They’re the best Anime that 2014 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, Psycho-Pass 2, Aldnoah.Zero, and more!
10: Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo
English: Cross Ange: Rondo of Angel and Dragon
Japanese: クロスアンジュ 天使と竜の輪舞〈ロンド〉
MAL Score: 7.40
Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi is the first princess of the noble Misurugi Empire. The kingdom has seen great power and prosperity due to the advancement of the revolutionary technology known as “Mana,” an abstract bending of light that has reduced the world’s problems of war and pollution to a timeless peace.
However, not all are blessed with the ability to wield Mana. Those who cannot are labeled “Norma,” outcasts of society who are considered a threat to civilization and live under constant persecution, and Angelise herself is one of many who want the Norma exterminated. But as Angelise’s sixteenth birthday commences, it is discovered in a shocking revelation that she is actually a Norma. Chaos ensues, the public is outraged, and the once adored princess is exiled to Arzenal: a remote military base where Normas are forced into conscription.
Now, the former royal must adapt to a harsh and vastly different lifestyle; piloting mechanical robots known as “Paramail” to fend off large, devastating beasts referred to as DRAGONs. However, a sinister truth about these savage creatures threatens to change everything.
“Ha, I bet those glass-eyed imbeciles are getting bored, let’s put in another lesbian threesome.”
“No, not yet. Only after we show the loli whipping someone again.”
That said, it’s one of the best things I’ve seen out of this studio in years. With a big “Fuck you, Sunrise.”, let’s go into this.
Cross Ange is a lot of different things. Cross Ange is a magical princess show about knights and dragons. Cross Ange is a prison drama. Cross Ange is Mean Girls. Cross Ange is borderline yuri hentai. Cross Ange is Gundam Seed. Cross Ange is a catharsis for the type of person who has a Fetlife account. Cross Ange is what would happen if you made a Princess Peach anime starring Ronda Rousey. Cross Ange is proof that not only will Mizuki Nana play any role, but that she is also good at it. Cross Ange is anime madlibs where your only word choices are “lesbians”, “dragons” and “kill”.
The actual premise of the story is that a pampered princess named Angelise, a thoroughly awful person, is thrown out of her castle and put in an all-ladies jail when it’s found out that she’s a fraud. She’s then forced to pilot a Gundam and fight dragons, because. And then she’s bullied, molested or beaten up a lot, until she finally becomes “Ange”, the greatest main character to ever appear in a Sunrise mecha show. Then the story becomes about rebellion, alternate timelines and dimensions, fighting god, virtual realities, and uhhhhh… Yeah. The story progresses through a flurry of ridiculous plot twists, comically evil villainous acts, and lesbian sex scenes. It’s certainly not boring, but you will hate yourself for watching it. One of my favorite things about this series is what they do with the episode previews, where the characters break the 4th wall and banter about how ridiculous all this shit is.
My other favorite thing is that there are dragons in this show. But they’re not dragons, they’re DRAGONs, and they’re called that because they’re DRAGONs and not because they’re dragons.
But really, the legitimate thing you’re watching this for is Ange. Ange is amazing. She’s logical, pessimistic, she cheats, she’ll insult you and everything you stand for, disarm you and then shoot you through the face, twice. She’s so out of the norm for an anime protagonist I can barely deal. She doesn’t want harmony, she wants destruction. She wants to demolish everything that’s wronged her. She’s not a victim. The show is called “Cross Ange” because she’s cross about 90% of the time. She is the one who knocks.
The rest of the cast is surprisingly good too. Cross Ange does a competent job at giving you multifaceted, developing characters to feel things about, even if those feelings are mostly hatred and/or pity. The other central females are almost all emotionally damaged in some way or another, and are in contrast to Ange, very fragile people. I thought this was very interesting, because not only is Ange a strong, domineering, unbreakable character on her own, but those qualities shine even more when you slowly see the deep-seated problems with everyone around her.
This series only has like two male characters. One of them is Kira Yamato from Gundam Seed, except that he’s completely useless and a stooge 90% of the time. If you’re ever worried about Ange being overshadowed or saved by her boyfriend, don’t worry, he’s the bottom in the relationship. This was also refreshing. Except for near the end where he actually starts doing things, that was lame and subverted a lot of the good things about his character and the show as a whole.
The other major male character is the central villain, Fetus-kun, who is also the most self-aware jab at otaku I’ve ever seen. The whole premise of his character is that he’s his own OC, and is looking for the perfect waifu. It’s insulting and hilarious at the same time, just like the rest of the series.
Animation-wise, Ange looks pretty okay at its best, and pretty bad at its worst. Gundam Unicorn this is not. The character and mech designs are also pretty bland, making the series not seem like anything relevant when looked at out-of-context.
The audio’s good. Nothing to write home about. You get a bunch of Mizuki Nana and stuff. I can’t recall much of the BGM at all even though I watch this series week by week. The recurring insert song sung by Ange is pretty memorable.
Cross Ange is a big damn spectacle with one of the best female leads in any anime. It’s ridiculous and stupid, and even Sunrise probably hates you for watching it, so that means you should.
Story – 9, The story of this anime centers around a girl, Ange a royal princess, who at her coming of age ceremony is shown to be a Norma, a person not considered human in a society where everyone is using mana to control everything around them, thus making life easier. Everything falls into chaos, many sad things happen around her and after that she is sent to Arsenal, no, not the team, but a place where all Norma are disposed of, or so was believed. A lot of whining, hundreds of screams, enough to make you wish she was killed right on the spot. After a few episodes no one would wish the same thing. Not only because her character became a lot more interesting, but because the purpose of Arsenal is becoming clearer.The story becomes more and more complex as time passes so it should be impossible for someone to try to present the story in only a few words. There are betrayals, there is love, there is friendship, sadness,quite a lot of yuri, and we have an awesome antagonist who appears at the right moment. Still, its not like everything was perfect. There are a few blanks in the story, blanks that not only were not explained but it felt like a railway was missing some parts. For better or worse, we were made to forget about this and move on. I don’t know if that part is to be explained in a movie, ova or maybe a second season, but it certainly needs one to explain a few missing parts without going back to the plot of the first season. Its the best ending for this anime and I really do not wish for everything to repeat in the same world as before.
Now, after the story comes the art.
Art – 9, Sometimes I wonder, how should we describe art? Some anime have such an ugly art that it would not be a surprise of everyone to hate that anime, but instead there are fans saying it receives a ten just because they feel like it fits. Sadly, I do not have the same opinion. Art is about beauty, about fluidity, about complexity, about impact. This anime excels at most, but some may say they could be even better just because .. . Anyway, every characters, robot, dragon looked awesome. Especially the dragons which didn’t try to fit in the same criteria we were used to. Each battle was like a movie. They can make you forget to blink or breath. The only problem was its too fast pace. They moved to fast from one place to another and because of this it became tiresome to try to take in everything and instead were are left with the decision to only concentrate only on a few things forgetting about the rest.
Sound – 10, extremely enjoyable. The bgm is very important, but its true role is to make you feel attracted to the story, which this one did. If a bgm attracts to much attention, be it good or bad, then it failed in its purpose. Some forget about this and rate it poorly or better only based on this. The ost, op, ed and especially the seyuu’s are the most important. And all of them are doing their job perfectly.
Characters – 10, Vivid, strong, beautifully. Each and everyone of them had what you could call charm. Their personalities, feelings, point of view were attractive mostly because there are so many that its impossible to not see at least one that shared your emotions and state of mind. I can say that in my opinion this anime strongest point were the characters.
Enjoyment – 9, there is not much to say about this. It was a gem found in the garbage. If you can watch it with an open mind you will not only not regret doing it but you are also going to remember it as one of the most surprising anime in the entire history.
Overall – 9, The story was not perfect, this is clear. A story that is short but also complex can hardly manage what Cross Ange did. Its divergent points were not only large in numbers, but also had its own characters which had to do their job in a way that wouldn’t hinder the progress of the story. I’m going to re-watch it later this year for sure. Until then I can only recommend it to anyone who loves anime.
You can read my overall + my final thoughts/notes at the very bottom of the review if you’re feeling lazy and just want some quick feedback on the anime.
I can’t lie the first 5 episodes was extremely hard to get through for many which lead to the anime being dropped early on, and also given a poor rating due to its evaluation being solely based off of these first 5 episodes. It is now one of the animes I look forward to watching every week, almost as much as “Your Lie in April”.
Anyways, on with the review!
The setting of the anime is that of a dystopia, it follows a Princess (Ange) who is stripped of all her rights after being revealed that she is a norma (which are like unwanted humans due to their inability to use “mana”). This is one of the weaker points of the anime, although the story isn’t bad, it wasn’t done correctly for to be anything too special. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t boring in anyway and is fairly interesting, just not above and beyond (hence the 7).
A plus for the anime would be the unexpected twist and turns they have which sometimes really caught me by surprise, they often leave you wondering what may happen in the future. Overall its a decent story, but nothing too amazing.
Honestly the art is pretty good the characters, background, “ragna-mail”, and pretty much everything looks like it was done quite well. The animation is quite fluid and well done, and I honestly have nothing to complain about in this section. The art isn’t exceptionally beautiful but it’s pretty good, although you can notice the budget slipping in some scenes, but overall the art for all the characters + most of the animation is very crisp.
One of the reasons why you SHOULD watch this anime. The sound track that they have is amazing in my opinion, both their OST and their opening/ending songs. Their use of music is on point for most of the anime, although there were a couple of times I felt that the music could have been used more effectively. I read one of the other reviews saying how the anime’s OST + openings/endings were bad, please don’t listen to them and give it a chance BECAUSE THE OST IS AMAZING!
Yeah so Ange is possibly one of the most BAD ASS female leads I’ve seen in a while. She is extremely strong willed and self-righteous and that is the part I love about her. I REALLY like characters that can look strong enough to take on the entire world yet can look really weak and docile the next. The character developments and the revealing of a characters true nature/past is really well done in the anime, although some of the characters story could have had some improvements (cough Embryo).
I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this anime, some parts could of had some minor tweeks, but it was a great anime to watch. To those who are able to watch all 25 episodes of this anime at once, I’m really jealous because you won’t feel the pain I had to wait for this every week. :'(
I’ll repeat this again, I love a strong female lead that can take on the entire world, but in the next second can be really docile, weak and in need of protection and support. Cross Ange is a mecha anime that is really well made, if you look over a few of the poor things that they have done. I promise all you mecha fans that you will thoroughly enjoy the animes OST, great animation, interesting characters and their unique background story (PREPARE A TISSUE BOX WHEN THEY’RE REVEALING SOME OF THE CHARACTERS BACKGROUND). They do quite a few plot twist and a bit of romance in the anime, however little that romance may be. But with respect to the lifestyle transition Ange has been forced to live in, the romance does feels really ‘cute’.
-Please understand that this anime DOES contain mature content.
-This anime is definitely one you should give a chance to (please at least give it until episode 6).
-Review may be slightly biased due to my love for mecha animes.
+Has an amazing OST. Really love their opening and endings + their music choice.
+Ange is possibly one of the best female leads I’ve seen in a while.
+Highly recommended for those who enjoy the following genres: Dystopia ,Ecchi, Mecha
+The anime has enough plot twist to constantly surprise you & keep you interested.
-Personally I really dislike it when something isn’t suppose to happens, not going to say who but when someone is suppose to die, they really should die.
-You may sometimes notice in the animation where the anime was being “efficient” with their budget.
-Although their OST is really good, their timing for their background music could use a little work.
-The pacing of the anime is quite good for most of the anime, but some parts could have been slowed down.
9: Psycho-Pass 2
English: Psycho-Pass 2
Japanese: PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス 2
MAL Score: 7.41
A year and a half after the events of the original sci-fi psychological thriller, Akane Tsunemori continues her work as an inspector—enforcing the Sibyl System’s judgments. Joining her are new enforcers and junior inspector Mika Shimotsuki, a young woman blindly and inflexibly loyal to Sibyl. As Akane ponders both the nature of her job and the legitimacy of Sibyl’s verdicts, a disturbing new menace emerges.
A mysterious figure has discovered a way to control the Crime Coefficient—a number compiled from mental scans that allows Sibyl to gauge psychological health and identify potential criminals. Through these means, he is able to murder an enforcer, leaving behind a cryptic clue: “WC?” scrawled in blood on a wall.
Akane and the rest of Division 1 soon find themselves playing a deadly game against their new foe, coming face-to-face with a conspiracy threatening not only the authority of the Sibyl System, but the very foundation of Akane’s own convictions.
Psycho Pass made a huge splash in 2012 as a successful Urobutcher series. Its creativity, style, and execution flowed into an enjoyable and imaginative show – albeit with some missteps. Without Urobuchi at the helm, Psycho Pass 2 tries to take his universe and tell a unique story and, honestly, fails pretty hard.
If you’ve seen the first season, you probably wonder where the plot for this dystopian thriller could go. After all, much of the original Psycho Pass was an introspective exploration into the world it created. Where, given all the plot developments of the first seasons, could this new series explore?
Well, as it turns out, nowhere. Striking similarities to the first season become quickly apparent and there’s an overlying feeling of deja vu throughout the entire series. The story revolves around the same conflict debated in the first series and doesn’t add anything new. As the plot progresses further, it desperately tries to distinguish itself through forced and melodramatic plot twists that ultimately amount to a bizarre and nonsensical finale with a confusing, out-of-left-field take-home message.
Most annoying is the lack of continuity from the initial series in characters. In some ways, Psycho Pass 2 doesn’t feel like a sequel so much as a parody of the first series. Development seems to only really carry over for Akane; she is the only one in the cast who feels right. Ginoza, the other main protagonist from the first series, takes a backseat role. No, not like the backseat of a car; if Psycho Pass 2 was a Boeing 747, Ginoza would be sitting in the rear flight attendant’s area. His developments from the previous season are ignored and he receives something like…15 lines of dialogue?
Instead, Psycho Pass 2 introduces Shimotsuki, one of the most infuriating characters to watch on screen. Her backstory is left unexplained and viewers are left to decode the infinite mystery that is her decisionmaking logic. Tougane, on the other hand, exhibits the makings of a good character and is certainly the most entertaining aspect of Psycho Pass 2. Unfortunately, the last few episodes don’t really capture the potential of his character, instead bogging him down in the far less interesting main story.
Kamui, the main antagonist, is a washed-up recycle of Makishima with essentially the same character traits and demeanor. These similarities make it incredibly difficult to appreciate him as a stand-alone character. While he may have had some distinguishing features, the resemblance to Makishima in both his methods and his goal detract from an otherwise decent antagonist. Psycho Pass 2 tries to throw in some twists to make him more interesting, but the show can’t escape the shadow of the first season.
All in all, a much weaker cast than the original Psycho Pass, which wasn’t even that great to begin with.
Of course, the animation and sound of Psycho Pass 2 reflect the budget. Animation more or less matches the original show – perhaps slightly better given an 11-episode length compared to 24-episodes. The soundtrack is good, but worse than the first season. Ling Tosite Sigure offers a serviceable opening; however, not nearly as catchy as their work in Psycho Pass’s first OP and Tokyo Ghoul. The ending song is my easily favorite song of the show and accents the ending of each episode nicely. The removal of the “Dominator” insert song brings down the score a full point, however.
I really wouldn’t recommend watching this show if you’ve seen the first season. Even if you haven’t, just watch the first season instead and leave it at that. Episodes 1-6 build up suspense and anticipation that Psycho Pass 2 fails to deliver on. Everything you’ll see about the Psycho Pass universe occurred in the first season; Psycho Pass 2 doesn’t offer anything dramatically different. It’s simply a less interesting version of the first season that leaves you with questions like:
“What the fuck is wrong with Shimotsuki?”
Psycho Pass 2 is a terrible sequel. By ‘terrible sequel’, I do not mean a mediocre sequel that paled in comparison to the original but served as a solid continuation of the story otherwise. I mean a sequel that ripped out all the things that made the first season interesting and shoved the pieces up its ass.
Let’s start with the distinguishing factor of the Psycho Pass universe: the Sibyl System. An utilitarian system that valued the collective happiness of everyone, viewing certain strong emotions as impediments to its ideals. Although it suppressed free will and denied space for self-actualization, it was successful in creating a stable society that escalated levels of happiness. It was not evil, it simply prioritized values differently – and this, interestingly, was what made it such an unsettling system. However, the Sibyl System in Psycho Pass 2 is clearly evil. Its once cold, calculating nature has been replaced with a comically wicked persona that involves itself in all sorts of conspiracies for selfish reasons. It might as well be a maniacal, moustache-stroking dictator plucking sandwich crumbs from his beard.
The writing decision to make the Sibyl System act too human ruptured the thematic axis built up by Season One. The original delivered a compelling critique of utilitarianism by highlighting the dark side of optimized rationality, but season two depicted a form of broken irrationality that didn’t even resemble utilitarianism. The chaos did not stop there: the show abandoned its allegory on individual-society relationships and delved straight into a conspiracy thriller plot. The result was a mess of nonsensical conspiracies that ignored the rules established in the previous season. The writer seems to think that the more complicated the villain’s scheme, the better the story. The main villain, Kirito Kamui, is an expert programmer, hacking into several security systems, pulling convoluted tricks on the police, brainwashing people into becoming his cult followers, carrying out multiple organ transplants, and God knows what else. The twists and new details created too many logical gaps in the story to keep the viewer’s investment. It only got more pretentious towards the end with all the theories that have no substantial contribution towards the show’s themes.
As for the characters, the main Inspector Akane Tsunemori started off promising and confident. However, she displayed no real growth by the end of the series, even after all the tragedy she witnessed, after how Sybil System was revealed to be a corrupt dipshit. Her pacifist beliefs did not shake one bit, neither did she offer any new insight. The new characters were nothing interesting either, although Sakuya Tougane, the Enforcer with the highest Crime Coefficient ever recorded, had potential. Of course, he eventually descended into self-parody along with the show. There’s also Mika Shimotsuki, the new Inspector whom everyone wanted to electrocute since episode 1. It was obvious that the show was trying to make her a poster child of the Sibyl System, but her character was utilized very poorly. Lacking initiative, useless, with cow manure for brains, it is hard to imagine how she even qualified for the job. Even after witnessing violent accidents that were partially her fault, she did not come to any realizations, her behavior painted her more like a caricature than an actual person. Yet, the show continued to focus on her childishness, which only served to annoy the audience further instead of articulating any interesting points.
In regards to the art and music departments, the animation is passable, although it took a slight dip in quality compared to the first season. I’ll give extra props to the music department though, for giving us the comedic gold that was the ‘Nessun Dorma’ scene.
In conclusion, Psycho Pass 2 had me questioning if the writer paid any attention to the first season at all. In fact, the show seemed to undermine its audience’s intelligence with the sheer stupidity of its plot and made-up fictional details, every episode in the second half did a good job of destroying half of my brain cells. To put it straight: Psycho Pass 2 failed to add anything meaningful to the original. It tried too hard to be ‘deep and edgy’ by throwing in shock and violence, even though it lacked thematic resonance of any sort. It’s like trying to improve the taste of burnt buffalo wings by pouring a bucket of hot sauce on it: not only does it still taste terrible, you are probably going to end up with a bad case of diarrhea, idiot.
“The law doesn’t protect the people, it’s the people who protect the law.”
“It’s not society that determines the future of its people, it’s the people who determine the future of their society.”
Psycho Pass 2 is best described as a political / moral discourse about the right and means of judgement, thrown into a thrilling plot and a cast of underdeveloped characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved season 1 of this series, but I thought that while season 2 was an interesting extension of what happened in S1, it didn’t do it enough “justice” (oh the puns).
I have come to the conclusion that I should judge Psycho-Pass 2 collectively, and not individually as a standalone series (hence, the rating does not go below 5).
+ Strong main character
+ Good moral discourse towards the end
+ Sensible resolution
+ Great animation and art
+ Great background music builds suspense
+ Gripping and exciting plot development
– Mess of underdeveloped supporting characters
– Useless and stupid supporting characters
– Unnecessary and unimportant plot events
– Many, many unexplained plot holes
– Overpowered antagonist character
The plot is split into 3 main plot arcs, excluding the introductory arc, and they are the mental care facility arc, the drone base arc and the final train hostage arc.
The introductory arc starts off very well, cutting right to the chase in the middle of a crime investigation where we begin to see all the new characters being introduced (Shimotsuki, Togane and Hinakawa). While the criminal was apprehended very easily, we begin to see traces of how this crime is not as simple as it initially seems, from the final scene of episode 1 where the main antagonist reveals himself and manages to kidnap an inspector and kill off one of her Enforcers. (+1 for excitement)
Things start to get really interesting from there as Akane, the main protagonist, begins to get clues about this “ghost” known as Kamui, who apparently bypasses all cymatic scans and can live in society without actually existing. One particularly scary / exciting part was when Akane, in the midst of searching for clues, finds the words ‘WC?’ scratched on the wall of her apartment building – a very shocking revelation. Later on, it is revealed that this does not mean that Kamui cannot find a bathroom, but that Kamui is asking Akane, and subsequently Sibyl, what colour they are, and further on, what colour he himself is (since he can’t be scanned by Sibyl). (+1 for development)
The amount of depth that they actually put into the thought process behind Kamui is actually very impressive – from how he was the lone survivor of an airline crash to becoming part of an experiment to join 184 different body parts (aka personalities) together to form a human being that essentially represents a collective group of people, the only other collective group being Sibyl itself. While it would be obvious to point out that joining 184 body parts together to create a live working human is far from possible, at least the anime itself points this out by expressing Saiga’s doubt so I’m not deducting any points for that plot flaw. Kamui then proceeds to represent these 184 different people, and begins to start his grand plan of “making everybody clear” which is actually better phrased as “going to judge Sibyl”. I found that the amount of moral and political discourse about omnipotent beings, collective judgement and perfection / ideals within the anime is quite substantial so kudos for that. (+1 for depth)
Also, the main idea of the story was quite simple – put a collective entity in the system so that Sibyl must judge itself, so nothing too complex there. A collective Psycho-Pass would mean that groups of people could be judged as dangerous even though each individual was clear, or that people’s Psycho-Pass could change when within different groups, or like the twist at the end with Kamui – who claims that the person holding the Dominator becomes collectively part of Sibyl when pointing it at Sibyl itself.
Unfortunately, this twist doesn’t make much sense no matter how you look at it. If Kamui points at Sibyl and Kamui is part of Sibyl, and it shows a value of zero, why would Akane, who is much clearer than Kamui, make the result any greater than zero? This would most likely make Sibyl go into the negative, if anything. Nice try, but that twist doesn’t work.
Unfortunately, while there is an overarching plot, the 3 main plot arcs within didn’t make sense. All Kamui really wanted to do was to point a dominator at Sibyl and to force them to judge themselves. There was honestly really no need for all the subsequent killing after he got a hold of Shisui’s Dominator during the first episode, and there was nothing else stopping him from walking right up to Sibyl’s front door except explaining to Akane why he needs to do so. And, I believe, Akane would have immediately obliged, seeing as how she did so at the end of the anime anyway. So, everything that Kamui plotted, all the people he killed after the first episode, in my opinion, was grossly unnecessary and only serves to heighten the “suspense” that would end up turning on itself at the end of the anime.
The plot attempts to explain that all of the other crimes were to “test” the functions of the Dominator – whether it could judge inspectors, other enforcers – and then to whether he could use it with the inspector’s eyeball, then to just getting more Dominators for accomplices he didn’t need, to carry out the train hostage taking plan that he didn’t really have to carry out. The mental care facility arc was apparently to see if an inspector could be judged, but with Kamui’s intelligence, this could have been done simply by pointing the gun at Shisui. The final train hostage arc was to overload Sibyl system and hence find out where Sibyl actually was – but in the end Akane brought him there so that was plain useless. So basically the plot could have been shortened to just episodes 1 and 12.
Furthermore, we look at Kamui’s incredible powers of persuading people through the use of drugs and holos, arguably his two main skills in this anime (aside from teleportation of course, but we’ll get to that later). I’m fine with Kamui being an expert in a certain field, but in multiple fields, this becomes less and less likely. So we start with Kamui being an expert at Psycho-Pass-reduction drugs, that make people be able to kill anybody they want after taking some injection or aerosol medication. Sure, but Kamui can also program holograms of himself. Not only that, but it seems like he has 184 different holograms, all of whom are himself, and all of whom are “aged-up” versions of his dead friends. Okay, let’s suppose he can do that, what about being able to hack into the Ministry of Defence and MWPSB’s systems and to take control of ALL their drones? Okay, what about being able to find escape route for a mental care facility that was supposed to be locked down already? Can he teleport now? Oh wait, I forgot that he is also a bomb expert who can program his bombs to be overridden and controlled only by him. Next, he can also apparently produce synthetic retinal layers so that his accomplices can use Dominators under Shisui’s name too, without any background in materials science. He also happens to be a drone expert and can remove the impact absorbers of drones cleanly. Amazing! Really, the amount of things that this guy can do is so over the top, it’s a mystery why this man hasn’t managed to locate Sibyl yet with all the time he seems to have on his hands, learning about all these things.
Next, one of the key things I really hated about the plot this time around was about the whole Togane Misako and Togane Sakuya plotting to turn Akane black. We already know that this is not possible. While Akane is not criminally asymptomatic, from S1, we know that her Psycho-Pass NEVER gets clouded, not ever. And if anything, Sibyl should already know this. The entire plot twist about Togane being the secret antagonist and trying to cloud Akane’s Psycho-Pass was incredibly unnecessary and annoying. While it did add some dimension to the plot, it didn’t have any convincing motives whatsoever – all Togane said was “This is my reason for existence” – and neither did it progress the plot in any meaningful way. So Akane’s grandmother was killed for no reason whatsoever, that’s just sad and cruel and doesn’t do justice to one of my favourite characters of this anime.
Other huge plot holes include Inspector Shisui, who changes very suddenly from having her eyeball taken out to becoming super loyal to Kamui, as can be seen clearly in the final two episodes where she fights almost to the brink of death for Kamui’s cause. The only possible way to explain how a person who was kidnapped, then strapped to a chair with a gun pointing to herself, then seeing her own eyeball outside of her body, change so suddenly to having so much affection for her kidnapper to the point of saying “You can use my body as well” (during the drone base arc) or to even agreeing to kill / endanger her own former partner, Aoyanagi, is that she was brainwashed with some of Kamui’s drugs – but this was not even mentioned, so it’s definitely a plot hole. Not to mention that I know Kamui is an expert at drugs but it just because he himself went through 184 body part surgery doesn’t mean that he is anywhere near skilled enough to perform eye surgery in the first place (oh wait, I forgot he has an infinite set of skills).
There were also a whole load of other unexplained plot junk like Kamui’s killing of a lot of “illegal aliens” during a dinner banquet, Shimotsuki suddenly having the freedom to go and expose Togane’s secrets to set the audience off on a red herring that everyone in the audience knows is fake, Akane’s grandmother having her ear cut off instead of being killed in the first place (and then getting killed again eventually), Kamui getting help from so many people, Sibyl able to identify inanimate objects like drones based on their threat level and them killing people, but still having immense trouble figuring out whether a person who just killed another person is a “threat” based on cymatic scan. All of this is glossed over in the anime and simply overlooked, as if the writers hoped nobody would ask questions and just accept them as it is.
Next, character behaviour during some plot events were unnatural. Shimotsuki’s reaction to learning about the Sibyl system, plus Sibyl choosing to reveal the reality to her in the first place didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Togane mentioned that Shimotsuki could be used as a “test subject” to see how citizens would react if faced with the reality of Sibyl, but Shimotsuki’s reactions were that of a person in denial and that is by no means a valuable test subject. If I were Togane, I would have simply killed her immediately because she adds no value to the society, and even less to the plot (but more of her uselessness later – see character section).
Still, at the very least the key premise of the plot made sense – that Sibyl needed to change to accommodate the collective identity of Kamui, as well as itself. It prides itself on “evolving” continually to improve but honestly it was all Akane’s doing and persuasion that convinced Sibyl that anything needed changing at all. I’m horribly saddened that a collective of 100+ brains could not see this and needed Akane to give it a lecture. Then again, aristocracy is not perfect, so whatever. (+1 for believable assumptions)
I do have on final note on the interesting sniper-dominator weapon that one of the protagonists from Division 3 used during the second arc to “shoot through” the wall and accidentally hit Aoyangi, basically killing her. This calls into question the design and specifications of the Dominator in the first place, as it is a key plot device that is never really touched on or explained. We do know that it does have a fixed number of shots, thanks to Togane’s random quibbling about how there are only 3 Destroy-Decomposer shots during the drone base arc, but other than that we still have no idea, after two seasons, of what exactly it fires and where it gets it’s power/ rounds from since there obviously isn’t any reloading going on. They definitely need to get down to some explaining of how this thing really works, and then on to explaining how it’s actually possible for such rounds / pulses of energy to be able “shoot through” walls and if so, what material / how thick and how reliably so? Plus, the cymatic scan is shown many times to be able to “bypass walls”, so honestly why can’t it bypass humans as well (all the countless of times the psycho-pass clear people block a Dominator by standing in front of an enforcement target) – especially when the human isn’t technically completely blocking the person behind.
The plot really suffers this time around, not so much because of the main plot line but because of the general incoherence and unnecessary twists and events that felt very pointless at the end of the entire anime. I did, however, like the conclusion because at least it sensibly resolved the entire conflict in the most reasonable way possible. (+1 for overarching, resolved conflict)
The art design and concept behind this anime is just so good.
OP Sequence: 2/2
ED Sequence: 2/2
OP Theme: 1/2 – this OP really suffered from all the horrible high pitch vocals, though the backing track was very upbeat and exciting
ED Theme: 2/2 – good ED theme in general
Background Music: 4/4 – very good background music that really built up suspense throughout
Additional Themes: 0/2 – There were no additional themes, so no points here.
My favourite character definitely has to be Shinya Kogami. Lol. Even though he wasn’t even featured as a main character throughout S2, his cameo appearances were enough to make me love him because his lines are always impactful and game-breaking. And he is so cool! 😀
Anyway, we move on to the main protagonist, Akane, who has grown from being just an innocent, fresh police inspector to a mature, sharp, quick-witted and decisive woman who is pretty much the best boss anyone could ask for. She’s understanding, calm, efficient and she gets her hands dirty when she needs to. While she doesn’t show much growth throughout the anime (she’s already grown a lot S1), her character development continues to pull through – from her recent smoking habit to the way she handles her new, annoying colleague Shimotsuki, to her talking with Saiga and her final face-off with Sibyl and Kamui. Akane is a character with such strong presence and courage that it’s hard not to like her. She’s also the one-of-a-kind natural master of her own psycho-pass. (+1 for bravery, +1 for uniqueness)
Many people didn’t like how Akane’s only reaction to her grandmother’s death was just one scream – but just hold that thought a while. The way Akane recovered from the initial shock and emotion, and finally went to rationalizing the whole thing – realizing that it was not possible that Kamui would target her grandmother – was not simply because of “her nature”. The specific cutscene shows Akane remembering Kogami’s words, “This is unlike you… didn’t you try to stop me (from killing Shogo Makishima) because you believe in (the law)?” Akane was clearly distraught but she managed composed herself by recalling her past experiences in S1. Since I view S2 in light of the events in S1, I know that it’s not that Akane is emotionless or lacks any human feeling in her, it’s that she bravely makes the decision to suppress them to uphold the law, and to protect all of society, not just the people important to her. (+1 for character depth)
The next pretty damn cool character is Saiga, the one everyone is slightly afraid of because of rumours that anyone he talks to gets a clouded Psycho-Pass. But he’s actually a pretty friendly and straightforward guy who’s also so sharp that he basically unravels most of Kamui’s intentions just by looking at him. He is also one of the best partners to Akane because she is immune to his “clouding Psycho-Pass” effect and becomes a caring mentor to her whenever she turns to him for advice and help on the case. (+1 for intellect) Too bad he’s also just supporting cast so he doesn’t get much attention.
Of course, at this point we have to mention Kirito Kamui, the main antagonist who is basically going the huge roundabout way of doing things. We get to see a lot of his backstory before the final arc, when his surgeon talks about how he was patched up from 184 different body parts, and his subsequent life and motivations from there, so that was really good and was actually believable – the idea that he could become so invisible that he basically felt non-existent, which drove him to ask the question “WC?” in the first place. I loved how this thoroughly explained his motives behind the overall plot, even though it didn’t really justify all that killing. It’s also great to see how he actually has good intentions to change Sibyl system as a whole, and was willing to sacrifice himself for his cause. (+1 for depth, +1 for courage)
The other main antagonist of course, Togane, was just a mass of bad intentions and poor plot points. Sure, he had some backstory, but they basically said that he was synthetically created, had a mother complex, and likes to kill people by turning their psycho-pass black. None of this is remotely human enough to make me consider him as a character, he’s more like just there for 2 key reasons, a) a deus-ex-machina to make a uselessly complex plot and b) to remind Akane of Kogami. Akane should have just let Kamui killed him when he had the chance – he totally deserved to be disintegrated for beating up a poor old granny like that.
I was very sad that I didn’t get to see Ginoza much though, because he definitely grew a lot from S1 too, but the writers didn’t let him get enough screentime and demoted him to a supporting character. In fact, it’s depressing that so many of the supporting characters just got sidelined and none of them were developed to any considerable degree even though I could tell that they were really interesting characters – people like Yayoi, Hinakawa, Shion and even Aoyanagi (who really didn’t deserve to die in such a horrible fashion).
The character that I really, really hated though, definitely had to be Shimotsuki. She has got to be the number one most useless tryhard character ever. From the beginning, she gets on the nerves of everyone in Unit 1, she annoys the audience constantly by trying to get Akane removed as an inspector, her lack of understanding and naivety to every situation leads to most of the time spent “on standby”, and her lack of any form of courage continues throughout the anime, even to the end where she continues to remain in denial. She has minimal growth despite having so many chances to change and become more mature, and she has also ZERO backstory (nobody really knows where she comes from) and she also has minimal character development – she exists just to be an obstacle and a hindrance to the overall plot and to Akane.
The anime tries to justify Shimotsuki’s necessity within the anime by referring to her as the “ideal citizen” that would accept Sibyl’s true reality when the time comes for the secret to be revealed to the rest of society. While that is a good attempt of representing the useless people in society, that’s not main character material! If she was just a supporting character, I would be fine with it, but nope, she has more screen time than the other cooler characters like Ginoza and Saiga. She really doesn’t deserve the main character status if the reason she’s there is to merely represent the unthinking, passive portion of society.
Finally, we have to talk about Sibyl as a character. Sure enough, Sibyl manages to get a bit of growth, essentially killing off it’s more “insane” minds such as Togane Misako and keeping only the select few who were less criminally chaotic in nature, which is basically the most sensible thing to do. Sibyl does have so many flaws however, that it is insane to think how it can live with itself knowing that it has this many flaws all this while. (+1 for slight growth) I really loved how Sibyl turned its back against Togane Misako at the end though, that mess of a character totally deserved some punishment.
So, all in all, most of the character really lacked growth and development, though I think Akane as a character really stood out among everyone. Too bad it was only Akane and everyone else kind of just fell short of what it truly means to be a solid character. The entire plot was basically being carried by Akane alone, and that can’t ever really be a good thing, can it?
As much as I hated the plot and I despised many of the characters, I have to say that I was excited enough to watch through the entire S2 in one sitting, so that probably means that it did well in the suspense department, especially in the initial few episodes of the anime where they kept with the lingering question on whether it was really a ghost or not. (+2 for suspense) I also felt that the action scenes were fast-paced enough to enjoy amidst all the crime-solving excitement that really kept my blood pumping. (+2 for excitement).
The gore in this anime is also really one of its key characteristics – to be able to show all that blood and chaos, all the face smashing and beating and to treat it as a natural outcome in the eyes of Sibyl. This is really one key feature that keeps you transfixed to the screen and constantly telling yourself “Something is really wrong with this screwed up system.” (+1 for thrill)
Overall, there was good pacing and not once did I feel bored. The action scenes were clear, sharp and crisp, while all the slower scenes did not feel too dragged out. I also felt that all the moral discourse with Saiga, Akane with herself and finally with Kamui, all of it actually made a lot of sense. It was especially interesting to think about the idea of Sibyl “judging itself” as an “omnipotent” being that was achieving omnipotence and absorbing anything that it didn’t have power over. (+3 for pacing)
This anime receives a bonus 1 point for not having any filler episodes. (+1 bonus point)
This anime really fell short of my expectations for it. My rating for the previous season was a 9, so dropping 2 points really means a major disappointment, but at least it was an enjoyable watch for me nonetheless. At this point though, I’m pretty certain this anime is not complete without Kogami Shinya as a main character.
After reading through many of the Psycho-Pass 2 reviews on this site, I was shocked to see how many people have rated this anime so low just because of the hate and disappointment they felt from having their expectations of this show crushed. I honestly do not think this show deserves any less than a 5 (the bare minimum), despite the sub-par plot and character development. The show was, on the animation and screenplay side, pretty solid and I think we should at least give credit for that. I also believe that the only reason it’s getting so much hate is because many people’s “Psycho-Pass” is being clouded by their own emotions. I will stick to my score of 7 because just like Akane, if you remove your emotions from the picture and think clearly, rationally, you will no doubt pass fairer judgement.
“Sibyl, what is your colour?”
Japanese: アルドノア ゼロ
MAL Score: 7.42
The discovery of a hypergate on the Moon once allowed the human race to teleport to Mars. Those who chose to settle there unearthed a technology far more advanced than that of their home planet, which they named “Aldnoah.” This discovery led to the founding of the Vers Empire of Mars and a declaration of war against the “Terrans,” those who stayed behind on Earth. However, a battle on the moon—later called “Heaven’s Fall”—caused the hypergate to explode, destroying the moon and leading the two planets to establish an uneasy ceasefire.
Their peace was a fragile one, however. Fifteen years later, high school student Inaho Kaizuka witnesses the plotted assassination of the Vers Empire’s Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, who had come to Earth in hopes of repairing the relationship between the empire and its homeland. The ceasefire is shattered, and the Martians declare war on the Terrans once again. In the face of this insurmountable enemy, Inaho and his friends must now fight against the Vers Empire to settle the war once and for all.
The overall art design is beautiful, very atmospheric. The only „criticism” this show usually gets is the use of CGI, but after re-watching those scenes Ill call it good. Apart from a few scenes where the Terran mechs looked really clunky most of the time they were using various tricks to make the robots blend into the background which included the clever use of camera angles, lighting, colors, smoke, snow etc… The show is easy to follow and visually appealing.
As many have stated already – it’s great. Hiroyuki Sawano showed us again what a talented composer he is. But since this is a review about the anime and not the OST I want to talk about how they USED the music in the anime.
Usually the music’s role in a movie or a TV show is to enhance the experience during certain scenes. Problem is when you overuse it you will achieve the exact opposite and take away from the intensity of the scenes. Instead of letting your audiences make the interpretations for themselves about how they should feel (based on the visuals and the sounds) you force feed them with the information by using music.
The only time when the director showed real restraints were the final scenes in episode 12. This added more depth and emotion to the final showdown which is admirable. Wish the rest of the directing was on par with that (in terms of using the music I mean).
This is probably the worst part of Aldnoah Zero. Since the anime is focusing on both sides I was hoping for a show where at least the basics (history, motivations) are done right, but nope. It’s pretty obvious that they wanted to tell us a „cool” invasion story, but put minimal effort into the worldbuilding. I would say if your knowledge about history, politics, economy, social behavior (etc…) is limited to Hollywood movies you can come up with a BS like that, but what we see on screen is disappointing at best (or causes brain aneurysm at worst).
After the first two episodes it’s quickly established that the Martians are „super-duper” powerful and the Terran military is pretty much helpless against them on a worldwide scale. This could have been a nice approach if the show was about the desperate fight for survival of the Terrans, but since it’s about them kicking some Martian assess you know that won’t be the case. This time we get a Japanese high school student called Inaho, a genius, who singlehandedly comes up with amazing battle plans to defeat the invaders.
I have to admit it that compared to the „the-main-character-gets-an-overpowered-robot-for-no-reason-and-beats-everyone” cliché this is sort of refreshing, but gets boring really fast. Especially because the more you think about it the more you realize that while his plans look good on paper, based on his observations he could have came up with different conclusions/interpretations. Meaning he is making somewhat logical wild guesses and he turns out to be right every single time.
And naturally he is also able to flawlessly execute these plans, because he is an ace pilot who mastered the art of sidestepping instead of standing still and waiting for the fatal blow while screaming like an idiot.
Overall bland and boring. Only four of them are worth mentioning.
Inaho (protagonist) – The new “industry standard” empty shell with some desirable traits (genius, chick magnet etc…) so the average viewer can project his own personality at him and say “oh hey look he is just your everyday normal person. Just like ME”.
Slaine (protagonist) – The best written character in the show (most likely unintentionally). Led by hormones and emotions, tossed left and right, naive and easily manipulated. Exactly how most teenagers would react in his situation.
Saazbaum (antagonist) – The only bad guy in the show who has a reasonable motivation which puts him way above the rest of the cartoony villains. Sadly his reasoning and actions often contradict each other, but considering the overall bad writing he gets a pass.
Marito – The alcoholic, traumatized war veteran. Since Inaho solves everything his potential gets wasted and remains at the sideline.
Aldnoah zero is basically the anime version of a Hollywood action movie. Just like the majority of the overhyped stuff this one also fits the “the-more-you-think-about-it-the-more-you-hate-it” category.
It has a really catchy premise, some nice action scenes, but on the other hand its full of plot holes, one dimensional characters, plot conveniences, clichés, etc..
Overall it’s a very “effective” anime that knows its targeted audience, but won’t be remembered 10 years from now.
At times, the changes made were so minuscule that the only thing done was name substitution. The circumstantial evidence of which was so apparent, that by merely reciting the setup of its premise, the tumor-like symbiosis that it shares with the patriarch it draws blood from could still be seen desperately clinging to the surface; bite marks still fresh from where the ideas were directly leeched off from, stopping just short of wholesaling arcs and iconography in its entirety.
Mankind is broken into two separate governing factions, with the ones residing in space, the Vers Empire of Mars, treating the inhabitants of earth as inferior relics of their past. With bad blood still looming over both nations, the people of the Vers Empire finally declares war on their former “Terren” brethren once again, after the temporary truce of a fifteen-year period of civil unrest was finally brought to an end. With these two nations plunged back into battle, a ragged-tagged group of teens and public servants find themselves swallowed up in the chaos, leading to their boarding of a military vessel, as they pilot mechs and fend off the endless wave of enemy invaders. Poorly trained and doing everything in their power to survive, the only hope left for this motley crew is to seek out the assistance of the Earth’s united front, as the fight for dominion over the planet marches forward.
The idea of “paying homage” quickly topples like a house of cards when the piracy on display is this blatant.
The fresh coat of “Vers Empire of Mars” paint still wet, as it barely covers up the stolen “Principality of Zeon” ornament positioned underneath. But try not to wince too much, you need to save your composure for the rebranding of “newtypes” as “Aldnoah users” and all the subsequent “borrowing” yet to come, as the story drags itself down an inevitable path. The impression of reverse engineering can’t be ignored, with plot points charted out from lifted passages of other works, the bold outlines of which already taking shape before the actual arc does due to little to no effort placed towards diversifying the formula.
And if that wasn’t apparent enough, this is a show that deploys shock value moments and plot twists, but the obviousness of it being there all long prevents any of it from truly being “shocking” in any sense of the word. Like whenever you watch a horror movie and everything cuts to silence while the character’s hands grip the side of the bathroom sink, the medicine cabinet left ajar, and—you guessed it—a jumpscare occurring right after they close it and the mirror reveals something standing behind them; an act that’s usually highlighted by a loud audible stinger. You may have involuntarily been spooked at those scenes in movies before, but at no point were you surprised by the placement of the jumpscare itself. That’s the feeling that Aldnoah has with its content. When you do nothing but take ideas from other works, it’s hard not to see things coming from a mile away. It could still keep your interest because of it, but any sense of validity it may have been desperately holding onto can only be taken seriously from those still new to the experience or less-demanding of their consumer goods.
This is also true for the main character, Inaho, a default bodysuit made with the sole purpose of giving the viewer a shell to occupy as they walk around the scenery. His expression marked off with a thousand-yard-stare, with an interest in eggs being the only discernable desire shown (no, I’m not even joking). The thin veneer of a “personality” is barely there. I’ve seen dozens of self-insert male protagonists in my lifetime, and yet even I am taken aback by the sheer lack of effort on display here. Being emptied of any personality also seems to be the secret ingredient to becoming a genius tactician as well, as Inaho defeats numerous military personnel using what little school-combat training he acquired before the war broke out.
But Inaho, lover of eggs and master of combat, isn’t alone. Joining him on the main lead podium is his antithesis, Slaine, a person with perhaps too much emotion to spare. Fighting for the Empire of Vers, Slaine is our proxy to see things from the other side. Although, it’s more of a surprise that anyone would even grant him a chance to fight any battle instead of placing him in a mental asylum. For every instance of Inaho acting like the human embodiment of a brick wall, Slaine is channeling his inner Saturday morning cartoon villain. It’s honestly pretty entertaining, if only for all the wrong reasons. Like if all the implied subtextual autism of the newtype breed in Gundam was balled into a singular entity then condensed into a neutron star. That “star” being this highly volatile character, ready to “go off” at a moment’s notice—and boy, does he ever “go off.”
As if making meta-commentary about the show being a bootleg version of the Gundam franchise, the mecha suits themselves are these jagged clumps of computer-generated apathy. Horrendously processed things that act as constant reminders that you’re watching an anime and not truly experiencing it. Thankfully, some of the people staffed with bringing this anime to life seemed to have cared about the finished product, as the post-production work helped aided in masking the issue as much as possible. Fights would often take place at dusk or dawn, with dust and debris kicked up to camouflage the inherent ugliness of the suits in motion. Pilots divebombing as they’re surrounded by snow, the cast shadow of a winter storm draped behind them. Busy locations with buildings and landmarks to keep from fixating too much on the CGI combatants. It was all very commendable. Didn’t stop the rest of the staff from not giving a fuck, but hey, at least someone tried. Also, Yuki Kajiura did Yuki Kajiura, so there’s that.
When watching Aldnoah.Zero, it’s hard to get upset at it. Sure, you could raise your pitchforks high for what’s a blatant ripoff, but really, who cares? It’s not going to stop Gundam from existing. There’s a 65-foot replica of a Mobile Suit overlooking Tokyo bay after all, while the most adoration Aldnoah is getting is a few action figure purchases off of Amazon’s website.
With lots of violence, cartoonish villainy, and silly narrative twists to go around, Aldnoah.Zero was an entertaining off-brand. The kind of thing you pop in for cheap thrills and occasional blips of entertainment, only to forget it 15 minutes later when you do decide to watch an actual show instead. With all things considered, Aldnoah just ended up demonstrating just how much of a seminal piece of work its parental inspiration is, and if only for that bit of indirect self-reinforcement, I accept this dimestore bootleg into the fold.
“Fiat justitia ruat caelum” is a Latin phrase that means justice must be achieved no matter the consequences. Its usage varies depending on who uses the phrase, especially those among writers in any media, but it has significant value in history prevalent in important court cases where a judge reflects on the duty of the Court. Why do I bring this quote up? This is Aldnoah.Zero tagline that is shown alongside the anime logo in the opening animation. Except it’s translated to “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall” in English. Not only is it a misuse of the quote because of A.) Politics don’t exist in Aldnoah.Zero, B.) Heroes aren’t in any danger because of it’s lead character, C.) villains don’t face the consequences despite going against direct orders from their superiors, and finally it’s a one sided conflict that’s black and white with no significant meaning tied to it. Aldnaoh.Zero is a plain and simple a mecha anime about good versus evil. Yet even with that much simplicity no amount of eye candy is able to disguise the poor writing of the anime.
Unredeemable: Nonsensical Story
Aldnoah.Zero takes place in the futuristic year of 2014. Basically last year at the time of posting this review. I double checked around the internet and some local newspapers just to make sure this anime wasn’t based around any true events. If they were based on true events than this anime would have played out differently with some level of logic. The anime follows main character Inaho who is thrust into a world of conflict when a peace mission goes disastrously wrong. Everything about it first episode is a mess in writing. It’s bad in establishing the setting, introducing characters, and creating a central conflict that have a sense of weight to it. What exactly it was trying to achieve in its first episode is unfathomable.
Within this first episode characters provide a quick summarization of a war that occurred in the past in some unnatural exposition. Apparently Vers and Terrans aren’t really all that different since both race when boil down are basically humans. It is also explained that Princess Asseylum is attempting to ease the tension between Vers and the Terrans who I’ll refer to as Earthicans. As soon as something bad happened to Princess Asseylum the Vers Empire immediately launches a military invasion on Earth. A race of species that is more technologically advance than Earthicans apparently doesn’t know how politics function. This one moment becomes further questionable when shown a sick emperor in bed and told he has authority over the Orbital Knights (basically Vers military). The Vers Emperor didn’t issue an attack on Earth to start a war, yet he does nothing to punish those who killed possibly millions. He even goes as far as calling a ceasefire with Earthicans to negotiate peace which goes nowhere near a brain cell in the story. Orbital Knights can do whatever they want without repercussions. In episode 8, Saazbaum, a high ranking Orbital Knight kills another high ranking Orbital Knight and this is never brought up again, nor is the fact he kidnapped a prisoner who was being tortured for information mentioned to him.
For the central characters, they are never in any danger because of leading character Inaho is the solution for any battle. The other characters don’t get the opportunity to contribute in a battle lessening the group dynamic and eliminating the purpose of teamwork. Inaho plans always work out due to luck or plot conveniences. Usually his plans have smart setup to them. Like in episode 3, Inaho uses a toy plane in order to determine what kind of camera a specific Vers mech is using and how it functions in recording its surrounding. Then the actual plan itself throws away logic in order to write a scenario that best suited to make an action scene around. Opting for escapism over intensity which fails due to how it was set up only to be ruined by good luck in execution.
Still on episode 3, it’s established that a mech uses drones in order for its pilot to see the area around him. In a later episode it shows the Vers empire have developed some sort of teleportation device for communication. So by this anime logic; something difficult like teleportation is achievable for this race, but apparently not allowing it’s own pilot to control its own camera drones from within their own robot is not. No matter how often the anime claims the Vers Empire has the superior technology oversights like these show up regularly which can’t be forgiven. Escapism itself is broken when down the line another plot point will either break that immersion by what it reveals or create more nonsense. The thought of how these Martians who have superior technology, yet act so stupid never leaves the mind.
One major problem as a whole in the anime is the lack of weight that comes from a worldwide invasion. It never gets across that this war between the Earthicans and Vers Empire is a global issue. Only focusing on a single group never bringing up how other parts of the world are holding up. With a self-contained mindset this central conflict feels less like a major catastrophe by the way it chose to depict it. A small scale approached backfires when the central characters are static when introduced all the way to the end. Supporting characters do change somewhat, but they aren’t the focus feeling free to just leave their storylines dangling in the finale.
Episode 1 shows a Vers mech using lasers, but other robots Inaho and his group fights against use practical weapon like swords or projectile arms. Despite in several battles Inaho proves with limited training he’s able to overcome any opponent that uses a practical weapons. Vers never change up their tactics, even when it has a success rate of zero percent. Vers strategy comes down to only sending down a single one of their mech pilot to fight against large numbers of Earthicans mech pilots. Not once in this season do the Vers Orbital Knights ever mention perhaps sending two experienced pilots to fight against Inaho since he poses a major obstacle for them. Another issue regarding the weaponry are the soldiers of Vers do have guns, but for unexplained reasons gun type weapons aren’t made for their mechs and if they are not implemented in battles.
The anime also explains what kind of power source the Vers Empire uses for their technology. Once this plot point gets explained it further questions the villain’s motive. Basically, if the only two people who are able to provide power die Vers is as good as dead. Now from the villain’s perspective it makes no sense to eliminate the only source of power for your own species. The villain claims he wants to help the masses, but still goes with his plan to kill the royal family, even though they are the key to supplying their planet with energy.
The final episode of Aldnoah.Zero first season is awful and unfulfilling in every sense. At this point, none of the central cast are developed to care about and the one supporting character who has potential is pushed to the sideline in the finale. Like in previous episodes, there is no sense of suspense on the character’s livelihood as they already have victory in their hands by plot convenience and enemy pilot stupidity. Inaho doesn’t struggle much to fight against a pilot whose mech is a combination of mechs that he already fought. With that alone, it guarantees his victory because at this point it proves Vers aren’t intelligent despite the writing claims that they are. How it ends is weak and purely for shock value. Narratively it’s a horrible ending because it forgets to inform the viewer status of Earth, which is at war with Vers. Only offering a narration of what happened to the characters it focused on. Leaving the fate of its central characters ambiguous isn’t bad, but in this case when the characters are one dimensional who really cares what happens to them.
Unredeemable: Shallow, inconsistent characters, and miss opportunities
Inaho Kaizuka is a young teenager of average height, short tousled black hair, and our lead character. He’s stoic and despite what his sister claims about him being human in episode 10, Inaho never actually shows human emotion. When he does show emotion it’s out of character; in episode 1 Inaho expresses his interest in buying eggs that are on sale. Within the same episode, a couple minutes later Inaho sees Princess Asseylum of Mars killed in front him, remaining stoic at the sight of it. Showing no concern despite the clear consequences of the assassination he has just witnessed. Later on in the series the anime attempts to ship Inaho with Princess Asseylum which simply does not work because of this one moment. So any affection Inaho shows to his “love interest” is as artificial as the robot he uses. Expecting you to believe he developed emotion for his “love interest” when he showed no reaction when he saw her presumably die in the first episode.
As a leading character events magically have a way working out for Inaho even though it’s establish in episode one he’s a trainee of the military. Somehow, with minimal training, he surpasses Martian pilots who have had more experience under their belt in actual combat. It’s not because he smart that he wins. It’s either due to plot convenience, his enemy being stupid, or a mixture of both. Another skill Inaho has over his far more experience comrades is the ability to move out of the way of attacks. This godly power can’t be obtain by the other pilots. All of which are usually standing around in front of an enemy attack until they get killed. Granted evasion should be obligatory in basic combat training, but if allowed so Inaho wouldn’t be the overpowered self insert lead that he is.
In episode ten, Inaho claims that anyone that fights against the same enemy on his side he considers an ally. A statement that is completely proven false in episode seven when he shoots the plane of a Vers pilot that helped him fight for an entire episode. These inconsistencies further weaken the anime when Inaho has no consistent traits let alone a consistent philosophy to believe in. Inaho becomes as much of a plot device as everyone else he interacts with. Finally, Inaho is the character that delivers a speech about how war is used to gain something and ends until the objective is met or the cost outweighs the gain. Not a bad position to take when voicing your thoughts on war, except this character has never shown sympathy when killing his enemy nor ever mentally coped with taking someone’s life. He says within the same speech here cares for no such emotion to gain anything in war. So this whole war speech in the final episodes coming from a lead who said he himself “I care for no emotions” is forced to sound deep and makes Inaho full of himself.
Another major character is Princess Asseylum (who I refer to as Princess Ass since she doesn’t give a shit) is the embodiment of Aldnoah.Zero problems. Easy on the eyes and pleasing, but shallow with no identity of her own. The anime only gives her positive traits like acting like a child when she’s learning about Earth with Inaho and desiring doing the right thing. She looks nice on the surface, but that’s all. In actuality she’s a terrible character. Asseylum has been friends with another major character, Slaine Troyard, for five years showing no concern for him throughout her near death experiences. When reversed, Inaho proved in about a week’s time showing no emotion he’s able to capture Princess Asseylum’s heart. In context, the anime wanting to ship Inaho and Asseylum makes no sense given how little time they’ve known each other. It’s also brought up in a episode she knew someone was trying to kill her, and doesn’t bother to take extra security just to be cautious in case anything happens. Then again, the Earthicans don’t bother giving her protection when they attempt to keep her safe so I shouldn’t be surprised.
Slaine Troyard (not the only pointless reference to Greek mythology) is another poorly written character. His conflict of wanting to be accepted by the Vers Empire is worth investing on paper. Having to overcome the racist mindset of his superior officers and being treated like scum. In execution it’s the opposite, creating scenarios forced to make the viewer care for him. There’s an entire episode dedicated to Slaine being tortured, which doesn’t since in the same episode, it shows Princess Asseylum without care enjoying the day. This episode’s impact is lessened when the entire Vers race is one dimensional and not given any redeeming values to perceive them as actual people.
Supporting characters, just like the main three, that receive tons of screen time are merely plot devices. There was potential with the character Marito to create a satisfying subplot. His back story is compelling, has likable traits by being himself, and has a strong personal turmoil that he can’t immediately overcome. Seeing Marito struggle and trying his best to improve himself provides the best moments in the anime. Unfortunately, by the finale his subplot is left unresolved.
Another wasted opportunity is with character Yuki Kaizuka (Inaho’s sister). Like Marito, Yuki carries a permanent scar from war with her. Unlike Marito conflict, Yuki war scar is resolved quickly and has no important use afterwards. The thought of her brother being an expressionless killing machine never bothers her either. When one of Inaho friends asks Yuki why Inaho is expressionless. She answers by saying yes, he does. A wasted opportunity to develop Inaho beyond a stoic lead, and a miss opportunity to explore what kind of life, Yuki had with Inaho since the status of their parents’ livelihood is never brought up. Other minor supporting characters serve a single purpose. There’s one created to simply die, there’s one that created to be simply racist against Earthicans, there’s one simply created to be sick so the Vers can have power, and so on.
Rayet Areash the worst of the supporting cast being given a position in the anime similar to that of Gavrilo Princip. The anime attempts to paint her in a sympathetic light, except for the fact that it was her fault as well that millions of people got killed. Forgetting this fact, it dedicates an entire scene in episode 10 where she blames Princess Asseylum for something out of her control. Somehow she’s able to make Princess Asseylum feel guilty. This is the equivalent of making Archduke Franz Ferdinand the villain and making him apologize for being assassinated. It doesn’t work that way, even in fictional context when the entire starting point for the story’s existence is because she helped in the assassination. For unexplained reasons, she’s also allowed to do whatever she wants on a military base.
Then there’s the villain Saazbaum who is about as well thought out as the writing in the anime. This character personifies how nonsensical the writing is in physical form. For starter, his motive contradicts his goal. He hates the royal family for manipulating the masses, but the first episode the emperor sends his daughter to Earth for a peace mission. He also initiates an attack on Earth without consulting the emperor. Despite his intentions to help the masses, he fully should grasp the consequences of his own action by attempting to eliminate the only source of power for the Vers Empire. These two points don’t add up; just like the Vers technology and their actual intelligence. The writing never treats the characters it creates as actual characters. They’re a means as story devices and nothing more.
Good: Production side of the anime is generally good
The animation is a joint effort between A-1 Pictures and Troyca. Together they create an anime that all around looks great. It clearly has a high budget incorporating both 2D animation with nice looking 3D robot models that aren’t distracting. Environments in general tend to come across as being large and empty. Since our heroes are on the move battles, mostly take place in environments where nothing much is happening in the background. In some cases, it is put into good use to keep an action scene moving in an large environment as well as showing some environmental destruction. In one action scene, the size of an environment is use to its advantage when Inaho has to stop an attack from a Vers mech on an ship he’s on.
However, the biggest drawback is there’s no visual scale growth in the battles. One of the few memorable scenes in Aldnoah.Zero is in the first episode where an explosion has a similar impact to that of an atomic bomb hitting Earth. Buildings crumbles, cars are blown away by a gust of wind, onlooker to the site are in shock, and it’s large scale destruction implants what a serious threat the Vers Empire is. Everything else, past this moment feels smaller in comparison. There isn’t another scene that visually comes close to matching the mass destruction in episode one. All the characters have appealing looking design no matter the situation. Especially Slaine, who even when being tortured looks good! Particle effects are in no short supply to adding more visual flair to the battles.
One questionable decision in the animation would be the mechs even when stationary are still in 3D. It makes sense in a action scene to use 3D since the thirdimension offer more maneuverability than a 2D plane, but it comes across lazy when mechs are stationed and simply there to show off its high budget. The downside to the animation is the awful staging of the action scenes. Going more for visuals splendor than actual staging. So in most battles there will be multiple mech stationed in one position accepting their death or shooting to hold off an enemy attack. Without a single creative battle that avoid doing these things action scenes are a one time deal for entertainment.
Voice acting is serviceable. The writing didn’t offer much in anything so the voice cast are stuck with what they are given. Natsuki Hanae plays protagonist Inaho and he’s stoic throughout the series. His vocals, mostly stay in emotionless delivery range sounding uninterested in anything. It’s not a compelling performance because there’s no range, but he does portray how the character was written properly. Then there’s Kensho Ono, who plays Slaine, who has a slightly more open role. He gets to scream in pain when his character is tortured, sound serious, concerned, and in the finale near hysterical when he goes insane. Ono role is similar to Hanae where in both performance they have to repeat themselves. Sora Amamiya plays princess Asseylum. It’s passable in general. When Amamiya portrays the more innocent and childlike side of Asseylum she’s convincing as Asseylum, but when in a dramatically heavy scene she falls short. She’s sounds like she’s on autopilot delivering most of her dramatic material with little variation no matter the context of a scene.
The supporting cast in general suffer from the same handicap that Natsuki Hanae is given in which they mostly portrayed a single character trait. This is especially true for voice actors that get casted as Vers Martians. Show Hayami who plays Cruhte only yells for his time on screen. Only having one tone voice in the series. Inori Minase plays Edderlrittuo and sounds like a little girl. It’s an appropriate performance getting across Eddelrittuo sisterly love towards Princess Asseylum.
Tooru Ookawa plays Saazbaum and unlike Hayami who’s allowed a single scene to change up his act Ookawa isn’t as fortunate. His performance isn’t bad, but it’s a single note role where one line delivery is no different from line another delivery. Takahiro Sakurai plays Trillram and thanks to his more expressive character taking delight in killing people. He’s the most enjoyable screen presence out of all the pilots that Inaho fight against. Yuki Kaida plays Femieanne, Hiroki Yasumoto plays Vlad, and Mamiko Noto, who plays Orlane aren’t as lucky in playing interesting villains. They lack the proper screen time to make something out of their role being forgettable once off screen. Sachika Misawa plays Rayet Areash. While the character is full of herself Misawa performance is fine since she does her best to make her character sympathetic despite what she did. There is a scene in episode 10 where she’s allowed to express her dislike for the Vers empire and it’s a highlight for her performance.
Any Japanese voice actor playing an Earthican gets sideline eventually into the background. Unlike the voice actors that play a Vers. Earthicans voice actors don’t have a single episode where they’re given a highlight moment to show off their acting chops. They get stuck in a single note sometime delivering the same lines of dialogue word for word in different episodes. Ai Kayano who plays Darzana Magbaredge and Yuu Shimamura who plays Kaoru Mizusaki have this problem. Whenever they share a scene together, it plays out the same getting repetitive over time.
The best voice actor in the cast regardless of what race he portrays is Kazuya Nakai and that’s because he plays Kouichirou Marito. His character suffers mental turmoil while on the outside, he shows a free caring personality. Nakai is allowed the freedom to vocalize different sides of a single character more so than anyone in the cast. When he mentally breaks down it’s believable through his delivery. His performance is the most interesting because he’s funny, likable, and a compelling actor in the role. It’s a shame that his character isn’t fully use to his full potential in order to create a good character.
The soundtrack is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano mixing ambient and techno music with aggressive synthesizers, beats, even some 8-bit and a few thunderous orchestral compositions thrown in with Japanese singers singing German lyrics. The music is all around a great fit for the anime and when used correctly in its placement creates some stellar scenes. In episode 1, the musical piece “aLIEz” sung by mizuki is played during a scene of mass destruction is instantly memorable. It’s not as demoralizing seeing an atomic bomb like explosion at the sight of a more technically advance race, wiping out humans with ease, but it’s a cool scene none the less. As great as the music might be there tracks that get reused frequently. In particular the track “BRE@THLESS” sung by mizuki is used in a number of action scenes. Preferably when there’s a chase scene this track will likely play. Losing what made them exciting musical pieces in the first place.
The anime has a single theme song that’s also used as the ending theme in episode 1 is titled “Heavenly Blue” by Kalafina. Despite the less than stellar opening animation “Heavenly Blue” manages to create a strong atmosphere with orchestral composition along with a catchy chorus. It does feel slightly phoned in since there’s not an extra push or power to the track that really demands your attention. The following tracks are sung by mizuki are “aLIEz” used as an ending theme in episode 4, 7-8, 10-11 and “A/Z” in 2-3, 5-6, 9. “aLIEz” loses some of its impact since it’s used frequently in the series failing to rekindle the same feeling when hearing it for the first time. While the usage in the anime distracts from its impact over time the track is a great listen. “A/Z” is more of a techno side with 8-bit beats that’s more optimistic in general. In both tracks mizuki vocals add to the songs; in “aLIEz” her vocals are on a level of opera singing those high notes beautifully sounding as epic as the interustmentals. In “A/Z” she sounds almost robotic like which is fitting for the track. Sawano score is fantastic, but how it’s used in the anime tends to undermine it.
Personal Enjoyment: It killed some brain cells
Usually the first time I ever see an anime I don’t go in them with a critical mindset. Although, fleshed out characters and a story that have working elements is part of the requirement for an anime to be enjoyable for me. However, the first episode did so many things poorly that I couldn’t simply see it without critical thinking. What flipped the switch in my brain was the scene where Inaho showed more emotion for a sale for eggs more so than he does the princess of another planet trying to bring peace to both race when killed in front of him. From then on it’s been nothing, but an infuriating experience how little of the anime was fully thought out. I was so infuriated by Aldnoah.Zero I didn’t bother waiting for any news regarding an English dub. I went into writing out a review for it. Not even the action scenes for as pretty as they look were awfully staged and required very little to no strategy on the characters part. Aside from hearing Hiroyuki Sawano score there wasn’t any other good reason the anime provided to keep me watching. If it ain’t evident with a review consisting of over 4000 words that I think very poorly of Aldnoah.Zero first season I don’t know what will convince you.
Personal Enjoyment: 0/1
Aldnoah.Zero is nothing more than eye candy and takes pride in that. It’ll excuse logic and good characters if it means it’ll get to show off nice looking action scenes. Understanding what type audience, it wants to appeal to, but mere action spectacles aren’t enough to make an anime worth viewing. It takes itself too seriously unable to be dumb fun, it’s too idiotic to touch on the topic of war maturely, and paints each side in black and white dumbing down the premise to be approachable sacrificing depths along with it. Its central lead wins through a series of plot convenience and luck that remove the suspense of battles. It’s all aesthetics and without substance, it guarantee its own expiration date in a short amount of time. Once you’ve seen the explosions and action there’s nothing left to Aldnoah.Zero.
7: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
English: The Irregular at Magic High School
MAL Score: 7.47
In the dawn of the 21st century, magic, long thought to be folklore and fairy tales, has become a systematized technology and is taught as a technical skill. In First High School, the institution for magicians, students are segregated into two groups based on their entrance exam scores: “Blooms,” those who receive high scores, are assigned to the First Course, while “Weeds” are reserve students assigned to the Second Course.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei follows the siblings, Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba, who are enrolled in First High School. Upon taking the exam, the prodigious Miyuki is placed in the First Course, while Tatsuya is relegated to the Second Course. Though his practical test scores and status as a “Weed” show him to be magically inept, he possesses extraordinary technical knowledge, physical combat capabilities, and unique magic techniques—making Tatsuya the irregular at a magical high school.
I’m not entirely sure why I watched all of Mahouka. At some point it was a scholarly interest in why this was the latest hottest thing in light novels. It might have been because people said it gets better in the novels later and I wondered at what stage that would be. At another point it was purely to see if I could finish it as a personal challenge. If I could keep watching I might be able to find something good about this anime. Something that at the end of the day I could say “sure it was mostly bad, but there was this one thing about the show that was enjoyable”.
I never found that thing. I can find nothing to recommend about Mahouka. It is bad on pretty much every level.
The first point it fails at, and the main point that drags down the entire show, is the main character. Tatsuya Shiba is a highly talented magician who has been placed in the crappy kids class. He’s there because he is bad at pushing a square inch wooden block across a floor with his mind. This is the only thing he is bad at in the world of magic. He is a master magician who can cancel out other magicians magic. He’s baffling intelligent to the point that he can calculate mind-bogglingly complex magical problems in milliseconds. In his spare time he’s the world’s greatest engineer, fronting as the mysterious Silver creating the best magical equipment in the world. He solves magical problems that the rest of the world have been struggling with for years. He creates the power of flight on a whim. He can see through walls. He can take down an entire platoon of terrorists by himself. He can detonate the power equivalent of an atomic bomb over anywhere in the world. He can heal all wounds instantly. He can raise the dead. But he is not very good at pushing a square inch block across a floor so clearly he’s a flawed character.
When your main character is as perfect as this, there is no tension. There is no struggle. Any problem presented to Tatsuya can be solved with no issue. Yet the show likes to pretend he genuinely has factors against him. It’s purely lipservice though that has no practical limitations on his capability to do literally anything. Whenever the show tries to make me feel like Tatsuya is inconvenienced, it ends up flipping around and making me feel like I should be on the side of the people against Tatsuya. It got to the point that for long periods of the show I found it easier to treat Tatsuya like he was the villain.
You know that big Darwinian speech given by Charles Vi Brittania from Code Geass where he goes on about how the strong will destroy and subjugate the weak and that’s why everyone will bow down to Brittania and all hail Brrrrrrrrritannia? That’s Tatsuya’s, and by extension the author’s outlook on life. Except when Charles delivers his speech about the myth of equality, it’s by Norio Wakamoto hamming it up to 11 as the most evil character in the world. In Mahouka it’s Tatsuya delivering the speech about how equality is a bad thing and we should destroy those who seek to change that, and we’re supposed to agree with his outlook.
The weird thing is, Tatsuya would make a pretty great supervillain. His calm attitude and dangerous intelligence is perfect Bond villain material. He’s a cold-blooded killer who wipes out several thousand people without remorse during the show. You can totally do villain as protagonist thing. Light Yagami did a pretty good job of it as a similar smart person with dangerous beliefs and phenomenal power. Tatsuya though is always presented as the hero. All the villains are terrorists, more terrorists, and the Chinese, none of whom are presented as anything other than cardboard cutouts of villains. The first episode shows that the school has a dumb system where less magically talented kids are treated like shit by the upper class of magical students. But instead of coming to the conclusion that the whole system is dumb because it creates a class system, the show comes to the conclusion that the system is bad because it didn’t rate Tatsuya highly.
So we have unstable foundations from which to build this show on, but what about the more superficial presentation angle. Are the magical fights fun? No.
Technobabble. Magical sequences in the show are interrupted by long explanations of the magical theory behind them. Characters would sit in the cafe and discuss magic. Tatsuya would move a block across a room then launch into a lengthy explanation why this was difficult for him. Tatsuya would explain why wizards flying is really difficult for most of an episode and then proceed to solve it a minute later accompanied by another explanation. I got a pretty good grasp on the world’s magic system by the end of the show, but these scenes are all excruciatingly boring even with that knowledge. Eyes glaze over as they talk about oscillating magical frequencies and squiddidly heebijeebies and whatnot. What was even more frustrating is you could use none of this knowledge to enjoy the show more. None of the explanations helped the viewer understanding what was going on in a battle better or let you work out what was going on yourself. Even with the knowledge of magic I gained, it never became useful to know for anything else. It wasn’t building lore either since it felt mostly like reading from a highly boring textbook. So what was the point of these lengthy magical explanations?
The explanation is pretty easy really. You know in Kill la Kill one of the characters would have an explanation as to why Matoi Ryuko gained this incredible power of hers, delving into theories about life fibres and so on, until Mako would burst in and yell “so what you’re saying is Ryuko has awesome powers”, turning the entire previous conversation into a hilarious joke that outlined that none of it was really important? That’s Mahouka’s magical explanations except it’s explaining why Tatsuya is totally awesome. Also it’s not played as a joke.
What these magical explanations also do is make Mahouka very dull to look at. The vast majority of the show is talking heads with no artistry put into their presentation. The magical fights are equally pretty dull with no interesting fight choreography. In general Mahouka is pretty bland visually and doesn’t have great animation either. The music, since I’m on the subject of production values, is also pretty bland. A bunch of generic jpop for OP/ED and insert songs is the most it can muster. The pacing is also awful, in particular during the middle and boringest arc, and again I can attribute this mostly to these Tatsuya-appealing sessions of lengthy magical explanations that ultimately lead to no conclusion beyond Mako yelling “so what you’re saying is Tatsuya is totally awesome right”.
There’s also a whole load of nitpicky problems. One that bugged me was the show’s weirdly conservative treatment of women. Tatsuya’s sister is madly in love with him, but oddly that didn’t bother me too much because it’s just another method the show uses to appeal to Tatsuya. No what I’m referring to is the weird way anytime a woman would wear something other than the most skin-covering clothing, a character would comment on how they should cover up and stop being such a dirty whore. Usually by Tatsuya, because he’s a gentleman *tips fedora*. All while the camera pans lovingly up the underdressed woman’s skin and makes their boobs really shiny. It’s a small thing, but it compounds with lots of other little things that make me really start to resent the author.
I really tried scraping through my memory banks to find something I liked about the show, but I could come up with nothing. I mostly just found more and more nitpicky problems the further I probed. The character designs are bland to the point that I kept mixing up characters. It has too many characters in general and there were a large chunk of them for whom I didn’t understand their purpose. That one episode where the student council leader gave a speech during a debate that solved nothing but somehow their opposition thought they were defeated by this incredibly speech. How boring the presentation of the magical sports were and how bloody long they kept showing them. Perhaps the closest I can think of as a good thing about Mahouka is how, by the end, Tatsuya’s power goes beyond the point of even self-parody. So what, one wry smile from the whole show, and even that is an ironic one?
Here’s a suggestion for you if you’re thinking of watching Mahouka. Puff your cheeks out. Now stick your tongue out slightly. Now blow air out of your mouth so it escapes under your tongue. This should cause your tongue to make a rasping noise, not dissimilar to that of a fart. Congratulations. You have now done something more fun that watching Mahouka with about as much artistic merit.
I: An over-powered protagonist. When I say over-powered I mean it in the most literal sense possible. This guy does not lose, ever. He’s a genius with combat capabilities surpassing every other person we encounter within the show. This world practically made him a god. Someone tell Kira to take notes because becoming this guy is how you really conquer the world. You will never have to ponder who will emerge the victor, the contest was won as soon as our hero decided to make his appearance. If this aspect will bother you, DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW!!! This never proved bothersome to me. I accepted the simple fact that this narrative would have a god in the driver’s seat and just enjoyed watching the moments when the other characters realized the true power our protagonist held.
II: Exposition heavy dialogue. The dialogue can be said to bore some people to tears with the snail-like pace it moves at. In this story it’s not just that magic exists, no, there is a system to it. This system that is more akin to science than the traditional wizards and wands style. The specifics of this system of magic, it’s integration into society, the social standing of those who can use magic, all of it is explored through the dialogue. A fight with magic will occur and the next 10 minutes will be a discussion of the fight. History, politics, and a magic that behaves as science are all explored in heavy detail. If that sounds monotonous, pass on this title. Personally, I found this fascinating. I loved that the author took time to craft a world filled with detail and societal nuances.
III: Hints towards an incestuous relationship between the two main characters. With the main characters being an elder brother and sister who are very close, incestuous hints are littered throughout their interactions and thoughts. This never impacted my enjoyment in the slightest, it’s a work of fiction, not myself. I can separate my own actions from that of the characters. Not to mention the simple fact that I could not think of any reason as to why incest is fundamentally wrong (potential genetic issues in offspring irrelevant, reproduction not mutually inclusive), but I digress. If you dislike seeing siblings with a relationship that seems to go beyond the standard definition of a sibling relationship, then do not click play on that first episode.
For all of you who find yourselves unperturbed by the aforementioned elements then by all means, keep reading. Now, onto the standard format for reviewing on this site:
This story is far from unique. Two new students showing up to a school and taking an ax to the beliefs and perceptions of the entire student body is nothing new. These siblings arrive and the foundations that everyone believed to be stable are shifted. That being said, I loved the execution of this concept in the world the author created. In my exposition portion I mentioned that this world has an incredible amount of detail to it. Said detail is exactly why I love the idea of shaking the roots society stands upon. The school has a very discriminate social standing that our main characters are able to shatter.
Outside of the school itself we also have the governmental structure of Japan, foreign nations and terrorist groups, etc, etc. These components were all stacked together to build a world that felt real.
The narrative of this show is arc-based. This shouldn’t be surprising given that light novels serve as the source material. The arcs follow a logical sequence of time and progression, so a drastic disconnect between the episodes never seemed to exist.
The animation was fantastic. Madhouse once again came through in extraordinary fashion. The movement was fluid which was especially noticeable in the combat scenes. The back-drops were pleasant and the color palette was rich without feeling exceedingly vibrant.
The character designs are also something I found particularly nice. It’s an absolute fact that most men are going to be larger than women. Greater height, broader shoulders, simple size and body mass. Yet all too often this fundamental truth is all but forgotten in the world of anime. But not in this series, no, the characters in this series are for the most part correctly proportioned. This also applies to females in the sense that they weren’t erroneously sized in their bust. Not being a fan-service show that may seem to be normal, but even then this show felt real in regards to how the characters were built. The remainder of the character designs (faces, hair, etc, etc) were also pleasant. You won’t find exceedingly wacky hair styles or colors. The majority of the main and supporting cast were fairly individualistic in design, but there are a few noticeable exceptions where two characters will appear to be carbon copies of one another.
Oh, and a special note: Coolest school uniforms ever. The end.
There’s not too much I can say in this department. The OST was good, but at the same time it wasn’t particularly special. Featuring a lot of techno music each scene was complimented well.
The voice acting was also solid. The respective actors managed to express the unique qualities of their characters. Their performances weren’t too stand-out or deserving of excessive praise, but at the end of the day I could say they did a good job.
This score is probably pretty surprising. I mean, with an over-powered main character there’s no way he could actually be a good character, right? Well, this is where I disagree with many people. I am not one to say that “over-powered” and “bad character” are mutually inclusive terms. They can be synonymous, sure, but no subjective thought could ever be set in stone. Tatsuya Shiba, or as I like to call him – Japan’s lord and savior, is a 16 year old genius who comes across as very calm and apathetic. He possesses almost no magical affinity but still shows up at the magic high-school to study as an engineer. His combat capabilities aside, I think Tatsuya is a good character. He may come across as just a boring lump of clay with a sister-complex, but as we come to learn of his dry humor, logical manner of thinking, and direct mannerisms, my perception of him as a character was altered. He never undergoes any sort of development, but we do get insight into his past, learning why he is who he is, discovering why he holds his sister so close to his heart. His emotionless attitude becomes sympathetic, bordering on tragic.
Then we have his sister, Miyuki Shiba. Her character can be summed up as this: “Onii-sama”. (And get used to that name, you’ll hear it a lot.) I kid, I kid, Miyuki harbors extreme love for her brother (so much so that it might as well he obsession), but she does have a few additional aspects that make up her personality. (The name still stands, though. Many, many times will “Onii-sama” grace your auditory glands). Miyuki is in part the ideal daughter. She’s intelligent, capable, well-spoken, beautiful, her genetics and upbringing ensured she would be nothing but the best. She’s also a girl who holds a great deal of resentment towards her family, simultaneously feeling extreme gratitude towards her brother. She has a massive brother complex and most of her actions are taken in an attempt to help her brother or make him proud of her. However, I do think that I am in the minority for finding Miyuki to be an interesting character. The large majority of those who watch this show find her to be bothersome and annoying. But fear not if you happen to be one of those who find her irksome, her initial presentation in the first few episodes changes slightly, accompanied by less screen time as the episodes progress.
The supporting cast is fairly large. You have the respective councils within the school, the normal students, military personnel, family members of students, etc. None of the supporting cast are particularly deep characters, but I wouldn’t classify them as complete cliches either. On first glance these characters will seem to fall into a general archetype. Contrary to that initial perception, however, these characters do not fall into the pitfall that is stereotyping. As I said though, they are lacking in depth. Whilst walking the path of a character, Mahouka’s managed to get past the trap of cliches, but stopped short of the bridge of development. One element I loved about the cast on the whole was their perception and strength. Tatsuya will definitely steal the spot-light, but these characters are all skilled in their own regards Some fights they will manage alone, some explanations will come from their own lips. Tatsuya is ultimately the one who will save the day, but prior to his arrival we witness the remarkably adept capabilities of the cast.
A special shout-out for the best girl that is Mayumi Saegusa. The adorable student council president and the only character capable of trolling Tatsuya to the same caliber he trolls others.
I won’t lie, I initially turned this show on after looking up shows with a bad-ass protagonist. I had watched one too many series with a weak male that had to be protected. One too many series where the protagonist was the only character to over-react to a situation. This show was a fulfillment of my wish to not watch a spiky-haired pansy get his ass kicked. I never expected an emotional narrative with compelling themes and deep symbolism, I just wanted a protagonist that would kick ass in a spectacular fashion, and this show delivered. The copious exposition was just a bonus for me who loves detailed world building.
I loved this show. The sheer amount of “Holy shit that was awesome” moments made this show great. From the first episode I never looked to see who would win, I just wanted to see how many jaws Tatsuya could drop when he showed the world how he won.
All in all, if you want to watch two siblings who love each other very much kick some ass, accompanied by friends that talk about how the two siblings just kicked ass, watch this immediately.
> Is a problem an OP character as main then?
To that question I reply: “not necessary”, since an overpowered main character isn’t a big iceberg enough to sink an entire ship, we have plot development and side characters after all; and overpowered isn’t a synonymous of ” Bad”, sometimes is good to watch a main character that isn’t completely a weakling, but problems comes when the plot’s development is nothing more than a series of events made to emphasize the greatness of our main characters, plural, because Onii-sama didn’t descended from Heaven alone, there is his sister, the main female protagonist, Shiba Miyuki, another example of absolute perfection, to accompany him in his journeys.
> So this is an anime about these perfect couple of siblings and nothing more?
We aren’t that far to describe this show with that phrase up here, but actually there isn’t a better phrase to describe this show neither, since the anime I’ll now introduce you is going to be the anime with the most perfect main protagonist I’ve seen in my whole life, and as you’ve probably noted, the word ‘perfect’ isn’t used with a positive tone in this review. I’ll now claim that I haven’t read the LN, this is going to be my judgement from what I’ve seen in this adaptation.
This show is set on the year 2095 d.c, after the conclusion of the Third World War and the introduction of the Magic System, magician isn’t a term anymore related to fairy tails, Science and Technology converged into what we now call Magic. Society developed itself around this new form of Science, and this lead the necessity to create new generations of youngsters capable of crafting this new kind of science, so Magic High Schools were born. This show follows a particular brother and sister, fresh enrolled in the First Magic High School (there are only 9 in the country) at the beginning of the first episode.
“We’re not the same”
As everything that isn’t “uniform” in the Society, it creates a fracture between the population, racism in few words, and Magic is not the exception. Some individuals are more capable of others, that is a fact, and so is also related to Magic. People who show an incredible magic ability form the Course 1 in the High School, and the others, less capable, form the Course 2. Somehow Onii-sama sucked at the enrollment test score and ended in the Course 2, the so called “Weed” course, meanwhile Miyuki ended in the Course 1, the “Bloom” course. How a perfect being such as Onii-sama ended in the course 2?, that will be explained through the show, something I’ll not reveal, let’s keep going. Funny fact that actually all Onii-sama’s friends, course 2 people, are above the course 1 students in matters of skill combat and magic. This is the classic shounen pattern where all the protagonist’s friends are better than everyone else and save the world, with the difference that only Onii-sama is able to save the day here, the rest aren’t of any use actually.
In this 26 episodes adaptation from the best-seller Light Novel, there are adapted three arcs, each of them, naturally, revolving around Onii-sama and his friends dealing with an unexpected conflict, unnaturally always is Onii-sama the center of everything that happens in this show, leading the viewers to ask themselves a such basic question as:
> “If Onii-sama doesn’t want his true identity being revealed, why does he keep trying everything to be in the spotlights every time?”
Such a million dollar question sadly didnt get an answer, events just keep happening and Onii-sama always saving the day, in the most perfect possible way. And that just seem to be irony, since a characteristic of this show is that of explaining EVERYTHING, well…at least the things related to magic spells, magic sequences and effects. Practically a huge time was spent on explaining things that aren’t real and somewhat irrelevant for the development of the story, time that surely could have been spend in a more useful and productive way.
The cast of characters was surely wide, we have practically a character for every kind of stereotype. There’s the glasses girl, the tomboy, the cute and moe girl, the silent girl, the tusndere, the Student Council President, the best protagonist’s friend, the bad guy who didn’t accept the protagonist but later he accepts him, the rival, ect ect ect. Actually none of them had an important role in this show, since its all about Onii-sama, but we’re able to find something in common between them, possibly the only reason why the author decided to create side characters for this show, and that would be: “to praise Onii-sama and his sister”. Actually that may sound like a joke but believe me when I tell you it isn’t, every single side character in every single episode, when they aren’t wasting time explaining Magic related things, that remaining time is spend on praising Onii-sama for x, y and z reason, a fact that I found overly above the ridiculous level.
By the other side there’s no need to spend a lot of words for our sibling protagonists, there’s only a word capable of containing all their essences, ‘Perfect’. Onii-sama is good at everything possible imaginable, every presented female character falls for him but he doesn’t have eyes for any of them, because Onii-sama cares a lot about his sister, and that was stated several times through the show. Meanwhile Miyuki is his female counterpart, a beautiful young girl which excels in Magic and in everything she does, I’ll just end here to write about them, since my writing skills are way too far of being perfect to describe this pair of siblings in the proper way.
When it comes to Animation and Sound, at least, this anime isn’t mediocre, animation is made by Madhouse, characteristic trademark of this studio is the high quality animation of its adaptations. The actions scenes were quite fluid and very well done, camera angles and sudden zoom ins and zoom outs were coordinated very well, as well as the OST fitting them, electric-rock oriented, we can’t say its perfect as our protagonists but we can say its done quite well, above average for sure. OPs and EDs were quite nice, Rising Hope by LiSA was by far my favorite song from this show.
At some point of this show I couldn’t take seriously anything that was happening, too much perfection, events emphasized to show how great the Shiba siblings were, too much useless explanations, pathetic side characters, and a lot of details I didn’t mention because they’re spoilers, overall is a quite interesting anime that shows how would be to have a perfect MC gaining the praise for each side character presented, something completely original I must say, nothing that I’ve seen come close to what I’ve seen in this anime but this is not surely something I would feel to recommend to people.
6: World Trigger
MAL Score: 7.58
When a gate to another world suddenly opens on Earth, Mikado City is invaded by strange creatures known as “Neighbors,” malicious beings impervious to traditional weaponry. In response to their arrival, an organization called the Border Defense Agency has been established to combat the Neighbor menace through special weapons called “Triggers.” Even though several years have passed after the gate first opened, Neighbors are still a threat and members of Border remain on guard to ensure the safety of the planet.
Despite this delicate situation, members-in-training, such as Osamu Mikumo, are not permitted to use their Triggers outside of headquarters. But when the mysterious new student in his class is dragged into a forbidden area by bullies, they are attacked by Neighbors, and Osamu has no choice but to do what he believes is right. Much to his surprise, however, the transfer student Yuuma Kuga makes short work of the aliens, revealing that he is a humanoid Neighbor in disguise.
Sadly it is underrated alot of people dropped it at the start? the art is kinda okay but what’s more important are the fights and scenes very cool, there’s no overpowered character like most animes or the true main guy owns all no everyone is accounted for everyone in it has a job to do not totally focused on main character
I heard that they didn’t continue the anime cause people aren’t talking about it? which is a lame reason.. I look forward to see the rest of the story it’s amazing jumped to be one of my top 10 animes..
people need to give it a try atleast 10 episodes or something to see the story and the battles
As per most WSJ series, World Trigger starts off slow introducing its world, concept, and characters, before kicking off into the actual conflict. Enemies come from another dimension, people set up an organization to stop them, right, yes, whatever. Fairly straightforward Jump exposition dumping. Mainly bizarre is the anime’s weird name sense, though does get better later. The series starts out as main character Mikumo Osamu finds out a neighbor, Kuga Yuma, transferred into his school. Things gets more interesting around 10 episodes in when Border finds out what he is and attempt to deal with him, and even more so later when Border comes into conflict with other Neighbor worlds.
Osamu is extremely weak but he’s well worked as a character. Initially introduced as a morally righteous individual, it was shown in initial scenes that simply being righteous was useless when he gets his ass kicked pathetically by his classmates while Kuga watches. He never gains anything undeserved and doesn’t win just because he’s more virtuous or emotional than his opponent. He struggles with his lack of strength and his goals in the story, often fearing inadequacy and failure. This is really one of the big things that Jump has traded away over the past few years. I certainly do not expect some inner turmoil on par with shows like Evangelion and others, but seeing protagonists struggle with themselves and make mistakes is always welcome. This combines with Osamu’s efforts to improve which are well thought out and interesting to watch. Though somewhat smart his honesty, despite the potential self damage it incurs, is appealing. It creates a good underdog character. And most of the characters run along similar lines of characterization.
Shonen Jump has a tendency to constantly have the MC in the spotlight before all else as the recognizable face of the series. Whenever there’s a big fight, the MC is always in the lead, even if the fight has little to do with him. He may or may not give a big speech rebuking his opponent, often with little actual relevance to that conflict. Osamu is the antithesis of this. The MC doesn’t preach to the opposition, or the viewership, which gets highly annoying and silly if not meaningful. Characters are no longer shoved into some the unnecessary “good guy” and “bad guy” categories.
This means that characters have to more be defined by their thoughts and actions as people, not just as a hero or villain. This helps the author bring attention to the vast cast without having the audience first watch a huge amount of content. It’s frequent that a huge cast is introduced and only really make a small amount of that huge cast is interesting, or they all end up boring even if a huge amount of time is spent on the characters. They’re all just there to make up numbers, but it doesn’t feel that way with World Trigger. This is because they don’t take up huge amounts of screen time or hold big 1v1 battles involving irrelevant characters.
The power system is actually quite interesting for the series. Fighting series are defined and remembered by their power systems. World Trigger is no different. Jojo, One Piece, DBZ, Hakusho are all examples of this done positively. Usually most shonen series which involve abilities usually center around everyone having their own unique ability, but that’s not the case. The system is simple, but the way it’s implemented makes it a great system as it still allows creativity but does away with individual gimmicks of one character having a silly overpowered ability, or powering up until he has one.
World Trigger’s trion system resembles a video game in its use. The show places tangible importance on the skills of the individual user, how they use what they have, the situation they are in, and how they fight with those around them. This is what make the battles truly exciting in World Trigger. They rely more so on strategy and very rarely if ever is there an outright power battle between two characters. It enticing to see how each character uses the weapons along with their own skills. And even if you’re stronger, it’s possible to lose in a way that’s not an asspull designed just so the protagonist can win. While I do love to see a couple characters duke it out and try to kick each other’s ass every now and then, this is fun and refreshing in its own right.
I bring up Jump, the target Shounen demographic, and other shows that make these strange errors frequently because that’s the standard. Those are all the tropes and oft-used clichés. Those are all the unnecessary additives along with the annoying detractions that appear in this specific genre, particularly recently. These series hold a lot in common with each other and end up stiffly adhering to a formula to satisfy an audience and they fail to hold the entertain value that they strive for because of it. There’s definitely good in World Trigger, but that comes out because it doesn’t do basic things improperly. It doesn’t do things that are unnecessary, out of character, or out of line.
As for the animation, I mentioned that the first 10 episodes are quite slow, but any further pacing issues come down to how this show was animated and directed. World Trigger’s first 10 or so episodes look god awful, plain and simple. Stills, the rehashed Trigger activation animation, and occasional strange lack of frames in scenes contribute to this. Luckily, they managed to get rid of 2 of these problems as the show goes on.
The main issue that persisted is the stills. I found them strangely endearing at times and they got me to laugh at their placement and how unbelievable it was. There are frequents moments in each episode where the frame sits on a character’s face for several seconds as they say/do absolutely nothing. In most other anime, you’d see panning shots and some sort of camera movement or change in perspective when there is no dialogue to keep the viewer occupied.
Various scenes are also censored even though most action takes place in a fake body. It’s annoying, but bearable. Even with these problems World Trigger may be the best animated of Toei’s TV works of the current century, particularly with how underwhelming One Piece is and what little I’ve seen of Dragonball Super. This should be fairly embarrassing. All fight scenes are done pretty nicely and it’s nice to see that Toei at least doesn’t slack off here.
This is the first time I’ve seen an OP/ED stuck in the middle of an episode. They’re good though and for the most part the OST is as well. Toei still uses the same old not so dramatic sound effects that we’ve heard all the way back since DBZ aired. You’ll also find it in One Piece. This helps to draw out various stills and take up episode time.
Really I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the anime as I was expected to eventually drop it and just go with the manga like with One Piece, but it worth at looking into.
The filler sucks so don’t watch it. It’s genuinely like they tried to put Pokemon battles in World Trigger. It’s insane.
5: Gundam Build Fighters
English: Gundam Build Fighters
MAL Score: 7.76
Though Gundam Plastic Models, better known as Gunpla, exploded in popularity with the release of the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, their presence faded before resurging with a new purpose. Through the power of Plavsky particles, fans are now able to pit their Gunpla against others in a virtual reality-style battle with the best competing at the annual Gunpla World Tournament.
Sei Iori, whose father was a once finalist in the competition, dreams of one day conquering the contest himself. However, while Sei is an expert Gunpla builder, he lacks the prowess to effectively fight his creations during actual battle. In comes Reiji, a mysterious boy who is curiously ignorant of society but quickly demonstrates to Sei tremendous ability in Gunpla battles. The two boys decide to combine their strengths in order to sweep the Gunpla World Tournament and take the Gunpla world by storm.
Gundam Build Fighters is a sci-fi series directed by Kenji Nagasaki that is known for being the 13th incarnation from Sunrise’s Gundam franchise. Take this show as a more competitive version of the previous Gundam franchise. By competition, I mean it as a way that shows characters’ abilities at their best when pitted against each other. They fight for: honor, respect, dignity, and some for self-interest. However, if these competitors have one thing in common: it’s their passion to fight and embrace the Gundam culture.
This series is competitive. It’s more competitive than any of its similar predecessor such as SEED, Gundam 00, or Gundam AGE. This is because the pure nature that defines Gundam Build Fighters. The key word might be ‘fighters’ here because it sets forth two important factors: the user and the Gunpla. There’s a saying that goes “a sword is only as strong as the wielder itself”. For Sei Iori, he is definitely not a strong fighter in the beginning. Coming from a normal family background, he is your average boy who has a talent with building Gunpla kits. Unfortunately, his piloting skills doesn’t match his creative mind. It seems hopeless for him to ever make it into the big leagues until he meets a mysterious boy named Reiji. While lacking common sense or social skills, Reiji’s piloting skills allows him to compete against those of the elite. It’s a source of mystery with his exact nature, origin, and how he arrived to Earth. But regardless, he is quickly able to make friends with Sei and together become a formidable duo that has earned them recognition in the community.
Gundam Build Fighters elicits a feeling of attachment on many occasions. It’s not just the competitions but the way characters develop. Sei and Reiji starts out as obscure names in competitions. However, they are able to fight their way to the top with their skills, intellect, and teamwork. It succeeds in this field of progression because we get to see how they develop with every battle. Each opponent they fight makes them stronger while allowing them to learn from any mistakes. The show also doesn’t present them as Gary Stu characters as they do take losses on occasions against prominent opponents. Not only that but it’s also important to realize that neither Sei or Reiji blames each other for losses. They learn from their mistakes most of the time and use their knowledge to fight brilliantly through competitions. Of course, they also have the support of their family and friends. In the end, you’ll feel attached to these characters with their journey.
No journey is complete without competition. This competition comes in the form of various players across the world that truly tests Sei and Reiji to their limits. Foreigners from all over the world competes in the prestigious Gunpla Tournament to become a main event. It’s noticeable that some of these characters are also inspirations from previous Gundam predecessors. All of them have their own playing style, abilities, and personalities that offers a decent diversity of play. Prominent competitors such as Mao, Aila, Nils, Ricardo, Yuuki becomes major obstacles in the competition coming from various backgrounds. More importantly is the fact of how these characters develop relationships with Sei and Reiji. In other words, these competitors aren’t just a throwaway game. Whether friends or foe, they are able to bring out Sei and Reiji at their best and truly allows the audience to see the visage of Gunpla battles. Among other characters such as China and Sei’s family plays the role of support to show an inspiration of how they believe in the duo.
Friendship and relationships play prominent roles throughout the series. Sei and Reiji are perfect examples of friends. They help each other and compliments their abilities. For example, Sei is able to coordinate and provide strategic information during battles to Reiji as he pilots their Gunpla. It’s important to realize how far their teamwork goes towards each match. Without teamwork, they would never become who they are today. Relationship also extends to other major supporting characters such Aila that adds in a different flavor to the show’s themes. On the other hand, there’s also rivalries. Being a competitive game, this should be no surprise. There’s a sudden degree of how far rivalries ranging from being friendly competitions to cheating to gain an edge. Gundam Build Fighters explores both friendships and rivalries on levels that is relatable and appreciative with its style. Rather than just a gimmick, it extends to Gunpla battles itself and becomes a pivotal factor in determining losses, wins, or ties.
Being a Gundam series also means the audience should expect plenty of action. Gundam Build Fighters doesn’t neglect action and marks it as a major advertising event with its battles. Every Gundam is unique in their design, capabilities, and style. As such, expect every single battle to be different in its own way that brings out characters’ skills to their best. On many instances, the audience will be able to witness development of these battles as fields evolve, changes added to matches, and gameplay become more complex than ever. Complexity also reaches to the characters themselves as mysteries surrounds competitors such as Reiji and Alia. We don’t know much about their origins from the beginning such as where they came from. It provokes thought and formulation of theories that makes the show even more engaging to speculate.
Make no mistake though. Gundam Build Fighters does have its problems. Among some of these include a few episodes that feels fillerish and almost as meaningless. Examples includes training montages, a beach episode, and a few that only seems to add content that almost seems like a slice of life. China also seems to disappear into the background in later episodes as the series focuses more on competition and less on their relationship. It just seems that her relationship with Sei never really had a progression besides being close friends. It’s however easy to tell where China’s feelings really lies. While it is innocent, it can also feel childish and sway away older fan’s interests. And as ‘easy to tell’ goes, predictability is a word to describe some battles with outcomes. Speaking of childish, the series sometimes will feel that way whether you like it or not. It maintains its serious atmosphere on most cases when it comes to competitions but when outside of that zone becomes more like a cartoon for fun.
Artwork serves as an example that brings out Gundam Build Fighters’ diversity to various angles. Every single Gunpla has its own design that defines its characteristics and abilities. Sei and Reiji’s Gunpla, the Star Build Strike, serves a symbol of pride for the duo with its traditional design. On the other hand, some character designs looks blend. Most of the characters seems to be just there and doesn’t stand out in any particular way. Only a few competitors in the show such as Aila and Yuuki gives off more of an intimidating feature. Background designs outside competitions also seems average with basic designs. But if we’re talking about the battle fields during gunpla battles, that’s a whole other story.
Judging on soundtrack, this show has what it takes. Just from its OST, it’s easy to realize just how intense some battles can be with its well-coordinated orchestra. There’s a mixed beat of rock and metal on most occasions that brings out the intensity of the battles. It’s what fans should expect if they come into a competitive atmosphere that GBD is offering and thankfully, it delivers. Both OP/ED songs also offers a montage of the main characters and some foreshadowing. The strengths of these songs doesn’t lie with its lyrics. Rather, it brings out the show for what exactly it is: a game for the ultimate prize.
Watching Gundam Build Fighters will feel like living like a kid all over again. If you remember playing with toys during childhood days, then this show will bring back some of those nostalgia. However, these aren’t just toys but are plastic models that revolutionizes Gunpla battles. The story will bring out these battles at its best along with the characters. Even though the story may feel slow at times, you’ll be rewarded with patience for its dynamics, relationships, and mechanics. You don’t need to be a big Gundam fan to watch this show. No, what you need is some motivation. Relieve the experience of being a kid again and being the big dog of your neighborhood.
The idea of special particles only reacting with the plastic of model Gundams is retarded, to be quite frank. That overarching property is applied too many times to the reasoning of things that happen during the show, but it is masked by emotion and epic battles, so you gradually come to not care anymore about how dumb the idea is. It is never fully explained how Arian and Earth are connected and how Reiji and the PPSE president are able to be there. Those 2 things aside, Gundam Build Fighters is fantastic in every other area. The story, while a little uninspired, takes flight thanks to the awesomeness of the fights and the characters.
Let’s move on to the characters now. Sei is your run of the mill young shounen protagonist who loves something so much, but he’s not great at something in it. Incomes Reiji to save the day with his piloting skills. Not much else can be said about him, he’s not very impressionable besides his awesome Gundam building skills. Reiji on the other hand, is hilarious to watch with his “no fucks given” attitude and epic fighting technique. Unaware of his strong connection to Aila, who is bae as fuck I might add, it’s hilarious to watch that relationship grow, and at the end when she returns to Arian, with him, you know they’ll work it out. Some other notable characters are Fellini and Nils. Both awesome in their own ways, Fellini is just a big baller shot caller, while Nils is intellectual and witty. One more I’d like note is that Rinko is a fucking goddess and I want her to sit on my face. Everyone else has decent contributions to the series, and I can’t name one terrible character.
Here’s where this anime really shines though:
The visuals in this anime are striking and beautiful, even compared to today’s animation quality. The fights are beautifully animated and wonderfully choreographed.
I can’t say enough about the soundtrack. The timing is perfect with the background music, heightening your emotion at the right moments and really making you feel great about watching the show. The 2 OPs are fucking excellent as well.
Overall, Gundam Build Fighters has to be one of the most underrated anime in recent memory, and clearly goes beyond what most would think is a “kids’ show”. 9/10
Gundam Buld Fighters is the playroom that has always been a reality, where our protagonists find themselves in a world where Gundam toys are alive and the world might just as well revolve around them. In short, this is a world where noone has to grow up. Fun is the oath to live by.
But what’s in a Gundam?
Gundam is a toy comercial filled with a burning passion. There’s no denying it, each and every Gundam is an aniamted advertisement for selling Gundam model kits, and along the way, it just so happens they’ve managed to tell some of the most fantastically memorable and famous stories within the medium. A Gundam show means melodrama, war, giant robots, passion, love, rivalry, cliches, transformations, and a fair dash of cheesy, silly nonsense.
So how is this about Gundam Build Fighters?
Gundam Build Fighters simply put, is the celebration of that legacy.
In a wonderfully paced action-romp of loving care, Sunrise has managed to derive from the world of Gundam a battle-tournament spectacle of the highest quality. In this extravaganza of blatant, subtle, and hidden homage to the breadth of the Gundam franchise (animated or not), Build Fighters is a light-hearted approach to the tournament genre that will endear you with its celebration of childlike abandon.
Appearing as the usual match-up fare, Build Fighters manages to keep it fresh with a variety of interesting turn-outs, characters, and cirumstances. The series length plays to the show’s strengths, and never outstays its welcome. The quirky cast are quick to show off their jovial mannerisms, and you can always expect things to turn out for the best.
You’ll be treated to a party of tropes: a back-and-forth, tongue-in-cheek free-for-all of serious playtime. This isn’t just a fun show, it’s a show that knows it’s having fun. The animation takes a drop at times, but manages to hide that, remaining stylish with well-drawn stills. What matters most is that the animators really bring it together for the big matches where you can expect dynamic, jaw-dropping, and exciting clashes. With a striking soundtrack and high-octane, talented seiyuu cast, the show is the perfect mix as an easygoing, and over-the-top anime.
There are mysteries and intrigues (masked characters, anyone?). Rivalries, and friendships born from that respect. You’ll be engulfed in hot passions, the power of tenacity, a pool of cutsie boys and girls, a background of hairy men, old men, grown men, young men, and even shaven men. Many a socket popped, plastic Gundams broken, torn asunder. Amongst the passionate cries, might even love bloom? Embracing, exonerating, and caricaturing the sins and memorabilia of Gundams past, Build Fighters is a fresh and welcome return to the Gundam world franchise, accessible to both old fan and newtype alike.
Gundam Build Fighters is a show that aims to entertain, and for Gundam fans, its also a masterful love-letter. Gundam is a franchise stretching beyond the realm of anime. This show takes that fact, and has spun it into a perfect celebration: a carnival of Gundams.
English: Space Dandy
MAL Score: 7.88
The universe is a mysterious and strange place, full of even stranger and more mysterious aliens. Dandy’s job is to hunt down unclassified aliens and register them for a reward. It sounds easy enough, but something weird always seems to happen along the way, like chance meetings with zombies, mystical ramen chefs, and adorable orphans. Hunting down aliens may not be easy, but it’s definitely never boring.
With the help of his sidekicks, the adorable robot vacuum QT and cat-like alien Meow, and his slightly-used ship the Aloha Oe, Dandy roams the galaxy searching for new alien species. What he usually finds, however, is adventure, danger, and romance, and no two journeys (or universes) are ever the same. This is Space☆Dandy, baby!
But instead, Space Dandy has one good episode and is mired by tons of flat humor, a whole load of boring to bad episodes, and overusing Boobies as a humor device.
1.) Great Animation and Soundtrack- Seriously, Space Dandy looks sexy as hell. From the retro character designs to the whacky aliens to the trippy worlds, Space Dandy is a great acid trip. Many episodes have a unique style from the others. The plant episode and the library episode did a good job of providing a unique enough experience to be memorable as far as the animation is concerned, though flat lined in every other department. The soundtrack is also brilliant, with tons of the flair and flavor we can expect from the people who brought us Bebop and Samurai Champloo.
2.) Some Good Ideas- Some of the episodes contained good ideas that weren’t capitalized on, or would have been awesome if they were fleshed out. Space Dandy is definitely smart somewhere, but the execution is so poor and the episodes so devoid of any of the humor or entertainment that it is supposed to provide. The references to classic sci-fi tropes and movies are great nods to the classics Dandy attempts to emulate, and those occasionally provide humor, but, for the most part, episodes as a whole fall apart.
3.) That One Good Episode- The only good episode in the series is the one that makes fun of Disney’s copyright laws and also has one of the best space races I’ve ever seen. This is episode seven; an episode that I will think of anytime anyone mentions Space Dandy. It’s a fantastic episode. Watch it and avoid the rest. The rest sucks.
1.) Uninteresting and Unfunny Characters- The first episode Dandy is a pretty cool character and you think, “Damn, they’re gonna do some awesome things with him”. But they never do. His character is as stagnant as the rest of the series and he’s never particularly funny. Most of the jokes surrounding him are way too juvenile and overused to elicit even a chuckle. Boobies was funny the first time, but by the twelfth episode, it’s downright annoying. And this lack of comedy can be found in QT, whose autotuned voice makes sense, but isn’t a great design choice in the long run. Meow is also uninteresting as a character.
And then there’s a bad guy, Commodore Perry, who chases them around for some reason or other. The character’s just don’t provide anything worth mentioning to the table.
2.) Decent Enough Plot to Work With, Uninteresting Execution- You see me use the word “uninteresting” a lot because that about sums up Space Dandy. The setup, Dandy is searching for never before seen aliens in order to obtain a bounty, is pretty cool. But the execution is so boring. He goes to a planet where two aliens fight over the ultimate clothing. He returns a lost library book. There’s an alien that shape shifts, there’s a plant planet. The animation and style for every one of these episodes is fantastic and the still shots are goddam beautiful but I can’t watch a comedy anime for its formalism. And maybe if this anime were not a comedy I would rate it higher, but that’s what it wants to be, and that’s what I’ll treat it as.
3.) So Much Wasted Potential, Baby- What I ultimately hate this anime for is wasting so much potential. I can’t emphasize enough the amount of good ideas that went into Space Dandy that are wasted by poor writing, directing, and characters. I can see where this could be funny, and it does provide the occasional chuckle, but it’s so much better taken as abstract sci-fi than a comedy. Maybe if you were high this show would work, but as it stands, Space Dandy is just poor.
Sigh. Space Dandy, Space Dandy, Space Dandy. Wasted potential central. It feels so much like Kids on the Slope, another anime made by director Shinichiro Watanabe. It is set up so well, but fails in every way except animation and music. After Cowboy Bebop, I think Watanabe decided to go style over substance, which tends not to work for me, especially in a comedy series. As I said, if this had been a formalistic sci-fi anime (with occasional comedy elements), it would have worked better. But as a comedy, it fails miserably. It’s unfunny, has terrible characters, and is begging for a better team to handle it.
Watch episode seven. But pass up the rest.
Space Dandy is perhaps most recognisable for being Shinichiro Watanabe’s most recent project. There is a noticeable Cowboy Bebop influence here, but at the same time it feels like the antithesis of what Bebop represents. Space Dandy is all sorts silly and zany. There never seems to be a moment where the show takes itself seriously, and even when it appears to, there is usually some joke waiting at the end. There are no deep messages to be extracted from the episodes. It never aims to be anything more than simple fun– and it works for that very reason.
The story follows the adventures of space greaser Dandy, a cat-like creature named… ‘Meow’, and the ship’s cleaning robot, QT. The three spend their days lazing about while occasionally hunting for rare aliens to fetch them a nice price on market. They are incredibly inept at their job, lacking in any form of intelligence, and everything, always, goes terribly wrong in some way or another.
Space Dandy follows an episodic format, although I don’t believe the term is entirely appropriate as ‘episodic’ implies continuity in some form. There is absolutely no continuity in Space Dandy. Zero. The main characters might die at the end of an episode and then it will casually roll the credits before showing them alive and healthy in the next episode. The character development is essentially nil as a result. Dandy and the rest aren’t characters that you will ever find yourself emotionally attached to, but that’s actually okay. Focusing solely on the comedy is what allows it to work. Drama would never be able to exist in the bizarre world of Space Dandy- at least not without seeming entirely out-of-place. Even deus ex machina (and they are aplenty) are intentionally used for comedic purposes. The show just doesn’t give a damn about being taken seriously.
Everything about Space Dandy oozes charm. The setting is reminiscent of a 1950’s vision of the future, with ray guns, greaser slang and antiquated technology. The episodes themselves deal with every prominent sci-fi trope (time loops, wormholes, zombies, sentient AI) in a fun manner. There is always something different each episode, though some are certainly much weaker than others. A few of them are honestly dull enough to put the viewer to sleep, while others, like the episode involving Meow’s family, are nothing short of greatness. There’s unfortunately no consistency to the quality of the episodes- an issue that seems to be common in episodic comedies.
The shameless fanservice is the show’s one major flaw. There’s nothing wrong with an adult character having an interest in women (or more specifically, boobs), but Dandy’s obsession verges from perversion to outright debauchery. An equivalent to Hooters, named “Boobies” in the show (really!) is frequently present. Boobies this, Boobies that. Dandy’s entire reason for existence is to go to Boobies and ogle all the big-breasted blondes that walk about. Every time he visits, there are close-up cleavage or ass-shots of the girls. When he is not there, he hits on every female in sight; human or alien, it doesn’t matter to him. There is no problem with shows that are mature enough to embrace sexuality as a normal part of human nature, but this maturity is nowhere to be seen in Space Dandy. Its obsession with women resembles a starving 12-year-old who just reached puberty rather than something of a grown adult. The fanservice has its place, but there is no reason for it to exist to this extent. It’s just uncomfortable.
Space Dandy has some of the best art seen in a television anime for years. The first episode looks absolutely stellar, on-par with big-budget series such as Shingeki no Kyojin and not too far behind films such as Redline. The animation does take a dip in the later episodes but its quality always remains well above the average anime. Space Dandy gives a great deal of attention to its action scenes by animating them in full. Most anime studios decide to take the shortcut approach with panning shots (or just plain bad animation), which makes Space Dandy’s visuals all the more commendable. The animators could have taken the lazy way out, but they did not.
The sound is average; nothing noteworthy. Most scenes are accompanied by ambient sounds in order to convey a distinct sci-fi atmosphere. A few scenes, like the battle between QT and a giant robot, and Dandy taking care of an alien child, have more noticeable music, but these moments are all too rare. The opening track is much more interesting, performed by what I would describe as “Japanese Bloc Party”. It encapsulates the quirky charm of the series.
If you have ever found yourself bored by the homogeneity of the anime industry, or simply want to watch something fun and silly, Space Dandy is an anime definitely deserving of your time. There’s an undeniable sense of childishness to the fanservice, and sure, not every episode is a massive joy to watch, but there is rarely a moment that makes you wish you were watching something else instead. It dared to be different and it succeeded. If only more anime took from Space Dandy’s example.
Being a very experimental anime, each episode (this is an episodic anime in case you weren’t clear) is unique and quirky, but each and every one of them have a common factor – they are amazing fun. Comedy is the main point of Space Dandy, and it has been handled exteremely well throughout the series. This might not seem to be the case at first (the show opens with boob jokes), but some of the jokes here are really unique, and the delivery is often top notch. I will not go into much detail in order to avoid spoilers, but in my opinion the first few episodes really aren’t that good and in my opinion the weakest point of the series, so if you find yourself not liking the show much I urge you to continue to give it a chance – it is definitely worth it.
A very common complain with the show is its lack of an overall plot. I personally don’t find any problem with this, and think that some of the greatest shows have been like that. (Mushishi being my best example) Whilst there have been hints that there is something bigger at play, whether it will evolve into something is not certain. So if you are one of those who doesn’t like shows which don’t have a strong overall plot, this might not be the show for you.
The characters are, simply put, outstanding. Whilst Dandy might seem annoying at first with all of his boob jokes and stuff like that, he is undoubtedly a character that will simply win you over throughout the course of the series with his over the top, contagious stupidity and antics. There is also sufficient development in the series despite it simply being episodic, and it weaves the backstories of the characters very well into its episodes. Meow’s (episode 10) was done particularly well in my opinion. And QT is simply hilarious.
The visuals pretty good, and certain episodes do take on certain different (wierd) art styles. I think that they are used pretty well and I love how they are used to tell the story. Episode 11 springs to mind as one which used a very interesting art style to tell a even more interesting story, and I think the show is capable of utilizing creative visuals at times to help reinforce the plot.
Amazing OP and ED, fitting use of music in scenes. I have little experience in music so I won’t comment much on it, but I felt that the overall usage of sound was very effective in my viewing of the anime. Loved the voice acting (note that I am watching the jap version of the show so I don’t know how the dub sounds) and feel that it fits perfectly to every character.
Overall, Space Dandy is hilarious, amazing, and overall a great pleasure to watch. It does start off with some weak episodes, but when it gets going, the stories are simply some of the best. Looking forward to when it returns after the break (its split cour!), and hopefully it continues to pump out these amazing episodes, and maybe even connect the dots and reveal that an overall plot (Not really neccessary, but I think it would be cool!) Highly recommended by me, with an overall score of 9/10.
3: Space☆Dandy 2nd Season
English: Space Dandy 2nd Season
Japanese: スペース☆ダンディ 第2シリーズ
MAL Score: 8.26
Second season of Space Dandy.
Space Dandy is a dandy guy, in space! This dreamy adventurer with a to-die-for pompadour travels across the galaxy in search of aliens no one has ever laid eyes on. Each new species he discovers earns him a hefty reward, but this dandy has to be quick on his feet because it’s first come, first served! Accompanied by his sidekicks, a rundown robot named QT and Meow the cat-looking space alien, Dandy bravely explores unknown worlds inhabited by a variety of aliens. Join the best dressed alien hunter in all of space and time as he embarks on an adventure that ends at the edge of the universe!
(Source: Bandai Visual)
Directed by the brainchild of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe once again proves his worth. Breaking down the boundary of the adventure theme, he takes this sequel to new heights with his creativity. It quickly makes its point with the first episode by adapting various references and explodes them onto the screen. The comedic nature of the show quickly takes command but also fits in various satires and gags to illustrate creativity. As daring as the first season, it’s not afraid to pull off risks. The risk here is that episodes can come with a mixed bag. But really, Space Dandy was never a show about overly complex plot angles or some dynamic narrative. Rather, it keeps the space adventure zipping along that is mastered with uniqueness.
Stuffed with craziness, the show plays around with itself like it’s in a class of its own. Make no mistake though, Dandy plays more than just the role of a professor as he takes on the good adventure with his crew members. Essentially, the show was about hunting down aliens as Dandy dedicates it as his job. However, many episodes explores more than just that cliché. Comedy first, and space adventure second is probably the better way to say it in this case. Space Dandy has been defined as a show that is free to do whatever it wants. There’s no boundary that confines itself or limit its ideas. Most of the episodes takes in space but also seizes opportunities to expand its settings. These include but not limited to high school, a mystical lake, and even a world where there’s no sadness. (literally, as that title implies). Regardless, the main objective that Space Dandy achieves is not an adventure of classic fun but rather inspiration, the way it presents its stylish blockbuster hit from where season 1 already built upon.
A majority of the attention is focused on the main characters. In fact, the main characters has this connection with both each other and I dare say…the audience. Dandy has this personality that is like a chemistry set for a scientist. Once they get their hands on it, they can’t stop. Their curiosity takes them like the way Dandy takes his adventures to wonders of the universe. This sense of nature can even label him as a hero as Dandy has prevented tragedies and even entire galactic wars in one of the episodes in this season. On the other hand, Dandy’s two sidekicks QT and Meow play some major roles as well in the sequel. Unlike most series that tries to succeed with ‘beating the Big Bad to save the world’, Space Dandy is more about achieving some goal. It focuses on what the premise of each episode and twists in a ways beyond incalculable imaginations. Some of them will make your mind go “WHAT?” while other times will bring a smile of appreciation. It shouldn’t be any surprising though. The sequel doesn’t derive far from the style of season 1. Each episode is carefully crafted with its main and supporting characters to fit with its creative context. The catch is also that the show isn’t exactly like a ‘monster of the week’ program. Instead, it seeks ambition and articulate concepts beyond just the space tropes. However, it can sometimes be frustrating to realize that most characters seize to appear in the future and only opt to play their roles in that specifically dedicated episode.
To take for granted, various themes play along the show as if it’s self-aware. Destiny is one such theme as Dandy often seemingly gets himself involved with circumstances beyond his control. They say fate and destiny is something people can’t defy. In Space Dandy though, that’s a different story as Dandy often tries to tempt fate. His various battles such as against aliens, monstrous fishes, and armed forces often puts Dandy’s own life in jeopardy. Yet, somehow Dandy pulls off a spectacular show when it’s put up or shut up time. It’s not clearly defined as deus ex machina because like I mentioned before, the show is seemingly self-aware about what Dandy is capable of. The sequel takes even more daring risks with imaginative worlds. One such episode really takes the cake with Dandy being in a world where sadness and death itself is extinct. The avant-garde nature combined with its unique humor of each episode brings forward talent on the tables as well. Each episode has a different screen writer including Watanabe himself. I give praise to Kiyotaka Oshiyama and Masaaki Yuasa for their stylish and clever writing. More so, Watanabe shows his skills in coordination by deconstructing the essence of an adventure. The sequel takes its adventure far beyond just space and into scenarios that not even the Twilight Zone can see with its eyes.
Production quality generally remains the same with Bones in charge of the operation. Character designs are still like the previous season with not much difference. There are some particular episodes that Dandy has slight differences to reflect the nature of itself. Otherwise, character designs still reflect the sci-fi trope such as the aliens, space vehicles, and fabulous gentlemen of the universe. One thing I find season 2 masterfully done is how artwork sells what it tries to advertise. The preview of each episode only produces an initial impression with the title being a potential trademark. However, the execution can really knock an audience off-guard with its contrasting visuals. Episodes directed by Watanabe and Yuasa are prominent examples for this.
Soundtrack is more of a classic appreciation. The western style OST fused with sci-fi tones is something to take notice of. The soothing music, the elegance of the OST, and colorful edginess clarify what this season is trying to accomplish. Surprisingly enough, I find the dubs comparable to the original Japanese versions. In both instances, Dandy has a voice of an explorer and takes on adventures with enthusiasm. Other characters too have influences whether they are human, robots, or aliens. One particular episode even has references to the voice actor with his own character (DUB version) and a classic battle of the bands theme. The OP and ED songs remain generally the same for the sequel though.
There’s no single word to describe the second season. It can be fun, sexy, entertaining, insightful, influential, creative, thrilling, formulaic, intelligent, sensitive, charming, or just dandy. Some episodes can also be deep with hidden meanings and evoke emotions. Each episode is filled with potential and explores space like an anthology. Yes, the series may not make sense at times and will leave you in the hanging. Yes, the sequel may have never solved a story subplot or context that should have been. However, does it really need to? Remember, the show doesn’t limit itself with its adventures. It stretches beyond the boundary of imagination by indulging on its unorthodox or perhaps even radical style. In the end, you might ask yourself “what the hell?” I know I did but doesn’t regret a single minute afterwards.
Story? What story? Technically, the universe of Space Dandy is so vast that the creators can concoct any story and it will still make perfect sense. Space Dandy is an episodic anime, with the episodes differing A LOT from each other, this is mostly due to the fact that Space Dandy is directed by multiple directors, each bringing their own flair and style into the episode they directed, which is why I said this is a huge bag filled with endless creativity, because it is!
There isn’t any continuity between the episodes, as such you are free to watch the episodes separately and still enjoy it as a whole. Dandy and his co may die in one episode, and appear perfectly fine in the next, and this fact, supposedly established in the very first episode of season 1, is actually explained brilliantly towards the end of the series (hence my high score).
Hands down, Space Dandy is one of the most beautiful animes I’ve ever seen in my life. Remember when I mentioned the episodes differ a lot from each other? This applies to the art as well! Each and every single episode are drawn in a different style and this gives us viewers a myriad of eye candies to watch for (that ancient Japanese artstyle in ep 5? Wow). Not to mention the jaw-dropping sceneries found in many parts of the show, my eyes were glued to the screen at all times.
Space Dandy wouldn’t be the same without the awesome soundtrack behind it. Most of the soundtracks are funk and jazz music (dandy!), of course there are plenty of other genres as well, heck, we even have live rock music (ep 7), high school musical style (ep 4), disco music from the 80s (ep 9) and many more. This season of Space Dandy had really upped the ante especially on this area, so pay attention to it as well when you watch it.
Sadly, this season has more episodes of Dandy being isolated from QT and Meow, so we don’t see much of them as compared to the first season. Anyhow, Dandy is as cool as ever, and this coolness escalates to a much higher level especially towards the finale. Scarlet and Honey gets more screentime as well and they will be featured much, much more than just at their respective workplaces. Dr Gel and Bea are also featured as recurrent villains, and towards the finale, there’s a big surprise waiting…
We also have a huge cast of new characters joining in, with my favourites being Johnny and Planet Limbo herself. See for yourself and you will as well, I am sure, love the characters in Space Dandy.
Granted, due to the episodic nature of Space Dandy, episodes may be a hit or miss, subjective to the viewer him/herself. If you ask me, I fell in love with most of the episodes of this season compared to the last season, and this season has many episodes with very high rewatchability, either to marvel at the greatness of the art, or the gorgeous soundtrack, or the mightily creative story and characters.
I’d reckon that Space Dandy is viewable for all ages, but is especially appealing to the adults. Space Dandy should become more enjoyable as you age, due to the wide range of pop culture references in it. In conclusion, Space Dandy is a clever anime, and a brilliant work of art.
Boobies and butts are what make the universe a pretty awesome place to exist in. How is this so? Just ask Dandy himself, and he could tell you all about it in glorious enthusiasm. This Dandy I speak of is named Space Dandy. Imagine if you mixed the best of western and eastern humor of TV animation shows and combine them into one nifty package. That should tell you right away that Space Dandy destines to be different and fresh without making an overtly big deal about it. Regardless, you certainly can’t beat this hot fun garbage series with any other garbage entertainment, anime or otherwise.
It should be noted, when talking about Space Dandy, that this is not a Shinichiro Watanabe directed anime in its purest sense, the director of such classics as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Even though he overseas chief direction for the show, this is essentially a conglomerate of different anime directors putting their own directorial spin on the series. That should tell you right there that Space Dandy does not follow any direct narrative from point A to point B. Episodic episodes spliced together to follow Dandy and his band of various misfits, all create a western-style animated series vibe that can be nostalgic for those of us growing up as kids watching these shows day by day. So if you thought this was going to be a Cowboy Bebop-style show, just be thankful that you will be getting the filler episode portions of Bebop.
Nevertheless, that should not entail that Space Dandy is nothing more than a comedic version of Bebop. In actuality, it brings forth a very unique style of its own to formulate charm to its humor and characters. Almost all jokes prevalent in Space Dandy hit all of the notes perfectly with nicely done comedic timing and on top of it, they don’t just make all of the jokes onto one subject matter. Sure, the main focus of Space Dandy’s comedy is purely sexual with its constant pandering over butts and boobs, but once you further yourself into the show, you’ll realize that it is not the case. Many tropes are satirized from what you would typically see in any animated show with male characters like Dandy; always getting what he wants in the end that quickly falls flat over him.
There are genuine surprises thrown in here and there. For instance, it is probably one of the few anime you will ever see that has its own musical number. Even with its comedy, the writers actually delve into introspective subject matter that actually become insightful and melancholic while still maintaining its humor without exemplifying it unnaturally. Rarely would I ever applaud a show for being able to achieve both of these elements. The reason being is how the jokes are written in very clever fashion by its intricate pacing and punchlines. Never is there a dull moment between the hilarious banter of Dandy and his friends out of the 26 episodes in this series.
Dandy himself is quite the protagonist in keeping the show at an evenly paced comedy with his larger than life charisma and presence. Normally with a man who constantly obsesses over booty and tits can be grating over a period of time. What makes Dandy an exception is that they do not really shove the obvious joke down our throats continuously, although in some parts they do, especially in the earlier episodes. He proves himself to be an exceptional lead, but that’s not to say he’s the only one who is able to do that in Space Dandy.
Meow, Dandy’s right hand man after humiliating him in the first episode, isn’t similar to Dandy in terms of personality. In fact, Meow would be the one to set him straight to focus on their missions, even though Dandy himself isn’t a total idiot in most cases. QT, Dandy’s robot sidekick, is the same way in this aspect, where he is always trying to keep things in order over Dandy’s typical behavior. Both of these leads are extremely lovable because of the perfect chemistry between them and Dandy. Even when their relationship seems atypical, goofy trite at first glance, they eventually warm up to being match made in heaven.
What good is it to talk about Space Dandy without mentioning its elaborate music? Absolutely zilch. I will speak in no hyperbole whatsoever in stating that Space Dandy has the most infectious Opening I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. The word infectious is meant in the most positive sense possible. Newcomer Kensuke Ushio has really made himself quite a success story in 2014 with this and also composing for Ping Pong The Animation. The opening itself sets the mood for the entire show and lets you know that fun is about to come your way, like any other good opening does to any other show.
One very important thing to note is the artistic direction and how diverse the animators decided to put into creating this very elaborate, kooky universe. All of the alien creatures are very unique in design that are a mix mash of previously imagined aliens and putting in their own vision. The lavish colors are put with great care so Space Dandy can be easy and pleasing to the eyes. It also helps that the animation is nice and fluid to further the aesthetic to new heights. Also, because there are multiple directors for each episode, some of them even put their own artistic vision into the spectrum. One notable is Masaaki Yuasa, director of The Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong The Animation, who filled in one episode for animation direct in episode 3, who managed to put in a whole different spin for the series in terms of animation.
In closing, there is really nothing like Space Dandy that you often see in anime. In some ways, it’s sort of Japan’s answer to western animated TV shows and saying, “Hey, we can make episodic goofy comedies just like the rest of y’all!” Regardless of whether that was their true intention or not, it definitely speaks volumes by analyzing how Space Dandy can work both as a satire or a genuine comedy. Japanese anime purists may watch this with disdain because its not the archetypal anime, even in comedy standards, that we are used to. But if you’re willing to give credit where credit is due for a Japan-produced nostalgia trip of late-’90s to early 2000’s animated shows, look no further.
2: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
English: Parasyte -the maxim-
Japanese: 寄生獣 セイの格率
MAL Score: 8.37
All of a sudden, they arrived: parasitic aliens that descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. These insatiable beings acquire full control of their host and are able to morph into a variety of forms in order to feed on unsuspecting prey.
Sixteen-year-old high school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites, but it fails to take over his brain, ending up in his right hand instead. Unable to relocate, the parasite, now named Migi, has no choice but to rely on Shinichi in order to stay alive. Thus, the pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence and must defend themselves from hostile parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.
The truth is… this show is overrated. Overrated does not mean bad, it simply means overrated. “Oh you’re just not intelligent enough to grasp all the deep concepts hidden within the philosophical plot!” No. It’s just not as deep as you might want to believe it is. The series definitely doesn’t stay true to the “meant-to-be” dark-premise of the manga, especially towards the end.
The story starts off with what everyone believed was going to be a philosophical story between the meaning of life and death, and humanity vs reality with the introduction of a species higher up in the food pyramid than humans, called Parasytes. Sure everyone wants to believe that what they’re watching is deep, but truth be told it’s really not. The story can’t seem to decide what direction they want to go. Parasytes basically infect human beings, usually take over their brains and control them. And as you can guess, Parasytes eat humans making them the one species above human beings in the food chain. Shinichi, the protagonist only gets infected in his right hand, therefore he still has conscious control over his body (except for his right hand obviously). Where does it go from there? A psychological show? An action show? A horror? A romance? All of the above, while almost failing to reach it’s potential in every aspect. The plot doesn’t go in linear way, it cuts corners and adds in random interferences whilst not being able to intertwine and contain them all. One moment there’s a fight then there’s awkward school life-romance, then there’s running away and talking pretentiously, then there’s another fight randomly. A lot of things were taken too slowly, then rushed in the latter creating an unbalanced flow in the plot. It’s almost like although the show wanted to be philosophical, it was just about one boy running away from a herd of parasytes trying to kill him for no rational reason other than him being the main character. Furthermore, in order to promote themes, the show portrayed a lot of things incorrectly, especially human beings (The police). Human beings are evil and corrupt. Okay… Now you have to contrast that in order to create a theme or idea, but the show doesn’t succeed in showing two sides of a concept, although they try. The writers did everything in their power to somehow elevate Shinichi to a god-level in one moment then degrade him to a useless hippo the next moment in order to fit whatever they were farting out of their butts. The beginning was potential-filled, middle didn’t live up to it’s expectations although was decent, and the ending just made no sense what-so-ever. If you’re going to be philosophical, you need to back it up with your story. Kiseijuu failed to do just that and instead just had a lot of childish bloodshed. Yes, the fighting was childish because honestly, it wasn’t justified. Now with all that negative things said, the story really was pretty enjoyable to watch-listen to so don’t think that the show sucks. On the positive side of the show, there were moments that though they may be pretentious, some comments reached deep into my heart and my mind. Tamura Reiko’s “For what purpose was I born in this world?”. People think about that all the time. Why are we actually born? Do we have a certain purpose to fulfill that’s destined by fate? Then there was the mayor’s entire speech on human evolution. I found those to be really intriguing topics to think about and half the fun in watching an anime is for it to make you think and grasp upon a new conception/philosophy. But overall, yeah story was disappointing.
The character develop was really underwhelming in the show as well. I’ll start with popular main characters, Migi and Shinichi. What the story started off doing was uniting two characters into one to intertwine the nature of humanity and other creatures. The show tries to connect the audience to the humanity side and the “monster” side and show the differing perspectives. Shinichi seemed to turning more into a monster while Migi was becoming more human. But the starting potential was all there was to that development. There are too many unresolved questions and everything that Migi does for Shinichi is beyond unrealistic. I mean I understand Parasytes existing is unrealistic in itself, but they’re supposed to be a opposing metaphor for the concept of humanity, but there are some bullcrap moments that the writers seem to fart out of their butts to save Shinichi. Towards the last two episodes, Shinichi is beyond useless without Migi and he keeps saying more pretentious crap about his emotions, when there’s nothing more to say but “The writers wrote me so that I’m a human being that’s marching straight towards the strongest parasyte in the midst of night because I feel like something good will happen”. And… of course something good does happen. Oh man how genius and clever of the writers right?! The other characters had their appearances, then two episodes later their exits. Development of any sort? I don’t think so. Shinichi really could have developed more. His losses in life changes him to embrace his half-parasyte side, while his love for human life clings to his humanity. Okay, that’s a great base start but where does it all go from there? Shinichi sure had a lot of emotions tied into his characters to the point where it was like, who is this person? Shinichi is this person one moment, then another the next. The only character that developed at all is Tamura Reiko and yes she is like the only character I actually liked. Her development into trying to understand human emotions, laboring her human child, trying to unite both humanity and parasytes together. The writers succeeded in creating her character as a symbol of hope and despair. The hope that humans and other creatures will one day understand each other. The despair that there will be bloodshed and corruption within the social hierarchy of species. Her one quote of “arigato” was probably the most powerful one word in the anime that pierced through my heavens. A bright light in in the anime for sure. As for the two girls, Murano and Kana… they happen to be in love with Shinichi but there’s abolutely no chemistry between the characters. All Murano does for 90% of the story is “Are you really Shinichi?” and Kana just constantly throws herself at Shinichi whilst being aware of the dangers around her just because… the writers made her. I mean even in a fictional story there should be some human-emotion-realism right? Kana could have been a character like Tamura Reiko, a way of hope and despair in connection of the two species, but no. She became a nobody without really ever being a somebody. Also so many small characters that seemingly were going to play a role in the story just had one event then disappeared from the show entirely: Uda, Makiko, and his father? Like, what even happened to them by the end?
The very ending of Parasyte makes no sense, there is almost no connection to the rest of the story. It’s almost as if the series just cut off everything that the story built up to, to just end the show. Yet because Migi has a pretentious exchange with Shinichi, people who don’t even grasp what they’re even saying believe it to be a genius ending. All Migi basically says is Shinichi should wake up from his dreams (which is his reality) and forget everything that’s happened to him and live a normal human life. Then Shinichi realizes that humanity is corrupt and that in human nature there is natural evil. But despite all the negative sides of human nature, human beings are beautiful creatures and they include the love of Earth into the whole pretentious mix. Migi then just disappears without anything being explained. I mean Migi just randomly leaves within his dreams which then translates to Migi disappearing from the show entirely. What the hell? Did he leave himself to Shinichi (for him to have an arm) and then kill his life-force so that he doesn’t actually exist? in the end when Shinichi saves Murano, it’s implied that Migi saves her. So, what the hell actually happened to Migi? Makes no sense to me, maybe someone else can make sense of the whole ending for me. This last episode sort of reminded me of Evangelion’s ending where it doesn’t connect all that well to the rest of the plot and doesn’t explain a lot of things while including randomness to sound smart.
As for the art in Parasyte, I’d say it was decent? I mean, the portrayal of the Parasytes was mediocre to me in comparison to the kagune of Ghouls in Tokyo Ghoul. The characters all looked like they had unusually long faces (though I don’t bash them for that, just something I noticed). The actions scenes were mediocre as well, as all they portrayed were a bunch of arms moving around at a speed so fast the audience just sees lines dashing across the screen. I suppose the portrayal of weather (such as the snow when Tamura Reiko …) was beautifully done. the music in Parasyte was good but there wasn’t all that much variety in music. It was basically, opening-one other random Ost-Next to you-Ending every episode. “Next to you” is a really good piece though, I loved listening to it every time it played. Solid in the music category overall. Okay actually, listening to it’s full soundtrack, Parasyte had some really nice music.
At the very end of the show the only thing left is my head is: What was the point of the show? Was it to show that humanity is corrupt and that we’re the reason other species can’t move forward? That humanity should embrace other species and try harder to understand? Or that reality is a cruel place? What do other people see in this show that makes them think it’s so genius? And of course, if you enjoyed the show then I respect that as well because despite my criticism I too enjoyed the show … to an extent.
With all that said, Parasyte is a show that’s worth watching if you like psychological shows.
When speaking with others online about Parasyte, the most common piece of criticism I hear that strays away those who don’t want to watch is that it’s “not my genre,” it’s “overrated” or “it makes my stomach turn while watching some scenes.” Although I agree with most of these statements, it’s because of these points that people should try watching – simply because it’s a genre/ story that’s not seen often in this generation.
Putting that aside, the anime begins with a mini snake-like organism emerging from it’s shell that fails to attempt to target a high schooler by the name of Izumi Shinichi, unable to attack Shinichi’s brain to completely take over his body. However the organism develops it’s own intellect in Shinichi’s right arm and is named Migi (which is Japanese for right). The story is about magnitudes of these snake-like organisms taking over humans in Japan. If the brain has been successfully taken over, a parasyte is then born which then has the ability to morph body parts into blades and lengthen the human anatomy. To survive, these parastyes thrive on devouring the anterior portion of humans, killing with no second judgement. The main character Shinichi learns about this through his counter-part Migi and goes on a mission to kill any parasyte that poses a threat to society.
After watching this and reflecting on it, it’s clear that the anime was trying to illustrate the question of: “can someone who does not display human-like qualities, be humanized?” The answer to this question is, yes and it’s heavily drawn out through the characters. We see that as the story progresses it’s clear that parasytes are depicted as blood thirty creatures. However some of the parasytes like Tamiya Ryouko, who seemingly is out to kill, becomes more human as her storyline progresses. We also see this with Migi, Migi starts off as having no empathy for humans, Shinichi included, but gradually gains affection towards them as the episodes unfold. However when looking at Shinichi, the reverse occurs to him as he loses his some emotions and becomes less humanized.
The art and animation is quite solid, and the sound stands out as one of my favourites. Although this anime is an adaptation from a manga in the 90s, I enjoyed that the art is drawn in a way that’s up-to-date with the anime that’s out now but yet still has that air from the art during the 90s as well. The animation is fluid but not that fluid in some regards as I hoped. For example, when we see the one-to-one combat between parastyes; the lightning speed combat with using lengthened limbs and blades are not that fluid. The OST is a stand out, one of the better ones out there against the others during the time this aired; which actually made me download the entire album. I presume everyone’s favourite is probably “next to you.” If you haven’t heard it, youtube it, download it, listen, and enjoy.
Overall Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu was a great anime to watch. If you’re looking for something that’s out of your comfort zone or just looking for something new to watch, I would recommend this. I promise you that after the first episode, the cliffhangers will reel you in and possibly cause you to watch episode after episode until your done. If you made it this far reading my review.. thanks ! Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any comments about my review or want to discuss anything anime.
With such an engaging premise, Kiseijuu really sets the par high not just by its first episodes but also by some other technical aspects from behind the scenes. First we have the powerhouse studio Madhouse who are well renowned for their reputation. Then, there’s the source material. This adaptation is based on the manga that came out over two decades ago but has earned praise. With just the forefront of these elements, the series has high expectations. Thankfully, it lives up to its hype.
The show doesn’t take a break even from the start by showing the grim reality of the show’s horror. If you don’t believe me, then the first few seconds may convince you. Needless to say, a series like this is not easy to the stomach. But given that fact, it makes itself look real by showing us the brutality of the parasites. The first few episodes establishes the fact that most parasites are heartless monsters who care only about themselves and their prey. The parasite that failed to take over Shinichi’s body display similar traits by threatening to kill him and others if their secret is revealed. Migi (the name that Shinichi gives to it) often thinks strategically to survive while discarding all morality. For instance, he tries to kill any witnesses who see the symbiotic relationship between him and Shinchi. Then, there’s the actual combat where Migi fights indiscriminately at times in order to survive. Outside of combat, the show becomes a bit of personal drama. This is because Shinchi has to constantly deal with keeping this secret and not revealing it to others for the fear that they may be killed. It’s more than just responsibility but also creates the sensation of fear. For the both of them, it’s about survival in a world run by atrocity.
What makes this series’ story stand out quite a bit is the ability to convey human nature and focus on more than just outlandish battles for survival. It shows the best and worst of what humans can do while also balancing out how parasites can behave. Sometimes, there’s almost a similarity while others stands in sharp contrast. For Shinchi, he undergoes big changes as the story progresses with certain events that create tragic scars in his life. These changes are reflected both physically and mentally. Even his classmates like Murano notices this and is constantly worrying about his well-being. In the beginning, we can see him as a normal guy who just wants to be normal. Until he accepts the reality later on, Shinchi is just someone who wants friends, get an education, and perhaps even fall in love. The certain events of the parasites changes all of that as he can never go back to his normal life. His relationships with Murano often has shifting drifts because of the dangers he realizes she may be in if she gets too close to him. Then, there’s the relationship between him and his parents. In particular, his mother represents as someone who sets by example of what a good parent should be. And case taken, the series doesn’t neglect to show other relationships even among the parasites. Motherhood plays a role as well as one particular parasite becomes a guardian for her child. And although she shows little feelings towards it, there’s a drastic change to her behavior later on as she begins to develop human traits. On the other hand, we can also see the worst of human nature. For instance, there’s a serial criminal in the series whose behavior isn’t far different from the parasites themselves.
In contrast, there’s also Shinchi who develops quite a bit throughout this show. Remember, a big part of this series relies is crafted by the way things change and how they work. Shinchi’s experience of fighting alongside Migi turns him into a warrior beyond someone who just wishes to protect others. This is in particular true because of the tragic events in his life. His change is reflected physically and also at an interpersonal level as Shinchi becomes less and less human himself. From an ordinary kid with a timid personality in the beginning, Shinchi becomes a changed man who is serious, humorless, and pessimistic. It’s also shown in the case where Shinchi begins to develop fighting skills of his own when he can’t always rely on Migi. And furthermore, the show takes advantage of the choices he makes to further develop his character. It doesn’t take a genius to see how much the show can focus on its premise and understanding it. The show takes its turns with each episode to present thrillerish scenarios and events that connects with the characters. Its narrative also remains a strong aspect of the show by focusing on Shinchi’s role and what his decisions are no matter how risky they may seem to be.
Also, be aware that the show has tragedy. More than just death, Shinchi’s losses in life expands beyond just losing important people around him. It shows that he can’t save everyone and when that happens, Shinchi feels regret because of his own lack of confidence. It’s interesting at the same time to see how much Migi changes. From the irrational display of inhumanity he shows in the beginning, we can see some of his softer sides. It seems as the story goes on, there’s attachment he feels about the human race and their behavior. While most of this is obstructed in the beginning, the development of his character reaches a point where Migi behaves like a human. On a lighter side, the show also adds some elements of comedy involving Migi and Shinchi’s relationship. Migi’s particular curiosity leads him to “research” on human sexuality which creates hilariously memorable moments. Kana’s repetitive “White Knight wet dreams” are also something of a very peculiar comedy that adds more into the show. Similarly, we can also see different sides of other parasites ranging Reiko’s care for her child to the political ways that some parasites tries to initiate into society. By presenting such events, it also shows that not all parasites are simply absent-minded for their lust to consume and kill. We even have a character that Shinchi can relate because of their own personal life circumstances. But for all its worth, the show can become a bit predictable at times. The death flags are inevitable not to mention the spoilerish opening song. While the transition of each episodes remain mainly strong, there are some minor changes between the manga and this adaptation. Furthermore, both the manga and anime has plot holes that are seemingly never answered. None of them really destroys the content of the story but some of it seems a bit odd such as the technology and Shinchi’s original appearance prior to become Mr. Badass.
As a fan of the manga, I have to say that my initial impressions of the artwork wasn’t very great. The artwork has a more generic style rather than the mature atmosphere the manga delivered. After taking more careful glances though, there’s also a feel of attachment anyone can make from the art. Starting with gruesome, the designs of the parasites are both horrific and fascinating. All of them show monstrous traits with their murderous-like intent. The eyes, blades, and disfigured faces are what makes them fearful. Certain parasites also develops more powerful traits that really makes them stand out above others physically by their body structure. In this case, the designs got the job done. Migi in particular has a very fascinating appearance with his unique case of being stuck in Shinchi’s hand. For the human characters though, most of them are categorized by character design to fit with their personalities. From Shinchi’s normal parents to the various delinquents, each of them gives off an impression of humanity. But the most fascinating part about the show is Shinchi’s physical change. His tragic experiences transforms him into a more daring man and this is even reflected by his image. The sharp-edge hair, removal of his glasses, and firm body structure are just a few examples of this. And finally, the show is infamous for its graphic violence. Expect pouring blood, severed limbs, and gore that really entitles this show as horror. The action scenes are also, fast, crisp, and decorated with high production values thanks to Madhouse. Oh and that absence of censorship is a great please to the fans like myself.
Soundtrack and music plays a rather interesting role. In particular, the dubstep becomes a controversial addition added to the series. Sometimes, the usage feels right while other times really feel out of place. The first episode wastes no time with the usage of dubstep so viewers will have to get used to it. It took me a couple of episodes to adapt with the OST and in retrospect, it does work out once you feel attached to it. In other respects, the characters’ voices show a good deal of focus especially with Shinichi and his change. This is reflected in his more calm and confident voice later on in the story in contrast to his quiet and timid personality in the beginning. Kana Hanazawa also plays the role of Shinchi’s love interest with a sense of innocence in her voice. But most interestingly, we have the voices of the parasites. All of them has a disturbing and distorted voice compared to their former human hosts when transformed. I give credit for this sci-fi style of portrayal to bring out the realism of their presence. But when in human form, there’s some a lack of empathy in the voice mannerisms of the parasites. Other times, there are parasitic characters who shows more of a human tone such as with Reiko and Uda. Then, there’s also the character Migi. Voice actress Aya Hirano effectively brings this character into life with her voice. Finally, there’s also the OP and ED songs. Unlike most 2 cour series, there are no changes the whole time with the hardcore OP song or the gentler atmosphere of the ED.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi horror, then this series should no doubt be something of a must-see. This remarkable work is reflected not just in the story but by the characterization of its cast – both human and parasitic. The show’s focus on its various themes crafts great amounts of moments that are memorable for its nature. Shinchi’s development over the course of the series along with Migi are like experimental journeys that really makes their point. And with all this going on, we can also see how far the show can make for itself when it can make you feel attached to its premise. There will be some predictable plot elements in regards to the romance sub-plots or tragedy. However, this shouldn’t be a set-back especially when its main story is thought provoking. Hell, even the action scenes tells a story each episode. Kiseijuu is a wonder that is sometimes fun, sometimes horrific, sometimes mysterious but always entertaining.
1: Uchuu Kyoudai
English: Space Brothers
MAL Score: 8.51
On a fateful summer night in 2006, Mutta Nanba and his younger brother Hibito witness what they believe to be a UFO flying toward the Moon. This impressing and unusual phenomenon leads both siblings vowing to become astronauts, with Hibito aiming for the Moon and Mutta, convinced that the eldest brother has to be one step ahead, for Mars.
Now an adult, life hasn’t turned out how Mutta had pictured it: he is diligently working in an automotive company, whereas Hibito is on his way to be the very first Japanese man to step on the Moon. However, after losing his job, Mutta is presented with an unexpected opportunity to catch up to his younger brother when the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, commonly known as JAXA, accepts his application to participate in the next astronaut selection. Despite self-doubts about his prospects, Mutta is unwilling to waste this chance of a lifetime, and thus embarks on an ambitious journey to fulfill the promise made 19 years ago.
Space Brothers cleverly depicts the pursuits of Mutta and Hibito, converging their storylines at some times and following them separately at others. This structure is beneficial to the flow and progression, and earns top marks from me. It also uses an intriguing method of linking the past to the present, showing the audience how the brothers’ upbringing helps them with the challenges on the path toward fulfilling their dreams.
This leads me to the most notable aspect of Space Brothers – its insanely realistic plot. The amount of research that author Koyama Chuuya had to have done is mind-boggling. In fact, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) actually helped out on it, which is noticeable throughout. Plainly stated, you just can’t make some of this stuff up! Which brings me to an important question potential viewers always ask: why is it so long?? It takes a lot of time and effort to become an astronaut, and it is quite clearly portrayed in this anime. To condense any of what is shown would be an insult to real astronauts. As a rare “long seinen,” I approve.
Additionally, it’s difficult to NOT be impressed with immense detail that the mangaka put into the setting. For instance, whenever the main characters travel to the United States, American fans are simply blown away by the accuracy of the places illustrated, such as the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Texas. Though I’ve never been to either of these locations, it almost feels like I’ve been on a virtual tour, just by watching an anime.
This leaves me with the literary brilliance of its themes. As is evident from the title, family plays an important role, and not just the Nanba family; though it is crucial to note that “family” is not limited by blood. Although this is a comedy [and it can be pretty funny at times], it is well balanced by its serious moments. Furthermore, this is an anime about going to space.. which is a very scary place where the consequences of failure are colossal. This anxiety gives the experience an even keener flavor. Of course it deals with moral issues and other difficulties in life as well. Sacrifice and the test of friendship is a prevalent theme as the journey to the top requires leaving many behind – not everyone can be a winner. The anime also tackles psychological and neurological hardships, in addition to exposing the stress put on the families of the astronauts. However, the theme that Space Brothers always comes back to is that hard work and guts [and a lot of luck] will always pay off, even if the immediate results appear unfavorable.
Though there isn’t very much “action” in this anime, A-1 pictures does a great job in the animation department. Movements are fluid and expressions are believable, to say the least. In terms of art style, Space Brothers uses an interesting blend of intrinsic “anime-ness” along with the natural proportions and appearances of.. well.. real life. Something that caught my eye was the attention to heredity. Characters of the same family tended to look like each other and/or their parents, which is an uncommon trait in anime. It’s a nice addition to the realism this seinen provides. Hair is also quite interesting. Each character’s hair style/color stays within the bounds of reality while still remaining unique from other shows. Bonus points to Serika’s hair for somehow making me smile every time she’s on screen.
Now, I feel this is the weakest part of the show. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, just less so in comparison to its strengths. The music is used to enforce and empower the displayed emotions and elicit the intended feels from the viewer, but the anime reuses the same songs… over and over. I actually made it a game to see how many episodes it could go without playing the same “feel this now” song. I guess you get used to it after a while, but it is worth mentioning. The last third of the anime gets better at diversifying its music. The OPs and EDs are pretty good though, my favorite being ED5, “BEYOND” by Miho Fukuhara [yea, the same Fukuhara that did Brotherhood ED2].
My favorite part of this anime is the incredible characterization! Practically every character is memorable due to the depth in which each is described. Their motivations and actions logically follow the person that they’ve become. You can easily fall in love with any number of them, and palpably feel heartbroken if things don’t go their way. Viewers with weaker hearts be wary, though I never cried myself, I acknowledge that much of the anime can bring you to tears. There are several instances in which a character’s reactions and facial expressions deliver far more emotion than any amount of words could. This attribute alone makes Space Brothers stand out from other anime. Simply put, the entire cast is a rainbow of personality. I don’t really want to go much further into detail.. that would ruin the magic!
This is a great show, easily one of my favorites. Whenever I found myself in an anime rut, I just sat back and watched a couple episodes. Another thing that’s worth noting is that the anime is very inspirational. Seeing Mutta go through so many tribulations gave me hope for my future, and that my efforts in the present will yield fruit down the road. Maybe that’s just me though.
Space Brothers is an excellently constructed anime that combines a heartwarming story with delightful comedy, using realistic characters to show the audience just how difficult it is to become an astronaut.
Oh yea, we can end that handshake now.
Lately, i haven’t found any good anime to watch.. then i meet Uchuu Kyoudai/Space Brother, at the first i was like oh just an average anime which have sci-fi and bla bla bla. since i didnt have any anime to watch, i thought i could try it for just one episode. and then seems like i had learned my lesson.
“Dont ever judge anime by its cover, genre, or anything else before you watched it” – Me, after watching this.
The story was simple, its about Nanba Mutta as the older brother who had promised with his younger brother, Nanba Hibito. to become an Astronaut together. But, then the life changes them. Now, Nanba Hibito is on training for becoming an astronaut and as for the older brother, he is just being fired from his company. And until then Mutta as the older brother have a motto that older brother must take a step ahead against his younger brother, luckily, there was an audition for becoming an astronaut. and so Mutta without hestitate sign for the audition.
Simple? yeah… its kinda remembering me about Bakuman. and so, whats make this so special?
first of all, is the story itself. like bakuman does, the story was father kinda in slow paced. we’re not just gonna see the Nanba Mutta struggle for being an astronaut, but we’re gonna see too the flashback about him and her younger brother, boring? I dont think so, since all that flashback was really touching. You cant help to shed your tears (that was what i feel). Well, its not all about melancholic situation, Uchuu Kyodai have great jokes too. Usually when Nanba Mutta mumbling or speak with himself, he always comments on what he feel or what he see. It just feels so natural, you cant help to not to laugh when he does that.
and not just that, the detail of the way they tells us about space, NASA, and the outer things was really perfect. when i watching this anime, i cant help myself to google some of the fact in this anime, like “did you know that Moon’s sand was so sharp as a shard of glass?” and not just that, the details about space and NASA is really increasing our knowledge about it.
Second, the character. what makes appeal me a lot was all of the character in space brother. i am not exaggerating. because in this anime, there isnt any bad guys with a weird reason to do something bad. they’re just people like us, who do something for some reason, behind every act they made, they have a reason. I think thats the good point, since as far as i have seen, rarely any anime made this thing (act) so naturally. They’re just doing by what they’re believe.
And what surprise me a lot was the each character have a scene to develop. either by flashback or by their experience. and its kinda lame to said that the story was so slow (because of the flashback), YES its slow but the slow itself because they want to the viewer knows “what kind of character it is?” and surely, to make us, being attracted by the character.
Third, the art. i am not gonna said to much on this section. but, if you see it carefully, you will see why this anime was so appealing, like how many anime that have a male lead which have an afro hair? then, the draws for the character was well made, yet is so slice of life anime. Not excessive on the background coloring neither the character does. When usually some anime use so many gradient or shading in coloring to make more appealing but not in space brother, they make it simple but yet its charming. Its really the style of Sentai Filmworks
The Last, Sound. honestly, when i heard the opening songs (especially the first OP, “Feel so Moon”) i am really attached to it, not just attached it, i realize that the OP was really fit with the anime, its about outer space. not just the first OP, the other OP was really – really well made. Even i had to replay the OP, just for hear the song. The background song or BGM is also perfectly fit with every scenes that appears. Like when there was something amazing happen, “Sora e No Michi” songs plays and its really hyping up the atmosphere and makes the scenes twice more epic!
Not just the OP and BGM, the seiyuu voice was really deserves an award. They really fits with each character that being voiced. especially when Nanba Mutta talking to himself or when he sighing about his life, its like they (the seiyuu) really put their feelings into it. Of course not just seiyuu for Nanba Mutta, but all the character.
When everyone focus and talk about Shingeki no Kyojin or any anime that airing in that season, They forgot to bring this anime as topic to be discussed. Oh, poor you Space Brother. But well, honestly i am happy that not many people to know this anime. I can be a hipster! lol Anyway, this anime was still airing. until i write this review, the anime had just airing their 63 episodes but it has been on my top 5 anime,Yeah, so why i had to risk on my top anime place for this airing anime? as for me, its too early for judging anime if you havent watched the whole episodes, but who cares? this anime was awesome. and its enough reason for me to put this on my top anime.
if you’re looking for a motivational , then you might try this anime… and one message for me, CATCH YOUR DREAM!
*Thanks for reading my review! If you found this review was not helpful or doesnt good enough,please message me. I really appreciate any feedbacks*
My first thought after reading the synopsis was why the hell are 99 episodes dedicated to these random siblings trying to go to space. Not to mention the fact that one of them has an afro. Is this entire series a joke? The sci-fi genre with “space” in it is so commonplace that we often associate it with aliens, laser beams blasting out of gigantic humanoid robots, or imperial planetary empires attempting to take over galaxies; we often forget that astronauts/cosmonauts in reality are one of the most dangerous and strenuous professions in the world. As a requirement, all astronauts must be genetically and physically healthy all around, have to dedicate their minds to proficiency levels of engineers, and have to work long hours to maintain the fitness ability of athletes. Even then, only the very few with exceptional abilities are the ones that are accepted as those that are able to go to space. Forget the ridiculous afro for now. This is a truly inspirational journey about the challenges that the siblings overcome to fulfilling a persistent passion (mostly just about the guy with the afro though).
It’s always very challenging to express characters realistically in anime but this one has particularly done an outstanding job. The depth of the characters continued to grow and develop throughout the series. The background stories of every character along with the inflections of tones and conversations entwines into their personalities and career pursuits as astronauts or engineers. The mini-stories also added gravity to each character’s dedication.
La di la di la. Amazing classical music when needed 🙂
Some pretty good comedy alongside the inspiring story of our friendly afro dude.
The scenes and color are framed well and appropriately montaged, giving decent mis-en-scene. Symbolic coloring and framing or artistically beautiful shots are not the highlight of this show. I would say this has a lot more going for it in the story and character development than anything else. The style of art is “meh” but that is largely subjective.
10/10 Overall a hidden masterpiece.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Uchuu Kyoudai
2. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
3. Space☆Dandy 2nd Season
5. Gundam Build Fighters
6. World Trigger
7. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
9. Psycho-Pass 2
10. Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo