the series does a good job of establishing the level of danger these characters bring to the story and our protagonists.
However, while HxH is a great series it isn’t perfect. The series doesn’t have a strong start, it takes three episodes for show to get going. I’ve seen a lot of people drop HxH early and it sucks because the first two episodes don’t capture the series at all. Things start to get mildly interesting in the third episode, after that, the series just gets better and better. HxH also suffers from occasional BGM misuse. There are odd sound choices for some scenes. Sometimes they don’t really fit, other times they don’t fit it all. Lastly, the Chimera Ant arc also has minor issues with both Togashi and Madhouse to blame. Togashi’s fault lies in his writing during the middle of the CA arc which I think, pales in comparison to the rest of the series. HxH has made a name for itself for holding a consistent high level throughout its run; it’s a series that’s just so engaging and easy to marathon. However, I believe this consistency took a hit mid-CA arc (due to handling of the story and pacing) specifically, episodes 89-98. Don’t get me wrong though, I think there are a fair number of good episodes within that 9-episode stretch but unfortunately, they are surrounded by mediocre episodes that break the consistency of an otherwise exceptional arc. Madhouse’s fault lies in its adaption of the manga chapters comprising episodes 113 and 115, which were dragged out in order to have episode 116 handled by their best animation team. Episode 113 was actually well paced except for one atrocious sequence while episode 115 as a whole was generally poorly paced.
A clarification about the “slowed down pacing” of Chimera Ant arc:
If you’ve been reading up about HxH, you’ve probably seen some people complain about the “poor pacing” during the “narration heavy episodes” of the CA arc. Well if you’re wondering how much truth is there to this statement and were going to ask me about it, my answer would be it depends.
At episode 111, the palace invasion (climax of the CA arc) begins and narration begins to play a huge role in episodes in order to (1) pack a whole level of depth into the story and (2) increase dramatic tension. Rather than a high octane “action fest” people would expect from a shonen arc climax, the palace invasion takes a psychological heavy route wherein a character’s thoughts and mental state are given more focus than the actual action. This psychological focus together with the narration slows down the pace considerably in the sense that episodes begin to cover a lot less in narrative time. However, despite this “slowed down pace”, the pacing of these episodes remain solid with good amount of manga chapters being covered during each of these episodes and the duration of scenes being on point (except for episodes 113 and 115 which I mentioned earlier in this review).
In the end, it depends if the narration works on you or not. If you like the psychological approach and experience an increase in suspense then you’ll have no problems with the pacing and are in for one helluvah of a ride. However, if you don’t like the psychological approach and feel that the narrator’s heavy presence breaks your immersion then you’re in for a grueling experience. Of course, there are other combinations such as liking the psychological route but not feeling the immersion or maybe the narration just didn’t work on you completely. Well, if this happens to be the case then you’ll end up with mixed feelings. On the bright side, most people who end up watching the invasion end up enjoying the narration. However, if you happen to be one of the good number of people who end up not liking the narration don’t worry, only episodes 111-118 of the palace invasion have heavy narration. After episode 118, the narration begins to decrease and episodes eventually reach a point where they are “back to normal”.
Heads up to people looking for action:
Although I love the fighting aspect of the series and consider it to be a strong plus, I’ll leave this out there for the sake of subjectivity. HxH does not cater to everyone. Although fights in the series are well-executed, they are also short (1-10 minutes) and happen less in comparison to other battle anime. Moreover, the focus on strategy in battles might be off putting to people who prefer fights with more brawn and less brain. If you’re expecting an action heavy series like Yu Yu Hakusho then you will be disappointed. This is because HxH is a series that relies on its story to reel in viewers. Personally, I think this is how fighting in shonen should be done. Fighting should be able to entertain and also make you think. It shouldn’t drag on for too long at the expense of the story without leaving you underwhelmed.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) is an intelligent battle anime with a fantastic story, excellent characters and fights that involve a lot of strategy. Separating it from most of its genre, the series subverts shonen tropes and boasts unpredictable plot progressions that make it truly unique.
Story: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Characters: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Art: 9/10 (Great)
Sound: 8/10 (Great but occasionally misused)
Enjoyment: 10/10 (Extremely high)
Overall: 10/10 (Masterpiece)
“You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want”. (Hunter Election Arc).
I don’t have words enough to describe what was this 148 episodes for me.
I’ll not spend this review talking about the Synopsis, because It’s right here on MAL.
I need to tell you, why you must watch this masterpiece, and what it represents to me.
First of all I’m gonna talk about the final episode. I felt Joy, sadness, angry (Togashi hurry up with the manga! hahah), and of course, satisfaction. Satisfaction because I heard my friends (you NEED to watch it), because it wasn’t time wasted, because those 148 episodes, and the nights that I spent watching, were worth, really. Hunter x Hunter is a complex anime, a peculiar story, something that, certainly, will mix up with your feelings, with your thoughts, with your conception of a Shonen.
What do I mean? It’s not that simple. But I’ll try to clarify: Don’t think that you’re about to find predictable arcs. Don’t think that the heroes gonna always beat the villains (In some parts of the story… nobody wins). Don’t think that training and good skills can ensure that you’ll defeat an enemy, sometimes you’ll need more than that. Behold what humans can be (and Togashi show us really well in Chimera Ant Arc). Behold what friendship can be, in all it’s complexity. You’re not gonna see in this anime that kind of Main Character that is AWESOME for no reason, no training. Togashi will make you understand the personality of the characters and their powers. Power, I mean, Nen or aura (vital energy), similar to what we see in other shonens like, Dragon Ball (Ki) or Naruto (Chakra). It’s presented to us really well how the “Nen system” works. The explanations are long in some episodes, but simple to understand.
Talking now about the animation: Hunter x Hunter is breathtaking . Indeed, it can be said that Madhouse did an excellent job with the remake . I was amazed with what I saw in some episodes. I confess that many of them I’ve watched over and over again, just to observe the details of the animation, and not only what was happening in the story ( Episode 131 I’ve watched 4 times ). In the end , I’m grateful that Madhouse animated Hunter x Hunter from the beginning .
The characters.. oh they are unique, really. It’s quite impressive how Togashi gave to them a variety of personalities. You’ll not gonna enjoy only the four main characters (although many consider that the main are Gon and Killua, since the story focuses more on the two of them from a certain phase). Hunter x Hunter have a significant character development on the supporting ones too, and, of course in the villains (you’ll love them, believe me). I don’t have a favorite character in this show. It’s impossible to choose one. Watch it and you’ll experience what I’m saying.
You mean this show has nothing bad?
Yes it has.
1) The worst thing in this show is: It ended.
Okay, joking aside, I think is the worst part is the beginning. You have to watch 4 or 5 episodes to feel in the mood to still watching. Many people just gave up in the first episodes. I can ensure you, go on and watch it til the end.
Particularly I don’t like so much The Hunter Exam Arc, the first arc of the story. If you compare with the other arcs it’s really not the best one. I have in my heart this two arcs: Chimera Ant Arc and Yorknew city Arc.
The second thing many fans of the show complains a LOT, is the Opening song. Why? 148 episodes, different openings, but… THE SAME SONG. For me it wasn’t a problem at all. I love the song, and… I think I watched the opening “one hundred and forty-eight” times and I sang it. Hahaha. But I really wanted to see a new song too.
The third thing is totally my personal opinion: the narrator. Your first contact with him will be in the begining of the early episodes. He will explain what is a Hunter.
The narration it’s something that we don’t see a lot in other animes. I like it, it’s brilliant and I totally understand that this add gives the anime the suspense and it’s particular style.
The advantage of having a narrator, in my opinion, is the ”observer factor”. Instead of exploring the point of view of all the characters, we have that peculiar element that seems to know everything and adds important information to the audience.
But, eventually, the narrator annoys me, specially in the Chimera ant Arc. I mean: we see what’s going on, it’s not necessary an explanation!
Of course that the ”narration effect” will depend on the way you receive it. Sometimes will give that “slow motion” you’ll need to absorb what’s going on, but in a few episodes it’s really overused.
In conclusion, I have to thank above all, you Togashi Yoshihiro. You’re brilliant. You can make unique characters, outstanding plots. You still go on, and on, in successive hiatus in the manga, and everyone complains a lot (even me), but then what you show to us is so amazing that makes it worth waiting. Thank you for exist and for this awesome masterpiece.
For you that didn’t watch it yet, do not be fooled by the first few episodes or with the synopsis. Both of them will give you the impression that you’re about to see a generic shounen. Insist. This is a kind of anime that in each episode everything seems to evolve: the story, the setting, the characters. You will be hooked, unable to stop watching .
And then my friend, you will start to feel pain. Yes, pain, when you realize that you’re at the 100º episode and there is only 48 episodes left.
Embrace this adventure called Hunter x Hunter! xD
As you all have likely read the synopsis of hxh, it certainly stands out from most other shounen ever made. There is a kid that decides to go on an adventure, for a particular purpose, meets friends, becomes stronger and eventually defeats powerful opponents. It doesn’t come off as a very complex or intriguing story/plot, nor is there a generic/forgettable cast and an amassed other facts that would remind you of how forgettable this show probably is. Believe me it’s not.
Beyond the first few episodes which this generalised speculation derives from, you will see that hxh differs from most shounen in terms of intelligence (strategic battles, clever arcs and plot) and the pacing of the whole show throughout each arc is outstanding. The absence of fillers throughout the 148 episodes ( excluding recaps) makes this show that much less frustrating to watch.
You may have heard an arc in particular, that the MAL community keeps on raving about: the Chimera Ant arc. Without throwing any spoilers in this review, the hype is worth it. This arc is, by most fans of the franchise, seen as a masterstoke and with good reason. The previous arcs create a substantial build-up to the C.A arc which makes the emphasis and usefulness of the arc that much more prominent.
However, the only factor that prevented my rating of a 9 to a 10, was the slow start and the half-open ending; while it not bad and was a good conclusion to the show, left the viewer rather unsettled with the whole experience.
Where hxh really shines is in the shows’ magnificent cast. As stated in my introduction, typically, most shounen do not have the best cast of characters that anime has brought out to the community, and more often than not defeat their enemies using the all-mighty force that is ‘the power of friendship(!)’ which brings sweet victory and joy to the protagonists of the show. Forget this ever existed in anime when watching hxh, as the sincere friendship that is witnessed between the main cast is nothing short of magnificent. It is realistic and evolves over a long period of time.
What makes the characters of hxh further at a stand-point, is that the antagonists are (for the most part) just as likable as the protagonists. Every character is very well developed ( every = any character that mattered to the story) and therefore does not make you want to spurt out the words ” Wow, this character sucks ” , with the exception of the bomber which, when watching the series, you will notice that had no real purpose for doing things to the extent that he did.
Finally, I will talk about my three favorite characters of the series:
I love Gon. At first he seems like your everyday generic protagonist that has no potential to evolve as a person. He comes across as useless and annoying.Then along the way something happens to him; something that is rarely in a protagonist like him. This is called ‘ Character Development ‘. The development that Gon receives throughout the series is fantastic and will make you love him until the end. He truly is desperate to find his father and the audience can see how he never throws in the towel.
There’s something really likable about white-haired guys in anime and Killua does not fall short in this aspect. He has a broad and complex backstory, and again, like Gon, significant development, which is seen to play a phenomenal role to how realistic the friendship between Gon and Killua is. His background as an assassin and his scarring childhood coupled with his raw talent and one-of-a-kind personality makes him a lovable and three-dimensional character.
Without spoiling much, Meruem is truly an unbelievable antagonist. At first you envision he is ruthless for no purpose, and comes off as a cliche and rather irritating being. With the meeting of another character you see how he evolves and how his facade in his personality makes him one of the best,if not the greatest character in the series.
Art and Animation: 10
When watching an anime that has a plethora of episodes such as hxh, one would expect a decline and rise in animation from time to time. However, Madhouse did a terrific job at keeping the animation and art as consistent and fluid as possible. The amount of money that was spent purely on budget really surprised me and the animation only gets better as the series progresses. When entering the C.A arc, you will see that Madhouse used their best animators to produce stunning images intertwined
with outlines, shadows and fluency that serves as ‘eye-candy’ when watching the series. Battle sequences are as well a proof of how much effort is poured into this show, as the studio does not tend to cut corners, e.g using the same background over and over again.
The opening and endings’ animation improves significantly st time progresses, which blows my mind when comparing the differences in appearance. That is to say, the animation was brilliant at the start of the anime as well.
The opening: ‘Departure’ is used throughout the entire anime although it switches between two different versions of the song, as well as changing the animation sequence each time, and this amazes me as every opening suits the anime perfectly! I did not skip the opening even once when watching the series; instead I stared smiling and singing along to the music.
The endings are all fantastic in my opinion, and I love all the songs that are presented to the audience at the end of each episode. The order for me goes
1>4>2>3>5=6 (5 & 6 are different sections of the same song) but I love them all nevertheless.
The ost of the anime is one of the best I have heard in any anime. My personal favorite is ‘ A kingdom of Predators’. It consists of a great variety of orchestra (mostly in the C.A arc) and lots of violin and piano that can be heard as well. However, sometimes the ost is not played at the most appropriate moments which prevents a score of 10 being given.
Monumental credibility must be given to the voice actors, and for Gon in particular, which is seen especially at episode 116, the mere brilliance that is spurted as ’emotions though words’ is extraordinary. The only complaint that I sometimes hear arriving from people is that the narration in the C.A arc ( for around 10 episodes) is irritating and overwhelms the episodes, making them seem extremely slow-paced. I tend to disagree with this argument , as the pacing seems to only benefit by the narration of those episodes, as it was a crucial moment in the series where narration was essential. I hope you won’t find this narration an issue, since I certainly didn’t.
Wow what a joyful ride this was. It keeps you hooked from early on and urges you to watch the next episode after experiencing the wonderful ending of each arc. The enjoyment factor, of course, originated from the entirety of the show. If any of the above were to be done poorly, the show would not come out to be nearly as enjoyable as it was. I not once felt bored during this series, and I believe that the pacing is fabulous. There’s not a single moment that leaves the viewer wanting to skip ahead or fast-forward. As a result, I am almost certain that you will watch this show, engulfed by the brilliance of this anime.
Believe me when i tell you this: this show is a near masterpiece; as close of a masterpiece as a show of this genre gets. Don’t be fooled while watching this anime, and drop it due to its slow start, as you may miss out on a truly miraculous experience.
Thank you for reading my review of Hunter x Hunter (2011). Have a great day. RedInfinity out.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
2. Tegamibachi Reverse
3. Dragon Ball Kai
5. Persona 4 the Animation
6. Digimon Xros Wars: Aku no Death General to Nanatsu no Oukoku
7. Battle Spirits: Brave
8. Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam
9. Cardfight!! Vanguard