They’re the best Anime that 2013 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, Pokemon XY, Gatchaman Crowds, and more!
10: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
English: Maoyu ~ Archenemy & Hero
MAL Score: 7.27
Fifteen years have passed since the war between humans and demons began. Dissatisfied with their slow advance into the Demon Realm, the Hero abandons his companions to quickly forge ahead towards the Demon Queen’s castle. Upon his arrival at the royal abode, the Hero makes a startling discovery: not only is the Demon Queen a woman of unparalleled beauty, but she also seeks the Hero’s help. Confused by this unexpected turn of events, the Hero refuses to ally himself with his enemy, claiming that the war the demons have waged is tearing the Southern Nations apart.
However, the Demon Queen rebuts, arguing that the war has not only united humanity but has also brought them wealth and prosperity, providing evidence to support her claims. Furthermore, she explains that if the war were to end, the supplies sent by the Central Nations in aid to the Southern Nations would cease, leaving hundreds of thousands to starve. Fortunately, she offers the Hero a way to end the war while bringing hope not only to the Southern Nations, but also to the rest of the world, though she will need his assistance to make this a reality.
Finally convinced, the Hero agrees to join his now former enemy in her quest. Vowing to stay together through sickness and health, they set off for the human world.
Thankfully, this inference only applies to certain aspects of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, a recent adaptation of the original light novels under the same name.
Set in a time period of gruesome wars to political corruptions, Maoyuu depicts a fantasy world where humans and devils are fighting for the ultimate authority, while exploring the infrastructures involved in wars. Despite it falling under the fantasy genre, Maoyuu brings many historical references into play–from the great innovations of the Discovery age (such as the compass, movable type prints, etc.) to the spread of crops like potato and corn into the agriculture industry. Moreover, it is reminiscent of a certain series that many of us could’ve never forgotten–Spice and Wolf.
Better known for its formula of enchanting romance, Spice and Wolf consists of a very similar antique structure in the way that it handles its plot, drama, world-building, and specifically, the daily lives of merchants. While this may sound bland, Spice and Wolf manages to make it work with a recipe of individual arcs for concentrated purposes, and thus, the viewer can gain a fine viewing of diverse episodes with several delightful, piquant subjects at hand.
If Spice and Wolf is a mix between curry and rice, then Maoyuu would surely be a mix between potatoes and candy bars; since, it is neither a smart combination nor a completely satisfying experience. Still, it’s only in comparison that one is weaker than the other. The steady, episodic approach that Maoyuu employs very much stands out on its own.
A scaffolding plot, after all, is better than none at all. The story of Maoyuu starts out with our protagonist Yuusha, a hero siding with the humans, not expecting the beautiful demon queen Maou, whose only wish was to negotiate with him, in the heart of the demons’ castle. After their fated meeting, Yuusha then embarks on a journey at Maou’s will, and each episode continues with mini-stories about Yuusha’s encounters and findings for a seemingly nonexistent reason.
Whereas, it is fairly obvious from the start that Yuusha has difficulties conveying his true intentions for Maou, and oftentimes these misunderstandings are used for comedic purposes as well as entertainment. Although repetitive, the several quirks that Maou and Yuusha begin to form do add onto the character interaction, and definitely made certain arcs more interesting.
However, side characters do abruptly intervene in the capital of romance arcs, usually with very few good reasons for doing so, and thus, some developments can turn out stagnantly without progression. Most side characters also have very little to offer, ranging from a delusive maid to female knights like Onna Kishi. At times, female characters would surround Yuusha in herds, and it becomes questionable whether or not pandering to the audiences was the purpose. And, although some characters were satisfyingly fleshed out with conclusive stories, other individuals had trouble deciphering their prominent role in the series. Such abstruse matters also bring up the lack of characterization or any predisposition to determine the presence of a solid personality for specific characters, since most of the cast only experience trite developments.
Maou, for example, is best described by her acquaintance as “useless meat”. Although Maou herself denies this, and claims at all costs the significant deeds that she has achieved and will, the fact of the matter remains that her role embodies a few inconsistent hiccups. At times, she continuously aims to resolve world peace, while the scenes which repeatedly follow her scholarly deliberations are abruptly placed daydreams of Yuusha. Such applies to the grander scale of Maoyuu as it deconstructs historical figures and side characters to bring concerns about the time period being depicted–the medieval ages. Contrarily, the portrayal of the church’s public servants during prehistoric times may have exaggerated some of the exploitations, but Maoyuu does extensively illustrate the corruption which overtook officials of feudal societies. Additionally, a charming aspect of Maoyuu resides with how the characters were named after fantasy classes, which effortlessly resonated a lovely core. However, due its enormous cast, Maoyuu couldn’t engender insightful eccentricities for certain characters as it did for others.
Likewise, the character aesthetics in the series stuck with genuinely dull decorations as exemplified by Yuusha, whose character design emits the appeals of a generic, immutable male lead. Similarly, Maou has her own pairs of inflatable balloon issues, which many will see as being hackneyed and unoriginal.
However, the art directing, layouts for many of the map animations and arrangement of urban images are, in comparison, much better. Correspondingly, majority of the background frameworks and presentations also fulfill their duty in making a location look rural, metropolitan, or even appropriately hideous.
Music is undoubtedly one of Maoyuu’s greatest assets. The original soundtrack entrances viewers with its vibrant nature, and likewise, the use of many instrumental pieces evokes an indelible atmosphere. With a spirited opening and ending theme, Maoyuu further enlivens its vigor. Correlation between the animation and music also paints an impressionable feeling for the series overall, and the seiyuus all befit their roles perfectly.
On the contrary, good narration doesn’t necessarily equal quality dialogue.
While the conversations in the series do present interesting observations about macroeconomics, some expositions on the networks of commerce can come off as brusque. Not only so, Maoyuu emphatically focuses on the construction of its own fantasy world, rather than the chronological order of its historical references, so some of the mentioned inventions furnish idealized timelines over what’s factually correct. This, in turn, produces temporarily engrossing world-building, but it can also repeatedly bore or confuse the viewer with arbitrary elaborations on ultimately flimsy subjects.
From the tone of my writing, it may sound like the majority of Maoyuu is about monotonous history or economics; however, during the latter parts of the series character relationships take center stage, and action scenes transpire more often. As most climaxes do, the story delivers a closing end towards previously unresolved issues, and desolating sides of things take form in both dialogues as well as battles. This, in some ways, may dismay some audiences since the pacing relatively changes, but as a closure, many aspects of the show become a lot more tasteful and digestible even in spite of the several interrelated topics displayed.
Moderately diverse, Maoyuu is a series that really tries to bring something to the table for everyone, and in its mixture of historical references with fantasy themes, some of its themes are marred by oversimplified explanations. Although the stale, generic personalities some characters exhibit are very definite flaws, the majority of Maoyuu can still offer insights on the economic and strategic aspects of war, which shifts towards a manner infrequently attempted in its medium. It is most unfortunate, then, that this unique concept lacks the excitement its influences (Spice & Wolf) had obtained so gracefully. Perhaps if given a second season, the lackluster aspects of Maoyuu can do itself more justice through more concise yet lively handling of its themes, and its character relationships may become even more captivating. If nothing else, this series provides a fascinating outlook on the protocols and systems of commercial economics, but sadly, is a hero crippled by his towering boldness of attempting too many feats.
Despite its unfortunate flaws, Maoyuu can still compensate for its faults by further constructing its dynamic universe, but only if a sequel will be permitted to fully execute the conceptual values.
But an improvement it ain’t. And by sharing so many things with “Spice and Wolf” (including a big chunk of the staff), “Spice and Wolf with Tits” – or just SaWT for short – naturally invites comparisons with the material that inspired it. Alas, it’s a comparison which ultimately does SaWT no favours because it falls so far short. But perhaps I’m being overly harsh on the show; it does deserve plaudits for putting some interesting twists into the age-old humans vs demons script.
The show starts with humans and demons at war with each other, and the Hero – literally named “Hero” – storming the demon king’s castle solo to try and end the war. The demon king (and guess what the demon king is called) surprisingly turned out to be an attractive girl with big bouncy breasts instead of a giant frothing monster with razor fangs. What also surprised Hero was her personality: she spoke a remarkable amount of sense, and, with a few well-chosen arguments, demolished the pre-conceptions the Hero had regarding humans, demons, and the nature of the war. Bewitched by Demon King’s silver tongue and hypnotised by her jiggling assets, Hero agrees to co-operate with her mission to set the world to rights with wisdom rather than wars.
SaWT started a little rough, but its concept got me interested enough to continue watching. Most of the first half helped maintain my interest, mostly with the way Demon King went about changing the world through her learning, introducing new technologies, new methods of doing things and new ways of thinking. And it’s this, and not the interaction between the main leads that’s the focus of SaWT. But that’s not a bad thing, because while the nuanced interaction between the protagonists excels as one of the greatest strengths of “Spice and Wolf”, that same aspect is one of greatest weaknesses of SaWT. I realise things are supposed to be a bit awkward between the ridiculously shy leads, but the insipid small-talk and overblown romance cliches is a combination cringe-worthy enough to embarrass a third-rate romance novelist.
While showing some initial promise, the show soon started falling apart. SaWT has a major problem of being overly self-conscious of what it’s trying to do, and thus very little of what it does feels natural. Speeches about the ways of the world is almost condescendingly delivered through long expositions that’s aimed more at the viewer than the other characters. Then there are Demon King’s inventions: she starts off introducing things like crop rotations methods, but soon began inventing one major technology after another, like some kind of Thomas Edison raised to the third power. What’s more, her contributions span across ludicrously diverse fields, from agriculture to medical science to navigation, just to name a few; nearly every episode she conjures up something new. In one episode, someone other than her actually managed to invent something (namely, sparkling orange juice, aka Fanta), and, determined not to be outdone, Demon King invents not one but TWO things during that episode (and no, Coke isn’t one of them). By the half way point of the series, I felt like I was watching a game like “Civilization” being played, with the Demon King way ahead of the other players in researching the tech tree comprising mankind’s greatest ideas and inventions.
If Demon King is guilty of over-performing in her role, Hero is guilty of the opposite: as one half of the central protagonist pair, he simply doesn’t carry his weight. While Demon King busied herself with changing the world, Hero spends the first half just tagging along and doing very little beyond admiring her. Though later on he does goes off to distant lands and contribute to Demon King’s plans there, we rarely see what he does because the story is still mostly focused on Demon King and her endless output of inventions. In fact, the imbalance issue extends to everyone else, too: the Demon King seems so intelligent that she makes the show kind of boring, and everyone else appear so dim that they can’t do anything until Demon King bestows onto them her pearls of wisdom; you have to wonder how the human race managed to hold off extinction before the Demon King came along.
SaWT also has pacing problems. I enjoyed the gentle strolling pace of world changing used for the first part of the series, but the global politics quickly escalated to the point where I struggled to follow. Everything began changing in all the nations, half of which the show failed to properly establish in the first place; I’d also started getting lost in all the economic babble, perhaps owing to my own meagre knowledge. The show simply accelerates away during the later parts and finishes in unseemly haste, leaving one giant political mess, full of dangling plot strands and badly explained developments, in its wake.
But there I go again, coming down quite hard on the show. I do have a degree of respect for what SaWT tried to do, but the problem is that it simply did not do a good job. While it captured my interest early on, I struggled to get through the series as it progressed. It may not be a show devoid of intelligence, but it needed to be more intelligently written; it may not be a bad show, but it’s far from being good. I guess it’s just too much to expect a show that sought to improve upon something noted for its writing by throwing in a pair of big tits to amount to anything beyond A Good Try. And A Good Try is all SaWT managed to be.
Personal rating: -0.5 (mediocre)
This anime’s take on modern fantasy and overall Medieval is different and much more appealing, to me, at least. Oh, it doesn’t hesitate to show how rough it can be but it chooses to introduce economics into its world. The premise is that demons are at war with humans, and finally a hero with three sidekicks gets close to stopping the war (of course he does, it’s the plot of any party-based RPG ever) and heads off to kill the Satan. Who turns out to hate war herself and, in turn, tells him she actually wants to stop the war. He agrees to help her, and the rest of the show more or less focuses on her plans and their consequences.
Most of these plans revolve around reforming agriculture, economics and so on. In the beginning it felt similar to Spice and Wolf: there are two main characters falling in love, the female is going to introduce some clever schemes, the atmosphere is equally warm, even the two leads are played by the same actors. However, Maou’s ideas are all pretty simple, the intrigue comes not from the plans themselves but from the effect they have on people and, ultimately, on the country. The plot is coherent but seems to be episodic at times, partially because of the inevitable time jumps, as such reforms require time to actually take effect.
This one is difficult to talk about, for it’s really hard to point out one single element that makes the anime good; it’s mostly the little touches. For example, I really enjoyed watching the Hero for many reasons, one of them being that he asks an interesting question: what is there for a hero to do after the war has concluded? He won, awesome, so what’s next? This character seeks peace to begin with, and his interactions with Maou only serve to keep him on this path, while he actually can only function in times of war. The question of what war means to different people is an interesting one, and it’s explored from different angles throughout the show. There is no clear answer, though, which might irritate people; me, personally, I hate when such questions get a clear answer, ambiguity is what makes the topic interesting to begin with. Many issues are addressed, some in a rather unusual light; for example, merchants tend to place profit before everything else – is this bad? Not necessarily, as this series suggests, one character was turned from an obvious and boring “heartless douche” type almost into someone to root for without any real change whatsoever. I have actually thought of a thing to praise here: the writing.
The characters are good when they are given enough time to shine, I’d like to see more of the Mage with her split personality (for once, it’s not a villain who has it), for example. Maou is interesting in that she’s clearly wise and cunning but still childish and innocent, which overall makes her all the more appealing. Yuusha is pretty lighthearted and not that smart, though intelligent enough to understand his problems and limited usefulness; to his credit, he doesn’t fall into angst, he always tries to help people. So, yeah, he’s the Hero, no real surprise there. There obviously is a romance between these two (as usual with the characters voiced by these actors – Lelouch and Kallen, Lawrence and Horo), there is even a love triangle with the Knight lady, though this is the weakest part of the show. Don’t get me wrong, the main couple’s interactions are mostly nice but it leads to many unnecessary moments, like, say, discussions of boobs, which is always classy. It doesn’t feature fanservice, though.
The supporting cast consists of a variety of characters, some of which evolve throughout the series, others are interesting as they are. There are, of course, those who mostly serve as a throwaway joke or are ultimately pointless (the Old Man, the little servant girl, the Dragon Princess) but they almost always are there to complement someone else’s personality, so it’s not distracting. In the end, they do reflect the world they live in and present interesting possibilities for the writers to take advantage of. More than enough for me.
The art and the score both serve to reinforce the aforementioned warm atmosphere and yeah, they work. It’s not the sharp drawing style I usually enjoy but it’s justified here. Everyone looks unique, particularly Maou, who is not drawn like your usual anime nice girl but instead opts for a more mild kind of beauty, which is refreshing in a female lead. The voice acting is awesome: practically all significant characters are voiced by someone whom I have heard and liked before (be it in Code Geass or Rozen Maiden), and they do a good job here too.
Overall, I really enjoyed the show. Yeah, it doesn’t really pay off in terms of the romance, and the story can feel somewhat unfinished, particularly with the ending being only semi-happy but I really like to see real world economics and serious issues like cultural diversity being brought into fantasy world. It makes for an intelligent plotline with believable outcomes for all actions and allows the creators to show how Medieval actually progressed. This is what I’m going to think of now when I think “Modern Fantasy”. A great anime.
9: Pokemon XY
English: Pokémon The Series: XY
MAL Score: 7.30
Satoshi and Pikachu have arrived in Miare City of the illustrious Kalos region to capture more Pokemon and continue their journey towards becoming the very best. Meanwhile, a genius inventor named Citron and his little sister Eureka wander the city when they run into Satoshi who quickly challenges them to a battle. However, they are soon caught up in a dangerous incident when Team Rocket, following Satoshi into Kalos, cause a Gaburias to rampage through the city.
Far away in the quiet Asame Town, a young girl named Serena slogs through daily Sihorn riding practice at the behest of her mother, a professional Sihorn racer. After practice, she sees the events unfolding in Miare City on television where she recognizes a boy from her childhood. Having left a significant impact on her life, the sight of him stirs in her a desire to meet him again; and so, Serena sets off to Miare City, determined to find the boy from her past.
Pokemon XY follows the group as they travel throughout Kalos in pursuit of their ambitions—Satoshi challenging Pokemon gyms, Citron learning from Satoshi, and Serena searching for what exactly her dream is. Along the way, they meet new friends, face new rivals, and continue to thwart Team Rocket’s schemes, all the while discovering a little about the mysteries of mega evolution.
Pokemon XY turned out to be a really worthy entry for Pokemon fans, old or new to sit down, relax and enjoy.
STORY: 5/10 Mediocre
Don’t expect much story from Pokemon, for it is still a show that is primarily directed towards kids. You will still see the power of friendship, teamwork, trust and love swirling around every episode, so the basic formula did not change from the old Pokemon series.
In Pokemon XY we follow Ash in his endeavor to beat all eight gyms to challenge the Kalos league, Serena in her conquest to obtain three princess keys by winning the Pokemon Showcases in order to be granted the right to challenge for the Kalos Queen title, Clemont in his journey to learn more about the world and broaden his knowledge as a gym leader, and finally Bonnie, generally serving as the cheerleader of the party.
The pacing is pretty uneven throughout the show, with Ash challenging the gyms at a crawling pace in the first half of the series, then him sweeping a number of them in the latter half. We see our human as well as Pokemon protagonists grow throughout the series, which is pretty satisfying.
ART: 10/10 Outstanding
Indeed, the art and animation of Pokemon XY is beautiful, that I was left dumbfounded and jaw dropped at the sight of the first episode. Granted, some characters look weird (for example Grant the Rock gym leader has hair resembling a crystallite), but most of the Pokemon designs in this generation could well be my very favourite, look at Scatterbug! It looked dull and boring in the official art, but in the anime itself it is one heck of an adorable creature. Look at Vivillion! It was majestic, almost unrivaled in its beauty.
I always loved looking at animated Pokemon Battles, they are exciting, and on top of that they looked gorgeous in this latest series. Heck, even the usual Team Rocket motto looked gorgeous! The Pokemon Showcases are truly a spectacle to watch.
I have nothing much but praise to the animation team, well done. This section alone makes Pokemon XY worth watching.
SOUND: 8/10 Very Good
You really can’t go wrong with this part when it comes to Pokemon, as most of the voice cast are recurring from the previous generations, and the new voice actors did a good job voicing the new characters. The background music is often a delight to listen to as it is often the same song that plays in the game, which is sheer awesome.
For the OP and ED, my personal favorite are V (Volt) and DoriDori respectively, and they are often used as inserted songs throughout the series, the former often plays during Ash’s gym battles, while the other during Serena’s performance.
CHARACTERS: 7/10 Good
The old characters who made their return in this series did not change much, Ash is still brave and cares for his Pokemon as much as he did before, and is still a bit of an idiot at times. The Team Rocket Trio is still as cunning and ‘evil’ as ever and you can always expect them to blast off every episode they are featured in.
So the highlight should be the new companions that joined Ash on his journey. Serena is the childhood friend of Ash and the supposed crush of his in the series, she is also the cook of the group. Then, we need someone knowledgeable to provide us with all the info, and enter Clement, the gym leader of Lumiose City who will also humor us with his wide array of inventions, which will always blow up. Tagging along would be the imouto of Clement, Bonnie, who is the “awww cute” girl and she cares for Pokemon, a lot, well she’s good for providing the needed cheerleading when Ash was battling.
In Pokemon, the centre of attention is not always to human characters, but the Pokemon themselves as well. Utilizing the Pokemon natures well, we get to see the many personalities of the Pokemon. Using Serena’s as an example, her Fennekin is a Careful one, always cautious when stepping out as she’s not one who likes to get dirty; Pancham is an Impish one, sometimes doing naughty things like stealing Ash’s hat; Eevee… ah my personal favorite, is definitely a Timid one, so shy that she can cower and hide somewhere when a stranger approaches her.
Enjoyment: 7/10 Good
Pokemon XY will be a decent show to kill some time weekly, it is, without a doubt, eye candy, and for a Pokemon fan like myself, it can provide good and relaxing entertainment in a weekly basis.
The story did not end here, Ash hasn’t won all the gyms, and Serena hasn’t won all her princess keys. The 2nd season, XY&Z, judging from the trailer at the end of the show, promises more Mega Evolutions, more legendaries, and Team Flare will finally make their screen debut.
Saying this again, the graphics alone make Pokemon XY really worth it.
It’s not every day, I get to write a Pokemon review. It’s always bittersweet, having a new generation of Pokemon come to an end. In the games department, X and Y was absolutely revolutionary for the Pokemon franchise. As for the anime, well… we just came off of the Black and White anime, which is widely considered to be the worst of the Pokemon anime. So X and Y had a lot of fixing to do? Does it succeed? Well, let’s talk about that.
First off, I don’t know how they keep doing it, but the Pokemon anime just keeps getting better and better, in terms of animation. That’s undeniable. Right from the get go, the new art palette (teehee) is a huge step up from the already amazing looking Black and White (which is the only amazing thing about that season). Not only to the colors look improved, but Ash looks significantly older in this series. Of course he’s still in 10 year old limbo, but we can at least pretend that he’s aged over time, with this one. I get that they want to have a 10 year old protagonist so that the majority of the Pokemon anime audience can have a character that they can relate to, but I think it’d be even more impactful to have that protagonist grow up, along with its audience. While he may not be doing that in the age department, he definitely did that in the personality department.
So in Black and White, Ash had completely lost and and all knowledge and skill he ever had, throughout the entirety of Diamond and Pearl. And considering D&P has an INCREDIBLY smart and deep Ash in it, Black and White back peddled like nobody’s business! So when X and Y roles around and introduces this new, more confident Ash, I was really impressed. This Ash is more confident, courageous, intelligent, and acts as a mentor to his traveling companions. Usually that honor belongs to the older male traveling companion. But Ash does a really good job with this role, while also continuing to have growth and struggles of his own. It’s by far the best Ash Ketchum in the Pokemon anime, and I’m REALLY sad that the small bits of the Sun and Moon anime that I’ve seen so far seem to completely erase that personality and rewrite Ash from the ground up, once again. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s entirely true.
Speaking of starting from the ground up, like always, Ash has an entirely new traveling party in this new region. And for the first time since the Hoenn generation, Ash is traveling in a party of FOUR this time, as opposed to three. First off, we have the female playable character in X and Y, Serena. Right from the beginning, Serena is a very interesting character. When we get to see her and personal life, she seems very atypical, compared to all the other female traveling companions that Ash has had, in the past. First off, she doesn’t start off with any Pokemon, or even with any plans to get one and go on a journey. She’s just a girl living at home, who doesn’t seem to be really involved in anything related to Pokemon. But the reason she has for going on a journey is actually REALLY interesting. You immediately become interested in her story and hope to see it go somewhere that Pokemon has never really gone, before. Unfortunately, this big suspenseful journey gets wrapped up pretty quickly and anticlimactically. But that doesn’t stop Serena from being an absolute joy to have on screen.
Serena reminds me a lot of Dawn, in which she’s a character that continuously grows in both victory and failure. She has her victories like every main character always gets. But it’s not always like that. A lot of her victories involve overcoming obstacles such as people and past events that tell her she’s not good enough. And I’m not just talking about jerkish rivals. I’m talking about parents who paved a predetermined path for her. I’m talking about legends in the industry of her dreams that tell her she has no hope of succeeding, simply because the great classics that came before her already set the bar and nobody will ever be able to top it, simply because it isn’t a classic. Not only that, she has a lot of times where she DOES fail and it breaks her up. Seeing her in those darker states is one of the more emotional things to witness in the Pokemon series. But what’s even more powerful is seeing her recovery from those moments.
Serena goes through more growth and development in her journey than Ash was able to do in the first THREE generations of Pokemon! They didn’t treat Serena like a side character. They made her important and an equal to Ash in the story. And not only does she look up to him for inspiration and admire him more than any other traveling companion in the past, but Ash also looks up to her, as well. We’re always gonna have a soft spot in our hearts for Misty and I absolutely loved Dawn as a character in Diamond and Pearl. But I can easily say that Serena is the BEST female protagonist in the Pokemon anime’s history!
And I’m happy to say that the great characters don’t stop there! Ash’s next traveling companion is the 5th gym leader in X and Y, Clemont. Who I constantly refer to as Clementine, because reasons. My favorite character in the Pokemon anime has always been Brock. He’s both incredibly hilarious and he’s also been such a great role model to the other members of the group. But throughout all the time we spent with Brock over the years, he never had a journey of growth in the anime. At least not one that was very prominent. The reason for that is because he didn’t really ever need one. Being a well seasoned gym leader, he was incredibly smart and focused more on helping others, due to him kinda already having his life plan all figured out. But as soon as he discovered a desire to start something new, he went and did it, alone. So we never saw any of the struggles he may have had.
So now we switch over to Clemont, who is a gym leader just like Brock and also INCREDIBLY intelligent. But he isn’t nearly as confident in where his life is headed and finds the desire to go on a journey to develop his skills and expand his horizons. And he gets that ambition from meeting Ash. Being a gym leader makes Ash look up to him, but Clemont returns those exact feelings in this random trainer that he just met. So they end up traveling together with a promise to help one another in improving themselves. Just like Serena, this made Clemont a lot more enjoyable to watch, since we get to see him grow, as opposed to just being the voice of reason. And while I still say Brock will always be my favorite, I can say that Clemont is the BEST male traveling companion that Ash has ever had. While his journey isn’t as grand as Serena’s, we still see a lot of growth that we’ve never seen in any male traveling companion before him.
Something I’m really glad about is that he wasn’t as super nerdy as I initially thought he was gonna be. Ya, he’s a sciencey inventor type of guy, but he’s not really nerdy about it. The only thing I really didn’t like is that his new inventions that got introduced almost every episode ALWAYS came with an overly detailed explanation on what they did and how they worked. And they were always followed up with Ash saying “WOW! SCIENCE IS SO AMAZING!” It was like having 2 Team Rocket mottos in every episode, and it just took up too much time, on top of it being super cheesy and not nearly as cool as the Team Rocket motto. But still, he has a ton of kick butt, awesome moments that make him seem really cool and not at all like your typical nerd trope. I also like how he’s the first of Ash’s traveling companions to actually get tired from all that walking and running around that they always do. I mean seriously! Ash and company have traveled the world by foot for over 20 years, and we JUST NOW get a character whose like “I’m too old for this!” Granted, it’s probably cuz he’s always lugging around a giant metal backpack, but still. It was a funny addition to his character.
Now like I said, this generation of the anime actually had FOUR traveling companions! The final member of Ash’s group is Clemont’s younger sister, Bonnie. Right off the bat, you’re reminded of Max from the Hoenn anime. I actually like Max a lot more than most people do. I found him more interesting than May and he’s also the main focus of my favorite episode in the entire Pokemon anime, “Do I Hear A Ralts?”. So I was actually really excited to see another younger, non-trainer character join Ash’s group. Bonnie is both absolutely hilarious and extremely adorable. At first, she does seem a bit much, with how she thinks every single Pokemon is “SOOOO CUUUUTE!”. But she plays off of Clemont really well and has a lot of cute moments, herself. One thing she does is that she tends to go to every attractive girl she sees and asks them to “Take care of” her brother. Which then results in Clemont pulling her away, super embarrassed. Obviously this is just a re-skin of the Brock gag that we all know and some of us love. While it’s not as funny as watching Brock’s ear getting ripped off or getting poisoned to death but miraculously recovering from it, it’s still funny to see.
Bonnie actually plays a really important role in the anime, despite not being a trainer and thus not really being able to start a journey of her own, yet. She has a lot of episodes centered around her that range from cute to funny to “OH MY GOD IT’S SO SAD!!!!! ESPURR WHY!?!?!?!?!?” She gets even more important in the show’s second half, known as XY&Z. First off, as if the jump from Black and White to X and Y wasn’t impress enough, in terms of animation, the animation jump from XY to XY&Z is EVEN MORE mindblowingly amazing! Honestly, the episodes in XY&Z look up to par with the Pokemon MOVIES! And I don’t mean the old ones, I mean the ones getting released right now! Seriously, this show is stinkin gorgeous and deserves respect for not only seeing how far the Pokemon anime has come, but also for simply being one of the best looking anime I’ve seen.
But ya. Back to Bonnie. In XY&Z, we find a mysterious, unknown Pokemon. Bonnie takes it upon herself to take care of it and give it the name “Squishy”. Now Squishy actually plays a very important role in the show’s story. But honestly, having a name like Squishy makes it VERY hard for me to take a lot of those intense moments at the end of the show very seriously. Regardless, Bonnie is thankfully never pushed to the side or treated too much as a mascot character. She plays a very important role and she’s an absolute joy to watch. All 4 of the main human characters play off of each other so well. I can easily say that this is my favorite group of human characters in any Pokemon anime generation. They were all fantastic and I very much enjoyed going on a journey with each and every one of them.
And of course, Team Rocket. Unfortunately, they don’t get NEARLY as much screen time and emotional episodes all to themselves as they did in Diamond and Pearl, but they still had a ton of great moments and were 1000 times better than they were in Black and White. As for the Pokemon characters… again, Diamond and Pearl has this show beat. Those of you who have seen Diamond and Pearl will probably understand and agree with me when saying that they had the BEST Pokemon characters in the history of the show. X and Y had some Pokemon that stood out more than others, but Diamond and Pearl made EVERY Pokemon important and likable. This show did not. Probably the most prominent one is Ash’s Greninja. They tried REALLY hard to make Greninja the next Charizard. They REALLY wanted you to like this Pokemon. Did they succeed? Well… sort of? Greninja actually does a lot to make Ash more likable, as weird as that sounds. It’s sorta hard to explain it all briefly, but you’ll understand when you see the show for yourself, how Greninja makes Ash more involved in battles, as well as more deep of a character.
The music is classic Pokemon style. It’s good, but nothing super memorable. The 3 opening theme songs are all great, however. The 1st one is just a remix of the original theme song that we all know and love, so that may turn some people on, right off the bat. The other 2 are really good and also really different, compared to the theme the past couple of openings seemed to have. I just REALLY wish they made the english openings longer than 30 seconds. I mean, come on! Kids aren’t THAT impatient! Especially at 8:00 in the morning. I promise you! Now, like every generation of Pokemon, there’s a butt load of cash cow movies, trailing behind it. X and Y has 3 movies attached to it, which I’ll go over very briefly. The Diancie movie has an ending that’ll probably scare some kids who are new to Pokemon. But if you’ve seen the first Pokemon movie, you know EXACTLY how the “BIG PROBLEM” at the end of this movie is going to get resolved. All in all, not worth the watch. The second movie stars Hoopa, who is one of the most annoying talking legendaries in Pokemon movie history. Not nearly as bad as Keldeo, thankfully. But still incredibly annoying to where I’ll tell you to avoid this movie, simply because Hoopa is in it.
The last movie stars both Volcanion and Magearna, and I gotta be honest. This is the first Pokemon movie in OVER A DECADE that I can actually say wasn’t absolutely terrible! It’s still not as great as the oldies, but it was ACTUALLY fun to watch, which is something I can’t say about any other Pokemon movie that was released within the past 10 years! Magearna is the best part of this movie. It’s just a really cool Pokemon to look at. This movie made me love a legendary I probably never would’ve cared about, otherwise. They had moments that made me happy and sad, as well as whimsical and entranced in their story and just overall design. I would seriously recommend watching this movie just to see Magearna. This movie won’t blow you away in the story department, but it’s got SOMETHING, at least. So that alone is worth the watch, when compared to the past 10 years of shovelware Pokemon movies.
Back to the anime, the XY&Z portion of the show is sort of a movie, itself. I may just think that because of how deep these characters are, but the final episodes at the Pokemon League, onward are actually really intense. Now, I’m gonna start talking about the outcome of the Pokemon League and what happens after that. So if you don’t wanna be spoiled, I’d recommend skipping to the final paragraph. So with all the growing Ash had in this journey, and with these specific Pokemon on his team being SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful than teams he’s had in the past. I truly believed that this would finally be the generation that has Ash win the Pokemon League! I thought it was finally time! However, he had some tough competition. There’s this SUPER FRIENDLY rival of his named Sawyer, who is honestly one of the more annoying characters in this show (and voiced by Pikachu in the Japanese version). And there’s also a character named Alain. Alain actually has his own series of spin off episodes that got released throughout the X and Y anime. I won’t spoil what they’re about, but it’s pretty interesting stuff and gives you an idea of what a Pokemon anime without Ash would be like. Honestly, it was cool. And as much as I liked Ash in X and Y, I wouldn’t mind seeing the world of Pokemon through someone else’s eyes.
But throughout that side series, you see that Alain is a ridiculously powerful trainer. He eventually meets Ash in XY&Z and the two of them become friends and wish to battle each other in the Pokemon League. Ash gets his wish when he goes up against Alain in the FINALS! This is the first time in Pokemon HISTORY that Ash has made it to the FINALS in the Pokemon League! I truly believed that this would be the time that Ash would come out on top. And throughout the whole battle between him and Alain, they make it all seem like it’s going to come true. Ash and Greninja are in COMPLETE control of the battlefield, whenever they’re working together. They make Greninja INTENSE and you just KNOW that they’re gonna win and Ash is FINALLY going to win! ………but he doesn’t.
As ends up losing to Alain, even though the final attack is done by Greninja, who ends up fainting from exhaustion. This was the most frustrating part of the entire show. This was the PERFECT time for Ash to finally come out on top! I know the show creators have said that if Ash ever won the Pokemon League, his journey would be over. But I KNOW that’s not true! Ash wouldn’t just go home and stare as his 1st place trophy for the rest of his life, whenever he won it. He would go out to a new region to find new Pokemon and go to new places and take on a new challenge. He would NEVER end his journey, as long as there’s still new places to explore in the world of Pokemon. He won 1st place in the Orange League! Did he stop his journey, then? Nope! He became king of the Battle Frontier and was even offered a position as one of the Frontier Brains! Did he take the position? Nope! He continued his journey around the world! So ya. It’s nonsense to say that Ash isn’t allowed to win, or else his journey would be over. He DESERVED to win here and it would’ve been a perfect end to an incredible journey with a character we all grew up with.
But whatever. Alain wins the Pokemon League. But the show actually doesn’t stop there. Out of nowhere, the final battle with Team Flare begins. And it’s one of the most epic battles with an evil team in Pokemon history! Team Flare’s ambitions are explained in a way that makes them seem a lot more intense and fierce, as opposed to how they were explained in the games. They made Team Flare both incredibly evil and genuinely frightening. So it’s up to not only Ash, but Serena, Clemont, Bonnie, and the unsung heroes of Pokemon, Team Rocker, to stop Team Flare and save the Kalos region. All of them play a huge role in this final battle. Clemont and Bonnie have very deep and emotional moments that were both very sad and incredibly dark for Pokemon standards. Serena didn’t stand out as much as they did, but considering how much her character rocked the rest of the show, I say she gets a pass. As for Ash…
Let me just say this. The voice actors of both Ash and his traveling companions deserve recognition for how stinkin awesomely they voiced these last couple of episodes. It’s honestly some of, if not the BEST moments of voice acting in the Pokemon anime’s history. Ash sounds truly intense and is able to send chills down your spine with his words, alone. Clemont does just as good of a job as Ash with that, and Bonnie goes from cute mascot, to downright heartbreaking. Seriously. I know a lot of us were real uppity when the Pokemon dub got handed over to a new company and all the voices got changed. But I loved their work in Diamond and Pearl, onward. And now that they’ve been doing the dub LONGER than the original dub, and seeing the performances they gave with these last few episodes of XY&Z, I applaud the heck out of every single person who worked on this show. You all seriously did an amazing job and you should be truly proud of your stellar performances.
In conclusion, Pokemon X and Y is FANTASTIC. It was a million times better than Black and White, the animation is the best it’s ever been, the main human characters are absolutely incredible, and the ending of this series was everything that the ending of Black and White should’ve been. I still think that Diamond and Pearl wins by a hair, in terms of story and overall cast, however. Both of them are fantastic and the absolute highlights of the Pokemon anime. If you’ve been out of the Pokemon anime for a long time and don’t really think it’s worth returning to, I can tell you with total confidence that you WILL like X and Y. As long as you can accept that all the Pokemon and characters and their voice actors from your childhood aren’t there anymore, X and Y will prove to be something truly special and something that can be enjoyed by every Pokemon fan, as well as fans of anime, as a whole.
Pokemon The Series: XY&Z gets a 9/10
8: Gatchaman Crowds
English: Gatchaman Crowds
Japanese: ガッチャマン クラウズ
MAL Score: 7.31
Hajime Ichinose’s ordinary life is in for a change when a transcendent being named J.J Robinson hands her a small book called NOTE—a device which transforms her into one of the Gatchaman, the legendary protectors of Tachikawa City. Stressing that the existence of their group must remain a secret, fellow Gatchaman Sugane Tachibana takes Hajime to their base of operations, where Paiman, the panda-like alien leader of the Gatchaman, reveals their purpose: to eliminate aliens that pose a danger to humanity. These existential threats, called MESS, are becoming increasingly dangerous, destroying everything they touch. Now it’s up to the Gatchaman and their new recruit to stop them before the world is engulfed in chaos.
Don’t be fooled by just the title. Gatchaman does exist and in the near future, they are legendary heroes who stands in with the crowds to protect the public. They’re not just heroes but beings with supernatural abilities that allows them to fend off threats and criminals. In any city, there’s crime. Luckily, Gatchaman is there to put it to end. They’re not just wannabees but people who are capable of making a difference.
Gatchaman Crowds is an anime series produced by Tatsunoko Production. It is actually a reboot of the original series. Directed by Kenji Nakamura (C: Control, The Big O, Tsuritama) makes its hot summer debut as one series that can be stunningly entertaining. I’m not referring to just the action or its style of execution. Rather, Gatchaman Crowds takes on the hero theme and presents it in a way that is extravagant for viewers whom are into a distinctive series of recent years.
Adapting a series based on heroes isn’t entirely new to the anime industry. At the same though, it’s not a hugely popular trend. In recent years, series such as Tiger & Bunny and Star Driver have followed such a pattern. In these series, characters become heroes of justice and vows to protect what they treasure. The part where Gatchaman Crowds shine though is that the main action character happens to be a girl. Usually, we are more used to seeing a guy playing the knight in shining armor. However, here we have a girl named Hajime who is infused with hyperactive energy. Instead of being a helpless girl in distress who needs a knight in shining armor, she becomes the sword the knight holds itself. With her super outgoing personality, Hajime Ichinose is the mascot as well as the girl that can make a difference. There are many times though where we see her more of a normal girl with that hyperactive personality. She is like the professor of energy because the many things he does puts viewers at awe of her attentiveness. There’s is also a puzzling factor regarding the way she speaks that sometimes comes out as riddles. In a way, viewers might not 100% understand her purpose or way of what she is trying to convey. But hey, that’s the fun part.
Of course, Hajime isn’t the only character in the show with all the power. If that was the case, her responsibility would be greater than anyone can imagine. Luckily, she does have allies as part of the Gatchaman Crew (aka the G-Crew). These include a variety of characters including Sugane Tachibana, Joe Hibiki, O.D., Utsu-tsu, and Pai-man. Despite his rather peculiar appearance, Pai-man acts as the leader although his appearances makes him a bit weak as compared to the others. Needless to say though, he is capable of leading and is able to unify the group together to take on dangerous criminals, beings with supernatural abilities that threatens the existence of others.
Out of all the characters, we can see that there are a lot of interactions between the various members of the G-Crew. In particular, Hajime and Utsu-tsu has a peculiar relationship as they exist on almost entirely opposite of each others’ personalities. Hajime is the energetic girl while Utsu-tsu is the stoic one. She often murmurs the phrase, “I’m dreamy” as if she is setting herself away from reality. However, Hajime at many times brings her closer to reality itself through their relationship.
Other characters in the show also makes prominence, in particular Rui Ninomiya, a cross-dresser with beliefs of his own. In his mind, there’s a need to improve and perhaps even change the world for the better. This in a way puts him on the opposite side of Gatchaman as his beliefs leads up the suggestion that Gatchaman would be nonexistent in a world of future. In many ways, he thinks that people would not solve problems on their own but rather become overreliant on Gatchaman. At the same time, there’s no doubt that Rui needs help of his own especially when confronted with a dangerous criminal.
The criminals in Gatchaman are distinctive and looks peculiar. There’s no surprise that some of these designs might be familiar for those who have seen Kenji’s Nakamura’s other directed works such as [C]. But besides that point, one particular villain in the show is shrouded in mystery not only by the way he kills but also his way to create a new world – destruction.
Because Gatchaman Crowds is set in a futuristic world (2015), expect some high level technology to come on the screen. Perhaps the most interesting of existing technology that exists in the Gatchaman world would be the GALAX. This interesting tool is a useful piece of technology for communication especially when trouble arises and there’s a need for help. And who are you going to call help for in a city of dangerous criminals? Gatchaman of course!
The show also offers plentiful chances for action. Most often, this involves Gatchaman dealing with folks causing trouble and disturbing the peace of the public. Other times though, Gatchaman stands as a symbol of hope and peace. Rui does seem to agree with this but there are many who still looks up to Gatchaman. The action itself is solid with fast pacing moment and characters performing inhuman feats. More than ever though, we can tell that Gatchaman are not just your every day average superheroes. They are packed with explosiveness beyond just those catchy transformation sequences. Additionally, the team itself consists of a group that specializes in all sorts of skills when a trouble arises.
All entertainment factors aside, Gatchaman Crowds suffers somewhat in explaining itself through their origins. There’s a certain lack of degree in character backgrounds with minimal flashbacks or character exploration. Additionally, there’s confusion that arises occasionally regarding the purpose of our superheroes. Most of them seems to follow a moral of doing the right thing and helping the public. Then of course there’s Hajime where some people will like her or others will find her a bit annoying for taking up most of the screen time. In many episodes, she explodes with energy and cheerfulness that contradicts the dangers of what the city faces. In fact, superheroes are supposed to take their jobs seriously and Hajime rarely has a serious expression on her face. In this perspective, viewers might not take her character or involvement in the plot itself very seriously. There’s also a lack of diversity in terms of the villains that might lessen viewers’ interests occasionally. Finally, the conclusion of this series might give some confusion to viewers with questions that needs legitimate answers. After watching this series, I had to scratch my head quite a few times asking myself various questions.
Gatchaman Crowds crafts its character artistically with their character designs. Hajime looks like a normal girl but her transformation can be described by more than just fascinating. There are the battles with CG elements added in that could have mixed results depending on your preferences. The futuristic setting also looks consistent where viewers can tell that its technology is beyond our times. Otherwise, Pai-man’s character design makes him look less menacing as compared to the rest. Also, expect some a little of ‘fan service’ from Utsu-utu especially when she is wearing nothing but a bikini like outfit out in the open.
The soundtrack department makes sense. The OP song “Crowds” by White Ash plays on a heroic like orchestra with rock like beats. We get to see the majority of the characters in the opening sequences as well including a prominent villain of the show. Hajime herself sings the ED song and fits her style just right. Speaking of which, I give Maaya Uchida praise of her role as Hajime. Her voice mannerism fits Hajime’s character quite well as a girl made of energy. OST wise, the show also makes sense through its insert with its action scenes, comedy sequences, and some of the more emotional small talks.
If science fiction is a genre you’re into, Gatchaman Crowds should no doubt be on your PTW. I’m not talking about a science fiction where aliens drops from the sky and starts an invasion against humanity. Instead, I’m talking about a science fiction with heroes like you’ve never seen before. Hajime is one of those characters where you may end up liking or hating her. Other superheroes in the show or rather Gatchaman can also be fun to get used to. Superhero theme shows aren’t very common to make it on the screen in recent years but for this show, it definitely is more than just uncommon. It’s unique. It’s explosive. And it’s that damn awesome.
Kenji Nakamura, known for his iconic works like Mononoke and Tsuritama, and Tatsunoko Productions packed this and some other questions into a new original story loosely based on the old Gatchaman series way back in the 70s. The delivered product transcends that and provides a fresh story appropriate to our current timeline and technological advance. The first episode of this series could determine whether you’ll be packed by the sheer amount and intensity of the conversations or irritated by the whole concept and drop it. Be sure you’ll miss something if dropping, but this anime isn’t made for everybody. In fact it’s a glimpse into an impossible future, another dimension to mankind.
The story and premise look very common. A show featuring main characters who’re able to transform themselves into super heroes with special suits and then fighting evil objects threatening the citizens of Tachikawa City and even the city ifself. This foundation is the only common thing, because something rather new is created on many other levels. The story starts with the selection of the main heroine Hajime as a Gatchaman. She brings up a new wind into the existing team with her extraordinary personality and different perspectives, but later more on that. Before she joined Leader Paiman and his crew, they were much more one-sided and executed every step by the rules. It seems like they never thought about what it actually means to have the responsibility of being such an entity.
After Hajime joined, the story begins to unfold and question many main aspects of society and cooperation between human beings. In this world a program called GALAX exists and it connects people from all over the city and world via internet on their smartphones. Its main use consists of helping people in need by providing support from plain citizens like you and me. At first it might seem random and fetched, but you’ll have to delve into the course of action to understand the way the characters think and act. Inevitably you’ll start to question those aspects, to question your way of living and to question the concept of society itself. This story brings a lot with it and one can only profit from watching as well as understanding the plot.
I’ll jump right to the characters to make this more more fluid. To start right off the bat, Hajime’s a really controversial protagonist. She’s one of the most genki-themed characters ever made and this is one of the main reasons you’ll either like or dislike her and the whole anime. There’re enough people that agree that no one needs a protagonist who is happy 24/7 is a pain in the ass. The crazy thing is it still works out on the base of the story, because Hajime is not acting inconsiderate or rash, but thinks about the situation and tries to change it to the better in her own way. The insane I’ll throw rainbow unicorns into your face way. Still the liking’ll stand or fall depending on the light Hajime is seen in.
Every other member of the gatchaman crew possesses a unique personality to contribute to the advance and pace of the story. Especially the thoughts of the sweet pandaman leader Paiman’re emphasised throughout the course. Likewise the more supporting characters like O.D. or Utsutsu share their contribution and determination to help fight the bad guys. One interesting point is the question whether those guys or things are really bad and evil. Initially those are fought, but Hajime trys to convince them of other ways of fighting. Every character undergoes his and her own development regarding the real purpose of gatchaman. Something like this is amazing on different levels.
The animation and art has a nice and clean quality and the character designs are lovely to watch. Personally I really like the hair designs, because this provides the extra eye candy and highlights of the faces. Each gatchaman battle suit has its own design and acts singular in comparison to the others. The action scenes’re well animated and various passages with a calm or tense feel evoke that exact emotion. The colours’re vibrant and always nice to look at. An anime worth watching on that level.
Nearly the best thing about this show’s the sound, though. The OP and ED songs’re iconic which makes up for a great start. My bias side says that the OST in this series’s extremely awesome. A mix of opera and new vibes of dubstep merged together. How cool is that ? Always resounding at the right time and place. All along the atmosphere changes with the music and you may find yourself sympathizing with the happenings just because of the tone of the music. Along with the music, the voice acting’s tremendously memorable and the actors’re killing the performance. Special props to Mamoru Miyano. Nearly everyone’s giving their everything to portray the characters so realistically so you would most likely get lost in this superior magnificence.
Gatchaman Crowds is an anime to love and to hate. The enjoyment is based on how much the characters are appealing to the audience and to what extent they find the story either motivating and interesting. Plenty of matters’re attempted to work out. And it works. Some of these matters may remain unsolved and are left to decide for the viewer, but maybe this could be too much mystery so don’t expect everything to be chewed and answered for you. Make up your mind and think for yourself. You don’t have a brain for nothing. After you’ve finished watching you’ll probably either love or hate it, or even both at the same time. Gatchaman Crowds remains memorable and clearly recognisable for the perseverance of telling this kind of a story. Even if you come to dislike it, you’ll have been thinking enough to come to this conclusion. Mission achieved.
Story (8): Gatchaman Crowds is both a deconstruction and homage to the traditional “Hero saving the Earth” story. We have a group of heroes who protect the world from the shadows and have to conceal their identities. However, when a girl named Hajime joins their group, they begin to realize that the way they used to do things might not apply to the modern world. Technology, social issues, and even the villains have all changed. The series feels surprisingly relevant, showing us that heroes don’t need to have special powers, but they just have to care about the world they live in. I like the fact that, in the end, heroes and villains are all just people. Even with the “aliens”, I have to question whether or not they are just the ugly parts of ourselves, considering what Hajime says in the director’s cut.
However, some people might not enjoy the lack of action for a hero series, or the relatively easy way in which certain conflicts are resolved. Either way, I think the series is worth watching for how unique it is, as an anime that questions what it means to be a “hero” in everyday life.
Art (8): The art is very colorful, which makes the character designs stand out. However, the use of CG was a bit jarring at times, but it never stayed CG long enough for me to care that much.
Sound (9): First of all, the opening and ending songs were really good, but not outstanding. For the most part, the OST was the same, good without being great. However, when the series wanted you to be pumped, it delivered. I found myself tapping my foot to the beat every time.
Character (9): I feel like the characters are where Gatchaman Crowds really shines. At first, I thought Hajime was not only weird, but not a character I would end up liking. However, I found myself drawn to her more and more as the series went on. She is a character with hidden depths, who isn’t just hyperactive and weird, but thoughtful and caring. Each of the heroes changes in some way by the end, and while I liked some characters more than others, they all had decent development.
Enjoyment/Overall (9): Have you ever wondered why they don’t just do a certain thing in many hero anime (Didn’t they have Google? Why didn’t they use their cellphone?). Gatchaman Crowds tries to tackle these issues. It prefers conflict resolution in the way of changing people themselves, instead of having the main characters power up to beat the final boss. In that way, I enjoyed the series. It was different, it was upbeat, and I liked Hajime’s character a lot by the end.
Waiting for the second season…
7: Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi
English: Sunday Without God
MAL Score: 7.33
God has abandoned the world. As a result, life cannot end nor can new life be born, and the “dead” walk restlessly among the living. Granting one last miracle before turning away forever, God created “gravekeepers,” mystical beings capable of putting the dead to rest through a proper burial. Ai, a cheerful but na?ve young girl, serves as her village’s gravekeeper in place of her late mother.
One day, a man known as Hampnie Hambart, who is supposedly Ai’s father, arrives and kills all the people in her village. Having lost her village and with no plans for the future, Ai decides to accompany the mysterious man on his journey. As she travels the land, the young gravekeeper strives to fulfill her duties, granting peace to the dead and assisting the living, while at the same time learning more about the world that God left in this tragic state.
I’ll try to keep the review as spoiler-free as possible but if I do post one, it was an accident and I apologise in advance.
The plot is actually, in my point of view, really complex. God abandoned earth, in this “new earth”, people can no longer be born however, people cannot die as well.
However, before giving in to the world, God left behind “Gravekeepers”, gravekeepers are the only ones capable of actually killing, or to be more specific, “put ease to the souls” of the dead by burying them.
The story begins with a girl named “Ai Austin”, she’s 12 years old and she belongs to the last generation of borning humans since god abandoned earth 12 years ago. Ai’s a gravekeeper and eventually embarks on a journey to search for herself and later, save the world.
The art matches with the theme of the anime and their quality is top notch. The characters are well drawn and I didn’t feel any kind of “lazy animation” throughout the whole series, all the colors are adequate with the theme and style of the anime.
I really really loved Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi’s OST, the OP and ED were both really addicting and equally good and the OSTs blended really nicely with the scenes, it comes in the right moments and really helps establishing and improving the emotion of the watcher because let’s be honest, mood-music is the best thing ever and adequate mood-music it’s even better.
I will confess that I felt kind of annoyed by Ai in the first couple episodes for a 12 episode anime her development was really well done and by the end I had already fallen in love with her and all the other characters that came across her way.
The development is really well done for a 12 episode anime and I was able to understand and feel emotionally connected to all characters, share their suffering, pain and problems.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi was a great anime and probably one of the best this summer. The characters are unique and not really cliche’d, are nicely developed, allowing you to feel connected to all characters, the plot is entertaining and different and merging with different themes that usually aren’t a part of only one anime. The art is of good quality and the soundtracks will give you plenty to look forward too even after you finished the anime (I’m looking at you, ED song).
If you’re looking for a good story, with interesting characters a some plot twists, then Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi is the anime for you, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I and others did.
Thanks for reading my review and have a great time watching Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi.
The anime focuses mainly on “Ai,” a girl who is attempting to find her path and purpose in life. She lives in a universe where god has abandoned the entire world, which has left some adverse side-effects, naturally. Humans can no longer reproduce, and even if a human dies he is not really dead–He/she still functions as a normal human, but they can never be at peace. Before his departure, however, god appointed “gravekeepers” to preside over the dead. If you are dead, and you can get a gravekeeper to bury you, you can truly die and be at peace. Ai is one of these gravekeepers, and she is on a search to find herself. While I can obviously go no further into the story in order to avoid spoilers, I can say that the story is *extremely* engaging and is constantly developing. The amount of emotion and depth that the studio was able to pump into twelve episodes is staggering.
Populating the story is a cast of extremely diverse and lovable characters. While time is spent on certain ones more than others, they all contribute to the story in important ways. Even characters that only appear for an episode or two are still very memorable. Definitely one of the best overall casts I’ve seen in a while.
The art and sound matches up with the rest of the anime in their quality. Vibrant colors and moody lighting effectively bring the world to life. The soundtrack is definitely superior to the average fare, especially some of the tracks meant for more emotional moments. The OP and ED both shine as being fantastic, the ED even more so–It’s one of the best I’ve heard in a while. The voice acting is also top-notch–No complaints here.
As short as Sunday is, there’s really no excuse to not at least give it a go. The plot is engaging and emotional, the characters are dynamic and colorful, and the quality of the art and sound bring everything to the point of near perfection. I think that I definitely name this one my favorite of the Summer 2013 season.
Welcome to Sunday Without God, a world where God decides to forsaken the world.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (also known as Sunday Without God) is a series adapted from the light novel of the same name written by Kimihito Irie and illustrated by Shino. The series tells the story of a young girl named Ai living in a world without God. Apparently, God has abandoned this world fifteen years ago and now, new humans are no longer born and the dead can no longer die. Luckily, there are beings known as gravekeepers that can maintain balance and bring peace to those who are deceased. It’s not exactly a pretty story to imagine especially since Ai has taken the responsibility to prepare graves for a village where its people will eventually die. Do you fear death? I’m sure most people do but in this series, it takes on a whole new twist at that concept.
For starters, the series takes on a fantasy theme with its setting. In fact, it’s clear that the world Ai resides in is not something you’d witness in everyday life. Rather than being realistic, this show relates to the concept of death in a more imaginative way.
Ai is an interesting character to take notice of in this show. She is only 12 years old but bears a huge responsibility as a gravekeeper. We can also tell that she had a strong bond with her mother based on various flashbacks that are played throughout the series. But because of her young age, Ai is one of those characters that are a bit naive with how the world functions. Even more complicated though is the state of the current world that she resides in without a God. As this becomes a source of mystery, there are many questions that viewers may be interested in from the start. For Ai though, she has some questions of her own regarding her father and why the world she resides is at this state.
As if mysteries weren’t enough, we also get to meet a young man named Hampnie Hambart from the beginning. There are even more mysteries regarding this man as Ai is convinced that he might be her father. There’s little resemblance (at least physically) between Hambart or Ai. In fact, Ai looks much closer to her mother as opposed to this man. And if that wasn’t enough, Hambart’s violent debut makes Ai feel a bit intimated with his morals. There is a certain calculating factor about Hambart throughout the show that makes him an interesting character as well. In fact, one might interpret Hambert as more of an anti-hero. One could relate to the fact that he “kills” people in order to lay them to peace with his gun. At the same time, it’s clear that he wishes to just put them to peace at last rather than letting them bear their existence in a world without God. More importantly later on though, we learn a shocking revelation about him and his fate might also come as a big surprise.
The series focuses on Ai’s development but at the same time, we also get to meet others such as Scar, Ulla, Alis, Dee, and among others of interest. All of these characters possesses their own ideologies and their view of the current conditions in a world without God. Of these characters, Alis is a one of the more noticeable ones with a similar resemblance to Hambert. More importantly though, he has the same motivation as Ai in order to save the world but takes on a very different perspective in doing so. Talk about being on a totally opposite scale. Furthermore, most of the characters in this show has their own supernatural abilities of which we get to witness later on. In such a fantasy world, it should be expected.
The series focuses its main premise quite a bit but also takes approaches at settling off other directions with its various arc-like format. The beginning part clearly goes straight into the point, second half goes on a more in depth exploration of Ai’s character as she meets others while the third focuses on other settings of their world as well as the other characters. Nevertheless, the plot becomes somewhat loose at various occasions as well as feeling in being dragged out. However, you will expect the unexpected earlier on. Tthe series balances between its serious atmosphere along with comedy at many occasions. Various flashbacks played throughout the show also seems to draw a sense of nostalgia for Ai. She is only twelfth years old and already witnessed things that a girl of her age shouldn’t see in today’s world. Of course, this might be a bit of an exaggeration as the show lacks realism. Yet, it’s a mixture of sadness and pity to see Ai venture on her task as a gravekeeper especially later on.
Despite not being a battle shounen, the show does venture into the action field in a few episodes. It’s also surprising to see Ai being able to fight at someone her age. The phrase ‘dynamite comes in little packages’ fits perfectly for her abilities early on as we witness her skills in the art of combat. Other characters shows off their skills as well in particular Hambert in the beginning and later on Alis with his skills too. Unfortunately, the series isn’t designed to look flashy with combat factors so action junkies might be a bit disappointed after completing this show if you’re looking for spectacular action. It’s also hard to take the series seriously sometimes especially since shovels seem to function as a source of weapon for gravekeepers. Let’s not also forget about Ai’s age for someone of her age along with that adorable face. It’s somewhat hard to imagine that she undertakes a task that is as grim as being a gravekeeper.
Taken a point mentioned earlier though, the series builds on the grim reality of a world where God no longer exists. He literally abandoned the world fifteen years ago, so you might ask yourself “now what?” Well, if we look carefully, there’s zombies roaming on the surface and gravekeepers have to bring order. Most of the gravekeepers themselves are cold but Ai is a girl who seems to be cheerful and caring towards others. We might consider the fact if gravekeepers are born differently or how they came to be. There’s a puzzle in identity crisis that exists here that I find a bit troubling as most of the gravekeepers goes on unnamed except for a few prominent characters. Furthermore, the zombies that realms the world are depicted as being undead, acts undead, but seems to very much alive. It strikes me here as a bit of silly but also at the same time intriguing factor to notice in such a world. The purpose of the gravekeepers are also sometimes unclear and their moral standards are up for the imaginations.
If beautiful was a word to be used, this show would fit that category perfectly in terms of its art standards. Maybe this show could even be titled “Beautiful Sundays Without God”. Madhouse Studio surely set the standards high with its background imagery for this series. It’s beauty with expression that is illustrated through its holy like background and sunny atmosphere. At some occasions, viewers might feel as if the world this series takes place in is a dream one might not want to wake up from. (going by art judgement only) On the other hand though, Ai’s character might be a bit difficult to get used to with her design especially her petite figure, moe like eyes, and antenna hair. Hambert’s albino hair is also noticeable as well. All in all, the artwork expectations are met and I give praise to Madhouse Studio for their production values.
The soundtrack of this series maintains its consistency. The OP song “Birth” by Eri Kitamura spells out that holy atmosphere of a world without God. The ED song also illustrates its points through its fantasy elements and background artwork. In terms of OST though, the series retains its theme well especially in more of the emotional scenes. It sets forth that style of tragedy but presents it in a more dramatic way. This is clearly shown in the beginning and other times later on. As for voice acting goes though, average might be a word to describe its casts’ performance. Because most gravekeepers seems to lack a personality, there is little to go by with their voice tone. Other times, they are hardly noticeable at all.
If God truly took a holiday, then this show would be one living hell for everyone. But we look at it carefully, sundays with no God might not be so terrible after all especially with the gravekeepers in check to keep order. The effort to illustrate a series with this type of style is certainly unique and not something viewers might be too used to these days. With minimal fan-service, this show definitely sets forth its premise standards well. For Ai, she is on a journey of discovery and learning more about the world. For people interested in this show though, I hope you discover an enjoyable experience out of this. God may have abandoned the world but abandoning this show would be a chance of throwing away a golden egg.
6: Suisei no Gargantia
English: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
MAL Score: 7.48
In the distant future, a majority of humans have left the Earth, and the Galactic Alliance of Humanity is founded to guide exploration and ensure the prosperity of mankind. However, a significant threat arises in the form of strange creatures called Hideauze, resulting in an interstellar war to prevent humanity’s extinction. Armed with Chamber, an autonomous robot, 16-year-old lieutenant Ledo of the Galactic Alliance joins the battle against the monsters. In an unfortunate turn of events, Ledo loses control during the battle and is cast out to the far reaches of space, crash-landing on a waterlogged Earth.
On the blue planet, Gargantia—a large fleet of scavenger ships—comes across Chamber and retrieves it from the ocean, thinking they have salvaged something of value. Mistaking their actions for hostility, Ledo sneaks aboard and takes a young messenger girl named Amy hostage, only to realize that the residents of Gargantia are not as dangerous as he had believed. Faced with uncertainty, and unable to communicate with his comrades in space, Ledo attempts to get his bearings and acclimate to a new lifestyle. But his peaceful days are about to be short-lived, as there is more to this ocean-covered planet than meets the eye.
In the case of “Suisei no Gargantia”, bigger is anything but better. What makes the first half of the anime so special, and so rewarding, is made irrelevant by the bloated mess that follows. And it’s a shame- it had the potential to be one of the best anime of these past few years.
Despite being the latest work of the (in)famous Urobuchi Gen, Suisei no Gargantia depicts a much more down-to-earth story. There is no ruthless slaughtering of the characters (though some might deserve it at times), nor are there any plot twists until the last few episodes. Suisei no Gargantia is set in a distant future where the Earth has been flooded. And flooded entirely. What remains of human civilization live their days in fleets of antiquated ships, free from any worry but the rare threat of pirates.
Enter “Ledo”, a teenage soldier from across the galaxy who somehow, conveniently enters a wormhole that drops him to the birthplace of humanity– Earth.
The most interesting aspect of the series is how Ledo copes with (and eventually accepts) a society so distinctly different from his own. Where Ledo comes from, concepts such as peace do not exist. Humans are born and raised for the sole purpose of fighting their enemy, the Hideaze. And naturally there is no such thing as love or friendship.
What follows is a series of amusing, sometimes uncomfortable scenes of Ledo experiencing culture shock. What the heck is the purpose of money? … to buy more weapons to shoot dudes with? He has no idea. Whenever he experiences something new, he and his AI companion (“Chambers”) will inevitably draw some ridiculous contrast to their own society. In one scene, Ledo even asks the person beside him why an injured child is alive. I felt very bad for laughing at that.
Ledo also experiences a rapid period of growth as he becomes closer with the inhabitants of the Gargantia fleet. He learns to enjoy life, how to do ordinary things such as swimming or cooking, and what friendship means. He transforms from a cold, ruthless soldier into a normal human being, one that can feel emotion and remorse. The Ledo at the start of the story is not the Ledo at the end of the story, and this character development is something that deserves no shortage of praise.
Sadly, there’s also everything else about the story.
If you enjoyed the relaxed and carefree nature of the first half, prepare to have everything you liked about the show flipped upside down in the second half. The character development slows to a crawl. The comedy becomes nonexistent. What is hammered in its place is a joyless disaster, devoid of anything even remotely interesting.
Where to begin? I suppose the moronic characterization would be a start. While the first half showed signs of the side characters breaking away from their stereotype, the second half seeks instead to bury them in that shell. The only character aside from Ledo who even receives any notable growth is Pinion, but his backstory is so contrived and heavy-handed that there’s little reason to care about his suffering.
Even worse are the minor characters who populate the Gargantia fleet. They are insufferably stupid. There is one scene where Ledo is reprimanded by the fleet’s commanders for protecting them from a pirate attack, which would have inevitably led to looting and violence. Are you kidding me?
It makes one wonder why this screen time wasn’t handed to Amy instead. Aside from Ledo, she is the only character in the show with sense in her brain. She is the one who changed Ledo, who taught him that life is worth living, and yet she is merely relegated to the role of a cheer leader by the end. She deserved much more than that.
Sure, Ledo is plenty developed, but he is just as much a victim as anybody else. The change that the first half had building for him is simply used as a tool to force in cheesy dialogue about the power of friendship. During the climax, he changes his mind over an important decision simply because Amy came flying by on a kite to yell at him. Can I puke now?
This would be bad enough on its own, but the plot itself fares no better. Plot twists and ridiculous contrivances are the name of the game. Everything is somehow tied to Ledo and his own people, and the ‘twists’ (especially regarding the antagonist) are so cliched that they almost feel as if the writer was playing a joke. And then there’s not even a proper ending to wrap all of this mess up! It ends abruptly with little to no context, begging you to follow through with the sequel OVA for answers. There is absolutely no reason why the audience should have to watch a sequel in order to have a proper conclusion to a story that they already invested their time in. That is silly.
On a more positive note, the artwork is generally decent. The characters are modeled consistently while the oceans are rendered with grandeur, effectively making the post-apocalyptic Earth seem more like a paradise. However, the quality plummets in the 11th episode, where entire scenes have crowds of characters drawn as blobs. Literal blobs.
The soundtrack is also one of the better points of the anime. There’s nothing here that will stay in your mind for eternity (though the ending song is sure as heck relaxing), but each of the lighthearted tracks do a solid job of conveying the feelings of relaxation and hope which pervade the first half. It’s an atmospheric anime when it tries to be, which makes the second half all the more lamentable.
Suisei no Gargantia is an anime with an identity crisis. Is it a dramatic story about the dark secrets of humanity, or is it simply a lighthearted tale about a young man finding his place in life? Who really knows. I don’t think it does either.
It didn’t have to turn out this way.
How many people have ever dreamed about our world ever becoming one? It’s an idea that stretches beyond dreams and imaginations. In such a world, there would be peace, paradise, and colonies where humanity can settle down and enjoy their lives. Well, those are just all dreams of course. People may fill their heads with these ideas but for the Human Galactic Alliance, it’s one that they hope to fulfill for many years. Then, there’s one young boy among all of this and his name is Ledo. After a certain event, he gets swallowed up into a distortion of time and space while finding himself on a new place. It’s Earth, a planet of life and prosperity.
Suisei no Gargantina (also known as Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet) is an original animated series that fuses the genres of action, drama, science fiction, and mecha into a single package. The famous Gen Urobuchi is involved in the series as both for the script and composition. Based on his various style of writing in his previous works (Psycho Pass, Madoka), this series takes a different direction. It takes the form of a more style of world building constructed by our characters, settings, and themes that sets off this science fiction series.
For starters, the series takes place in the distant future. Thus, its technologies and settings are far beyond our modern times by standards. A clear example is our main male protagonist Ledo and his sidekick Chamber. He is a AI-automated, humanoid-shaped battle suit with a catchy tone of voice to go along with it. More importantly though, he is Ledo’s partner as well as a weapon of war. Chamber fits within the style of science fiction by the way of his stature and its mechanization. With powerful technology, we can see that Chamber is something out of the ordinary. Then of course, there’s Ledo. He is a 16 year old young male who is recognized as a Galactic Alliance lieutenant. After engaging battles against the mysterious tentacled alien beings known as the “Hideauze”, he gets stranded to another planet. It’s a verdurous planet where the Gargantians live and prosper.
And of course, there’s all kind of new excitement waiting for our friend Ledo.
That brings forth the Gargantinans who have peacefully settled on the planet. As we can see, the planet itself is covered with water. Thus, people are forced to live on enormous ships in order to survive. Through unity and cooperation, colonies have been established and attempts are made to settle down peacefully. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Beyond just the mysterious Hideauze species, there are also pirates. In fact, one of the earlier episodes shows a pirate fleet directly engaging in combat against the Gargantinans. These people seems to be a bit different than normal humans. Although on the outside, they look almost just like normal humans, they have different standards. Through comparisons, the Gargantinans functions differently by the way they don’t murder senselessly. They also seem to enjoy life to their fullest and often tries to endlessly protect it no matter what the cause. Going back though, it’s clear that these beings value lives truly. For example, they treat the handicapped with respect and also protect creatures whom are considered “sacred” under their eyes. However at the same time, there seems to exist some problems between them and other colonies. These problems on such a utopia gives a different outlook on the world that is considered Earth with such a paradise.
Being the new guy on a whole new planet, Ledo is the talk among the crew members. Among these members include Amy, a girl who literally becomes Ledo’s hostage from the beginning. She is a young girl with about the same age as Ledo. At first, they get off to a rocky start because of the circumstances. However, it is clear that Amy cares about Ledo as she is perhaps the only person who gets closest to him. Through interactions, Amy serves as both a guide and friend to Ledo. Even from the beginning, she is fearless towards him and offers assistance in learning about the world. (with a taste of a bitty treat if I might add) Over time, it’s also clear that Amy wants Ledo to adjust to his new environment. In many ways, Amy serves as someone who can navigate Ledo’s character through her guidance. By teaching him the standards of a human and adjusting them, Ledo seems to become softer and more humane as before. This is most prominent as Ledo is taught about the philosophy of “think before killing”. The philosophy seems to confuse Ledo at first because the way he grew up assumingly. At many variances, Ledo questions about the laws of human nature and what’s right or wrong. However, there is an unique bond between the two that I find to be natural and interactive. It is through interactions with Amy that Ledo now has a more value to where he belongs. It seems that there’s a case of Ledo desiring to protect Amy and his newfound home. His morality is built based on the moments they share and although they seem to be simple, it is important for his character from my perspective.
Among other characters as well is Chamber, the ever so flashy robot who serves as a tool and sidekick (not to mention translator) for Ledo. His origins are a bit mysterious by his manner of speech but even more so with his structure. The machine seems to also serve as a guide for Ledo on the planet and at the same time, a weapon of war. It is equipped with a devastating offensive weapon (a disintegrator ray of sorts) as well as agility to maneuver itself against adversaries. Other characters in the series such as Bellows, Pinion, and Amy’s friends also make their flashy highlights whether it’s to serve as progressing Ledo’s character or just giving him some time of fun.
Speaking of fun, the series does push that mood a bit especially later on. It comes in all shapes and sizes too with some fan service swimwear. To further this element, Ledo himself becomes Mr. Fan service and the girls just seems to love him for that. It doesn’t stop there either as it pushes the dance scenes along with the mood coupled with the panty shots and up-skirts. At the same time, it pokes fun of the language in the series that can be portrayed as both scientific and at times, comedy. To further this out a bit, the series also has that lighthearted mood with its slow pacing.
Despite this though, the series still retains its serious mood at many times. Ledo’s progressing in character seems more evident the more time he spent with others, in particular Amy. In fact, he even learns how to express gratitude to others in the form of a simple “Thank You”. He also learns about some of the food and how they came to be on the planet. Unfortunately, Ledo does not seem to forget about his primary objective and this earns him some criticism from others. If you guessed something related to ‘killing’, then you’re right. Ledo’s personal philosophy still seems to stick hard in his head. Only this time, he seems to have something worth fighting for. However, the guy isn’t exactly a pacifist.
Among other factors, I find this series also a little bit mysterious. This is especially evident in the beginning involving the Hideauze as they are described by Ledo as his ultimate antagonist and executioners of the world. Then, there’s the planet Earth itself as well as the Gargantinans. How did they survive all these years? What happened to the planet that caused all the flooding? Why are certain creatures on the planet so sacred? These are perhaps many questions that pops up into a viewers mind as they are watching this series. Needless to say, it makes this show worth watching for its assumed origins and how fans perceive them as each episode progresses.
The action of this series is spectacular but at times seems a bit out of space. The way that Ledo engages in combat from the beginning is presented visually as exciting. At the same time, we can also see that Ledo is a bit too good at what he does especially against some pirates later on. Watching a somewhat overpowered MC loses somewhat of a balance. Furthermore, his actions results in anger from the people of the planet. He just doesn’t understand the laws of human nature. For Ledo, humanity is something that may take him a very long time to understand.
The visuals in this series is outstanding. It is beautiful enough that the series must be watched in 720P or higher or it might lose the experience of this show. The reason lies in the magnificent battle in the beginning. Then, it’s the planet that Ledo landed on. The planet’s ocean is given strong scenery to give an impression of a world of water. The characters’ designs also gives a feeling of an utopia. Though some of them may be dressed with more fan service material than others, it sets the mood right with its theme. It shows that the series has that feeling of science fiction. Ledo himself also seems to stand out with the way he dresses and those noticeable hair and eyes. Among other things, the architectures and vessels on the planet are designed to be aquatic along with the creatures themselves. Needless to say, this series is a visually presented with extraordinaire. With the talented Hirotsugu Kakoi (Mirai Nikki, Blue Exorcist) in charge, I find this series to be quite something in terms of visual artwork. That something is obviously worth the praise.
However, the soundtrack of this show seems to strike me also as powerful.Taro Iwashiro is in charge of the background OST and I find it to fitting. It balances between smooth to intense at occasions but nothing too earth shattering. It does match with some scenes though. At the same time, there are two pieces of songs performed by Minori Chihara (the Opening song) and ChouCho (the Ending song). They have their style but the visuals seems to overshadow the soundtrack here.
Overall, this series was a very pleasant experience for me. Although it takes a different approach of how Gen Urobuchi’s other works, it’s an unique approach to the science fiction genre. At some instances, it might seem like a slice of life story. However, the experiences the characters goes through is much more than that. It challenges them the aspect of life, especially for Ledo in terms of his standards and morality. As a soldier of an alliance, his certain circumstances becomes something completely different than what he was used to. It’s insightful to watch how he adjusts to them. Through world building along with the cultural differences, the viewers can see how Ledo explores his new found situation on the planet. Perhaps it does flow a bit slow than what some fans may expect out of a science fiction show. However, that flow from my perpective is one that is a fun ride to experience. Yup, I got a nice experience watching Suisei no Gargantia.
Now, it’s your turn.
The set-up for the show is great. Due to some great catastrophe, most humans have left Earth and are now engaged in a constant battle for survival against bizarre monstrosities called Hideauze, becoming a militaristic society called the Galactic Alliance of Humankind. Our hero Ledo is a young man who was born into this endless war, knowing nothing but battle. Due to an accident he is transported far away from this conflict, to a water covered planet; the Earth which humankind had left so long ago. He comes across the (mostly) peaceful boat-dwelling indigenous people living in a fleet named Gargantia, and has to adapt to their drastically different culture in order to survive in this unfamiliar world. This set-up works for so many reasons. It allows the show’s world to open up as Ledo learns more about his new surroundings; its culture and its people. It provides contrast between Ledo’s militaristic way of life and the more laid-back way of life on Gargantia. Most importantly, it gives Ledo a lot of potential for development as he grows accustom to the ways of Gargania, and makes personal connections with its people.
Ledo is by far the most developed character in the show, as it should be because the story hinges on his growth. He starts off as hard-edged, serious young man lacking in personality and understanding of the nuances of human interaction; which is no fault of his own, of course. Despite not understanding of the world he landed in, he knows that he must adapt to his surroundings, which of course includes adjusting to Gargatnia’s society and finding his place in it. Completely foreign to him are many of Gargantia’s core values: co-existence, caring for the deficient, and using violence as a last resort. The lax organization of the fleet and laid-back way of life seem inefficient to him. However, as he continues to meet and interact with the residents of Gargantia, he begins to understand and appreciate their way of life. This leads to an inner conflict between the ideas that have been instilled in him at a young age, and these new feelings he is developing; which comes to a head when he finds creatures living beneath the water that are genetically identical to the Hideauze. Ledo’s development throughout the show is the driving factor on the show, and seeing him change and loosen up is the greatest satisfaction of the show.
The rest of the cast don’t have anywhere near the amount of development Ledo has; really do feel secondary. The exception is Ledo’s battle mech and support unit, Chamber. Despite not being human, Chamber has a surprising amount of charm; his (Chamber has a male voice) duty to serve and protect Ledo actually grants him some personality. Though his A.I. gives him great analytical ability, being a robot Chamber doesn’t really understand human interaction, which is often used for some good laughs. Amy is the spunky girl who volunteers to be Ledo’s guide in Gargantia; she’s the catalyst to much of Ledo’s changes, and his love interest later in the show. She doesn’t develop much beyond her feelings for Ledo, but she is a ray of sunshine and a good foil for our stoic lead. Her disabled younger brother Bevel also has a profound, if limited, effect on the show. Through his conversations with Bevel, Ledo learns the value that every person, even someone who is disabled, brings. Most of the other characters are less remarkable; they do get some development, but not enough to make them really memorable. Which is a shame because the show could have done something interesting with many of these characters, but ultimately focuses on them only enough for them to be plot devices. Some of the their actions later in the story feel like they happened for plot convenience, rather than something the characters would do.
The world of Gargaintia is rich in detail and well developed through the early stages of the show. The show begins with a detailed introduction to the Galactic Alliance of Humankind, a bit of its history and social structure, and it isn’t even where the main story takes place. When Ledo lands on Earth, it opens up a new world to explore. The show does a good job of depicting first contact between two unfamiliar cultures. Along with the difference of environment and culture, Ledo doesn’t even speak the same language as the people of Gargantia. It takes him some time to learn their language; he has to rely on Chamber to decipher and translate for him regularly at first. This really adds to the show’s immersion; as a viewer, it feels like you are discovering a new world alongside Ledo. Details of Gargaintia’s society and Earth’s ecosystem are introduced gradually through situations, rather than just being explained in information dumps. Not to say it always uses its time effectively, episode 5 is a completely unnecessary fan-service episode that is also the low point in the show’s writing, and there are moments which are a bit too quaint every once in a while. Still, all in all, it is a very good approach, building the settings in a very natural way.
The show loses this quality in the darker later half, which delves into why and how humans left Earth to begin with. After certain events cause tension, Ledo parts ways with Gargantia for a while. This leads to him finding footage chronicling the events before a large populous fled to space. It is interesting, showing that the people of Earth were far from united even in the face of impending disaster, with two factions waging war on each other. However, it is also a huge info dump that feels out of place. It goes on about disagreements of what actions should be taken for mankind’s survival, and arguments of ethics concerning genetic modification; as well as the origins of the Galactic Alliance, and the creation of the Hideauze. It is too much information at one time, and is quite jarring, honestly. The pacing also is jarringly different, with majority of the big plot twists taking place in the latter half; the show goes from pacing itself leisurely to being very busy. Because of this, a lot of characters’ development is rushed, and there isn’t really any closure or catharsis for any characters the show takes time to develop, with the exception of Ledo and Chamber.
Not to say these plot twists are bad. They invoke some interesting ideas about the system a group of people live under and how it can become harmful when it is so rigid that it becomes constrictive; as it has in the Galactic Alliance of Humanity and the cult that is introduced late in the series. Human society needs a system to function, but when that system becomes all encompassing that it determines how everyone living under it thinks, it becomes an oppressive force. This is a theme Urobuchi seems endlessly fascinated with, having explored similar ideas in his past work. The thing is, Gargantia somewhat oversimplifies these ideas by doing too much to vilify the system at work without really going into why such a system might be necessary. The cult introduced near the finale is so brainwashed that it is obvious that the show is skewed against their way of live. It’s admirable that the show believes so strongly in a simpler and more loosely constructed way of life, but it is optimistic to the point of naivety in its view. Luckily, Ledo’s revaluation of his life gives the show’s values enough weight to still be honest and meaningful.
As far as the visuals go, the show looks incredible as would be expected from Production I.G. Right from the beginning, the visuals impress with a stunning space battle that is cold and mechanical, but amazing to behold nonetheless. In contrast, the never-ending ocean of Earth and city-like fleet of Gargantia are brimming with liveliness. There is a naturalistic beauty to the settings: the clear blue sky and the shimmering water below that goes well beyond the horizon, the underwater ecosystems, the light of the glowfish at night; it is all breathtaking to look at. Gargantia itself is quite a sight, equal parts fantastical and makeshift. The boat-dwelling people of Gargantia have a rudimentary grasp on technology compared their ancestors, but resourceful and learned to live with what little lost technology they can scavenge and whatever nature provides them; it is easy to see this by just looking at the place where they live. The character designs by Hanaharu Naruko are diverse, colorful, and lively. Clear emphasis is put on female characters (the show loves to flaunt their bodies), but the guys are also quite distinctive; something that is fairly rare in anime. Of special note is the tan Ledo develops during his time on Earth, which is a nice subtle touch.
The music by Taro Iwashiro is mostly composed of orchestral pieces. It is nothing innovative, but it is very well composed and most certainly effective. The music is broad and versatile, which is for the best because Gargantia has a wide range of tones. The compositions support the calm quite moments and warm touching moments just as effectively as tension filled arguments and battles. Probably the most impressive thing the music accomplishes is capturing a sense of wonder. After living on a confining military space colony all his life, the wind open Earth must be awe inspiring for Ledo; the music as well as the visuals imbues the show with a feeling of discovery and adventure.
Though it is too naive to really be called a mature work, Suisei no Gargantia is certainly not a bad show. It is really quite enjoyable; it has likable characters, great art and animation, and a well developed lead. It’s theme of how people in a community support one another is so good-natured that I feel kind of bad calling it out on its naivety. Still, the lack of development to the overall cast outside of being likable, and the simplifying of complex themes prevent it from being something great.
5: Fairy Tail
English: Fairy Tail
Japanese: FAIRY TAIL（フェアリーテイル）
MAL Score: 7.61
In the mystical land of Fiore, magic exists as an essential part of everyday life. Countless magic guilds lie at the core of all magical activity, and serve as venues for like-minded mages to band together and take on job requests. Among them, Fairy Tail stands out from the rest as a place of strength, spirit, and family.
Lucy Heartfilia is a young mage searching for celestial gate keys, and her dream is to become a full-fledged wizard by joining this famous guild. In her search, she runs into Natsu Dragneel and his partner Happy, who are on a quest to find Natsu’s foster father, the dragon Igneel.
Upon being tricked by a man, Lucy falls under an abduction attempt, only to be saved by Natsu. To her shock, he reveals that he is a member of Fairy Tail and invites her to join them. There, Lucy meets the guild’s strange members, such as the ice wizard Gray Fullbuster and magic swordswoman Erza Scarlet. Together as a family, they battle the forces of evil, help those in need, and gain new friends, all the while enjoying the never-ending adventure that is Fairy Tail.
Now before you continue reading I must warn you that if you haven’t seen all the episodes or are a huge fan that can’t take criticism please refrain from reading this review. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
For those yet reading this review please keep an open mind about what you are going to read.
Initially I did enjoy fairy tail but in the end i started disliking the series. Here are a few reasons why
First of all the arcs are short. Which means there’s a lot of things they can’t do, bigger story, adventure or exploring, showing more of the side characters, etc. Every arc ends up boring to me and not memorable. The arc size also makes it so predictable. They have to go there without knowing much, be beaten by the enemies easily, get back up and run after them, beat them, a little talk afterwards, then go home.
The fillers, Fairy Tail has horrible fillers. Like the Daphne arc and the Starry Key filler arc. Just unbelievably bad. ABove that the filler arc is the second longest arc in the whole series. For those who might argue that fair tail has “less” fillers let me point out that FT has 38 filler episodes out of a total of 175. That’s 21% filler, which is quite a lot.
Lisanna~They took a nice little cute backstory that helped multiple characters and ruined it. Brought her back without a good explanation and then afterwards nothing has changed. She barely talks to Natsu, she isn’t important in the story. It was better when she was gone. Her being back and doing nothing basically ruins the whole flashback which was supposed to show how much she thought of Natsu, he thought of her, how Elfman decided to get stronger after losing her, Mirajane changed to be nicer, etc.
There’s no training neither any foreshadowing. None of them really change. They were only going to train once but then Mashima said screw you, they’re going to instead get powered up in 5 minutes. Natsu had a chance to grow with his powers near the beginning. He learned that he could use his flame to hold things or whatever. He forgot right after, lost a good chance and it hasn’t showed up again yet.
Natsu’s a horrible character. He’s a main protagonist of the worst type, cocky yet can’t prove it. Always runs ahead and gets beaten easily by the enemies, then he gets up and is able to beat the main boss of the arc. He needs a power up every fight or he loses, he sometimes has to get insulted until he’s angry enough to beat him. Why the hell can’t they give him a fire lacrima to use in a fight, he always has to get fire from some inconvenient ways. He even forgave Gajeel after he beat Lucy for like an hour, talked to him all nicely about dragons after their fight.
I couldn’t even care about any of the characters. They are contrived, one dimensional, stereotypical and lack even the little bit of depth that the story sometime requires.
Natsu’s power is supposed to be unique. Yet, every arc they run into a new dragon slayer. And then they run into god slayers that’s powers are even stronger than their dragon slayer counterparts. It’s like he’s making it up as he goes.
The comedy is annoying. Natsu’s vehicle sickness got boring when it screwed up his chance to fight, which was by like the 8th episode. After that it’s just been used way too much and has messed with his fighting multiple times since. Gray has to strip every god damn episode, they haven’t thought of giving him a jumpsuit or whatever. Everyone elses comedy is boring. The only person who ever says something funny is Happy.
The action sucked, all the fights weren’t interesting and of course were full of random powerups and bad comedy. The animation of the fights were mediocre and most fight end in Natsu consuming fire in some convenient way for the plot or getting help from his “nakama” and magically beating the enemy who seemed overpoweringly strong till now.
Story is nothing special. Nothing has really changed since the beginning.
Oh the time skip. I totally forgot about mentioning that. It was horrible, a 7 year skip. They didn’t even let the mains train or whatever. They came back and were easily able to beat enemies that had almost beaten them 7 years ago and had been training the whole time they were gone.
All in all Fairy tail happens to be one of the worst battle shounens i have ever seen and this is coming from a guy who has seen a fair amount of shounen.
With this I end my rant.
To those rating this review as “” or “Not ” your feedback is greatly appreciated.
I am still amazed at myself that I managed to watch all of this series, but that only indicates that there are some positives to it and I somehow enjoyed it all. What can be said about the story? Nothing really special, a girl named Lucy wants to become a wizard in a famous guild and after she meets Natsu, one of its members, she manages to join him and thus, they form a team and start on taking missions and embark on journeys. Natsu is trying to find his parent, a dragon who raised him and taught him rare magical skills and abilities based on fire. Although the concept of guilds, which is taken from online games is interesting, it is in no way original.
The story progresses in arcs with each arc being connected nicely with the next one and the transition between them feels smooth and logical. The atmosphere and the nature of each arc generally remain the same lighthearted and cheerful vibe following the vibe of the anime on its whole, except for some moments and scenes which need to be dark to show the contradiction between good and evil. Although, the story of each individual arc can be described as cliche, you could at least expect the execution to be masterful for a popular anime like this, right? No, they decided to shit all over the place with the word mediocrity, though there are some glimpses of good storytelling and directing in some arcs, but this is exactly what they are, glimpses. Individual elements of each arc are interesting but the story itself is unoriginal, although how it’s told and executed is what counts the most and this show had the potential to be great, but they vomited it all out to appeal to the general public and/or their target group If this was their purpose than they nailed it. Linear, repetitive and predictable storytelling and the use of generic guidelines as in any typical shounen of this type leave no room for the element of surprise for some rare plot twists that might exist.Also the amount of fan service, aka huge breasts for almost every female and semi nudity for males, is staggering at the least. Generally, the arcs are short and leave no room for good development and the pace of each arc is out of place. I felt that some arcs needed faster pace but others slower, go figure. Some episodes are uneventful with no action and on top of that no story or character development of any kind. Dialogues are mediocre and superficial for the most part but there are comedic moments where combined with sound and animation made me actually laugh hard. The blend of action, comedy and drama is mediocre and as I already mentioned “Oh the potential!!!!”.
Animation is one of this anime strong parts. For a long running show, it is pretty consistent in quality and is very good. Colors are bright and cheerful which suit the anime very much and they adjust well to the atmosphere and the mood of the scene. Facial expressions are distinct and well portrayed. The designs of characters are unique and suit their personalities quite well which in consequence make them somehow memorable. The only complain I had is in the moment of fight scenes which could be depicted better and in more detail.
My favorite part ironically or not was the sound. My gosh it was incredible!!! I actually searched and downloaded some soundtracks of this anime and I usually don’t do that. The sad music and ost’s in the epic moments of the anime are just amazing. OP and ED songs are really great you will love them trust me.Incredible is the fact that the soundtracks match their arc themes and the moments of sadness,joy,tension,mystery and action too damn well. There were parts in the anime that wasn’t that melodramatic but with the right ost it actually managed to invoke from me a sad emotion. Also, I don’t remember any misuse of sound, it was just perfect. Voice actors are all good and for the most part, fit well to the characters.
Fairy Tail’s characters is another disappointing fact. We are introduced to a large cast of characters who are one dimensional and static. Main characters are flat and underdeveloped. I understand that combined with short arcs there isn’t much room left to develop so many of them, but they could at least try. Every stereotype of this genre can be found in this series, from the typical hotheaded male protagonist to the evil villain who becomes good and changes sides and the fact that most of them remain the same throughout the series makes this show even more predictable. It’s impossible to be caught by surprise when you expect for them to act based on their generic stereotype and they act exactly like that in any given situation. The villains of the show are equally as underdeveloped as the main characters. Of course, there are some exceptions and we can see glimpses of good development here and there which are later ruined to the bones. So much good development is so brutally destroyed, that it is frustrating even to imagine the potential of this series. Nonetheless, there are likeable characters whom you will want to cheer for but that doesn’t change the fact that most of them are flat and superficial.
The last disappointing fact I want to mention, is the fighting scenes. Battle system is your typical “raw strength+power ups wins” concept. Almost no amount of thought or originality can be traced anywhere. Some abilities are cool, but that’s it. The battles are won by overpowering the enemy and no strategical thinking is involved. Superficial and annoyingly tiring dialogues and monologues which ruin the pace of the story take place in every fight scene and I mean literally in EVERY fight scene. I know that concepts like friendship and comradeship are important, don’t misunderstand me, but not when they are in excess and feel like they try to nail it in my brain with a drill and on top of that, at the expense of the story. Power levels are confusing as one reviewer stated. There are no trainings but main characters manage to win enemies they shouldn’t be able to win like ever. Oh yea, I forgot the power of friendship and nakamas!!! Silly me.
Generally this whole thing can be summed up in 6 steps.
Step 1: A strong enemy appears. MC’s are beaten up by the enemy.
Step 2: MC’s yell about friendship and the power of nakamas.
Step 3: They power up emotionally and physically by the power of friendship and random stuff.
Step 4: MC’s overpower the villain.
Step 5: No training of any kind whatsoever.
Step 6: New arc. Go to step 1.
When an anime can be summed up like this than in my books this is not good at all.
All in all, Fairy Tail generally has a vibe of positivity and lightheartedness. If you like characters that seem cool, raw power, mc’s that overpower their enemies who rely on their friends and protect each other, if you like good animation with awesome soundtracks mixed perfectly to every scene, if you liked something like D-Gray Man or Bleach than you should watch this show and I am sure you will enjoy it very much. I definitely recommend this to children, as well. But if you are an experienced anime viewer or if you like intelligence, good story, plot and character development, if you like insane plot twists and strategic battle scenes with complex fighting systems or if you want to watch something of this genre but don’t have much time than don’t waste it on this and watch something like Hunter x Hunter or Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
*English is not my native language, excuse me for any mistakes. All feedback is appreciated.*
**EDIT** It has been pointed out to me that this review has an elitist tone, this was definitely not my intention and I don’t consider myself to be superior or more intelligent than any of you.**
Story – (3/10)
This is one of the weaker aspects of Fairy Tail as it gets daunting and rather boring because there is no real progression, and it becomes incredibly predictable with how it will play out, at first it was pretty fun since the stories did serve a proper purpose and introduced us to some other characters but as it goes on, you feel that it’s afraid to make changes to the characters so they just write what they know and that’s where the repetitiveness comes from. The gags were funny for the first 20 episodes but then they get really old fast as well as the fanservice, it even gags at important moments, you could have a serious fight but instead have a comedy bit in the middle completely ruining the mood for the fight.
Art – (6/10)
The animation is pretty good for a shounen anime as it can be fast paced and some of the magic does look pretty cool but at the same time, the designs of most characters seem really plain looking, minus maybe 2-3 characters everyone else looks really generic.
Sound – (9/10)
Quite possibly the best thing about Fairy is the sound as it mixes irish folk music with some modern day sounds blending really well and does match the battles that happen, this was something I am glad they kept as it was something very different from the norm. The OP’s and ED’s were also very nice to listen to and mainly composed of some very energetic pop music.
Characters – (2/10)
This is by far the worst aspect for Fairy Tail, one dimensional, bland, incredibly cliche and just lacked development. I will start off with the main character Natsu who is to me one of the worst MC’s in anime ever. He never develops, there is no challenge for him, he doesn’t have any conflicts with how he does things its just ‘I’ll beat the crap out of you’ no matter how evil that person is, even if they kill someone he will still treat it more like a sparring match rather than him losing control and losing himself in the process of it, if he’s always going to be this guy who doesn’t think and just swings away then its going to get really boring really fast.He doesn’t so much get stronger but rather uses the power of friendship after making a speech and wins. Lucy is another character I just could not handle because she was just fanservice and a plot device, she didn’t get stronger each time, she just gets caught in a messy situation, screams a bit, summons a spirit and that’s it, her character seems to be a key for the arc to go through but apart from that she is utterly useless. Now despite all the bashing of the characters I will say that there are some decent characters like Erza, Wendy, Gajeel and Gray because most of them did get stronger and developed and were conflicted with how they did things but even they can fall victim to lousy progression.
Enjoyment – (4/10)
It was fun at first but once the story and comedy repeated all the time, you get sick of it and switch to something else straight away, there is no proper pacing and some arcs went for too long that you don’t feel as invested or interested any more to care
Overall – (3/10)
Fairy Tail lacked a lot of important elements and was clearly confused as to what it wanted to be, it was either over the top battle or a comedy, it was too messy to balance both because it couldn’t have the comedy at the right time, I wouldn’t recommend this anime because it’s fallen to the many cliches and doesn’t really bring anything solid to the table.
4: JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (TV)
English: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
MAL Score: 7.96
In 1868, Dario Brando saves the life of an English nobleman, George Joestar. By taking in Dario’s son Dio when the boy becomes fatherless, George hopes to repay the debt he owes to his savior. However Dio, unsatisfied with his station in life, aspires to seize the Joestar house for his own. Wielding an Aztec stone mask with supernatural properties, he sets out to destroy George and his son, Jonathan “JoJo” Joestar, and triggers a chain of events that will continue to echo through the years to come.
Half a century later, in New York City, Jonathan’s grandson Joseph Joestar discovers the legacy his grandfather left for him. When an archeological dig unearths the truth behind the stone mask, he realizes that he is the only one who can defeat the Pillar Men, mystical beings of immeasurable power who inadvertently began everything.
Adapted from the first two arcs of Hirohiko Araki’s outlandish manga series, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken follows the many thrilling expeditions of JoJo and his descendants. Whether it’s facing off with the evil Dio, or combatting the sinister Pillar Men, there’s always plenty of bizarre adventures in store.
Nearly every review of JoJo 2012 praises it as a MASTERPIECE, because it represents a triumphant return for the macho manly anime of the past. I have a slightly different perspective than most critics on MAL, so unsurprisingly my conclusion was a little different as well. If I was born between 1995 and 2000 and grew up during the “sparkling kawaii desu moe” era of anime where every male protagonist is a whiny pussy, I too would be inclined to give Jojo a 10/10 out of sheer novelty alone. However, I was born in the 1980s and I actually remember the GAR days of manly anime. In the 1990s, you watched anime largely by going to the video store and renting whatever anime was available. Almost ALL of it was cheaply licensed, ultraviolent OVAs from the late 80s and early 90s. Were those anime better? Well believe it or not…no, not really. There were indeed some awesome anime like Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken), but for every Fist of the North Star there was absolute garbage like: Genocyber, Violence Jack, MD Geist, Mad Bull 34, Angel Cop, etc. Simply being macho didn’t make an anime good by default back in the 1990s, and that shouldn’t be any different today! I am going to look at Jojo from a fair and objective view rather then simply heap praise on it based on principle alone.
Story and Characters: 6/10
The 2012 JoJo anime adapts the first 2 arcs of the manga, so this is the JoJo series you should watch first sequentially! JoJo is about the Joestar family and their epic feats of badassery over the generations. The first generation of Joestar asskicking takes place in Victorian England with Jonathan Joestar, whom I will call Johnny JoJo. The dumbass father of Johnny JoJo decides to adopt the blatantly evil son of a man who “saved his life” when he had a carriage accident. Even though it is later revealed that papa Joestar knew that Brando was a dishonest man and wasn’t actually trying to save him, he adopts Dio anyway and continuously believes Dio over his own son despite the fact that Dio may as well have “evil” tattooed on his forehead. Dio is a 1 dimensional bully who exists to make Johnny JoJo miserable, steal his father’s affection, and ultimately try steal his inheritance. Dio will perform some act of over the top evil like brutally murder Johnny’s dog, and papa Joestar will instantly believe Dio’s side of the story, simply to frustrate the viewers. This is like that Spongebob episode where Spongebob adopts an evil lamprey as a pet and keeps blaming the obviously innocent Gary the snail whenever anything goes wrong. The difference is that JoJo isn’t a comedy cartoon for small children. It is a Shonen demographic anime that actually expects us to take this seriously! Johnny JoJo discovers that Dio is attempting to poison his father and inherit the fortune, so he goes to find the poison shop where Dio has been purchasing his product. Johnny JoJo proves Dio is guilty, but Dio uses a mystical artifact Johnny has been studying to transform himself into a vampire and start wrecking shit. Dio kills papa Joestar and seemingly gets killed in turn by Johnny, but it turns out Dio survived and wants to create a vampire army to take over the world. Johnny takes some mystical martial arts training to unleash sunlight with punches (just go with it) and goes on a crusade to take out Dio. Unfortunately, that son of a bitch simply won’t stay down and eventually Johnny must sacrifice his own life in manly fashion to save his wife and unborn child.
I’m going to come right out and say it, Dio is a SHIT excuse for a villain. There are many things that can make a great villain: complex motivations, based on a historical figure, or even being extremely evil in an interesting fashion that is fun and frightening to watch. Dio is a cliche bully archetype that gets turned into a vampire, then decides to take over the world because he wasn’t already cliche enough. In a way, Dio does remind me of the villains from oldschool GAR anime like: the bullies in Genocyber that randomly decide to rape a homeless child, or the bully in Devilman who decides to butcher the class bunnies for no reason. However, those bullies were quickly and brutally dispatched because that kind of character isn’t very interesting. They exist to piss off the audience and grant a cathartic revenge fantasy when they get killed. Dio just lingers on and on like a sulfurous fart that won’t go away. Johnny JoJo is a gentlemen and a badass, but his character depth never goes beyond that. He doesn’t have a strong internal struggle or ambiguous goals or anything that makes complex character. I know that isn’t the point of JoJo, but a show aimed at older audiences should probably try to have SOME level of complexity unless the action is so awesome it doesn’t matter. However, JoJo isn’t a non-step action violence fest like Hellsing Ultimate. JoJo actually does take a LOT of time to focus on plot and characters, which is why it is disappointing that the plot isn’t very good and the characters are paper thin archetypes.
After a decent but certainly not masterful arc 1, we get to see the adventures of Johnny JoJo’s grandson: Joey JoJo. Joey JoJo must go to Mexico to fight against the evil vampires that created the mystical mask from part 1. He teams up with the grandson of one his grandfather’s old allies along with a surprisingly friendly Nazi dude named Rudol Von Stroheim. I guess the writer of JoJo meant to use the name “Rudolph” because “Rudol” isn’t even a real German name. Rudol’s catchphrase is German (insert whatever) is the best! Characters with goofy catchphrases can work like Korbowitz in Berserk or Armstrong in FMA, but I wasn’t really feeling this one. Honestly I just found myself wishing this guy would be replaced with Captain Germany the manly werewolf from Hellsing. This second arc does have some pretty awesome action scenes including Joey JoJo punching the vampire leader into Outer fucking SPACE! However, the plot and characters still come WAY short of being called a masterpiece or anything approaching a masterpiece.
The art and animation is heavily stylized and admittedly does a good job creating the look and feel of anime from yesteryear. There are lots of still-shots to recreate the look of cheap animation from the days where anime had extremely limited budgets. There are plenty of “action lines” that the old anime had in abundance especially pre-1990. I think my favorite part of JoJo might actually be the art because it really does recapture and recreate what anime used to look like and now no longer even resembles.
Does JoJo do a decent job capturing what old school anime used to look and feel like? Yeah, and that is why it isn’t a bad show. Does being retro make it a masterpiece by default? Absolutely not. The story may not suffer from pointless “tournament arcs” like so many shonen anime, but the plot isn’t honestly very good. Like the characters, the plot is very simplistic and doesn’t exactly carry JoJo into the realms of truly great anime. The male characters are actually manly and don’t resemble either Keitaro Urashima from Love Hina or Shinji Ikari from NGE, the 2 characters that basically convinced anime executives that Otaku identify more with Beta males and completely neutered anime. However, JoJo’s mediocre action and old school animation doesn’t quite make up for its simplistic and overall lackluster story and characters. At the end of the day, JoJo 2012 is a good anime, but is JUST a good anime. It doesn’t nearly deserve the ratings it has received on MAL, or the praise it receives on 4chan. I WOULD recommend it to younger viewers who want to see what old anime was like, but I caution against the kind of blind praise that has already made this anime absurdly overrated.
Art – 8/10
I suppose I’ll start off with how it adapted the source material. Unlike the OVAs and Phantom Blood movie, there were no cuts in content, and it actually adapted parts 1 and 2 of the manga: Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency. The studio, David Production, did what I would consider a masterful job in terms of bringing out Araki Hirohiko’s style into the manga. He is an artist, and you can see his art evolve throughout the long-running JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise. DP hired multiple art directors and tried to incorporate the different faces and builds in body throughout the series. Also, because there is no such thing as “canon” colors for characters, DP, in an unexpected but very innovative manner, used their poor budget to their advantage—by changing color schemes and using colorful abstract backgrounds during monologues and still-frames. I’ll give the art by itself a 10/10, even though sometimes Jonathan and Joseph, the titular JoJos in this series, suffer from Gorilla Face Syndrome, since the BD/DVDs are doing a great job of fixing it.
On still-frames, this is one of TWO flaws I found throughout the whole series. DP was contracted by Warner Bros. and they were given a pretty weak budget to work with. As a result, some might say that there are lots of times where this show is more of a “live-manga” or stream of the manga. The “animated” SFX from the source material, plentiful still-frames, and lack of actual animation at times are what add to this idea. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like every episode is a slideshow; however, there are DEFINITELY times when it feels that way—I’m looking at you, episode 16. Honestly, I feel like DP made it up to us with some episodes that were battle-heavy, like episode 20 and most definitely the final 3 or so episodes. Especially the last one. For this I will have to give the animation itself a 7/10. The distinct art style and use of colors boost it up to an 8 for me.
Sound – 8/10
So-no Chi no Sa-da-me, JOOOOOOOOO~JO! There are two opening themes, JOJO~Sono Chi no Sadame~ by Hiroaki “TOMMY” Tominaga , and BLOODY STREAM by Coda. Both were tailored for their respective Part in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, in both lyrics, atmosphere, and animation itself—we actually get some pretty good CG depicting events in Parts 1 and 2. They were extremely catchy, and I never skipped them. The ending theme was Roundabout by progressive rock band YES, which actually came out in the 70s—and influenced the original manga! and I applaud DP for that choice. The song’s lyrics fit extremely well and it is actually one of Araki Hirohiko’s favorite bands! Also, because it is an 8 minute song, they used different snippets, some soft, some more intense, depending on what kind of note the episode ended on. That was genius and definitely made the watching experience better. If it were up to the OP and ED alone I’d give the sound a 10/10
As for the actual soundtrack, because of the difference in atmosphere between Parts 1 and 2, or at least I assume it’s for that reason, DP hired two composers and gave us two soundtracks per part. Phantom Blood was mostly orchestral, very fitting with the late Victorian feel we get when we think of England in the 1880s. It fit extremely well and I applaud Matsuo Hayato for his beautiful soundtrack. Part 2, being much more dynamic and quite literally “all over the place”, has Iwasaki Taku, who worked with his friends Lotus Juice. The soundtrack he made has soft, orchestral pieces and, well, everything. He has rap/hip-hop, rock, metal, DUBSTEP, and even flutes and drums that bring a middle-eastern feel. Personally, I thought the dubstep was actually very good and tamer than most, and that it fit well the middle-eastern sounds he composed for with the Pillar Men, the main antagonists of Part 2. The sound direction, however, was not as amazing. Iwasaki Taku complained himself, over Twitter, that his songs were not being used correctly, and, after paying close attention to episodes 22 and 23, I can’t say I disagree. David Productions flubbed it when it came to transitioning the music and providing an appropriate atmosphere with the songs in those two episodes. For that reason, although the music itself was superb, I will have to give it an 8 total.
Story – 9/10
Story is pretty simple, to say the least. The original story came out in 1987, in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. Phantom Blood can be pretty much summed up as Castlevania with Hokuto no Ken elements, which shouldn’t be seen as bad in any way. Araki Hirohiko wanted to make a solid base so that he could evolve his work throughout time, and I think he did a pretty good job, taking in the work of contemporaries around him. The first part is hot-blooded, fast-paced, and the definition of “camp”. Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando are probably the most one-dimensional characters you will ever find, but it is because they were so static, they polarized each other and made the fight between them so interesting. Dio Part 1’s main antagonist, from the first episode, is depicted to us as the very definition of EVIL at the age of 12! Although the story is simple, the characters are definitely what make the sure. In Battle Tendency, the story takes a more adventurous route and we see our new JoJo, Joseph Joestar, go from New York, to Mexico, to Italy, to Sweden, and it’s amazing. The main antagonists of this part are a powerful trio of “Pillar Men” called Wham, ACDC, and Cars, responsible for the creation of the stone mask that set the events in Part 1. The continuity is great and you definitely feel time passing as you watch the series, characters like Speedwagon and Erina are shown old, and with every major timeskip you see differences in character design. Story, when it boils down to it, just has to be interesting. I was definitely interested in the stories for Parts 1 and 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. They were simple, straight, and to the point, which made it possible to expand more on the character dynamics, arguably the strongest part of this series. There were no long and obnoxious training arcs, the fights are NOT dragged out—probably the most common flaw in shonen battle series—and if there are cliches, they are exaggerated to their extremes. This series does not take itself that seriously, and when it does, you can bet that you’ll be on the edge of your seat. Story gets a 9/10 from me.
Character – 10/10
As for the characters. Araki sure knows how to get you attached to characters. And then rip them away from you. There are definitely deaths in this series and they are dramatic and will definitely tug at your heart. Also, the voice actors are passionate and work admirably together. Takehito Koyasu, with his smooth, deep voice will send chills down your spine whenever Dio is formulating a plot or mocking JoJo. Okitsu Kazuyuki may be a newbie, unlike the slew of veterans in the rest of the cast, but he makes Jonathan Joestar so damn LIKABLE with his passionate screams, calm reassurance, and definitely makes the heart of gold in this character shine brightly. Sugita Tomokazu, probably best known for his characteristic shonen gag voice as Gintoki (Gintama) and serious/apathetic voice as Kyon (Haruhi Suzumiya series), makes a perfect Joseph Joestar, because Joseph embodies the ideal shonen protagonist—smart, strong, funny, and extremely expressive. Basically, where the animation fell short, I believe that the voice actors definitely picked up the slack. Everyone has fun, because this is supposed to be a fun series. I love it. Characters get 5/5 from me. Both as they were written and how they were acted, you can definitely feel the chemistry between all the voices and that made it way more enjoyable.
Enjoyment – 10/10
Enjoyment. I keep on mentioning this when I score each aspect of the show for this review. Ultimately, when you watch an anime, or any show, movie, etc; you do so because you want to enjoy and be entertained. I can almost guarantee that if you go and watch this show with a blank slate and just a pure, unadulterated desire to be entertained, you will not come out disappointed. Just keep in mind that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a series that is 25 years in the making, and this is but the beginning. It is without a doubt my favorite manga series, and this long-awaited anime adaption gives it the justice that it deserves. If you watch it, and enjoy it, like I said you probably will, then I implore to take up the manga. You can skip right to Part 3, the most popular arc in the franchise, but I recommend reading from the beginning, you’ll pick out some tiny things left out that couldn’t be conveyed through the anime, and you’ll see the evolution of Araki Hirohiko’s art throughout the ages.
But first, if you watch the anime, I recommend Muda Muda Muda Subs [MMM] subs or CommieSubs [Commie]. They are the most accurate subs and if you prefer a better script, go with MMM, if you want better typesetting and subtitled SFX, go with Commie. Personally, I used MMM because they are a group that got together solely for this series, released in a timely schedule with accurate subs, took advice/criticism well, and also have better encoding.
I hope that after this review some of you watch this show and develop the same love I have for it!
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is quite possibly the most popular anime on the internet right now, what was once a weird niche show in the west has essentially become the new Naruto, which is ironic seeing as it predates it. Now what do I mean by that? Well tell me if you’ve heard this one before, a mediocre shounen anime that’s mostly popular with teenage boys, that has also infested meme culture, and has become almost impossible to criticize, not because it’s a flawless masterpiece with absolutely no flaws that has changed society for the better (though the fans would want you to believe that), but because its fans will attack you if you so much as say it isn’t the magnum opus the make it out to be. Now seeing as the Part 5 anime has come to an end, I’ve decided to review the first season, and tell you why I personally don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as people say it is.
The problem with reviewing season 1 mostly comes down to the fact that it combines two arcs with completely different settings, tones, plot, and characters, so I’ll be giving each Part its own score in each category (with the exception of art and sound, both parts have the same art direction, animation and music)
Phantom Blood: 3/10
Think of the most generic good vs evil story, think of a story with a boring as hell flawless main character who’s so righteous and good that his only mistake was being too nice (yes really), a bland and inhuman villain who’s just evil for the sake of being evil and who’s sole motivation for being evil is literally “my dad was mean to me”, the most basic and overused 3 act structure, and a supporting cast so cookie cutter and forgettable, that you could switch some of their roles and round without anything changing. That’s Part 1 in a nutshell
To be fair, the first 3 episodes are well paced, the story at first is a generic macguffin story, but it knows how to hold your interest and be suspenseful, then just devolves into Generic Shounen Battle Show Inspired By Fist of The North Star/Dragon Ball #50. It’s quite hard for me to talk about themes, character development or anything because it’s such a nothing story, no one develops (I mean Jonathan gets stronger but in terms of personality he’s the same), the only theme is, I guess, “good will triumph over evil” or some generic bullshit like that, if Jojo had ended hear it wouldn’t even be a footnote in the history of Shounen Jump. I’ll go more in depth on why I think Phantom Blood sucks in the character section.
Battle Tendency: 6/10
Now this is much much better, not amazing but a huge improvement over part 1, and I think the main reason why is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is basically a comedy. Part 1 took itself completely seriously, and as such I had to focus on plot, characters, themes etc first and entertainment value second, with part 2 it’s the opposite, I feel like the series it at its strongest when it’s basically just a comedy, it makes the poor writing, bland characters and unoriginal storylines a lot more tolerable, seeing as the focus is being entertaining and fun, rather than telling a great story.
The story is incredibly generic, it’s yet another story where the villain is an ancient being who was sealed away long ago but has now come back, oh, and his goal is to collect a macguffin that gives him ultimate power, how original. However, again, it doesn’t take itself too seriously so I’ll let it slide seeing as it’s really entertaining, it’s also paced much better than Part 1. Overall if you’re looking for some mindless fun, I recommend Part 2.
Phantom Blood: 1/10
A cliche story can be forgiven if the characters are interesting, unfortunately for Phantom Blood, the characters are some of the most bland and cookie cutter characters I have ever seen, period. Let”s start with Jonathan, Jonathan’s entire personality is that he’s a hero, he has no character flaws, he’s just, the hero, that’s all he is, he never develops he is the same irritating nice guy from beginning to end. Then we have Speedwagon, he’s a thug who tries to kill Jonathan, but then he gets punched in the face and follows Jonathan around, all he does is stand around and tell the audience what they just saw, how did this character become popular, seriously, aside from his design there is nothing noteworthy about him. There’s also Erina, who might as well be a cardboard cut out of a vagina, she has no personality (noticing a trend?) and exists solely to be Jonathan’s love interest.
Then we move on to Dio, quite possibly the most iconic Jojo character, he’s a terrible antagonist, his actions make no sense whatsoever, I mean killing his birth father made sense, he was abusive to Dio and killing him would essentially allow Dio to go from the slums to a mansion, however once he gets the chance to live a life of luxury, what does he do? He tries to kill the man who took him in, why? Because the plot demanded him to. Dio’s goal is to be rich an powerful, but he’s already an aristocrat, so logically he shouldn’t do anything after killing Dario, if Dio just lived a normal life with the Joestars nothing bad would’ve happened to him, Dio caused his own downfall for no reason at all, Dio is stupid, plain and simple.
We also have Zeppeli, he’s Jonathan’s mentor, but not a fun or interesting one like Biscuit from HxH or Master Roshi from Dragon Ball, no, he’s just a guy with, you guessed it, no personality, who teaches Jonathan how to fight and then dies like 4 episodes later, they expect you to feel sad but who’s gonna feel sad for some guy who no personality who they barely knew for 4 episodes.
There are some other characters in Part 1, but they aren’t really noteworthy, the other Hamon masters are just there, one of them tells Jonathan something he already knew, and another fights Joseph in Part 2. There’s also this one kid who tags along Jonathan for 2 episodes and then disappears, I don’t know why he was in the story, he could easily be removed without literally anything in the story being affected.
Battle Tendency: 5/10
Joseph is a huge improvement over Jonathan, in that he actually has a unique personality, he’s an goofy asshole who’s a lot more tactical than Jonathan, he’s not too interesting, but he is really fun to watch, so for an arc that focuses more on comedy, I think he’s a good protagonist, he even develops a little, he’s much less obnoxious and rude at the end, which I know doesn’t seem impressive at all, but trust me, he’s one of the only characters in the entire franchise who actually develops.
My favorite character of the arc, and this season as a whole, is Stroheim, there’s not a whole lot to him, he’s just really over the top and fun to watch, any scene with him is really entertaining it’s also interesting to see a soldier of the most cruel regime to date as something other than a complete monster, Stroheim is a proud and loyal soldier serving the country he believed in, even if that country was one of the only objective bad guys in real world history.
Now I’ve bad praising the characters in Part 2 so far, so why did I give them a 5/10 overall? Well the rest of the characters (besides the villains) are about as bland as the ones from Part 1, we have Smokey, a boy who Joseph saves at the beginning of the arc, he’s set up to be Joseph’s sidekick but is quickly dropped, like the boy from Part 1. Then we have Caesar, another character who’s popularity baffles me, he is pointless, he trains with Joseph and is set up as his sidekick for the confrontation with the pillar men and is quickly killed off, having achieved nothing while he was alive. Lisa Lisa is about as bland as Zeppeli, she’s also revealed to be Joseph’s mother, there’s not much else to talk about, moving on.
The villains are a slight improvement over Dio, and by that I mean, they’re not completely moronic and illogical, their goals and motivations are overly simplistic though, but at least they have some motivation and a concrete goal that isn’t “take over the world”. Kars is a cunning and intelligent villain, a vast improvement over Dio, his motivations make sense, he wanted his race to overcome their weaknesses, but was forced to wipe out most of them once they tried stopping his experiments, he has nothing left but this goal to become perfect and is obsessed with it, and that’s actually sort of interesting. The two other pillar men aren’t nearly as interesting though, they just sort of follow Kars’ orders, they try to make Wammu more interesting but it doesn’t really work, still a vast improvement over Dio though.
The best part is easily the animation, it’s incredible, the lighting, the cinematography, the movement, the Hamon effects, all of it is great to watch, I wish this kind of animation was used on shows with better stories but i’m not complaining here. Some scenes also play around with colour, and that really sets the mood for certain scenes, overall, the animation is great, the only problem is the amount of still shots in the show, otherwise I would’ve given it a 9.
The soundtrack is also great, there are some catchy tunes, such as the Pillar Men theme, Stroheim’s theme and some of the other orchestral pieces. The ops are both incredible, they’re well composed, the vocals are great and they’re really catchy. Same goes for the ED but it’s a song from the 70s so it doesn’t really count
I recommend just skipping to Part 2 if you want a fun action show, you’re not missing much by skipping Part 1, besides he Hamon explanation which you could just easily look up online. Personally I’m baffled this show became so popular, it starts off badly and just isn’t anything that special.
3: Log Horizon
English: Log Horizon
Japanese: ログ ホライズン
MAL Score: 7.97
In the blink of an eye, thirty thousand bewildered Japanese gamers are whisked from their everyday lives into the world of the popular MMORPG, Elder Tale, after the game’s latest update—unable to log out. Among them is the socially awkward college student Shiroe, whose confusion and shock lasts only a moment as, a veteran of the game, he immediately sets out to explore the limits of his new reality.
Shiroe must learn to live in this new world, leading others and negotiating with the NPC “natives” in order to bring stability to the virtual city of Akihabara. He is joined by his unfortunate friend Naotsugu, having logged in for the first time in years only to find himself trapped, and Akatsuki, a petite but fierce assassin who labels Shiroe as her master. A tale of fantasy, adventure, and politics, Log Horizon explores the elements of gaming through the eyes of a master strategist who attempts to make the best of a puzzling situation.
The story begins by introducing a set of typical MMORPG rules/restrictions that many viewers are familiar with. But what’s not so familiar are the way these rules are manipulated, opening paths to feats that were previously impossible. When one thinks of rules and boundaries, one would assume that it would limit whatever it governs. Ironically, these strict rules expand Log Horizon’s story from a generic show to a well thought-out strategic adventure. It’s an extremely appealing story given the relatability to many of its viewers. Having played games like World of Warcraft, I and many other viewers understand how the core mechanics of questing, leveling, raiding and more work. That’s why when other possibilities that greatly affect these game mechanics are discovered, Log Horizon truly becomes special. It also feels completely plausible. It is NOT a “power of friendship defeating the boss that was previously kicking your ass.” It’s fundamentally sound and really becomes an intriguing show.
Although some may disagree, I really thought that one of the show’s biggest strength is how the characters all have defined, unique roles. Where Shiroe is the leader in the shadows, Crusty is the leader in the spotlight. Where Akatsuki is loyal, quiet and small, Naotsugu is the loud, pervy and funny big guy. And you also have… Rundelhaus, who’s in a category of his own when it comes to goofiness. These kinds of distinctions allow Log Horizon to have all kinds of interactions between characters and the possibilities become endless. To me, the characters are one of the biggest strengths of the show.
The story is what makes Log Horizon quite different from a typical shounen show. It has heavy political/economical themes that tie well into one of the show’s biggest points: building a world. In fact, there are a few episodes where the dialogue gets quite heavy and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. With that being said, I genuinely enjoyed the dialogue and found the story to be engaging. Log Horizon also executes its’ story quite well. I found the pacing and structure of the arcs to be satisfactory and enjoyable.
Art is decent, it’s not UFOtable amazing, but not terrible either. It’s consistently pretty decent and not “inconsistent” like some other shows. Nothing else to be said here.
Sound is decent as well, the opening and ending songs are quite good but take time to get used to. The background music, while not bad, is overused. You’ll know what I mean when you get halfway through the season.
With all that being said, Log Horizon is not a perfect show. For example, why does no one care about what’s happening to their bodies in the real world? You’ll find yourself asking this question as you watch the show. It’s almost as if the topic of what’s going on in the real world is completely forgotten. Also, some people may find that the interactions between the characters become quite repetitive, especially with Henrietta, who has a loli fetish for Akatsuki. Her interactions with Akatsuki are always of the same manner and it gets boring very quickly. It seems that Akatsuki’s character is reduced to mere loli humor later in the show.
On a side note, I really feel that it’s important to point out that Log Horizon is not a combat-heavy show. That in itself already distinguishes itself from other shounen shows. But what’s really important is how the show focuses on actual strategy and manipulating the rules within the game world that the characters live in. If Log Horizon’s story didn’t have these elements, I really believe that Log Horizon would not be an exciting show to watch, it would just be another okay show.
Log Horizon is not your typical show. It has firm grounded roots of realism in a world of fantasy that is genuinely exciting to watch. From diverse characters, to bending the rules in a world most of us are accustomed to, Log Horizon is a good show and is worth your time. With that being said, it is by no means a perfect show. It’s a rather simple show in terms of concepts, as well as having plot holes in the overall story. But Log Horizon more than makes up for it in terms of its pure enjoyability (isn’t that why we watch anime in the first place?) and execution of its story.
I can imagine anyone familiar with Sword Art Online doing a double take at this point, obviously comparing the two anime, itching to see how one holds up against the other. SAO lovers and haters alike will travel down this line of thought. To be honest, I was and is one of the latter. Infact, I went into the series hoping to find all I missed in SAO after reading some assuring extracts that put this above Sword Art Online. And it did deliver.
I should mention, however, that this anime is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re not the type to sit down and enjoy a dialogue heavy show such as this, the anime will most certainly come off as dry and boring. To be fair, if you’re on the extreme end of dialogue-heavy fanaticism, the end-result won’t vary. Log Horizon is the kind of anime that sits on the neutral ground – its dialogue heavy, but the concepts are not overly complex, thought provoking or riddled with worldly wise philosophies.
That is not to say the show is not intelligent, but nonetheless, if you take the word of Log Horizon fans(a.k.a SAO haters) that judge the show as the intellectual’s SAO, then you’ll end up sorely let down. Because, at the end of the day, Log Horizon is still a kids show that shows no shame in shying away from the more ugly facets of the scenario, and the devious schemes that characters keep praising as something phenomenal are rather elementary.
Not that its a bad thing, the anime itself doesn’t go out of its way to show its characters as human super computers or anything. We just get a normal gamer guy with above average intelligence, and one who actually does his homework to get things done. Seeing he’s surrounded by other normal people and AI, it might even be a good thing. The situations themselves doesn’t call for anything more than some rudimentary marketing and administrative tactics and strategies.
The story is in any case, fairly well executed and implemented; you won’t find the characters doing utterly pointless actions or going on completely fruitless endeavours. Although, like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover, because first arc of Log Horizon can mislead you on the show’s main focus. Without spoiling too much, they first go on a rescue mission and the short arc serves as an exposition of sorts to give us a gist of the combat and gameplay mechanics, which while not a central theme, does get some focus later on in the series. Even so, combat is not heavy in Log Horizon. When there is action, it mostly relies on tactics and strategy. There is no one-man show where the mc’s love overrides the game mechanics or anything. But, if you forget the two arcs where action is important – Log Horizon is about economics and politics at its core.
One significant factor that differentiates Log Horizon from its thematic predecessors like SAO and .hack series is that death in the game does not equate to death in real life. That is, the players can respawn infinitely. It is not without consequence though, as there is something even more terrible than death that await the players who carelessly let their HP bars easily chip away to zero. Oops, I said too much. Maybe you should go watch the anime, because I won’t be dropping any more spoilers.
Now, onto the sound. The OST at first didn’t at all sit well with me. It was sharply contrasting to the shows feel and theme. However, slowly but surely, I ended up loving it and started humming along. I can’t honestly speak in-depth about the back-ground score…But they were certainly mood building, though I have my doubts about whether they went overboard with it. Some of the mood-building has gone to water and left me with a facepalm because the epic moments were made epic only because of the soundtracks. Without those, I wouldn’t have batted an eye at the game winning strategies the characters employed and would have wrote them off as common sense. Meanwhile, the ending has already found a place in my favorites. Never skipped it, infact, I’m listening to it as I’m typing.
The art was quite mediocre. Nothing to speak of. Its not too bad and its not too good. I felt that it didn’t quite feel like a game for most part. But you really can’t complain, for all we know, they may not even be stuck in a game per se. The character designs were pretty generic and all of anime’s usual motifs are used. I particularly liked the mc’s design.
Characters of Log Horizon are not unique or spectacular in any sense. But they get their job done, and the mc is a wits above fists guy for once, and he’s good at it. There is also the charismatic guy who gets all the praise, but luckily, we see him as a side character for the better part of the show. Not really surprising given Log Horizon takes a radically different route than most mainstream shounen shows by focusing on the action behind the scenes far more than the frontline adventures.
I have noticed the characters getting blamed for reacting too calmly towards their predicament and this is one of those criticisms I don’t understand. If you came across such a criticism, take my word – that is baseless. Completely baseless.
One character I was thoroughly disappointed with was the loli assassin, Akatsuki. I actually had high hopes for her. But much to my dismay, her potential as a character was left untapped in terms of both execution and elucidation. I certainly won’t condemn her character for development as she seemed to be wallowing in sadness because of her inability to be of sufficient use, and even more her because of her being unable to empathize with the mc towards the end. She still has a lot of potential for development, especially in the light of next season coming shortly. No, my problem is with her lack of chemistry with the mc. The same slap-stick jokes with the show’s resident pervert can get old really easily, and the whole cosplay facade she uses to interact with Shiroe doesn’t help either. Heck, Shiroe himself thinks her antics are nothing more than cosplaying when her personal monologues shows that she is invested in Shiroe on a more than superficial level. If there was some backstory for such an introverted personality, then I could have let it slip. But sadly, nothing of that sort came up. I’m hoping that the next season will take some time to flesh out her character, seeing she’s the main female lead.
Rest of the characters were great for the duration of the show and we can hope that they will play more important roles in the upcoming sequel. Some of the secondary cast got a lot more development than the main cast, both a positive and negative point in my books.
Another weakness in its character department comes from overuse of certain gags. Shiroe adjusting his glasses when thinking making everyone go ‘Ooohh the villain in glasses’, Henrietta’s obsession with dressing up lolis, Naotsugu’s openly showing perverted tendencies only to get interrupted halfway by wrathful Akatsuki etc being only some of the examples. While this is not uncommon or ineffective, too much of these can be frustrating.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this anime is not for everyone. For those who like dialogue heavy anime that is not dark or depressing, with some light slapstick comedy thrown in for good measure – this is exactly what you’re looking for.
As a last note, I must warn anyone who has been pushed onto taking up this anime by SAO haters – Granted, its different from SAO and does decidedly better than SAO on the story department, particularly the pacing. But its not the masterpiece that many of them paint it to be. Log Horizon is a little above the average shounen, however, its still an anime with flaws that cannot be overlooked. My own overall score is a result of the kind of entertainment I derived and not at all reflecting of the show’s quality from an objective standpoint.
A year later we have Log Horizon; an MMO inspired anime that has the same scenario as the show above with only a few minor iterations here and there. Now before I begin, this won’t be a piece where I start to compare or contrast both Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, as many people, unfortunately, seem to be inclined to do so. Whether I think Sword Art Online was good or bad should not be a factor on how I feel about Log Horizon in particular. Judging a show by its own merits without any outside influence of another show should be the number one key in critiquing any work. With that said, does Log Horizon hold out on its own?
One thing to realize about the plot is the tone of the setting and how it feels very lighthearted despite the dire situation that all of the characters are in. As far as the characters know, they have no way of getting out of the game. Many have criticized this aspect as being somewhat unrealistic in how real people would react to something of this magnitude. It might be an understandable critique to offer, at first. However, as the show goes on it feels fitting based on the nature of how the characters think about how they live and survive in the virtual environment. For however long they’ve been trapped in the game for years on end, at least based on their confusing logic, that virtual world becomes their world and get used to it by then. It also helps to the show’s credit that they don’t ever show us the real world at all and keeps it a mystery as to how things are going to make the situation from the characters’ perspective feel more apparent to the audience.
While this might be one of the stronger points of the show, the story itself in how it is paced and told isn’t nail-bitingly intuitive or well thought out. The premise isn’t that complicated, to begin with, as we’ve been shown before, but Log Horizon seems to think that if they throw in multiple sub-plots into the mix to make it sound complex, it’ll succeed. Unfortunately, those sub-plots I’d mentioned don’t amount to anything special in the long run and aren’t even that memorable because of it. Not only that, but that lack of memorability stems from the fact that all of these political and social constructs that Log Horizon’s world possesses aren’t written clear enough, other than the fact that they’re there to establish some basis for our protagonists to go somewhere. This comes into perspective with how many characters there are to follow in Log Horizon, but I’ll get to that later. The problems with the world-building might be more apparent after knowing that the original creator, Mamare Touno, was responsible for the creation of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which also had the same problems in its adaptation that can be compared to this one. These sorts of issues are prevalent in adaptations in this type of scale, but that can’t be an excuse at this point.
Though the massive cast of characters might seem like a huge negative, the way I put it, that shouldn’t mean that all of them are mediocre. The main cast of characters that are prominent throughout the show is exceptionally likable and hilarious to watch due to their numerous escapades with each other. It helps tremendously how they all have their unique characteristics that improve the nature of every one of them, rather than making them all generic and uninteresting. The same thing can’t be said for the side characters, regrettably so. With our main cast being Shiroe, Nyanta-nyan, Akatsuki, and Naotsugu, there’s this decent sense of chemistry between these four characters that is ultimately lacking for our side/supporting cast. All of their archetypes mostly consist of them having a trait that tries to make them distinct, such as Henrietta having an obsession with cute things like Akatsuki, and Serara, who has a habit of wanting to clean things to calm down. At first, it’s humorous, but after a while it becomes redundant, and it doesn’t make them any more meaningful.
In an action anime centered around the MMO systems, it would make sense to make the anime feel like you’re really in an MMO game from the gritty details of cool-downs, being a tank, healing your party members equally, and conjuring status effects at the right time. I, myself, am one of these people who enjoy these types of games and, to me, Log Horizon is probably the only one that gets it right. Usually something like this would steer off into brainless shounen show cliches, and there are a few here and there. Amazingly, Log Horizon gets the idea of taking its time for the characters to strategize their movements and actions rather than just blindly fighting off monsters without any thought in the world. That might make it seem too slow or methodical to enjoy watching, but in reality, they do a good job in the pacing of these fight scenes and keeping the action flowing seamlessly to give us a clear picture of what’s going on.
The art style can be construed as good, just not excellent in quality. The character designs themselves are very plain and ordinary enough for me even to consider them a triumphant success in artistic merit, but we come to expect that, and for what it’s worth, it handles it decently to where they don’t seem to cut any visible corners in the later episodes. As I’ve mentioned about the action being fast and flawlessly executed, the animation is a big part of why those are the case. The fluid character movements feel nice and kinetic to the spells that are cast and look pretty good as a result.
Voice talents range from relatively unknown voice actors to the familiar ones we’ve grown to be fans of giving their artistic liberties to full effect with Log Horizon. Emiri Kato as Akatsuki is devilishly cute and her being a fellow MMO fan sort of gives her performance an exciting spin. Even though Henrietta wasn’t that special as a character, Ayahi Takabaki manages to pull off the mature woman voice well and gives her voice some new territory for her to explore for her vocal talents rather than more boyish female characters. Takuma Terashima proves himself worthy of being the main protagonist of a show, and I hope to see him do more shortly. Not to mention, I could listen to Jouji Nakata say anything with the word “nyaa” at the end of his sentences and never get tired of it.
For some of us who are fans of the MMO genre, Log Horizon should be the one show to be doing it right, and while it does handle the actual MMO aspects brilliantly, the real narrative and storytelling sets itself down from being great. I do appreciate the amount of depth it tries to convey that wants us to feel attached to the world, yet I can’t help but wonder if that could’ve been done to better effect had it made the narrative more tightly constructive and less cluttered. The saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” sums up Log Horizon perfectly. Only when the eventual sequel comes out, we will know if the journey will be worthwhile enough to experience its next climax.
2: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
English: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Japanese: マギ The labyrinth of magic
MAL Score: 8.04
Dispersed around the world, there are several bizarre labyrinths hiding incredible treasures within them. These mysterious places, known as “Dungeons,” are said to be the work of Magi, a class of rare magicians, who also help people build their empires by guiding them to a dungeon. Djinns, supernatural beings that rule over the labyrinths, grant successful conquerors access to their immense power and choose them as potential king candidates to rule the world.
Having spent life in isolation, Aladdin, a kind and young magician, is eager to explore the world upon finally leaving his home behind. He begins his journey only accompanied by his mentor Ugo—a djinn that Aladdin can summon with his flute. However, Aladdin soon becomes friends with the courageous Alibaba Saluja after causing the destruction of a local merchant’s supply cart. In order to pay for the damages, Alibaba suggests that they attempt to conquer the nearest dungeon, taking the first step in an epic adventure that will decide the fate of the world itself.
Thankfully, Magi does this.
Story: (9/10) With a setting based on Arabian Nights, you can expect (or at least hope for), a gripping narrative. Thankfully, Magi is structured so that the focus on the two main protagonists (Alibaba and Aladdin) is well orchestrated, and has a unique vibe to it. Through this, the story can become very dark and gripping, while not losing the narrative. What differentiates this from other shounen is the political aspect. As a king, you must reign. But how will you do it? Through this question the different nations and factions can interact in a believable environment, without it ever feeling like the author is asking you to pretend they would do that.
Art: (8/10) Most shounens typically fall under long broadcasting widths. While this allows for a developed story, the art tends to suffer long-term. Thankfully the animators have cut the show into a one season arc, while providing room to adapt more chapters if need be. For this reason, the art is well developed. Backgrounds are detailed and varied, with character models being round and developed. There are few jagged edges apparent, which helps realism. The battle scenes don’t suffer with still shots (too much), and motion does not degrade the animation. It stays fluid throughout, with the exception of the comedy scenes. Through these, the show takes a different animation style. While humorous in a way, it detracts from the overall value. I don’t see the joke through their expressions, but rather, through the goofy way they’re drawn.
Sound: (9/10) One of Magi’s strong points. Both openings provide a gateway into Arabia, with a melody and vocalist that resemble the middle eastern style. It opens the door to the show, making the transition to background music worthwhile. With this, you experience a variety of festival soundtracks, battle hymns, and adventure tunes. The depth and well execution of sound makes for a more enjoyable watch. This is followed by the endings which slightly devalue the soundtrack. While not bad, they don’t carry the show to the end. Had they been chosen better, the desire to continue watching would have been more apparent.
Characters: (10/10) The characters in a show must be well rounded for the plot to work. No matter how great a set piece, it won’t work without strong protagonists. And Magi delivers. Alibabba is a naive individual with to much idealism. This pushes the plot forward. Aladdin is a childish yet strangely deep character. His character shifts add emotion to the story. Morgiana is the strong, shackled female who can offer great moments through her actions. This trio has a well-blended bond that works. Their conversations kept me through the show, eager to see how they will handle future situations. The background characters, of which there are to many to name, are stunning. They have unique personalities, and offer believable lines that push the narrative further. Each new individual can hold their own as a main character, and you can care for each one of them. They’re so developed you almost want to root for the bad guy.
Enjoyment (9/10) I spent a week watching this show to prepare for the second season. After finishing, I was impatient waiting for season 2. This show was well worth the time put in, and will absolutely have a lasting effect on your view of how a shounen should be.
Overall: (9/10) Magi is a show that should be watched, for it offers a well developed plot that’s backed by great sound, art, and characters. For those into shounen, this’ll be a guaranteed favorite. For those wanting to get into the genre, it’s a good starting point. And for those opposed of the genre, you’re missing out.
Magi (also known as Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic as its full title) is a manga written by Shinobu Ohtaka. The series takes place in an universe that has has desert artwork scattered all around. As such, its theme relates to the classical One Thousand and One Nights and its collections. It feels like a classic honestly with its settings and atmosphere. From the beginning, we quickly meet all three of the main protagonists in the series. It doesn’t take long for the action and drama to pick up its pace as in the first few episodes already explores some of the cruelty (such as slavery), the dungeons, and monstrosity that exists in the Magi universe.
The series is packed with both a lighthearted and action style mood as the episodes progresses. One of the things that we see is the interesting and bro-like relationship between the two main characters – Aladdin and Alibaba. Although not related, they have a close bond and a brotherly relationship in which the two often looks out after one another. The two travels together in their quests and adventures . It’s a fantasy adventure that gives off that old school like feeling as they explore the world of Magi.
Although not one-hundred percent compatible, the duo has similar personalities. Both Aladdin and Alibaba shares a personality of wanting to explore the world as well as having an initiative to help others in need. They put others above themselves and always constantly looks after each others’ well being. The relationship between the two is very fun to watch given their lighthearted interactions and how they conquer obstacles along the way. Additionally, the duo are very loyal and seeks ways to form bonds with others whether through words or their actions.
However, this doesn’t always last.
For some reason, the series breaks off its trials for a bit later on. The two goes off of their directions and seemingly begins their own tales. From there on, the duo seems to become independent of their own journeys as they explore their own worlds. It seems to be more character focused rather than a story by this point and things start to slow down. Additionally, what continues on seems to have little influence on the duo’s journey and adventures. That and the fact in which their adventures gets off its tracks with no intertwined effect on one another seems to make a few frown on some die hard fans’ faces.
Luckily, there’s still another character that brings on entertainment to Magi. Her name is Morgania and she’s one tough girl with an even tougher childhood.
Joining the duo later on, Morgania (Mor) is a young 14 years old girl who always had a tough childhood. Forced into slavery and with little freedom, we see her struggles in the world of Magi. Prior to her liberation, her personality exists opposite of the dynamic duo that we are already familiar with. Her cold personality reflects on the cruelty of what she already been through. It makes us feel sorry for her as a child and how she came to be. Yet, later on, we do see more of her caring side. In fact, Morgania even begins risking her own life to protect others in need and putting herself above others. It’s proven that Morgania has forged a strong friendship with Alibaba and Aladdin and they are possibly the most important people in her life.
Other characters in the series also has a way of setting themselves from the others. Most of their names (including the main protagonists) are based off One Thousand and One Nights along with some of its settings and themes. There are the many tribes with their leaders and prominent members such as Sinbad and Judal. They play their roles and given their status and power are considered respected as well as feared throughout the Magi world.
The magic part of the series also takes in every episode of course. The magic theme of the series involves the power of the djinns that comes along from the users’ metal vessels. Other terms related to magic include rukh, magoi, dungeon capturer, and magi itself. It’s hard to say that these themes all tie together well by they do go hand in hand. In fact, most of Magi has a desert like setting unlike our modern civilization with fancy cars, technology, and architecture. As a matter of fact, it’s portrayed in that fantasy like setting with its old school like backgrounds.
As magi is considered the title, it is also considered a respectful term known by its name. We clearly know and see that Aladdin is a magi with his powers of being able to summon Ugo, a blue muscular like familiar that fights on his behalf. Yet at the same time, it seems that Aladdin also lacks the precise knowledge of how to perfect his skills especially later on against an antagonist. It is by this time we know that there is so much mystery that meets the eye of being what a magi is all about. Yet, with the help of his dear friends, Aladdin may unlock those mysteries.
The series’ action is portrayed as being part of the shounen style. It involves the characters powering up, making speeches in the middle of fights, and trying to show off what they can do. To be honest, it is quite generic and some of the same cliched action scenes are forced in many ways. For example, the battle between Aladdin and another fellow magi later on starts one-sided. Yet later on, it turns around the tide and has our main protagonist Aladdin do “what is right and stop him”. The action also seems to be forced as well such as the powering up and dynamic entrances from some of the characters. Whether entering in or exiting out, it seems to be forced and lacks true action.
The artwork design of the series is natural and sophisticated. Because it is based off One Thousand and One Nights and some of its themes, we can expect the desert like settings and their sequences employed further with the usage of magic. Most if not all of the characters are dressed in ways that are old fashioned and suited to the Sahara like backgrounds. The forest, desert, and architecture adapts an old school style that is natural and straight to the point. It doesn’t try to stand out above the others in the artwork development. In fact, its visuals are focused and fluid that fits with each other.
In terms of soundtrack, Hiromi Kikuta (Black Rock Shooter, Scrapped Princess) employs his skills in orchestrating the OST. Some of the soundtracks has that classic Arabian rhythms while other times pulls its course together with its full throttle pacing. This is especially true during scenes involving based chased at night time or when there are crucial moments of conflict. Shiro Sagisu does a similar job with his music as well with its appealing scores. The opening song, “V.I.P” by SID catches the viewers’ attention with the way it is orchestrated by presenting the montage of its characters as well as some of the action going on. Oh and let’s not forget about the all-star cast coming together. Although generic, it is appealing and classic.
All in all, Magi is a classic. It is a fantasy adventure that brings back the old school feeling with its cast of characters, its themes, style, story telling, and visual artworks. The division of the duo in later episodes may catch viewers off balance but it can still be appealing when we see more of the character backgrounds of our heroes. The trio in fact becomes a pivotal point in the series as they explore the world they never thought would come across. With magic, they can do almost anything but with friends and what they believe in, they become the next big thing. Whether Magi is the next big thing is hard to say but the adventure of Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgania has come a long way.
Story/Setting/Combat depth – Ok, so i´m not only reviewing the story and world here but the combat depth too, because i think that it´s an important part on any battle anime.
The story is set in an alternate recreation of the ancient Old World with several regions and nations having some resemblances with real-life counterparts from that time. In this world, all living beings possess an essence known as Rukh and when they die, this essence returns to the huge flow (also known as “guidance”) of Rukh that gives life to all subsequent beings in an eternal cycle of rebirth called “Fate”. Once a person is overcome with sadness, anger and hopelessness, their Rukh turns into a corrupted, unstable, black-colored Rukh that deviates from the main guidance in a process known as “Fall into Depravity”.
There are also several magic castles full of treasures and traps known as “Dungeons” and each of them is the lair of a powerful magic being, a Djinn. Individuals that manage to overcome the trials of a Dungeon and earn the allegiance of its Djinn are known as Dungeon Capturers, gaining the ability to use its powers infused in a personal item of them known as “Metal Vessel” and create less potent “Household Vessels” for their companions as well.
People can use the Rukh in their bodies to create an energy known as Magoi ( kinda like chakra in naruto ) to power their magical weapons and abilities. This energy must be used with care, as despite the fact that an individual’s magoi can be restored with feeding and rest, once fully exhausted it provokes their death. Among those that can perform magic with their own Magoi there is a rare class of magicians known as Magi, that can also use Magoi from the Rukh around them, greatly increasing their capabilities. A Magi usually chooses Dungeon Capturers to offer guidance and protection making of them their King Vessels. There are several nations in history that were founded or improved by the rule of such individuals.
So the story of magi starts out really simple but as the anime progresses it keeps evolving and adding important and nice stuff. This is the story about a young boy by the name of Aladdin and his adventures around the world of magi. Like many other series he becomes friends with many people, 2 of them are Alibaba and Morgiana, and so the 3 of them become the main characters.
The story is mostly about war between empires/countries. Where Aladdin enters in all this is that he is a magi, a beeing that acording to legends chooses his king to control the world. Throughout the story we learn that there is more than 1 magi and that they are not on the same side so that only means 1 thing, war. There is a dark organization too called the Al Thamen that are trying to screw up the world and that side up with the empire aladdin and his friends are fighting.
Easily the thing i like the most about magi, there is enough depth here to the point you have to google some definitions.
Most of the fodders use normal weapons without any special abilities, but the main weapon of all people here is Magoi, it works out like chakra from naruto, each person has their own reserve and only magi can use the magoi from the rukh around them.
There is the dungeon capturers too, people that successfully pass a dungeon can keep in their control the djinn of that dungeon. The djinn enters into a metal and the capturer can use that djinn´s power. For example, if a djinn´s ability is fire, that person can attack with fire. But that´s not only it, thats the basic. As time passes and you became better with your metal vessal you can use an ability called Djinn Equip, by using that your metal vessal turns into the djinn´s weapon and your ability ( fire in this case ) becomes even better. Djinn equip has diferent levels, at first you can only use the djinn´s weapon but later on you can even cover your whole body with armours and stuff. You can only maintain this ability as long as your magoi reserves let you. Oh and one more thing, if the Djinn capturer is a magi he can summon the djinn in battle ( this is exclusive of magis ).
Household Vessels are objects (weapons, jewelry, accessories, etc) that hold importance to the Household Members of a Dungeon Capturer. Like for example, if my djinn type is fire my household member will have an ability connected with fire. ( Household vessels are not as strong as the djinn equip ( exclusive to dungeon capturers)).
There is magicians too that can manipulate their rukh and create a type of magic ( healing, heat, water, gravity etc ), with that they can create many abilities.
Im only 25 episodes in ( 1st season ) and there is a ton of combat depth, im sure there is many many more things 🙂
Very colourful, there isn´t much to be said here.
Go to youtube and see for yourself.
Not good enough to deserve a better score, like always the japanese voices are great but there is a lack of better osts.
Aladdin – Like i said above, a young magi boy that is traveling the world and making many friends ( sorta like luffy ) he is your typical shounen protagonist which in my opinion is a bit to mainstream but whatever.
Alibaba – Aladdin´s friend and main character, he is a really great character and his personality develops really well and you learn about his backstory.
Morgiana – Aladdin´s friend and main character, she, like alibaba in terms of personality develops a lot too. She belongs to a tribe called Fanalis, Fanalis are a really strong type of tribe with power that can crush rocks.
All the other characters are really good in design but as not very much developed ( maybe because its only 25 episodes, i dont know ).
I can´t really say much more without spoiling it, it´s better if you watch.
1: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
English: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
Japanese: マギ The kingdom of magic
MAL Score: 8.25
After celebrating their victory against Al-Thamen, Aladdin and his friends depart the land of Sindria. With the end of the battle, however, comes the time for each of them to go their separate ways. Hakuryuu and Kougyoku are ordered to go back to their home country, the Kou Empire. Meanwhile Aladdin announces he needs to head for Magnostadt—a mysterious country ruled by magicians—to investigate the mysterious events occurring in this new kingdom and become more proficient in magic. For their part, encouraged by Aladdin’s words, Alibaba and Morgiana also set off in pursuit of their own goals: training and going to her homeland, respectively.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic follows these friends as they all go about their separate adventures, each facing their own challenges. However, a new threat begins to rise as a great war looms over the horizon…
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic has everything you look for in an anime. Pleasing sounds (not in a dirty way!), bright (pun intended) characters who develop nicely throughout the duration of the anime and beautiful art. The characters are interesting, have depth and will make you feel for them, so prepare for a little emotional tug! A little bit of humour helps compliment the slower aspects of the story, and ensures theres never a dull moment – however, if you lack a funny bone you may find an early episode here and there a tad slow. But don’t stop, because things get fast, fascinating and ferocious and before you know it you’ll be looking at the screen like it’s the last piece of chocolate cake on earth…What? You don’t like chocolate cake? What’s wrong with you!?
Now. You may be thinking, “Great! Time to go watch!” But wait. I promise I won’t overwhelm you with 2,000 words of ramble. But there is a little more you should know…
Firstly, don’t be retarded like me and at least be aware of the prequel, ‘Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic’ before you start. I was not, and felt really overwhelmed at the beginning of the anime, with thoughts running through my head such as, “wow, whoever wrote this expects us to understand this new world instantly”, “So. Many. New. Characters” and my personal favourite thought, “I’m not quite sure what’s happening right now…but it’s cool!” Long story short, maybe watch the prequel first…but I didn’t so I can’t really talk. If you choose not to don’t worry, you will catch on and you will still love this anime, as I did.
Secondly, have faith in the plot! I was wondering how a meaningful ending was going to ensure around the episode 12 mark, but just know you won’t be disappointed and that things ramp up fast! That’s not to say the first episodes were meaningless or unrelated, so don’t skip them or you may be confuzzled.
Lastly, why are you still here! Go watch it. Now! (And thank you very much for reading my review, I know it’s a bit out there but I wanted to make it fun!)
Both Magi Season tell a great story that can bring you to tears of happiness and tears of feels that strike you right in the heart.
As always, the art and animation was amazing! Story was overall beautifully done.
Even though, this season was mainly focused on Aladdin, I do wish to see Morgiana & Alibaba’s training and what happened to them when Aladdin was in Magnoshuttat.
I really hope they make a season 3! This anime series is truly something that I would recommend anyone to watch. The Fan service is mainly based on comedy. So for those who don’t really like fan service in anime, I really do recommend this anime! Great story, wonderful character designs, amazing fighting scenes, hilarious moments, this anime has everything in one!
Kingdom of Magic had a better story than Labyrinth of Magic in my opinion. Labyrinth of Magic had an arc-based storyline where it was established by definitive arcs (the order being the beginning arc, separation, Balbadd, Sindria, and Zagan) that had some connection to each other, but were mostly standalone. There was some progression from one to the next (characters and character development), but overall there was a disconnect.
Kingdom of Magic, on the other hand, has an overarching story that isn’t as clearly defined by arcs, so it’s much harder to tell where they end and begin. Or, from the manga standpoint, Kingdom of Magic covers the Magnostadt arc (which is one really long arc) as well as all the mini-arcs leading up to it.
Similarly to Labyrinth of Magic, this show starts off fairly lighthearted, but soon takes a turn for the darker. However, this show got much darker than Labyrinth of Magic did, and I was surprised at the degree to which it did get dark. We’re introduced to a corrupt government, the struggle to want to be human, what the concept of humanity really means, and many more ideas.
So when I started Kingdom of Magic, I was expecting the same type of narrative as the first season, but I was pleasantly surprised by how seriously the show took itself and how much worldbuilding was established.
This show also introduced the concept of Djinn Equip (which was only barely introduced in the first season), which essentially lets people with Metal Vessels undergo a magical girl-type transformation where their hair, clothes, and weapons are upgraded for a limited time. I thought that it was awesome to see the characters basically get ubered-up to fight large-scale battles, which actually served more of a purpose in the story than just for the sake of showing the audience epic battle sequences.
The only real problem I have with the story was that, with so many characters, not enough time was given to explain what each of the characters were doing while separated from each other. Aladdin’s story was explained in depth, but the same luxury was not given to Alibaba or Morgiana. Alibaba at least got two episodes detailing what he was doing, but I still would’ve liked to see him studying, fighting, or learning to use his Djinn Equip. And Morgiana? We get about two-thirds of an episode describing her adventures and we’re left with a lot of questions about what happened. I was hoping for at least a brief summary, but we get nothing. I was under the assumption that the manga went more into detail, but it unfortunately doesn’t. We may never know……
Another minor issue I have with the story is the comic relief. I felt that a lot of times it was rather a moodkiller. It made me rather uncomfortable to be watching a serious part of the show and then suddenly cheap jokes were cracked. It wasn’t totally irredeemable (in the manga, the chibis are much funnier), but it wasn’t exactly pleasant to watch either.
One of the things I especially liked about the story, however, is that the show opens with a scene from one of the final episodes completely out of context. It leads you to make an assumption about where the characters are going to go, but once you actually get to that scene in order, you realize that you were dead wrong. I think that was a nice choice of placement, since I personally was wondering what was going to come out of that confusing scene for practically the whole show.
The colors are bright and lively, the character designs are stunningly detailed, the animation is on point, and there’s subtle CGI at a couple of points. Nothing majorly bad happening, though the budget got slashed toward the end, leading to some fights not being as awesome as they could have been.
No complaints here. The OP’s were good, and the second one especially is awesome, though both also had amazing sequences.
The ED’s are another story though. Not only were the sequences awesome and tear-inducing, the songs themselves were really good. The first ED carried a kind of nostalgic tone to it, amplified by the montage of stills from the first season. The second ED started off echoey and dark, and while I didn’t like it as much when it kicked up into a strong beat, it’s still my favorite of the ED’s.
The only thing I would give as far as an issue is that sometimes the background music was kind of quiet, which is a bit of a shame since it’s so awesome, particularly the battle theme, which is my personal favorite.
On the voice acting end, this season had not yet received a dub when I watched it, so I watched it subbed, complete with Netflix’s garbage subtitles. I’m not that good a judge of Japanese voice acting, but I didn’t notice any big problems going on. I loved Yuki Kaji’s performance as Alibaba, and I think he does a great job no matter which character he’s voicing, so I think he was the standout for me.
Since I originally wrote this review, I have had a chance to check out the dub of some of the later episodes. While I like the voice acting and casting choices for the most part, I have two big problems with it.
My first big problem with the dub (and something that was in the first season too) is Vic Mignogna and Todd Haberkorn being literally every single background character. This wouldn’t be so bad if they both weren’t already cast as secondary characters (Ka Kobun and Judar respectively), but on top of that they both have very recognizable voices.
My second big problem is “Teetus.” I get that’s how they pronounced Titus’s name in the Japanese, but honestly, since when do dubs follow the exact pronounciation of every name (Free! dub, I’m looking at “Reen”). And on that note, the same criticism could be applied to the dub’s pronounciation of “Magi.”
The characters were awesome this season. When the show took a turn for the darker, the characters developed and changed along with it, and I really liked it. There was a lot of development happening (particularly among the new characters) and it was handled well considering the vast amount of characters in Magi.
Aladdin especially changed a lot through the show, and we get to see more of his backstory as well as what’s happening to him at the time the show takes place.
One of the problems I did have was that since this season introduced so many new characters, a lot of the characters from Labyrinth of Magic took a backseat. It’s a nice thing to hand over the spotlight to some of the newcomers, but I felt kind of underwhelmed since a lot of characters with a large presence (such as Sinbad) didn’t appear as much as they should have. Not that I’m particularly mad about it though, since I loved Titus and Sphintus and the other new characters. But this problem is also due to the fact that Magi has a ton of characters interacting and developing simultaneously, so some of the older characters have to step back a bit.
Another problem is that since some of the older characters get less screentime due to the new characters, a lot of development seemingly takes place offscreen. I already mentioned this with Alibaba and Morgiana, and it’s even more apparent with Hakuryuu. He isn’t present for a large chunk of the show, and when he does reappear, he’s changed a lot and it isn’t explained. I was left painfully in the dark, so I can only hope this is less vague with the manga.
Once again, the problems are due to the short amount of episodes and are therefore pretty much unavoidable.
Overall I really liked a lot of the new characters, and they made me feel for them, and cry over them when it came to that.
I marathoned this show in two days because Netflix had just put the whole show up, and I had already seen Labyrinth of Magic, so I was able to speed through Kingdom of Magic really quickly. It kept me glued the whole way through, and I definitely shed many tears in the episodes leading up to the ending, as well as the ending itself.
While I did have issues with the moodkilling comic relief moments and the dub, the discomfort it caused me wasn’t enough to impact my overall enjoyment.
Some issues and hanging questions, mostly due to the constraint of 25 episodes, but even accounting for those it’s a really solid show and impressed me time and time again with the depth of the narrative, the dynamic and varied characters, and the awesome animation.
So if you’re still reading this and you haven’t seen Labyrinth of Magic, go watch it, and then watch Kingdom of Magic. Magi is overall a really solid and important show that not enough people seem to watch, which is a shame since it’s so good. Now all we need is a third season.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
2. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
3. Log Horizon
4. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (TV)
5. Fairy Tail
6. Suisei no Gargantia
7. Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi
8. Gatchaman Crowds
9. Pokemon XY
10. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha