They’re the best Anime that 2000 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Zoids, Jibaku-kun, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, and more!
MAL Score: 7.37
Zoids are beast-like fighting machines used in both everyday use such as transportation, and special use such as war. Some types of Zoids, know as Organoids, are miniature Zoids that are living organisms. These Organoids have the capability to fuse with a non-living Zoid and make it much more powerful.
Van (Ban) Freiheit discovers a Zoid Organoid in an abandoned laboratory while running from two strangers piloting Zoids. Also in the laboratory, in an animated suspension tube is a strange girl. He breaks the tube open and takes her and the Organoid with him. Spotting a ruined Shield Liger Zoid outside nearby, the Organoid fuses with it and repairs the damages. Making his escape, Van names the Organoid Zeke, and decides to keep him as a friend. The girl, who says her name is Fiona, wants to find something called Zoids Eve, and so Van, Zeke, and Fiona begin their adventure.
The story, although your simple "country raised kid rises up to the challenge of saving the world from evil," is very good and has enough plot twists in between to leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting for more. What made this Zoids saga different from the others were the miniature Zoids organoids that were able to fuse with their larger counterparts and in essence, bring the Zoid to life with more power than before. What really makes the story great is the epic battles they have between many Zoids.
These epic battles for the most part, are animated very well. For being an older anime (debuted in 1999) it still holds up to today\’s standards fairly well and really does not disappoint. The characters themselves look a bit bland at times, but it isn\’t to the degree where its unwatchable.
The sound is so-so. Because it\’s been awhile since I saw this anime, I don\’t remember a lot of the scores used, but I do remember for scores used for the battles and they fit just right.
All of the main characters have very distinct personalities and you\’ll come to have your favorites most definitely. Van and Fiona have believable strengths and weaknesses given their environment and always seem to have an enemy, or rival, to go against up with. There really isn\’t a boring moment where you\’ll find that the protagonists are superior to everyone else.
All in all, the anime was a great start to the Zoids saga. Though a lot of the following stories after were not as great, this is still a classic. The stirring romance between Van and Fiona again is something you\’ll fall in love with as the story progresses and is one more reason to give this show a try. To end with, if you\’re one of the younger anime audiences out there and like mecha anime, but haven\’t given the original Zoids a try because of the lackluster performances of the others, I urge you to give this one a shot.
The series takes place on the Planet Zi, where living machines called Zoids live. There are wild ones, and ones controlled by humans. There are two major powers on the planet Zi, the Republic and Guylos Empire. Though the war they fought is over, the peace is tenuous and could give way to war at any moment. The story follows Van who lives in a village. He goes out one day and gets chased by bandits into some ancient ruins. The he finds a organoid, and names it Zeke. Zeke reviews a Shield Liger and defeat the bandits. They go back into the ruins and discover Fiona a ancient Zoidian who has lost her memory. The group on a adventure searching for t he Zoid Eve, through bandits, merc’s, and war.
STORY: The story is great, it’s light, but there are dark undertones. I guess the company did it to attract younger viewers. The violence is toned done, though you see cities being destroyed, and Zoids being destroyed so you know what’s happening and doesn’t take anything away from the story.
ART: The animation is great done by XEBEC, the same people who did Love Hina, Elemental Gelade, and Buso Renkin, which were all pretty good series.
SOUND: The one flaw I found in this series was the soundtrack. It lacked depth and feel. Was it still good, yes. It just didn’t to the series justice.
CHARACTERS: The characters in this series were great. You could feel their pain and see their suffering and joy. The just captivated you and brought you in. The best characters were the two main ones Van and Fiona and their story was just wonderful.
OVERALL: Zoids is 24th favorite anime series out of about 250 series/OVA/movies I’ve seen. It’s a great series, not quite a classic, but still great. A series everyone should watch.
STORY: In the first half of the series, Van Flyheight is a zoid pilot who comes across a mysterious type of zoid known as an Organoid who he names Zeke, as well as a young girl named Fiona in pods found in mysterious ruins. Upon finding the two, Van finds himself the center of attention of bandits and soldiers alike who are after the Organoid’s strange powers. Van and Fiona come across other characters and find themselves in the middle of a war, and have to do what they can to help bring peace to land and end this war. Zoids does a relatively decent job of keeping tone shifts frequent without overexaggerating it, often having serious moments albeit with light-hearted comedy when the mood needs to be brought up. The flow of the story feels natural, and feels neither rushed or slow. It has a nice, even pace that the viewer can easily enjoy. 9/10
ART: The art direction that Zoids took was aesthetically pleasing all around. Characters were detailed enough that they didn’t stick out too much, but also were not too detailed to the extent that they distracted from the environment. It felt as though environments and characters had about the same effort put into them, so that neither were too distracting. Obviously, the Zoids were what the majority of the focus was put on, most likely being what most of the budget was used for. The zoids were rendered with high quality, and it shows. If anything in particular needed the most focus in terms of art, it was definitely the Zoids, and it shows. That being said, the only real flaw I can see with them is that some animations were clearly recycled throughout the series, but it’s not incredibly noticeable so it isn’t really that big of an issue. 9/10
SOUND: As much as I personally enjoy the soundtrack, I do have some issues with it; the main problem I have is that the soundtrack can often times sound a little repetitive while other times is a little too scarce. There’s nothing wrong with having certain audio tracks be more common than others, but eventually it gets to the point where some tracks sound as though they’re heard in almost every episode. I felt that there could have been a little more variety in certain places, and that occasionally, certain tracks did not fully fit the mood. Yet in other situations, the soundtrack did its job very well, helping in creating the particular mood of a scene. I felt that the type of music used did fit the overall environment of the show, using both fast paced action-themed music for fighting, and softer, more melodic music for scenes involving development of characters. 7.5/10
CHARACTER: In Zoids, the characters can really be hit or miss. Some aren’t as fleshed out as others, but the main cast is fleshed out enough that the viewer cares about them and wants to see them succeed. Van Flyheight is the most developed character by far, as the second half of the series, Guardian Forces, focuses on how much Van has matured since the first half of the series (there is a small time skip in between), and they really emphasize just how much he’s changed, going from often being a jokester kind of character to a more serious character who cares about protecting those dear to him. The show also does a nice job in creating sympathy for certain characters who start off as villains but have a change of heart as the series progresses. Unfortunately, while Zoids does a great job in developing the main protagonists, the show falls a bit short in terms of the main antagonists, who sadly fall into the usual trope of being evil for the sake of being evil. That being said, they are not part of the main focus of development to begin with, and while it would be nice to see them developed more, at the very least the main and supporting cast have enough development to keep the viewer caring for them. 8.5/10
ENJOYMENT: The biggest part of enjoyment typically comes from watching the Zoid battles throughout the series. They have a mix of fast paced action and often strategic ways of fighting, appealing to more than just one audience with the way the battles are handled. There is drama involved, but it is not shoved in the viewer’s face. There is a nice, even pacing between the fighting and story elements, so neither feels overdone. Light hearted moments in the show are welcome when they are as the action and serious tone will bring characters back to reality. The show has a nice, enjoyable pace from start to finish, introducing slight changes in the second half so as not to be repetitive. 9.5/10
OVERALL: Zoids: Chaotic Century/Guardian Force gives off the feeling of being along for an adventure. It develops its characters enough to make the viewer care for them, and want to see them get to the end of their journey. You follow them along, and through thick and thin, they keep fighting, and the journey goes through various types of drama and has an adventurous feel. A lot of the series is about the maturity of Van as a character too, and you see him grow from a young boy to a man who fights for what he believes in. You also see the evolution of how the likes of Fiona and several other characters develop throughout the series, and by the end, their relationships feel genuine. The characters feel like those who can be related to by the viewer. It has all the feelings of an adventure, from humble beginnings to the maturity one gains from it.
Final Score: 10/10 : Would recommend to any anime fan.
English: Bucky: The Incredible Kid
MAL Score: 7.37
Bucky, the protagonist of the history, is a normal boy that lives in the first world. He lives with a single and humble ambition: to dominate the world (in the sense of the whole planet). He is very certain and he would certainly die to reach his dream.
One day he meets with Spark, the Great Child of Primas (World One). Spark is known as the strongest Great Child of all of the worlds, and he is a successor’s search. After finding Bucky and talk a little with him, Spark without apparent reason choose Bucky his successor. Bucky has just become a Great Child and to win the company of Jibaki, the spirit of the first world.
Some introductory elements:
1 – Bucky anime is set in a strange world in a form of a clock, divided in 12 worlds. Each world represents a number in the clock, following the clockwise direction. In the middle of the 12 worlds there is the “Needle Tower”, very similar to a clock hand.
2 – Each world is inhabited by humans, humanoid animals and monsters. Some of these monsters have an evil and destructive nature. These evil monsters are called “Troublemaker Monsters”.
3 – The Needle Tower chooses one virtuous child (the “Great Child”) in each world to protect the people from the Troublemaker Monsters.
4 – Each Great Child is helped by a humanoid pink ball called “Spirit” that explodes when it raises its hands.
Every child in Bucky’s world wants to be a Great Child. Everyone, except Bucky – a child from the 1st World. The protagonist thinks that to be a Great Child is a ‘childish thing’. Bucky wants to be much more. He wants to rule all over the 12 worlds. However, he is always mocked when he talks about his dream.
Once Bucky is attacked by a Troublemaker Monster, and he tries to defeat the monster by his own. His fearless attitude is watched by Spaak (En), 1st World’s GC and the strongest of them. Spaak saves the boy and listens to his dream. Spaak gets impressed by Bucky’s dream and conviction, and so Bucky gets pleased by Spaak’s comprehension.
Then, with not much apparent reasons, Spaak gives to Bucky his spirit (Jibaku-kun) and his title as the 1st World’s Great Child. Spaak goes to the Needle Tower and encourages Bucky to enter in a journey around the entire world to get stronger and, finally, meet him in the tower.
Bucky’s journey to world domination begin, travelling around the world in the clockwise direction, and making allies and friends: Pink (the comic relief) and Kai (the smart guy).
The personalities of the main cast are well balanced, but Bucky’s traits stands out. His self-confident and usually arrogant personality is the real appeal of the series. Bucky never smiles and points his friends as his slaves in his world domination plans. On the other hand, Bucky has strong moral convictions about justice and honour and also becomes more flexible through the series.
From episodes 1 to 13 we don’t have much important things happening. These episodes are much more introductory than anything, presenting the viewer to the main cast and to the original and bizarre universe.
Starting from episode 14, the true story begins, covering the origins of the Troublemaker Monsters and gradually revealing the truth about the organization of the Needle Tower. But, unfortunately, the anime ends when it starts to be really good (around episodes 20-26), when most of the mysteries are solved.
For some, me included, Bucky’s strange plot and over the top colorful world may hide something deeper. First of all, the uniqueness of the plot is present in several elements and metaphors, especially in the world in a form of a clock (a symbol to the passage of time) and in the reverse role of children protecting adults.
By the way, ‘Bucky: The Incredible Kid’ is seen by some as a modern fairy tale about growing up and how it affects the childhood dreams.
There are also a lot of questions that are presented and solved one by one, until an original ending shows off: What is the Needle Tower? Why the Great Children respect the Needle Tower’s orders blindly? How the Troublemaker Monsters are born? Who is the girl in the aquarium that appears in some random scenes?
Every episode is a gradual revelation, so be patient and enjoy the show.
Ths anime don’t have too much popularity in Japan but in America Latina it was great admired.
The style of the old school stroke on the character design is very good.
The story is funny u can know more about on another reviews because on my review i just want to complement the others talking about the songs , i recommend u to listen the first opening and ending themes they are really awesome. ;D
Opening: Yumi Matsuzawa – Dare mo Shiranai Chizu de
(Yumi’ s also the singer of the Saint Seiya Hades’s ending theme, Chikyuugi)
Ending: Two-Mix – Last Tears
8: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
MAL Score: 7.45
A normal looking high school girl on the outside, Kusakabe Maron is actually the reincarnation of Jeanne d’ Arc. With the help of the angel, Fin Fish, Maron works as the thief Jeanne at night to seal the demons that reside in pieces of artwork, preying upon the weak hearts of the owners. She is branded as a thief due to the fact that the artworks disappear after she seals the demons. One day, a new neighbor and classmate appears, as well as a rival in her night job, the thief Sinbad. With her own best friend being the detective’s daughter, out to capture her and the appearance of her new rival, Maron’s work is anything but easy.
KKJ doesn’t exactly provide anything ground breaking story-wise. It’s standard mahou shoujo material. Like many other thieves you may find in other anime, Jeanne oddly enough tells the police beforehand she actually plans to steal something, and magically completes her missions successfully, foiling the police each time. While there is an obvious plotline, majority of the anime is fairly episodic. It follows a monster of the week pattern, so each week (or should I say each episode) Jeanne seals another artwork, normally helping non-returning characters that have problems most likely due to the demons. The second half has the plot picking up, with new (and returning) antagonists as well as development of the romance between the two main characters. It’s fairly standard, but interesting enough if you don’t mind standard to begin with.
Unfortunately, the infamous reused transformation scene is used in KKJ, and is quite frankly an annoyance to watch after the first time. Animation is also reused a lot when it comes to the demon sealing. The animation is bright and colorful, and this being based off a manga by Tanemura Arina of course means awesome character designs, at least for the thieves’ costumes. An irritating number of still screens are also often used in KKJ, detracting enjoyment at times, simply because nobody likes to stare at a still screen when something else could be done. Anyhow, if you’re looking for amazing animation, look no further, because it certainly isn’t here.
Nothing too special can be found from sound either. The opening and endings are fairly catchy, although perhaps a more slow song would have been more fitting for the first ending. Background music is quite forgettable, but at least there’s nothing that ruins the scenes, proving that the BGM does its job. Voice acting is fairly satisfying, with Maron’s VA doing an excellent job showing her strength, will and loneliness. Fin Fish’s VA, while befitting her role, is fairly annoying to listen to however, probably due to the extremely high pitch.
KKJ’s characters would have to be its strongest point. Most of the characters develop throughout the series, especially the leads. Maron is a seemingly happy person, but behind it all is one who suffers from extreme loneliness. Chiaki is a somewhat trouble male who has a reluctance in engaging in any serious romantic relationship with another girl. The developing romantic relationship between her and Chiaki is pretty much the highlight of the show for the romance lovers, but it’s quite predictable from the start how it would all turn out. There’s more to Miyako then what appears at first, with this and the history behind some of the antagonists, make up for a fairly interesting cast of characters.
Did I like it?
If you’re wondering whether I actually enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I didn’t really. I’m a fan of the manga and thought the drama especially portrayed in it was brilliant. I was disappointed when I saw the anime had taken the mahou shoujo approach, with long and tedious transformation scenes, and pointless clashes between Jeanne and the police. I also hate monster of the week setups, as they prove to be far too boring and repetitive.
Overall, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is your everyday mahou shoujo. Complete with transformation scenes, flashy (and unrealistic) action, and a bit of romance here and there. Take that with some of the drama and twists presented in the show, an interesting cast of characters, and we have an anime the mahou shoujo lovers could waste their lives on for a while.
1)must see; 2) must see; 3)must enjoy ^_^
Then I was a teenager I used to watch this and imagined that I am that brave, strong, lissome girl. I knew all phrases when she is transforming and that was my inducement to be better and alarm-clock which woke me up every morning with smile, bravery and impulse to continue what I have started.
Story is about friendship which could be very mystical and disloyal, about love which can be beautiful but in the same made-up, bet from the start till beginning it always is truthful to yourself which teaches us to love ourselves too. Great!
story : 8/10
i said i love this anime, but this anime is really stressed on what is absolute evil and what is absolute kindness, im kinda against that so i personally think this is an anime for younger kids and would like u to know that the plot is great its just my personal issues. There are good points and bad points to both the anime and manga, i recommend watching both. The manga have a better ending, though the anime already have a happy ending(i meant it you are not new to anime you pretty much know all this kinds of anime leads to happy ending) but the manga ending is like even more happy or something?
If you watch both, you will get a very detailed backstory for each main character.
art : 10/10
the art is PERFECT. it is so shoujo-ish, its exactly for girls. Now i would say that the manga actually have better art than the anime but… the anime’ transformation is awesome. so this anime is tittled ‘kamikaze kaitou jeanne”,
and you can kinda guess that it have somethings to do with theives. The main characters actually go through a transformation, which involve flashy lights and lots of turning and stuff. But in the manga its kinda dull, there’s not really the process for transformation, like poof the girl has changed.
sound : 9/10
The sound i great, but its like average… there’s no really good points and there’s no bad points either…
Character : 9/10
the characters are awesome, there’s a lot of backstory given for the girl, and a little for the guy. they have strong personality and there’s so much of character development. But you know you can never have too much. Now in the manga, there’s is more backstory given to fin fish. So it’s best to read both manga and anime.
Overall : 8/10
i know it will be 9/10 if i don have a preference over what kinds i like, so it’s just something personal.
7: Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel Saga
English: Excel Saga
Japanese: へっぽこ実験アニメーション エクセル サーガ
MAL Score: 7.50
It’s hard to take over the world, and the enigmatic Il Palazzo, head of the ACROSS organization, knows this, so he aims to start small by conquering the city of Fukuoka. Two young officers, the Excel and her partner Hyatt, are tasked with executing this plan, but standing in their way are the City Security workers, a group consisting of three (mostly) normal guys, a very severe girl, and some robots. Regardless of simplicity, Excel and Hyatt always manage to screw up their missions, which usually result in death and lots of destruction.
Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel?Saga chronicles the elaborate troubles that the ACROSS officers get themselves into, as Excel and Hyatt never fail to do their jobs improperly.
Excel Saga actually not only tells the story of Excel and her escapades, but it is actually three different story lines going at once.
We have the tale of Excel, Pedro, and The Neighbors that work for the city.
With that said, the story is not easily reviewable but here goes.
Well to tell the truth, there really is no story (aside from trying to take over the city) until the last few episodes when random twists of fate bring all three story lines together (dont worry that didn’t ruin anything)
Each episode of Excel saga is meant to be a parody of different genre, for instance, there is a sci-fi episode, a fantasy episode, a "power rangers/sailor moon" type one, etc etc. Throughout the course of these episodes, stranger and stranger things start happening and its always entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes WTF.
The episodes that dont so much focus on Excel have no plot either, and are more of the "daily life" type anime episodes.
As for the art, the animation is top notch. Everything is well colored, choreographed, and presented. They make use of a wide array of animation styles for the various episodes and characters which is a plus.
The sound……i dont even know. This is one of the reasons you love it or hate it. Excel talks extremely fast about the most random things and she can get to be very annoying, or very entertaining. And you may think that "oh she can’t talk like this the whole time" but you are wrong, almost the entire time she is running that jaw of hers. Dub or sub, she sounds the same, i dont have a recommendation, pick whichever you normally watch.
Aside from the vocal tracks, the music is quite entertaining. The character themes and sound effects play a big role to help emphasize scenes and actions.
As for enjoyment, I personally found the show very entertaining although at times i did want excel to just STFU but it was worth it in the end to watch it. Dont watch this for any kind of epic plot because you will be disappointed, but if you want highly entertaining, high energy and comical times, check this show out.
The story mainly follows 2 main characters as they’re “trying to take over the world” for a company called ACROSS, i forgot what the acronym stood for. The two girls, Excel and Hyatt, all work under a man called Ilpalazzo. The great thing about the two main characters is that they’re complete polar opposites of each other. Excel, is your typical over eccentric and stupidly ignorant girl, and Hyatt, is very under eccentric and is actually pretty smart. Its funny in a sense that they are Literally different from each other. They’re not the only characters in the show tho. There are at least a good dozen characters that keep reappearing but always displayed in different situations.
Art and Sound
The art and animation is typical pre-2000 style artwork. Its all kind of lame in my opinion, but they do show their artistic variety in how they have to draw drastically different environments with every episode. The music is forgettable, although you’ll laugh at the ED a few times it gets annoying after the 3-4th time listening to it. The op is a little catchy and its a nice touch to have hyatt cough during her singing.
The best part of the anime is the line execution or the script. The use of the word “Shock” and the running joke of her eating her dog among all the other hundreds of jokes makes this show stand out so much. The simplistic lines flow very well with the simple artwork and characters. They even go far as copying characters from from digi charat, to fist of the northstar, to shinesman (you’ll think its power rangers but its really a spoof off of Shinesman), really show the voice range and artistic range albeit a little simple.
This show does have its high points but its also with its downsides. If you’re really into anime comedy, then this would be a good pickup, but even if you’re not into the comedy genre it still would not be bad to pickup and watch since there is the possibility of you seeing one of your favorite “classic” anime or genre get spoofed. You’ll see jokes coming from lolicon to androids, to poverty jokes, you’ll see a little of everything here. It’s definitely a different style of comedy and Nabeshin’s comedy style transfers very well to his other work, Nerima Daikon Brothers. This anime is not for most people but you’ll enjoy the ending
Manga/Anime: Excel Saga was originally an manga created by Rikdo Koshi. It began running in Young King OURS in the April 1997 issue, and is still running at this point in time, at. Viz has licensed it Stateside, and the sixteenth volume (and the latest volume to be compiled over in Japan) was released on September 11th, 2007.
The anime version was produced by JC Staff (best known for Revolutionary Girl Utena and Honey and Clover), and directed by Shinichi Watanabe (well-known for Nerima Daikon Brothers and Tenchi Muyo! GXP). It ran on TV from October 7th, 1999 to March 30th, 2000. It has been licensed by ADV Stateside, and the sixth and final volume was released April 8th, 2003.
Story: …Story? What story? xD
Basic plot follows ACROSS’ (leader Ilpalazzo and lackeys Excel and Hyatt) attempts to take over the world.
And really, that’s about it. Because each and every episode can be taken as a self-contained standalone (except for the last ones), and there’s almost no continuity, except in the characters, and one or two basic plot elements.
You see, this anime is a parody of every single genre/major show in the history of evah. Sports anime? Done. Youth drama? Done. Gundam? Done. Dragonball? Done. End of the world? …You get the idea. They even do an episode just to see how far they can violate TV censorship rules.
It’s got some good gags. But it’s not satire material. It’s still pretty well done, though.
Art: There’s not a lot to be said here, because it all depends on what they decide to mock each episode. xD But whatever they choose to mock, they do it well.
Music: The lyrics to the OP are hilarious, and the fact that they’re sung so horribly out of tune is the only reason the OP stands out. The ED stands out for the fact that it’s just a dog barking/woofing/howling, with a translator translating them into a human language for us.
The background music, as always, depends on what they’re trying to mock each episode. But as with the art style and story, it’s done well. I’ve still got some random themes bouncing around in my head…
Seiyuu: The big thing for this one is that they got Kotono Mitsuishi (Sailor Moon’s seiyuu) to do this, so when they do magical girl parodies, it’s even more hilarious, because in a way, she’s mocking herself (they even do some very specific mockings of Sailor Moon herself). xD They do this with several other seiyuu. Also, Ilpalazzo’s seiyuu is Hotohori’s seiyuu (from Fushigi Yuugi) and Touga Kiryuu’s seiyuu (Revolutionary Girl Utena), and his seiyuu is right up there with Joji Nakata for me. So, overall, WIN.
Length: I cannot think of a single genre or major show that they did not mock (and any ones that do come to mind are only because they were released after this). Plus, it starts to drag a little at the end. So, yeah, just right.
Overall: A pretty decent parody gag anime with awesome seiyuu and music.
Also, HAIL ILPALAZZO!!
Overall: 42/50; 84% (B)
6: Gensoumaden Saiyuuki
Japanese: 幻想魔伝 最遊記
MAL Score: 7.57
Many years ago, humans and demons lived in harmony. But that unity ended when demons started attacking humans and plotted a mission to unleash Gyumao—an evil demon imprisoned for thousands of years. Now, Genjo Sanzo, a rogue priest, must team up with three demons—Sha Gojyo, Son Goku, and Cho Hakkai—and embark on a perilous journey to the west to stop these demons from resurrecting Gyumao and restore the balance between humans and demons on Earth.
Story: 5 (another "Journey to the West" spinoff)
Art: 6 (Pretty above standard fare for its time)
Sound: 7 (English voice acting was impressive don’t miss it)
Character: 8 (first male team that didn’t make me feel gay)
Enjoyment: 9 (Main characters made this show great)
Overall: 35/50 = 7.0 (Didn’t mean to make the score look like that)
Ever since Dragon Ball, there have been a large influx of anime basing themselves on the "Journey to the West" epic piece. It’s storyline is perfect for an anime iteration, but then again, any idea can become an anime. Well what I’m getting at is that this is another iteration based on that epic. And in my opinion, this is the best iteration of that tale that I have seen so far.
It’s not historically accurate at all. If anything, it follows the story extremely loosely. I mean the names are partially the same and their personalities match (i.e. monkey, priest, etc) but thats about it. Their opposition are literally monsters and their goal is to reach the west. They use guns and have a dragon that transforms into a jeep. So you can’t take this seriously. But there is one thing that this show has and the other anime does not: attitude. The four travelers, Gojyo, Sanzo, Hakkai, and Goku, are all badass and their chemistry between each other are hilariously cool.
Now I enjoyed the English dub of this show simply because the banter between the four was actually more believable in a realistic friendship sort of way. When they make fun of each other it sounds like something I would say to my friends. No matter how much they sound like they hate each other guts and despise each other but when it comes down to it, they will follow each other to the ends of the earth. That is something that is often attempted in anime but rarely executed very well.
All the adventures they encounter are your typical random shonen encounters that they have to overcome. I would have cared less if their teamwork wasn’t so awesome and macho even under stressful conditions. No matter what they faced, they still managed to accomplish it in a virile manner.
Overall this show, like many others like it, can not be fully appreciated unless you’re ready to accept the fact that its story is very very vague. Secondly, I highly recommend the English dub since they sound much more badass than the Japanese dub and really made this show from okay to pretty darn good.
My only complaint about this anime would be the animation. There are a lot of “still shots” used during the battle scenes, but you can overlook that. The animation is also not as clean as I would like to be, but I think, maybe, it was intended that way, to go along with the story.
The characters are PERFECT. They don’t get any better than this. Sanzo, the ‘renegade priest’ who swears, smokes, drinks, weilds a banishing gun, and has a tongue sharp as a razor. Goku, the lovable little monkey king, who is always hungry, and whiny, but kicks butt during the battles. Hakkai, the soft-spoken, sympathetic demon, with a heart of gold, and a tragic past. Finally, my personal favorite, Gojyo, the drinking, gambling, swearing, skirt-chasing pervert of a water sprite, who just makes you laugh out loud almost everytime he opens his mouth.
All of the characters have a tragic past (with Hakkai’s probably being the worst), that is revisited from time to time to help you understand why they are the way the are.
The music in this anime is great, especially the OP songs. I would actually buy the OST if I could find it.
Even though the goal of the entire series is to prevent the resurrection of the old demon, and the entire series works towards that goal, this is basically an episodic anime. Enjoy!! ^_^
Story: Based on an old Chinese story, the story of Saiyuki is addicting and entertaining. The simple idea of four total opposites finding a way to travel together on a journey to "save the world" is kind of hilarious. Now, the story itself isn’t quite as interesting as the comedy or the characters, but with an "evil" group trailing the Saiyuki boys, a few crazy demons here and there, and a huge secret from the past on their backs, it does keep you interested to the very end.
Art: The art style for Saiyuki is done in a way that it preserves the original manga style. While at times the drawings appear a little weird (and maybe disproportionate), the overall style is amazing. Each character design is different from the next. I like the art style. It’s unique and in a way, beautiful.
Sound: The music for Saiyuki is catchy. Each background song is nice and fits almost perfectly with the mood. The openings and closings are addicting to listen to. As for the voice acting, nothing better can compare (for both Japanese and English). The Japanese version is as good as any Japanese version made, with the talents of Souchirou Hoshi and Akira Ashida (along with many more). The English dub, however, goes almost above and beyond. With Greg Ayres as Son Goku (and in his first major role), Vic Mignogna as Kougaiji, and David Matranga as Genjo Sanzo, the dub itself rocks! Considering it was translated a few years back, the acting beats that of most of the newly translated dubs of the current years (such as Bleach, Death Note, etc.). To finish, the sound for the series is perfect.
Character: The characters for Saiyuki are amazing. With Son Goku (the monkey king), a fiery boy with a knack for being loud and a love for meat buns. . . With Cho Hakkai, the calm and laid-back man with a tragic past. . . With Genjo Sanzo, a priest with no care for following the rules and a cigarette always in hand. . . With Sha Gojyo, a perverted half-demon with a love for smoking, drinking, and woman. Each of the four main characters are unique in their own way. Even the bad guys are interesting (with the Kougaiji group being just as cool as the Saiyuki boys)!!! All in all, the characters are definitely a part of what makes the series addicting.
Enjoyment: Oh, where to start? From the action-packed adventure to the slap-stick comedy that continues throughout the entire series, the enjoyment is absolutely outstanding. The interactions between characters, the awesome voice talents, and the beautiful art style. . . All add up to a great watch that makes you want to finish all 50 episodes as soon as you can.
Overall: The series is amazing, something to watch over and over without growing bored. I might be giving it a little too much credit, but then again, I personally think Saiyuki is one of the best. Hopefully others (such as those who might possibly read this review) will enjoy it as much as myself.
5: Daa! Daa! Daa!
Japanese: だぁ! だぁ! だぁ!
MAL Score: 7.64
Miyu is an 8th grade girl, whose parents have been hired by NASA. They take off to America leaving Miyu with Mr. Saionji. Later, Mr. Saionji decides to go on a 1 year long trip to India leaving Miyu alone with his son, Kanata. More complications rise when an Alien baby and his babysitter pet crashes/lands in their house. To make things worse, alien baby starts calling Miyu and Kanata Mom and Dad, also showing ESP power and floating around.
Story & Characters: As strange and uninteresting as I thought this would turn out, I found it to be sometimes quite captivating and leaving me dying for another episode. Miyu and Kanata are both fairly normal characters, which makes them the perfect backdrop for the chaos which takes over their lives upon the arrival of the two aliens. Wanya provides for a wonderful character foil for both Miyu and Kanata as they scramble about trying to fit Ruu into their lives and properly take care of him. There is a large cast of supporting characters, including Miyu’s two friends, Aya (who is obsessed with writing plays) and Nanami, Kanata’s friend Santa (who at first appeared to be a typical class "weirdo" but proves himself different in that his interests exceed your every day bizarre hobbies (one of which is a strange affinity for faces in wood…) and adds quite a bit of hilarity to some episodes), and Christine (the pink-haired "princess" who goes on a rampage whenever she sees another girl close to her crush, Kanata, resulting in countless instances of hilarious slapstick comedy).
The relationship that develops between Kanata and Miyu was refreshing to watch, as instead of developing with feelings of tension like relationships in other shoujo anime, their immature bickering and joint efforts to take care of Ruu lead to a smooth, gradual development that takes quite some time. They remind me a bit of Ranma and Akane from Ranma 1/2. 🙂
Audio: The openings are bouncy and energetic, as appropriate for this type of anime, and the endings are sweet (but not both are slow) and pleasing to the ears. The background music is simple without becoming plain and repetitive, but complex enough to emphasise and heighten feelings in scenes. The characters’ voice acting was more than acceptable, and I was relieved that Miyu had a softer-voiced seiyuu (voice actor) rather than the usual squeaky, girl voice that seems to be so popular. Ruu’s voice was extremely adorable and fitting, and everyone else’s voices fit their characters well.
Character & Animation: The character designs are mostly loyal to those in the manga, and they actually change into different outfits when at home. I was particularly pleased that this extra detail was added as there are definitely a few anime shows out there where the characters wear the same exact outfit every episode.
The animation was consistent, never choppy, and perfectly acceptable for the type of anime it is. The colours were bright enough to radiate a happy and cheerful feeling without burning anyone’s eyes.
Conclusion: Almost every episode I watched left me feeling refreshed and good inside, even though emotions in episodes varied from being happy to sad to playful or comedic. The series manages to keep you hooked while never laying on too much tension and never leaving you bored. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the anime, and definitely recommend it to those who are looking for a light-hearted comedy that can be both touching and romantic.
Yes, it’s really really old and the art and sound is not even comparable to modern anime. But considering for how it was for it’s time, this deserves a 10. Even so, the story is great. Sure, it’s silly and a lot of scenes are cliches. But the basis of the story plot and the design is very original, and the characters are all wonderful in playing their part. Everyone is very distinctive.
This anime does not follow an intensive story plot which connects episode to episode, so it’s great for rewatching when you want to just pick a little portion out of it. But at the same time, it does have a slow story which progresses.
I would highly recommend this anime if you want to take a break from the modern anime series with intensive plots and much harem. If you don’t… I recommend it anyway because it’s great for laughing and story.
Though it mostly focuses on entertaining kids as a kids show , I’d say it can be enjoyed by everyone tbh if u r looking for a light show without heavy elements in it other than having a good time watching it. Well done by J C Staff.
4: Digimon Adventure
English: Digimon: Digital Monsters
MAL Score: 7.77
When a group of seven children go to summer camp, the last thing that they expect is snow falling in July. In the confusion that follows this phenomenon, they each receive an odd device that transports them to another world. As soon as they wake up in this new world, they encounter strange creatures who call themselves “Digimon.” The Digimon tell them that they’ve landed in the “Digital World,” far from home.
With only the Digimon and the “Digivices” as protection, the seven children set off to find their way home and learn the reason why they were brought here. Led by the impulsive Taichi Yagami and his hungry Digimon partner Agumon, this group will have to fight unknown evils as they discover more about this outlandish Digital World.
As a fan of both Digimon and Pokémon, I don’t see how it’s impossible to like both shows even though at the time I loved Pokémon to death and still do. They may have their similarities, but they are two vastly different creatures who just happen to inhabit the same genre. In fact, despite my love for Pokémon, I find Digimon to be immensely better in the anime department (the games not so much, ironically).
Story (8): Seven young kids go to camp for the summer, and wound up living in a digital land where they meet creatures called Digimon (short for Digital Monster) that evolve—called “Digivolving”—through six stages: Baby, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega. They use Digivolving and power of friendship to save the digital world from evil.
That’s the simple, cliché response. In reality, Digimon goes much deeper than that, and it soon stood out from the other shounen ‘Mon shows of the time. It still retains that cliché plot, but the thing about clichés is that there are different ways of playing with them, to help separate it from another similar clichéd plot. This doesn’t automatically make the writing in Digimon perfect, there’s always going to be flaws, but it makes it more watchable (or tolerable) than other similar shows.
Yes, seven kids (later it became eight) end up going into a digital world where they meet their Digimon partners. However, these kids end up discovering, or re-discovering themselves and grow up as characters to be better people. The Digimon technically don’t change, although they are catalysts, and they do become stronger based on the inner strength of their partner. It’s a form of teamwork, but more along the lines of “Believe in me who believes in you”.
But why were they sent to the Digital World? Because they are the Chosen: the DigiDestined who will save the Digital World from the bad Digimon who will do anything in their power to take over the world. Digimon was originally supposed to be about 13-26 episodes, however, high ratings in Japan was encouraging enough for Toei to continue for a total of 54 episodes. The series is thus commonly split into arcs named after the big bad: Devimon, Etemon, Vamdemon (Myotismon), and the Dark Masters. Each arc has its own fans, but typically the general consensus agrees the Myotismon arc is the highlight of the series.
Outside of your typical friendship and teamwork, Digimon is not afraid to tackle themes such as death, divorce, adoption, and fear of losing a loved one, and for a kids’ show (especially given the time), it approaches them with maturity. And the average dub-hater will be pleasantly surprised to learn just how much Saban got away with all in a time where not even 4KIDS themselves wanted to touch such subjects (usually). Sure, Digimon has its share of censorship in the States, but only on an outward-appearance level (again, usually). Luckily, the script stays fairly true to the original while it developed Saban’s signature gag dub trait, so a lot of the themes and atmosphere of the series remained. Still, the choice to watch the sub or dub rests all on the viewer, either are fine choices, both have their gains and losses.
Art/Animation (6): Let’s totally be honest here, Digimon has a small budget, and it shows (Toei Animation has this problem a lot, it seems). Stock animation is rampant throughout the series, and there’s off-model moments and other animation errors, but they typically try not to let you notice, and for the most part, they worked the best they could within their budget. As a digitally-colored show (heh, digital), the colors and line-art is clean, albeit kind of flat due to lack of lighting more often than not. The backgrounds (well, backdrops) stand out to me the most with this show in how everything looks holographic—in the Digital World, anyway, as the real world looks more normal, and thus more “real”. It’s a stylistic choice that I feel is a staple to this show. Character designs are unique to the series in that everyone is distinguishable (big traits that stick out to me are the eyes, hair, and how big their hands and shoes/feet are—which is admittedly weird), and monster designs are varied from Digimon to Digimon. This helps them stick out in a line-up of other shounen anime, as well as pave the way for merchandise.
However, due to the small budget, the art is dated compared to later Digimon seasons, and even other anime of the time. The CGI Digivolutions in particular are the worst offenders (although for the time, it wasn’t all that bad). The only exception I can think of where the animation was stellar and holds up very nicely (as well as go beyond its usual budget) was episode 21 when Mamoru Hosoda directed the episode.
Sound (9): Sound-effects in general are generic, however, the beeps, drones, and screeches of the Digivice stand out the most in that department—I would go so far as to say it’s iconic to the series. The soundtrack itself is spectacular. Composed by the late Takanori Arisawa, Digimon’s soundtrack is full of adventure and wonder, while being almost in an electronic/techno genre to give it a more digital feel. Every DigiDestined has their own insert song, and character score—two versions, to be exact—not really unheard of in such shows, but it’s a big deal to Digimon. Villains even have their own character songs, if not theme scores, and they are wonderfully kept in character. The opening theme, “Butter-Fly” by Wada Kouji, is honestly one of the best anime theme songs in a kids’ show (if not in anime in general), perhaps one of the more recognizable from the intro alone this side of Pokémon. “Brave Heart” by Ayumi Miyazaki is also well-known as the Digivolution theme song.
Saban Entertainment, like most dubbing companies of the time, composed their own music. By themselves, the musical score is good, it’s clear they got talent in the musical department. However, the editor(s) of the episodes completely went overboard with the music and just slapped pieces together to fill up the entire episode, rarely leaving a single scene quiet. But the musical score isn’t as well-known as the ungodly catchy, simplistic theme song, simply titled “Digimon Are the Champions”. And now you have the English theme song in your head. You’re welcome. Bonus points if you can see the intro play out in your head.
Voice-acting in the original is solid, though likewise with the English dub, some voices don’t really fit the character. It’s thankfully few and far in-between, and it’s not like the voice acting is terrible. However, because I’m not fluent in Japanese, I’m slightly biased when it comes to voices regardless if that was the original intent on the casting director or not, thus I cannot judge them just based on how they sound alone. I do personally feel there are voices that work best in the original, while others are enhanced better in the English dub.
Speaking of, given the time, the English dub is surprisingly phenomenal with a great voice-cast—yes, a late-90s kids’ anime has an amazing English dub, script and soundtrack aside. It took a bit for the directors and voice actors to get comfortable with the show, but they were able to bring the characters to life in their own special way. Many of them were in the field for years prior to Digimon, and are well-known to the anime community: Joshua Seth, Michael Reynolds, Edie Mirman, Mona Marshall, Derek Stephen Prince, and Lara Jill Miller (at this time, she was well-known from NBC’s “Gimme a Break!”, her being cast in Digimon happened at the same time she returned to Hollywood) stand out best in memory, but many of the cast is well-done. However, as I said before, it, too, has its share of voices that just don’t work out. This is more-or-less limited to side-Digimon that you don’t see often outside of one or two episodes, so it’s the main cast I have more praise towards (though Mimi is a bit of an exception in some areas—Ai Maeda in the original makes Mimi more likeable/listenable than Philece Sampler).
Characters (9): This is where Digimon truly sticks out as a show. It’s very uncommon to find a show with as equally-complex and diverse a cast as Digimon Adventure. The eight main children made this show, even though their Digimon are good characters in their own right and serve as great foils/combos with their human partners.
The characters are as follows: Taichi “Tai” Yagami (Kamiya), the leader of the group who acts before he thinks (but isn’t stupid); Yamato “Matt” Ishida, the cool-headed big brother of a lone wolf; Sora Takenouchi, the motherly tomboy; Koushirou “Izzy” Izumi, the young, know-it-all technical wizard; Mimi Tachikawa, a spoiled, rich girl who never hesitates to speak her mind, but has her heart in the right place; Joe Kido, the more down-to-earth of the children who has a paternal side to him; Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi, Matt’s younger brother who provides a more innocent outlook to the world; and Hikari “Kari” Yagami (Kamiya), Tai’s younger sister who is good-natured and soft-spoken.
Each of them have a backstory, and their own inner demons (well, maybe not so much with Kari according to some folks). Among the eight, any of them can be relatable to the viewer. Many of them struggle to become better, more mature people, but they aren’t alone. The Digimon partners: Agumon, Gabumon, Piyomon (Biyomon), Tentomon, Palmon, Gomamon, Patamon, and Tailmon (Gatomon). They, too, grow as characters and have their own personality, although it’s Gatomon (and possibly Patamon) who has the most character development. But their main role as Digimon partners is to protect and be supportive, and for the most part, they fulfill their duties. They are likewise the mascots of the series, and yet are more than just pieces of data.
Meanwhile, partner-less Digimon play important roles to the story, perhaps even more-so than the human protagonists. Some examples (off the top of my head) are Leomon, Ogremon, Piximon, Wizardmon, Myotismon, Etemon, Pumpkinmon, and Gotsumon. These characters had depth despite being in a few episodes at the least, but they also were just that memorable to the point they have fans to this day.
Special mention goes to the children’s parents for adding a depth to the show most kids’ shows don’t do. Parents in Digimon were very supportive of their children, as well as loving, but were also the most human. While they don’t go through the same experiences as their children (for the most part), it still affects them greatly to let their children go and save the world without knowing why it is they have to. They had to put their trust in them, and thus they (and the writers) gain my respect when they could’ve been like every other adult in similar kids’ shows. If somehow the children don’t grow on you, then perhaps their parents will.
Enjoyment (10): It’s truly a damn shame Digimon has never gotten as popular as Pokémon. Both franchises were being worked on at the exact same time, neither creator knowing of each other, and yet it was Pokémon that was finished first, and would overshadow every other ‘Mon show that would come out since. Is it possible to blame bad timing for why it is Digimon has to constantly work to get noticed? Maybe. But how do we know Pokémon wouldn’t have gone through the same ridicule had it been Digimon that came out first? How do we know that Digimon would have gotten the same popularity? Would it still have struggled? Would it have been a worldwide phenomenon?
Do I wish Digimon would have a bigger audience? Truly, I do, it clearly deserves recognition and praise. However, at the same time, I feel it was a good thing Digimon has remained rather… quiet under many people’s radars. For one thing, it felt more special to me, as a kid, to know that as sad as it was, the show was more for me (and my brothers) than anyone else. I didn’t want the magic and wonder of Digimon to be sucked up by anyone else, I wanted to experience it all for myself. In my mind, everyone else had to be just as special to like it as much as I did.
Another reason I’m kind of glad it stayed low was unlike with Pokémon, Digimon has never really been accused of the same things its rival went through (at least, that I know of). If it had, I don’t think Digimon would have survived. Pokémon had Nintendo, tons of merchandise, and millions of children (and dollars) to back it up. What did Digimon have? Fox Kids? Saban? Toei Animation? Some of Pokémon’s percentage of fans? What good would any of those have done to keep Digimon afloat against the onslaught of attacks?
Even with the cheesiness of a gag dub, I still find Digimon to be highly enjoyable. Yes, the original Japanese is superior in everything, but the English dub is special, even if highly subjective, and thus I can’t forsake the dub. It’s just as memorable as Pokémon’s dub, and yet though I managed to find a way for Pokémon and Digimon to co-exist as friendly rivals, it’s the better of the two (although I honestly would have a hard time picking my most favorite). Saban Entertainment took good care of Digimon at this time, and I thank them for that. It’s the only thanks I can really give them besides “Thanks for Samurai Pizza Cats” and “Thanks for the Fox Kids block”.
In the end, I think “Butter-Fly” says it best for Digimon as a whole (translated):
“After an endless dream, in this world of nothingness
It seems as if our beloved dreams will lose
Even with these unreliable wings, covered in images that tend to stay
I’m sure we can fly, on my love”
Second, I have to say I’m utterly disappointed with the score Digimon Adventure has. 7 is not a bad score, but is way below of what I expected. This is a kid show, and as such it should be scored as how satisfaying it can be to kids, just as how shonnen should be scored as how they satisfy their teen audience, seinen their older audience, and so on. I feel like many are comparing and scoring anime without any filter, as if you could score this anime a 5 just because you compare it with Code Geass or Shingeki no Kyojin, which are 9 if not 10s. And that’s unfair. Digimon Adventure is a stand out in what refers to kid shows and I’ll explain why point by point.
Story wise: It is very well constructed, and smartly thought through; there are misteries that are unveiled as we move forward, and every revelation is handled with care and it is affected by how the characters feel about it. There are plenty shows that just try to be awesome by delievering mistery after mistery and revelation after revelation with no care of their characters whatsoever and fall flat in making any emotional resonance, but it’s not this one. The story is tightly attached to its main 8 characters and their digimon, while giving us the sense of many plots developing under their nose, but strickly related to them. The first 10 episodes are introductory, a prologue if you may, and then we go fully into know what the world they are in is and how it affects ours. Sure, some people could say “why wait 10 episodes to get to real deal?” For starters, those 10 episodes are not bad at all, they are very entertaining and they give us a sense of adventure (hence the title) and exploration that this anime wants us to feel, and it passes with flying colors. The following 44 episodes follow 3 different story arcs, but all related to the same story plot, all of them linked together, with every single episode affecting the following ones, which mean there is no such thing as filler episode, and that’s something we should applaude, as not many kid shows are willing to leave a filler comfort zone (I’m looking at you Pokemon).
Characters: Here is where this anime shines brightly. Character development is at its finest here. Each character has a distinctive personality, quirks and even tics that make them feel real, or at the very least smartly outlined. At first we get broadstrokes, but as we pass episode by episode there’s an incredible development in each character; they are distinctive from each other and they never act out of characters, their actions are not made in order to move the plot forward, but rather to show us who these kids are, which is great, as many animes (and not just kid shows) tend to sacrifice character insight in order to get the plot moving; this one doesn’t. They will always move accordingly to their personalities and we get to see all of them develop. While some others shows would mainly develop 3 or 4 of their main characters, all 8 get to grow in each episode by what happen to them, and even they realize how they grow (and even how they don’t, how they might be stuck) and how much they have to move forward.
There’s a cute concept here that is “values are power” and each character has a distinctive value, may it be courage, friendship, love, sincerity, love, and so on. They grow around these values, but they also get lost in sight of them, when they try to push them they fail as opposed when they let it flow naturally it always work. It’s a wonderful lesson for kids, and it is something we all should add to our daily life, it would make this world better. But putting that aside and returning to the characters, there is not even one that’s left undeveloped, all of them have satisfaying characters arcs.
Sound/Music: Digimon has a beautiful soundtrack. Wada Kouji was a talented musician (rest in peace) and scored some really great songs that made you dream. Digimon is a series that aims for kids to dream and to learn the power of values as well to portraying excellent character development and mature themes explained to them, and as such it needs the right score at the right time, and Wada Kouji just got it right, from Butterfly to Brave Heart, even using classic music as Ravel, the timing is just perfect and while there are surely better OST, this one is among the better ones.
Enjoyment: it is highly satisfaying! I’m 21 years old and as I re-watched Digimon after 12 years I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was 9, and that’s because I could realize how well constructed it was. Besides, it made feel like a llittle kid again. The plots are smart, the character development is spot on, the music is gorgous, the art may lack a little now and then, but is never too bothersome, and the evolutions are damn right exciting and funny! And so I could keep praising it until I’m left out of words. But I think I made my point.
In conclusion: This is defenitely the best Digimon series, as it is the one that gets all plot, character, music and themes right, and delivers them in a highly satisfaying manner. As such, it deserves to be acclaimed, and a 7 is a low score for it.
Is this a realistic anime? No, not at all, but it’s not meant to be anyway. It is an anime that is meant to make us dream. You can’t compare it to, say for instance, Shingeky no Kyojin which explore fantasy elements as realistic as possible or Code Geass, which explores character insight in the midst of war and revolutions. No, of course no, those are targeted for an older audience. But Digimon Adventure is no less satisfaying, and that’s because while it aims for children, one can always appreciate how smartly thought are the storylines and the characters development. It is a show that knows its potential and limitations, accepts them and just aim to be the best it can be, which result in being an awesomely made kid show.
All in all, we have to see Digimon Adventure for what it is and not for what we might want to be. And as on what it is, it is straight awesome.
Like most lengthy anime series it starts off fairly slow, and like most shows in general it has a lot of typical things you’d expect from a show of this genre. Chosen children in a faraway land, partnered with strange creatures, that need to prevent the evil from destroying the world. We’ve all seen it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be well done enough to be damn good in the process.
Starting off with the kids searching for a way home it’s pretty episodic and gets into a pretty standard pattern for the first 15 episodes or so. But after that they begin the next adventure, searching for their respective Crests. Another small series of episodic episodes, but they’re interesting enough that you wouldn’t notice that; and they’re all truly just a springboard that launches the show from ‘fine’ to ‘very good’ on my scale. Introducing Vamdemon (Myotismon for you dub people) and starting the search for the eighth Chosen Child.
It’s here that the story takes a much darker tone, and it only gets darker as it goes on. The show pulls no punches, and though it’s aimed at children it doesn’t insult your intelligence (or at least in Japanese it doesn’t). Though there can be a slight cheese factor in some of the more emotional parts, it’s done well enough that you won’t mind and might even find yourself smiling at the very thing you might have rolled your eyes at.
Even with all the improvements today I still find this art really impressive, and I even prefer it in some instances. There’s a strange realistic feeling to all the characters, sure most have the typical accessories to tell you they’re from an anime but I wouldn’t find it hard to believe if they were based on real kids. But in a show with evolving and fighting monsters who cares how the characters look right, we wanna see wicked awesome monsters!!… Savages, all of you; alright, lets get to the monsters.
They’re awesome, to say the least, there may have been one or two creature designs out of them all that I’d consider lame or stupid. And in a show consisting of 54 episodes and dozens upon dozens of monsters, that’s damn good. The evolutions are awesome, the only ones that are a little lame are the 4 CG ones; it’s not too bad though, considering when the show was made (they’re also not very long). But now to move away from the creature designs, I’ll talk briefly about the background designs, which I found to be incredibly pleasant compared to over a dozen other shows I’ve seen.
Though each background doesn’t exactly stand out in any particular ways, it’s the simple fact that they blend in so well that I like them. They’re designed well enough that they look like scenery, you pay attention to it to get a grasp of what’s around the characters and move on; it still sticks in your mind but it’s not taking over the screen, it’s not exploding to try and be noticed, it’s simply doing the duty of being background scenery. I also found that for a show from the 90’s there’s a surprisingly low amount of re-used footage. Sure there’s the occasional ‘yeah I’ve seen that Mega Flame before’, but for the most part each one fresh and reflects the scenery around it.
It’s strange that a show about elementary school children would have a fairly large amount of character development and depth, but that’s Digimon Adventure for you. Each of the Chosen Children has their own issues, their own past that’s slowly explored as the series progresses, and by the end they’ve all developed into fully grown characters. They’re all clever enough to question situations and surroundings, but they’re only in elementary school so they all still have the charm and innocence of childhood.
But people aren’t the only characters here, no no, the Digimon have their own personalities too. Which are, in some ways, better than the children in my opinion. Though the children grow and change as characters, and the Digimon basically stay the same, they’re still a high point and occasionally contribute a large part of the humor or drama in many episodes.
Ungodly catchy. The Japanese intro and outros are both very good, so good that I’ve even downloaded them and added them to my iPods playlist of anime songs. Though they are very good, and catchy, they’re nothing too spectacular. The audio during the show is also pretty standard, with most of those songs being ungodly catchy as well; awesome, but still nothing too great.
For a show that I once would have only given a five out of ten I’m so glad I went back and watched it over again with the proper audio. To charm me still after ten years have gone by it truly goes to show that this show is something people of all ages can watch and enjoy.
A very good anime that’s sadly under appreciated. Though not perfect, Digimon Adventures is definitely worth watching, or re-watching; especially if you read this whole review!!
MAL Score: 7.85
Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan’s violent Sengoku period with the demon’s true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
There are flaws in the overall composition. Things one might ask themselves like; why, if you KNEW you we’re going to be trekking across feudal Japan for months on end, would you bring only one outfit? And more importantly why would it be your Junior High School uniform – i.e. a bright green miniskirt?
Regardless, the story itself is very weak, as its the random plot arcs and ridiculous character relations that really make the show. To summarize, a young girl falls down a well at her family’s shrine, only to be transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she frees a grumpy dog eared half demon man who is stuck to a tree (The result of a bad breakup) and ends up breaking a magical mystical artifact that then shatters into a bazillion pieces. Ditzy teenage girl and pissy dog demon guy now must work together to find all the shards of “The Sacred Jewel” before the bad guys do. Sure there’s another load of subplots – pointless, funny and romantic alike – but we’ll get to that.
Although the premise is simplistic it does expand further along in the story, but only if one likes the show enough initially to move on in the series through the 160 + episodes.
The subplots and the arcs are what make this series entertaining. (And also agonizing if the arc you’re in bores you to tears) We’ll have run ins with random demons and get mixed up with numerous characters who may or may not come and go. Each plot brings changes and the characters do a very good job of growing and evolving as a result. The series does, despite its episodic nature, still follow some sense of linearity. Development in the characters remain as they would in a real person. (This excludes the Inuyasha movies, unfortunately)
Despite all that, its still one of those series that makes it very easy to drop in at any time and figure things out eventually. I watched from the middle first before I decided I loved the show and went back to see the beginning – which was drastically different to me considering the amount of change that takes place from beginning to middle to end.
I can’t go into detail very well considering the story, as there is so much of it its hard to find a place to start. The elements of the setting and time really come into play with the presence of the spirits and demons all of which offer a uniqueness all to its own. The multiple love triangle issues are superficial but also complex, so there is a degree of decent conflict in that regard. I also really appreciate personally how the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, is gradual.
Coming to the characters, there are many. Too many to identify them all in this review. This is a great thing about the show, but can also be annoying and for the casual observer, confusing as hell. I’ll touch on the main characters at least:
Kagome is a really plain Junior High School girl. As a heroine she starts out pathetically dull and often comes off as a total ditz. However if you give her a chance she does show you how she can grow to be a capable human being despite the fact that she is a 15 year old idiot running around feudal Japan in a miniskirt. Throughout the show we find shes short tempered, opinionated and rash, but she does keep a sense femininity intact somehow. She also retains an ability to sympathize with and care for the people she comes to know. What I love about her is that she starts out completely incompetent. Literally she is nothing but a Mary-Sue-ish teenage airhead with little care in the world aside doing well in school, and she morphs (gradually) into a priestess who can use a bow and even protect herself. She – going through the show constantly compared to the priestess Kikiyo (Details will become clear if you decide to watch the show) she makes a deliberate effort to break free of that confine and become her own person, and I like that.
Inuyasha is also a great source of character development. I know I keep saying “Development development development!” but really is one of the biggest things this show has going for itself. I almost see this anime as some kind of document of how Inuyasha becomes a man. Hes over 50 years old but despite that he is extremely childish, boorish and often rude and annoying. He also works pretty hard to gain strength and create a name for himself. He is an ‘underdog’ (lol puns) and also has a bit of a Gary-Stu thing going for him. Being a half demon with a snobby older brother and a messed up undead ex-girlfriend gives him a lot of stuff to complain about.
The characters ARE shallow. But their relationships are entertaining and – if you get all the way to the end of this series and the short Inuyasha Sequel: Inuyasha the Final Act – are rewarding to see until the end.
I’ll keep the review of the art quick in saying that it is very traditional for the time it was made. Its got a lot of square and rectangular shapes and brightly colored character designs that fit in well with its shounen genre. The style is very consistent, budget obviously allowed for lots of attention to detail and a tone of seriousness. It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi’s earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980’s. Almost a retro anime style if you get my meaning. Movies have much more bold and sharp lines. Character designs could use work (I can’t get over the miniskirt thing, I’m sorry. Its just too stupid. And I get really sick of Inuyasha never wearing anything but his giant red.. thing)
Even quicker, my opinion of the sound. The music is diverse and beautifully complex. One of the best parts of the show. Multiple opening and ending themes, background music all magical and perfectly suitable to the time period. Voice acting is always better in Japanese. English is very harsh on the ears, I strongly dislike it nowadays.
Very long review and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Inuyasha, as I see it, is a classic shounen. Its time in the limelight long passed when it made room for Naruto and Bleach to move in on the scene. For those of you who can take a long series and like the sound of this show, give it a shot. Perhaps google a list of filler episodes you might feel like skipping if this does tickle your fancy. Inuyasha does have something for everyone. From the action to the supernatural, to the romantic and the historical. Its a story hard to place and hard to review with a fair share of chaos and confusion. Its a mess, really. But its a big fun mess if you’re willing to see it through.
As always, keep good humor in mind while watching. This show is bananas and it will make you want to throw objects at the screen from time to time.
For now, I tip my hat to Inuyasha. I thank it for showing me this world, showing me complexity and hilarity, and for showing me how flaws can be celebrated for their entertainment just as well as the parts that shine.
The storyline is basic and very easy to follow, however the story does seem to drag on, so if you have patience with animes this could be for you.
The characters are pure genius, each with their own running joke. Each character (with the exception of Kagome) has a dark and kind of upsetting past often including the death of a loved one. My favourite is Miroku by far. He is a perverted womanising monk who flirts with pretty much any girl. However, some characters, like Shippo (an adorable fox demon), have a minor role with little or no fight scenes. (Then again that’s a small part of his jokes).
The fights are good, lots of blood in some places. However the fights are short and it seems to always be Inuyasha doing most of the work. (As he has stated a few times). The others seem to be back up and use the same moves. For example, Sango, a demon slayer, uses her Hirakotsu (a giant boomerang often used hitting Miroku when he flirts with other girls or touches her butt) but she has a sword which rarely gets used. I think I’ve seen it 3 times and then I can only remember when she is about to use it on Kohaku (her little brother who has no memory of killing their whole village because he’s being controlled by the main bad guy).
The romance is my favourite part in all of the series. It’s more sweet than it is romantic. But it’s the sort that makes you feel all warm inside. I’m sad to say that the romance barely progresses. (Apart from Miroku and Sango). And there is a really big love net. But like I said, it sweet in a LOT of places.(Oh, for you fan girls, I know Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s brother, is a favourite. Oh, I’m not a fan girl.)
All in all, Inuyasha is a good anime (and my favourite). Watch it if you have patience and love a good laugh, fight sometimes full of blood and sweet romantic bits in an anime.
After the intoduction of the fourth protagonist ( Sango), apart from a few side-stories, the plot essentially deteriorates into a viscous cycle. In a few occasions it seems there will be some new development, but I was dissapointed when the same-old thing happened again. The fillers were heavily Naruto-like, admittedly better.
Overall: I think the series can be alot better, but if you like extended series, this could be for you.
2: Cardcaptor Sakura
English: Cardcaptor Sakura
MAL Score: 8.15
Sakura Kinomoto is your garden-variety ten-year-old fourth grader, until one day, she stumbles upon a mysterious book containing a set of cards. Unfortunately, she has little time to divine what the cards mean because she accidentally stirs up a magical gust of wind and unintentionally scatters the cards all over the world. Suddenly awakened from the book, the Beast of the Seal, Keroberos (nicknamed Kero-chan), tells Sakura that she has released the mystical Clow Cards created by the sorcerer Clow Reed. The Cards are no ordinary playthings. Each of them possesses incredible powers, and because they like acting independently, Clow sealed all the Cards within a book. Now that the Cards are set free, they pose a grave danger upon the world, and it is up to Sakura to prevent the Cards from causing a catastrophe!
Appointing Sakura the title of “the Cardcaptor” and granting her the Sealed Key, Keroberos tasks her with finding and recapturing all the Cards. Alongside her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji, and with Kero-chan’s guidance, Sakura must learn to balance her new secret duty with the everyday troubles of a young girl involving love, family, and school, all while she takes flight on her magical adventures as Sakura the Cardcaptor.
The premise itself is fairly typical for a mahou shoujo anime. A happy-go-lucky girl suddenly comes across magical power and begins her quest alongside a cute lion-like caricature serving as her guardian and mentor. Sakura’s role as the chief protagonist is to capture the fifty-three magical cards of Clow Reed, each inhabiting a unique power that inconveniences Sakura and the people around her in some way. Some of these cards are immensely powerful, including the ability to manipulate time and dreams, while others are fairly weak or trivial in comparison and encompass smaller abilities like creating flowers or making objects float. After Sakura fights against the power behind the card and then seals it away it becomes a part of her possession that she can then use at will.
At least, this is how the story first seems.
The series is largely changed and complicated with the introduction of the deuteragonist in the eighth episode. Syaoran Li, a boy from Hong Kong, suddenly transfers into Sakura’s class and disturbs the situation by antagonizing Sakura and competing for the Clow Cards. This relationship serves as the basis for the central theme of the series as their feelings and relationship change and develop immensely, from rivals to friends and finally to lovers. This is a very gradual change and it’s paced well enough that it feels completely natural, a change you might not even notice without retrospect. You contempt Li when he’s first introduced and by the end you grow to enjoy his presence almost as much as Sakura herself.
Shoujo series are a bit infamous for their overly-idealized and sudden romances but Cardcaptor Sakura is again an exception. There is certainly idealizing, sparkles and bubbles, but the depth is there. The feelings between Sakura and Li naturally grow and evolve over the course of the series, with no contrived events used to advance their relationship. There is not even a confession by the end of the 70-episode run, yet there is no need for one as the anime has already communicated how strongly the two feel for each other. Character interaction and body language are used to express this– not conveniences followed by dramatic outcomes. The end result is one of the most natural and endearing romances in anime. As a mahou shoujo it is good, but as a romance it is excellent.
Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly a lighthearted and fun series. Most of the entertainment revolves around Sakura and her interaction with the characters, most notably her guardian Keroberos (endearingly shortened by Sakura to Kero-chan) and her closest friend Tomoyo who often goes along with her to the scene of each card to record footage on her camcorder. Other important characters include Sakura’s beleaguering older brother Toya and the object of her affections, Yukito, a friend of Toya whom she holds a large crush towards. Still, the series does eventually take a more serious turn in the second half after the initial card collection draws to a close. Some characters reveal hidden sides that will surprise the audience and certain side characters develop and become integral to the story. At no point does the show ever feel too silly or too serious; it’s a perfect blend of the two.
Interestingly, there are several elements that deviate from the conventions of most mahou shoujo anime. There isn’t a traditional transformation sequence in the anime nor one unique outfit that Sakura wears when using magic. Instead she wears normal clothing like a regular girl, or rather whatever silly costume her friend Tomoyo decides to dress her up in before the event. This adds a lot of variety to the action sequences and gives the audience a small something to look forward to each episode.
Despite its young demographic and reputation as a family-friendly anime, there are also some surprisingly taboo topics that are covered in the anime. There’s the forbidden love between teacher and student and homosexual feelings between two important characters. The anime does not use any of these elements as shock value, though, simply presenting them as-is with no moral connotation. ‘Love’ is the main theme of CCS and the amount of detail put into the relationships of even periphery character is certainly commendable.
On the other hand, the music here is nothing short of stunning. Some of the songs that play in the series, such as the first opening and the track used when capturing a card, are classics that will stick in your head and be remembered fondly for a very long time. More than simply enhance the experience, these tracks are a large part of what makes the anime what it is. The soundtrack is by far one of most defining and important aspects of the series, and perhaps one of the best in anime.
That being said, Cardcaptor Sakura is definitely not without flaws.
One of the largest complaints can be put on the rather long length of the anime. At 70 episodes it can certainly drag on at some parts in the story. While CLAMP carefully tried to make each episode as engaging and interesting as possible, it’s only natural that some episodes are weaker than others and that some events can become a bit predictable at times. Luckily, this mostly changes in the second half of the anime where the story expands and takes a mostly different direction where more emphasis is put on the characters’ relationships. As fun as each episode is, I can’t help but feel like it would have benefited from a shorter episode count in order for the story to flow better. A 50-episode story would have been a perfect fit, neither too long nor too short.
It should also be mentioned that the changes between the original Japanese version and the English localized “Cardcaptors” are very drastic, and certainly not in a good way. Music and names of the characters are changed, episodes are flipped and mixed together in an odd and sometimes incoherent order, and important backgrounds and plot elements are minimized or removed completely. While certainly not unwatchable, it’s a very toned down and poor imitation of a fantastic anime. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice by watching any version except the original Japanese one.
In a genre where conventions and inspiration form the crux of most stories, Cardcaptor Sakura is a brilliant title that breathes new life into the genre and anime as a whole. While not quite flawless, this is a classic that has acceded its spot as one of the most influential and quality anime titles in recent times. It’s a consistently high-quality, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking anime that has more than earned its widespread acclaim and influence. This is a title that shows that there is indeed a correlation in storytelling between creativity and quality.
Cardcaptor Sakura has certainly earned its place in history.
The first and second season, in my opinion, is not most impressive plot-wise. It is pretty much very episodic, with recurring goofs such as Sakura’s battle costumes, Tomoyo with her camcorder, Toya always showing up at the right (or wrong) times, Sakura trying to win over Yukito, Kero looking up at the sky saying “Yue” like he’s heartbroken, and Syaoran once again tries to compete with Sakura. The impressive part of the first season is its comedy and action, because it was just amazing. For a magical girl anime, the action was just there. Every scene, suspense, effort, luck, desperation, success, it was there. When Sakura is not capturing cards (she approximately captures one per episode), she enters an environment with heartfelt friendship and goes through life very joyfully and often humorously. Even though the only plot is to “capture them all,” Cardcaptor Sakura such a variety of enjoyment that you will find yourself staying glued to the screen.
The season offers a change of pace as Sakura embarks on a brand new adventure, meeting a mysterious new rival. This is where the plot starts to change, as the cards are no longer the main emphasis of the plot. It is clear that while the cards changed her destiny (in capturing the cards), it also affected her daily life as well. The third season explores how the cards created a new path for Sakura in friendship and romance. This part of the plot is present in the first two seasons, but it became the main focus of season three. Personally, this is when Cardcaptor Sakura won me over. Until then it was just a very addicting and enjoyable show. Season three gave meaning to the cards and provides a few dramatic moments that fortifies the underlying themes and symbolisms the series tries to convey.
If you are new to Cardcaptor Sakura, then you might not realize that it was made in 1998. For its time, the art was amazingly amazing. From the opening sequence, you can point out minor details such as the movement of Sakura’s costume in the wind and the animation of her hair was just so realistic. Voice acting was awesome (and cute), and facial expressions were especially awesome. And then, there are the action scenes themselves. When the cards are released/captured, there’s a “wow” moment that you don’t expect to see in a typical magical girl series. Even though the action isn’t very technical with cool names and gadgets, it features everything from flying, sword fighting, evocations of the elements, and last but not least, Sakura. One thing that cannot be expressed enough is how cute Sakura is portrayed. That may sound stupid, but it’s one of the main attractions of the show.
Not only are the opening and ending sequences catchy, the background music was incredible, simply incredible. From the opening scene featuring Sakura on top of a tower, the music was engaging in every aspect. Then it smoothly makes a transition to everyday music when Sakura introduces herself, and finally to the suspenseful and catchy battle theme that everyone loves. One of the main complains about the dub (Cardcaptors) was that the music was changed. The original music was excellent, and it fits the situation it is for very well.
For an anime like this it’s tough to be perfect character-wise, but which anime masters character portrayal, right? The anime focuses the most on Sakura, Kero, Tomoyo, Syaoran, and Meilin, as expected, since they’re the main characters. Of course Toya and some other characters I don’t want to spoil have their roles also, but mostly it centers on the elementary students (and Kero). While a good deal of the supporting characters were developed, it is done mostly through inferences and vague symbolism. In a way this is good, because it gives Cardcaptor Sakura a deeper meaning if you see it, but if you don’t, it’s still a very enjoyable anime with minor plot holes. So in short, Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly an anime of character development and emotional maturation, and it mostly succeeded, for the main characters only.
From what I said above, this category would definitely have to be a 10/10. In fact, it has one of the best re-watching values of all the anime I’ve watched. The first time you go through the anime, it’s just plain enjoyable. The second time, you tend to pick up symbolism and motifs from here and there. That “ah hah” moment where everything clicks makes the series even more enjoyable, because it connects its episodic attribute to the main plot more closely. Cardcaptor Sakura just enjoyable no matter how you look at it.
An interesting character in Cardcaptor Sakura is Meilin. She is a filler character, meaning, she is not in the original manga. However, her roles are clearly defined and becomes one of the major plot-driven characters at the end of the anime, as well as being a very consistent character. One example is how I regard an episode that dedicated to her as one of the best, even though it is a filler. The addition of Meilin is not for the detriment of the plot, and I applaud the excellent direction it took to incorporate such a character.
Another factor that might affect some viewers is how everything is in rōmaji or English. At the opening sequence, Sakura’s name tag says SAKURA, the cards are in English, even how Sakura says them is in English. There’s just a lot of convenient things here for English watchers, something curious but gladly accepted.
If you watch this anime, then watch out for some controversial topics. The first one is homosexuality, which is present plainly in one relationship, and very vaguely implied in a couple of others. It would certainly bring up some questions for younger viewers, but in the end, the anime explains it in a very fitting and safe way. Still, it could be a concern but it shouldn’t stop you from watching it. It’s safe to say that yuri/yaoi isn’t a main component of the plot.
Another controversy is incest, the legal kind (in Japan). While a non-Japanese audience might be a bit uncomfortable of a first cousins relationship, it is best to keep in mind that in Japan, it is completely normal. There’s no weird things like brother/sister, mother/son, or stuff like that, so don’t worry.
And there’s a third kind of relationship explored in the anime, which is an innocent student-teacher crush. The anime never really goes anywhere with it, but it’s nice just to mention that it’s there. The one important thing to keep in mind is that all these three types of relationships do not affect the enjoyment of the series in any way. Relationships, after all, are part of the main plot, and they should be treated in an adult manner.
Lastly, although it’s something that not many cares, there is death. Throughout the series, no one really died, but the motif of death, angels, and the afterlife appears frequently. It’s listed as a controversy due to the assumed target audience (young females), but in the end, death is one of the aspects that gives more meaning to the plot.
As much as I don’t want to bash Cardcaptors, I feel that it is relevant. If you watch Cardcaptors, then my ratings do not apply. These ratings only apply to the Japanese subbed version, as well as what I think is the best version. Get this one if you can!
I can’t bring myself to give this anime a ten just because it carries no major revelations or any of the sort. You can argue that the ending is pretty dramatic, kind of, but the main purpose of the anime is to let the audience sit back, relax, and enjoy. Of course I am being harsh because I want something out of every anime I watch, but for Cardcaptor Sakura, enjoyment alone is enough to get it to a 9. Once in a while, it’s good to just watch a series and and enjoy it wholeheartedly.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Story: The anime is “episodic” in nature, usually consisting of single episode stories that most often serve to develop the characters and their relationships with one another, as well as Sakura coming in contact and attempting to “capture” one of the lost cards. Being a long series however, it can begin to feel very repetitive after only a short period of time. Although I think the overall concept of the story is good, I feel as though it could have been executed better, with more emphasis placed on the cards. In some episodes the cards have a very little role, sometimes being captured very quickly. A few times a card doesn’t even show up at all.
Animation: The animation is good overall, a few scenes are reused at times, but I have no major qualms.
Sound: Like with the animation, the sound was done well. There are a few songs I liked, and a few that I didn’t. The voice acting was done well, with voices that suited the characters nicely.
Character: I really felt that the characters were developed nicely throughtout the story. The Love triangle involving Sakura, Yukito and Li developed and resolved itself in the end, giving a feeling of closure after so long. The develop of characters and their relationships felt very natural to me as well. Their actions rarely, if ever, felt forced or out of character.
Enjoyment: If you are a fan of shojo or “magical girl” anime, and can stand a little bit of repetitivness, I would say that Card Captor Sakura is a must see for you. I personally enjoyed it thoroughly despite a few lulls hear and there.
1: Great Teacher Onizuka
English: Great Teacher Onizuka
Japanese: グレート ティーチャー オニヅカ
MAL Score: 8.69
Twenty-two-year-old Eikichi Onizuka—ex-biker gang leader, conqueror of Shonan, and virgin—has a dream: to become the greatest high school teacher in all of Japan. This isn’t because of a passion for teaching, but because he wants a loving teenage wife when he’s old and gray. Still, for a perverted, greedy, and lazy delinquent, there is more to Onizuka than meets the eye. So when he lands a job as the homeroom teacher of the Class 3-4 at the prestigious Holy Forest Academy—despite suplexing the Vice Principal—all of his talents are put to the test, as this class is particularly infamous.
Due to their utter contempt for all teachers, the class’ students use psychological warfare to mentally break any new homeroom teacher they get, forcing them to quit and leave school. However, Onizuka isn’t your average teacher, and he’s ready for any challenge in his way.
Bullying, suicide, and sexual harassment are just a few of the issues his students face daily. By tackling the roots of their problems, Onizuka supports them with his unpredictable and unconventional methods—even if it means jumping off a building to save a suicidal child. Thanks to his eccentric charm and fun-loving nature, Class 3-4 slowly learns just how enjoyable school can be when you’re the pupils of the Great Teacher Onizuka.
The story is somewhat cliche: troublesome high school students with peculiar skills or traits trying to rid a teacher who’s trying hard to to teach them a lesson in life. However, there are some very clever surprises and plot devices to keep the viewer poised for more. My only complaint is the rather hashed season finale (Ep. 42 and 43), but that was to be expected since those are the only two episodes that didn’t diligently follow the manga.
The animation is adequate for its time, but that isn’t the reason why you should watch this.
Both the opening and ending soundtrack for the series is great. Although, neither are as good as the GTO Live Action theme, "Poison".
The reason why you should watch this is simple: Onizuka Ekikichi, 22 years, virgin. This anime is all about character, rather a character. Truly GTO is ineffable in that sense. Watch the first episode and tell me if you’re not immediately enamored by Onizuka and his ridiculous ways.
While there is a certain moral message to the anime, watch it for the sheer fun value. It will make you laugh, that’s for certain, perhaps it might even make you cry. The live action series, I’m not ashamed to say did make my eyes wet.
The live action series (12 episodes) is quite good as well but there are certain things one can have liberty with in an anime that is not possible in live action.
Overall, I highly recommend GTO. Not just the anime but the entire franchise, manga, live action TV series and the movie.
Great Teacher Onizuka Banzai!
Character development is unfortunately absent from the personality of our bland douche of a protagonist, and he is pretty much the same annoying dumbass for the whole duration of the plot. His way of solving issues with students is completely unrealistic, and while this is sometimes acknowledged and played for laughs, it takes itself seriously far too often. He’s pretty much just there for wish-fulfillment, plain and simple. As for his students, all developments in them come off as completely forced and contrived. Plus, almost all of them are blatant archetypes, who have some deep-seated reason to “bawww nvr trust a teacher again!” to boot. Why should we care about anything bad that threatens to happen when we already know that the Mary Sue genius cool handsome hacker boy can fix all problems that come up easily? Another telling issue with the characterization is that just about all men above the age of twenty are, for whatever reason, portrayed as disgusting perverts. This may be a reflection on Fujisawa himself, given the large amount of poorly-placed fanservice. All antagonists in this series start off completely one-dimensional and unrealistically evil, but they then get some sob-story tacked onto their character and their personality changes completely. That is simply not proper character development.
The art is easily the weakest aspect. Almost everybody has the same exact face; you know, that one face that Fujisawa Tohru recycles endlessly in everything he does. The only face he knows how to draw, basically. Great Teacher Onizuka largely depends on visual humor for its value as a comedy, but all of the “hilarious” facial expressions were used over and over again, when they were never really funny in the first place. At the same time, they contribute heavily to my inability to take Great Teacher Onizuka seriously. The rest of the visual humor is just somewhat lame and, man, I hope you like seeing Onizuka’s ass, because you’re going to be getting a lot of that. The animation is nothing special, and any flaws with it are completely overshadowed by the horrendous art.
All of the claims made by Great Teacher Onizuka’s rabid defenders about its “societal commentary” are completely untrue. Bullying is not dealt with much better, more interestingly, or realistically than in many other works I have seen. Furthermore, I failed to see what it actually criticized about the education system, other than the fact that not enough teachers are violent gangsters. This theme continues with just about everything else it supposedly comments on. It either just features these things in a cliché manner or does not really say much about them at all. There is no depth to Great Teacher Onizuka; it is just a simple drama and comedy. This would be fine did it do either of those things right, but, alas, it did not.
I have no idea as to why this anime is so highly regarded. It is just not very good, plain and simple. I get second-hand embarrassment when watching all of those sentimental scenes about teaching, and then I have to wonder why Great Teacher Onizuka didn’t just stick to comedy. Then I remember that it wasn’t funny and I think to myself “ah, that explains it.” GTO started out as a decent parody of all of those stupid shows with a super-teacher who helps his students work out all of their problems and wins their hearts in the process, but it eventually fell victim to self-indulgence and became a stupid story in the same vein. It contributed nothing new nor anything of real value to the genres of school life, comedy, or drama. It never made me laugh out loud, and it never evoked any kind of physical or emotional response. Not in a good way, at least. At its best, it’s okay. At its worst, it’s goddamn painful.
The premise is simple, if not a bit cracked out, and the first episode serves to illustrate. Onizuka is a former Yakuza who always had a dream of becoming a teacher, and the best one of all time at that. Of course, he ends up drawing quite possibly the most ill-tempered class out of the whole lot, and that’s putting it lightly. This begins a 42 episode long trek to slowly win all students of his class over, and along the way figure out their problems. And in the end, it culminates with the student who has easily suffered the most trauma and the revelation of the event that shook the class to its core.
You know Onizuka’s always going to win in the end, and if you have to ask why, then you still don’t quite understand the premise. What’s important is the journey, how is he going to prevail, and where is he going to screw up along the way. It seems easy but quickly becomes complicated when you realize that the class is actively plotting against his efforts. They’re quite brilliant for a bunch of teenagers. The vice-principal also has a very low opinion of the former gang member and spends a lot of his time antagonizing the situation. On top of that, Onizuka is no pristine member of society; in fact, he’s a wonderfully flawed character. He drinks, he smokes, he’s vulgar, he’s a womanizer, and he acts completely over the top, running on instinct. Despite this you will love him, trust me.
The cast of characters supporting the show are just as important; they are numerous and just as easily flawed. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have trouble remembering most of their names by the end of the series, even the ones that are around from step one. Yet, each of these characters gets to carry the plot ball at some point for their spot in the limelight, and most of them will even have their own crowning moment of awesome. By the end, they’ve all grown significantly under their teacher’s tutelage. It’s the sign of a good series when you can juggle all these characters around and manage to leave none of them in the lurch.
A lot of the series appeal is the ridiculous situations that are generated and Onizuka’s ability to come up with equally ridiculous solutions, and soak up comical levels of punishment. It still delivers elsewhere. This show has the ability to move you, and if you don’t feel anything by the end of episode 11’s dramatic soliloquy, quite frankly you must be dead inside. The great teacher also specializes in life lessons, and if you haven’t managed to learn anything by the time the series reaches its conclusion, then I honestly wonder if we were watching the same show. This naturally lends itself to exploring how the school system is failing to prepare its students for the real world, instead focusing on test scores at the expense of all else. Really the only time this show loses its impact at all are when it veers off the overarching story for a one shot episode, and even those don’t feel terribly out of place and serve as auxiliary character development.
The animation isn’t nearly as pristine as technology allows today. It’s still fun the watch, and the facial expressions in particular are well executed. There’s a lot of action going on in some sequences, and there isn’t any major animation break or loss of what’s going on. The music doesn’t have a tremendous amount of variety; it sets the mood for the situation and then goes merrily away, letting the characters speak for themselves. Steven Blum plays Onizuka to the hilt, and I like the rest of the characters voice work as well for the most part. There were a couple of minor characters I didn’t really care for, but a minor character in this series basically means they get about three lines and then fall off the face of the planet for a few years.
This series is full of greatness. If you haven’t watched it yet, then I don’t care how you do it, watch it. If you have, take a bit of your time to revisit your favorite episodes. It’ll be worth it for all of you.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Great Teacher Onizuka
2. Cardcaptor Sakura
4. Digimon Adventure
5. Daa! Daa! Daa!
6. Gensoumaden Saiyuuki
7. Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel Saga
8. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne