They’re the best Anime that 1995 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Marmalade Boy, Magic Knight Rayearth II, Gokinjo Monogatari, and more!
10: Marmalade Boy
English: Marmalade Boy
Japanese: ママレード ボーイ
MAL Score: 7.47
Miki Koishikawa is a high school student who enjoys a very simple life. However, her ordinary life is about to be turned upside down, and she may not be able to handle everything that is coming her way.
After a very “fun” holiday in Hawaii, her parents have decided to get a divorce. As if this wasn’t enough of a shock for the poor girl, she also discovers that they will soon be re-marrying and swapping partners with another couple who they met on holiday. In order to include Miki in this shocking turn of events, they ask her to give the new couple a chance, and set up a dinner date with everyone. Miki may have tried to be emotionally prepared for her new parents, but what she was not expecting was their handsome son Matsuura Yuu.
Miki develops an instant crush for Yuu. What starts off as a lovely friendship between them soon develops into romantic feelings which they are both finding hard to control. But more trouble is ahead in their relationship, as both Miki and Yuu have admirers of their own who are trying very hard to keep them separated.
About 2 years later, I took the plunge and decided to give an actual try…and I think it’s safe to say that I’m glad I did. Marmalade Boy is a classic shoujo series from the 90’s, and it’s influence is probably seen in just about every other shoujo manga ever since. There are love triangles galore, angst, hormones, crying, everything you’d expect from a show like this! But what makes MB stand out is the fact that it plays out like a Soap-Opera– In that it’s twist come at such fierce speed that you can’t help but go”Wait…what?”, and boy is like crack. MB turned out to be one of the most addicting animes that I’ve seen in quite some time, you can never really comprehend how or why the melodramatic ‘drama’ entices you so to keep on going.
Miki Koishikawa is your average highschool girl, aside from being rather at first embarrassed by her parents’ eccentric and illogical behavior by switching spouses from another couple, then all together moving into one big house, bringing daughter Miki and son(from the second couple of course) Yuu with them. Miki and Yuu soon fall in love together though, and their relationship is challenged and manipulated many times by jealous ex’s. There will not be a single moment where you don’t think”Why are some of these kids so damn selfish?”, but then you realize that that’s the point of MB in the first place. It’s about young men and women falling in love for the first time, and acting on their emotions, not logic. What makes MB work is that it’s so addicting in it’s own indulgent little way, but at the same time it shows an innocent and honest side to the human heart.
The animation and art can be an acquired taste– this is an anime from 1994, and it shows by rearing it’s low budget head pretty often, but it’s quite manageable once you get used to it. The ost also fares well, my only complaint regarding it is that they use/reuse/remix the main theme way too many times, making the song too tedious to listen to outside of watching. Regardless, I have to say that the final ending theme(“Yoake no Etude”) really complimented on the events of the final half.
While I may have have enjoyed it quite a bit, like all shoujo– It’s probably not for everyone, especially people who nitpick and complain about as many illogical fallacies they can find in a show. Because frankly, there will be too many to really even count. The best example would have to be the New York City arc that pops up during the 3rd quater of the anime. These kids will infuriate you, baffle you and annoy you at how stupid they can act by being so self-absorbed. But like I said earlier, MB continued to hold a charm that kept me from losing my composure. It may sound like it’s not even worth a shot, but in an odd way, it’s still worth plowing through.
MB really was a wild ride in the end, so much that after the final episode was complete, and the final credits rolled, I couldn’t help myself but feel saddened that I had to say goodbye to this cast of folk that I soon found myself attached to. And I’m confident to tell you guys that I thought the ending tightened up all the loose ends we wanted tightened by the end, so no annoying cliffhangers.
While the final arc can get pretty twisted, and the irrational behavior will baffle some people. I also believe that it’s fantastic as it still provides a lovable cast, and shows us a very sweet and sincere look at growing, learning and falling in love with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. With an open mind, and despite some of it’s issues with the wonky mindsets, MB is a very enjoyable watch for both women and men.
And certainly one that’ll go down in my books as one of my personal favorites.
The story was written by Wataru Yushizumi (Ultra Maniac belongs to her too).
The art is very nice, but the animation is actually not that good (an anime from 1995, what do you expect?) but you can live with that.
The OST of the anime is very good. In some ways it is very childish (the opening theme, for an example), but mature too (some songs).
Most of the melodies in the series are actually kind of karaoke of the songs. The voice actress of Miki, the main female character, sang many songs in the series.
The love story in the anime is very original and displayed to us, the watchers, by a point of view that makes us cry with the characters, laugh with them and even be angry and more. The events are very realistic, the characters and the relationships between them too.
The only bad thing in the series is that in some episodes the events are… not make sense. I won’t say what they are, but I am not the one who thought so…
With the series there is a 25 minutes movie, which is a a point of view of somebody else, that made you understand the things better. [though it is not existed in the manga XD]
Why did I love the anime? Because of the childish atmosphere, the point of view and the plot itself.
Well, I could say 1000 good things about it, but I will shut up. Go watch!
Fantastic Cast of Characters; has good humor; fascinating Relationships
Overused Themes; very predictable; unlikable lead character; a season too long
This one was quite the adventure. It took me a significant amount of time to complete this anime and for the most part I was fairly pleased. Spanning 76 Episodes, Marmalade Boy is your standard high school romance, with a twist. Our two main characters have two parents who switch spouses that force them to live together. This alone was an interesting concept.
There are many other strengths in this anime. For one is the wonderful cast in Marmalade Boy. Almost each and every one of the characters is memorable and have marvelous, fleshed out personalities. The cast is truly what makes Marmalade Boy special. Of course, with great characters, come the intricate relationships. Sprinkle the great character interaction, with an icing of great characters and a dash of humor; you’ve got yourself the recipe for success.
Although, as the series progressed the story seemed to run out of fuel, as Marmalade Boy is clearly a season too long, as the same themes keep bring revived…only with different characters. The “I love you, you have a lover” theme is played out so much, it’s almost ridiculous. This sort of repetitiveness also leads to another flaw, Marmalade Boy’s occasional predictability. If you pay enough attention, you can basically build the conclusion for yourself and find that you were mostly correct, if not completely correct, which I must stress, not a good thing. The last season could’ve easily been written out and still have left a strong anime behind.
Nevertheless, Marmalade Boy is a good entry in the Romantic Humor category. With it’s exceptional cast of characters, it’ll be sure to catch your attention, just don’t be surprised if you figure out the ending before you even watch it.
Wriiten by AlterGenesis-X
August 8th, 2005
9: Magic Knight Rayearth II
English: Magic Knight Rayearth II
Japanese: 魔法騎士（マジックナイト）レイアース II
MAL Score: 7.52
Soon after Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu return to Tokyo, the three of them meet at Tokyo Tower to talk. Hikaru says that she wishes they could return to Cephiro and do something good for the land that Princess Emeraude protected so dearly. Umi and Fuu agree. Suddenly, a light appears in the sky and they are transported to Cephiro. Clef explains to them that with no Pillar to keep Cephiro peaceful, it has fallen into chaos. Monsters are multiplying and the land is becoming desolate. All the remaining inhabitants of Cephiro have moved into a magical castle. Clef also tells the girls some alarming news; three other countries, Chizeta, Fahren, and Autozam are trying to invade Cephiro and take over the Pillar system for their own purposes. The girls must stop the invaders as well as the mysterious and evil Lady Debonair, who believes she is the rightful Pillar, all the while desperately hoping and searching for a new Pillar to make Cephiro into the beautiful land it once was.
I thought the magic knights were developed enough already and they were able to use their maturity and experience, but they just simply couldn’t develop any further to some extent. To me, at that point, they just hit their peak. If they didn’t go back and have that ending where they are embracing each other and crying, then this story would have worked out better. It’s just my main beef will always be that the ending had an incredible impression on me filled with emotion and resolution But by going back, and then coming back, you truly do see their development of how much they cared about protecting Cefiro.
Along with the characters, we now have a lot of new elements to the series with design. Like the Autozam people represented industrial and robotic technology. Of course with the Magic Knights have those Mashins looking like mechs, the Autozam people have their own mechs like the FTO and the GTO. Their costume designs are pretty nifty as well. It has a descent balance of being fantasy and sci fi features to it. The FTO that Eagle pilots bares a very strong resemblance to the Dunbine from Aura Battler Dunbine which I thought was pretty cool, but had more of a First Appearance Iron Man twist to it. I also like how the other antagonists from Fahren and Chizeta were more cultural looking. Fahren was based on ancient China and Chizeta was more Arabic but they spoke in Osaka dialect. To combat the Mashin’s, Lady Aska brings a drawing that resembles her servant to a gigantic form and the Chizeta twins can use humongous genies.
Which leads me to the action. It is more reliant on the lets say “mech action” and we don’t see much sword play or magic. I guess that takes away from using excessive recycled footage. I really like the action, but I just really miss the approach and how it tried to distinguish itself from other magical girl anime. Now it tries to be more like a mech anime. Granted I do like the designs of the Mashins and the FTO, but giant genies and weird drawings once again comes into why I didn’t like the humor.
And the miniaturization of the characters isn’t really as prevalent as it was in the previous season.
Ferio now being revealed to have royal blood is now dressed up more formally, and lets say Caladina shedded some clothing.
Other than that, it’s the same old CLAMP school of how they draw eyes and faces. It’s a pity thanks to the circumstances of the story, we don’t get to see much of the scenery that the first season had which brought a great imagination element to it.
Well, I couldn’t get past an episode of watching the English dub in the first season, so I never really bothered watching the dub for the 2nd season. But anyway, the cast still remains the same that were initially introduced in the previous series. The original cast still do their roles very well and convincingly. I still love how passionate and emotional Hikaru always comes across. Juurouta Kosugi who played Zagato is also back and this time he is playing his brother Lantis. I don’t think the role really requires his charisma or his dark voice, but character wise, it was important.
Some additions to the cast are Inoue Yo and Hisakawa Aya as the Chizeta princess twins, Tatra and Tetra. Inoue Yo still has that calm voice you always hear in other roles as Belldandy from Ranma and Kasumi from Ranma. But she brings a more humorous tone with how she likes to joke around. Hisakawa Aya who has played Sailor Mercury as Chizeta is not really as recognizable as Inoue Yo. She is more darker toned and tends to sound more angry and serious.
Some of the background music is still the same from the first season. Like instrumental versions of Yuzurenai Negai are still sometimes used and still plays very orchestrated music. A lot of the new background music is well cultural appropriate to some of the characters. Especially that of Tetra and Tarta who represent more of an Arabian kind of background and that kind of music is played to represent them. So I think it’s really well appropriate to the mood as usual.
I can’t really get into the new opening theme, Hikari to Kage wo Dakishimete Mama. Sure it’s still sung by the same singer of the previous song, Naomi Tamura, but because I don’t like the themes of the story, the song also does a good job of telling it but doesn’t have the kind of pacing or the kind of emotion that was appealing that Yuzurenai Negai had. But on the other hand, the video clips does go pretty synch to the song.
Well, in terms of story, on a conceivable sense, it was a great idea. I thought it took a very original and distinctive approach. I really miss the Japanese style RPG like characteristics it had. And as a result, there are no video games based on this particular story arc in considering the fact I do happen to still enjoy the Sega Saturn and Super Nintendo games. And with the art and animation, since the 2nd season aired a week after the first season ended and didn’t have a year break like how other anime seasons do, they really couldn’t do much to have any significant improvement in the design. But the newer characters were fresh, but not really that exciting or distinctive. The music is still alright and didn’t really change too much.
This is emphasized by the three nations invading the crumbing Cephiro, each who have their own reasons for invading, but eventually, two of the three decide the better, and actually help to save Cephiro during the final battle.
Besides the invading nations, there is the mysterious Nova and her “mother” Debonaire. They are, in fact the only real bad guys in the story. The characters from other nations are all likable. It’s neat how they play off of different civilizations too. Even the music matches, which is very good!
The series develops Hikaru more, from the naive hyper girl into a much more mature girl. She also has her first experience with love. What I dislike about this season, however, is that too much time is focused on Hikaru, leaving Umi and Fuu pretty much forgotten about.
It’s also nice to see the bonds that have formed between the former villains of the series. Lantis is an interesting addition, but is far too emotionless. I find a lot of CLAMP’s male characters, especially the tall skinny black haired ones, to be hard to tell apart, and somewhat emotionally dead. But it’s great to see Ferio back, now fulfilling his position of royal blood. And the romance between he and Fuu is shown a little more.
The story is moving, i would say it is even more moving than the first season. While it is missing some of the beautiful scenery, it is made up for by the story.
Besides focusing too much on Hikaru, I also did not like the mecha theme that was there. The knights spend most of their fighting time in their mashins. But the battles where they do use magic and swordplay are good.
The music is amazing, especially the last opening theme. The first opening theme of the season is meant to link the two stories together, each showing scenes from the first season as well as the current. The song kind of sucks. But the last opening theme, Hikari to kage wo dakishimata, is beautiful.
The end of the series is also very emotionally involved, but on a happier note than the first season.
Overall, this season is very good, and if you liked the first season, you should definitely watch this one. (as long as you avoid the dub, then again, I have never seen a good english dub, I don’t even bother anymore!)
If there’s one thing I like is how the show starts off by addressing the aftereffects of the previous Season’s finale. It was not a happy ending to say the least, and the girls are understandably traumatized by the ordeal. Thus their main motivation is to try and do something to try and fix the mess that they made… even though, as all the other characters point out, it wasn’t their fault.
That’s also something I like. It is shown that the problems that arose in the last season wasn’t something that could be attributed to any one particular person, but rather a problem inherent to a much larger system that was the problem. In turn this Season does address that, and at multiple points the stupidity of such a system is pointed out. Hell, the morality in this show isn’t too far off from what you’d see in a Ghibli movie, with it being rather white and gray overall (Bar one small element of it that I’ll take about in a bit). In turn, the storyline has also become far more serialized. No more filler episodes here, folks, this is one long ass storyline that takes its sweet time to develop.
That said, it’s not as if this show is perfect. While an improvement overall, I dare say it does some things WORSE than the previous Season. For instance, while I do appreciate their attempt to give Hikaru a character arc, the actual subplot is hideously drawn out and unnecessary, with it dominating the whole plot during its last few episodes. Also, the previously mentioned morality? Well for some reason they decided to introduce a VERY CLEAR VILLAIN, which just kinda ruins the idea, especially since apparently this subplot wasn’t in the Manga and was instead a replacement for one I find to be much more interesting (At least from what I’ve heard about it. I admittedly haven’t read Rayearth’s Manga). So yeah, while there is a lot of good here, there’s also some very notable bad stuff.
The cast is pretty good, but yet again our main trio is the weak link. Hikaru is better than before, namely as a result of the previously mentioned subplot, but overall she’s still kinda generic to me. Umi is still my favorite overall and this Season does give her what’s quite possibly her absolute best moment, while Fuu… is Fuu, so I don’t really care about her.
The sidecast yet again comes in to save the day. A bunch of new characters are introduced, and I did like most of them (Bar Primera, she sucks). The new cast is quirky, yet there also is more to them than just their quirk. Wether it be Tatra and Tarta and how wonderfully they contrast each other, Asuka and her endless childishness, or Eagle Vision’s calm, polite demeanor, the new characters certainly don’t fail to be entertaining. Hell, even Lantis, despite looking and sounding identically like him, somehow managed to avoid being a blatant copy of his Brother.
That said, the same cannot be said about the final villains. To wit, Debonair is boring, with absolutely nothing going for her other than being the embodiment of fear or some crap like that. By contrast, Nova is just annoying. Look, I don’t mind Yanderes, but the problem is that Nova’s dialogue is extremely repetitive, with her basically repeating the same sentences over and over again, which is not helped by the fact that there is literally nothing else to her. I was quite happy when she got killed off, to say the least.
It’s a slight upgrade over Season 1. In general, everything looks crisper, the movement is far more fluid, and the Animation is just better in almost every way possible. I also have to commend the artists as they did a great job at differentiating the different factions. Characters from Cephiro all look like if they were right out of a traditional fairy tale, Autozam is very clearly inspired by multiple Cyberpunk stories, Fahren is a very clear China expy, and Chizeta is a very nice homage to classic Arabian folklore. Say whatever you want about CLAMP’s artstyle, they sure know how to make their characters varied in terms of design
No Mecha section as it’s basically the same as the last Season. Moving on!
The soundtrack is as good as always, with all the songs fitting their respective scenes and characters. As for the Opening and Ending themes, I did admittedly quite like “Hikari to Kage wo Dakishimeta Mama” and “Itsuka Kagayaku”, but I didn’t really care for “Kirai wa Narenai” and just plain disliked “Lullaby ~Yasashiku Dakasete~”.
Bar Okiayu Ryotaro, the whole cast from Season 1 returns and does a great job as always. This does include Ogata Megumi and Kosugi Jurota, whose characters were killed off back in Season 1. The way they went about it is quite nice, with Kosugi now playing Zagato’s brother Lantis and using basically the same performance, all the while Ogata gets to play into her more usual typecasting as the effeminate yet clearly male Eagle Vision. On that note, Takayama Minami gets a chance to use her huskier voice in this Season due to Ascott getting a growth spurt, which is nice. Beside them there’s Itou Miki, Otsuka Akio, Inoue Kikuko, Genda Tessho, Hisakawa Aya, Yanada Kiyoyuki, Koorogi Satomi, Kakemaru Junichi and Shiratori Yuri.
While not a perfect show, not even a great one, I do feel that this Season was better than the last one. It had its flaws, sure, but I did overall enjoy myself. If you liked Season 1, I’d say you should watch it. If you didn’t though, I would say no, as while it is better, there isn’t enough different so that someone who didn’t like Season 1 would like it. Still though, as far as I am concerned, it was pretty good.
Final Score: 8/10
8: Gokinjo Monogatari
English: Neighborhood Stories
MAL Score: 7.54
The protagonist, Kouda Mikako, is a student of “Yaza Gaku”. Specialising in fashion design, Mikako dreams of becoming a fashion designer with her own brand. Living next to her is her childhood friend, Yamaguchi Tsutomu. Even though they have been close since they were young, they share a platonic friendship. However, Tsutomu has been gaining popularity, especially with the girls, because he seems to resemble a popular vocalist from a band and somehow, Mikako begins to see him in a different light. This is a story about how youths cope with dreams, love and friendship.
Well, as much as I am loathed to put labels on what are clearly three-dimensional characters, here we have a show where Ai Yazawa pretty much presented us with what could be a psychological profile of a tsundere before such a term even came to existence. She’s brassy, full of herself and can sometimes be unfairly cruel, but that is just a front she she feels she has to put up in order to shield her vulnerable side.
Yes, it would be convenient to say Mikako is the way she is because of the childhood trauma of a divorce (and what her Mom did afterwards). But alas, the reason behind her disagreeable personality is artistically anticlimatic. That is simply the way she is, as is evident from the flashbacks from her childhood and later when she becomes “honest with herself.” This is the place where I feel the anime succeeds because we become too used to seeing the lead female character who is cutesy, klutsy, timid, moe or whatever stereotype that is supposed to appeal to the regular anime audience. She is truly one of the more variated full-rounded characters you’d find in any narrative.
The main drawback from this show, like a lot of the shoujo anime that aired around that time (Marmalade Boy, Kodocha) is the number of episodes. I really believe they could have more effectively told the story that they presented if they instead aired around half the episodes. Of course I am talking about filler episodes that sometimes introduced inconsistencies (***spoiler****e.g. why would Mikako be unable to sell her wrong-sized clothes at the second flea market if she was able to sell out all those exact same clothes at the first flea market?***spoiler***), but that is a minor quibble compared to the parade of episodes that occupied the middle featuring a love triangle between three supporting characters. They could have easily settled that matter in a handful of episodes, but they stretched it out over at least ten episodes, padding those with situations based on uselessly masochistic self-abnegations so contrived that my suspension of disbelief almost never recovered.
But thankfully, it didn’t overtake the main story of the show, which was the real draw in the first place. It’s clear the creator had a lot of fun with her inaugural anime adaptation and it shows through her somewhat unconventional artwork and character designs. The whole thing sort of reminds me of “Doug”. The animation certainly shows its age, although it’s pretty solid for what was shown at the time. For those who are expecting the quality put into Yazawa’s other two animes by Madhouse Studio, be warned that you’ve been spoiled.
The music, mostly provided by Mikako’s seiyuu Rumi Shishido might be an acquired taste for some (for those who don’t like unsteady singing voices), but it grows on you, at least it did for me. The story, as long as it focuses on the two main characters, is pretty solid-grade work as it navigates you through the ups and downs of a teenage girl trying to cope with her contrary personality. As for enjoyment – well I wouldn’t have spent at least 62 total hours going over the series if I didn’t enjoy it. So in the end it would have received a higher grade for the story and characterization if it weren’t for the mostly repetitive fillers.
What initially drew me to watch this show was the very unique art style. Everything is done completely with flat colors which made me think of ’70s cartoons. It’s definitely a peculiar look, but fits the show to a tea. There’s a perfect balance between being tastefully retro and progressively modern. Thankfully nothing is really lost with having such beautiful artwork either. It’s similar to Sailor Moon in the sense that the art style at its core is so strong and appealing that the limited animation isn’t as much noticeable, though, that’s not to say that it doesn’t also look great in motion, because it does.
But art only nets you so many points in your favor. I could also mention the music which is absolutely phenomenal and so good that it can almost be a little distracting at times. Take that as you will, I see it as a positive. But the characters is where Ai Yazawa shines and Gokinjo Monogatari certainly doesn’t skimp out on that. Despite being one of her earlier manga, it works because it all feels very personal.
Every character in Gokinjo Monogatari is lovable and easy to empathize with. Even if there were a character you didn’t particularly like or connect with at first, I guarantee you’ll grow to love them during one of their episodes. Yes, while there definitely is an on-going narrative, for the most part it’s pretty casual. There definitely is plenty of drama and romance, but it weaves in and out of relevance rather than being the main focus. And in between that you have a string of really wholesome episodes that’ll tug at your heartstrings. These were some of my favorite episodes and really showcases the show’s wide emotional palette.
With that being said, comedy is one thing Gokinjo Monogatari does not prioritize. Most of it comes from cheeky banter between the characters. It’s more charming than anything, but you won’t exactly be laughing out loud. Honestly I kind of like that though. Makes everything feel a lot more genuine. Every scenario feels like it could’ve been directly inspired from the creators’ lives. It creates this very intimate bond between the show and the viewer. Gokinjo Monogatari is something you watch to invest yourself into these characters’ lives. To see this group of friends figuring themselves out through the hard times, but ultimately sticking together out of mutual love for each other. While some moments hit very close to home and and made me feel the same guilt and anxiety as the characters, at the end of the day it encourages self-improvement and shows you that there are people out there for you. Is it anything life-changing? Maybe, maybe not. It’s honestly more reaffirming than anything. Makes me feel more confident in myself. And I think that’s something everybody could appreciate. Regardless of what you get out of this show, it absolutely will stick with you one way or another.
Now I wasn’t too thrilled with seeing the opening of this anime because it looks so old, the characters are drawn in a funny way, none of the female characters have boobs and the music was kind of blah. But, somehow, you get hooked on the show and start to enjoy it without realizing.
Story is great. I love that everyone is in a Art school. Each character has goals and aspirations that are different from typical anime out here so I enjoyed that. Also because I can relate to most of the characters as well. Mikako wants to have her own brand and sell her handmade clothes. Her friends study, work hard and make everything that they by hand to sell at the flee market. It just goes to show that hard work really pays off! There’s a lot of love triangles that takes place in this anime. It might become too much at times but just follow along. Great story. You see the characters unfold when the time is right and you get to learn a lot from this anime too.
Of course the art isn’t all that great but it doesn’t matter because the story and plot is what keeps you watching. Also, I realized that even though the females are drawn a certain way and don’t seem to have womanly features such as breasts, hips and thighs, they are still beautiful in their own way. Especially with the several fashion ideas and clothes they wear. I kind of liked that because you don’t have to draw a busty woman just to make her look sexy. It’s all about the personality of the person, or in this case, the characters.
Many of you aren’t going to like the music. it took me awhile to get used to it but I grew to like it.
I love the characters mainly because it’s a creation of Yazawa Ai. But also since I am a big NANA lover, i like to think that Mikako is Hachi and Risa is Nana, Risa’s boyfriend is Ren and Yuusuke is Takumi.. But that’s just me and my fantasies lol I grew to love all the characters even though some of them annoyed me. Mikako annoyed me through half of the show because she is actually a tsundere character to the fullest. But I learned to appreciate and love her and her personality because most girls go through the same feelings and thoughts. Everyone has thought of something that isn’t true or loved a person so much but couldn’t tell him so you be mean to them for no reason. Or when you see your lover talking to someone else you get jealous. Mikako goes through so many emotions that you learn to love because she is like most people, even yourself. There’s a lot of ups and downs in this anime and in the end, it will be all worth it.
I enjoyed this very much. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I like how creative everything is and the journey of a young girl trying to sell her fashion brand clothes, with the conflicts of relationships and family. Yet she still tries her best to become successful. Her and everyone else in her group. It’s a bitter sweet kind of anime. The one thing I hate about this anime is the filler episodes and the constant flashbacks. Sometimes it would be so long and so repetitive that it can take up half of an episode! So, its ok when you know when to skip a few minutes but all in all its a pretty good watch.
I was going to rate it a 7 at first but after finishing the show and looking back on it, the story was really great. Especially for an anime back in the 90s with a story like this. I really enjoyed it and to everyone that has seen Paradise Kiss, please watch this anime and watch Paradise Kiss again. You will enjoy it 10xs more because now you fully understand each character and the message being sent about women, aspirations and goals, and conflict with love and family. Thank You.
7: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
English: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
MAL Score: 7.56
In the year Future Century 0060, the many countries that once comprised Earth’s surface exist as separate colonies floating in space. Their home planet now uninhabitable, the ruler of all of the colonies is decided by their unanimous participation in the intergalactic Gundam Fight Tournament—a series of battles between the champions of each colony to determine who is most fit to reign over them all.
Neo-Japan’s champion is Domon Kasshu, a man who accepts the role with some ulterior motives. Domon searches the galaxy for his brother, a criminal who allegedly murdered their mother and made off with the Devil Gundam, a highly advanced weapon with the power to unleash mass destruction across the galaxy. In his quest to bring his sibling to justice, Domon travels from colony to colony, meeting many of the fighters who will become his allies and enemies in the forthcoming Gundam Fight Tournament.
Armed with the strength of the Shining Gundam, Domon battles to uncover the truth behind his tortured childhood, suffering great betrayal and crushing blows on his quest toward personal and national triumph.
The presentation of the culturally diverse cast is of course where the Ring ni Kakero influences come into play. Certain portions of the characters are stereotyped or portrayed in what Americans would find not politically correct. I mean, the Russian is a prisoner? The Japanese portrayed as righteous? The American portrayed as strange and arrogant? And the list goes on. If you’re not offended by that kind of stuff, then you’ll probably laugh because it gets to you in that kind of way. Because the Japanese are oblivious to the concept of political correctness, they can of course get away with doing something like this in their own country. In addition all religious referenes such as Domon’s future Gundam, known as the God Gundam, or G Gundam for short is changed to Burning Gundam; and the Devil Gundam would be renamed to the Dark Gundam.
I really enjoy the characters because of their personalities and they each bring in different elements to the show. Domon is the quiet and anti-social super powered guy; while someone like Chibodee is the obnoxious loud mouth comic relief character. Even some of the minor characters like Alleby have their own contribution to the advancement of the story as well and has some touching moments that I don’t want to get into because it would be a spoiler.
Along with a whole new set of story, setting and characters, you also get new Gundams. For traditional purposes obviously, a huge majority of the Gundams will stick to the grill face, have either the green and yellow eyes, and still maintain the iconic red, white, blue, and yellow color scheme. But they add new details to certain Gundams to make them look more culturally authentic to each country. Like Lumberjack Gundam of Neo-Canda is literally meant to resemble a Candian lumber jack. The Gundam Spiegel piloted by Schwartz has a skinny frame to give it the agility and speed that gives blitzkrieg-esque assaults.
The human characters on the other hand were really meant to have the old school style of design from the 1970s mech anime. The character’s slim builts, the pointness of the chins and faces, the shapes of the eyes, the hairstyles and side burns, and some of the clothing designs gives some indication of that. Plus, it’s not Gundam vs army anymore. Prior to Gundam, mech anime was always the main mech against another bad guy’s mech of the week and G Gundam’s story was meant to present that kind of narration so they bring in all of these Gundams for one one one battles which I will now get into.
The battles are also distinctive because it’s not about lazers, guns, and beam saber fights. It’s hand to hand combat and as Daigouji Gai from Nadesico would say, that a mech is most idealistic for such kinds of battles and is the best means of proving who is the man. Granted certain Gundams are bulky, but the heavy blow action makes up for it. While the smaller Gundams like Spiegel and Nobel Gundam have speed and agility and they move like Spider-Man. So you’re getting martial arts mixed with mech. Despite the lack of convenient war fare weapons, the Gundams of course have special powered moves. Like Domon’s finishing move is the shining finger where he turns gold Super Saiya-jin style and then emits a large beam of light to his opponent.
Of course there are also times we get to see the pilots fight outside of their mechs. Afterall, you need to be a legitimate accomplished fighter to be legible to compete in the tournament. The fights are DBZ-ish with the speed but not of course where they power up and fight for a long time and do fire balls. The fights are still intense and fun. So, the art and animation of G Gundam for it’s overall unique use of character and mech design and intriguing battle.
Tomokazu Seki also happens to play the main character Domon Kasshu who has played other notable roles like Keisuke from Initial D, Miyata from Hajime no Ippo, and Kenichi from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. He uses a rough and loud voice, but not high pitched. He can make the character sound cold and calm when he’s not in battle, and yet sound crazy when he’s in a fight. Speaking of the dialog in fights, I just love how dynamic the acting and dialog is in the middle of battle. Like before a fight starts, to officially commence the fight, the fighters have to say “Gandamu faito!!! Rediiii Goooo!!” It’s something you can say is as synonomous as John McCarthy’s “Lets get it on” when he signals to start a fight in the UFC. It’s just that awesome.
And it’s real funny in the Japanese version, Chibodee, played by Hochu Ohtsuka, the voice of Jiraiya in Naruto and Yazan in Zeta Gundam brings a funny tone to his voice and really brings the comedy out of him with his Engrish and how he calls Domon “Japanese.” And Saisaici is played by Yamaguchi Kappei, the voices of Ranma and Inuyasha, and the voice of L from Deathnote. So the Japanese version has a top notch voice cast. As for the dub, I have not seen it in years, but I just feel with the Japanese version, you’re getting the accurate dynamic delivery you need to most enjoy it because I don’t think this anime isn’t fun without the silly Engrish.
The music itself is pretty good. The opening themes Flying in the Sky and I Trust You Forever are really good songs that have a type of passion and feeling to it. Though it doesn’t have a warriors feel like Ring ni Kakero’s or Ashita no Joe’s, the songs still reflect on its semi-unintended campy nature.
G Gundam was mixing old school Shounen Jump, old school mech, and the moderninzing of Gundam all into one. It brings its own unique story that excellently mixes a diverse cast of characters in not just culture, but in personalities; top notch unintended comedy if you’re not Japanese; and high octane action
But simply being different isn’t enough to be good and that doesn’t change the fact that the end result is nothing short of a nonsensical battle shounen that thinks an excessive amount of plot twists and shouting equates to actual quality.
The story can be split up into 2 parts, the first being a revenge tale and other a long winded battle tournament. Set in the future where war is abolished and a new system is put in place, each nation takes part in a battle royal to determine who will obtain supremacy of the universe and the other colonies. These fights are carried out by a Gundam pilot of their choosing and is the driving force behind most of the show’s conflict. It’s through this battle royal that we meet our core group of characters, with our lead obviously being Japan’s representative Domon Kasshu. Using the battle royal as cover Domon’s true objective is to find and defeat his brother Kyoji who has come to poses Dark Gundam, which objective is (you guessed it) to destroy the world.
Now the core story itself isn’t bad on paper but where the problem starts is how it’s presented. Being that it takes a shounen approach, it should come to no surprise that it also obtained the issues commonly found in the shounen demographic. Containing everything from poorly conceived asspulls and powerups to questionable plot twists, G Gundam’s storytelling is just all over the place. Another glaring issue is it’s regurgitation of needless exposition and plot conveniences. And despite the constant bombardment of nonsense like a mermaid, a mummy and windmill Gundam or gundams going super saiyan, it still ask of the viewer to take it seriously. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was going for a self-aware satire but sadly it never took that route. What we get instead is a show trying too hard to angst and too hard to be cool while coming across as a laughable concoction that you’d think up as a child while playing pretend with your toys.
Now if there was ever an area where G Gundam deserves recognition it would be with it’s production values. The Gundam franchise has always been proclaimed to being ahead of its time, with titles like Zeta Gundam that was leagues ahead of other anime titles of it’s era in terms of cinematography and choreography. But with titles like Double Zeta and Victory Gundam it had seemed that the franchise was finally losing it’s luster. But G Gundam brought on something like a Renaissance for Gundam, bringing with it the familiar levels of animation quality found in OVAs like War in the Pocket and Stardust Memory.
Being that the story focused on mecha fights a great deal of effort was placed into making all the battles to feel grandiose when called for it. And with a introduction to a new way of piloting the mechas by body synchronization, the aesthetics and easy to read body mechanics were ahead of it’s time. The attention to detail really made it an entertaining watch that never felt hindered by the time period it was made. It even looks good for today’s standards. But of course corners were cut with reused scenes and still shots but given the effort placed into everything else it’s easily forgivable.
NOW the same can’t be said for the mecha designs. To put it bluntly half of them are beyond idiotic. Everything from a evil clown to a windmill, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the poorly thought up designs. It’s like the artists all got drunk and doodled up any nonense that popped into their heads. But given the cheesiness of the story they may just help heighten your B-movie experience.
“so bad it’s good” is the best phrase used to describe the voice acting of G Gundam. This is schmaltzy over acting taken to a new extreme. Every one liner is delivered with so much ham that you can’t help but chuckle as they’re delivered. That said I highly suggest watching this dub to optimize the effect. The soundtrack itself works well with the show’s content. Delivering the right amount of “oomph” when needed and adding to the overall 90s vibe.
The characters all felt like they’ve been ripped right out of the pages of cliches. With a spiky hair protagonist that think yelling and “talking with your fists” is the only way to solve problems, it borderlines obnoxiousness at times. The rest of the cast follow the same 1 sided personality with one predominant straight that forces them to be marginalize as typical archetypes. May that be the pretty boy “man of honor” or the strong dumb brute, all of them exhibit the behaviors of easy to write and even easier to read characters.
But being typical characters aren’t necessarily bad per say but the way the writers go about using them is where it really becomes a problem. Everyone is flimsily handled to the point where their personality can flip flop from friend to foe with no proper build up. It’s like they were manipulated in order to serve whatever objective the plot was going for at the time. This result in too many role reversals to be taken seriously and also a sad attempt to try to add depth and complexity to a cookie cutter cast that were only surface deep.
Now without a doubt G Gundam is entertaining. Due to many factors but mostly contributed to the time period it was made, G Gundam has aged into a campy b-movie romp that offers cheesy one liners, laughable plot twists and hammy moments throughout. This b-movie experience is even heightened further if watched dubbed, with a vast array of schmaltzy voice acting performances that deduces genuine bouts of laughter. It’s truly among the pinnacle of cheesy 90s entertainment and those simply seeking dumb fun should look no further.
G Gundam is the ultimate 90s cheese experience. Idiotic plot twists, nonsensical mecha designs and over the top voice acting. It’s the pinnacle of anime cheese but a face palming journey that can’t be forgiven. For everything it had going for it, it always took 2 steps back. It was an experimental attempt to do something different with the franchise that led to half-baked results. For fans of Gundam this might be a fun time waster but this isn’t a something recommended to any newcomer trying to see what the franchise is all about.
The story takes place in an alternet setting, not Universal Century. This new world is called Future Century. In Future Century, nations from around the world leave their homes and begin to live in space, in the newly formed space colonies called the Neo Nations. Even though many have left Earth, it’s still a vitial resorce, and to prevent any further wars the Nations declare that every four years there is to be a Gundam Fight. The Gundam Fight determines which Neo Nation will take Earth into their hands. After each Nation selects one of their best fighters and locks them down on Earth, the battle begins.
In this story, it is now the 13th Gundam Fight. A Martial Artist from Neo Japan, Domon Kasshu, is sent to Earth. With his newly earned title of King Of Hearts, he brings fear upon his opponents, but Domon’s true intensions is to search for his brother, which mysteriously disappeared after an incedent in the space colony of Neo Japan. Now the only remaining member of his family is his father which has been frozen as pusnishment for actiing against the Neo Japan Government. And to release his father, Domon must fight and win the Gundam Fight.
Eventually Domon realizes that he’s not the only one that is willing to go the distance as he meets many formidable foes. Chibodee of Neo America, George of Neo France, Sai of Neo China, and Argo of Neo Russia all have their reasons of fighting within the tournament. They soon become friends after facing a menacing foe known as the Devil (Dark) Gundam.
The story is pretty good. It’s not what I really expected from Gundam, and it was a completely new twist to things. I can rewatch it a few times and still enjoy it. Although, the birth of this series pretty much brought an unnecessary evil to the Gundam Franchise. With all the spoofs of Gundam Wing, Gundam War X, Gundam Seed, and a few other Super Gundam legacies, I can’t help but get mad that because of this one show it had made Gundam into a Super Hero Five show. In the long run, its an okay show, not one of my favorites of the Gundam series, but Gundam Seed wasn’t any better. So if you really want to see what started the Gundam Wing and the Five Gundam concept, this is what you are looking for.
6: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
English: Sailor Moon SuperS
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン Super S
MAL Score: 7.60
SuperS centers heavily on Chibi-usa and the Sailor Team. A new enemy, the Dead Moon Circus, has now appeared. Their motive is to find the Golden Dream Mirror that would be used to rule the world. To do this, the enemy attacks innocent victims for their Dream Mirrors and test their energy. Chibi-usa also has a new ally on her side, Pegasus. This season also sees the Sailor Senshi obtaining new powers.
Story: The story is, I’ll grant not as involved as the other arcs. And the fact that we know Chibi Usa has Pegasus right off the bat kills some of the suspense. SuperS is often criticized for being too light and cutesy. But even though most of the episodes are filler, as with the rest of Sailor Moon, they are rarely boring. It is lighter, but we just had S, arguably the darkest season in the series, and we’re about to get into Stars, which is also very heavy on the angst. SuperS is a welcome intermission. Some of the episodes are very funny, such as when Usagi stalks Rei and Mamoru as the red ninja of love, or when Minako dates two of the villains simultaneously. I also like that it focuses on Chibi Usa, she really comes into her own. She also gets her own romance with Helios, which I think is the sweetest relationship in all of Sailor Moon.
Art: I’m not a big art person. The art is I think better than the earlier seasons, but it’s Sailor Moon. You don’t watch it for it’s animation merit.
Sound: The Japanese voices are wonderful as always. The English is…yeah. Though I will say Helios’ dub voice is really sexy. The score is top-notch, I think SuperS has the best music. Lots of new pieces.
Character: The Inners all develop a bit, Usagi really doesn’t but oh well. Chibi Usa is the one who goes through the most change, SuperS for her is like what Classic was for Usagi. And um, there’s Helios, who is awesome!
Enjoyment: It’s fun to watch, really. I swear.
Overall: I wish this season wasn’t written off so much. It has some wonderful qualities. I never tire of it. I highly recommend you at least give it a try!
While the manga of the SuperS arc gave Chiba Mamoru his due spotlight, the anime version utterly refuses him of this. Chiba Mamoru is once again left to linger in the background of every story (virtually absent in the Star season to come) while Chibi-Usa is given yet again way too much screen time.
The SuperS anime focuses on Chibi-Usa, as if an entire S season of her friendship with Tomoe Hotaru wasn’t enough. Unless you love Chibi-Usa (to DEATH) this may not bother you. Just warning, almost every episode has Chibi-Usa piping in it.
The art value changes randomly throughout this series. Some episodes are of excellent quality but many of them revert back to the cheap animation of Sailormoon R (part I, Doom Tree).
As for sound, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is consistant in its good soundtrack, but this season offers almost nothing new.
When it comes to Character Development, an Inner Senshi may have one episode them seems to be about them (namely, when Tiger-eye, Hawk-eye or Fish-eye persues them) but otherwise such expectations go unfulfilled.
The Enjoyment level is Poor due to all the reasons listed above. I for one hate Chibi-Usa and find the entire series grating, frustrating and poor quality. Overall, however, there is some goodness to be gleaned, like the progression of Sailormoon’s powers as well as the Inner Senshi and the knowledge that we won’t have to put up with Chibi-usa anymore in Stars.
Story: One thing that annoyed me about this season, is also an annoying point that the anime did to the first, and Stars seasons. They left out a lot of important manga plot elements. It would have been a much more worthy season if had shown those details instead of leaving them out. It was a cute season, regardless.
Art: I absolutely love how they made Pegasus look artistically. Every one of his appearances had a magical essence to it, so art-wise this season was pretty good.
Sound: No big deal in sound either in this season. No groundbreaking music, a lot of soft melodies were played throughout most of it, so it had a serene feel to it. Not horrible, but not amazing either. The voices though of Pegasus and Nehenlenia were top-notch.
Character: Although I’m not much of a Mini Moon fan, the new character of Pegasus/Helios was a great addition, and actually made me like Mini Moon’s character more. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask were hilarious acting as parents, but other than that, the main leads weren’t exactly main in this season. It’s all about Mini Moon this time.
Enjoyment: I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I would have loved if this season were more like the manga’s story-line instead of just Mini Moon being the main focus. Tuxedo Mask’s origin story was prominent in the manga, instead it was only referenced in this the anime season. The same applies to the quartet villains, who also didn’t get their origin or outcome in the anime explained.
Overall: This season wasn’t the absolute best season, but still it’s worth watching for it’s cute scenes, and romance.
5: Fushigi Yuugi
English: Mysterious Play
MAL Score: 7.63
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes…
Each character for the most part has their own unique use and contribution to the story and they are presented in ways you get to know them. The characters or heck, maybe even one character will grow on you as you watch from start to finish. I would explain this, but it would be a significant spoiler, and if you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m talking about. Whether that character is good or bad, you’ll love them. Hell, my favorite character Nakago is the primary antagonist and even Yuu Watase, the original manga-ka has admitted that Nakago is her favorite character.
The anime will hopefully satisfy men and women. The story overall is very diverse with its appeal, but it went a little longer than it should have, but it ends in a way where everything is resolved and the characters wonderfully develop. It has romance, adventure, excitement, comedy and action, which I will further get into. However, what will annoy male and female alike is the interaction between Tamahome and Miaka when they really get romantic with each other. It kind of drags and we don’t need that much hugging even if we can appreciate how much they love each other.
Well, the character design today doesn’t really stand out in comparison to most shoujo out there for the most part. The costume designs are a little flamboyant for the setting, but even so, they still compliment the character designs very well where it helps make them stand out a bit more. The action is well coordinated, technical and raw which will appeal to male viewers. The city settings captures the heart of ancient China very captivatingly and truly represents their culture at that time period where they gathered to worship the emperor. However, with the modern day settings, you get a different approach to the school uniform with the blazer and ribbon design you see in lets say Evangelion, than the more mainstream sailor uniform which I thought was unique to anime in the mid-1990s with Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon being the rage back then with those designs, so its nice to see something different. It is also unique to point out in the real world in Fushigi Yuugi, nobody has crazy color hair, but in the book, you got the typical crazy color anime hair which was somewhat of the intention of Watase and the staff at Studio Pierrot. So overall, the art may be descent, but the character design 100% stand out, but the action, costumes, and scenery makes up for it.
The dub of Fushigi Yuugi does have some credible names, but I don’t think the dub was good. First off, Tamahome is played by David Hayter who you may know as the voice of Solid Snake from MGS. When you hear that voice in relation to Tamahome’s image, it just doesn’t match. He makes Tamahome sound gruffy, though it’s not the voice he uses for Solid Snake, but when he does scream, he does scream like Snake. This kind of casting is to me, for the sake of casting a big name and you’re giving him a character he’s not appropriate for. However, this was a role I thought perfectly suited his Japanese counterpart, Midorikawa Hikaru, the voice of Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Granted Midorikawa has played character opposite from Tamahome, he had a different kind of cool that Snake has, but he still has that passion and soft side that really captures him. As a matter of fact, Watase actually wanted him to play Tamahome because he had him in mind when he created the character.
I also enjoyed Kae Araki the voice of Sailor Chibi Moon as Miaka. She does sound annoying with her high-pitched voice, but it was at a certain tone where it really captured the character with all of these emotions whether sad, happy, concerned, or excited. And Seki Tomokazu, my 2nd favorite seiyuu who has played Miyata in Hajime no Ippo, Domon in G Gundam, Kamui in X The Movie, and many others was great as Chichiri, my 2nd favorite character. He is so multi-talented and he demonstrates it very well when you get to know his character more. Overall, the cast is just top notch and they all have great chemistry. Even though the romantic tension between Tamahome and Miaka gets annoying, their seiyuus truly make it believable.
The opening theme song Itoshii Hito no Tame Ni does open with this more traditional approach and then at the right moment, transitions to a more energetic J-Pop song. It’s very unique to me because it captures the cultural and romantic atmosphere of the series. And the ending theme Tokimeki Doukasen has a different kind of energy that is generic but still catchy and semi sexually suggestive in a more innocent sense. The background music is well orchestrated in every sense. Such as traditional Chinese music, more traditional cinematic.
Anyway, I think this is an anime I believe you should try to give a chance even if it may not be your taste. There are all kinds of good qualities this anime has that does make up for its bad ones. Even so, the bad qualities are still there but if you concentrate and stick to what you like, you’ll forget about them. I remember during the days of VHS fansubs, I used to talk to people who cried watching this series. It has all of these great themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and they are presented in a very realistically approachable manner. And believe me, there are moments where you might and I’m not ashamed to admit I have watching this series. The only anime that has achieved me to react like this since is the Kimura vs Mashiba oav of Hajime no Ippo.
Although it is one of my favorite series, there are some parts that to me are considered unsatisfactory. I feel a bit sorry for Chiriko because he was one of the lesser important seishis (the other would be Mitsukake). I am not a fan of Chiriko or Mitsukake, but I do think that they could’ve used more screen time.
I also noticed some discrepancies. It could be due to translation errors, but I’ll say it anyway. There was an episode where Keisuke and Tetsuya go to the Genbu shrine. They went there to see the Byakko miko. One question: why is the Byakko miko in the Genbu and not the Byakko shrine?
I have to mention that I watched the english dubbed version, because I found certain voice dubbers annoying. I hate Tomo’s voice – it is the most annoying voice I have ever heard in my life. Whoever thought of making Tomo’s voice sound that way was nuts and should be locked up in an asylum. Miaka was also a bit annoying. I cringe whenever she would cry out Tamahome’s name.
And now for the positives. I love the story – I think it is well thought of. It was able to mix in elements such as love, friendship, deceit, war, etc. into something really decent and worth watching. I first watched the show 6 years ago, and when I watched it again last month I find myself obsessed once more.
The visuals weren’t bad either – although I can’t say if I prefer seeing genitals on Yui and Miaka. Seeing naked people is bad enough. However, the show is filled with bishonens throughout the show. My personal favorite is Nuriko of course. He is my god. The wonderful art shown at the end of the show via the ending theme was beautifully made and I never grew tired of it.
The music wasn’t bad – most of it were mid 90s music, so I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. I do like the ending song, "Tokimeki no Doukasen". It’s another one of those nostalgic song for me – everytime I hear it I can’t help but feel reminiscent of the year when I first watched Fushigi Yuugi. Some of the insert songs weren’t bad either. Again they were mid 90s styled, but they’re not so bad. I did get tired of the opening song after a while. Hearing "Maiagare Suzaku" for more than 10 times tends to get on my nerves.
I think one reason why the show was suspended on Filipino free TV was because of mild sex and vulgar language. This is definitely not for kids, but I would say it is a must – see for the 16+ crowd (mostly because I saw the show when I was 16).
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it’s very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka’s senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it’s music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It’s nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka’s senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I’m not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well… if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV’s, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn’t wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot… 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C’mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV’s, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV’s aren’t enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it’s only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren’t the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don’t, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all… But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it’s just been 9 years since my first watching, and I’ve developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It’s a classic, and for it’s time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the ’92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in ’93) so it’s not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn’t made at the same time. It’s possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can’t find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I’m going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I’m a Tasuki fangirl)
4: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
MAL Score: 7.71
The United Earth Sphere Alliance is a powerful military organization that has ruled over Earth and space colonies with an iron fist for several decades. When the colonies proclaimed their opposition to this, their leader was assassinated. Now, in the year After Colony 195, bitter colonial rebels have launched “Operation Meteor,” sending five powerful mobile suits to Earth for vengeance. Built out of virtually indestructible material called Gundanium Alloy, these “Gundams” begin an assault against the Alliance and its sub organization OZ.
One Gundam, whose pilot has taken the name of the slain colony leader Heero Yuy, is forced to make a crash landing into the ocean after an atmospheric battle against OZ’s ace pilot Zechs Marquise. Upon coming ashore, he is found by Relena Peacecraft, daughter of a peace-seeking politician, who witnesses Heero’s descent to Earth. Although neither of them realize it yet, this encounter will have a profound impact on both their lives, as well as those on Earth and in space colonies.
The story, like all Gundam plots revolve around war, two opposing factions of space and the earth, a boy and his chance encounter with a Gundam. At first, GW bombards you with the names of many factions and organizations that play a key role in making the world of GW what it is. When you truly begin to grasp what a certain organization is and what it stands for, it has just been defeated and wiped from the show. Although, quite annoying, GW exemplifies the concept that, those who don\’t evolve, won\’t survive. Throughout the first half of the series (before the emergence of Mobile Dolls), GW centralizes around world events caused in response to the happenings of the main characters and their actions. As the plot moves along, we take a more personal look at the main (~8) characters – why they fight, what their objectives are and who their allies/enemies are. In the final curtain, both these plots come together for the inevitable \"Gundam Final Showdown.\" Action is spread out enough to keep the viewer entertained but remember; GW is not a shounen anime. The plot encompasses the soldiers of war and their actions for their respective sides.
Animation and Sound
This is no KyoAni work, but it\’s also nothing close to the bottom of the barrel. GW\’s animation is mid to high quality (even for 2007) thanks to Sunrise. Most scenes take place in the dark of a room or space so remember to turn up the brightness. Animation quality drops at points (a given) but even then, it\’s appealing enough to keep the screen on. GW isn\’t as clean as SEED nor do the mobile suits have the same shiny effect as G.U.N.D.A.M\’s but given the time difference, it\’s understandable. Most of the OST in GW consists of great battle music to fit the occasion. Battle armament sounds are top notch, especially Heavyarm\’s guns and Wing Zero\’s shoulder vulcans. The largest ball drop is the lack of music during most anti-climactic scenes – making them quite dull. As well as random sound effects when character comes to realization about something.
Ah, therein lies the success to any Gundam. As said before, those that don\’t evolve, won\’t survive. As such, each and every main character (8 by my count) goes through a change or situation where they must make a choice. This pseudo character development grants us a clearer view on each character\’s motives and reasoning behind their actions. GW sports a large cast where each main character is paired with another of the opposite sex for contrast/similarities. Not including the immense support cast, GW already has lots of names to remember. But don\’t be intimidated! Most non-essential characters die within a few episodes anyways. Jokes aside, it\’s very easy to remember all the important characters and the support character or the day.
Although I wasn\’t pumped for this review, GW is still a great watch. It\’s one of those anime\’s that suffers a lot of disdain for the popularity it gets. It\’s in the eye of the beholder whether you\’ll like it or not. The first 20 or so episodes is great – political manipulation and backstabbing at its finniest. Then the centrality shifts and once more towards the end – essentially, you may not like what you see at first but remember, there\’s about 3 \"arcs\" in which the genre wavers to appeal to more audiences.
With the previous Gundam series, G Gundam being more hand to hand oriented, this series goes back to the traditional space battlefield with guns, lasers, and missiles, and are taken to a whole new extreme. The fights are fast paced and diverse with the many mobile suits that are present ,and the environments they all take place in such as land, sea, air, and space, are always exciting and you’re getting something different. With the use of coloring and resolution, it is easy to follow the fast paced action this series has to offer.
Like the characters, the mobile suits themselves that contain singular but yet distinguishing traits all have their uses and are given equal time to stand out. Like the Wing Gundam is the all rounder, the deathsytche being close range, and Heavyarms being long range, etc. And also, the skills of the pilot will also effect the outcome of how the mobile suit can be used. Such as when Heero had to pilot Heavyarms for example. And you also have the Mercurus and the Vayeate which represented offense and defense and I feel that the staff read the art of war first to apply some of the principles you see in this series.
The character design also brought in a traditional “bishounen” design to the franchise. Nothing wrong with that. They are also very diverse and distinctive in which once again their features are distinguished. I love how the expressions come across and the use of costumes. I also found it unique that this series plays homage to Char Aznable through Zechs Merquise with his get up so you’re basically getting Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and Char’s Counterattack all rolled into one with this series.
I’ll have to say that both the English and Japanese voice cast is probably the best I’ve heard in any anime in both name recognition and performance. On the Japanese side, you have big names like the multi-talented Midorikawa Hikaru playing Heero Yuy, and there’s also Mark Hildreth, the voice of Terry from Fatal Fury playing him in English. They both do a convincing job of making Heero coming across as something of an emotionless being who exclusively cares about what he’s doing. And the charismatic Koyasu Takehito is very menacing as Zechs, but I really like how Brian Drummond, the English actor does a much better job of bringing out his compassionate side. I also really enjoyed Brad Swale’s portrayal of Quatre, I thought it was far superior to Orikasa Ai’s performance. Granted Quatre is the most human, I just thought that even though he is played by a woman in the Japanese version, he sounded too feminine, but the English version was just perfect.
The music itself is classic and one of the most addicting soundtracks you’ll ever hear that also defines Jpop in the mid 90s. When it was on Toonami, I thought it was cool that whenever they played the opening themes, Just Communication and Rhythm Emotion as a background song, I thought it was awesome they retained it in American TV. If it were 4Kids, they change it to some lame rap. But I thought the music also defined the intense and adrenaline rush nature of the show.
Granted I do believe this series is a great gateway to the Gundam universe, I personally don’t believe it should be used as a barometer to what defines a great Gundam series. Each Gundam is different. You can’t compare this series to 08th MS Team, or Zeta Gundam. But this series does have its significant flaws like all other series have, and which is why I have never given any anime so far an overall perfect 10/10. But if anything annoyed me about this series, it is most certainly Relena. I remember after Gundam Wing aired, there were websites in dedication to her death. I’ll admit I was and still am one of those fan boys who wish Relena died. She’s like the Hillary Clinton of the anime universe. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. I find her to be annoying, and a hypocrite. If you have seen the series, you know what I’m talking about, and if you want to know, check this series out.
Among the series that helped cultivated this young fanbase, Gundam Wing was one of the biggest to make its debut, becoming a tent-pole entry that not only served as a gateway title to the Gundam franchise but perhaps, more importantly, a show that became many viewers first exposure with anime altogether. Because of its status as many people’s initial experience with the medium, or at the very least, their first conscious discernment between Japanese and Western animated works, a great deal of nostalgic value has been associated with it. A predicament that would inadvertently lead to a lot of blind appraisal under false pretenses, whether the parties in question were aware of it or not.
Its influence in the western climate is undeniable but that doesn’t negate it from the same baseline criticisms applicable to any other show. And in that regard, Gundam Wing is far from a timestamp of fidelity and quality-control. While its production values have certainly stood the test of time — with sharp edits, gorgeous matte paintings, ear-worm industrial synthpop mixings and fluid animation that could go toe to toe with many titles being produced today — the screenplay, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky, falling victim to the common narrative conceits of its time period.
Overwrought with needless plotting manipulation, contrived idealistic monologues delivered by cardboard cutout personalities, and a narrative that quickly spirals into a chop suey of hackneyed writing; Wing was Gundam’s messy attempt at a rule-of-cool political shounen. An attempt that got all the attributes correct on the surface, but when brought under an analytical microscope, barely kept its head above water. Where past installments found an equilibrium between teen angst and the war drama that facilitated it, Wing ended up fumbling this formula with wrongheaded attempts intended to capture a younger demographic, while seemingly forgetting the fact that it already had that demographic in their back pocket, to begin with. It’s the kind of creative misfiring only possible by the hogwash of self-obsessed auteurs being allowed to run amok. It certainly succeeded in creating easily digestible entertainment but sadly at cost of proper storytelling. Today, we’ll shelf whatever nostalgic value the show has with the community, as we attempt to examine it for what it is and not what landmark value it may have held.
The story starts out like any other in the franchise, with a conflict brewing between two separate factions: one found on earth (United Earth Sphere Alliance) and the space colonies that occupy the heavens. And in the wonderful Gundam tradition of dressing up opposing factions in broad strokes of fascism, The Alliance in this iteration represents our big baddies, extending their oppressive control over the space colonies with such aggression that even Benito Mussolini would blush. It’s the kind of setup that alludes to a grandiose battle to determine supremacy, and we do certainly get to see something like that play out, but the plotting used to get to that power struggle, was, for the lack of a better word, laughable.
The Gundam franchise has always used teen pilots in their series as conduits to channel their themes of warfare and human ethics. And while what I’m about to say may seem like a trivial detail, it’s the core difference that separates successful installments in the franchise that still manage to feel plausible, from those of the likes of Wing which could only muster up all of its creative juices to obtain juvenile status at best.
This core difference I speak of is the allocation of character relevance.
In 79 and Zeta Gundam respectfully, Amuro and Kamille were both talented pilots due to their upbringing and new-type abilities, but there was never a point in time where their involvement led to the tipping point that determined the outcome of any given large-scale battle. They were more adept than the average soldier but was ultimately just another person operating under the guidance of a small rag-tagged group, which was itself just a small cog in the machine, manipulated by the governing parties as they saw fit. Regardless of their individual talents as pilots, they didn’t win wars single-handedly; there was always a group effort, involving the sacrifices of many people on both sides. Even Char Aznable, considered the best pilot in both series, had to rely on the strength of others around him to achieve victory in any given battle.
The point I’m trying to make here is that no one was ever an end-all-be-all trump card for winning the war. The teen pilots may have been incredibly strong relative to those around them but that’s all they were: strong. Nothing more, nothing less. But this is where Wing differs significantly, and not for the better.
Unlike before, the teens weren’t just strong this time around, now, they’ve practically been turned into God-sent messiahs… EDGY God-sent messiahs at that (sigh).
What once took the collective effort of battalions fighting against each other to cause a dent in the war, was now reduced to the actions of a handful of angsty teens with a mech suit, pent-up rage, and an endless line of fodder to mow down — cool poses and manchild yelling notwithstanding. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking “But ZephSilver-sama, what’s the problem with that?” Well, my young Padawan, have patience, I’ll explain further once we address another pressing issue with Wing. That being its treatment of war factions and politics.
A Coup d’etat; common occurrences during wartime, and one that the Gundam franchise readily utilizes to spice up its content, and understandably so. Whenever any governing party finds itself at odds with the militaristic stronghold that keeps it in power, it’s basically a powder keg waiting to blow. For Gundam, that translates into a cool ass firework display of mecha action, pink explosions, and blood confetti just waiting to happen. And Like any good thing, moderation is key. And as you’ve probably guessed by now, this is an understanding that escapes Wing. Coup d’etats are expected events but the amount of times that it ended up occurring in Wing is just unrealistic, to the point of approaching parody.
The mere act of existing as a governing entity in Wing basically assures you a one-way ticket to shitsville. There is zero stability in this universe. A constant potpourri of back-stabbing and upheaval. This fickle game of musical chairs between alliances became so bad at times that any given character could find themselves supporting no less than 4 separate groups in the course of the show’s 49-episode run. Wing, despite its simplistic narrative, was constantly asking its audience to keep tabs on several moving parts simultaneously. A type of sensory overdrive where tertiary factions were constantly sticking their necks out to remind the viewer that “they still exist!”
The constant betrayals meant that there was no true side for the audience to follow or individual motivation worth investing into, turning the human race into a marginalized group of trigger-happy neanderthals. With no solid conviction for the numerous groups that sprung up and a mess of Heel-Face Turn characters that easily switched sides at the whim of whatever the screenplay belched out at any given episode, what was left in the end were our teen pilots (a.k.a Emo Power Rangers), as they rode in on their high horses providing the answer to everything. And by “provide answers” I mean they blew shit up while reciting their edge-lord diatribes.
Using youths as the poster children for justice is one thing, but making them the sole proprietor to end the human race’s problems is a complete other… and no, I’m not being hyperbolic either. Our five teen edge-lords: Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Chang Wufei, were tasked with taking on The Alliance’s military stronghold, without the help of any backing nation or military group. Yes, you read that correctly. 5 teenage emo rangers are quite literally tasked with defeating a united earth front all by themselves… but perhaps even worse than that is that the show writes it to where such a ludicrous task is actually made feasible by turning the mobile suits into indestructible doomsday machines.
Because the characters were all one-note, personality-wise, they were often re-written to service whatever role the plot demanded at the time. This turned megalomaniacs into spokespeople for peace and vice versa. Something that was made all the more bothersome with constant bombardments of contrived, idealistic monologues. A notable example being Zechs Marquise, the show’s watered down version of Char Aznable, where he made a 180 in mindset while still delivering his idealistic speeches that conflicted with his actions. There were times where he was quite literally trying to murder someone in cold blood while delivering messages akin to “peace and unity bro!” But it wasn’t limited to him alone, as most of the characters cashed in on these long-winded, ass-backward speeches that were contradictory to their immediate actions on-screen. This failed attempt at adding depth to the cast did nothing but further expose their lack of dimension and characterization. And depending on your investment, this could make the experience enjoyable in an unintentional “haha, they can’t be serious right now?” parody way, or just plain stupid in a “what were the scriptwriters smoking?” way. Thankfully, my approach was the former.
When taken by themselves, any one of these specific issues mentioned doesn’t become a huge detriment to the story, but when they’re compounded into a snowball effect of bad ideas meet even worse screenwriting decisions, that’s where the true issue arises. What could have been a simple rule-of-cool political shounen, was now transformed into a molotov cocktail of messy outcomes, the likes of which was too far gone to be salvaged by a script revision.
Where all of this extra time went unaccounted for when addressing Wing’s writing seemed to have turned up in the show’s visual and auditory output. And boy did it pay off! Despite all the verbal carpet bombing I’ve directed towards Wing so far, even I can’t find anything worth scrutinizing in these departments. Wing’s production values are better than a vast majority of anime entries released in the 90s — hell, I’ll even take it a step further and state that in its restoration form, it could outpace many entries in the early 2010s as well. Needless to say, this was also some of the highest production values seen from the Gundam franchise as well; not since Zeta in 85 has their been such a noticeable increase in audiovisual output.
With a staggering amount of saturated color gradients, physical encounters that had a tangible weight behind it, and an undeniable fervor for blood-boiling theatrics, Wing definitely delivered on visual spectacle. When you put aside the nonsensical propulsion that led to any given action scene and just soaked it in for what was shown on-screen, this was quite the crowd pleaser. Also, before we continue on, the J-Pop opening “Just Communication” by TWO-MIX is a national treasure that should be protected at all cost! And no mention of Wing’s audiovisual output would be complete without making special mention of the aesthetically appealing design work.
When it comes to creating vogue-looking, rugged character models, very few can topple Shukou Murase. Though, at the time, that was yet to be seen. Being an up-and-coming creative, Murase secured his position as character designer based on his work on 89’s Ronin Warriors Gaiden. A decision that he would prove wasn’t a fluke with an extensive catalog catapulted by his newfound recognition on Wing, where he would go on to further lend his talents to titles such as Argento Soma and Gasaraki.
And last, but certainly not least, the mechanical designers themselves. While there were several names attached to the project, all of which deserving of a comb-over, I’ll only focus on one; mah boi Hajime Katoki. When it comes to beefing up mecha designs to look like “Do you even LIFT bro?” steroid-memes (in a good way, of course), Katoki is your go-to guy. He has the magical ability to do with mecha what Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure does to the masculine form, all the while making the final product appear plausible for the universe it’s a part of. Which brings me to perhaps one of, if not, my favorite mecha design in the entire Gundam canon, Zechs Marquise’s Tallgeese. This glorious, Roman gladiator inspired hunk of metal was just a demanding screen presence. It’s a fan favorite for good reason and I’m inclined to support the appraisal that it has racked up throughout the years.
And yes, there were noticeable shortcuts taken at times, with a few still-image panning shots here and speed-lines there, but those sporadic moments of cost-saving techniques never detracted from the overall care given to bringing the entire vision to life. As a whole, the audiovisual output is where Wing truly shines.
After taking everything into consideration, both the good and the incredibad, I can’t say I wasted my time with Wing. Sure, like everything else, it had its problems, but what in the Gundam franchise doesn’t? Yeah, there were times where the issues mentioned impeded on my enjoyment and certainly other occasions where my invested interest was tested. But upon passing the finish line, looking back from where I started to where I eventually stood, at the very least, the journey through Wing offered up aspects worth cherishing. Even if they were aspects knee-deep in issues I’d rather forget.
Although Gundam Wing’s historical relevance may have engulfed its actual inherent value, it’s still a title I would recommend to others. It’s not really one of those shows where you could divorce its issues through selective viewing, as is the benefit for something Like Zeta or 79 Gundam; where under the context of warfare and the understanding that the new-types are essentially hypersensitive, autistic x-men in space, excusing their irrational blurps of emotional responses to others become acceptable. With Wing, the issues found are far too deep-rooted, corrupting the very foundation of its script that everything grows out from. You can cut the proverbial limb off of Zeta or 79 Gundam and still be left with something functional, but attempting such an act on Wing is no different than taking to its head with a swift guillotine strike.
With all that being said, approach Wing with reasonable expectations. If you walk in understanding that it’s Emo Power Rangers vs The World, with the added benefit of having high production values, then you can walk out unscathed, taking with you a fun viewing experience and another legacy title under your belt.
3: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S
English: Sailor Moon S
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン S
MAL Score: 7.86
The Sailor Guardians and their leader, Sailor Moon, continue their duty of protecting Earth from any who would dare cause it harm. However, Sailor Mars’ apocalyptic visions and the appearance of two new guardians—Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus—signal that a new battle will soon begin.
These newcomers seek three Talismans that are inside the Pure Heart Crystals within human beings. Once brought together, these objects form The Holy Grail, a magical relic with extraordinary abilities. They want to use the Grail to save the world, but an evil organization known as the Death Busters seeks its power for their own desires.
The removal of a Talisman from a person’s Heart Crystal will cause their death, something that Uranus and Neptune see as a necessary sacrifice to form the Grail, while Sailor Moon and her group deem it unforgivable. But can any sacrifice be worth the cost if it saves the lives of the entire human race?
It has always been a peeve of mine when a story develops to a point and then mystically finds itself reverting back. Sailor Moon S suffers from the introduction of some pretty unlikable characters plus the reintroduction of an annoying one. The later is Chibi-Usa, the future daughter of Usagi and Mamoru who pointlessly returns from the future, apparently to just become a pest. The progress made in the relationship between Usagi and Chibi-Usa apparently is meaningless as we are again treated to constant arguing and disrespect shown to her “mother”. Honestly the whole time I just wanted Usagi to take her over her knee and throttle her back to the future. Even more inexplicable is Chibi Usa’s constant interference in Usagi’s and Mamoru’s relationship. I mean she does realize if they aren’t together she won’t be born… right?
The other new characters are the introduction of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. A pair of completely unlikeable, cruel, and arrogant girls who never do answer for their own crimes as they ruthlessly pursue their own goals. Their rude and despicable attitude towards Usagi and the other guardian senshi despite being saved by them multiple times made them, for me at least, difficult to like.
For the most part these are my early impressions, and made it hard to get through the series until it starts to reach its climax. Chibi-Usa does become less annoying and she really isn’t in the series as much as it appeared she was going to be by the end. Though my dislike for Uranus and Neptune remained until the end. The story is pretty good but really not as strong as the first two series. The motivations of the villains don’t feel as defined as in previous seasons and the plot really feels repetitive for almost three quarters of the show. The weaknesses of the first two series remain, though the action is a little better. Mostly because of the addition of the new warriors the numbers of combinations increase which makes the battles a little more diverse. Though they are still pretty boring. I also felt that the Inner Senshi characters that are really important took too much of a backseat to the unlikable Outer Senshi. While each girl does have a couple episodes devoted to them it does feel like they have been mostly neglected. Also the romance elements were almost nonexistent in this series, which was a major disappointment for me. Despite all these things, the ending arc is very well done and I did enjoy the whole Sailor Saturn/Mistress 9 part of the story.
The art is probably the best it has been up to this point. Though there are a number of issues I had with the animation. Mostly this has to do with the really silly and overly long cut scenes, the biggest offender being Usagi’s use of her special attack. Really was all that dancing around and spins necessary? Also the music really suffers here as well with the introduction of some of the corniest anime music I have ever heard. Now when the sailors transform we get treated to individual songs for each girl. I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry when listening to it.
Overall though I still did end up liking this series, and it is particularly saved by the last arc involving Sailor Saturn. It has a number of flaws but it is still the Sailor Moon I know and love. It seems to know when you are really getting annoyed or frustrated with something and stops in time before you want to turn it off. Fans of the first two seasons will still enjoy this but you will probably be a little let down, particularly on the romance side, like I was.
Now I think this is one of the precious animes I have ever seen because it is funny un childish in its sort kind of way, it is romantic and a little bit nude but isn’t too pervert to show to children, it shows different kind of situations that could happen in real life too (mostly metaphorical of course) and it shows that bravery and good friends are most valuable think in world.
It is good anime because of these situations which teaches us to be brave and never give up. At least from this anime I learned that and now I never give up and continuing to be brave when it is needed.
We open with a new threat. One that gives our heroines a cold sweat. They call themselves the Death Busters. Emerging from deep dimensional clusters. At the same time new soldiers appear. Representing a new era, we have Uranus and Neptune, both quite queer. I don’t mean that in any kind of demeaning sense. So please don’t take offence. It’s quite literally true. These girls quickly cause yuri to ensue. The Death Busters are seeking talismans for reasons unknown. The Sailor Soldiers seek to make them atone. First, however, they must discover the talisman’s locale. As well as Uranus and Neptune’s motivations and rationale. Can they stop these villain from stealing the crystals of people’s hearts? What’s the best way to bring down these upstarts?
There’s only one real narrative failing. At times the story seems to be flailing. Rather than pushing forward and progressing with the story. Fighting further monsters gives them glory. In all fairness, filler episodes are nothing new. The positive side to it is that they allow the characters to develop their dynamics without much ado.
On to more positive aspects. The narrative works in many respects. The battle against the Busters has some high tension. The whole conflict with Uranus and Neptune, revolving around differences in outlook, adds dimension. This is also the funniest the series has ever been. With plenty of humorous episodes and many a comedic scene. There’s also some strong romance. Not betwixt Mamoru and Usagi, they’ve already blown their chance. The romance between Uranus and Neptune is really strong. You can tell that together they belong. There’s also a budding romance when Hotaru and Chibi-Usa meet. It’s really very sweet. The climactic battle is very intense. Containing several factors for suspense. It makes for quite interesting viewing. Seeing the plans that have been built up and the attempts at their undoing.
The cast in this works really well. Adding Haruka, Michiru & Hotaru really helps it excel. The three all get fleshed out back stories. Which help elevate them above simple categories. The villains are also quite interesting, I must profess. The way they’re written has finesse. Like the other villains we’ve seen, they’re quite sympathetic. They aren’t just evil for the evils and unapologetic. You actually feel for them and hope to see them mend their ways. Before they find themselves going out in a blaze. Our favourite soldiers all make a triumphant return. Complete with more facets still for us to learn. I also have to admit that Chibi-Usa is vastly improved. With her more annoying attributes from the last series virtually removed. The character dynamics are very strong. Especially given that the cast has become a veritable throng.
The artwork in this looks quite dated. It’s not bad but it’s also not to be venerated. It has the usual over-used stock footage attacks. It also spends too much time with the transformations and those are facts. That being said, the backgrounds can look pretty nice. The series also has some more active action sequences that help add spice. All things considered, it all looks decent enough. Albeit it can be a bit rough.
The series brings back its already stellar cast. With additions for the new characters amassed. Ogata Megumi, Minaguchi Yuko & Katsuki Masako all make their appearance. Fitting in with perfect adherence. All the acting is quite terrific. With many actresses prolific. The music was composed by Arisawa Takanori and it’s really good. Helping convey the mood and build the atmosphere as it should.
S has more yuri than the first two series of Sailor Moon. In that area,, the addition of Haruka & Michiru is quite the boon. These two have les-yay with all five main sailor soldiers, Haruka especially. There’s even a scene where Ami, Rei, Makoto & Minako compete over which of them will dance with her when she’s back from dancing with Usagi, freshly. That being said, it’s their dynamic together that’s truly a sight to behold. It just gets cuter as we watch it unfold. We also get Chibi-Usa and Hotaru’s relationship. It’s certainly no stranger to skin-ship. There’s also a nice little scene where Ami gets jealous seeing Rei with another girl. Only to have really obvious relief when she discovers that it was perfectly innocent and not a romantic whirl.
That’s it for Sailor Moon S, how does it hold up? Well, it’s quite strong in terms of set-up. The characters get fleshed out and developed well. Their relationships are certainly swell. The artwork holds up the least. The rest of the attributes are surprisingly uncreased. Of the three I’ve looked at so far, I’d say this is the best. Being a definitive cut above the rest. In terms of rating, a 9/10 is how I’d rate it. Although I’m sure, like the first series, the English dub is shit. Starting this Sunday I’ll go into this year’s film festival week since it seems like good timing. Although those reviews will be sans the rhyming. I’ll start with Kara no Kyoukai Mirai Fukuin since starting with a KnK film has become a habit. So let’s see what’s in store for the world they inhabit. Thanks for sticking with me for three hundred reviews. I hope my words have helped amuse.
2: Neon Genesis Evangelion
English: Neon Genesis Evangelion
MAL Score: 8.33
Fifteen years after a cataclysmic event known as the Second Impact, the world faces a new threat: monstrous celestial beings called “Angels” invade Tokyo one by one. Mankind is unable to defend themselves against the Angels despite utilizing their most advanced munitions and military tactics. The only hope for human salvation rests in the hands of NERV, a mysterious organization led by the cold Gendou Ikari. NERV operates giant humanoid robots dubbed “Evangelions” to combat the Angels with state-of-the-art advanced weaponry and protective barriers known as Absolute Terror Fields.
Years after being abandoned by his father, Shinji Ikari, Gendou’s 14-year-old son, returns to Tokyo. Shinji undergoes a perpetual internal battle against the deeply buried trauma caused by the loss of his mother and the emotional neglect he suffered at the hands of his father. Terrified to open himself up to another, Shinji’s life is forever changed upon meeting 29-year-old Misato Katsuragi, a high-ranking NERV officer who shows him a free-spirited maternal kindness he has never experienced.
A devastating Angel attack forces Shinji into action as Gendou reveals his true motive for inviting his son back to Tokyo: Shinji is the only child capable of efficiently piloting Evangelion Unit-01, a new robot that synchronizes with his biometrics. Despite the brutal psychological trauma brought about by piloting an Evangelion, Shinji defends Tokyo against the angelic threat, oblivious to his father’s dark machinations.
It’s also a reminder to me of something important.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most debated animes in history. Some would argue that there are numerous hidden messages in the show, while others argue that it simply plays up to a certain puerile idealogy of the world. Whatever the case may be, NGE established itself as the hot topic in anime for well over a decade.
NGE first saw the light of day as a manga by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and was published in Shonen Ace magazine from February 1994. It’s purpose was to raise awareness and public interest in the anime version that was to be released in October of the following year.
The anime was directed by the famous Hideaki Anno, and is hailed by many fans as his masterpiece (although there are numerous people who disagree with this point of view).
The animation in NGE is actually very well done considering the time it was made (and the fact that Gainax was running out of cash). The colour palette used for the show was decidely bright in many ways, and at the time it contrasted well with the serious tone of the story.
The characters were well designed for the most part, but the real breakthrough in terms of design were the EVA units and the Angels. NGE pushed the boundaries of mecha design in anime to a new level, something which no other show of the time could achieve. It also wasn’t afraid to show an enemy who had no visible relation to humans – something that was a rarity in those days (although Anno had used a similar technique in Top wo Nerae).
The animation in the show is generally very fluid, and although there are some notable flaws, they don’t actually impede on the enjoyment of the show.
The sound in NGE is very good in general. The VAs in the japanese version are very good, and are able to deliver a greater depth of emotion than their american counterparts. The effects used are also quite good but never really stood out as much, partly because of the overwhelming visuals, and partly because they were generally stock effects. The music is generally good throughout the show, with a mixture of classical and other styles scattered here and there.
One of the most memorable things about the music in NGE is the theme tune. Anno had originally wanted to use Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances as the theme music for each episode, but was overruled by TV Tokyo, who felt that this would confuse and alienate the audience. Instead he settled on what has become one of the most played anime theme tunes in history – A Cruel Angel’s Thesis, which was performed by Takahashi Yoko.
This is the area where NGE failed as an anime. Prior to making NGE, Hideaki Anno had suffered from depression for a while, and the characters in NGE were created in such a manner as to reflect his struggle against mental illness. Each of the characters is flawed in different ways, something that was unusual in anime at the time. Given Anno’s talent as a director, this should have led to some interesting, and highly original, character development. Unfortunately the show failed in this area because of one key factor – Ikari Shinji.
For many people like myself, the main issue we have with the show isn’t the story, or the animation, or the sound. It’s the characters, and in particular, Ikari Shinji. In creating him, Anno and the rest of the production team lost focus on the other characters. Shinji is not your typical hero in that he isn’t, courageous, or handsome, or intelligent. In fact, Shinji consider’s himself to be worthless. The issue I have is that the show focuses far too much on Shinji, almost to the extent where the other characters were simply plot devices for his devlopment, and not enough on the characters around him.
That’s not to say Shinji is a bad character. He’s not. The problem is that one can only stomach so much unjustified self pity (which unfortunately most of it was in his case), before wanting to slap some sense into the person in question. It’s been pointed out to me that Shinji wanted to kill himself because he thought he was worthless, and that he should be pitied because of the bad hand he was dealt. I’m sorry but that argument doesn’t wash with me. If someone truly wants to kill themselves then they will, so Shinji didn’t really want to die. In addition to that, I know quite a few people who have been dealt the worst hands possible, yet they do not whine and complain about it (and many of these people did consider themselves to be useless/worthless at one time or another – yet they suffered in silence for the most part). What Shinji wanted was for people to pity him and tell him he wasn’t worthless, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it was over-used in NGE (to the point where I wanted to put him out of his misery – and not because I pitied him). The fact that Shinji’s character has a tendency to ram his sense of worthlessness into the faces of the other characters is what put me off, as that type of behaviour is usually for attention rather than a cry for help, and because of the show’s focus on Shinji, you can imagine how much I wanted to hit him afterwards. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand, it was just that they failed to depict him as an object of pity, and instead he came across as a whining, self pitying, attention seeking, and generally loathesome person.
As for the other characters, in particular Rei and Asuka, they did get a certain amount of development throughout the series. Unfortunately though, their characters, as well as the rest of the cast, were overshadowed by the mammoth amount of development given to Shinji.
I actually quite enjoyed the concept behind NGE, as it made a nice change of pace. I did, however, have some issues with the convenient deus ex machina of Unit 01, as well as a number of other “coincidences” that were scattered throughout the series.
The story itself isn’t all that original, and it has clearly borrowed elements from other sci-fi stories. What made the story seem to be original was the inclusion of psuedo-religious and psuedo-philosophical concepts, as well as the inclusion of “Fruedian” psychology. These formed core elements of the story, so what would have been a standard “save the earth” scenario became a dive into the psyche of the characters. The basic plot is borrowed directly from Space Battleship Yamamoto, and the idea of “young” people protecting the earth was used by Anno himself in Top wo Nerae.
Unfortunately the story breaks down in several places. Anno tried to make a show that merged all perspectives into one single view, and while he managed to achieve this in some measure, he failed because he focused too much on Shinji, to the extent that no other options were ever considered.
Here’s what I mean. NERV is a quasi militaristic outfit, and as such, would generally have backup options available to them. The convenient deus ex machina I mentioned earlier effectively removes all chance for anyone else to come to the fore – except for Shinji that is. If the viewer is to believe that an organisation such as NERV was supposed to protect the earth, then they would at the very least, look for other options, especially considering Shinji’s character flaws. This would effectively mean that they would have at least some combat veterans or trained soldiers who could handle the EVA units. The use of teenagers as the leads in the show was simply so that it would appeal to the teenage audience.
Another area where the story breaks down is in it’s use of religious symbology. Many fans believe that what is shown in NGE is taken directly from religious beliefs, in particular Kabbalism, Judaism and Christianity. While the names used in the show may be true to those religions though, in many cases the manner in which the reference is used is actually based on Anno’s own definition, rather than the religious viewpoint (something for which Anno has been heavily criticised).
In truth, The religious symbology used in the show was only really used to give the series an edge over other “giant robot” anime (i.e. Macross, Gundam, etc), and all of the various interpretations since have been ascribed to it by the viewers rather than the creators (something which is very well documented).
One big plot hole that I noticed, and one that should have been obvious to most people as well, was Shinji’s isolationist attitude, and Gendou’s reaction to it. It’s obvious to any who’ve watched the series that Gendou feels little sympathy towards Shinji, however due to that convenient plot device using Unit 01 I mentioned earlier, Gendou needs Shinji to pilot the EVA unit. So, what you effectively have is the leader of a militaristic organisation who feels little for others, and a teenager with supposed mental instabilities. This being the case, why wasn’t Gendou forcibly dosing Shinji with meds to make him more compliant? If your purpose is to protect the earth and it’s people from attack by extremely powerful beings, and you’re basically a selfish person with your own agenda, then conscience or paternal instincts don’t come into it, you simply do what’s necessary, no matter what anyone else says.
It’s interesting that the whole “psychology” angle is only really supposed to apply to Shinji, isn’t it? Characters like Gendou have been “toned down” because their actions would have drawn too much attention to themselves, another convenient plot device.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a tough show to rate. According to Anno, if you’re a normal, well rounded person then you won’t learn anything from the show. While this may be true in some cases, the things that one can learn from the show are juvenile at best. Many of the older fans of NGE have a tendency to view the show through the rose tinted lenses of nostalgia, and while this is not a bad thing, it inhibits the ability to view the show objectively. Many of the younger fans, on the other hand, are fiercely loyal to the show, and have a tendency to react harshly to any criticism of the show. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the show has gained a certain notoriety that it could have done without, and many people who watch the show for the first time, do so with certain preconceived notions already embedded in their heads.
NGE is one of those shows that could have been great. Unfortunately the glaring flaws in the plot, coupled with the lack of develpment amongst the other characters in comparison to Shinji meant that I, at least, only found the show to be mediocre. NGE was a let down for me as I am a big fan of Top wo Nerae, the show that is effectively the older sibling to NGE (and is considered by quite a few people to be the superior show).
I’m not going to suggest anyone watches the show, as that is a decision you should make for yourself. Likewise the choice of whether you love it or hate it is something that only you can decide. The only thing I can say about the show is that, when watching it, be as objective as you can.
NGE is no Top wo Nerae by any measure, but it is a classic. Unfortunately, it really isn’t Anno’s best work, and the rebuild is making the same errors all over again.
And here’s the review that originally graced this page. It’s a bit bilious and lowbrow, but it served it’s purpose – which contrary to what you may think wasn’t to simply to upset the “hardcore” fans.
Okay, I’m REALLY going to upset a lot of you out there with this review.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most mediocre animes I have EVER seen.
I watched this when it first came out, and I wasn’t overly impressed with it to say the least.
The story is okay. The idea of earth being assaulted by unknown, quasi-supernatural/technological beings is one that has been handed down through the years, the most famous example being The War of the Worlds (which wins hands down by the way).
The animation was actually one of the few plus points for this anime. The art style and use of colour made this attractive to many when it was first released. The sound was also of a high standard, and the catchy J-pop intro jingle was forcibly lodged into many peoples craniums.
Now we get to the good part – the characters.
Ayanami Rei was okay as a character, but what on earth possesses everyone to raise Ikari Shinji to almost godlike status? The guy is biggest loser in anime (with the exception of Makoto for School Days – Nice Boat), and one of the biggest losers I have even seen in ANY story since Thomas Covenant. I honestly found myself wishing he was a real person so I could smack some sense into him. I’ve heard it mentioned that he is the most realistic character in the anime, and I have to wonder what planet the people who say such things were born on. I mean honestly.
Okay, rant over, here’s why this character is THE MAIN REASON why this anime was mediocre. NERV is a military organisation whose SOLE objective is the protection of the planet, by whatever means. This being the case, WHY THE HELL is Ikari Shinji the main focus of the story? He doesn’t want to pilot an EVA, and doesn’t want to fight. Any self respecting organisation WOULD HAVE FOUND SOMEONE MORE WILLING AND MORE ABLE to do the job. There’s such a fuss over how special Shinji is, but surely with 6 billion people on the planet there would be someone better equipped for the job.
But I understand the anime only had so much budget so they couldn’t really conduct a global search.
The most believable character is Asuka Langley Soryu, as her reaction to Shinji’s ineptitude and cowardice is similar to that of any reasonable person.
I’m not going to mention enjoyment as I’ve already made it clear that this was mediocre at best.
This wasn’t Hideaki Anno’s best work by far. Top wo Nerae (Gunbuster), was a far superior sci-fi anime, and the characters were MUCH more believable. The story for Top wo Nerae beats Neon Genesis Evangelion hands down.
As for his other works, watch Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (KareKano or His & Her Circumstances). Hideaki Anno proved his talent with this anime, and Top wo Nerae, so I can only assume he was suffering from dementia when Evangelion was written.
A suggestion if I may, to end this rant. If you want emotion, trauma, passion, a great story, and all the rest, then watch some of the following animes:
Flanders no Inu (movie)
Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid
NHK ni Youkoso!
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
Top wo Nerae
Grave of the Fireflies
There’s a lot more that fit the bill. Watch them, then re-watch evangelion and see if it has the same feeling it did before (I would advise removal of the fluffy pink clouds of nostalgia in your head before rewatching).
Some of you are probably wondering why I wrote this review if I dislike the show so much. The reason is simple. I’m sick to death of seeing the show aired on the various channels that show anime, and I’m even more fed up with the fact that newcomers to anime are indoctrinated by magazines and other people into liking this piece of tripe, especially when there are far superior animes out there that rarely get mentioned anywhere.
I’m going to end this review here. I’m not going to tell you all not to watch this. I just hope that this review makes you consider what actually IS good in anime.
I hope I haven’t upset you all too much.
Hugely experimental and wonderfully unique, Evangelion is a roaring success.
The basic, initial, plot goes thus: a 14-year-old boy named Shinji is called to NERV (an organization charged with defending mankind from extinction, no less) by his estranged, seemingly cold and calculating father. There, his fathers’ first words are an order to pilot an immense robotic machine, the titular Evangelion, and fight against the monster that’s attacking Tokyo-3, the city under which NERV has it’s headquarters. These illusory ‘monsters’ are called Angels and are seemingly invincible – traditional weaponry, even in the year 2015, has minimal effect upon them. Only the Eva ‘biomechs’, which can be piloted solely by certain selected 14-year-olds can stop them. This [i]is[/i] merely the basic, initial premise of the series. As it goes on, everything gets a lot more complicated; There’s a metric ton of mystery, suspense, twists and turns in Evangelion’s plot, all routinely thought-provoking and intensely interesting.
The characters are excellent. This is an important point as the series is more about them than about the Angels or NERV. Shinji Ikari is one the most believable and genuinely sympathetic character ever conceived in anime. Though some would complain that Shinji is overtly emotional and annoyingly so. But, really, no one wants Shinji to become the ‘Hollywood hero’ and save the day with a smile on his face – no such human could ever really exist, and studio Gainax understand this and apply it perfectly to the series. Shinji’s mental struggle is dealt with effectively by Hideki Anno, through the use of complex monologues and largely successful experimental cinematic techniques. Asuka and Rei, the other chosen children, are both polar opposites and ingenious characters. Both develop a great deal in a very interesting way throughout the series, and this character exploration and growth is at the heart of Evangelion.
The design aspects are wonderfully unique – the Evas themselves are strikingly colourful and the Angels are attention grabbing and memorable with many towering over Tokyo-3’s skyscraper. The Angels appear in many different forms (one Angel takes the form of a gargantuan, blue diamond while another is too small to be seen with the naked eye and acts as an organic virus, crippling NERV’s computer system) which helps Eva avoid the repetitve “Monster of the Week” format and keeps the action aspect of the series consistently fresh and enjoyable. Judeo-Christian references are famous (or rather, infamous) in Evangelion and despite widespread condemnation, I am of the firm belief that the symbolism is never obnoxious, and always evocative and visually shocking. It must be noted these references are usually fairly shallow, but they make you sit up and take notice of the deeper meaning in the series as a whole. Animation is crisp and clear for the platinum re-mastering that I watched, and I hasten to add that this re-mastering is only version of Eva worth buying. Visuals are regularly stunning and scenes from this series will surely stay with you forever. The regular provocative imagery is often times shocking and sometimes awe-inspiring. The image of a crippled Rei, bleeding and covered in bandages in the first episode provides the first real shock of the series. Such imagery contrasts with the visual gags present throughout – a toothpick container obscuring Shinji’s nether regions in episode 2 being one of the most memorable.
The music is, much like the rest of Eva, superbly memorable. It excels at setting the right mood and tone, using inspirational trumpets to highlight Asuka and Shinji’s success in battle, and nuanced reflective tunes to convey the character of Rei. The OP is among my favourites of all time and you’ll not tire of hearing it throughout the 26 episodes of the series.
The final two episodes are controversial (more controversial than the rest of the series at least!) because they are both the peak of experimental Eva. While I certainly wouldn’t call them “bad”, they are frustratingly unsatisfying as an ending. Thankfully, the subsequent movie release titled ‘End of Evangelion’ rectifies this with bombastic aplomb. EoE – which essentially tells the story of what happens in eps. 25 and 26, but this time outside of Shinji’s mind – is truly magnificent, and definitely lives up to the sky high standards set in the series, and perhaps even exceeds them. As well as being one of the greatest anime movies ever made, EoE gives the series an extraordinary conclusion.
I haven’t even mentioned the dub, the pacing or the sound effects, but rest assured that they are all of a fantastic standard. Overall, I think this series deserves it’s iconic status – it’s easily one of the absolute best TV series (anime or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen. Every single episode is nothing less than a masterpiece and an utter joy to watch. I whole heartedly recommend Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is imperative that you watch this anime!
Story: One of the most well known aspects of Evangelion is it’s story; it is simply unorthodox, as it does the process of not feeding all of the story the viewer; it drip-feeds it, giving the viewer only half the story, or sometimes giving scenes without any context. For some anime, this would be a disaster waiting to happen, but in the case of Evangelion, this is done almost consistently masterfully, holding back information on such subjects such as SELEE or The Angels. Many have critisized the holding of frames later in the series, but taken into the context of the fact they were running out of money to make the show, is is understandable.
For many fans, their major criticism of the anime is the handling of the ending, which many consider far too ‘out there’ and simply crap. I too, am not a huge fan of the ending, but taking the ending to the TV series, inside the context of the ‘true’ ending movie, The End of Evangelion, the ending can make a lot more sense, and thus I enjoy it far, far more. To stop me from ranting on for ages, Evangelion’s story is a master stroke in writing, one which has been a hard feat to replicate.
Art and Sound: I was introduced to Evangelion through the in-progress tetraology of films, The Rebuild of Evangelion; due to this, I became used to the cutting edge graphics employed for the higher-budget films. And to be honest, yes, the TV series art is beginning to show it’s age 20 years on; however, this does not detract from the series in any major capcity, as the art compliments the anime extremely well.
The sound is also fantastic, and a very high-point for the show. Excellent music is employed to showcase the fights against the Angels, and for darker moments such as the internal struggles of the main cast of the show. Some of Beethoven’s music is featured later in the series, which coupled with the emotional impact of the scene, produces one of the most excellent scenes in anime history.
Characters: By a massive leap, the highlight of the series. Evangelion features in it’s story the struggles of the main characters, to devastatingly wonderful effect. Weak, timid, daddy-issues Shinji, to powerful, arrogant, egotistical Asuka, to the quiet, mysterious Rei, and the dark, apparently agnostical Gendo, Evangelion develes into the mind and motivations of these characters, showcasing exactly what makes them tick, and this is what gives us some animes most regonisable and wonderful characters.
I am certain entire essays have been written on why certain charcters tick, and that’s another reason so many of these characters are so wonderful. Fans are so devoted to their favorite characters (personally I am partial to Rei and Gendo), and this creates a wonderful feeling when learning about these characters and then discussing this with other fans. Generally, Evangelion employs some of the most human characters in anime, showing us that the heroes of anime aren’t always strong, both mentally and physically, or not even in control of their lives.
In closing, Evangelion is one of the strongest anime ever produced. It employs powerful characters, a deep, deep story, and art that has only just began to show it’s age. What makes the show’s longevity even more powerful is that even now on sites such as EvaGeeks people are still analysing this series, trying to know everything about it. I hope Evangelion will live on in the hearts of it’s fans, who’ll continue to appreciate it’s deep, metaphorical story. I hope that Evangelion will always remain an anime that will be treasured, for all the ages.
1: Romeo no Aoi Sora
English: Romeo and the Black Brothers
MAL Score: 8.34
Romeo is a kindhearted and courageous boy living with his family in a small village in Switzerland. Unfortunately, Romeo becomes the interest of a man named Luini, known as “The God of Death,” who is infamous for buying children and selling them as chimney sweeps in Milan. While visiting the village, Luini burns down Romeo’s family cornfield in an attempt to have Romeo as his own. With the cornfield gone and his father sustaining a head injury trying to put out the fire, Romeo bravely sells himself to the God of Death in order to help his family afford a doctor.
On his way to Milan, Romeo meets a boy named Alfredo Martini and they quickly become friends. Just as Alfredo is sold to a different master, the two boys swear eternal friendship and vow to meet again. As a chimney sweep, Romeo faces many hardships and abuse, especially from his master’s family and a gang known as the Wolf Pack. But after reuniting with Alfredo, the two form a fraternity of chimney sweeps called “The Black Brothers,” who will learn to fight against the Wolf Pack and help each other in times of need.
Like most of these types of anime, Romeo no Aoi Sora begins with a tragedy. In this case, Romeo, an 11-year-old boy, leaves his small village with the God of Death, a frightful man who buys children to sell as chimney sweeps in the city, in order to support his family. Soon, Romeo meets Alfredo, another chimney sweep who will become his best friend, as well as many other boys who share the same fate as him. As the series goes on, Romeo adjusts to his new life, including a family that is not quite kind and a dangerous job.
For the most part, the pacing of the series is perfect: things happen at a fairly slow rate, but it is always interesting and there is always just the right amount of conflict. Beginning at episode 24, however, the pacing becomes very rushed. Since the TV ratings of this show were quite low, the show was cut short from what was probably set to be about 50 episodes down to 33. The change is awkward and brings the overall quality of the plot down a few notches, but that does not keep the heart of the story from being both sweet and exciting. Sure, it is for kids, and it shows in the blunt narration, and some painfully straightforward episodes. . . but it made me wish that I grew up in Japan just so I could have watched such a wonderful show in my childhood.
If you have not been informed yet, there is one thing you should know about the show visually: the only English-language fansubs out there are VHS rips. This should not, however, hinder you from enjoying a visually stunning show! Even through generations of VHS copies, it is still apparent that it is very pretty, to say the least. The character designs in particular are very nice looking: truer to life than most anime yet very cute; fitting for a show for kids yet functional in the most serious of situations. The backgrounds, something I rarely notice, are equally impressive. They are very immersing and really show the viewer that the setting is a real place and not some made-up cartoon setting. Quite frankly, if you pass over this series just because it is from the 90s or because of the nature of VHS releases, you are missing out on something beautiful.
Sound is another thing I tend not to notice, but I noticed it in this series. And believe me, that is a good thing. The background music is beautifully fitting of the situations it is used in. Meanwhile, the opening theme song, "Sora E…", is gorgeous as a standalone song and even better when paired with the opening animation. Furthermore, the lyrics and the mood fit the series well. Finally, the closing theme song, "Si Si Ciao", is a peppy and happy tune, unusual of EDs and probably the least interesting piece of music in the show, but it is still solid.
The cast, like other elements of the series, is extremely likable. Romeo is one of the sweetest children ever to grace anime, and quickly won my heart. The rest of the cast is similarly sweet and likable, but to a realistic degree. Alfredo is selfless; Angeletta is kind… I could go on and on listing the good qualities of the characters, but I will leave it at this: the only flaw most characters have is that they take their good qualities too far (Romeo, for instance, is honest even when dishonesty would be more logical). While sometimes this is a bit much, it largely gives us a unique and endearing cast.
Romeo no Aoi Sora is frequently overlooked for shows that look better, sound more exciting, seem more mature, or are simply newer. The few fans that do decide the try out this series, however, will be rewarded with an amazing show. No matter how you look at it, the series is marvelous in every way. If you already like adaptations of books for a young audience, older series, or obscure series, Romeo no Aoi Sora is perfect for you. Even if you do not, however, it is still a miraculous series, one that is highly recommended for anyone who wants something with real heart.
For me., Romeo no Aoi Sora is one classic series.
Romeo’s life was full of hardship and tragedy., that’s why I was very keen on watching this. His life was just so heartwarming.
I adore and love all the characters here., and aside from Romeo., Alfred and Bianca are just among my all-time favorite anime characters.,
Gosh! Oh Alfred!! He never failed to make me cry a river of tears!!
This classic tale of love and friendship will always remind me of my childhood memories :DD
It tells the story of a young boy sold into slavery and bought into a world that he must survive that is far more desolate than that he had ever experienced in the past. It is a look into the life of the poor and oppressed in the face of an unfair society. Showing us the hardships that children sold into slavery and forced to work in far away cities experience, unaware of the inhabitants they will find; but most of important of all this show elaborates on the repercussions of being forced apart from your family.
This thematic concern is implemented into the story structure of Romeo’s Blue Skies. The show is essentially divided into three distinct arcs and are developed with an epic sense of storytelling where the events of one arc ultimately contribute and effect the events of the next until the story reaches its ultimate conclusion. Throughout these arcs, the underlying theme and tone is always about the repercussions of being forced apart from those who you love. To keep this from becoming a thematically repetitive bore-fest the series does the liberty of investigating and exploring different concerns that can directly correlate to that of the main theme and it achieves this with almost perfect fluidity. Concerns for child abuse, theft, justice, gangs, backstabbing and betrayal all carry the show and make it very engaging. These aspects that are shown are given plenty of attention without ever feeling rushed nor feeling painfully slow, also the transitions between events and these concepts do not seem jarring and have without fail received proper explanation and development each and every time.
If there was one particular thing I had to complain about it would be some of the narration which at times can be criticized for not leaving enough to one’s own interpretation, falling into the trap of telling rather than showing, but these moments are few and far between and I have seen cases of it elsewhere that are far worst.
The characters for the most part each receive good development and are often realistic character types without any notable genre cliche’s dominating a characters personality which works in the shows favor. Building on this, the show makes use of this fact by making the characters varied: some being mature, some being downright brats, other’s are just living life finding out how to get another penny in their pockets, this makes for a diverse cast and what makes it splendid is that even if two particular characters share a similar objective they are not just simple copycats of one another, each character has their own personal issues and identifiable traits (aside from appearance) that separate them from the others.
The show adopts a bildungsroman approach to storytelling developing Romeo’s own self-awareness as a character supported strongly by surrounding characters especially that of Alfredo and in the mid-section of the series Angeletta. Romeo has a flexible personality and is able to adopt to the conditions of the environment he is in, allowing him to be able to progress around the hardships that take place. This is shown extremely well and is a most noteworthy effort, he is a complex character who has brilliant chemistry with his surroundings and this is established without ever being forceful.
Some complaints can go towards some of the side characters and even some of the older characters for being fairly simple and having only some depth, but nothing too much to complain about here as none of the side characters can be called poorly written and fleshed out as their actions are still grounded and remain reasonable in the context of the situation that the show presents. To give clarification on this without giving away important spoilers, there was one scene in the series that focused on the life of an elderly man and his attitude towards his son receiving a proper education. The son in question wished to become a doctor, much to the disbelief of his father and his father wished to put an end to his son’s supposedly foolish aspirations. I thought about this for a bit and whilst it may seem stupid to prevent someone from aspiring to such a career. It can make sense from an economic and social standpoint from the position of the characters. The amount of time that would have to be sacrificed by these individuals who were living in poverty it may seem almost impossible, and the pre-established attitude towards that of doctors for the period would be one thing to consider as well. Doctors cost money to ask for an appointment and that brings about a defeatist pretext to the whole situation where if the man’s son were to become a doctor, he would be just like all other doctors, being inaccessible to those who are poor, to those can’t afford to have a family member treated for an illness etc etc…
There were some other questionable actions by some characters as well throughout the series but nothing so illogical or stupid that drives the whole series under. Outside of these small complaints the writing is consistently high in quality, with fleshed out characters and considerable attention to the detail of the theme’s that the show explores.
Romeo’s Blue Skies breaks more of the traditions that are prevalent in many of the WMT series, especially the traditions that were prevalent in the older works of the genre. Probably because of the shortened air time and condensing of the events. Of course some traits still remain, the main characters are young children no older than 12 and are living in a period of struggle (this case slavery and poverty), it is an adventure series despite the location for the most part being the same and last of all there is always a cute little animal on Romeo’s shoulder half the time. I want to make a criticism of the last genre trait and how it is used in this particular show, keeping this particular trait is both a detriment and occasionally a strength to the series. It is especially a detriment in the later half. In other WMT series, the animal that usually accompanies the child tends to have a larger role to play and are far more crucial to the operations of the plot. In Romeo’s Blue Skies, the fun little side character looses most of his importance early on in the series. Though the animal still come’s to aid the plot later on in the series he/she isn’t made as effective use of as a plot device. I can appreciate a little animal being there to release some of the tensions seen between characters later in the series because hey this show is for little kids after all, though this may have been the intention it was relatively unsuccessful however as the little animal hardly dampens the mood.
As usual from Nippon Animation, the art is top notch and attractive even by today’s standards. The character designs maybe a little flat but that is more of a product of its time, what really shines in the animation depart is the background illustrations. Where the city-scapes are beautiful to be hold. I wish to make mention of a particular scene where you are witnessing a setting sun and this setting sun captures the outline of a church and it’s many spires. It is absolutely gorgeous art and can still be appreciated by today’s standard of art. As for animation, the series has fluid animation, though some shortcuts were made here and there but for the most part are hard to notice. A couple of complaints can be made though with some notable scenes where the amount of frames per second were seen to be slightly reduced in contrast with some other scenes, but altogether though. It is very well done for hand-drawn animation. With notable attention to background details throughout the most of the series which is a feat considering the time that the show was made.
The soundtrack is definitely commendable as well, with many orchestral pieces setting the scene beautifully and never feeling inappropriate, most especially helping to drive those feelings home when a scene was particular emotional or on the occasion when a scene was frightening. Ranging from calm and serene to exciting and adrenaline-pumping. On top of this, the voice acting was all top-notch and a characters line’s were always in sync with the animation.
From a production standpoint, Romeo’s Blue Skies is phenomenal the amount of effort that went into the technical aspects of this show is simply awe-inspiring, I couldn’t imagine if this was a movie. It would have been better animated then Ghost in the Shell and Akira were.
As a children’s show, the show has many excellent moral messages for children showing the importance of education, encouraging and enforcing an understanding and immersion of works of literature and the operations of the way of the world. Teaching how to appreciate the lessons that you learn from your life experiences, be they sad and heartbreaking or pleasant and heartwarming, as one emotion cannot exist without knowledge of the other. To be prepared for your departures from the good and if you aspire to a goal and confront the ways of the world that wish to prevent these goals from ever coming to pass and most of all embracing the warm ending after many turmoils.
This show is a classic series in every sense of the word. Strong storytelling from the first frame to the last and many great, relatable, inspiring characters dominating the screen, it is a great edition to the WMT franchises by Nippon Animation (though for me it is not the best) and Romeo’s Blue Skies would be an excellent work for a newcomer to these classic works to experience.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Romeo no Aoi Sora
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
3. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S
4. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
5. Fushigi Yuugi
6. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
7. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
8. Gokinjo Monogatari
9. Magic Knight Rayearth II
10. Marmalade Boy