They’re the best Anime that 2001 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-san☆, Gear Fighter Dendoh, Figure 17: Tsubasa & Hikaru, and more!
10: Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-san☆
Japanese: Cosmic Baton Girl コメットさん☆
MAL Score: 7.18
Comet (12 years old in human years) is the princess of the Harmonica Star country and was to meet the prince of the Tambourine Star country at a ball where he’d pick a bride. But he isn’t there and so Comet is sent to Earth to find him. He’ll be known by the starlight in his eyes. She finds the Earth and she loves the people she meets there. Meanwhile, Princess Meteor of the Castanet Star country also arrives on Earth in search of the prince. Comet’s companion is a little puppy with a star at the end of his tail named Rubba Ball. Of course, Comet was not the first to visit the Earth and love it, another before her did as well and married. Her pet (a white cat with bunny ears and a tiny heart on her tail named Bunny) continued life as a kind of fairy in the forest. Comet’s power is drawn from the stars of her home and is channeled through her baton; she also wears a special pendant from where Rubba Ball immerges, and with which she can detect and find the prince.
The disappearance of the prince is unacceptable to the star worlds and someone must go to find him. Comet could care less until she finds out that the prince is hiding on Earth, where Comet’s mother spent time when she was a girl. Comet was always enthralled at her mother’s stories of Earth and so she volunteers to go to Earth, with no intention of actually bothering to look for the prince. Another space princess, Meteor, is also sent to Earth by her ambitious mother because the princess who eventually finds the prince will become his bride.
Things don’t work out well for Comet when she first arrives on Earth. But thanks to some intercession from her mother, Comet gets to stay with a young family and take responsibility for the two young children of the family. At the same time Meteor uses her magical powers to convince an old couple that she is their granddaughter so that she can stay with them while she looks for the prince. Both girls start to learn something about growing up and about love as they learn about Earth and the people on it.
Comet-san is a sweet and funny children’s anime that can enchant kids and grownups alike. The animation is bright, the music is brisk, the voice acting is enthusiastic, and the story moves along at a steady pace. The characters learn about themselves and grow as the story progresses and there is an appropriately satisfying ending.
The series was released as a pair of R2 DVD box sets soon after its broadcast in 2001 to 2002.
At the start Comet saids she needs to save up star power but already we see her wasting it on useless things. how useless you ask, Its even being used to do simple chores like hanging up clothes. If they are going to add some rules for magic they should at least follow it. Was there even a point adding limitations anyway?
Don’t even get me started on the rocket tree. If a tree flew so high up at such speed let me tell you the gravitation pull would be so strong and you would certainly come crashing back down. Now I know what your thinking chill this is just a kids show who cares about gravity force or what not but still this is a show with *magic* they could have come up with anything better and yet they stuck wth this. Was their really no better idea apart from flying trees ? No better idea to entertain the kids in the show ?
Now let’s speak about Princess Meteor she legit couldn’t care less if the kids died and almost had them killed. All just because she was a petty brat who was annoyed. She tried to trip someone yet accidentally got trip instead because of it, and that somehow justified her reasoning, Apparently though she does become better person and found a nice romance with someone else but sorry I’m pulling out. Even though I am slightly curious about the romance thing.
Keep in mind the whole reason they could go to earth was just so these two 12 years old girls could win the heart of some guy (the prince) . Though that can kind of be forgiven since one of the doesn’t even want to marry him instead going to earth to have fun. And really I blame it on their parents.
Despite these problems just from 2 episodes wouldn’t say that this was that bad. Just incredibly boring to watch. I think it gets better but I honestly can’t be bothered, got to much anime to watch.
If you think I overexaggerated or came off to strong can’t say I blame you. This show just really didn’t appeal to me somehow.
9: Gear Fighter Dendoh
Japanese: GEAR戦士 電童
MAL Score: 7.18
The story takes place in the future where war machines from evil mechanical alien empire Garufa finally reaches Earth. In order to protect earth, an Earth defense organization called GEAR (Guard Earth and Advanced Reconnaissance) is formed. GEAR has an ultimate weapon in a form of war mecha, GEAR Fighter Dendoh, which is piloted by two elementary school students, namely Kusanagi Hokuto and Izumo Ginga. Can the friendship between Hokuto and Ginga unleashed the full potential power of Dendoh in order to fight Garufa?
Overall, it may be slightly repetitious and a classical shounen mecha, its music not outstanding, but passable, yet it can be charming and at times moving. There is some character development, but also ‘technicians’ with not much of a backstory…
Ultimately, it does have a potentially interesting storyline.
8: Figure 17: Tsubasa & Hikaru
Japanese: フィギュア17 つばさ&ヒカル
MAL Score: 7.22
Tsubasa Shiina is a 10-year-old girl who recently moved to Hokkaido to live with her father. In school, she is very quiet and unsociable with her classmates. Then one night, she witnesses a UFO crash in the forest near her home. She rushes to the scene and finds the pilot, codenamed “D.D.”, in a barely stable condition. Also in the scene is a Maguar, a hideous alien that hatched aboard D.D.’s ship. As the Maguar is close to taking Tsubasa’s life, an alien lifeform fuses with her body to form the Riberus battle armor Figure 17, which shortly destroys the alien threat. The life form takes the name Hikaru and turns into an identical twin of Tsubasa. As time passes, Tsubasa becomes more open to everyone around her, thanks to her new twin sister Hikaru. However, with Maguar eggs scattered all over Hokkaido, their ability to form Figure 17 is needed to eliminate all hatched Maguars until backup from D.D.’s home planet arrives on Earth.
There are two aspects within the series. The first is where the characters fight off the Magyua threat one by one. Each fight is different from the last as we see the technology and weaponary being improved and new tatics thought up as each of the Magyua is different and stronger than the last in their own ways, which remains interesting throughout. The second is where Tsubasa struggles to become more self confident, especially during the fights with Magyua. There’s also the life of Tsubasa and Hikaru on the farm and during school as they both support each other and play with their friends during free time. There is both happy and sad moments which can bring a tear to your eye as the emotion feels realistic. Both aspects flow very well together as both are developments during the series that I felt were perfect. The relation between Tsubasa and Hikaru developing were very sweet and cute moments as they were there for each other.
At first the anime feels quite old for its time as it does appear slightly dull. The picture is too soft and the colours aren’t very good during the first two or so episodes but eventually it gets a lot better. The picture gets more clearer and sharper. There is also very few repeated scenes throughout the series, but everything else is unique and animated well during the given situation, be it calm or a fight with a Magyua. Other than that the animation remains very good without too many complaints. The main character designs are great but a few of the other characters aren’t anything too special but overall it does have its own style without anything excessively cute either. Characters always wear different clothing, keeping it a little more realistic and develops the personality of characters more by the clothing they wear. There is a wide variety of scenery in Figure 17, but most of them are usually natural areas, but many scenes on the farm,in Tsubasa’s school and even some space scenes and other minor locations. They are beautifully designed with a lot of colour that mixes perfectly, nothing that goes out of place and since there are scenes during different times of the day and year add to the variety.
Again at first the quality of sound is quite dull but later improves. Voice acting is great, nothing to complain about there. The anime however didn’t seem to have a wide variety of sound effects at first so those are heard quite alot throughout some time. I also noticed very few sounds started late during the animtation but nothing too major. Background music was fantastic for both aspects of the anime, most that can be easily remembered too. Music for the calm moments had both happy and sad moments, some with a reconisable tune being used that I liked the most, the same goes for the music used during the battles that brought tension and excitement to those bits. I found the track used when the Figure 17 fights the Magyua was the best for these situations, but the other ones were still good.
With the two aspects to the anime, it can be both exciting or upsetting. I enjoyed every moment while watching this one, but I enjoyed the relation between Tsubasa and Hikaru grow the most. It is a serious anime with very light comedy, but filled with emotion that felt realistic thanks to the good voice actors and music helping achieve this too. One of the best anime series I’ve watched in a while, everything about it I felt was really fantastic.
I see Figure 17 was having two separate stories. One part of Figure 17, the "main plot," was the story of Tsubasa Shiina’s encounter with the aliens at a UFO landing site and her attempts to help destroy the Maguars (alien creatures). The other part is Tsubasa’s friendship with Hikaru and their daily lives, either studying/playing in school or helping out their neighbors. It is the second part of Figure 17, the slice-of-life-like adventures and the subtle development of Tsubasa, that is where the series shine most. Eventually, the two stories would combine into an amazing finish.
Most of what Figure 17 is character development, and it excelled at it. However, the alien plot was a bit…bad. Well, it wasn’t bad, but it was cliché and uninteresting. In short, characters can use these hourglass devices to transform into a figure, which gets boosted abilities. Tsubasa’s case was a bit difference since her figure did not revert back to the hourglass device but into a duplicate of her with her memories. (Don’t worry all of this is in the first episode so you are not getting majorly spoiled.) Along with D.D., the alien trying to defeat all the Maguars, Tsubasa and Hikaru would "merge" into Figure 17 to dispatch these creatures.
The action was actually pretty good, but the figure designs (are they naked?) were quite bad, the Maguars had little new moves, but worst of all, the figures had no new moves. In fact, the action was so repetitive (except for the last episode) that the "main plot" seems distracting. I would rather watch Tsubasa and Hikaru spend time with their friends. Taking all things into consideration, the alien plot was definitely necessary for the ending, but they could have reduced the repetition or introduce something new in both sides’ attacks.
For an anime that was made in 2001, the art was pretty good. The character designs were exceptionally good…except for the designs of the figures and Maguars. When D.D. first transformed, I expected something more exciting than the silver surfer. Other than that, the animation was solid and every scene was animation well, even the action scenes. In fact, it was just short of amazing, but nothing amazing when it comes to the designs for the "main plot."
The repeating theme song of the series was undoubtedly catchy and encouraging as well. I’m not a big fan of the OP and the ED was about romance (?) which does not really fit the series at all. However, I liked how background music was used in a series. Have you ever watched an anime and realized that without the background music, the show would not be as good? This was the case. It was beyond "just there" and very noticeable as an important part of the series.
I have touched on the amazing character development that took place in this series and now I will expand on it (with minimal spoilers). Tsubasa starts out as a new student in class who just moved into town. She is exceptionally shy, to the point of mild annoyance, not sociable with her classmates which leads to some bullying. Even when some of her classmates try to talk to her, she would not reply and isolate herself even more. Of course, this would all change when Hikaru, her duplicate, transferred into her class.
Of course all of this sounds very corny at this point because it is obvious that somehow Hikaru will help Tsubasa overcome her shyness or something. But it’s not really just that simple. Tsubasa’s transformation is subtle and gradual. It is not where this event happens which led to Tsubasa being this much braver. In the later half of the series, Tsubasa will undergo some of this transformation on her own and in many ways surprised me quite a bit. What I thought to be just some corny story became a very interesting journey. Someone once said that Figure 17 was like breathing life into its characters. I wholeheartedly agree.
For the most part the alien plot was boring, but I already said so many bad things about it anyways. Episode 1 was actually quite annoying at how Tsubasa was so emo in school (and even at home). Episodes 2-4 were slow but nice to watch, since character development don’t happen overnight. Starting from episode 5, an episode mostly dedicated to Tsubasa and Hikari helping out at her father’s workplace, the stories revolving around Tsubasa’s daily life became amazing. Episode 7 was surely relaxing and nice development, and episodes 9-11 will be some that I will definitely remember.
Figure 17 definitely had its share of sad moments, and anyone who have seen it will not disagree. One thing about Figure 17 is how realistic it is, despite its alien plot. I have watched many anime which had something along the lines of what episodes 9 and 10 showed, but nothing was overdone. At one point, I wanted to scream out, "This is what anime should be," because it took something not original and perfected its presentation. That is truly the magic of Figure 17. Through the sad times and through the fun times, through the tough times and through the relaxing times, Figure 17 is impeccable in its portrayal of human emotions and that is why I enjoyed Figure 17 so much.
Figure 17 may have been spot on in one aspect but that doesn’t mean the entire series was perfect. The one indication of something usual about this series is that the "main plot" was often pushed aside for the slice-of-life aspects of the show, and frankly, it was the less enjoyable portion of the series. It seems like the series wanted to explore Tsubasa’s development but chose a terrible medium (alien transformation) to show the development. To me, it felt like the action aspect of the show got half-assed.
But the real question is, "Does it matter?" From a technical point of view, the series is not perfect hence the 7 score. However, this would be the series that I would recommend to everyone. It can be relaxing and it is also emotional. And don’t forget that Tsubasa and Hikaru and very cute. It is probably enjoyable by a large audience since there is pretty much something for everyone. Why am I reviewing this series? Because this is a series that is memorable. There a many series that delivered the "wow" factor but then become forgettable. But Figure 17 is one that had a lasting impact, and for that I will praise it.
"You can keep dreaming, but this love can never be put into words."
I enjoyed seeing their interaction with their friends and dailly lives, and how they dealt with the ever sinister threat presented by the Magyars, and how each time Tsubasa finds the courage to stand up and fight when called upon by her "sister". Sadly, the last few episodes were weepies, but in my case it was tears of joy at seeing our heroine blossom, with cherished memories and the hope of a new life back home in Tokyo.
The background artwork is beautifu, the production is slick, and I was not left with the sense of "to be continued." The only gripe I had was the episode length, at times I felt like I was watching a movie!
It’s highly recommended, but only if you are more interested in human relationships than alien invasions.
7: Brigadoon: Marin to Melan
Japanese: ブリガドーン まりんとメラン
MAL Score: 7.25
Marin is a typical junior high school girl with a sunny disposition and a loving adoptive family. Her life takes a drastic change when a mysterious mirage is seen in the sky above the entire earth. Killer androids called Monomakia descend to earth from the formation in the sky called Brigadoon and begin to hunt down little Marin. She discovers a blue bottle in a shrine as she seeks escape and from the bottle comes a protector, a sword carrying gun slinging alien called Melan Blue, together they must save the earth and deal with family crisis, school prejudice and the police and come to an understanding of Marins past and Melans unexplained mission, as well as learn to trust each other. Set in 1969 Japan with a colorful cast of friends and enemies.
Brigadoon, I am happy to report, does not suffer the cliches usually associated with certain anime categories or genres. It simply doesn’t belong to any. In fact, It will quietly defy all attempts at categorization and will summarily step on your face if you attempt it.
Brigadoon Marin to Melan’s story revolves around Marin Asagi and a giant humanoid monomakia, Melan Blue. Combining fantasy, sci-fi, action, comedy and drama, it’s a happy mix of everything every anime genre has to offer, all packed into 26 episodes.
First and foremost, Brigadoon’s story is not something you can appreciate by watching the first 5 or 10 episodes and then jumping to the last episode. Despite all the action and the blood and the killing, Brigadoon is, deep down, a love story, brilliant and intricately built over a span of 26 episodes. Marin and Melan’s kiss on episode 26 requires the past 25 episodes to explain; save my keyboard the trouble and just watch all of it.
Second, Brigadoon is not for the faint of heart. Most people will be uncomfortable with a romantic pairing between a 13-year old heroine and a much older-looking hero, and may decide not to even give the series a chance. This is a sad mistake. The most intimate thing that ever happened between Marin and Melan in the entire series was a goddamn kiss, and half the time Melan didn’t know what a kiss was to begin with. It DOES have fanservice, but the pantyshots were far in-between and mostly for humor. It shouldn’t be a hindrance from enjoying an otherwise brilliant series.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, on to the review:
STORY: 8/10. Brigadoon’s first few episodes makes it look like your run-of-the-mill, monster-of-the-day anime. Thankfully, it changes its mind and the pace picks up after three episodes. When it finally does, Marin’s brattiness stops and Melan’s slam-bang kick-assery begins.
Melan’s “duty” is heavily fueled by events from Brigadoon’s past, but the series manages to avoid too much flashbacks by letting Lolo narrate Brigadoon’s backstory little by little. However, there are still some confusing points in the series and even as a fan, I found it hard to follow especially at the last few episodes. A more prominent flaw, however, is the deus ex machina ending. I hate this. It’s very abrupt, a little too convenient, and leaves so many unanswered questions that I can’t help but wonder if the makers originally had a sequel in mind. Explaining the motives of the Hensu-chi alone should take more episodes, considering that this is not the first time Brigadoon and earth almost ended because of the Hensu-chi.
ART: 7/10. The fighting sequels were superb. The action shots are tense and speedy, with no repeated cells to make a one-minute fight last five minutes. The character designs for the monomakias were excellent, notably Melan’s and Kushatohn’s. However, I’ve noticed that most people dislike Marin’s character design; She’s supposed to be 13 but she looks everything under 9. And her feet. I’m pretty sure something’s wrong with them…
Anyway, that doesn’t bother me. What DOES bother me is how the animation tended to screw up at the worst possible moments. There were a few bad sequences in the Submaton Color episode [which was the best in the series], and it irritates me to no end that Melan’s first smile in the entire series was drawn by a retard. I actually have to cover half of the freaking monitor with my hands to make Melan look normal! [Thankfully, Melan smiles radiantly in another scene in the same episode.]
SOUND: 9/10. I found Brigadoon’s soundtrack haunting and enjoyable, but I’d admit it’s not for everyone. Most tracks were Celtic-themed acapella singing, balanced by bouncy instrumental tracks and a fun closing theme. The acapella rendition of the opening song, “Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori” is powerful and heart-wrenching. This provides strong contrast to the catchy ending theme, “Nijiiro no Takaramono”, sung by the actress who voices Marin herself.
ENGLISH DUBBING: 0/10. Just think of the English dub as parody dub, then forget it exists and watch the subbed version instead. The English dub made several changes in the character’s lines, [e.g. Marin never says “Ahaaa~” in the English dub, even though it’s her trademark expression in the series] and altered some scenes altogether [Melan and Marin’s kiss in Episode 15 seemed to have NEVER happened in the English dub.]
And Marin. Ahh, let me see… it sounds like a fully grown woman trying to sound like a cute 13-year-old, the kind of voice you hear when you dream of little girls asking if you want to play, and when you turn around you see them holding knives dripping with blood, and when they raise it in the air you wake up in the middle of the night screaming. I hate it with all my heart.
Tony Oliver’s voice is decent enough, but for a killing machine like Melan its too soft and low, like a whisper that’s JUST barely audible. Somewhat like a commentator for a golf show. I don’t know, but when Melan gets into a huge catfight involving guns and swords and his voice suddenly reminds me of golf, it kinda ruins the moment.
But more importantly, it’s not worth missing out on Melan’s Japanese voice. It’s emotionless and solid, with a metallic twinge that fits his alien character unquestionably. It constantly reminds you that Melan is a huge bulk of steel and alien flesh you shouldn’t mess with. Unless he’s talking to Marin, he’s ALWAYS unimpressed.I… it’s just… perfect. I want to go on, but I can’t think of any other words to describe it.
CHARACTER: 9/10. Though it has more than a dozen characters and only 26 episodes, Brigadoon manages to provide enough ‘camera time’ for most of them. Not enough time for character development per se, but enough for the viewer to grow familiar with and develop empathy towards them. There’s Uncle Onando, who never says anything and just keeps throwing peace signs whenever he’s onscreen. But I like him, and I don’t know why.
ENJOYMENT: 10/10. I’ve watched the series over three times already, and although I am aware of the series’ flaws, it has not stopped me from enjoying it. It’s a pretty obscure anime and it’s a pity people have not enjoyed it simply because they don’t know the series exists. Highly recommended.
First of all, it has the human weapon as male (a rather good looking one at that) rather than female as seems to be the standard in anime, seemingly push this from an ecchi shounen aspect to a more shoujo one. Most series if they want to reverse it, either make the human weapon as some ugly robot, as some monster hybrid or some female cute monster. That’s what attracted me to this series in the first place. I was wondering where they would go with this.
After getting hooked to Melan and wanting to see more of him, it’s then that the story hits. It really doesn’t pigeonhole itself into the “Proxy battle”, “Mecha” affair that it seems like it’s going to shove itself into. The mystery deepens when we find out that Melan is protecting Marin for a reason. You want to find out why. Toss in a magical transformation device and some romance and you really feel for the characters. It’s stops being about a formulaic trope that so many anime base themselves on.
Others have mentioned the ecchi aspect, but really the way it’s done in this series more or lets blends it away. Yes you see Marin’s panties, but she’s underage and they don’t really point to it and say “HEY LOOK!” like every other ecchi and non-ecchi anime does and make it the focus of the anime. You find out that the reason you can see them in the first place, is probably because she’s poor and doesn’t have any money to buy new clothes. Even the scenes of nudity is for a reason and they don’t parade it down the street like it’s the point of the episode. People are simply nude because they have no clothes, or they can’t wear them at the time.
Really over all, the story is VERY original. It doesn’t have an aspect you can plop into a category. Similar to DT Eightron in that respect. The ones who came up with the story actually sat down and probably did some world building versus sit down and go “Yeah let’s make another anime about a harem… with ecchi. Yeah, like those other five hundred out there.” It’s really want I want to start seeing in anime. More original stories that don’t ruin the experience by having ecchi parts all over the place (Umi Neko and a few other mecha shows), toss in a harem aspect for no good reason (yeah, let’s have a bunch of women… for no real reason. If anyone asks… we’ll say it’s SCIENCE!), or simply be on long string of colosseum battles (YuYu Hakusho, Shaman King, Yu-Gi-Oh, Bleach, the list goes on). It even averts the tried and troped “Let’s have a guy… that controls a woman… but she’s really a sword/demon/mecha/killing doll/dingo/familiar!” It really doesn’t want to make me watch another master-slave relationship being played out on TV where the master is male and the slave is female. I see that in real life too much thanks.
There are anime where the master is female of course, but they add so much ecchi to it that is shoves it back into the shounen, ecchi, boin, harem category. This averts it by making the master female and a child and the slave a good looking bio-mecha type where you don’t see the romance coming until the characters start to get closer to each other. It’s played more realistically.
Overall this anime is good, because it doesn’t try to be like every other anime out there. It makes it’s own path in the world and doesn’t rely on tropes and cliche out there to get it done.
The storytelling of present here isn’t something that can be judged based off of the first couple of episodes. While the monster of the week format persists throughout the 1st half, there are other serious elements at play here. What sets Brigadoon’s earlier episodes apart from other proxy battle titles are the actual repercussions that come with a child summoning a monster to combat other monsters. Lives are damaged/destroyed, thus people grow fearful and act on their fear. This is where the more tragic elements come in to play as not only does Marin become a pariah in the eyes of her peers, she is also targeted by the police as well for being at the centre of all the madness she never asked for. This is a series that won’t pull it’s punches and knows how to use shock factor as a means of getting points across.
Once the 2nd half hits, Brigadoon plunges head first into its own strange mythos and slowly reveals elements, those that are both entirely new and those foreshadowed earlier on. The story picks up a greater sense of urgency as well, as its plot-twists suggest that there is more at stake than just the lives of Marin and Melan. Although there are many elements at play within the setting of Brigadoon, some of the more vital ones do not receive much attention and feel pulled out of thin air with last minute explanations during the last episode. Another somewhat annoying trait this series adopts is use of cliffhangers sometimes. Very rarely will there be a cliffhanger that isn’t resolved via disappointingly simple means. It’s these somewhat cheap tricks that put a damper on what is otherwise a rewarding experience.
The true heart of Brigadoon lies in the intriguingly handled relationship between Marin and her alien guardian Melan. It develops from protector/protected, to father/daughter, and finally to the kind of relationship that should by all accounts feel wrong. The progression of their love feels gradual and given their extreme reliance on each other, the destination feels justified. The actual ending as a result gave me what as the “feels” even though the path to that ending came about could have gone smoother, as I’ve already mentioned. The wrapping up of their character arcs as a result feels cathartic enough to bring one to tears. Helping Marin get through her hardships is her makeshift extended family. Their personalities often rely on one-note gags, but the levity they offer is welcome in the face of the looming despair hanging over the story.
Brigadoon’s aesthetic, while dated visually, evokes a feeling of uniqueness not unlike the story itself. Although the visuals are by no means amazing, the overall cartoony style gives the show its own look. The series is set in 1969 and it certainly shows since special attention is given to make the locations give off that kind of vibe. Though the fight scenes are fluid enough, still, the OST is much more remarkable. “Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori” by Ikuko is a damn good opener with an appropriately sorrowful feel to it. The rest of the track is diverse enough to accommodate for the range of tones that series employs. My only gripe lies with the ending theme, which on its own is pretty decent, cutesy stuff. However when an episode ends with a serious cliffhanger, it only serves to damage the mood with its cheery tune. It’s better to just not watch it once the second half hits.
It’s to easy see why Brigadoon: Marin and Melan incapable of achieving any more then cult status. I believe that the quirky look may have given off the wrong message to many anime watchers as to what this series is all about. It’s a “something for everyone” sort of show to the point where it ends up being an acquired taste, if that makes any sense. Perhaps the best recommendation I can make for this series is that you should watch it if you’re the sort of person who can live with having their emotions jerked about. If so then prepare for a game of Genre Roulette the likes of which you may never see replicated to this success.
6: Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
English: Battle Doll Angelic Layer
MAL Score: 7.26
12-year-old Misaki Suzuhara has just gotten involved in Angelic Layer, a battling game using electronic dolls called angels. Even as a newbie, Misaki shows advanced skills as she meets new friends and enters Angelic Layer tournaments to fight the greatest Angelic Layer champions of the nation.
We follow little Mizaki, a little girl wanting to see her mother after years and years of being away from her. Upon arriving in the city where her aunt lives, she sees a jumbo vision screen that has two little battle dolls (known as Angles) fighting one on one. She is intrigued by them and decides to try it out for herself, unknown to Mizaki her mom is actually much closer than she thinks. This is the base of the storyline, along the way she meets new friends and rivals alike. To her; Angelic Layer is nothing more than a fun activity she likes to play as a sort of hobby, she soon becomes more involved with it and eventually signs on to a tournament…where her mother is the grand champion. It does good with keeping the tension between her and her mother actually meeting one day, as many episodes have them barely missing each other. The story starts off well with introducing each main and supporting cast roll, and there are quite a few of them. However, during the half way point you may start to notice a filler or two happening ever so often, or battles that seem kind of pointless to the base of the story. Speaking of battles, this is another negative about the series, in that Mizaki is one of those main lead characters that rarely ever loses, which might ruin the anticipation of each battle for some viewers. To its credit though they do end on some nifty cliffhangers every now and then, and do a pretty decent job of making the battles exciting for the viewer. Oh and the ending is just awesome, it concludes very well and doesn’t leave you with any sort of questions. So you need not worry about investing your time in a 26 episode long series, only to have it disappoint in the end, because it doesn’t! Its a good story as a whole, but does lack somewhat being that the only real goal in mind is Misaki meeting her mother.
Angelic Layer shouldn’t contain anything that viewers would find offensive, there are little romance scenes going on, but they are never shown or implied as dirty…since these kids are pretty young.
If you’re familiar with a company known as “Studio Bones” then you’ll notice right away that Angelic Layer is very appealing to look at, even considering the fact that this anime isn’t the newest out there. With very colorful setting and character models. However, the characters themselves (with the exception of Misaki) look pretty standard and generic, I was never really able to find one that stuck out for me. The fighting scenes are cool though, they move swiftly and have nice balance of unique fighting moves and martial arts. Along with some containing actual power style techniques. Almost makes me wish they would bring over a fighting game of this series, heck I would buy it!
The closing themes change twice during the whole series, which helps give good variety to the show. They are pretty darn catchy, as is the opening theme song “Be My Angel.” Character voices were also spot on! I listened to it in both English and Japanese. I felt they were just about equal, but I would give a slight tip of the hat to the Japanese version, as it seemed to match a wee bit better! Regarding the background music, you only really get one memorable soundtrack, it plays this sort or arena style action theme, it fits well with the fighting and builds up the anticipation of each match.
They are varied in their personalities, and you get a pretty good variety of them because of this series’ larger style cast line up. Though I feel that I should mention that the major bulk of the cast are indeed females. Even so they seemed to lack a real sort of depth to them, there aren’t really many episodes where we get a true understanding about the supporting cast or rivalries, usually it will include only a brief flash back or passing mention. But I must say they do interact well with one another, and you get a fair amount of character chemistry too. I would also point out that this title is quite good with its whole “friendship” feature.
Bottom Line: 7/10
If I were a big fan of these “one on one” battle style anime, then I probably would have given it a bit higher of a score. Still, it kept me entertained! If you can make it through some of the filler style episodes, and don’t mind the story dragging on some what, then you will like Angelic Layer!
Genre: Action, Comedy, Shojo-ish
Plot Summary: Suzuhara Misaki moves to Tokyo city in order to attend school and for a hope that she will see her mother, who left 7 years previous to work in Tokyo. After exiting the station, she sees on a big screen two people fighting. However, these are not people – rather they are Angels, which are dolls controlled by a Deus. These dolls are custom made, and they fight in Angelic Layer, which is the name of the sport. She is told all this by the scientist Icchan, who walked up to her and started telling her this stuff. Ignoring the possibibility that he might be a lolicon [AKA, pedophile][He isn’t], she followed him into the Anglelic Layer store, where he went and showed her what to buy to create her own angel. After creating her own Angel, who she called Hikaru [which means Light], and making friends, Kotaro and Tamayo, she enters tournaments and goes on to become the Kiseki no Rookie [Miracle Rookie].
Analysis [Contains Spoilers]
Its a decent enough anime. Its done by CLAMP, which makes some good anime/manga, but I do have some problems with it. Early on in the series, Kotaro developes a crush on Misaki, which is teased upon by Tamayo. However, later on in the series, Tamayo admits that she’s had a crush on Kotaro for a long time. If thats the case, why did she even push him onto Misaki to start with? The other thing I can’t get around is the fact that she is the Kiseki no Rookie. She starts playing, and then she never looses. She only lost once, and that was too Kotaro’s little genius sister, Hatoko. She beat every opponent after that, continuously gaining in strength, without really appearing to. Additionally, the Champion, Shuko, who is her mom, lost to her. When she hadn’t lost to 77 or so other players. Finally, there is the matter with her mom. Her mom, quite frankly, is a wuss. A gigantic one. She’s afraid to see Misaki, because she’s afraid of what Misaki will think of her. She doesn’t want Misaki to see her in a wheelchair. However, by postponing it, isn’t she just making it worse?
End of Spoilers
Analysis [No Spoilers]: Some of the fights are cool. I think that the plot is a bit iffy, but its a 26 episode show expanded from a 25 or so chapter manga. There really isn’t much you can do with it. I think that the comedic moments are great, but sometimes it just pushes it. Some of the fights are good, some are bad. It seems like in order to make a new plot point in the fight, they introduce something, that they can miraculously explain away in all of the previous fights. While sometimes, it works, but other times … I just can’t buy it. Theres only so much you can ignore.
Additionally, when you ‘launch’ angels onto the layer, you say an opening shpeal. Which is kinda lame. And I really dont see how Hikaru can fall like the way that she does in that.
There isn’t really much to the anime except for the tournament. The first 4 or so episodes deal with her starting, and then there is the tournament. The rest of the plot then deals with the tournament. The unimportant matches get an entire episode, and some of the ‘big’ matches, you never see the character again. If you do, its very very minor.
This is a cute anime, and ok for a laugh. Some of the fights are good, while others are meh. Watch it if you want.
review taken from animeruwelz, check my profile for details
Even though I enjoy watching Kodomo tournament anime, I don’t find them to be all that great in actually. Yes, there were a few kid tournaments that were actually good such as Gundam Build Fighters, Cardfight Vanguard Season 1 and Future Card Buddyfight Season 1 many of the kids tournament anime seemed to be meh at best by comparison especially when theses that three shows that I enjoy actually have more things going on outside its tournament nature in terms of story and charterers.
As a fan of the sub genre self I decided to check out other kid tournament anime and the first anime that appeared other than the pretty good Danball Senki series which am currently watching from time of the review is Angelic Layer a 26 episode tournament series done by Studio Bones as featuring the art-style from Clamp. I went into this show with pretty high exceptions as I expected this show to be a engaging tournament show that had a good sci-fi tournament setting and fun and likeable characters.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any of that as show quickly devolves into a generic tournament anime that was filled with cliche characters and cheesy predictable writing that was too much for my tastes. Angelic Layer isn’t a bad series, but I don’t think it’s all that great. It’s a decent anime that is very enjoyable for children as well newer anime fans. However, if you like me who had lots of Kodomo tournament anime in the past, you will begin to see that Angelic Layer has a lot of small cracks which become larger as you progress the series to a point where the series starts falling apart in the end.
Also get use of hearing the word predictable throughout this review.
The story follows sixth grader Misaki Suzuhara who has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt. When she arrived in Tokyo, she sees two battle between two dolls on a big live-screen called Angelic Layer which is a highly popular game in which players (called Deus) buy and custom-design dolls known as Angels that are moved by mental control when on a field called the “layer.”She soon meets a guy with a lab coat named himself Icchan where he encourages Misaki to purchase and create her own angel. She ended up getting an angel that resembles the protagonist from Magic Knight Rayneth, and she calls it Hikaru. Despite being a clueless of the game in first glance she competes in tournaments and is assisted and watched carefully by Icchan and from there Misaki life as a competitive Angelic Layer player where she has to defeat other players to become the best like no one ever was.
The story on paper was interesting and entertaining however it actual execution the story is boring and predictable. Am not joking when I say this but Angelic Layer is one of the most predictable stories I have ever seen and it’s not for a good reason which falls into the shows cheesy writing which I will talk about in a bit. My problems in Angelic Layer begin with the overall pacing as the series is overall pretty inconsistent as it can go either way too fast or way too slow. It was okay in the first few episodes but it really got out of hand as the series went on as many of the fights seemed to either drag out just to fill the 20 minute mark or fights that are too short where they lasted 2 to 5 minutes. I will admit there were a couple of fights that solidly paced overall but the most part the pacing could have been a lot better.
The pacing seemed to plays along with the shows cheesy writing.
The writing in Angelic Layer is such that many of the dialogue and conflicts are cheesy for the sake of being cheesy. There’s not much self-awareness as the series seemed to ride on the cheese train. It’s gets even worst when the writing goes into full angst mode One of the example of this happens with one match of the tournament where Misaki is fighting a girl who complains about being too tall. Uhhhh what?
On top of the inconsistent pacing and cheesy writing comes in the series of plot holes that ruined the story even more. I won’t mention them here but can easily notice them as you watch the series itself.
The worst thing about Angelic Layer is that is ultimately predictable, but it’s not of a good reason. Personally, I don’t mind predictable shows as long as they good characters that make it up unfortunately with the expectation of two characters which I mention in a bit the characters in Angelic Layer weren’t not all that good. The battles in the Angelic Layer have predetermined meaning thanks to the power of-plot armour that Misaki has she cannot lose an Angel fight. She may lost once an Angel fight in the beginning but after that, she becomes an unstoppable god.
As for the love triangle itself like with the tournament, it’s very predictable and not well executed even though it had potential to be good.
Overall the story of Angelic Layer was underwhelming. It had potential to be fun and interesting, but the predictable and cheesy writing ended up destroying all the shows potential of being a solid kid tournament anime.
The characters, for the most part, aren’t much better as they okay at best and at worst wasted potential. They are not necessarily bad characters it’s just the writing at the various points ruined many of the characters in Angelic Layer.
First up we have Misaki. Out of all the characters in Angelic Layer, she’s easily the worst of the bunch. She’s is a self-insert Mary sue who is simply perfect at everything. She doesn’t much of a personality other that she is kind and clumsy and most of her dialogue was plain boring to listen. She slightly gets better in the final episodes but by then it’s being its way too as she comes off as a bland and unlikable Mary Sue.
Icchi Chan is a pretty cool character While he doesn’t have much depth, his still, a pretty entertaining character who has a lot a charm though at times he does go completely off-rails for my liking at times.
Next, we have Hatoko.
Man what a wasted potential Hatoko was. She was a badass character in the first half but as the series progress, she loses her badassery to a point where she became nothing but cheer-leading fodder for Misaki. It’s such a shame really.
Now we get to my favourite character in Angelic Layer Tamayo.
I really liked Tamayo I really enjoyed of what she did for her character. Despite being a cheerleader for Misaki she was filled with passion and joy. I really enjoyed her tomboyish characters towards the cast especially towards Kotoro and Misaki. Honesty she should have been a main protagonist rather than Misaki because she’s not only interesting character that is filled with charisma but she was only character in Angelic Layer that wasn’t a bore to watch. Thank god!!!
Now we have Kotaro and not gonna lie he’s is boring.
He’s just an incredibly bland character who simply allows Tamayo to do all her karate moves on him like a punching bag. He doesn’t even attempt to counter Tamayo moves and his dialogue was boring as hell.
Finally, we have Ohijro or like who are you again? Apart from being a love interest for our Mary Sue lead as well being a step brother for Icchan he’s was a forgetful character who didn’t do much to the overall plot.
The rest of the characters are very forgetful as they all come and go for plot reasons and they barely leave an impact on the overall plot.
The visuals in Angelic Layer are a mixed bag. On the one hand the series well polished that contains great lighting and cinema-photography while at other times the series can look pretty messy and inconsistent to a point where some of the scenes in Angelic Layer look pretty ugly. The characters designs despite being done by CLAMP were average and not all that appealing to act for the most part. The background scenery is okay as it uses a series of basic sci-fi and urban colour palette for the environments.
The animation itself was fine. While the Angel fights were nicely animated the human characters have somewhat limited animation. While it’s wasn’t bad it just didn’t do much especially when the series likes to use stock footage and animation shortcuts.
If there was one word to describe the soundtrack of Angelic Layer, it would be forgettable. Apart from three to two tracks, I can’t remember the tracks in Angelic Layer.
The opening theme “Be My Angel” by Enomoto Atsuko is a decent opening theme that is upbeat and catchy.
The ending themes, on the other hand, were pretty forgetful and dull.
Now for sub vs dub.
I only saw the first four episodes of Angelic Layer subbed and I thought it was pretty good. Not great but not too dull.
The dub on other hand is pretty weak. Apart from Monical Raial as Tamoyo, the dub, in general, is pretty bad that it’s filled with lacklustre to downright awful performances left and right. Stick with the sub for this one.
I have mixed feelings towards Angelic Layer. On one hand, the premise and setup were very intriguing despite being weakly executed. I liked characters like Icchan and Tamayo as they were a joy to watch and I thought the some of the battles despite being very predictable were fun to watch. Unfortunately, Angelic Layer had a lot of problems that actually hurt it. The soundtrack minus the opening and ending themes were very forgetful and repetitive. Most of the characters apart from the ones that I just mentioned ranged from dull, mediocre, wasted potential to downright awful and the tournament ultimately ended up being tedious thanks to its massive plot armour and predictability.
Your honestly better off watching Gundam Build Fighters as it’s much better version of Angelic Layer that has a better character cast and a more intriguing tournament arc.
Overall I enjoyed Angelic Layer, but I don’t think it’s a good show. It’s a semi-decent series that’s it’s great for people who are under the age of 12 but completely falls for anyone who is over the age of 12.
Final Score 6/10
5: Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier
English: Cyborg 009
Japanese: サイボーグ009 THE CYBORG SOLDIER
MAL Score: 7.26
Skull, the evil leader of the terrorist organization known as Black Ghost, has nine powerful cyborgs under his control. But Dr. Isaac Gilmore, the Black Ghosts cybernetics scientist, decides to go rogue, helping the cyborgs turn against Skull and his evil organization.
Black Ghost wishes to start the next major world war by flooding the market with weapons of mass destruction. It seems the nine brave cyborgs have their work cut out for them, as Black Ghost is determined to bring those nine cyborgs down.
What I mean to say is: watch the original version! The characters are more believable with their voice acting and the dialogue makes a lot more sense. But if you watch this with English subtitles, I’m almost positive, that you’ll end up with the subtitles that are straight copied from the English audio. If you don’t know Japanese and can’t spot the differences in the general dialogue, then at least you’ll notice the non-existing dialogue that according to the subtitles is taking place.
The sound design has become iconic to myself and if any of those sounds used in this show are used in any other installments, I will notice. Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier also has one of the best soundtracks I’ve come across and I even ended up purchasing the two albums.
I’ve watched this series 3 ½ times and gotta say, though most likely the suitable demographic is children, this series still holds a special place in my heart. However, it’s nowhere near perfect and gets 7/10 from me. Favorite episode: 33 – Frozen time.
To tell a great superhero story, a great hero needs a great villain to fight, but that’s where this show’s problem lies.
Black Ghost is a great villain; he’s ruthless and doesn’t even care if his own henchmen get killed. He’s also smart and devious which are all great qualities in a villain, but the problem is, despite being the main antagonist, Black Ghost only appears in a handful of episodes leaving all the other episodes just feeling like filler.
The cyborgs do fight other villains besides Black Ghost with some cool fight scenes, but the other villains are all just forgettable with nothing that interesting about them.
While all the cyborgs do have some cool powers (009 having super speed, 006 breathing fire, and 007 being a shape shifter) that doesn’t make them great characters.
It’s not that I don’t like any of the MC’s, but they just all feel like tokens with 009 being the token leader and 003 being the token girl and 007 being the token comic relief character.
It doesn’t help that the characters don’t have the best chemistry either or demonstrate the best teamwork. Good team members should compliment each other and work together, but whenever there’s a fight it’s like everyone splits up and does their own thing.
The fight scenes are well animated and I do like this 1960’s SciFi aesthetic they use for things like the ray guns and giant robots. However, the character designs are another story.
There are some characters that look fine like 009 and 003, but then there are other characters like Dr. Gilmore and 007 that just look plain ugly. Gilmore’s nose is the size of a watermelon and 007’s eyes are way too close together.
I understand that this what the characters looked like in the 1968 version, but, in my opinion, they just look ugly.
006 is even worse, however. I understand that 006 is Chinese and anime artist like to draw Chinese people with weird looking eyes like Brock from Pokemon, but seriously, what are those things? Those aren’t eyeballs! They look more like little mouths!
I know it may seem like I’m making a big deal about it, but it’s an understood rule of character design that it is extremely important that you get the eyes right because, as they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul.
I don’t want to use the word robotic to describe the voice acting, but I does sound like the actors aren’t putting much emotion behind their words which really hurts the characters.
Also, I can’t really explain it, but I feel like there’s too much silence in each episode. What I mean is there’s too many moments where there are no characters talking and no background music playing or a character is talking, but with no background music. I know that may seem like a nitpick, but I do think it hurt the quality of the show.
I’m glad I watched Cyborg 009, if only because it’s such a classic anime in the same way Astro Boy is, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it to anyone. If you want to watch some good superhero anime, One Punch Man and My Hero Academia would probably be a better choice.
4: Zoids Shinseiki/Zero
English: Zoids: New Century
MAL Score: 7.32
Zoids—powerful animal-shaped combat mechs—are no longer used in warfare, but in organized sporting competitions. The Blitz Team, a group of pilots struggling to carve out a niche for themselves in the Zoid battling leagues, experience a stroke of luck when Bit Cloud, a vagrant junk dealer, wanders into their midst and proves himself capable of piloting the temperamental Liger Zero, a Zoid that refuses to let anyone else into its cockpit. Led by Bit and the Liger, the Blitz Team steadily make their way to the top—but along the way they attract the unwelcome attention of the Backdraft Group, an organization of Zoid pilots that operates outside the laws set down by the Zoid Battle Commission. The Backdraft want powerful Zoids to add to their ranks, and they have their eye on the Liger Zero…
One show that Toonami aired was Zoids: New Century Zero, or, as the dubbing company named it, Zoids. I loved watching Zoids after school, it was definitely one of my favorite series. So I picked it up again, torrented the dub, and watched it start to finish. Serious blast from the past.
The plot of the show works rather well, and it’s very fun to see the Blitz team pull out one victory after another. The Backdraft group is a little cliche at the beginning with their, "oh ho ho, we’re the bad guys and we’re going to beat you do-gooders into the ground", but as the series goes on, the members of the back-draft group get a lot more fleshed out and become interesting villains. Still, some remain stale, with little to no explanation of their motivations except "I wanna be powerful, lol".
Sometimes, though, I felt Bit and the Liger were too powerful. I can only remember one instance of the Liger losing, and with twenty five plus battles, you start to get annoyed by the Liger’s uber skills. In the beginning episodes, the other characters hardly get any action at all, and powerful warriors like Brad and Leena even start to seem like hindrances to Bit and the Liger. However, as the series goes on, this remedies itself, with Brad getting a tricked out Shadow Fox and Leena blasting away opponents with her Gun Sniper. Jamie even gets a share of the action in his flying Raynos.
To tell the honest truth, I think this series needed to be longer. Brad doesn’t get his Shadow Fox until Episode 20 out of 26, and Jamie only gets one or two episodes to totally kick butt as the Wild Eagle, his alter ego. The show gets a lot of fleshing out too late, in my opinion.
But what I’ve written makes it seem like I didn’t enjoy the show. Quite the contrary, Zoids is a great series, despite its slow build-up to the uber awesome. Every character is fun to watch, from the fun-loving Bit to the "shoot first ask questions later" Leena. Brad’s misery behavior is very funny, and Jamie shows off more than once that he is the most mature of the team, despite being the youngest. Steve Torros’ impulse buying of things that are "big and shiny" is always chuckle-enducing. Harry Champ is also hilarious to watch — he’s desperately in love with Leena, but she refuses his advances (probably due to the fact that he’s a total dork).
The writing, I will admit, sometimes dissolves into the classic shonen anime "long stare off into the sky with determined expression" cheese. But some passages of dialogue are very funny. So it’s a mixed bag.
The art of this series is actually one of the things that makes it stand out. For 2001, the art is really clean and polished, and the amount of detail is astounding. All the Zoids are animated in full 3D CG, which makes for some pretty stunning battles. Watching the action on this show is hardly a bore — everything is animated beautifully, and all the Zoids are designed fantastically.
The music is also something that sticks out. In short, it kicks ass. You WILL find yourself bopping up and down to some of the tunes, especially the "uber dramatic action" songs that got me bopping my head. Whoever did the music handled it VERY well. I watched the dub, so I didn’t hear the Japanese opening theme/ending theme, but the American ending theme isn’t so awful. No singing, just some cool rock music — a good choice, in my opinion.
As for the dub, I can honestly say that Zoids is probably one of the best dubs I’ve seen. A few of the lines are little "whut?!" but for the most part, across the board, the acting is good and the voices all fit great. They did a bit of editing (Bit walks in on Leena in the bath — they disguise it as Leena being mad because Bit took her scheduled time slot) but it really wasn’t annoying. I mean, I’m not the sort who goes, "OMFG there shuld b more cursin!!1 lol" so I think whatever edits they did were appropriate and non-obtrusive to the storyline.
Really, I watched around eight episodes of this series in a row. It’s that good. Definitely will keep you entertained, and probably get you invested along the way.
When i sit back and look at Zoids for what it is, an American Dubbed anime, i am left in awe of it’s prowess. The voice acting was actually something i felt little shame for. The plot was fun and amusing, but it incorporated enough twists, revelations and serious scenes to give it a good blend. A whimsical and light anime, the characters stand out with their sarcastic wit. I had to give it extremely top marks because of the impact it left on me.
Time to review a blast from the past! Zoids Zero was a popular show on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block in the early 2000s. The show largely existed to sell awesome toy models, much like Hasbro’s Transformers from the 1980s, but it was still a decent show and not just a glorified toy commercial.
The plot is that piloting giant robots and fighting in epic team battles is now the most popular sport on Earth, or whatever the hell planet this takes place on. The main team is called the Blitz team and in the tradition of sports movie cliches goes from a bunch of complete losers to being the champs in dramatic fashion. The Blitz team is led by Bit Cloud and the mysterious Liger Zero Zoid. The Liger can transform into several other forms with the help of attachable battle armor including the lighning fast Jager, the heavy fire power Panzer, and the well balanced Schneider. This show had a bizzare fetish for German names. The most powerful Zoid in the whole series is a T-rex called the Berzerk Fuhrer (not kidding). Although they did change the name to the Berzerk Fury in the US and German dubs for censorship reasons. The plot heavily resembles other fighting robot sports series like G-Gundam and Robot Jox. Only instead of fighting to control the world, it is simply a sport for entertainment. The plot honestly isn’t as important as the EPIC battle scenes and awesome robots. This was a great little shonen action series that is worth checking out for that reason alone.
The characters are honestly pretty bland and generic. Bit Cloud is funny at times, but doesn’t really have any character depth or anything that makes him memorable. The other characters are even less developed. This isn’t really a series you watch for the great characters though.
Although it looks a tad dated now, the CG was amazing when it first came out. Combining CG with traditional animation was difficult in the late 90s and early 2000s, and often it came out looking like complete horse shit. Zoids is one of the better examples of an anime with heavy CG from this time period.
I wouldn’t rush out and buy the soundtrack, but it had some catchy toons and fit the action of the series quite well.
It has been quite a while since I last saw Zoids, so obviously my review is tinted a bit by nostalgia. I did find it quite enjoyable back in the day, and would think that current generation anime fans in their young teens would also probably have some fun with it.
This is a series that really isn’t brought up much anymore. This is kind of a shame because it is a LOT better than a lot of current day shit like Rail Wars! I’m not saying that Zoids Zero is a classic in the same vein as Cowboy Bebop or anything, but it was and is a decent little series that deserves a tad more love than it gets.
MAL Score: 7.37
A strange environmental phenomenon 22 years ago in the Kanazawa prefecture caused the land to split and protrude upwards reaching unprecedented heights, creating the secluded area known as The Lost Ground. Kazuma is a young mercenary who lives in the Lost Ground, looking for any work he can find to sustain his livelihood within the harsh environment. He is one of the few people that are gifted with the Alter ability, which allows him to plaster his right arm and torso with a metallic alloy. When this mercenary encounters HOLY, an order whose purpose is to suppress and capture what they call Native Alter Users, and one of the elite members of HOLY, Ryuho, an epic rivalry begins.
The main theme of the series is their rivalry in particular. No matter what else goes on in this show, it all ultimately boils down to our badass hero and our girly nerd hero wanting to beat the shit out of each other.
But seriously now, Scryed is basically what you’d get if you took Naruto, Bleach, DBZ and Code Geass, cut out the filler, terrible writing, homoerotic overtones and everything else that brings those shows down and put the gold left over into 26 episodes. Speaking of Code Geass, that series is literally just Scryed after Goro Taniguchi got paid tons of money to add Clamp art, school crap, robots and double the series length for no reason.
The pacing’s good. The first half of the series has Kazuma coming to a classic shounen showdown with some of the wildest and most awesome/gimmicky/hateable enemies I’ve ever seen. In the background of all this, the plot develops as the big bad city and its police force comes into greater conflict with the slum people. Of course this all involves dudes with weird superpowers fighting too.
Later on in the show, after Kazuma breaks the universe in half with a flick of his wrist, the series jumps into overdrive and all sorts of awesome shit happens. Scryed shows that it can juggle multiple subplots at once with equal weight(something Code Geass wishes it could do btw), which does nothing but add to how awesome the last batch of eps are. The final episode of Scryed should be duly noted as the best final episode of anything ever. Not even exaggerating here.
Characters? Awesome. Many people confuse Kazuma with a cliche shounen hero, when in fact he’s everything a good shounen hero has never been. Does he fight for his friends? Nah. Does he fight to become a great figure? No way. Does he fight just because he likes fighting? Well, yeah. Obv. But the key difference is that Kazuma does not give a DAMN. Do you have hostages and are threatening Kazuma? He’ll just knock you the hell out with no regards for anyone else. He’s impulsive, selfish, destructive, reckless, totally narrow-minded, PROUD and all the other things heroes are too balless or moral to be. These factors play heavily into his character development, as he becomes gradually more mentally unstable and self-destructive.
Then there’s Ryuho. He’s the polar opposite of Kazuma in every conceivable way in terms of personality, appearance, powers, back story, etc. Such is the point. He’s almost as major as Kazuma, though I don’t feel like typing a lot about him. Just note that he “HATES EVERYTHING EVIL!”
There’s also Straight Cougar as Crispin Freeman. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Hard to tell. Anyway he’s the best character in the show besides Kazuma and a fan favorite. The whole premise of his person is to live fast and be awesome. He’s actually stronger than both the main characters, but he doesn’t even care enough to show it. That’s how slick this guy is.
Kanami: Loli Narrator
Kimishima: Kazuma’s best bro, third best character right here
Scheris: Boobs(in the manga) with Kari’s voice from Digimon
Mimori: The cancer of the series, we don’t talk about her
Jigmar: Mullet-clad commander of HOLY. sounds like Jelly Jiggler
Urizane: Has mighty watermelon powers
Emergy: This guy actually summons a damn Gundam to fight Kazuma
A humpback whale: The main enemy of the series
Kyoji Mujo: The most wonderfully slick and antagonistic villain ever. He’s actually just a gay elf but whatever.
Other Stuff: Hm… Music. Yes. As with like every Taniguchi show, this series has a plethora of dramatic Mexican trumpets, acoustic guitars, male choruses, etc which liven up action scenes, make dramatic scenes wonderfully Tele-Novela-esque in their cheesiness, etc. A+ OST.
Now let’s shut up for a sec to talk about voices. You don’t watch Scryed subbed. Let me repeat:
###You DO NOT watch Scryed subbed.###
Not only does every sub group for this series suck horrendously in ways you can’t begin to grasp(I hope you’re reading this, incompetent “FIST OF MY EGO!” translators), but the original voices produce a very different series. A boring, desolate series only fools dare to tread where a really aggressive constipated boy does shoddy combat with some losers. A stark contrast to Dub Scryed(the correct title for the series) which follows the antiheroic exploits of a proud man with a prouder fist asserting himself upon dastardly cheesy wrongdoers who are running all up in his house. The scriptwriting in the dub is Pulitzer worthy, as shown by that youtube link above and these gems:
“If it exists, I’ll find it! Even if it doesn’t!”
“Kazuma~! How are you going to get out of this PINCH?”
“You should know the answer… with my fist!!”
Oh yeah, there’s art and animation too. Portions of the first few episodes of the series look very 90’s, but as the series goes on it gets better and better. They actually spent a good portion of the budget on just the final episode, which is considerably smoother than previous ones and even features fully new transformation sequences and no stock footage at all. Not that there’s much of that in the series in the first place.
SUMMARY: It’s the son of G Gundam and First of the North star and the father of Needless and Gurren Lagann. Dub only, sub sucks. This is the only shounen fightan’ anime you’ll ever want or need to watch.
The Lost Ground was created 22 years ago in the Kanazawa Prefecture when an unexplained geological / metaphysical phenomenon occurred which caused the ground to rise up into peaks accompanied by the release of a lot of energy. There were 2 effects of this. Firstly the Lost Ground split off from the Mainland. Secondly about 1% of the inhabitants of the Lost Ground gained special abilities to manipulate matter in various ways, they are called Alter Capabilists, with accompanying “Alter” abilities. If an Alter Capabilist’s ability manifests in the form of a separate entity that separate entity is called an “Alter”.
Politics makes this anime very interesting. There is the Mainland who treats the Lost Grounds as a sort of beggar nation. The city part of the Lost Ground has trade concessions and AID from the Mainland, and is separated from the rest of the Lost Ground by a high wall. Those outside “The Wall” are called Natives, and alter users there are Native Alters.
In order to combat the Lost Ground Native Alters, Lost Ground Admin sets up an institution called HOLD and a special division within that called HOLY which is basically Native Alters who have come to the Admin side in order to suppress other Native Alters from the other side of the wall. It’s sort of like using mutants to fight other mutants. Also note that even within the Admin section of Lost Grounds, Alters are NOT accepted as equal citizens, but they are tolerated if they are members of HOLY.
What a WONDERFUL premise. Special people with powers. Politics. Socio-economic ramifications where the rich live in the city and the rest eke out a beggarly but INDEPENDENT existence outside the wall. Organized government vs. anarchy. Dictatorship vs. Freedom. By the time it hit episode 10, I was thinking “this is GREAT”.
If all these wonderful possibilities had been taken to their conclusion I would have given story a 10, but it goes only part of the way there. I will say that the very last FRAME of the series brought the plot from a 8 to a solid 9. You’ll understand when you see it.
The main protagonist is Kazuma, the stereotypical rebel bad boy with a heart of gold. His alter is the ability to “harden” his right arm with metallic alloy which gives him the ability to smash through anything. At the beginning of the series he is a native alter living with his sweetheart, Kanami, who has masses of long red hair while keeping his identity as an alter “mercenary for hire” secret.
Before long he encounters Ryuhou, rich spoiled scion of an important industrial conglomerate who has emotional baggage from watching his mother die to a mysterous alter capabilist when he was a child. He is the co-protagonist and is the strong, silent, lawful type. He is the most gifted member of HOLY and is charged with suppressing Native Alters, because as everyone quickly figures out, only alters can fight other alters, normal humans don’t stand a chance. Ryohou is ridiculously good looking. In typical aloof hero fashion, he is oblivious to the TWO girls who are in love with him.
Kazuma and Ryuhou start out as enemies but they don’t stay that way as things progress. It all happens very naturally too. Sometimes I was not happy with the “one dimensional” nature of Kazuma as the competitive, I want to be the best/winner guy. It’s too Dragonball Z. Ryuhou matured as the series progressed but even then there are some manly man man things that manly men can’t change.
The cast of supporting characters is very well fleshed out, every single one of them. Straight Cougar is the comic relief but he has a “deep” side and ended up being my favorite characters. Shiree had the most amazing alter. The mainland princess is idealistic and unrealistic. Melon man has his own principles and the rest of the smaller guys you either liked or hated but they weren’t easily forgotten. All in all the characters were very well done except for Kazuma’s character development which could have been done better.
By 2008 standards, this is fairly dated with TONS of frame reuse. Like every episode there’s frame reuse. However to give credit to the artists the transformation scenes are very well drawn with excellent artistic licence, flow, color and creativity. You don’t get bored of seeing the “alters” of various people. If not for this I would have rated Art a lot lower.
The first strains of the opening sounds reminded me of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs”!! Serious!!! The alter sound effects were well done and voice acting was good. Not much else to say, nothing else jumped out at me as horrible or wonderful enough to give this more than a 7 rating.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this series as much as I did. Some parts of it were very predictable, characters fit into anime stereotypes but still with all the variety and interaction and plot driven devices this ended up being a very enjoyable watch. There’s lots of fighting, cool alters, philosophical parts, drama, angst, love, what’s not to like? Slightly better Art, a little more character development with Kazuma and pushing some other plot points to their conclusion would have made this a 10.
The story in a nutshell is set a few years after “The Great Uprising” and this in return sets up the character plots. Alters vs. HOLY. Alters are people who gained certain abilities from the incident a few years back, and they live outside the inner city just trying to survive, but HOLY wishes to either eliminate them all, or bring them to their side.
This show is very enjoyable. A lot of choice words thrown out here and there, nothing anyone hasn’t heard before. If your a fan of DBZ, you’ll most likely enjoy this one too. The story is great, the Animation is fantastic with awesome sound to go with it. As I said, the characters make the show even better, and it’s just all around enjoyable.
Emotion also runs high in this one. A lot of anger from Kazuma, Scheris and Mimori make love a real issue for Ryuhou, and Ryuhou is just one of those lost boys trying to figure out what’s really going on in the world and what really happened in his past. Kanami makes this story enjoyable too. And those are just a few of the most important characters. Cougar is a pretty funny guy too ;] The two main guys are Kazuma and Ryuhou, which in every other episode they’re pretty much punching each other’s faces into the ground, or arguing about something or other.
Overall, s-CRY-ed is one anime your not going to want to miss out on. The art is beautiful, the plot gets thicker and thicker as you get into further episodes, and you really have to pay attention in the beginning to understand everything to the fullest. This one isn’t an anime you have to read the manga for either, so there’s a plus. The manga goes into more details about the story, but oh well.
s-CRY-ed gets a 10/10 overall from me. Make sure to watch it sometime.
2: Vandread: The Second Stage
Japanese: ヴァンドレッド the second stage
MAL Score: 7.41
Though Hibiki and crew defeated a super-huge battleship of the earth in the last of the first stage, they noticed five battleships further aiming at Mejeiru and Tarahk. And, crew of NIRVANA learnt Tarahk and Mejeiru which were their home had been faced to the crisis of Karitori (reaping). Travel to their home is speed up so that they may inform of the crisis. On the way, current information of the earth having been brought by girl Misty who had come to travel with them was worse than they can imagine. Hibiki and crew noticed a true fight was in the future. VANDREAD is finally changed into final system by the attack of the enemy who becomes violent more and more. Can they save their home? And, what happens to the relations between Hibiki and Dita?
Obviously, the second season is a continuation of the story that began in the first season. What I noticed about the second season is that all characters went through huge developments; if not, revelations. I don’t want to give out too many spoilers, but in the second season Hibiki is moving closer to his goal of proving his existence, his relationship with Dita is improving even more, and we learn more about characters such as Meia, Jura, Magno and B.C.
There are also new characters that will be introduced. In fact, there’s so many of them but only 1 or 2 will take up more screen time than the other new characters. Here’s a clue for one of them: If you remember Ezra from the first season, then you’d probably have an idea of what kind of person the first new character will be.
Most of the voice actors from the first season have been retained from the first one, and thank goodness for that because I would have pouted to death if the had removed Tomokazu Seki from the billing. He is one talented guy, and he always does a great job with each character he portrays (for this one, Tomokazu Seki plays Bart Garsus). Of course, like I said in my review of the first season, the other seiyuus were also able to bring out the personalities of their individual characters.
The second season’s visuals were more or less similar to the first season, except I did find it to be more consistent. The “morphing faces” or anything like were kept to a minimum. I also realized that the used repeated scenes more often for the second season. That’s just laziness, but it wasn’t that bad. Most of the repeated scenes used are the ones wherein Dita’s dread and Hibiki’s van-types were combining.
I like the opening song of the second season better. The song “Justice” by Aki Kudou was almost a synopsis of what the characters of Vandread are trying to accomplish. They are trying to fight for their justice, for a great future and they want to keep it that way. As for the ending song, it’s OK. “Yes Together”, also by Aki Kudou, was too slow and mellow for my taste. Like the first season, the BGM was also well done this time around.
Vandread: The Second Stage is definitely a good way to end the Vandread series. Unlike the first season, the second season actually offers a more solid conclusion that will leave you with a clearer picture of what might happen next.
seamless plot continuation;
Lows: Nothing too new; transition between comedy and
drama may lose some viewers; a not so spectacular ending
Review: As a direct sequel, Vandread: The Second Stage picks up exactly where the First Stage left off. Generally when dealing with a sequel we are left with an anime that tries too hard to better the original but in the end simply cannot compare. Thankfully, that is not the case as we have a powerful continuation that follows through with the strengths of its predecessor and takes it a step further to the next level.
Unlike other sequels, The Second Stage doesn’t try too hard to introduce anything new; rather it builds on what was already laid out in the prequel and jumps right into the action. Slowly, but surely more pieces of the plot are revealed and in the process does a splendid job of fleshing out and developing character personalities. The former cast all make a return appearance, with the exception one new face, Misty, a cryogenically frozen girl who brings new energy to an already jam-packed and fun-filled group. The strong cast of characters is what drives this anime to success. Using several character-centric episodes, we can clearly see how the characters grow and begin to apply the lessons they have learned about each other and themselves, to help one another in their fight for survival.
The visuals have been improved and are as impressive as ever. GONZO a specialist in animation does not disappoint in this regard. Vandread: The Second Stage looks like a high budget OVA, showing considerable improvement over the First Stage with the nearly seamless integration of the CGI with its surroundings that remained consistent throughout the entire series. Not only do we have a great storyline, but one that looks good telling it.
Similar to the first installment, The Second Stage, manages to stay fresh and funny. As the anime progressed the atmosphere begins to change as most of the comedy is dropped for a more serious, dramatic tone. Some viewers may not be particularly fond of the loss of humor, while, some might see it as a welcome change. In any case, what we have is an enthralling storyline full of twists and turns and breathtaking action sequences that most would find hard not to enjoy. Although, there may be a common complaint about The Second Stage’s questionable conclusion which, not to say lacks any sort of finale, rather leaves a lot more to be desired.
If you enjoyed, Vandread: The First Stage, than this an anime you will definitely not want to miss. The Second Stage is a worthy sequel that concludes the series on a high note packaged full of all the cheerful characters and all the space action you can handle. So, grab this anime, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Wriiten by AlterGenesis-X
Oct 11, 2005
Well, first I shall give a few words associated and not associated with it
Reason for life, reason for love
Good humor (sorry if this is subjective 🙂 )
A lot of space, planets, magical robots and stuff
It is not:
Deep complicated storyline
Detailed past and future explanation
Detailed description of non-core characters
The storyline is not too complicated, but perfectly answers all the questions it has risen by the end of the 2nd stage. I really like the core idea – far in the future, men and women live on different planets, having developed methods of living separately, considering each other enemies and not even remembering that they can have relations (friendship, love, sex, make children). Then when a few guys get on a women pirate space ship, they have to find their way of changing the ideals they have been risen with to learn to cooperate with women (and vice versa).
Then there is the main evil – the Earth which has turned half-robotic and needs constant supply of fresh human bodies to live. This topic can be seen in a lot of other pieces (like Matrix for example), but they do not get into too much detail about it either. The core idea they succeed to prove here is that sacrificing your body and your life for the rest of your kind is only good when you make that decision yourself.
The battles show a lot of courage and just feelings, so they make me feel happy. The other thing is the scientific aspect of combining robots which fight with swords, shooting with huge laser rays, making black holes and stuff. If you are a physicist like me it is best to ignore the small pieces when they try to explain how the devices work.
Finally, the best part, best resembled in such pieces like onegai sensei, is the idea of overcoming your standstill, opening your eyes, starting to live your real life, living for the sake of both yourself and others. The small bits of philosophy are done very decently.
Clean and cool. A lot of well drawn motion, including 3D ships and planets. Ecchi lovers will find a little of “friendly boob squeezing”.
Sound comes in right place. No exceptional masterpieces, though the opening theme is quite decent.
Has about 10 major characters, and spends half to 1 episode explaining their past (except Hibiki, the main character). The characters make a wide spectrum, from calm people like the scientist girl and the doctor to completely crazy people like Dita who loses her head because of love or Paiwey, who is always running around ruining peoples’ quiet moments together and making photos at the least suitable times. There is however 1 thing that joins all these people – somewhat sad and lonely past, and happiness of being together even though they sometimes fail to admit it. Certainly nowhere near Naruto or Hikaru no Go, but it is much shorter too.
From my point of view the anime can be watched on one breath. It has a lot of funny moments and a lovely ending.
Watch it if you search for a light anime to inspire your pure feelings and do not watch it if you search for deep science fiction. Also, ecchi fans, some of your dreams will be answered in a charming way, however this is not the anime for the most perverted ones, they will not be satisfied.
1: Seikai no Senki II
English: Banner of the Stars II
Japanese: 星界の戦旗 II
MAL Score: 7.83
Due to a lack of ambassadors for the recently-conquered worlds the rapidly advancing fleet of the Bebaus brothers leave behind, Lafiel is appointed Territorial Ambassador of the planet Lobnas II. Upon arriving to the planet Jinto and Lafiel discover that the planet was used by the United Mankind as a prison planet and now has a million prisoners on the only inhabited island. The prisoners are parted in three blocks. The western where women are housed, the eastern belongs to the men and the central is mixed under the restriction that all prisoners living there are sterilized. The women in the western sector want to emigrate from the planet of fear for the men and when they do the men in the east rebel, overthrowing the guards and capturing Jinto to try to stop the emigration of the women. At the same time an enemy fleet heads toward the system forcing Lafiel to abandon Jinto.
Based off a sci-fi novel, the world of the Seikai trilogy is full of genetic engineering, battleships, and galatic warfare, all in space of course.
However, the reason I watch anime isn’t because of the setting, but purely because I enjoy seeing characters develop and grow. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when an anime neglects characters that are given potential but aren’t developed (What Tokyo Underground did to Ginnosuke is a good example). That’s not the case in Banner of the Stars II, which is why I enjoyed watching every moment of it.
So the story starts off from where the original Banner of the Stars left off. After focusing on Jinto’s and Lafiel’s experience in actual space combat, it begins to focus more on them than on the state of the setting they’re in.
A few spoilers on the story at this point, continue at your own discretion (though I’ll try not to include anything you don’t find in the descriptions or the first 5 minutes of the first episode).
The story starts off with Lafiel and Jinto being appointed as ‘territorial ambassadors’ (basically a representative) for a recently captured planet. Little do they realize that the planet is a prison planet with most of the population being prisoners. So in an attempt to avoid conflicts, they send Jinto down to negotiate, resulting in the decision to evacuate the female prisoners. However, the other prisoners don’t like that idea and an internal ‘war’ breaks out, result in Jinto being taken hostage.
During the first few minutes of the first episode, you see a scene with a weakened Jinto barely whispering what seems like his last will to Lafiel, creating a feeling of suspense, and in some cases, sadness. Though it’s not a bad thing, watching the series doesn’t change that feeling from the first episode, you continue to feel a sad tone all the way to the last episode. However, saying that’s a bad thing would be an outright lie. Sometimes we need a saddening moment to maintain interest in an anime. Sadness leads to suspense and anxiety, both of which are feelings, at the least, I always look forward to in anime.
Banner of the Stars creates a deep connection between the viewer and the characters, but I guess that’s to be expected of an anime that was based off a sci-fi novel (how many sci-fi novels are good enough to be converted into anime form anyway?)
Art… well this is the one part I always feel unsure about, since I don’t feel myself an art critic. What I can say about the art is that, unlike a lot of newer ‘shiny’ anime, it doesn’t completely blow your mind and give you headaches with horribly interwoven CGs, however, the characters are actually rather a nice refresher, especially the fact that they seem to really express the beauty of the Abh race. Then again, as long as the visuals are bearable I don’t really mind what the style of animation is.
Music! When I watch anime, I’m usually too interested on the story to really pay attention to the music, and if I hear music while trying to watch the actual story, I usually find that a nuisance. But there are exceptions, like in the case of this trilogy. I won’t say that this music is so great that I’d go and buy the soundtrack, but I won’t say it’s not good. The music always blends perfectly with the actions of the characters, and ultimately reflects the mood. And then there’s the impact of the ending theme on the first episode, it was like a blow to the heart when I heard it and couldn’t help but grieve for Jinto even though I should have expected that it wouldn’t end that quickly.
The main thing I look for in any anime is character development. If the character is already some sort of super strong invincible guy, then I don’t want to watch that anime. But I loved this series for the sole reason that instead of doing some weird ritual in order to gain immeasurable strength, Jinto only increased his ability through going to a training school. Instead, they decided to develop characters (or show their development) through their actions. Jinto’s growth from that small child is apparent as he views the destruction of an entire world and has a near-death experience.
Character development is something that makes anime worth watching in my opinion, the fact that it’s anime means that it can be done in a manner of ways, which is why I watch it~
Uh, scroll up.
This is where Banner of the Stars II starts off, with Lafiel being appointed Territorial Ambassador of the planet Lobnas II with Jinto as the deputy ambassador. Unfortunately for them, the planet happens to be a prison planet with 4 distinct factions.
Faction 1 : Prison guards
Faction 2 : West side – women prisoners, fertile
Faction 3 : East side – really bad men
Faction 4 : Central compound, men and sterilized women.
Lafiel and Jinto give territorial governorship to the prison guard’s administrator, and Jinto stays behind to oversee the details of the prisoner’s immigration, when all hell breaks loose and Lafiel is forced to leave him behind. Will he survive?!?
Banner II is a very good plot driven story. The characters are all well done and act as you would expect them to. The animation is fluid but not of the best quality and there is a lot of reuse of scenes. However, the ending song is one of the best ever. At it’s heart, Banner is still a love story featuring star/race-crossed lovers Jinto and Lafiel. Overall I really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to more.
1. This one totally explores the relationship of Jinto and Lafiel. And what I mean by explore, I mean it literally focus on just how much Jinto and Lafiel love each other, and how they would react if anything ever happens to them, Mainly Jinto. I thought Crest of The Stars was a good series, since it shows how Jinto and Lafiel first met each other. And I thought Banner of The Stars was alright, though it did get kinda boring after a while. But this one totally tops it by exploring more into their relationship and also showing what happens as well as what was going on and etc.
2. You gotta love the ending song. Now the ending song to Banner of the Stars was good (in fact it’s my favorite ending song so far), but this one is even better. The ending song shows more emotion and in the end it will leave you feeling remorsed or sad, but at the same time really falling in love with this series like i did. I think this is a very underrated series, and i thought that this was the best out of all of them.
Overall, I say this is a really good series that will have you crying at the end, and also saying “About Time”. I thought that this was way better than Banner of The Stars and it’s prequel Crest of the Stars, but you might think otherwise. Either way, I recommend this series to anyone, regardless of age. A great series worth watching even if your not fond of space operas.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Seikai no Senki II
2. Vandread: The Second Stage
4. Zoids Shinseiki/Zero
5. Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
6. Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier
7. Brigadoon: Marin to Melan
8. Figure 17: Tsubasa & Hikaru
9. Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-san☆
10. Gear Fighter Dendoh