They’re the best Anime that 2000 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Yami no Matsuei, Dokidoki?Densetsu: Mahoujin Guruguru, Digimon Adventure 02, and more!
10: Yami no Matsuei
English: Descendants of Darkness
MAL Score: 7.05
Even after death, life is full of paperwork and criminals. Tsuzuki Asato is a 26 year old, happy-go-lucky, and dorky shinigami (god of death) whose job is to makes sure that those who are dead remain dead and stay in their proper realms. Even though he’s had this job for over 70 years, he is in the worst division with horrible pay. He also has a knack for not keeping partners (since shinigami work in pairs), but now he seems to have one that will stick around; stubborn, smart-mouthed, serious and defensive 16 year old, Kurosaki Hisoka. With each case they investigate, they come closer to the conspiracies of the serial killer Dr. Muraki Kazutaka. Tsuzuki’s relationship with Hisoka is growing stronger and closer…but there is a dark past to how Tsuzuki died that will not give him peace.
Descendants of Darkness is based on the manga of the same name. It follows four major story arcs of the manga. Three episodes comprise each of the first three arcs while the last four episodes focus on the fourth. Since the anime leaves off where the manga caries on (the manga isn’t finished either), the ending doesn’t really offer a true conclusion and a lot of questions are left unanswered. Fans of the manga might also be disappointed that a lot of the manga’s characters are either left out or shoved into the background.
Despite these unfortunate circumstances, I think that the anime more than does the manga justice. In fact, I find it to be an improvement over the manga. While some of the humor and silliness are there, the anime takes on a more serious tone, capitalizing more on the angst, mystery, and supernatural element of the story. The art and music are also absolutely beautiful! Descendants of Darkness has a superb soundtrack which is well worth downloading or even buying! Aside from the characters being beautiful, the monsters and magic are also magnificently rendered. Even though it isn’t really a fighting anime, the action sequences should be awesome enough to please those who would otherwise be bored with the drama.
The series consists mostly of fairly mediocre characters, yet it has what I consider to be one of the greatest villains in anime history. Tsuzuki and Hisoka are the protagonists of our story. They are likable characters overall. Tsuzuki is a real sweety despite being a little bit dense and childlike at times. Hisoka has a little bit of an attitude problem at first, but once it becomes apparent where he is coming from, you can’t help but sympathize with the guy. Watari and Tatsumi are minor characters who had significantly larger roles in the manga. For the most part, they are just there. They don’t really add that much to the anime, but they don’t detract from it either. The Gushoshin twins are the only characters that could really be considered annoying. This is mostly because they seem a bit out of place (being two cutesy little talking birds in an otherwise human cast).
Our antagonist Dr. Muraki gets his own paragraph since no couple of sentences could possibly do him justice. He is the subject of much admiration as well as loathing from DoD fans, and he deserves every bit of both. Practically everything he does is just horrific and despicable, but he is so cool and gorgeous and entertaining that you can almost forgive him for being the monster he is. He desires Tsuzuki’s body both carnally and scientifically. The scientific reason is revealed later and it gives Muraki’s character quite a bit more depth, though you are longing for much more once the anime ends.
While the show isn’t technically shounen-ai (gay male romance), it contains a lot of hints and fanservice. It is very easy to read in an attraction between our two heroes. I personally believe in this attraction, but other fans are free to form their own interpretations. Muraki is much less ambiguous and regularly molests Tsuzuki. This lust Muraki has for Tsuzuki is clearly one-sided, but it makes for some rather hot homoerotic material (even though nothing overtly sexual actually happens).
The show masquerades a bit as a mystery series. In reality, the mysteries aren’t really any big puzzle. As the audience, we basically know that Muraki is behind everything (with the exception of episodes 4-6). And while the story isn’t particularly imaginative as far as anime goes, the characters and the art make it more than worthwhile. All in all, I can’t think of any reason to dislike this series unless you’re either homophobic or a hardcore manga snob. But we can’t please everybody, can we?
Our narrative opens with a meeting of Shinigami. There have been unusual deaths in Nagasaki in which the victim’s have been drained of blood and left with twin puncture marks on their necks. The shinigami in charge of that sector, Tsuzuki, is sent to rendezvous with his new partner, Kurosaki Hisoka, and investigate. They find out that there’s a lot going on that isn’t readily apparent and have their first encounter with the villainous Doctor Muraki, which sets the stage for their partnership going into further missions.
The only major complaint I have about the story is the pacing. I will give J.C. Staff credit for trying to cover all the important plot details of the arcs they look at while leaving room for character moments, but it doesn’t always work very well. There are several plot elements that get skimmed over or that wind up being inadequately explained or rushed through. One minor issue I had was with the “horror” classification. While there are some dark and disturbing elements to the series, it’s really not scary in the slightest. Part of it is that it has a lot of comedic moments that are kind of goofy and part of it is that the characters largely face the dark situations with courage and the conviction to solve them. There are certainly times where you worry about them, but it really doesn’t work as horror when the characters have the power ad will to reasonably be able to conquer the problem.
Those issues aside, there is a lot that the series does well. It has a strong sense of dramatic tension, with every arc having some good build up and with the antagonists being legitimately menacing. The humour is also used to great effect. It’s used to wind down from tense moments or for character moments before the action starts rising so it doesn’t clash with the tension. It also helps create a good contrast between the serious, dark content and the lighter moments. Which helps make the dark moments more intense. As opposed to a series where the characters are always needlessly angsty and it has no impact when things turn serious. The series is also good about treating its dark content with gravity and respect.
There are some really great characters in this series. I do like that Tsuzuki is a largely happy guy since it does enhance the effect when things do go wrong and he goes through a difficult time. I also like that he does know when to be serious, particularly when someone’s life is on the line. Hisoka plays perfectly off of Tsuzuki. He’s more serious and mature but not to an extreme point. As such, the two complement one another very well. Muraki is the type of villain who is just irredeemable and infinitely hateable. Rather like Tenzen from Basilisk, but more interesting. On a side note, Tenzen and Muraki have the same voice actor. The side characters have some interesting moments as well, although they are less developed. Watari and Tatsumi are both really good characters with some great scenes. The series also does well at developing the characters who need help from the shinigami so that you do get invested in them and hope for them to get out of their situations safely.
The art is really good. The character designs are spectacular and have unique elements to them without being really outlandish. Particularly characters like Muraki and Tsuzuki who have distinctive eyes. The backgrounds have great details and there are some really strong action sequences. However, there is one issue with the action. Some of the special techniques, though they look cool, do get reused without much change. Rather like the special attacks of a magical girl anime, but in a series that’s a lot more serious.
There are some really good performances in this. Miki Shinichiro, Brotherhood’s Roy Mustang, does a great job as Tsuzuki. Hayami Show gives a very intimidating performance as Muraki. Asano Mayumi, Wolf’s Rain’s Blue, also gives a really strong performance as Hisoka. Really, there are no weak links in the cast. The music is nice and atmospheric.
This series has quite a bit of yaoi. Some of the scenes are screwed up and disturbing, specifically the ones with Muraki. Others are really heart-warming and adorable. Mostly the ones with Tsuzuki and Hisoka. There are also some other guys who seem to have crushes on Tsuzuki. The content isn’t really graphic, but there’s certainly quite a bit. The ho-yay factor is going to be a 7/10.
Yami no Matsuei is a really good series, in spite of a few issues. It has a strong narrative, great characters, amazing art, and good performances. If you’re a fan of supernatural drama it won’t disappoint. My final rating is going to be an 8/10. Next week, horror anime month continues with Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari.
9: Dokidoki Densetsu: Mahoujin Guruguru
English: Magical Circle Guru Guru 2
Japanese: ドキドキ 伝説 魔法陣グルグル
MAL Score: 7.17
Join the new legend of Guruguru, where Nike, the reluctant hero, and Kukuri, the innocent heroine, return to save the world. The magical adventure that unfolds, with its unique monsters and eccentric characters, is sure to draw you into this curious and exciting realm.
To save the world from evil King Giri, Kukuri must locate the monsters in each territory and win them, one by one, over to her side. Meanwhile Nike’s task is to be recognized by the Four Kings of Nature and collect their swords. These swords are known as the “Sword of Wind,” the “Sword of Water,” the “Sword of Earth” and the “Sword of Fire.”
Can Nike and Kukuri truly become hero and heroine? Follow their journey and find out!
the art seems to be the same but more 3D… and I really hate it. The sound seems to me the same. As for the character, they changed a little in a bad way but this isn’t the fact that it deceive me the most. They have gone overboard about the embarass moment, in a way that I can’t suport it anymore. I can’t find out what age it is made for. For children? NO WAY. For adolescent? NO WAY. For adult? NO WAY. You will find out what I am talking about when you reach to the episode 20 and + Althrough this is bad, the Mahoujin Guru Guru 1 isn’t the same!! The first one is way more interesting and fun to watch. I hope they will remake it…
8: Digimon Adventure 02
English: Digimon Adventure 02
MAL Score: 7.23
Taichi Yagami and his friends have moved on to junior high, but by that time, they have lost contact with their Digimon partners. Taichi is therefore surprised to suddenly receive a distress call summoning him to the Digital World. Once there, he learns that Digimon are living in fear of the mysterious Digimon Emperor, who is somehow suppressing their ability to Digivolve!
In the real world, Hikari Yagami and Takeru Takaishi reunite in the same fifth grade class. They share three schoolmates: Daisuke Motomiya, who reminds them both of Taichi; Miyako Inoue, a technical wizard; and Iori Hida, Miyako’s neighbor. When these three children receive “D-3” Digivices, they—along with Hikari and Takeru, who still possess their own original Digivices—comprise the new generation of “Chosen Children” who must save the world once again. With the power of the Armored Digi-Eggs, they must thwart the Digimon Emperor’s plans to spread his influence over the entire Digital World.
Storywise: The storytelling is not bad, but much has changed, including the pace; Digimon Adventure had 5 story arcs, each 10 to 14 episodes long, which allowed it to move at a pace that never felt too quickly or too slow, each arc started and ended properly. Here… not su much; we have 3 story arcs, one of 21 episodes, then one of 17 and the last one of 12 episodes. We find some filler episodes in the first one, some ongoing character problems on the second (I’ll fill that in the next section) and a rushed and convulted final arc that tries to make up for what is kind of a lagging season by bombing us with too much material that never gets developed (Demon, for instance).
Now, don’t be fooled; despite all its flaws the storytelling is still enjoyable, there are still mature themes around and the air of greatness of Digimon Adventure, however the flaws are too notorious and the characters also dragg it down, but I have to admit that they are all thought through, none of them comes out of thin air (give or take the final arc) and they all get somewhat their propper ending.
The plot is not as good as the first Digimon series, but the potential is there. Now, why wasn’t it fully used? Mainly, characters problems.
Character: Here is where Adventure 02 just outright failed. Remember how amazingly outlined the characters from the first Digimon series were? Remember how they were just broadstrokes that got developed into fully fleshed out character and how amazing was that the crest of each character represented the very scent of how they were? Well, Digimon 02 mainly hopes you forgot about all that.
We still have our main 8 characters from the first series, but 6 are downgraded to supporting roles, while 2 remain and 3 new character join (one more joins lare on). Now these 3 characters are the main trouble of Digimon 02.
Daisuke (aka Davis): he is arrogant, he is reckless, and he is a good guy deep down, we have our most stereotypical hero! Of course, that wouldn’t be a trouble with the propper character work, but here there is… none. There is no background to explain Daisuke’s personality, whereas in Adventure we had backgrounds for each character. We know he has issues with her sister, but that never gets developed (not to mention we never get to know his parents). As the series goes forward Daisuke changes and matures, for no apparent reason; granted, being in the digital world fighting monsters does change people, but Daisuke’s change really came without propper building up. He passed from annoying to tollerable, but mainly he was just plot fodder. But he is not nearly the worst character.
Miyako (aka Joley): now here is a character that mostly everyone will hate! Why is that? Miyako is all talk and no action. She is energetic and sometimes you picture her as the optimistic one, but as soon as she get into the real danger she freaks out and it takes her about 5 minutes of screen time to realize she has to fight. As the series progress her character is mostly ignored and she is left with her characteristic energetic self and food lover life personality, with no development whatsoever or any background at all.
Iori (aka Kodi): Want someone as annoying as Miyako? Iori might be the one. He is rigid and barely makes an expression, if any. Unlike the previous two, this character does have a background which is not only in sync with his personality, but actually linked with the final arc and despite being kind of interesting, the character himself remains the same for about the whole show, with no actual changes and nothing more than his usual poker face.
Takeru (TK) and Hikari (Kari): They came from the previous series, so everything should be ok, right? Sadly no; both Takeru and Hikari are mainly ignored in this series. Takeru has about 3 good character moments in the show in the first arc, and then acts as plot fodder later on. Hikari is… well, I wouldn’t know, she really doesn’t fullfil any function here, give or take going to the dark sea world or supporting the rest on battle.
Ken: Here is a character that actually got good treatment; he is given a nice background which is consistent with his personality, he is conflicted, and while shy he is mainly likeable for showing the brave to move forward and attone for his wrongs. He is the only one that actually gets good character moments and a character arc that is mainly involved in the plot. Sadly 1 out of 6 doesn’t make the cut for good character treatment.
Music: Gladly, the OST from the previous series remains here with the addition of some more tracks made just for this one, which are good. The opening theme, while not as amazing as the one seen in Digimon Adventure, is actually pretty good, both endings are also good, and the tracks that plays in the new evolutions moments are quite nice (specially the one when jogress evolution is made). So, yeah, still a 10 if you ask me.
Enjoyment: For all its faults and failures in the character department, I still think I like this Digimon series. It has some very bad moments that made me ask myself “why am I watching this crap?” Followed by some very glorious moments that kept me on the edge of my seat and reply “Oh, yeah. That’s why”. Sure, if I had to grade each episodes, most of them would be on the range of C to B-, but there would surely be straigh As in the ways, but sadly some Ds or Fs too. As a whole, the enjoyment is fair: you get some very clunky, cheesy and boring moments, but you also get profounds and exciting ones (thank you BlackWarGreymon! And Taichi and the rest too for that matter), and as such the enjoyement is in thin line between fair and good.
Stray observations (funny facts and bits of information I got while watching the series):
-Did you know that originally Adventure 02 had 64 episodes, but the order got cut to 50 somewhere around the way because of low rating? Now we may understand why the finale felt so rushed.
-There was supposed to be a rivalry between Daisuke and Takeru, but that gets forgotten at some point and then Daisuke just ignores Takeru; and they want to make us believe they are friends…
-Daisuke and Ken, Miyako and Hikari, all got some good character moments and emotional pep talks previous to achieving jogress evolution. Takeru and Iori got it by having Takeru tell Iori “have faith: well, that escalated pretty quickly
-Demon (being sent to the dark world in episode 45): “you’ll regret this”. Apperantly this was set up for Digimon Adventure 03, which you know ended up being tamer so… no, they never regreted it. Besides, what was his purpose in the first place? We’ll never know.
-Ken (in episode 42): “por favor déjeme entrar” Ken, tu español no es malo, de hecho mejor que el de mucho japoneses, pero no deja de ser raro escucharlo.
-Best character: BlackWarGreymon, surely, as he is a sympatetic villian at first and then a tragic hero. His arc is also the high point of the series, as he wonders for the meaning of life; he surely got the best character treatment, closely followed by Ken.
-Worst character: Miyako, surely, clossely followed by Iori.
-Daisuke (in the finale) “I want to have a ramen shop!” Ken: “I never knew about this”. Nobody did Ken, and nobody even cared.
-Award for most forgotten character from Adventure: Mimi, somehow the writers though sending one of their most developed characters into USA would make the cut. They were wrong. Also, I think Sora was pretty much forgotten too.
That’s it for now! I hope you liked this review
Next up: How Digimon Tamers triumphed by denying it had a past!
No matter how you look at it – you’ll compare it to the first season. Where the first season had 8 original characters, all with an amazing background, unique in every way, this series simply does not have the same amount of effort put into it. Daisuke is even bolder than Taichi was, to the extent of you wanting to smack him in the face. Big time. The same with Veemon. He’s like Daisuke, and thus, annoying as hell. Didn’t grow to either one of them.
As for Miyako – wow. She’s even more annoying. She’s that one girl that nobody really hates, but has no real friends around her either. Comes from a family that runs a convenience store. Not really much to add here.. her Digimon is okay though.
Iori. Iori, Iori, Iori-kun.. back then, I thought Takeru was a crybaby and rather holding the team back. But this guy? Wow. His Digimon is somewhat okay, he reminds me a bit of Tentomon, but a little more childish and adding -dagyaa behind everything he says.
Takeru. Takeru sure has grown up. He’s gotten used to fighting, protecting people, he’s someone you can rely on. Patamon hasn’t changed either. Both in a good way.
Hikari still is the same sweet girl she was back then, only a little bit more mature. Back in Adventure, Taichi said that “she was a person that really didn’t care for herself, always sticking out for others”. That quality seems to have been flying away in this series. Even though that’s the case, she’s still likeable.
Ken – well. I don’t like him. Imagine someone torturing all of your friends, to the extent of almost dying, and then having him join your team because he was crying in a desert. Yeah. THAT kind of guy.
Well, yeah. A Chosen Child that thinks Digimon are just “data”-segments that have no feelings, and thus abuses them? With evil rings? And with a whip he hits his partner with? Okay. The story after the Digimon Kaiser-era (which took up 25 episodes if I’m not mistaken) grew a bit. Not a lot, just a bit.
I immediately resented the bit where Veemon came out of his Digimental, and instantly knew what to do. “YELL DIGIMENTAL-UP YOU BLOODY IDIOT, I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY!” is basically what it came down to. Where the original series was about the actual adventure, finding out what to do, where to go – this series has it all laid out before them.
It was still okay. Not that impressive, but good considering what year it came out in. Design of the Digimon.. well.. to be honest, I quite resented the Pegasus/Sphinx types that Patamon and Tailmon Armor-Evolved into. BlackWarGreymon and Parrotmon were Digimon that shouldn’t have been introduced any further. Parrotmon had its charm because it was, well, just there when the original Digidestined saw it fight.
The music was great. Well thought-through, just like the first series. Music, sounds, nothing to say about those but good things! 🙂
I enjoyed the series, even though there were enough things that bothered me. The biggest of them all was the following:
Remember how in the first series Digimon died all over the place? They wiped out Devimon without a second thought. That happened in the 13th episode. In the new series, the thought of having to “destroy”/delete Digimon, first occured in episode 40. And even then, when it finally came down to it, all new Digi-destined didn’t like the idea. Honestly, someone is trying to kill you, but hey, let’s not try to kill him back? That annoyed the hell out of me big time.
I still give the series a 7/10, mainly for the reason that the old Digi-destined (Taichi, Yamato, Sora, Jou, Koushiro and Mimi) were having a well formed role throughout the whole series. Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve watched the first season, I highly recommend you watch this one, just don’t get your hopes all the way up.
The plot for this series isn’t much better off either. Digimon Adventure 02 has a more light-hearted mood with nearly half of it focused on the Digimon Emperor arc and having a decent amount of filler. While the idea of the Digidestined taking on a human threat is a unique approach to this series, Ken’s not as convincingly threatening as early villains like Devimon and Etemon since we seen the stakes faced by the Digidestined raised higher in each later arc for the first season and many of the villains weren’t hesitant to take lives. Things got a bit too scaled back with convincing threats in this season. The large length of the Digimon Emperor arc actually causes problems for developments in later episodes of this season as the show tosses in multiple plot developments that are either sloppily introduced, abruptly resolved in the span of a few episodes or rushed through to seemingly force the series to another desired point in its plot. The series also suffers from wasted potential in what it could have introduced or expanded upon with several plot elements that were tossed in such as the Dark Ocean, Kari’s unique powers and the Daemon Corps. Regrettably, these plot elements were instead just tossed in as filler and either were never focused on again or were quickly brushed aside. It looked like this season wasn’t sure what kind of plot it wanted to deliver with how its later episodes are all over the place with developments. I don’t even want to get started with how the series pulls off its final three episodes that reveal who the true enemy threat is and the abrupt happy ending it plays up.
Otherwise, the visuals and other aspects to the plot are about what you would expect of generic titles: average artwork, reused animation clips, plain character designs, the run-of-the-mill ‘evil’ Digimon villains, Digimon being beaten to a pulp before their partners gain the power within to defeat villains and so forth.
Even if you’re a Digimon fan, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to look into this second season to Adventure. The Digimon Emperor arc got too dragged out thanks to having several episodes worth of filler and this results in later episodes being a mess with their developments thanks to having several plot threads being tossed around that are awkwardly handled in their resolutions. Not to mention that other than Ken, the new Digidestined children lack the solid depth and development that the first-generation group underwent in their ordeals. You could watch just the first season of Adventure and you could just pretend this one was never made.
English: Bucky: The Incredible Kid
MAL Score: 7.37
Bucky, the protagonist of the history, is a normal boy that lives in the first world. He lives with a single and humble ambition: to dominate the world (in the sense of the whole planet). He is very certain and he would certainly die to reach his dream.
One day he meets with Spark, the Great Child of Primas (World One). Spark is known as the strongest Great Child of all of the worlds, and he is a successor’s search. After finding Bucky and talk a little with him, Spark without apparent reason choose Bucky his successor. Bucky has just become a Great Child and to win the company of Jibaki, the spirit of the first world.
Some introductory elements:
1 – Bucky anime is set in a strange world in a form of a clock, divided in 12 worlds. Each world represents a number in the clock, following the clockwise direction. In the middle of the 12 worlds there is the “Needle Tower”, very similar to a clock hand.
2 – Each world is inhabited by humans, humanoid animals and monsters. Some of these monsters have an evil and destructive nature. These evil monsters are called “Troublemaker Monsters”.
3 – The Needle Tower chooses one virtuous child (the “Great Child”) in each world to protect the people from the Troublemaker Monsters.
4 – Each Great Child is helped by a humanoid pink ball called “Spirit” that explodes when it raises its hands.
Every child in Bucky’s world wants to be a Great Child. Everyone, except Bucky – a child from the 1st World. The protagonist thinks that to be a Great Child is a ‘childish thing’. Bucky wants to be much more. He wants to rule all over the 12 worlds. However, he is always mocked when he talks about his dream.
Once Bucky is attacked by a Troublemaker Monster, and he tries to defeat the monster by his own. His fearless attitude is watched by Spaak (En), 1st World’s GC and the strongest of them. Spaak saves the boy and listens to his dream. Spaak gets impressed by Bucky’s dream and conviction, and so Bucky gets pleased by Spaak’s comprehension.
Then, with not much apparent reasons, Spaak gives to Bucky his spirit (Jibaku-kun) and his title as the 1st World’s Great Child. Spaak goes to the Needle Tower and encourages Bucky to enter in a journey around the entire world to get stronger and, finally, meet him in the tower.
Bucky’s journey to world domination begin, travelling around the world in the clockwise direction, and making allies and friends: Pink (the comic relief) and Kai (the smart guy).
The personalities of the main cast are well balanced, but Bucky’s traits stands out. His self-confident and usually arrogant personality is the real appeal of the series. Bucky never smiles and points his friends as his slaves in his world domination plans. On the other hand, Bucky has strong moral convictions about justice and honour and also becomes more flexible through the series.
From episodes 1 to 13 we don’t have much important things happening. These episodes are much more introductory than anything, presenting the viewer to the main cast and to the original and bizarre universe.
Starting from episode 14, the true story begins, covering the origins of the Troublemaker Monsters and gradually revealing the truth about the organization of the Needle Tower. But, unfortunately, the anime ends when it starts to be really good (around episodes 20-26), when most of the mysteries are solved.
For some, me included, Bucky’s strange plot and over the top colorful world may hide something deeper. First of all, the uniqueness of the plot is present in several elements and metaphors, especially in the world in a form of a clock (a symbol to the passage of time) and in the reverse role of children protecting adults.
By the way, ‘Bucky: The Incredible Kid’ is seen by some as a modern fairy tale about growing up and how it affects the childhood dreams.
There are also a lot of questions that are presented and solved one by one, until an original ending shows off: What is the Needle Tower? Why the Great Children respect the Needle Tower’s orders blindly? How the Troublemaker Monsters are born? Who is the girl in the aquarium that appears in some random scenes?
Every episode is a gradual revelation, so be patient and enjoy the show.
Ths anime don’t have too much popularity in Japan but in America Latina it was great admired.
The style of the old school stroke on the character design is very good.
The story is funny u can know more about on another reviews because on my review i just want to complement the others talking about the songs , i recommend u to listen the first opening and ending themes they are really awesome. ;D
Opening: Yumi Matsuzawa – Dare mo Shiranai Chizu de
(Yumi’ s also the singer of the Saint Seiya Hades’s ending theme, Chikyuugi)
Ending: Two-Mix – Last Tears
6: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
MAL Score: 7.45
A normal looking high school girl on the outside, Kusakabe Maron is actually the reincarnation of Jeanne d’ Arc. With the help of the angel, Fin Fish, Maron works as the thief Jeanne at night to seal the demons that reside in pieces of artwork, preying upon the weak hearts of the owners. She is branded as a thief due to the fact that the artworks disappear after she seals the demons. One day, a new neighbor and classmate appears, as well as a rival in her night job, the thief Sinbad. With her own best friend being the detective’s daughter, out to capture her and the appearance of her new rival, Maron’s work is anything but easy.
KKJ doesn’t exactly provide anything ground breaking story-wise. It’s standard mahou shoujo material. Like many other thieves you may find in other anime, Jeanne oddly enough tells the police beforehand she actually plans to steal something, and magically completes her missions successfully, foiling the police each time. While there is an obvious plotline, majority of the anime is fairly episodic. It follows a monster of the week pattern, so each week (or should I say each episode) Jeanne seals another artwork, normally helping non-returning characters that have problems most likely due to the demons. The second half has the plot picking up, with new (and returning) antagonists as well as development of the romance between the two main characters. It’s fairly standard, but interesting enough if you don’t mind standard to begin with.
Unfortunately, the infamous reused transformation scene is used in KKJ, and is quite frankly an annoyance to watch after the first time. Animation is also reused a lot when it comes to the demon sealing. The animation is bright and colorful, and this being based off a manga by Tanemura Arina of course means awesome character designs, at least for the thieves’ costumes. An irritating number of still screens are also often used in KKJ, detracting enjoyment at times, simply because nobody likes to stare at a still screen when something else could be done. Anyhow, if you’re looking for amazing animation, look no further, because it certainly isn’t here.
Nothing too special can be found from sound either. The opening and endings are fairly catchy, although perhaps a more slow song would have been more fitting for the first ending. Background music is quite forgettable, but at least there’s nothing that ruins the scenes, proving that the BGM does its job. Voice acting is fairly satisfying, with Maron’s VA doing an excellent job showing her strength, will and loneliness. Fin Fish’s VA, while befitting her role, is fairly annoying to listen to however, probably due to the extremely high pitch.
KKJ’s characters would have to be its strongest point. Most of the characters develop throughout the series, especially the leads. Maron is a seemingly happy person, but behind it all is one who suffers from extreme loneliness. Chiaki is a somewhat trouble male who has a reluctance in engaging in any serious romantic relationship with another girl. The developing romantic relationship between her and Chiaki is pretty much the highlight of the show for the romance lovers, but it’s quite predictable from the start how it would all turn out. There’s more to Miyako then what appears at first, with this and the history behind some of the antagonists, make up for a fairly interesting cast of characters.
Did I like it?
If you’re wondering whether I actually enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I didn’t really. I’m a fan of the manga and thought the drama especially portrayed in it was brilliant. I was disappointed when I saw the anime had taken the mahou shoujo approach, with long and tedious transformation scenes, and pointless clashes between Jeanne and the police. I also hate monster of the week setups, as they prove to be far too boring and repetitive.
Overall, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is your everyday mahou shoujo. Complete with transformation scenes, flashy (and unrealistic) action, and a bit of romance here and there. Take that with some of the drama and twists presented in the show, an interesting cast of characters, and we have an anime the mahou shoujo lovers could waste their lives on for a while.
1)must see; 2) must see; 3)must enjoy ^_^
Then I was a teenager I used to watch this and imagined that I am that brave, strong, lissome girl. I knew all phrases when she is transforming and that was my inducement to be better and alarm-clock which woke me up every morning with smile, bravery and impulse to continue what I have started.
Story is about friendship which could be very mystical and disloyal, about love which can be beautiful but in the same made-up, bet from the start till beginning it always is truthful to yourself which teaches us to love ourselves too. Great!
story : 8/10
i said i love this anime, but this anime is really stressed on what is absolute evil and what is absolute kindness, im kinda against that so i personally think this is an anime for younger kids and would like u to know that the plot is great its just my personal issues. There are good points and bad points to both the anime and manga, i recommend watching both. The manga have a better ending, though the anime already have a happy ending(i meant it you are not new to anime you pretty much know all this kinds of anime leads to happy ending) but the manga ending is like even more happy or something?
If you watch both, you will get a very detailed backstory for each main character.
art : 10/10
the art is PERFECT. it is so shoujo-ish, its exactly for girls. Now i would say that the manga actually have better art than the anime but… the anime’ transformation is awesome. so this anime is tittled ‘kamikaze kaitou jeanne”,
and you can kinda guess that it have somethings to do with theives. The main characters actually go through a transformation, which involve flashy lights and lots of turning and stuff. But in the manga its kinda dull, there’s not really the process for transformation, like poof the girl has changed.
sound : 9/10
The sound i great, but its like average… there’s no really good points and there’s no bad points either…
Character : 9/10
the characters are awesome, there’s a lot of backstory given for the girl, and a little for the guy. they have strong personality and there’s so much of character development. But you know you can never have too much. Now in the manga, there’s is more backstory given to fin fish. So it’s best to read both manga and anime.
Overall : 8/10
i know it will be 9/10 if i don have a preference over what kinds i like, so it’s just something personal.
5: Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Duel Monsters
Japanese: 遊☆戯☆王 デュエルモンスターズ
MAL Score: 7.46
Legend says that the enigmatic Millennium Puzzle will grant one wish to whoever deciphers its ancient secrets. Upon solving it, high school student Yuugi Mutou unleashes “another Yuugi,” a peculiar presence contained inside. Now, whenever he is faced with a dilemma, this mysterious alter ego makes an appearance and aids him in his troubles.
Wishing to unravel the mystery behind this strange spirit, Yuugi and his companions find themselves competing with several opponents in “Duel Monsters,” a challenging card game used by people seeking to steal the Millennium Puzzle in a desperate attempt to harness the great power within. As the questions pile on, it is not long before they figure out that there is more than pride on the line in these duels.
Great story, plot, ingenius card game (think about it, Kazuki pulled the entire YuGiOh ruleset out of his ass and it’s incredible!), along with enjoyable dialogue make this series a 10/10. Honestly, if you’ve never seen YuGiOh and you’re on MyAnimeList to decide if you should watch it, then go ahead and do it. You’ve been missing out.
While the story is not perfect by any means, it’s about fucking card games what do you expect? I’d give it a 10/10 but only women care about stories so an 7/10 is the highest score I can give here. To further explain, the only anime stories I would score above an 8 are Rainbow (10/10) and all Gundam series (9/10) except for G Gundam (it’s for children.) So, do not be disheartened by the 7/10 story.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters has given us some of the best character designs in anime history. Beyond anime history, the history of the universe. Hell, before seeing this show my favorite fictional character design was George Washington. But even Washington’s design pales in comparison to those of characters like Bandit Keith, Yami, Tristan, Mako Tsunami, Pegasus, Bakura, and last but not least, Chemo. Yes the guy with the huge hair’s name is Chemo. As in chemotherapy. Unfortunately, I had to dock a point from the art score due to the fact that there are female characters in the show. I still have not been able to figure this one out. The only explanation I can think of is that they wanted a blond female with large breasts to appeal to terrible baka gaijins.
This literally has the best American voice track in any anime. Maybe you think Hellsing has a good dub. Maybe Baccano! Maybe Yu Yu Hakusho. If you think any of those dubs are good, you are wrong. It has been scientifically proven that the original Nippon voices are always superior except in the case of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. Dan Green gives an Oscar-worthy performance as both Yugi and Yami. Yami’s voice is the best though. I want to have sex with his voice and so does every other good American. Also, this does not make me gay. Wanting to have sex with Dan Green’s voice is about as gay as Char Aznable and Garma Zabi showering together. AKA not gay at all. I had to subtract one point due to Marik sounding like a woman.
As for the music, it is by no means bad. The American opening theme is pretty good. In the end though, I had to take away two points since spoilers the Star Spangled Banner never plays. I literally shed manly tears upon finishing the last episode when I found this out.
Easy 10/10 here. Every character is well written and serves a purpose. Even the female characters serve the purpose of making the male characters look better. I thought Yugi was going to be lame at first but he’s actually pretty badass. His alter ego, Yami, is the best character in the show. Seto Kaiba is arguably the deepest character in all of fiction. They made him even better in the dub too since he wasn’t nearly as big of a douche in the original Nippon version. Joey Wheeler is great. Just try not crying manly tears as you see him struggle to save his sister. Bandit Keith… enough said. Tristan Taylor exists just to add another manly character to the cast. He never plays a card game (except in filler,) but he takes on bodyguards, hits on a blind chick, rides a motorcycle, and sneaks around a castle wearing a suit of armor. Oh yeah and he does all this when he’s 10 FUCKING YEARS OLD.
I’m not even scratching the surface of the great cast. Just writing about them doesn’t do them justice.
The most enjoyable part of the series is easily the card games. I was just on the edge of my seat waiting to see how Yami will cheat next. There are a few flaws, though. One of which are the awful duels with female characters. Thankfully, I don’t think any of these are longer than one episode and spoilers Mai Valentine never wins a duel. Still, I had to dock one point for these. The other point lost was for the Yami backstory arc. This was so boring that I had to skip it. Upon finishing the series, a friend of mine told me I cheated since I didn’t watch most of this arc. My response? “Yeah, just like Yami.” This brings me to the end and true focus of this review.
This anime is by no means perfect. (It’s not Rainbow.) It is still a great show. I laughed (at the females dueling,) I cried (manly tears,) and most importantly, I learned a lesson. That lesson is that cheating is good. I’d been raised to think that cheating was bad. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t watch this until I was in college. If I had watched this when I was a kid, I could be cheating my way through an Ivy League school right now.
To expand on the last paragraph, achieving your goals through any means necessary is the way to go. When Yami dueled Panik, a guy who went around Duelist Kingdom bullying females at night, did he forgive him? Hell no, he bullied him right back and sent him to the Shadow Realm aka he fucking killed his ass.
Please, watch this show. If you ever have offspring, first, hang your head in shame. Raising children is not a man’s job. Though, if you insist on raising a child, make them watch this show.
I hope you enjoyed reading my review and please say it was helpful because if you don’t, Bro would be ashamed.
The characters are unique and easy to warm up to. You’ll end up liking a lot of them and hate to see them leave in the end.
The animation varies from episode to episode. While episodes directed by Takahiro Kagami (Death note’s lead animation director for most episodes) look smooth and beautifully drawn, others are complete crap. Also, each artist interprets the characters differently so they change style episode to episode.
The music is written by Shinkichi Mitsumune and is the thing I miss the most in the English version. Shinkichi uses a lot of violin in his songs giving the series a melancholic vibe. The soundtrack is memorable and I love listening to it by itself. Some songs are sad and forlorn while others are upbeat and jazzy. I could go on and on just talking about the music.
Even though I have a lot of good things to say about this show, it has its down-falls . The card game can get boring and over done and I end up skipping all of them. Sometimes that ends up being a whole episode. Sometimes it feels like it’s not worth it. There are a lot of filler episodes and two filler seasons.
The English adaption also leaves a LARGE gap between the uncut viewers and the ones that grew up on the 4kids edited version. I disliked the series when it was showing on TV but loved the Japanese. The changes are that drastic.
Some people view this series as childish and down right silly, but they are only looking on the outside. Yugioh has its deep and serious side about how the mind works, human nature and perhaps a bit of schizophrenia.
Over all, I never thought I would like yugioh and now it’s my favorite anime. Just look past the silly card game and you WILL love this series too.
And please oh please, I beg of you. If you still don’t want to give this anime a chance, at least look up the sound duels. They are definitely worth your time.
4: Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
English: Now and Then, Here and There
MAL Score: 7.64
Shuuzou “Shuu” Matsutani lives his ordinary life in peace. He has friends, a crush, and a passion for kendo. Dejected after losing to his kendo rival, Shuu climbs a smokestack to watch the sunset where he finds Lala-Ru, a quiet, blue-haired girl wearing a strange pendant. Shuu attempts to befriend her, despite her uninterested, bland responses.
However, his hopes are crushed when a woman, accompanied by two serpentine machines, appear out of thin air with one goal in mind: capture Lala-Ru. Shuu, bull-headed as he is, tries to save his new friend from her kidnappers and is transported to a desert world, unlike anything he has ever seen before. Yet, despite the circumstances, Shuu only thinks of saving Lala-Ru, until he is thoroughly beaten up by some soldiers. As he soon finds out, Lala-Ru can manipulate water and her pendant is the source from which she is able to bring forth the liquid, a scarce commodity in his new environment. But now, the pendant is lost, and Shuu is the prime suspect.
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku is the haunting story of a dystopian world, and of Shuu, who has to endure torture, hunger, and the horrors of war in order to save the lonely girl he found sitting atop a smokestack.
The hero of this story, Shu, is actually not so much a hero as he is just another victim of an ugly world gone wrong, and one who himself is nearly broken a number of times. What makes him stand out is his stubborn refusal to succumb to the hopelessness and terror of it all, even while everyone around him has been beaten down to the point where they commit terrible acts out of overwhelming fear and a desire to survive—in some cases a distant yet precious hope that if they can make it through, they’ll one day be set free from this hell that holds them captive.
The setting is an alternate world that Shu finds himself pulled into, a bleak dystopian wasteland of endless, bone-dry desert; the atmosphere is stifling and oppressive, a nihilistic Future Boy Conan where skies are not blue, but blood-red, and there isn’t a drop of water to be found. Enter Lala-Ru, a girl who, like Lana of the aforementioned classic, holds a power that can save the world from its ruin—a power that has fallen into the wrong hands. This is very much like a story Hayao Miyazaki might come up with were he feeling suicidally depressed. Lala-Ru, unlike Lana, would sooner let the squabbling humans wither up and die than exert herself to aid them.
It’s easy to understand how Shu must feel, having stumbled into this world gone mad, but while I become more and more depressed and anxious as characters descend further and further into misery and anguish with each episode, Shu never loses his resolve. Even after being beaten and starved and nearly killed a number of times, he retains his determination to protect those in need of help, and to try to reassure them that as grim as things seem, everything will be okay.
It’s tough to believe him, in the face of so much kidnapping, murder, and rape, all at the behest of Lord Hamdo, the completely insane fruitcake dictator of Hellywood and desperate captor of Lala-Ru. Other characters will accuse Shu of lying, and you’ll wonder if there really is any escape from the utterly dismal state of this nightmarish world. But you’ll also find that there are fragments of hope, and in some sense one may ultimately find illumination in all this darkness and despair.
Now and Then, Here and There has a look and feel that suggests it was a project made on a tight budget, yet with a lot of feeling behind it—especially evident in the wistful ending theme. You won’t find yourself impressed with flashy modern animation, but the overall production is sufficient to convey the bleak atmosphere effectively.
The makers of this anime clearly wanted to say something, and they’ve gone about doing so in the most dire, soul-draining way they could muster. It’s up to you if you can weather the journey, but I guarantee you’ll come out on the other end a bit wiser for it.
So this anime starts out like so many others do. A typicial shounen-anime like boy lead nicknamed Shu, who is living is daily life normally in Japan circa 1999, who’s a little slow but good hearted finds a mysterious girl on top of some smoke stacks at the edge of town. He tries to talk to her, and ask her how she got to the top of the other smoke stack, when all of a sudden these futuristic machines get teleported there, and the people controling them want to capture this girl (named Lala-Ru). Bust just like in any typicial shounen-anime our hero tries to save her, a bit a little stupidely, but he tries. He ends up being teleported to the strange world (possibly the future of earth) along with these strange military people, and Lala-Ru. The place he gets transported to is called “Hellywood” , and he gets separated from Lala-Ru, and accidentally get’s her pendant. But this is were the similarities with all other anime series pretty much stops. After this point this anime evolves into something much, much more. It’s a dark seinen series, about how war effects people, and can destory the lives of everyone. It’s also grounded in reality, even though most of the events take place in this “distant world”, it’s very realistic and feels as though most of this could happen right now (and to be fair, it was inspired by horrble events that happened in Africa over ten years ago). This anime is brutally honest, it doesn’t sugar coat anything, nor does it glorify war or violence. It’s a slap to the face to the DBZ’s and Naruto’s as well as many American war movies and novels of our current era. It also has a very powerful and blunt statement. But it’s much, much more then that too. The story is emotional, engaging, and one of the best overall stories I’ve ever seen. The only “problem” I can find with the story is it isn’t very “deep”, it’s a pretty straightforward, simple story, not very layered, but it wasn’t going for deep in that sense anyway. It does have a message, and a point to it all, and it’s a very good story. I can’t mark it down for that small problem so 10/10.
It’s a little dated, but it’s still very beautiful. For whatever reason the powers that be decided to give this anime a more “simple” look to it. When compared to other anime from around or before it’s time (Revolutionary Girl Utena, To Heart, Cowboy Bebop) it’s not as detailed. This does not make it ugly, far from it. Still it’s not the best animation and art ever, even given it’s time. Cowboy Bebop truly shows what could be done with technology of the time, and a extremely large budget. This anime has no use of CGI or other computer techniques that newer anime series use. It’s not as flashy as Cowboy Bebop (1998), and no where near as nice looking as say Black Lagoon (2006), a newer anime for example. The character designs are simple but effective, and the background art is very beautiful. The sunset in episode one is something to really enjoy, feel free to pause and just look at how nice it is. It’s clear this anime was not made with a very large budget, but it still is very nice looking at times, esecially backgrounds. Don’t let the dated animation turn you off this show, because it is an amazing series. This anime proves you don’t need flashy animation, and gimmicks to make a great anime, all that’s needed is a good story, and some talented people involved.
The music in this series is quite amazing. From it’s very nice opening theme to it’s background music everything is great! The ending theme is one of my favorites from any anime, because not only is it a great song, but it helps to calm the audience down after seeing some brutal and disturbing stuff. This anime has some of the best use of music I’ve ever seen.
The dub for this anime was recorded at Taj Studios Inc (NYC), for Central Park Media. The group of actors from New York City have proven themselves to be a talented bunch, but sadly many of the producations are still very poor. I think they get a bad rap due to the many poor 4Kid’s dubs these guys have been in though. They are great actors, and they have have good directors and writers that work for the dubbing studios in NYC too. Luckily this is one of the best dubs I’ve ever heard, and definitely my favorite dub from a studio in/near New York City. The first episode starts off a little iffy, strong but with some awkard lines here and there (no pun intended) but afterwards it’s really a top level dub. This anime needed a good dub, and CPM reconized that and allowed extra time for the dubbing to take place. Actors got to watch the entire show once or twice through before even starting on this anime. Special attention was given to this dub, and it clearly shows. With well known actors/actresses like Lisa Ortiz, Dan Green, Crispin Freeman, and Rachael Lillis giving great performances (that we’ve come to expect from them), but the one who steals this anime is Jack Taylor. He plays the horrible and insane ruler of Hellywood, King Hamdo, and he nails it! Jack Taylor is incredibly frightening and convincing! You would NOT want to deal with King Hamdo! If Jack Taylor’s performance was not as strong as it is, the entire show might have buckled under the weight of that. The man should get an award for what he did in this show. He makes you hate Hamdo, with an undieing passion! Another relatively unknown, Dana Halsted, plays his assistant Lady Abelia, and she quickly gets used to her role. She gives out another great performance. Everyone in this anime knows their roles, and can really act. Only problem with the dub is the confusion on how to say the name “Nabuka”. That and some may say a few of the children sound a little too old. I however did not think so at all. Both are forgivable seeing how amazing this dub is. The dub script stays pretty close to the subtitle track, as many CPM titles tend to do. This is one to show to the sub-only fans!
(I checked out the sub and it seemed fine to me)
This is not an anime you will “enjoy” as a form of entertainment. This is not an action show, this is not a comedy, this is some serious stuff! This is an anime that will be hard to re-watch because it is very depressing, very dark, and very distrubing. But this is an anime you will be very happy you watched. This is an anime that truly uses the medium to it’s full advantage, much in the same way Grave of the Fireflies did. I can’t imagine watching this as a live action movie, or reading it as a book. Anime is the perfect medium for this story. It may be a little too dark and depressing for some, but if you have the strength to finish it, you will look back at it and say “that was amazing”.
Very well directed and written story. The animation may be a little dated and simple but it’s still very nice and it works, and the music is stunning. The dub is one of the best from NYC, and it’s one to test on those subtitle only type people, but the subtitle track is perfectly alright as well. Both are very good. This anime is very dark, disturibing, depressing, visualy graphic at times, but it’s still one of the best stories ever told. Brutal, but brutally honest and realistic. Highly recommended esecially to those who like Grave of the Fireflies , fans of Mohiro Kitoh’s mangas, or fans of Akitaro Daichi (who want to see him do something darker). Actually if you are a human being (and even if your not, lol) I suggest this to you, as long as you can deal with it. It’s really 16+ due to the subject matter,violence, implied rape, visually graphic scenes, and overall dark tune. Much of the violence is aimed at innocent children, and it makes it much worse. A very mature series, but a true masterpeice.
I don’t really like the “Lord of the Ring” books all that much. One of the main reasons for this is that there are points in the books when it felt like it’s trying to be a fairy tale adventure for kids (the Tom Bombadil part especially), and then the next moment, it gets all serious again, trying to be an adult’s fantasy novel. As a result I was confused over what frame of mind I should be reading it in.
Unfortunately, “Now and Then, Here and There” suffers from the same problem. My initial impression was that it’s meant to be an anime aimed for younger viewers, due to the simplistic character design style which gave it an almost Studio Ghibli kind of look. In episode 2 or 3 the anime starts showing its true colours, portraying the kind of disturbing violence and cruelty that makes it obvious that it isn’t meant for kids. And yet, and yet… the kid’s style animation is still there, glaring out at me from my screen, sending contradicting signals into my brain and confusing the hell out of me. The early sudden change of settings in the opening episode definitely didn’t help me get to grips with this anime either.
“Now and Then, Here and There” seems to be made with a specific purpose in mind, with a specific set of morals they wanted to tell through the anime, and it does succeed at times through some really hard hitting moments that may have caused many other viewers to forget its flaws. However, I found myself unable to look past its flaws and enjoy the show – its attempt to get its message across is just too amateurish because its story and characters often don’t hold water.
The primary example here is King Hamdo. No doubt other viewers have already pointed out that history has shown how such an insane dictator can exist, and most likely pointed to dictators such as Hitler as evidence. But, in reality, there are always complications that give rise to such situations whilst in contrast, “Now and Then, Here and There” gives you a retarded version that just shouts at you: “the leader is mad… just like it can be in real life!!” You can only get away with this kind of simplification of “Mad King ruler” if you’re spoonfeeding a fairy tale to children, for whom the content of this anime obviously isn’t suitable for. I haven’t studied other dictators in history lessons, but I can tell you a thing or two about Hitler that I learnt back in school all those many years ago (bear in mind that even this is a watered down version for kids, and the reality would have been even more complicated). Yes, Hitler may have been crazy, but there was far more to him than that. He had amazing leadership ability, and was one of the finest orators of the 20th century. He wove a magic spell over the German population, raising morale, restoring German pride and giving them new hope when the nation was suffering in the wake of an economic collapse in combination to the backlash of losing World War I. And what’s more, he delivered. Germany was on its knees when he came to power, and not only did he led them to recovery, he led them back up pecking order into a position to challenge the most powerful nations in the world at the time. Although in retrospect, it seems unthinkable someone like him could have got hold of power, when you take a closer look at the details, it does make you see how it could have happened.
Now lets take a look at King Hamdo. He’s obviously mad. Um… that’s it. Oh yea and he’s incompetent and is totally devoid of charisma. Wait! Why is he in power again?? Sure his fortress made his army practically invincible, but that isn’t exactly because of his competency. A muppet could sit there and produce much the same result, so what’s stopping people from overthrowing him? It seems infeasible that he could stay in power like that, especially considering that, from the way his subjects seem to feel about him, it doesn’t appear to be the kind of monarchy where people see the King as some kind god’s chosen – it feels closer to a dictatorship that’s evolved from a military organisation. How can someone as useless and mad as King Hamdo keep his grip on his position in this kind of environment when he can’t even keep his hold on his own sanity (or even give the impression that he is anything other than mad)?
Then we have Hamdo’s second in command Abelia, who isn’t really a bad person at all. I can’t understand why she hasn’t taken power over from Hamdo, especially in this military environment that requires discipline and cool headed decision making. As King Hamdo is clearly in no condition to rule, you’d think someone like Abelia would just confine him somewhere, take care of him, and stop him from hurting everyone including himself. But instead she chooses to just stand around taking abuse and having her conscience knocked about on a daily basis. But of course, if she takes a course of action that actually made sense, then there would be no half-built platform for the anime to launch its intended messages from etc -_- I waited and waited to see why Abelia was so obedient to Hamdo, but still couldn’t find the answer by the end, and can only conclude that it hasn’t been thought through properly.
Instead of showing some of the realistic dilemmas of war like, say, “Gundam Seed”, “Now and Then, Here and There” opts to go for the simplified, one sided “fighting is bad, full stop” version, and ends up tripping over it’s own messages. By painting in such a saintly light one of the characters Sis who, without providing an alternative solution, is against any sort of action against Hamdo, and also painting all those who wants to take action against Hamdo as being hot headed youths, the anime is clearly endorsing her pacifist view. But at the same time, it unwittingly showed the fact that doing nothing is probably is why things have become so bad in the first place. Hamdo’s own sustained grip on power is due to the unwillingness of his subordinates to overthrow him. How many lives are lost because of this kind passiveness? I’m not annoyed about which particular side of the argument that “Now and Then, Here and There” has chosen, but I’m annoyed that it has chosen to present it in such a black and white, overly simplified manner, and I’m also annoyed that it doesn’t make a particularly good argument for its case – it’s a bit someone like preaching against violence of any kind, including fighting back, while a crazy guy is running around unrestrained in the background mowing people down with a chainsaw.
Unlike “Lord of the Rings”, the fantasy world in “Now and Then, Here and There” is severely lacking in details. We are thrown straight into this chaotic world, and at no point in the anime do we get to hear an explanation for how it got into this mess. I want to know how it happened, and I want to know about all the strange technology this world possesses. Why are they so desperately short of water when they have all this technology to go to other worlds? Can’t they just appear near a massive lake in one of these other worlds and collect water?! You can argue that this isn’t the point of the anime, but because of the omission of such information, it’s not really easy to get a good grasp of the situation or to sympathise with the unwillingness of the characters to do the right thing. For example, if more background information is provided, then I *may* be able to understand why King Hamdo holds so much power over his subjects, for example. Throughout the series, I couldn’t help but constantly questioning many aspects of “Now and Then, Here and There”, and when this happen it’s almost impossible to really enjoy the show.
“Now and Then, Here and There” is by no means a bad anime, though. At the end of the day, King Hamdo doesn’t get that much screen time – he’s just someone who annoyed me immensely with his mere existence. The main character also quite annoying with his incredulously happy-go-lucky attitude – is he from some alien race that are incapable of feeling pessimistic or something? But those aside, there are some fairly interesting characters that I would have liked to have seen more of, but their potential are not fully explored for the most part. Some of the emotions generated by the series feel very real and touching (something that’s well reflected in the slow, contemplative ending theme), and the portrayal of issues such as rape is very gritty – much more convincing than some shallow attempts made by other shows such as “Elfen Lied”. But at the end of the day, its childishly simplistic view of dark, complex issues just doesn’t work. It’s a bit like reading a twisted version of a fairy tale like Snow White where an extra bit of storyline got inserted, in which she gets raped by one of the seven dwarves or something, and has to deal with the mental trauma that results from it – it’s just feels all wrong and out of place! I guess you could say that “Now and then, here and there” does kind of live up to its title though – it doesn’t seem to quite know what it’s doing, so ends up being a bit here and a bit there, and ultimately neither completely here nor there. I was really expecting something so critically acclaimed to be better constructed!
3: Digimon Adventure
English: Digimon: Digital Monsters
MAL Score: 7.77
When a group of seven children go to summer camp, the last thing that they expect is snow falling in July. In the confusion that follows this phenomenon, they each receive an odd device that transports them to another world. As soon as they wake up in this new world, they encounter strange creatures who call themselves “Digimon.” The Digimon tell them that they’ve landed in the “Digital World,” far from home.
With only the Digimon and the “Digivices” as protection, the seven children set off to find their way home and learn the reason why they were brought here. Led by the impulsive Taichi Yagami and his hungry Digimon partner Agumon, this group will have to fight unknown evils as they discover more about this outlandish Digital World.
As a fan of both Digimon and Pokémon, I don’t see how it’s impossible to like both shows even though at the time I loved Pokémon to death and still do. They may have their similarities, but they are two vastly different creatures who just happen to inhabit the same genre. In fact, despite my love for Pokémon, I find Digimon to be immensely better in the anime department (the games not so much, ironically).
Story (8): Seven young kids go to camp for the summer, and wound up living in a digital land where they meet creatures called Digimon (short for Digital Monster) that evolve—called “Digivolving”—through six stages: Baby, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega. They use Digivolving and power of friendship to save the digital world from evil.
That’s the simple, cliché response. In reality, Digimon goes much deeper than that, and it soon stood out from the other shounen ‘Mon shows of the time. It still retains that cliché plot, but the thing about clichés is that there are different ways of playing with them, to help separate it from another similar clichéd plot. This doesn’t automatically make the writing in Digimon perfect, there’s always going to be flaws, but it makes it more watchable (or tolerable) than other similar shows.
Yes, seven kids (later it became eight) end up going into a digital world where they meet their Digimon partners. However, these kids end up discovering, or re-discovering themselves and grow up as characters to be better people. The Digimon technically don’t change, although they are catalysts, and they do become stronger based on the inner strength of their partner. It’s a form of teamwork, but more along the lines of “Believe in me who believes in you”.
But why were they sent to the Digital World? Because they are the Chosen: the DigiDestined who will save the Digital World from the bad Digimon who will do anything in their power to take over the world. Digimon was originally supposed to be about 13-26 episodes, however, high ratings in Japan was encouraging enough for Toei to continue for a total of 54 episodes. The series is thus commonly split into arcs named after the big bad: Devimon, Etemon, Vamdemon (Myotismon), and the Dark Masters. Each arc has its own fans, but typically the general consensus agrees the Myotismon arc is the highlight of the series.
Outside of your typical friendship and teamwork, Digimon is not afraid to tackle themes such as death, divorce, adoption, and fear of losing a loved one, and for a kids’ show (especially given the time), it approaches them with maturity. And the average dub-hater will be pleasantly surprised to learn just how much Saban got away with all in a time where not even 4KIDS themselves wanted to touch such subjects (usually). Sure, Digimon has its share of censorship in the States, but only on an outward-appearance level (again, usually). Luckily, the script stays fairly true to the original while it developed Saban’s signature gag dub trait, so a lot of the themes and atmosphere of the series remained. Still, the choice to watch the sub or dub rests all on the viewer, either are fine choices, both have their gains and losses.
Art/Animation (6): Let’s totally be honest here, Digimon has a small budget, and it shows (Toei Animation has this problem a lot, it seems). Stock animation is rampant throughout the series, and there’s off-model moments and other animation errors, but they typically try not to let you notice, and for the most part, they worked the best they could within their budget. As a digitally-colored show (heh, digital), the colors and line-art is clean, albeit kind of flat due to lack of lighting more often than not. The backgrounds (well, backdrops) stand out to me the most with this show in how everything looks holographic—in the Digital World, anyway, as the real world looks more normal, and thus more “real”. It’s a stylistic choice that I feel is a staple to this show. Character designs are unique to the series in that everyone is distinguishable (big traits that stick out to me are the eyes, hair, and how big their hands and shoes/feet are—which is admittedly weird), and monster designs are varied from Digimon to Digimon. This helps them stick out in a line-up of other shounen anime, as well as pave the way for merchandise.
However, due to the small budget, the art is dated compared to later Digimon seasons, and even other anime of the time. The CGI Digivolutions in particular are the worst offenders (although for the time, it wasn’t all that bad). The only exception I can think of where the animation was stellar and holds up very nicely (as well as go beyond its usual budget) was episode 21 when Mamoru Hosoda directed the episode.
Sound (9): Sound-effects in general are generic, however, the beeps, drones, and screeches of the Digivice stand out the most in that department—I would go so far as to say it’s iconic to the series. The soundtrack itself is spectacular. Composed by the late Takanori Arisawa, Digimon’s soundtrack is full of adventure and wonder, while being almost in an electronic/techno genre to give it a more digital feel. Every DigiDestined has their own insert song, and character score—two versions, to be exact—not really unheard of in such shows, but it’s a big deal to Digimon. Villains even have their own character songs, if not theme scores, and they are wonderfully kept in character. The opening theme, “Butter-Fly” by Wada Kouji, is honestly one of the best anime theme songs in a kids’ show (if not in anime in general), perhaps one of the more recognizable from the intro alone this side of Pokémon. “Brave Heart” by Ayumi Miyazaki is also well-known as the Digivolution theme song.
Saban Entertainment, like most dubbing companies of the time, composed their own music. By themselves, the musical score is good, it’s clear they got talent in the musical department. However, the editor(s) of the episodes completely went overboard with the music and just slapped pieces together to fill up the entire episode, rarely leaving a single scene quiet. But the musical score isn’t as well-known as the ungodly catchy, simplistic theme song, simply titled “Digimon Are the Champions”. And now you have the English theme song in your head. You’re welcome. Bonus points if you can see the intro play out in your head.
Voice-acting in the original is solid, though likewise with the English dub, some voices don’t really fit the character. It’s thankfully few and far in-between, and it’s not like the voice acting is terrible. However, because I’m not fluent in Japanese, I’m slightly biased when it comes to voices regardless if that was the original intent on the casting director or not, thus I cannot judge them just based on how they sound alone. I do personally feel there are voices that work best in the original, while others are enhanced better in the English dub.
Speaking of, given the time, the English dub is surprisingly phenomenal with a great voice-cast—yes, a late-90s kids’ anime has an amazing English dub, script and soundtrack aside. It took a bit for the directors and voice actors to get comfortable with the show, but they were able to bring the characters to life in their own special way. Many of them were in the field for years prior to Digimon, and are well-known to the anime community: Joshua Seth, Michael Reynolds, Edie Mirman, Mona Marshall, Derek Stephen Prince, and Lara Jill Miller (at this time, she was well-known from NBC’s “Gimme a Break!”, her being cast in Digimon happened at the same time she returned to Hollywood) stand out best in memory, but many of the cast is well-done. However, as I said before, it, too, has its share of voices that just don’t work out. This is more-or-less limited to side-Digimon that you don’t see often outside of one or two episodes, so it’s the main cast I have more praise towards (though Mimi is a bit of an exception in some areas—Ai Maeda in the original makes Mimi more likeable/listenable than Philece Sampler).
Characters (9): This is where Digimon truly sticks out as a show. It’s very uncommon to find a show with as equally-complex and diverse a cast as Digimon Adventure. The eight main children made this show, even though their Digimon are good characters in their own right and serve as great foils/combos with their human partners.
The characters are as follows: Taichi “Tai” Yagami (Kamiya), the leader of the group who acts before he thinks (but isn’t stupid); Yamato “Matt” Ishida, the cool-headed big brother of a lone wolf; Sora Takenouchi, the motherly tomboy; Koushirou “Izzy” Izumi, the young, know-it-all technical wizard; Mimi Tachikawa, a spoiled, rich girl who never hesitates to speak her mind, but has her heart in the right place; Joe Kido, the more down-to-earth of the children who has a paternal side to him; Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi, Matt’s younger brother who provides a more innocent outlook to the world; and Hikari “Kari” Yagami (Kamiya), Tai’s younger sister who is good-natured and soft-spoken.
Each of them have a backstory, and their own inner demons (well, maybe not so much with Kari according to some folks). Among the eight, any of them can be relatable to the viewer. Many of them struggle to become better, more mature people, but they aren’t alone. The Digimon partners: Agumon, Gabumon, Piyomon (Biyomon), Tentomon, Palmon, Gomamon, Patamon, and Tailmon (Gatomon). They, too, grow as characters and have their own personality, although it’s Gatomon (and possibly Patamon) who has the most character development. But their main role as Digimon partners is to protect and be supportive, and for the most part, they fulfill their duties. They are likewise the mascots of the series, and yet are more than just pieces of data.
Meanwhile, partner-less Digimon play important roles to the story, perhaps even more-so than the human protagonists. Some examples (off the top of my head) are Leomon, Ogremon, Piximon, Wizardmon, Myotismon, Etemon, Pumpkinmon, and Gotsumon. These characters had depth despite being in a few episodes at the least, but they also were just that memorable to the point they have fans to this day.
Special mention goes to the children’s parents for adding a depth to the show most kids’ shows don’t do. Parents in Digimon were very supportive of their children, as well as loving, but were also the most human. While they don’t go through the same experiences as their children (for the most part), it still affects them greatly to let their children go and save the world without knowing why it is they have to. They had to put their trust in them, and thus they (and the writers) gain my respect when they could’ve been like every other adult in similar kids’ shows. If somehow the children don’t grow on you, then perhaps their parents will.
Enjoyment (10): It’s truly a damn shame Digimon has never gotten as popular as Pokémon. Both franchises were being worked on at the exact same time, neither creator knowing of each other, and yet it was Pokémon that was finished first, and would overshadow every other ‘Mon show that would come out since. Is it possible to blame bad timing for why it is Digimon has to constantly work to get noticed? Maybe. But how do we know Pokémon wouldn’t have gone through the same ridicule had it been Digimon that came out first? How do we know that Digimon would have gotten the same popularity? Would it still have struggled? Would it have been a worldwide phenomenon?
Do I wish Digimon would have a bigger audience? Truly, I do, it clearly deserves recognition and praise. However, at the same time, I feel it was a good thing Digimon has remained rather… quiet under many people’s radars. For one thing, it felt more special to me, as a kid, to know that as sad as it was, the show was more for me (and my brothers) than anyone else. I didn’t want the magic and wonder of Digimon to be sucked up by anyone else, I wanted to experience it all for myself. In my mind, everyone else had to be just as special to like it as much as I did.
Another reason I’m kind of glad it stayed low was unlike with Pokémon, Digimon has never really been accused of the same things its rival went through (at least, that I know of). If it had, I don’t think Digimon would have survived. Pokémon had Nintendo, tons of merchandise, and millions of children (and dollars) to back it up. What did Digimon have? Fox Kids? Saban? Toei Animation? Some of Pokémon’s percentage of fans? What good would any of those have done to keep Digimon afloat against the onslaught of attacks?
Even with the cheesiness of a gag dub, I still find Digimon to be highly enjoyable. Yes, the original Japanese is superior in everything, but the English dub is special, even if highly subjective, and thus I can’t forsake the dub. It’s just as memorable as Pokémon’s dub, and yet though I managed to find a way for Pokémon and Digimon to co-exist as friendly rivals, it’s the better of the two (although I honestly would have a hard time picking my most favorite). Saban Entertainment took good care of Digimon at this time, and I thank them for that. It’s the only thanks I can really give them besides “Thanks for Samurai Pizza Cats” and “Thanks for the Fox Kids block”.
In the end, I think “Butter-Fly” says it best for Digimon as a whole (translated):
“After an endless dream, in this world of nothingness
It seems as if our beloved dreams will lose
Even with these unreliable wings, covered in images that tend to stay
I’m sure we can fly, on my love”
Second, I have to say I’m utterly disappointed with the score Digimon Adventure has. 7 is not a bad score, but is way below of what I expected. This is a kid show, and as such it should be scored as how satisfaying it can be to kids, just as how shonnen should be scored as how they satisfy their teen audience, seinen their older audience, and so on. I feel like many are comparing and scoring anime without any filter, as if you could score this anime a 5 just because you compare it with Code Geass or Shingeki no Kyojin, which are 9 if not 10s. And that’s unfair. Digimon Adventure is a stand out in what refers to kid shows and I’ll explain why point by point.
Story wise: It is very well constructed, and smartly thought through; there are misteries that are unveiled as we move forward, and every revelation is handled with care and it is affected by how the characters feel about it. There are plenty shows that just try to be awesome by delievering mistery after mistery and revelation after revelation with no care of their characters whatsoever and fall flat in making any emotional resonance, but it’s not this one. The story is tightly attached to its main 8 characters and their digimon, while giving us the sense of many plots developing under their nose, but strickly related to them. The first 10 episodes are introductory, a prologue if you may, and then we go fully into know what the world they are in is and how it affects ours. Sure, some people could say “why wait 10 episodes to get to real deal?” For starters, those 10 episodes are not bad at all, they are very entertaining and they give us a sense of adventure (hence the title) and exploration that this anime wants us to feel, and it passes with flying colors. The following 44 episodes follow 3 different story arcs, but all related to the same story plot, all of them linked together, with every single episode affecting the following ones, which mean there is no such thing as filler episode, and that’s something we should applaude, as not many kid shows are willing to leave a filler comfort zone (I’m looking at you Pokemon).
Characters: Here is where this anime shines brightly. Character development is at its finest here. Each character has a distinctive personality, quirks and even tics that make them feel real, or at the very least smartly outlined. At first we get broadstrokes, but as we pass episode by episode there’s an incredible development in each character; they are distinctive from each other and they never act out of characters, their actions are not made in order to move the plot forward, but rather to show us who these kids are, which is great, as many animes (and not just kid shows) tend to sacrifice character insight in order to get the plot moving; this one doesn’t. They will always move accordingly to their personalities and we get to see all of them develop. While some others shows would mainly develop 3 or 4 of their main characters, all 8 get to grow in each episode by what happen to them, and even they realize how they grow (and even how they don’t, how they might be stuck) and how much they have to move forward.
There’s a cute concept here that is “values are power” and each character has a distinctive value, may it be courage, friendship, love, sincerity, love, and so on. They grow around these values, but they also get lost in sight of them, when they try to push them they fail as opposed when they let it flow naturally it always work. It’s a wonderful lesson for kids, and it is something we all should add to our daily life, it would make this world better. But putting that aside and returning to the characters, there is not even one that’s left undeveloped, all of them have satisfaying characters arcs.
Sound/Music: Digimon has a beautiful soundtrack. Wada Kouji was a talented musician (rest in peace) and scored some really great songs that made you dream. Digimon is a series that aims for kids to dream and to learn the power of values as well to portraying excellent character development and mature themes explained to them, and as such it needs the right score at the right time, and Wada Kouji just got it right, from Butterfly to Brave Heart, even using classic music as Ravel, the timing is just perfect and while there are surely better OST, this one is among the better ones.
Enjoyment: it is highly satisfaying! I’m 21 years old and as I re-watched Digimon after 12 years I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was 9, and that’s because I could realize how well constructed it was. Besides, it made feel like a llittle kid again. The plots are smart, the character development is spot on, the music is gorgous, the art may lack a little now and then, but is never too bothersome, and the evolutions are damn right exciting and funny! And so I could keep praising it until I’m left out of words. But I think I made my point.
In conclusion: This is defenitely the best Digimon series, as it is the one that gets all plot, character, music and themes right, and delivers them in a highly satisfaying manner. As such, it deserves to be acclaimed, and a 7 is a low score for it.
Is this a realistic anime? No, not at all, but it’s not meant to be anyway. It is an anime that is meant to make us dream. You can’t compare it to, say for instance, Shingeky no Kyojin which explore fantasy elements as realistic as possible or Code Geass, which explores character insight in the midst of war and revolutions. No, of course no, those are targeted for an older audience. But Digimon Adventure is no less satisfaying, and that’s because while it aims for children, one can always appreciate how smartly thought are the storylines and the characters development. It is a show that knows its potential and limitations, accepts them and just aim to be the best it can be, which result in being an awesomely made kid show.
All in all, we have to see Digimon Adventure for what it is and not for what we might want to be. And as on what it is, it is straight awesome.
Like most lengthy anime series it starts off fairly slow, and like most shows in general it has a lot of typical things you’d expect from a show of this genre. Chosen children in a faraway land, partnered with strange creatures, that need to prevent the evil from destroying the world. We’ve all seen it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be well done enough to be damn good in the process.
Starting off with the kids searching for a way home it’s pretty episodic and gets into a pretty standard pattern for the first 15 episodes or so. But after that they begin the next adventure, searching for their respective Crests. Another small series of episodic episodes, but they’re interesting enough that you wouldn’t notice that; and they’re all truly just a springboard that launches the show from ‘fine’ to ‘very good’ on my scale. Introducing Vamdemon (Myotismon for you dub people) and starting the search for the eighth Chosen Child.
It’s here that the story takes a much darker tone, and it only gets darker as it goes on. The show pulls no punches, and though it’s aimed at children it doesn’t insult your intelligence (or at least in Japanese it doesn’t). Though there can be a slight cheese factor in some of the more emotional parts, it’s done well enough that you won’t mind and might even find yourself smiling at the very thing you might have rolled your eyes at.
Even with all the improvements today I still find this art really impressive, and I even prefer it in some instances. There’s a strange realistic feeling to all the characters, sure most have the typical accessories to tell you they’re from an anime but I wouldn’t find it hard to believe if they were based on real kids. But in a show with evolving and fighting monsters who cares how the characters look right, we wanna see wicked awesome monsters!!… Savages, all of you; alright, lets get to the monsters.
They’re awesome, to say the least, there may have been one or two creature designs out of them all that I’d consider lame or stupid. And in a show consisting of 54 episodes and dozens upon dozens of monsters, that’s damn good. The evolutions are awesome, the only ones that are a little lame are the 4 CG ones; it’s not too bad though, considering when the show was made (they’re also not very long). But now to move away from the creature designs, I’ll talk briefly about the background designs, which I found to be incredibly pleasant compared to over a dozen other shows I’ve seen.
Though each background doesn’t exactly stand out in any particular ways, it’s the simple fact that they blend in so well that I like them. They’re designed well enough that they look like scenery, you pay attention to it to get a grasp of what’s around the characters and move on; it still sticks in your mind but it’s not taking over the screen, it’s not exploding to try and be noticed, it’s simply doing the duty of being background scenery. I also found that for a show from the 90’s there’s a surprisingly low amount of re-used footage. Sure there’s the occasional ‘yeah I’ve seen that Mega Flame before’, but for the most part each one fresh and reflects the scenery around it.
It’s strange that a show about elementary school children would have a fairly large amount of character development and depth, but that’s Digimon Adventure for you. Each of the Chosen Children has their own issues, their own past that’s slowly explored as the series progresses, and by the end they’ve all developed into fully grown characters. They’re all clever enough to question situations and surroundings, but they’re only in elementary school so they all still have the charm and innocence of childhood.
But people aren’t the only characters here, no no, the Digimon have their own personalities too. Which are, in some ways, better than the children in my opinion. Though the children grow and change as characters, and the Digimon basically stay the same, they’re still a high point and occasionally contribute a large part of the humor or drama in many episodes.
Ungodly catchy. The Japanese intro and outros are both very good, so good that I’ve even downloaded them and added them to my iPods playlist of anime songs. Though they are very good, and catchy, they’re nothing too spectacular. The audio during the show is also pretty standard, with most of those songs being ungodly catchy as well; awesome, but still nothing too great.
For a show that I once would have only given a five out of ten I’m so glad I went back and watched it over again with the proper audio. To charm me still after ten years have gone by it truly goes to show that this show is something people of all ages can watch and enjoy.
A very good anime that’s sadly under appreciated. Though not perfect, Digimon Adventures is definitely worth watching, or re-watching; especially if you read this whole review!!
MAL Score: 7.85
Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan’s violent Sengoku period with the demon’s true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
There are flaws in the overall composition. Things one might ask themselves like; why, if you KNEW you we’re going to be trekking across feudal Japan for months on end, would you bring only one outfit? And more importantly why would it be your Junior High School uniform – i.e. a bright green miniskirt?
Regardless, the story itself is very weak, as its the random plot arcs and ridiculous character relations that really make the show. To summarize, a young girl falls down a well at her family’s shrine, only to be transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she frees a grumpy dog eared half demon man who is stuck to a tree (The result of a bad breakup) and ends up breaking a magical mystical artifact that then shatters into a bazillion pieces. Ditzy teenage girl and pissy dog demon guy now must work together to find all the shards of “The Sacred Jewel” before the bad guys do. Sure there’s another load of subplots – pointless, funny and romantic alike – but we’ll get to that.
Although the premise is simplistic it does expand further along in the story, but only if one likes the show enough initially to move on in the series through the 160 + episodes.
The subplots and the arcs are what make this series entertaining. (And also agonizing if the arc you’re in bores you to tears) We’ll have run ins with random demons and get mixed up with numerous characters who may or may not come and go. Each plot brings changes and the characters do a very good job of growing and evolving as a result. The series does, despite its episodic nature, still follow some sense of linearity. Development in the characters remain as they would in a real person. (This excludes the Inuyasha movies, unfortunately)
Despite all that, its still one of those series that makes it very easy to drop in at any time and figure things out eventually. I watched from the middle first before I decided I loved the show and went back to see the beginning – which was drastically different to me considering the amount of change that takes place from beginning to middle to end.
I can’t go into detail very well considering the story, as there is so much of it its hard to find a place to start. The elements of the setting and time really come into play with the presence of the spirits and demons all of which offer a uniqueness all to its own. The multiple love triangle issues are superficial but also complex, so there is a degree of decent conflict in that regard. I also really appreciate personally how the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, is gradual.
Coming to the characters, there are many. Too many to identify them all in this review. This is a great thing about the show, but can also be annoying and for the casual observer, confusing as hell. I’ll touch on the main characters at least:
Kagome is a really plain Junior High School girl. As a heroine she starts out pathetically dull and often comes off as a total ditz. However if you give her a chance she does show you how she can grow to be a capable human being despite the fact that she is a 15 year old idiot running around feudal Japan in a miniskirt. Throughout the show we find shes short tempered, opinionated and rash, but she does keep a sense femininity intact somehow. She also retains an ability to sympathize with and care for the people she comes to know. What I love about her is that she starts out completely incompetent. Literally she is nothing but a Mary-Sue-ish teenage airhead with little care in the world aside doing well in school, and she morphs (gradually) into a priestess who can use a bow and even protect herself. She – going through the show constantly compared to the priestess Kikiyo (Details will become clear if you decide to watch the show) she makes a deliberate effort to break free of that confine and become her own person, and I like that.
Inuyasha is also a great source of character development. I know I keep saying “Development development development!” but really is one of the biggest things this show has going for itself. I almost see this anime as some kind of document of how Inuyasha becomes a man. Hes over 50 years old but despite that he is extremely childish, boorish and often rude and annoying. He also works pretty hard to gain strength and create a name for himself. He is an ‘underdog’ (lol puns) and also has a bit of a Gary-Stu thing going for him. Being a half demon with a snobby older brother and a messed up undead ex-girlfriend gives him a lot of stuff to complain about.
The characters ARE shallow. But their relationships are entertaining and – if you get all the way to the end of this series and the short Inuyasha Sequel: Inuyasha the Final Act – are rewarding to see until the end.
I’ll keep the review of the art quick in saying that it is very traditional for the time it was made. Its got a lot of square and rectangular shapes and brightly colored character designs that fit in well with its shounen genre. The style is very consistent, budget obviously allowed for lots of attention to detail and a tone of seriousness. It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi’s earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980’s. Almost a retro anime style if you get my meaning. Movies have much more bold and sharp lines. Character designs could use work (I can’t get over the miniskirt thing, I’m sorry. Its just too stupid. And I get really sick of Inuyasha never wearing anything but his giant red.. thing)
Even quicker, my opinion of the sound. The music is diverse and beautifully complex. One of the best parts of the show. Multiple opening and ending themes, background music all magical and perfectly suitable to the time period. Voice acting is always better in Japanese. English is very harsh on the ears, I strongly dislike it nowadays.
Very long review and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Inuyasha, as I see it, is a classic shounen. Its time in the limelight long passed when it made room for Naruto and Bleach to move in on the scene. For those of you who can take a long series and like the sound of this show, give it a shot. Perhaps google a list of filler episodes you might feel like skipping if this does tickle your fancy. Inuyasha does have something for everyone. From the action to the supernatural, to the romantic and the historical. Its a story hard to place and hard to review with a fair share of chaos and confusion. Its a mess, really. But its a big fun mess if you’re willing to see it through.
As always, keep good humor in mind while watching. This show is bananas and it will make you want to throw objects at the screen from time to time.
For now, I tip my hat to Inuyasha. I thank it for showing me this world, showing me complexity and hilarity, and for showing me how flaws can be celebrated for their entertainment just as well as the parts that shine.
The storyline is basic and very easy to follow, however the story does seem to drag on, so if you have patience with animes this could be for you.
The characters are pure genius, each with their own running joke. Each character (with the exception of Kagome) has a dark and kind of upsetting past often including the death of a loved one. My favourite is Miroku by far. He is a perverted womanising monk who flirts with pretty much any girl. However, some characters, like Shippo (an adorable fox demon), have a minor role with little or no fight scenes. (Then again that’s a small part of his jokes).
The fights are good, lots of blood in some places. However the fights are short and it seems to always be Inuyasha doing most of the work. (As he has stated a few times). The others seem to be back up and use the same moves. For example, Sango, a demon slayer, uses her Hirakotsu (a giant boomerang often used hitting Miroku when he flirts with other girls or touches her butt) but she has a sword which rarely gets used. I think I’ve seen it 3 times and then I can only remember when she is about to use it on Kohaku (her little brother who has no memory of killing their whole village because he’s being controlled by the main bad guy).
The romance is my favourite part in all of the series. It’s more sweet than it is romantic. But it’s the sort that makes you feel all warm inside. I’m sad to say that the romance barely progresses. (Apart from Miroku and Sango). And there is a really big love net. But like I said, it sweet in a LOT of places.(Oh, for you fan girls, I know Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s brother, is a favourite. Oh, I’m not a fan girl.)
All in all, Inuyasha is a good anime (and my favourite). Watch it if you have patience and love a good laugh, fight sometimes full of blood and sweet romantic bits in an anime.
After the intoduction of the fourth protagonist ( Sango), apart from a few side-stories, the plot essentially deteriorates into a viscous cycle. In a few occasions it seems there will be some new development, but I was dissapointed when the same-old thing happened again. The fillers were heavily Naruto-like, admittedly better.
Overall: I think the series can be alot better, but if you like extended series, this could be for you.
1: Cardcaptor Sakura
English: Cardcaptor Sakura
MAL Score: 8.15
Sakura Kinomoto is your garden-variety ten-year-old fourth grader, until one day, she stumbles upon a mysterious book containing a set of cards. Unfortunately, she has little time to divine what the cards mean because she accidentally stirs up a magical gust of wind and unintentionally scatters the cards all over the world. Suddenly awakened from the book, the Beast of the Seal, Keroberos (nicknamed Kero-chan), tells Sakura that she has released the mystical Clow Cards created by the sorcerer Clow Reed. The Cards are no ordinary playthings. Each of them possesses incredible powers, and because they like acting independently, Clow sealed all the Cards within a book. Now that the Cards are set free, they pose a grave danger upon the world, and it is up to Sakura to prevent the Cards from causing a catastrophe!
Appointing Sakura the title of “the Cardcaptor” and granting her the Sealed Key, Keroberos tasks her with finding and recapturing all the Cards. Alongside her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji, and with Kero-chan’s guidance, Sakura must learn to balance her new secret duty with the everyday troubles of a young girl involving love, family, and school, all while she takes flight on her magical adventures as Sakura the Cardcaptor.
The premise itself is fairly typical for a mahou shoujo anime. A happy-go-lucky girl suddenly comes across magical power and begins her quest alongside a cute lion-like caricature serving as her guardian and mentor. Sakura’s role as the chief protagonist is to capture the fifty-three magical cards of Clow Reed, each inhabiting a unique power that inconveniences Sakura and the people around her in some way. Some of these cards are immensely powerful, including the ability to manipulate time and dreams, while others are fairly weak or trivial in comparison and encompass smaller abilities like creating flowers or making objects float. After Sakura fights against the power behind the card and then seals it away it becomes a part of her possession that she can then use at will.
At least, this is how the story first seems.
The series is largely changed and complicated with the introduction of the deuteragonist in the eighth episode. Syaoran Li, a boy from Hong Kong, suddenly transfers into Sakura’s class and disturbs the situation by antagonizing Sakura and competing for the Clow Cards. This relationship serves as the basis for the central theme of the series as their feelings and relationship change and develop immensely, from rivals to friends and finally to lovers. This is a very gradual change and it’s paced well enough that it feels completely natural, a change you might not even notice without retrospect. You contempt Li when he’s first introduced and by the end you grow to enjoy his presence almost as much as Sakura herself.
Shoujo series are a bit infamous for their overly-idealized and sudden romances but Cardcaptor Sakura is again an exception. There is certainly idealizing, sparkles and bubbles, but the depth is there. The feelings between Sakura and Li naturally grow and evolve over the course of the series, with no contrived events used to advance their relationship. There is not even a confession by the end of the 70-episode run, yet there is no need for one as the anime has already communicated how strongly the two feel for each other. Character interaction and body language are used to express this– not conveniences followed by dramatic outcomes. The end result is one of the most natural and endearing romances in anime. As a mahou shoujo it is good, but as a romance it is excellent.
Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly a lighthearted and fun series. Most of the entertainment revolves around Sakura and her interaction with the characters, most notably her guardian Keroberos (endearingly shortened by Sakura to Kero-chan) and her closest friend Tomoyo who often goes along with her to the scene of each card to record footage on her camcorder. Other important characters include Sakura’s beleaguering older brother Toya and the object of her affections, Yukito, a friend of Toya whom she holds a large crush towards. Still, the series does eventually take a more serious turn in the second half after the initial card collection draws to a close. Some characters reveal hidden sides that will surprise the audience and certain side characters develop and become integral to the story. At no point does the show ever feel too silly or too serious; it’s a perfect blend of the two.
Interestingly, there are several elements that deviate from the conventions of most mahou shoujo anime. There isn’t a traditional transformation sequence in the anime nor one unique outfit that Sakura wears when using magic. Instead she wears normal clothing like a regular girl, or rather whatever silly costume her friend Tomoyo decides to dress her up in before the event. This adds a lot of variety to the action sequences and gives the audience a small something to look forward to each episode.
Despite its young demographic and reputation as a family-friendly anime, there are also some surprisingly taboo topics that are covered in the anime. There’s the forbidden love between teacher and student and homosexual feelings between two important characters. The anime does not use any of these elements as shock value, though, simply presenting them as-is with no moral connotation. ‘Love’ is the main theme of CCS and the amount of detail put into the relationships of even periphery character is certainly commendable.
On the other hand, the music here is nothing short of stunning. Some of the songs that play in the series, such as the first opening and the track used when capturing a card, are classics that will stick in your head and be remembered fondly for a very long time. More than simply enhance the experience, these tracks are a large part of what makes the anime what it is. The soundtrack is by far one of most defining and important aspects of the series, and perhaps one of the best in anime.
That being said, Cardcaptor Sakura is definitely not without flaws.
One of the largest complaints can be put on the rather long length of the anime. At 70 episodes it can certainly drag on at some parts in the story. While CLAMP carefully tried to make each episode as engaging and interesting as possible, it’s only natural that some episodes are weaker than others and that some events can become a bit predictable at times. Luckily, this mostly changes in the second half of the anime where the story expands and takes a mostly different direction where more emphasis is put on the characters’ relationships. As fun as each episode is, I can’t help but feel like it would have benefited from a shorter episode count in order for the story to flow better. A 50-episode story would have been a perfect fit, neither too long nor too short.
It should also be mentioned that the changes between the original Japanese version and the English localized “Cardcaptors” are very drastic, and certainly not in a good way. Music and names of the characters are changed, episodes are flipped and mixed together in an odd and sometimes incoherent order, and important backgrounds and plot elements are minimized or removed completely. While certainly not unwatchable, it’s a very toned down and poor imitation of a fantastic anime. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice by watching any version except the original Japanese one.
In a genre where conventions and inspiration form the crux of most stories, Cardcaptor Sakura is a brilliant title that breathes new life into the genre and anime as a whole. While not quite flawless, this is a classic that has acceded its spot as one of the most influential and quality anime titles in recent times. It’s a consistently high-quality, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking anime that has more than earned its widespread acclaim and influence. This is a title that shows that there is indeed a correlation in storytelling between creativity and quality.
Cardcaptor Sakura has certainly earned its place in history.
The first and second season, in my opinion, is not most impressive plot-wise. It is pretty much very episodic, with recurring goofs such as Sakura’s battle costumes, Tomoyo with her camcorder, Toya always showing up at the right (or wrong) times, Sakura trying to win over Yukito, Kero looking up at the sky saying “Yue” like he’s heartbroken, and Syaoran once again tries to compete with Sakura. The impressive part of the first season is its comedy and action, because it was just amazing. For a magical girl anime, the action was just there. Every scene, suspense, effort, luck, desperation, success, it was there. When Sakura is not capturing cards (she approximately captures one per episode), she enters an environment with heartfelt friendship and goes through life very joyfully and often humorously. Even though the only plot is to “capture them all,” Cardcaptor Sakura such a variety of enjoyment that you will find yourself staying glued to the screen.
The season offers a change of pace as Sakura embarks on a brand new adventure, meeting a mysterious new rival. This is where the plot starts to change, as the cards are no longer the main emphasis of the plot. It is clear that while the cards changed her destiny (in capturing the cards), it also affected her daily life as well. The third season explores how the cards created a new path for Sakura in friendship and romance. This part of the plot is present in the first two seasons, but it became the main focus of season three. Personally, this is when Cardcaptor Sakura won me over. Until then it was just a very addicting and enjoyable show. Season three gave meaning to the cards and provides a few dramatic moments that fortifies the underlying themes and symbolisms the series tries to convey.
If you are new to Cardcaptor Sakura, then you might not realize that it was made in 1998. For its time, the art was amazingly amazing. From the opening sequence, you can point out minor details such as the movement of Sakura’s costume in the wind and the animation of her hair was just so realistic. Voice acting was awesome (and cute), and facial expressions were especially awesome. And then, there are the action scenes themselves. When the cards are released/captured, there’s a “wow” moment that you don’t expect to see in a typical magical girl series. Even though the action isn’t very technical with cool names and gadgets, it features everything from flying, sword fighting, evocations of the elements, and last but not least, Sakura. One thing that cannot be expressed enough is how cute Sakura is portrayed. That may sound stupid, but it’s one of the main attractions of the show.
Not only are the opening and ending sequences catchy, the background music was incredible, simply incredible. From the opening scene featuring Sakura on top of a tower, the music was engaging in every aspect. Then it smoothly makes a transition to everyday music when Sakura introduces herself, and finally to the suspenseful and catchy battle theme that everyone loves. One of the main complains about the dub (Cardcaptors) was that the music was changed. The original music was excellent, and it fits the situation it is for very well.
For an anime like this it’s tough to be perfect character-wise, but which anime masters character portrayal, right? The anime focuses the most on Sakura, Kero, Tomoyo, Syaoran, and Meilin, as expected, since they’re the main characters. Of course Toya and some other characters I don’t want to spoil have their roles also, but mostly it centers on the elementary students (and Kero). While a good deal of the supporting characters were developed, it is done mostly through inferences and vague symbolism. In a way this is good, because it gives Cardcaptor Sakura a deeper meaning if you see it, but if you don’t, it’s still a very enjoyable anime with minor plot holes. So in short, Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly an anime of character development and emotional maturation, and it mostly succeeded, for the main characters only.
From what I said above, this category would definitely have to be a 10/10. In fact, it has one of the best re-watching values of all the anime I’ve watched. The first time you go through the anime, it’s just plain enjoyable. The second time, you tend to pick up symbolism and motifs from here and there. That “ah hah” moment where everything clicks makes the series even more enjoyable, because it connects its episodic attribute to the main plot more closely. Cardcaptor Sakura just enjoyable no matter how you look at it.
An interesting character in Cardcaptor Sakura is Meilin. She is a filler character, meaning, she is not in the original manga. However, her roles are clearly defined and becomes one of the major plot-driven characters at the end of the anime, as well as being a very consistent character. One example is how I regard an episode that dedicated to her as one of the best, even though it is a filler. The addition of Meilin is not for the detriment of the plot, and I applaud the excellent direction it took to incorporate such a character.
Another factor that might affect some viewers is how everything is in rōmaji or English. At the opening sequence, Sakura’s name tag says SAKURA, the cards are in English, even how Sakura says them is in English. There’s just a lot of convenient things here for English watchers, something curious but gladly accepted.
If you watch this anime, then watch out for some controversial topics. The first one is homosexuality, which is present plainly in one relationship, and very vaguely implied in a couple of others. It would certainly bring up some questions for younger viewers, but in the end, the anime explains it in a very fitting and safe way. Still, it could be a concern but it shouldn’t stop you from watching it. It’s safe to say that yuri/yaoi isn’t a main component of the plot.
Another controversy is incest, the legal kind (in Japan). While a non-Japanese audience might be a bit uncomfortable of a first cousins relationship, it is best to keep in mind that in Japan, it is completely normal. There’s no weird things like brother/sister, mother/son, or stuff like that, so don’t worry.
And there’s a third kind of relationship explored in the anime, which is an innocent student-teacher crush. The anime never really goes anywhere with it, but it’s nice just to mention that it’s there. The one important thing to keep in mind is that all these three types of relationships do not affect the enjoyment of the series in any way. Relationships, after all, are part of the main plot, and they should be treated in an adult manner.
Lastly, although it’s something that not many cares, there is death. Throughout the series, no one really died, but the motif of death, angels, and the afterlife appears frequently. It’s listed as a controversy due to the assumed target audience (young females), but in the end, death is one of the aspects that gives more meaning to the plot.
As much as I don’t want to bash Cardcaptors, I feel that it is relevant. If you watch Cardcaptors, then my ratings do not apply. These ratings only apply to the Japanese subbed version, as well as what I think is the best version. Get this one if you can!
I can’t bring myself to give this anime a ten just because it carries no major revelations or any of the sort. You can argue that the ending is pretty dramatic, kind of, but the main purpose of the anime is to let the audience sit back, relax, and enjoy. Of course I am being harsh because I want something out of every anime I watch, but for Cardcaptor Sakura, enjoyment alone is enough to get it to a 9. Once in a while, it’s good to just watch a series and and enjoy it wholeheartedly.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Story: The anime is “episodic” in nature, usually consisting of single episode stories that most often serve to develop the characters and their relationships with one another, as well as Sakura coming in contact and attempting to “capture” one of the lost cards. Being a long series however, it can begin to feel very repetitive after only a short period of time. Although I think the overall concept of the story is good, I feel as though it could have been executed better, with more emphasis placed on the cards. In some episodes the cards have a very little role, sometimes being captured very quickly. A few times a card doesn’t even show up at all.
Animation: The animation is good overall, a few scenes are reused at times, but I have no major qualms.
Sound: Like with the animation, the sound was done well. There are a few songs I liked, and a few that I didn’t. The voice acting was done well, with voices that suited the characters nicely.
Character: I really felt that the characters were developed nicely throughtout the story. The Love triangle involving Sakura, Yukito and Li developed and resolved itself in the end, giving a feeling of closure after so long. The develop of characters and their relationships felt very natural to me as well. Their actions rarely, if ever, felt forced or out of character.
Enjoyment: If you are a fan of shojo or “magical girl” anime, and can stand a little bit of repetitivness, I would say that Card Captor Sakura is a must see for you. I personally enjoyed it thoroughly despite a few lulls hear and there.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Cardcaptor Sakura
3. Digimon Adventure
4. Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
5. Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Duel Monsters
6. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
8. Digimon Adventure 02
9. Dokidoki Densetsu: Mahoujin Guruguru
10. Yami no Matsuei