They’re the best Anime that 2004 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Mai-HiME, Aishiteruze Baby★★, Elfen Lied, and more!
MAL Score: 7.44
Thirteen girls, each with the ability to materialize “Elements” and summon metallic guardians called “Childs” have been brought to Fuuka Academy to battle mysterious creatures called Orphans. Each with a different personality and background, they must decide who they truly care about and why they fight.
I watched Mai HiME long before joining MAL so I didn’t know what to say when I first saw the overall rating to be so low. Thus I decided to re-watch the show this past week to refresh my memory and to prepare for this review. If there is one thing my opinion changed about this anime since my first time watching it a few years back, it is the quality of the animation which we will get to in a moment. One short recommendation before we begin the review, get lots of tissue paper when you watch the latter half of the anime, you’ll need it.
Extremely outstanding. Although the first half was somewhat slow to begin with, but the second half just throw you out the window. But without the character introductions and developments in the first half, the viewers reaction will not be as strong in the latter half. In essence, the entire show (episode per episode) was planned so that it can bring out all the emotional effects as it approach the end. That is not to say the anime is boring until the end though. In fact, most of the humorous moments reside in the earlier episodes mixing with some light fan service.
The animation quality is one of the very few things this series could have worked on. As a product made in 2004, the animation level is definitely not the best that Sunrise could have produced.
Absolutely stunning. Mai HiME is one of those rare anime series where the OP and ED are overwhelmed by occasional theme music in between episodes. The soundtracks are so well coordinated that one can truly say the music can play with your emotion.
Due to the large number of casts in the series (there are 13 HiMEs alone, not to mention their “precious” other half), it can get messy the first time watching it. However, once you get past the confusion of knowing the characters, you’ll see how well each of the characters are made. The strong links between each of the HiME, whether it is friendship, hate, or romance, all proved to be an important part of the story.
Enjoyment + Overall:
A must watch. I can’t stress it enough. MUST WATCH! I don’t care if you are a guy, a girl, a homo, an animal, or whatever you may be, I strongly recommend it (don’t forget the tissue for the 2nd half). I hope you get my point on how much I’ve enjoyed this show. As for Mai-HiME’s successor, Mai-Otome, I would recommend it just as much as Mai-HiME. Another definite must see!
At first, it seemed to me that I was getting dragged into another magical-girl-super-happy-fun-time-shoujo-drama bit. But after about episode 3, I realized that there was something…else, a mechanic that seemed to me as cryptically subliminal. I thought, “angst, perhaps?” I indeed did see a touch of dark story that plagued many backgrounds of the main characters in the show. That is what had peeked my interest in the beginning: to continue examining just what made these HiME girls tick.
The company did a very good job of expressing different personalities in all of the characters. Each persona had their own individualism without becoming redundant or too obnoxious. Each girls’ CHILD specifically expressed the more deep, introspective psyche to each of the characters’ personalities (Natsuki’s cool, level-headed demeanor expressed by the ice wolf Duran; Nao’s manipulative, sexual charm demonstrated by the slick and dangerously beautiful Juliet; Mai’s tragic, yet passionate willpower and strength shown by the power of Kagutsuchi, etc…)
When the characters collide in conflict, there is no awkward dialogue (save for some traditional mou and fanservice-y scenes), and it made me feel as though I had some deep, underlying connection to these characters, caring about their own feelings as if we were good buddies. The story that drives the entire plot, basically: “You will destroy all the lives of those around you so only you may prosper, and you will watch the loved ones of those you have defeated die.” Once I took in all of the both large and minuscule details of the plot, I had sunk down so deep into the depths of this anime that I had become enthralled by it.
The dramatic music promotes a heartbroken beauty when watching the incredible art of this show come to life. The use of shadows, flamboyancy of bright and deep color, and the intensity of shading and lining makes this series not so sore on the eyes. Although, like most shows, there are the common examples of “forgetting” to draw in the facial expression or what have you in characters “behind the main scenes”.
I hope that others can come to appreciate this marvel of a series that I have come to love. Either that, or I’m just crazy. Nevertheless, I hope other anime lovers out there will come to see this show the way I see it: Beautiful, dramatic, and addicting.
Characters include the 13 HiME’s, each with a distinct personality and Child – a sort of mecha guardian. Each HiME also has one special person, very important in her life. That makes a main cast of 39 (or 26 if you don’t include Childs). From here, there’s several more main characters related to the plot as well as quite a few sub-characters. Sounds confusing, right? Sunrise does an amazing job of maintaining this large cast – main character names will always remain with you (or at the very least, their faces will be memorable) while the few interesting and comedic sub-characters also prove to be very memorable as well *cough*Chie&Aoi*cough* Main characters have backdrops to their personalities, reflecting their actions and continue to develop through the story.
Animation and Sound are top notch as expected from Sunrise and Kajiura Yuki. The soundtrack’s most prominent pieces feature language-less vocals mixed with various background music (pseudo techno, strings) which will easily stir the emotion tied to the scene. I truly, have never heard any other anime’s soundtrack that can even match the raw power of HiME’s. Although the art style is simplistic for characters, you can really tell the difference between Mai HiME and a lower budget anime. Specifically, the battle scenes prove to out match Gundam war zones.
The most important part – the story. Mai HiME features two very different arcs, the first lasting about 16 episodes and setting the stage for the second. The first is a simple “defeat the bad guys while dealing with school, love and drama,” however, the second changes the story completely. When I saw the change, I nearly choked on my drink. I won’t spoil it, but it’s quite the heart breaker. Both however expand on characters and situations to give a very powerful feeling to watch more – While Mai HiME was still coming out week by week, I literally watched each episode 3-5 times ^^;;
Another great part of the story is how each episode inter-connects with another. Something small may happen in say, episode 5 but in episode 8, that something small creates a greater impact that you’d imagine at first. >.> Sorry about the poor explanation XD. To be able to make the viewer put all the pieces together shows an incredibly high level of planning.
Mai-HiME is amazing at what it does. Drama, action, comedy, romance – if you’re looking for any of these, watching Mai-HiME will not disappoint. Don’t be fooled by the overly comedic appearance though – by episode 8, 15 and 16, you’ll be dying to watch more as you sit through some of the heart wrenching situations the people you’ve seen up till now have to live through.
9: Aishiteruze Baby★★
Japanese: 愛してるぜ ベイベ★★
MAL Score: 7.46
Katakura Kippei is in every way a high school playboy. Spending his days flirting with any female he can see, responsibility is the last thing on his mind. Life takes an unexpected turn for him as one day he returns home to find himself with the fulltime task of caring for his 5-year-old cousin. Kippei’s aunt Miyako had disappeared, appearing to have abandoned his cousin, Yuzuyu. With Kippei’s lack of responsibility and knowledge of childcare and Yuzuyu’s injured heart with the disappearance of her mother, their time together is in for a bumpy ride.
I’ll first do recommendation for those who are too busy to read all of a review. I recommend this anime for everyone who wants to watch something touching. Not really a romance, its more of a slice of life anime that should be able to find itself on everybody’s list. Its an anime without grand events or drastic plot turns, its just goodness that keeps on going.
The story starts right away and right away and right away you get caught by the cuteness of the plot(and the cuteness of yuzuyu chan). Like many other anime’s, every episode of this anime will feature a story that will throw the main character, Kippie, into a situation where he will have to expand himself. These situations are things that could/would occur in real life and really reaches out to the watcher. What makes the story line great, however, is that unlike many "good story line" anime’s, each episode illustrates masterfully the development of the characters and their relationships. Nothing is gone to waste in the story and you never get the feeling that some episodes are stand alone. The episode don’t feel like they are just reusing the formula for previous episodes. Personally, I really got drawn into the story line and just couldn’t stop watching and seeing how things would unravel, how the characters will develope and eventually how the story would end.
I would say that the animation is not the strong suit of this anime, but by no means is it shabby. There is very little "action" in terms of fight scenes(0), magical transformations(0), special character abilities(0) etc so I guess you could say that the animation is a little flimsy on special effects. Everything is drawn very clean in this anime. The characters have a lot of visual appeal, with the style being similar to "Bokura ga ita" if you have seen that anime. In the end, the animation will never make you say "wow" but thats just right because the focus is on the story line and character development.
Like the animation, the in anime sound track is very simple. I hardly noticed it while watching it. Music is used very liberally but enhances certain scenes. The voice actresses/actors? for Yuzuyu and Kokoro were perfect in my opinion and made the anime that much better. The main reason I gave sound a 9 is because of the opening intro song. Titled "Sunny Side Up" it is one of the best opening songs I have heard. I never, ever, fast fowarded past it and listening to it gave me feelings akin to the opening song of Fruits Baskets.
Another strong suit of Aishiteruze Baby, the three main characters involved are all characters that you can root for and most importantly beleivable. There are many anime’s that try to oversell certain characteristics of characters just to make them "defining", sometimes almost to the point of overkill but there is nothing like that in Aishiteruze. The characters were just great! I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody but I just wanted to add that Kokoro is, I think, the only main female character that I haven’t found annoying in some aspect. Her character plays her personality very well and everything is fitting. Definently not some simple female character with some haunted past or one dimensional issue that in a big turn of events get solved and falls head over heels for the main male character.
I really, really enjoyed this anime. Its a type of anime that you can just watch at anytime and in any mood. It should cheer you up! Its a pity that more people haven’t watched this anime so hopefully this review can change that.
Not much else to say, go watch it!
The innocence of a child and how they perceive the daily events creates an amazing charisma towards this relation, dramatic scenes further enhances the feelings creating an intricate empathy towards the situation and drawing the viewer into it. Further along theres a touch of romance that fits perfectly as a symbiotic situation to the main plot. The main female characters (yuzuyu and Kokoro) are just overflowing with cuteness, their sad hearts makes you want to comfort them understanding perfectly how kippey matures for the sake of them.
Technically the characters have a particular drawing style in which the drawings and animation are watchable but not on par with the latest animes. I enjoyed personally some still shots on key moments that portrays how a sweet memory is engraved into the mind in my opinion. The sound is rarely noticeable but the opening theme shines and will stick in your mind every episode soothing the mood. The voice acting is quite good, the kids were very well acted and I don’t have any complaints on the rest.
A beautiful story everyone should see. Heartwarming, and sad for moments, feels good to watch even by the second or third time and guaranteed to move your heart.
If anyone reading this were to do that you would be making a huge mistake. All this anime needs is the smile of a heartbroken child to wholly capture you and take you on an amazing journey. I don’t care how bloody or epic you like your average anime to be, if you are honest to yourself, and at least partially human, you will be touched by Aishiteruze Baby. Give it a chance.
Story – 10
From the first episode it is clear exactly how the story is meant to play out, and true to your hopes, it does. A sweet and touching story that grabs a hold of your heartstrings from the first time you see Yuzuyu, and doesn’t let them go until long after you’ve finished the anime. It deals in some pretty mature themes, with stalkers, abusers, and the emotional traumas faced by an innocent and charming child abandoned by her mother. Don’t expect anything to get your adrenaline pumping from sheer awesomeness. It isn’t that kind of story. It’s strength is subtle.
Art – 8
Unsurprisingly, the art isn’t the strong point of Aishiteruze Baby. The style of character art is great, Kokoro being one of the most attractive females I’ve ever seen in an anime. The fact that a lot of the characters look markedly similar, maybe even to the point of confusion, brings its grade down.
Sound – 8
The OP is beautiful, and character voices are great. Little if any sound effects but this isn’t really an anime that needs them. Yuzuyu’s voice in particular is often extremely cute and not in an annoying fashion, but there are some rare instances where it sounds false.
Character – 10
Aishiteruze Baby’s strongest point are the characters in it. You will believe that each character is based off of someone in real life, there isn’t one cookie cutter character in the entire lot. Yuzuyu is the cutest toddler ever, Kippei is the kind of guy that most men would want to be like. Kokoro is in a league of her own. I have seen well over a hundred animes by now and Kokoro is the only character i’ve fallen in love with. Of course this particular opinion is definately preference based. Some guys might find the silent, outwardly strong, but inwardly wanting protection characteristics of Kokoro to be unattractive. There are some weird people out there…
Enjoyment – 10
Well the happy glow that comes with a good story and great characters is definately here. Smile, wipe away the few soft tears that sneak out, and imagine for a little while the way the rest of the story could have played out. Ah yes that was good.
Overall – 10
8: Elfen Lied
English: Elfen Lied
MAL Score: 7.53
Lucy is a special breed of human referred to as “Diclonius,” born with a short pair of horns and invisible telekinetic hands that lands her as a victim of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government. However, once circumstances present her an opportunity to escape, Lucy, corrupted by the confinement and torture, unleashes a torrent of bloodshed as she escapes her captors.
During her breakout, she receives a crippling head injury that leaves her with a split personality: someone with the mentality of a harmless child possessing limited speech capacity. In this state of instability, she stumbles upon two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take an injured fugitive into their care, unaware of her murderous tendencies. This act of kindness will change their lives, as they soon find themselves dragged into the shadowy world of government secrecy and conspiracy.
Elfen Lied: Infamous for its bloody mess of gore, cruelty and nudity. A combination that could make many a person turn away. Yet, a huge number of people watch this, knowing (to some extent) what they’re going into, and it’s one of the more popular and well-rated series here on MAL. Some people call it a ‘masterpiece’, people some call it ‘perverted’, some people don’t know what to say, and some call it ‘horrible’. The first is true, the second is an exaggeration, the third is understandable, and the fourth is so wrong.
The first episode starts off with what is the bloodiest and nuditiest 10 minutes of any show I’ve ever watched, and I’ll tell you this: If you live through that, you’ll live through the series. And vice versa. Lucy, a naked girl of the Diclonius race, a species of mutant humans with invisible ‘arms’ called Vectors, is escaping from a facility (more like assaulting her way out), killing countless guards and whatnot on her way out (all in the nude). When she’s finally outside, she’s sniped, but she doesn’t die. Instead, two teenage cousins (the two other main characters), Kouta and Yuka, discovers her on a beach. She has lost her memories, and is only capable of saying “Nyu”, which is what Kouta and Yuka names her. They also decide to take her home, and
The story suddenly drops severely in its gore level there, and slowly builds up again throughout the remaining twelve episodes. Along with the gore come cruel events upon cruel events, as more Diclonii and their sad pasts are revealed. Nyuu ‘awakens’ as Lucy more frequently as the story progresses, in the end completely reverting to her old self. However, there might be an obstacle preventing her from going completely psychotic…
The characters are all okay, though they do act really stupid at times (if you find a girl with horns lying drenched in blood on the beach, you don’t just take her home and decide to keep here there, do you?). They’ve all got some back stories, which contents are mostly those of cruelty, blood and relationships. Especially note the latter; relationships. It’s an important aspect of the series, as they are the main factor as to why the Diclonius are so “cruel” as they are. “Cruel” because they aren’t the real cruel ones; that dubious honor goes to the humans. Treating the Diclonius as mere research subjects, being shunned by the very people who should take care of them, and being killed off for stupid reasons. Among the main characters, their love (there is a love triangle between Kouta, Yuka and Nyu/Lucy), broken promises, lies and “lies” have all had their effect on how they are in the present, and what happened some years ago is connected to their development in the present day.
The series is only 13 episodes long, and in that short time quite a lot happens, which may make it seem rushed at times; it does move forward at a too high pace. The end result however, is actually extremely good, and a really tragic, enjoyable and gory experience.
The artwork is extremely good, yet very average. While backgrounds and scenic details are very meticulous and a real pleasure to the eyes, the character designs are way below what you’d expect after seeing the backgrounds. There is too little detail on them, the coloring is too bland, and they don’t fit in with the detailed surroundings in any way. The camerawork is very good at times though; at the rare occasion it reminded me more of the camerawork used in anime movies rather than anime series. The artwork during the opening theme is pretty interesting too; I think it’s based an Austrian painter (Gustav Klimt)’s works.
The soundtrack is decent, with a marvelous Latin opening theme named Lilium that fits right into the series’ overall tone, and an ending theme that, while a bit more cheerful, fits in with the love triangle between the main characters. The background music during the series is very repetitive at first; just a bunch of instrumental variations of Lilium. It gets better a few episodes into the series though, but overall I feel they used the variations of Lilium too much.
All in all Elfen Lied is a anime that does a very audacious thing by having so much cruelty, gore and nudity in one series, but the end result is a masterpiece anime that wouldn’t have been good without. Just remember that it doesn’t have the R+ rating for no reason – events ranging from a man watching his naked daughter to a dog being bludgeoned to death with a vase and live dismemberment takes place.
To ‘Not ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
The harem genre has never been an interesting or innovative genre in terms of plot and character since the beginning of time. Most harem shows consist of a bland protagonist surrounded by fetish fulfilling bimbos, who are head over heels for the bland protagonist for the most stupid reasons. Pandering, useless fan service, and sometimes being an insult to one’s intellect; most harem shows lose all entertainment value to a mature audience. The mass production of such shows led to the belief that “anime” is only meant for kids and adolescent teens and have nothing of value to offer for someone more mature. However, this notion surprisingly changed after the release of the infamous, Elfen Lied an original story written by Okamoto Lynn which got a one cour anime adaptation, produced by studio ARMS who are also famous for producing other works like Ikkitousen, a ton of hentai titles and Genshiken.
At first glance, Elfen Lied is anything but a harem. The show starts with 10 minutes of outright nudity and gore which leaves the viewer in a state of utter shock and terror. These 10 minutes were enough to drive away the weak-hearted. However, after these ten minutes, the story is just a hackneyed amalgamation of cliche, plot devices, plot conveniences, plot holes, and last but not the least some “smart” and fetish pandering wrapped up into a harem. Plot conveniences and cliche are in abundance, for example, Lucy, loses her memory (amnesia cliche) when shot with a bullet in the head with a magnum sniper and floats down to a beach. One would expect the military to be present there, anticipating her arrival on several shores as she is indeed a top secret project and above that a threat to the human race, but she conveniently meets up with her one and only friend she ever had, Kouta. The author tries to handle pandering with different tricks such as using “horns” for cat ears(Kemenomimi). The whole amnesia cliche is further used as a plot device and conveniently too which involves Lucy, regaining her memories and her other personality whenever the plot asks for it and reverting back to her childlike personality whenever the plot asks for it. As the story progresses the writer cleverly turns what could have been a genuinely mature story about racism and discrimination into a cunning little harem. Every female character introduced is forced upon with some miserable past. It almost seems like the writer is a misogynistic sadist who creates female characters just to torture them. One would expect the writer to use these angst-filled backstories to weave up an emotional tale but fails at doing so as how forced these backstories come off and the overall lack of any development of the character doesn’t help either. The story also tries to be dark but only fails as it’s an edgy mess due to the abundant amount of unnecessary fan service and the whole over the top nature of the show.
Many claim this certain title, Elfen Lied, to be “deep”, though I fail to understand why. It touches upon the concepts of racism and discrimination in the most superficial way possible. Lucy and other diclonius were born to kill humans, just like the wolf is born to prey on the sheep. It’s in their genes, it’s a natural instinct. Now if a man were to cage a wolf and let his sheep roam free, it wouldn’t be discrimination, but an act of defense. The same logic is for elfen lied, where most diclonius are caged up and kept in miserable states so that they don’t end up wiping out the human race. This is not racisms, neither is this discrimination, it’s just simple self defense. This is not depth, this is just ridiculous and superficial handling of a theme that could have been done well.
The plot progression in Elfen Lied can be only described as utterly stupid. As mentioned before, a “TOP SECRET PROJECT” washes through the sea only to land upon some beach where there are no military personnel to take care of such an important event. Then the couple who encounter Lucy, a naked girl with random horns, takes her home, because yeah, when you meet naked a creature with horns, you take her home and give her a nickname as if it were a stray dog, instead of going to the police to report the event. The military sends the worst soldier to find Lucy. Seriously, what kind of a soldier goes ahead and beats up his own comrade when going up against a man killing diclonius. Then the secret military group sends another diclonius to capture Lucy. It is to be noted that Lucy is the queen of diclonius species, and as a queen, she has the ability to order other diclonius to do her bidding. What kind of a “secret” organization sends an inferior being of the same species to take out its queen, specially when the queen has the ability to order the other around at her bidding through telekinesis? After this attempt fails they send in another diclonius because, yes, when “plan A” fails, you repeat “plan A” again. This organization must be run by a bunch of retards. And when one thinks of it, it’s even more stupid as the second diclonius has been known for its sheer hate for humanity to the point of killing any human at sight. What kind of a secret organization sends in such a creature to an inhabited area with the ulterior motive of “saving humans”? Is this some sort of joke? Kouta later finds out that it was Lucy who had killed his entire family and ends up forgiving her in the blink of an eye. Completely logical.
The show is comprised of two clear phases. One phase where Lucy regains her memory where the anime becomes edgy and over the top. The other phase is when Lucy is in her amnesia mode where the anime becomes a Harem/SOL. The writers tried hard to make her cute but she is nothing more than pathetic. Roaming around naked for fanservice to the point where she needs help to even change her panties.The changes between these two phases depend absolutely on the convenience of the plot and we yet don’t know when she decides to be a pokemon and when a mindless yandere.
The characters are the blandest bunch of characters to be ever written and this might not even be an exaggeration. One would expect to have sympathetic feelings towards Lucy due to her tragic past, but everything is so “plot convenient” that the tragedies seem fake and lose any impact if possible and come out extremely forced. Other than Lucy, every character is just a bland stereotype. Kouta is your generic harem lead and Yuka is the “imouto in love with her brother” archetype. Oh! you thought the bullshit ended with random gore and nudity ? You’re wrong, the writers also decide to introduce an incest romance subplot that goes nowhere and just add to the convoluted mess. Other than Lucy and Yuka every other female in the show is a stupid loli as if the “clever fan service” wasn’t enough already. There’s no development to any of the characters. To sum it up all, the characters are just a bunch of retards and lolis who lack development and any core personality.
The opening sequence is probably the best part of the whole show. With the beautiful soundtrack “Lilium” there are some artistic scenes which have no damn relation to the convoluted mess of a plot. The ost is nothing special either and a bunch of them are reused and rehashed constantly but yet fail to be anything memorable. The art and animation is rather average and have nothing special about it. The show lacks aesthetics and any sort of artistic detail. The only details that are probably put in, is during the gore scenes where the disturbing images of the bones of the characters can be seen. The character designs are repetitive to the point where three characters have the same hair color. At least give them some more distinguishable features ffs?
Despite trying to be deep, Elfen Lied fails horribly by only touching on its themes very superficially hence lacking any message at the end of the day. It transforms itself into a generic harem with its seemingly “clever” tricks to fool the audience that it’s something mature, but at the end of the day, it’s just another mindless harem. Also, a useless incest romance subplot that goes nowhere (why is this such a big thing in Japan?) The characters lack personality or development and the art and music is nothing particularly special either. It tries to make up for its flaws with the help of conveniences, cliches, mindless gore and nudity which only worsen the show and makes it “edgy” as all hell. This show might appeal to a gore fan, an imouto incest fanatic, a lolicon, a misogynist or a mindless harem lover. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.
Story: 10 – Elfen Lied boasts one of the most intense and intriguing plot lines that I have ever experienced in anime. It must be known that the central themes to Elfen Lied are hate, anger, and inhumanity. Every darkness of the human soul is represented in this 13 episode series.
Animation: 8 – Not much to say here. The animation is very good, but nothing really stands out. I do really like the opening that shows a style adapted from the famous Austrian painter Gustav Klimt
Sound: 10 – The music really sets the tone for the series. I love the opening song “Lilium” by Kumiko Noma.
Character: 9 – Elfen Lied has the best in depth characters i’ve seen since Neon Genesis Evangelion. The characters are real, with both light and darkness in their souls. Unlike most anime, the distinction between good and evil is not so clear. Can Lucy/Nyu be considered a good character when she has the capacity to harm so many?
Enjoyment: 10 – This rating is the most subjective of all. I enjoyed the series, especially because I enjoy both dark and lighter anime series.
Overall: 10 – You just can’t find many anime series that took the risk that Elfen Lied did. Sure you can watch Tenchi, Love Hina, or even Ranma 1/2 and get the same decently good anime over and over again. Elfen Lied, is something that just doesn’t come around that often.
7: Fantastic Children
English: Fantastic Children
MAL Score: 7.53
A group of enigmatic white-haired children has been spotted at different times and places in Europe for over 500 years. Always with the appearance of 11-year-olds, they behave far more mature than they should be, never grow old, and seem to have supernatural power. What they have been seeking is a girl, and the only clue they have is a picture with a crescent moon. Now, in the year of 2012, an athletic boy named Tohma is about to be involved in this centuries-long mystery.
The beginning of the story is part mystery and part adventure, focusing on a group of half a dozen white haired kids making an appearance through out centuries seemingly without aging and the other time focusing on a kid called Thoma who meets some anti-social girl called Helga and a energetic boy called Chitto. I admit the story was a bit underwhelming at first but once the story unfolds in later episode, you’ll be hooked straight away, it turns into something quite epic and unique, there’s so many twist and turns and you’d just watch episode after episode and without even noticing it’s already over.
The art style can be a bit of a turn off for some people, they might even think this is a kids show but fear not this is quite mature even if the first few episodes are light-hearted they’re nothing compared to what happens next.
Anyway, as you get used to the art, it becomes more apparent that it’s done quite well, lots of attractive looking backgrounds and pretty solid animations.
The background music can really manipulate the emotions of certain scenes, they really help make pivotal moments in the story have more impact. The OP fit the series perfectly too bad I had to skip on occasion since I just really wanted to get on with the story, While the ED is sang by ORIGA the same singer who lent her voice for the majority of the GITS soundtrack.
How they made the connections with each character was great, most of the characters had a certain connection to the main plot, the importance of characters become unpredictable that you’d be shocked when the story finally reveals what their purpose are. Honestly every character was interesting and it was nice to see that they all had a part to play they weren’t just some random people thrown in together to make episodes last longer.
A lot of people would probably just ignore it after looking at the front picture alone, which is too bad because it’s a pretty damn good show with a unique and interesting plot along with a great cast and a solid OST, you might not like it as much as I did but I guarantee it’s definitely worth watching, it’s only real flaw is how lame the name is.
At first glance, this looks like some weird story about kids, targeted at kids. But don’t be fooled by the simple character design or the title. This series is actually quite intense, with a memorable and complex plot and good storytelling that will draw older viewers waiting with bated breath for what happens next. It is definitely not a series just for children.
The story revolves around a group of mysterious children who appear every once in a while throughout Europe. Who are they, where are they from, and why do they keep on reappearing? These are some of the questions that are being answered bit by bit throughout the series. At the same time, the story also follows another group of children who have run away from the local orphanage, and are searching for a place they want to go. At first, it seems that these two main plots have nothing to do with each other, but at the middle of the series, the two plots converge, and the viewer discovers that they are closely connected after all.
There are also a couple of sidestories with a few adults involving something almost supernatural. Although these sidestories seem off-track, they are related to the main plot in one way or another, and are tied together in the last few episodes.
The plot is fairly complex and quite involved, but not to a point where it’s confusing. The story is told in a way that it’s pretty understandable if you pay attention to it. The story is full of surprises, twists, and secrets that will keep the viewer guessing and wondering what happens next.
The tone of the series is mostly serious. But there is room for some bits of humour and lighthearted fun. There are also a few philosophical questions subtlely being looked at, such as what makes us who we are as humans, is it our souls or our current selves? In terms of love, there are many types being explored: romantic, family, friendships, unrequited, and broken.
Even though it doesn’t look like it at first, each character is connected to one another in one way or another, and that connection is revealed piece by piece throughout the series.
The Children of Belfort: This is the name given to seven mysterious white-haired, blue-eyed children who have appeared for 21 times in the last couple of centuries. They’d gather and run away from their homes when they turn 5, and never live past the age of 11. They search desperately for something before their time is up. The way they talk and act make them more like adults than children. At first, they seem cold and distant, and even perhaps malevonant. But as their stories and pasts are revealed, the viewer comes to feel compassion for them, and their mission. Each person has their own stories and own unique personalities that will touch the viewers’ hearts.
Dumas: The mysterious white-haired boy who appears a few times at the beginning of the series. Appearance-wise, he seems to be one of the Children of Belfort, but he doesn’t seem to be working with them. Who he is and his background story will be revealed later in the series.
Helga: She is an orphan who is kind, but seems to be always lonely. She keeps on drawing pictures of a mysterious place that she wants to go, and she would run away from the orphanage to search for the place in her memory. Her friend Chitto is determined to help her get there. At first she seems meek and timid and always in a daze, but as the series progresses, her inner strength is slowly unveiled.
Thoma: He grew up around the Islands, and knows them well. He meets Chitto and Helga by chance, and is drawn to help Helga get to the place she wants to go. He is a determined young boy who is open and shows emotions easily. Little does he know, he’s more closely connected to the Children of Belfort and Helga than he realises.
Dr. Gherta: She is the director and doctor of the mysterious and suspicious organization Ged Group. A brilliant scientist, she’s somewhat single-minded and almost obsessive with her project, which, for most of the series, is unclear and even almost malicious. But the viewer gradually sympathizes with her plight, especially towards the end when she has a few secrets of her own to unravel.
Detective Cooks: A detective who has been investigating the disappearance of these children, he got interested in them because his grandfather was involved with the children during his lifetime, and Cooks became curious of his grandfather’s findings. As more of a spectator, his sidestory gives the viewer some background information and history to the Children of Belfort.
All of the characters are pretty human, and although they main characters are only children, the circumstances that they’re involved in and how they react make them seem older, and thus even an older audience can relate to them. By the end of the series, the viewer is able to sympathize with all of the characters, even if at first they may seem unlikable or malicious.
The character design and art style is certainly unique, though not the prettiest; in fact, the designs could be said to be boring and quite simple. The children are designed more or less short and a bit stubby, and not a lot of details is given in the eye or hair area. The clothing design is also a bit boring, though it has a country-style flavour to it. However, the expressions for the characters are mostly well-done.
The background art is very beautiful, with lots of lush forests and unexplored islands. The setting has a sort of semi-tropical or Central/South American feel to it (the ruins of temples and statues remind me of the Aztec or Mayan ruins, but also has a sort of exotic island feel), or maybe with a dash of exotic Asian feeling too (with some of the statues looking a bit like Buddhist statues, and the colourful and busy marketplace of Middle East). The cities though, take on a more 19th century European flavour (even though the story is set in 2012), with cobble-stone streets and stocky buildings.
In general, the art is just different, and may take some getting used to. Instead of following the latest trend of shiny backgrounds, brightly coloured and detailed character designs, this series is going against the grain by looking back to the style of the older animes. The general colour palette of the series is kind of dark, with mostly grays and greens and blues, with a lot of scenes taking place during storms or at night; it’s not neccessarily drab, but it’s certainly not brightly coloured. There are a few exceptions with the scenes taking place in the forest on the islands, where the colours are contrasted sharply with the darker scences, using lots of bright greens and yellows. But I think this lack of shiny backgrounds and special effects, and simple character design does add to the sadness and longing feeling of the story. And rather focusing on the character designs (and fanservice), the simple art makes the viewer able to pay more attention to the story and character development.
The voices for this series is okay. It doesn’t really stand out anywhere, but it is mostly ear-pleasing and suitable for the characters. And most of the actors do a good enough job bringing out the emotions, especially towards the end, the viewers can almost feel the characters sorrow or joy.
The music is one of the strengths of this series. The opening song "Voyage" by Inori, is dramatic and uplifting, but also gentle and calming, a perfect opening for the series. It is also used as an insert song for one of the episodes, but with a slightly different arrangement, it’s slower, with piano and cello in the background, and adds a sense of sadness to the scene. The ending song, "Mizu no Madoromi" by ORIGA (who sang both of GiTS openings) is sad and nostalgic, as if longing for something, and very fitting to the theme of the series. I would definately recommend getting the opening and ending singles (it’s one of the best I’ve heard).
The background music uses a combination of piano, cello, and a bit of flute. The theme for the Belfort Children is very memorable (with piano and cello), and a bit sad, like the fate of these children. The only downside is that this theme is a bit overused, being played in almost every episode. Helga’s theme (which is mostly flute and cello) is also gentle and pretty, and suits her character well. The background music is mostly soft and sad, with a few upbeat songs for the tenser scenes. It uses raw traditional instrumental sounds rather then edited sound effects, which works well. And I’d recommend getting the OST "Memory of Greecia" as well.
The first half of the series takes place in the current world at the current time, mostly following the adventures of Helga, Thoma, and Chitto, as well as that of the Children of Belfort and the people around them. Then the next couple of episodes focus on the background story and history of the series. Then that last ten or so episodes brings the characters and sidestories from the beginning of the series and tie everything together.
The pace may seem a bit slow for those who are used to action right away and in every episode. Many of the episodes are used to tell the story and advance the plot, or explain the history and background rather than pure action. And because of the complex plot and how everything is weaved together, some parts of the plot may take some time to develop. But I found it interesting enough that it’s not a boring explaination, and it does help to understand the plot much better. And worry not, there are plenty of action interspersed throughout. Personally, I find the pace okay, it’s just that there’s so much to take in and explain that it takes time. I find the plot to be interesting, and not too confusing to understand, and it did leave me wanting to know more after every episode. And in the end, all of the questions that I wanted to ask have been answered, so I find the ending to be satisfying.
Overall, it is an enjoyable series, and I’d recommend it. In fact, I think this series needs more love and attention.
What do I think? I think it could have used a bigger animation budget and could have been cut down from 26 to 22 or even 20 episodes.
Animation is kind of low budget. Fantastic Children looks and feels like it was made in the ’80s. The color palette should have at least been more vibrant. I mean, sure, you have only so much money for your budget. But if you look at, say, Noir, or Requiem from the Darkness, they managed to have some interesting animation without spending a ton of money on it. What if everything looked like the paintings in the ED? OK, maybe that’s impractical, but it’s still possible to look interesting on a budget.
There is way too much time spent on shots of people just standing around, or extended close-ups of people looking surprised. There are a few things where a situation is first explained, then shown. It would have been better if it had just been shown. And, in general, the pacing is just a bit too slow for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Mushishi or Kino’s, but that’s not the style of this series. You can almost but not quite just skip a couple of the early episodes. Just don’t watch eps 1-10 when you feel like watching something where lots of stuff is happening.
There are a few pretty silly things. The guys with hats, for example. It’s also a bit disappointing how not all of the characters that a lot of time is spent with get to actually do much.
Voice acting is good. (The characters get intense towards the end, which is tough to do.) Some of the music, like in the last parts of ep 18, is alright too. (Yes I like the ep 18 Russian version of the ED better. So sue me.) The ED is mizu no madoromi, sung by Origa, by the way. But why oh why did they have to have some of the characters try to sing?
So is it worth watching? Does the ending deliver? Overall I’d give it a 7, which means worth watching but not worth buying, and I’d say it’s better than or but worse than or . The drama and action pick up continuously towards the end, so the second half is better than the first. If you haven’t seen, say, Gankutsuou, I’d suggest watching that before this, but Fantastic Children isn’t *bad* and I don’t regret watching it. The characters aren’t cardboard cutouts, and there’s not anything else like that to make me *dislike* it. There are just better series out there. I guess I’d suggest watching it if you like puzzle series and Final Fantasy. Especially Final Fantasy. I’d say it reminds me most of El Hazard the Magnificent World, minus comedy and with somewhat better characters and somewhat slower paced and a bit less coherent and most importantly minus the awesomeness of cat-based armor technology.
Well, I hope this review can help someone decide whether to watch Fantastic Children, but I somewhat doubt it.
6: Ashita no Nadja
English: Tomorrow’s Nadja
MAL Score: 7.59
This story takes place about one hundred years ago. Nadja is a bright, cheerful girl who was raised in an orphanage near London, England. Nadja was entrusted to the orphanage when she was a baby. So she thought her father and mother were dead. But before her thirteenth birthday, she found out that her mother might be alive..
Nadja sets out on a journey to find her mother! With all of Europe as the stage, Nadja’s exciting adventure begins!
Nadja was one of my early childhood anime back in the early ’00s but I don’t seem to remember how it ended or how the story progresses. What I remember is the main plot itself when it aired on my local television network. It’s been more than a decade since I watch it, so I decided to finally pick it up and make a full series rewatch on it last year. I was happy that I did. Because I am surprised the anime gave me a sort of diamond of the ruff impression about it. A good TV series for what it is from start to finish. This review will discuss further why this show is a hidden gem of its time and what makes Nadja a good show.
(Story/Plot/Writing) (7/10: Good) (Spoiler Free)
Starting off the Review Ashita no Nadja or commonly known as Tomorrow’s Nadja for international audiences, the story follows the Adventure of Nadja Applefield. Traveling around European Continent in search of clues of her mother’s whereabouts while meeting friends and learning different cultures along the way. Nadja plays out like your classic late-century adventure stories where the protagonist needs to travel to new places to progress the story. We have lots of story like that in animes based around western literature that is aired during the 80s and ’90s.
But sadly starting around the 2000s this type of story in the anime medium got a steady decline. In 2003 anime releases Nadja is the only show that uses the formula, thus making it very unique alongside the other series that was airing at the time. 2003 is flooded with a lot of shows with a variety of genres, with different target demographics ranging from adults, teenage and younger audiences. Nadja aims for much more younger viewers but it cannot compete with the more rule of cool focus shows that even younger kids want to watch. It’s quite common that nobody actually remembers or talks about this show even today. This is where my review comes in.
For an Adventure Story, I shall confidently say it’s well written and good. It has a beginning and an ending. Everything feels connected and consistent until the end of the show. Usually, for a children-oriented series, a lot of shows will make a lot of unnecessary filler episodes, especially if the show is around 50+ episodes. But in Nadja, the writers took an effort in connecting each individual episode. It makes each episode important in Nadja’s journey.
The story has a rather slow exposition, pacing and each of the first episodes only give small fractions of information for the main plot. The main story doesn’t kick start until around episode 33. The initial episodes are all about establishing the characters and structured world-building by introducing various regions in Europe. The episodes focus on exploring the people in the region and cleverly describing people’s lives. Nadja is also a very good example of a slice of life series. But for its credit, it gives us enough time to breathe and digests the characters and story overall.
The Setting is set to place between 19th and 20th Century Europe. It’s lovely to see that this anime has a lot of educational content that feels natural for the plot. As Nadja learns new things as she explores new places, the audience learns from it by simply watching this show. Feels like a fun tour of 19th or 20th Century Europe. As if the Audience is also tagging along with Adventure. There is a sense of connection and pay-off. As Nadja travels around each country, new characters and new stories are introduced that complement the setting and the entire story feels layered in a way.
(Characters/ Main Supporting) (8/10: Very Good in My Opinion) (Contain Some Minor Spoiler)
When it comes to characters the show shines the best. Nadja is a dancer of the Dandelion Troupe, a Small Group of Circus Entertainers, which makes a living by moving town to town to provide entertainment for the locals in the area. Each Troupe member has their own unique personality and appealing side story to share. Some are ok while others have some really good back story to boot. Aside from Nadja and Her Troupe Family, there are also some supporting characters that have their own appeal, own story, and ambitions that shape the entire narrative. Some characters, for the most part, reappear in later episodes. Revealing their own character growth and development in the process made the show even more exciting as it continues.
There is some antagonist in the show that moves the story forward but there are some very despicable moments in the show that might ignite audience emotion into the wall. If you wondering how nasty are the so-called villains? I recommend you guys to check it out from start to finish to understand what I am talking about. This show knows how to give a really bad time experience for our main heroine.
Now moving to our main heroine, “Nadja AppleField”, for a classic late-century female protagonist, there isn’t much anything special to say about her. She is good for what she does in her role, serving as a mediator for the character’s conflict, the voice of reasons, and the eyes and ears of the audience in exploring the world surrounding her. The only gripe I have for Nadja as a person is that she sorts of lacks an interesting personality. Sure, she got the looks of the main character, she is very beautiful, but she is very reactive in a lot of situations. There are moments in the show that her kind-hearted nature sometimes results in people taking advantage of her kindness. I consider this annoying. Luckily her flaws are corrected by supporting characters that compromise her weakness and save the day.
But Hey that’s what makes her likable in the first place. An innocent pure-hearted maiden that only wishes the best in a person. To me, I refer more proactive and dynamic heroines that plan ahead and knows when a person is taking advantage of her good intentions.
(Technical Stuff) (Art & Animation 7/10)( Music and Sound Design 7/10)
In the technical aspect of the show, for a 2003 anime, it’s good and well polished. Given that this a 50 episode series where the art style and animation remain consistent. The aesthetic is pleasing though some character designs are rather dull. The only character that stands out, when it comes to design, is Nadja’s design and the clothes she wears.
If you are wondering why it seems like the Key Art Style and Animation have heavy resemblances to some very cutesy style common in 2000’s magical girl series like example: Precure or Doremi look so similar. Then you are not wrong in making that assumption. Seeing in was made by Toei Animation Studio. Toei has a habit of making specialized departments to work on specific aspects of their other shows. In Nadja’s case, they used their magical shoujo division to create Nadja’s Design and other characters.
Music I think it’s good for what it is. But wouldn’t say it’s worth saving in your MP3 song list. The OP and ED are good for what they supposed to function. When it comes to the background music and sound effects it’s Ok. Nothing special but classical music always works on the show set in the late century so it’s a pass.
(Enjoyment/ Bias Personal Opinion)
(7/10 Good and Memorable, But Doesn’t Give a Hard-Hitting Impact for Me as Person)
This is the section I will say both my positive and negative personal comments about the show base on my own flawed reference. There are things that I found amazing in the show that I don’t see much on other shows and at the same time, there are some very boring and jarring moments in the show that I wish the show will continue giving me that magic. The show has some very cheesy cliché and a number of plot conveniences but I know myself that Nadja is a simple show that has its own strength and weaknesses. And to be fair there are more good moments in the show that far out weight the bad ones. And for an anime aim for kids. It far exceeded what I supposed to expect it to be.
Back then when I was a kid, Nadja was like another Saturday Morning Cartoon for me. Now as an adult I see it as one of the good series the 2003 era has to offer. It has far more meaningful moral content that can be applied in real life. I can appreciate the people who made this has some good intentions in mind. Personally, I think it’s a good show that worth recommending to everyone that shares the same interest as me.
(Final Thoughts) (Overall 7.4/10 A show worth recommending to a few)
In summary, the show is all about Nadja Apple Field’s life story but magnificently built upon collective stories of unique individuals from distinct places, cultural traditions, and social standing. You are given a variety of viewpoints to create a moral ground of what is good or bad with an added heartbreaking plot twist I wouldn’t expect on a show for kids.
I like that the anime’s main moral lesson teaching follows the Japanese tradition of teaching children “omoiyari” or showing empathy to others, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In short caring for others. Which by the way, mature adults in the show teach Nadja when she creates a one-sided opinion on a person.
In a simple line of dialogue.
“Not all people are 100 percent good or evil. Everybody has their reason”
This line really hit me hard. Because this idea remains steady throughout the entire show. Most kids teach the younger audiences what a good guy and a bad guy look like but in Nadja. It teaches you to think and understand a person’s situation. It encourages people to not draw out selfish conclusions in defining what a person is. A lesson that is more relevant today because of the advent of social media spreading wildfire of conspiracy about groups and specific individuals.
I might add, I didn’t expect this show to have complicated romances, social class conspiracy theory, and critical commentary about 19th and 20th Century mentality that seemingly controversial if ever talk about or look upon during that era.
I like the charm of the show is a mixed bag of sharing meaningful moral content and unnecessarily wackily looney quirks. Huge respect for this anime-original where the studio is making an effort to write a complete story entertainment for people to enjoy.
I hope when people watch Tomorrow’s Nadja, the Inner “Noblesse Oblige” will surface in their hearts.
“With great wealth comes the responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate than oneself”
“But Noblesse Oblige is not always giving material wealth”
“Everyone can give back in different ways, on any shape or forms that will truly help people to stand up in life”
Thanks for Reading.
The story involves the backdrop of Nadja trying to find her mother. As she travels with a troupe of entertainers she encounters many different personalities, stories, dances and gains clues on who her mother maybe. The story is also comprised of many testing factors for Nadja such as friendships, betrayals, love triangles, greed, noblesse oblige and loss- all of which keep the episodes interesting and entertaining until the very end. The story really develops and gains pace after episode 35 though, before that’s its mostly character building.
The animation is the only technical aspect in my opinion which is a slight let down but after a while I got used to it- maybe that’s how it was intended to be; to be unique from the other animés?
The characters are charming in their own way. Expect some vile female characters though and some dodgy suspicious men. Most of the characters have at least an episode to themselves but of course development is more one the main ones than the supporting characters.
It was an enjoyable series for me. The comedy isn’t hilarious but the romance is nice. I was moved towards the end and I never expected that to happen! It’s a good watch: Ashita no Nadja ~
A very recommended show to everyone, and a must watch for lovers of epic dramas, romances and adventure.
Nadja is a young orphan girl who sets out of her orphanage to seek her family origins around europe of the early 20th century, armed only with her mother’s party gown, journal and heart shaped brooch. She joins a traveling performance group and mutually falls in love with a young nobleman whom she meets along the way.
Nadja’s personal and private journey is about to end up as an affair to fascinate all of europe, royalty and working class alike. But two steps back – as opposed to the later half of the series, it begins in a rather light note which seems to be radiating, easy going, cheerful and impossibly optimistic – all flows out of the titular character’s beliefs and way of view.
Some of those episode might be misleading as the show’s main core is very hard, almost ruthless intense drama. Some viewers might need to hold themselves down while the show sets up its world and premise, but they would be rewarded beyond compare.
The writers, and voice actress Ami Koshimizu, made an excellent work with fleshing out Nadja’s character. I found her fascinating and a character to look up to, she is very strong willed, brave, thoughtful, humble and kind hearted. I was surprised at how deeply her ideals and beliefs are tested and challenged as the series progresses.
While Nadja is the most examined character throughout the show, she is accompanied by an impressively large cast of unique characters from different countries, social classes and economic levels.
There are almost no stock characters or stereotypes, each background character stands by its own right and almost all of them are being treated as seriously as a main character in a every other show. They have strong dilemmas and a distinctive take on life, they easily receive amazing closures, conclusions and catharsis.
Other than the excellent writing, the direction is also very precise. Each frame is carefully crafted and there’s an impressive weight to light, shadows, colors and compositions. Takuya Igarashi (Ouran High School Host Club, Soul Eater) is the one to be thankful for and now everything he touches is automatically in my watchlist.
To sum it up i can not stress enough how amazing this show is and how important it is for it to be more known and popular. If you’re thinking even a little about trying it out then by all means GO FOR IT.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy your journey.
5: Chrno Crusade
English: Chrono Crusade
MAL Score: 7.64
The 1920s was a decade of great change and upheaval, with monstrous demons appearing across America. To combat this menace, the holy organization known as the Order of Magdalene was established. The organization’s New York branch is home to the young and reckless Sister Rosette Christopher, as well as her partner Chrno. Tasked with the extermination of demonic threats, the renowned team is excellent at their job, despite causing extensive collateral damage on their missions.
However, both Rosette and Chrno are driven by their dark pasts. Through exterminating demons, Rosette hopes to find her lost brother Joshua who was taken by the sinner and demon, Aion, with whom Chrno also shares a bloody history. The two of them must fight off the increasingly dangerous demonic menace and discover its source, while continuing to search for the truth behind Joshua’s disappearance.
I first watched Chrno Crusade without any expectations for it whatsoever. After completing the first episode (weeks before I completed the series), I wasn’t really fascinated with it at all. For the time, I just thought this anime was pretty generic and somewhat dull.
I was wrong.
After a few weeks, I was led to completing the series. To make the most general and the most appropriate statement: It was captivating! The story behind Chrno Crusade is very intricate with numerous characters, subplots and details. The story is brilliantly put together with no holes in the story and also a very complete ending (sniffles). Chrno Crusade is full of action, comedy and romance; the key ingredients of a great production. The general plot is nothing unordinary and is usually played out as other anime have, but there is just something about this anime that I thought really set this one apart from the others. Unfortunately, I am unsure of the reason myself; or am not able to explain it in words. As you watch Chrno Crusade, I am sure you will understand what I mean. –and I apologize for the slightly unclear story briefing.
As for the art in Chrno Crusade, it would have to say that it is brilliant! The art gave me a very strong sense of familiarity. The animation is very similar to many series’ such as Full Metal Panic and Kaze no Stigma because they’re from the same animators. The kind of animation that Gonzo offers is my all time favorite. Everything is greatly detailed accurate lighting and shading. Skin tones look very natural and give the characters physical depth (they don’t look so 2-demensional), and best of all, the character’s eyes aren’t the size of my monitor. In the series, there are barely any CG and most of the time, it’s very unnoticeable.
Most of the time, I prefer subtitles over dubbing because usually the English voice actors talk like they’ve been deprived from their souls; emotionless and doubtable. In the case of Chrno Crusade, I very much enjoyed the English dubbing. One, because the voice actor for Rosette talked very fast and her pitch was very high (much like Excel from Excel Saga). Second, because my favorite English seiyuu, Hilary Haag (Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa from Full Metal Panic) was acting for Rosette. And lastly, because the series is set in America it would make more sense for it to be in English. The dubbing included uses of slang back in the late 1920’s which was when the series takes place. As for the opening song, it was very enjoyable and blended well with the opening animation that also suited the anime flawlessly. And the ending song…well, quickly became one of my favorites (it is actually playing on repeat as I write this review). Entitled “Sayonara Solitaire”, the song expresses feelings of sadness, loneliness and hope. The animation for the ending was beautiful too. The ambience of the ripples gave an awkward feeling of loneliness and at the end of the credits; the animation showed the watch that Rosette bore as a drop of water ran down from it while the ending song was closing with a small string orchestra. Having thought of that drop was a tear and by the knowledge of what that watch really represented in addition to the sad music made it easy for the viewer to cry. That short section at the end also gave a hint of foreshadowing that was just even sadder to accept. SAD but not depressing; which is all I can say.
What I thought while watching Chrno Crusade was that the real essence of this series were the characters. Character development is a strongpoint in this anime and the process of it takes on most of the series itself. Each character is unique in their own way; even for the supporting characters. They all have their own personality and individuality. That effort from the producers made a real difference for me. The cast in Chrno Crusade are all affable; even the villain. Rosette (awkwardly) reminds me of Naruto. They are optimistic, earnest, hard-working, and both have the drive and potential to reach their ambitions. Rosette was just so lively and full of energy which made watching the series more or less pleasant. Chrono is depicted to be a very modest, kind and selfless character though he is a devil. Rosette and Chrono’s relationship are like of best friends if not more. They are both very close to each other, not hesitating a second to protect one another. Their partnering gives off such a deep feeling of fulfillment in your heart. They are both lovable and enjoyable to watch which makes the ending of the series even more melancholic.
Chrno Crusade has quickly and easily made it into my top anime list. At first, as I’ve stated, I wasn’t really fascinated with it. Until a few weeks later, I found myself completing the whole series in less than a day. Every episode was captivating as I watched one right after another. There were a few episodes where it felt as if it were a filler, but I thought it was good to have a few fillers here and there to take a break from the story. Character development was not something I expected from Chrno Crusade, but it turned out to be my favorite point of the series. The rating I gave for Chrno Crusade went from an Eight out of Ten to a Ten out of Ten during the last two episodes. These two episodes are notorious for making viewers cry. Honestly, I cried for about 10 minutes straight; coming from a guy who hasn’t cried like that in over 5 years. The last episode had such an astounding impact and because of that, Chrno Crusade had earned the right to be on my favorites. This series has been very memorable and also very rewatchable. It is PERFECT.
I recommend anyone to watch Chrno Crusade. From the average otaku to an early anime watcher, you can’t go wrong with this series. If you plan to watch it, at least watch the first 3 episodes. Do not do the same mistake I have and nearly dropped it on the first episode; which I deeply regret doing. Give it a try.
I created this review, because unlike the one other CC review, I’ve seen the whole thing, and I appreciate it. Sooo, here’s my opinion.
Rosette Christopher, and her little brother, Joshua, two little orphan children, are exploring, when they come across a mysterious cave. Within, a devil named Chrno was living, but the two young children befriend Chrno easily.
One day, Joshua is driven insane by the powers he had already had, and the horns on Chrno, given to him by Aion, and puts all the other children of the orphange into a temporal stasis, where they are frozen for four years. Aion than takes Joshua away, as one of the 7 apostiles.
Rosette, devestated by the loss of her brother, makes a contract with Chrno. She is given a mysterious time-piece, where when she opens it, Chrno feeds off her soul to gain power.
As Rosette and Chrno try to find her brother again, Rosettes life is ticking away from her pack with the devil.
There is something I love about this animation, I can’ even explain it. Unlike a lot of other action anime, this one does not cut corners with the shakey-screen effect. It’s beautifully designed, with vibrant colours, and flows so nicely. I can’t even explain it, as I said earlier. The best animation is definitly in the opening sequence, though.
Again, I just love the music. It’s hard to explain. The ending and opening fit the series so well, it’s perfect. The music within the series is awesome, with it fitting every scene perfectly. I especially love one of the songs, that usually occurs after commerical breaks in the first few episodes. It gives off a very mystery/horror sound, which I feel the series has a bit of, deep down.
I love the characters. All but one.
Chrno was my personal favourite. He is a cute little devil, but can change into his awesome true form. He is such a nice little thing, and I can’t possibly see anyone not liking him.
Rosette, while being a typical annoying female, I still loved. She is emotional, yes, but she’s not helpless like so many other leads. For the first few episodes, she is doing the majority of the fighting. Of course, towards the end, she gets a bit helpless, but it’s not like she didn’t try!
I like Azmaria, for some odd reason. Just a cute little girl that admires Rosette. And I swear, that song she sings, I’ve hear somewhere… J
oshua was so adorable as a child, and just cool as a nut-job.
Aoin was pretty neat, having more layers than the “I want to destory the world” thing.
The only character I wasn’t fond of Satella, and it was probably because I watched it in English, and I could barely understand her accent. It hurt.
I watched this series in 3 days. I couldn’t pull away. When I wasn’t watching it, I was thinking about it. I was obsessed. I was Chrno Crusade sick. When I finished it, I cried. The ending was sad, and it was over, so I cried. Than I went to work, and I told everyone about this awesome anime I discovered. I proudly told them all I cried. I hummed the theme, until I went home. I am listening to the theme now.
I think that could qualify as I enjoyed greatly.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
I love this series, and I’ve owned it for 4 days, so far. I am a sad, sad girl. The ending was such a depressingly happy ending, that I cried. Sure, they… umm..
Anyways, I highly recommend this series. I love it for reasons unknown (maybe just Chrno? He is named after a game I love…) but anyways, I suck terribly at explaining the story, but believe me, it was awesome. Awesome, I say. Go out and buy this series, don’t just download it. It needs to be enjoyed from your cozy couch, where you can cry into some blankets.
Because of the originality (in a sense) and the religious undertones that make you question things intently, and because the character development is very, very intrepid. This has one of the most meaningful story arcs that i have ever come across. Every single episode means something. Making you empathize with a character, understand them, or even pity them. Even though there are flashback sequences that can sometimes be confusing, as long as you pay to the subbed dates, you will enjoy this series more than any other 24 episode anime, i guarantee it.
Beautiful. The action sequences use the "shaky camera" effect, but not to an overdose such as certain animes i have watched. The colors are always fitting for each of the episodes, and the blood is all the more gruesome with the contrast between the scenes
SOUND – 8
I LOVED the music. The openings and endings were amazing, i watched each and every one (i usually skip), but the music was captivating and well suited for the genre. The ending theme (for the last ep) was utterly perfect, too. Well-sung.
CHARACTER – 9
The contrast of character personalities makes this an a-typical anime. The main protagonist being a female with a very outspoken and agressive personality, the main male protagonist being very drawn back and selfless, and side characters that make you believe that there’s either faith in humanity or lose your faith in humanity. The development is amazing too, you see between each episode a character grow stronger, or weaker, and the comparison is there.
ENJOYMENT – 10
This is one of those animes you can’t stop watching. Just looking at the preview for the next episode makes you want to say "Eh… i’ll go to bed at 11:30pm tonight." Then, the next previews make you watch another episode, etc. By the time you’ve pulled an all-nighter you’re still fulfilled and energized to watch the next, and call in a sick day to work.
Overall – 10
I have finally completed the entire series, and i have to say, this has the most meaningful ending and perfect flow that makes Chrno Crusade one of the only animes that has PERFECT length and timing. This has amazing art, amazing characters, and an amazing message. One of the things lacking from most anime now is the artistic value and philosophical value. Sure, it’s nice to have a good laugh every now and then, but if you’re looking for a great series with characters that are funny, deep and intriguing, look no further. Chrno Crusade is a great series.
I enjoyed watched the subbed versions better, and have all together stopped watching the dubbed versions. There are too many scenes where the laughable accent of Satella has gotten in my way. Though i do love Rosette’s dubbed voice, i had to part ways with it.
4: Maria-sama ga Miteru: Haru
English: Maria Watches Over Us: Printemps
MAL Score: 7.65
The spring term is beginning for the students at Lillian Girls’ Academy. Friends are reunited, but for the Yamayuri Council, it’s a bittersweet time. Yoko, Eriko, and Sei are busy preparing to depart Lillian while Sachiko, Rei, and Shimako are doing their best to ensure that their dear sisters receive a memorable commencement.
Sei’s departure will leave a sizable hole in the White Roses, and filling it won’t be easy. But is there anyone who could appeal to Shimako enough to become the next Rosa Gigantea en bouton?
The storylines are much more interesting – for the first season I thought that the topics still had room for improvement, although I was already impressed. I liked the fact that more screen time was devoted to the third years. Back in the first season, they weren\’t given their share of the lime light, except maybe for Sei. Eriko even got an episode that was devoted to her life. Sadly though, we have to say goodbye to the grande soeurs. There were new characters that were added, like Noriko and Touko. I\’m not so sure if I\’m happy with Touko being there.
Shimako was also given a lot of chances to grace the scenes. There were many episodes about her. Thank goodness for that as well – I think she deserved a lot of screen time.I was also glad to see Sachiko in a different light. We see her family and how she is at home, we get to see her laugh for the first time (I think) and she is also able to reaffirm the relationship she has with Yumi. I was also able to get more laughs from this one compared to the first season. This was all due to Yoshino, who is both adorable and funny.
The music was better this time around too. They finally added words to the opening theme, which made it more worthwhile, but I still find myself skipping it even with the words. It was still a bit boring. Same goes for the ending theme.
I hadn\’t mentioned this in my review of the first season, but although the anime is considerably well drawn, the characters illustrations did have some problems sometimes. The characters, specially the really tall Rei, tend to look really long and stringy, almost like a stick drawing. There are also occassions when their faces change.
Other than those, this anime is still very good. I was almost sad that I finished it too soon. I really didn\’t want it to end, and I hope there will be a third season.
Although the second season is a bit late to be making the realization, it must be said that it was not until this arc that I properly realized Marimite for what it is, or rather, what it wasn’t; This is not a yuri anime. The story here is one of intense and lasting friendships, although it draws upon an old idea in Japanese culture; class S relationships and psuedo-romantic interludes between adolescent women are ideas that have had traction for awhile, and it is this rather than a direct lesbian theme that MariMite is shooting for.
The characters of Marimite are well-developed and likeable, but as an entirely character-driven story your enjoyment of the plot rides heavily on your attachment to the members of the Yamayurikai. It was in the second season that this attachment came for me- through more exposure, but also the season’s wise decision to give a closer look to characters other than Yumi and Sachiko. Shimako’s arc in particular was beautiful and moving, and was an excellent expansion of a character who went through the first season comparatively underdeveloped.
While characters are this show’s strongest offering, they are not necessarily believable characters. Rather, they are idealized young ladies: conspicuously absent is sexual desire and romantic drama, cellphones, texting and malicious gossip, or a burning preoccupation with the opinions of their peers. Instead the viewer sees a refined and composed cast that have believable human traits and problems but at heart represent ideal maidens. Sachiko and Shimako in particular may not exist beyond the realms of fantasy, but this is ameliorated in part by choosing as a protagonist Yumi, a more relatable outsider to the world of refinement and grace that is Lillian Girls Academy.
This is a show that begs for a cup of tea and a comfortable place to sit. It can be made into an experience, an isle of calm and quiet, and I found myself intentionally slowing the pace I finished the season to savour each episode and the feelings of well-being and tranquility it generated.
The second season of Marimite was a couple notches more enjoyable for me than the first, and I would recommend as strongly as possible that anyone who enjoyed, or indeed finished, the first season watch the second. I would go so far as to recommend watching the first for the sole reason of setting up the second season, in fact; taken by itself, the second season of Maria-sama ga miteru is one of the most enjoyable anime I have seen.
MAL Score: 7.85
Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan’s violent Sengoku period with the demon’s true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
There are flaws in the overall composition. Things one might ask themselves like; why, if you KNEW you we’re going to be trekking across feudal Japan for months on end, would you bring only one outfit? And more importantly why would it be your Junior High School uniform – i.e. a bright green miniskirt?
Regardless, the story itself is very weak, as its the random plot arcs and ridiculous character relations that really make the show. To summarize, a young girl falls down a well at her family’s shrine, only to be transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she frees a grumpy dog eared half demon man who is stuck to a tree (The result of a bad breakup) and ends up breaking a magical mystical artifact that then shatters into a bazillion pieces. Ditzy teenage girl and pissy dog demon guy now must work together to find all the shards of “The Sacred Jewel” before the bad guys do. Sure there’s another load of subplots – pointless, funny and romantic alike – but we’ll get to that.
Although the premise is simplistic it does expand further along in the story, but only if one likes the show enough initially to move on in the series through the 160 + episodes.
The subplots and the arcs are what make this series entertaining. (And also agonizing if the arc you’re in bores you to tears) We’ll have run ins with random demons and get mixed up with numerous characters who may or may not come and go. Each plot brings changes and the characters do a very good job of growing and evolving as a result. The series does, despite its episodic nature, still follow some sense of linearity. Development in the characters remain as they would in a real person. (This excludes the Inuyasha movies, unfortunately)
Despite all that, its still one of those series that makes it very easy to drop in at any time and figure things out eventually. I watched from the middle first before I decided I loved the show and went back to see the beginning – which was drastically different to me considering the amount of change that takes place from beginning to middle to end.
I can’t go into detail very well considering the story, as there is so much of it its hard to find a place to start. The elements of the setting and time really come into play with the presence of the spirits and demons all of which offer a uniqueness all to its own. The multiple love triangle issues are superficial but also complex, so there is a degree of decent conflict in that regard. I also really appreciate personally how the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, is gradual.
Coming to the characters, there are many. Too many to identify them all in this review. This is a great thing about the show, but can also be annoying and for the casual observer, confusing as hell. I’ll touch on the main characters at least:
Kagome is a really plain Junior High School girl. As a heroine she starts out pathetically dull and often comes off as a total ditz. However if you give her a chance she does show you how she can grow to be a capable human being despite the fact that she is a 15 year old idiot running around feudal Japan in a miniskirt. Throughout the show we find shes short tempered, opinionated and rash, but she does keep a sense femininity intact somehow. She also retains an ability to sympathize with and care for the people she comes to know. What I love about her is that she starts out completely incompetent. Literally she is nothing but a Mary-Sue-ish teenage airhead with little care in the world aside doing well in school, and she morphs (gradually) into a priestess who can use a bow and even protect herself. She – going through the show constantly compared to the priestess Kikiyo (Details will become clear if you decide to watch the show) she makes a deliberate effort to break free of that confine and become her own person, and I like that.
Inuyasha is also a great source of character development. I know I keep saying “Development development development!” but really is one of the biggest things this show has going for itself. I almost see this anime as some kind of document of how Inuyasha becomes a man. Hes over 50 years old but despite that he is extremely childish, boorish and often rude and annoying. He also works pretty hard to gain strength and create a name for himself. He is an ‘underdog’ (lol puns) and also has a bit of a Gary-Stu thing going for him. Being a half demon with a snobby older brother and a messed up undead ex-girlfriend gives him a lot of stuff to complain about.
The characters ARE shallow. But their relationships are entertaining and – if you get all the way to the end of this series and the short Inuyasha Sequel: Inuyasha the Final Act – are rewarding to see until the end.
I’ll keep the review of the art quick in saying that it is very traditional for the time it was made. Its got a lot of square and rectangular shapes and brightly colored character designs that fit in well with its shounen genre. The style is very consistent, budget obviously allowed for lots of attention to detail and a tone of seriousness. It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi’s earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980’s. Almost a retro anime style if you get my meaning. Movies have much more bold and sharp lines. Character designs could use work (I can’t get over the miniskirt thing, I’m sorry. Its just too stupid. And I get really sick of Inuyasha never wearing anything but his giant red.. thing)
Even quicker, my opinion of the sound. The music is diverse and beautifully complex. One of the best parts of the show. Multiple opening and ending themes, background music all magical and perfectly suitable to the time period. Voice acting is always better in Japanese. English is very harsh on the ears, I strongly dislike it nowadays.
Very long review and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Inuyasha, as I see it, is a classic shounen. Its time in the limelight long passed when it made room for Naruto and Bleach to move in on the scene. For those of you who can take a long series and like the sound of this show, give it a shot. Perhaps google a list of filler episodes you might feel like skipping if this does tickle your fancy. Inuyasha does have something for everyone. From the action to the supernatural, to the romantic and the historical. Its a story hard to place and hard to review with a fair share of chaos and confusion. Its a mess, really. But its a big fun mess if you’re willing to see it through.
As always, keep good humor in mind while watching. This show is bananas and it will make you want to throw objects at the screen from time to time.
For now, I tip my hat to Inuyasha. I thank it for showing me this world, showing me complexity and hilarity, and for showing me how flaws can be celebrated for their entertainment just as well as the parts that shine.
The storyline is basic and very easy to follow, however the story does seem to drag on, so if you have patience with animes this could be for you.
The characters are pure genius, each with their own running joke. Each character (with the exception of Kagome) has a dark and kind of upsetting past often including the death of a loved one. My favourite is Miroku by far. He is a perverted womanising monk who flirts with pretty much any girl. However, some characters, like Shippo (an adorable fox demon), have a minor role with little or no fight scenes. (Then again that’s a small part of his jokes).
The fights are good, lots of blood in some places. However the fights are short and it seems to always be Inuyasha doing most of the work. (As he has stated a few times). The others seem to be back up and use the same moves. For example, Sango, a demon slayer, uses her Hirakotsu (a giant boomerang often used hitting Miroku when he flirts with other girls or touches her butt) but she has a sword which rarely gets used. I think I’ve seen it 3 times and then I can only remember when she is about to use it on Kohaku (her little brother who has no memory of killing their whole village because he’s being controlled by the main bad guy).
The romance is my favourite part in all of the series. It’s more sweet than it is romantic. But it’s the sort that makes you feel all warm inside. I’m sad to say that the romance barely progresses. (Apart from Miroku and Sango). And there is a really big love net. But like I said, it sweet in a LOT of places.(Oh, for you fan girls, I know Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s brother, is a favourite. Oh, I’m not a fan girl.)
All in all, Inuyasha is a good anime (and my favourite). Watch it if you have patience and love a good laugh, fight sometimes full of blood and sweet romantic bits in an anime.
After the intoduction of the fourth protagonist ( Sango), apart from a few side-stories, the plot essentially deteriorates into a viscous cycle. In a few occasions it seems there will be some new development, but I was dissapointed when the same-old thing happened again. The fillers were heavily Naruto-like, admittedly better.
Overall: I think the series can be alot better, but if you like extended series, this could be for you.
2: School Rumble
English: School Rumble
MAL Score: 7.91
Just the words “I love you,” and everything changes—such is the nature of the bittersweet trials of high school romance. Tenma Tsukamoto, a second year, is on a quest to confess her feelings to the boy she likes. Kenji Harima, a delinquent with a sizable reputation, is in a similar situation, as he cannot properly convey his feelings to the one he loves. Between school, friends, rivalries, and hobbies, these two will find that high school romance is no walk in the park, especially as misunderstandings further complicate their plight.
School Rumble is a high-octane romantic comedy full of relatable situations, as Tenma and Kenji both try to win the hearts of those they desire.
As the story goes on, it becomes more and more hilarious! I wished my high school was as fun as this. It portrays as guys being very pathetic and always going after girls, this makes them very funny to watch! The jokes are very humorous; some is just silly.
The animation is very beautiful, although it has more beautiful girls and the boys are all very weird. The animals drawn are very cute and the main character is such a klutz, her face turns fat all the time.
The background sounds are funny, adds comedy to the scene. The soundtrack is just as good, the music is very soothing. The voice characters are just funny and the voices are exaggerated very much, which give the impression that the character is very dumb.
The characters are very distinct; I get confused sometimes because there are many characters and a lot of names to remember. I only remember Harima Kenji because the English version of this name is Harry McKenzie. But his character was the funniest out of all the boys in the class, he is supposed to be a delinquent but then turns all soft and lovey dovey, and the girl he falls for is an average looking slow girl, which makes it all so much funnier because he is dumb as well.
This is very enjoyable if you like to watch comedy genres, and don’t mind the occasional half naked scenes. There were many scenes where I was cracking up; this anime has to be the funniest I’ve seen and the most random.
Highly recommended for boys more than girls because it has a lot of big breasts involved. It’s just too damn funny!
School Rumble is basically the story of a love triangle. The hyper, slow-witted, dense and yet extremely nice and lovable character Tsukamoto Tenma is in love with her strange and seemingly dull classmate Karasuma Oji and at the same time the misunderstood delinquent Harima Kenji is madly in love with Tsukamoto Tenma to the point that he has been transformed into a new man because of it.
The series best fits in the comedy genre and anytime you feel the story is about to take a serious turn, it swings back to its comedic nature faster than you can blink.
The characters are probably the best part of this series. While there is really only three or four main characters, on numerous occasions, the series turns its attention to some of the backgrounds characters and lets the viewers get to know them better through some interesting side stories. Tsukamoto Tenma is extremely cute and lovable, Harima Kenji is a brooding delinquent you will love to root for, and Karasuma Oji is the character you will love to hate. The background characters such as Tsukamoto Tenma’s sister, Yakumo (quiet, reserved, and gorgeous girl that almost all men fall in love with at first sight) , Sawachika Eri (the seemingly shallow rich blonde girl sought after by many guys), Suou Mikoto (the athletic and cool tomboy that seems to be good at just about everything), Takano Akira (the quiet, calm, and mysterious girl that seems to know everything) are also very well developed and quite entertaining to watch. There is a character type to suit any viewer’s tastes.
The Japanese voice acting is absolutely fantastic and the voices match the characters well without exception. The most notable are the voices Tsukamoto Tenma which is done brilliantly by Koshimizu Ami (The very talented voice actress who does the voices of Kallen in Code Geass – Hangyaku no Lelouch /R2 and Horo in “Spice and Wolf”), and the voice of Harima Kenji which is done by Takahashi Hiroki (the voice of Kikumaru Eiji in Prince of Tennis and Hisoka in Hunter X Hunter). I can’t comment on the English voice acting due to the fact that I have not watched the dubbed version of the series (…and I have no intention of doing so).
The art and animations are not quite as noteworthy as the character design and voice acting. The art is average and the animations are done well most of the time with a few exceptions here and there. That is about all that needs to be said about the art and animations.
The story itself and the way it’s developed are both very interesting. However, I did find it quite irritating at times where I felt the story should perhaps take a more serious turn. The show is a comedy and above all else it should be funny and in that area there is definitely no shortcomings. The show is absolutely hilarious. However, while it is a comedy, its subject matter is not, and I would have found it quite refreshing if the writers had not shied away from including some serious elements as a complement to the comedy. Instead, they chose to completely slam on the breaks and put it in reverse whenever there was even the slightest danger of any serious development. The only part where things get even in the least bit serious is in the final two-episode OVA where they attempt to conclude the story.
Another area where this show suffered a bit had to do with filler episodes. There are not too many filler episodes and some of the fillers even contribute a little bit to the story. But, fillers are still fillers. While they are not abused to extremes as with some other shows such as Bleach, their presence still adds some annoyance for the viewer.
ATTENTION: The next paragraph talks about the ending. While I will not include any specifics about what happens at the end of the series, I will talk about the style and quality of the ending. If you feel this might spoil things for you, skip over the next paragraph.
This is where the show lost the most points from me. While, I did not know the specifics of the ending, I had a very close guess formed by the second or third episode of the first season regarding how the show would conclude. I knew I was in for at least a bit of a letdown at the end simply based on the nature of the show and how it completely shied away from getting even slightly serious. The ending doesn’t really leave you hanging which is good. However, I did not get the ending I wanted and I am fairly certain most people who have watched the series in the past and those who will watch it in the future have felt and will feel the same way I do about this. It will not catch you off guard. You will know it is coming fairly early in the series. But it is still a letdown. Perhaps, an alternate ending episode might have remedied this.
The two places this series lost marks from me were the filler episodes and the ending. Without the fillers and with the correct ending this show would have scored full marks.
Story – Basically, School Rumble has no real storyline besides Tenma going after Karasuma and Harima going after Tenma, thats basically it. But the thing about School Rumble is, even if it barely has a storyline it still appeals to many many people, which is something i believe is unique.
Art – I adore School Rumble’s beautiful design of characters. Even though its a 2004 anime, it still has considerable good graphic maybe even better then some animes in the year 2007. Also one thing i find quite different in the art of school rumble is how KJ ( Kobayashi Jin, creator of school rumble) hides the good-looking appearance of some of the characters such as Harima and Hanai.
Sound – School Rumble has one of the catchiest and most addictive OP any anime ever had ‘Guru Guru Mawaru Guru Guru Mawaru….’ this song just makes you want to get up dance to the melody. The ED was also very catchy as well, School Rumble’s ending is one of the ONLY ones i’ve watched for all of the episodes. Side from the OP and ED, the voice actor/actress fitted the role very well, from cute and loving Tenma to the complete pervert Imadori, there voice seems to be made for the character. Also Horie Yui is one of my favorite voice actress so i guess that adds up to the score as well.. hehe.
Character – Wide range of entertaining characters all which make you literally laugh out loud. They are all entertaining but they all have very unique personality from the Tsundere Ojou to the Semi-yandere Yakumo. I highly doubt you will hate any of these characters because i certainly didn’t!
Enjoyment – If i could give bonus points for enjoyment of this series, i would. First off, as stated before, this series literally makes you laugh out loud. A series that can actually make someone laugh out loud is something I’d think is freaking hilarious. Hilarious = Enjoyable… therefore School Rumble is really hilarious and enjoyable. (Yes that was lame..)
Overall – Overall, this series is definitely something you should watch if something is really bothering you and you want to watch something fun and laugh all the pain away. Even if you like really serious stuff like Death Note, you should still try this, you never know you might actually like this genre of anime.
MAL Score: 8.29
In 2075, space travel is no longer just a dream, but an everyday reality for mankind. Advancements in science and technology have led to the colonization of the moon, the commercialization of outer space, and the formation of large space corporations. Ai Tanabe, an upbeat woman whose interests lie in the cosmos, joins Technora Corporation as a member of their Debris Section, a department dedicated to the removal of dangerous space junk between the orbits of the Earth and Moon.
However, Ai soon discovers how unappreciated her job is. As the laughingstock of Technora, the Debris Section is severely understaffed, poorly funded, and is forced to use a dilapidated spaceship nicknamed the “Toy Box” for debris retrieval. Undeterred, Ai perseveres and gradually becomes acquainted with the strange personalities that make up the Debris Section’s staff, such as the bumbling but good-natured chief clerk Philippe Myers; the mysterious and tight-lipped temp worker Edelgard Rivera; and the hotheaded and passionate Hachirouta Hoshino, who longs for a spaceship to call his own.
Planetes is an unconventional sci-fi series that portrays the vastness of space as a backdrop for the personal lives of ordinary people—people who may have been born on Earth, but whose hopes and dreams lie amongst the stars.
With that being said, on with the review.
Story: Planetes starts off rather slow. In fact, the "main" story doesn’t even really pick up until about episode 10 or so. Before that, you’re introduced to character personalities and dreams/motives. This is absolutely necessary though, because without this strong intro, the latter part of the show wouldn’t have had nearly the same kind of effect.
Animation: The animiation is pretty well done. CGI is used in quite a few scenes and I didn’t notice any problems. My only beef is that I didn’t fall in love with the character designs too much. They’re good, but I think a few characters got shafted.
Sound: Probably the most lacking area in the series in my opinion. The intro is decent, but hardly anything special. The background music throughout the show is bland and never really stands out. The only music that ever really caught my attention was the ending theme, and it’s not wonderful either. I should mention that the Seiyuu’s did an excellent job though.
Character: Characters are definitely the biggest plus to Planetes. Hachimaki and Ai are excellent leading characters. The other crew members are nearly equally as interesting as them too. Everyone, like most shows, has their own problems and own ambitions. Planetes does a great job at detailing each character.
Enjoyment: Took me 4 days to complete the show (could have done it sooner if school wasn’t taking my time). 26 eps in 4 days usually constitutes hard core enjoyable watching. 🙂 This is a feel good Anime (well, most of it is at least), so what’s not to enjoy?
Overall: This needs to become more popular! It deserves better than only a couple hundreds watchers. Take the time and watch it.
Planetes starts about how you might expect a show with such an odd premise to begin. It’s a very quirky show, practically a comedy/sitcom type show. The first 13 episodes or so are all episodic, there’s lots of laugh, and the show rarely takes itself too seriously. At this point I would call the show very good. It was entertaining, but, I never felt compelled to watch the next episode immediately after finishing one. I’d be fine to wait a while before booting up a new episode.
And then, the second half of the show begins. This is where arcs begin to start, the show starts to have more continuity, and basically, it becomes more of a serious space drama show. This is when the show really kicks it up a notch and becomes the masterpiece I think it is. The second half of the show offers some incredibly intense moments, lots of philosophical talk about whether space development is really needed for mankind, and some awesome character development.
In fact, all 26 episodes of Planetes have some amazing character development. All the characters on the space debris crew have at least one episode where they get a decent amount of focus. In fact, pretty much everyone who gets a decent amount of screen time gets fleshed out. It’s actually pretty amazing. All the characters are also very real feeling. I think I could see a lot of these characters in real life. And because of that, you see most of the characters good sides and ugly sides. There may be times when you dislike a character that you once liked, especially with the main character, Hachimaki. This as a whole makes the characters feel even more authentic though.
The most interesting thing about Planetes characters isn’t just how they develop, but how they interact. Events happen, and over the course of the show, almost all the characters change in some ways. In a lot of shows, despite character development, all the characters seem to interact with each other in mostly the same way, but in Planetes, all the interactions become different as characters change and know each other better. They even realize when someone has changes. It’s a cool dynamic and adds a lot to the show.
Planetes is pretty short, and I never thought it got stale at all throughout the whole ride. I think it helped a lot that the show was more of a comedy in the first half. When the switch is made to more of a drama, the change of pace helps things to never get boring.
The best part of Planetes as a whole though is the way it makes you think. You will find yourself thinking a lot about this fictional world, and also about how it applies to the world today. The messages the show sends are kind of “in your face”, but they are only in your face when it comes to the world Planetes is set in. It takes some thinking to really apply it to our world today, so I don’t think anyone will really be put off by it.
Planetes art and sound are also pretty fantastic. I thought all the animation was pretty crisp and they do a good job crafting characters that look just as unique from each other as their personalities are. The sound is really awesome too, the opening theme is especially cool. The only flaw is that, the ending theme is very happy and perky, which worked perfectly for the first half of the show, however, in the 2nd half of the show, when the show gets serious, it gets flat out awkward. For example, someone will be pointing a gun at someone, the episode ends, and then some of the happiest music you could imagine comes on. It’s not a big deal, but it can kind of ruin the intensity that the episode just left you with.
Despite the lack of action, I think this is a show almost anyone can enjoy. It’s smart, has great character development, and can be very intense. I highly reccomend it to anyone.
One of the greatest strengths of Planetes is that just like the content it covers, the story it’s wrapped up in is also progressive, despite what the sheep’s clothing it wears would have you believe. It doesn’t try to maintain a status quo like most shows tend to but instead is constantly expanding, going through methodically built up stages of change, both in its plotting and character involvement. Upon my initial viewing, I thought I was going to watch a simple tale of the daily lives of garbage collectors, and while the 1st handful of episodes fooled me into taking on that presumption, what I walked away with was something far more ambitious. An undertaking rarely achieved in storytelling of this magnitude.
The 1st half of the show places all of its characters in a container and shakes it up to see what type of interactions would blossom when their ideals collide, while also giving us insight into their motives for joining the trash collecting division. These build up episodes are essential since they set in motion the continuous metamorphosis we’re treated to as the narrative threads converge to create the bigger story. Dealing with themes of pro-ecology, corporate hierarchy, and geopolitical ethics, to name a few, the show never skittishly avoids taking on material that others would actively divert its content away from. It could have quickly just dealt with the everyday life of living in space and called it a day but because it bothered to show all sides, both pros and cons of societal expansion, it ended up embracing all truths of what a space inhabited humanity would become. If we carve up imaginary borders on Earth, it stands to reason that that selfish mindset would only seep out as we conquer the heavens as well.
In the hands of less capable creators, this could have easily become an overzealous, preachy “let’s make love, not war” kind of narrative. All it would have taken was a blatant “EVIL CORP” conglomerate pumping toxic fumes everywhere while laughing maniacally on their misdeeds or any other forceful narrative turn that someone like Michael Bay would incorporate with a copious amount of cleavage and explosions. From the macroeconomic relationship between 1st and 3rd world countries to the individualistic struggles of our characters navigating their way through a changing world, everything here was handled responsibly. Planetes is a show that knows when to unwind but never forgets to deliver its messages during pivotal moments.
For any other show, just being able to pull this off would have been enough, but for Planetes, that’s only the main course meal, as it also manages to treat us to dessert with a heartwarming romance that grows along with the narrative the further we plunge forward. And since the core characters involved are comprised entirely of adults, this romance bothers to go somewhere, unlike the typical high-school drama shows that does a “would or wouldn’t they” scenario to only end it with a confession. Of course, this isn’t to say that Planetes delivered the best romance for your price of admission but rather, for a show where romance was never the core focus, to begin with, what we got was still conclusive and satisfactory. Effectively making it a better love story than other shows that are primarily just that, which was more than I ever expected from it.
Another surprising turn of events was just how well the art and animation held up.
The attention to detail was just superb. Just the little things included that would usually go unnoticed by the untrained eye, like the emphasis placed on the widgets, body mechanics in the environment of space, and the functionality of devices used, all helped in turning this piece of fiction into something science-plausible. It all added to the practicality of the scenarios we were introduced to, giving off this feeling that the people behind the show’s creation truly cared about immersing the viewer into the project. The color choices were also utilized well, with monochromatic layouts used to emphasize the isolation and vastness of space, to the vibrant hues of luminescent blues used to give off a sense of warmth that radiated from earth. It’s little things like this that brought the show to life. Of course, since it was made back in 2003, a time when animators were still tinkering with new digital technology, there were some influxes in quality-control to be found; like the usage of CGI in certain scenes and some characters being drawn off model. But overall, the title aged incredibly well, especially when taking into consideration other shows made during the same period. With a telling eye for detail and proper understanding of color placement, Planetes has bought itself a longer shelf-life than many of its competition.
And for a show as far-reaching as this one, a soundtrack of equal proportions was also needed. Thankfully, that’s precisely what we got.
With booming brass sections, choirs humming along to percussion wizardry and string instruments that never missed a chance to join in; the music was a real treat, even deserving of a stand-alone listen. I can’t help but think of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when I sit back and listen to it (as smarmy as that may sound). It’s just a score that grows on you the more you listen to it, made even more memorable given the title it’s attached to. What’s probably more surprising than the technical proficiency of it is that it never oversteps its boundary during the show’s run-time. Instead of drowning out any given scene, it instead operates as a companion piece; only there as a tool to punctuate the message. Some may think it’s being underutilized, but I believe it’s the creators knowing when to let the tunes elevate the material and knowing when to practice restraint. From the more boisterous tracks to the subdued ones, they were all used accordingly. The opening theme was also catchy and fit the overall feeling the show gave off. Although not much of a favorite for me, it was still memorable and one I rarely skipped.
And with all that Planetes had going for it, ultimately what sold the experience for me was the cast itself.
Characters often serve as the audience’s gateway into a show’s universe and can often be what makes or breaks the experience, even if everything else is fine-tuned. Without characters that we as viewers would like to latch on to, immersion is usually harder to achieve. With that being said, Planete’s cast was nothing short of amazing and arguably the show’s greatest highlight. And since the show spanned across vast distances, due to the content it chose to cover, the cast was equally as big to compensate for that. For the sake of brevity, I’ll only cover the two main leads.
Hachirota Hoshino, or Hachimaki, as his peers call him, can best be summed up as an ambitious, yet abrasive delinquent. When introduced, he’s made out to be your garden variety of schmuck who feels stuck in a dead-end job. Of course, as the show goes on, we get to learn about him as an individual and what formed him to be the person he is today. And what initially started out as a debut for a simpleton upon first encounter was gradually revealed to be much more as things shifted into focus. Exposing a latent animosity that was spurred on by reckless ambition, Planetes slowly divulges into the self-reflection of a man who was at first negligent to his complacency, accepting the cards that life dealt him, until being placed in a corner where that way of thinking was no longer viable. As the narrative of Planetes expands, so too does Hachimaki, as he explores parts of himself he didn’t know was there in the first place. What makes him compelling as a character was these very blemishes that he tried desperately to ignore. He isn’t some Gary Stu that has everything handed to him on a silver platter but just a regular person who dreams big but often limits himself in fear of not reaching his goals. Planetes understands the crushing defeat of life—and with Hachimaki being used as its conduit—never shies away from addressing it.
And to counterbalance Hachimaki’s personality, we’re given a 2nd lead that stands as the antithesis of him.
Ai Tanabe is your uber-idealistic individual who’s naivety is apparent from the moment she makes her grand entrance. Her bold and often stubborn conviction frequently causes her to butt heads with Hachimaki. Although her character type has seen many times before, Planetes makes an active effort in assuring that she goes through the proper character growth that comes with the drastic life change she decides for herself. But possibly the most significant draw to her as a character is seeing the gradual relationship form between her and Hachimaki. Often tested by circumstances around them, their relationship can be seen as a direct reflection of the narrative’s twists and turns.
The gradual development of the leads was also well paced and stayed constant with the progressive themes of the anime. It showed that anything worth striving for requires effort. It’s a show that bastardizes complacency by either having the characters move forward or be left behind by the changing times. Whether it be an external goal like with our protagonist Hachi or an internal one like Ai’s challenged conviction, nothing was left to just stagnate.
Big or small, every characters’ roles helped define Planetes and everything the show stood for. Every story beat, character moment, big displays and quiet moments, coalesced into a theatrical display of the endeavors we all collectively go through in pursuit of the unknown lying beyond the ether.
The repertoire of what I consider to be masterpiece-level titles is quite small, and Planetes has easily found its place among them. Bold and triumphant, this anime is one that resonated with me in ways that many others could only scrape at. Very few shows successfully celebrate the future of humanity in the way this one does, but perhaps even better, the need to combat complacency through the pursuit of greater ambitions.
Planetes is a title that demands more exposure than what it currently has and hopefully this review would encourage a few others to give it a try. It’s thematically well-structured but never overly-complicated; it’s easy to watch but contains excellent social commentary; it wraps everything up nicely, but the implications leave you in awe, thinking long after the credits roll. The build-up may seem a little slow to some, and the constant shifting of character and narrative motion may not register well with those that like perpetual stasis, but if given a chance, this anime could be a crowd-pleaser like no other you’ve experienced before.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
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