They’re the best Anime that 1995 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Tenchi Muyou!, Magic Knight Rayearth, Marmalade Boy, and more!
10: Tenchi Muyou!
MAL Score: 7.43
Tenchi Masaki’s life changes forever when the ship of an infamous space pirate, Ryouko Hakubi, is shot down and crashes near his family’s temple. Little did Tenchi know that by saving Ryouko, he would spark a series of events that would lead alien women from all walks of life to inhabit his home. This includes the delicate Princess Aeka of Jurai and her playful younger sister Princess Sasami; the scatterbrained first-class detective Mihoshi Kuramitsu and her more capable partner Kiyone Makibi; and the eccentric, mad scientist Washuu Hakubi.
The six women do their best to adapt to their new lives, but their more advanced and exotic lifestyle does not mesh well with the simplistic customs on Earth. As a result, they just end up making a mess and causing trouble for poor Tenchi. Though the girls are a pain, Tenchi begins to form a close relationship with each of them, and through their bond, he begins to gain a better understanding of his role in the universe.
The story is similar to the first series: progressive events cause an assemblage of characters, mishaps create subplots, a threatening antagonist later appears and the group pits to stop them. The artwork is less shaded and the animation isn’t as fluid but it all still looks good. Audio is backed with a library of different music, spot-on sound effects and believably acted voices. Bolder content, like nudity, swearing and sexual references, is a lot more minimal.
One of the best points about Tenchi Universe is how nicely it transitions. Viewers don’t get stuck with empty fillers; there is always something going on whether or not the story has picked up. As a result, fans of the OVA, and fans of harems in general, should enjoy this series.
Especially given that everyone and their dog’s probably seen Tenchi Muyo (Universe/TV aka the one who’s page you’re on). I’m also an unashamed fan. It’s not a stretch to say that Tenchi is what got me into anime along with Outlaw Star on the legendary Toonami block a few yonks and a half back now.
Tenchi isn’t just a harem anime. It’s not going too far in my mind to say it is THE harem anime. A fantastic rom-com with some well placed scifi action and a nice bit of world building here and there, Tenchi has managed to create a fantastic cast of characters with unique personalities and character design (following the silhouette rule of character design, that is, in silhouette, as many characters as humanly possible should be immediately identifiable or recognizable. It’s also a trope setter for a lot of things we commonly see now, and it’s not unfair to level a fair amount of blame for the scourge of super cute mascot characters we see these days on Sasami and Ryo-Ohki.
I’m not going to go into depth on this review. Suffice to say, it’s worth your time. Enjoy.
9: Magic Knight Rayearth
English: Magic Knight Rayearth
MAL Score: 7.46
Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji are strangers brought together by fate when they meet during a seemingly normal field trip to Tokyo Tower. Accompanied by a great flash of light, they hear a mysterious woman’s plea to save “Cephiro,” and the junior high heroines are suddenly swept away by a giant flying fish. Afterwards, they arrive in an unknown land, where they encounter a man called Master Mage Clef.
Clef informs the girls that they were summoned by Princess Emeraude to fulfill their destinies as Magic Knights, restoring peace and balance in Cephiro. The formerly lively and peaceful land has been in disarray ever since High Priest Zagato imprisoned the princess, who acted as Cephiro’s pillar of stability. The Magic Knights reluctantly accept Clef’s words as truth and embark on a journey to save Cephiro from the clutches of evil.
Basically we follow three high school girls who get sucked in an alternate dimension, and need to defeat the main enemy oppressing the land, and thus make it home in one peace. Its pretty straight forward in that regards, but along the way they end up meeting endearing friends and allies that assist them in their mission(s). You will also be treated to nice little back stories on a majority of the main characters, and learn their strengths and weaknesses alike. There will also be little side quests that the girls have to go on, that steer way from the main plot in order to keep things a bit more fresh and preventing it from growing stale. The plot twists that happen are pretty surprising as well, both with the over all storyline as well as with the characters, but I won’t say what because I don’t wanna spoil it for ya. The ending, while not truly epic or anything like that, is a most satisfying experience. The action scenes are also pretty nice, very fluid and thought out, even if it may show a bit of repetitious during some of it. However it is not all without its flaws; the most frustrating thing I found with the story is that it tended introduce one too many fillers at some points, and at those times I just wanted them to get on with it already! They also implemented a bit too many characters for this number of episodes, some of the villians we never really got to know much about, and seemed to be their only to keep the cast number large. Wasn’t that bad and they worked out a majority of the character’s story sequences as much as possibly could. So while it does have a few fillers and may tend to drag on a bit. It has great character interactions, moving moments and good action scenes. I feel I should mention that although it does have a good number of combat and action scenes, it does play about 30% or more of the series in a somewhat more cutesy and comical approach. Nothing too major, but they are there.
As far as offensive material goes, there is some blood in this title. Now while a good portion of the episodes can get away without showing any of the red stuff. There still are a few scenes where the girls get stabbed and blood is dripping down from them, or running along their wound. It never really comes off as exaggerated, but is still there none the less.
Most people may frown when looking at the clarity of it today, but the colors and detailed background were truly at their best when this came out. Nothing ever feels truly over done with it, and does make you feel attached to the scenery. The character design is also pretty charming to look at, they each have a scenes of style and flare to where you can tell that Clamp (makers of it) really made an effort to give them a nice appeal. My only complaint with it was the facial expressions, they seemed a bit too stiff at times, and I sometimes found it hard to connect with what they were feeling during the appropriate moments.
Like the artwork, it does show its age as well. Most of it does match well with what is going on, and does have an ere to adventure and struggle, even though the only real main memorable background music plays during the battles, all else of it is pretty discrete and sparse. I loved the opening and closing to this, both are sung by the same singer and are played out like a high pitched kinda of bouncy magical girl beat. I can tell you now though, it certain won’t appeal to all, as some may find it a bit too cheesy and girly. Now regarding the voice actors, I think they did a pretty good job of giving the right girl the right role. While some voices may feel a bit over exaggerated, (especially regarding some of the villains) I think they pulled it off pretty well.
I really dug them, they each have a certain amount of depth and likeness to each. As the story progresses you get to know them more and more, along with what their greatest attribute is, as well as greatest fear. They compliment one another very believable-ly, and you really get a sense of the friendship they all share, as they struggle to make their way home! Nobody ever comes of as a pest or cliche, which really make you believe the story that it implements. Again I only felt that they added a tad too many people for its episode length.
Bottom Line: 8/10
Magic Knight Rayearth remains a good solid watch that should still appeal to a well rounded majority of anime fans out their, while it does contain a few filler style episodes and a few repetitive fight scenes, if you can get past that then you’ll be fine. It overall remains a fun and enjoyable little series that will satisfy you once it ends, all while leaving you with a sense of remorse because its over.
Please keep in mind that this review was regarding the first season of Magic Knight Rayearth, the second one is a whole new ball game, and I felt it just didn’t live up to the first one. Just so you are aware of which one I was speaking of.
When I say relying on their own natural fighting abilities I mean things such as Hikaru with Kendo, Umi with fencing, and Fuu with archery. It’s not like Sailor Moon where she is managing to avoid a fight until she finds an opening to use her signature move of the season. With Fushigi Yuugi, its girls are transported to another world and they are seen as the savior. But these girls in MKR are chosen to be warriors and not celestial priestesses and have to fight their enemies themselves with minimal help from time to time. As for Aura Battler Dunbine, it’d be a spoiler if I explain it to you but if you see at the every end of the opening credits, you’ll get an idea of what I mean.
In the end, with the way the story progresses, it’s as if you are watching an old school Japanese style RPG game.
The art is of course by Clamp, so you’ll be able to recognize the way they draw the size of the eyes and the distinctive style to them. The eyes are the only thing that just looks alike but the characters have good variety to their design such as their uniforms, shapes of their faces and bodies. But in terms of other factors like hair styles and what not, it’s typical what you see in other animes like natural colored blue hair and what not so that’s always been a basic acceptable standard in anime. Because the majority of this anime takes place in another world, it is at liberty to allow more types of fictional creatures like Innova with his ears and have wicked costumes like Caladina’s skimpy gypsy outfit and Zagato’s heavy armor. The armor and the costume designs are very captivating and the environment of Cefiro is really breath taking and something out of Final Fantasy almost with floating continents and more in a world of middle ages but with monsters and magic.
Of course like other magical girl animes a lot of recycled footage is used such as when they use their magical powers. Like every time Hikaru uses her flare arrow or something, it’s the same animation sequence with a red background and so on and so forth. But this was made in mid 1990s and a certain percentage of anime was like that and acceptable. But for those of you that more new into anime, this might annoy you more than it did with me because I got into this anime when it first came out. Then sometimes for humor’s sake, characters get miniaturized. I say this it to keep it appealing to the kids and to give it some humor. I can handle it, but for some people, they might find it annoying. Other than that, when they are not relying on magic to fight, the use of their natural fighting abilities plays out well and gives more exciting build up with the fights and makes it more enjoyable like that.
The music is very excellent and beautiful. The opening theme Yuzurenai Negai meaning an Unyielding Wish is one of my favorite opening songs of all time. I like how it builds up very slow in the first few seconds and then bam, it becomes more like rock and pop. It has a good sense of tempo and pacing and the lyrics are a great way of telling the overall theme of having a strong will and always stick to your dreams. In other language versions like the English and Tagalog versions, they try to keep the song faithful. I know the Sega Saturn version in English has a different tune to the song from the anime version though. The ending theme Asu He No Yuuki or the Courage to Tomorrow is more pop-ish but shares the same things in a more light hearted context.
The background music especially when the next episode recaps the previous is very intense because the situation of the show is presented that way. The music has a variety of ways of setting the atmosphere and tends to be more orchestral because of the setting in a more midevil world.
The voice acting in the Japanese version is perfect. I really love the cast. I like Ryotaro Okiayu as Innova. Just perfect. Same with Juurouta Kusogi as Zagato perfectly matches his look. The English voices on the other hand, not too great and is why some anime fans hate dubs. Personally, I thought the Saturn game’s dub cast was much superior and more faithful to the characterizations. Such as Hikaru being tomboyish and rowdy, Umi being formal, and Fuu being intelligent. The regular anime dub just didn’t cut it for me.
This anime is more universally appealing that other magical girl animes because of the action and story isn’t all that feminine in comparison to other predecessors. Before the anime and manga came out, there was the Saturn game that came out in late 1998. It was the last Saturn game to come to America. It comes with some great stickers and high quality box art. The game itself is like the old school Zelda games like Link to the past except you have control of 3 characters. The graphics are still excellent in terms of background but the game play style has the characters chibi-ized like in Zelda. It offers great challenges and the story itself still faithful to the original material, but offers an alternate story with more characters and development. It’s a high recommendation for Saturn owners. You’ll enjoy the anime for the characters, action, and unpredictable story.
Our narrative opens at Tokyo Tower where three different schools have all come on a field trip at the same time. That seems a bit convenient, but I’ll let it go because I honestly have no idea if that’s actually a thing that happens for Tokyo Tower. It is a famous landmark, maybe it’s a perfectly normal occurrence for multiple unrelated schools to visit at the same time. In a flash of light three girls, Fuu, Umi and Hikaru, appear in a strange world with floating stones. They meet a tiny man who calls himself Clef, the master mage. He tells the girls that to return to their world they have to revive the Rune Gods, become magic knights and save their land called Cephiro. Their princess and the pillar of their world, Emeraude, has been kidnapped by a villain called Zagato. But Clef’s exposition dump is interrupted by the arrival of Alcyone, one of Zagato’s minions. Clef buys time for them to escape, telling them to find Presea, a master blacksmith who will forge weapons for them. So, the girls set out on their quest to stop Zagato and save Cephiro.
Let’s start with the story issues. The biggest one involves a character death. I won’t spoil who dies, but I will say that at this point it’s been established that Fuu has healing magic and while this character is dying she doesn’t do a thing. Later, they tell you that she tried her healing spell off-screen after the events you see, but there’s still the problem of why she didn’t do it sooner. Why wait until this other character stopped talking and moving to try and help them? Was she worried that she’d interrupt their speech by acting while they were still talking? It just makes the magic knights seem pitifully slow to react and incompetent. The worst part is that there are two easy ways to fix it. Method one, Fuu gets knocked out in the battle and doesn’t wake up until it’s already over. Method two, the character in question dies instantly. No time for a death speech or for healing magic. Honestly, the fact that they have the scene and only explain quite a bit later that Fuu did anything at all just makes it look like the writers forgot she had the healing spell or didn’t think of having her use it at the actual critical moment, only realising they’d screwed up later on.
There are some more minor issues too. For example, the magic knights spend way too long fighting the same few minions. Zagato is shown as having five major underlings and more than half the series is spent with two of them. Which results in the other three having really rushed conflicts with the knights and most of them not getting much screen time or room for development. The story is also pretty predictable since it relies heavily on cliches, but it’s also intended for a pretty young audience so they’ll probably find the events somewhat surprising, at least.
So, what does the series do well narratively? Well, it is good at foreshadowing the events that are coming, which will give the intended audience a good head’s up and some sources of tension. The heroes journey element is also done fairly well with a nice, steady progression. The romance elements, though not exactly good, are better than what you’d expect from Clamp’s usual works. For one thing, only one of the girls gets a love interest, although the sequel might change that. For another thing, he is important to the plot and, in a rare move for Clamp, he’s not far too old for her nor is he related to her. Granted, that’s only a positive because Clamp is usually pretty pants at writing romance, but I’ll give them credit for writing one that isn’t gross or overly intrusive. I also do like that all three of our heroines do share the focus pretty evenly with all of them getting the spotlight at times, their own subplots and their own shining moments.
The characters are pretty mixed. Hikaru, Fuu and Umi do get a respectable level of development and are somewhat fleshed out. However, the side characters are pretty weak. The vast majority of them follow a very basic and common character type with nothing to distinguish them from any other character who follows that type. They aren’t terrible or offensively written but they also aren’t good or interesting. Even the love interest is just your typical charming rogue character. They try to make the villains sympathetic, but most of that just involves using the lazy “they’re doing it for love” excuse without putting any actual effort into making them the least bit compelling or three dimensional.
I won’t lie, the series does not look good. Yeah, it was made back when everything was hand drawn so it’s bound to be a bit dated by today’s standards, but even when comparing it to other anime that came out around the same time, or earlier, it looks pretty bad. I will grant that there are some interesting designs, both in terms of characters and environments, but the animation is choppy and there are a lot of really noticeable art errors, usually having to do with drawing faces.
Our main three are voiced by Shiina Hekiru (Hikaru), Yoshida Konami (Umi) and Kasahara Hiroko (Fuu). All of whom give competent performances, albeit not the best of their careers. You could say the same thing of the acting as a whole, it’s competent but not anything special. The music is… there. It’s not bad but it’s not really good either. It’s okay.
There’s a bit. The series does have a lot of moments where Hikaru, Umi and Fuu strengthen their relationship and some of those seem to go beyond the realm of friendship. Still, it’s obviously not deliberate and nothing comes of it. So, I’m calling the ho-yay factor a 3/10.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a pretty standard series. It has some things that are pretty well done and others that are pretty badly done, but most of it is in between the two. All in all, it’s average. If you’re curious about it then it won’t hurt you to check it out but you also won’t be missing anything if you skip it. My final rating is a 5/10. Next week we’ll continue the month with a look at Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto.
8: Marmalade Boy
English: Marmalade Boy
Japanese: ママレード ボーイ
MAL Score: 7.47
Miki Koishikawa is a high school student who enjoys a very simple life. However, her ordinary life is about to be turned upside down, and she may not be able to handle everything that is coming her way.
After a very “fun” holiday in Hawaii, her parents have decided to get a divorce. As if this wasn’t enough of a shock for the poor girl, she also discovers that they will soon be re-marrying and swapping partners with another couple who they met on holiday. In order to include Miki in this shocking turn of events, they ask her to give the new couple a chance, and set up a dinner date with everyone. Miki may have tried to be emotionally prepared for her new parents, but what she was not expecting was their handsome son Matsuura Yuu.
Miki develops an instant crush for Yuu. What starts off as a lovely friendship between them soon develops into romantic feelings which they are both finding hard to control. But more trouble is ahead in their relationship, as both Miki and Yuu have admirers of their own who are trying very hard to keep them separated.
About 2 years later, I took the plunge and decided to give an actual try…and I think it’s safe to say that I’m glad I did. Marmalade Boy is a classic shoujo series from the 90’s, and it’s influence is probably seen in just about every other shoujo manga ever since. There are love triangles galore, angst, hormones, crying, everything you’d expect from a show like this! But what makes MB stand out is the fact that it plays out like a Soap-Opera– In that it’s twist come at such fierce speed that you can’t help but go”Wait…what?”, and boy is like crack. MB turned out to be one of the most addicting animes that I’ve seen in quite some time, you can never really comprehend how or why the melodramatic ‘drama’ entices you so to keep on going.
Miki Koishikawa is your average highschool girl, aside from being rather at first embarrassed by her parents’ eccentric and illogical behavior by switching spouses from another couple, then all together moving into one big house, bringing daughter Miki and son(from the second couple of course) Yuu with them. Miki and Yuu soon fall in love together though, and their relationship is challenged and manipulated many times by jealous ex’s. There will not be a single moment where you don’t think”Why are some of these kids so damn selfish?”, but then you realize that that’s the point of MB in the first place. It’s about young men and women falling in love for the first time, and acting on their emotions, not logic. What makes MB work is that it’s so addicting in it’s own indulgent little way, but at the same time it shows an innocent and honest side to the human heart.
The animation and art can be an acquired taste– this is an anime from 1994, and it shows by rearing it’s low budget head pretty often, but it’s quite manageable once you get used to it. The ost also fares well, my only complaint regarding it is that they use/reuse/remix the main theme way too many times, making the song too tedious to listen to outside of watching. Regardless, I have to say that the final ending theme(“Yoake no Etude”) really complimented on the events of the final half.
While I may have have enjoyed it quite a bit, like all shoujo– It’s probably not for everyone, especially people who nitpick and complain about as many illogical fallacies they can find in a show. Because frankly, there will be too many to really even count. The best example would have to be the New York City arc that pops up during the 3rd quater of the anime. These kids will infuriate you, baffle you and annoy you at how stupid they can act by being so self-absorbed. But like I said earlier, MB continued to hold a charm that kept me from losing my composure. It may sound like it’s not even worth a shot, but in an odd way, it’s still worth plowing through.
MB really was a wild ride in the end, so much that after the final episode was complete, and the final credits rolled, I couldn’t help myself but feel saddened that I had to say goodbye to this cast of folk that I soon found myself attached to. And I’m confident to tell you guys that I thought the ending tightened up all the loose ends we wanted tightened by the end, so no annoying cliffhangers.
While the final arc can get pretty twisted, and the irrational behavior will baffle some people. I also believe that it’s fantastic as it still provides a lovable cast, and shows us a very sweet and sincere look at growing, learning and falling in love with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. With an open mind, and despite some of it’s issues with the wonky mindsets, MB is a very enjoyable watch for both women and men.
And certainly one that’ll go down in my books as one of my personal favorites.
The story was written by Wataru Yushizumi (Ultra Maniac belongs to her too).
The art is very nice, but the animation is actually not that good (an anime from 1995, what do you expect?) but you can live with that.
The OST of the anime is very good. In some ways it is very childish (the opening theme, for an example), but mature too (some songs).
Most of the melodies in the series are actually kind of karaoke of the songs. The voice actress of Miki, the main female character, sang many songs in the series.
The love story in the anime is very original and displayed to us, the watchers, by a point of view that makes us cry with the characters, laugh with them and even be angry and more. The events are very realistic, the characters and the relationships between them too.
The only bad thing in the series is that in some episodes the events are… not make sense. I won’t say what they are, but I am not the one who thought so…
With the series there is a 25 minutes movie, which is a a point of view of somebody else, that made you understand the things better. [though it is not existed in the manga XD]
Why did I love the anime? Because of the childish atmosphere, the point of view and the plot itself.
Well, I could say 1000 good things about it, but I will shut up. Go watch!
Fantastic Cast of Characters; has good humor; fascinating Relationships
Overused Themes; very predictable; unlikable lead character; a season too long
This one was quite the adventure. It took me a significant amount of time to complete this anime and for the most part I was fairly pleased. Spanning 76 Episodes, Marmalade Boy is your standard high school romance, with a twist. Our two main characters have two parents who switch spouses that force them to live together. This alone was an interesting concept.
There are many other strengths in this anime. For one is the wonderful cast in Marmalade Boy. Almost each and every one of the characters is memorable and have marvelous, fleshed out personalities. The cast is truly what makes Marmalade Boy special. Of course, with great characters, come the intricate relationships. Sprinkle the great character interaction, with an icing of great characters and a dash of humor; you’ve got yourself the recipe for success.
Although, as the series progressed the story seemed to run out of fuel, as Marmalade Boy is clearly a season too long, as the same themes keep bring revived…only with different characters. The “I love you, you have a lover” theme is played out so much, it’s almost ridiculous. This sort of repetitiveness also leads to another flaw, Marmalade Boy’s occasional predictability. If you pay enough attention, you can basically build the conclusion for yourself and find that you were mostly correct, if not completely correct, which I must stress, not a good thing. The last season could’ve easily been written out and still have left a strong anime behind.
Nevertheless, Marmalade Boy is a good entry in the Romantic Humor category. With it’s exceptional cast of characters, it’ll be sure to catch your attention, just don’t be surprised if you figure out the ending before you even watch it.
Wriiten by AlterGenesis-X
August 8th, 2005
7: Gokinjo Monogatari
English: Neighborhood Stories
MAL Score: 7.54
The protagonist, Kouda Mikako, is a student of “Yaza Gaku”. Specialising in fashion design, Mikako dreams of becoming a fashion designer with her own brand. Living next to her is her childhood friend, Yamaguchi Tsutomu. Even though they have been close since they were young, they share a platonic friendship. However, Tsutomu has been gaining popularity, especially with the girls, because he seems to resemble a popular vocalist from a band and somehow, Mikako begins to see him in a different light. This is a story about how youths cope with dreams, love and friendship.
Well, as much as I am loathed to put labels on what are clearly three-dimensional characters, here we have a show where Ai Yazawa pretty much presented us with what could be a psychological profile of a tsundere before such a term even came to existence. She’s brassy, full of herself and can sometimes be unfairly cruel, but that is just a front she she feels she has to put up in order to shield her vulnerable side.
Yes, it would be convenient to say Mikako is the way she is because of the childhood trauma of a divorce (and what her Mom did afterwards). But alas, the reason behind her disagreeable personality is artistically anticlimatic. That is simply the way she is, as is evident from the flashbacks from her childhood and later when she becomes “honest with herself.” This is the place where I feel the anime succeeds because we become too used to seeing the lead female character who is cutesy, klutsy, timid, moe or whatever stereotype that is supposed to appeal to the regular anime audience. She is truly one of the more variated full-rounded characters you’d find in any narrative.
The main drawback from this show, like a lot of the shoujo anime that aired around that time (Marmalade Boy, Kodocha) is the number of episodes. I really believe they could have more effectively told the story that they presented if they instead aired around half the episodes. Of course I am talking about filler episodes that sometimes introduced inconsistencies (***spoiler****e.g. why would Mikako be unable to sell her wrong-sized clothes at the second flea market if she was able to sell out all those exact same clothes at the first flea market?***spoiler***), but that is a minor quibble compared to the parade of episodes that occupied the middle featuring a love triangle between three supporting characters. They could have easily settled that matter in a handful of episodes, but they stretched it out over at least ten episodes, padding those with situations based on uselessly masochistic self-abnegations so contrived that my suspension of disbelief almost never recovered.
But thankfully, it didn’t overtake the main story of the show, which was the real draw in the first place. It’s clear the creator had a lot of fun with her inaugural anime adaptation and it shows through her somewhat unconventional artwork and character designs. The whole thing sort of reminds me of “Doug”. The animation certainly shows its age, although it’s pretty solid for what was shown at the time. For those who are expecting the quality put into Yazawa’s other two animes by Madhouse Studio, be warned that you’ve been spoiled.
The music, mostly provided by Mikako’s seiyuu Rumi Shishido might be an acquired taste for some (for those who don’t like unsteady singing voices), but it grows on you, at least it did for me. The story, as long as it focuses on the two main characters, is pretty solid-grade work as it navigates you through the ups and downs of a teenage girl trying to cope with her contrary personality. As for enjoyment – well I wouldn’t have spent at least 62 total hours going over the series if I didn’t enjoy it. So in the end it would have received a higher grade for the story and characterization if it weren’t for the mostly repetitive fillers.
What initially drew me to watch this show was the very unique art style. Everything is done completely with flat colors which made me think of ’70s cartoons. It’s definitely a peculiar look, but fits the show to a tea. There’s a perfect balance between being tastefully retro and progressively modern. Thankfully nothing is really lost with having such beautiful artwork either. It’s similar to Sailor Moon in the sense that the art style at its core is so strong and appealing that the limited animation isn’t as much noticeable, though, that’s not to say that it doesn’t also look great in motion, because it does.
But art only nets you so many points in your favor. I could also mention the music which is absolutely phenomenal and so good that it can almost be a little distracting at times. Take that as you will, I see it as a positive. But the characters is where Ai Yazawa shines and Gokinjo Monogatari certainly doesn’t skimp out on that. Despite being one of her earlier manga, it works because it all feels very personal.
Every character in Gokinjo Monogatari is lovable and easy to empathize with. Even if there were a character you didn’t particularly like or connect with at first, I guarantee you’ll grow to love them during one of their episodes. Yes, while there definitely is an on-going narrative, for the most part it’s pretty casual. There definitely is plenty of drama and romance, but it weaves in and out of relevance rather than being the main focus. And in between that you have a string of really wholesome episodes that’ll tug at your heartstrings. These were some of my favorite episodes and really showcases the show’s wide emotional palette.
With that being said, comedy is one thing Gokinjo Monogatari does not prioritize. Most of it comes from cheeky banter between the characters. It’s more charming than anything, but you won’t exactly be laughing out loud. Honestly I kind of like that though. Makes everything feel a lot more genuine. Every scenario feels like it could’ve been directly inspired from the creators’ lives. It creates this very intimate bond between the show and the viewer. Gokinjo Monogatari is something you watch to invest yourself into these characters’ lives. To see this group of friends figuring themselves out through the hard times, but ultimately sticking together out of mutual love for each other. While some moments hit very close to home and and made me feel the same guilt and anxiety as the characters, at the end of the day it encourages self-improvement and shows you that there are people out there for you. Is it anything life-changing? Maybe, maybe not. It’s honestly more reaffirming than anything. Makes me feel more confident in myself. And I think that’s something everybody could appreciate. Regardless of what you get out of this show, it absolutely will stick with you one way or another.
Now I wasn’t too thrilled with seeing the opening of this anime because it looks so old, the characters are drawn in a funny way, none of the female characters have boobs and the music was kind of blah. But, somehow, you get hooked on the show and start to enjoy it without realizing.
Story is great. I love that everyone is in a Art school. Each character has goals and aspirations that are different from typical anime out here so I enjoyed that. Also because I can relate to most of the characters as well. Mikako wants to have her own brand and sell her handmade clothes. Her friends study, work hard and make everything that they by hand to sell at the flee market. It just goes to show that hard work really pays off! There’s a lot of love triangles that takes place in this anime. It might become too much at times but just follow along. Great story. You see the characters unfold when the time is right and you get to learn a lot from this anime too.
Of course the art isn’t all that great but it doesn’t matter because the story and plot is what keeps you watching. Also, I realized that even though the females are drawn a certain way and don’t seem to have womanly features such as breasts, hips and thighs, they are still beautiful in their own way. Especially with the several fashion ideas and clothes they wear. I kind of liked that because you don’t have to draw a busty woman just to make her look sexy. It’s all about the personality of the person, or in this case, the characters.
Many of you aren’t going to like the music. it took me awhile to get used to it but I grew to like it.
I love the characters mainly because it’s a creation of Yazawa Ai. But also since I am a big NANA lover, i like to think that Mikako is Hachi and Risa is Nana, Risa’s boyfriend is Ren and Yuusuke is Takumi.. But that’s just me and my fantasies lol I grew to love all the characters even though some of them annoyed me. Mikako annoyed me through half of the show because she is actually a tsundere character to the fullest. But I learned to appreciate and love her and her personality because most girls go through the same feelings and thoughts. Everyone has thought of something that isn’t true or loved a person so much but couldn’t tell him so you be mean to them for no reason. Or when you see your lover talking to someone else you get jealous. Mikako goes through so many emotions that you learn to love because she is like most people, even yourself. There’s a lot of ups and downs in this anime and in the end, it will be all worth it.
I enjoyed this very much. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I like how creative everything is and the journey of a young girl trying to sell her fashion brand clothes, with the conflicts of relationships and family. Yet she still tries her best to become successful. Her and everyone else in her group. It’s a bitter sweet kind of anime. The one thing I hate about this anime is the filler episodes and the constant flashbacks. Sometimes it would be so long and so repetitive that it can take up half of an episode! So, its ok when you know when to skip a few minutes but all in all its a pretty good watch.
I was going to rate it a 7 at first but after finishing the show and looking back on it, the story was really great. Especially for an anime back in the 90s with a story like this. I really enjoyed it and to everyone that has seen Paradise Kiss, please watch this anime and watch Paradise Kiss again. You will enjoy it 10xs more because now you fully understand each character and the message being sent about women, aspirations and goals, and conflict with love and family. Thank You.
6: Ike! Ina-chuu Takkyuubu
English: The Ping-Pong Club
Japanese: 行け! 稲中卓球部
MAL Score: 7.54
When the Inaho Junior High Ping-Pong Club grows apathetic about an upcoming tournament, their new manager, Kyoko Iwashita, boosts their morale with something they cannot refuse—a “sex pass,” a voucher that grants the best player on the team unadulterated access to her body for a whole month. This is just one of many ways that this peculiar ping-pong club exceeds the realm of normalcy.
Among the Ping-Pong Club’s six members, Maeno proves to be the most troublesome, discovering bizarre ways to distract the team each day. With the others contributing to these mischievous acts, Takeda—the captain of the club—tries his hardest to put up with the team’s antics. But when popular vice-captain Yuusuke Kinoshita is being swept away by girls, he instead finds himself receiving support from the stern but resilient manager, Kyoko.
With the ever-present risk of their team being dissolved, Takeda and his friends find themselves having to overcome numerous obstacles. While Maeno often appears to put the club in jeopardy, it is usually he who devises schemes that are just so crazy that they have a chance of working. Can Maeno and his ludicrous stunts help his team persevere, or will they continue to just be a nuisance to the Ping-Pong Club?
The animation is not well mannered and without any cute intentions, even crappy… strange, after i called it that i still gave it a high grade, yes i did because that crappy animation gives it that funny feeling.. it just perfectly blends with the mood and the characters… I mean did you see their faces? the guys look like a bunch of losers and perverts, and guess what, they really are like that.
The voice acting is very good, and the Bg music is well blended with the comedy part… I’ve also noticed the Op themes which are very very funny, just like Maeno’s "Propeller" song
Well the bulk of the anime lies in the story and characters… well it’s not a plot driven anime, not the kind that focuses all it’s power on a goal reached at the end, nope it’s the kind of story that i like to call "lifestyle story" cos it shows the day to day routine and problems the characters get into…
..and belive me when you have two perverts with loud mouths and tons of energy who do nothing else but exagerated practical jokes to other people like dressing-up-games, bullying, blackmail, stealing money, farting and all sorts of stupid plans (Maeno and Izawa.. they are one of the most original and best couples out there) … then you have the sickest most twisted and perverted little quiet type of guy (Tanaka)… a big and really good-inside person that has the worts BO (Tanabe)… a Casanova kinda guy (Kinoshita), two evil teachers with some psycho problems, a secret Loosers Club organization with the sole purpose of making the hole school look bad so all the kids can be as stupid as the members of the secret club… and a love story between a counscios guy and a sadistic girl which has some anger management problem (Takeda and Kyoko)… well what more could you want? some sado-masochism, cross-dressing, nudity and lots more.
Value and Enjoyment:
Well don’t worry this isn’t a hentai and it could never bee since the show is about everything it can be exept romance… but still i wouldn’t recomand it to kids.. this is more of a "toilet comedy" like American Pie… but for a teenager with a sense of humor this is a real goldmine… and can be rewatched over and over again just for the humor.
It’s just strange how few people have seen this one, well since the animation isn’t good and the girls aren’t really cute i guess that the bulk of anime viewers didn’t try it, since they were looking for cute panty shots and lots of cute girls falling in love with one spineless normal guy.. people can be soo shallow… lol but then again how can you call a guy that enjoys this???
Good and Bad points:
+funniest show ever (in a carefree but twisted perverse way)
+some of the most original characters ever (like no other you have ever seen)
-bad animation (although i found it apropiate)
-has tons of offensive and grows out material for the sensitive ones (not that i cared)
Well i laughed soo hard at this one that i couldn’t keep my ass on the chair and i developed some agonising abdominal pain.. i recommend this to all the insensitive guys out there who wanna just laugh…
Every single one of these characters are brought to life and, whether their personalities are more or less demented, they express it perfectly as they go on with their daily affairs neglecting each and every moral law that is known to man.
Routine is simply a concept that maybe it hasn’t reached that small room where the PPC spend their days doing everything else than practicing Ping-Pong.
Reaching the more technical part, every series needs a couple of technical characteristics that support the action. PPC, albeit not being generously gracious on what it does, both the sound and the art do their job. The art is raw and contributes to the dastardly look of the show, keeping the ambiance set. The models are fairly well animated tending to the date of the show but don’t expect any jaw dropping material. Also don’t expect any moderation on part of the animators. There is alot of explicit material and nudity (it literally flashes through your eye, as the animators tend to focus alot of attention on letting you know that that those contents are there). The sound is, in itself, quite catchy, especially the first opening scene, and it responds well to the ravaging acts of rampaging perversion and, here and there, soft, tender, moments. All in all contributes to an even greater experience.
So how does this show pull it off? It does it quite smoothly actually and with a rythm that from the start lets you know what to expect. To the unsuspected innocence right before you watch the beginning right down to the series of laughs goes a small step. Down to the end, its a fantastic experience and you will miss this bunch of perverted, maniac, shutdown-in-their-own-world, ping pong players (that’s the best i can do and it does not fit them at all).
So now if you excuse me I have to move along cruising on my panda car. Pee pee po pee pee po po.
A path could not exist without any obstacles; don’t let the first few series to fend you off.
You will encounter the worst imaginable and very perverted, eight-grade type of humour combined with crappy animation and little no storyline.
You just wait.
Ping-Pong is the only title where you will laugh about the farting jokes for 26 series straight, regardless of your education, background or social status.
Ping-Pong is the only title with absolutely realistic school girl and absolutely anime-cliche school girl sitting together in one room.
Ping-Pong is the only title where a totally perverted (and sometimes just plainly wrong) joke could be followed by one the best and natural romantic scenes you will ever encounter.
Ping-Pong is the only title with LITERAL character development…In many ways.
Ping-Pong is the only title where by the end of each serie you think you’ve seen it all just to be proved wrong the very next serie.
Ping-Pong is one of the few titles where there are no bad series; all 26 are amazing.
Ping-Pong is like Paris. You either like it or you don’t. Anyway, you just need to watch it at least once.
5: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
English: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
MAL Score: 7.56
In the year Future Century 0060, the many countries that once comprised Earth’s surface exist as separate colonies floating in space. Their home planet now uninhabitable, the ruler of all of the colonies is decided by their unanimous participation in the intergalactic Gundam Fight Tournament—a series of battles between the champions of each colony to determine who is most fit to reign over them all.
Neo-Japan’s champion is Domon Kasshu, a man who accepts the role with some ulterior motives. Domon searches the galaxy for his brother, a criminal who allegedly murdered their mother and made off with the Devil Gundam, a highly advanced weapon with the power to unleash mass destruction across the galaxy. In his quest to bring his sibling to justice, Domon travels from colony to colony, meeting many of the fighters who will become his allies and enemies in the forthcoming Gundam Fight Tournament.
Armed with the strength of the Shining Gundam, Domon battles to uncover the truth behind his tortured childhood, suffering great betrayal and crushing blows on his quest toward personal and national triumph.
The presentation of the culturally diverse cast is of course where the Ring ni Kakero influences come into play. Certain portions of the characters are stereotyped or portrayed in what Americans would find not politically correct. I mean, the Russian is a prisoner? The Japanese portrayed as righteous? The American portrayed as strange and arrogant? And the list goes on. If you’re not offended by that kind of stuff, then you’ll probably laugh because it gets to you in that kind of way. Because the Japanese are oblivious to the concept of political correctness, they can of course get away with doing something like this in their own country. In addition all religious referenes such as Domon’s future Gundam, known as the God Gundam, or G Gundam for short is changed to Burning Gundam; and the Devil Gundam would be renamed to the Dark Gundam.
I really enjoy the characters because of their personalities and they each bring in different elements to the show. Domon is the quiet and anti-social super powered guy; while someone like Chibodee is the obnoxious loud mouth comic relief character. Even some of the minor characters like Alleby have their own contribution to the advancement of the story as well and has some touching moments that I don’t want to get into because it would be a spoiler.
Along with a whole new set of story, setting and characters, you also get new Gundams. For traditional purposes obviously, a huge majority of the Gundams will stick to the grill face, have either the green and yellow eyes, and still maintain the iconic red, white, blue, and yellow color scheme. But they add new details to certain Gundams to make them look more culturally authentic to each country. Like Lumberjack Gundam of Neo-Canda is literally meant to resemble a Candian lumber jack. The Gundam Spiegel piloted by Schwartz has a skinny frame to give it the agility and speed that gives blitzkrieg-esque assaults.
The human characters on the other hand were really meant to have the old school style of design from the 1970s mech anime. The character’s slim builts, the pointness of the chins and faces, the shapes of the eyes, the hairstyles and side burns, and some of the clothing designs gives some indication of that. Plus, it’s not Gundam vs army anymore. Prior to Gundam, mech anime was always the main mech against another bad guy’s mech of the week and G Gundam’s story was meant to present that kind of narration so they bring in all of these Gundams for one one one battles which I will now get into.
The battles are also distinctive because it’s not about lazers, guns, and beam saber fights. It’s hand to hand combat and as Daigouji Gai from Nadesico would say, that a mech is most idealistic for such kinds of battles and is the best means of proving who is the man. Granted certain Gundams are bulky, but the heavy blow action makes up for it. While the smaller Gundams like Spiegel and Nobel Gundam have speed and agility and they move like Spider-Man. So you’re getting martial arts mixed with mech. Despite the lack of convenient war fare weapons, the Gundams of course have special powered moves. Like Domon’s finishing move is the shining finger where he turns gold Super Saiya-jin style and then emits a large beam of light to his opponent.
Of course there are also times we get to see the pilots fight outside of their mechs. Afterall, you need to be a legitimate accomplished fighter to be legible to compete in the tournament. The fights are DBZ-ish with the speed but not of course where they power up and fight for a long time and do fire balls. The fights are still intense and fun. So, the art and animation of G Gundam for it’s overall unique use of character and mech design and intriguing battle.
Tomokazu Seki also happens to play the main character Domon Kasshu who has played other notable roles like Keisuke from Initial D, Miyata from Hajime no Ippo, and Kenichi from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. He uses a rough and loud voice, but not high pitched. He can make the character sound cold and calm when he’s not in battle, and yet sound crazy when he’s in a fight. Speaking of the dialog in fights, I just love how dynamic the acting and dialog is in the middle of battle. Like before a fight starts, to officially commence the fight, the fighters have to say “Gandamu faito!!! Rediiii Goooo!!” It’s something you can say is as synonomous as John McCarthy’s “Lets get it on” when he signals to start a fight in the UFC. It’s just that awesome.
And it’s real funny in the Japanese version, Chibodee, played by Hochu Ohtsuka, the voice of Jiraiya in Naruto and Yazan in Zeta Gundam brings a funny tone to his voice and really brings the comedy out of him with his Engrish and how he calls Domon “Japanese.” And Saisaici is played by Yamaguchi Kappei, the voices of Ranma and Inuyasha, and the voice of L from Deathnote. So the Japanese version has a top notch voice cast. As for the dub, I have not seen it in years, but I just feel with the Japanese version, you’re getting the accurate dynamic delivery you need to most enjoy it because I don’t think this anime isn’t fun without the silly Engrish.
The music itself is pretty good. The opening themes Flying in the Sky and I Trust You Forever are really good songs that have a type of passion and feeling to it. Though it doesn’t have a warriors feel like Ring ni Kakero’s or Ashita no Joe’s, the songs still reflect on its semi-unintended campy nature.
G Gundam was mixing old school Shounen Jump, old school mech, and the moderninzing of Gundam all into one. It brings its own unique story that excellently mixes a diverse cast of characters in not just culture, but in personalities; top notch unintended comedy if you’re not Japanese; and high octane action
But simply being different isn’t enough to be good and that doesn’t change the fact that the end result is nothing short of a nonsensical battle shounen that thinks an excessive amount of plot twists and shouting equates to actual quality.
The story can be split up into 2 parts, the first being a revenge tale and other a long winded battle tournament. Set in the future where war is abolished and a new system is put in place, each nation takes part in a battle royal to determine who will obtain supremacy of the universe and the other colonies. These fights are carried out by a Gundam pilot of their choosing and is the driving force behind most of the show’s conflict. It’s through this battle royal that we meet our core group of characters, with our lead obviously being Japan’s representative Domon Kasshu. Using the battle royal as cover Domon’s true objective is to find and defeat his brother Kyoji who has come to poses Dark Gundam, which objective is (you guessed it) to destroy the world.
Now the core story itself isn’t bad on paper but where the problem starts is how it’s presented. Being that it takes a shounen approach, it should come to no surprise that it also obtained the issues commonly found in the shounen demographic. Containing everything from poorly conceived asspulls and powerups to questionable plot twists, G Gundam’s storytelling is just all over the place. Another glaring issue is it’s regurgitation of needless exposition and plot conveniences. And despite the constant bombardment of nonsense like a mermaid, a mummy and windmill Gundam or gundams going super saiyan, it still ask of the viewer to take it seriously. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was going for a self-aware satire but sadly it never took that route. What we get instead is a show trying too hard to angst and too hard to be cool while coming across as a laughable concoction that you’d think up as a child while playing pretend with your toys.
Now if there was ever an area where G Gundam deserves recognition it would be with it’s production values. The Gundam franchise has always been proclaimed to being ahead of its time, with titles like Zeta Gundam that was leagues ahead of other anime titles of it’s era in terms of cinematography and choreography. But with titles like Double Zeta and Victory Gundam it had seemed that the franchise was finally losing it’s luster. But G Gundam brought on something like a Renaissance for Gundam, bringing with it the familiar levels of animation quality found in OVAs like War in the Pocket and Stardust Memory.
Being that the story focused on mecha fights a great deal of effort was placed into making all the battles to feel grandiose when called for it. And with a introduction to a new way of piloting the mechas by body synchronization, the aesthetics and easy to read body mechanics were ahead of it’s time. The attention to detail really made it an entertaining watch that never felt hindered by the time period it was made. It even looks good for today’s standards. But of course corners were cut with reused scenes and still shots but given the effort placed into everything else it’s easily forgivable.
NOW the same can’t be said for the mecha designs. To put it bluntly half of them are beyond idiotic. Everything from a evil clown to a windmill, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the poorly thought up designs. It’s like the artists all got drunk and doodled up any nonense that popped into their heads. But given the cheesiness of the story they may just help heighten your B-movie experience.
“so bad it’s good” is the best phrase used to describe the voice acting of G Gundam. This is schmaltzy over acting taken to a new extreme. Every one liner is delivered with so much ham that you can’t help but chuckle as they’re delivered. That said I highly suggest watching this dub to optimize the effect. The soundtrack itself works well with the show’s content. Delivering the right amount of “oomph” when needed and adding to the overall 90s vibe.
The characters all felt like they’ve been ripped right out of the pages of cliches. With a spiky hair protagonist that think yelling and “talking with your fists” is the only way to solve problems, it borderlines obnoxiousness at times. The rest of the cast follow the same 1 sided personality with one predominant straight that forces them to be marginalize as typical archetypes. May that be the pretty boy “man of honor” or the strong dumb brute, all of them exhibit the behaviors of easy to write and even easier to read characters.
But being typical characters aren’t necessarily bad per say but the way the writers go about using them is where it really becomes a problem. Everyone is flimsily handled to the point where their personality can flip flop from friend to foe with no proper build up. It’s like they were manipulated in order to serve whatever objective the plot was going for at the time. This result in too many role reversals to be taken seriously and also a sad attempt to try to add depth and complexity to a cookie cutter cast that were only surface deep.
Now without a doubt G Gundam is entertaining. Due to many factors but mostly contributed to the time period it was made, G Gundam has aged into a campy b-movie romp that offers cheesy one liners, laughable plot twists and hammy moments throughout. This b-movie experience is even heightened further if watched dubbed, with a vast array of schmaltzy voice acting performances that deduces genuine bouts of laughter. It’s truly among the pinnacle of cheesy 90s entertainment and those simply seeking dumb fun should look no further.
G Gundam is the ultimate 90s cheese experience. Idiotic plot twists, nonsensical mecha designs and over the top voice acting. It’s the pinnacle of anime cheese but a face palming journey that can’t be forgiven. For everything it had going for it, it always took 2 steps back. It was an experimental attempt to do something different with the franchise that led to half-baked results. For fans of Gundam this might be a fun time waster but this isn’t a something recommended to any newcomer trying to see what the franchise is all about.
The story takes place in an alternet setting, not Universal Century. This new world is called Future Century. In Future Century, nations from around the world leave their homes and begin to live in space, in the newly formed space colonies called the Neo Nations. Even though many have left Earth, it’s still a vitial resorce, and to prevent any further wars the Nations declare that every four years there is to be a Gundam Fight. The Gundam Fight determines which Neo Nation will take Earth into their hands. After each Nation selects one of their best fighters and locks them down on Earth, the battle begins.
In this story, it is now the 13th Gundam Fight. A Martial Artist from Neo Japan, Domon Kasshu, is sent to Earth. With his newly earned title of King Of Hearts, he brings fear upon his opponents, but Domon’s true intensions is to search for his brother, which mysteriously disappeared after an incedent in the space colony of Neo Japan. Now the only remaining member of his family is his father which has been frozen as pusnishment for actiing against the Neo Japan Government. And to release his father, Domon must fight and win the Gundam Fight.
Eventually Domon realizes that he’s not the only one that is willing to go the distance as he meets many formidable foes. Chibodee of Neo America, George of Neo France, Sai of Neo China, and Argo of Neo Russia all have their reasons of fighting within the tournament. They soon become friends after facing a menacing foe known as the Devil (Dark) Gundam.
The story is pretty good. It’s not what I really expected from Gundam, and it was a completely new twist to things. I can rewatch it a few times and still enjoy it. Although, the birth of this series pretty much brought an unnecessary evil to the Gundam Franchise. With all the spoofs of Gundam Wing, Gundam War X, Gundam Seed, and a few other Super Gundam legacies, I can’t help but get mad that because of this one show it had made Gundam into a Super Hero Five show. In the long run, its an okay show, not one of my favorites of the Gundam series, but Gundam Seed wasn’t any better. So if you really want to see what started the Gundam Wing and the Five Gundam concept, this is what you are looking for.
4: Mahoujin Guruguru
English: Magical Circle Guru Guru
MAL Score: 7.62
There is a small village called Jimuna on the continent of Jamu Jamu. This village is home to a girl named Kukuri. She is the last descendant of the Migu Migu Tribe. She is raised by an old witch who teaches her the secret magic of the tribe, but Kukuri is not a good student.
In the same village lives a boy named Nike. He has been raised by very strict parents. They discipline their son to become a brave hero of the village. Nike himself does not want to be a hero at all, but he grows up to become a mighty boy.
One day the king of the village, Kodai, recruits troops to fight against the ruler of the darkness, Giri. Kukuri and Nike are accepted. The two children, the strong but reluctant hero Nike, and the eager but unskilled little witch Kukuri, set out on a wonderful journey full of adventures and friendship.
(Source: Nippon Animation)
In Plain Old Village (that’s actually the name), Nike has been undergoing "training" since he was very small, as his parents are adamant that he become a dashing hero someday. Conveniently, just as the boy has grown old enough to take care of himself (age 13), that’s when all the trouble starts. When his dad finds out that the king is looking to recruit a hero to deal with this resurrected evil, one thing leads to another and Nike meets magic user Kukuri. Though cute, soft-spoken, and pretty much idolizing her new friend, she has a bit of an attitude and struggles to learn the Guru Guru circles. This leads to a lot of bizarre "oopsies." You’ll just have to watch to understand.
Along the way of their journey, they’ll meet many interesting characters. And by interesting, I mean insane. There’s an old man dressed in a hula skirt who pops up at the most inconvenient times to do a disturbing dance. A sprite who wears a loin cloth. An incompetent hero wanna-be who couldn’t fight a butterfly with a flame thrower. And that’s just to start! Nike and Kukuri themselves frequently act the complete opposite of what their position implies.
The artwork is adorable and fun, drawn completely "chibi" style except for a few instances. This can, however, make it hard to guess how old a character is at times. While most anime shrink the characters down for exaggerated emotions, this show actually grows them up to "normal" size.
Overall, this is a very, very silly show in a universe that you could wake up in and think you’d eaten some bad cheese. If you’re a fan of a good fantasy story and/or have ever played an RPG, you will definitely appreciate the jokes. If you like romance, there’s a bit of that. If you like random and nonsensical, there’s enough to choke a horse. Basically there’s something for everyone. Highly recommended!
WARNING: There is a little innuendo that might startle some people (especially parents). Nike is a bit of a pervert 😉
3: Fushigi Yuugi
English: Mysterious Play
MAL Score: 7.63
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes…
Each character for the most part has their own unique use and contribution to the story and they are presented in ways you get to know them. The characters or heck, maybe even one character will grow on you as you watch from start to finish. I would explain this, but it would be a significant spoiler, and if you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m talking about. Whether that character is good or bad, you’ll love them. Hell, my favorite character Nakago is the primary antagonist and even Yuu Watase, the original manga-ka has admitted that Nakago is her favorite character.
The anime will hopefully satisfy men and women. The story overall is very diverse with its appeal, but it went a little longer than it should have, but it ends in a way where everything is resolved and the characters wonderfully develop. It has romance, adventure, excitement, comedy and action, which I will further get into. However, what will annoy male and female alike is the interaction between Tamahome and Miaka when they really get romantic with each other. It kind of drags and we don’t need that much hugging even if we can appreciate how much they love each other.
Well, the character design today doesn’t really stand out in comparison to most shoujo out there for the most part. The costume designs are a little flamboyant for the setting, but even so, they still compliment the character designs very well where it helps make them stand out a bit more. The action is well coordinated, technical and raw which will appeal to male viewers. The city settings captures the heart of ancient China very captivatingly and truly represents their culture at that time period where they gathered to worship the emperor. However, with the modern day settings, you get a different approach to the school uniform with the blazer and ribbon design you see in lets say Evangelion, than the more mainstream sailor uniform which I thought was unique to anime in the mid-1990s with Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon being the rage back then with those designs, so its nice to see something different. It is also unique to point out in the real world in Fushigi Yuugi, nobody has crazy color hair, but in the book, you got the typical crazy color anime hair which was somewhat of the intention of Watase and the staff at Studio Pierrot. So overall, the art may be descent, but the character design 100% stand out, but the action, costumes, and scenery makes up for it.
The dub of Fushigi Yuugi does have some credible names, but I don’t think the dub was good. First off, Tamahome is played by David Hayter who you may know as the voice of Solid Snake from MGS. When you hear that voice in relation to Tamahome’s image, it just doesn’t match. He makes Tamahome sound gruffy, though it’s not the voice he uses for Solid Snake, but when he does scream, he does scream like Snake. This kind of casting is to me, for the sake of casting a big name and you’re giving him a character he’s not appropriate for. However, this was a role I thought perfectly suited his Japanese counterpart, Midorikawa Hikaru, the voice of Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Granted Midorikawa has played character opposite from Tamahome, he had a different kind of cool that Snake has, but he still has that passion and soft side that really captures him. As a matter of fact, Watase actually wanted him to play Tamahome because he had him in mind when he created the character.
I also enjoyed Kae Araki the voice of Sailor Chibi Moon as Miaka. She does sound annoying with her high-pitched voice, but it was at a certain tone where it really captured the character with all of these emotions whether sad, happy, concerned, or excited. And Seki Tomokazu, my 2nd favorite seiyuu who has played Miyata in Hajime no Ippo, Domon in G Gundam, Kamui in X The Movie, and many others was great as Chichiri, my 2nd favorite character. He is so multi-talented and he demonstrates it very well when you get to know his character more. Overall, the cast is just top notch and they all have great chemistry. Even though the romantic tension between Tamahome and Miaka gets annoying, their seiyuus truly make it believable.
The opening theme song Itoshii Hito no Tame Ni does open with this more traditional approach and then at the right moment, transitions to a more energetic J-Pop song. It’s very unique to me because it captures the cultural and romantic atmosphere of the series. And the ending theme Tokimeki Doukasen has a different kind of energy that is generic but still catchy and semi sexually suggestive in a more innocent sense. The background music is well orchestrated in every sense. Such as traditional Chinese music, more traditional cinematic.
Anyway, I think this is an anime I believe you should try to give a chance even if it may not be your taste. There are all kinds of good qualities this anime has that does make up for its bad ones. Even so, the bad qualities are still there but if you concentrate and stick to what you like, you’ll forget about them. I remember during the days of VHS fansubs, I used to talk to people who cried watching this series. It has all of these great themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and they are presented in a very realistically approachable manner. And believe me, there are moments where you might and I’m not ashamed to admit I have watching this series. The only anime that has achieved me to react like this since is the Kimura vs Mashiba oav of Hajime no Ippo.
Although it is one of my favorite series, there are some parts that to me are considered unsatisfactory. I feel a bit sorry for Chiriko because he was one of the lesser important seishis (the other would be Mitsukake). I am not a fan of Chiriko or Mitsukake, but I do think that they could’ve used more screen time.
I also noticed some discrepancies. It could be due to translation errors, but I’ll say it anyway. There was an episode where Keisuke and Tetsuya go to the Genbu shrine. They went there to see the Byakko miko. One question: why is the Byakko miko in the Genbu and not the Byakko shrine?
I have to mention that I watched the english dubbed version, because I found certain voice dubbers annoying. I hate Tomo’s voice – it is the most annoying voice I have ever heard in my life. Whoever thought of making Tomo’s voice sound that way was nuts and should be locked up in an asylum. Miaka was also a bit annoying. I cringe whenever she would cry out Tamahome’s name.
And now for the positives. I love the story – I think it is well thought of. It was able to mix in elements such as love, friendship, deceit, war, etc. into something really decent and worth watching. I first watched the show 6 years ago, and when I watched it again last month I find myself obsessed once more.
The visuals weren’t bad either – although I can’t say if I prefer seeing genitals on Yui and Miaka. Seeing naked people is bad enough. However, the show is filled with bishonens throughout the show. My personal favorite is Nuriko of course. He is my god. The wonderful art shown at the end of the show via the ending theme was beautifully made and I never grew tired of it.
The music wasn’t bad – most of it were mid 90s music, so I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. I do like the ending song, "Tokimeki no Doukasen". It’s another one of those nostalgic song for me – everytime I hear it I can’t help but feel reminiscent of the year when I first watched Fushigi Yuugi. Some of the insert songs weren’t bad either. Again they were mid 90s styled, but they’re not so bad. I did get tired of the opening song after a while. Hearing "Maiagare Suzaku" for more than 10 times tends to get on my nerves.
I think one reason why the show was suspended on Filipino free TV was because of mild sex and vulgar language. This is definitely not for kids, but I would say it is a must – see for the 16+ crowd (mostly because I saw the show when I was 16).
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it’s very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka’s senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it’s music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It’s nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka’s senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I’m not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well… if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV’s, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn’t wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot… 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C’mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV’s, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV’s aren’t enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it’s only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren’t the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don’t, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all… But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it’s just been 9 years since my first watching, and I’ve developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It’s a classic, and for it’s time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the ’92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in ’93) so it’s not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn’t made at the same time. It’s possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can’t find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I’m going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I’m a Tasuki fangirl)
MAL Score: 7.74
Powerful, avaricious sorceress Lina Inverse travels around the world, stealing treasures from bandits who cross her path. Her latest victims, a band of thieves, wait in ambush in a forest, thirsting for revenge. When Lina is about to effortlessly pummel her would-be attackers, the swordsman Gourry Gabriev suddenly announces his presence. Assuming Lina to be a damsel in distress, the foolish yet magnanimous man confronts the brigands in order to rescue her. After defeating them posthaste, the oblivious cavalier decides to escort Lina to Atlas City. Though not very keen on this idea, she ends up accepting his offer.
However, without realizing it, Lina has chanced upon a mighty magical item among her most recent spoils. Now two mysterious men are hunting the young magician and her self-proclaimed guardian to obtain this powerful object for apparently nefarious purposes. This way they begin their adventure, one where the fate of the world itself may be at stake.
In amongst all these great shows came a fantasy series that would literally change the way studios would approach the genre for years to come. With its irreverent humour, memorable characters, and a story that was more about getting rich than going on quests, it possessed an appeal that was almost universal.
I am, of course, talking about Slayers.
The saga began as a series of light novels written by Kanzaka Hajime (with illustrations by Araizumi Rui), which were adapted for manga from 1990 onwards. In 1995 the series was then re-adapted for anime, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The series follows the adventures of the notorious Lina Inverse, a young sorceress whose name strikes fear into the hearts of, well, pretty much everyone (even though she’s petrified of slugs and her older sister). She is joined in the first episode by a wandering swordsman named Gourry Gabriev, the wielder of the Sword of Light (which Lina wants for herself), who initially believes Lina to be a lost little girl and decides to become her bodyguard.
Many shenanigans ensue from that fateful meeting, and things only get worse when the pair are joined by princess and perpetual justice freak Amelia Wil Tesla Saillune, and the man with a huge chimera chip on his shoulder, Zelgadis Graywords.
The story is, at heart, a fantasy adventure that on the surface resembles many other sword and sorcery romps. The big difference though, is that Slayers doesn’t take itself too seriously, mainly because of the characters themselves. Although the plot follows a pretty straightforward route through the series, there are many occasions where the narrative plays second fiddle to the comedy, especially where Lina and Gourry are concerned. Whilst there are some obvious holes in the story, the comedy more than makes up for it, and more often than not the viewer will find that they simply ignore any inconsistencies just so they can see Lina lose her temper and destroy something else.
The humour is pretty formulaic for the most part, however that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. The comedy sequences are actually very good throughout the series, and some of the running gags are well thought out and executed. It’s strange, but there are very few comic fantasies out there, especially those of the sword and sorcery type, and most of the shows that include a degree of comedy often treat it as an afterthought to the main, and often serious, storyline. Slayers approaches things from the other direction, and the main aim of Lina and Gourry isn’t to save the world, but to get as rich as possible for the least amount of effort (and we won’t even mention how much food the pair can put away).
This is perhaps the main reason why the franchise has become a benchmark for the fantasy genre, and many shows will, either fairly or unfairly, be compared to Slayers. It would be fair to say that the most common question asked about almost every fantasy anime since is “Is it as good as Slayers?”. The uniquely defined characters, the lack of any real “quest”, the explosive humour, and the underlying tone of sheer anarchy all serve to separate this show from the rest of the pack.
It’s the characters in particular that draw people into the series though. Lina Inverse is, without doubt, the most notorious female lead in fantasy anime, and one of the most well known in the entire medium. Her vivacity and explosive (and often destructive), temperament, together with her streetwise savvy and tremendously powerful magical ability, all serve to provide the viewer with all manner of entertainment. Gourry is very much like Lina in that he provides the audience with much of the physical humour whilst never becoming a part of the visual “furniture”. An added bonus is that he is also a play on the stereotypical knight, being handsome, brave, strong, virtuous, and as dumb as a brick.
That said, some may find Amelia and Zelgadis to be annoying at first, but due to the combative relationship they have with both Lina and Gourry (and with each other), viewers may find themselves warming to the pair. It should also be noted that because Slayers tries to avoid the inclusion of stereotypical fantasy characters, the writers had far more freedom to make trouble for Lina and the gang to get into, and they seem to have approached this task with some enthusiasm.
As the series progresses the characters do actually develop to a degree, however this is usually masked by some action or comedy so it doesn’t really get pushed to the fore. This may seem a bit odd at first, but given the nature of the plot, this method is actually better for the franchise as a whole. This may not sit too well with some viewers though, especially those who believe that character development is one of the most important aspects of a show. That said, Slayers has some particularly strong and complex characterisations, in particular Lina herself. Because of this, the series doesn’t actually need any unnecessary development, and the door is left open for the characters to go off and do other things (like arguing, eating, destroying monsters/bandits/towns/mountains, trying to kill each other (only as a joke – honest), looting treasure, etc).
Given that the series is from 1995, it’s actually aged pretty well. The colours are bright and bold, especially with backgrounds and settings. The characters themselves are designed to be unique and expressive, although much of this comes from their actions rather than their faces. Animation is a big plus for the show, and it’s to the credit of J.C Staff and SoftX that the series has held up rather well over the years. The animation by modern standards may not be exceptional, especially as it tends to add a more cartoon-like quality to movements, but it is extremely well choreographed for it’s time and genre.
Sound is another big plus for Slayers, especially the fact that the series has been dubbed into over seven different languages (including Japanese and English). In all honesty I prefer the Japanese dub, however that is no reflection on the quality of the English version, and is nothing more than a personal preference. The Japanese seiyuu are very good on the whole, and are able to express a wide range of basic emotions, as well as humour. The English cast are pretty good as well, however I did find Lisa Ortiz’ voice to be a little too high pitched for my tastes.
The music is pretty decent throughout the series, and while the pieces generally work well with the on screen action, there is a degree of repetition that can become annoying for some viewers. The sound effects are well timed and choreographed, however the more complex combinations can become a little too heavy on the ears.
Even with its age and obvious flaws Slayers is an absolute joy to watch, and it’s truly rare to find a fantasy series that has such memorable characters or humour. There is a certain amount of formula to the plot, however the blend of comedy and action, together with the unique take on the characters, ensure that cliches don’t feel out of place in the story.
This is a series that is worth watching by, well, everyone, especially those who prefer fantasy and comedy. There are very few shows around even today that can be called comic fantasies, and most of those have the name “Slayers” somewhere in the title.
Slayers, based of of the novels of the same name written by Kanzaka Hajime, is the story of a young sorceress named Lina Inverse and her ‘protector’ Gourry Gabriev as they travel the land in search of anything that can get them treasure. Inspired by one of the original Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, fans and players of the game can step into the series with ease as it feels just like the game. Even if your not a D&D player or a RP’er in general, the characters alone are enough to pull you in and keep you enjoying the series from beginning to end.
Story: The story, though in my opinion not the main driving force, still moves the series alone nicely and evenly. It sets up the same style all other Slayers series that come after follow, starting fairly light hearted and movie along until eventually the fate of the world is at stake. Though sometimes it does seem like they try to make it funny at a time when the humor could be left out, it doesn’t effect the flow that much. The only thing I really had a problem with story wise is there are two main story arcs. The story gets going, builds up to a climatic battle, then falls back to ground zero again and has to build up some more to get back to that high point again. Though the two arcs are linked together overall, those few episodes in the middle are somewhat of a let down after all the action from the previous episodes.
Animation and Sound: The series first premiered in 1995, so the animation and sound reflect that. Though I feel this series got the short end of the stick, because other series from the same year (Gundam Wing and Evangelion to name a couple) have much better animation and sound quality. Though not as good as it probably could of been for it’s time, it still doesn’t take away from the overall thrill and enjoyment of the series.
Character: I said above that I felt the story wasn’t the main driving force of the series, because that role is filled by the characters. Lina’s short tempered and violent nature make her an instant iconic anime character. Her and her alone could make an entire series with just her misadventures and it would be a masterpiece. Throw in her ‘protector’ Gourry, a superb swordsman with, as Lina would say, "the brains of a jellyfish," Zelgadis, a Chimera adept with both a sword and magic, Amelia, a "Justice-Happy" princess, and Sylphiel, a ditzy shrine priestess, and you have a well rounded cast of characters that excel in both comical and serious situations.
Enjoyment: I really enjoyed this series from beginning to end, and was hooked from the first episode all the way up to the last, and couldn’t wait to get more, and thankfully theres 3 sequel series, several prequel OVAs, and 5 movies to keep someone occupied for several weeks (or days if you decide to marathon them like I did)
Overall, in my opinion, one of the best series from the ’90s, and a anime classic that will stand the test of time. And thankfully, Slayers Next (The second season) takes everything lovable about the first season and takes it to a whole nother level.
Slayers tells a story of Lina Inverse, a powerful yet inconspicuous magician who travels around, kills monsters, fights bandits and robs them of their treasure. Over the course of the show, new adventurers, starting with a travelling swordsman Gourry, join her party and together they explore the fantasy world. You know the drill, and have probably heard something similar many times, because this is nothing new. Nevertheless, this extremely popular idea can definitely turn out very nice and become its own thing, if the authors bring their new twists and details to it. Sadly, this is not the case with Slayers.
Everything, starting with the setting, is bare of nuances and unique ideas. The anime is set in a generic medieval-fantasy world, with magic, creatures like trolls and dragons, princes, knights and the like. Philosopher stone and sword of light. Old and boring. There is also the demon-king sealed long ago and sought to be revived by his followers. You have never heard of something like that, have you?
While this could still allow for a great and compelling story, with brilliant and interesting characters, Slayers definitely doesn’t deliver, it actually doesn’t even seem to try.
The plot progresses in a pretty messy pattern, and despite not being very long, brings to mind 300+ episode shounens. It randomly jumps back and forth between important events revealing old mysteries, and completely meaningless, inconsequential fillers that shouldn’t even be there, because they are neither interesting nor funny.
The story just lacks direction. The characters don’t pursue any real goal to drive the plot. Something is happening, our adventurers just get dragged into it, do their job to solve the problems, rinse and repeat. Some of it can be pretty cool , but it all feels kind of pointless.
The mood and atmosphere also swing in completely unnatural manner, and it does stand out sometimes. Two characters are killed shortly after finally uniting with the main party, and you know what? Not even a minute later, the main trio is back at an inn, stuffing themselves and laughing out loud joking. There is not even a moment of grief or sadness, just a few shocked faces for a second.
Speaking of jokes, the humour is one of the weakest points of Slayers. It’s extremely repetitive, childish and ham-fisted, appearing regardless of danger or situation at hand, and is at fault in the show rarely having the proper atmosphere. Lina has small breasts. That is the joke, hahaha… I won’t be discussing wether this alone is funny or not, as that’s purely subjective, but repeating this time and time again, episode after episode, is definitely boring and actually gets quite annoying, even if it could be funny at first. Gourry is stupid and doesn’t understand the simplest of explanations, Amelia is clumsy, trips over and falls on her face. Oh, there was another joke with Lina, you know, she’s on her period and can’t cast powerful spells then, isn’t that funny? You know, it’s THAT time of the month, wink wink, haha…
This humour is also detrimental to characters themselves, because it’s all around, and in fact pretty much defines them.
While there is focus on Lina, and she does get enough screen time and characterization to be more than just her breast size, it’s a real problem with other characters. It’s hard to say anything meaningful about Gourry other than that he’s stupid and has bad memory, and Amelia being also silly and clumsy, because most of their scenes are either fighting or reusing the old jokes. Most of the characters are just very poorly characterized and thus it’s hard to truly care for them. They’re not unlikeable, but they definitely are forgettable and undeveloped. This should never happen in a show that wants to be more than a silly comedy.
The arstyle is mediocre, and character designs, save for Lina and Zelgadis, seem effortless. The animation is poor even considering the time it was made, and just screams low budget. Overall the anime doesn’t look terrible, even if it’s aged, but the visuals definitely don’t help to make up for other aspects of the show either.
The music is actually pretty good and fitting, and few of the tracks are especially good and memorable. It’s nothing spectacular, but it does its job well, and in my opinion, is the strongest aspect of the show.
Overall, Slayers is a very disappointing experience. It’s a huge cluster of overused ideas and tropes. The story has weird pace and goes nowhere, the characters are basically running jokes, and at times just annoying. It’s full of bad, repetitive humour and lacks fresh air, making the whole show pretty boring.
It’s not the worst watch ever, it’s not offensively bad at anything, but it doesn’t really have anything going for it either, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, because there are shows better at everything Slayers does. It’s just completely mediocre.
I really can’t see why it achieved the status it has now, and personally see it as just another, uninspired fantasy adventure, severely lacking in character. I would only watch it if you want to see what one of the most popular 90s anime is all about.
English: Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files
MAL Score: 8.45
One fateful day, Yuusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent with a dim future, gets a miraculous chance to turn it all around when he throws himself in front of a moving car to save a young boy. His ultimate sacrifice is so out of character that the authorities of the spirit realm are not yet prepared to let him pass on. Koenma, heir to the throne of the spirit realm, offers Yuusuke an opportunity to regain his life through completion of a series of tasks. With the guidance of the death god Botan, he is to thwart evil presences on Earth as a Spirit Detective.
To help him on his venture, Yuusuke enlists ex-rival Kazuma Kuwabara, and two demons, Hiei and Kurama, who have criminal pasts. Together, they train and battle against enemies who would threaten humanity’s very existence.
Anyways, for those of you who do like a well constructed fighting/action anime, Yu Yu Hakusho is an outstanding show in this category, overall. Yes, it is a shounen, and yes, it does have a few of those typical shounen clichés. However, it also manages to come up with a lot of very unique and inventive ideas, and its dialogue, above average story, with much more depth to it than what you would expect from a shounen, and actual good sense of humor (when compared to most other action anime), make this title stand out from the crowd.
I find the characters to be the real award winners here. They each have something unique and interesting about them. Upon first glance they may look like they each have those 1-dimensional cliché roles of an action series, but upon further viewing you will see that there is more than what meets the eye with Yu Yu Hakusho characters. I can guarantee that throughout the course of this show anyone watching it would at least find 1 character which they can truly appreciate. Also, this show doesn’t just focus on the main character getting stronger and always being the big hero. There is some very interesting character development for many of the characters, and the way in which they interact with one another, as well the diversity and similarities that they show, make for a very balanced chemistry between this cast.
The animation and artwork isn’t top notch, even for its time, but its adequate and gets the job done. The action isn’t amazing, but believe it or not, unlike most action/shounen anime this anime often tends to focus more on developing its story and characters, rather than producing lots of mindless action. And at that, even if it doesn’t look all that great it is great to see actual strategy and emotion playing big parts in many of the fights, rather than simply just having a bunch of punches, kicks, throws, explosions, etc., taking up multiple episodes.
Now, as for the music, its really all opinion. Some people won’t find it to be anything special. I personally fell in love with the entire soundtrack of the series, and believe it or not, it has some of the best BGM that I have heard in any shounen anime. Its doesn’t quite give you the same diversity and overall satisfaction that the soundtracks of Cowboy Bebop and a few other anime with great musical scores give you, but once again, its far above average when compared to most other shounen and action anime, or at least I feel that way about its music, personally.
And then finally, there is the voice acting. Oh, and how wonderful it is. Well, if you’re watching the sub then chances are the voices will stand out to you as adequate, yet nothing amazing, but as long as you’re watching a decent and reliable fansub or the DVDs, you will love the dialogue, which is brilliant in its use of sarcasm/jokes and also in delivering many of the serious and plot-oriented lines. However, if you’re an English speaker, even if you typically can’t stand dubs, the English dub is the way that this series should be watched. The English voice acting is absolutely fantastic. The voices all fit their respective characters almost perfectly. Sure, the dialogue may not be 100% accurate in correspondence to the original lines from the sub with its added humor and sarcasm (which is well worth going a little off track from the original script for, though), but the messages that each character gets across with their lines are delivered solidly and would be interpreted and understood in the same way, whether you were watching the sub or the dub. So, overall, the dub is loyal to the original text despite the fact that it makes a few very noticeable changes and states some lines in different ways.
Overall, Yu Yu Hakusho is a very fun and enjoyable series. This anime is not something that everybody is going to like, but most people should at least find something about it that keeps them interested. Its not a DBZ clone, and its not just a mindless excuse for intense action scenes. The show is fairly long, but its one of the few series that go over 100 episodes and still manage to stay fresh the whole way through. Therefore, I highly recommend this series. I personally find it to be one of the best series that anime has to offer, action or otherwise, and I know that many people would disagree with me (although, I’m really not a big anime buff), but I have watched my fair share of anime and I almost never give out 10’s as scores since no series is perfect (and this anime is no exception), but when I feel that a series deserves it then I give it that score, and Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the few. If you haven’t seen it yet then go out and give it a try. I can almost guarantee that you won’t be sorry.
I am astounded and equally appalled by the amount of idiocy and ignorance in some of the reviews for Yu Yu Hakusho, as it boggles the mind how some of them are even considered valid criticisms of the series in the first place. As you can already tell, this review won’t be a professional one, more so than a rant on the amount of hate this absolutely legendary franchise has garnered over the years. This also will serve as a refutation on the invalid and fallacious “criticisms” the franchise has received over the years as well, meaning that this won’t be a review discussing the show more so than it being a refutation against the undeserved hate the show has received. To put it bluntly, Yu Yu Hakusho has to be the most unfairly hated on Anime of all time. It is labeled as an old, unwatchable work by the casuals who hype up everything new and despise everything that came out before the 2000’s. It is also a work which receives a lot of hate from the elitists, the same kind of elitists who place the same ten shows in their Anime favorites lists and think that they are cultured because of it. “Oh how I love thee, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Oh how I love thee, Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Oh how I despise thee, typical battle shonen trash, with the exception of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Hunter x Hunter of course.” They say, while throwing around fallacies with no backing evidence.
I am beginning to stir away from the main point, so let us begin with the fallacies and my refutations to said fallacies before I stir away even further:
1.“Yu Yu Hakusho has no good villains. The main antagonist of the Dark Tournament arc is nothing more than a brute who receives no real character development.”
This is inherently false. Yu Yu Hakusho has two main villains in the franchise: Toguro and Sensui, who are the central villains of the arcs they encompass. Toguro is a villain who receives development from the moment he is introduced up until the moment where he is finally beaten. Toguro is also a great subversion of all the other battle shonen villains, because he is beaten through his own will rather than being beaten through the power of friendship which most battle shonen use as a cheap way to progress the plot. His relationship with Genkai is developed thoroughly, and this makes him feel like a real character rather than some obstacle the main characters have to overcome in order to move on to the next obstacle. He is made all the more human when his dark past is shown, and even more so when the viewer starts to question if he is really evil or not. When a character does that, are they really the typical battle shonen villain? Are they one dimensional? Or is the viewer who is criticizing the show nitpicking at straws just to attack the series? You be the judge of that, because anyone can see that Toguro is a well-developed character. This refutation also applies to Sensui as well, as both he and Toguro are developed and get the same fallacies thrown at them over and over again, with no concrete evidence to back said fallacies up. The amount of hypocrisy these pseudo intellectuals adhere to is unbelievable! You mean to tell me that Father from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a well-developed villain, whereas Younger Toguro from Yu Yu Hakusho is not? These people must be so far up their cranium to not see the obvious hypocrisy in what they say.
2. “Yu Yu Hakusho is a formulaic battle shonen, especially the first arc which is the Spirit Detective arc.”
How can these people say that Yu Yu Hakusho is formulaic, especially the Spirit Detective arc, when they also contradict themselves in the same sentence and go on to say that the arc was needed to establish two of the central characters, Hiei and Kurama? No arc in Yu Yu Hakusho is formulaic, since the show develops it’s characters all the while moving the plot forward with each ongoing arc in the story. It would be illogical to start an Anime with the central thrust revealed to the viewer immediately, rather than developing it’s leads first and giving the viewers an insight into the world of the Anime. This is exactly what the spirit detective arc does: it introduces the characters, introduces the world, and introduces the concept so that the viewers can familiarize with what they are seeing. It does it well enough and also advances the story smoothly into the next arc. It would be illogical for tension to arise from the very first episode, and the spirit detective arc avoids that issue while introducing characters and developing them. As for the other arcs, while they border on some battles that were not entirely important to the main narrative, they still serve to progress the plot and develop the characters. The Dark Tournament arc was necessary to progress Toguro’s, Genkai’s, Kurama’s, Hiei’s and Kuwabara’s character arcs, all the while developing Yusuke and Keiko’s relationship and introducing new characters such as Gin as well. The next arc was all about developing the main villain, revealing more about the demon realm and the lore of the Hakusho universe, and finally closing in on Yusuke’s character, where his relationship with Keiko would come to fruition and he would meet his father and mature from a troublemaker into a person who is more responsible. The very last arc gives a final clause to the whole Anime: from the lore, to developing Yusuke and Keiko’s relationship, to developing the other characters, and so on and so forth. How is Yu Yu Hakusho a formaluic shonen where the plot barely progresses, when the plot does in fact progress and the characters are constantly developing? It makes zero sense what these people claim.
3. “The main characters are unsympathetic and slow-witted tough guys.”
Again, this is wrong and the Anime proves it. A tough guy would be someone along the lines of a Jojo character, Kenshiro from Hokuto no Ken, a Dragon Ball character, or any other meathead you could find from any other battle shonen out there. By this same logic, every battle shonen character has to be a dull witted buffoon, right? Even when the central characters go to school, unlike most samurais and ninjas which plague the genre, people still proclaim that they are dull-witted tough guys. For argument’s sake, let us suppose that the four central characters from Yu Yu Hakusho are dull-witted tough guys. Ok, what is so bad about that? Are they one dimensional? Are they underdeveloped? Clearly not, since the Anime develops them thoroughly throughout the course of it’s run. The central characters are neither slow-witted nor are they though guys, and even if they are, they achieve what most other battle shonen characters fail to achieve: Character development.
Now to refute said argument, Hiei is a character who was abandoned and was shamed throughout the entirety of his life. Due to this, it only makes sense for his character to be a tough guy who lacks any form of emotion. Even then, he still does show some sympathy and emotion when talking about his sister, Yukina, as he still wants to protect her from all of the harm in the world. He not only does have very valid reasons as to why he is the way he is, but he is also sympathetic and far from the usual archetypical tough guy one would see in a battle shonen.
Yusuke and Kurama grew up in neighborhoods which were filled with crime. Yusuke had been abandoned by his father and his mother had been an alcoholic for years, so it only makes sense for him to turn out the way he did. He was also hated on and ridiculed by some of his teachers, so it is not that hard to see why he puts a tough guy act on. It’s also an act, and he isn’t really a tough guy so to speak. As for Kurama, he isn’t a tough guy at all, far from it actually.
4. “Yu Yu Hakusho has no tough female leads, only tough male leads.”
Yu Yu Hakusho was the first battle shonen to introduce strong female leads, which to this day barely any battle shonen does. Genkai is one of the toughest female characters one could find in a battle shonen. Mukuro is a girl as well, and she is stated to be the second toughest demon king in the franchise, and the second toughest character in the franchise overall, if not arguably the toughest. She beats up S rank demons fairly easily during the last arc, and comes close to winning the entire tournament all by herself. If this is not equal representation of males and females, then I really do not know what is. Of all the battle shonen one would pick on, people choose Yu Yu Hakusho to rant about the inequality between male and female characters. Even the females who exhibit no battle power whatsoever are still developed throughout the course of the Anime’s run, such is the case with Keiko and Botan, who are given time to develop and entire episodes dedicated to them.
Other fallacies people like to throw at Yu Yu Hakusho include it having too much plot armor and convenience at times, and that the audiovisuals have not aged well at all. Aside from the latter, which is an entirely subjective critique and does not matter at all when discussing factors which are truly important such as narrative and characters, Yu Yu Hakusho barely suffers from the issue of plot armor. Keep in mind that these people who accuse Yu Yu Hakusho of having plot convenience are the same people who think that the original Rurouni Kenshin is a good Anime, the one where Shishio is defeated by the power of plot armor and the one where Himura Kenshin pulls a victory right out of his pocket every time he needs to win a battle, even against foes who are shown to be able to outclass him at first.
Yu Yu Hakusho has no plot armor whatsoever. The reason Yusuke beats Toguro is because Toguro wanted for that to happen so that he could find someone worthy enough and fulfill his wish of death and end his suffering, not because Yusuke magically became stronger through the power of plot convenience. Other cast members are shown to lose at times throughout the tournament’s run, and that shows that the series does not reek of plot armor. Similarly, Sensui is defeated by Yusuke because Yusuke’s father, the demon king Raisen, willed that to happen, not because Yusuke magically became stronger due to plot armor. Moving on to the final arc, Yusuke is expected to win the battle against Yomi, especially after he had gained so many abilities and increased both his power and his abilities along the way. The series subverts audience expectations by showing Yomi winning and Yusuke losing, even though Yusuke had gained a lot of strength prior to that throughout the Anime’s run. How are any of the examples listed above plot armor? These are the opposite of plot armor.
The last and final point people like to bring up about Yu Yu Hakusho is that it suffers from power creep, unlike it’s successor Hunter x Hunter. Rarely is this statement made, but let us address it nonetheless. Yu Yu Hakusho started to suffer from the power creep issue around the end of the third arc – the Chapter Black arc – where Yusuke defeated Sensui after a hard fought battle through his awoken demon form. The writer fortunately enough ended the series at it’s high note, and the power creep ended just as it had fairly started, and Yusuke did not end up becoming the strongest character at the end of the day (Even though it was logical for him to be, since he is Raizen’s son and shares the same blood with him). The lore was fully explored by then, and the series did not need to introduce any more villains since the narrative ended there, and the epitome of power was shown. Some like to say that it wasn’t Togashi’s intention to end the series there, as he only ended it due to time constraints and pressure from Shonen Jump magazine. Regardless of the validity of that statement, the fact still remains that he ended it there, right when the power creep started to show itself.
After addressing all the fallacies thrown at Yu Yu Hakusho, I still cannot find one criticism which I think holds any validity to it. Moreover, the amount of hypocrisy coming from those who criticize it is unfathomable. The same people who call the villains one dimensional are the same people who like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which contains one of the weakest villains to ever come out of the Anime medium, Father. The same people also criticize it for having plot armor yet find no contentions with Rurouni Kenshin’s plot armor and conveniences whatsoever.
Regarding the audiovisuals, they have aged well and I do not see any problem whatsoever in them. One listen to “Struggle of Sadness” should prove that the soundtrack is inherently well made and is still a great listen. The animation was consistent throughout all of the episodes, and has barely aged whatsoever.
That’s all I have to say about Yu Yu Hakusho. It is a series which deserves more recognition, as it is one of the very few good battle shonen out there, and all the fallacies both the elitists and the casuals throw at it are not real criticisms, more so than they are nitpicks with no evidence to be backed up with. Yu Yu Hakusho was and still is ahead of it’s time, both in narrative and in technicalities. It inspired many series which were to later come after it, such as Naruto and Bleach, and it does not deserve the harsh treatment that it receives nowadays.
What really set this show apart from other shounen action shows for me was the relatively intelligent use of dialogue by the main characters. I originally watched the uncut Funimation dub, which is definitely the translation I’d recommend (even if its probably not as true to the original dialog as some of the fansubs.) The humor in the show is less slapstick than most anime, and situational comedy plays a large part in the show, with some parts practically satirizing the action genre itself.
The story revolves around a junior high delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi becoming something called a “spirit detective” (although I’d really call him more of a fighter than a detective.) It is his job to take care of demons that escape into the living world and stop them from causing trouble. Yusuke takes his orders from a ancient mystical being named Koenma who also happens to look like a toddler and in addition to knowing the secrets of the universe is also “quite potty trained.”
Each character is portrayed uniquely, and contributes to the storyline. Yusuke manages to overcome many of the usual tough-guy stereotypes present in anime of this kind, coming across as witty and sarcastic as well as being a strongly independent fighter. Meanwhile, Kuwabara on the other hand actually embraces these same stereotypes to such a degree as to be hilarious as his “dumb punk” behavior is juxtaposed against such things as his love for kittens, or his “romantic” attempts toward Yukina.
The animation is really nothing special, even when compared to other anime released around the same time period. There are a lot of still and scrolling shots and characters are drawn relatively simply. The action scenes are somewhat lacking in visual effects as well, however what they lack in animation quality they more than make up in style. Each fight is characterized by the combatants unique personalities and fighting methods.
The soundtrack is nothing to write home about either, being somewhat repetitive and lacking in originality. Then again, clever musical arrangement is not something I have come to expect from shounen programming anyway. So I’ll admit that as far as audio and visual effects go, Yu Yu Hakusho is pretty mediocre. If you require stunning realism and breathtaking artwork, I would definitely not recommend this show for you. Since I tend to place more emphasis on story and characterization, these obvious shortcomings did not bother me as much.
So I’d say this show was definitely enjoyable, even to someone like me who tends to lack appreciation for less serious anime. While light in tone and not exactly intellectually stimulating, Yu Yu Hakusho manages to deliver an engaging story with a large dosage of clever humor as well. Certainly a decent show, especially if you enjoy classic early 90’s style anime action.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
3. Fushigi Yuugi
4. Mahoujin Guruguru
5. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
6. Gokinjo Monogatari
7. Ike! Ina-chuu Takkyuubu
8. Marmalade Boy
9. Magic Knight Rayearth
10. Tenchi Muyou!