They’re the best Anime that 2001 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Hanaukyou Maid-tai, Dr. Rin ni Kiitemite!, I My Me! Strawberry Eggs, and more!
10: Hanaukyou Maid-tai
MAL Score: 6.59
After losing his mother, 14-year-old Taro journeys to Tokyo to live with his grandfather. But he gets the biggest surprise when he discovers that his grandfather’s home is a huge mansion with hundreds of beautiful maids ready to serve him. Making matters worse (at least for Taro, but not for our viewing) is that not only does he inherit the Hanaukyo mansion, he gets the services of all of the maids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Story- Okay this is starting to become a very generic story line where boy inherits manner with maids money yadda yadda etc nothing new to anybody. We have our main character who’s grandpa died and left him with a huge fortune and manner full of maids to "service" him at all times. An invariable paradise for any other man but unfortunately for our main character (who looks a lot like Brock from Pokemon) he gets an allergic reaction whenever women touch him; this is so played out nowadays to the point it is even funny anymore. So the series then proceeds to follow this average weak childish man boys daily life after inheriting the manner. Suffice to say he develops a crush on one of his maids, the only girl who apparently doesn’t give him an allergic reaction (and once again so played out til the point it is ridiculous), and his attempts to I guess some would say swoon her. IDK at any rate the story was fair enough for me not to drop the series.
Art- This is an old series but still I felt as if it was drawn well, what made me angry though is that main character seldom had his eyes open (just like Brock from Pokemon) and this made me think that the artists were being lazy and in turn took away from my appreciation for the art.
Sound- There was no real amazing sounds here to look for which disappointed me. I didn’t even like the intro or closing to the anime which makes up around a quarter of each episode and as per voice acting I kind of felt not too impressed by their choices except for a few choice maids but that’s a secret I’ll keep for myself as to who they were.
Character- This anime failed miserably at character development I understood the characters and what they represented the second they stepped on screen and the worse part their was no real development or changes in character throughout the entire anime. This disappointed me too, at least if you’re going to give me a generic story at least impress with unique character aspects.
Enjoyment- I did not enjoy watching this the only reason I finished watching it is because I only drop an anime if all the episodes cannot be found.
Overall- I was disappointed I do not suggest this anime to anybody unless you are into generic plots, old timey art, and crappy character development.
This crude, grotesquely drawn comedy can think of nothing to do with the Maid permise other than sheer numerical overkill.
The few maids with distinct personalities and appearances, who guard the house with sci-fi technology, are boring stereotypes.
You will enjoy this anime if you have an enormes Maid Fetish !!!
Ecchi and Comedy. That pretty much sums up this anime. Those two are also two of my least favourite genres. Ecchi… well, not much to be said here – I dislike it for pretty much the same reason many other people dislike it, and it’s no exception when it comes to the ecchi elements in this anime, except that a lot of the time I was able to overlook it for some reason. The comedy… I have to say, though I’m really not a fan of this type of comedy, “Hanaukyou Maid-tai” really had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions. I don’t know why, but for the most part, I actually quite liked this series, or at least more than I expected to. There’s not much of a continuous storyline, it is more of a collection of mini adventures focusing upon the different members of the cast… but that’s ok, because aside from the comedy, the characters are probably what makes this anime so charming. Apart from the really annoying generic maids (with their extremely annoying voices), a lot of the characters are actually genuinely likeable, like the main character Taro, Mariel, Cynthia/Grace etc.
Unfortunately, “Hanaukyou Maid-tai” does lack consistency, and the last couple of episodes are a real let down especially. The jokes in those last episodes feel contrived and the series is brought back down to the normal level I expect for an ecchi. At the end of the day, nothing was really resolved in the anime, which is a major disappointment for me. Still, it’s sufficiently entertaining such that it didn’t feel like I had to forcing myself to keep watch it, unlike the majority of say, “Martian Successor Nadesico”. It’s unfortunate that the show is marred by the ecchi in it. But without it, perhaps this anime wouldn’t be what it is – perhaps it took comparisons with the more shallow characters to bring out the better one. They could have at least left the better characters out of the pr0n scenes though, which would have allowed me to decouple the good and the bad parts more in my mind :-/
9: Dr. Rin ni Kiitemite!
MAL Score: 6.78
Kanzaki Meirin, a junior high school student, posseses fusui power which can drive away evil spirits away whenever they appeared. She is in fact, the fortune teller Dr. Rin. She is in love with her best friend, soccer club member, Yuuki Asuka. However, Yuuki does not like fortune-telling and superstitious things.
8: I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
English: I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
Japanese: あぃまぃみぃ！ストロベリー エッグ
MAL Score: 6.79
Amawa Hibiki is a young man just out of college, with an education to be an athletics teacher. He’s been having a hard time finding a job since he graduated, so all his money has gone towards living expenses. When his landlady demands his first payment to live in her living establishment upfront, he heads to the local middle school to get hired as a teacher. However, the principal refuses to hire him without hesitation. She will not hire men as teachers and makes it clear that she hates all men, saying they put no love into their passions and work. Amawa does not give up and with the help of his landlady, he crossdresses as a woman without a second thought, and gets hired, so he can earn money and also prove the principal wrong. Now, he has to keep his real gender a secret, and avoid strange situations, including the affections of his students (from both genders).
You might be looking at the preview image right now thinking "Ahh… It doesn’t look that appealing".
Well, to be honest, I’m not that fond of that drawing style, but don’t let it discourage you! You’ll get used to it, I promise.
Story and Enjoyment
If you’re looking for a ‘super developed’ plot on how the world suddenly became and apple and how humans must find a way to turn it back, forget it.
This is a very lighthearted Anime, it won’t confuse you with its scientific theories and plot twists that make you go "huh?".
It made me cheer up from "Ahh, why all my anime suddenly feel so boring?" to laughing by the end of the very first episode.
Now, don’t get me wrong about the plot twists. They exist! They’re quite good at holding the mystery for the right amount of time and unleashing it into a laugher bomb of amusement.
I don’t think they exaggerated or forced on either comedy, drama or romance. To me it was well quite balanced.
And I liked the ending too, so yay!
Before watching, just ask yourself if you must you fall in love with every Opening and Ending Theme you see. I usually skip them unless I do, anyway. (And so I did, in I My Me! Strawberry-Eggs). I guess you can figure.
I know some people just skipped the whole review to read about the characters. But if you did, I’m sorry to disappoint you, I won’t get into much detail for the fear or ruining the surprise.
They do develop along the series. Those very subtle changes in the characters’ personalities really made me fall in love with them.
And, must I say, I had quite a few good surprises as the anime was reaching its end!
Final Thoughts on I My Me! Strawberry-Eggs
As I said, a very lighthearted anime that will probably lift up your mood. It’ll make you laugh, and who knows; even might make you cry. It’ll amuse and surprise just when you thought it couldn’t, and you’ll slowly understand what makes it so good.
I completely recommend it!
Story: 5 (Typical funny trap situations)
Art: 3 (I cant forgive uneven fingers and ugly ears)
Sound: 6 (voice actors are pretty good but nothing else)
Character: 6 (cute as hell but still drawn poorly)
Enjoyment: 4 (Traps and perverted old men running gags)
Overall: 24/50 = 4.8 = ~5.0 (A really mediocre SoL comedy)
This is quite a confusing anime since it almost feels like it’s trying to pull both male and female audiences using unorthodox means. First off, its a typical ecchi-harem anime and i use the word harem pretty loosely. Because after episode one the main character will be a trap. YES a trap (man dressing up as a woman). If you don’t feel comfortable watching that sort of thing please feel free to drop it. Because you’re not missing much. Don’t worry, everything will set itself out in episode one. Including the perverted old men trying to sneak ecchi pics of school girls as a running gag. All this stuff is all fine and dandy, but I thought traps usually gear toward a more female or FYG-type audience.
Once the story layout is exposed, it’s all downhill from here. Every episode has been done in other school SoL (slice of life) anime. And they’re not even done very well in this show. But for what it’s worth the girls are pretty cute and moe and it does a fairly decent chemistry between Hibiki and his/her students. You’ll also pretty much guess how the ending will be from the start as well. But the path from start to finish, despite it being very cliche with a trap twist, isn’t all THAT bad but it fairly decent at best.
Another thing that’s lacking in this show is the art quality. Which is kind of important in an ecchi/comedy/SoL/school/drama/romance show. You can tell it has a mediocre style artwork to it with over accentuating character outlines and very VERY simplistic school outfits. Its one of the worst school outfits i have ever seen in ANY show, period. It’s a weird tank top/skirt compilation with this HUGE white sailor collar covering their shoulders. I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to be that huge.
One thing this show does have going for itself is definitely the school girl characters. They’re all cute and moe in their own way. And you actually feel sorry for some of their slice of life situations. It still doesn’t help the fact that this show is very mediocre and and a lot of times just wrong (in ‘funny’ ways of course). Its obvious this show is drawing a male audience with all the ecchi, but at the same time its pulling a female audience by how a man has to adjust himself to a women’s lifestyle. If that sounds like something you want to see give it a shot. But if you don’t like mediocrity in your story or art work stay far away from this one. There are a lot of better ones out there.
Story- Like I said the story in this was great, the ending was a real heart jerker, and the laughs I enjoyed were pretty genuine. The only thing that prevented it from getting a ten was some lack of substance and how short the series was.
Art- Okay yeah this series definitely lost points with me here mostly because everything was not well drawn. I understand that this series is kind of old but I have to draw a line somewhere.
Sound- Okay I liked the voice actors in japanese and the voices really did match the characters; in terms of sound effects they did a decent job there too so yay good job.
Character- Well for the important characters yes there was some development but there were sometimes where I just felt uneasy as to what a character was like…what I mean to say is either the character was as easy to read as a book or about as readable as Latin is speakable
Enjoyment- I liked this series a lot it wasn’t my first experience watching an anime that was at least roughly based around school life but it was definitely one of my more enjoyable experiences; it actually makes me expect great things from school life based animes unlike some series which will remain un-named cough cough super gals cough cough.
Overall- If you like a heart warming kind of story and enjoy a little bit of drama here and there I suggest this series if not I’m not sure why else you would pick it up unless the aspect of a man cross dressing to get a job as a teacher is just your thing…
MAL Score: 6.98
All Shuichi ever dreamed about was following in the footsteps of his pop idol, Ryuichi Sakuma and the band Nittle Grasper. Together with his best friend Hiro, Shuichi’s formed a band called Bad Luck and they’ve even managed to get signed to a major recording label! Unfortunately, the studio deadlines are looming and Shuichi still hasn’t finished the lyrics for any of the songs. What he needs is a little inspiration… but he’s been running a little low in that department lately. While Hiro recommends finding a girlfriend, fate has other things in store for him…
Walking through the park late one night, Shuichi’s latest lyrics flutter away and land at the feet of a stunning stranger that takes his breath away. Unfortunately, that mysterious stranger happens to be the famous novelist Eiri Yuki, who completely crushes the young singer by telling him he has “zero talent”. Now, Shuichi’s so annoyed that he’s managed to finish his song just so he can find and confront Yuki once again. But, are his actions really motivated by anger, or has he actually fallen in love?
STORY – I would venture to say that Gravitation was probably one of the first of its kind. Certainly, this was the title that opened the floodgates for hundreds of other shounen-ai titles at the turn of the century. Sure, if you pick through the music and ignore the gay pairing, you leave yourself with a simple, old-fashioned love story about one person pursuing another’s love while a troubled past stands between them. Nothing new there at all. But Murakami’s decision to intermix a very strong musical plotline together with the core romance was a very smart move indeed and probably one of the main reasons I took to this series so readily. I really appreciated the fact that Shuichi’s attention was split fifty-fifty between his career and Yuki — this balance made things interesting in so many different ways because there were times when Shuichi’s two goals seemed to go against each other and he had to decide which was more important. The fact that he sometimes had trouble putting one above the other made him easy to sympathize with, and it was refreshing to see that the romance wasn’t always the absolute central point of the series.
I also really enjoyed the insight into the music industry, though much of it was certainly exaggerated. It’s amusing in a way how much I shirk away from caring about the rival bands and scandals for musicians in real life, but Gravitation got my attention anyway. The drama was good, and I suppose you grow to care about these characters much more than those in reality. Unfortunately, Yuki’s deep, dark past could be considered the most cliché aspect of the entire series, and even in my fangirl days, I was never really impressed by it. Still, within the thirteen episode series, the subject is skirted around constantly and details always remain a bit fuzzy around the edges. I suppose it’s partially because much of the series is very comedic and the horribly tragedies of the past are only explored enough for the present to make sense. It works alright enough, but it certainly isn’t anything amazing.
All in all, Gravitation’s story is a good, fun twist on a simple, old love story. While not perfect by any means, it’s still both a brilliant comedy and a touching romance, and there’s enough little surprises to keep you excited for the entirety of its run!
CHARACTER – I don’t think there was a single bad character in this entire series. Each and every one of them had some sort of role to fill and had their moment in the spotlight. Though there were a few classic archetypes like Yuki, the dark and mysterious one, and Hiro, the best friend, somehow the little quirks in their personalities made them seem a little less typical. Yuki especially, armed with his tragic past, was an interesting character to follow because he himself admits that he doesn’t understand himself. In retrospect, his probably wasn’t the most accurate or the most convincing account of trauma and psychological health problems in the world, it works well enough for the story’s purposes.
Shuichi was a fun protagonist, considering he was also one of the series’ primary sources of comedy relief (in the first episode, he was late for a meeting because he had to go save a turtle being harassed by a bunch of kids, you know). Spastic and crazy most of the time, he’s moments of seriousness almost seem random, but where Yuki’s past only worked well enough, Shuichi’s dynamic personality actually worked very well. It’s clear that his love started off as simple infatuation and that he had to deal with mostly un-reciprocated feelings for several episodes; it was thus intriguing to watch how his generally happy personality dealt with the chaos, turmoil, and heavy uncertainty that came with the relationship he found himself in. It was also nice to see a character that wasn’t always sure of himself and his feelings — even though it was easy for the audience to tell how he felt, Shuichi still questioned himself and the "purity" of his love wasn’t cheapened by the absolute certainty other characters sometimes have.
Pretty much all of the other characters are also worth mentioning, but I’ll try to be more brief for the rest of them: Ryuuichi and Tohma are probably the most interesting characters aside from our main boys. Both front one image of themselves while maintaining ulterior motives that are both understandable, easy to sympathize with, and realistic enough, making them more whole as characters. K and Sakano, both wonderfully unique and quirky, aid Shuichi in the comic relief, and they do it oh so very well. Tachi, and to a lesser extent, the rest of ASK, are probably the flatest characters in the entire series, which is rather impressive, I think, because they’re not that unbelievable of characters despite that. And though Gravi is a very obviously bishounen-centric series, the three whole female characters we get are all fairly respectable. Mika, Noriko, and Ayaka all serve their roles well and don’t bring down their sex! Power to that.
ART & ANIMATION – The animation was more or less average. It wasn’t outstandingly exceptional, but nor was it terrible and poorly done. Some introductory scenes are made to look like a live action piece, which made things interesting, but again it isn’t anything eye-popping. The bright and flashing lights during performances were good and realistic; some of the backgrounds throughout the series also looked quite nice because of similar effects. Though the characters are drawn in a pretty generic style for the most part, super deformed chibi people jump in quite often for emphasis and comical effect. The "normal" characters don’t much resemble Murakami’s original style, but thats probably partially due to the fact that Murakami’s style changed dramatically during the course of her twelve volume manga. The chibi style on the other hand, is pretty easy to recognize as Murakami’s own.
MUSIC – Gravitation is everything about the music. The music in this series is what makes it complete, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. From beginning to end, Gravitation is filled with perfectly appropriate background music, no matter how long or short the clip or scene is. Many a times, insert songs are rehashed as soft instrumental and piano versions, helping to bring in familiar themes for emphasis and emotion.
J-rock artist Kinya Kotani sings all of Bad Luck’s music in the series. Though his music has changed significantly since his work in Gravitation, his work at the time suited Bad Luck very well because Kinya’s personality was near identical to Shuichi’s. Seriously! Someone like that actually did exist in real life! "The Rage Beat," Bad Luck’s main insert song is incredibly upbeat and energetic, perfect for pumping up the audience; it’s also very inspiring to listen to and helps gear everyone up for some exciting confrontation. "The Rage Beat" actually plays once an episode for like the first five episodes, but you don’t really tire of it. If anything, you get more excited for it every time. "Blind Game Again," the band’s other insert song is equally energetic, though a bit more serious sounding, which fits very well with when its used. Nittlegrasper’s only song in the series is "Sleepless Beauty," which is performed by K.ITO + D.K. (Kenichi Ito and Daisuke Kuroda) It’s a breathtaking song and also suits the band very well.
Funnily enough, Murakami obviously got her inspiration for some of the characters in Gravitation from real life groups. Nittlegrasper, a legend in the series, is comprised of Tohma Seguchi (keyboardist), Noriko Urai (keyboardist), and Ryuichi Sakuma (vocalist and lyricist). Nittlegrasper disbands with Ryuichi leaving to pursue a solo career in America, and Tohma becoming the president of NG, a producing company. Now, Icemen was a real life j-rock band, though they certainly weren’t as famous as Nittlegrasper, they performed "Shining Collection," Nittlegrasper’s song in the Gravitation OVA. Icemen is comprised of Daisuke Asakura (keyboardist), Kenichi Ito (guitarrist), and Michihiro Kuroda (vocalist). Icemen disbanded in 2000 with Kuroda leaving to pursue a solo career in America, and Daisuke is now the very capable producer of many j-pop/j-rock bands. Including Kinya Kotani. And K.ITO + D.K. And Yousuke Sakanoue (who did Gravi’s OP theme). NG produces all the music for Bad Luck. DA produces all the music for Kinya. Well, what a coincidence! The change that Murakami made was adding in Noriko, the purple-haired keyboardist in place of Kenichi, the red-haired guitarrist. But wait, Hiro, of Bad Luck, is a red-haired guitarrist! And they’re both on white guitars no less! Guess she was trying to make it less obvious where she got her inspiration.
Really though. The music in Gravitation is fantastic. The OP theme is one of the few that I actually sat through every single time because I was so enthralled by its energy. The ED theme is similarly entrancing, though with a slower, calmer melody. Good stuff guys, seriously.
DUBBING & VOCALS – The original voices in Gravitation are exceptional. A lot of renowned voice actors worked in this anime, and they all live up to their name. Seki Tomokazu works Shuichi’s personality beautifully. His voice is energetic and strong when need be, and softer, more quiet and scared when need be; the emotion that rings in Shuichi’s voice is incredibly convincing. Shuichi’s singing voice is that of Kinya Kotani, and I’ve already rambled about that. Ryuichi’s voice has a similar effect with emotion. Yamaguchi Kappei has played a lot of famous leads, including Ranma and Inuyasha, and though he doesn’t play lead in this anime, his character is nonetheless quite essential and a good voice never hurt in that. And since Ryuichi’s character changes so quickly from second to second, it’s amazing that he sounds so good. His normal, chibi, cute character is fitted with a perfectly adorable and simply lovable voice. It really does sound as if a child is running around and squealing about the Monster Gao and cars going zoom. Then, quickly, in the blink of an eye, Ryuichi will be serious and his voice suiting him just as wonderfully.
My favorite voice in the series is neither singer however, but rather, Tohma Seguchi, for he is voiced by Orikasa Ai. You can’t really can’t tell Tohma was voiced by a woman unless you already knew. She does a phenomenal job with it, making Tohma a strong and eeriely convincing character. He can show support and kindness when he wants to and give calm and simply chilling orders when he’s irked. Tohma means buisness; he gets what he wants. And that’s made perfectly clear. Orikasa Ai is also the voice of Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!, and not to mention Quatre from Gundam Wing, who looks freakishly like Tohma’s twin.
Gravitation has been licensed and dubbed in the US by The Right Stuf International. Because TRSI hasn’t worked with that many series, the names on the cast list are unfamiliar and unimpressive for the most part. I bought the first two DVDs when they came out and thus saw the first six episodes dubbed. I couldn’t do it anymore after that. As a fan of the series, I realize I was probably (and still am) a bit purist about it, but I usually consider myself to have a pretty high tolerance for bad dubs (I made it through ten episodes of the 4Kids One Piece, after all). Gravitation’s dub was just that awful. All of the characters sounded flat and unemotional, and they all sounded like they had the same voice actor. Shuichi wasn’t nearly as energetic as he should have been. It was simply bizarre hearing Tohma with a very generic man’s voice. Yuki’s voice was probably the most forgivable, but that’s probably because his archetype was the easiest to type cast for. One of these days, I might go back and watch those DVDs again for a second impression, but when the original is just so damn good, I don’t know why I would. (My impression of the dub does not affect my score in the "sound" category of this review.)
OVERALL – Gravitation really is a piece of work. It can go from absolutely hilarious to troublingly dark (and vice versa) in three seconds flat. You get two stories at once, two missions, two goals. You seem to jump back and forth from one to the other, but in truth, they’re both intertwined through relationships and an mysterious history, making things quite intriguing. Gravitation is worth a watch, even if you aren’t particularly fond of shounen-ai. In the end, it’s a romantic comedy with a dark twist, and I’ve known a good number of people who don’t care for the genre at all to have fallen in love with this series because the boy’s love isn’t the point. (Just a plus.)
The story follows Shuichi Shindou, a 19 year old vocalist trying to make it big in the music industry and Eiri Yuki, a young, cool and cold romance novelist and pretty much revolves around the couple’s careers, love life and past. Nothing complicated or confusing neither is it plot less or pointless. The series is short, only 13 episodes long but every episode is filled with quality; it’s well paced, never did it ever feel even slightly slow or boring. It’s simply entertaining which is what an anime should be!
Shuichi is a generic uke; he’s loud, cute, innocent, has a feminine body (which he uses for his failed plans) and is quite open about his love towards Eiri yet he’s a loveable character. I don’t usually like characters with this sort of annoying personality but with Shuichi he grows on you, maybe because its quite nice to have such an energetic character as the main lead.
Eiri is….a cool guy, look wise and personality wise. He’s the classic “Tall, dark and handsome” character fan girls scream over. When I said before it revolves around the couples past, its actually his past that it’s focused on (I mean, seriously, you can’t expect Shuichi to have a dark past now could you?)
Other characters include Hiro and Suguru who are the other members of Shuichi’s band ‘Bad Luck‘, Mr K their manager, Mr Sakano their producer, Tohma Seguchi their boss, Eiri’s brother in law and a member of Shuichi’s favourite band ‘Nittle Grasper’ etc. The cast of Gravitation is likeable, they’re mostly used for comic relief and for a 13 episode show they all carry a decent amount of distinct characteristics. Tohma reminds me of some petite pretty boy gangster though, the way he handles certain situations and is one of the more serious characters.
Here comes the music. A very important part in any anime, even more so in this one since it’s a show all about music. The music and themes in this are just simply fun and personally I quite liked them – the opening and other songs the band sung had some techno in it which made the songs really funky, which I enjoyed since I don’t really listen to techno. The piano themes used when there’s a ‘heart-warming moment’ or whatever got me every time (in a good way) and the ending is used to create a cliff-hanger moment at the end of each episode.
However, it sort of annoyed me that they recycle the same song/scenes every time they showed Bad Luck singing – only a couple of other times did they use new footage or songs. The music aren’t masterpieces but it’s a great listen.
If outfits come under art, I would down rate the art because the performing outfits that Shuichi and Ryuichi wore are HORRIBLE. They look like some bad cop out from the 80’s which I don’t understand how it managed to find its way into this show since Gravitation came out in 2000. Then again, I don’t live in Japan so I don’t really know how singers dress there, though I’m pretty sure no singer in their right mind would dress like that. Other than that little critique the art was fine. The cover shown in the summary pretty much tells you what the art is like – bright, pretty and cute, so not much more I can really discuss on that.
In my opinion, Gravitation is one the best shounen ai out there to date. The only reason why I say “one of” is simply because I haven’t watched all the shounen ai out there, but even so it’s still up there because it also does well as an anime. It’s well funny, throughout the series I had had many good laughs. There are extremely lame and stupid moments (e.g. Shuichi dressing in dog costume) that had made me cringe but I guess that’s just part of the course. There are also shocking pause-the-screen-to-take-in-what-just-happened moments which either puts a huge grin on my face or make me look completely dumbfounded.
The music industry aspect is quirky, serving much humorous content with the sheer craziness of it all and does make the audience doubt the music industry of today if that’s how it’s really run. And even though it is shounen ai, don’t be completely put off by it – I guess if you ever want to explore this genre then Gravitation is a good or perhaps the only place to start.
With every episode I hoped that the next one will be better, but unfortunately they all were at the same low level. An over-emotional immature kid who’s able to sing only one or two sings through all the 13 episodes, with huge eyes and pink hair, dressed in some funny coat and shorts. Thanks, I’ll pass.
Instead of funny, try pathetic. I don’t remember laughing much when I watched it. And when I did it was more of the silly actions of the main character than of the actual humor. The art isn’t stunning either, the music even worse.
There were, of course, some scenes that I liked, but not many of them. The only character I could like was Yuki Eiri because of his outwardly cold and indifferent demeanor. But even that wasn’t good enough to begin liking the anime in the slightest. I survived to the end of it and was glad to be able to finally remove it from my HD. Well, the last episodes I watched thinking ‘only 4 (or less) left, if I survived till now, I can finish it as well’.
And ever since I watched it I’m wondering how it’s possible that so many people worship it. I cannot understand it. For me, it was probably the worst anime I’ve ever seen.
6: Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Prétear
English: Prétear: The New Legend of Snow White
MAL Score: 7.18
Due to her father’s remarriage, robust 16-year-old Himeno Awayuki moves into a large mansion with a beautiful garden—the quintessential dream house for any girl her age. However, much to Himeno’s disappointment, her new stepfamily doesn’t really seem to like her, as her stepmother often occupies herself with her father, her younger stepsister Mawata ignores her, and her other stepsister—the equally aged Mayune—tries to prank her at every opportunity.
But Himeno doesn’t have time to dwell into thoughts of hopelessness—her new life has now become involved with a group of seven magical boys known as the Leafe Knights, after they ask her to become a magical princess who can borrow their powers! Although Himeno accepts their request and becomes the Prétear, she feels doubtful in her abilities to protect the world and its Leafe, the source of energy for all life. Will Himeno be able to find happiness among her new family and also save the Earth from the enemy, the Princess of Disaster?
Basically it follows our main heroine “Himeno” as she tries to stop the evil demons made from the “Princess of disaster.” (main villain) But how she does this is pretty interesting, she basically has to merge with these beings called “The Leafe Knights” in order to temporally take control of their powers, and this is quite important as she will need different elements against the right foe. It basically sticks to this the whole way through, all along giving the viewer some pretty nifty plot twists and surprises after the half way point. There is also a nice love story that takes place between Himeno and the main Leafe Knight, (even if it is pretty standard in anime. You know? The whole love–hate relationship) along with other mini plots to help prevent the story from keeping a sort of straight forwardness to the audience. In fact there are a handful of episodes that deal more with personal problems, and take a break from the overall story. The ending itself is by no means anything spectacular, but it does resolve all plot threads and questions, and should make you feel satisfied at the end. The action scenes I must say are a bit more on the shallow side and lack a certain flare and appeal, as some enemies were defeated in a matter of minutes once Himeno transforms, which might disappoint some viewers. This happens on most parts where they usually are involved with side plots, and make you feel like some of the actions scenes play second fiddle in some episodes. Though this is a magical girl style anime, it also has some pretty funny comedy scenes as well, but it’s never over the top and is mostly there to keep the audience into the anime. When they do gear up for battle and/or show more problematic scenes between the characters, the title quickly shifts into the appropriate mood, so you don’t have to worry about the characters acting comical at the wrong time, as it’s balanced with the seriousness.
Pretear does have some content that should be mentioned, for one there are some scenes that show Himeno and the Leafe Knights in a more nude look. It basically happens when they are about to merge with one another. Though they don’t draw any actual detail in the body, and are more just implied (ie Sailor Moon transformations).
Well being that this is a 2001 title, it will come as no surprise that it shows age. The character design that went into each is quite nice though, each article of clothing and facial expression is pretty decent to look at with a good scenes of detail and personality, however the backgrounds leave much to be desired, as most come off as a sort of bland watercolor style painting, this is especially true with the more natural environments, (such as the parks and forests) which aren’t the nicest to look at. Though some of the interior (such as Himeko’s house) is pretty detailed and well made with style.
The opening and closing themes are very pleasing to the ears, the first with a more mature magical girl style up beat theme, and the ending with a much more relaxed yet enthusiastic style. The background music is pretty forgettable though, it does play the right tunes at the right time depending on the situation. But you will most likely forget about it once you finished the series. The character voices are very well done (even in the dub version), and mix well with the character’s persona. An endearing soundtrack overall!
Well to be quite frank they are very appealing and give off good vibes to the audience, but they lack real depth found on other magical girl series. As this is due to one problem, there are simply too many characters in the overall story that you really never get a chance to learn about any of them. In fact if I was to give number count of how many of them you get actual back story and/or knowledge of, I would say its around 5 or so. Which isn’t much considering there are around 14 characters in this. Still, they do spotlight the appropriate cast members whom of which are indeed important to the storyline.
Bottom Line: 7/10
All in all Pretear is an endearing tale that should satisfy its audience. Even though it lacks deep character depth found in other titles of this style, it makes up for it nicely with its mix baggage of genres (ie love, action, suspense, comedy). While I am not the biggest fan of magical girl titles, I certainly did have fun with this. And I think you will too!
When most people look at the mahou shoujo genre nowadays, there are probably two things that immediately pop into their heads. The first is a traditional, happy-go-lucky mahou shoujo series with young girls fighting evil with the power of love and friendship, a la Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure.
The second is Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the dark and gritty reconstruction of the genre that became the darling of the anime fandom almost overnight.
However, Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Pretear, or simply known as Pretear, seems to straddle those two preconceptions. While the series starts out as light-hearted as a traditional magical girl series, the latter half exposes many of the darker elements that made Madoka Magica so popular, even though Pretear was created nearly a decade before. And while I’m not here to compare Pretear to every other mahou shoujo anime out there, I do find it important to place the show in the context of something in a genre that is meant for younger girls. With that said, let’s begin the review.
Pretear definitely had a slow start, and the first quarter or so is extremely episodic with a monster-of-the-week formula. The tone was very light with numerous comedic moments that you would expect to see in a typical shoujo series. However, around the half way mark, Pretear begins to unveil some of the darker undertones and by the last few episodes, it becomes quite emotional and dramatic. There is a sense of despair in those final episodes, as characters are put through many difficult situations. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call the story philosophical in any way, the depth is there if you look for it. Throughout the latter half of the series, themes like unrequited love, abandonment, and loneliness play a huge role in how the story pans out. And while this type of drama may not appeal to everyone, I certainly found the story to be quite gripping and emotionally charged where it needed to be. Pretear also borrowed some ideas from famous fairy tales, so it was also interesting to see those elements come into play at various points in the series.
For those who have read the manga and enjoyed it, keep in mind that the anime story line is quite different from the midpoint onward. However, I personally felt that the anime version was much more enjoyable with the changes added, since it contributed to the drama and overall feel of the series. Although the manga explored similar themes, the anime changed the plot in a way that made much more sense, in my opinion.
When watching Pretear, I tried my best not to gripe about the art and animation too much, given that the show was produced in 2001. Still, I can’t say the animation was top-notch, and even the character designs weren’t all that great. Himeno in particular had this problem of looking too thin and lanky from afar, and the faces of all the characters were often distorted slightly during some scenes. But since Himeno transforms into a different form with each guy, the costume changes were very pretty to watch. Overall, don’t expect too much from the art and animation. It wasn’t terrible to the point of making my eyes bleed, but it definitely wasn’t outstanding.
Unfortunately, the sound department for Pretear was also not top-notch, but this probably had less to do with the production year and more with the type of budget usually given to a title like this. There wasn’t much music throughout most of the show, and even during the emotional scenes in the finale, they just reused the opening theme over and over again. Although the opening theme wasn’t bad, it eventually became annoying because they played it often more than once in several episodes. At other points during the show, the music was either not noticeable or wholly nonexistent. As for voice acting, the roles were played out quite well but none of them stood out. A few were even slightly grating, such as Mayune and Yayoi, but this might have been due to the characters themselves being rather irritating at times. Overall, the sound was just mediocre. Not horrible, but not great either.
This is definitely where Pretear shined. Although the characters each follow archetypes, each of them develop enough that towards the end of the series they become quite likable. Save for a few, even the comedic relief characters end up being important towards the end. The main lead, Himeno, is your typical ditzy shoujo protagonist. What makes her unique at first is her physical strength due to years of martial arts training, but this aspect of her character is not brought up as often as you would think. Himeno is quite admirable as she attempts to understand and help others while blocking out her own vulnerabilities, and this makes for much of the drama in the series. The seven “Leafe Knights” are her comrades and protectors, and while two of them, Hayate and Sasame are fleshed out more than the others, all of them become endearing to the viewer by the end of the series. The antagonist, whom I won’t name because of spoilers, is actually a very tragic figure and easy to sympathize with. Although I wished her character back story was elaborated upon a little more, I still felt like her plight was understandable.
And then, there’s Himeno’s family. One thing that really separates Pretear from the hoard of mahou shoujo anime is that a lot of attention is given to the main female lead’s family. If you’ve ever watched Sailor Moon or even Madoka Magica (to a lesser extent) you’ll find that the family is introduced, then effectively disappears for the climax of the series. But Pretear is not just about romance and magic; the theme of love in the family sense is also explored quite well. Throughout the series, Himeno’s family serves as a source of happiness as well as conflict, and this was very interesting to watch. Although I do wish more insight was given on her relationship with them after the final battle, the growth of that relationship through the rest of the series was still quite good.
Overall, I have to say I was quite impressed with Pretear. Since I read the manga before watching this version, I was a little nervous as to how it would be adapted. I expected a normal magical girl series, but what I got was something that was actually a few shades darker than the source material. Of course this is no Madoka Magica, but it’s definitely not Sailor Moon either. If you’re a fan of mahou shoujo series, then Pretear is definitely a show you should watch if you haven’t already. If you don’t necessarily like traditional mahou shoujo but you would like a fantasy romance with a few darker psychological twists (but not enough to make it truly grim and gritty like Madoka Magica) then Pretear may be something you would like to check out. All in all, while Pretear wasn’t perfect, I did enjoy it a lot. The first few episodes dragged a bit, but once I bit into the meat of the story it really captured me. The finale especially was quite enjoyable with all of the emotional drama.
I’ve pretty much said everything that needs to be said, and this is already a really long review so I’ll just leave it at that. Watch this series if it looks like something you’ll enjoy, and keep in mind that it isn’t actually all it seems to be at first glance.
5: Groove Adventure Rave
English: Rave Master
MAL Score: 7.24
Fifty years ago, malevolent stones known as Dark Brings brought about the “Overdrive,” a calamitous event that destroyed one-tenth of the world. In the present day, the nefarious organization Demon Card seeks the Dark Brings’ power for their all but innocent intentions.
Haru Glory, a sword-wielding silver-haired teenager, inherits the title of Rave Master: the person who wields the power of the legendary Rave Stones, artifacts capable of destroying the Dark Brings. However, the many Rave Stones were scattered across the globe as a result of the Overdrive, allowing Demon Card to continue their malpractices.
Groove Adventure Rave follows Haru, his strange dog Plue, the fiery blonde Ellie, and the infamous thief Musica, as they embark on a great journey that will take them around the vast world, searching for the Rave Stones that will finally end Demon Card’s injustice.
The genres include: shounen, comedy, action, adventure and drama.
Groove Adventure Rave doesn’t have the most original story. It’s roughly like this: Haru Glory, a 16 years old “Rave Master”, must collect all five Rave-stones to prevent the world from being destroyed by the terrifying power of Darkbring, which caused Overdrive, a huge explosion which destroyed 1/10 of the world 50 years before. So, basically Groove Adventure Rave seems like your average collect-’em-all anime where the main character grows with every item he finds. And, yeah, that’s basically it, but there are also very interesting back stories and under it’s stupid upper layer, there is an interesting story for the ones that start watching “Rave”, but I can’t go into it further without spoiling.
The art for Groove Adventure Rave is above average. It’s nice and fluid, but the producers didn’t think much about the backgrounds that sometimes look pretty awful. They stuck to the original designs by Mashima Hiro very well, and the art catches the goofyness of the anime.
Not much to say here. The BGM is pretty bland, and the OP’s and ED’s are pretty boring. The voice actors on another hand were very good. Especially Tomokazu Seki as the main character Haru Glory.
The characters for Groove Adventure Rave are very good.
The main characters are Haru Glory: the Rave Master who has to collect the five Rave-stones to save the world (he is pretty much your average shounen male lead who gets stronger and stronger in order to beat the bad guys), Elie: the mysterious beauty with amnesia trying to remember who she is (the most interesting character whose past is unknown), and Musica: a Silver Claimer (meaning he can bend and shape silver as he wants) who is searching for a very special ship (your regular, arrogant cool-looking guy).
Despite it’s lacking story, I really enjoyed Groove Adventure Rave. The last arc was not as good as the others but is still very good. I was entertained the whole way and I definitely recommend Groove Adventure Rave to anyone who’s just looking for a fun anime to watch.
Groove Adventure Rave is a shounen-anime, and a good one at that, but it’s not the best one ever. Remind yourself of that before watching it. Still, Groove Adventure Rave is a very good anime and will keep you glad for a while.
I hope you found my review helpful, and if you didn’t please tell me why, so I can improve myself until next time.
Elie has lost her memory and she is trying to retrace her steps to get her memory back. Both characters awkwardly meet and agree to help each other out.
The drawing is not all there but the story and gags kind of help in my opinion, as you will understand once you watch it that some scenes seem as though they are from dbz and some are just too far fetched.
All in all I give it an 8 and it is worth watching in my opinion. Just don’t be too picky.
The story is very typical as its just a certain boy who is destine to go and stop a great evil but must collect something in order to get stronger and stop it. So why is this enjoyable? I’ll tell you why its because of its back story and how the plot progresses. There is so much back story that explains what going on and goes deep to make this not bland and shows a lot of time is put into this. As the plot goes on, the objective changes. Collecting rave stones is still there but its how they collect them that is change and that I’m not gonna spoil it, but lets just say its surprising even to me. This clearly show that this is gonna last like 100 more episodes but then they end it with a cliffhanger. I ask why!? How come this show doesn’t get more episodes like fairy tale as that still ongoing and lets not forget this is base off the manga of the same creator who made the fairy tale manga that the anime fairy tale is base on. I should also say that the anime is a little different to the manga which might disappoint some people who read it but to me its not a huge deal as I expected this but at least give it a non open ending! Now I know people might say its glad to end it because it might of drag like the other ongoing shonen jump titles and I can understand that but not to me. Also if you wan’t all the answers to certain plot points they mention, you’ll have to read the manga and I hated when they do that! So overall the plot I say its good but could of been great if they ending wasn’t so open and gives the answers to are questions.
The art is generic but is above generic. The characters looks is just like the manga which is nice. The animation is also very fluid and seems to be done well. But the backgrounds looks very crappy as not a lot of detail goes into them. So overall the art is very good and fits well.
The score is pretty decent. The BGM is pretty bland but fits when it comes to humor and serious moments. The ops and eds are good and can be pretty catchy. In the english dub version we don’t get but the score use really show they care. The BGM in that fits since the anime is goofy and seems to go well in the scene but its still pretty bland. The op they use is just one of the best dub themes I heard. Well to me anyway. So I give both of the music a score of 8 as they both might have some music you’ll like.
English dub vs english subs:
Now the subs is really well acted as Tomokazu does a good job of being Haru as he captures his personality very well. There is also Ayako who voice Elie which really capture her sprite and dignity even when she doesn’t know who she is. The rest also did a good job so no need to go in detail but what about the dubs. For one thing it is very corny almost to the point of bad and seems to be for kids(which is no surprise since this is licence by Tokyo pop and this aired in cartoon network) but thats the charm of it. The actors manage to work around it. And I notice that one of them is voice by Tom Kenny who voice spongebob and he fits so well with the scripts he is given. Also I notice that the jokes are very funny to make a teen laugh. So I say check the dub but if you can’t stand those kinds dub then stick to the subs.
Winner: English dub if you are into funny goofy stuff, Or Subs if you wan’t well acted voice works.
Now the characters are pretty generic at first. They all basically follow a certain shonen stereotype as we seen in many other shonen anime. But as the plot goes on, it give lots of development for are characters. Plus there is also some things we don’t know about them which keeps us hook to these characters and hope we get the answers. One example is Elie as the more close she wants to know who she is, the more we wan’t to know. The villains show a lot of threat and plus some show that they might be good but we don’t see that until its shown. But there are some characters we don’t get the full knowing of them which is a shame because I’m really interested into these characters. So overall the characters are not as generic as you think and you’ll probably have one of these as your favorites.
Rave master is a shonen anime you should check out. It will keep you happy but its not great do to some lacking in areas like in plot. But give this a watch as this is one of the better shonen animes out there.
Overall:8/10 This is the greatest anime
4: Shin Chou Kyou Ryo: Condor Hero
English: The Legend of Condor Hero
Japanese: 神鵰侠侶 コンドルヒーロー
MAL Score: 7.34
Youka is a young 13-year-old boy. One day, his Uncle, Kakusei, has him follow in his steps of martial arts and has him study the art of Zenshinkyou. After being mistreated, Youka runs away Zenshinkyou. He stumbles on a Forbidden Tomb where he finds a beautiful young woman, by the name of Shouryuujo. After a short time, Youka is eventually accepted by Shouryuujo to study the techniques of the Koboha under her, and thus begins their adventure through martial arts and love.
*Please note that only season 1 was voiced in Japanese but all 3 seasons have been Chinese dubbed.*
Before proceeding with the actual review of this anime, I would like to clarify the name of the story. Based on the original novel written in the late 1950s, this story should be called The Return of the Condor Heroes. But somewhere along the way, the Japanese decided to change the name to Legend of Condor Hero, which to add on to the confusion is the same name as the prequel story to the story that this anime is based upon. So to sum this up, Legend of Condor Hero (anime) does NOT equal to the actual Legend of Condor Hero, but in fact, the anime is the sequel to the Legend of Condor Hero. For those who can read Kanji, check this out and everything should be clear.
The Legend of Condor Hero is, to many Chinese, the Romeo and Juliet of the West. Not because the story have much in common, but rather it is the reputation that it earned over the last 50 years as a romance story. You can literally go walk to a Chinese and ask them the story of Legend of Condor Hero and 90% of the time they will be able to tell you something about it.
The story revolves around Yang Guo and his lover Xiao Long Nu in their adventure against the dominating Mongolian Empire (~1250 AD) under Genghis Khan’s grandson. However, what really captivates viewer to this story is the taboo/forbidden love between the two as one is the master and the other is the apprentice.
While the anime adaptation follows the actual story quite closely, there were some missing characters here and there (for example, Sha Gu played a key role in providing the background story of Yang Guo’s deceased father, but she was completely taken out in the anime). However, I was glad that the production crew did a good job with the crucial Battle of Xiangyang as that was the "heart" of the story in the actual novel.
Since I have personally read the entire trilogy -the official Chinese novels- of the Condor series (The Legend of the Condor Heroes, The Return of the Condor Heroes, and The Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Saber), I was expecting a lot from this anime. It failed me in many ways, from the poor animation quality, to the overly repetitive scenes and soundtracks. All in all, it was fairly decent in terms of story retelling, but for an anime in this day and age it certainly can be a whole lot better.
The OP and ED are addictive.
Hotness: very intense forbidden and pure love.
Bishounen: The main lead is a cutie. He could have been more intelligent and more sensitive though.
After dedicating myself to all 3 seasons , the anime has played a role in showing the realization that best story are not only to be told from Japan, for it can also be found from other countries as well. It is not a simple task to win over this in terms of story plot.
My review of this anime series (all seasons):
Story S1 + S2 10/10
Completely mindblown Jin Yong is a masterpiece. Story flows consistently well from the start until the end. All main and supporting characters plays an essential role, some sticking to the series until the very end, including the big bird in the opening song. Character grows over each seasons. The naive and childish Yang Gua in S1, evolving into a legendary, matured man in S3. Yang Gua and Xiao Lung Nu love to each other: lovely and pure.
Story S3 8/10
Disappointed with the last few episodes.
Animation and soundtracks S1 6/10
Decent designs, just not up to today’s standard. Love both the OP and ED. Japanese dub is average.
Animation and soundtracks S2 + S3 5/10
1)Animation doesn’t look like much effort is inserted. Crushing sea water onto ship looks like mountain emerging from the bottom. 2)Repetitive long flashbacks, flashback of Yang Gua rescuing Huang Rong shown twice. 3)Certain scenes repeated broken soundtracks. OP and ED songs changed yet uses S1 OP animation, doesn’t fit.
Cantonese dub is otherwise, good. Perfectly fits the character. Made me laugh.
Because of the story.
Overall 10/10 (ignoring animation and sound)
Love it. Lots of meaningful messages to the audiences: grow over mistakes, independent life, knowing when to stop, never stop learning, be helpful, be a good example, forgive and forget, etc.
I give my credits to the author Jin Yong for introducing such an amazing story. Also a big thanks to the production staff for making an anime version of the Condor Hero series. Have no regret watching it. One of the world’s greatest ancient chinese story ever told!
Japanese: X エックス
MAL Score: 7.42
His destiny has finally arrived as the young Shirou Kamui returns to Tokyo after 6 years. A powerful psychic, Kamui vows to protect the happiness of his childhood friends Fuuma and Kotori, even if it means avoiding them. But fate is cruel, whether or not Kamui wants to be involved; he holds the future of the world in his hands, given the choice of becoming a Dragon of Heaven or a Dragon of Earth. The Seven Seals gather, and so do the Seven Angels; all individuals who have their destiny carved out as one who would battle for the fate of the world. What future will Kamui choose to become reality?
STORY – Honestly, X has a pretty decent story, even if most of its themes are far from original. It is, essentially, another battle between humanity and the planet they live on, of man against nature. This conflict has been addressed over and over again throughout history in century-old novels and vintage films, in addition to a wide splattering of anime and manga. Mostly-unexplained supernatural powers and angel/demon parallels, both rather characteristic of CLAMP, aren’t very new either, and really, even combining the two doesn’t add a particularly intriguing angle. Nevertheless, X’s story is solid. It has everything a story needs: a clear theme, a clear point, a clear hurdle, and a clear goal. And actually, the final, deepest concept may even be controversial enough to be original. So what then, went so horribly wrong?
My main issue was pacing and bad storytelling in general. Despite having tons more time to deal with themes, issues, and characters compared to the disastrous X OAV, the anime still doesn’t seem able to utilize this time effectively. The first few episodes are heavy and fast-paced, tossing the audience into the crazy complex details of the conflict with little preamble. Then it cools noticeably and a lot of the macabre and shock is diminished. You kind of wonder what all the hubbub was about. The entire middle of the series seems to slow to a snail’s pace. There are frustratingly long scenes depicting nothing more than a man walking down a path. We really don’t need to watch Subaru walking in silence for five straight minutes and passing the same shrine multiple times. At least the Lucky Star girls were talking about something for five minutes.
Those slow episodes were attempts to delve into the individual backstories of our fourteen plus relevant characters (seven Dragons of Heaven, seven Dragons of Earth, plus supporting roles), but they fail to give much attention to these characters’ connections to the overall plot and theme, making them pretty useless in the grand scheme of things, especially since many of these personal struggles are never resolved. The story used to be clear and have a point, but after trudging through a half dozen of these character-centric episodes, you stop caring. Oh, right, we were concerned about the fate of the earth right? Morals and stuff, what about that again? The last few episodes are forced to pick up speed again, but it happens in that disorganized and rushed way where nothing really makes sense; they explain very little, and the ending leaves you more confused than anything else. And being a non-canonical ending doesn’t help either. Personally, I prefer the X OAV’s ending, even if the rest of it sucked. Clearly, the anime isn’t much better.
CHARACTER – I never did like Kamui much, even in the manga. Like many other things in the series, his backstory seemed uninspired and recycled to me. Typical cute childhood. Typical teenage sobstory. He is oversensitive, and all attempts to shape and transform his character never seem to go very far. The ruthless demeanor he tries to put on for the first few episodes doesn’t last long, and he ends up seeming pretentious rather than complex. I just found him incredibly hard to sympathize with, which is never a good thing. Fuma further seemed like a cheap shot at tragedy, and after a while, he was nothing more than yaoibait. Kotori? How many other "girl from my childhood who I’m in love with"-type characters have you seen? Typical shoujo.
The rest of the cast is a little more forgiving, if still despairingly typical. Of the Dragons of Heaven, Arashi fills in the role as priestess girl. Sorata is the endearing comedic. Karen is your religious character; Seichirou, your nice guy. Nekoi filled the cute school girl role, and Subaru was crossover material because CLAMP loves crossovers. Of the Dragons of Earth, Seishirou is also crossover filler, Yuto was amusing, and Satsuki reminded me of Lain. Nataku did not interest me at all — a clone just seemed unnecessary, but it was yet another archetype. Kusanagi, another nice guy, and Kakyo… eh. I’m indifferent. Hinoto and Kanoe are more of the same. All of these characters, more than anything else, seem to represent dozens of anime and manga archetypes, which limited my general interest in them. Their personal stories were intriguing at times, but were never explored to the depths that they were in the manga, and it was difficult to become attached. They were okay: not good, not bad.
As morals play a huge role in the series, each characters’ personal views and beliefs are the most interesting part of them. Those whose views come to shift and change, those who grow to question things, and those who have complicated relationships with others are the ones that are fun to watch. Nekoi’s relationship with Kusanagi. Subaru’s relationship with Seishirou. Kamui’s with Fuma. Seichirou’s with Karen. All the crossing of relationships over enemy lines was fun — like one giant, strange concoction of Romeo and Juliet-esque drama! Including all the sudden love! Sadly, while a few of the characters do manage to develop a little (read: Kamui), most don’t. They just don’t have enough time between when they’re introduced, when their backstory is explained, and the end of the series. Abbreviated depth when translating characters from manga to anime is nothing new though, sadly.
ART & ANIMATION – It seems to me that there are a lot of series weak in story and character, but strong in the technical aspects. X is beautiful. One day, I’ll figure out why CLAMP’s style of noodley bishounen and wide-shouldered biseinen is just so damn appealing. All the characters have wonderful and memorable designs, many of which highlight their clear personalities. Kanoe and Karen are both confident women. Kakyo and Hinoto are fragile and delicate. There’s a very clear connection between a character’s visuals and his or her substance. Backgrounds are impressively detailed, and I’m always enthralled by animated cityscapes. Rooftops and bridges all looked great, as did all the explosions and magic, all of the blood and macabre. For an anime series, X is definitely full of eyecandy.
MUSIC – I. Love. X’s soundtrack. It’s what I like most about the entire series, hands down. All of the music in the series is beautiful and distinct, especially the leitmotif. There are beautiful piano themes and much wilder, energetic battle themes, including a few very chaotic mixes charged on adrenaline. A lot of the sounds are reminiscent of more traditional Japanese music as well, giving a unique sound. There are also a few tracks that remind me of Native American and perhaps even African tones, adding even more to the blend. Seriously, X’s music is worth listening to even if you don’t see the series. The opening and end themes are both relevant to X’s themes and echo the kinds of sounds that present in the soundtrack. Good, good music all around.
VOICE ACTING – The change of cast between the anime and the OAV was disappointing in general, but the worst of it was trading Tomokazu Seki for Kenichi Suzumura as Kamui’s voice. It wasn’t so much that Suzumura did a bad job though, so if you haven’t seen the OAV (don’t), then it probably doesn’t matter very much because there’s no benchmark. As most of the characters fitted nicely to archetypes, most of the cast just seemed to give a generic voice. Tough guy sounded tough; cute girl sounded cute. Nothing special. Nothing to critique. Nothing to praise. I haven’t seen the dub for X, but I don’t imagine that it’d be much different.
OVERALL – In general, I dislike the idea of trying to make an anime out of a manga that hasn’t finished, but it is possible to do so without failing utterly. Fullmetal Alchemist is probably the best example, at least up until the last few episodes. So the fact is that X could have been handled much better. Trying to explore more than fourteen characters in twenty-four episodes while still orchestrating a main plot is hard. Instead of that, I think it would have been better to compress some of the smaller storylines or to get rid of them altogether, especially the ones that never got close to any sort of resolution. The main story was about morals, priorities, and the fate of humanity and earth. They never seem to explain that very well though, and things got confusing as a result. I, personally, didn’t like the ending, but I think that’s more because it was poorly executed than because it was actually a bad conclusion.
Still, it has become one of my favorites, because it has exactly those things that appeal to me in an anime show: a good storyline with enough twists and changes, excellent animation, a great soundtracks and amusing and diverse characters.
Of course the series has CLAMP all over it, which shows mainly in the characyer design and story, both of which are on par of the average CLAMP series, meaning they’re good. The animation in action sequences is fast-paced and intense, and the soundtrack accompanies each scene well, drawing you in even further.
As I stated in the beginning of this review, the plot is decent and there are enough twists and turns in the plotline, with the most important one taking place halfway through the series; I usually see these things coming, and while all the clues were there, spread out very obviously, I was still surprised.
What follows after that is a dive into the various main characters backgrounds and pasts (heroes and villains alike), and while that could’ve been drawn out a little more, it adds a bit extra..though not much.
The ending is… a bit less intense that I personally would’ve hoped for, but it still fits the series; still, it’s a non-canon ending, and I wonder how the actual series will end now…
A nice series to watch; if you like action with a touch of fantasy in a modern setting, then X is a nice show for you to watch.
The Story focus on the first episodes on Kamui who wants to get a sword that belongs to him, passed down from his mother, but gets drawn into a fight of the destiny of the earth. With him as the key to it apperently.
When put like this it doesn’t sound like much but add to that some very interesting twist and turns that can glue you to the screen and you get something that you want to see the end of no matter what.
The art is done very well, with nice backgrounds that don’t draw to much attention away form what is actually happening and very nice details which together make this anime very nice to look at
the music in my opinion is chossen very well in the dramatic moments, but the fight music is at best anticlimatic and sounds like your playing some videogame sometimes, but only when you have a fight that hasn’t some kind of drama in it. again drama-moments are very well done in this one.
The characters are split in two categories: in one can we put the to main chara’s… with development, emotions and all that portrait so realitic and believable that it can overshadow the, rather poor, suppourtcharaters that the authors were trying desperatly to give some dept but faild half way through.
All in all the anime is really worth it to at least watch once in your life, even if you aren’t a fan of emotinal animes and such.
2: Fruits Basket
English: Fruits Basket
MAL Score: 7.68
After the accident in which she lost her mother, 16-year-old Tooru moves in with her grandfather, but due to his home being renovated, is unable to continue living with him. Claiming she will find someone to stay with but also fearing the criticism of her family and not wanting to burden any of her friends, Tooru resorts to secretly living on her own in a tent in the woods.
One night on her way back from work, she finds her tent buried underneath a landslide. Yuki Souma, the “prince” of her school, and his cousin Shigure Souma, a famous author, stumble across Tooru’s situation and invite her to stay with them until her grandfather’s home renovations are complete.
Upon arriving at the Souma house, Tooru discovers their secret: if a Souma is hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they temporarily transform into one of the animals of the zodiac! However, this strange phenomenon is no laughing matter; rather, it is a terrible curse that holds a dark history. As she continues her journey, meeting more members of the zodiac family, will Tooru’s kindhearted yet resilient nature be enough to prepare her for what lies behind the Souma household’s doors?
At first glance Furuba is just another Shoujo manga with nothing different to it; the average, beautiful, kind girl getting all the pretty boys. Okay so it really is that, however there’s a special touch to the way the series develops itself and how you watch each character grow and interact with each other as the story progresses.
The story starts with Tohru Honda, your as average-as-you-can-get japanese girl who has lost her mother in an accident and was living alone in a tent in the Sohma’s property. Of course she wasn’t aware of that until they told her, to her surpirse they take her in in exchange for her doing all the housework (it was her who suggested not staying in the house ‘for free’). It’s when she’s there that she discovers the family’s biggest secret… The family has been cursed by the vengeful spirits of the Chinese Zodiac animals and when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex they transform into the animal they were cursed by. When Tohru comes in their life they all learn to open up their heart more and realize that not all the people in the worlds are bad; this girl affects each one of them in a unique way.
It’s a beautiful Anime with heart-touching subjects, there is much you can learn from it and definitely worth buying if the chance should present. There is just about everything in this series:bishonen, angst, drama,comedy, romance, shounen-ai hints and a light-hearted, kind bishojo showing us the way.
The character designs are beautiful and would characterize everyone in the series a bishonen and bishojo. The colors of the hairs and eyes of the Sohma Family match with the animal they were cursed by and it gives each one of them a unique touch.
Tohru’s design is supposed to be as average as possible since she represents a normal japanese girl.
There’s is also a ‘big abuse’ of Super-Deformed characters (Ex. Chibi form) but it just serves to highlight the emotion they are expressing and make the show even more funny.
The music is simply beautiful, although the 26-episode long series only has one opening(For Fruits Basket) and one ending (Chiisana Inori) (both performed by Ritsuko Okazaki) it serves it’s purpose leaving you with a serene calm sensation!
The soundtrack used as background music is delicate and simple
However if you haven’t watched the series and just purchase the soundtrack for the sheer pleasure of it you will be disappointed since it is nothing special by itself, you must see the anime first so you can relate each short song to a scene.
As far as the seiyuu’s gone they all seemed to fir their character perfectly. Tohru’s voice was Yui Horie who also voiced for Love Hina’s Narusegawa Naru. Her sweet, sharp voice goes in tune with Tohru’s personality perfectly.
You won’t find a boring episode in this series. Each one develops and focuses’s on a character’s situation. Although the series was cut short abruptly and much ends were left untied (the manga is still running) seeing by itself will leave you satisfied (if not with a small crave for the continuity of it).
As mentioned before there’s much you can learn from this anime since it deals with how we must see our own beauty and not be jealous of other’s (among other important themes).
I decided to watch Fruits Basket after seeing how high it is rated. I wouldn’t normally watch a shoujo series, since I find most of them exaggerated and unrealistic – that’s why, I expected Furuba to really change my opinion regarding them. Instead, I found Furuba to be exactly what I mostly disliked and avoided in this genre – with a really more unnatural and forced tone. Do not get me wrong; I do not hate Fruits Basket; yet I really couldn’t feel anything else besides disappointment the moment I completed it, and this review explains why.
Furuba’s story is surrounded by a dramatical and emo[tional] darkness upon which Tohru shines like a ray of redemptive hope. Because of that, 50% of the story is actually made up of Tohru’s (and sometimes other characters’ too) internal struggling monologues that pretty much unfold along the lines of “Is is right? Isn’t it right? Is it wrong? Isn’t it wrong?”. The other 50% of the story might actually trick the viewer into believing that something happens – when it’s usually just a repetition of the same overly used gags. There’s no beginning, no development, no ending. It doesn’t get anywhere.
To put it simply, Fruits Basket doesn’t have a plot. Its entire ‘story’ could be summed up through the following sequence of (randomly ordered) events: Tohru acts dumb yet unbelievably nice which, in turn, causes other characters to also act this way, even though it isn’t part of their personality, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight, repeat; cliché and unfunny member of the Sohma family appears, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight again, repeat; irrelevant episodic character that barely says a line throughout the whole series has an entire episode dedicated to themselves, repeat; Kyo and Yuki fight yet again, this time in a more dramatic light. Repeat.
Another bad aspect of the story is that it’s ridiculously sweet, to the point that it loses all the bits of realism it could have had. It’s clear that the creators wanted to have a mixed show, that doesn’t only focus on the dramatical solving of tragic events, but also contains its funny moments. This in turn causes Furuba to have serious flaws, both in terms of execution and logic. Many times, the scenes change too quickly from overly-serious to (attempted) pink surrounded, humorous gags that pop up out of nowhere. Other times the events just don’t add up. A clear example of this is Tohru living in a tent at the beginning of the series because she doesn’t want to ‘bother’ anyone [thing which the viewer should find utterly amusing]. Apparently, she has a lot of people that care about her (grandfather, friends) yet they never check upon how she’s doing. Yet somehow, the rest of her relatives actually go through the trouble of hiring a detective to find out where she lives when they could have simply followed her from school or asked her.
And lastly, in terms of storyline, Furuba is really stretched out for the amount of events it has to offer. Perhaps, had Furuba been a 13 episodes series and not a 26 one, with the same amount of story, it would have actually been entertaining. It’s not just the slow pace that pretty much puts you to sleep; there’s also the fact that sceneries, lights, wind are constantly emphasized just so that there’ll be something to fill the gap and make an entire episode of something that could have been summed up in 5-10 mins.
Fruits Basket’s characters are clear examples of shoujo genre gone wrong. Not only are they cliché, predictable and pretty much one-dimensional; they give off the feeling of being unnatural. There’s something forced into them, whether it’s the personality, the way they interact or their role. They seem to just be there for the sake of existing; therefore they don’t have any apparent purpose or impact upon the viewer.
Tohru is a girl who’s gone through a lot in her life, as it is clearly shown since the very beginning of the anime. Considering the amount of bad events she experienced, you’d expect her to be really introverted and (perhaps) pessimistic. Yet Tohru completely overthrows that, by not only being happy-go-lucky all the time, but also exaggeratedly clueless and nice to everybody, no matter the circumstances. There’s a thin line between being inhumanly selfless and being ridiculously dumb, and Tohru seems to be stepping on it quite often. Because of that, most of the other characters seem to half divinize her. There’s also another particular thing about Tohru. She doesn’t seem to have any ambition for herself whatsoever, so she never asks for help – which brings up the question, is she really weak or is she really strong? Perhaps both, but she certainly isn’t realistic or enjoyable.
Yuki is the least enjoyable out of the entire cast. Now, traps are one thing, effeminate characters other – but when some random character in the shows says: “Oh my, there’s an interesting young person out there, but I can’t tell whether it’s a guy or a girl – isn’t it exciting?”, that’s a totally different thing. According to most of the other characters throughout the show and even himself, Yuki is a guy, though his personality, voice and appearance certainly don’t show that. Why he was built that way is uncertain – there are a few attempts of making fun of this, but the humor fails, as usual.
Apart from when he’s annoyingly correct by being the right person in the right place, Yuki is barely noticeable. However, his existence does seem to serve two purposes. First one is a Fruits Basket must: have a tragic, unexplainable and never actually detailed past that makes him dark and gloomy, which in turn asks for one of Tohru’s miraculous healing techniques. Second is to serve as an opponent for Kyo – which is one of the most reused and unfunny gags throughout the show.
Kyo is probably the only character that actually suffers some sort of development. In the beginning, he’s presented as a violent, leek-hating, anti-social idiot. In the end he’s still violent and idiotic (though to a smaller scale), but at least he isn’t lonely anymore and he’s eaten leeks. Despite the fact that Kyo is also a cliché character, he’s at least enjoyable, because he’s a bit more realistic. Kyo has a lot of personality flaws, but there’s one thing that compensates them: he at least sees Tohru as being weird and unhealthy for herself (which all the other characters seem to be blind to). Unfortunately, Kyo is never actually allowed to speak for himself since he’s an outcast. It’s clearly stated throughout the anime that the other Sohma members can’t stand him; yet, as usual, it’s never quite explained why. Despite this, Kyo could have had a lot of development and story going on around him. Unfortunately, the ending spoiled everything.
Sohma members+ Tohru’s friends:
The rest of the Sohma family members and Tohru’s friends were created so they would be as weird and different as possible, yet they all share the same characteristics. Their past is dark and tumultuous so they anchor around Tohru; on top of that, they are all one-dimensional commonly encountered types of characters. Shigure is the pervert, Kagura is the good-willed yet always screwing up girl, Momiji is the cute shouta boy, Risa is the sweet innocent girl and so on. But that’s the end to it. There’s nothing more to them; yet countless of repetitive unfunny gags are made of their only side. In the end, they are all too many and too similar to remember or enjoy.
ART AND SOUND
Furuba’s art and sound are certainly nothing exceptional – yet they’re not bad either. They all add up to the unrealistic, sweet and pink impression the show is trying to leave. There seems to be specific effort put into backgrounds and into the (often really big) eyes. The voice actors capture the personalities of the characters they portray really well (maybe sometimes too well, but it’s in the series’ nature to be exaggerated), especially during monologues or conflicts. The OP and ED were some of the very few generics that I constantly skipped – they were too slow-paced and fluffy for my taste. The background music also didn’t really stand out – but is wasn’t unpleasant.
Furuba really isn’t enjoyable, unless you’re a fan of slow-paced, warmth and fuzzy feelings inducing series that stretch too much and don’t get anywhere. I expected something funny like Ouran or Yamato Nadeshiko before watching this; yet I was thoroughly disappointed. The whole anime seemed to be a mixture of randomly thrown in characters trying to act dramatic and special, but not leaving any particular positive impression. They were predictable, boring and irrelevant. Also, I really couldn’t get over the few logic flaws (like Japan leaving its orphans to suffer in tents, Tohru being able to magically teleport herself from the forest to the cemetery and back to the forest [during the last episode] or the too sudden mood changes from tragic to overly happy).
Even though Fruits Basket had a pretty good premise to start from and quite the numerous cast of characters, it really couldn’t get past the “Everything is so sad, oh! Let’s bring Tohru in so it’ll be nice and shiny” feeling. Furuba is a series that doesn’t leave any positive feelings while watching and certainly not after being completed. The viewer is basically left where it all started from – no plot or character development whatsoever, nothing explained, nothing major accomplished. Therefore, it really doesn’t get past the state of being a mediocre series with nothing special.
The anime is centered around a young girl by the name of Tohru Honda, an amazing high school girl who is kind and honest. At the start of the anime she is still struggling to survive after her mothers tragic death. She is taken into the house hold of the cursed family, the Sohma’s.
Is decently done, it is done beautifully but the main attraction of this anime is not the art but rather the story and the characters.
Again decently done, the intro and ending songs are a credit to the singer and composers. I’d keep them on my MP3 player. Other then that the rest of the sound track is well placed but doesnt reach out like a few other animes I know. Again decently done, but not the reason I love this anime.
Oh so many things I wanna type here. But I dont want to spoil anything. (I stongy feel that no review should even come close to touching a spoiler) Each character is amazing and wonderful. I cannot say more than each character has made me laugh, smile, cry, and think.
Story and Enjoyment
Each characters past and story is touching to discover and moving to watch. Each one is orginal, sad, and tragic. Can Tohru help break there curse, can Tohru bring happiness to this strange tragic family? If your like me you wont be able to stop yourself from watching to find out! If I could rank higher than a 10 for enjoyment I would!
1: Seikai no Senki II
English: Banner of the Stars II
Japanese: 星界の戦旗 II
MAL Score: 7.83
Due to a lack of ambassadors for the recently-conquered worlds the rapidly advancing fleet of the Bebaus brothers leave behind, Lafiel is appointed Territorial Ambassador of the planet Lobnas II. Upon arriving to the planet Jinto and Lafiel discover that the planet was used by the United Mankind as a prison planet and now has a million prisoners on the only inhabited island. The prisoners are parted in three blocks. The western where women are housed, the eastern belongs to the men and the central is mixed under the restriction that all prisoners living there are sterilized. The women in the western sector want to emigrate from the planet of fear for the men and when they do the men in the east rebel, overthrowing the guards and capturing Jinto to try to stop the emigration of the women. At the same time an enemy fleet heads toward the system forcing Lafiel to abandon Jinto.
Based off a sci-fi novel, the world of the Seikai trilogy is full of genetic engineering, battleships, and galatic warfare, all in space of course.
However, the reason I watch anime isn’t because of the setting, but purely because I enjoy seeing characters develop and grow. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when an anime neglects characters that are given potential but aren’t developed (What Tokyo Underground did to Ginnosuke is a good example). That’s not the case in Banner of the Stars II, which is why I enjoyed watching every moment of it.
So the story starts off from where the original Banner of the Stars left off. After focusing on Jinto’s and Lafiel’s experience in actual space combat, it begins to focus more on them than on the state of the setting they’re in.
A few spoilers on the story at this point, continue at your own discretion (though I’ll try not to include anything you don’t find in the descriptions or the first 5 minutes of the first episode).
The story starts off with Lafiel and Jinto being appointed as ‘territorial ambassadors’ (basically a representative) for a recently captured planet. Little do they realize that the planet is a prison planet with most of the population being prisoners. So in an attempt to avoid conflicts, they send Jinto down to negotiate, resulting in the decision to evacuate the female prisoners. However, the other prisoners don’t like that idea and an internal ‘war’ breaks out, result in Jinto being taken hostage.
During the first few minutes of the first episode, you see a scene with a weakened Jinto barely whispering what seems like his last will to Lafiel, creating a feeling of suspense, and in some cases, sadness. Though it’s not a bad thing, watching the series doesn’t change that feeling from the first episode, you continue to feel a sad tone all the way to the last episode. However, saying that’s a bad thing would be an outright lie. Sometimes we need a saddening moment to maintain interest in an anime. Sadness leads to suspense and anxiety, both of which are feelings, at the least, I always look forward to in anime.
Banner of the Stars creates a deep connection between the viewer and the characters, but I guess that’s to be expected of an anime that was based off a sci-fi novel (how many sci-fi novels are good enough to be converted into anime form anyway?)
Art… well this is the one part I always feel unsure about, since I don’t feel myself an art critic. What I can say about the art is that, unlike a lot of newer ‘shiny’ anime, it doesn’t completely blow your mind and give you headaches with horribly interwoven CGs, however, the characters are actually rather a nice refresher, especially the fact that they seem to really express the beauty of the Abh race. Then again, as long as the visuals are bearable I don’t really mind what the style of animation is.
Music! When I watch anime, I’m usually too interested on the story to really pay attention to the music, and if I hear music while trying to watch the actual story, I usually find that a nuisance. But there are exceptions, like in the case of this trilogy. I won’t say that this music is so great that I’d go and buy the soundtrack, but I won’t say it’s not good. The music always blends perfectly with the actions of the characters, and ultimately reflects the mood. And then there’s the impact of the ending theme on the first episode, it was like a blow to the heart when I heard it and couldn’t help but grieve for Jinto even though I should have expected that it wouldn’t end that quickly.
The main thing I look for in any anime is character development. If the character is already some sort of super strong invincible guy, then I don’t want to watch that anime. But I loved this series for the sole reason that instead of doing some weird ritual in order to gain immeasurable strength, Jinto only increased his ability through going to a training school. Instead, they decided to develop characters (or show their development) through their actions. Jinto’s growth from that small child is apparent as he views the destruction of an entire world and has a near-death experience.
Character development is something that makes anime worth watching in my opinion, the fact that it’s anime means that it can be done in a manner of ways, which is why I watch it~
Uh, scroll up.
This is where Banner of the Stars II starts off, with Lafiel being appointed Territorial Ambassador of the planet Lobnas II with Jinto as the deputy ambassador. Unfortunately for them, the planet happens to be a prison planet with 4 distinct factions.
Faction 1 : Prison guards
Faction 2 : West side – women prisoners, fertile
Faction 3 : East side – really bad men
Faction 4 : Central compound, men and sterilized women.
Lafiel and Jinto give territorial governorship to the prison guard’s administrator, and Jinto stays behind to oversee the details of the prisoner’s immigration, when all hell breaks loose and Lafiel is forced to leave him behind. Will he survive?!?
Banner II is a very good plot driven story. The characters are all well done and act as you would expect them to. The animation is fluid but not of the best quality and there is a lot of reuse of scenes. However, the ending song is one of the best ever. At it’s heart, Banner is still a love story featuring star/race-crossed lovers Jinto and Lafiel. Overall I really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to more.
1. This one totally explores the relationship of Jinto and Lafiel. And what I mean by explore, I mean it literally focus on just how much Jinto and Lafiel love each other, and how they would react if anything ever happens to them, Mainly Jinto. I thought Crest of The Stars was a good series, since it shows how Jinto and Lafiel first met each other. And I thought Banner of The Stars was alright, though it did get kinda boring after a while. But this one totally tops it by exploring more into their relationship and also showing what happens as well as what was going on and etc.
2. You gotta love the ending song. Now the ending song to Banner of the Stars was good (in fact it’s my favorite ending song so far), but this one is even better. The ending song shows more emotion and in the end it will leave you feeling remorsed or sad, but at the same time really falling in love with this series like i did. I think this is a very underrated series, and i thought that this was the best out of all of them.
Overall, I say this is a really good series that will have you crying at the end, and also saying “About Time”. I thought that this was way better than Banner of The Stars and it’s prequel Crest of the Stars, but you might think otherwise. Either way, I recommend this series to anyone, regardless of age. A great series worth watching even if your not fond of space operas.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Seikai no Senki II
2. Fruits Basket
4. Shin Chou Kyou Ryo: Condor Hero
5. Groove Adventure Rave
6. Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Prétear
8. I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
9. Dr. Rin ni Kiitemite!
10. Hanaukyou Maid-tai