They’re the best Anime that 2005 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Ueki no Housoku, Paradise Kiss, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, and more!
10: Ueki no Housoku
English: The Law of Ueki
MAL Score: 7.75
Unbeknownst to most humans, a bizarre tournament is held to decide the next ruler of the Heavenly World. In this tournament, 100 Heavenly Beings known as the “God Candidates” are required to search among the middle school students on Earth, and transfer their powers to a student of their choice. The chosen ones will then battle each other, representing their God Candidates. The victor of this tournament will be awarded the “Blank Talent”—allowing them to choose any one unique ability they so desire—while the God Candidate they represent will obtain the position of “God” and become the king of the Heavenly World.
Participating in this grand tournament is Kousuke Ueki, a middle school student who is given the power to turn trash into trees by his homeroom teacher, Kobayashi. Despite the concerns of his classmate, Ai Mori, Ueki embarks on a journey to pursue his own sense of justice after witnessing the people around him misusing their powers for selfish purposes. But as he encounters talented power users such as Seiichirou Sano, Rinko Jerrard, Robert Haydn, and Hideyoshi Soya, he realizes that achieving his goal might be harder than it seems.
This anime starts pretty weak. When you first walk into The Law of Ueki, there’s not really anything to pull you in. It’s a shounen anime. Ok, sweet, shounen I can get in the mood for shounen. So what’s the main character able to do? Turn trash into trees. Awesome! wait what. He can turn trash into….. trees…
That’s pretty much what The Law of Ueki will hit you with. However, that’s what turns this anime into something so brilliant.
You’ve read the synopsis so let’s cut to the chase. The story in The Law of Ueki is definitely not its strongest point. As far as shounens go, The Law of Ueki is ahead of its competitors. Ueki strives towards his goals one step at a time, while meeting characters who ultimately he befriends. Stick in some backstory for the characters and you have the formula that The Law of Ueki pretty much adheres to.
As for the actual plot, I would give it a 8. It’s interesting, because even God has a backstory in this anime. Although the story does take a bit of a dive in the middle, and never really fully recovers. Other aspects of the anime (I.E. the battles, which is what Shounen is pretty much about) more than make up for it.
There’s not much to comment about. Everything is done as it should be. The Law of Ueki isn’t an anime that’s going to wow you with its visuals. Nor is it an anime
that you can’t bear to watch because your eyes are bleeding. The anime doesn’t cut any corners, and battles are animated to what they need to be. There’s no
slow-mo hi-def sword battles in this one. But that’s really not something The Law of Ueki should even be judged on.
The music is simply great. It’s basically your daily allotment of Jpop But of course, does it contribute to the anime? I would say yes. Some
of the fights and situations in the anime really get you pumped because of the added music, and that’s what I believe a 8/9 under music should do for you.
Clearly The Law of Ueki is no Yoko Kanno composition, but hey it gets the job done and it gets it done very well.
The strong point of the anime is right here. At first, Ueki seems kind of empty actually. However, over time Ueki begins to really become that
character you root for. Sometimes his “justice” oversteps the line and you simply facepalm or headdesk, but thats a rare occurance.
The characters are well developed, because their backstories are superb.Each character becomes unique and well defined while all contributing
to the overall enjoyment of the show. Even the character I hated the most (Saru) had his good moments. Although a part of me wanted a little more
“interaction” between Ueki and Mori, alas it was not to be.
What’s the best about the characters in The Law of Ueki, is that the anime also pays attention to the villains. Although they clearly aren’t given
as much attention as the main heroes, The Law of Ueki really nails it by giving them just the right amount of attention. It’s not a 1 minute “blah blah blah
this is why he hates Ueki/wants to win/hates person X/wants to destroy the world” nor is it an episode dedicated to a character who ends up writen off in the recap
time of the net episode.
Overall The Law of Ueki is a superb shounen. The creativity behind the battles makes it a very enjoyable watch just because you think
“Well how is he gonna get out of this one?” That question isn’t simply answered by “OH MY GOD HE HAS ASCENDED AND HE’S KICKIN ASS!” There’s actually thought behind each battle, and that’s what differentiates the average shounen from the great shounen.
Chihuahua Review(short&sweet): This is a good shounen(bunch of guys and action) to watch. There are alot of unique characters. Let me rephrase that there are a lot of UNIQUE powers here.
——————————>In Depth Review:<————————
STORY: This is not, I repeat NOT just some lame, generic kid show. The story here is a for spot to become God. Here angels become god-candidates who choose kids to give powers to and then let them battle. The main character Ueki who believes deeply in justice. This may still sound lame and generic but the story execution was great with fun interesting strategies in every battle. The only real problem is parts of the story didnt make sense. 200 abilities for one person and only 100losers so far(you’ll understand later).
ART: Animation was well and the battles really drawn exceptionally well adding to the fights intensity. However at times the main characters look really young and it was really hard to take them seriously during dramatic moments. It does becomes unnoticeable with the addictive story.
SOUND: The opening and endings were REALLY good in this one and the background music was passable. The voice acting was great here with the infamous Paku, Romi playing the main Ueki. Guess that’s why I thought of Full Metal Alchemist while I was watching this.
CHARACTER: The characters here were really well made and there were alot and after watching it, I doubt there will be a character that youll end up hating. So many powers(trash into trees, towels to steel, etc.) they’re so weird but u cant not like them.>_< The powers even get stronger.
ENJOIMENT: I couldn’t stop watching this when i started it was so addicting I always wanted to find out wat happend next. Everything blended so well! Very close to being a nine overall. Ending was nice and really hope there is a second season(heard rumors).
OVERALL: No matter how generic this anime sounds it is good and definately worth a watch. Even though everything about it is not that great, the execution was amazing.
Recommendation: If you like shounens with a dash of fantasy and magic watch this. If you like this then watch the Prince of Tennis or Full Metal Alchemist.^_^
If you dissagreed OR agreed fully with me on anything feel free to message me and discuss it. Always fun. @_@
The story is based on a knock out tournament (a popular tag which few even classify as a genre of its own) and a final prize for the winner. This concept has been overused like the chunin exam of naruto, or hunter exam of hxh, or a recent example mirai nikki. Yet the execution is entirely different and unique in its own way. The story goes on like this- there are 100 god candidates chosen, and each candidate chooses a student (a middle school student) and gives him a power, and then the students fight between themselves, and whoever wins his candidate becomes the god, and the student gains a null talent, ie any talent he wishes. Moreover if a candidates student attacks a normal citizen the student loses one of his talents, and if they loose all their talents they will vanish without a trace. That is basically the initial setting. It becomes more intense as the show goes on. The few interesting points are the powers of the candidates, like MC has ability to turn trash into trees, another guy can turn towel into iron (looks lame at first, but it is splendidly used).
Animation 7/10 Sound 8/10
Animation is weak, but considering it to be a 2005-2006 anime it is not some exception. It gets it job done. The characters designs are pretty good, though it had room for improvement. No kinds of scenery or stuff is present to comment upon, but animation shouldn’t become a barrier to watching this splendid shounen anime.
Sound was better than the animation. The opening song gave a peculiar vibe of some kind of depressing situation, but it was not much pronounced in the anime, probably due to its excess comedy. The osts were pretty good, and there doesn’t exist much to complain about.
Tournament battles are overused stuff. And the existence of a decent prize is not an exception. And obviously there exists some kind of powerful antagonist with his own perception of talents and stuff. On a broader view there isn’t anything pulling us into the story, but on close examination there exists plenty of elements. First, is the MC, Ueki. He is shown to have a strong sense of justice, and much of the story evolves around the justice factor. Second, is its excess comedy, which was initially used to propel the viewer into watching more ep, and in latter eps, just as a medium to keep the story strong. Comedy is one of its strongest points, (caution : don’t drink water while watching this, else water will be spilled.). Third, is MCs peculiar power trash into trees and the possibilities that arise from. Fourth, and the most important is INTELLIGENT BATTLES. This is its strongest points, it delivers incredible battles. Battles are planned, and luckily the MC can actually think on his own and uses many tricks to baffle his opponents. Once 15 or so eps, pass MC also levels up, in very very interesting ways, as such once past 10 eps, there will be little incentive left to give up this anime. The anime also delves into teacher student relationship, and values of morals.
But still, the story lacks many things. First, the initial pace is slow, it is ok with manga but in anime adaptation, they could have cut quite many chapters and may be they could finish the anime sweetly in 35-40 episodes. The chapters I am referring to are not too integral in the story development, and plays very partial role in character development. In fact, the first few episodes were boring, and focused only on MC, and as result few important characters got introduced as late as ep 20. The anime should have neatly deleted unimportant battles. Even in the latter half some battles seemed to be dragged on. And only final battle remained to be seen.
While characters are mostly typical of shounen animes, their roles are quite varied and unique. There doesn’t exist a character who is powerless at first sight but then after intensive training becomes op. The charcters develop, become better but only according to their capacities. Starting with MC he pretty much masters his powers, and his development his most pronounced. His leveling up is extraordinary, and he uses his new powers very intelligently and there are many spontaneous combos which he uses to defeat his enemies, and at times I was forced to say Brilliant! Other characters like Mori, rinko and Sano play integral role, and they too level up with unexpected variations. They receive ample development mainly because of solid back stories. The characters are carefully chosen by the author and he has intelligently played with them and the role that everyone plays is incredible. (If I were to elucidate it would be a spoiler).
Interestingly, even god is a character and surprisingly has a backstory. Tbh I was quite amazed at the description of the god, and more interestingly he is a prominent source of outright comedy
I srsly enjoyed this anime, mainly because of highly intelligent battles, and some of the battles might even rival that of hxh. I was also amazed at the non cliche powers, among all I liked the antagonists power the most (can’t spoil). The outright comedy was evident and there exists no episode which won’t make u laugh. Added to this was powering up of the characters which added spice to the anime. Lastly and the most important part, that it has a good and actual ending, and not some lame original ending.
Even then there exists many points to be criticized. First, irregular pacing, and dragged on battles. Second some cliche elements like nakama powerboost and some friendship stuff. Third, excess comedy, which at times turned into forced comedy. Fourth and the most important part is that it deals with MIDDLE SCHOOL kids. The anime had vast potentials, and with highschool students and a bit of seinen feel, packed with awesome action scenes and intelligent battles could have turned out better in many respects, because the idea of middle school kids fighting didn’t really appeal to me much. Fifth, teacher student relationship was quite pronounced but again seemed to be a bit of excessive.
On subjective reviewing it deserves 9/10, but on close inspection and objective reviewing I can’t render more than. 8/10. As such the anime should have lasted not more than 35 eps, with fast pacing and appropriate development. Had it acccomplished this feat, it might have become a showcase masterpiece and shared its stage with other good animes.
9: Paradise Kiss
English: Paradise Kiss
Japanese: Paradise kiss
MAL Score: 7.84
On her way home from school, Yukari Hayasaka is approached by a weird-looking guy who starts looking at her body intently. He’s got blond spiky hair, a spiked choker, and multiple piercings on his ears and face. She wants nothing to do with him, and runs away, only to bump into a very tall and beautiful purple-haired woman with a flower pattern around her eye. Yukari faints from shock and wakes up later in a strange place called the Atelier. It turns out that these strangers are fashion designers who attend the most famous art school around, Yazawa Art Academy, and their group wants Yukari to model for their brand in Yazawa Academy’s upcoming show.
Yukari turns down their offer and escapes the Atelier, but unknowingly leaves her school ID behind. George Koizumi, the head designer, later sees it and immediately knows she would be the perfect model for them and will not stop until he gets what he wants—and he wants her. Yukari had never considered something as frivolous as modeling before, but could life among these eccentric designers actually prove to be fun? Or will Yukari lose herself in this world of art and passion?
Cool is what rules in this anime. Everything in the artwork, characters, attitude, and even the story just emanates cool and they even do it with an attitude. As you already know it’s about a girl named Yukari thats not to sure about her future. Just by a chance encounter on the street gets discovered by the most unsuitable of characters.
Story – (Outstanding)
The story is a typical love drama, but the setting, characters, and personalities are what make this completely different from the rest of group. It takes a more realistic approach toward drama. Something you’d see out of a prime time drama show on TV would be more comparable than any other anime. They take life and their hardships and don’t really "anime coat" it. Things like arguing, love, and brainstorming are done with a minimum of two people, its never one sided. When i mean ‘anime-coating,’ i mean like areguments are hardly ever one sided, both persons actually prove a good point. Love is also a good point, it actually gets some resolve and doesn’t stay in "should i confess to him" anime-limbo. But already, I’m saying a bit much but since the anime is a short and fast 12 episodes, it makes sense for it not to drag such emotions like love and friendship. It defintely has the feel of a western drama instead of an anime drama.
Art – (Outstanding)
The art work is also something that surprised me. Like any average viewer, they’d get wierded out if they start seeing their anime characters with proportionate body parts (i.e. normal sized eyes, mouth, and even a nose). Once the shock of adjusting to the art style, this is easily one of the best looking show’s i have ever layed eyes on. It’s also centered around pop-culture and style, so everything they wear is completely trendy and detailed. From safety pins as piercings, hair stylings, makeup, and even clothing are displayed with insane detail. At any one time, you can count all the earrings on one characters ear, or how many necklaces one is wearing, and even the type of fabric is on their scarf. Every character actually dresses different every episode and thats quite a refreshing take as opposed to the same-school-clothes-everyday-look of other dramas. My favorite part of the show (and what you should notice) is how they manage to make Yukari even more beautiful than before every episode. You’ll notice the subtle changes in not her clothing but her attitude and demeanor as well.
On occasion, some anime are only able to survive with great artwork and have a horrible storyline but this manages to have both an outstanding artwork and story. On top of that having to put real world product placement (Jaguar, Benz, Sony, Zipper, etc) just increases the detail tenfold.
Sound – (Outstanding)
The sound effects are nothing spectacular but you will notice one thing. There is a rather large lack of it. And that is how it should be in a drama. Nothing should interfere with the drama unfolding on the screen. So all that you’re left with is the top notch, tear jerking, believable voice acting and environmental sound effects. The music is placed very skillfully as well. For the most part, they’ll be played on jukeboxes, radios, and the like. And they’re actual j-pop songs playing instead of just instrumentals. And speaking of j-pop, the OP was just perfect for for the show, as it had the feel of a Madonna-ish song which gave it a ‘glamorous’ feeling to set you in the mood of watching it. And the ED song by Franz Ferdinad is just pure fun. Especially how they manage to blend it with the end of the episode to the credits and don’t just do a quick cut to the credits like normal.
Character – (Outstanding)
The characters are something to believe as well. Once all the characters are through with the introductions you will notice one thing right away. They are all so carefree and believable. I even had a nostalgic feeling seeing how the characters would talk amongst each other and just enjoyed the moment. Of course it doesn’t the story doesn’t stray too far away from Yukari since she is the star of this show. They all play their role so believably I can’t help but have this feeling of amazement that there ARE anime that can pull off such intriguing drama.
Enjoyment – (Outstanding)
This show is unlike any other drama anime I have seen to date (top right). Rather, its more comparable to things like the likes of Greys Anatomy, the O.C., or even Party of Five. If you like or enjoy shows such as that I highly recommend giving this eye candy of an anime a try. I even found this A LOT better than Lovely Complex. Don’t be fooled by the artwork if you find it a turnoff, its one of the best anime drama’s I’ve ever seen.
Xinil said it best: "it’s for a mature audience. It doesn’t cater to narutards"
…thats the truth
Meet Caroline, the girl who doesn\’t really know what she\’s doing with her life. She happens upon a group of college students that need her to be their fashion model. Interesting premise, and doesn\’t sound too farfetched from what might happen in real life. Good ending that actually makes some sense too.
A little funny looking at times, but the art is definitely nice. Sexy looking females. Thumbs up from me.
Awesome opening (freakin\’ awesome) and great ending theme (U.S. band). Can\’t see how you wouldn\’t like the music throughout the anime.
Caroline x George are definitely my favorite characters. Great personalities from each of them and the story really makes you understand why they are the way they are.
Enjoyable, quick, and happy. 12 episodes of some laughter and some teary scenes.
Basically, you can\’t go wrong with this anime. If you\’re into romance (not some angst crap though), and you like non-stupid anime, check this out.
Paradise Kiss accomplishes so many things in just 12 episodes that it can almost leave you thirsting for more but deep down you know that there can be no more. The story itself is the centerpiece of everything and drives itself forward with meaningful interactions and tense drama that thickens the plot as it unfolds. What is most notable about the series is it’s realistic approach to drama and how it refuses to sugar coat things and drag out emotions across all 12 episodes. If I recall the main characters quickly start their relationship by about the 2nd or 3rd episode. This anime may seem impatient, but in reality it’s just not going to wait around for the fun to start. The show steps into deep waters and treads where most others would not. It goes much farther than I had anticipated and shows how much its characters develop over the course of the series.
The main character goes from being this tense study bug to being a care-free fashion model. Her transformation isn’t this instantaneous change that happens at 15 minutes into episode 6 or something; but rather it takes place over time. The first thing that happens is a hair cut. I actually commented out loud as I was watching and said “she actually doesn’t look all THAT pretty here…” But I stuck it out and to my surprise she seemed to get prettier every episode. Her style changed, her hair changed, her personality blossomed into something new and exciting, and she becomes someone who is definitely worth watching.
The show tackles a handful of sub plots but doesn’t loose control of them or allow them to impede on the main story’s progress. the majority of the side characters have stories of their own and are all expertly told in a very short amount of time. In some cases characters stories aren’t discussed in the show but rather in the manga and there’s even a scene where a character tells you that you can “read more about him” in a particular manga.
The art and sound weave together to create this tapestry of pop-art that seamlessly mixes with the characters. The opening and closing theme were chosen so expertly and serve only to set the mood for the show. The ending theme is even mixed in with the last 10-15 seconds of the show so that it seamlessly transitions into the credits.
This anime is quite possibly the most enjoyable anime I’ve ever seen with an ending that didn’t disappoint. Instead of having this storybook happily ever after ending you are quickly faced with reality. Sure the characters kind of succeeded in what they were trying to do, but reality has to set in at some point and the show reminds us that we live in the real world. The ending however does tie up any and all loose ends and leaves almost nothing to the imagination. It also doesn’t leave room for a second season so there’s no chance of a spin-off brought on by money grubbing producers. Never have I been faced with an anime that literally left me in a daze after its credits rolled on episode 12.
Overall this anime is a masterpiece in its own genre. It masterfully and skillfully tells a straight forward, but complex story complete with sub plots, exciting drama, and cool music to boot. I also liked that characters didn’t spend 10 minutes arguing in tense situations. Example: man is holding a gun pointing it at another character(lets call him teppei kun). Teppei kun gives this long monologue about his life and how he’s always been alone and blah blah blah. In reality the guy would’ve just shot him for talking way too much.
ok. I’ve talked for far too long now. This anime is a masterpiece. Watch it!
8: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s
English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは エース
MAL Score: 7.98
After solving the incident of the scattered Jewel Seeds, Nanoha Takamachi happily returns to her everyday life, though now with added magic practice in the morning. Exchanging video messages with Fate Testarossa and the crew of the Arthra, Nanoha eagerly awaits the chance to speak with them in person again. But while studying in her room one day, Raising Heart suddenly calls out to Nanoha and warns her of an incoming attack!
The attacker is a young girl named Vita, who calls herself a Belka Knight. She proves her strength by using an intelligent device with a mysterious cartridge system to quickly overwhelm Nanoha. Luckily, the Space-Time Administration Bureau is able to step in before she is completely crushed. Vita and her fellow knights Shamal, Signum, and Zafila are on a mission to steal magical power from mages in order to complete the Book of Darkness, one of the Lost Logia. For what sinister purpose are the knights after this Book of Darkness?
The story in the original was really good, A’s takes it all to a different level and there is almost no comparison. The action picks up from basically the first minute of the show and doesn’t let up. No fillers, no trips to the hot springs, I think this might be the first time I have watched a series and could say that. The plot though is outstanding. A wonderful world of magic is further expanded is a story that puts you through all the emotions and has a number of shocking surprises that you won’t see coming. It’s so delightful to watch such a mature and complex storyline in a genre that is usually silly and plots written more to appeal to youngsters and pervs. There is also a very nice mix of drama and action. The action is more intense than the first season by a lot. Almost every episode it’s full of explosive magical combat but it does a wonderful job of giving great drama and comedic moments.
Nanoha and Fate return to be the same wonderful characters I loved so much from the first series. They get new powers and spells and it’s wonderful to see them in action again. There role with the Space-Time Administration Bureau expands more and we get to know better Lindy, Amy, and Chrono better as well as some new characters within the agency. It was disappointing though that several characters from the original series were left out a bit as we see very little of Yuuno, Arf, Arisa, and Suzuka. There is however a plethora of new characters and my opinion of them is mixed. They are interesting, have complex motivations for why they do what they do. A lot of them made me mad, wanting to throw my remote through the TV screen and scream “I won’t forgive you!”. But I guess that is the sign of a well made character huh? The main problem is that now there are so many new characters that the cast just becomes so large that it’s impossible to really get to know any of them that well.
Visually, A’s is stunning. The characters are beautifully drawn and animated. They have some great costumes and weapons (especially the new knights). Were it really is spectacular is the action scenes. The fights are exciting, explosive, and on a much grander scale than anything from the first series. It was also a nice surprise at the end of the series to see Nanoha and her friends grown up. I was pleasantly surprised that the transformation scenes were toned down and reduced a lot. This was a complaint of my from the first season, not that they existed, but that we had to watch them in full every time Nanoha transformed.
The music is where this show really fails. While a lot of the background music is the same, I was not a big fan of the EN theme in particular and the OP was not really that much better. I found myself several times just fast forwarding through them which is something I almost never do. The voice acting is still great, but my overall disappointment with the music drives my score down.
In the end this show is really outstanding, my dissatisfaction with the musical score and some of the characters prevents me from giving it a ’10’ though. This show transcends the magic girl genre and I don’t think should be thought of as such. So if you are resisting watching this series because you don’t like magic girls, don’t! You will not regret it!
The story continues from where the first season departed. However, old friends must reunite to defeat the newly arrived opposing forces. These new enemies come about to wreak havoc to save their mistress from an impending doom. A new mystery must be unveiled to uncover hidden truths. The prototypes of antiquated weaponry will need upgrades to defend and attack against foes. A touching and shocking conclusion lies near the end which will greatly move your heart.
The animation is definitely a tremendous plus: the visual effects are utterly sensually appealing. The contrasts from lighting and colors are exceptionally amazing. Seven Arcs really respect their art styles and have succeeded in this regard. The battles, the transformation scenes, the adorable scenes of one character that I truly revere, all still leave an afterimage in my enigmatic thought processes. MSLN A’s demonstrates only top-notch animation. The animation has been fine tuned enough and has the ability to withstand many viewers’ tastes to ensnare their visual senses.
Furthermore, the sound is also another banging feature. “Eternal Blaze” by the infamous and alluring Mizuki Nana activates the ability of echoic memory or of experiencing an overdose of the appealing music into your head. Whenever the situation became unpleasant, the BGM tended to fit that mood. A select few may even be cherished by the raving fans that found specific scenes to be special. Overall, the sound complemented the thrilling and epic battles. The music strengthened the attributes of the show’s addictiveness.
Of paramount interest, the utilization and how they were portrayed of the seductive characters has been the aspect that has deeply impacted me the most. A majority of the viewers that have finished have taken a liking to Fate or Nanoha or Hayate or Signum or all or whoever; the style, animation, and flair the characters has to display has been the most remarkable feature A’s has to offer. Each one has a context that they serve and fulfill. However, I will put this bluntly that Fate alone has made me consider that this title has been framed, fueled, and augmented by her, without a doubt. I do find her to be truly mind-boggling, lovable, the perfect “all-in-one,” the list goes on and on type of character. Nonetheless, the characters are a huge positive perspective when it comes to enjoying this watch.
Conclusively, with all these magnificent elements being incorporated in this title, or rather sequel, it creates a magnetic pull to actually view this landmark in history. Whether you’ve read the unique synopsis and/or the more or less influential reviews, this title simply cannot be overlooked. If you’ve dropped or constituted a hiatus on the first season and somehow managed to endure to the end of this review, it’s highly recommended that you pick this up again as it won’t disappoint. This title possesses a plethora to offer since it’s extremely appealing and evokes many sentimental feelings when heeded. Ultimately, I hope this review has been an interesting read and for you to savor and appreciate the show like I did.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s certainly strayed away from the usual, formulaic mahou shoujo stereotype. No more collecting Jewel Seeds for Nanoha and Fate. This time they face bigger, more powerful enemies that get in their way.
The new plot really made me excited, mostly because I’ve been waiting for Fate and Nanoha to become closer friends as well as become team mates. The new characters were also very intriguing and interesting, especially the Velka-type Knights. I like how Nanoha and Fate have to go against them, because they’re not as evil or twisted as Precia Testarossa from last season, but their objective is much more threatening.
Speaking of the Velka-type Knights, they are Signum, Shamal, Vita and Zafira. They all have different personalities and abilities that mix well together, that’s why I consider them formidable opponents for Nanoha and Fate. To make things more interesting, their master, Hayate Yagami, is absolutely adorable. Out of all the new characters, I like Hayate and Signum the best.
Since there new additions to the cast, there are also new voice actors. I like Vita’s voice actor the best, who is Asami Sanada. Her voice screams tsundere. It really reminds me of Rie Kugimiya’s work in Shakugan no Shana. Also, just as I like Raging Heart and Bardiche’s voice actors, I also like Levantine and Graf Eisen’s voice actor. I thought for sure he was German – he was really convincing.
I think animation has also improved, because the drawings are more consistent compared to the first season. I also love the character design, the new characters and their battle outfits are really flashy and modern. The transformation scenes are less ecchi but more eye catching too.
There might have been a switch regarding the opening and ending themes for this season. Nana Mizuki still sang the opening song, “Eternal Blaze”, and I love it because of its faster beat. I definitely like it more than the OP of the first season. Also, this time around, Yukari Tamura sang the mellow song, which is the ending theme “Spiritual Garden”. It’s cute, but I like the ED of the first season better.
Since the second season was so much better than the first season, I could only hope that the third season is even better and possibly the best out of the three and it does look that way.
7: Hachimitsu to Clover
English: Honey and Clover
MAL Score: 8.04
Yuuta Takemoto, a sophomore at an arts college, shares a cheap apartment with two seniors—the eccentric Shinobu Morita, who keeps failing to graduate due to his absenteeism, and the sensible Takumi Mayama, who acts as a proper senior to Takemoto, often looking out for him.
Takemoto had not given much thought to his future until one fine spring day, when he meets the endearing Hagumi Hanamoto and falls in love at first sight. Incredibly gifted in the arts, Hagumi enrolls in Takemoto’s university and soon befriends the popular pottery student Ayumi Yamada. Ayumi is already well acquainted with the three flatmates and secretly harbors deep feelings for one of them.
Hachimitsu to Clover is a heartwarming tale of youth, love, soul-searching, and self-discovery, intricately woven through the complex relationships between five dear friends.
Based on the manga by Chika Umino, Honey and Clover follows the lives of five fledgling artists and their journey through the exciting and simultaneously terrifying world that we know as college. Through the eyes of these five students and observe them them growing, affected by the years of challenging experiences through which they have gained many cherished friendships and also come to know the agonies of unrequited love.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the series is the animation. The bold, hard lined style you see in most anime will not be found here. Instead, animation studio J.C. Staff takes a wholly different approach by using a faded watercolor palette and soft sketched character designs. The style may not appeal to everyone, but it best reflects the true nature of the characters and their setting. Aside from the color palette, the animation goes through various perspective changes so subtly that it can even make the simple shot of a single character interesting. In essence, it is like art in motion.
Naturally, the audio needs to work hand in hand with the visuals and Honey and Clover has quite a robust soundtrack. Many of the insert selections worked well to heighten and sharpen the on-screen emotions. However, not all of the songs fit each scene like a glove and at times it felt like maybe there might even be too many songs they had tried to fit in. Despite that complaint, the songs themselves were all very good, even the instrumental tracks, and “Waltz” may hands-down be one of the best ending themes of any anime ever.
One aspect that may be universally agreed upon about this series is that the characters definitely make the show. Honey and Clover, like many other slice-of-life series, falls back on the characters to help carry the series and all five of the main characters do so phenomenally. Throughout the series, the perspective changes so that we see, hear, think, and occasionally feel what any given character is going through at that time. Depending on a viewer’s past experiences in college or even just life in general, certain characters will become more appealing and easier to relate to than others. Someone who has never been torn between someone they love and a close friend who loves them will have a hard time relating to a character like Mayama. Also, while a character like Takemoto may be more accessible to the male audience, Ayumi may be a better focal point for women.
The most important thing to realize is that just about anyone who watches this show will find a character who they can directly relate to in some way or another. From Takemoto’s indecisiveness about his own life, Morita’s slacker appeal and almost unfair success, Hagumi’s torn desire between being a success she’s not proud of or a failure she can live with. These are not just character struggles, these are struggles we all go through and we begin to see these characters as our friends and companions as we make our way through our own ordeals.
As said already, Honey and Clover is a slice-of-life series, which means it could take place anywhere at anytime with anyone inside the world as already is. It is a balanced and yet lively blend of romance, drama, and comedy without going too overboard on any single element, much like life itself. The story moves forward very quickly, skipping weeks, even months at a time between episodes. This could be viewed as slightly unrealistic as viewers may believe the characters should change faster than they do. Regardless, the character development is there, and does proceed at a realistic pace relative to the length of the series. Though the ending is inconclusive, those who enjoyed it to the end can take solace in knowing a conclusive second season awaits them to tie up all the loose ends.
Much like how Azumanga Daioh is called “the anime you should watch if you’ve been through high school”, Honey and Clover is the anime to watch if you’ve been through college. Graduates who watch this will probably feel a good amount of nostalgia. At the same time, those of us who haven’t been through college or are still going through it will enjoy a realistic simulation of where we might be going and how we might deal with it. By empathizing with the characters and relating to them, you’ll come to see Honey and Clover as more than an anime; It’s a life experience.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The team members were:
Katsup – Contributed to and edited the review
Splitter – Wrote the review
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category – Katsup, Splitter
Story – 9, 9
Art – 10, 9
Sound – 9, 8
Character – 10, 10
Enjoyment – 10, 9
Overall – 10, 9
In the club wide poll held for Honey and Clover it received an average overall rating of 9.00
What a wonderful story. It’s a good mix of bittersweet growing pains, salty teardrops, and huge doses of soul searching, all brought about by Love. Ah yes, Love. That is what defines the plot of Honey and Clover. Through this anime, we see how love can go both ways – it can send you flying in the sky, or it can leave you with a knife in the back.
I can relate to mostly everyone in the story, and this is also why it was so easy to understand for me. Yamada’s frustration over unrequited love, Takemoto’s fear of the future and time quickly passing by (believe me, time in this anime is fast-paced), Hagu’s feelings of pressure from everyone around her, and of course, the loneliness that everyone felt from time to time. The ability to relate to each and every one of the characters made Honey and Clover such a good watch for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for everyone who will watch this series.
Despite the serious tones, there are still moments that are quite funny. Most of the comedic relief comes from Morita, who is actually one of my favorite characters. His idiosyncrasies are what made him great to watch. I love that scene where he accepted the Mochademy Award (A nod to the Academy awards) for best CG. There was also this great episode where Morita and Takemoto played some sort of twister game until their limbs were intertwined. Of course, you can’t forget chapters L and F which were both funny as well.
I liked most of the characters because they were all so relatable and they were all managed effectively. At the end of the series, you know everything that goes/went on behind their facades. They all had well thought of histories and wonderful unique personalities that go so well together. It’s almost like an anime version of FRIENDS. I already mentioned that I like Morita, but my other favorite is Mayama. I kinda developed a crush on him too; I actually see what Yamada sees in him. I was kind of annoyed that he picked that old hag Rika over Yamada. I really hate that woman; she’s only out to hurt Mayama. I’m definitely on team Ayumi “Tetsujin” Yamada (Even though she tends to ramble on a lot)!
Drawing style was something new. It reminded me of old school anime with a new twist. It had the same look and feel of 80s anime with except it was updated and fresh. It was probably because of the coloring technique – the colors were just lovely, they weren’t vibrant, like how I usually would like colors to be, but they were done well and the colors didn’t clash, so I actually liked it. It reminded me of water color paintings, a trend I noticed from watching JC Staff series. Usually the illustrations are done well, they barely change or if there are any changes it goes unnoticed. Although I did notice a huge shift in Hagu’s appearance – She was a lot prettier in the first episode compared to the rest of the series. Her look was done well though – she had beautiful eyes and hair (same thing with Yamada).
There were different animation techniques that were used. I like the use of stop motion, I’m guessing the first opening theme sequence was made using stop motion and clay figures. There was also the use of live action, which was for the second opening theme sequence (The poodle was just adorable). Some scenes had a more weathered look, and there was even an instance were vector art was used. Of course, there was the use of CG. CG is always good if it’s used to give depth to animation.
Voice acting was actually pretty good. My favorite seiyu for this series is Tomokazu Sugita, Mayama’s seiyu, who was also the seiyu for Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, another favorite of mine. I also like Morita’s seiyu, Yuji Ueda. I think it’s funny when his voice turns soft. The other seiyus, such as Keiji Fujiwara and Mikako Takahashi were already familiar to me, since I’ve watched/currently series they worked for before, and what they did for Honey and Clover were splendid as well, but as for Hagu’s seiyu, I’m a bit indifferent. Based on the information I saw about her, she seems to be a newbie (I think she’s only 18) and Hagu Hanamoto is probably her most notable role. Anyway, everyone did a good job because they brought out their character’s personalities really well, and the dialogues were easy to follow.
I’m surprised that most of Yuzo Hayashi’s work was for Sailormoon. I actually thought the music for this anime was done well – everything was modern and contemporary. I like the wide variety of insert songs that were used as BGM, and of course, the opening and ending themes weren’t bad either. At the end of the series I found myself humming and bopping my head to the catchy music of the series.
Thank goodness for the second season, plus the extra two episodes. If it weren’t for that, I Probably would be close to tears by now. This is undeniably one of the best series (Thank God to no fan service!) I’ve ever watched, and will watch again.
6: Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven
English: Eureka Seven
MAL Score: 8.08
In the backwater town of Bellforest lives a 14-year-old boy named Renton Thurston. He desires to leave his home behind and join the mercenary group known as Gekkostate, hoping to find some adventure to brighten up his mundane life. However, stuck between his grandfather’s insistence to become a mechanic like him and the pressure of his deceased father’s legacy, the only excitement Renton finds is in his pastime of riding the Trapar wave particles that are dispersed throughout the air, an activity akin to surfing.
Everything changes when an unknown object crashes through Renton’s garage, discovered to be a Light Finding Operation—a robot capable of riding the Trapar waves—specifically known as the Nirvash typeZERO. Its pilot is a young girl named Eureka, a member of the Gekkostate, who requests a tune-up for the Nirvash. Their meeting sparks the beginning of Renton’s involvement with the Gekkostate as he takes off alongside Eureka as the co-pilot of the Nirvash.
– [ Intro ] –
While enduring one of my anime-deprivation periods, I saw Eureka Seven with a high rating. I said why not and proceeded to get all of its 50 episodes. I started watching it only recently, after going through Ergo Proxy. Upon opening the first episode, I went o_0 then 0_0 instantly! Eureka Seven has a great OP and accompanying music! This promised to be a great anime. I could not resist going on after seeing the first episode. I can say I went through the episodes like a breeze, almost refusing to stop!
So, let me just say it here, loud and clear: Eureka Seven is DEFINITELY THE BEST ANIME I HAVE SEEN! It was a total addiction to me, and it still is!
Bear with me, this review will be quite lengthy! Eureka Seven (E7) really deserves it anyways!
– [ Animation = Excellent = 10 ] –
The animation of E7 is really, and I mean it, really impressive! The characters are extremely well drawn. Not your general, wide-eyed anime models but they are definitely well made. Their features are very well-detailed and their appearance is very good. Their clothes are futuristic and kinda cool in a way. E7 involves mechas, and as you could expect, they are quite stiff and roughly drawn. NO! They are the opposite! Their designs are well-polished and smoothly drawn. Here too, the features are very well-detailed. The motion of both characters and mechas are extremely smooth and not glitchy, specially considering that E7 involves something called “reffing” which resembles snowboarding. Even at the apex of fast-paceness, the motion is real smooth. The characters’ movements are natural and not robotic and their poses are very human-like. Granted, the mechas look a bit like Evangelion’s or perhaps even RahXephon’s. But in E7, they are well coloured, and in my opinion, better designed. In a way, the way the characters were designed represent their personality. I’ll leave it at that without elaboration. Go find out for yourself!
Now, the backgrounds and sceneries of E7 are again impressive. Well detailed, well drawn, good play on lighting and atmosphere gives them a truly unique feel. You won’t be seeing much scenery anyway, as most of the scenes will be above clouds. But when you do see real scenery, it’s nice! They vary from the lively towns, to lush and wild nature and colourful flowers, to the dark and grungy industrial zones and to the dark, moody and emotional scenes. The transition between these scenes is so smooth that you rarely notice that you have suddenly changed decors! The light works was well done and will give more life and vividity to scenes. Notice the rock textures and how light is used to bring out the relief. The people at BONES have done something very good here.
The greatest part of the animation lies in the battle and action scenes, particularly those involving the characters “reffing”. The action is so smooth! There are no robotic movements, even when the action is at its climax and everything is going fast. No blurs, no glitches and no flaws! Great!! And also, there are almost no frame re-use except for flashbacks (there are not many). Take for example, in Shaman King. Yoh is always seen summonning Amidamaru and this scene is in most episodes. Here, you won’t find such repeating scenes often. Even if there are some repeats, they are different in their own ways.
– [ Sound = StoryWriter wins! = 10 ] –
I don’t usually pay much attention to sounds and music in animes. Story, characters and animation usually get my attention. With E7 however, things are different! The OST for Eureka Seven is much varied from hard rock to electronic music! The OP music was great and I really enjoyed the music. However, the best song according to me, remains Storywriter by Supercar! I long to hear it again and again, and it has made it to my top favourites! It makes a really great accompaniment for action scenes, trust me. Yeaaaahhhhhh! The techno beats you hear during fights or the rock you hear during major events are g.r.e.a.t!!!!
E7 makes heavy use of music since there are lots of action scenes. However, for every scene, whatever it is (emotional or fast paced), the music chosen is right! It really highlights the scenes and make them so much more interesting! Definitely a good choice of music in E7, and definitely worth a listen! Sound effects too are present and nicely integrated into the scenes. Notice the wind “whoosshhh” when the chracters are reffing, and the sound of flapping clothes. It gives added realism to the scenes. Sometimes, you can hear accompanying explosions after a major bang! It’s nice to note these, just for added realism.
The voice actors did a pretty good job too! However, for some characters like Anemone or MoonDoggie, you can have some difficulty to understand them, due to their accents. Anyway, it’s not a real problem if you got fansubbed episodes, or subbed DVDs.
– [ Story = Complexity and Details = 9.9 ] –
Eureka Seven starts with our main male character, Renton aged 14 in his hometown of Bellforest, enjoying his life, albeit 14 years of boredom as he mentions. One day, a huge robot (an LFO) crashes in his grand-father, Alex’s workshop. Out of it emerges a beautiful young girl, our main female character, Eureka. Dumbfounded by her beauty and mysteriousness, Renton is immediately love-struck. However, the millitary was pursuing Eureka. Eureka is a member of GekkoState – a sort millitia/anti-government, non-conformist reffers group, led by Holland. Eureka must return to GekkoState at all costs. However, Holland had another mission – to get the Amita Drive from Alex, a device developed by Renton’s late father and world hero, Adrock Thurston. To help in Eureka’s escape, Renton grabs his reffing board and tries to deliver the Amita Drive to Eureka who is now escaping in her LFO, the Nirvash. Inspired by his all-time hero Holland, Renton would like to join GekkoState to train as a mechanic. Holland, accepts (although not very gladly), and so Renton becomes GekkoState’s youngest member, and his adventures and romance now start.
Some main characters are Talho, main pilot of GekkoGo. Holland, the commander. Ken-Goh, the weapons expert. Stoner, photographer and editor of Ray=Out magazine which is very anti-government and was hence banned. Hap, second commander and Holland’s friend. Misha, the on-board doctor. Jobs and Woz, the ship engineers. MoonDoggie, catapult operator and secondary pilot. Gidget, communications operator. Hilda and Matthiew, LFO pilots. And Renton and Eureka, Nirvash pilots and main characters. And also, the Nirvash LFO can also be considered a character at the end of E7.
Ok, my description is not very great but story is really one of the greatest strengths of E7. The plotline is really complex and deep. Agreed, you have one main plotline that runs through the entire series. However, what is interesting is the way that plotline is explored from various angles and according to various characters’ point of view. This gives an added understanding of the plotline. You will also see many innovative things like Trappar Particles, LFO’s, Reffing, Amita Drive, and Coralians! Indeed, it’s a very elaborate plotline. Interestingly enough, you will sometimes find the plotline diverging to explore various side characters’ stories eg. William B. Baxter’s story. Don’t worry, it’s here for a purpose – that is of explaining the global situation from different people’s perspective.
The story runs very deep, exploring such things as war and conflicts between friends, companionship, unfaltering loyalty, indomitable will to protect, duty, love, sense of justice, and the loss of close-persons. Sometimes, the emotions get real heavy and the sensitive views might be moved to tears, no joke! It can become very heavy and emotional sometimes, specially scenes involving the above-mentioned. It’s a very well detailed plotline, with many interesting twists that add spice to an already very interesting story. It’s a good blend of romance, action, mecha and adventure. Definitely my type!
Through the course of the story, you will have the opportunity to explore the characters’ past and get to know them better. You won’t find many loopholes or dark points here as everything is well explained. Expect emotional warfare, painful pasts, jealousy, self-sacrifice, the death of companions, inter-crewmate conflicts and resolutions of conflicts by various ways according to the characters, added to some good philosophies about love and the other things I mentioned! It’s a nice lesson in a way.
However, expect a major change of pace after Episode 26. You will be seeing more adult-related things, like blood and death more often. Just a warning. Mind you, many weird and frankly, strange things are awaiting you from Episode 31 and onwards! You would think you are in some kind of toon movie! 😀
The plotline offers no boredom since the characters constantly change and adapt, specially on the emotional level. I like the way the twists in emotions are introduced. It’s subtle, but really present. E7 is really a great piece of work and you will see lots of unexpected things. Pay close attentions to the play on words. The GekkoState assault on Capital Hill really got me stuck.
One thing to hate is the presence of Maeter, Linck and Maurice! Damn! These 3 kids know how to ruin the mood and atmosphere! In my opinion, they got no place in E7! Another is the complexity of some plots! You don’t understand anything at first, but it’s revealed after. Although there are some minor things which are left unexplained, or are not given enough elaboration, it cannot beat the greatness of E7. (Except only one which needed more elaboration). Anyways, if you use your brains a bit, it’s not hard to figure out those un-explainations! 😀
Overall, E7 has a real smooth way for proceeding with the story, smooth and sweet! Just what I’ve been looking. No rush, no incessant/useless main character deaths, no plotholes, no fillers, just pure delight. Good job, E7! Frankly, it has the damn B.E.S.T ending I’ve ever seen so far, surpassing even my previous “favourite ending”, Last Exile. Eureka Seven devoted almost one episode just for ending, a weird (and surreal) ending! Talk about a good finisher! 😀
And now, for a bit of selfishness (shared selfishness IMHO): I WANT EUREKA SEVEN MOVIE TO EXPLAIN EVERYBORY’S ENDINGS! 😀
P.s. Why 9.9 and not 10? Because some important events got left out of the explanations. You could guess what they were, but an explanantion would have been easier. That’s why I substracted 0.1 marks!
– [ Characters = I like the name “MoonDoggie” :p = 10 ] –
Ok, it’s not *just* because I like the name “MoonDoggie” but it’s still a very hilarious name! The characters really deserve that 10. I’ve really seen such a diverse and complex cast of characters. So I think it’s better that I introduce some of the main characters first. I can’t do that for all of them since there are so many (25-like main characters! Sugoi! :S)
Anyways, let’s start by our main character, Renton. He’s what you will call a normal guy. No super-powers a-la-Bleach here. No, he’s just normal, leading a normal life. However, he is still the son of Adrock Thurston, the guy who saved the world. Quite a name to carry around. Renton gets accepted on GekkoGo (GekkoState’s ship). Now, this is not what he expected. Holland is kind of a slave-master! He kinda get beaten up, get used as a.. duh slave, and things like that. Life’s not all pleasant for him, all because Holland is… jealous! LOL! No joke! Anyways, E7 beautifully illustrates his development through it’s 50 eps, going from a not-worth-anything to the.. (Spoiler. Cannot tell you!). He’s got much ahead of him. I really cannot say more without spoiling major things.
Eureka. Beautiful, quiet, mysterious. Love-at-first-sight for Renton, who would do anything to protect her. Her development is well-presented too. Mind you, strange things are awaiting you at the end of E7, be ready for it! This girl has many secrets and lots of potential. Although, she appears to lack emotions (which Renton teaches her), but she’s an adept at LFO combat. Enough here, cuz spoilers are coming if I continue.
On with Holland. The master of reffing and Renton (and all kids’) all-time god (hero/idol) and commander of GekkoState. Holland appears to be a fun character, and somewhat stern. However, Renton was badly mistaken. Holland is just the opposite of what he seems to be. He is like a father for GekkoState, protecting everybody and self-sacrificing for the sake of others. Midway through E7, he undergoes dramatic changes, all for the best.
Talho! The captain of Gekko-Go. She is the leash for Holland, restricting his impulses and setting him in the right direction. She has a secret (ok, not so secret) crush on Holland.
Hap, the everything-doer. Not much to say, but he still has quite a role in E7. Similarly, Woz (strange hat man!), Jobs (Hitman’s son?), Gonzy, Gidget, MoonDoggie (Doggie Nii-san! LOL!), Stoner and the others have their respective roles to play, but they are very diverse from each other, and each’s development is well planned and well presented. Their emotional developments are very well introduced, smoothly and at the correct pace, giving the viewer time to digest the changes and appreciate them.
There are characters on the other side (bad side) if you want, like Dominic, Anemone, the Sages the millitary and Dewey. But I can’t explain about them without spoiling. Expect something Gundam Seed Destiny-like with Dewew. The others are not so bad, but take soooo long to realise it.
The hierarchy is: Sages -> Dewew -> Millitary -> Dominic -> Anemone. Or something like that.
As you can see, there are literally lots and lots of characters in E7, and that goes without mentioning important side characters like Diane Thurston, William B. Baxter and the others. They have important roles to play and are here to reveal parts of the E7 plot to us, in a subtle way. It allows the viewer to get a global view of E7 and from different perspectives. There is literally lots and lots to tell about E7’s cast, but I leave their discovery to you. I can’t spoil the fun furthur.
– [ Value and Enjoyment = YEAH!!! = 10! ] –
If you haven’t guessed by now, Eureka Seven is just great and I really enjoyed my watching experience. I am now going to rewatch it, just to get a clearer view of it. In fact, Eureka Seven is one of the rare anime that I have ever rewatched. And frankly, it deserves it. I would rank the rewatch value as “Very High”. At the end, you will want to rewatch it from the beginning, just to watch the characters and story’s evolution again, from a new and enlightened perspective. And to gain a better understanding of E7’s magnificent story of course!
I really, really enjoyed Eureka Seven and it is now my top favourite. It deserves this space. Eureka Seven is a masterpiece, take it from a fellow fan.
Now, E7 might have some plotholes and some things that weren’t elaborated extensively, just as any other anime have. But the positive aspects of E7 fully compensate for these small (tiny) losses. You won’t even feel them. Nothing is perfect, but I believe E7 approaches perfection up to its nose!
As summary: Rewatch Value? Very High. Enjoyed myself? I kinda went overboard! Was E7 good? Na, no good. It is simply a masterpiece!
– [ Conclusions ] –
Go watch Eureka Seven!! That’s all there is to say. You won’t regret it. I know some people will be dissatisfied with my review, but I am just expressing my opinions. And I consider Eureka Seven to be a true success! Go watch it and draw your own conclusions. I do not think you would regret it. And I am not joking, it really deserves these “10”‘s from me!
Now, I sincerely await a movie. Not because was bad (in fact, it was great. Strange but great!). But because I really want to see more of Renton and Eureka, of Holland and Talho, of MoonDoggie and of Dominic and Anemone. I would like more about their endings, and what has become of them. The mere glances I got at the end is not enough to satisfy my hunger! I hope the creators of E7 can hear me! 😀
Thank you for reading my review. I know it was long. If something needs elaboration, contact me. I will amend the review where needed. Sayonara and go enjoy Eureka Seven!
The show’s supreme craftsmanship provides the spoonful sugar for its less-than-tasty story. It’s easy to watch these fifty episodes when the characters and their world are as creative and eye-popping as “Eureka 7’s.” Bolstering the shows designs and animation is one of the best soundtracks to bless a show; most impressive is the music’s ability to capture each of the story’s emotions with a perfectly mellifluous track.
“Eureka 7” suffers mainly from an identity crisis that ends up degrading the overall story. It begins as a really fun, rebels-versus-establishment adventure set in a world where skaters and hipsters reign as the supreme good guys.
I wish they creators would have stuck with this tone; it’s original and fun and would have lent itself perfectly to a. However, the show soon veers toward a melancholy, internal drama, and, before the fifty episodes are over, “Eureka 7” takes another sharp turn toward silly romance.
Maybe I’m too harsh, though. “Eureka 7” is targeted at teens, and if you can successfully put yourself into the mind of a naïve, romantic teen (see every teen), it’s easier to forgive the show for its flourishes.
Less forgivable, however, is the fragmentation of the story and characters caused by the shifting focus from adventure to drama to romance. Running in so many directions causes “Eureka 7” to roll its ankle, and the show never achieves any emotional impact. This is particularly disappointing since many of the characters had great potential to connect with the audience. Unfortunately, with the changes, the characters lose their original luster, drastically degrade into one-dimensional stereotypes, or drop from the story entirely.
As critical as I may be, please note that I watched “Eureka 7” nearly continually at every chance I got. It is, for the most part, an enjoyable series. To best enjoy this show, appreciate the audio-visual experience and always remember the target audience is young teenagers.
I’m sure you’ve read the synopsis so I won’t be mentioning that here. The story moves quicker than what you would expect from such a long series and this is a good thing as it minimizes any time where it would seem to be boring. This is even more impressive when you realize that there is next to no filler and what filler there is was entertaining and worth watching. The context of the story and the way it evolves isn’t over the top or unbelievable, it unfolds at a steady pace the entire time and doesn’t ever feel rushed or drawn out either. I see that a couple others have said that at times it is hard to follow but that isn’t the case at all if you’re paying attention and overall its an enjoyable journey with a satisfactory ending even if it left you wanting just a couple more answers.
The art is definitely above average, the animation is smooth and the colour scheme works well. It is a great support for everything else and the variation in quality across the span of the series is minimal. There were times when a certain lack of shading was noticeable but they quickly passed. Its not the best around but it is very good and considering the length makes it all the more impressive.
The sound is the only section i’ll score a perfect 10, it really is outstanding. The music from the openings to the endings and everything in-between is enjoyable and not something you’ll get sick of. Every track seems as if it could have been made to be used here and truly makes part of the show what it is. Sound effects and the like are perfectly acceptable, definitely above average. I haven’t heard the dub so I can’t comment on it but the Japanese voice acting fit well and no characters voice felt out of place. Overall a very pleasing experience.
The characters are great, you won’t see any cardboard cutouts here, each character is multi-dimensional and all add to the story. Eureka at first seems distant and not quite developed but thats exactly how she’s meant to be, you find yourself waiting for scenes where she and Renton interact with eachother for this is where alot of entertainment comes from. Seeing her grow as a person from that is quite something. That leads me to Renton, an average kid by all means, at times its downright annoying how naive and childish he really is but he learns from it and by the end you can truly see how he has grown. With all of this you may be asking why I rated it only an 8, thats because of the three kids, maybe I just dislike kids altogether but they cry at the drop of a hat, mess things up due to their own selfishness and are just a plain annoyance, I found myself becoming slightly irate everytime they were on screen. However i’m sure thats how people sometimes feel around real kids as well so if they were given just a little less screen time I guess I could have brushed it off. Overall the character development is really great especially concerning Eureka and Renton, further more apart from the kids I didn’t find myself disliking any character which is a testament to how well made they all really are.
I watched the series in three days and it never felt like it dragged on, I was always eager to see what came in the next episode and overall I really did enjoy this series. It just has the feeling of being enjoyable, taking you on a ride and you find it hard to leave. Once again I felt the kids detracted from this but whatever shortcomings they bring are immediately made up for by the rest. Enjoyment level for this series is high.
In the end its an interesting, enjoyable and great series. Don’t let the length put you off, if you watch anime then this is something you should see.
English: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
MAL Score: 8.16
In the year 5053, French aristocrats Viscount Albert de Morcerf and Baron Franz d’Epinay attend the festival of Carnival on the moon city of Luna. While Franz is just looking to have fun, Albert is seeking something more to fill his life—but he finds more than he bargained for in The Count of Monte Cristo, a mysterious and charming self-made nobleman who meets his gaze during an opera performance.
Through a few twists and turns, Albert befriends the Count and introduces him into French society. The Count, however, has more on his mind than just friendship; he plots to finally unleash his vengeance on those who wronged him years earlier. Gankutsuou follows Albert and the Count’s intertwined destinies and the ultimate price paid for enacting revenge.
In most reviews I’d start with perhaps the characters or the story, but now I must truly start with the art. The art itself was disorientating to me at first, I looked at it and found it hard to concentrate too long on the screen, things blended together so well that at times I found it hard to believe the entire scenery wasn’t part of the character I was watching. But after the first few episodes the art was something else altogether, it seemed to take a new life. I watched it and was captivated by it, at times I even had to rewind because I had missed several lines of text because I couldn’t tear myself away from it all. The art simply leaps off the screen and at first it may seem a little jarring but eventually you’ll ever wonder why you questioned the design of it all. While the art itself is beautiful there are some places it lacks, although the rest more than makes up for it. Some of the characters I found to be too plain in certain situations, however it was a miniscule thought, it did not detract from the visual experience of the show in the least.
Now for the proverbial meat of it all, story. The anime is a loose adaptation of, what is called by some, the greatest story of revenge ever told. Coming in to that there are many expectations that must be lived up to in order for this story to truly hold it’s own and it lives up to them beautifully.
As I stated the drive of the story is revenge, everything else within it are simply unfortunate souls that get caught up in the bloody, sadistic revenge of the man known as the Count of Monte Cristo. But although The Count is what the story revolves around it is told from the perspective of the naïve, and often downright foolish, Albert Morcerf. The story begins with a meeting of destiny between our protagonist Albert and someone I can’t quite call an antagonist, The Count. With his charming words, devilish smile and warm eyes he quickly wins his way into our naïve Albert’s heart and becomes an important figure in the boys life. He continues to pursue his friendship with The Count despite the nagging of the, obviously smarter, Franz Epinay, Albert’s best friend. As the story continues the happiness of our hero is bombarded by the darkness and despair brought about by circumstances that might have been prevented.
Story is everything for an anime such as this, if you lack it you’ll produce a piss-poor adaptation of a great piece of literature. Being able to make your heart break one moment and your blood boil the next, able to leave you breathless in your seat with your heart pounding in your chest, these are proof that you’re watching something amazing. It is clear that Gankutsuou, if not at least meeting your expectations, it will blow them away and leave you speechless.
This will perhaps be the shortest section of the review, simply because the sound played no part in my heightened or lessened enjoyment of the show. Do not mistake my words, the music within the show is very fitting and very well done, however it does not simply jump out and grab you. It does not make you stop and go “I have to listen to that once more.” However that is within the show itself, the opening and ending themes are a different matter. It was almost strange to see them both, it honestly seemed as if someone had goofed and mistaken the ending for the opening. However after two episodes I was humming along with the tune to both and even downloaded them to put on my mp3. The songs themselves are so good I’ve almost started singing along with them out in public. There really is nothing more to say than, the music worked well, it was subtle, let you know it there but didn’t make any bold statements.
I’m tempted to simply write “flawless” and call it a day here but that would be an insult to the greatness of each. I will not list them all here, of course, but I shall list those that I think play an important role and need to be looked at in the spotlight. But let me state that although I do not talk about all the characters, I believe none are truly “secondary” for they all have their own role that drives the story, they all have their own flaws and a depth you wouldn’t expect from characters you rarely see. Now, onto the spotlight
The Count: Was everything that he needed to be and then some. He could be the hero of the piece or the villain, whichever role he was playing at the time all eyes were glued to him. Charming, subtle, seductive and kind he played them all so well and then there were times where we all saw the darkness he brought with him. He was a strange maze of understanding, never knowing what he was going to do next simply because he didn’t know what role he’d slip into. The Count is truly one of the most dark and captivating characters I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Albert: I have a desire to scream idiot here and be done with it, but again that is not true. He is not an idiot, he is simply naïve and often childish in his decisions. He refuses to see the bad in people, which can be good but not all the time. He’s hard headed and stubborn, but he’s a character that you feel for, he bears the most humanity of them all and when his heart breaks, so does yours.
Franz: The best friend that everyone wants, loyal, caring and willing to do whatever necessary to keep his friend safe. He’s stubborn as well but he is the voice of reason in Albert’s and his relationship. He is the first to be skeptical of The Count and one of the first to pursue information about the mysterious man.
While there are other characters that perhaps deserved the spotlight I felt that, mostly, these three characters were the most important simply because they were around for almost every single event that drove the plot. The others characters, however, are not to be dismissed, they each have good character designs as well as wonderful personalities and even flaws. Some even evolve throughout the show, which can be rare for a character deemed “secondary.” But they all fit together and play off each other so well it would take too long to praise them all.
I truly doubt there is a single thing I did not enjoy throughout my entire watching of this show. There are a few minor things but they’re so miniscule when compared to the good things that they’re just overlooked and swept under the rug, still there but completely forgotten. I found myself completely captivated by this show, every emotional twist made me feel what it was supposed to, every mystery kept me guessing and theorizing and wondering. I ranted and raved about things that had happened when I wasn’t watching, I sometimes found myself balling my hands into white knuckled fists at the more infuriating scenes and crying like a child at others, I truly believe I went through almost the entire emotional spectrum while watching this show. And that is truly a mark of my enjoyment of it.
In the end this can only be summed up as something that you need to watch, that is said a lot in reviews but it is truly something that will be appreciated (even if you haven’t read the novel). It’s compelling story, beautiful artwork and in depth characters will drag you into the world and never let you go, even after you’ve finished the final episode The Count of Monte Cristo will still have you under his spell.
-To those who vote "Not " if you could message me to tell me what you disliked I could improve on this and future reviews, thank you.-
Those familiar with the novel will know the basics of who the characters are and what the general outcome of the story will be, much like how anyone who knew the basic plot of Romeo and Juliet could easily predict what fate would befall the title characters in the anime Romeo X Juliet. To keep things fresh and interesting, the story gets an extreme makeover by catapulting the plot three thousand years into the future and onto the moon. The story is also told through Albert Morcef’s perspective, rather than the Count’s, allowing for a new take on the story and minor characters in the novel, such as Franz D’Epiney become more developed and are given a larger role.
The story follows the main themes of the novel though; love, betrayl, revenge and redemption. It is an intricately woven story throughout the 24 episodes, each one ending in a cliff hanger making the viewer want to jump right into the next episode. Elements of mystery and suspense are used so effectively, I was compelled to watch the whole anime in one sitting, something I have never done with any other anime before.
The visuals are beautiful and innovative, using textures rather than solid colours. While this can be disorienting at first, especially with layers of brightly coloured textures flashing across the screen, it does make for some of the most beautiful and creative scenery I have seen in any film media. The style is something unique to this anime and the CG components are excellent. Music is a mix of orchestral piano pieces, brooding techno, waltzes and the beautiful ballad ‘We Were Lovers’ for the opening theme. These combine the classical roots of the story with the futuristic elements wonderfully.
Characters in Gankutsuou are given little grey area. While some characters, such as The Count, motives and morals remain in the grey, most are clearly good or bad, making it heart wrenching when the good, and often innocent characters are pulled into the anti-hero’s deadly revenge plot. The audience wants to see the bad guys punished by the man they betrayed, but at the same time want the innocent bystanders who are pulled into the plot have a happily ever after ending. Albert, the main character, is an idealistic and often rash, privilleged young fifteen year old. His angsting, naivite and rashness might grate some viewers, but at the same time his actions are believable for an average fifteen year old, unlike many shonen series. It also makes him more vulnerable to the more wily characters, as a child his age might be. Many of the characters are not all powerful, having both strengths and weaknesses, making them much more human and believable.
One aspect that won me over though was the portrayl of a character who is very strongly hinted at being homosexual. The Seiyu of this particular character confirmed his belief that the character he portrayed was indeed a homosexual. Rather than being slotted into a stereotype or cliche, this character is shown to be very capable, loyal and above all arguably the most rational individual in the series. He is not shown to be flamboyant, perverted, or visually offputing like many gay characters added in for laughs. This character was fleshed out, and in my opinion a very positive representation of a gay character. In fact he takes on many of the Japanese ideals of a homosexual lover, including beauty, brains, strength, sensitivity and above all loyalty. Bravo for this!
I would reccomend this anime for fans of drama, mystery, and suspense. Fans of the original novel; beware of deviations and creative liscense. This is not a completely accurate retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ work, if you couldn’t tell from the giant robots and space ships. The series contains alcohol and hints of drug usage, incest, hints of sex (both consensual and nonconsensual), human trafficing, violence, nudity, frightening imagery and character death. If any of this offends or upsets you, you may not want to watch this one (though you’re really missing out on an awesome series).
Overall: This is the best anime I have seen in a very long time. It is the first anime that has compelled me to watch the whole thing in one sitting. The art is innovative, the story is intricately woven, the characters are believable, and the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more. This one is a must for your ‘completed’ list.
Manga/Anime/Both: Anime series, 24 episodes, ran from October 5th, 2004 to March 29th, 2005 in Japan, licenced by Geneon, with six of six volumes released. A manga is currently running in Japan in Kodansha’s magazine Afternoon, and has yet to be licenced over here.
Story: And now, the hard part… There is no simple way to sum up Gankutsuou’s story, although I’ll try.
Gankutsuou is based off of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. I say "based off of," because in the later part of the series (Episode 18 and thereabouts), the series takes a major divergence from the book. Plotwise, though, Maeda slightly alters whose point of view we see this from and some sideplots; most notably are the Valentine/Maximilien and Cavalcanti plots. The most notable change is the setting, time-wise; Gankutsuou takes place in Paris for the most part, but about two, three thousand years in the future, and on another planet at some points. Also, characters that are barely mentioned in the book get major screentime. However, for the most part, the anime sticks close to the book. If you’re a Dumas purist, though, stay far away from this series.
Also, there are slight shonen-ai overtones; it’s nothing explicit, and only implied, but you can tell that it’s there. And there’s crossdressing on numerous accounts. Again, if this any of this offends you, stay away.
Story Critique: For the most part, if you know the original Dumas story, you have a good idea of what’s going to happen in Gankutsuou. Maeda has taken his liberties, though; and after Episode 18, as I said before, the series takes a completely different direction, and will make the purists want to hunt him down with pitchforks and torches.
However, I’m really happy with Maeda’s changes; the only gripe I have is that he altered the Valentine/Maximilien and Cavalcanti sideplots the way he did, and that he killed off one of the characters he did. For the most part, though, the alterations only add to the sheer awesomeness of the series, and lets some characters shine in ways that they didn’t get to in the book.
This story will keep you on the edge of your seat and hooked till the bitter end. I didn’t get bored with the series at all, as I usually do at the halfway point; in fact, I watched this series pretty much in under a week. I’ve always thought that The Count of Monte Cristo was prime anime material, considering the serialistic way that it was written.
EDIT: There have been complaints lately saying that Gankutsuou isn’t for everyone. And admittedly, it isn’t. If you think that Bleach and Naruto are the epitome of anime, then you should probably stay away from this show, as this and that are worlds apart. It WILL take some effort on your part to follow the story, which, yes, means using your brain as you’re watching this, unlike the typical mindless shonen problem/monster-of-the-week plot seen in both shows I’ve previously mentioned.
Art Style: This is one of the integral parts of the series. The art style will turn some people off; in fact, when Maeda was first screening Gankutsuou, the most frequent complaint was that the art style made viewers’ eyes hurt.
Maeda uses a unique 2-D animation technique, most notable in regards to characters’ clothing — the technique makes it look like the characters’ clothes are moving, but the characters themselves are not. It’s really noticeable in the first few episodes, but by the fourth or fifth episode, you become used to it. This technique is used to great effect not only in the clothes that the characters wear, but in the trippy sequences involved with the plot.
CG animation is also used heavily in this series; it’s mostly used for some backgrounds and vehicles. At times, the juxtapostion of traditional/the new technique of 2D/CG can be jarring, but it takes some getting used to, as well. The backgrounds are where the CG animation really shines though.
This combination is definitely a step into the unknown for Gonzo, and has a tendency to polarize viewers; either you love it, or you hate it.
Music: There are two types of music in Gankutusou: original compositions and classical music.
The classical music has a tendency to become easily associated with certain moods and event types, not to mention become grating. There’s one piece in particular (I can’t remember the name at the minute ><) that, by the third episode, will become associated with DEATH AND IMMINENT DOOM. The music that doesn’t become mood-associated is usually used in connection to one main character’s musicianship, and isn’t heard that often.
The original compositions are by both Kasamatsu Kouji and Jean-Jacques of the band The Stranglers; he also does the opening and ending. The original compositions tend to also become associated with mood and event types; however, there are enough different ones, and are used sparingly enough that they don’t become grating. The opening and endings are absolutely awesome; ask FMS how much I was spazzing after getting the full versions. XD The opening is a sentimental song accompanied by piano and strings, and the ending is a raging rock number with a full band and strings that’ll have you on your feet by its end; both have a lot to do with the plot.
Voice Seiyuu: The voices for this series are simply amazing. Every seiyuu matches their respective character perfectly, and no voice seems out of place. The real standouts for this series, for me, are the seiyuu for the Count, and Mercedes; Joji Nakata, and Kikuko Inoue, respectively. Both capture their characters perfectly, and you can hear the dynamic between them, which is a major factor in the series.
Dub/Voice Actors: The first I saw of this series was on the October or November (can’t remember which again) DVD sampler for Newtype; dubbed was the only option available. After watching the one DVD I have subbed, and then dubbed, I can say that I really don’t have a problem with the dub at all which, for me, is rare. I know that Himura hates it when people do this, but the Japanese and English VAs for these series are easily comprable. The standout voice for the dub is the Count, once again; I don’t know his VA, but he does a superb job of capturing his character.
Length: Perfect. Shortening the series by a few episodes wouldn’t have hurt the series, but character development would’ve definitely taken a major hit if they had. Had they added more episodes, it would’ve been too long. However, I would like to see an OAV on the backstory of the Count; we saw brief flashes that explained a lot, but not quite in depth as Dumas’ original story.
Overall: This anime is one of the best of 05. You will be sucked in the moment you start watching it, and it will not let you go.
To sum it up, a line from the promotional trailer from the first DVD:
Tell me; why am I so fascinated by you?
Art Style: 10/10
Dub/Voice Actors: 9/10
Overall score: 56/60; 93%
4: Major S2
Japanese: メジャー (第2シリーズ)
MAL Score: 8.22
Gorou Honda has finally returned to Mifune East Junior High School, surprising his friends upon arrival. Now, Gorou is once again surrounded by those he holds closest, and he strives to continue playing and enjoying the game he loves most.
However, things do not go as planned, as Gorou is reminded of the harsh realities of baseball as he copes with an injury he sustained while playing baseball at Hitaka Little. Between new rivals, old friends, and mending broken relationships, Gorou must overcome challenges he has never faced before.
His goal of attending elite baseball high school Kaido may not be far from his reach, but complicated circumstances may stop him in his tracks once again. How will he deal with the immense pressures of the game? And will he ever be able to find the type of baseball he loves most?
I rated Major Season 1 a 9/10. It was exciting, but it had a few things holding it back. The first half of the season didn’t have that much in terms of baseball games, there was a lot of romance subplots that were tough to care too much about. And, it was kind of ridiculous to see little leaguers practically playing like pros.
Major Season 2 comes in and fixes just about everything that was wrong with Season 1. First off, the show has baseball games right from the start. There’s only a few episodes of building up to the big games, they get right into it, which is awesome. In keeping with the theme of more baseball, all the subplots this time around revolve around baseball as well. There isn’t any silly parent/kid drama like last time. No romance subplots. The entire plot revolves around what the anime is supposed to be about.
Also, the games seemed a little less ridiculous this time. I mean, there’s still some crazy plays. But the fact that they are in high school now, and not a bunch of little shrimps made it so my immersion wasn’t ruined by it this time around.
I think the plot is a lot more interesting and innovative this time around as well. Season 1 was your standard story of a boy wanting his team to become the best. This time around, the story revolves around high school powerhouse Kaido, and Goro’s interactions with them. There are some surprisingly good plot twists, and I found the story to be a nice breath of fresh air.
The art and sound are once again great. I thought they did a good job drawing the older versions of everyone from season 1, the music is good once again.
Overall, if you watched Major Season 1, you probably liked it, and I have no doubt you will like season 2 as well.
I really liked season 1 as well as the movie but this season I found quiet annoying and the main reason for that is Goro himself. As you know he is a determined and stubborn guy who does deserve some admiration. However this time it was brought to whole new levels which I did not appreciate.
One good thing is that Goro learned not to bash his team mates when they miss the ball but did it make him a good team mate? No.
He still is as self centered as usual if not more. It’s all about him! “I’m this this, I’m that and all of you are trash.” though it was put in a much nicer way. He never gives mound to anyone and gets totally irritated when things don’t go his way “Put me on the mound, put me!”. Yes, he does have better skills than some others but you don’t have to rub it in their face! If you are that confident in yourself then make up for their minuses later on instead of glaring daggers at them and taking fun away from them! With his logic you don’t even need other pitchers in the team! If he doesn’t change his way, I’ll be surprised if other pitchers won’t try to quit from the team.
Another annoying thing is that he never learns! He broke his right shoulder and do you think it made him realize something? Nope! He still pushes himself like before, not giving a damn about future. he is so stuck up in present that it makes you wish that he would break his left shoulder too so he could finally learn the lesson! There is a thin line between being cool and an idiot and he usually goes onto the side of idiots.
Again, once it comes to fight for the dreams guess whose dreams come true all the time? Being MC sure is a blessing, too bad none of us is one in real life.
There were also barely any games this season, I mean game variation. Because one game managed to last for 5-6 episodes! And there were 2 games like that! All together it’s already almost half of the season! Where is some kind of variation?!
Most of new characters were plain and barely looked fun, the designs became quiet lame too.
However, what I really loved in this season was the whole training arc on the island. It brought in more depth to the series as well as realism. Besides it is good to see what kind of exercises are there. Actually the whole examination process was fun with all the tests.Also we learned few more techniques and names for them.
Over all I’m left disappointed. Was thinking about mark 7 but I guess I’ll stop on mark 6… I honestly hope that next seasons will be more exciting with some interesting characters and that it won’t be Goro centered. I know that he is the MC but it doesn’t mean that he has to be mister invincible whose dreams always come true and who always gets it his way. Just because you train all the time and are a prodigy, doesn’t get you away from the injuries, loses and troubles.
Feel free to disagree with me but that’s my opinion. Goro needs to get off his high horse.
-The soundtrack and art are amazing as per usual
-This season dives deeper into the relationship between Sato and Goro, as well as introducing many important and likeable characters to the series
-Goro is very strong this season, however, his strength does not become annoying
-More focused on the baseball and not the plot, so it is rewatchable and fun
-There isn’t much emphasis on the plot for the series as a whole (the story is still fun)
I loved this season, hope you watch it 🙂
3: Major S1
Japanese: メジャー （第1シリーズ）
MAL Score: 8.25
Gorou Honda, a little boy obsessed with baseball, has always admired his father, Shigeharu. Wishing to follow in his father’s footsteps, Gorou dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. In turn, his son’s starry-eyed admiration encourages Shigeharu to keep persevering, despite his late wife’s death and his unsatisfying position on the second-string team Blue Ocean.
Unfortunately, an elbow injury forces Shigeharu off the team, and he falls into despair. However, after an offhand joke from his childhood friend, Shigeharu reevaluates his choices and decides to keep playing, leaving behind his prime position as pitcher and taking up the bat. Now motivated more than ever, Gorou works hard to carve his way in the Japanese Little League.
Major is the definition of the word underrated. It is very unfortunate that people often overlook this series simply because it falls under the sports category. It is SO much more than that. I have recommended this anime to people countless times and will continue doing so because not only do I love it, but I believe it has the power to inspire.
The main character of the story is named Honda Goro (changed to Honda Shigeno after a tragic event). He is gifted in pitching and is absolutely in love with baseball. He has the tendency to bring out the best in other people simply because of his passion and attitude for the sport. People seemingly gather around him for this reason. No matter how grim a situation may look, he never gives up. The most impressive part about this anime (besides the storyline of course) is the character development. As the series progresses you will witness the characters grow physically and mentally. It is also very easy to get attached to the characters since they are all unique within their own right.
All I have to say is that the first season starts off REALLY strong. Take your time with this anime. It is really easy to get addicted with Major. A person can literally fly through the episodes because of how engaging it is.
Honestly, the real fun begins when you get past the first season.
Review is to whole Major as you might have guessed. Spoiler free.
The story of Major is pretty bromaculous and manly, but all in all simple. Goro, our MC, is 4 year-old guy who likes baseball because his father is professional baseball player. 6 fucking days later Goro is 34 years-old professional baseball player who teaches kids how to play baseball. How shit got from the start to the end is one hell of an amazing trip. Including drama, comedy, utter awesomeness, character development of one of a kind, romantic subplot, one of the most awe-inspiring shitz since GTO and yeah, some baseball too.
One of the first questions people seem to ask is “Do I need to like baseball to like Major?” Well I dunno. Do you need to like school to like Great Teacher Onizuka? Do you need to be otaku to like anime? Well, those questions doesn’t matter. The point is, almost everything I know about baseball is because I watched Major. Almost none plays it in my country anyway. Do I like Major then? A big Yes!
The characters of Major are one of the strongest part of the series. Goro is more awe-inspiring than anyone. If he loses consciousness during the game then he finishes the match unconsciously. He is awesome like that. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t ultimate badass, superhero nor the typical shonen protag who wins because he is a ninja or some other shit like that. All he does is his best. It doesn’t matter if he loses or wins, he just wants to see what he is capable to do. All there is for him is the moment, he doesn’t plan to play baseball in the future, he plans to play the next game and whateverthefuck happens after that happens when it happens if it happens. Don’t mind, don’t mind. Fukkyah. Goro is now my favorite character of all time.
So in the end Goro alone makes the characters great and that’s it… wait, NO. I still remember the names of almost all the million side characters. That’s pretty rare for me since Japanese shit sounds like Gibberish anyway. As I said before the series includes character development one of a kind. By that I don’t mean solely the MC but actually rest of the fuckhuge cast as well. Gibson is Jesus, Sato gets bitches like no other, Shimizu is the culmination of sweety. Those are just some characters from the first episodes. What makes Major so great from the character part is how every single side character is in important role and nothing would be possible if even one them was missing. Baseball is a team sports and author really gives value to that. If one the team members is delinquent who doesn’t give a fuck, then he changes to a guy who shits rainbows. Developmentyeah. Sure we have other sports series e.g. Eyeshield 21, Slam Dunk, Cross Game, H2 which are about team work as well but none of those manages to come to Major’s level in terms of characters by any means.
Major is objectively best animu ever and completely flawless. Well lolno. It has problems and flaws like everything has. Characters’ actions aren’t always exactly the most believable thing ever. Writing is sometimes simplistic. 4th season has problems with pacing, language barrier in american league is confusing, 2nd season could have more rewarding ending. One could say the series is predictable, which it obviously is if you start guessing who wins and who loses since there ain’t so many results anyway. But Major isn’t about the destination but how to get there. Did I predict all of it? No, not even close. The author knows his shit very well – plot twists, sports series has those as well. Is it realistic? Yes, very. All in all one of the most realistic sport series I’ve seen. I thought the series would be repetitive towards the end since it’s just baseball but now I’m glad of being wrong. There also doesn’t seem to be this thing called “just baseball” in existence.
The art is simple and beautiful, something I would call smooth and perfectly fitting to the series. Animation is obviously somewhat old and not perfect but something only faggotass would complain about. Visual effect are rather cool during action moments. These all goes for better during the show. Especially after season 3. The sounds, well voice acting is actually impressive as fuck. Goro’s voice after 1st season is one of the most original and memorable ones I’ve heard. Tashiro sounds like he has 20 inch dick. I get chills everytime Shimizu says “Honda” (Goro’s old last name) That’s definitely a good thing in my eyes. And other characters (voice actors, weh) are awesome like that as well. Music is great, not just something worth of including to the series but something which I actually listened earlier today because it’s good. Sound director knows his shit like all people behind the show seems to know so lets that be it.
When it comes to enjoyment Major broke all my expectations by being more awesome than I could have Imagined. After getting older and seeing lot of series it comes harder to enjoy something because quality and logic comes more important due education and other useless shit. Major does great job on fitting the quality standards. It quite literally reminded me what enjoying something means. As it being a baseball series I thought I would end up watching baseball games, but the series isn’t like that. I was there on the field experiencing it all. I learnt a lot, but baseball isn’t the thing I learned the most. The series grasp the viewers by being dramatic, thrilling and fun to watch all at the same time, atmosphere being godly. Did I laugh? Yeah, it’s funnier than gintama. Did I cry? Yeah, a lot. Not so much because of the drama but because it’s so awe-inspiring. The series was partly so exciting that I had problems on changing to new episodes fast enough. I also got heart attacks everytime the romance side developed to some direction. In the end Major is one of the most enjoyable series I’ve seen. To make it clear, I’m not saying the series is great because I enjoyed it so much. I’m saying the series is so great that it’s extremely hard for not to enjoy it.
Eyeshield 21 (manga)
Slam Dunk (manga)
Cross Game (anime)
Great Teacher Onizuka
Hoshi no Samidare (manga)
This is actually pretty typical. Boy strives to become the best in something, which in this case is baseball. Honda Goro tries to take after his father as a pitcher who plays in the pro league in Japan. That’s basically all you’re gonna get. They play baseball to try to get to the next "level", fighting stronger opponents as they go on.
However there are various plot advances as well as drama thrown into the mix, so don’t go in thinking this is just a tournament-after-tournament anime.
Art is very solid and pleasing although the animation does get a little sloppy at certain times. However, it is well done during important parts, especially during games. I won’t go so far as to say this is any ground-breaking animation, but it serves its purpose. After all, this is a baseball anime, not something that has flashy explosions.
I absolutely loved the soundtrack. Very few songs used in the background actually are able to make me find myself humming them unconsciously later onward. There are quite a few notable pieces used throughout the series and they all carry out their duty in helping to further emote scenes.
This is where the series shines for me. I enjoyed the character development that Major had. As baseball is a team sport, there is also a lot of focus on developing relationships within the team, and how problems arise and are solved amongst one another. The characters are all very likable (well, with a few exceptions), and its fun to watch them interact with one another.
The show also focuses quite moderately on family relationships. There are a few issues which come up within Goro’s family and it shows how he as a child, handles them. I found certain scenes to be quite touching also.
Uh, I enjoyed this. A lot. It’s my favorite sports anime. Although it isn’t without its flaws, I found it a great watch. If you enjoy seeing a character "grow", then you will like this. Not too sure about those who are familiar with baseball though, as it helped as a device to pique my interest.
Amongst all the seasons, I found this one to be the strongest. (Though this is not to say the other seasons are vastly inferior.) You should give at least this first season a try, even if you don’t like baseball, as the character relations are great to watch no matter what sport they are playing.
English: Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
MAL Score: 8.30
Fourteen-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka is a dispirited young boy with no goals in life. However, this all changes when Koyuki saves a strange-looking dog named Beck from being harassed by a group of local kids. The dog’s owner, 16-year-old Ryuusuke “Ray” Minami, is an emerging guitarist and the former member of a popular rock band.
After Koyuki meets Ray again in a diner, the older boy leads him to his former band’s meeting place and dazzles Koyuki with his amazing guitar skills. Slowly becoming interested in the glamour of western rock culture, Koyuki decides to start playing the guitar while helping Ray achieve his dream of leading the ultimate rock band. Together with Ray’s younger sister Maho and a few other members, the two boys launch their career into the world of rock by forming a band called BECK. Beck follows the group’s struggles and successes as they spread their fame across Japan.
It’s about this middle school kid named Koyuki, who finally connects with the world around him through music and what eventually becomes a band called Beck… blah, blah, blah.
Story-wise… it’s a little kooky. I don’t know how other people viewed it, but being from the U.S., well, I had to remind myself a few times to take it with a grain of salt. I really enjoyed the slow development of Koyuki and the band and the relationships between everyone… I thought that part of the story was really well done. It’s just that (especially in the second half), you have to be prepared to suspend your disbelief a little and accept the oddness of the whole Lucille subplot.
The art? I really liked looking at it. There was something very appealing about it. I think I especially liked how the everything was kind of gritty and muted looking to match the mood of the underground music scene. Also, the color palette they chose fit really well with the tone and vibe of the main characters and the story line, I thought.
Okay, the music really, really grew on me. I thought I was going to hate it and I have to admit that the grammar kind of bugged me at first… but I totally hum/sing a bunch of the songs to myself without thinking about it now. Even the opening song is catchy and fun. And even though you do hear bits of a few songs over and over again, it’s nice, because I felt like I was getting more and more familiar with their sound… and it gave me a chance to become a "fan" of the band. 😉 Also I thought that the people who were singing Koyuki and Maho’s parts did a *great* job.
Character-wise… I don’t think you get to know anyone as well as you get to know Koyuki. In fact, I think you only get to know everyone else as well as Koyuki himself does. But that’s one of the nice things about the show, actually. They don’t always like each other. They’re bandmates and they aren’t each others’ whole lives. …So, it felt okay to be irritated with or irked by some of the characters. And personally, I really prefer characters who are flawed and honest and real, so I really didn’t mind not always liking the people on the show because it felt so much more… authentic, in a way.
And I don’t know if this is character or story, but I also liked the way the series kind of kept us updated on Beck’s rival band and used their story as a contrast to the main story.
I would say though, that if you’re not used to the way heavily accented English sounds, listening to some of the conversations and the songs might be a little jarring at first. It didn’t bother me since I was watching it w/ subs anyway and I’m used to thick accents, but I know some people who found it distracting… they couldn’t concentrate on what was going on because they were too busy listening and trying to figure out what they were saying.
Overall, great show. It’s different from your typical perky, funny, energetic sort of high school shows… it’s sort of more of a "My So-Called Life" type show, without all the drama and with a band. 😉 So, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for if you want sort of a funny, light-hearted high school slice of life show; it’s …quieter than that. But if you’re looking for a break from all the sugar, this is a really nice change of pace.
Speaking of the band, the BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad was a good band (I say it’s "good" because I am not a fan of rap-rock music). Earlier in the series, when Ryuusuke was talking about chemistry in a band and stuff, I did see the chemistry among the five. First you have Ryuusuke, who reeks of pure rocker, Taira, the mysterious bass player, Chiba, the crazy rapper/singer, Saku, the awesome drummer and even Koyuki, who irritates me sometimes, the wide eyed lead singer/ budding artist.
These guys make wicked music. It’s definitely not typical j-rock, it actually sounds modern and americanized. A lot of the songs were in english, but there were definitely a few mistakes in grammar (These grammatical mistakes can also be found in between dialogues with Ryuusuke, Maho and all them americanized Japanese kids). The mistakes are just minor ones anyway that can be overlooked. A few of my favorites are "Hit in the USA", "My world coming down", and "Moon on the water", who are supposedly sang by the fictional band, DyBre. I also like the insert song provided by the band "The Pillows" which makes their cameo as "The Heroes", Taira’s 4th band.
I mentioned that Koyuki irritated me sometimes. I just don’t like the fact that he gets picked on everywhere he goes. Is there some sort of sign in his head that says "bully bait" or something? I also hated it when he cried. He is such a crybaby. I know he’s a kid and all, but I never met a 14-year old boy who would cry at the drop of a hat. He did win me over during the parts when he would sing. His Japanese accent was heavy when he would sing the english songs, but he does have a considerably good voice.
In the beginning of the review I said the drawings were sub par, and that’s mainly because the characters were not proportionate, but then again, all anime characters are not drawn proportionately anyway. I did like the different look, cause in a way I was getting tired of the usual way anime are drawn, as well as weird hair and eye colors. As I’ve said, the storyline does make up for it. Other than that, the inanimate objects are seemingly drawn well. The guitars and cars had very intricate details, and it almost looked life like. Even the electric fan earlier in the series was well designed.
The voice acting was also good. I like the fact that the american characters sounded like americans, and even the italian american guy had the accent going. I did kind of think that Eddie and Ryuusuke kind of sounded like hip hoppers more than rockers, but A for effort anyway.
It was a really good anime, and I hope there’s going to be a sequel. I want to know what happens next!
The anime pretty much pays homage to music it’s dedicated too which is “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Soft-Rock inspired for its music tracks. Consist of good guitar plays and rock music that enforces the anime strength when it comes to the sound and music department. The show previews a lot of references on historically known western rock bands like the Stones, Zeppelin, and Beatles, and others alike. It also has some English that is good enough that it sounds natural even if it’s not purely grammatically correct from time to time. The English Dub version does polish the language further for the western audience. But I am here to talk about beck as a whole, not by the discussion whether the original Japanese or the dub English version is a better pick-up.
Beck is a story of growth, dedication, adventure, and trials in life. To succeed in the hardship in life, one must have hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck. This message is fully illustrated to the audience by seeing the daily life of our main protagonist Yukio, Tanaka or well known by the nickname “Koyuki”. We are able to see his growth from being an aimless, weak-willed, and zero confidence teenager to a goal-oriented, dedicated, and well-respected character over the span of 26 episodes.
It introduces us to a couple of interesting characters like Maho and Ryuusuke that stirred up the plot dynamics and Koyuki’s motivation in life. Each new character introduce serves as a narrative of change in Koyuki Life that made the show move forward. Some characters remain static and some forgotten entirely at some point in the show, but there are other characters that got a fair share of development. Though for me, the show would benefit more if we get to know more about the other band members of Beck’s side of the story, especially Ryuusuke story that I found more interesting than Koyukis.
When it comes to artistic presentation. Beck is somewhat a contrast to other show’s art style and color design that is airing at the time. While anime uses multi bright colors and flashy character design for audience appeal. Beck throws that out of the water and chooses the complete opposite. Starting with the color choices, the show is consistent with dimmed colors like grey and dull colors that emit a small amount of light that made the show seems dark even in broad daylight.
The character design is much more grounded, with only a few features that distinguish them from each other. People will point out that Beck has low production value, on so why it doesn’t look like an eye-candy show, but for me in understanding the creator’s intention and given it made by MADHOUSE, a studio that excels in varying styles and cinematic composition over the years, in my viewpoint this is intentional in the melodramatic mood and atmosphere of the show.
In conclusion, the show is worth checking out if you’re interested in watching something different in the medium. It’s down to earth from its platonic romance and its simple humor. The story is progressively steady pace, even if the time-lapse per scene is consists of days up to weeks skip within just one episode. The show has a lot of good soundtracks and my favorite might be “Hit in the USA” by Beat Crusaders and “Moon on the Water” by Sowelu. If only the show has more episodes and a much more solid conclusion I would love it more. I do admit I did get bored in the show’s lack of spice from time to time but it’s part of the experience. Overall a good show of its genre that I wish it could offer more. Because 26 episodes are not enough to finish the journey.
A story about mediocre characters band together that aim for something big even with the flaws and insecurity. Once you get past the unconventionally common art style and color pallet, you will be rewarded with an anime with good characters and some memorable music to stick in your own playlist.
MAL Score: 8.80
Dr. Kenzou Tenma, an elite neurosurgeon recently engaged to his hospital director’s daughter, is well on his way to ascending the hospital hierarchy. That is until one night, a seemingly small event changes Dr. Tenma’s life forever. While preparing to perform surgery on someone, he gets a call from the hospital director telling him to switch patients and instead perform life-saving brain surgery on a famous performer. His fellow doctors, fiancée, and the hospital director applaud his accomplishment; but because of the switch, a poor immigrant worker is dead, causing Dr. Tenma to have a crisis of conscience.
So when a similar situation arises, Dr. Tenma stands his ground and chooses to perform surgery on the young boy Johan Liebert instead of the town’s mayor. Unfortunately, this choice leads to serious ramifications for Dr. Tenma—losing his social standing being one of them. However, with the mysterious death of the director and two other doctors, Dr. Tenma’s position is restored. With no evidence to convict him, he is released and goes on to attain the position of hospital director.
Nine years later when Dr. Tenma saves the life of a criminal, his past comes back to haunt him—once again, he comes face to face with the monster he operated on. He must now embark on a quest of pursuit to make amends for the havoc spread by the one he saved.
The writing in Monster is exceptional. The pace is a slow burn that smartly captivates the viewer with moments of shock, awe, and depravity, which are masterfully combined with well executed moments of anticipation and proper denouement. Once the show has established the setting and many of the players, the series begins a thrilling, rollercoaster of action, suspense and character development. Viewer will rarely feel as though they have missed an important piece of information, and will instead find themselves riveted to the screen as the overarching mystery unfurls.
Dialogue is not wasted in frivolity for Monster. The anxious atmosphere is enhanced with carefully crafted lines that provide insight into characters’ personalities and cast shadows of suspicion. The intelligent interconnectedness of all the characters, especially towards the climax of the show, speaks volumes about the care given to crafting living individuals in appropriate circumstances.
The art both augments tone and adds layers of character to the series. The dynamic use of light and shadow often creates red-herrings, skewing the faces of particular characters into unforgiving masks. Character designs stand out for their realism and attention to facial structure, especially regarding emotions. Variety in body type distinguishes characters, allowing viewers to immediately recognize someone from their visage, or even their silhouette, without hesitation. Characters who are old look old, with age lines harrowed into sagging skin. There are distinct differences given to dissimilar nationalities, so much so that the viewer can easily determine whether a character is of Asian, Slavic, or Middle-Eastern decent.
The background art is a feat in and of itself. There is a wonderful variety spreading from pastoral vineyards to dilapidated cities. German towns and districts such as Düsseldorf, Bavaria, and Hamburg are executed to a near photorealistic quality that extends into the Czech Republic and France.
Everyone in the voice acting crew does well. They suit their characters perfectly and never falter, even in the more dramatic scenes. Sasaki, Isobe, and Kiuchi (Johan, Lunge, and Tenma respectively), give outstanding performances that express the complexity of the emotions, personalities, and experiences of their characters.
The sound effects used throughout the series serve to add an additional layer of realism. As a testament to Monster’s focus on being accurate even in minute details, each gunshot correctly reflects the weapon which was used to fire it.
The OP gives you a hint of what to expect and the ED, “For the Love of Life” by David Sylvian, is one of the spookiest ending themes in anime. The soundtrack should also be commended for its spectacular use of subtlety. It truly fits the idea of “background music,” often setting the tone of the scene with a simple phrase. Additionally, whilst the series has a relatively limited tracklist, the music never feels repetitive.
Perhaps Monster’s greatest strength lies in the depth of its characters, with the main cast representing some of the strongest leads in the genre, whilst those in the supporting roles are often defined far better than the regular cast in many other series. The show manages to bring its characters to life with extraordinary clarity, and although viewers will be “dazzled” by the quality of the lead roles, they may often find themselves growing attached to the minor characters over the course of the series.
The centrepiece of the series is the complex relationship between the Tenma and Johann. Tenma’s emotional, physical, and psychological transitions lead the audience through a complex maze of issues regarding personal and social morality. This is remarkably achieved without losing Tenma’s basic humanity or resorting to didacticism, and contrasts sharply with Johan’s manipulations and calculations which strike a cold, appallingly realistic note with the audience.
The supporting ensemble does a great job of adding intensity and gravity to the relationship between Tenma and Johan. They are all well crafted and executed, and often have their own demons and battles that remind the audience of what precisely lies in the balance between good and evil. Discovering why these people are the way they are and how they relate to each other is half the journey as a viewer.
From its brilliant characters with outstanding development, to its well-paced story and realistic setting, Monster will leave you on the edge of your seat. Finding a show like this is a real treat, and whilst 74 episodes may seem daunting, it is utterly worthwhile in light of the great journey taken. The show’s dramatic storyline and intrigue filled atmosphere will keep you guessing, thinking, and feeling. The complex issues and relationships addressed throughout mark this as one of the most unique anime to appear in many years, and the questions it asks should be confronted by everyone at least once.
Monster is a true rarity in anime. The quality of its story, cast and production have earned it widespread acclaim, even garnering it plaudits from the “hate what’s popular” clique. It is both entertaining and enlightening, and the sheer depth of the series has led to it being widely regarded as a modern classic of anime.
This review is the final result of a review team composed of members from the “Critics and Connoisseurs” club. The team original members were:
Lowell – Writer
Calla – Writer
Sai_notts – Writer
Revisions were done by:
noteDhero – Writer/Editor
naikou – Writer/Editor
Editing was done by:
Here are their individual scorings for the show:
Category – noteDhero, naikou
Story – 10, 10
Art – 9, 9
Sound – 9, 9
Character – 10, 10
Enjoyment – 10, 10
Overall – 10, 10
In the club wide poll held for Monster it received an average overall rating of 9.16
Those who have seen Monster can attest collectively (whether they liked it or not) to how incredibly uncomfortable and unconventional this show is. The topic of evil is proactively exploited through revealing the extent of human depravity in conjunction with exploring matters like child abuse, mass murder, collective brainwashing, human experimentation, the value of life, and so much more. These are some themes that most people make a conscious effort to keep as far away from as possible, yet Monster sits those rights next to the viewer, maybe even introduces them. It’s a slow descent into a world consumed by violence, angst, murder, and retribution. Yet for every larger “evil”, there is always a counterbalance, a small ray of love and redemption. Thus, Monster reinvents the classic dichotomy of good and evil and does so masterfully.
It doesn’t take very long for this show to become an addiction, a classic, a novelty, that one can’t help but indulge in completely and it’s clear why.
Monster takes the viewer into a world where the line between good and evil is rapidly dissipating; subsequently creating a dark yet realistic environment that is inexplicably terrifying. The story centralizes around a brilliant neurosurgeon Kenzo Tenma, who practices in a distinguished hospital in Germany. He lives a perfect life, with his ideal fiancé and top-notch position. His utopian world abruptly comes to an end when he makes the decision to save a young boy, Johann Liebert. The story from this point starts to slowly unravel and spans into a riveting 74-episode long journey, in which, Tenma aims to correct the mistake that he made by seemingly saving the young Liebert and in the process exposing a shocking reality that will change the course of his life and those he encounters.
*74-episodes?* Yes, and by God, every single episode was worth it. Fillers are almost non-existent in this show. The real point to marvel at is the way this anime bitch-slaps the viewer with its unparalleled twists and turns.
The structure and pacing of this show is incredible. Much of the show is divided into various character arcs (many that Tenma encounters on his journey), who at first seem unrelated to the overarching plot, but every character and their allocated story plays a role into solving the mystery of the “Monster”. That is precisely what makes this show ingenious. The story-telling and plot are perfect not just structurally but also substantially. Monster is filled with philosophical concepts that pick at the viewer’s brain consistently and these very uncomfortable notions are the fundamental blocks of the show.
The pacing is skillfully crafted and although slow, it captures the audience with its invigorating interactions and development. There are instances in the show that display rare moments of hope, altruism, and dare I say “humanism” to balance out the overbearing debauchery and utter hopelessness. Therefore, the extensive span of this show is well justified because of the intricacy of this story, that would not have been nearly as compelling if it was shortened. In essence, DO NOT LET “74” EPS TURN YOU OFF, because at the end of episode 74, you will climax, for hours.
The animation compliments the story beautifully. An important component that attributes to the success of any story is the setting. With its accurate and picturesque illustrations, the setting not only enhances the overall anime, but brings the viewer into the story as well. Tenma’s journey takes him on a wild goose chase, landing him in the most obscure of places, but the animation displays each and every place remarkably.
It is obvious, the time that was spent in creating the physical attributes of each specific character. They are all designed realistically and are quite personable. Therefore, this isn’t the anime to go to for bug-eyed, “watermelon-chested” and disproportional characters. The characters are simple, real, and sympathetic, in the sense that the viewer could step into their shoes. As their individual story progresses, the character evolve visually as well. The characters are blessed with this physical realism that is subtle yet evoking.
The accompanying music and dialogue were nearly flawless in Monster. First, the music was not overbearing, instead it fine-tuned the mood and heightened the senses of the viewer. The OP stays consistently the same throughout the anime and for good reason. It is so goddamn creepy yet alluring, that it’s the perfect opening for this masterpiece (same with the ending song). The music throughout the anime is just as fitting. There isn’t an extensive soundtrack for Monster, just relevant music that fits every situation ideally. Second, the creepy atmosphere is ubiquitous in this show and nothing helps that factor more than the music and dialogue.
Dialogue was a personal favorite in this anime. This is simply because the dialogue was so well-written and nothing was ever “out-of-character”. From the colloquial interactions to some of the most enlightening statements, the dialogue had a mix of everything, but it was never over-the-top. The voices of the respective characters couldn’t have been any more appropriate (subbed version). Everyone played their part magnificently and after watching the show, it was apparent just how apt the voice actors were especially in regards to the main cast.
Whether one loved a character or hated a character, it can be safely asserted that the characters of Monster are undeniably some of the best and unforgettable. Granted that the two main characters of the series, Tenma and Johann are crafted and developed meticulously well, one must recognize the range of supporting characters that were superb as well. Often times, one will end up admiring them more so, partly because of the effort put into molding all of the characters and making them wholesome, both main and supporting. There are no instances of incomplete characterization.
Tenma’s journey manifests vicariously through Johann; both characters are crucial to one another, for they essentially give each other meaning. Their characters are absolutely vital and the anime does not fall short in delivering that. Tenma and Johann can be considered a dichotomous pair: Every move they make, every sentence they say, every facial expression they make, progresses their character just a little closer to that dichotomy. The overarching themes are personified through these characters and the viewer really gets to immerse themselves in the decisions that these two make. Tenma’s and Johann’s development as characters cannot be simply deconstructed. However, they can be considered almost existential by nature due to the explicitly absurd experiences and the importance that “existence rather than essence” plays in defining their characters. There is no doubt that the amount of hours and work that went through in creating these two characters, they truly transcend the customary.
The supporting cast is just as essential because they are the means that help this anime arrive at a successful end. The supporting characters really make one realize that this anime isn’t about the end, rather everything that leads to it. Simply, it’s about the means to the end instead of the end itself. That’s the imperative role that each and every supporting role plays in this anime. None of these characters are half-assed, but constructed carefully and logically, and help not only propel the main characters closer to the truth, but the viewers themselves. The best part of this anime is the familiarity it brings to its viewers in terms of character(s). No one can feel indifferent or nonchalant towards the characters in this anime because of the way each individual’s story and feelings are depicted. The main characters, although some change in major ways throughout the show, remain loyal to their core disposition. The character construction and development in Monster is awe-inspiring and commendable.
Even with masterpieces I personally find flawless, there are some issues that I can address for the sake of reviewing:
1. The abrupt halt in some arcs: Sometimes when a sub-arc within Monster came to an end, it would conclude at a point that would be absolutely frustrating and wouldn’t pick up again. This was only a problem because it left some questions unanswered (not really pertaining to the bigger picture), but it felt a bit incomplete in terms of that specific story.
2. Convoluted explanations: Perhaps this was just a contrived adaptation “problem” (maybe it was better executed in the manga), and I use “problem” very loosely. However, at certain crucial points, where certain mysteries are being revealed, there tended to be an intentional veil always hovering over it as to keep the viewer confused. Then a little later, things would get resolved, and the resolution would seem a bit far-fetched. Although, this is something that played in favor for this anime for the most part, it got irritating at times.
Overall Enjoyment 10/10
Monster is truly a show that reinvents the normative standards for a “masterpiece”. It is the quintessential mystery. With its superb plot –driven, character-driven story, it enraptures the viewers from the beginning and leaves them insatiable at the end of every episode, while completely satisfying them by the finale. One cannot hope for anything more than the kind of adaption this anime brings to life.
That being said, this anime isn’t for everyone nor would I recommend it as a must-watch to just anyone. Monster resurrects a horrifying world that is so realistic but feels so surreal to the viewer. It deals with a world that no one would want to deal with and shows experiences that no one would want to experience. Yet, it engages the viewer completely. Therefore, if you crave an original mystery, a thought-provoking story, an unconventional tale that will shake your very core, then I suggest, you get acquainted with “Monster”.
But Monster lives up to every word of the praise it gets.
The story of Monster begins fairly simply. A skilled Neurosurgeon named Kenzo Tenma is due to perform an operation on a patient, but is called away to operate on a popular singer instead. The singer’s life is saved, but his original patient dies. Dr. Tenma is, soon after, called away from another operation due to the mayor needing his services, but this time, he declines, and instead operates on the patient he was originally supposed to save. The operation is a success, but this time, the mayor instead dies. For his insolence, Tenma is to be demoted and replaced… but at the last second, everyone standing in his way is mysteriously killed.
Years later, Tenma’s career is back on track, and he is enjoying a successful life doing what he does best. But one day, a string of bizarre serial murders winds up leading to one of Tenma’s patients. Amidst the investigation surrounding him, the patient disappears… Tenma follows, only to see his patient murdered before his eyes, by the orchestrator of the serial killings… Johan Liebert, the boy whose life he chose to save those years ago.
What follows is 70+ episodes of Tenma’s frantic search to find the boy he saved, and fix his mistake. Along the way, we meet some of the most unique and interesting, yet believably human characters in the history of anime, matched with amazing, compelling subplots, with all of these both answering mysteries regarding, and yet at the same time, furthering the question: Who is Johan Liebert, and what is he trying to do?
While the 70 episode runtime can be daunting, Monster is a worthy investment of time. While it is driven by compelling mysteries that make you want to watch more, Monster is just as much about enjoying the journey as it is reaching the destination. To hold the viewer’s attention for 74 episodes is a feat in of itself, but Monster goes beyond that… it’s a show that, once you start watching, you’ll never want to stop. Monster is in the master class of suspense. It keeps a constant stream of new twists and developments that, while plentiful, never feel contrived. The characters are both strong and numerous, but while there are countless cast members, unlike many shows where there are large amounts of characters that are completely useless and contribute nothing to the plot, every character in Monster brings something to the mix. Not only that, but they are rarely left open-ended, as Urasawa makes sure to bring back characters from previous arcs, using each one to their fullest extent.
The brilliance of Monster also extends past the plot to the production. While Naoki Urasawa’s art style is better suited to pen and paper than it is to animation, it doesn’t take long to get used to, and the detail is quite noticeable. The genius in Urasawa’s distinctive style is in the way he draws faces. The cartoony, yet detailed features have a strange level of warmth to them, but they can also be used to create truly intimidating expressions, ranging from death glares to blank, glassy-eyed gazes. The directing is also top-notch, cutting no corners to create a perfect adaptation to the manga.
Also of note is the soundtrack. Every song on it is a fantastic piece of music, beautifully married to the scene it accompanies. Many pieces are subtle, yet brilliant… The Seeds of Time, for example, rather than going for full-on, orchestral bombastics, eases in with quiet, yet tension-ridden power that gradually rises, making for several of the most stunning scenes in the entire series. The opening and ending themes are also very strong… the opening theme, Grain, would have to be, as it is the opening for the entire course of the 74 episode series. The ending themes, For The Love of Life and Make It Home, are strange, ethereal, haunting songs, and match the “Monster With No Name” theme of the series that is used in the ending credits perfectly.
As for the voice acting, both languages have a very strong cast. In terms of acting quality, the Japanese is the better of the two, if not by a wide margin, featuring several great performances, the highlight of which is Nozomu Sasaki’s dead-on, creepy take on Johan. However, while the acting is slightly inferior in the dub, the casting is considerably better. Richard Epcar is perfect for the role of Detective Lunge, and Patrick Seitz’ deep tones and off-kilter performance are a great match for the eerily poker-faced Wolfgang Grimmer. The only actor who seems off in the dub is Keith Silverstein’s work as Johan, which feels rather unnatural, and overshadowed by his superior Japanese counterpart. Overall, I would recommend the dub, but it’s hard to go wrong with either language.
Now, as much as I hate to say it, Monster isn’t quite perfect. It’s probably as close as you’re likely to find, but it does have one problem. Whilst not so much a fault as a double-edged sword, Urasawa’s storytelling technique of switching off to another location whenever the plot starts to get tired can be somewhat problematic. Don’t get me wrong… as a storytelling technique, it’s a very good one. It helps to keep the viewer’s interest and stop the plot from getting stale, and also features prominently in Urasawa’s later works, 20th Century Boys and Pluto. The problem is that on some occasions, it gets overused. While Monster is nowhere near as big an offender for this as 20th Century Boys is, it goes off on new plot threads that, while enjoyable, don’t really lend anything to the plot. While they often develop into full-fledged and brilliant story arcs, they sometimes end up going nowhere, and in a series where the viewer is dying to find out more, this can be somewhat distracting.
However, any complaints against this series are completely and utterly silenced by the ending. The final six episodes are probably the best in the entire series. The remaining cast members are all given a triumphant finale, as the tension reaches its absolute peak, and it is thoroughly clear that this is what the entire series was leading to. With the exception of one small Deus ex Machina that I shall not name due to spoilers, everything about it is a flawlessly executed conclusion.
Monster probably isn’t something that beginners to anime would enjoy. If you enjoy the medium for the abundant exaggeration, then this probably isn’t up your alley. This is more of a classic, cat and mouse detective series than anything you regularly see in anime, and if that sounds like your sort of thing then Monster is an absolute must-watch.
Final Words: Exemplary in every single aspect, from the story, to the characters, to the writing, to the directing.
English Dub: 9/10
For Fans Of: Pluto, Gankutsuou.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
3. Major S1
4. Major S2
6. Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven
7. Hachimitsu to Clover
8. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s
9. Paradise Kiss
10. Ueki no Housoku