They’re the best Anime that 2011 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Digimon Xros Wars: Aku no Death General to Nanatsu no Oukoku, Suite Precure?, Shakugan no Shana III (Final), and more!
10: Digimon Xros Wars: Aku no Death General to Nanatsu no Oukoku
English: Digimon Fusion
MAL Score: 7.12
Returning to the Digital World, Taiki and Shoutmon learn that the Bagra Army has taken it over and reformatted the world to have Seven Kingdoms, each ruled by a general.
The story continues from where the first part left off and Taiki has returned to the Digimon World (from the real world) in order to stop bad guy Baguramon from destroying everything. He arrives to find that quite a few months have passed in the Digimon World since his departure(since time passes differently between the worlds) and Baguramon, during this time has reshaped the entire world to his liking and is preparing to initiate D5(kinda like a digimon apocalypse) which would result in him gaining control of both the Real/Digimon worlds and all dimensions.
His lackeys, called the Death Generals, have each been appointed a certain area of the Digimon World where they will reigns supreme and each of them must be defeated before Taiki and his friends can even hope to face and stop Baguramon.
The rest of the story is about how Taiki and his friends defeat the big baddy and save the worlds. Pretty cliche but executed nicely.
Art is crisp as before and is basically a blend of the style of the older seasons and mecha shows in general. Since this series is focused on mecha fusion action, don’t be surprised to see some of the ridiculous fusions/monsters you would find here. Also, unlike the first part, basic FANSERVICE is present in this one. Though, it must be added that it doesn’t get in the way of important things.
Sound is much, much better than before. The new tracks are very much likable and the opening “New World” is pretty good. Like the part before it, this part also lacks an ending song. Most of the fusion insert songs are really good.
Not really the main focus of the story but yeah, there is character development. However, it is limited to the main cast and not every minor character but you won’t miss that. And it is pretty basic at best so if you’re going into this show for the character development, you might as well not watch it.
Honestly, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I could swear the ending was better than the other Digimon seasons I’ve watched but your experience will vary. Depending on how much you know about Digimon and its monsters. You’d only appreciate it if you are somewhat familiar with Digimon/monster shows in general. It is not exactly made for someone new to the series so If you’re new to Digimon, you’re better off watching the earlier seasons.If however you are on the lookout for ridiculous/overblown action of the likes of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann(TTGL), you’d do well to check the series out.
A nice series to get into if you’re familiar with Digimon. Also, this is part 2 with regards to continuity so you’d need to watch the other part before heading here. If you don’t care much about the monsters and are looking for overblown action in TTGL fashion, this one’s for you!
This is a direct sequel to the Digimon Xros Wars and this review will take that into consideration since I’ve already expressed a lot of flaws of this show on that anime’s review section.
One the main flaws was the lack of creativity in character design. This time we get a few more examples of new digimon and not all of them are mecha and/dragon types. However, there were still a lot of old digimon.
The animation gets a little bit worse for some odd reason and but the audio gets better.
Now, let’s talk about story: it still moves at a very fast pace, always focusing on the main plot points but this time around it’s not as repetive. Battles are decided through strategy and different Digimon combinations and moves… or so it seems during the first half of each of the first 12 or so episodes. There’s always some stupid reason breaking that beautiful and satisfying victory about to happen and so we get the usual fight we’ve seen a thousand times already. Despite this, Kuriha and Nene play a more decisive role and we get to see different Digifusions of quite a few different Digimon. Despite this, I feel that there a lot of missed opportunities to see awesome fusions between some of the bosses and our heroes.
1) Kuriha is nothing but a bipolar sun of a rotten egg. This guy has two moods in life: smug tsundere or outright villain. I could not care less about his backstory and anytime he has the spotlight, I just roll my eyes
2) Yuu’s role in the story is cringe at its finest and it’s a shame that it takes so long for his arc to end
3) The fact that Beelzebubmon is the only Digimon never used in any fusion this particular season makes it too obvious that he would eventually die
4) Olegmon should’ve been used to fuse with Kuriha’s, Nene’s or Taiki’s team. Anything would be better than the usual cliché sacrifice route.
Overall, this season showed a lot of potencial in a few episodes but Yuu, Kiriha and the lack of creativity in battles on the 2nd part of this sequel are too much for me to fully enjoy it.
Final score: 6/10
9: Suite Precure
Japanese: スイート プリキュア
MAL Score: 7.27
Major Land is a colorful world of music where instruments and notes come to life. During an annual concert event, Hummy, the cat songstress of Major Land, prepares to sing the “Melody of Happiness,” capable of spreading happiness to worlds beyond. However, Mephisto, the king of Minor Land, interrupts the event and rewrites the score into the “Melody of Sorrow”—a dissonant composition that would instead cause despair when performed. In order to prevent this from happening, Hummy is tasked with finding the Precure, renowned warriors with an unmatched passion for music, and recreating the Melody of Happiness.
Hummy arrives in Kanon Town, home of musically-inclined athlete Hibiki Houjou and studious baker Kanade Minamino. Engaging only in endless bickers, Hibiki and Kanade were formerly best friends and have since fallen out of touch. Their activities are stopped short by an unwelcome guest—the songstress of Minor Land, Siren.
When Siren turns an important record into a gigantic monster, the girls’ hearts resonate with the desire to protect what they hold dear and the two transform into the Suite Precure! As legendary warriors, Hibiki and Kanade will have to put their personal squabbles aside if they wish to protect the happiness of the world.
I, for one, can certainly say it’s not.
Those who are familiar with the Precure franchises know that the plot definitely reused to an extent. Bad guy from another world gets sealed up, servants of said bad guy attempt to revive them by stealing emotions from the real world, and the legendary warriors Precure are called upon to protect these two worlds and eventually defeat the evil entity. Essentially, Suite follows this formula for it’s main plot, but that’s not the only thing that happens in this story.
Suite actually has a very strong arc, which thankfully, is the very first one that occurs in the series. The Siren arc, which is similar to Setsuna’s villain redemption arc in Fresh is definitely the highest point in the series in terms of plot. The internal and external conflict with Siren and her own emotions is very intriguing and well-done. This also gives the show a stronger foot to work off of seeing as the beginning can be a turn-off for some people. (which I’ll get to in a bit) The music theme in the show is also very well-played, and hell, even relatable. The messages that music has the ability to give people strength and make them stronger is definitely not an exaggeration. All throughout the show, that theme is very prevalent and never wasted, another big plus.
Although, a big flaw with the wonderful Siren arc is the fact that the other arcs seem to pale a bit in comparison to Siren’s. For example, while the Cure Muse arc is shrouded around mystery, the interactions with Muse along with her development and acceptance with the other girls feels quite a bit rushed and not nearly as well written. The ending also seems to spin a bit around in circles in terms of trying to defeat the big-bad. Though I still see the ending as a very strong way to send off the series. Seeing the girls fight the bad guy and letting out their own past feelings and experiences, talking about and remembering how they were before and how happy they feel now that they’ve found each other was a very strong and powerful moment. The ending is able to get across its feelings of inner strength and happiness without resorting to melodrama or crying, just by speaking out their true feelings. And boy, does it work well.
If plot isn’t Suite’s biggest strength, than what is? Well, that’s an easy answer — the characters, their interactions, and most notably their development. I believe Suite had some of the best character development and growth in terms of Kanade and Hibiki. The two girls start off on bad terms after a (very silly and avoidable) misunderstanding a few years back. Due to their constant bickering after becoming Precure together, it’s very easy to get aggravated and annoyed by all the fighting that goes on. Thankfully though, Suite does a marvelous job of putting in subtle development as these two girls learn and grow with each other.
As the episodes go on, you can see it. You can see Hibiki not doubting Kanade as much when she’s being tricked by the villains to lose faith in her friend. You can see them beginning to understand each other more and start to help each other becoming better warriors and friends as opposed to bickering all the time. Watching the two girls learn from their past mistakes and becoming even closer than they were before is simply amazing, and something I heavily applaud Suite for. It definitely handles its two main girls well.
Though the great characters don’t stop there. Siren’s redemption is a very intriguing thing to watch. Seeing her own internal conflicts, even after becoming a Precure with the other girls just felt very realistic and was concluded in a beautiful way. While Cure Muse may not have as strong character development as the other girls, she too had a sympathetic and nicely played out arc, even if it was rushed and concluded in a very hasty way. Her own willpower and strength to get back what she lost is an admirable thing, especially for the young girls watching this.
Being a music themed season, the show definitely excels in its OST. The OP theme is especially refreshing since it has more of a rock feeling as opposed to the more J-Poppy feelings of the other seasons. The soundtracks played are well-fitting for both the slice of life moments in the show and the intense emotional battles that occur. The ED themes are a bit more generic and not as memorable, though aside from that the soundtrack and overall music in the show is solid. Artstyle and animation wise, to put it bluntly, looks gorgeous. The girls’ designs are appealing to people who aren’t a fan of the large round eyes that Precure is infamous for, and oh god, those transformation sequences. While not as dynamic as some may prefer, the backgrounds in them and the music that plays during them is simply breathtaking. Suite’s transformations are the ones that you really dont’ want to skip on, no matter how long they are. Fight scenes are pretty nice to watch too. Not too amazing but not that underwhelming (usually) either.
While I wouldn’t call Suite the best Precure season, it definitely feels as they did put nearly as much effort in this one as they did in other well-received seasons such as Heartcatch or Fresh. It’s hard NOT to come to that conclusion when you see all the time put into the characters and their personalities and development throughout the run of the show. While Suite definitely isn’t without its flaws, like the reused plotlines, silly reason for conflict between the two main girls, and weaker arcs that occur after the first, its safe to say that its positives outweigh the negatives that it has.
“Suite Precure” is definitely one of the seasons that I would recommend to people who want to get into Precure, and overall is a very heartwarming and nicely written show for both the younger and older audience alike. Don’t always listen to what the fanbases have to say. I know if I did, I would’ve missed out on a lovely and well-put together season, one that I definitely don’t regret watching.
For me, Suite Precure was the most promising Precure season up their time. I really liked the chemistry between the two main girls and I liked how the visuals felt more Precure than the previous season. Not only that, but the girls to me felt that they had more personality than most of the previous Precure’s.
However, the last 12 episodes ruined what was being a very enjoyable show to me. When the final precure’s identity was revealed, it broke the dynamic of Suite Precure as a season. The anime created a perfect oportunity to have the climax of the story but instead decided to backtrack and drag itself for 12 more episodes. Even the final showdown with the “last boss” (using videogame language here) took twice as long of what it should have. I also disliked the way it ended.
A few extras I would like to mention is how this was the 1st Precure season where I felt the casting should’ve been better for some characters and there’s plenty of inconsistencies in regular human behaviour when they witness talking cats. Sometimes they freak out, other times they don’t care.
All things considered, it’s a painful 6/10 for me because of the wasted potential.
The plot of Suite Precure is simple, but, again, it’s a show for children. You can’t really expect anything incredibly complex in a children’s show. Basically, Hibiki and Kanade need to learn to trust each other and get along so they can fulfill their roles as Precure, and so they can collect all of the notes to complete the melody of happiness. Simple and straightforward. They have numerous run-ins with the bad guys (Trio the Minor and Seiren), who try to trick the girls and turn them against each other. In a lot of these situations, I wanted to say, “Come on, just talk about it!” but, while it seemed obvious to me that the solution was to talk about why they were upset, it probably doesn’t seem as obvious to the younger viewers. It also wouldn’t be as interesting to the target audience if the girls just talked about their problems and moved on.
I can understand why other people seem to have a problem with the whole “sad music vs. good music” theme in the show. Happy music isn’t the only music that is good, and sad music can be just as enjoyable as happy music. However, do you really expect kids to get something like that? I’m sure older kids can understand that, but for the target audience, something like “happy vs. sad” is easiest to understand. As the children get older and listen to a wider variety of music, they’ll come to that realization on their own, that happy music is not the only kind of music that people can enjoy.
I think the music is great, but I’d certainly expect an excellent soundtrack from a show that uses music as its main focus. There is a variety of background music that fits the scenes well, and the instrumentation is varied. The transformation music is really upbeat and catchy, and the background music for the attacks is great as well. I’ll admit that I’m not experienced in critiquing music, but I’ve really been enjoying the music in Suite.
I really like Hibiki’s and Kanade’s characters. Hibiki is the tomboyish, sporty type, while Kanade is more studious and enjoys baking. Hibiki is goofy and silly at times, but serious when needed, and Kanade can be quite stubborn and assertive, especially when Hibiki is being particularly dense. The way they interact really reveals a lot about how close they are, even early on when they spend a lot of their time arguing with each other. As the story progresses, they argue less and are able to spend more time together as true friends. I’ve really enjoyed seeing them interact, from the time when they argued all the time to now, when they’re getting along well. There have been many moments that have just made me go, “Awww! :D”
Hummy is dense. There’s just no arguing that. I think she can be a bit annoying at times, but I think that has more to do with her ultra mega high-pitched voice than her actual character. I think she was purposely made extra dense in order to contrast with Seiren’s calmer, more calculating personality. Hummy and Seiren play off of each other quite well; sometimes it almost feels like I’m watching a comedy routine. The mini-arc about their past together in Major Land, how they became friends, and how Seiren turned against Hummy, was rather well done, in my opinion.
Trio the Minor is basically your group of evil underlings who are actually just a bunch of derps. They’re goofy, they sing when it’s not really necessary, and their plans always fail. They make me laugh. Mephisto does too, as he’s also goofy. I’ve read complaints from people, saying that they don’t like Mephisto because he’s not threatening at all, but I think that’s the point. Considering what’s happened in the past few episodes (29+), I don’t think he’s the “ultimate evil”, so to speak. There’s someone, or something, above him, and THAT’s what’s going to be truly threatening…or, as threatening as something can be in a children’s show, anyway. I could be wrong, but that’s just what I think.
I’d say my main problem is that I feel like the “mystery” of Cure Muse has gone on for long enough. Who is she? I don’t know, just tell us already! I feel like they’ve already made her true identity very clear, but I’m saying that as an adult who can draw conclusions more quickly than the average child can. The younger viewers are probably still completely puzzled, and eagarly awaiting the moment when Cure Muse’s true identity is officially revealed.
I like the bright, vibrant art style in Suite. Everything is colorful and eye-grabbing, even the bad guys. The transformation scenes are pretty, and, for those who are concerned that they’re “too long”, they do get cut down eventually. The attack scenes are also very impressive, visually. The animation generally feels smooth, and I haven’t noticed too many “lol quality” scenes. The ending themes are really cool, too, with their 3D/CG animated dance sequences. I actually watch the ending each time, instead of just skipping past it like I usually do with most other series! It’s definitely an interesting and different approach. (I know Suite wasn’t the first Precure season to use 3D/CG animated endings, though.)
My overall enjoyment of Suite Precure is very high. Maybe I’m biased because this is the first Precure season I watched, but I love it, flaws and all. It’s light-hearted and it makes me laugh. I really look forward to watching each week’s episode. Suite may be unpopular with the general Precure fanbase, but I think it’s great.
8: Shakugan no Shana III (Final)
English: Shakugan no Shana: Season III
Japanese: 灼眼のシャナIII –Final–
MAL Score: 7.53
Yuji disappeared the fateful night he was supposed to choose between a life combating evil by Shana’s side or as a normal teenager. He returns from near-death to lead the Crimson Denizens in a dubious plot to bring peace to the universe, but Shana isn’t fooled. In an explosive reunion, the fiery warrior faces her unlikeliest of foes while Flame Hazes from across the world join forces to ignite a war that will determine the fate of all supernatural kind.
Oh Shana, how low could you have gotten?
I was a big Shana fan three years ago, and after hearing of the news of when season 3 was going to premier last Summer, I was overjoyed. Boy was I in for a surprise, massive disappointment.
Shakugan no Shana III (Final) is J.C. Staff’s third and final adaption of the popular Shakugan no Shana light novel series written by Yashichiro Takahashi. Shakugan no Shana is a hot series for J.C. Staff, with each volume of season 1 and season 2 having sold 10,000+ copies total, and with great reason. Shakugan no Shana was a very entertaining and interesting series with the first two seasons. Season 3 however, is a whole different beast (It’s even selling on average 4,000 copies per volume on average, not 10,000+ like the successful first two seasons.).
We start off with how Yuji has disappeared, and whether or not if he truly has had his flame burn out. This was interesting…for a while. One of the biggest issues early on with season 3 is time. They make no effort to explain when season 3 takes place (I.E. How long after the end of season 2.), and it proves to be a problem that just gets worse, confusing the viewer. Not to mention, something always associated with time, pacing. Shana III has an issue of making events either occur way too fast, or way too slow (Like slower than Dragon Ball Z almost at times.). This is very apparent during much of the first half, the war between the Flame Hazes, and the Bal Masque which also happens to be one of the most boring, if not the most boring war I’ve ever seen in an anime.
Another problem with the series is character development, and lack of explanations as to what’s going on. Season 3’s biggest issue is adding too many characters at once, and then not even bothering to provide any back-story, thus causing the viewer to hardly care about them. They’ll only really be attached to the characters they know and love from the first two seasons, except of course Yuji (I’ll get to this later.). As the show goes on, this only gets worse and worse as they try to make you care with touching moments, but due to the lack of proper character development, this does nothing.
The lack of explanations really is one of the biggest issues. It makes the show quite confusing, and leads to the viewer being quite bored. There are also many contradictions thanks to this.
Now, Yuji. The Yuji you knew from seasons 1 and 2 is completely gone. For some, this may be a good thing, but for others, it’s quite a bad thing. Basically early on he has The Snake of the Festival take over his body. We have no idea where Yuji was, or where The Snake of the Festival came in which goes back to the issue of the lack of explanations and time. The Snake of the Festival later takes over as leader of the Bal Masque (As he was their former boss before he was sealed away.), and his goal first is to free his old body (Which of course, is a giant snake.), and he has another thing up his sleeve (He reveals this during the war.) which I won’t post about due to spoilers.
The sound and art (Well, it’s not as good, but it works.) are pretty much on par with the first two seasons, and they’re what help hold this show up from being a 3/10 show or lower. It helps make the show still somewhat enjoyable. They’re the best things about the show, which is such a shame. The entertainment value is there, but not much. A few episodes I’ve found have been quite a chore to watch even.
Overall, Shana III is a massive disappointment, and only devoted Shana fans will really have any reason to watch this, the main one being just to finish the story (This is the only reason why I haven’t dropped it, I really want to see the end.). I may edit this after I see the end, but I don’t expect this show to get much better.
Edit 3/30/2012 after seeing episodes 23 and 24 (The original part of the review was on 1-22):
Episode 23 didn’t really help the show (It suffered from the same problems that are very apparent in the series), but episode 24 was worth watching (It’s pretty much the only episode really worth watching). We get a decent enough ending which actually resulted in some decent character development.
just to be honest! Shakugan no Shana III is the true adaptation of novel… this is the true Shana without fanservice or filler episode…
We’re having a huge changes of plot since previous seasons and we face a faster pacing in this season… but somehow, J.C. Staff managed to pull it out and make it lots better than any anime they ever made before…
just same like previous seasons… this art is already good enough for Light Novel adaptation anime (please don’t compare the art with Visual Novel adaptation)
the battle’s art is very good
I can’t say anything anymore…. Mami Kawada, Kotoko, and Altima totally owned this season! Serment, I’ll Believe, and ONE is really good and enjoyable… not to mention the BGM and some songs from Mami Kawada as BGM (Akai Namida, u/n, etc)
awesome! Shana and Yuji’s character developments are very well-pictured by J.C.Staff. Not only two main characters but also Yoshida Kazumi, Eita, Keisaku Satou, Margery Daw, and Wilhelmina…
totally enjoyed it… that’s all… I don’t know what to say anymore
10/10 is maybe too high.. but for me, I consider Shakugan no Shana III as one of the best anime I ever watched
sorry if my review is bad…. this is my first time… xD
The third season of Shana – the long-awaited project from J.C.Staff, which was expected not only to fans of the most Shana, but also people who love any art of this studio.
Since I myself am a fan of Shana, I can say that the ending was totally justified. This anime made me remember all the seasons of Shana and this is good news, since not every studio can do it.
In fact, in the third season added a lot of sharp turns of the plot, which is good simple viewiers. (Story – 9)
New Shana a lot of interesting creatures and transformations, that is good news. New monsters, interesting buildings and various specifically can fully appreciate the scale and scope of this anime. (Art – 8)
The music is just great! Since the release of the anime, and to this day, I listen openings and endings. (Sound – 8)
Characters not really changed since the second season, of course added new ones, but they are not particularly interesting. An exception can be called Sakai Yuji. (Character – 7)
Unfortunately when watching the third season of Shana sometimes there is a desire to switch off and do not watch it, because so much is not clear, but razbratsya in all of this is very difficult, but it’s still interesting to know how it ends, and how the story will turn into reality. (Enjoyment – 7)
In conclusion I would like to add that all the seasons of Shakugan no Shana made a huge impression on me, and so I want to thank J.C.Staff for taking the job. They were able to do Shakugan no Shana for what it is, and a happy ending to it – it’s entirely their merit. I’m glad it ended so Shakugan no Shana!
7: Ao no Exorcist
English: Blue Exorcist
MAL Score: 7.54
Humans and demons are two sides of the same coin, as are Assiah and Gehenna, their respective worlds. The only way to travel between the realms is by the means of possession, like in ghost stories. However, Satan, the ruler of Gehenna, cannot find a suitable host to possess and therefore, remains imprisoned in his world. In a desperate attempt to conquer Assiah, he sends his son instead, intending for him to eventually grow into a vessel capable of possession by the demon king.
Ao no Exorcist follows Rin Okumura who appears to be an ordinary, somewhat troublesome teenager—that is until one day he is ambushed by demons. His world turns upside down when he discovers that he is in fact the very son of Satan and that his demon father wishes for him to return so they can conquer Assiah together. Not wanting to join the king of Gehenna, Rin decides to begin training to become an exorcist so that he can fight to defend Assiah alongside his brother Yukio.
One of the constants of many religions is the idea that sin and evil stem from a higher power. In some cases this means another deity that works in opposition to all things good, but for Christianity, Islam and Judaism such things are viewed as the domain of Satan (or “Lucifer, Fallen Angel, Prince of Darkness, Bringer of Light, Ruler of Hell, Lord of the Flies, Father of Lies, Apostate Supreme, Tempter of Mankind, Bringer of the Apocalypse, Old Serpent, Prince of this World, Seducer, Accuser, Tormentor, Blasphemer” – Glen Duncan).
Whatever name is ascribed to this being, the idea of him being the enemy of all things good is so deeply ingrained in society, he is usually depicted as the epitome of darkness and evil. While there are tales out there that try to cast Satan in a different light (for example, DC Vertigo’s “Lucifer”), most writers find it easier to go with the prevailing opinion – which is a bit … lazy to be honest.
Adapted from the ongoing shounen manga by Kato Kazue, Ao no Exorcist follows the adventures of Okumura Rin, a boisterous teenager with superhuman strength and a problem controlling his temper. Together with his younger twin brother Yukio, they live in a small Christian monastery run by their father, Fujimoto Shiro, and several monks who have helped raise the two boys. The series opens with a group of priests who are frantically praying in unison, but one by one they are being killed by a mysterious blue fire.
The scene shifts to Rin, who has just punched a delinquent for shooting pigeons with a crossbow.
Because this is a shounen anime, the plot adopts the action oriented, fight-of-the-week format that is so common in the genre. While this method is formulaic, it does have two advantages, the first being that the story becomes very easy to follow. Overly complex details and anything truly thought provoking have been discarded, which is more than a little ironic as, in true shounen anime style, this simplistic approach is reflective of the content of the series. The second advantage is familiarity, and while it doesn’t seem like an important factor, it does play a key role when it comes to enjoying this show.
Sadly, Ao no Exorcist also suffers from many of the problems that plague the shounen genre, partly because of the formulaic plot, but mainly because the series lacks the much of the depth needed to keep the story interesting. The lacklustre narrative is filled with bland humour and pointless angst, and because of these factors, the series has a tendency to veer off track. Although there are attempts to keep everything running smoothly, the underlying lack of creativity and complexity make this difficult to achieve. In addition to this, only a part of the manga has made the transition to anime, and much like the first adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist, the latter portion of the series is completely original – and it shows (more on this in a bit)
When it comes to looks, Ao no Exorcist is on surer footing, although a part of that is because this is a manga adaptation. The majority of the character designs are very typically shounen in style (even down to the short, bald guy), but while the source material adds a degree of refinement to their composition, there are also a few inherent limitations. That said, there’s a surprising degree of creativity in the supernatural elements of the series, and a few of the weird and wonderful concepts really steal the show. There are also a few imaginative settings that make a nice contrast to the rather humdrum everyday scenery, and when everything comes together the overall effect can be colourful and slightly outrageous (in a good way).
As for the animation, A-1 Pictures have done a decent job for the most part, even with the typical shounen posturing and theatrics. The characters move well, if at times a little unrealistically, and the majority of action scenes are fluid and well choreographed. Unfortunately there are some noticeable occasions where the standard drops, and sadly these aren’t limited to periods of frenetic activity.
The strong shounen theme is prevalent in the two opening sequences, both of which are filled with action, posturing, and a smattering of angst. In addition to this, the two introductory tracks, “Core Pride” by Uverworld (episodes 1 to 12), and “In My World” by Rookiez Is Punk’d (episode 13 onwards), are very typical rock songs that one might find at the beginning of any shounen anime. Ao no Exorcist also features two ending sequences, the first one being a CG “journey” through a city that is accompanied by “Take Off” by South Korean boy band 2PM. The second features a montage of the characters against a variety of patterned backgrounds, all to the tune of “Wired Life” by Kuroki Meisa. The rest of the soundtrack is features dramatic orchestral pieces and strange little comic relief ditties, and while these are generally well choreographed, as a whole there’s nothing really special about the background music.
One of the biggest problems with the shounen genre is that it can often be too formulaic, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the dialogue. The script appears to have been written by people with no idea of how teenagers actually talk, and the conversations are filled with pointless banalities, angst ridden diatribes and cumbersome bravado. Everything’s a bit too contrived, and to further compound matters, the voice actors have obviously been instructed to play their parts with extra “oomph”. The result is that emotions like anger, frustration, joy, fear, etc, often involve lots of shouting, while the rest of the acting has enough ham to start a business making sandwiches.
The characters are a veritable “who’s who” of stereotypes, and it can sometimes seem as though the mangaka has followed the instructions in “How To Make A Shounen Character” to the letter. Rin is the typical lead male – all brawn, very little brains, and tries to solve every problem by hitting it, and surrounding him are people who epitomise their archetypes. In addition to this, Ao no Exorcist makes the age old mistake of assuming that overcoming trials and tribulations equals development, and while some of the characters do learn a thing or two over the course of the series, much of what passes for growth is nothing more than window dressing on a mannequin.
In all honesty the only interesting person in the whole show is Yukio, but given how shallow everyone else is, this may not be saying much.
Ao no Exorcist isn’t a new concept, and much of the inspiration for the story has obviously come from Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy”. The sad part is that although the latter work is a gripping supernatural horror/thriller that touches upon many different cultural beliefs, legends and aspects of folklore, virtually none of that is present in this anime. The decision to make this a shounen tale has placed severe limitations on what can and cannot be done, and this means that the narrative can’t achieve the atmosphere, the tone, or even the level of complexity of Hellboy.
Which brings us back to the latter portion of the anime.
Once the series moves away from the source material the story takes a slightly darker turn, and several themes are introduced that, if they had been used earlier, could have raised the show above mediocrity. Unfortunately these concepts are only lightly touched upon, which is a shame as there was an opportunity to take the anime in a direction that would have made it far more interesting than it actually is. That doesn’t mean it should have gone done the path used by The Omen trilogy though (i.e. Rin becomes The Antichrist), but it would have been nice if the wistful, almost melancholy desire of his father was examined in more detail.
With all of its flaws it may seem as though Ao no Exorcist has nothing to offer, so it’s surprising that the show is reasonably enjoyable. That said, the best way to treat this anime is to think of it as a rather long action movie that has difficulty getting to the point, and if it’s watched for the sole purposes of no-brain entertainment, then viewers can expect a decent return for their time.
That said, with two live action movies, two animated features, and a world of difference in content, some people may find Hellboy a better proposition.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what this show lacked: direction.
Aside from establishing the premise, very little is done to advance the plot throughout the show. Most of the show is episodic, and the archs don’t build up to anything. It really seemed like the creators didn’t know where it was all supposed to go.
One of the things that disappointed me was the fighting, or the lackthereof. From the beginning they establish a universe with potential for awesome, supernatural fighting, and even introduce a number of characters that would probably be pretty awesome for that kind of show. In the end, there was really only a couple of fight scenes, and most (if not all) of them involved the same couple of characters.
It’s also disappointing considering those fights ultimately meant nothing. They had nothing to do with any overarching plot because there was none; at least, not until very late in the show.
The ending for this show was pretty bad. It didn’t do anything interesting with what the show brought to the table, and was downright terrible from an action standpoint. If it had introduced some kind of twist or something, then it might have redeemed the show a little bit, but it didn’t.
Since both the action and the plot were nonexistent, there’s really not much reason to like this show, though I will give it that the aesthetic and comedy were nice. It’s a show that could have been nice had they decided whether or not fighting was what they were going for, but they couldn’t make up there mind, and in the end they had nothing to show for it.
An interesting enough premise, but Blue Exorcist turns out to be just another school-setting shounen with a main character with the typical daddy complex and a shallow/unfinished romance.
The colors were bright, which is always enjoyable, but the character designs were lacking and some features came out awkward-looking. Ex: Shura’s oddly boxy midsection and Yukio’s unusually wide face
None of the OSTs stood out to me, but I loathed the jazzy opening.
I really enjoyed Rin and Shirou’s relationship, and Shiemi’s smidgen of character development was nice to see. But there was little depth in the characters otherwise. Instead, the writers took the easy route and focused on Izumo’s (spoiler) easily-predictable somewhat transformation and Rin and Yukio’s unorthodox relationship (which came off as awkward and forced to me). Though I must applaud the series for (spoiler) letting Noriko go, which shows some resolve.
Concept & Execution: 5
The daddy complex was nothing new, though I thought the religious overtones and occasional references were interesting and almost Neon Genesis Evangelion-esque.
I was rather let down by the series after hearing so many good things from friends. The first few episodes are still wonderful and emotion-filled, in my opinion, but the rest of the show fails to follow-up and the conclusion is horrifically anticlimactic, (spoiler) with the exception of the relationship between Rin’s mother and Satan, which I found surprisingly touching.
Overall, it feels like a textbook shounen that could have taken an edgy turn with the religious overtones and instead wimped out.
MAL Score: 7.54
Hamburgers that grow out of the ground like four-leaf clovers, mountain ranges carved out of ice cream, and warm servings of mac and cheese that stew deep within the stomachs of volcanoes fill the landscape. This world of delectable natural wonders has reached a prime age of exploration—the Gourmet Age! Citizens and chefs alike aspire to taste and prepare the finest dishes, while adventurers called “Gourmet Hunters” seek out delicious rare ingredients.
Possessing a unique set of skills, the wild and passionate Gourmet Hunter Toriko is infamous for discovering 2% of all known ingredients. Together with his friend Komatsu—a highly skilled chef working at a five-star hotel—Toriko strives to complete his Full Course Menu of Life. But it isn’t going to be easy; in order to obtain the most delicious ingredients, Toriko must battle against obstacles like deadly monsters, evil organizations, and food itself!
Quoted from a manly midget chef…
You know the first thing that crossed my mind when I read that quote was covering a cow with ketchup then proceed to pound the cow into bolognese sauce.
Im just kidding of course, that isn’t call MANLY… that’s called animal abuse…
So chances are if you stumble upon this anime, you’re not watching it just to fill up your boring life with some boring junk. No.. You hunt for exotic food on a daily basis. And you need an anime that teaches you the RIGHT way to do it…
Well, introducing Toriko, the only anime currently airing that will not only satisfy that hunger urge but will also teach you how to be more MANLY than you were before.
What would you say if I said that World Peace could be obtain if everyone in the world combined their powers to produced the most delicious full course menu in the universe?
You would probably say “BURRRRRP!!” Cause that’s how the end of World Hunger sounds like. Now all that’s left is the homeless people.
(Now people, feeding the homeless to the hungry would solve those two world problems, but we wouldn’t want to resort to cannibalism now do we?)
Let’s see how this anime can be used to solve other problems?
So you just opened up an art gallery and you’re not raking any cash because an art gallery is partially a public good. (No duh..)
Open up a mini restaurant in your gallery. Watch Toriko (especially the one piece crossover) and get inspiration on drawing animals which apparently looks like it had sex with food and produced offspring. Make your visitors hungry and they’ll pay a visit to your mini restaurant for brunch. Problem solved
Toriko has a huge variety of animal species, though not as much as Pokemon which has a total of 600++ up to date, but at least some of them are edible and each is designed with it’s own unique features. The artwork for Toriko is similar to One Piece. If you like One Piece, then you definitely would love this. If you like Two Piece then go to the toilet… *crickets* Yeah, yeah lame joke… pfft…
So you work with a bunch of unmotivated voice actors who does english dubs for an anime.
And they sound horrible (more than usual anyways)
Get them to watch Toriko. The seiyuus for this anime are top notch. They portray their character well in the anime. It’s like the directors forced the seiyuus to starve during the recording to make them sound like a bunch of hungry men. What can I say about the opening? One word… “GATSU!!” No seriously, it’s like getting your guts punched with a thousand fists of manliness.
So you have a son, and he’s a wimp. Nothing wrong about that, but he is due to national service soon. And you don’t want the other kids to bully him.
Get him to watch Toriko. Make him into a man. Toriko is an exampled role model.He says his prayers before and after eating his meal. How often do you see people say their grace before they eat? Not only that, Toriko only kills animals that he deems worthy to be eaten. He does not just willy nilly kill any of God’s creation. Only a REAL man could do that.
For every manly character, there will have to be a less manly guy to enhance the manliness of the main character.
For Batman, there is Robin. For Sherlock Holmes, there is Dr. Watson. In this case, for Toriko, there is Komatsu. Komatsu has his own set of special culinary abilities that furthur compliments Toriko’s manliness. If Toriko was the fork and spoon, Komatsu is probably the condiments.
What about the wimpy son problem?
Heck, just show the government his MAL profile that he is currently watching “Toriko” He’ll be exempted for life.
In fact, “Toriko” isn’t really an anime.
The German government classified “Toriko” as “Handbuch für Männlichkeit”
Translation, Handbook for masculinity. Yeah, everything sounds manlier in German.
The only problem about this anime is that it was further degraded from its masculinity compared to the manga due to a significant degree of censorship. Lower your hopes for gore and blood. On the bright side, with the absence of graphic violence, how kids who haven’t hit puberty can watch the anime and start training the the path of manliness…
Overall, as proven above, watching Toriko solves a whole tons of problems. I give this anime a rating of 8. Cause that’s the number of packs you’ll have after watching this anime. Yes, that’s right, 8 packs! One more pack and you can play tick-tack-toe on your abs. How awesome is that? Not as awesome as Toriko though. Tough luck kiddo.
I’d like people to watch it but I will be honest. Toriko is mediocre at best. Despite its simple and not-too-intelligent premise, the story unfolds itself and turns out to be very complicated. For the first time in the history of shounen anime, the main character’s voracious appetite has a convincing reason: some people in this world have gourmet cells which can evolve and ultimately level up as they consume high-quality food. Because these cells demand an immense amount of energy, characters usually eat a lot. This constant need for better food makes the story dynamic. Villains and heroes vie for the best food to become stronger which opens up possibilities of immense change. As they get stronger, they search for the ultimate food that can make one the most powerful. Thus, many different groups, both righteous and evil, clash with each other over food. As the story progresses it gets very complex but nothing is out of control, the anime preserves its integrity. In other words, the basic premise is nicely developed.
The animation successfully creates its original world. There’s a lot of talk on food. The beast and plants of the world are an amalgamation of different species of ours. They often look childish. Moreover, the world is very colorful. Bright colors are preferred for animation. This adds to the childish aura of the anime. Nevertheless, the animation is well done. Colorful scenes make fight scenes more fluid and add an extra dimension. As it’s expected from all 100+ episodes anime series, the budget of each episode is low. But when it comes to major fights it does not disappoint. Nothing top notch, yet well done.
The sound is not exceptional either. Voice acting is well done. It brings out what it aims to do. Music is not so great as to be memorable. It still fits the general mood of the anime. You don’t feel like songs are out of place.
One positive side of Toriko is that it doesn’t have many filler episodes. The number of filler episodes is 18 (13% of total) which is significantly lower than almost all long-running anime.
Toriko isn’t great at character department either. Though many characters are usual clichés, there are some positively peculiar ones among them. One positive thing is that they are older than 21. This is consciously chosen because they usually consume a lot of alcoholic beverages. However, it isn’t used in a meaningful way. They don’t differ much from younger shounen heroes. The main character Toriko is a nice lead. What he lacks, his partner Komatsu provides. They complete each other (sadly, this isn’t a love story). Toriko’s friends Sani, Coco shine in terms of power. The anime does not fall into the trap of overpowered main character standing alone against the enemy, reducing the rest to a bunch of useless spectators who are there only to get impressed by the main character. Also, female characters do not have overgrown breasts, an oddity in this age.
Overall, I enjoyed Toriko. Unlike other shounen, it requires a little more patience to be immersed in its world. But it’s painfully mediocre.
Many people have told me how much they hated the anime & prefer reading its manga, which is fine but I’m here to give my honest opinions about the animes pros & cons.
Toriko’s concept is one of hunting & cooking where our heroes “The 4 Heavenly Kings” (Toriko, Coco, Sunny & Zebra) explore the unknown lands of the Gourmet Age where exotic food stimulates power resulting into a war which purpose is to obtain “GOD”; the most sacred dish on the planet.
As a story, Toriko slowly builds up into hype moments where strength is taken to gargantuan levels & takes careful consideration of minor details which later deliver in the payoff in both exposition & combat. Most arcs can range from exploring, fighting or just eating which can vary per viewer but thankfully there aren’t any major filler arcs that affect the overall story. (Most of them just range from stand alones or 2 eps)
Similar to Dragon Ball & One Piece, Toriko carries that same adventurous feel & welcomes its viewer into a imaginative world filled with unique animals & technology. A highlight of the series are its subtle references to Fist of The North Star with Toriko, Coco & Zebra being based on Kenshiro, Toki & Raoh among other things.
As expected of battle shonens the series does deliver on fights sadly most of these battles do contain watered down violence. This is the main reason why most people just ignore the anime yet the adaptation serves better as a gateway due to its few crossovers with One Piece along with its soundtrack & usage of atmosphere in either the laid back scenes or the intense ones.
Flaws of the anime include its later decrease in animation quality around the 100s & the filler ending to the series as the manga is still ongoing. Also I’m certain characters such as Komatsu & Tina will affect viewing experience in a negative way. While I suggest to do what you think is better (watching or reading) please give the series a chance as it was only recently in 2013 where people began to become fans of the series. While some scenes can feel dragged & its food concept ridiculous, don’t forget that even Dragon Ball pokes fun in itself due its name choices (such as Trunks, Dr. Briefs, Tambourine, Drum & Piano).
Don’t let misconceptions affect your judgement as you may end up liking the series whether you watch or read it. Toriko is not the greatest series but does pay tribute to shonens of the 80s & 90s where it follows a straight forward story that offers imagination, gritty battles, monstrous villains & heroic characters.
5: Dragon Ball Kai
English: Dragon Ball Z Kai
MAL Score: 7.71
Five years after the events of Dragon Ball, martial arts expert Gokuu is now a grown man married to his wife Chi-Chi, with a four-year old son named Gohan. While attending a reunion on Turtle Island with his old friends Master Roshi, Krillin, Bulma and others, the festivities are interrupted when a humanoid alien named Raditz not only reveals the truth behind Gokuu’s past, but kidnaps Gohan as well.
With Raditz displaying power beyond anything Gokuu has seen before, he is forced to team up with his old nemesis, Piccolo, in order to rescue his son. But when Gokuu and Piccolo reveal the secret of the seven mystical wish-granting Dragon Balls to Raditz, he informs the duo that there is more of his race, the Saiyans, and they won’t pass up an opportunity to seize the power of the Dragon Balls for themselves.
These events begin the saga of Dragon Ball Kai, a story that finds Gokuu and his friends and family constantly defending the galaxy from increasingly more powerful threats. Bizarre, comical, heartwarming and threatening characters come together in a series of battles that push the powers and abilities of Gokuu and his friends beyond anything they have ever experienced.
Many like me who have seen the original and yet have seen this and thought well Kai is obviously the same isn’t it?
Well Yeah thats because it is But there are differences here and there to mention but it isn’t as major as a lot of people like to assume so I will be making some comparisons here that you’ll expect to see in this review since this is based on my analysis of this show from watching it twice alongside Dragon ball Z.
Story – 9
The story is sped up much more better compared to the original for obvious reasons of course, It sticks to major characters along with the main plot, less over the top screaming (Though there is that occasionally at times) and less deviating to different locations with little going on in them. better direction of how the pacing is handled within the story to how it is in the manga though I would argue that some certain moments in this version like the original happened quite differently in the manga.
The short prologue to the beginning of what happened to Goku’s father Bardock was a nice touch compared to how the original started off. It sets the story very nicely by showing bardock’s assault on frieza’s army and also the major difference was a removal of the fillers from the original which I like a lot about this.
Now for me I enjoyed some of the fillers from the original anime such as Gohan surviving out in the wilderness as part of his training or Goku and Piccolo amusing test driving episode or even seeing some of the characters trying to find the dragon balls or just randomly seeing some of the supporting characters in their own segments like Tien, Krillin, Yamcha, Chichi etc.
The fillers were also placed in some of the right spots in the story to give some fun easy going highlights towards characters and even progression for example gohan on his adventure out in the wilderness by piccolo to adapt to his surroundings and to not be afraid had a nice throwback to the original dragonball that in a way keeps it connected.
To me, Some of the Fillers like these are still a joy to watch personally unlike some certain animes that just shoehorn filler episodes to disrupt the flow of their story and action badly
(cough cough Bleach and Naruto)
The Filler from the original offered a nice casual distraction away from the main plot but also kept up in the right places as well as still offering the action, drama and humour to the show as a whole, I mean sure the negative to that is filler episode could tend to drag but they were also placed in convenient places that to me made sense and I wish a lot of shonen animes would do this. (I could go, But moving on)
But to note I also know from the original anime you have fillers that are just too slow and time wasting, For the love of god I totally did not like the whole fake Planet Namek filler and Goku when he fell off snake way when he met those 2 annoying Orges, including the fillers that stretch the length of certain episodes or just random added silly moments which I also wasn’t a fan of.
Now with Kai most of these fillers are pretty much gone which really helps viewers to stick with the main plot which in term keeps it more direct and maintains that balance of content and at least help it to not completely drag on for very long which is a major improvement.
Art/Animation – 6
Honestly I am however disappointed with Toei animation.
A series that finished a long time ago, that was beloved by loads of fans all round the world gets this reboot in 2009 and did they improve on art and animation? honestly.. Not that much at all.
This very much annoys me to say this but Dbz kai in terms of its animation capturing the same dated 4:3 ratio like the original did with certain colour correction and contrast but with the very same style of animation which in today standards of art and animation is undeniably lazy from Toei Animation standards considering this reboot came out in 2009!! Just unacceptable.
I have no problem with the art/animation with the original series since it came out in the late 80s/Early 90s, but Come On Now!.. this is practically the same with little certain things that they kinda enhanced which look like anybody could do on PowerPoint!
What seems very good from the very opening of truly great animation that would of suited the series as whole for it in this era of animation only comes to slap people in the face when they see this and say where is the improvement on the animation?? (No way only in the opening!?….Really? Surely they had a lot more time right?)
The original recycled animation has been limited but still not showing enough of that change that should of been implemented with better quality in the first place and some of the uncut blood and violence is replace by bruises which looks silly and yes even though the manga isn’t too violent it still looses some of its believability at times when something violent occurs
which does make me sympathies with those that did not warm up towards this series but again another thing is at least its not bad compared with the original in terms of missing features to the characters and what not.
As a really good example look at original JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders reboot. It got an updated look of the animation as well as other features in their new series to bring its source material of the manga to life so why not Dragon ball kai??
I get that the studio works on other different shows in Japan now and then but Is it really that much of a chore for them to do so for their most profitable franchise besides just animating the opening? They might as well just get Madhouse to work on it like they did for Hunter X Hunter 2011 if they aren’t really up to the task.
Music – 6
Right Okay..I honestly feel pretty mixed about this one.
While Kenji Yamamoto was originally the music composer behind The music of this series but had to be replace because of some corporate music scandal he had done.
before this show was release on DVD/bluray to the public they had the music to be replace with the former composer from the original series in 2009 which yet again is a problem, like the animation the music score sounds too dated like I’m watching an old detective show that sounds like 1966 The Green Hornet, The Hell!? seriously its Dragon ball Z!!!
So Understand that the mixes of genres of this show falls under Battle Shounen, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts,
Sci Fi, Super Power which adds a lot of variety for this show so It should feel and sound like it has its own uniqueness here especially to other music soundtracks nowadays but it unfortunately doesn’t since this anime has more of an out of date feel to it now which does not make me feel invested towards the episodes as much at times.
I LOVE the music composer Kikuchi Shunsuke from the original series I’ve nothing against him, but his soundtracks for a reboot version/ Remastering of this series up to this point just doesn’t really make me feel excited or engage to whats happening on scene especially since certain Iconic soundtracks are not present there like the original show and with this issue I feel, It just doesn’t really resonate with me when something is taking place.
Of course I am aware that Kai added a few new music scores in place of the show and they sound good but are only once during different characters moments which makes it pretty pointless honestly.
It was more better in the original because it was more authentic and done so well for particularly in that time period of anime back then.
The Opening Is okay, not really topping the original in anyway since the original Opening sounded so Iconic and with this opening I just felt it was played too much that but could’ve added more instead of hearing the same opening song throughout 97 episodes and again In no way competes with the opening of Dragon ball Z CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA since its so Iconic from the previous installment.
Voice Acting – 9
The dub and sub on the other hand are probably the highlight of Kai itself especially the dub as it is well handled by funimation.
It adds a lot more verbal curses than the original from previous works of there own, Good thing about this show its that it sticks closer to the Japanese dialogue of its source material.
For me the stand out performance from the dub easily was Chris Ayres as Frieza, Sean Schemmel as Goku, Dameon Clarke as Cell and Chris Sabat as Vegeta and Piccolo. I was also very happy that I heard other different voices for a change too, Though I do however miss Kyle Hebert as the narrator for his charismatic energy for the intro but doc Morgan does do a good job also.
Other voices like Colleen Clinkenbeard as Gohan in english is sort of okay but not that good, It can sometimes sound a little jarring and irritating at times especially when she forces her vocals too hard along with the screaming and I preferred her less as gohan as the show went on and I’m not a fan of when she has to voice Kid Goku since its basically the same as another character that she voices such as Luffy and to me it just does not fit for kid goku or gohan since all I’m hearing from her is her performance as luffy.
Not to mention she voices 18 who doesn’t even sound like she’s related to 17 as his twin sister who I felt the original sounded more close to it even in the Japanese, though her little kid version of gohan isn’t too bad. There was also a few annoying script changes as well in certain scenes too. But overall a great dub.
Now also, to be fair In comparison to Nozawa’s performance as Goku and Gohan I do think it would be unfair to compare voice performance here as some of the Japanese voice actors i feel don’t always sound as right in their roles regardless if Akira had a hand in picking certain individuals, but that isn’t my place to say because I do at times like their performance.
(P.s I’m Not trying to start a Dub Vs Sub debate here folks)
Also I like to mention the opening and closings is quite upbeat and laughably offer the best animation of the show by leaps and bounds.
but yet again, only having 1 opening can be repetitive for 97 episodes, honestly it would of been nice if they had done a few more openings each with a different song but Alas! Its only a minor nitpick.
As for the characters – 8
As Similar to the original, Cool heroes, Wicked villains, Memorable action, Plot as well as a great build up that follows through different stages of the narrative just like the manga counterpart now that the dialogue in this series expresses the show more better. Its demonstrates pretty much the same cast of colourful characters that still represents themselves in their colourful own way the more you watch you start to feel some sort of connection to one of these characters that define a lot of fun traits within the shonen genre and it’s easy to see why.
The characters have their own drive about them that strive to be the best of themselves despite their flaws which will resonate sharply with the viewer but it also gives interesting context to prior events that happens within each Arc which becomes clearer even through my 2nd rewatch.
Personal Enjoyment – 8
I have to admit the first half I really enjoyed a lot but I felt by the second half it felt like it got a little bit tedious going into Cell’s Arc even towards the final third of the show, it weirdly enough ends at Trunks going back to his own timeline to end the chaos without finishing off the rest of the series but It was pretty much a simple yet a decent conclusion until Dragon ball Kai 2014 pretty much wraps up the original series.
Final Verdict – 8
Now there could of been a much more improved version of this no doubt about that, but I feel Dbz kai did a decent job on its reboot to the original despite falling short in places where its production was very lazy which earns this series this rating
Its still a great series for anyone who want an introduction to watching battle shounen anime or just want to check out what the original series of Dragon Ball Z is.
It sticks close at hand to its source material even if you don’t want to fully watch the original at least this is a more condense way to get through with ease and not too long to feel drawn out. Sorry if my review came off being serious but that is how I properly critic and say what I say with honesty.
Also PLEASE watch Dragon ball if you can, Its basically The prequel of Both Dragon ball Kai & Z since that doesn’t get as much love as the sequel does in general. Or if it’s not your thing than the Manga would likely be a better option. Until then Thanks for reading. ; )
I’ll just focus on Kai and the changes it has
Ok, so the story in dragonball has never been really complex or deep, but it’s still fun to watch.
In my opinion, the biggest improovement Kai has over DBZ is that all the anoying fillers are gone and now the story goes, mostly, acording to the manga. No more eternal power charging, no more eternal “he is so strong” internal monologues a no more feeling that nothing really happened in the last 10 chapters. Yeah there are some fun filler missing, like when goku and picolo go to the driving school, but in the end what is gained with the exclusion of the filler is far more than what is lost.
I’ve read here that the story got cut out, that’s not true, they just cut out all the filler that made the original Dragonball anime a pain to whatch for the poeple that have read the original manga.
The art in dragonball has allways been decent considering the times when it was released. But just as the new opening makes you believe at first, this could have been a real remake but the only thing we get here are the exact same animation but on a higher resolution, that’s all.
The audio has been remade and sounds great. After finishing KAI I watched some episodes of the original anime and the difference was clear.
I also liked some of the aditions to the soundtrack, though not all of them.
At least to this date, this is the best way to watch dragonball.
If you are a newcomer to the world of dragonball you will be able to see the story and fights just as Toriyama made them in the original manga.
If you already saw the original anime or manga you will be able to go throught this all time classic once again without having to be tortured by the neverending fillers.
It’s good, but it could have been so much more.
I really would have loved to see a real remake with the kind of animation that we get in the opening of kai.
The story to DB Kai is no different from the original series. The Earth is paid a visit by a being named Raditz whom claims to be Goku’s brother; Raditz reveals to him that he’s not even of Earth, instead he comes from a different race called the Saiyians whom lived on Planet Vegeta. They eventually battle, and Goku as well as his allies learn that Raditz isn’t the only one out there from that race, nor is he even close to the strongest. They then prepare themselves to battle against the last two warriors of the Saiyan race.
I will mention now that the removal of various filler such as Snake Way, Garlic Jr., and various other things was definitely a plus. The show moves quite better without the constant distractions; but the truth is, even without the filler, DB Kai can still be a chore at times with situations dragging along for too much time, and the outcome simply not being a good enough pay off for some of the waiting. In any case, the overall story is fun, and DB Kai works its way up to the final battle against Cell.
DB Kai manages to keep the action well paced enough, and character personalities are fleshed out. However, things could have been so much better had the only change to the show been the various filler. One thing DBZ did well was its voice acting for the English dub and character interactions. Some serious fans will catch the removal of some dialog and it may bother them, it sure as hell bothered me because Vegeta especially had some good lines, like his threat to beat on Yamcha for practically no reason. The changing of voice actors got on my nerves as well; Colleen Clinkenbeard is annoying as hell as Gohan, and had I never seen this before I would have been wishing for his brutal death at the hands of Frieza. Now speaking of Frieza, they have Chris Ayres playing him. I hate everyone Ayres, Chris and Greg Ayres have a very annoying, whining, saccharine feel that gets on my nerves quick. Colleen Clinkenbeard also voices Android 18, and she just feels all types of wrong here. Meredith McCoy is by far the best to play her; she brought a sinister yet sexy appeal to 18 that carried over to her facial expressions and even fighting.
Another thing DBZ always did amazingly well was introduce intense music scores. Funimation’s BGM is probably this anime’s best quality and they know it, yet for some reason they use boring elevator music, with no variation or anything new through out the entire duration of the show. Vegeta and Piccolo’s addictive themes that described their characters so well? Gone. The terrifying BGM of death when Frieza goes off to kill Vegeta while King Kai narrates this is the evil Prince’s last stand? Jettisoned… for some irritating trash that doesn’t enhance the scene at all. I can list plenty more examples, but this proves to me that not everyone understands the effect music can have during some scenes.
The animation and artwork appears to be remastered, but the only thing actually new is the opening. I don’t have much of a problem with this, still this could have been better updated. At least DB Kai delivers the action well enough and there’s plenty going on that can turn a new comer into a fan. There’s loads of fisticuffs and brutal beatings to go around.
As I look around there are plenty of people that really enjoyed Kai more than DBZ. I can honestly say that I understand that because it does trim a lot of the fat and focuses more on character and story development, along with action which is the main selling point. Unfortunately for me, I look for other things in my anime and music means a lot to me; a great soundtrack can actually mask flaws in a work, and DBZ was full of them yet the BGM smoothed things out making it more tolerable. In addition, there are things that seems changed for the sake of it. None of the voice actors from the original died while this was in production, so I see no reason for the change in cast, nor the removal of some lines.
Despite my dislike for this remake, if that’s what it is, I still recommend it to fans so they can see it for themselves; but I highly advise to be prepared for these various changes. I already know plenty of individuals who had the same issues with this as I did.
Highs: Some of the removal of filler does work, enjoyable action
Lows: Altering of cast and BGM is a huge blow for me
4: Tegamibachi Reverse
English: Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Reverse
Japanese: テガミバチ REVERSE
MAL Score: 7.76
After Niche carries the wounded and stunned Lag back to the Bee Hive, the Letter Bee finally begins to piece the puzzle together. Now he knows what’s happened to Gauche, why the Marauders are so focused on stealing mail and the actual intent of the group controlling both, Reverse. However, when he’s forbidden to reveal the truth, Lag is soon forced out of the artificial sunlight and back into the world of perpetual night. And soon Reverse’s plot to take down the Letter Bees and overthrow the Amberground government begins to accelerate. If things weren’t already bad enough, the giant insect creatures called gaichuu are apparently evolving into something new; there may be traitors working within the Hive; and Niche’s sister, who’s definitely not human friendly, shows up to turn family drama into a full-scale siege! It all spells serious trouble for the Letter Bees, but if anyone can weather the storms and gloom of night, Lag and his team are the ones who’ll deliver.
STORY: At initial glance, it doesn’t seem very original, NOT CLICHE either, but hardly something very unique. Letter-delivering. Very mundane. Not so in this anime. Letter Bees go on very dangerous missions, transversing many miles through the flickering light of Amberground, they face the constant threat of ‘gaichuu’. This particular story follows Lag Seeing- the world’s most adorable/lovable protagonist, a letter bee searching for his idol and his saviour – Gauche Suede; in the most basic, basic terms.
The first season has very llttle plot development in terms of the previously mentioned concept, IN fact, it is safe to say the first season really just ‘sets the scene’ in 25 episodes, so by the time you reached the finale, you have a very thorough understanding of what being a letter bee entails, their impact on the lives of the civilians, the huge social divisionsof Amberground, basic knowledge on all the characters encountered so far, etc.etc.
The Second season is when the plot really gets moving. Don’t get me wrong, the first season was absolutely beautiful exhibition of the greatness of the human spirit. Beautiful and extremely moving. However, the second season is so extremely addictive and exciting because you are immersed in the journeys of all the protagonists and all their successes and failures are amplified tenfold for you, and in the most basic terms, season 2 retains little episodic elements of season 1 and is also much more exciting because there is significant plot movement.
ART AND ANIMATION: I’ve combined these two because there isn’t much I can say about them as I’m not an expert, but the art is beautiful and the animation is excellent. While watching this anime the last thing you’ll be unhappy with is the art, (which is actually pallettable ART), and the animation, (which is smooth, non-jittery and enjoyable to watch, I.E. looks like it’s done by ACTUAL professionals) 0o0
SOUND: WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUl…. Music that is actually music, voice-acting that is actually done with emotion, openings and endings you actually want to watch, all in all, very impressive.
CHARACTER; Ahhh, the characters/ protagonists were most definitely a hiighlight of the anime. On a general note, every single character of the series is an actual character, with emotions, development, (however small), history (however much touched on), hopes, dreams, and aspirations, NOT 2 dimensional stereotypes, which many animes have succumbed to. Not this one. The main character – Lag Seeing, is the biggest crybaby I have ever come across. EVER. But in a weird warp he is also the most endearing and moving and emotionally sensitive soul I have also come across in all fiction, and the real world. He is type of character you wish you knew because he would be the greatest friend that would always be loyal to you and love you. AND FOR ONCE THE PROTAGONIST IS NOT A PERVERTED TWAT. AND you LOVE HIM FOR IT. Also, Lag Seeing, from the very first episode undergoes a huge emotional journey. Wrenched away from everything ever known, he grows a great deal in only the first few episodes; he learns the meaning of the words ‘friendship, love, and journey.’ Understanding first hand the experience of being a letter, it inspires him to able to give what Gauche Suede, (the letter bee that delivered Lag) gave him. This character development does not stop for one second in the duration of the both series.
His dingo – Niche is an equally interesting character. Adorable, but equally deadly, in many ways, she is the polar opposite of Lag, but in another weird warp they make an unbeatable team. The relationship entails many hardships, as all realtionship do, but also triumphs through them, which really contributes to not only the likability of these two characters, but the whole series.
THEMES: I could write a whole essay on this one. And I would. Happily. But for review purposes I will TRY to keep it succint. 😛 Sorry reader. OKK… Tegami Bachi is chocablock filled with themes. In fact, I don’t think the word ‘themes’ quite entails what this show offers intellectually. Obviously, it can be interpreted very differently, but this is just my personal opinion. But Tegami Bachi is most definitely about communication. Duh. Delivering letters is just the front. In Tegami Bachi, letters are communication devices that allow addressers and addressees to read into one another’s innermost feelings and wishes. It is a portal into one’s heart, where people can really use time to think carefully and articulate what they really want to say ONTO paper. And it is the letter bees job to carry all that emotion and ‘heart’ emanating from that flimsy bit of paper that could have so much significance on someone’s life, safely to their destination. This immortal secret is what (I think) the series tries to teach us. Unlike many deep meaningful series it doesn’t preach right behaviour or good morals. It TEACHES. Yes, teaches. Teaches about friendship, explored through the interaction and the community of all the letter bees, and the friendships between letter bees and their dingos, that immortal bond so overlooked, prime examples constantly dotted throughout the series. (I’m trying not to spoil it). It also teaches, about respecting others, and in not the way you’d expect. That particular lesson broke my heart to pieces. It really exemplifies the meaning of sacrifice, and what true friends do for one another. Another major theme explored is ‘good and evil’. Suprisingly I felt absolutely no enmity for the villian of the second season. I did hate a particular someone for the atrocious betrayal of trust but I won’t specify who. Watch if you want to find out. 😀 Anyway, the series goes back deep enough into a character’s history that I was able to emphasize enough with the villain to understand the reasonings behind their actions. weird….
On a smaller note, the one thing that I wish that some important questions were answered. It seems like, while the series is absolutely great, the producers/directors forget about a few aspects of the Lag’s history, and while it touches on it lightly is not nearly enough for fans to draw respectable conlcusions from it. Which is extremely unfortunate.
ENJOYMENT: I think it’s pretty clear from the rest of my review how much I LOVED LOVED LOVED this series. There has been a couple of negative reviews and what I really plead to you is to give this anime a chance. This anime really changed what I thought of anime as a whole, it was a refreshing, touching, at times heart-breaking series, forever immortalised in my heart, and I believe with every inch of my soul that it’ll have some place in yours too.
The animation was beautiful like I said before. Great graphics, lighting, colour, just made me happy =D. It was all lies to try and deceive me.
Other than the bitchy crying 24/7, outstanding sound. The music at most scenes was wonderful and fit perfectly. The voices did too, but I haven’t heard such great music that sorta made me feel good in other shows. I feel weird talking.. or typing about how I feel. Oops I did it again.
Not much to say here, these characters were original. I would give it a 10 if it wasn’t for Gauche’s stupid memory loss thing which caused him to think he was Noir and leave HER POOR SISTER BEHIND JUST LIKE THAT EVEN THOUGH HE SAID HE’D HELP HER FIX HER LEGS. What the fuck.. now that I think about it…… WHY, NOT, ASK, DOCTOR THUNDERLAND FOR SURGERY?
YOU DUMBSHIT GAUCHE, DUMB SHIT.
I enjoyment-ed nothing. Nothing from the story plot. But the music and art was enjoymentingfull =D. (My own word)
Now to the story.
Letter Bee left us with a cliffhanger. Reverse continued on from that, with a story which pretty much says “Fck you all, we’re gonna hide the story behind Lag’s mother, the artificial sun and gonna take away Gauche with all his memories gone like the assholes we are, you motha fckers can go watch Pokemon.” Well fk you people too. This continued series solves NONE of the questions people may have, all it does is give more questions like a fking math teacher, and tells us to solve it or leave it. And then we’re left thinking of what might have the story about Lag’s mother and the Sun been about.
I loved season 1.
Hell with season 2.
There are still things from last season still present that makes this series unique and enjoyable to watch. The atmosphere in this series is absolutely phenomenal. We are completely immersed into the distinct world in “Tegamibachi”, in the constant darkness shined only by the faint light of artificial sun, and the desolate landscapes between towns. Character design was also wonderful, the unique Letter Bee uniform, the cute designs for kids, and the cool (almost bishounen) looks of the adult Letter Bees. Other than the Gaichuu still looking like video game rendered, this series is pure visual pleasure to watch.
However, ‘REVERSE’ still has many flaws evident in the previous season. Lag Seeing is still a crybaby who cries EVERY single episode. There are extremely poorly made fillers (although far fewer in numbers). The ability to see memory of others is shameless abused as a deliberate plot device, as Seeing and others continue to use their abilities to invade personal privacy. Characters’ actions or motivations not making any sense, and even plot holes such as knowing things a character was never told about. Horrible, horrible character and location naming sense (“Lag Seeing”? “Jinro”? “Blue Notes Blues” (wtf?)) And of course, the highly predictable nature of the story itself that was a constant loop of melodrama. The ending lacked resolution, and much of the mystery about the ‘Tegamibachi’ universe and Akatsuki remain unexplained.
Lag Seeing’s voice is clearly female as usual and quite annoying at times, but I’m used to it by now. Everyone else’s voices are near perfect matches, quite smooth and emotional when needed. BGM sounded very generic as last season, used in all the right places, but just lacks something that moves your heart. Both OP/ED were of very poor quality, not particularly fitting well with the series, nor as catchy as ones from the first season.
Two seasons of ‘Tegamibachi’ were very disappointing because it had so much potential. The premise was so unique and had so many possible developments built in, but the story and characters were simply incapable of reaching their full potential. Lag Seeing’s character remained a crybaby to the end, the use of their abilities too corny, and pacing was absolutely horrible and seemed to drag on forever. It also gave me the impression of the characters saying and doing same thing over and over. The story was so horribly written near the end that it was almost insulting.
The theme of this anime was delivering thoughts and feelings, but it had failed to reach my heart.
3: Heartcatch Precure!
MAL Score: 7.79
Young flower enthusiast Tsubomi Hanasaki is often modest and quiet. But with her family moving to a new town, she aims to reinvent her image at her new school as someone more confident and outgoing. On moving day, she dreams of a mysterious tree in the sky guarded by a warrior named “Cure Moonlight.”
Tsubomi quickly learns that this was no ordinary dream when she encounters two mysterious fairies—Chypre and Coffret—who are being hunted down by a strange woman. When the woman summons a giant monster to attack the city, Tsubomi finds herself transforming into a warrior to fight the enemy! Taking on the alias “Cure Blossom,” Tsubomi learns that the woman is part of a villainous group that aims to turn the world into a lifeless desert, with her new duty being to stop it from happening. As Tsubomi continues to battle more monsters and uncover the secrets behind Cure Moonlight, will she find the confidence needed to overcome her timid nature?
What this anime is, is about 40 episodes of filler. Filler seems to be the no-no word for an anime to be a very good anime, see anime like Naruto for instance. However, as some hallmarks of anime like Cowboy Bebop prove, filler doesn’t have to make an anime bad, and can make the series even greater. This is the case with Heartcatch as well. While the series uses a pretty distinct formula: the main group of girls have a minor conflict, and we’re introduced to a character of the week that is having a similar conflict, that drives them to despair. One of the generals catch them in sorrow and steal their sou- …um heart flower and turn them into a Deserterian, the girls transform and fight the monster, the general mocks the character of the week for their stress , one of the girls, usually Tsubomi argues for the good nature of the character of the week, the purify the COTW and the COTW’s conflict is resolved, we learn about some “Flower Language 101” (which isn’t just made up by the creators, Google it) and its case closed. Even though the formula is, for the most part, rigid, it rarely gets tedious and they even throw some new tricks into the bag such as the general piloting the Desertarian like its a mecha. Even though they’re only one episode long, two tops, they stand on their own nicely.
But its not just episodic narratives all the way through, about 10-15 episodes is dedicated to advancing the story, whether it be introducing new cures, or the excellent last 6 episodes, which pretty much sealed the perfect 10 that I gave the story. The ending probably ranks along with Code Geass and Madoka Magica among the best endings in my book.
They do cut a lot of corners sometimes with the animation, using a bunch of CG for stuff like the activation items, and occasionally sloppy animation. Also the reuse of animation for things like transformations and finishing moves may turn some people down. However, at several points they show how good the animation team is, especially during the final 6 episodes.
The designs are a whole different ballgame, they are very versatile and can work in many situations. Not to mention they are heart-attack-inducing adorable! Also, the Gold Forte Burst animation is jaw-dropping to say the least.
The soundtrack is very excellent. The series got dark and it got tragic sometimes. The art and the soundtrack really are the two things that made these moments so great. One thing I have yet to mention is how the series uses parallelism to great effect in this series. At one point the song “Heart Goes On”, initially used during the fashion show that was built up to for several episodes, is used during the climax of the series. The soundtrack helped the series make me cheer, laugh, and nearly cry.
I’ll not spend a century focusing on ALL the characters, but they all are solidly built. Tsubomi develops throughout the series from a coward to a bright and loving hero. Yuri Tsukigage is a minor character for nearly half the series, but nearly steals the spotlight from Tsubomi near the end, not to spoil a whole lot. The rest of the cures are excellently built and a great ensemble. The characters of the week are of special mention as nearly all of them get a detailed backstory, except for the last one, who just gets his sou-…heart flower snatched right after he remarks how he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and he is never seen again. They serve as a Chekhov’s Gun near the end as they help the cures not lose hope when the bad guy is nearly about to win.
Speaking of bad guys, I guess I have to mention them.
The generals are excellent characters, you sympathize with them, but ultimately root for the cures to triumph. They are quirky but not to be trifled with. Excellent.
Sabbaku is defininely worth mentioning as a great character. His best traits are best left undiscussed due to MAJOR spoilers. But near the end reminds you of a certain other masked villain that you’ll probably recognize unless you live under a rock.
Dark Cure while kinda vague, definitely acts as a solid adversary, espescially for the final cure.
The big boss, Dune, is a fabulous villain in more ways than one. He nearly accomplishes his goal, which makes him probably the most capable villain I know of, and takes all the strength the cures can muster to defeat. GG Dune.
I was hesitant to give this anime a perfect 10, but this anime is one of the best series I have watched. And to think its a kids’ show.
RECOMMENDATION: VERY HIGH
Now the heart tree will get better!
Your move My Little Pony!
Another point in Heartcatch’s favour is the animation style. It’s done by the same team who did Casshern Sins, which is a bit of an odd mix. Casshern Sins is a great show, but it’s hella depressing post-apocalyptic material, and to have them do a Precure seems like a match made in “didn’t think this through properly” land. But it works, certainly in the animation style department. Heartcatch is stylish. The designs seem to be made with movement in mind, rather than other Precures where the characters don’t move freely at all and every fight scene is simply them panning across the screen (*cough* Fresh Precure *cough*). The animators are rather happy to let their characters go deformed for the sake of more fluid animation, but the artstyle suits the free-flowing designs quite well. Heartcatch’s fight scenes are far and away the best out of the Precure franchise, albeit that’s not particularly high praise. In comparison to other action anime, it doesn’t compare to Bones or Gainax level material, but it sure is pretty to look at.
The transformation sequences are…well, actually they’re not all that bitching at all. At least, the main two aren’t. They decided a cell phone was too unoriginal for this version of Precure, so instead decided to use perfume as a Precure transformation aid. Full points for originality I guess, but this does mean what you get is a spray-on Precure costume, which is rather underwhelming. It’s only until the third Precure shows up that we get a proper bitchin’ transformation sequence
Not that Heartcatch solved all the problems of the previous Precures. The magical pets are still as annoying as fuck. The BUY OUR TOYS still isn’t that well integrated into the plot. No really Precure, I’m cool with your amazing gospel 2nd ending song having awesome CGI dancing in it, but it’s jarring when every instance of BUY OUR TOYS is accompanied with the product in question being in CGI itself. It makes it stand out all the more jarringly, especially when they have to go through gimicky actions that the toys can also do. Like, come on. What sort of magical girl has to wind up their wand before they can use it? But the fact that it had a brain and wasn’t painfully stupid with its episodic plotlines far outweigh the problems I had with BUY OUR TOYS and annoying magical pets.
Precure is a cartoon aimed at little girls. Kids like repetition, or so I’ve been told. I did too, when I was, like, 4. Heartcatch’s non-plot related episodes follow such a strict formula that they start to get boring after a while. It’s the same problem I had with Hell Girl, and even that tried to mix things up a little more than Heartcatch ever tried to. Every episode follows the exact same damn pattern, to the point that they start to blend together. This is Not Good for an episodic show. Each episode should have something that makes it stand out from the rest. That was the one where they all talked backwards for the episode. That was the one where the colours all inverted. I dunno, I’m not a scriptwriter, but there’s nothing remarkable about most of the episodes. They don’t try to make them stand out, except on very rare occasions. Even the ones where plot-related stuff happen, the show still goes through the exact same motions. It doesn’t matter how great your formula is, it will be less interesting with every repeat of the formula if you don’t mix it up a bit.
Then there was the plot. Yeah. The plot. For gods sake, why do even the apparently good Precure villains fall foul of the pathetically dumb Precure villain syndrome? Dark Precure is Cool. She has a single black wing and is amazingly overpowered compared to our heroes. Then why does she not attack them? There is a scene where she is about to deliver the finishing blow, but then retreats because Mysterious Voice From The Sky calls her away. There was no reason for her to be called away either, she just went anyway. And it’s not like the villains don’t realise what a threat the Precures are to them. I don’t necessarily mind that the underlings are stupid, spending their time admiring themselves in the mirror. They’re meant to be stupid, and the show embraces that. But why are Sabaku and Dark Precure not attacking the Precures when they realise what a threat they are? What the fuck do they spend their time doing in the dark castle? She had no problem defeating Cure Moonlight back in the day, why not these two Precures before they get stronger? Oh wait yeah, I know. Precure Villain Syndrome. Give them a stick and a banana just out of their reach, they’ll proceed to choke on the stick.
But even the plot with the good guys is stupid. Every single revelation to the plot was lame. The revelation who the fancy man who kept saving them was an incredible anti-climax. The reveal of who the third Precure would be was a let down. Every time a plot related incident would occur in the episode, it would never result in something I particularly cared about. The plot related episodes were never particularly good, apart from maybe introducing a new bitchin’ transformation sequence or new move. The best episode of the series was the Mother’s Day one by an absolute mile, and that had nothing to do with the plot. It was just a well-directed episode that told a powerful message. But non-plot related episodes, as I explained earlier, got repetitive and dull. I found myself watching the next episode previews to see if anything potentially different would happen. But this too was a misnomer, as new events never succeeded in improving the quality of the episodes. Next episode has a new Precure, hopefully that will improve the quality, right? Nope, still the same old stuff it has been pumping out since episode 1, except now there’s an extra part to the transformation sequence.
I reached the episode where we got the fourth Precure. But her becoming a Precure was telegraphed to us for the past several episodes, so there was no joy in seeing it be realised. How she came about gaining the power to become a Precure was done via several randomly introduced plot elements over the past few episodes, such as a magical flying castle and the fact the Heart Tree can apparently travel across time and space, and that magical pets come from heart seeds, and all sorts of totally randomly introduced plot points for the sake of advancing the plot. But it’s not like the show ever changed. The villains were still being stupid. The Precures were still going through the same routine. The end of the episode showed the fourth Precure doing her bitchin’ transformation sequence and getting ready to fight Dark Precure. I thought to myself “well that was boring, but I gotta see the next episode because she fights Dark Precure in it”
…and stopped myself. I had fallen into that trap. I’m not watching the anime to see what’s happening. I’m watching the anime to see what’s going to happen. Nothing that’s ever happening in the present ever entertains me. Only the promise of changes in the future keep me going. Even if there is something worth watching, it comes out of non-foreseeable, non-plot related events like the Mothers Day episode. And there was where I dropped it. Episode 33. At the very point of the grand reveal, I gave up.
Tsubomi, the protagonist of this story, is a shy girl who definitely didn’t fit with what the image of what the standard Precure protagonist looked to me, I think that this is played very nicely through the story and seeing her open up more while keeping what makes her be her was so satisfying to see. Together with the cheerful and absurdly lovable Erika by her side, they form the main duo of the story for a good time before the other Precure join.
Those episodes with them alone were “the weakest” part of the series to me (saying that in quotes because they were still enjoyable) and were focused on giving the spotlight to side characters (mostly classmates or the family of the MCs) and our girls helping them both via interactions, and by kicking ass defeating the “Desertrians”, monsters created by the enemies of this story combining an object and the wiltered hearts of the characters. This anime uses the fact that Tsubomi loves flowers very strongly using that detail, with the flower each character has having a meaning that fits with their problem.
Once the other and equally nice Precure join the group, the plot starts to really pick up and only gets better and better, with very emotional moments and solid development for the characters. I don’t want to possibly overhype it, but honestly the final episodes were some of the most epic I have watched.
With a nice main cast is also needed a nice villain side, and The Desert Apostles did a successful job on that. Precure does a very good job at being lighthearted while also not shying away when it has to be darker, and the villains were a good example of that in execution, I enjoyed the interactions and comedy moments between them and/or with the Precures a lot and they ended up being very memorable as well when it came to the more serious parts involving their characters.
The art style of the series is so visually appealing and allows for a wide array of nice reactions and goofy movements from the characters while looking perfectly fitting with the show, and the great designs by Yoshihiko Umakoshi (Casshern Sins, Boku no Hero Academia, Doremi, Mushishi…) definitely were a part of that, the action scenes are also solid, abundant and well animated, not to mention the nice transformation scenes of the characters. The soundtrack of the series is also nice and has some very memorable tracks.
After only saying more and more positives I guess that it’s time to say the problems I had with the series, which honestly didn’t affect my opinion in the long run:
– The first is the already mentioned slower start, while I always enjoyed watching the episodes, I didn’t feel that it hooked me in nowhere as much as Hugtto or Princess Precure (which I watched right after) did, so I wasn’t feeling as hyped and also a bit worried that maybe I wouldn’t end up loving it as much as I wanted to, but yeah, that got fixed later on, boy it did.
– The second is the mascot characters of the main duo, that honestly were pretty annoying at first and I was never a fan of the “a heart seed is coming out!” scene after they defeat the Desertrians they face (and thank god the animation of that part got more polished, they are clearly pooping it, c’mon!) But they grew on me as the episodes passed and even took the spotlight in a comedy focused episode that made me laugh really hard and I loved.
– Lastly, this just seems to be a thing with the franchise as a whole. As a series that lives by selling the toys they make based on the anime they know that they have to advertise them, and how they do so? By making the objects the girls use look exactly like they would as a toy and even use CGI for some, this makes total sense but at times I couldn’t help but feel like “man, they are really trying to sell the product here”, which let’s be honest, it’s pretty stupid thinking about it: of course they are not making anime because why not, we wouldn’t get more if it didn’t sell! It’s a matter of getting used to it, and why lie, I freaking want a Flower Tact! I’m not surprised at all that this is the best selling entry so far.
If you haven’t watched any Precure yet and you’re reading my review you might feel put off by the last two negative points and think that this is in anime that only kids might find enjoyable, but I can promise you that this isn’t the case and that anyone has a chance to really enjoy it, the characters are very compelling and likeable, the comedy is solid, the action is nice looking and the story is interesting and has some darker moments that definitely surprised me seeing. This franchise is so painfully underwatched in the west and I hope that this slowly changes as time passes. Nice anime I can’t recommend enough and a totally good point to start with the franchise.
MAL Score: 8.31
With the promise of granting any wish, the omnipotent Holy Grail triggered three wars in the past, each too cruel and fierce to leave a victor. In spite of that, the wealthy Einzbern family is confident that the Fourth Holy Grail War will be different; namely, with a vessel of the Holy Grail now in their grasp. Solely for this reason, the much hated “Magus Killer” Kiritsugu Emiya is hired by the Einzberns, with marriage to their only daughter Irisviel as binding contract.
Kiritsugu now stands at the center of a cutthroat game of survival, facing off against six other participants, each armed with an ancient familiar, and fueled by unique desires and ideals. Accompanied by his own familiar, Saber, the notorious mercenary soon finds his greatest opponent in Kirei Kotomine, a priest who seeks salvation from the emptiness within himself in pursuit of Kiritsugu.
Based on the light novel written by Gen Urobuchi, Fate/Zero depicts the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War—10 years prior to Fate/stay night. Witness a battle royale in which no one is guaranteed to survive.
At the end of 2006 the developer began collaborating with Nitroplus in order to create a prequel light novel series, but this time the story was penned by the relatively unknown Urobuchi Gen (with Type-Moon co-founder Takeuchi Takashi providing illustrations). Set ten years before the events in the visual novel, Fate/Zero chronicles the events leading up to and during the fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City, Japan – the same place where the battle will be held in Fate/Stay Night. After three successive failures in the contest, the Einzbern family recruits the notorious mercenary Emiya Kiritsugu, also known as the “Mage Killer” – a man who is willing to use whatever means are necessary to realise his goals.
Meanwhile, the other principal magic families – Matou and Tohsaka – are preparing for the coming conflict, and although the church is taking part as well, they have also sent someone to assist the Tohsaka family – Kotomine Kirei.
At first glance it may seem as though Fate/Zero is just another action anime, but nothing could be further from the truth. The series has a very different tone than either Fate/Stay Night or Unlimited Blade Works, and in many ways it has more in common with the dark, brooding atmosphere of the Kara no Kyoukai movies. That said, the series does assume that the viewer has some familiarity with the franchise, but this is balanced by a much tighter plot than that of either of its predecessors, and more focus on preparation, planning, and even dialogue between the different parties. The result is that the narrative has far more depth and structure than one might expect in a supernatural action anime, and there are layers of subtext that are gradually added as the series progresses.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Fate/Zero is that it’s a far more mature story than the original visual novel or its adaptations, and unlike many other shows, there are very few occasions where the characters engage in pointless conflicts or endeavours. The series carefully tries to avoid insulting the viewer’s intelligence by adopting a patient, methodical build-up to the action set pieces, and on many occasions the story focuses on information gathering and planning. In addition to this, the battle lines shift constantly as the combatants form short-term alliances in order to counter the moves of other opponents, but there’s always the understanding that the foundation of these is nothing more than “the enemy of my enemy”.
In truth, this anime has far better examples of tactics and strategy than anything found in Code Geass, and certain plots are Machiavellian enough to give Death Note a run for its money.
When it comes to production values, Fate/Zero could be considered the final evolution of everything Type-Moon and Ufotable have learned from each other during their long collaboration on the Kara no Kyoukai franchise. The series looks every bit as good as one might expect, and the darker colour palette is offset by the high standard of animation. That said, although the action sequences are fluid and very well choreographed, the real testament to the quality of Ufotable’s work are the subtle differences in the way the characters move.
While there are plenty of new faces in this prequel, it’s actually the design of recurring characters like Sabre that really sets the standard. Fate/Stay Night’s popularity turned her into one of the most iconic female leads in anime, but while she may appear to be exactly the same in Fate/Zero, there’s an edge to her features and a preciseness to her movements that was missing in the original series. This fact is also true for the characters that are unique to this show, and even Tohsaka Rin’s “adventure” has been given the same level of care and attention to detail.
The series opens with a well choreographed sequence that blends action with a montage of the main participants in the Holy Grail War, all set to the rather pacey rock song “Oath Sign” by LiSA. Each episode closes with “Memoria” by Eir Aoi, a bittersweet rock ballad that fits well with the images of the heroic spirits as pieces on a game board and at moments in their own history. Fate/Zero also has one of the most diverse scores in a 13 episode anime, with martial themes, operatic pieces, strange little tunes with drums or pianos as the major instrument, and more besides. The audio effects or of a very high quality, and the clash of steel on steel is as sharp and clear as the sound of the lightning whenever Rider makes a dramatic appearance.
One of the areas where Fate/Zero excels is the dialogue, and while there are occasions where conversations go on a bit too long, the script is intelligently written, rational, and insightful. One of the best examples of this is Rider’s discourse on the true nature of kingship and Saber’s reaction to it, but even that is nothing more than words on paper as everything lies in the delivery – so it’s a good thing that the acting is of a high standard.
Kawasumi Ayako reprises her role as the King of Knights (Saber/Arturia) from Fate/Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works, but her performance here is markedly different. Her portrayal of Saber is colder, deadlier, and far more focused than before, while Tomokazu Seki’s performance as the King of Heroes (Archer/Gilgamesh), is more arrogant, more proud. That said, it’s Ootsuka Akio in the role of the King of Conquerors (Rider/Iskander), who really steals the show, and his testosterone-fuelled proclamations and battle-born wisdom are one of the pillars that support the series.
When it comes to development, a large group of characters often means that some will undoubtedly fall by the wayside. Fate/Zero neatly sidesteps the entire issue of development because it’s first and foremost a prequel of an existing story, but in addition to this the series has created a set of individuals who leave extremely strong impressions on the viewer, and much like Baccano!, there is a distinct lack of a true main character. Because of these factors the series can focus on showing how each of the combatants became what they are, and this plays a major part in one’s enjoyment of the anime.
The emphasis on characterisation rather than development allows for a remarkable degree of definition, and although it’s ultimately the personalities of each individual that captures the viewer’s attention, standing at the top of them all is the King of Conquerors – Rider. His addition to the franchise has been nothing short of a revelation, and while die-hard fans will continue to worship the ground that Saber and Archer (not Gilgamesh, the other one), walk on, Rider’s enjoyment of life, his exuberance and almost boyish eagerness for battle and glory, have captured the imaginations of many fans.
In many respects he, more than any other character, is the epitome of the heroes of old, but simply having a bunch of overzealous combat junkies beating each other to a pulp isn’t really entertainment (unless you have an IQ equal to your shoe size), so there has to be something to balance it – and there is. Each of the mages taking part in the Holy Grail War is more like a chessmaster, planning as many moves ahead as possible, whilst preparing themselves for anything their opponents may try.
The simple fact is that Fate/Zero wouldn’t work as either a story or entertainment if it was just the mages or the heroes, and it’s this aspect of the series that separates it from not just its predecessors, but also many other action anime out there.
Unfortunately it’s not all sweetness and light.
One of the main criticisms of this series is the episode about the young Tohsaka Rin, which many people found unnecessary. Now although there’s some truth to that perception, one could also have the opinion that Rin’s actions tie-in to an event in the previous episode, and together they lead up to the end of the series. Both are fair arguments, but in all honesty the whole thing doesn’t really fit with the rest of the anime, and it seems like nothing more than an attempt to allow Matou Kariya some long overdue screen-time.
Fate/Zero isn’t a perfect show, but while it does have several minor issues (and one “filler” episode), it does exactly what it sets out to do – capture the attention of the audience and make them want more. The story is intelligent, and while conversations and discussions can sometimes feel a little tedious, the dialogue is often quite interesting – moreso than the show’s predecessor’s anyway. Although the series can boast stylish, fast-aced action set-pieces, it also studiously avoids combat for the sake of gratuitous violence.
That said, Fate/Zero is still a prequel series, and at this point only half of the story has been told. Unfortunately the anime industry has a habit of messing things up, but given the quality of this show, the fact that the original story was written by Urobuchi Gen, and the knowledge that the series is being produced by Type-Moon’s long time collaborators – Ufotable, fans can be cautiously optimistic about the second installment.
All we can do is wait and see …
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that Emiya
used to make me smile.
And I knew if it had a chance
Fate/Zero could make those haters dance
and maybe, we’d all be happy, for a while…
But Studio DEEN made me shiver
As Blade Works was delivered
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more ep
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about ufo (in all it’s pride)
But something touched me deep inside
So bye, bye crappy CGI
Urobuchi writing this stuff (I could really just die)
TYPE-MOON fanboys jerking left and right
Singing this’ll be the day that I cry!
This’ll be the day that I cry!
Did you read the tale of Bluebeard?
And do you have faith in all that’s weird?
(Sakura could tell you so!)
And do you believe in Hassan’s code?
Can the grail save your mortal soul?
And… Can you teach me how to lance… r~eal slo~w?
Well I know that Ilya’s in love with him,
so’s her mom, Saber, and even Rin.
Lancer kicks off his shoes
because he’s gruff and cannot choo~se!
Waver’s a lonely teenage angsty fuck,
with no parents, no magic, he just sucks
But he knew he was in luck
He started singing
“WHY WHY OH AH WHY
BRING THIS CHARIOT DOWN AH
OH NO WHY
RIDER STOP OR I MIGHT JUST DIE!”
Singing this’ll be the day that he dies,
Singing this’ll be the day that he dies…
Now for ten years, we’ve gone back in time
To a prequel that is far well rhymed
But that’s not how it used to be
When ufo animated the kings and queens
that everyone thought would get picked up by DEEN
In a way that delighted you and me~
Oh and while the DEEN was looking ’round
For another show they could just drown…
It was just absurd
ufotable had returned!
And while they read a book of Gen
The masters started animatin’
The prequel to a decent shonen
We were singing bye, bye, cheesy old lines
About people getting killed right when they die
And I saw tons of reviews delicately try
To explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Explain why Fate/Zero must be tried!
Animation, pacing, my blood is racing
when I think about Saber’s graces
10/10 and growing fa~st!
So land right down on your ass!
Go download this show, it’s got a ton class!
It’s a show that you will be able to love… a~t last!
But there’s a halftime, I must quick presume
You know about, I know it too!
But you should all get up and dance,
before you never get the chance!
Cuz by Spring 2012 the show will be revealed
You’ll be behind and unable to feel,
I’m telling you now, I always squeal
that Fate/Zero blo~ws
O ALEXANDER, RIDE!
DRIVE YOUR CHARIOT TO THE BATTLE
AND WIN EVERY TIME!
THIS SHOW IS JUST GREAT!
I COULD NOT EXPLAIN WHY
IN ANYTHING BUT RHYME
NO ANYTHING, NOT ANYTHING!
Story – 3
Firstly, I think it is a bit of a cheat essentially splitting fate zero into two separate series, so that all the good bits can be condensed into ‘one’ of those series. Nonetheless, I will still assess this as a single series, in terms of setting the stage for the second season.
Fate Zero has a great set up. A survival game with some interesting aspects (such as the wish granting prize and the involvement of the church) as well as 7 moderately even teams (in terms of likeability and development). At its earliest points, it is unclear who is going to win this survival game, but, rather disappointingly, this quickly deteriorates into having a clear ultimate winner. This can still be equally as successful however, as long as this group has a stronger underlying connection with the story. Which is more or less covered in the second season.
Fate Zero suffers with a great depravation of detail. Although I’m sure the manga and novels cover this, it can’t be an excuse to not cover anything at all. I am at a loss as to why the church is involved (was Jesus a hero?), why absolutely none of the world gives a single flying shit about entire cities getting threatened with destruction. The same is true with the history of the Holy Grail wars; did they have a single impact on anything we are currently watching? Do the writers have a single bloody clue about the heroes in Fate Zero? (I think not, ie, don’t try and make yourself look clever by saying this is a historical figure, then change their name, characteristics, life story and even gender) Etc. This lack of detail also seems to be confusing the participants of the game, half of them don’t know what is going on. Nor why they are even involved. Lazy.
Lastly, and this is what really grinded my gears, Fate zero (season one) has absolutely no balls. It is never willing to dramatically change the course of the survival game. All we ever see is a series of straight forward fight scenes with no conclusions and loads of conversations on who is the most noble champion. I accept that this is the first season, but with literally no progress and a very basic set up in terms of detail, it raises the question whether the first season was even needed.
Characters – 7
Ideal for this genre. Entertaining and one dimensional.
There is an interesting relationship between the heroes and their respective masters. Each hero is their own individual with their own ambitions, which often conflict with their masters. Three command spells that demand absolute obedience are all the masters have to keep their servants in check. The relationship between the master and servant is crucial in this survival game and is well covered in this anime.
Every character offers a different attitude on the battlefield and character interactions can be quite intense. This is well embodied by the fact that, in the most cases, the servant is nearly a complete opposite of their master. These conflicts make for some interesting interactions seeing that they have to work together to achieve the same goal.
Having such a large cast of characters, and having each character’s attitudes exaggerated (for entertainment purposes) tends to strip the realism of the show. The cliché characters in Fate Zero are largely responsible for the overall childish atmosphere (as well as the fight scenes themselves). Which could well be what you are after, but this is something to keep in mind.
Art and music- 9
The art and animation was phenomenal. The fight scenes were choreographed very well and they were truly a sight to behold. If only the scenery was something more stunning than a dockyard. The soundtrack, as you may know was composed by Yuki Kajiura (composer of Sword art online and mahou shoujo madoka magica for example). She has her own distinct style and if you liked any of her other works, I’m sure you will also like this soundtrack.
Personal Enjoyment – 2
If my personal disdain hasn’t already been evident, here is my chance to make it clear. Firstly, I’ve never been a fan of an action based anime. It always gets out of hand and fate zero isn’t an exception. Unfortunately, Fate Zero doesn’t have much else to offer besides the action. This thus limits how intelligent the anime can be. The best it can do is detail certain moves or powers of the heroes, and it tries to do this with the idea of a noble phantasm. This said power is essentially a secret and extremely powerful move that each hero has, that supposedly stems from their history. These end up having such vague connections and meanings and are all RIDICULOUSLY convenient to the situation. Poor effort. Lastly, Fate zero needs to grow some balls. 13 episodes of literally no advancements in the survival game was so frustrating and it felt like a huge waste of time. The fights were nice though.
Fortunately, Fate Zero 2nd Season advances almost immediately and thus is instantly more enjoyable. Just to be clear, this review isn’t a response to an irrational hatred of the fate zero universe. Far from it, I liked the second season a great deal, and I can see that with the detail that the manga could possibly offer, it can be really great. But as it stands, Fate Zero the anime is a rather pointless and is not needed for the second season.
As this is such a highly rated anime, I would love to hear from those that do think this is amazing, because I need some convincing.
1: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
English: Hunter x Hunter
MAL Score: 9.06
Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.
Along the way to becoming an official Hunter, Gon befriends the lively doctor-in-training Leorio, vengeful Kurapika, and rebellious ex-assassin Killua. To attain their own goals and desires, together the four of them take the Hunter Exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death. Throughout their journey, Gon and his friends embark on an adventure that puts them through many hardships and struggles. They will meet a plethora of monsters, creatures, and characters—all while learning what being a Hunter truly means.
HxH is about a young boy named Gon who embarks on a journey to find his father. After learning that his father left him at a young age to become a Hunter, Gon decides to follow in his footsteps not only to find him, but also to see what was so special about the profession that made his father choose it over him. Although a story of finding one’s father is simple, it is the path that is taken towards this end that makes the series truly special. HxH is made up of several arcs that are all extremely well-written, which brings me to the best part of the series, the writing. Hunter x Hunter (2011) boasts one of the finest writing in the world of shonen; the depth and flow of the story, enthralling characterizations, strong dialogue and impressive world-building are all crafted into a fascinating tale that can absorb viewers into lengthy marathons.
The amount of variety that is packed into HxH’s story is also very impressive. HxH successfully dabbles in several genres in six story arcs tackling survival, fighting tournaments, crime thriller, virtual realities, war and politics. Not only that, the series is also able to undergo significant tonal shifts with ease (light to dark and vice versa). Sometimes, these shifts in tone occur after an arc ends though other times, it even occurs mid-arc. Another thing about HxH is that its arcs are connected with one another, with each arc naturally following the one before it. This creates a natural transition that highlights what the series really is, a journey. As for pacing and development, they are excellent. For the most part, HxH is very well paced. The series does a fantastic job at keeping its viewers engaged, time will fly by as you watch most episodes and you’ll find yourself breezing through the show. Excluding two recap episodes, HxH has no filler episodes. Due to this, story progression is solid with the plot moving forward with each episode.
Although HxH initially gives off a light hearted impression, it gives off a good one. Not the kind of “light heartedness” that makes you say “this is childish and below me” but the kind that appeals to everyone. HxH gives off that classic and charming shonen vibe that has been lost in recent years, and it does so with its head held up high. Eventually though, the series takes a dark turn. Although most HxH story arcs are light hearted, both Yorknew and the Chimera Ant arc are two of the best and darkest arcs shonen has to offer. Yorknew can be described as a dark thriller in a big city. The central theme of the arc is revenge and it is similar to Death Note in terms of thrill and atmosphere. On the other hand, the Chimera Ants arc can be described as an attempt by the Hunters Association to control an outbreak of a dangerous man-eating species. It is the darkest and most thematically powerful arc in the series tackling themes such as identity, human nature and survival of the fittest. The arc has drawn comparisons to Yu Yu Hakusho’s Chapter Black for its seinen-like nature and is similar to Shingeki no Kyojin, where the protagonists experience a strong sense of despair in the face of a vastly superior, hostile species. The series undergoes major tonal shifts in both arcs with the color palette, music, atmosphere and amount of violence changing significantly.
However, what sets the series apart from other battle anime is its unorthodoxy and unpredictability. Shonen tropes and storytelling methods are undermined throughout the series. The main character for example, Gon, fails more than he succeeds. Power-ups based on emotion or willpower are non-existent and fighting in the series is radically different from other battle anime. The main protagonist is not the main focus of every arc either. At certain points in the series, you could even say that Gon has taken a supporting role, especially during the later portions of the CA arc where he isn’t given as much focus due to the grand scope of the story. The standard battle anime formula of “lose-train-win” is also undermined. Although there is training, it does not always translate to a victory, nor does it propel the protagonists over or to the same level as their main adversaries in terms of strength. For the most part, the protagonists assume the underdog role. Although they have incredible potential, they are still kids who have a lot to learn. In terms of storytelling, unpredictable developments are commonplace. One thing that continues to amaze me with this show is how it leads viewers into thinking that the story will progress in this direction, only to change course and arrive at a completely different outcome. A good example of this would be the series’ arcs which often end in an anti-climatic manner. Basically, there are a lot of scenes and story developments that you won’t see coming because they defy conventional shonen storytelling or are unpredictable in their own right.
The series’ unorthodoxy can also be seen in its fights which are primarily cerebral. In addition to being well-executed, HxH fights are smart and involve a lot of strategy. Raw power is a factor but it is not the factor that decides battle outcomes, actual power (nen abilities), experience and strategy are all taken into account. If a main character is outclassed by an opponent in all or most categories, he is likely to lose. Moreover, main characters are not given any special treatment in combat. This smart approach to fighting is further enhanced by nen, a unique and complex power system held by defined rules. The concept of nen, its principles, aura types and many applications on the battlefield reveal the huge amount of thought that was put into it. I still remember having to pause episodes, even research a bit during its introduction, just to digest it in its entirety.
The appearance and writing of the series also create an effect of cognitive dissonance, the simplistic look of the show mentally conflicts with the brilliance and unorthodoxy of its writing. As new viewers delve deeper into HxH, they realize that there is much more to the show than its cover art and synopsis suggest. Expectations of the series being immature, simple or generic are progressively overturned as the show reveals its surprising underbelly.
As for sound, HxH has a line of great soundtracks that started off decent but got better as the series progressed. With the exception of a few minor characters, the voice acting in this series is excellent. As a person who has never seen the old series it’s hard to believe that these aren’t the original voices because they fit extremely well, especially those of Gon, Killua and Hisoka whose voice actors do a perfect job of capturing their characters.
HxH also has great art and animation. It amazes me how a long-running series like HxH delivers consistent quality animation episode after episode, especially during the fights. The series does a great job of capturing facial expressions and everything from the lighting, shading and colors adjust perfectly depending on the mood of the scene or the tone of the arc. As one reviewer (nagaiyume) said, the bright colors of the show might need some getting used to, though it is usually fans of the old series who have this problem. Personally, I think it fits the show perfectly. It adds to the charm of the series by complementing its sense of adventure, uplifting atmosphere and unique appeal as a shonen that looks simple but is actually remarkably deep.
Although HxH’s primary strength lies in its writing, its characters come pretty damn close. HxH has a huge cast of characters. They have quirks, dreams, inner demons, world views and overall, really likable personalities. To top it off, most of them don’t follow generic character archetypes. Although some may initially come across as “generic”, these assumptions are gradually undermined as the series progresses.
If there’s one thing I want to emphasize in the character department it would be the series main villains. When it comes to characters, this is where the show shines the brightest. HxH villains are extremely well-written (with the exception of the Bomber who won’t apply to most of what I’ll say below). Not only are their characterizations independently impressive, they are also distinct from one another; no two villains are the same. This distinctness does not only apply within the series but outside of it. You won’t find another Hisoka, Chrollo or Ant King in any other anime. This is what makes HxH villains so compelling, in addition to having really impressive characterizations, they are also original. Although I excluded one out of the four main villains from most of what I wrote above, all HxH villains do have one thing in common. Each villain strikes fear into audience, the series does a good job of establishing the level of danger these characters bring to the story and our protagonists.
However, while HxH is a great series it isn’t perfect. The series doesn’t have a strong start, it takes three episodes for show to get going. I’ve seen a lot of people drop HxH early and it sucks because the first two episodes don’t capture the series at all. Things start to get mildly interesting in the third episode, after that, the series just gets better and better. HxH also suffers from occasional BGM misuse. There are odd sound choices for some scenes. Sometimes they don’t really fit, other times they don’t fit it all. Lastly, the Chimera Ant arc also has minor issues with both Togashi and Madhouse to blame. Togashi’s fault lies in his writing during the middle of the CA arc which I think, pales in comparison to the rest of the series. HxH has made a name for itself for holding a consistent high level throughout its run; it’s a series that’s just so engaging and easy to marathon. However, I believe this consistency took a hit mid-CA arc (due to handling of the story and pacing) specifically, episodes 89-98. Don’t get me wrong though, I think there are a fair number of good episodes within that 9-episode stretch but unfortunately, they are surrounded by mediocre episodes that break the consistency of an otherwise exceptional arc. Madhouse’s fault lies in its adaption of the manga chapters comprising episodes 113 and 115, which were dragged out in order to have episode 116 handled by their best animation team. Episode 113 was actually well paced except for one atrocious sequence while episode 115 as a whole was generally poorly paced.
A clarification about the “slowed down pacing” of Chimera Ant arc:
If you’ve been reading up about HxH, you’ve probably seen some people complain about the “poor pacing” during the “narration heavy episodes” of the CA arc. Well if you’re wondering how much truth is there to this statement and were going to ask me about it, my answer would be it depends.
At episode 111, the palace invasion (climax of the CA arc) begins and narration begins to play a huge role in episodes in order to (1) pack a whole level of depth into the story and (2) increase dramatic tension. Rather than a high octane “action fest” people would expect from a shonen arc climax, the palace invasion takes a psychological heavy route wherein a character’s thoughts and mental state are given more focus than the actual action. This psychological focus together with the narration slows down the pace considerably in the sense that episodes begin to cover a lot less in narrative time. However, despite this “slowed down pace”, the pacing of these episodes remain solid with good amount of manga chapters being covered during each of these episodes and the duration of scenes being on point (except for episodes 113 and 115 which I mentioned earlier in this review).
In the end, it depends if the narration works on you or not. If you like the psychological approach and experience an increase in suspense then you’ll have no problems with the pacing and are in for one helluvah of a ride. However, if you don’t like the psychological approach and feel that the narrator’s heavy presence breaks your immersion then you’re in for a grueling experience. Of course, there are other combinations such as liking the psychological route but not feeling the immersion or maybe the narration just didn’t work on you completely. Well, if this happens to be the case then you’ll end up with mixed feelings. On the bright side, most people who end up watching the invasion end up enjoying the narration. However, if you happen to be one of the good number of people who end up not liking the narration don’t worry, only episodes 111-118 of the palace invasion have heavy narration. After episode 118, the narration begins to decrease and episodes eventually reach a point where they are “back to normal”.
Heads up to people looking for action:
Although I love the fighting aspect of the series and consider it to be a strong plus, I’ll leave this out there for the sake of subjectivity. HxH does not cater to everyone. Although fights in the series are well-executed, they are also short (1-10 minutes) and happen less in comparison to other battle anime. Moreover, the focus on strategy in battles might be off putting to people who prefer fights with more brawn and less brain. If you’re expecting an action heavy series like Yu Yu Hakusho then you will be disappointed. This is because HxH is a series that relies on its story to reel in viewers. Personally, I think this is how fighting in shonen should be done. Fighting should be able to entertain and also make you think. It shouldn’t drag on for too long at the expense of the story without leaving you underwhelmed.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) is an intelligent battle anime with a fantastic story, excellent characters and fights that involve a lot of strategy. Separating it from most of its genre, the series subverts shonen tropes and boasts unpredictable plot progressions that make it truly unique.
Story: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Characters: 10/10 (Outstanding)
Art: 9/10 (Great)
Sound: 8/10 (Great but occasionally misused)
Enjoyment: 10/10 (Extremely high)
Overall: 10/10 (Masterpiece)
“You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want”. (Hunter Election Arc).
I don’t have words enough to describe what was this 148 episodes for me.
I’ll not spend this review talking about the Synopsis, because It’s right here on MAL.
I need to tell you, why you must watch this masterpiece, and what it represents to me.
First of all I’m gonna talk about the final episode. I felt Joy, sadness, angry (Togashi hurry up with the manga! hahah), and of course, satisfaction. Satisfaction because I heard my friends (you NEED to watch it), because it wasn’t time wasted, because those 148 episodes, and the nights that I spent watching, were worth, really. Hunter x Hunter is a complex anime, a peculiar story, something that, certainly, will mix up with your feelings, with your thoughts, with your conception of a Shonen.
What do I mean? It’s not that simple. But I’ll try to clarify: Don’t think that you’re about to find predictable arcs. Don’t think that the heroes gonna always beat the villains (In some parts of the story… nobody wins). Don’t think that training and good skills can ensure that you’ll defeat an enemy, sometimes you’ll need more than that. Behold what humans can be (and Togashi show us really well in Chimera Ant Arc). Behold what friendship can be, in all it’s complexity. You’re not gonna see in this anime that kind of Main Character that is AWESOME for no reason, no training. Togashi will make you understand the personality of the characters and their powers. Power, I mean, Nen or aura (vital energy), similar to what we see in other shonens like, Dragon Ball (Ki) or Naruto (Chakra). It’s presented to us really well how the “Nen system” works. The explanations are long in some episodes, but simple to understand.
Talking now about the animation: Hunter x Hunter is breathtaking . Indeed, it can be said that Madhouse did an excellent job with the remake . I was amazed with what I saw in some episodes. I confess that many of them I’ve watched over and over again, just to observe the details of the animation, and not only what was happening in the story ( Episode 131 I’ve watched 4 times ). In the end , I’m grateful that Madhouse animated Hunter x Hunter from the beginning .
The characters.. oh they are unique, really. It’s quite impressive how Togashi gave to them a variety of personalities. You’ll not gonna enjoy only the four main characters (although many consider that the main are Gon and Killua, since the story focuses more on the two of them from a certain phase). Hunter x Hunter have a significant character development on the supporting ones too, and, of course in the villains (you’ll love them, believe me). I don’t have a favorite character in this show. It’s impossible to choose one. Watch it and you’ll experience what I’m saying.
You mean this show has nothing bad?
Yes it has.
1) The worst thing in this show is: It ended.
Okay, joking aside, I think is the worst part is the beginning. You have to watch 4 or 5 episodes to feel in the mood to still watching. Many people just gave up in the first episodes. I can ensure you, go on and watch it til the end.
Particularly I don’t like so much The Hunter Exam Arc, the first arc of the story. If you compare with the other arcs it’s really not the best one. I have in my heart this two arcs: Chimera Ant Arc and Yorknew city Arc.
The second thing many fans of the show complains a LOT, is the Opening song. Why? 148 episodes, different openings, but… THE SAME SONG. For me it wasn’t a problem at all. I love the song, and… I think I watched the opening “one hundred and forty-eight” times and I sang it. Hahaha. But I really wanted to see a new song too.
The third thing is totally my personal opinion: the narrator. Your first contact with him will be in the begining of the early episodes. He will explain what is a Hunter.
The narration it’s something that we don’t see a lot in other animes. I like it, it’s brilliant and I totally understand that this add gives the anime the suspense and it’s particular style.
The advantage of having a narrator, in my opinion, is the ”observer factor”. Instead of exploring the point of view of all the characters, we have that peculiar element that seems to know everything and adds important information to the audience.
But, eventually, the narrator annoys me, specially in the Chimera ant Arc. I mean: we see what’s going on, it’s not necessary an explanation!
Of course that the ”narration effect” will depend on the way you receive it. Sometimes will give that “slow motion” you’ll need to absorb what’s going on, but in a few episodes it’s really overused.
In conclusion, I have to thank above all, you Togashi Yoshihiro. You’re brilliant. You can make unique characters, outstanding plots. You still go on, and on, in successive hiatus in the manga, and everyone complains a lot (even me), but then what you show to us is so amazing that makes it worth waiting. Thank you for exist and for this awesome masterpiece.
For you that didn’t watch it yet, do not be fooled by the first few episodes or with the synopsis. Both of them will give you the impression that you’re about to see a generic shounen. Insist. This is a kind of anime that in each episode everything seems to evolve: the story, the setting, the characters. You will be hooked, unable to stop watching .
And then my friend, you will start to feel pain. Yes, pain, when you realize that you’re at the 100º episode and there is only 48 episodes left.
Embrace this adventure called Hunter x Hunter! xD
As you all have likely read the synopsis of hxh, it certainly stands out from most other shounen ever made. There is a kid that decides to go on an adventure, for a particular purpose, meets friends, becomes stronger and eventually defeats powerful opponents. It doesn’t come off as a very complex or intriguing story/plot, nor is there a generic/forgettable cast and an amassed other facts that would remind you of how forgettable this show probably is. Believe me it’s not.
Beyond the first few episodes which this generalised speculation derives from, you will see that hxh differs from most shounen in terms of intelligence (strategic battles, clever arcs and plot) and the pacing of the whole show throughout each arc is outstanding. The absence of fillers throughout the 148 episodes ( excluding recaps) makes this show that much less frustrating to watch.
You may have heard an arc in particular, that the MAL community keeps on raving about: the Chimera Ant arc. Without throwing any spoilers in this review, the hype is worth it. This arc is, by most fans of the franchise, seen as a masterstoke and with good reason. The previous arcs create a substantial build-up to the C.A arc which makes the emphasis and usefulness of the arc that much more prominent.
However, the only factor that prevented my rating of a 9 to a 10, was the slow start and the half-open ending; while it not bad and was a good conclusion to the show, left the viewer rather unsettled with the whole experience.
Where hxh really shines is in the shows’ magnificent cast. As stated in my introduction, typically, most shounen do not have the best cast of characters that anime has brought out to the community, and more often than not defeat their enemies using the all-mighty force that is ‘the power of friendship(!)’ which brings sweet victory and joy to the protagonists of the show. Forget this ever existed in anime when watching hxh, as the sincere friendship that is witnessed between the main cast is nothing short of magnificent. It is realistic and evolves over a long period of time.
What makes the characters of hxh further at a stand-point, is that the antagonists are (for the most part) just as likable as the protagonists. Every character is very well developed ( every = any character that mattered to the story) and therefore does not make you want to spurt out the words ” Wow, this character sucks ” , with the exception of the bomber which, when watching the series, you will notice that had no real purpose for doing things to the extent that he did.
Finally, I will talk about my three favorite characters of the series:
I love Gon. At first he seems like your everyday generic protagonist that has no potential to evolve as a person. He comes across as useless and annoying.Then along the way something happens to him; something that is rarely in a protagonist like him. This is called ‘ Character Development ‘. The development that Gon receives throughout the series is fantastic and will make you love him until the end. He truly is desperate to find his father and the audience can see how he never throws in the towel.
There’s something really likable about white-haired guys in anime and Killua does not fall short in this aspect. He has a broad and complex backstory, and again, like Gon, significant development, which is seen to play a phenomenal role to how realistic the friendship between Gon and Killua is. His background as an assassin and his scarring childhood coupled with his raw talent and one-of-a-kind personality makes him a lovable and three-dimensional character.
Without spoiling much, Meruem is truly an unbelievable antagonist. At first you envision he is ruthless for no purpose, and comes off as a cliche and rather irritating being. With the meeting of another character you see how he evolves and how his facade in his personality makes him one of the best,if not the greatest character in the series.
Art and Animation: 10
When watching an anime that has a plethora of episodes such as hxh, one would expect a decline and rise in animation from time to time. However, Madhouse did a terrific job at keeping the animation and art as consistent and fluid as possible. The amount of money that was spent purely on budget really surprised me and the animation only gets better as the series progresses. When entering the C.A arc, you will see that Madhouse used their best animators to produce stunning images intertwined
with outlines, shadows and fluency that serves as ‘eye-candy’ when watching the series. Battle sequences are as well a proof of how much effort is poured into this show, as the studio does not tend to cut corners, e.g using the same background over and over again.
The opening and endings’ animation improves significantly st time progresses, which blows my mind when comparing the differences in appearance. That is to say, the animation was brilliant at the start of the anime as well.
The opening: ‘Departure’ is used throughout the entire anime although it switches between two different versions of the song, as well as changing the animation sequence each time, and this amazes me as every opening suits the anime perfectly! I did not skip the opening even once when watching the series; instead I stared smiling and singing along to the music.
The endings are all fantastic in my opinion, and I love all the songs that are presented to the audience at the end of each episode. The order for me goes
1>4>2>3>5=6 (5 & 6 are different sections of the same song) but I love them all nevertheless.
The ost of the anime is one of the best I have heard in any anime. My personal favorite is ‘ A kingdom of Predators’. It consists of a great variety of orchestra (mostly in the C.A arc) and lots of violin and piano that can be heard as well. However, sometimes the ost is not played at the most appropriate moments which prevents a score of 10 being given.
Monumental credibility must be given to the voice actors, and for Gon in particular, which is seen especially at episode 116, the mere brilliance that is spurted as ’emotions though words’ is extraordinary. The only complaint that I sometimes hear arriving from people is that the narration in the C.A arc ( for around 10 episodes) is irritating and overwhelms the episodes, making them seem extremely slow-paced. I tend to disagree with this argument , as the pacing seems to only benefit by the narration of those episodes, as it was a crucial moment in the series where narration was essential. I hope you won’t find this narration an issue, since I certainly didn’t.
Wow what a joyful ride this was. It keeps you hooked from early on and urges you to watch the next episode after experiencing the wonderful ending of each arc. The enjoyment factor, of course, originated from the entirety of the show. If any of the above were to be done poorly, the show would not come out to be nearly as enjoyable as it was. I not once felt bored during this series, and I believe that the pacing is fabulous. There’s not a single moment that leaves the viewer wanting to skip ahead or fast-forward. As a result, I am almost certain that you will watch this show, engulfed by the brilliance of this anime.
Believe me when i tell you this: this show is a near masterpiece; as close of a masterpiece as a show of this genre gets. Don’t be fooled while watching this anime, and drop it due to its slow start, as you may miss out on a truly miraculous experience.
Thank you for reading my review of Hunter x Hunter (2011). Have a great day. RedInfinity out.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Hunter x Hunter (2011)
3. Heartcatch Precure!
4. Tegamibachi Reverse
5. Dragon Ball Kai
6. Ao no Exorcist
8. Shakugan no Shana III (Final)
9. Suite Precure
10. Digimon Xros Wars: Aku no Death General to Nanatsu no Oukoku