They’re the best Anime that 2005 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Paradise Kiss, Tennis no Ouji-sama, School Rumble, and more!
10: Paradise Kiss
English: Paradise Kiss
Japanese: Paradise kiss
MAL Score: 7.84
On her way home from school, Yukari Hayasaka is approached by a weird-looking guy who starts looking at her body intently. He’s got blond spiky hair, a spiked choker, and multiple piercings on his ears and face. She wants nothing to do with him, and runs away, only to bump into a very tall and beautiful purple-haired woman with a flower pattern around her eye. Yukari faints from shock and wakes up later in a strange place called the Atelier. It turns out that these strangers are fashion designers who attend the most famous art school around, Yazawa Art Academy, and their group wants Yukari to model for their brand in Yazawa Academy’s upcoming show.
Yukari turns down their offer and escapes the Atelier, but unknowingly leaves her school ID behind. George Koizumi, the head designer, later sees it and immediately knows she would be the perfect model for them and will not stop until he gets what he wants—and he wants her. Yukari had never considered something as frivolous as modeling before, but could life among these eccentric designers actually prove to be fun? Or will Yukari lose herself in this world of art and passion?
Cool is what rules in this anime. Everything in the artwork, characters, attitude, and even the story just emanates cool and they even do it with an attitude. As you already know it’s about a girl named Yukari thats not to sure about her future. Just by a chance encounter on the street gets discovered by the most unsuitable of characters.
Story – (Outstanding)
The story is a typical love drama, but the setting, characters, and personalities are what make this completely different from the rest of group. It takes a more realistic approach toward drama. Something you’d see out of a prime time drama show on TV would be more comparable than any other anime. They take life and their hardships and don’t really "anime coat" it. Things like arguing, love, and brainstorming are done with a minimum of two people, its never one sided. When i mean ‘anime-coating,’ i mean like areguments are hardly ever one sided, both persons actually prove a good point. Love is also a good point, it actually gets some resolve and doesn’t stay in "should i confess to him" anime-limbo. But already, I’m saying a bit much but since the anime is a short and fast 12 episodes, it makes sense for it not to drag such emotions like love and friendship. It defintely has the feel of a western drama instead of an anime drama.
Art – (Outstanding)
The art work is also something that surprised me. Like any average viewer, they’d get wierded out if they start seeing their anime characters with proportionate body parts (i.e. normal sized eyes, mouth, and even a nose). Once the shock of adjusting to the art style, this is easily one of the best looking show’s i have ever layed eyes on. It’s also centered around pop-culture and style, so everything they wear is completely trendy and detailed. From safety pins as piercings, hair stylings, makeup, and even clothing are displayed with insane detail. At any one time, you can count all the earrings on one characters ear, or how many necklaces one is wearing, and even the type of fabric is on their scarf. Every character actually dresses different every episode and thats quite a refreshing take as opposed to the same-school-clothes-everyday-look of other dramas. My favorite part of the show (and what you should notice) is how they manage to make Yukari even more beautiful than before every episode. You’ll notice the subtle changes in not her clothing but her attitude and demeanor as well.
On occasion, some anime are only able to survive with great artwork and have a horrible storyline but this manages to have both an outstanding artwork and story. On top of that having to put real world product placement (Jaguar, Benz, Sony, Zipper, etc) just increases the detail tenfold.
Sound – (Outstanding)
The sound effects are nothing spectacular but you will notice one thing. There is a rather large lack of it. And that is how it should be in a drama. Nothing should interfere with the drama unfolding on the screen. So all that you’re left with is the top notch, tear jerking, believable voice acting and environmental sound effects. The music is placed very skillfully as well. For the most part, they’ll be played on jukeboxes, radios, and the like. And they’re actual j-pop songs playing instead of just instrumentals. And speaking of j-pop, the OP was just perfect for for the show, as it had the feel of a Madonna-ish song which gave it a ‘glamorous’ feeling to set you in the mood of watching it. And the ED song by Franz Ferdinad is just pure fun. Especially how they manage to blend it with the end of the episode to the credits and don’t just do a quick cut to the credits like normal.
Character – (Outstanding)
The characters are something to believe as well. Once all the characters are through with the introductions you will notice one thing right away. They are all so carefree and believable. I even had a nostalgic feeling seeing how the characters would talk amongst each other and just enjoyed the moment. Of course it doesn’t the story doesn’t stray too far away from Yukari since she is the star of this show. They all play their role so believably I can’t help but have this feeling of amazement that there ARE anime that can pull off such intriguing drama.
Enjoyment – (Outstanding)
This show is unlike any other drama anime I have seen to date (top right). Rather, its more comparable to things like the likes of Greys Anatomy, the O.C., or even Party of Five. If you like or enjoy shows such as that I highly recommend giving this eye candy of an anime a try. I even found this A LOT better than Lovely Complex. Don’t be fooled by the artwork if you find it a turnoff, its one of the best anime drama’s I’ve ever seen.
Xinil said it best: "it’s for a mature audience. It doesn’t cater to narutards"
…thats the truth
Meet Caroline, the girl who doesn\’t really know what she\’s doing with her life. She happens upon a group of college students that need her to be their fashion model. Interesting premise, and doesn\’t sound too farfetched from what might happen in real life. Good ending that actually makes some sense too.
A little funny looking at times, but the art is definitely nice. Sexy looking females. Thumbs up from me.
Awesome opening (freakin\’ awesome) and great ending theme (U.S. band). Can\’t see how you wouldn\’t like the music throughout the anime.
Caroline x George are definitely my favorite characters. Great personalities from each of them and the story really makes you understand why they are the way they are.
Enjoyable, quick, and happy. 12 episodes of some laughter and some teary scenes.
Basically, you can\’t go wrong with this anime. If you\’re into romance (not some angst crap though), and you like non-stupid anime, check this out.
Paradise Kiss accomplishes so many things in just 12 episodes that it can almost leave you thirsting for more but deep down you know that there can be no more. The story itself is the centerpiece of everything and drives itself forward with meaningful interactions and tense drama that thickens the plot as it unfolds. What is most notable about the series is it’s realistic approach to drama and how it refuses to sugar coat things and drag out emotions across all 12 episodes. If I recall the main characters quickly start their relationship by about the 2nd or 3rd episode. This anime may seem impatient, but in reality it’s just not going to wait around for the fun to start. The show steps into deep waters and treads where most others would not. It goes much farther than I had anticipated and shows how much its characters develop over the course of the series.
The main character goes from being this tense study bug to being a care-free fashion model. Her transformation isn’t this instantaneous change that happens at 15 minutes into episode 6 or something; but rather it takes place over time. The first thing that happens is a hair cut. I actually commented out loud as I was watching and said “she actually doesn’t look all THAT pretty here…” But I stuck it out and to my surprise she seemed to get prettier every episode. Her style changed, her hair changed, her personality blossomed into something new and exciting, and she becomes someone who is definitely worth watching.
The show tackles a handful of sub plots but doesn’t loose control of them or allow them to impede on the main story’s progress. the majority of the side characters have stories of their own and are all expertly told in a very short amount of time. In some cases characters stories aren’t discussed in the show but rather in the manga and there’s even a scene where a character tells you that you can “read more about him” in a particular manga.
The art and sound weave together to create this tapestry of pop-art that seamlessly mixes with the characters. The opening and closing theme were chosen so expertly and serve only to set the mood for the show. The ending theme is even mixed in with the last 10-15 seconds of the show so that it seamlessly transitions into the credits.
This anime is quite possibly the most enjoyable anime I’ve ever seen with an ending that didn’t disappoint. Instead of having this storybook happily ever after ending you are quickly faced with reality. Sure the characters kind of succeeded in what they were trying to do, but reality has to set in at some point and the show reminds us that we live in the real world. The ending however does tie up any and all loose ends and leaves almost nothing to the imagination. It also doesn’t leave room for a second season so there’s no chance of a spin-off brought on by money grubbing producers. Never have I been faced with an anime that literally left me in a daze after its credits rolled on episode 12.
Overall this anime is a masterpiece in its own genre. It masterfully and skillfully tells a straight forward, but complex story complete with sub plots, exciting drama, and cool music to boot. I also liked that characters didn’t spend 10 minutes arguing in tense situations. Example: man is holding a gun pointing it at another character(lets call him teppei kun). Teppei kun gives this long monologue about his life and how he’s always been alone and blah blah blah. In reality the guy would’ve just shot him for talking way too much.
ok. I’ve talked for far too long now. This anime is a masterpiece. Watch it!
9: Tennis no Ouji-sama
English: The Prince of Tennis
MAL Score: 7.88
At the request of his father, tennis prodigy Ryouma Echizen has returned from America and is ready to take the Japanese tennis scene by storm. Aiming to become the best tennis player in the country, he enrolls in Seishun Academy—home to one of the best middle school tennis teams in Japan.
After Ryouma catches the captain’s eye, he finds himself playing for a spot on the starting lineup in the intra-school ranking matches despite only being a freshman. Due to his age, the rest of the Seishun Boys’ Tennis Team are initially reluctant to accept him, but his skill and determination convinces them to let him in.
Armed with their new “super rookie,” Seishun sets out to claim a spot in the National Tournament, hoping to take the coveted title for themselves. In order to do so, the team must qualify by playing through the Tokyo Prefectural and Kanto Regionals. Yet, the road ahead of them is shared by a plethora of strong schools, each playing tennis in unique ways for their own reasons. Ryouma and his teammates must learn to cooperate if they want to become the champions they aspire to be.
Normally, with sports anime, you see the rise of a certain young star from not being a very good player to being the ace of their sport. The Prince of Tennis pulled something out of the ordinary and made Echizen an amazing tennis player right from the start. Now you’re probably thinking, "Well, where’s the fun in that?" Well, Echizen is always going up against top-notch opponents and throughout the show, you’ll witness him going from a cocky, immature kid to one who actually respects his opponents (well, sort of anyway) and development of new, exciting skills. Echizen join the Seigaku high school tennis team and participates in tournaments with them. And of course, the overall theme is to aim for the top of the tennis world.
The art is pretty good. It starts off so-so, but before you know it, it gets to that level where you’re impressed by it. As for the animation, you’ll see a lot of repeated frames throughout the show (as usual with sports anime), but the way they animate all of the new skills and tennis matches is just so amazing, that after some of the matches, you just stare in awe at its magnificence.
The sound, I would say, is probably the weakest point of the show. Although the music presented in the Prince of Tennis does suit the mood and is pretty upbeat at times, there really isn’t a score that will stand out to you, where you’ll be saying, "Ah!! I need that on my computer/ipod." Nevertheless, its relatively enjoyable
Since the stories are pretty much the same throughout all sport anime (overall), in order for an anime to be amazing – especially the case with sport ones – characters and unique personalities need to be there. And Prince of Tennis does not disappoint in that category. This show unveils so many different memorable characters, that you’ll undoubtedly have trouble picking your all-time favorite one from the lot because they are so unique. And the best part about it is that the creators were able to somehow give each character a unique way of playing tennis. With the amount of characters and opponents they present, you’d think that they would have to repeat somewhere. But that’s definitely not the case.
With amazing tennis matches, a plethora of unique and lovable characters, and a cocky main protagonist that will get on your nerves at times but you’ll respect out of necessity because of his skills, the Prince of Tennis is an amazing sport anime. The best part of this anime is that you will have a hard time knowing who will win matches. Surprisingly enough, all the main characters experience losses matches at times, which makes it interesting to see how each one responds to the agony of defeat.
If you are looking for a sport-driven anime and are in for the long haul – meaning 170+ episodes, the Prince of Tennis is exactly what you’re looking for.
The story is very original, where the protagonist comes from America to Japan as a well-developed tennis player. His father has him enroll in Seigaku Tennis Club, where he plays opponents who can challenge his skill, while the team seeks to reach the National Tournament. Although the story sounds simple, there are many episodes that get more in depth by revealing more of the characters and the storyline, which I would rather not spoil.
Art – 9
The art in this anime is spectacular! However, it is a long series, so some frames are repeated throughout games, yet it is still well done to the point where it will not bother. There is a large cast of characters, and each of the players have there very own original moves, yet the art is detailed so well it is easy to distinguish between all characters. Even the comedic and chibi episodes were truly amazing and had detailed art.
Sound – 8
The sound in the anime was mediocre. The opening and ending themes sounded like karaoke songs, and they were not real catchy… However, some of them were really good, in my opinion. The sound effects throughout the anime were fine, however, so the music does not really take away from it overall.
Character – 10
This is one aspect of the anime that truly made it one of my favorites. There is a huge amount of characters in the anime, and all of them are original and well-designed of course. There will definitely be many characters you can connect to, as there are many types of personalities amongst them. The characters also develop throughout the anime, so a character you may not have liked may become your favorite. Amazing set of characters in this anime!
Enjoyment – 10
I most certainly enjoyed this anime, as anyone else who’s seen it has. The great plot, good art and characters play a great part in this animes success. Everything from the action packed episodes to the comedic chibi episodes were truly enjoyable!
This anime will not disappoint!
Once upon a time in Japan, a manga artist by the name of Takeshi Konomi came up with a manga by the name of Prince of Tennis, and it quickly became one of – if not the – most popular sports manga of all time, doing for tennis what Slam Dunk did for basketball, it caused a massive boost in popularity for the sport in its native country. To this day, it’s hard to really say that Japan ever got past Prince of Tennis fever, one look at the various pieces of Prince of Tennis merchandise like the musicals or even the live-action film, makes it instantly clear just how big of a thing this is for them.
Naturally, such a popular manga was bound to be subject to an anime adaptation, and so in October 2001, an anime version of the mega-hit was released by none other than…J.C Staff? Wait, seriously? Someone thought that that was a good idea? I mean, J.C Staff, a company that is well known for messing up and/or butchering adaptations of great works? (I’m looking at you Spiral) This is a company that for the most part, seems to have very little in terms of “great” budget, and suddenly they’re expected to animate 178 episodes of such a huge hit? All of a sudden, Prince of Tennis the anime sounds like it’s going to be a disaster.
You know what though? It’s not; in fact, Prince of Tennis is actually pretty good.
That’s not to say however, that this is the best sports anime out there – indeed, there are definitely flaws with PoT, mostly to do with the animation, which I’ll cover later on – and if you’ve had any animosity towards sports anime in the past then you can immediately forget about liking Prince of Tennis, as it most definitely won’t change your mind about them, it’s possible that it may make you dislike them even more actually; even sports anime fans that I’ve talked to have dismissed PoT out of hand calling it “ridiculous” “a joke” and “an insult to the actual sport itself”, and whilst I can certainly understand why people dislike certain ridiculous elements of the show, I find comments about it being a joke and an insult to be quite puzzling, because personally, I found that once PoT hit its stride, it was a huge barrel of fun and enjoyment.
The story is typical sports anime fare: Team wants to become the best. Team goes up against many strong opponents and becomes stronger after each match. Team wins some games, team loses some games. It’s a tried and trusted formula which, while not really turning any heads in terms of how things play out, provides decent enough motivation for the characters to at least keep you emotionally invested in them for a while.
What’s interesting about the story is that, whereas other sports shows would immediately opt for making the main protagonists team a group of underdogs, going up against impossible odds and coming out better for it, the tennis players of Seigaku are actually rather strong by comparison. We’re presented with players who are already known at the national level, a player that’s regarded by practically everyone as a tennis prodigy, and Jesus himself, Captain Tezuka. These are character archetypes that, in nearly every other sports show, would be reserved for the opposing teams, their sole purpose to make the protagonists team stronger and stronger after every single match, and we’re meant to watch them playing for the home team.
So how then does that make the matches interesting?
As mentioned before, Seigaku is constantly going up against stronger and stronger teams, with players that are just as equally strong as them (with the exception of Captain Jesus, who I’ll talk about later on), this means that even though there are main characters who are ridiculously powerful, the players are almost never really in a position in which they can just sit back and take the match easily, meaning that it successfully maintains a feeling of excitement and tension, despite the several curb-stomp matches that do occur throughout the series.
One major stand-out of the original PoT’s storyline, rather funnily, is the filler. Now obviously, in an anime this long filler is bound to be expected – this could range from anything to funny filler episodes to outright filler arcs – but what’s interesting to note is that, well…the filler is actually pretty damn good.
No seriously, I mean it, I wouldn’t joke about this even if you paid me.
After about 125 episodes, PoT goes off on its own route because the animators decided that they wanted to give the audience a different Prince of Tennis experience than that of the manga, and it actually pays off rather well, I’m sure the whole Junior Selection Camp thing served in some way as the basis for what would eventually form the plot of New Prince of Tennis; in reality I suppose these filler episodes are nothing more than a clever way for J.C Staff to fully exploit the huge cast of bishonens that exist in PoT, and create new pairings for its ever growing fanbase of yaoi fans (heck I’m a straight male and even I supported some of the pairings). Nonetheless, these filler episodes are at times more entertaining than the actual matches from the proper storyline, they’re a strong example of how to do filler, and more importantly, how to do filler well – the fact that I was able to marathon through the final 78 episodes in the space of about two weeks is a testament of how good I personally found the filler.
However, regardless of how good everything else is in Prince of Tennis, there is one factor that threatens to nearly derail the viewing experience almost completely. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Prince of Tennis’s utterly woeful animation.
Artistically speaking, the series fares well, Takeshi Konomi’s numerous bishonens translate well to the screen, enough so that that was the deciding factor in why the score isn’t less than 5, it’s when it actually comes to animating that Prince of Tennis utterly falls down.
You will see stock footage, a lot of it, I lost count of the amount of times I saw the same footage for Ryoma’s Twist Serve or Fuji’s Higuma Otoshi repeated again, and again, and again. Static images are abound in the anime. It’s not often that animation in an anime is so bad that it’s actually detrimental to the viewing experience, but in this case, it most definitely is. For whatever reason – perhaps due to J.C Staff’s lack of funds – simple shots are repeated in little boxes that suddenly appear on the screen, so you’re subjected to the same footage you saw not two seconds ago; randomly, a character will take a shot and the anime decides that for whatever reason, it’s going to show the same shot again in a spiral that suddenly bombards your screen. I could quite literally turn this review into a complete list of faults with the animation of the show. The animation is meant to be a medium that conveys the manga format effectively, and it seems as if somewhere along the line, J.C Staff forgot about that little detail, as such, we’re presented with matches that, in the manga, would only take about 3 to 5 chapters (I bothered to use the Seigaku VS Yamabuki match as a reference for this) and in the anime, take roughly the equivalent of about 4 episodes by comparison.
In short, it’s pretty much total butchery, and something that wouldn’t be fixed until the National Tournament OVA’s in which it was then animated by the far more capable hands of Production I.G.
Musically speaking, PoT fares significantly better, one of the many things that defines a sports anime – or long running anime in general – is the soundtrack; without a good soundtrack, quite a bit of the effect is lost whenever something dramatic happens, and what PoT lacks in the animation department is something that the sound department makes up for. Cher Watanabe composed an absolutely awesome soundtrack, the opening themes are, personally, among some of the best and really get you in the mood for Prince of Tennis, seriously, just try and listen to “Driving Myself” (by far the best of the opening themes) and not get pumped.
The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good, I remember plenty of moments when the music was the best thing about the show, particularly when tracks like “Mission”, “Hangeki” and “Koutekishu” were playing, it’s hard to not at times feel a big goofy grin appear on your face when the soundtrack is at its best.
Voice acting is equally strong, there are plenty of arrogant characters in Prince of Tennis, not least Ryoma, Atobe and Kirihara, and the voice acting is able to pretty much hit all the right notes when it comes to performances, whether it be one of the arrogant characters or one of the softer characters, or perhaps one of the stoic characters – it’s hard to fault the voice acting, with the exception of the really annoying little kids that pretty much form Ryoma’s fan-club, their voices grate significantly and any attempt at humour with these characters falls flat down on its face.
Also, a word of advice, avoid the dub at all costs, they never did dub the entire show but what they did dub was pretty poor; it seems as if practically no one was taking the anime seriously enough to bother contributing something that can actually be considered a performance.
As you will no doubt know, sports anime and manga are usually not reliant on their story (even if, in this case, it’s actually pretty good), the sport is usually the lifeblood of its respective anime or manga, but it’s the characters that really make it stand out. If you were, for instance, to try and watch Eyeshield 21 without Hiruma, you would be stuck with an anime that, while having its moments, doesn’t have a strong enough cast for you to keep yourself interested in it. Thankfully, PoT’s characters are strong enough to keep your interest, you will definitely find at least one character among this cast that you can actually bring yourself to like. Like yourself a cocky, confident main protagonist who knows what he’s doing? Then you’ll probably quickly find yourself fawning all over Ryoma. Do you like relaxed, composed characters with strong poker faces? Fuji’s the one for you. Do you fancy unbelievably arrogant, king-like characters? Look no further than King Atobe himself.
Of course, those are just the base character traits, over time, the characters (especially Ryoma) develop into more than that, becoming much more likeable, more sympathetic and much more worthy of you rooting for them. Gags that originally weren’t funny, such as Inui’s special juices or Kawamura’s Engrish, gradually become chuckle-worthy, heck even downright funny, and that’s because of the way the characters develop.
Unfortunately, the characters aren’t quite perfect, and that’s due to the fault of one character: Captain Jesus – I mean, Captain Tezuka.
Tezuka is, hands down, the worst character in the show, so naturally, he’s one of the most overpowered too. He’s bland, dull, has practically no emotions whatsoever, and is just completely uninteresting as a character and as the team captain; Kabaji had more character development than Tezuka, and the only thing he said was “Yes”! Of course, this also makes him practically unbeatable, with only really the best of the best standing a decent chance against him. The only thing that Tezuka is good for is providing Ryoma with at least some motivation to start getting better, and even that’s only a small catalyst.
Despite its faults – and woeful animation, which it should be noted, does actually start to improve in the last 8 episodes – I thoroughly enjoyed Prince of Tennis, it was a fun ride with some excellent filler, a strong cast of likeable characters and a great soundtrack. It most definitely won’t change your mind about sports anime if you didn’t like them to begin with, especially when it starts bringing in elements that take it from almost believable to downright Super Saiyan, and I wouldn’t really recommend it if you’re just starting to get into sports anime either, perhaps after you’ve seen something much more realistic like say, Hajime no Ippo and fancy something that isn’t as bothered by the laws of physics. Still, it’s a great ride once it gets going and well worth the time you put into it, especially as you’re rewarded by Production I.G’s glorious animation in the Nationals.
8: School Rumble
English: School Rumble
MAL Score: 7.91
Just the words “I love you,” and everything changes—such is the nature of the bittersweet trials of high school romance. Tenma Tsukamoto, a second year, is on a quest to confess her feelings to the boy she likes. Kenji Harima, a delinquent with a sizable reputation, is in a similar situation, as he cannot properly convey his feelings to the one he loves. Between school, friends, rivalries, and hobbies, these two will find that high school romance is no walk in the park, especially as misunderstandings further complicate their plight.
School Rumble is a high-octane romantic comedy full of relatable situations, as Tenma and Kenji both try to win the hearts of those they desire.
As the story goes on, it becomes more and more hilarious! I wished my high school was as fun as this. It portrays as guys being very pathetic and always going after girls, this makes them very funny to watch! The jokes are very humorous; some is just silly.
The animation is very beautiful, although it has more beautiful girls and the boys are all very weird. The animals drawn are very cute and the main character is such a klutz, her face turns fat all the time.
The background sounds are funny, adds comedy to the scene. The soundtrack is just as good, the music is very soothing. The voice characters are just funny and the voices are exaggerated very much, which give the impression that the character is very dumb.
The characters are very distinct; I get confused sometimes because there are many characters and a lot of names to remember. I only remember Harima Kenji because the English version of this name is Harry McKenzie. But his character was the funniest out of all the boys in the class, he is supposed to be a delinquent but then turns all soft and lovey dovey, and the girl he falls for is an average looking slow girl, which makes it all so much funnier because he is dumb as well.
This is very enjoyable if you like to watch comedy genres, and don’t mind the occasional half naked scenes. There were many scenes where I was cracking up; this anime has to be the funniest I’ve seen and the most random.
Highly recommended for boys more than girls because it has a lot of big breasts involved. It’s just too damn funny!
School Rumble is basically the story of a love triangle. The hyper, slow-witted, dense and yet extremely nice and lovable character Tsukamoto Tenma is in love with her strange and seemingly dull classmate Karasuma Oji and at the same time the misunderstood delinquent Harima Kenji is madly in love with Tsukamoto Tenma to the point that he has been transformed into a new man because of it.
The series best fits in the comedy genre and anytime you feel the story is about to take a serious turn, it swings back to its comedic nature faster than you can blink.
The characters are probably the best part of this series. While there is really only three or four main characters, on numerous occasions, the series turns its attention to some of the backgrounds characters and lets the viewers get to know them better through some interesting side stories. Tsukamoto Tenma is extremely cute and lovable, Harima Kenji is a brooding delinquent you will love to root for, and Karasuma Oji is the character you will love to hate. The background characters such as Tsukamoto Tenma’s sister, Yakumo (quiet, reserved, and gorgeous girl that almost all men fall in love with at first sight) , Sawachika Eri (the seemingly shallow rich blonde girl sought after by many guys), Suou Mikoto (the athletic and cool tomboy that seems to be good at just about everything), Takano Akira (the quiet, calm, and mysterious girl that seems to know everything) are also very well developed and quite entertaining to watch. There is a character type to suit any viewer’s tastes.
The Japanese voice acting is absolutely fantastic and the voices match the characters well without exception. The most notable are the voices Tsukamoto Tenma which is done brilliantly by Koshimizu Ami (The very talented voice actress who does the voices of Kallen in Code Geass – Hangyaku no Lelouch /R2 and Horo in “Spice and Wolf”), and the voice of Harima Kenji which is done by Takahashi Hiroki (the voice of Kikumaru Eiji in Prince of Tennis and Hisoka in Hunter X Hunter). I can’t comment on the English voice acting due to the fact that I have not watched the dubbed version of the series (…and I have no intention of doing so).
The art and animations are not quite as noteworthy as the character design and voice acting. The art is average and the animations are done well most of the time with a few exceptions here and there. That is about all that needs to be said about the art and animations.
The story itself and the way it’s developed are both very interesting. However, I did find it quite irritating at times where I felt the story should perhaps take a more serious turn. The show is a comedy and above all else it should be funny and in that area there is definitely no shortcomings. The show is absolutely hilarious. However, while it is a comedy, its subject matter is not, and I would have found it quite refreshing if the writers had not shied away from including some serious elements as a complement to the comedy. Instead, they chose to completely slam on the breaks and put it in reverse whenever there was even the slightest danger of any serious development. The only part where things get even in the least bit serious is in the final two-episode OVA where they attempt to conclude the story.
Another area where this show suffered a bit had to do with filler episodes. There are not too many filler episodes and some of the fillers even contribute a little bit to the story. But, fillers are still fillers. While they are not abused to extremes as with some other shows such as Bleach, their presence still adds some annoyance for the viewer.
ATTENTION: The next paragraph talks about the ending. While I will not include any specifics about what happens at the end of the series, I will talk about the style and quality of the ending. If you feel this might spoil things for you, skip over the next paragraph.
This is where the show lost the most points from me. While, I did not know the specifics of the ending, I had a very close guess formed by the second or third episode of the first season regarding how the show would conclude. I knew I was in for at least a bit of a letdown at the end simply based on the nature of the show and how it completely shied away from getting even slightly serious. The ending doesn’t really leave you hanging which is good. However, I did not get the ending I wanted and I am fairly certain most people who have watched the series in the past and those who will watch it in the future have felt and will feel the same way I do about this. It will not catch you off guard. You will know it is coming fairly early in the series. But it is still a letdown. Perhaps, an alternate ending episode might have remedied this.
The two places this series lost marks from me were the filler episodes and the ending. Without the fillers and with the correct ending this show would have scored full marks.
Story – Basically, School Rumble has no real storyline besides Tenma going after Karasuma and Harima going after Tenma, thats basically it. But the thing about School Rumble is, even if it barely has a storyline it still appeals to many many people, which is something i believe is unique.
Art – I adore School Rumble’s beautiful design of characters. Even though its a 2004 anime, it still has considerable good graphic maybe even better then some animes in the year 2007. Also one thing i find quite different in the art of school rumble is how KJ ( Kobayashi Jin, creator of school rumble) hides the good-looking appearance of some of the characters such as Harima and Hanai.
Sound – School Rumble has one of the catchiest and most addictive OP any anime ever had ‘Guru Guru Mawaru Guru Guru Mawaru….’ this song just makes you want to get up dance to the melody. The ED was also very catchy as well, School Rumble’s ending is one of the ONLY ones i’ve watched for all of the episodes. Side from the OP and ED, the voice actor/actress fitted the role very well, from cute and loving Tenma to the complete pervert Imadori, there voice seems to be made for the character. Also Horie Yui is one of my favorite voice actress so i guess that adds up to the score as well.. hehe.
Character – Wide range of entertaining characters all which make you literally laugh out loud. They are all entertaining but they all have very unique personality from the Tsundere Ojou to the Semi-yandere Yakumo. I highly doubt you will hate any of these characters because i certainly didn’t!
Enjoyment – If i could give bonus points for enjoyment of this series, i would. First off, as stated before, this series literally makes you laugh out loud. A series that can actually make someone laugh out loud is something I’d think is freaking hilarious. Hilarious = Enjoyable… therefore School Rumble is really hilarious and enjoyable. (Yes that was lame..)
Overall – Overall, this series is definitely something you should watch if something is really bothering you and you want to watch something fun and laugh all the pain away. Even if you like really serious stuff like Death Note, you should still try this, you never know you might actually like this genre of anime.
7: Eyeshield 21
MAL Score: 7.93
Sena is like any other shy kid starting high school; he’s just trying to survive. Constantly bullied, he’s accustomed to running away.
Surviving high school is about to become a lot more difficult after Hiruma, captain of the school’s American football team, witnesses Sena’s incredible agility and speed during an escape from some bullies. Hiruma schemes to make Sena the running back of his school team, The Devil Bats, hoping that it will turn around the squad’s fortunes from being the laughingstock of Japan’s high school leagues, to title contender.
To protect his precious star player from rivaling recruiters, he enlists Sena as “team secretary,” giving him a visored helmet and the nickname “Eyeshield 21” to hide his identity.
The Devilbats will look to make their way to the Christmas Bowl, an annual tournament attended by the best football teams in Japan, with “Eyeshield 21” leading the way. Will they be able to win the Christmas Bowl? Will Sena be able to transform from a timid, undersized freshman to an all-star player? Put on your pads and helmet to find out!
Eyeshield 21 is definite shonen sports anime. Heck, its even sponsored by the Japanese NFL and received backing in the United States as a football series on a sports channel. And now,…don’t get turned off. Because if you do, you’re missing out on one of the most entertaining series people disregard just because of its non-traditional anime content.
Please, please, don’t dump this series just because its football. I cannot but regret that I did put off watching this and suffered my way through crap series like Blade of the Immortal. My 2 cents on why you should watch (if you don’t want to slog your way through the rest of this):
• Typical plot (yet this works perfectly fine for this series), interspersed with drama, comedy, and laugh your head off antics of its marvelous characters.
• Marvelous characters (I said it but I will say it again), You will love the characters of Eyeshield, because even Sena isn’t as annoying as it seems. And…Hiruma will send you to hell if you don’t watch this.
Now that you’re here:
Characters: To put it simply, there is nothing bland about Eyeshield’s cast. From Sena’s traditional shonen perserverance, to Hiruma’s demonic avarice (and he will become your favorite as well), Eyeshield 21 does a masterful job of designing to characters to both appeal to viewers and to transition their interactions with each other smoothly. The rivalry between Sena and Shin is also nonclichedly carried out, and all the supporting characters get their own backstory as well. To tell the truth, I don’t even think that the supporting characters were even ‘technically 2nd tier’. You cannot but feel for the other characters such as the quarterback of the Zokugaku Chameleons whose delinquent team cannot hold themselves together. And so yes, the characters of Eyeshield are not just comedic, but serious, dramatic, and all the time flawed in some way or another. There’s not fun in watching perfect characters now is there?
Plot: Well, its straightforward enough: team has a dream, team wants to go to Christmas Bowl, team must defeat rival teams, team must work together, team must train, then team must win. But this is all you need to watch Eyeshield. It’s 145 episodes does more than enough to advance the adrenaline pumping scenes of the matches. Between moments of drama and football action is raucous comedy which borderlines on the absurd (cough Hiruma gun toting blackmailer), yet makes it more funny all the same. Now come to think of it, you don’t watch a sports series too much for the plot as more for the character development and anime action.
Sound and Graphics: Nothing too shabby here. The BGMs were great, the Ops and EDs were equally great. Eyeshield does a decent job of fitting its sound to its action scenes. The animation is more than adequate for the heart pumping football action scenes. Of course its NOT realistic. Who would want to watch realistic football for 145 episodes? Nah, this is where you see special moves like those in DBZ like Sena’s Devil Bat Ghost, Kid’s Rapid Fire Throw. (No fantastical equipment, mind but enough specialty to make you want to continue watching.) That said, animation is definitely decent for this series.
Entertainment/Replay Value : This is something I wouldn’t mind watching more than once. The one bone I have to pick with the series is its sometimes slightly traditional fillers, which it has to have in its 145 episodes. But even with that, Eyeshield 21 is hilarious, action packed, and a touchdown for us viewers.
Poptart’s Rating: 8/10
Enters Eyeshield 21 that features a with unorthodox players such as shorty, porky and a Demon. The plot is very simple, about an errand boy who became a superstar in a game played by monsters and his team, the Devil Bats journey to National Championships, the Christmas Bowl. It highlights the rivalry of the main character, light speed runningback Kobayakawa Sena known as Eyeshield 21 and Linebacker Shin Seijurou who is considered as the perfect player. Like other shounen stories, the protagonist grows strong stronger as he faced stronger opponents until the final decesive battle against his rival.
What everyone loved in this anime is its character development and as a sports themed anime, ES21 expressed the importance of teamwork better.
ES21 can be a manual itself and gradually showed the rules of the American football. This sports unlike any other team sports is a game of specialties and choosing a position is very vital to he outcome of the team. In the Devil bats case, the team is composed usually of inexperienced guys (and some are weaklings) relying only on their lifestyle, natural talents, hard work and rushed training. Here are their ligitimate line-up:
QB- H. Youichi – the devilish trickster and master of psychological warfares.
RB/TB- K. Sena- former errand boy with lightspeed legs
RB/FB- Ishimaru – helper from the track & field club
WR- R. Tarou – dedicated follower of a Baseball catching superstar
WR- Yukimitsu- his life was spent on academics
C- K. Ryoukan- a guy who knows nothing but power
G- Y. Daikichi – a loyal apprentice of Kurita
G- Ha -thugs
T- Ha -same-
T- Brothers -same-
Considering these data, thechances of playing forthe national championship was estimated 0.1% but saccording to their Leader, Hiruma-sama, as long as its not completely zero, winning is still inevitable.
Compared with other sports anime, I’d say Eyeshield 21 is the smartest of them all. This anime proves that winning isn’t only a matter of skills, athleticism, work ethic and determination, it takes some deep tactics, calculations and brainstorming to outwit the opposing team and to stand on the battlefield.
After watching this anime, surely you’ll never doubt that David really toppled Goliath. Ya-ha!
Plot: Well, the story follows student Kobayakawa Sena, who just got accepted to Deimon High School, Sena is pretty much a whimpy kid who gets bullied around by others, while running away from some bullies, a Senior Student, Hiruma Youichi, the captain of the Football club notices that Sena is really fast, and wants him to join, and after a rather strange series of events, he ends up joining the Football Team( or Amefuto, as they call it, yeah, idk).
So basically, there’s a team, team has a dream, going to the Christmal Bowl (Highschool Football Tournament in Japan), but they have to do it that year, since Hiruma and his fellow student Kurita Ryoukan are graduating that year, they must train, and beat the other rival teams, from which the most recurring ones are the Oujou White Knights and the Shinryuuji Naga.
It’s 145 episodes for the anime (and 333 for the manga) and even though it sounds long, it’s very entertaining and worth the time, the matches between teams are great and really entertaining. Besides the football matches, there’s also a lot of comedy in this series, most which is absurd, which makes it even better, although most of the time, it is delivered by Hiruma, which makes it even better!
Characters: To put it simply, there is no boring character in Eyeshield 21, not even Yukimitsu is boring. The authors of Eyeshield 21 did an outstanding job in making all of the characters, they are all equally entertaining and amazing, Sena’s rivalry with Shin isn’t anything cliche or whatever, instead it’s done really well and you wanna see Sena beat Shin in a match. All the other characters also get their own stories, from Jumonji and Taki to Agon and Panther, they are all done so well, that it feels like there are no supporting characters, they all feel like main characters, and that also makes it very exciting, not even the matches focus on the main characters, all the supporting characters have their own rivals they have to beat, and it makes it even more exciting than it already is, sure, some characters are flawed in a way, they can’t all be perfect, can they?
Sound/Animation: Well, the music was great, all 5 OPs are great, and it’s Eyeshield 21 that has the BEST ending theme ever (Blaze Away). Some of the BGM was great too, like Be Survivor, and the animation, well, it’s really good, the OPs are done great, and the scenes with special moves like Sena’s Devil Bat Ghost or Shin’s Trident Tackle, they are all done very well, and all I have to say, is that it looks great.
Teams: Well, obviously there’s the Deimon Devil Bats, but there’s also the rival teams like the Oujou White Knights, the Kyoshin Poseidon, the Bando Spiders and the Hakushu Dinosaurs, each one of these teams have their own characters and special plays, and I liked all of them, all of the teams are equally amazing, and of course the matches are really entertaining, but I did feel kinda let down that the Teikoku Alexanders aren’t in the anime, specially since the match between them and Deimon is definetly the best in the series.
Replay Value: This anime is really worth watching again, I wouldn’t mind it, really, it’s a shame that most people pass on it because it’s a Sports Anime, like I did, but I’m sure people would like it if they watch it, now, I’ve really come to love this series, but I have to say that it’s better to read the manga because the anime just stops after the final rematch with Oujou, and it didn’t show the matches agains Hakushu, Teikoku and the World Cup, which I would’ve loved to see, but anyway, it’s a great anime and it’s really underrated, so go watch it, or Hiruma will take you to hell, YA-HA!
6: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s
English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは エース
MAL Score: 7.98
After solving the incident of the scattered Jewel Seeds, Nanoha Takamachi happily returns to her everyday life, though now with added magic practice in the morning. Exchanging video messages with Fate Testarossa and the crew of the Arthra, Nanoha eagerly awaits the chance to speak with them in person again. But while studying in her room one day, Raising Heart suddenly calls out to Nanoha and warns her of an incoming attack!
The attacker is a young girl named Vita, who calls herself a Belka Knight. She proves her strength by using an intelligent device with a mysterious cartridge system to quickly overwhelm Nanoha. Luckily, the Space-Time Administration Bureau is able to step in before she is completely crushed. Vita and her fellow knights Shamal, Signum, and Zafila are on a mission to steal magical power from mages in order to complete the Book of Darkness, one of the Lost Logia. For what sinister purpose are the knights after this Book of Darkness?
The story in the original was really good, A’s takes it all to a different level and there is almost no comparison. The action picks up from basically the first minute of the show and doesn’t let up. No fillers, no trips to the hot springs, I think this might be the first time I have watched a series and could say that. The plot though is outstanding. A wonderful world of magic is further expanded is a story that puts you through all the emotions and has a number of shocking surprises that you won’t see coming. It’s so delightful to watch such a mature and complex storyline in a genre that is usually silly and plots written more to appeal to youngsters and pervs. There is also a very nice mix of drama and action. The action is more intense than the first season by a lot. Almost every episode it’s full of explosive magical combat but it does a wonderful job of giving great drama and comedic moments.
Nanoha and Fate return to be the same wonderful characters I loved so much from the first series. They get new powers and spells and it’s wonderful to see them in action again. There role with the Space-Time Administration Bureau expands more and we get to know better Lindy, Amy, and Chrono better as well as some new characters within the agency. It was disappointing though that several characters from the original series were left out a bit as we see very little of Yuuno, Arf, Arisa, and Suzuka. There is however a plethora of new characters and my opinion of them is mixed. They are interesting, have complex motivations for why they do what they do. A lot of them made me mad, wanting to throw my remote through the TV screen and scream “I won’t forgive you!”. But I guess that is the sign of a well made character huh? The main problem is that now there are so many new characters that the cast just becomes so large that it’s impossible to really get to know any of them that well.
Visually, A’s is stunning. The characters are beautifully drawn and animated. They have some great costumes and weapons (especially the new knights). Were it really is spectacular is the action scenes. The fights are exciting, explosive, and on a much grander scale than anything from the first series. It was also a nice surprise at the end of the series to see Nanoha and her friends grown up. I was pleasantly surprised that the transformation scenes were toned down and reduced a lot. This was a complaint of my from the first season, not that they existed, but that we had to watch them in full every time Nanoha transformed.
The music is where this show really fails. While a lot of the background music is the same, I was not a big fan of the EN theme in particular and the OP was not really that much better. I found myself several times just fast forwarding through them which is something I almost never do. The voice acting is still great, but my overall disappointment with the music drives my score down.
In the end this show is really outstanding, my dissatisfaction with the musical score and some of the characters prevents me from giving it a ’10’ though. This show transcends the magic girl genre and I don’t think should be thought of as such. So if you are resisting watching this series because you don’t like magic girls, don’t! You will not regret it!
The story continues from where the first season departed. However, old friends must reunite to defeat the newly arrived opposing forces. These new enemies come about to wreak havoc to save their mistress from an impending doom. A new mystery must be unveiled to uncover hidden truths. The prototypes of antiquated weaponry will need upgrades to defend and attack against foes. A touching and shocking conclusion lies near the end which will greatly move your heart.
The animation is definitely a tremendous plus: the visual effects are utterly sensually appealing. The contrasts from lighting and colors are exceptionally amazing. Seven Arcs really respect their art styles and have succeeded in this regard. The battles, the transformation scenes, the adorable scenes of one character that I truly revere, all still leave an afterimage in my enigmatic thought processes. MSLN A’s demonstrates only top-notch animation. The animation has been fine tuned enough and has the ability to withstand many viewers’ tastes to ensnare their visual senses.
Furthermore, the sound is also another banging feature. “Eternal Blaze” by the infamous and alluring Mizuki Nana activates the ability of echoic memory or of experiencing an overdose of the appealing music into your head. Whenever the situation became unpleasant, the BGM tended to fit that mood. A select few may even be cherished by the raving fans that found specific scenes to be special. Overall, the sound complemented the thrilling and epic battles. The music strengthened the attributes of the show’s addictiveness.
Of paramount interest, the utilization and how they were portrayed of the seductive characters has been the aspect that has deeply impacted me the most. A majority of the viewers that have finished have taken a liking to Fate or Nanoha or Hayate or Signum or all or whoever; the style, animation, and flair the characters has to display has been the most remarkable feature A’s has to offer. Each one has a context that they serve and fulfill. However, I will put this bluntly that Fate alone has made me consider that this title has been framed, fueled, and augmented by her, without a doubt. I do find her to be truly mind-boggling, lovable, the perfect “all-in-one,” the list goes on and on type of character. Nonetheless, the characters are a huge positive perspective when it comes to enjoying this watch.
Conclusively, with all these magnificent elements being incorporated in this title, or rather sequel, it creates a magnetic pull to actually view this landmark in history. Whether you’ve read the unique synopsis and/or the more or less influential reviews, this title simply cannot be overlooked. If you’ve dropped or constituted a hiatus on the first season and somehow managed to endure to the end of this review, it’s highly recommended that you pick this up again as it won’t disappoint. This title possesses a plethora to offer since it’s extremely appealing and evokes many sentimental feelings when heeded. Ultimately, I hope this review has been an interesting read and for you to savor and appreciate the show like I did.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s certainly strayed away from the usual, formulaic mahou shoujo stereotype. No more collecting Jewel Seeds for Nanoha and Fate. This time they face bigger, more powerful enemies that get in their way.
The new plot really made me excited, mostly because I’ve been waiting for Fate and Nanoha to become closer friends as well as become team mates. The new characters were also very intriguing and interesting, especially the Velka-type Knights. I like how Nanoha and Fate have to go against them, because they’re not as evil or twisted as Precia Testarossa from last season, but their objective is much more threatening.
Speaking of the Velka-type Knights, they are Signum, Shamal, Vita and Zafira. They all have different personalities and abilities that mix well together, that’s why I consider them formidable opponents for Nanoha and Fate. To make things more interesting, their master, Hayate Yagami, is absolutely adorable. Out of all the new characters, I like Hayate and Signum the best.
Since there new additions to the cast, there are also new voice actors. I like Vita’s voice actor the best, who is Asami Sanada. Her voice screams tsundere. It really reminds me of Rie Kugimiya’s work in Shakugan no Shana. Also, just as I like Raging Heart and Bardiche’s voice actors, I also like Levantine and Graf Eisen’s voice actor. I thought for sure he was German – he was really convincing.
I think animation has also improved, because the drawings are more consistent compared to the first season. I also love the character design, the new characters and their battle outfits are really flashy and modern. The transformation scenes are less ecchi but more eye catching too.
There might have been a switch regarding the opening and ending themes for this season. Nana Mizuki still sang the opening song, “Eternal Blaze”, and I love it because of its faster beat. I definitely like it more than the OP of the first season. Also, this time around, Yukari Tamura sang the mellow song, which is the ending theme “Spiritual Garden”. It’s cute, but I like the ED of the first season better.
Since the second season was so much better than the first season, I could only hope that the third season is even better and possibly the best out of the three and it does look that way.
5: Hachimitsu to Clover
English: Honey and Clover
MAL Score: 8.04
Yuuta Takemoto, a sophomore at an arts college, shares a cheap apartment with two seniors—the eccentric Shinobu Morita, who keeps failing to graduate due to his absenteeism, and the sensible Takumi Mayama, who acts as a proper senior to Takemoto, often looking out for him.
Takemoto had not given much thought to his future until one fine spring day, when he meets the endearing Hagumi Hanamoto and falls in love at first sight. Incredibly gifted in the arts, Hagumi enrolls in Takemoto’s university and soon befriends the popular pottery student Ayumi Yamada. Ayumi is already well acquainted with the three flatmates and secretly harbors deep feelings for one of them.
Hachimitsu to Clover is a heartwarming tale of youth, love, soul-searching, and self-discovery, intricately woven through the complex relationships between five dear friends.
Based on the manga by Chika Umino, Honey and Clover follows the lives of five fledgling artists and their journey through the exciting and simultaneously terrifying world that we know as college. Through the eyes of these five students and observe them them growing, affected by the years of challenging experiences through which they have gained many cherished friendships and also come to know the agonies of unrequited love.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the series is the animation. The bold, hard lined style you see in most anime will not be found here. Instead, animation studio J.C. Staff takes a wholly different approach by using a faded watercolor palette and soft sketched character designs. The style may not appeal to everyone, but it best reflects the true nature of the characters and their setting. Aside from the color palette, the animation goes through various perspective changes so subtly that it can even make the simple shot of a single character interesting. In essence, it is like art in motion.
Naturally, the audio needs to work hand in hand with the visuals and Honey and Clover has quite a robust soundtrack. Many of the insert selections worked well to heighten and sharpen the on-screen emotions. However, not all of the songs fit each scene like a glove and at times it felt like maybe there might even be too many songs they had tried to fit in. Despite that complaint, the songs themselves were all very good, even the instrumental tracks, and “Waltz” may hands-down be one of the best ending themes of any anime ever.
One aspect that may be universally agreed upon about this series is that the characters definitely make the show. Honey and Clover, like many other slice-of-life series, falls back on the characters to help carry the series and all five of the main characters do so phenomenally. Throughout the series, the perspective changes so that we see, hear, think, and occasionally feel what any given character is going through at that time. Depending on a viewer’s past experiences in college or even just life in general, certain characters will become more appealing and easier to relate to than others. Someone who has never been torn between someone they love and a close friend who loves them will have a hard time relating to a character like Mayama. Also, while a character like Takemoto may be more accessible to the male audience, Ayumi may be a better focal point for women.
The most important thing to realize is that just about anyone who watches this show will find a character who they can directly relate to in some way or another. From Takemoto’s indecisiveness about his own life, Morita’s slacker appeal and almost unfair success, Hagumi’s torn desire between being a success she’s not proud of or a failure she can live with. These are not just character struggles, these are struggles we all go through and we begin to see these characters as our friends and companions as we make our way through our own ordeals.
As said already, Honey and Clover is a slice-of-life series, which means it could take place anywhere at anytime with anyone inside the world as already is. It is a balanced and yet lively blend of romance, drama, and comedy without going too overboard on any single element, much like life itself. The story moves forward very quickly, skipping weeks, even months at a time between episodes. This could be viewed as slightly unrealistic as viewers may believe the characters should change faster than they do. Regardless, the character development is there, and does proceed at a realistic pace relative to the length of the series. Though the ending is inconclusive, those who enjoyed it to the end can take solace in knowing a conclusive second season awaits them to tie up all the loose ends.
Much like how Azumanga Daioh is called “the anime you should watch if you’ve been through high school”, Honey and Clover is the anime to watch if you’ve been through college. Graduates who watch this will probably feel a good amount of nostalgia. At the same time, those of us who haven’t been through college or are still going through it will enjoy a realistic simulation of where we might be going and how we might deal with it. By empathizing with the characters and relating to them, you’ll come to see Honey and Clover as more than an anime; It’s a life experience.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Katsup – Contributed to and edited the review
Splitter – Wrote the review
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category – Katsup, Splitter
Story – 9, 9
Art – 10, 9
Sound – 9, 8
Character – 10, 10
Enjoyment – 10, 9
Overall – 10, 9
In the club wide poll held for Honey and Clover it received an average overall rating of 9.00
What a wonderful story. It’s a good mix of bittersweet growing pains, salty teardrops, and huge doses of soul searching, all brought about by Love. Ah yes, Love. That is what defines the plot of Honey and Clover. Through this anime, we see how love can go both ways – it can send you flying in the sky, or it can leave you with a knife in the back.
I can relate to mostly everyone in the story, and this is also why it was so easy to understand for me. Yamada’s frustration over unrequited love, Takemoto’s fear of the future and time quickly passing by (believe me, time in this anime is fast-paced), Hagu’s feelings of pressure from everyone around her, and of course, the loneliness that everyone felt from time to time. The ability to relate to each and every one of the characters made Honey and Clover such a good watch for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for everyone who will watch this series.
Despite the serious tones, there are still moments that are quite funny. Most of the comedic relief comes from Morita, who is actually one of my favorite characters. His idiosyncrasies are what made him great to watch. I love that scene where he accepted the Mochademy Award (A nod to the Academy awards) for best CG. There was also this great episode where Morita and Takemoto played some sort of twister game until their limbs were intertwined. Of course, you can’t forget chapters L and F which were both funny as well.
I liked most of the characters because they were all so relatable and they were all managed effectively. At the end of the series, you know everything that goes/went on behind their facades. They all had well thought of histories and wonderful unique personalities that go so well together. It’s almost like an anime version of FRIENDS. I already mentioned that I like Morita, but my other favorite is Mayama. I kinda developed a crush on him too; I actually see what Yamada sees in him. I was kind of annoyed that he picked that old hag Rika over Yamada. I really hate that woman; she’s only out to hurt Mayama. I’m definitely on team Ayumi “Tetsujin” Yamada (Even though she tends to ramble on a lot)!
Drawing style was something new. It reminded me of old school anime with a new twist. It had the same look and feel of 80s anime with except it was updated and fresh. It was probably because of the coloring technique – the colors were just lovely, they weren’t vibrant, like how I usually would like colors to be, but they were done well and the colors didn’t clash, so I actually liked it. It reminded me of water color paintings, a trend I noticed from watching JC Staff series. Usually the illustrations are done well, they barely change or if there are any changes it goes unnoticed. Although I did notice a huge shift in Hagu’s appearance – She was a lot prettier in the first episode compared to the rest of the series. Her look was done well though – she had beautiful eyes and hair (same thing with Yamada).
There were different animation techniques that were used. I like the use of stop motion, I’m guessing the first opening theme sequence was made using stop motion and clay figures. There was also the use of live action, which was for the second opening theme sequence (The poodle was just adorable). Some scenes had a more weathered look, and there was even an instance were vector art was used. Of course, there was the use of CG. CG is always good if it’s used to give depth to animation.
Voice acting was actually pretty good. My favorite seiyu for this series is Tomokazu Sugita, Mayama’s seiyu, who was also the seiyu for Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, another favorite of mine. I also like Morita’s seiyu, Yuji Ueda. I think it’s funny when his voice turns soft. The other seiyus, such as Keiji Fujiwara and Mikako Takahashi were already familiar to me, since I’ve watched/currently series they worked for before, and what they did for Honey and Clover were splendid as well, but as for Hagu’s seiyu, I’m a bit indifferent. Based on the information I saw about her, she seems to be a newbie (I think she’s only 18) and Hagu Hanamoto is probably her most notable role. Anyway, everyone did a good job because they brought out their character’s personalities really well, and the dialogues were easy to follow.
I’m surprised that most of Yuzo Hayashi’s work was for Sailormoon. I actually thought the music for this anime was done well – everything was modern and contemporary. I like the wide variety of insert songs that were used as BGM, and of course, the opening and ending themes weren’t bad either. At the end of the series I found myself humming and bopping my head to the catchy music of the series.
Thank goodness for the second season, plus the extra two episodes. If it weren’t for that, I Probably would be close to tears by now. This is undeniably one of the best series (Thank God to no fan service!) I’ve ever watched, and will watch again.
4: Major S2
Japanese: メジャー (第2シリーズ)
MAL Score: 8.22
Gorou Honda has finally returned to Mifune East Junior High School, surprising his friends upon arrival. Now, Gorou is once again surrounded by those he holds closest, and he strives to continue playing and enjoying the game he loves most.
However, things do not go as planned, as Gorou is reminded of the harsh realities of baseball as he copes with an injury he sustained while playing baseball at Hitaka Little. Between new rivals, old friends, and mending broken relationships, Gorou must overcome challenges he has never faced before.
His goal of attending elite baseball high school Kaido may not be far from his reach, but complicated circumstances may stop him in his tracks once again. How will he deal with the immense pressures of the game? And will he ever be able to find the type of baseball he loves most?
I rated Major Season 1 a 9/10. It was exciting, but it had a few things holding it back. The first half of the season didn’t have that much in terms of baseball games, there was a lot of romance subplots that were tough to care too much about. And, it was kind of ridiculous to see little leaguers practically playing like pros.
Major Season 2 comes in and fixes just about everything that was wrong with Season 1. First off, the show has baseball games right from the start. There’s only a few episodes of building up to the big games, they get right into it, which is awesome. In keeping with the theme of more baseball, all the subplots this time around revolve around baseball as well. There isn’t any silly parent/kid drama like last time. No romance subplots. The entire plot revolves around what the anime is supposed to be about.
Also, the games seemed a little less ridiculous this time. I mean, there’s still some crazy plays. But the fact that they are in high school now, and not a bunch of little shrimps made it so my immersion wasn’t ruined by it this time around.
I think the plot is a lot more interesting and innovative this time around as well. Season 1 was your standard story of a boy wanting his team to become the best. This time around, the story revolves around high school powerhouse Kaido, and Goro’s interactions with them. There are some surprisingly good plot twists, and I found the story to be a nice breath of fresh air.
The art and sound are once again great. I thought they did a good job drawing the older versions of everyone from season 1, the music is good once again.
Overall, if you watched Major Season 1, you probably liked it, and I have no doubt you will like season 2 as well.
I really liked season 1 as well as the movie but this season I found quiet annoying and the main reason for that is Goro himself. As you know he is a determined and stubborn guy who does deserve some admiration. However this time it was brought to whole new levels which I did not appreciate.
One good thing is that Goro learned not to bash his team mates when they miss the ball but did it make him a good team mate? No.
He still is as self centered as usual if not more. It’s all about him! “I’m this this, I’m that and all of you are trash.” though it was put in a much nicer way. He never gives mound to anyone and gets totally irritated when things don’t go his way “Put me on the mound, put me!”. Yes, he does have better skills than some others but you don’t have to rub it in their face! If you are that confident in yourself then make up for their minuses later on instead of glaring daggers at them and taking fun away from them! With his logic you don’t even need other pitchers in the team! If he doesn’t change his way, I’ll be surprised if other pitchers won’t try to quit from the team.
Another annoying thing is that he never learns! He broke his right shoulder and do you think it made him realize something? Nope! He still pushes himself like before, not giving a damn about future. he is so stuck up in present that it makes you wish that he would break his left shoulder too so he could finally learn the lesson! There is a thin line between being cool and an idiot and he usually goes onto the side of idiots.
Again, once it comes to fight for the dreams guess whose dreams come true all the time? Being MC sure is a blessing, too bad none of us is one in real life.
There were also barely any games this season, I mean game variation. Because one game managed to last for 5-6 episodes! And there were 2 games like that! All together it’s already almost half of the season! Where is some kind of variation?!
Most of new characters were plain and barely looked fun, the designs became quiet lame too.
However, what I really loved in this season was the whole training arc on the island. It brought in more depth to the series as well as realism. Besides it is good to see what kind of exercises are there. Actually the whole examination process was fun with all the tests.Also we learned few more techniques and names for them.
Over all I’m left disappointed. Was thinking about mark 7 but I guess I’ll stop on mark 6… I honestly hope that next seasons will be more exciting with some interesting characters and that it won’t be Goro centered. I know that he is the MC but it doesn’t mean that he has to be mister invincible whose dreams always come true and who always gets it his way. Just because you train all the time and are a prodigy, doesn’t get you away from the injuries, loses and troubles.
Feel free to disagree with me but that’s my opinion. Goro needs to get off his high horse.
-The soundtrack and art are amazing as per usual
-This season dives deeper into the relationship between Sato and Goro, as well as introducing many important and likeable characters to the series
-Goro is very strong this season, however, his strength does not become annoying
-More focused on the baseball and not the plot, so it is rewatchable and fun
-There isn’t much emphasis on the plot for the series as a whole (the story is still fun)
I loved this season, hope you watch it 🙂
3: Major S1
Japanese: メジャー （第1シリーズ）
MAL Score: 8.25
Gorou Honda, a little boy obsessed with baseball, has always admired his father, Shigeharu. Wishing to follow in his father’s footsteps, Gorou dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. In turn, his son’s starry-eyed admiration encourages Shigeharu to keep persevering, despite his late wife’s death and his unsatisfying position on the second-string team Blue Ocean.
Unfortunately, an elbow injury forces Shigeharu off the team, and he falls into despair. However, after an offhand joke from his childhood friend, Shigeharu reevaluates his choices and decides to keep playing, leaving behind his prime position as pitcher and taking up the bat. Now motivated more than ever, Gorou works hard to carve his way in the Japanese Little League.
Major is the definition of the word underrated. It is very unfortunate that people often overlook this series simply because it falls under the sports category. It is SO much more than that. I have recommended this anime to people countless times and will continue doing so because not only do I love it, but I believe it has the power to inspire.
The main character of the story is named Honda Goro (changed to Honda Shigeno after a tragic event). He is gifted in pitching and is absolutely in love with baseball. He has the tendency to bring out the best in other people simply because of his passion and attitude for the sport. People seemingly gather around him for this reason. No matter how grim a situation may look, he never gives up. The most impressive part about this anime (besides the storyline of course) is the character development. As the series progresses you will witness the characters grow physically and mentally. It is also very easy to get attached to the characters since they are all unique within their own right.
All I have to say is that the first season starts off REALLY strong. Take your time with this anime. It is really easy to get addicted with Major. A person can literally fly through the episodes because of how engaging it is.
Honestly, the real fun begins when you get past the first season.
Review is to whole Major as you might have guessed. Spoiler free.
The story of Major is pretty bromaculous and manly, but all in all simple. Goro, our MC, is 4 year-old guy who likes baseball because his father is professional baseball player. 6 fucking days later Goro is 34 years-old professional baseball player who teaches kids how to play baseball. How shit got from the start to the end is one hell of an amazing trip. Including drama, comedy, utter awesomeness, character development of one of a kind, romantic subplot, one of the most awe-inspiring shitz since GTO and yeah, some baseball too.
One of the first questions people seem to ask is “Do I need to like baseball to like Major?” Well I dunno. Do you need to like school to like Great Teacher Onizuka? Do you need to be otaku to like anime? Well, those questions doesn’t matter. The point is, almost everything I know about baseball is because I watched Major. Almost none plays it in my country anyway. Do I like Major then? A big Yes!
The characters of Major are one of the strongest part of the series. Goro is more awe-inspiring than anyone. If he loses consciousness during the game then he finishes the match unconsciously. He is awesome like that. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t ultimate badass, superhero nor the typical shonen protag who wins because he is a ninja or some other shit like that. All he does is his best. It doesn’t matter if he loses or wins, he just wants to see what he is capable to do. All there is for him is the moment, he doesn’t plan to play baseball in the future, he plans to play the next game and whateverthefuck happens after that happens when it happens if it happens. Don’t mind, don’t mind. Fukkyah. Goro is now my favorite character of all time.
So in the end Goro alone makes the characters great and that’s it… wait, NO. I still remember the names of almost all the million side characters. That’s pretty rare for me since Japanese shit sounds like Gibberish anyway. As I said before the series includes character development one of a kind. By that I don’t mean solely the MC but actually rest of the fuckhuge cast as well. Gibson is Jesus, Sato gets bitches like no other, Shimizu is the culmination of sweety. Those are just some characters from the first episodes. What makes Major so great from the character part is how every single side character is in important role and nothing would be possible if even one them was missing. Baseball is a team sports and author really gives value to that. If one the team members is delinquent who doesn’t give a fuck, then he changes to a guy who shits rainbows. Developmentyeah. Sure we have other sports series e.g. Eyeshield 21, Slam Dunk, Cross Game, H2 which are about team work as well but none of those manages to come to Major’s level in terms of characters by any means.
Major is objectively best animu ever and completely flawless. Well lolno. It has problems and flaws like everything has. Characters’ actions aren’t always exactly the most believable thing ever. Writing is sometimes simplistic. 4th season has problems with pacing, language barrier in american league is confusing, 2nd season could have more rewarding ending. One could say the series is predictable, which it obviously is if you start guessing who wins and who loses since there ain’t so many results anyway. But Major isn’t about the destination but how to get there. Did I predict all of it? No, not even close. The author knows his shit very well – plot twists, sports series has those as well. Is it realistic? Yes, very. All in all one of the most realistic sport series I’ve seen. I thought the series would be repetitive towards the end since it’s just baseball but now I’m glad of being wrong. There also doesn’t seem to be this thing called “just baseball” in existence.
The art is simple and beautiful, something I would call smooth and perfectly fitting to the series. Animation is obviously somewhat old and not perfect but something only faggotass would complain about. Visual effect are rather cool during action moments. These all goes for better during the show. Especially after season 3. The sounds, well voice acting is actually impressive as fuck. Goro’s voice after 1st season is one of the most original and memorable ones I’ve heard. Tashiro sounds like he has 20 inch dick. I get chills everytime Shimizu says “Honda” (Goro’s old last name) That’s definitely a good thing in my eyes. And other characters (voice actors, weh) are awesome like that as well. Music is great, not just something worth of including to the series but something which I actually listened earlier today because it’s good. Sound director knows his shit like all people behind the show seems to know so lets that be it.
When it comes to enjoyment Major broke all my expectations by being more awesome than I could have Imagined. After getting older and seeing lot of series it comes harder to enjoy something because quality and logic comes more important due education and other useless shit. Major does great job on fitting the quality standards. It quite literally reminded me what enjoying something means. As it being a baseball series I thought I would end up watching baseball games, but the series isn’t like that. I was there on the field experiencing it all. I learnt a lot, but baseball isn’t the thing I learned the most. The series grasp the viewers by being dramatic, thrilling and fun to watch all at the same time, atmosphere being godly. Did I laugh? Yeah, it’s funnier than gintama. Did I cry? Yeah, a lot. Not so much because of the drama but because it’s so awe-inspiring. The series was partly so exciting that I had problems on changing to new episodes fast enough. I also got heart attacks everytime the romance side developed to some direction. In the end Major is one of the most enjoyable series I’ve seen. To make it clear, I’m not saying the series is great because I enjoyed it so much. I’m saying the series is so great that it’s extremely hard for not to enjoy it.
Eyeshield 21 (manga)
Slam Dunk (manga)
Cross Game (anime)
Great Teacher Onizuka
Hoshi no Samidare (manga)
This is actually pretty typical. Boy strives to become the best in something, which in this case is baseball. Honda Goro tries to take after his father as a pitcher who plays in the pro league in Japan. That’s basically all you’re gonna get. They play baseball to try to get to the next "level", fighting stronger opponents as they go on.
However there are various plot advances as well as drama thrown into the mix, so don’t go in thinking this is just a tournament-after-tournament anime.
Art is very solid and pleasing although the animation does get a little sloppy at certain times. However, it is well done during important parts, especially during games. I won’t go so far as to say this is any ground-breaking animation, but it serves its purpose. After all, this is a baseball anime, not something that has flashy explosions.
I absolutely loved the soundtrack. Very few songs used in the background actually are able to make me find myself humming them unconsciously later onward. There are quite a few notable pieces used throughout the series and they all carry out their duty in helping to further emote scenes.
This is where the series shines for me. I enjoyed the character development that Major had. As baseball is a team sport, there is also a lot of focus on developing relationships within the team, and how problems arise and are solved amongst one another. The characters are all very likable (well, with a few exceptions), and its fun to watch them interact with one another.
The show also focuses quite moderately on family relationships. There are a few issues which come up within Goro’s family and it shows how he as a child, handles them. I found certain scenes to be quite touching also.
Uh, I enjoyed this. A lot. It’s my favorite sports anime. Although it isn’t without its flaws, I found it a great watch. If you enjoy seeing a character "grow", then you will like this. Not too sure about those who are familiar with baseball though, as it helped as a device to pique my interest.
Amongst all the seasons, I found this one to be the strongest. (Though this is not to say the other seasons are vastly inferior.) You should give at least this first season a try, even if you don’t like baseball, as the character relations are great to watch no matter what sport they are playing.
English: Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
MAL Score: 8.30
Fourteen-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka is a dispirited young boy with no goals in life. However, this all changes when Koyuki saves a strange-looking dog named Beck from being harassed by a group of local kids. The dog’s owner, 16-year-old Ryuusuke “Ray” Minami, is an emerging guitarist and the former member of a popular rock band.
After Koyuki meets Ray again in a diner, the older boy leads him to his former band’s meeting place and dazzles Koyuki with his amazing guitar skills. Slowly becoming interested in the glamour of western rock culture, Koyuki decides to start playing the guitar while helping Ray achieve his dream of leading the ultimate rock band. Together with Ray’s younger sister Maho and a few other members, the two boys launch their career into the world of rock by forming a band called BECK. Beck follows the group’s struggles and successes as they spread their fame across Japan.
It’s about this middle school kid named Koyuki, who finally connects with the world around him through music and what eventually becomes a band called Beck… blah, blah, blah.
Story-wise… it’s a little kooky. I don’t know how other people viewed it, but being from the U.S., well, I had to remind myself a few times to take it with a grain of salt. I really enjoyed the slow development of Koyuki and the band and the relationships between everyone… I thought that part of the story was really well done. It’s just that (especially in the second half), you have to be prepared to suspend your disbelief a little and accept the oddness of the whole Lucille subplot.
The art? I really liked looking at it. There was something very appealing about it. I think I especially liked how the everything was kind of gritty and muted looking to match the mood of the underground music scene. Also, the color palette they chose fit really well with the tone and vibe of the main characters and the story line, I thought.
Okay, the music really, really grew on me. I thought I was going to hate it and I have to admit that the grammar kind of bugged me at first… but I totally hum/sing a bunch of the songs to myself without thinking about it now. Even the opening song is catchy and fun. And even though you do hear bits of a few songs over and over again, it’s nice, because I felt like I was getting more and more familiar with their sound… and it gave me a chance to become a "fan" of the band. 😉 Also I thought that the people who were singing Koyuki and Maho’s parts did a *great* job.
Character-wise… I don’t think you get to know anyone as well as you get to know Koyuki. In fact, I think you only get to know everyone else as well as Koyuki himself does. But that’s one of the nice things about the show, actually. They don’t always like each other. They’re bandmates and they aren’t each others’ whole lives. …So, it felt okay to be irritated with or irked by some of the characters. And personally, I really prefer characters who are flawed and honest and real, so I really didn’t mind not always liking the people on the show because it felt so much more… authentic, in a way.
And I don’t know if this is character or story, but I also liked the way the series kind of kept us updated on Beck’s rival band and used their story as a contrast to the main story.
I would say though, that if you’re not used to the way heavily accented English sounds, listening to some of the conversations and the songs might be a little jarring at first. It didn’t bother me since I was watching it w/ subs anyway and I’m used to thick accents, but I know some people who found it distracting… they couldn’t concentrate on what was going on because they were too busy listening and trying to figure out what they were saying.
Overall, great show. It’s different from your typical perky, funny, energetic sort of high school shows… it’s sort of more of a "My So-Called Life" type show, without all the drama and with a band. 😉 So, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for if you want sort of a funny, light-hearted high school slice of life show; it’s …quieter than that. But if you’re looking for a break from all the sugar, this is a really nice change of pace.
Speaking of the band, the BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad was a good band (I say it’s "good" because I am not a fan of rap-rock music). Earlier in the series, when Ryuusuke was talking about chemistry in a band and stuff, I did see the chemistry among the five. First you have Ryuusuke, who reeks of pure rocker, Taira, the mysterious bass player, Chiba, the crazy rapper/singer, Saku, the awesome drummer and even Koyuki, who irritates me sometimes, the wide eyed lead singer/ budding artist.
These guys make wicked music. It’s definitely not typical j-rock, it actually sounds modern and americanized. A lot of the songs were in english, but there were definitely a few mistakes in grammar (These grammatical mistakes can also be found in between dialogues with Ryuusuke, Maho and all them americanized Japanese kids). The mistakes are just minor ones anyway that can be overlooked. A few of my favorites are "Hit in the USA", "My world coming down", and "Moon on the water", who are supposedly sang by the fictional band, DyBre. I also like the insert song provided by the band "The Pillows" which makes their cameo as "The Heroes", Taira’s 4th band.
I mentioned that Koyuki irritated me sometimes. I just don’t like the fact that he gets picked on everywhere he goes. Is there some sort of sign in his head that says "bully bait" or something? I also hated it when he cried. He is such a crybaby. I know he’s a kid and all, but I never met a 14-year old boy who would cry at the drop of a hat. He did win me over during the parts when he would sing. His Japanese accent was heavy when he would sing the english songs, but he does have a considerably good voice.
In the beginning of the review I said the drawings were sub par, and that’s mainly because the characters were not proportionate, but then again, all anime characters are not drawn proportionately anyway. I did like the different look, cause in a way I was getting tired of the usual way anime are drawn, as well as weird hair and eye colors. As I’ve said, the storyline does make up for it. Other than that, the inanimate objects are seemingly drawn well. The guitars and cars had very intricate details, and it almost looked life like. Even the electric fan earlier in the series was well designed.
The voice acting was also good. I like the fact that the american characters sounded like americans, and even the italian american guy had the accent going. I did kind of think that Eddie and Ryuusuke kind of sounded like hip hoppers more than rockers, but A for effort anyway.
It was a really good anime, and I hope there’s going to be a sequel. I want to know what happens next!
The anime pretty much pays homage to music it’s dedicated too which is “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Soft-Rock inspired for its music tracks. Consist of good guitar plays and rock music that enforces the anime strength when it comes to the sound and music department. The show previews a lot of references on historically known western rock bands like the Stones, Zeppelin, and Beatles, and others alike. It also has some English that is good enough that it sounds natural even if it’s not purely grammatically correct from time to time. The English Dub version does polish the language further for the western audience. But I am here to talk about beck as a whole, not by the discussion whether the original Japanese or the dub English version is a better pick-up.
Beck is a story of growth, dedication, adventure, and trials in life. To succeed in the hardship in life, one must have hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck. This message is fully illustrated to the audience by seeing the daily life of our main protagonist Yukio, Tanaka or well known by the nickname “Koyuki”. We are able to see his growth from being an aimless, weak-willed, and zero confidence teenager to a goal-oriented, dedicated, and well-respected character over the span of 26 episodes.
It introduces us to a couple of interesting characters like Maho and Ryuusuke that stirred up the plot dynamics and Koyuki’s motivation in life. Each new character introduce serves as a narrative of change in Koyuki Life that made the show move forward. Some characters remain static and some forgotten entirely at some point in the show, but there are other characters that got a fair share of development. Though for me, the show would benefit more if we get to know more about the other band members of Beck’s side of the story, especially Ryuusuke story that I found more interesting than Koyukis.
When it comes to artistic presentation. Beck is somewhat a contrast to other show’s art style and color design that is airing at the time. While anime uses multi bright colors and flashy character design for audience appeal. Beck throws that out of the water and chooses the complete opposite. Starting with the color choices, the show is consistent with dimmed colors like grey and dull colors that emit a small amount of light that made the show seems dark even in broad daylight.
The character design is much more grounded, with only a few features that distinguish them from each other. People will point out that Beck has low production value, on so why it doesn’t look like an eye-candy show, but for me in understanding the creator’s intention and given it made by MADHOUSE, a studio that excels in varying styles and cinematic composition over the years, in my viewpoint this is intentional in the melodramatic mood and atmosphere of the show.
In conclusion, the show is worth checking out if you’re interested in watching something different in the medium. It’s down to earth from its platonic romance and its simple humor. The story is progressively steady pace, even if the time-lapse per scene is consists of days up to weeks skip within just one episode. The show has a lot of good soundtracks and my favorite might be “Hit in the USA” by Beat Crusaders and “Moon on the Water” by Sowelu. If only the show has more episodes and a much more solid conclusion I would love it more. I do admit I did get bored in the show’s lack of spice from time to time but it’s part of the experience. Overall a good show of its genre that I wish it could offer more. Because 26 episodes are not enough to finish the journey.
A story about mediocre characters band together that aim for something big even with the flaws and insecurity. Once you get past the unconventionally common art style and color pallet, you will be rewarded with an anime with good characters and some memorable music to stick in your own playlist.
1: Samurai Champloo
English: Samurai Champloo
MAL Score: 8.50
Fuu Kasumi is a young and clumsy waitress who spends her days peacefully working in a small teahouse. That is, until she accidentally spills a drink all over one of her customers! With a group of samurai now incessantly harassing her, Fuu desperately calls upon another samurai in the shop, Mugen, who quickly defeats them with his wild fighting technique, utilizing movements reminiscent to that of breakdancing. Unfortunately, Mugen decides to pick a fight with the unwilling ronin Jin, who wields a more precise and traditional style of swordfighting, and the latter proves to be a formidable opponent. The only problem is, they end up destroying the entire shop as well as accidentally killing the local magistrate’s son.
For their crime, the two samurai are captured and set to be executed. However, they are rescued by Fuu, who hires the duo as her bodyguards. Though she no longer has a place to return to, the former waitress wishes to find a certain samurai who smells of sunflowers and enlists the help of the now exonerated pair to do so. Despite initially disapproving of this idea, the two eventually agree to assist the girl in her quest; thus, the trio embark upon an adventure to find this mysterious warrior—that is, if Fuu can keep Mugen and Jin from killing each other.
Set in an alternate Edo Period of Japan, Samurai Champloo follows the journey of these three eccentric individuals in an epic quest full of action, comedy, and dynamic sword fighting, all set to the beat of a unique hip-hop infused soundtrack.
Of course, Cowboy Bebop was not Shinichiro Watanabe’s first foray into resonant crossover in anime: Macross Plus was a monolithic amalgamation of Top Gun’s hot-headed romantic drama and sci-fi tropes including a pop-idol hologram version of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL, in turn influencing the famous cyberpunk writer William Gibson to write Idoru, a novel about a Japanese virtual idol and her marriage to a real-life rock star. Of course, all of this was before the invention of the Vocaloid, though I suppose the future imagined by Watanabe and Gibson was, in a way, not so far off.
Anyhow, now that I’ve finished my little history lesson — which I feel is relevant, as having such a perspective may deepen your enjoyment of Samurai Champloo as much as it did for me — let’s continue on to the review. In light of all the prescient futurism found in Watanabe’s other works, it’s rather interesting that he decided to shift his focus to the past and present. Of course, the world’s future is always in its past… and what we have here is, in a nutshell, Edo-period Japan: the remix. Baseball, tagging/graffiti, Van Gogh, zombies, and Catholicism are tossed into the “chanpurū” with a whole lot of revised Japanese pseudo-history. As such the medley of influences and tangential tale-spinning occasionally smacks of filler, but one would do well to understand that this show is simply all /about/ the filler — and this is all for the better, because Samurai Champloo is at its freshest and most hilarious when it’s veering off the rails. It even has the single most entertaining recap episode I’ve ever seen. Even with all this episodic improv, Fuu’s journey in search of a “samurai who smells like sunflowers” provides a compelling core to the story, much like a steady hip-hop beat giving structure to the mix of samples and freestyle verses. Her ronin traveling companions Mugen and Jin mingle like oil and water, and there we have the perfect cast for hilarity and drama.
Samurai Champloo is one good-looking show, with its thick linework giving an impression of manga blended with graffiti style. One episode even takes a quick trip into the psychedelic, with a sudden burst of colorful hallucination, Mind Game style — courtesy of episode key animator Masaaki Yuasa, of course. A wide variety of such notable animators were brought on board and thus the style occasionally varies slightly from episode to episode or even scene to scene, but it’s always pleasing and completely in tune with the show’s theme. Rural Japan has never looked so urban; almost any given scene in Samurai Champloo would be right at home spray-painted on the side of a city building or underpass.
The music, likewise, blends hip-hop, rhythm & blues, and traditional Japanese shamisen. Music often plays second fiddle to the look and quality of the animation when it comes to my enjoyment of anime, but in some cases it becomes just as important. This is one such anime, where the music contributes so greatly to the feel of it that it defines it and sets it apart from other anime — much like the soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts did for Cowboy Bebop. It’s also worth mentioning that rap and beatboxing sometimes enter the dialogue, and it’s always amusing. Admittedly, most younger people these days are far more familiar with hip-hop than they are with the jazz, blues, and big band genres; nonetheless, in the realm of anime this feels a bit groundbreaking, especially with the theme songs featuring Japanese rap lyrics. The world is getting bigger and smaller every day.
Samurai Champloo is a show for everyone. Plenty of great sword-slashing action, clever comedy, and a good share of moments that will tug at your heartstrings — often all at once. If you enjoy anime, this is one you can’t miss.
I recently re-watched the show and felt compelled to write a retrospective/review of the series. While watching Jin, Mugen and Fuu traipse around 19th century Japan getting into ridiculous adventures, I realised Shinichirô Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop is one of the most subversive animes ever made. Taking a staple genre, dressing it up in anachronism, but continually tackling subjects often avoided by the medium.
It takes 25 episodes until a character literally says “I was born in the wrong era.” Champloo is basically saying Japan’s lofty samurai era was actually a shit place to live for common people like us actually thank you very much.
It’s a divisive show that tested the patience of many viewers, drove others away entirely after a few episodes, and frustrated people who were too used to watching a plot move characters forward for 26 episodes. Champloo doesn’t even have characters who move the plot forward. The hook of how the three disparate characters end up travelling together through Edo period Japan is just that, it’s a hook to draw you in.
Samurai Champloo is about, and also not about, three characters hunting a samurai who smells of sunflowers. There’s an episode late into the series which features two street gangs having a graffiti battle across town, and though somewhat amusing also served no benefit towards the journey of the three characters. So if you hop into any forum thread you’ll see a multitude of complaints about it. However, the point of the episode is the same as the theme running throughout the entire show: people from a bygone era rebelling against authority and social norms in a way 21st century people do: through counter-culture.
I’ve gained a new appreciation for this show. It’s been so so long since I saw it, but rewatching it I realise how the story is about how incompatible Tokugawa era Japan is with our way of life; all the things we take for granted were rare luxuries back then. This is an obvious fact for anyone with a remote understanding of Japanese history, but still, the show rams it home with stark contrasts. Each episode highlights a 21st century aspect of our lives, a form of freedom (creative, sexual, geographical, etc) that characters in the 19th century yearned for despite the odds.
It’s set in an era ruled by rigid order, social rules and hierarchies. Stifling to the point of causing grief among the downtrodden populace. Yet a populace we should not treat as foreign aliens. The show asks us to empathise with them; they were just like us. Some of them had our modern spirit and ultimately struggled to exist in such a society as a result. Our heroes are a ronin, vagabond, and an orphan. Fighting against their era’s rules with a modern spirit.
One of the things I love about this show is how the three characters hate each other for the majority of the 26 episodes, but their hatred gives away inch by inch. They initially try to break apart, to run away from each other, but situations conspire to brig them back together, until a turning point where they actively make a choice to stick together, grudgingly recognising that they are of the same fiery rebellious soul. This is infinitely more satisfying than characters who automatically stick together from the outset. Another theme of Champloo is that travelling a journey with strangers can bring you together like family.
Champloo is more known for its scenes that are juxtaposed with modern quirks such as people beatboxing to humorous and surreal effect, and scene transitions that look like a DJ playing with their deck.
Episode topics try to cover every area that is barely explored by other samurai-era anime that are more concerned with traditional ‘fight evil’ plots (or even movies for that matter) from the prevalence of the yakuza co-existing with samurai, the tragedy of women forced into prostitution to pay off their husbands’ debts, human trafficking in the art world, existence of homosexuality, persecution of Christians and Ainu, and graffiti gangs with too much time on their hands. There’s even a hilarious baseball game with members of an American expedition that predates Commodore Perry’s by a few years.
Champloo features one of the best soundtracks ever, brought to you by Nujabes, whose life was tragically cut short in 2010. Instrumental hip hop might bring to your mind a certain perception of what to expect, but the soundtrack is a mixture of traditional beats with Japanese influence, floating ephemeral sounds constantly conjure a feeling of melancholy, or ‘mono no aware’, the fleeting transience of things.
The appeal of the show is ‘style over substance’, however that is a great discredit to what Champloo accomplishes. All the modern quirks in historical context are not just there to make the show stand out visually. The show is about entertaining this idea, this hope, that even back in Edo era Japan there were open-minded people fighting for creativity, individuality and basic human rights. Sure, most of them didn’t last long, but they didn’t die without a fight. Banzai!
The story of Champloo is an original work from Shinichiro Watanabe. The story centers on Fuu’s search for a samurai who smells of sunflowers. As the wanders continue on their travel they encounter many problems, mostly dealing with how to make money for their various expenses some times causing trouble for the three. In the travels many humorous things occur like Mugen entering a beetle type cock fight, Jin and Mugen’s adventure in to the red-light district, or the three entering an eating contest. As the three get closer to the samurai who smells of sunflowers, things begin to unravel leading the three to the most trouble they have ever seen.
Champloo has crisp clean stylistic animation. Characters are draw clean and clear with many details. The landscapes of Champloo are filled with beautiful shots of Japan’s country side. There are even a few scenes were the animation becomes only black and white and seem as they where draw straight from sketches to add to the scene. There is also one part were the colors and animation becomes so lively that it gives the impression of a whacked out hallucination.
The score of Champloo is what sets its self apart from any other anime in its genre. The background music is filled with urban hip-hop to give it a loose free flowing fill to it. A big portion of Champloo is focused on its original sound and it shows. For action scenes we get a fast flowing sound that gives the sword fights a more stylistic feel to them. For the more dramatic scenes we get deeper sounding background music. There are even moments during some flash back scenes were the music that we get to hear a rich Japanese sound to give a deeper feeling to it.
Samurai Champloo focuses around 3 core characters. Mugen is a straight loud mouth anti-hero. Mugen is the wild one of the group, always flying by the seat of his pants. Mugen also seems to have a problem with authority. Mugen is the first to draw and the last to leave a fight. Jin is a noble ronin in the search of a purpose. Jin although quite and wise, he too has some distaste with authority like Mugen, although with different reason mainly because he sees the one’s in charge as waste. Fuu is a young girl in the search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, she keeps these reasons to herself for some reason. Fuu is clumsy and some times naive. Fuu is constantly being kidnapped even though she has two strong bodyguards. And for some reason she keeps a flying squirrel with her to help out sometimes.
Any one who is a fan of samurai action will surely like Champloo. Filled with enough action to keep those hard core action fans at bay, Champloo sprinkles some comedy and drama on top. If you are someone who doesn’t like the hip-hop aspect of Champloo, then at least give it a try, you may be surprised.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Samurai Champloo
3. Major S1
4. Major S2
5. Hachimitsu to Clover
6. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s
7. Eyeshield 21
8. School Rumble
9. Tennis no Ouji-sama
10. Paradise Kiss