They’re the best Anime that 1991 to 2000 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of El Hazard: The Wanderers, Gravitation, Blue Seed, and more!
50: El Hazard: The Wanderers
English: El-Hazard: The Wanderers
MAL Score: 6.96
High school science-whiz Makoto Mizuhara is working on his newest project in preparation for the school festival, alongside his best friend Nanami Jinnai. Nanami’s brother and Makoto’s lifelong rival, the unscrupulous student council president Katsuhiko Jinnai, is under scrutiny for mishandling the school festival planning and is convinced that Makoto is plotting to steal his position. One night, as Makoto and Nanami are taking a break with their teacher Masamichi Fujisawa, Jinnai sneaks into the science lab and sabotages Makoto’s device, which suddenly opens a portal that flings all four of them into another world!
Upon arrival, Makoto is immediately attacked by a horde of giant bug monsters. While running from them, he comes across Fujisawa and a girl named Rune Venus. After Fujisawa fights off the monsters, a group of dignitaries arrives, looking for Rune, their princess. They inform Makoto and Fujisawa that they are in a world called El-Hazard and take them back to the palace of Roshtaria, their kingdom. Though her advisors are suspicious of the newcomers, Rune decrees that they are to be treated as guests and quickly befriends Makoto. Unaware that Nanami and Jinnai are in this world as well, Makoto gets to work trying to figure out a way back to Earth.
All the drama and love is taken out, leaving a really poor and simplistic story. And the final episode is a very poor substitute to the beautiful end the original El Hazard has.
Funny is I saw this one first, and that made me look for the other iterations of this series, for the images I saw were not matching this anime.
I added a real masterpiece with El Hazard: The Magnificent World…
About Wanderers….I advise to stay away from it.
To start, I’m a huge mark for both the TV show and the Magnificent World OAV (El Hazard 2 was mediocre at best and I really hated Alternative World a lot) and I have no problems accepting their differences. Most of the changes made for The Wanderers I would assume is because a lot of material from the Magnificent World wouldn’t fly on television (the profanity, nudity, lesbian titillation), so I was very confused when I began watching the OAV after finishing the TV show first some 14 years ago, buying the VHS tapes from Funcoland (later called Gamestop, there’s one on every corner now).
For the most part, I thought the changes were very clever and ultimately put to good use for Wanderers. I really enjoyed Ifurita as a bumbling air head as opposed to the nearly emotionless robot from the OAV. Her cold demeanor in Magnicent World made it way too predictable as to what would happen with her and Makoto near the climax. I called it way back then and I still think dark Ifurita is the glaring weakness from the OAV and put a damper on the experience for me. There are other very major changes made that affects the path of the plot to the point of a script overhaul, but seriously, if you accept the differences, you can enjoy both in their regard.
Even with comparisons aside, The Wanderers is one of the best (if not the best) fantasy anime TV series I’ve seen. I used to be a fan alternate demonsion-based stories until Fushigi Yugi ruined everything, and El Hazard’s universe is vast with vibrant colors, other-worldly monsters, unique settings, and a fun cast of characters.
Man, do I love the character’s. It follows the Tenchi protocol of harem syndrome (one doofy guy and some hot girls), but this formula worked well in the 90’s, as every joke doesn’t have to be perverted to a ridiculous degree. The three priestesses are all still the same, the rivalry between Shayla Shayla and Afura Mann is a little more fleshed out, Miz I think is a little wackier in this version, but it’s still played for laughs. Alliele, Fatora’s lesbian lover, is toned down consideralby and reduced to being a guide for Makoto and co. and has adopted a more “big sister relationship with Nanami”. Makoto himself is still one of the most original male characters in a harem-ish themed show, as he actually DOES stuff and is very scientifically inclined. His brains adds a great deal of personality to him and keeps him from being “every guy” that populates harem titles. And I strongly accept a relationship with teenage shy girl Rune Venus rather than Plank-O-Wood Ifurita.
One character that stays virually the same, regardless of the version your watching, is Katsuhiko Jinnai, and thank the heavens for that. Jinnai is my all time favorite anime villain and he is a blast to watch. Petty, vindictive, psychotic, manipulative, greedy, selfish, and meglomanical, Jinnai is everything a successful franchise needs in a good villain. It’s like if you took Team Rocket, combined them with Light Yagami, added a dash of Dr. Wily, and garnished it with the Ginyu Force. And that bloody laugh, man I love it! It seems like the only thing he’s missing is a Snidley Whiplash handle bar moustache to twirl! I can gaurantee that anyone will get a kick out of this guy, even when babysitting the brainless Ifurita! He’s the glue that holds this series and it’s incarnations together.
IN CLOSING: Not many OAV to TV show transitions go really well in anime, but I think this is one of the better offerings. It seemed to be handled with a certain amount of care and detail and all the changes were overall pretty good to build a substantial television program. Even if the plot has a mild overhaul to it, I still really enjoy this version of El Hazard a lot, and while it’s not quite better than the OAV, it does a few things that I really like more, and in part, keeps both of them fresh and entertaining in their own right without running too similar to one another.
OVERALL SCORE: 8 out of 10
PROS: Great story, a fun, diverse cast of characters, pretty darn funny
CONS: Some changes might anger fans of the OAV, this really shouldn’t have been a franchise
P.S. If you’re watching the English dub, keep an ear open for Jinnai’s rap Operation: Permanent Vacation
I TRIED so HARD to get into this anime. I saw some of it when I was younger from Hollywood video, and wanted to see the whole series, but it felt more like I was forcing myself to sit through it. It was very dull, like watching filler episode after filler episode, the plot was boring, the characters un-interestting. The worst thing an anime can be is boring or nothing. I just didnt like it at all.
this is to the orginal, what Tenchi Muyo, is to Tenchi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki. It’s less original, simplified, contains more filler, and, in general aimed at a narrower, and much younger audience. If you loved the OVAs (the original El-Hazard), then you will probably want to watch this, but it’s far from on-par with the original, and the characters and the world are different. A sub-standard parallel world, in a parallel world story.
This series and El Hazard: The Magnificent World, the direct to video project on which the TV series is based, tell the same story in alternate universes. The Magnificent World, however, is far more concise, dramatic, and less censored. And, if you liked the original El-Hazard, I suggest you try “Dual: Parallel Trouble Adventure,” instead.
MAL Score: 6.98
All Shuichi ever dreamed about was following in the footsteps of his pop idol, Ryuichi Sakuma and the band Nittle Grasper. Together with his best friend Hiro, Shuichi’s formed a band called Bad Luck and they’ve even managed to get signed to a major recording label! Unfortunately, the studio deadlines are looming and Shuichi still hasn’t finished the lyrics for any of the songs. What he needs is a little inspiration… but he’s been running a little low in that department lately. While Hiro recommends finding a girlfriend, fate has other things in store for him…
Walking through the park late one night, Shuichi’s latest lyrics flutter away and land at the feet of a stunning stranger that takes his breath away. Unfortunately, that mysterious stranger happens to be the famous novelist Eiri Yuki, who completely crushes the young singer by telling him he has “zero talent”. Now, Shuichi’s so annoyed that he’s managed to finish his song just so he can find and confront Yuki once again. But, are his actions really motivated by anger, or has he actually fallen in love?
STORY – I would venture to say that Gravitation was probably one of the first of its kind. Certainly, this was the title that opened the floodgates for hundreds of other shounen-ai titles at the turn of the century. Sure, if you pick through the music and ignore the gay pairing, you leave yourself with a simple, old-fashioned love story about one person pursuing another’s love while a troubled past stands between them. Nothing new there at all. But Murakami’s decision to intermix a very strong musical plotline together with the core romance was a very smart move indeed and probably one of the main reasons I took to this series so readily. I really appreciated the fact that Shuichi’s attention was split fifty-fifty between his career and Yuki — this balance made things interesting in so many different ways because there were times when Shuichi’s two goals seemed to go against each other and he had to decide which was more important. The fact that he sometimes had trouble putting one above the other made him easy to sympathize with, and it was refreshing to see that the romance wasn’t always the absolute central point of the series.
I also really enjoyed the insight into the music industry, though much of it was certainly exaggerated. It’s amusing in a way how much I shirk away from caring about the rival bands and scandals for musicians in real life, but Gravitation got my attention anyway. The drama was good, and I suppose you grow to care about these characters much more than those in reality. Unfortunately, Yuki’s deep, dark past could be considered the most cliché aspect of the entire series, and even in my fangirl days, I was never really impressed by it. Still, within the thirteen episode series, the subject is skirted around constantly and details always remain a bit fuzzy around the edges. I suppose it’s partially because much of the series is very comedic and the horribly tragedies of the past are only explored enough for the present to make sense. It works alright enough, but it certainly isn’t anything amazing.
All in all, Gravitation’s story is a good, fun twist on a simple, old love story. While not perfect by any means, it’s still both a brilliant comedy and a touching romance, and there’s enough little surprises to keep you excited for the entirety of its run!
CHARACTER – I don’t think there was a single bad character in this entire series. Each and every one of them had some sort of role to fill and had their moment in the spotlight. Though there were a few classic archetypes like Yuki, the dark and mysterious one, and Hiro, the best friend, somehow the little quirks in their personalities made them seem a little less typical. Yuki especially, armed with his tragic past, was an interesting character to follow because he himself admits that he doesn’t understand himself. In retrospect, his probably wasn’t the most accurate or the most convincing account of trauma and psychological health problems in the world, it works well enough for the story’s purposes.
Shuichi was a fun protagonist, considering he was also one of the series’ primary sources of comedy relief (in the first episode, he was late for a meeting because he had to go save a turtle being harassed by a bunch of kids, you know). Spastic and crazy most of the time, he’s moments of seriousness almost seem random, but where Yuki’s past only worked well enough, Shuichi’s dynamic personality actually worked very well. It’s clear that his love started off as simple infatuation and that he had to deal with mostly un-reciprocated feelings for several episodes; it was thus intriguing to watch how his generally happy personality dealt with the chaos, turmoil, and heavy uncertainty that came with the relationship he found himself in. It was also nice to see a character that wasn’t always sure of himself and his feelings — even though it was easy for the audience to tell how he felt, Shuichi still questioned himself and the "purity" of his love wasn’t cheapened by the absolute certainty other characters sometimes have.
Pretty much all of the other characters are also worth mentioning, but I’ll try to be more brief for the rest of them: Ryuuichi and Tohma are probably the most interesting characters aside from our main boys. Both front one image of themselves while maintaining ulterior motives that are both understandable, easy to sympathize with, and realistic enough, making them more whole as characters. K and Sakano, both wonderfully unique and quirky, aid Shuichi in the comic relief, and they do it oh so very well. Tachi, and to a lesser extent, the rest of ASK, are probably the flatest characters in the entire series, which is rather impressive, I think, because they’re not that unbelievable of characters despite that. And though Gravi is a very obviously bishounen-centric series, the three whole female characters we get are all fairly respectable. Mika, Noriko, and Ayaka all serve their roles well and don’t bring down their sex! Power to that.
ART & ANIMATION – The animation was more or less average. It wasn’t outstandingly exceptional, but nor was it terrible and poorly done. Some introductory scenes are made to look like a live action piece, which made things interesting, but again it isn’t anything eye-popping. The bright and flashing lights during performances were good and realistic; some of the backgrounds throughout the series also looked quite nice because of similar effects. Though the characters are drawn in a pretty generic style for the most part, super deformed chibi people jump in quite often for emphasis and comical effect. The "normal" characters don’t much resemble Murakami’s original style, but thats probably partially due to the fact that Murakami’s style changed dramatically during the course of her twelve volume manga. The chibi style on the other hand, is pretty easy to recognize as Murakami’s own.
MUSIC – Gravitation is everything about the music. The music in this series is what makes it complete, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. From beginning to end, Gravitation is filled with perfectly appropriate background music, no matter how long or short the clip or scene is. Many a times, insert songs are rehashed as soft instrumental and piano versions, helping to bring in familiar themes for emphasis and emotion.
J-rock artist Kinya Kotani sings all of Bad Luck’s music in the series. Though his music has changed significantly since his work in Gravitation, his work at the time suited Bad Luck very well because Kinya’s personality was near identical to Shuichi’s. Seriously! Someone like that actually did exist in real life! "The Rage Beat," Bad Luck’s main insert song is incredibly upbeat and energetic, perfect for pumping up the audience; it’s also very inspiring to listen to and helps gear everyone up for some exciting confrontation. "The Rage Beat" actually plays once an episode for like the first five episodes, but you don’t really tire of it. If anything, you get more excited for it every time. "Blind Game Again," the band’s other insert song is equally energetic, though a bit more serious sounding, which fits very well with when its used. Nittlegrasper’s only song in the series is "Sleepless Beauty," which is performed by K.ITO + D.K. (Kenichi Ito and Daisuke Kuroda) It’s a breathtaking song and also suits the band very well.
Funnily enough, Murakami obviously got her inspiration for some of the characters in Gravitation from real life groups. Nittlegrasper, a legend in the series, is comprised of Tohma Seguchi (keyboardist), Noriko Urai (keyboardist), and Ryuichi Sakuma (vocalist and lyricist). Nittlegrasper disbands with Ryuichi leaving to pursue a solo career in America, and Tohma becoming the president of NG, a producing company. Now, Icemen was a real life j-rock band, though they certainly weren’t as famous as Nittlegrasper, they performed "Shining Collection," Nittlegrasper’s song in the Gravitation OVA. Icemen is comprised of Daisuke Asakura (keyboardist), Kenichi Ito (guitarrist), and Michihiro Kuroda (vocalist). Icemen disbanded in 2000 with Kuroda leaving to pursue a solo career in America, and Daisuke is now the very capable producer of many j-pop/j-rock bands. Including Kinya Kotani. And K.ITO + D.K. And Yousuke Sakanoue (who did Gravi’s OP theme). NG produces all the music for Bad Luck. DA produces all the music for Kinya. Well, what a coincidence! The change that Murakami made was adding in Noriko, the purple-haired keyboardist in place of Kenichi, the red-haired guitarrist. But wait, Hiro, of Bad Luck, is a red-haired guitarrist! And they’re both on white guitars no less! Guess she was trying to make it less obvious where she got her inspiration.
Really though. The music in Gravitation is fantastic. The OP theme is one of the few that I actually sat through every single time because I was so enthralled by its energy. The ED theme is similarly entrancing, though with a slower, calmer melody. Good stuff guys, seriously.
DUBBING & VOCALS – The original voices in Gravitation are exceptional. A lot of renowned voice actors worked in this anime, and they all live up to their name. Seki Tomokazu works Shuichi’s personality beautifully. His voice is energetic and strong when need be, and softer, more quiet and scared when need be; the emotion that rings in Shuichi’s voice is incredibly convincing. Shuichi’s singing voice is that of Kinya Kotani, and I’ve already rambled about that. Ryuichi’s voice has a similar effect with emotion. Yamaguchi Kappei has played a lot of famous leads, including Ranma and Inuyasha, and though he doesn’t play lead in this anime, his character is nonetheless quite essential and a good voice never hurt in that. And since Ryuichi’s character changes so quickly from second to second, it’s amazing that he sounds so good. His normal, chibi, cute character is fitted with a perfectly adorable and simply lovable voice. It really does sound as if a child is running around and squealing about the Monster Gao and cars going zoom. Then, quickly, in the blink of an eye, Ryuichi will be serious and his voice suiting him just as wonderfully.
My favorite voice in the series is neither singer however, but rather, Tohma Seguchi, for he is voiced by Orikasa Ai. You can’t really can’t tell Tohma was voiced by a woman unless you already knew. She does a phenomenal job with it, making Tohma a strong and eeriely convincing character. He can show support and kindness when he wants to and give calm and simply chilling orders when he’s irked. Tohma means buisness; he gets what he wants. And that’s made perfectly clear. Orikasa Ai is also the voice of Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!, and not to mention Quatre from Gundam Wing, who looks freakishly like Tohma’s twin.
Gravitation has been licensed and dubbed in the US by The Right Stuf International. Because TRSI hasn’t worked with that many series, the names on the cast list are unfamiliar and unimpressive for the most part. I bought the first two DVDs when they came out and thus saw the first six episodes dubbed. I couldn’t do it anymore after that. As a fan of the series, I realize I was probably (and still am) a bit purist about it, but I usually consider myself to have a pretty high tolerance for bad dubs (I made it through ten episodes of the 4Kids One Piece, after all). Gravitation’s dub was just that awful. All of the characters sounded flat and unemotional, and they all sounded like they had the same voice actor. Shuichi wasn’t nearly as energetic as he should have been. It was simply bizarre hearing Tohma with a very generic man’s voice. Yuki’s voice was probably the most forgivable, but that’s probably because his archetype was the easiest to type cast for. One of these days, I might go back and watch those DVDs again for a second impression, but when the original is just so damn good, I don’t know why I would. (My impression of the dub does not affect my score in the "sound" category of this review.)
OVERALL – Gravitation really is a piece of work. It can go from absolutely hilarious to troublingly dark (and vice versa) in three seconds flat. You get two stories at once, two missions, two goals. You seem to jump back and forth from one to the other, but in truth, they’re both intertwined through relationships and an mysterious history, making things quite intriguing. Gravitation is worth a watch, even if you aren’t particularly fond of shounen-ai. In the end, it’s a romantic comedy with a dark twist, and I’ve known a good number of people who don’t care for the genre at all to have fallen in love with this series because the boy’s love isn’t the point. (Just a plus.)
The story follows Shuichi Shindou, a 19 year old vocalist trying to make it big in the music industry and Eiri Yuki, a young, cool and cold romance novelist and pretty much revolves around the couple’s careers, love life and past. Nothing complicated or confusing neither is it plot less or pointless. The series is short, only 13 episodes long but every episode is filled with quality; it’s well paced, never did it ever feel even slightly slow or boring. It’s simply entertaining which is what an anime should be!
Shuichi is a generic uke; he’s loud, cute, innocent, has a feminine body (which he uses for his failed plans) and is quite open about his love towards Eiri yet he’s a loveable character. I don’t usually like characters with this sort of annoying personality but with Shuichi he grows on you, maybe because its quite nice to have such an energetic character as the main lead.
Eiri is….a cool guy, look wise and personality wise. He’s the classic “Tall, dark and handsome” character fan girls scream over. When I said before it revolves around the couples past, its actually his past that it’s focused on (I mean, seriously, you can’t expect Shuichi to have a dark past now could you?)
Other characters include Hiro and Suguru who are the other members of Shuichi’s band ‘Bad Luck‘, Mr K their manager, Mr Sakano their producer, Tohma Seguchi their boss, Eiri’s brother in law and a member of Shuichi’s favourite band ‘Nittle Grasper’ etc. The cast of Gravitation is likeable, they’re mostly used for comic relief and for a 13 episode show they all carry a decent amount of distinct characteristics. Tohma reminds me of some petite pretty boy gangster though, the way he handles certain situations and is one of the more serious characters.
Here comes the music. A very important part in any anime, even more so in this one since it’s a show all about music. The music and themes in this are just simply fun and personally I quite liked them – the opening and other songs the band sung had some techno in it which made the songs really funky, which I enjoyed since I don’t really listen to techno. The piano themes used when there’s a ‘heart-warming moment’ or whatever got me every time (in a good way) and the ending is used to create a cliff-hanger moment at the end of each episode.
However, it sort of annoyed me that they recycle the same song/scenes every time they showed Bad Luck singing – only a couple of other times did they use new footage or songs. The music aren’t masterpieces but it’s a great listen.
If outfits come under art, I would down rate the art because the performing outfits that Shuichi and Ryuichi wore are HORRIBLE. They look like some bad cop out from the 80’s which I don’t understand how it managed to find its way into this show since Gravitation came out in 2000. Then again, I don’t live in Japan so I don’t really know how singers dress there, though I’m pretty sure no singer in their right mind would dress like that. Other than that little critique the art was fine. The cover shown in the summary pretty much tells you what the art is like – bright, pretty and cute, so not much more I can really discuss on that.
In my opinion, Gravitation is one the best shounen ai out there to date. The only reason why I say “one of” is simply because I haven’t watched all the shounen ai out there, but even so it’s still up there because it also does well as an anime. It’s well funny, throughout the series I had had many good laughs. There are extremely lame and stupid moments (e.g. Shuichi dressing in dog costume) that had made me cringe but I guess that’s just part of the course. There are also shocking pause-the-screen-to-take-in-what-just-happened moments which either puts a huge grin on my face or make me look completely dumbfounded.
The music industry aspect is quirky, serving much humorous content with the sheer craziness of it all and does make the audience doubt the music industry of today if that’s how it’s really run. And even though it is shounen ai, don’t be completely put off by it – I guess if you ever want to explore this genre then Gravitation is a good or perhaps the only place to start.
With every episode I hoped that the next one will be better, but unfortunately they all were at the same low level. An over-emotional immature kid who’s able to sing only one or two sings through all the 13 episodes, with huge eyes and pink hair, dressed in some funny coat and shorts. Thanks, I’ll pass.
Instead of funny, try pathetic. I don’t remember laughing much when I watched it. And when I did it was more of the silly actions of the main character than of the actual humor. The art isn’t stunning either, the music even worse.
There were, of course, some scenes that I liked, but not many of them. The only character I could like was Yuki Eiri because of his outwardly cold and indifferent demeanor. But even that wasn’t good enough to begin liking the anime in the slightest. I survived to the end of it and was glad to be able to finally remove it from my HD. Well, the last episodes I watched thinking ‘only 4 (or less) left, if I survived till now, I can finish it as well’.
And ever since I watched it I’m wondering how it’s possible that so many people worship it. I cannot understand it. For me, it was probably the worst anime I’ve ever seen.
48: Blue Seed
English: Blue Seed
MAL Score: 7.02
Momiji is an average girl until the day she finds she is the descendant of the great Kushinada family. Only she, with her Kushinada blood, can stop the Aragami, demonic plant-like monsters threatening to destroy Japan. Along to help her is the TAC, and a possible love interest in a young man named Kusanagi.
Story: I love the story, early on the show is monster of the week but about half way through it because one straight story. It is mainly about how heritage is ignored in modern society and on this note; they never go overboard and mix in enough action that it is usually moving forwards.
Art: The show’s art is a little dated and the colors seemed to be faded but monster design, animation, and the actual art, such as backgrounds and character designs were done quite well.
Sound: The score of this anime is done by Kenji Kawaii, also known for Ghost in the Shell, if you liked his work there as I have, you will like it here, from the upbeat going to school them, to the tragic theme, it varied and all done masterfully.
The voice acting in the US is a bit bad at first but around episode 3 and 4 all the characters fall into their roles and it works.
The Japanese voice work is done well, highlighted by Megumi Hayashibara as the lead.
Character: From the superstitious gun lover to the obsessed scientist the entire cast is fleshed out over the 26 episodes so that no one fells left out. Everyone gets an episode and even when it is not their episode, they still grow and get development. The two leads also get plenty of time to develop.
Enjoyment: My favorite anime, I really enjoyed it, if you allow yourself to get enthralled you will have a fun, scary, and sometime, sad ride.
Overall: While the art is a little dated, everything else is.
The anime itself came out in 1994-95 with 26 episodes, the art itself improved in the latter episodes, but overall the characters looked very well drawn and their designs matched the personality of the character, such as the conservative appearance of Kaede to the ecchi appeal of Sakura Yamazaki when decked out in her revealing red dress.
I was pleased with the sound of Blue Seed with music by Kenji Kawai, OP song by Takada Band, and ED song by Momiji’s seiyuu, Megumi Hayashibara. Intersting trivia about Takada Band, the male singer of the duo is none other than seiyuu, Fumihiko Tachiki(Gendo of Evangelion, Kenpachi of Bleach). Megumi Hayashibara has worked on other Yuzo Takada projects in lead roles as 3×3 Eyes’ Pai and the title character Nuku Nuku of the Nuku Nuku of the franchise. Other talents include Kazuhiko Inoue as the bad boy male lead, Mamoru Kusanagi, Akio Ohtsuka as the TAC’s leader, Daitetsu Kunikida, Ai Orikasa as the cool Ryoko Takeuchi, Yoshiko Sakakibara as the head scientist Asuza Matsudaira, Kotono Mitsuishi as the gun-happy Kome Sawaguchi(her character in Blue Seed is often nicknamed Sailor Boom due to her seiyuu also voicing Sailor Moon), Yuji Ueda as the computer whiz Yoshiki Yaegashi, and Jouji Nakata as the evil Murakumo.
I felt the characters were really well produced and developed well. I especailly liked how Momiji’s character development was played out. She was presented as a character who doesn’t settle into the role of a damsel in distress, she prefers to be out there fighting and doing her part and doesn’t rely heavily on the others. Momiji does enter into an inferiority phase when it concerns her perfect twin Kaede and thinks her beloved Kusanagi rather be with Kaede than her, and even when she learns what Kaede has in store for humanity, Momiji never shows hatred for Kaede and bares no ill will towards her. So I commend Yuzo Takada in creating a balanced heroine with a strong will, a sensitive nature, and a good heart. Kusanagi is also another great character, although he’s a pervet towards Momiji in the beginning of the series, he is dedicated to her, although he himself has a phase in which he is chasing after Kaede, he loves Momiji and resolves to be with her after settling things were Kaede is concerned. The Kusanagi-Momiji-Kaede story parallels the Inuyasha-Kagome-Kikyo story, but the former is handled much better with the supporting characters maintaining a neutral stance and not taking one side over the other, although Yaegashi himself had a crush on Momiji. Even Yaegashi’s character is treated well as he shows good character development and is paired in the end with someone(usually characters like Yaegashi never get a girl and are left single in the end).
My enjoyment overall was a pleasant experience as it accomplishes what Inuyasha never did with well rounded character leads, a good set of a supporting cast around the leads, and a main villain I could take seriously. It’s a shame that Blue Seed is an obscure title that few people have seen as compared to the runaway hit Inuyasha, as I felt Blue Seed has more likeable characters than Inuyasha and better than Inuyasha in terms of story and romance. I’m proud to be a Blue Seed fan and it is a title I would reccommend to anybody.
Looking past these flaws, the show’s later episodes get into some surprising plot developments once Murakumo is introduced around the middle of the series. Some pretty shocking developments in Blue Seed’s plot come along concerning the motivations surrounding Murakumo, the Aragami and an old acquaintance of TAC which I won’t spoil here. These later developments did keep me hooked to the show for its final episodes and were more than enough to make up for the setup of Blue Seed’s earlier episodes.
Outside of said later episodes, Blue Seed does offer a good amount of fleshing out on many of its characters, counting the individual members of TAC, as you get to learn more of their backgrounds, some of whom are a bit on the tragic side and connected to the Aragami threat. The series also does a solid job at setting up suspense with the various Aragami encounters, as well as exploring the past origins of the monsters and the different means in which they were dispatched. The anime was basically making its own loose take on elements of mythology commonplace in the Izumo prefecture of Japan and Shintoism, particularly the Eight-Headed Orochi and the water god Susanoo.
In terms of animation, Blue Seed is of standard quality for a mid-90s TV anime title with faded colors, washed-out backgrounds, normal use of animation shortcuts and character designs with a decent amount of detail applied to them.
Overall, Blue Seed does make for a solid 90s anime to check out thanks to its fleshed-out cast, supernatural elements and engaging second half. The anime does have some shortcomings from its “monster of the day” setup in its first half and its comedic elements. But otherwise, it is still worth checking out if you are looking for older anime titles to catch your interest.
47: Blue Gender
English: Blue Gender
Japanese: BLUE GENDER
MAL Score: 7.04
Blue Gender takes place in the not too distant future in a world where things have gone terribly wrong for humanity. Humans have been replaced at the top of the food chain by the Blue, a race of bug-like aliens that have colonized Earth and pushed humans aside. A space station, Second Earth, has been constructed as a safe haven for humans, with the hope of one day reclaiming the Earth once more.
Yuji Kaido was cryogenically frozen, having been suffering from a disease known as B-Cells. Once awakened, he joins a team of soldiers that have come to Earth to extract him. Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan as they make their way back to Second Earth.
Yuji will have to deal with the horrors of fighting a bloody war as he and the fighters from Second Earth look to survive. Will they be able to win back Earth without losing their humanity?
Story: The initial idea, I must admit, isn’t very original. Giant bugs VS. human beings has been done many times over, but this isn’t the entire focus of Blue Gender. A variety of locations, plotlines and situations are introduced, the vast majority of them well developed. A wide range of issues related to maturation, bonding, dealing with death/violence and mankind’s self-destructive nature are explored, and the political intrigue in the latter half of the series is also a nice touch.
Art: Probably the weakest part of the series. While the gritty character designs are appropriate, the art often dips into noticeably distorted bad spots and is, honestly, a little bland. Don’t expect too much in the animation department either, except for more important action scenes.
Sound: The music in Blue Gender ranges from the catchy OP, to the ambient (and often somewhat unsettling) background music throughout each episode, to the understated and beautiful ED. Overall, very good.
Character: One of the best points of the series. Even minor characters are given a considerable degree of background and personality, and the leads develop to a significant extent as they gain new experiences and face new trials. I felt that the characters behaved realistically, had understandable motivations and had more depth than those in most other series I’ve seen. In addition, the matter of relationships (and sex) is handled in a refreshing way that is, in most cases, tasteful.
Enjoyment/Overall: Blue Gender is an action-packed, frightening and ultimately great series. It should be noted that it is rather violent, regularly deals with disturbing topics and, at many points, tells a rather morose and bleak story. However, within this melancholy framework is something that is poignant, intriguing and worthy of praise. I would highly recommend Blue Gender to anyone mature enough to handle it, and to those that want a series that explores some of the darker aspects of humanity and its role in the universe.
STORY- A man awakens 12-years after being put in a state of suspended animation to find that the earth has been over run by giant bugs know only as the Blue. He is resuced and taken back to mankinds last safe haven called second earth which is a sapce station. Their he disocvers that he has the power to destroy the Blue and take back the Earth in order to save humanity.
ART- The art of the show is not the best, but very well done. It is done in a style that is remanicent of the Gundam Wing series, and is an older form of animation. The type not typicaly seen in newer animes, but don’t let that get you down, because as I said before its still done very well.
SOUND- The music of Blue Gender is very good, the opening theme is one that will stick in your head, and the use of music is done very well and in the right spots to help set the tone and pace of the series.
CHARACTERS- This is where Blue Gender really shines. The differnt chacerts that are introduced through out the series are the ones with the most human aspect that I think I have ever seen in an anime series. They have their veiws about life and love and humanity as a whole, and the way they adapt and change through out the series is done very well. You can help but get involed with them due to these human aspects that we all feel.
ENJOYMENT- This is a 26 episode series that I finished in a matter of days, I was glued to the screen wanting to see what was going to happen next. Its a more mature anime series due mainly to the dialog and violance, but those are things that I didn’t really notice too much, beacuse they are typical everyday human behaviors, which is another reason way I loved this anime series so much was the human elemnt that they brought to the series.
OVERALL- WOW! this seires was amazing, if you’ve heard about it and have’nt seen it, then put it on your list of things to watch very soon, you won’t regret it. If you’ve never heard of Blue Gender and want to see an anime with great characters, and a compelling story, then this is the one for you. It’s just one of those shows you can’t help but love.
For any of you who have seen the movie Starship Troopers, there are quite a few similar elements in Blue Gender. Despite our staggering intelligence and development, mankind is getting owned by some huge bug-like monsters. The difference here is that the bugs have already taken over Earth, forcing a small proportion of our population to flee to an orbiting space station. However, all hope is not lost since mankind is initiating an operation to retake our glorious planet. At the heart of this mission are people called "sleepers" and enter our main character.
We follow Kaido Yuji as he wakes up to a post apocalyptic Earth and follow the poor guy as he is dragged along a harrowing gauntlet of bloodshed toward a shuttle to escape into space…and that’s really only the prologue. The feeling you get watching Blue Gender is similar to Starship Troopers. The battlefield is chaotic, the enemy seems unstoppable, and soldiers are being ripped apart by the dozens. However, unlike Starship Troopers, this show’s storyline goes much deeper, has a much darker feel, and definitely delivers more than just gory action.
Anyone who enjoys raw brutality and violence surely won’t be disappointed and there’s even a damn good story behind it. I think the only reason I can’t give it a 10 has to do with the characters. I personally never really connected with any of them though this is no wonder since the majority of them die without warning. Definitely not for the faint of heart or the easily depressed. Just a fair warning :))
46: Robin Hood no Daibouken
English: The Great Adventures of Robin Hood
MAL Score: 7.11
A variant of Robin Hood in which all the principal characters are teenagers.
Several centuries ago in Nottingham County, a cruel and greedy baron by the name of Alwine ordered the destruction of the Huntingtons’ castle—from the fire of which Robin and his cousins, Will, Winifred and Barbara, miraculously escaped. The youngsters sought shelter in Sherwood Forest, where, thanks to the wise guidance of the hermit better known as “Friar Tuck,” they managed to face the difficulties of a life in the wilderness as as well as they could; however, in the forest there lived a fearless group of young bandits, led by Little John. Their first encounter with Robin and his cousins was at first rather stormy, as the two groups fought for the destiny of a young, noble maiden named Marian who had fallen into the hands of the bandits during an ambush.
Their bitterness, however, rapidly lead the way to friendship, and Robin and John later realized they were all victims of the same fate. The youngsters thus mutually decided to help one another. Baron Alwine was not merely enemy of the Huntingtons—in fact, a couple years earlier he had forced Little John and his gang to seek protection in the forest to avoid forced labour. He would later seek Marian Lancaster for the secret carved on a cross the girl wore as symbol of her family line.
The girl was to be adopted by the shady Bishop Herfort—Alwine’s accomplice—who sought to attain the Lancaster’s wealth. With all their strength, Robin and his friends were then compelled to fight against the baron’s troops, led by Gilbert—a dangerous and fearless knight. When Winifred and Marian were then imprisoned in the castle’s dungeons, our heroes tried in every way possible to enter until their ardour was finally rewarded with success. Thanks to his noble heart and heed for danger, Robin became rapidly known as the protector of the poor and oppressed. Beloved and highly esteemed not only by the villagers, but also and especially by the sweet and beautiful Marian he was. The boy who never parted from his loyal, magical bow, endlessly engaged in dangerous and unthinkable missions.
This is a tale about Robinhood as a teenager.I liked the way the story was enriched with fillers showing the beauty and the secrets of the Sirwood forest,as well as the radical development of the characters.That’s why the story is more funny and interesting and let’s not forget that this anime is addressed mainly to children.That’s why I still like it 🙂
The art is very beautiful,especially the sceneries of the forest,the village and the castle.Medieval England is accurately shown in this anime. Many beautiful colours are used and the light plays an important role in this.However,the faces of some characters shouldn’t be so round,they needed more attention to detail .
As for the sound,the op/end in its english version is veery catchy!!In the story,suitable sounds are used for the atmosphere of the forest,the castle with its mechanisms and the people who live in it.For the main scenes,the
music that is used is very nice too.
Considering the characters,they developed quite well,although I would prefer to see them later in their adult version too just for curiosity.Lady Marion is a great example of this development.
I really enjoyed this anime,which reminds me of my childhood and I ‘m going to watch it again in the future.When it ends,you just want to take your friends and live in a forest forever!!! xD
45: Love Hina
English: Love Hina
MAL Score: 7.12
Keitaro Urashima promised a girl when he was young that they would meet up again at Tokyo University in the future. Sadly, in the National Practice Exam, Keitaro ranked 27th from the bottom. Knowing his grandmother owned a hotel, Keitaro intended to stay there while continuing his studies for Tokyo U, only to find out the hotel had long been transformed into an all-girls dormitory. Through an odd twist of fate, Keitaro eventually became the manager of the dorm, beginning his life of living with five other girls.
So, a young man called Urashima Keitaro suddenly finds himself working as the manager for an all-girls dormitory. Yes, you can probably see where that story is going. Lots of slapstick humor, romance and funniness is the recipe for this show. I think it’s pretty cool, and if you like romance/harem anime, this is a definite must-see.
I’ve watched Love Hina before way back when I was still a kid and I remember loving this series, but after re-watching this series 10+ years later, I began to question my taste for anime because Love Hina is by far one of the most stupid and ridiculous anime I’ve ever watched and I can’t believe it’s actually possible for me to hate an anime this much.
I’m writing this review at the risk of getting viciously mauled by an angry mob of Love Hina fans who will do anything to defend their beloved anime, so I’ll try not to be too harsh on this. Okay, time to get started with this rant—I mean review.
The characters of Love Hina are soooo darn GENERIC and just downright ANNOYING that I need to punch the wall just to appease my frustration. Let me introduce them.
— Urashima, Keitarou – The main protagonist. He is really dumb and extremely unreliable but he is very persevering (Sounds familiar?) and he makes a good punching bag for Naru.
— Narusegawa, Naru – The main heroine. She’s a tsundere on drugs who’s got nothing better to do besides beating up Keitarou EVERY…SINGLE…DARN…TIME!!!.
— Aoyama, Motoko – The very typical “Ice Queen” of the harem.
— Maehara, Shinobu – The kind and pure-hearted middle schooler *cough* loli bait.
— Su, Kaolla – The awfully annoying and carefree kid in the harem.
— Konno, Mitsune – The “mature” one.
— Otohime, Mutsumi – The airhead.
I don’t have a problem with harems, in fact, I love them (not including reverse harems) so I’m quite used to stereotypical girls, but the girls in Love Hina are just so darn annoying that it’s impossible for me to like any of them. The one I have the biggest problem with though is not one of the girls, it’s the stupid MC Keitarou! because he is just so fucking useless and unreliable! I JUST FUCKING HATE THIS GUY!!!. He doesn’t have any redeeming qualities whatsoever except for his undying perseverance and hard work that leads to nothing most of the time.
The story revolves around Keitaro and the “promise” but mostly, the episodes are just stupid fillers designed to prolong this stupid anime. The fillers doesn’t contribute to the plot one bit and can get really really random, for example, ancient turtle civilizations? seriously? come on, they can do better than that. I wish they focused more on the main plot because I was actually curious who’s this mysterious “promise” girl.
Although I have lots of bad things to say about this anime, I can’t deny the fact that I did get some laughs watching Love Hina, but the jokes becomes so repetitive (Naru beating up Keitarou) I’m laughing no more.
~Love Hina’s formula for comedy~
Keitarou + accidents + misunderstanding = Naru beating the crap out of him
The art is fine, I don’t really have much complaints about it because it’s a very typical art for an old anime.
I actually liked the OP and ED and I kinda felt nostalgic hearing them again. The OP is kinda catchy, although it annoyed some viewers, I’m not annoyed by it at all.
As for the Japanese voice acting, there’s one voice that grabbed my attention, the voice of Motoko. Her voice is adorable especially when she is screaming. The voices of the other characters are also good and fits the characters quite well.
I recommend this to you if…
you like generic harem anime.
you like old and repetitive jokes.
you like an extremely violent tsundere heroine and a pathetic loser MC.
But if you’re not any of what I mentioned above, I suggest you cross this out on your list now, because I guarantee you’ll hate this one.
For as innovative as they may have wanted us to think the animation is, it’s just bad. I know cel animation anime that flow far more smoothly than this. It jerks, the characters are often disproportioned, character movement is erratic and often impossible even by anime standards. Backgrounds are nice looking but that’s about it.
The BGM had my ears bleeding. It’s an example of why amateurs shouldn’t be playing with artificial synthesizers. It’s all over the place, never appropriate, and nothing you would ever want to hear stand-alone. The only decent thing the series manages is a very catchy OP sequence, but with repeated listening, even that will beging to grind on your eardrums.
Enough about the technical aspects, Love Hina is based off the manga by Ken Akamatsu. It’s a fantastic romantic comedy and the series roots itself in the concepts that made the original very popular. In fact, many of the main story is well scripted and executed, but then manages to make everything likeable about the story horrible. The comedic timing is off, the dialogue is laughably awful, and of course there is no nudity. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some horndog wanting to see the girls nude, but don’t have twenty-thousand bath scenes and all the girls bathe wearing towels. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. Either make an ecchi series or don’t!
But that’s not the worst part, oh no. What really makes this series near-unbearable is the godless amount of filler. 1/3 of the series doesn’t even correspond with the story, introduces meaningless characters who serve absolutely no purpose, and only serves to annoy the viewer who slowly realizes what he or she has been cheated out of.
Speaking of characters, the core cast stays very true to the original idea whether you like them or hate them, but when the series devolves to filler it feels like the characters become stereotypical versions of themselves. Not only that, but the spotlight is put on meaningless filler characters who only add minor and inconsequential conflict for the allotted time of the episode they’re in. Development is slow and often unrecognizable for the majority of the cast, sans Keitaro, Naru and arguably Shinobu. It’s just very unsatisfying given the length of the series, and what is done with the characters.
You know, the first time I watched it, I wanted to like it but the more I watched, the more I realized I was watching crap. My 12-year-old cousin who watched the series with me lost all interest in anime after finishing this I kid you not. Let that be a warning to anyone who thinks that because this anime is popular, that it’s also good.
Overall, Love Hina gets a 4 out of 10.
44: Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala
English: Magical Stage Fancy Lala
Japanese: 魔法のステージ ファンシーララ
MAL Score: 7.12
Miho Shinohara is a care-free third-grader and an aspiring manga artist. One day, she encounters Mogu and Pigu – two lost fairies disguised as stuffed animals. In exchange for staying at her home until they find a way to return to their own world, the fairies give Miho a special sketch pad and pencil that enable her to magically create real objects from what she draws. With the pen, Miho can also transform into Lala, a beautiful teenage girl created from her manga art. As Lala, she is discovered by a talent agency, and so begins her adventures from an ordinary school girl to a model to an idol singer.
First of all I must say that I’m not into maho-shoujo series, that’s why Fancy Lala was a big discovery for me. It’s oriented on mature themes and not some almighty little girls what’s common in such type of animes. Fancy Lala is definitely among underrated shows. It’s not a wonder if we take first, misleading episode into consideration. At first I thought about dropping it too, but fortunately I haven’t.
Story: The story envolves around girl called Miho.With help of magical dinosaurs she posseses power to transform into teenage beauty. We see adult problems from 9-year-old girl’s point of view. She is able to carry out both Idol job and at the same time remain normal school girl. The story is a big development for Miho, we see her handling different situations. It’s just irresistable not to love that excellent character. A weak girl grows into one of the strongest female lead.
What I don’t like about story is that we don’t really get any explanations about those magical powers, how did those dinosaurs appear or disappear. However it doesn’t really matter. Those dinosaurs serverd their purpose and that’s the main thing.
Characters: One of the strongest thing in Fancy Lala is the character development. Every one of them is flashed out very well and their problems never feel out of place or contrived. I mostly loved how they facialy expressed everything and not with some generic dialogues. Obviously Miho is the stand out. I was blown away with her behavior after Lala’s disappearing by the end of the series. How a little girl feels guilty and apogoizes to the agency members. That moment was very well-done. It’s the result of the whole build-up. Yea, Miho has grown up!
Art/Ost: Great animation. It really helped out with expressing those emotions. Also the character design is simple and appealing. Transformation sequences look average as well. Same must be said about the ost, which is propitious to the subtle drama moments.
This is my first anime review. That in itself is a testament to the degree to which I’m impressed by this series. Don’t be fooled, as I was, by the rather mundane description. I’ve seen nothing else, anime or otherwise, so simultaneously fun, touching and slightly profound. I really enjoyed with it and especially the ending which was truly fair and original.
To be honest, it is rather easy for people to overlook this little gem, and I can see why. I mean, with a title like Fancy Lala, how can you not think “Ugh. It’s gonna be a G3 My Little Pony-esque kids show about idols having endless tea parties, giggling over nothing, and basically acting like stuck-up brats”? Well, never fear, for this show is not like that at all! Though this show doesn’t exactly have a premise that screams “Watch me!!” and you really have to watch the show in order to understand it’s strengths. Fancy Lala is instead about a young, carefree girl named Miho who aspires to become a famous mangaka or model since her mother is a drama producer and her father is a paleontologist who studies dinosaur fossils. One day, after an unpleasant incident at a local store, she finds herself with two stuffed animals, which are actually little dinosaur fairies from another world. The two dinosaurs, Pigu and Mogu, give her a magical sketchbook and pen that not only allows her to bring her drawings to life, but to turn her into a 15-year-old version of herself, and upon transforming, she gets recruited by Lyrical Productions to become the next big thing! But is becoming a model/singer really worth it, especially considering all the trouble you get into to do it?
Now, for those of you thinking this is going to be some kind of clone of Bratz or Hannah Montana or something like that, prepare to be proven wrong, because Fancy Lala is NOT that kind of show. Yes, it’s a children’s show. Yes, it’s aimed at young girls. Yes, it has magical girl elements. Yes, it has cute little animal mascots. Yes, our lead character becomes a model/singer to meet up with a man she admires. But Fancy Lala is NOT a dragged out toy advertisement (heck, considering how the episodes play out, it’s not even trying to promote any toys since none exist!), NOT a glorified idol show, NOT a teen-girl popular stuck-up brat fest, and, most importantly, NOT a show that’s so cutesy and saccharine that you want to shoot yourself. Well, technically, yes, Fancy Lala DOES have some cutesy moments, but like I said, they’re not overly sugary and sweet either. Not only that, this was made in 1998, BEFORE all of those dumb idol shows began flooding the market! Let me tell you: Fancy Lala is a polished gem in the anime world. No magical girl anime or shoujo anime I’ve seen has even come CLOSE to holding a candle to Fancy Lala’s awesomeness. No, it doesn’t have action. No, it doesn’t have an evil overlord trying to steal the joy of life and destroy the world for cliche reasons. Nobody said that all magical girl anime needed to be about saving the world! If anything, you can consider this another way to deconstruct a magical girl anime.
Let me start with the animation. This anime was produced by Studio Pierrot, the guys behind Naruto and Bleach. Long ago, in 1983 to be exact, Studio Pierrot hit it big when they produced a magical girl anime just like Fancy Lala called Creamy Mami, only it was 52 episodes long instead of 26. Lots of people loved it, so much so that it prompted Pierrot into making more magical girl anime afterward! But it didn’t last long. Fancy Lala is actually a remake of an OVA called Harbor Light Story: Fashion Lala, which I did watch (and I really need to finish my review of that). But Fancy Lala is, in my opinion, a HECK of a lot better. It’s animation is, for it’s time, surprisingly detailed. I’d even be so bold as to say that the animation here is a heck of a lot better than even CardCaptor Sakura, which aired in the exact same year, and that’s saying a lot! The show tries to make use of a lot of subtle drama by making the characters express their feelings through facial expressions instead of angsty dialogue and contrived coincidences or through cheese and melodrama, something that is a huge and oh-so-common pitfall in most shoujo anime nowadays. The character art in itself is very expressive and tries its best to convey even the smallest of emotions, whether it’s through facial expressions or movement. Nothing important is said, but you don’t need words to convey your emotions, and Fancy Lala does this great! Though I do admit, the transformation sequences are a bit generic, but hey! It does what it’s supposed to do and nothing more.
The music…oh, the music! The opening and ending songs are nice and catchy, since they’re performed by Miho’s voice actress, who was back then a fledgling actress/singer as well. Don’t worry, they’re not overly sweet and saccharine like most magical girl anime theme songs. But in my opinion, it’s the soundtrack that really steals this anime for me. For those of you who don’t know, the soundtrack was composed by Michiru Oshima, whom many of you know did the soundtracks for the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Nabari no Ou, Le Chevalier D’Eon, X’amd: Lost Memories, and So-Ra-No-Wo-To. She also did the osts for My Sister Momoko, The Glass Rabbit, and 5-tou ni Naritai. She is steadily becoming one of my favorite anime composers next to Yuki Kajiura and Two-Mix. She’s known for her normally orchestral sounding music, but her best work is definitely here in Fancy Lala. Her pieces fit soooo well in every single scene, and they have her name written all over it! There’s light-hearted music in the light-hearted scenes, and when there’s a sad scene, the mellow but beautiful background music tugs at your heartstrings. Often times in anime, music isn’t always thrown in the right places, but here, nothing is mismatched! The music matches the scenes, sets the mood, and creates a fitting atmosphere for each scene. I wish I could buy the OST somewhere!
The characters are just wonderful. They’re not carbon copies of typical stereotypes, they look, sound, and act like real people you often run into in real life, from the kids to the adults. Everybody has their own set of problems whether it’s their job, their background, their decisions, their actions, etc. Nobody’s perfect nor overly flawed in this show. That’s what makes the characters so great. Nobody’s problems are over exaggerated or overly complex. Miho herself is a great character. Despite the fact that she has a lot to deal with in the adult world with her newfound magic, she still manages to remain an innocent child despite being burdened with the task of carrying the weight of both being an idol and the whole series. We get to know her through and through, and it’s because we get to know her so well that the theme of adult problems going on around her works extremely well. Her voice actress only makes it better. Children in this series really do sound like children instead of squeaky 30 year old actresses who try too hard to sound overly moe, and I have to admit, Taro’s Japanese voice doesn’t sit well with me. I think his English dub voice sounds much better.
Now, this isn’t the kind of show everyone will like, and I can understand that, but I want to explain why the show won me over. Instead of trying to do something big, Fancy Lala focuses so much more on small subjects, like the downsides of using magic and parting with things that have a lot of sentimental value, and IT WORKS SO WELL HERE. It works so well here that the above episodes regarding said subjects actually made me cry! Episode 8 especially! Just watch it and see for yourself how wonderful it is, and the message it conveys…holy shrimp, I don’t think anything will top Fancy Lala’s genuine and poignant way of showing us that magic isn’t eternal. By focusing on something simple, the show saves the trouble of trying to do too much and blow up in the end, something a lot of modern anime tend to do, and, according to most anime fans, it happens about 85% of the time, and it’s not pretty. Fancy Lala manages to accomplish so much even though it’s such a simple story, and the ending, which happens to be the very best thing about Fancy Lala as a whole (why don’t more magical girl or shoujo anime do this?!), is a result of that. And surprisingly enough, even though Fancy Lala looks innocent and sweet, it actually takes quite a lot of risks. Heck, I watched the entire anime subbed, and in episode 13 they mention the word sex! But it’s only used once (ONLY once. Never again after that), and I don’t think Miho heard it, so I can let it slide. I don’t know if it’s present in the dubbed version, but if it is, then I don’t know if it’ll sit well with other people.
While it is a nice show, it does have some flaws. For one thing, we never get an explanation from where Pigu and Mogu come from. Miho just ran into them by pure coincidence. We never learn much about the Mystery Man or why he has access to magic in the first place, and admittedly, Miho does become talented at acting and singing a little too quickly, but I’ve seen worse examples of this so I’ll let it slide. Besides, the show makes up for it by showing an accurate portrayal of the idol scene, and by not trying to glorify it either.
Don’t be fooled by this show’s premise or looks. Fancy Lala is a sweet, genuine, and wonderful little anime that will leave you so fulfilled you feel like smiling at the whole world.
Story (9/10) Great Story about a girl who become famous celebrity
Art (7/10) Good Art for 90’s Anime it’s feel like your watching 2006 or 2007 Anime
Sound (8/10) Very Good Sound singer and Songs
Characters (10/10) Outstanding Characters specially Lala
Enjoyment (10/10) I really enjoyed watching every Episodes
Overall (9/10) Great Anime I think Japanese need to make like these anime and this anime is better than Creamy Mami for me. If you love anime which focus in story then try watch this even if it’s Magical girl you feel like your not watching a Magical Girl Anime.
43: Macross 7
MAL Score: 7.13
35 years have passed since Lynn Minmay had brought peace between the Zentradi and the humans in the events of Macross. Nekki Basara is a guitarist and a singer of the band Fire Bomber. Living in a less-developed part of the flying colony City 7 which is looking for a habitable planet, he composes and sings songs in the belief that music holds a greater power.
During its flight, an unknown alien race appeared and started laying siege upon City 7. However, its attacks are not conventional — instead of trying to destroy them, they steal what is known as “spiritia”, rendering victims unresponsive and zombie-like. During these battles, Basara always goes out into the middle of the warzone, singing his songs and expecting friend and foe to listen and be moved by his music.
1. Music. While obviously a matter of taste, I find most of Fire Bomber’s songs quite enjoyable. They’re one of the few anime soundtracks I will listen to on their own merits.
2. Fun factor. Basara is genuinely entertaining to watch.
3. Nostalgia. There are numerous ties to the original series, and it’s interesting to see how things developed. Most notably, it’s great to see Max and Milia again. Also, it continues the concept of the colony fleets introduced in Macross Flashback 2012.
4. Focus on characters. While ostensibly a mecha series, the focus of the story is on the characters. Fire Bomber’s road to stardom, Basara’s quest to move people’s hearts with his music, Mylene growing up and understanding her own feelings for Basara and Gamlin, reconciling Max and Milia’s relationship, etc. If you avoid mecha shows because they have too much technobabble and focus on the robots more than characters, this is not a problem here.
1. Music. Some people hate it. If you don’t like pop/rock, especially of a Japanese variety, you will be assaulted by it for the duration of the series.
2. Use of stock footage. Especially early on, there is an extreme use of stock battle footage of VF-11’s and Elgarzorenes fighting.
3. Lack of focus on mecha. Fans expecting to have lots of cool animation of all the new Valkyrie models introduced here will be sorely disappointed. I recommend you pick up the VF-X games for the Playstation instead to get that fix.
Macross fans should give the series a chance, and don’t give up on it too soon. This is certainly one of those anime deserving of the time honored line "it gets better later." Just be aware of what kind of show this is you’re getting into. Macross 7’s greatest flaw is simply that it isn’t what people expected of a continuation of Macross.
At its core, the story of Macross 7 is about a rock singer (Basara) trying to find his way in the world (or Galaxy whatever) with his singing. Sounds fairly typical fare, but the show introduces so many far-out story elements that you might wonder if the writers were on drugs. Someone once described Macross 7 as “Rock singers flying around in transforming robot planes fighting space vampires with the power of music”, and I find that description is pretty dead on, so if you have trouble swallowing that it is unlikely this show is for you. Most Macross series pride themselves in not taking things too seriously, and Macross 7 not only revels in it but thrives on its weirdness, and that is really the fun of it. The key to enjoying it is to accept the silliness and go with the flow. I do understand that may not be to everyone’s tastes, it reall tests the boundaries of one’s suspension of belief. The show does drag at times, especially in the first 10+ or so episodes where they just seem to repeat each other. At the end it is painfully obvious that they could have done the show with a lot fewer episodes. When the story does pick up in the middle to late episodes, depending on whether you’ve allowed yourself to be immersed in the show’s strangeness, it can turn out to be a fun ride.
Macross 7 has a rather memorable set of characters. They may not be especially deep, but everyone from the main cast to the smallest side character are each built around a unique quirk which allows them to play off each other pretty well. From Gamlin’s relative squareness to Miriya’s hot headedness to unnamed Flower Girl’s unending quest to present flowers to Basara, each of them helps breathe life into Macross 7’s environ giving it a rather organic feel. The only real problem for most is the main character, Basara, who like so many things about the show, you either like or not. A lot of people are turned off by his seemingly pig-headed and abrasive personality, he does not go out of the way to make himself likable. But for me personally, I find that is what makes him rather interesting in the way he effects change in those around him. A welcome change to the standard type of main protagonists we’ve been seeing in other shows in the same genre.
As expected, Music is very integral to Macross 7’s story. The soundtrack mainly consists of Japanese Rock so if that’s not your cup of tea, well then steel yourself for 49 episodes plus plus worth of it. Even then, early on, it does not show much diversity with Basara repeating the same two songs over and over again for the first few episodes until you are sick of them (afterwards he then repeats them so many times you end up liking them again) However this actually makes sense within the context of the show as Basara is still trying to find his voice early on and eventually as the story progresses, each time he achieves some self realization, he gets newer and better songs to play with.
As for the animation, well, you can tell that their budget was rather limited, even for an older show. There is a noticeable lack of big dogfight sequences that characterize other Macross shows, so if you are a fan who is in it for the Itano circuses, you might end up disappointed. Recycled cels means you end up seeing the same Valk being blown up every other episode even till the later end of the show so there is a certain sense of laziness in this department.
As I said, Macross 7 is a show that you need to watch in its entirety to give proper judgment on it as the early episodes do not do it justice. Even I admit that it took me 3 tries before I could move past the first few episodes, but I found myself rewarded with a rather enjoyable and surprisingly engaging ride by the end. Its 49 episode count may seem rather daunting, but I do encourage you to not give up so easily and try to endure it to the end. It is a show you either steer clear or watch all the way to the end. It is Macross at its silliest, and the show knows it. If you acknowledge this, Macross 7 might end up surprising you with a rather fun, and atypical Macross experience.
It took a LONG time to finish this series which already indicates at first glance it’s not all that exciting. It’s all about Nekki Basara, guitarist and lead singer of the band Fire Bomber (what a great band name). The band starts unknown, living and practicing in a hovel on City 7, joined to Battle seven. They’re the mainstay of the colony fleet Macross 7, searching for a habitable planet to live on.
First part deals with character development (boring) then the protodeviln appear. Instead of getting exciting it’s a wash-rinse-repeat of Nekki using his songs to save the day. There are a few plot twists but overall this series though keeping with the Macross themes of Love Triangle and Power of Music … is not done very well and honestly could have been squeezed into 26 episodes. There is a LOT of filler (1 min flashback at the start of every episode) and too much "Basara is a rebel" for my taste. Wakate, wakate, we get it, Basara is a rebel. Luckily the story picks up towards the last 10 episodes but it took a really strong will to continue watching this series!
Dated animation and TONS of frame reuse. Like every episode there’s frame reuse. I hate when it’s done badly enough that I felt like fast forwarding through the same old animation of the same old battles with the same old songs. The mecha look nice but that’s about it.
Shoot me now! The first 25 episodes I *hated* Nikki’s singing. Oh god he’s singing the SAME old song. Again! and Again! and Again! Ugh! Hate hate! Play something else dammit! I don’t know if they did it to save money by reusing the same songs/frames but somewhere around episode 35 I started enjoying the songs and found myself singing along at some parts. Ack! Insidious! So … that was their evil plan! Repeat the song until the viewer starts liking it. Well, I hate to say but it worked. I guess I now have to go download the soundtrack. Grrr!
This is a mish-mash. There are a lot of characters, all with different personalities. I really started to feel for some of them towards the last 15 episodes so I guess you can say this series "grew" on me.
The lead protagonist is Nekki Basara, the cool tough rebellious guitarist/lead singer who has a huge ego and doesn’t care what other people think. He’s also a pacifist who sings instead of blowing up enemies. Of course while he’s singing there’s plenty of innocent people getting blown up by the enemies he won’t shoot. But somehow no citizens protest his peacenik ways getting others killed. I hated this character.
The secondary singer/bassist of Fire Bomber is Mylene, daughter of Maximilian Jenius and Milia Fallyna. Supposed love interest who spent most of the episodes in teenage angst. Mylene is cute, young (14 years old) and spoiled. She treated her suitor, Gamlin, not too well. I hated her too.
The other 2 members of the band are Ray, the ex military guy and 3rd guitarist, and Veffidas the zentradi drummer. Ray was ok but Veffidas was just big and must have had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to drum everything in sight when she isn’t at her drums – car windows, tables, chairs, other people’s bodies etc. Veffidas is the strong, silent type. When she showed her strength and spoke it was with great impact. I loved Veffidas.
Then there’s Max and Milia, the first human and zentradi love connection from the original Macross Series. Max is older and handsomer, Milia got all straight laced. Estranged in this series (he’s the military commander and she’s the civilian’s Mayor) I spent the whole series waiting and hoping for them to get back together. If only Macross 7 was about Max and Milia this series would have scored much higher. I loved them both!
Lt. Gamlin is important and such a nice, honest, man. That’s not good when you start falling in love with a 15 year old girl with no brains and who will likely choose the "bad boy" thus giving birth to the saying "nice guys finish last". I was 15 once and liked bad boys then but now that I’m more mature I wouldn’t marry one. Gamlin is really likeable and he is the only human of 3 characters that really develop over the course of the series (other 2 are protodeviln). This was a well written character and I loved him too.
There’s a whole slew of other side characters. Mylene’s ecchi fan. Basara’s fan who is always trying to give him flowers. Take the damn flowers Basara! Learn how to treat your fans better! I just pitied some of the side characters.
Well I wasn’t enjoying this series at the start (it sucked) but it started changing around episode 33 and by episode 40 it was fun. Just takes a lot of time and patience to get to the good parts, so overall I can’t say it was much more than mediocre.
42: Lodoss-tou Senki: Eiyuu Kishi Den
English: Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight
Japanese: ロードス島戦記 英雄騎士伝
MAL Score: 7.14
Five years after the death of the Emperor of Marmo in the War of Heroes, Parn is now the Free Knight of Lodoss, he and his old allies now famous through the land. However, the Emperor’s right-hand man, Ashram, seeks the scepter of domination to re-unify Lodoss under his former leader’s banner. Meanwhile, beyond his attempts at conquest lies a more sinister force beginning to set the stage for the resurrection of the goddess of death and destruction…
That said, Chronicles of the Heroic Knight starts out less than promisingly. The first eight episodes (the weakest of the show) concentrate on the struggle with the ruthless (and yet strangely not so evil) Black Knight Ashram for the Scepter of Domination which initially comprised episodes 9-10 of the OVA. While it’s nice to see Parn, Deedlit, Slayn, and King Kashue again, their roles are actually less significant this time around. The only characters to receive any development are two supporting characters from the original, the headstrong mercenary Shiris and her quietly reserved (but easily enraged) Berserker partner, Orson. (In what may be an example of one of the many inconsistencies in the show, both characters are reintroduced to Parn and company as if they never crossed paths in episode 8 of the OVA.) There are several new characters, too, including a prissy mage apprentice, an easily deceived priest, a mischevious elfish grass-runner sprite named Maar, but all three are hardly memorable. The slow pace of the episodes are what really work against them, however; there’s less action and more talky moments; even the climactic showdown at Fire Dragon Mountain between Ashram and the vicious red dragon Shooting Star is longer and more drawn out than one might expect. There is a surprisingly heartfelt sacrifice in episode 7, but the overall arc doesn’t have the same energy or roller-coaster action of its predecessor.
It is only at episode 9 and onward that Chronicles finally comes to life. The story jumps ten years after the Fire Dragon Mountain events, where the focus shifts to the evil wizard Wagnard’s desire to awaken the Goddess of Destruction, Kardis. Again, Parn and company’s roles are reduced to supporting ones, and consequently, come across as the least interesting in the show. The hero here is Spark, a blue-haired knight wanna-be who, at the surface, comes initially across as a more pale incarnation of Parn, but his troop of companions do provide the kind of banter and chemistry one would expect for any fantasy adventure. The smart-aleck mercenary Garrack is a well-realized character, as is his sassy half-elf partner, Leaf, who steals every scene she’s in with glee. Just as interesting are the loyal thief Ryna and the dwarfish priest Greevus. This ragtag team of misfits are joined by a mysterious girl named Little Neese (daughter of Slayn and Leylia), who turns out to be one of the key ingredients Wagnard needs to revive Kardis. During all this, Ashram returns in a last attempt to unite Lodoss (to fulfill his late master, Emperor Beld’s dream) while the shifty Grey Witch, Karla, also lurks in the shadows. It is the chemistry between Spark’s comrades and the more lively pace that really bring much needed energy to this major story, which, many would argue, is just a recycling of the last story thread from the OVA, but this telling is more complex, introducing some twists that are alternatingly surprising and insightful. And even though the grand finale is less exciting than the OVA, it still wraps up the show on a pleasing note. (Although Wagnard’s drawn-out rituals and Little Neese’s continuous screams of pain get tiresome after a while.)
Probably the only jarring thing about Chronicles of the Heroic Knight are the short three-minute Welcome to Lodoss Island segments at the end of each episode. These are super-deformed versions of the characters in goofy, cartoonish sequences, each of which clock in at around 2-3 minutes each. These wildly bizarre skits (which parody the world of Lodoss) will either amuse or drive you batty; I personally choose to give them a pass because they just don’t click with me, but chances are your mileage may vary. (Interestingly, it’s worth checking out these interludes with the English version to see how the Japanese puns–which make up a majority of the dialogue in these skits–are adapted into English, namely "I’m King Kashue, and this is my CASHEW! I’m really quite a nut!" as opposed to the more literal "I’m King Kashue, isn’t my KATCHU (armor) nice)?"
The character development and overall entertainment value of Chronicles provides for a pleasant enough way to pass the time for fantasy fans, which isn’t to say that it is the most aesthetically or aurally pleasing show to watch. On the contrary. The Lodoss OVAs had some beautifully detailed, if sometimes limited, animation, but Chronicles’ production values are another matter. Aside from a breathtaking opening sequence (underscored by a beautiful theme song composed by Yoko Kanno), the animation fluctuates throughout the series, with some episodes looking downright painful on the eyes. There are several episodes which do get a boost in overall quality, artwork wise, particularly the last ones, but all in all, the artistry is not one of Chronicles’ strongest points.
The audio portions fare signifigantly better, thanks in large part to the epic musical score contributed by Kaoru Wada. Fully orchestrated, with soaring, epic marches one moment and pounding, percussive action cues the next, this soundtrack arguably carries the whole show from start to finish. As mentioned, the opening theme is remarkable and impeccably delivered by Ma-aya Sakamoto, although the ending theme is a bit on the kitschy side. The sound effects are also very good.
As far as the voice acting goes, the dub of Lodoss has received a mixture of praise and disgust from many fans, but I happen to be one of its biggest fans. The Chronicles dub, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. It does have its assets: Crispin Freeman does a surprisingly fantastic job as Spark (making this potentially monodimensional character more interesting than he is) and Angora Deb is similarly good as Leaf. (I might argue that both make this dub worth watching.) It also reprises much of the cast from the OVA dub; even though their acting standards are lower than that of the OVA (Parn’s more mature-sounding voice in particular takes several episodes to find his stride), it’s still nice to have continuity. Working against them, however, are the uneven performances by the lesser supporting characters — several of which border into intolerable territory (Ashram’s minions, Governor Rabido, and Prince Reona, in particular, are dreadful), and vocal inconsistencies (some characters receive new voice actors either temporarily — Lisa Ortiz’s Deedlit is annoyingly replaced for at least two episodes by a far duller A.J. Parks — or permanently — Garrack’s Michael Gerard drops out after five episodes, Crispin Freeman plays him for the remainder of the show). That, in addition to the sometimes awkward-sounding dialogue and hit-and-miss synchronization, rank the overall dub a notch below its superior predecessor. It’s by no means the worst around, however, and patient dub fans may find it to have some merit.
In all fairness, the Japanese voice acting isn’t all that stellar either. The entire Japanese voice cast from the OVA are replaced; while some voices are less grating than their English equivalents, others are actually sub-par in comparison to some of the better voices on the dub, particularly the seiyuu playing Deedlit, who is nowhere nearly as good as Yumi Tohma or Lisa Ortiz. There are also some parts of the Japanese language track which come across as cheesy, particularly the scenes involving the talking dragons (these scenes come across as very laughable in the English version, and the Japanese track sounds every bit as fake in this part). The common attitude I hear from dub detractors is that the Japanese language track is preferable, regardless of whether it has any weaknesses of its own, but in the case of Chronicles, I have to say that both audio tracks tie in quality. They have their strong points and are, at best, tolerable, but not particularly flawless.
All in all, Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight isn’t without its drawbacks and doesn’t always live up to its predecessor, but it’s still a fine series that holds its own ground decently. For every weak point, there is always an asset to counter it, making this one moderately enjoyable fantasy Anime series.
For some reason, I could not get into the original Lodoss, try as I may. However, Chronicles had me hooked from episode one, despite the fact that the first batch of episodes are basically a rehashed version of the OVA storyline. Fair warning though; don’t get used to seeing Parn and Deedlit in every episode. After the introduction, it’s as if the original Lodoss story never happened. A new cast, and a large one at that, is introduced with new enemies and new motives. While it was great to see that the producers took the time to make sure that no one was just another nameless warrior, keeping track of a cast this size proved to be a daunting task. The story to go along with this new group was equally complex, but very intriguing and captivating. That is, until the end of the episode, when super-deformed versions of the characters make a parody of the story just displayed. It was funny at first, but then became just plain annoying and took away from the real storyline.
Probably the brightest star of this series is, arguably, the music. Yoko Kanno, already famous for her work in such titles as Ghost in the Shell: Stand alone Complex and Vision of Escaflowne, whips up a fantastic orchestral score to fit every scene on the screen, making this series pleasing on the ears. The opening and ending themes, Kiseki no Umi and Hikari no Suashi, are a joy to listen to every time they play and are definitely two of my favorite anime themes. The animation sequences to go along with them were stunning. It’s a bit of a shame that the series couldn’t have the same luster in its animation. By no means am I saying that the animation is bad. I was just a little disappointed at the dip from the opening and ending sequences to the series.
If you liked the original Lodoss, then by all mean, pick up Chronicles of the Heroic Knight. It’s just about everything that the OVA was and better. Just skip the last three minutes of each episode and enjoy the ending theme instead.
So I will begin this by saying that the author wrote this story well out of their normal comfort zone. It is hard to take and tell a tale that is not in relation to your heritage, for instance it is hard for a storyteller who lives in the West, to write a story about things that relate solely to the East, and visa verse. This author however did a very splendid job in doing just that.
But, the story itself is very linear and predicable. Now while this can be a good thing in this case it is not. Since the story itself is so visible it cannot and will not be able to draw the viewer into the storyline. To complicate matters even more, the unnecessary amount of characters actually bogs the storyline down further.
Characters were so numerous that any depth that could have been given wasn’t due to the amount of them. The screenwriter chose to add characters in that really were not needed other than to provide a plot vehicle or romantic interest. Less is more, and in that allows for better character development and a chance for the viewer to connect with the characters. Unfortunately this story did not allow for that, and should have sacrificed some characters. For future screenplay writers, not all stories need romance, nor do they need characters who’s sole responsibility is to help provide plot line.
Production values were better for this series than the first. The characters were diverse in features to allow a pleasant indulgence in them. For the most part the clothing designs were true to a European style fairy tale, but there were a few Asian influences in them as well. I’m sure that however was the artists trademark and quite acceptable even nice to see.
One of the problems however in production values were the action, or fight scenes. These were very far and few between with most of them being nothing more than SFX and quick color flashes and stills. I would venture to guess that the budget was shoestring and some sacrifices had to be made, I personally just wish they would have made them in the character department and not the action department.
So overall with a huge cast of characters, poor production values in animation, this series has, in my opinion, a higher rating that it deserves. Storyline was weak, art values were high along with sound and styling, this series should actually rate closer to 6.5 than the 7.6 it currently holds. Which again is what triggered this review.
This series would be good for a viewer who is wanting a simple plot and storyline with good art but poor production values.
41: Princess Nine: Kisaragi Joshikou Yakyuubu
English: Princess Nine
Japanese: プリンセスナイン 如月女子高野球部
MAL Score: 7.15
Keiko Himuro, Chairman of the Kisuragi School, puts together an all-girl baseball team led by Ryo Hayakawa, daughter of a legendary pitcher, in hopes of proving that girls can compete just as well as boys. Their goal: Koshien Stadium, where only the best teams get the opportunity to play.
Art: I’d have to say the art isnt something to fancy and isnt something to plain. its just nice and fits nicely with the show.
Sound: The voice actors and the characters i personally think matched perfectly with each other.
Character: You see quite a bit of character development through out the minor characters each with an episode or more introducing them and showing their own problems that they receive help from their friends. There is one character how ever, the main character of the show you really see her and her emotions come into play expecially when one event occurs to her and her attitude takes a complete turn of course you would have to watch the show to have a look at what event im talking about. The romance between the boy and the girl isnt as in depth as some anime’s are but you can see their relationship grow and change through the show but as i said before its mainly focused more on the development between team members.
Enjoyment: I really liked this show expecially the idea of what boys can do girls can to and shows the true power of girls when we work together true we may be weak when we’re alone but thats why this one is amazing as even when their alone they still have the determination and attitude.
Overall: This was a good show story was amazing as far as i can tell i would recommend every girl to atleast try this show even if its the first few episodes.
I had my reservations when looking at the cover, but figuring it was probably just made in the late 80’s, I picked it up. My estimation was roughly a decade off. The great character designs attempt to hide this fact, but unfortunately my sympathy vanished when the story began to circle the drain.
The series begins promisingly enough, the first 8 or so episodes are decent, and in fact the last few are too. The fact that i don’t remember the middle of the series is indicative of its poor quality.
I personally am not a fan of anime that cut every possible corner and have repetitive filler episodes, though most people seem to like them. If you are one of them I recommend you buy this series right away, surely there is no shortage of people trying to get rid of their copy.
If you insist on watching the anime, I would suggest that you watch the first disc and the last disc, then seal it away so it can wait in anticipation for its next victim.
While having a likeable cast though, Princess Nine does have some pretty significant issues. The series apparently dug into shoujo anime cliches in setting up its plot, the biggest hurting the series being its melodrama and romantic predicaments for its second half. Princess Nine has a big habit of greatly exaggerating on a number of the dilemmas faced by the characters throughout the title’s run, which tend to get rather overbearing at points. The romantic developments on the love triangle that are focused on in the second half prove to be the biggest setback to the use of melodrama in this series as it has no major relevance to the main plot on the girl’s baseball team and is rather bland due to the exaggerated dramatics that the series pulls with the whole thing, which even lead them to affect the girls at points during their baseball games and take away from that aspect to the plot. Also, the Koshien tournament’s depiction in the anime is rather underwhelming with only one or two episodes devoted per game on ir and much of the romantic melodrama dominating the storyline by that point.
In terms of presentation, Princess Nine sports standard quality visuals with reasonable detail and subdued color tones on character designs and scenery. The animation has its rough moments with character designs usually getting off-model and reused animated frames coming from a number of baseball scenes. The soundtrack consists of dramatic and upbeat tracks that do their part at trying to enhance the melodrama of the series, but are rather forgettable and don’t match up to the epic scale they attempt to portray.
While the girls among the team are a likeable bunch and get some solid developments, Princess Nine’s melodrama and romantic developments get way too much emphasis as the series presses on, eventually getting to a point where they are more prominent than the struggles of the girls being recognized as well as the boys’ teams. While having its solid moments, I don’t think I’m hopping back to this series anytime soon.
40: Mikan Enikki
MAL Score: 7.18
A kitten, abandoned and left for dead along with his siblings, is taken in by Tomu Kusanagi, who nurtures him and discovers that the tangerine cat he so adores is actually a genius who can talk, walk, read, and has even acquired a taste for liquor!
39: Ayashi no Ceres
English: Ceres, Celestial Legend
MAL Score: 7.21
Ceres was a tennyo (Celestial maiden) who came down from the heavens to bathe in a stream. She hung her hagoromo (robe) on a tree nearby, which was her key to returning to the heavens. But the robe was stolen and the man who had stolen it forced her to become his wife, thus producing a family full of human and tennyo blood mixed.
Now, in modern day time, Aya Mikage is a descendent of Ceres, and has quite an amount of tennyo blood. On her 16th birthday, she and her twin brother, Aki, are thrown a party. At the “party,” Aya’s grandpa plans to kill her, for she has tennyo powers unlike the rest of the family, and can actually become Ceres herself and destroy the Mikage family. Aya, however, can switch back, so this transformation happens quite frequently.
With protector Yuuhi by her side, it is up to Aya to control Ceres and keep her from coming back, but her relationship with an ex-worker for her evil grandpa may be a distraction.
It starts off very peacefully, with Aya Mikage and her twin brother Aki spending time with their friends, celebrating the twins’ 16th birthday. However, this peaceful day is interrupted by Aya falling off a bridge, down on the highway underneath. Miraculously, she lands without getting a scratch, and she’s saved from cars on a collision course by a mysterious, red-headed man. And that day marks the end of the happy days for the two.
They are summoned to the family mansion to celebrate their 16th birthday, but instead, they end up being the victims of the Mikage family’s gruesome rite of killing off female descendants with strong tennyo powers in them. Said powers suddenly awaken, preventing her from getting killed.
From here on, the story goes darker, deeper and angstier as we’re thrown into the mess that Aya suddenly finds herself in, being hunted by her own family all of a sudden. She has to deal with the fact that her twin brother has turned into a reincarnation of an evil man from the past, and she has to make sure Ceres doesn’t take over her body completely. This leads to some great action scenes, as Ceres emerges to fight the Mikage family from time to time, with her astounding powers.
And then there’s the love, the beautiful, yet sad love that is Aya’s and Toya’s love – Toya is the guy who saved her, but also a Mikage henchman, which means he’s out to get her. However, he slowly falls in love with her, and her with him, despite the two of them being enemies. Now they must find a way to live out their love without the Mikage family or Ceres, who has a vendetta against the Mikages, getting in the way. Of course, there’s Yuhi, and there’s actually some mutual love between Yuhi and Aya as well, creating a love triangle that can rip Aya apart.
The characters in the anime are all very realistically portrayed. From Toya’s quest to find his place in this world to Aya’s struggles to remain herself through all that happens around her. The love that slowly develops between Toya and Aya is never forced, and their relationship progresses nicely over the course of the series.
The side characters are all good too, and despite not having so major roles, they fulfill them excellently, and they are portrayed very well too. Most of the characters you will see have some depth to them, which causes your heart to be with them as well, and not only Aya and Toya.
I’m also fond of the character development that takes place during the course of the series – at the end I could see how much they had matured, obviously having learned a few things about life and love during the events that took place during the course of the series.
Studio Pierrot did a nice job on the animation, and despite it being a bit old, it’s very good. The lighting effects are very well done, though the same can’t always be said about the special effects – they had their moments they too, though. The overall detail is very good, but there’s one thing that bugged me, and that was the fact that their hair seemed transparent when in front of their eyes. You can’t see your eyes through a layer of hair >_
A very original plot line, immersing a young woman on her 16th birthday, into a world of danger and constant threat while those who are around her and those who she loves are hurt. With love triangles that are sometimes heart wrenching and at other times very sweet. And with a very important message which you will be blatantly told if you haven’t already figured it out by the end of the series.
Characters that are simply amazing, follow them all through their pain and trials that they have to overcome. All are excellently portrayed and their feelings really reach you. The romance between some of the characters is just grand, it really gives and shows you the true feeling of love.
Soundtrack is just amazing, opening song: Scarlet, must be hands down one of the best openings for an anime. The background played throughout the anime is outstanding with beautiful instrumental and piano music. The voice actors, just wow, their acting, the feeling they put in each character, it is just outstanding, some scenes I actually think in the recording studio the voice actor actually cried.
What is so good about this anime?
For an anime that was released in 2000 the art is simply amazing. The plot line is so intricate and very original. The romance between various characters that really portray their anguish, sadness, happiness, confusion, and love. An amazing soundtrack that completely fits the mood and just makes you want to listen to the songs over and over again. I have to say, this is one of the best romance anime’s out there. Enjoy this series.
There is precisely one good thing about this series, which is the opening, “Scarlet” by Junko Iwao. Not the weird animation, just the song. I have the Japanese version and the piano only version and they’re quite pleasant and pretty.
You want generic tropes with good ol’ 90s animation? You got it! Toya’s got like double or triple plot amnesia which gives him extra doses of mangst, because what’s a bad shoujo without amnesia? He then meets Aya and for reasons unbeknownst to me, cept that she got through his “cool dude mystique” and decided that he was safe and that she felt safe with him she falls in love with him, because I guess you fall in love with people because of that? Even though she knows nothing about him and barely knows him. Toya then “rediscovers his memories” and then gets Harry Potter syndro-I mean, convenient headaches! And goes back to the dark side! And then we find out that his memories aren’t his memories after all! Because some time ago he was brought in covered in bruises and given false memories that gave him pain when he thought of Aya. When did any of THAT happen, exactly? Who cares, because ONWITHTHESTORY!
And if you think THAT didn’t make sense, I’m not going to get into the rest of the plot because it REALLY doesn’t make sense. Possession, reincarnation, abusive scumbags, spoiled kids with creepy obsessions, underage sex, incest, lots and lots of obsession, attempted child murder, attempted fratricide, stalking, sexist stereotypes… It’s got all kind of fun in it, I guess.
It also really bothered me that the Smart Dude had incredibly tiny glasses which wouldn’t have helped if they were normal-size anyway cause he had these ridiculous bangs in the way and I kept grumbling to myself “cut your friggen hair you incompetent you’re a SCIENTIST” and I LOVE long hair on men so this was incredibly confusing.
Also, common sense? Hahahahaha WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS IS A TERRIBLE SHOUJO NO ONE USES THEIR COMMON SENSE HERE! It’s verboten! (I like shoujo but gods help me I can’t STAND this anime).
Despite the implications of the ending (it’s hilarious, really, you just have to lose your sanity to appreciate it), this series also presents a double standard that’s tropic of reverse harems. Women don’t get harem endings (where the end result is left open to interpretation and more than likely they have an open marriage), so one of the guys (there are typically only two) have to either die or vanish. It’s typically the hotter one, so the underdog who’s “better” for the woman (despite her preferences hahaha women making choices what’s THAT about, amirite??) gets a chance. Well after the woman’s lost her virginity, anyway, since that’s a BIG part of their character development, donchaknow? Interestingly, guys in harem stories typically don’t lose their virginity, if they have it, although male harem stories arguably have the men get sexually assaulted far more often, as a gag joke, so… Yeah I don’t think it evens out but trying to understand this series hurts my brain.
Anyone telling you this series has character growth is a LIAR and you SHOULD NOT listen to them. Unless they mean that after about 18 episodes characters with pretty much zero personality suddenly get backstory at 100 miles an hour. Backstory does not equal character growth but sure, whatever floats your boat.
You want a good shoujo? Well… watch “Yona of the Dawn”. It’s arguably a reverse harem set in a fantasy world. It’s hilarious -on purpose- and well-written and includes a lot of great character development and the animation is pretty. The “Sailor Moon R” film is also a great shojo film about a superpowered woman rescuing her male hubby who is endangered by his ex-boyfriend. Just don’t watch this. Don’t.
38: Tobe! Isami
English: Soar High! Isami
MAL Score: 7.21
Isami Hanaoka is just a fifth grader who happens to be a descendant of the Shinsengumi. Together with fellow descendants and classmates Soushi Yukimi and Toshi Tsukikage, she discovers in the basement of her home, strange artifacts left behind by their ancestors as well as a message urging them to “Fight the evil Kurotengu organization.”
so i should tell you i watched this anime back in 2002 when it was aired on our TV .
i was 16 and the TV did not show most of the animes or the famous ones except Captain Tsubasa and Macross from 80s.
i,m not a great reviewer so i say it short and simple :
I loved it very much and it became a big part of my memories of teenage years.
but these last years i started to watch animes again and i discovered many things .
so if i want to take a look at it again and compare to the other animes of those years i cant say this was the best but i think it was one of the best though it seems it was and is super underrated .
funny thing is the TV which is in Iran and because of the stupid islamic laws of the Islamic government they could not show short skirts or non islamic clothes which show many parts of female body. so this MC was a girl that used to wear short pant all the time .
so they changed her name from ISAMI to KAKERU . the MC became MALE .
now it was ok . right? many years later with Internet i could discover one of my favorite anime MC was not boy.
anyway other thing to say is :
i think now it is not proper to watch for people who are more than 15 or 16. unless you are mid 30s or older who love to watch such nostalgic stuffs and you still got the teenage like passion for such things.
still it cant be compared to newer shounen animes that released after 2000 .
so boys and girls of nowadays generation can not love this .
i hope my poor review could help someone about this good anime .:)
MAL Score: 7.23
Anime based upon the original Argentine graphic novel series of the same name.
The story follows the titular character who is a genetically engineered super-soldier; one of the creations of Dr. Von Reichter’s diabolic experiments. (The fictional) Von Reichter is actually a former Nazi who conducted horrendous experiments during the second world war. He flees to South America where he continues his experiments which culminate in the creation of the “Cybers,” one of which happens to be Cybersix. However, since the Cybers exhibit free will at an young age (an undesired trait), Von Reichter destroys all the Cybers to prevent a rebellion.
In the present day, Cybersix is one of the Cybers who managed to escape and is living a quiet life under the alias of “Adrian Seidelman”; however, she finds out that her survival is dependent on a special substance that Von Reichter created and thus she is forced to hunt down the “Technos,” a newer generation of super-soldiers created by him, in order to survive. Unintentionally, in the process, Cybersix becomes a superhero protecting the world from Dr. Von Reichter’s creations and his evil plans.
This series is an adaptation of an Argentinian graphic novel, that a Canadian company picked up the rights to, and contracted a Japanese studio to animate. The original graphic novel is much more adult orientated and while this adaptation isn’t exactly for kids it’s certainly been toned down a bit. Fortunately enough this doesn’t hamper the story.
This is one of those shows that’s best to go into with little to no idea what it’s about, so I’m not going to talk extensively about the characters or story but give a few reasons why you should check it out. First of all, it has one of the most realistic female leads I’ve ever encountered. While this isn’t so much of an issue in anime as it is in western animation, authentic female protagonists are still rather rare outside of the romance genre. In an action or superhero series authentic female characters are almost unheard of and yet that’s exactly what Cybersix delivers. A female protagonist that’s distinctly female, simultaneously realistic and flawed, Cybersix deals with a variety of issues through a chiefly female perspective.
Beyond the expertly crafted lead, Cybersix hosts a number of other strikingly realistic characters and a well executed story about love and loss set to the backdrop of a sleepy south american city. Stylistically and thematically Cybersix is an incredibly unique mix, there really hasn’t been anything like it since, especially as far as international collaborations go.
With all that said, if you’re looking for a well done and unique series with engaging and realistic characters then I can’t recommend Cybersix enough.
This show was first aired 1999 in Canada (and Argentina), I myself being a Canadian born in 1994 was a young child when I first watched this show. Admittedly I came across it on youtube recently and was driven by nostalgia to watch it again. I tried to watch this show with a critical eye rather then watching through nostalgia goggles and hope the review also is free of it, but be warned that this review might be a bit biased due to that reason.
anyway, moving on.
Story 7/10 (warning, this is gonna get long): The story of the show is fairly simple for the most part, a woman with superhuman strength and agility (Cyber 6) who cross dresses as a man to take on her secret identity (Adrian Seidelman) watches over a South American city fighting against the genetic creations of the evil Doctor Von Reichter and his equally evil eight year old son José. immediately I began to see some minor flaws with this show (Critic: 1, Nostalgia: 0), most prominant being the lack of explain certain things that seem like they would be important. What exactly is Cyber 6? What was that green stuff she drank in the first episode? What is Von Reichter trying to accomplish and why does he want Cyber dead? These are all interesting questions that the show gives tiny hints at but never really offers a sense of understanding, we get that Cyber is a cyber woman but that could mean several things. And at the very last episode we finally get an explanation of the green liquid, turns out it’s something she needs to drink to survive (despite the fact that after the first episode it was almost never brought up again until the end). The comic apparently explains most these question, in fact a brief story synopsis on wikipedia of the comics will give you a much better understanding of some of the minor plot points that seem unanswered yet shown through the show. But as I said with my Akira review, you shouldn’t need to look it up or read the reference material, the minor and larger plot point should be weaved into the story. (I’d also like to make it clear that I have never read the comic, though from what I understand from many who have they aren’t very good) Fortunately these are minor plot points that can be overlooked.
One last thing I’d like to state is something that I think brings the score for the story high then it normally would be. The ending is done well for once! Many shows (especially cartoons from the late 90’s to early 2000’s) always had the problem of ending on low notes as cliffhangers or a blatant “hey, if we get enough money we’ll make more episodes!” Cyber 6 doesn’t suffer from this, the ending subtly hints that there is the possibility of a second season yet still has a proper conclusive ending where something is actually accomplished rather then the typical “I’ll get you next time my pretty!” Personally I enjoyed this immensely and although I feel the show could have gone on was glad they weren’t completely counting on it by making a half-assed ending.
Art 8/10: (sorry about the overly long story section, I’ll try to keep the other areas shorter) As I said, the show was animated by a Japanese company so it has anime like elements to it despite being made mainly as a western show. However the animators rather then making the whole show follow the same anime template for character designs and such that’s been used in… Almost ever anime ever! (Sorry, I just hate the lack of uniqueness in many anime) They stuck to a more cartoonish approach to the characters, however the movement is just as fluid as you would expect to see in any anime. I have notice some aspects where the it seems choppy (mostly during very fast or very large sequences) but for the most part the animation is solid and the design is quite nice actually (I’ve seen some pages from the comics and believe they were trying to stay as close to the character designs from there).
Sound 7/10: First, the voice acting. The voice acting is strange, for the most part it’s solid, fits the characters well (most of the time), and is overall fairly decent… After the first few episodes. It may just be me but it seems like the voices are off in the first couple of episodes but then get better, almost like the voice actors weren’t really sure what they were going for but figured it out later, this might just be me but it’s something I can’t overlook. And as noted early, some of the voice just don’t fit, it’s almost like the actors thought they were voicing someone completely different and the voices seem ridiculously out of place, this however only limits itself to a few bit roles and is not present a lot, enough so that it throws you off a little. Also, something I feel I should state, the show was owned by a Canadian company and so the show was primarily Canadian, and therefore the original language was indeed English, meaning on the whole sub vs dub debate, there is none, not an important fact but one that I felt should be mentioned. As for the music, as with the voices it’s well done but sometimes out of place, occasionally you’ll get things like the music being to cheery and uplifting for the situation being used and vice versa, this problem is present quite a few times and although it does drag the score down a bit it’s not enough to derail the whole show.
Character 9/10: The characters are an interesting topic, since the story (until near the end) is kind of lacking the characters are basically the meat of the show. If you’re making a show that heavily relies on the characters they’d better be good… Thankfully they are, although occasionally seeming a little one beat and overly silly they are present well and given enough personality to keep the show going strong. Nothing is played over the top with them and everything is fairly subtle, such as the relationship between Cyber 6 and her friend (and male personas co-worker) Lucas. It’s not played as a “Hey! Cyber! I’m Lucas and I love you! Totally! We should go out!” but rather more like a friendship with some definite sense of romantic feels between the two. Julian (a street kid who befriends Cyber) has a sad back story but nothing overdone like “I’m sad because my parents were killed by a rogue toaster,” he has to do things he’s not entirely proud of to keep a roof over his head but it’s not done to the point where you should feel sorry for him because “we told you to!” One problem I do have that keeps the score from a ten is the villains, Von Reichter and José. These characters are evil, why? Because they want to kill Cyber 6 and take over the city. Why do they want to do that? Because they’re evil. See where I’m coming from, we have villains who are villains just for the sake of being villains, we’re not even given much of a reason as to why Reichter want’s Cyber dead, with José we can at least get where he’s coming, who doesn’t want to control a city after all? But Reichter just seems to be there because he was in the comics.
Enjoyment 10/10: I’m afraid if nostalgia goggles will play a role in any part of this review, this is most likely it. Cybersix is indeed a very enjoyable show, it has plenty of everything: action, comedy, drama, romance, and all are very well done and don’t suffer the problem many other shows with several aims do, such as fighting over control of the shows main focus until there is none. The show knows it’s an action, and romance, drama, and comedy rather then try to replace it just help accent it, keep it fresh and keep it enjoyable, this also allows it to be enjoyed by all ages seeing as how it doesn’t just cater to kids love of seeing people being punched (well in all fairness I think everyone enjoys that), but the other more subtle areas definitely appeal to wider audiences. The show is just plain fun to watch. (Well nostalgia goggles, you had your chance, hope you didn’t do too much damage)
Overall 8/10: The verdict is that Cybersix is a good show (though criminally under-rated) and is definitely worth a look. It’s fairly short and sweet so you can feel satisfied but not like you spent too much time with it. The characters and overall entertainment value of this show are very well done despite some minor downside that can be easily overlooked. So check it out if you don’t have anything to do over the weekend, you won’t be disappointed.
Regarding the comic series, if you liked the show and want feel like you want more you can always check these out. They don’t have an official English translation out but you’re in luck if you can read Spanish, there are also a few fan translations floating around on the internet so you can try your luck there. But be warned, the comics (from what I’ve heard from other at least) are not very good. They are also nowhere near as kid friendly as the show, I saw a picture that I thought was some of the weird fetishy rule 34 pics the internet loves to spit out (full out reverse pedophilia action) but turns out it was actually the cover for one of the volumes (no, not a page, the actual cover). You have been warned.
Cybersix is about a Genetically engineered woman named Cybersix, and her battle against the many monsters sent by her creator to cause trouble. By day she poses as a male literature teacher, hangs out with her BFF Lucas, and acts like a geek. By night, she’s an ass kicking sex-symbol that frequently visits her love interest, Lucas. It’s also episodic, so you’ll never have to worry about a boring arc lasting more than one episode. Personally, I was never bored.
The characters are cool, spunky, unique and likable. While the majority of the characters outside of the main four or five rarely get any screen time, they only add to the already action-packed story. Cybersix herself is one outstanding individual, being both tough and gentle at the same time. Awesome.
The music isn’t orchestrated, but man that main theme is catchy.
I highly highly recommend this one! Since it’s only 13 episodes, you have very little to lose. Be warned the ending is slightly unsatisfying.
Japanese: Ｈ２[エイチ ツー]
MAL Score: 7.26
Hiro has two loves: baseball and porn, but due to an elbow injury, gives up baseball, choosing a school with no baseball team. His childhood friend Hikari attends a different school with baseball ace Hideo. The two of them wish that Hiro had not given up baseball. Hiro joins the soccer team and meets Haruka, a very clumsy girl who is also the daughter of his father’s boss. Haruka is the manager of the unofficial baseball club at Hiro’s school. When the soccer team challenges the baseball club to a game, with hopes of humiliating them, the baseball club nearly loses until Hiro, disgusted by the soccer team’s arrogance, switches to the baseball club.
Yes once again it’s about high school baseball, yes it’s about another overpowered pitcher and his struggling team, and yes it’s all about getting to that mother effing Koshien, Japan’s nationwide high school baseball finals. This time around its Hiro and Noda’s battery that take center stage as they help their newly established baseball team out of the rut.
Now here’s the problem, despite the 41 episode count, H2 in my opinion wastes a lot of time, roughly the first 10 episodes or so of not so great character building and generally dilly-dallying around. With Hiro’s broken shoulder and Noda’s broken back, their doctor instructs them to never play the game again or risk permanent damage. So the two are practically drifting for 10 episodes doing much of nothing and the story not progressing at all. For a while Hiro is just getting bullied by the soccer club with the story at a stand still until his very first baseball game.
When the story does finally get into gear, things are great, fantastic even. The victories wholly satisfying, the losses saddening but hopeful. The baseball side of the story is great and equally the romance is sweet and innocent. I love it, devoid of any modern anime cliches, just a bunch of baseball loving teens discovering and growing into their love interests.
And ultimately here’s the major problem. It’s unfinished. All ongoing storylines, whether baseball or romance are just unresolved. Not sure of the circumstances, but I can just assume it caught up to the manga at some point and just had to end abruptly. So sad.
facts, developments, thoughts, emotions are brought to the audience in a very unique way. mainly through the dialogues the viewer could grasp quite a rich world around this baseball boys and their girls. these dialogues are far from being mainstreamed. open, doubting, unclear – freely, the protagonists are communicating. together with the excellent use of some other rather complex literary methods, like leaving the important unsaid, using details to unfold the complete a.o.; and the clever split of the medias to create wrong predictions or also intend contradictions between the heard and the shown, the told and the thought; this show could entertain on a very fine level at all. often was served a nice sense of humour even using smartly still the silliest stereotypes.
the way how its told opens the possibility to enrich it in your own way. unfortunately to open such possibilities is not a guaranty and the loss of decidedness and clearness may discomfort the laisy-minded.
Compared to touch (another work of the manga) h2 feels a bit more mature as the characters have better traits to them. The characters of h2 are witty, strong willed and don’t get pushed around whereas the characters of touch were wishy-washy, casual and undignified. The romance in touch was frustrating to say the least. The romance in h2 is at the starting point in terms of drama, for more the manga has to be read.
The atmosphere in h2 is good and the show is enjoyable with good pacing. The comedy scenes especially of one of the characters is hilarious.
Honestly this should not have ended abruptly whatever the reason may have been.
35: Legend of Basara
Japanese: LEGEND OF BASARA
MAL Score: 7.31
In a small village, twins are born: a boy, Tatara, and a girl, Sarasa. The prophet Nagi declares that Tatara is the chosen one who will free Japan from the tyrannical rule of the King and his four sons. But when the ruthless Red King slays Tatara, Sarasa must take on her brother’s name and responsibilities and embark on a quest to free Japan and deliver vengeance to the Red King.
In the 21st Century for some reason (probably global warming or something..) the world has turned into a wasteland and Japan is ruled by a corrupt and selfish clan whom have neglected their subjects through out their years of ruling so much that the quality of life is pretty much the lowest of low. Then one day there was a set of twins, a boy(Tatara) and a girl(Sarasa) was born and a prophet declares that the boy is the chosen one which would save them from their predicament. Unfortunately the supposed chosen one was killed by the “Red King”, which happens to be the son of the ruling Emperor and now it’s up the the other half of the twins to fulfill her brother’s role.
The plot of Legend of Basara doesn’t really exude originality but through out it manages to make itself interesting enough. It’s too bad that the story is clearly unfinished with the way that things were left off with the final episode though it was somewhat obvious that this would happen seeing as this anime adaption was only 13 episodes long while the original manga span for 27 volumes.
Now the animation isn’t necessarily bad but it’s not great either, while the show being more than 10 years old needs to be put into consideration, there was still plenty of shows that were released around the same time as Legend of Basara that looked better. Although the show did have some interesting character designs despite most of the male characters looking a little too fabulous.
The OST hardly had much presence through out the show which is kind of disappointing since a lot shows fantasy type shows use background music to make you feel like what you’re watching is some epic adventure.
Probably the best aspect of the show, Sarasa is a great lead character, she’s isn’t just some push over and is pretty likable from the start and still she displays a lot of growth in her resolve and personality as the story progresses.
Another interesting note about the characters is that most of the so called villains in the show, are really just following their own justice, following what they think is right for the country and in a way you could see Sarasa as the villain as she’s stands in the way of the Red King who seems to have good intentions but just needs a bit more guidance in which is the right path to take.
Legend of Basara is a good show, despite the story being incomplete it was rather enjoyable. It’s recommendable if you’re looking for a decent fantasy/adventure/romance series although be prepared to move on to the manga once you’ve finished since the story is unfortunately cut short.
The anime in itself was very interesting and had a lot of potential to be a good anime however, be it only thirteen episodes it clearly displayed that it was unfinished.With that being said it was only okay, could have been better if the plot had finished with answers answered and goals were achieved.
Art : 7
The art was pretty basic for me. I didn’t find it spectacular but it also is a anime from the early 90’s, so in that aspect I found it just okay.
Each character that was present and brought forth were unique and really thought about. Sarasa and Shuri are by far the most complex characters that are brought forth, due to each of their unique backgrounds and their psychological battles they face by falling in love with the ‘enemy’. Although these two are the main focus, the other characters also reveal interesting pasts/experiences/backgrounds that make them appealing as well.
I did enjoy this anime, however I really would have enjoyed it even more had the story been completed and the goal that was portrayed was brought to light. The fact that those two things were not satisfied made this only an okay anime for me.
Story 9/10: it’s sort of like Romeo and Juliet, the girl (Sarasa) is from a village with a twin brother who is the chosen one who gets the privilege of holding a swords and whatnot, the usual “manly” tasks. Anyway, so Japan is under control by different kings ruling divided parts who are all brothers. Our main male protagonist is the Red King who is Sarasa’s enemy for destroying her village, and killing her family. Now Sarasa takes her brothers place (Tatara) as the chosen one who will bring peace to the world and goes after The Red King, tricking his nation that it was the twin sister that was killed. She goes to get revenge and meets a man whom both fall in love not knowing what their true indenties are. Oh and there’s a lot of killing since a war starts between Tatara and The Red King. When they aren’t doing their duties it’s interesting to see how much their tones change when talking to another without knowing each others identities. They help their enemies without realizing each time they meet and I loved watching that friction between them.
Art 10/10: The art is simply beautiful and very detailed. It has a very different setting than what’s usually shown in anime today with the your average highschool setting or modern Japan. You just have to watch it to see how lovely it is as on old art fan.
Characters 8/10: There are some holes in the story when it come to character development but it’s bearable or how one thing lead to another for characters during the plot.
Enjoyment 10/10: I loved this anime too much. I wish anime could be like anime from the 90s and early 2000s because of the art and each anime had its own touch to it. Also they’re very underrated. I was literally so excited while I was watching this anime because I couldn’t predict was gonna happen next which is a great feeling for me. Storyline and everything kept me very into it.
Overall 9/10: I do think it could have had more episodes since it did leave some plot holes here and there especially in the end when it came to the main female and male finding out their true identities but there’s always the manga to get more deep. Overall I enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend this if you’re wanting to take a break from today’s anime and for all my old art lovers that are looking for what to watch next.
34: Cinderella Monogatari
English: The Story of Cinderella
MAL Score: 7.32
Cinderella is the daughter of a wealthy duke who has remarried to provide her with a mother and sisters. When the Duke travels abroad, Cinderella discovers that her new family is anything but a family. With spoiled stepsisters and a harsh stepmother, Cindrella is forced to cook, clean and manage the household. Yet she remains cheerful, gentle and kind to her family, to her animal friends and to a mysterious boy, named Charles, who seems to have a connection with the prince of Emerald Castle. A whole new story on a classic fairytale.
When Cinderella’s cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.
created characters..Cinderella is more than awesome and the prince is
just so cool..The story isn’t just based on Cinderella’s story and that what
makes it enjoyable and a little unpredictable..You would surely love it x3
However, it is blessed with great storytelling and has a nice moral.
Both movie (Disney) and story (by Charles Perrault) do not go in great detail about Cinderella’s life before she went to the ball. This series tell a great deal, and, not only that, the twists make the story a bit more realistic, in my point of view.
Fairy tails are always, or almost, the same and have many common components such as: love at first sight (without even knowing each other), a villain or two defeat and a happy ending.
In my opinion, Cinderella Monogatari changes all of these examples and weaves a story that is so great that you should overlook the fact that perhaps you do not like the ancient aspect of it.
At first I didn’t think much of it as it is a older anime, but I convinced myself otherwise.
I Did Wonder what it would of turned out to be like.
To my surprise it was a little different then the normal Cinderella stories you hear about, not by much but had a good story that made me want to watch the next episode.
Over all the build up of the characters and the ending was good. Seemed at times you couldn’t tell their feelings or thoughts clearer, but I liked it in this anime, made for the suspense of it all.
If you like fairy tales or happy endings this is a good anime to watch.
33: Saber Marionette J
English: Saber Marionette J
MAL Score: 7.34
In the distant future, since the Earth has become overpopulated, efforts to find and colonize on other planets have begun. However, one of the ships, the “Mesopotamia” malfunctions and all but 6 of its inhabitants are all killed. the remaining 6 manage to escape to a nearby planet named “Terra ll “, which is similar to Earth in many respects. However, all of them are male. Therefore, as to not let their efforts go to waste, they begin to set up 6 countries and to reproduce through cloning and genetic engineering. however, there are still no women, and to make up for it they create lifelike advanced female androids called “Marionettes” which do everyday chores and work. However, they are all emotionless machines. But one day, a ordinary boy named Otaru finds and awakens 3 special battle type Marionettes that have emotions due to a “Maiden Circuit” within them. It’s up to him then to teach them and allow their emotions to grow, and when a nearby country threatens with world domination, it’s up to to Otaru and his “human” Marionettes to protect their country.
The story revolves around Otaru Mamiya and his three Marionettes named Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry, but they are not just an ordinary ordinary marionettes, they have a system called “Maiden Circuit” that act like the source of their emotion thats why they can laugh and cry. A futuristic setting in a planet named Terra – II in the country of Japones where there are no female and all male are born from cloning. Female was replaced by Female machine called Marionettes. Thus begin their wacky adventure under one roof. The gags are old but still funny specially when the punchline is hanagata. The story is not always about humor, there is drama also, its the main point of the story on how the three marionette grows emotionally thru happiness and hardship. The anime’s story is slow pace but not boring so you will have time to enjoy how the it will develop.
Meet Otaru a normal boy who live a normal life, kind and hard working . One day he accidentally activated a Marionette named Lime. Lime a marionette with a cute and childish personality, always eat and play around and loves Otaru a lot. She’s my favorite marionette because whenever she’s around the surrounding become cheerful. Next is Cherry the second marionette Otaru awakened. She always give a maiden aura, in cuteness i think its in par with Lime. She loves to cook and more importantly loves to daydream about his master Otaru.The third was Bloodberry, she’s a how should i say it… a muscle woman? Well she’s not as cute as the first two but she emits an older woman aura, she has the biggest breast among the three and loves to seduce Otaru. For side character, let see, hmm… Hanagata hes a loser so lets forgot about him (Hanagata: What did you just say?) just joking, he always introduce himself as Otaru’s bestfriend, a pesky character who appears anywhere near Otaru.
Otaru, his design is quite simple, passable for a normal character.For the character design of the three marionettes, Lime, since she loves to move around designing loose costume fits nicely with her character. Cherry, she’s loves doing housework so the cutely designed pink kimono si looks good in her. Bloodberry with the blood on her red suits her best, well only her hair is red, she got the most daring design because of her nicely proportioned body and big-sister like character.
The Opening song is good, you will like it the more you listened to it. Same goes for the Ending song, with a great visualization it will make you listened to the song as well. For The Seiyuu’s, I really like the japanese voice for Lime, Megumi Hayashibara. It match perfectly with Limes personality, cute and playful. I dont like the english dub, it gives a kind of feeling that its not Lime-like. Same goes with Cherry, i like her polite voice. When u talk about Bloodberry, that means Power, power in the voice but with a sweetness of an older women and the seiyuu deliver it nicely.
After many years of not seeing this anime (10 years +) it give me a nostalgic feeling and with that i enjoy it a lot. I laughed in the funny scenes and got teary in those touching moment. I couldn’t ask for more… 😀
if u read some weird grammar, its my bad haha, ore ningen da mono~
The premise of the series is that sometime in the future, a group of 6 explorers made an emergency crash onto the Planet of Terra. There was the inconvenient problem that they landed without any females. Rather than wither off on this distant planet, the six decided to make clones of themselves, and thus repopulated the planet, but without females. The compensation for the lack of females is the development of female-appearing robots called marionettes, who can function like a human, but can’t experience feelings of their own, except, that is, for a few special marionettes whom our intrepid protagonist discovers, leading to ever more grand adventures until the fate of the planet is at stake.
A few complaints with this show are that it has a very obvious plot, most of the jokes aren’t funny, an irritating worm put in for comic relief really degrades this series, and a lot of the story is patronizing. I think this series is made especially for kids. The OP & ED are quite catchy, the animation is bad by today’s standards, and the characters are a bit flat. It’s still good clean fun though, worth watching with popcorn and friends.
It came to be this way because of an accident on a colonization ship that left six men alive on the surface, and they use genetics to populate the planet of Terra II. The direct clones of the six survivors rule the six nations that exist on the planet, Otaru being from Japoness which looks like feudal Japan.
Otaru tries to grow the personality of the three Marionettes throughout the series while having to deal with Gartland’s (Germany during World War II) ruler Faust and his own set of three Marionettes. The story is alright if you don’t have a problem with small details that could be considered giant plot holes with a lot of thought.
The art is dated even for a show from 12 years ago. The marionettes look vibrant, but completely out of place. The backgrounds of the other nations seemed to have been picked because they are easier to depict. Action scenes look merely average. It’s not horrific, but it would be hard to call it good.
Characters are a much stronger point. Otaru is not your typical male harem lead. The marionettes show diversity in character as the series progress from one-dimensional to something more.
Overall, Saber Marionette J is a solid, if not spectacular, series. It sets the table well for the OVA and second series that followed, though a conclusion could have been provided in this series if they really would have wanted it.
32: Kaikan Phrase
Japanese: 快感 フレーズ
MAL Score: 7.37
After the break up of their old band, guitarist Yuki & drummer Santa decide to form a new one. They recruit bass player Towa, young guitarist Atsuro, and after much persuasion, vocalist Sakuya. Together they form Lucifer and they struggle to make it in the music business, and also to stay together. As well, they have to deal with personal issues, such as parental objections, and watching their old bands succeed ahead of them. Sakuya is the most troubled band member, as he has to deal with his tragic past, and his relationship with teenaged lyricist Aine.
The story started of typically. A little bit slow but as it progresses you’ll find yourself hooked. There’s a lot of character development that would make one kind of attached to each band member. It was focused more on the band, on have they struggled, how they developed they’re relationship to each other and how they overcame the obstacles they faced. It was pretty touching and inspiring. The "love story" started of a little bit late but for me it was just the right timing. You’ll see how love can change someone.
Sound is ok, because the anime was done in 1999 so the music is a liitle off my taste. But I most probably would have liked it better if I saw the anime at that time.
I’ll give the characters an outstanding. Each one of them has different characteristics that would make different kind of people relate to them. Nobody stood up annoyingly or overly dramatic. Even the female leads character was done just appropriately.
Obviously I had a fun time watching it. Time well-spent! 44 episodes just not enough.
The artwork is very dated, for something produced in the 90’s, it looks like something from the 70’s, and while they give us a lot of background on the other members of the bands, they water all of it down! This manga is really ONLY interesting because it’s racy and because of the very titillating relationship between the characters. The anime story line made changes from the manga that sterilized everything that was interesting or compelling out of it.
It comes off as a big yawn and if you have read the manga, don’t bother with the anime – you’ll be disappointed. If you have watched the anime, now go read the real deal in the manga – it’s 1000 times better.
The story starts off with making the band; each character is introduced with their set of problems as they try to become professionals. Whilst the band is discovering itself at the grass-roots level we’re frequently made to listen to their sounds, composed of catchy tunes Midnight Crow and Datenshi Blue (which are sang by the real-life Lucifer band – clever of the producers to make an actual band as counterparts for the anime band). The ballad Dakishimeru hokani also leaves quite an impression as it pops up from time to time when the characters go through hardships.
The manga starts off with the female protagonist Aine Yukimura but in the anime she isn’t involved until half-way through the series. Once Aine and the lead vocalist Sakuya meet though the story picks up pace; on the highs and lows of becoming and being big in the music and media scene, ending practically every episode on a climax- yes you just have to watch the next episode (it’s a vicious cycle).
The art of Kaikan Phrase is as expected from animes made in 1999; it is pretty good and you get used to it after the first few episodes.
It would’ve been better if there was a bit more romance in the anime though- would’ve done justice to Mayu Shinjou the mangaka but I guess the emphasise was meant to be on the music world for this anime instead. But otherwise it is quite the enjoyable watch, where we never quite know what Sakuya will say or do- his level of confidence is beyond measure. Expect lots of drama, many dilemmas and a whole lotta music ~ Kaikan phrase.
31: Akazukin Chacha
English: Red Riding Hood Chacha
MAL Score: 7.39
Akazukin Chacha is the story of a young magical girl (Mahō Shōjo) named Chacha. Living with her guardian in a cottage on Mochi-mochi mountain is Seravi, who is her teacher and also the fictional world’s greatest magician. Chacha is clumsy in casting her spells because, throughout the anime, when she summons something, it often turns out to be something that she didn’t mean to cast, for example, spiders (kumo) instead of a cloud (also kumo). At times in the anime when she and her friends are in trouble, however, her spells do work. Living on the same mountain is a boy gifted with enormous strength named Riiya. It is described that Riiya came from a family of werewolves who can instantly change into a wolf whenever they want. Quite far from Mochi-mochi mountain lies Urizuri mountain. Dorothy, also a well known magician in her land, lives in a castle on Urizuri mountain. Living with her is Shiine, her student. Shiine is adept when it comes to casting spells. He is a young wizard and most of his knowledge about magic was taught to him by Dorothy.
The first 2 seasons were originally created by the anime team. Most of the stories in season 3 are based on the manga.
Its that good,dont deplete yourself of a good time,so what if the story isnt fabulously original,your not going to be watching this for plot twists on seat grabbing mindgames. Your gonna watch it because you want to be entertained,isnt this what watching anime is all about? having fun and enjoying yourself,without needing to put to much thought into it
Akazukin Chacha is your friend,dont worry about what your friends think,i bet they like death note and code geass,you can do away with them later
yea man,its pretty much AMAZING,did i mention it has one of the greatest OP’s ever?
This is a pure comedy, so the story isn’t really a focus in any way, but let’s cover everything:
Storyline wise, Akazukin Chacha, or “Little Red Riding-Hood” Chacha, is decent at best. Over the course of the series itself, it attempts to construe a vague, generic demon-king versus royal family/heroes of the land type of story. And it does a very good job of achieving what it set out to do, which is to both have an excuse to fight enemies over the course of the show, and to cause conflict during the episodes, giving the characters something to react to. – 4
Art in the show is arguably pretty good for the date and presumable budget. It takes a lot of money to make animation, and it’s artwork is at a far better level of quality than some more popular anime that came out even a year or two later. (Detective Conan, for example). And it’s about equal to others, like Dragonball.
That said, it’s nothing special. They did a very good job at distinguishing characters, but really they only animated the ones from the manga. It’s obvious they made a good effort for comedic impact, though. Who can forget Principal Urara’s eyes? – 6
For sound, we have some adequate background music, nothing too memorable. It plays in the correct moments and doesn’t feel contrived, so there’s that. There are also the highlights like the “Team Theme” and the “Panda Song”. The opening and ending songs are another story, and are excellent pieces of music. Both the opening, which never changes, and the latter two endings are catchy, fun and upbeat, all in a good way, just like the show’s tone. The second ending is especially good, and extremely catchy, definitely worth listening to on an MP3 player. – 7
The characters are a strong point of this anime. You have the blunt, selfish and frankly “beepy” (Think Ayumi from Conan or Hikase from Nichijou) Chacha herself, who the show would suffer a lot from without. Though that would go for most show’s main characters, heh. Her lines, reactions, blunt and selfish verbal assaults are honestly some of the funniest parts of the show. If you don’t like her, which I find really hard to believe, (maybe you just don’t understand how she is and think she’s coming off as annoying? I pity you if so), chances are you won’t like the rest of the show.
The brave, always hungry and a little dense, werewolf Riiya. His voice actor (someone from a boy band) did a great job, and suited him like no one else ever could have, making him sound at varying times energetic, a little slow on the uptake, lazy, cowardly, and bold.
The wizard in training, the good boy Shiine-chan. (Soujiro and Sera Masumi in the Kenshin and Conan anime series, respectively), is always hilarious. From his vain attempts to show off in hopes of impressing Chacha, his love for work and study, his secret perverted ways, and his adorably-embarrassed side, you’ll probably come to like Shiine-chan.
Then there’s Seravy-sama, the greatest wizard in the world. He’s humorously superior, lacks common sense sometimes, and has a big thing for blonde curly hair and his favorite doll, which might actually be alive, Lizbeth.
From his “just-passing-through” disguises (“I’m only a just-passing-through master pastry chef!”), to his slightly negligent but mostly responsible upbringing of Chacha, and the way they fit each other like a glove, he’s a very likable, enjoyable character that’ll have you laughing along with his antics.
The rest of the characters, Yakko, Marin, Orin, Rascal-sensei (Kindaichi from Kindaichi Case Files), are all characterized well and have matching seiyuu. In fact, I can’t think of one seiyuu that doesn’t fit their role perfectly, and they all seemed to have fun with the show, too, which is another pro. The crew got lucky with the cast, for sure. – 8
The real enjoyment are the jokes. There’s slapstick humor, sure, and plenty of it, but the most hilarious part is the interactions between the characters and the way they react to things. If seeing Chacha tear up because Riiya accidentally called her a fool, and then in the next episode turn around and insult both of her friends like it was perfectly natural like the comicly selfish person she is, or watching kids get drunk and summoning a bunny-dragon to take down the bad guys, or finding out Chacha can rewind and playback memories in slow motion (that was a classic), is not your idea of humor, then the show probably isn’t for you.
If it is, though, you’ll find it absolutely hilarious, because it does an outstanding job at that specific type of humor. – 10
Overall I give this series an 8.
i actually watch this since i was a kid.. i really love it..
I recommend it to the children who loves watching comedies…
30: Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
English: Blue Legend Shoot!
Japanese: 蒼き伝説 シュート！
MAL Score: 7.40
Inspired by Yoshiharu Kubo’s phenomenal performance that led Kakegawa High School to a miraculous victory in a soccer tournament, Toshihiko Tanaka decides to enter the same school as his idol and join the soccer club, hoping to become as successful as Kubo.
Now a high school freshman, Tanaka is devastated as his expectations suddenly start falling apart. Kubo—the captain of the club—is absent due to illness. To make matters worse, the freshmen are not allowed to practice alongside the sophomores or become regulars on the team. The final nail in the coffin is the reluctance of Tanaka’s friends, Kenji Shiraishi and Kazuhiro Hiramatsu, to join him in the club. Although Tanaka and his friends were once known as a deadly soccer trio in their junior high school days, Kenji and Kazuhiro have both quit soccer for personal reasons.
When Tanaka starts to lose hope, an encounter with Kazumi Endo—a girl from his childhood—becomes the unexpected key to his freedom from despair. The disappointed Kazumi wants to see the trio reunite, so she takes matters into her own hands in her mischievous way. Thus, Tanaka’s high school soccer career prepares for the kickoff.
Which if you didn’t know is probably the greatest sports anime ever. That aside, if you’re into friendship, teamwork, dramatic love for both a person and sports this is one roller coaster ride you wouldn’t want to sit back and watch other people ride.
Onto the actual review: Story possibly 9 gonna say 8 though some parts are very cliche and predictable, but that’s what makes it normal, but it has it’s moments where it absolutely shines and just tugs on your heartstrings.
Sound: 10 I love every single song from the anime *spoiler* the best being the Kazumi Endo Ending, my god it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
Character: 10 Toshi who is the main character not only as a futbol/soccer player does he level up, but as a man and person but he helps everyone around him to grow aswell.
Additionally, the visuals are while standard of 90s anime, charming with the painted backgrounds and manner of how the characters are designed, an aesthetic that gets more endearing/nostalgic as time goes on. To end on this, the soundtrack is banging and one I feel I can listen to many a time over.
29: Tenchi Muyou!
MAL Score: 7.43
Tenchi Masaki’s life changes forever when the ship of an infamous space pirate, Ryouko Hakubi, is shot down and crashes near his family’s temple. Little did Tenchi know that by saving Ryouko, he would spark a series of events that would lead alien women from all walks of life to inhabit his home. This includes the delicate Princess Aeka of Jurai and her playful younger sister Princess Sasami; the scatterbrained first-class detective Mihoshi Kuramitsu and her more capable partner Kiyone Makibi; and the eccentric, mad scientist Washuu Hakubi.
The six women do their best to adapt to their new lives, but their more advanced and exotic lifestyle does not mesh well with the simplistic customs on Earth. As a result, they just end up making a mess and causing trouble for poor Tenchi. Though the girls are a pain, Tenchi begins to form a close relationship with each of them, and through their bond, he begins to gain a better understanding of his role in the universe.
The story is similar to the first series: progressive events cause an assemblage of characters, mishaps create subplots, a threatening antagonist later appears and the group pits to stop them. The artwork is less shaded and the animation isn’t as fluid but it all still looks good. Audio is backed with a library of different music, spot-on sound effects and believably acted voices. Bolder content, like nudity, swearing and sexual references, is a lot more minimal.
One of the best points about Tenchi Universe is how nicely it transitions. Viewers don’t get stuck with empty fillers; there is always something going on whether or not the story has picked up. As a result, fans of the OVA, and fans of harems in general, should enjoy this series.
Especially given that everyone and their dog’s probably seen Tenchi Muyo (Universe/TV aka the one who’s page you’re on). I’m also an unashamed fan. It’s not a stretch to say that Tenchi is what got me into anime along with Outlaw Star on the legendary Toonami block a few yonks and a half back now.
Tenchi isn’t just a harem anime. It’s not going too far in my mind to say it is THE harem anime. A fantastic rom-com with some well placed scifi action and a nice bit of world building here and there, Tenchi has managed to create a fantastic cast of characters with unique personalities and character design (following the silhouette rule of character design, that is, in silhouette, as many characters as humanly possible should be immediately identifiable or recognizable. It’s also a trope setter for a lot of things we commonly see now, and it’s not unfair to level a fair amount of blame for the scourge of super cute mascot characters we see these days on Sasami and Ryo-Ohki.
I’m not going to go into depth on this review. Suffice to say, it’s worth your time. Enjoy.
28: Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
MAL Score: 7.45
A normal looking high school girl on the outside, Kusakabe Maron is actually the reincarnation of Jeanne d’ Arc. With the help of the angel, Fin Fish, Maron works as the thief Jeanne at night to seal the demons that reside in pieces of artwork, preying upon the weak hearts of the owners. She is branded as a thief due to the fact that the artworks disappear after she seals the demons. One day, a new neighbor and classmate appears, as well as a rival in her night job, the thief Sinbad. With her own best friend being the detective’s daughter, out to capture her and the appearance of her new rival, Maron’s work is anything but easy.
KKJ doesn’t exactly provide anything ground breaking story-wise. It’s standard mahou shoujo material. Like many other thieves you may find in other anime, Jeanne oddly enough tells the police beforehand she actually plans to steal something, and magically completes her missions successfully, foiling the police each time. While there is an obvious plotline, majority of the anime is fairly episodic. It follows a monster of the week pattern, so each week (or should I say each episode) Jeanne seals another artwork, normally helping non-returning characters that have problems most likely due to the demons. The second half has the plot picking up, with new (and returning) antagonists as well as development of the romance between the two main characters. It’s fairly standard, but interesting enough if you don’t mind standard to begin with.
Unfortunately, the infamous reused transformation scene is used in KKJ, and is quite frankly an annoyance to watch after the first time. Animation is also reused a lot when it comes to the demon sealing. The animation is bright and colorful, and this being based off a manga by Tanemura Arina of course means awesome character designs, at least for the thieves’ costumes. An irritating number of still screens are also often used in KKJ, detracting enjoyment at times, simply because nobody likes to stare at a still screen when something else could be done. Anyhow, if you’re looking for amazing animation, look no further, because it certainly isn’t here.
Nothing too special can be found from sound either. The opening and endings are fairly catchy, although perhaps a more slow song would have been more fitting for the first ending. Background music is quite forgettable, but at least there’s nothing that ruins the scenes, proving that the BGM does its job. Voice acting is fairly satisfying, with Maron’s VA doing an excellent job showing her strength, will and loneliness. Fin Fish’s VA, while befitting her role, is fairly annoying to listen to however, probably due to the extremely high pitch.
KKJ’s characters would have to be its strongest point. Most of the characters develop throughout the series, especially the leads. Maron is a seemingly happy person, but behind it all is one who suffers from extreme loneliness. Chiaki is a somewhat trouble male who has a reluctance in engaging in any serious romantic relationship with another girl. The developing romantic relationship between her and Chiaki is pretty much the highlight of the show for the romance lovers, but it’s quite predictable from the start how it would all turn out. There’s more to Miyako then what appears at first, with this and the history behind some of the antagonists, make up for a fairly interesting cast of characters.
Did I like it?
If you’re wondering whether I actually enjoyed Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, I didn’t really. I’m a fan of the manga and thought the drama especially portrayed in it was brilliant. I was disappointed when I saw the anime had taken the mahou shoujo approach, with long and tedious transformation scenes, and pointless clashes between Jeanne and the police. I also hate monster of the week setups, as they prove to be far too boring and repetitive.
Overall, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is your everyday mahou shoujo. Complete with transformation scenes, flashy (and unrealistic) action, and a bit of romance here and there. Take that with some of the drama and twists presented in the show, an interesting cast of characters, and we have an anime the mahou shoujo lovers could waste their lives on for a while.
1)must see; 2) must see; 3)must enjoy ^_^
Then I was a teenager I used to watch this and imagined that I am that brave, strong, lissome girl. I knew all phrases when she is transforming and that was my inducement to be better and alarm-clock which woke me up every morning with smile, bravery and impulse to continue what I have started.
Story is about friendship which could be very mystical and disloyal, about love which can be beautiful but in the same made-up, bet from the start till beginning it always is truthful to yourself which teaches us to love ourselves too. Great!
story : 8/10
i said i love this anime, but this anime is really stressed on what is absolute evil and what is absolute kindness, im kinda against that so i personally think this is an anime for younger kids and would like u to know that the plot is great its just my personal issues. There are good points and bad points to both the anime and manga, i recommend watching both. The manga have a better ending, though the anime already have a happy ending(i meant it you are not new to anime you pretty much know all this kinds of anime leads to happy ending) but the manga ending is like even more happy or something?
If you watch both, you will get a very detailed backstory for each main character.
art : 10/10
the art is PERFECT. it is so shoujo-ish, its exactly for girls. Now i would say that the manga actually have better art than the anime but… the anime’ transformation is awesome. so this anime is tittled ‘kamikaze kaitou jeanne”,
and you can kinda guess that it have somethings to do with theives. The main characters actually go through a transformation, which involve flashy lights and lots of turning and stuff. But in the manga its kinda dull, there’s not really the process for transformation, like poof the girl has changed.
sound : 9/10
The sound i great, but its like average… there’s no really good points and there’s no bad points either…
Character : 9/10
the characters are awesome, there’s a lot of backstory given for the girl, and a little for the guy. they have strong personality and there’s so much of character development. But you know you can never have too much. Now in the manga, there’s is more backstory given to fin fish. So it’s best to read both manga and anime.
Overall : 8/10
i know it will be 9/10 if i don have a preference over what kinds i like, so it’s just something personal.
27: Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade
English: Tekkaman Blade
MAL Score: 7.45
Tekkaman Blade takes place in the year 2300 AD. On a certain moment, the Radam attack earth. A few months after the beginning of the invasion, a tekkaman appears, he calls himself Blade and with the help of the Space Knights, Blade starts to fight the radam. But there are a few things that Blade isn’t telling about his past.
But the best quality of this anime is definitely its character development. Initially, there will be characters you will not be able to stand and you wish for them to get what’s coming to them for how they act and treat D-Boy. But as time goes on, the characters do grow on you and show significant maturity where your feelings of them drastically change. Another great point in which contributes to the development is of course the relationships between the characters. It’s about family, friendship and love. Initially the characters egos will be a driving force of internal conflicts, but as time goes on, they will unite and come to accept each other as family and support.
But despite these find qualities, the story overall is still dark and gritty and I felt it was a good foundation to build and develop the characters on. Certain parts of the story will really make you feel sad for D-Boy for what he has to go through throughout the series. Initially he’s this self-centered guy, but comes to learn that nobody can live alone. I feel a lot of the development of the characters and their relationships is a high point because I think everybody can relate to it.
I have to say that the art and animation for an early 90s anime is top notch. I originally thought this anime shared the same character designer of Gundam 0083 because the style of those characters, looked like the characters of this anime, but despite my false assumption, the character designs are done by Kogawa Tomonori, the designer of another personal favorite of mine, Tomino Yoshiyuki’s Aura Battler Dunbine. When I compared the heavy clothing of lets say Aki and D-Boy to Sho’s, I could see the resemblance of how he approaches such things and I have to say the 10 year gap between both series shows a significant bounds of evolution with his art style. I’ll admit the character designs aren’t exactly state of the art with wicked hairstyles, but the art is still complex by exhibiting a lot of the emotion this anime caries with the postures, ways of walking, and facial expressions.
The designs and transformations of the Tekkaman in this installment are of course more sophisticated and very uniquely organic which helps makes this anime stand out in comparison to your typical mech anime nowadays. In comparison to the original Tekkaman, which looked more like a European Knight hence the title Space Knight, Tekkaman Blade’s edginess and angles give a more distinctive samurai look to it and really compliments the style of the action where it’s fast paced, explosive, and agile. Unfortunately, there are moments in the 2nd half of the series, specifically between Blade and Evil where the action gets DBZ-ish, but then again, it was 1992 when DBZ was all the rage so they were trying to capitalize on it, but I guess it does capture the more organic nature of this anime in relation to being a Tekkaman in this installment. But the most bad ass of the fights is of course the use of the Voltekka, Tekkaman’s ultimate attack which was in the original series as well but drastically changed in this version. The special effects will kind of look like a kamehameha but when you see it in action, it’s still really bad ass and appropriate in this anime in context to everything related in it. So it’s a nice touch.
But if there was one thing I didn’t like about the designs, it was the one-dimensional approach to the villains. In the original Tekkaman, you got all kinds of aliens with different gimmicks, while in this one, it’s mostly just the giant alien spiders and the evil Tekkaman for Tekkaman to fight. But other than that, everything else is cool.
The seiyuu cast of this respective series is certainly top notch and has a handful of my personal favorites. D-Boy is played by Morikawa Toshiyuki, the voice of Griffith from Berserk, and Vorg from Hajime no Ippo. In those roles, he was more quiet and calm, while in this role, he was shockingly hot headed and hostile and I wasn’t even able to recognize that it was the same actor after I looked it up. After all the anime I watched in Japanese, I’m pretty good at recognizing seiyuus, but Morikawa really took me by surprise in this one and just saying this should give you an idea of how excellent his voice acting will be as D-Boy when you get to watch this anime. And my favorite female seiyuu, Hayashibara Megumi, the voice of female Ranma, Rei from Evangelion, and Faye from Cowboy Bebop plays Aki. Aki’s design may not really compare to other babes of anime, but I felt Hayashibara’s talented voice acting really brought out her inner beauty and makes you drawn to just her character, and this will really be emphasized in the second half. And I can’t deny the presence of the late great Suzuoki Hirotaka, the voice of Bright from Gundam, Kuno from Ranma, and Seiryuu from Saint Seiya and many, many, many other roles as the voice of Chief Freeman. He really brings out the well intended scheming personality of the character to life and just the way he sounds really makes you think what kind of a character Freeman really is just like how Noal kind of always has his suspicious about him. And one last seiyuu I want to mention is Koyasu Takehito, the voice of Tekkaman Evil. Due to time constraints I won’t elaborate too much on this, but if you’ve seen my review of Initial D 4th Stage, I really praised him for his performance in that anime, but his talent in making his character stand out is present here as well. I really like how he makes Tekkaman Evil provoking and provocative, but still has this mystique surrounding him. There are a lot more names I want to get into, but I have to end it there, so time to move onto the music.
The opening and ending themes are explosive and energetic that really reflect the action intense and relationship based tones of this anime overall and are addictive. The background tracks are all selectively and conducingly appropriate to the mood of the moment whether happy or sad. And the transformation music of Tekkaman itself feels like it was composed by the great John Williams himself.
Even though I have to admit some of the concepts don’t seem to be that new or innovating in relation to the story, I think it’s presentation still gives it a unique flavor of freshness where it does come across as original. To say it in a nutshell, I felt a lot of the features of Zeta Gundam, Gundam Wing, Macross, and the original respective novels of Starship Troopers and War of the Worlds along with some of the new features of the Tekkaman armor were put together to create this masterpiece. Very little can critics and audiences say remakes will surpass the original, and I’ll admit I prefer this series overall the original. But I personally find it impossible to really compare the two series, especially when mech and sci-fi anime overall drastically changed since the broadcasting of these two respective series. Even though they share the same name of Tekkaman, but I feel to compare Blade to the original Tekkaman is like comparing Gundam Wing to Tetsujin 28 or Gigantor. But I’ll get into some of those qualities in my review of the original Tekkaman which you have to stay tuned for.
In each of the five categories (Story, Art, Sound, Character(s), Enjoyment), a score can get 2, 4, 8 or 10. 2 for something I find truly bad, 4 for something that just isn’t good enough, 8 for fairly good and 10 for outstanding.
The sum of the score is divided by 5 and the score is rounded to the nearest integer (More than or equal to .5 rounds it up, less than .5 rounds it down).
A tragic main character, forced to fight. Military men with lots of ambition. Aliens and plants. Romance. A bit of amnesia. Mecha! Sounds like this series doesn’t lack a single thing, right? The story is presented in a typical, episodic monster-of-the-week format, and is one of the better shows using this format.
The animation in this series is very inconsistent. Sometimes, it’s brilliant, sometimes, it’s bad. When it’s good, it’s really good, and the designs are exquisite. If you like mecha in the form of power armor, these designs should have you drooling, but the inconsistency hurts a lot.
Both opening tracks to this series are great, the same goes for tension music and sound effects. One of my favourite voice actors voices the main character, D-Boy. Many will know his voice as Sephiroth’s, while others will recognise him from roles such as Kyosuke Nanbu or Ryu from Street Fighter. Either way, his voice is great.
D-Boy truly is an angsty main character, but rightfully so. And he doesn’t run around whining about it. The main cast, the antagonists and the interactions within and between these groups are well written.
Anyone who didn’t cry oily tears over a certain event towards the end of the series has a heart of stone.
Excellent fights, a captivating story and great mecha designs, not to mention the Vol Tekker, which was later turned into a Pokémon attack exclusive to Pichu’s chain of evolution. I enjoyed the heck out of this show.
48 * 0.2 = 9.6, rounded up to 10.
This is something for people who like action shows with some angst and drama. Though there is romance, it’s not the focus.
It’s a bit more than your run-of-the-mill shounen, though it runs in the same vein, or very close to it. You should also be aware that with this being a rather long shows, it has some slower arcs that may put some viewers off, not to mention dated animation, which some people can’t stand these days.
Before I begin, I know this is usually shunned upon in reviews but I apologize for making this review so long but I really cant sum up what this show does so right and so wrong in a abridged version.
The story of tekkaman blade about one man, who is later named D-boy, whom has the powers to transform into a mech like armor called tekkaman blade in which he uses to fight off an invading alien force known as the Radam as well as other mysterious users with ties to our hero whom also have the ability to transform into tekkamans. After a fierce battle and nearly fatal wound D-boy reverts back to a human body and is found by aki and noel, of the military branch called the space knights. While that may not be the most flattering synopsis the show is way more interesting than both its premise and its initial episodes let on divulging into quite the epic and at times unpredictable storyline. I really have to hold back on giving specifics of what is to come in this storyline as while there aren’t necessarily many twists there are a ton of plot points that surprise and intrigued me when watching and really helped push me to keep watching.
The story does a phenomenal job at utilizing D-Boy’s initially shrouded past and utilizing them in the present plot points and storytelling without relying too heavily on exposition, its a very flashback heavy show but unlike most shows that do this it works quite well in Tekkaman blade. Finding out what happened in D-boy’s past that gave him his powers as well as uncovering what his ties with these antagonist tekkamans that aid the radam is one of the strongest points in the story. There is also a interesting use of not making the radam the central antagonists but rather combining them with a corrupt military which adds a sense of danger to even the more calmer moments of the series when the radam are not attacking. However this interesting corrupt military plot point is pretty much entirely resolved by the shows halfway point and feels like a bit of a missed opportunity but for the most part served its purpose without overstaying its welcome but it still feels like there could had been some more interesting conflicts later on while they still juggled this antagonistic military force on their backs as they start to make their final moves on the radam forces. The 2nd half as well as the entire series suffers from 2 huge issues that truly hold it back more than anything
One of the issues is filler. Unlike what many long running shounens have led people to believe filler can be a really good thing, while not furthering the plot it can be used to get to know the characters, allow them to grow on us by seeing them in a less dire/serious sight as well as develop/build the world. A good filler will let the characters grow on you or at the very least create a more relaxing entertaining experience different than the more action filled events of the main story episodes. Tekkaman blade does filler horribly, residing mainly in the second half the series goes into downright moronic territory, youl find absurd stories of robotic little girls, one shot characters that lack any form of logic in their actions and seemingly cool locations that get absolutely no details about them given past a cool appearance. Not only are these fillers not enjoyable to watch due to their repetitive formula which ends every single of the episodes with random radam attacks that lack any real tension because you know nothing important will happen, but its made worse that these were largely wasted when they could had been good tools to build the characters and world. The 1st half of the story is told through a military perspective going on missions then back to base, the 2nd half has the cast traveling on foot/vehicle across the world, this should had been a great opportunity to build up this world that has survived these attacks by this unknown alien force yet its wasted by only showing hints of cool world-building the never following through on it. you’ll see plenty of really cool looking areas and towns or ruins that all end up being simplified to nothing more than their appearance. Its a huge wasted opportunity that hurts the show. To top this off there are 4 recap episodes 3 of which are in the show’s 2nd half.
The other huge issue that brings tekkaman blade down which ties into its filler issue, its pacing. Tekkaman blade simply should not have been 49 episodes, the pacing at the start is too slow for its own good and only a few of the first 10 episodes felt all that important, Many conflicts that span multiple episodes only needed to be done in merely 1 episode as many of the conflicts are drawn out by unnecessary dialogue from characters not fighting and the filler and the 4 recaps episodes did not need to exist as they only hurt the show rather than help. This should have been only about 26 episodes and would have worked much better that way. The way characters react to certain events is way too sluggish and slow that it really kills the dire mood the show is going for with this conflict. The shows pacing is quite fine from episode 11-24ish give and take a recap and episodes 36-45/46 or so are pretty back on scheduled to the main plot. However despite being a incredibly slow paced series the final episodes of the series are rushed as hell and nearly ruin all the good the 10 episodes before it had done. I cannot get into details at risk of major spoilers but to sum it up characters die anticlimactically for absolutely no reason or purpose other than to make it so D-boy isn’t allied with anyone for the final conflicts, fights are anticlimactic, and the series ends with a bullshit deus ex machina final fight and ending, I was going to give a series a 7 at the time right before watching the finale but the way the show wraps up was so poorly done I had to drop it down the 6 its at now.
One of the most mixed aspects of tekkaman blade is in its characters, The main characters D-boy, while not necessarily having that wide a range of emotions is a pretty well developed characters and I found myself really caring about the guy as the series progressed and really got into following the hardships he is facing due to the past he has and its affect on the present conflicts he faces. Some of the villains are extremely well thought out such as tekkaman evil whom I don’t want to give away anything about this guy but his relationship to D-boy easily ranks up there as one of my favorite rivalries in anime providing the most emotional and exciting parts of the story, whenever tekkaman evil shows up you knew the series would get really good, and with the exception of one conflict later in the series they always delivered. While not the big bad of the series tekkaman evil thankfully acts mainly as the main antagonistic force in the series and appears quite frequently. A few of the other tekkamans such as tekkaman rapier are a more of a fresh breath of air compared to the other tekkamans and 2 particular other tekkamans(axe and sword) have really well developed back-stories and ties to the past that really sell though a emotional connection to the events transpiring. However the remaining 3 tekkaman’s including the big bad are incredibly underdeveloped, tekkaman dagger in particular being the worst, he acts as the first antagonist for the first part of the series and that’s all he was, a guy that got in the way, D-boy recognizes who he was but the ties he has to D-boy are never investigated and after a terribly anticlimactic fight between the 2 he is never once brought up again other than mentions of how D-boy kicked his ass. Tekkaman lance which warning I’m just going to spoil his incredibly insignificant role he had on the series, He is introduced in the 20’s doesn’t show up for 15 or so episodes, then gets killed anticlimactically in the same episode he comes back. Who was he? what’s his backstory? What’s his ties with D-boy let alone any character? NOTHING, he literally just some dude that we know nothing about. Finally there is the big bad whom while he is given an actual tie in to his relationship with D-boy in the events prior to the show that relationship is largely underdeveloped anywhere past just addressing what the 2’s relationship title was. he’s one of those villains that sits in a room the entire series and yells at the people, granted they say why he cant leave the ship he’s on but its still such a boring decision to make the MAIN villain of the series just sit around on his ass the entire show. The heroes are sadly fairly shallow characters, the main heroine aki lacks any real form of a personality and her romance with D-boy doesn’t really get developed past stating she likes him. Noel while at first being kind of a dick is one of the more likable characters and has an actual personality and more wide range of motivations and emotions, Honda, Milly, Freeman, and Levin who make up the rest of the cast are sadly 1 trick pony characters that don’t have anything interesting about them past initial synopsis of them, Honda is just a mechanic with no real personality, milly is the residential cutsy girl usually used for occasional panty shots, freeman is a stereotypical leader character that is more of a plotpoint than a character, and levin is just a gay guy used for ineffective comic relief, one of the best characters in the story is a side character named balzac who has a ton of development and by story’s end is almost a entirely different character than his initial premise. The characters are just a mixed bag but sadly because of the hero’s lack of interesting aspects it ends up really outweighing the good characters in the end since these people are simply not interesting or entertaining to watch.
all that’s really left are the music and animation/art, music is entirely forgettable and has no real interesting tracks, the animation is inconsistent with the art jumping from being well detailed and looking like a 90’s anime should to becoming this really ugly, poorly detailed, and jagged animation that looks straight out of the 1970’s. There are certain points where the series looks great such as some of the tekkaman evil fights but the series is really dampened by a ton of stock footage and poorly animated scenes. The art is also really ugly to look at, despite some cool looking backgrounds they use way too much of an emphasis on drag and dark colors that just make everything look unpleasant, and while this would work when showing the war torn world of this show, when you also use the same ugly color palette for what are supposed to be more pleasant looking areas you only make that lose impact and make the entire series just look ugly. To add on one last time about why this should have been 49 episodes is that if they had shortened the series it could have also allowed them to balance their budget more to make it look less cheap as it does throughout many portions of the series
So should you watch tekkaman blade even with all that’s wrong with it? Despite how much I complained and ragged at many aspects of this series I do honest to god think this is worth your time if your willing to put up with the issues addressed in this review. Its a great series brought down by mishaps but its not a great story ruined by mishaps. If you give the series its time and can put up with its problems you will be rewarded. However if you don’t have the patience to put up with this then you probably are better off passing on tekkaman blade.
26: Magic Knight Rayearth
English: Magic Knight Rayearth
MAL Score: 7.46
Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji are strangers brought together by fate when they meet during a seemingly normal field trip to Tokyo Tower. Accompanied by a great flash of light, they hear a mysterious woman’s plea to save “Cephiro,” and the junior high heroines are suddenly swept away by a giant flying fish. Afterwards, they arrive in an unknown land, where they encounter a man called Master Mage Clef.
Clef informs the girls that they were summoned by Princess Emeraude to fulfill their destinies as Magic Knights, restoring peace and balance in Cephiro. The formerly lively and peaceful land has been in disarray ever since High Priest Zagato imprisoned the princess, who acted as Cephiro’s pillar of stability. The Magic Knights reluctantly accept Clef’s words as truth and embark on a journey to save Cephiro from the clutches of evil.
Basically we follow three high school girls who get sucked in an alternate dimension, and need to defeat the main enemy oppressing the land, and thus make it home in one peace. Its pretty straight forward in that regards, but along the way they end up meeting endearing friends and allies that assist them in their mission(s). You will also be treated to nice little back stories on a majority of the main characters, and learn their strengths and weaknesses alike. There will also be little side quests that the girls have to go on, that steer way from the main plot in order to keep things a bit more fresh and preventing it from growing stale. The plot twists that happen are pretty surprising as well, both with the over all storyline as well as with the characters, but I won’t say what because I don’t wanna spoil it for ya. The ending, while not truly epic or anything like that, is a most satisfying experience. The action scenes are also pretty nice, very fluid and thought out, even if it may show a bit of repetitious during some of it. However it is not all without its flaws; the most frustrating thing I found with the story is that it tended introduce one too many fillers at some points, and at those times I just wanted them to get on with it already! They also implemented a bit too many characters for this number of episodes, some of the villians we never really got to know much about, and seemed to be their only to keep the cast number large. Wasn’t that bad and they worked out a majority of the character’s story sequences as much as possibly could. So while it does have a few fillers and may tend to drag on a bit. It has great character interactions, moving moments and good action scenes. I feel I should mention that although it does have a good number of combat and action scenes, it does play about 30% or more of the series in a somewhat more cutesy and comical approach. Nothing too major, but they are there.
As far as offensive material goes, there is some blood in this title. Now while a good portion of the episodes can get away without showing any of the red stuff. There still are a few scenes where the girls get stabbed and blood is dripping down from them, or running along their wound. It never really comes off as exaggerated, but is still there none the less.
Most people may frown when looking at the clarity of it today, but the colors and detailed background were truly at their best when this came out. Nothing ever feels truly over done with it, and does make you feel attached to the scenery. The character design is also pretty charming to look at, they each have a scenes of style and flare to where you can tell that Clamp (makers of it) really made an effort to give them a nice appeal. My only complaint with it was the facial expressions, they seemed a bit too stiff at times, and I sometimes found it hard to connect with what they were feeling during the appropriate moments.
Like the artwork, it does show its age as well. Most of it does match well with what is going on, and does have an ere to adventure and struggle, even though the only real main memorable background music plays during the battles, all else of it is pretty discrete and sparse. I loved the opening and closing to this, both are sung by the same singer and are played out like a high pitched kinda of bouncy magical girl beat. I can tell you now though, it certain won’t appeal to all, as some may find it a bit too cheesy and girly. Now regarding the voice actors, I think they did a pretty good job of giving the right girl the right role. While some voices may feel a bit over exaggerated, (especially regarding some of the villains) I think they pulled it off pretty well.
I really dug them, they each have a certain amount of depth and likeness to each. As the story progresses you get to know them more and more, along with what their greatest attribute is, as well as greatest fear. They compliment one another very believable-ly, and you really get a sense of the friendship they all share, as they struggle to make their way home! Nobody ever comes of as a pest or cliche, which really make you believe the story that it implements. Again I only felt that they added a tad too many people for its episode length.
Bottom Line: 8/10
Magic Knight Rayearth remains a good solid watch that should still appeal to a well rounded majority of anime fans out their, while it does contain a few filler style episodes and a few repetitive fight scenes, if you can get past that then you’ll be fine. It overall remains a fun and enjoyable little series that will satisfy you once it ends, all while leaving you with a sense of remorse because its over.
Please keep in mind that this review was regarding the first season of Magic Knight Rayearth, the second one is a whole new ball game, and I felt it just didn’t live up to the first one. Just so you are aware of which one I was speaking of.
When I say relying on their own natural fighting abilities I mean things such as Hikaru with Kendo, Umi with fencing, and Fuu with archery. It’s not like Sailor Moon where she is managing to avoid a fight until she finds an opening to use her signature move of the season. With Fushigi Yuugi, its girls are transported to another world and they are seen as the savior. But these girls in MKR are chosen to be warriors and not celestial priestesses and have to fight their enemies themselves with minimal help from time to time. As for Aura Battler Dunbine, it’d be a spoiler if I explain it to you but if you see at the every end of the opening credits, you’ll get an idea of what I mean.
In the end, with the way the story progresses, it’s as if you are watching an old school Japanese style RPG game.
The art is of course by Clamp, so you’ll be able to recognize the way they draw the size of the eyes and the distinctive style to them. The eyes are the only thing that just looks alike but the characters have good variety to their design such as their uniforms, shapes of their faces and bodies. But in terms of other factors like hair styles and what not, it’s typical what you see in other animes like natural colored blue hair and what not so that’s always been a basic acceptable standard in anime. Because the majority of this anime takes place in another world, it is at liberty to allow more types of fictional creatures like Innova with his ears and have wicked costumes like Caladina’s skimpy gypsy outfit and Zagato’s heavy armor. The armor and the costume designs are very captivating and the environment of Cefiro is really breath taking and something out of Final Fantasy almost with floating continents and more in a world of middle ages but with monsters and magic.
Of course like other magical girl animes a lot of recycled footage is used such as when they use their magical powers. Like every time Hikaru uses her flare arrow or something, it’s the same animation sequence with a red background and so on and so forth. But this was made in mid 1990s and a certain percentage of anime was like that and acceptable. But for those of you that more new into anime, this might annoy you more than it did with me because I got into this anime when it first came out. Then sometimes for humor’s sake, characters get miniaturized. I say this it to keep it appealing to the kids and to give it some humor. I can handle it, but for some people, they might find it annoying. Other than that, when they are not relying on magic to fight, the use of their natural fighting abilities plays out well and gives more exciting build up with the fights and makes it more enjoyable like that.
The music is very excellent and beautiful. The opening theme Yuzurenai Negai meaning an Unyielding Wish is one of my favorite opening songs of all time. I like how it builds up very slow in the first few seconds and then bam, it becomes more like rock and pop. It has a good sense of tempo and pacing and the lyrics are a great way of telling the overall theme of having a strong will and always stick to your dreams. In other language versions like the English and Tagalog versions, they try to keep the song faithful. I know the Sega Saturn version in English has a different tune to the song from the anime version though. The ending theme Asu He No Yuuki or the Courage to Tomorrow is more pop-ish but shares the same things in a more light hearted context.
The background music especially when the next episode recaps the previous is very intense because the situation of the show is presented that way. The music has a variety of ways of setting the atmosphere and tends to be more orchestral because of the setting in a more midevil world.
The voice acting in the Japanese version is perfect. I really love the cast. I like Ryotaro Okiayu as Innova. Just perfect. Same with Juurouta Kusogi as Zagato perfectly matches his look. The English voices on the other hand, not too great and is why some anime fans hate dubs. Personally, I thought the Saturn game’s dub cast was much superior and more faithful to the characterizations. Such as Hikaru being tomboyish and rowdy, Umi being formal, and Fuu being intelligent. The regular anime dub just didn’t cut it for me.
This anime is more universally appealing that other magical girl animes because of the action and story isn’t all that feminine in comparison to other predecessors. Before the anime and manga came out, there was the Saturn game that came out in late 1998. It was the last Saturn game to come to America. It comes with some great stickers and high quality box art. The game itself is like the old school Zelda games like Link to the past except you have control of 3 characters. The graphics are still excellent in terms of background but the game play style has the characters chibi-ized like in Zelda. It offers great challenges and the story itself still faithful to the original material, but offers an alternate story with more characters and development. It’s a high recommendation for Saturn owners. You’ll enjoy the anime for the characters, action, and unpredictable story.
Our narrative opens at Tokyo Tower where three different schools have all come on a field trip at the same time. That seems a bit convenient, but I’ll let it go because I honestly have no idea if that’s actually a thing that happens for Tokyo Tower. It is a famous landmark, maybe it’s a perfectly normal occurrence for multiple unrelated schools to visit at the same time. In a flash of light three girls, Fuu, Umi and Hikaru, appear in a strange world with floating stones. They meet a tiny man who calls himself Clef, the master mage. He tells the girls that to return to their world they have to revive the Rune Gods, become magic knights and save their land called Cephiro. Their princess and the pillar of their world, Emeraude, has been kidnapped by a villain called Zagato. But Clef’s exposition dump is interrupted by the arrival of Alcyone, one of Zagato’s minions. Clef buys time for them to escape, telling them to find Presea, a master blacksmith who will forge weapons for them. So, the girls set out on their quest to stop Zagato and save Cephiro.
Let’s start with the story issues. The biggest one involves a character death. I won’t spoil who dies, but I will say that at this point it’s been established that Fuu has healing magic and while this character is dying she doesn’t do a thing. Later, they tell you that she tried her healing spell off-screen after the events you see, but there’s still the problem of why she didn’t do it sooner. Why wait until this other character stopped talking and moving to try and help them? Was she worried that she’d interrupt their speech by acting while they were still talking? It just makes the magic knights seem pitifully slow to react and incompetent. The worst part is that there are two easy ways to fix it. Method one, Fuu gets knocked out in the battle and doesn’t wake up until it’s already over. Method two, the character in question dies instantly. No time for a death speech or for healing magic. Honestly, the fact that they have the scene and only explain quite a bit later that Fuu did anything at all just makes it look like the writers forgot she had the healing spell or didn’t think of having her use it at the actual critical moment, only realising they’d screwed up later on.
There are some more minor issues too. For example, the magic knights spend way too long fighting the same few minions. Zagato is shown as having five major underlings and more than half the series is spent with two of them. Which results in the other three having really rushed conflicts with the knights and most of them not getting much screen time or room for development. The story is also pretty predictable since it relies heavily on cliches, but it’s also intended for a pretty young audience so they’ll probably find the events somewhat surprising, at least.
So, what does the series do well narratively? Well, it is good at foreshadowing the events that are coming, which will give the intended audience a good head’s up and some sources of tension. The heroes journey element is also done fairly well with a nice, steady progression. The romance elements, though not exactly good, are better than what you’d expect from Clamp’s usual works. For one thing, only one of the girls gets a love interest, although the sequel might change that. For another thing, he is important to the plot and, in a rare move for Clamp, he’s not far too old for her nor is he related to her. Granted, that’s only a positive because Clamp is usually pretty pants at writing romance, but I’ll give them credit for writing one that isn’t gross or overly intrusive. I also do like that all three of our heroines do share the focus pretty evenly with all of them getting the spotlight at times, their own subplots and their own shining moments.
The characters are pretty mixed. Hikaru, Fuu and Umi do get a respectable level of development and are somewhat fleshed out. However, the side characters are pretty weak. The vast majority of them follow a very basic and common character type with nothing to distinguish them from any other character who follows that type. They aren’t terrible or offensively written but they also aren’t good or interesting. Even the love interest is just your typical charming rogue character. They try to make the villains sympathetic, but most of that just involves using the lazy “they’re doing it for love” excuse without putting any actual effort into making them the least bit compelling or three dimensional.
I won’t lie, the series does not look good. Yeah, it was made back when everything was hand drawn so it’s bound to be a bit dated by today’s standards, but even when comparing it to other anime that came out around the same time, or earlier, it looks pretty bad. I will grant that there are some interesting designs, both in terms of characters and environments, but the animation is choppy and there are a lot of really noticeable art errors, usually having to do with drawing faces.
Our main three are voiced by Shiina Hekiru (Hikaru), Yoshida Konami (Umi) and Kasahara Hiroko (Fuu). All of whom give competent performances, albeit not the best of their careers. You could say the same thing of the acting as a whole, it’s competent but not anything special. The music is… there. It’s not bad but it’s not really good either. It’s okay.
There’s a bit. The series does have a lot of moments where Hikaru, Umi and Fuu strengthen their relationship and some of those seem to go beyond the realm of friendship. Still, it’s obviously not deliberate and nothing comes of it. So, I’m calling the ho-yay factor a 3/10.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a pretty standard series. It has some things that are pretty well done and others that are pretty badly done, but most of it is in between the two. All in all, it’s average. If you’re curious about it then it won’t hurt you to check it out but you also won’t be missing anything if you skip it. My final rating is a 5/10. Next week we’ll continue the month with a look at Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto.
25: Hime-chan no Ribbon
MAL Score: 7.46
Erika, the princess of the Magic Kingdom has come to Earth in order to find a human girl who looks just like her. That girl turns out to be Himeko Nonohara, a tomboy’s tomboy. Erika must give Himeko a magical item she has created in order to prove her worth as a successor to the crown. Himeko must test this item, a hair ribbon that allows her to transform into any other person she sees, to see if it is worthy. The series follows Himeko’s adventures and her budding romance with Daichi, the boy who discovers her secret.
Well, it’s the usual magical girl with her loyal companion(s). Every episode is like events that happens in a day. Ah! But don’t get me wrong, each story keeps you interested about what may happen next. They’re all connected somehow. Not many fillers in the middle of the series so it’s all good. For me, I really liked the story of how she can change forms and stuff. I’ve always thought what it was like to do that and now I can imagine it through this anime.
Well, it’s not the best but it’s not as bad. Seeing as how it’s from around 1990 (I wasn’t born yet at that year) or so, the art is quite nice and not bad on the eyes.
Well, I don’t really notice a lot of sound missing and there aren’t any sound overused so I think they did pretty well.
Haha. The character developments are quite fine. Daichi may come off as rude and brash, but after seeing the whole series and how they grow, I don’t think he was that bad at all. Hime’s always a tomboy but we do see some changes in her attitude towards a few things. Some of the characters don’t have many personality change but I think it suits the story and characters just fine.
I really enjoyed all episodes. No matter how angry or sad I get from them, they also bring me joy. I wished it lasted longer.
I cried at the end thinking I won’t be able to see more, but I’m sure if I don’t forget about it then the anime and my memories of it won’t end and it’ll last long!
So, overall, I really enjoyed the anime and the adventures with Himeko, Daichi, Pokota and all the characters!
Ike ike, go go, jump! Hope this was helpful to anyone who reads this and help them decide if they’ll want to see it or not.
I like of HCNR how the novel is in between the Majokko of e.g. Creamy Mami and the more mature romantic shojos: the main character indeed is not a 10yo kid but a Junior High student and the plot has a very strong focus on the sentimental life of her as well as her growing from a tomboy with a sister complex to a more mature girl that accept herself for what she is.
The characters are all interesting for the most, the magical component doesn’t really take over the romantic aspect of the narration but it makes for very nice comical situations, as the magic is not there to change the world but just to try to solve daily issues in Himeko life, and in the end she’s not even able to solve them but rather she creates issues with magic.
My issue is with the anime and not the manga: it’s quite faithful to the manga until the 18th episode (matching chapter 20th of the manga): after that the manga focused a lot on the feelings that Himeko discovers to have for Daichi, while the anime goes on with self-conclusive episodes that are not part of the original story, and even when involving the narration of the manga it takes off some crucial moments (kisses, declarations of love, …) turning into a pure Majokko with the addition of several magic objects that are not present in the manga.
The anime ending is also very mediocre, while the manga one is nice.
Pretty disappointing conversion of a worth manga, hopefully they’ll remake it but being more faithful to the manga (that is not that long, it can be done with 36 episodes or so)
24: Marmalade Boy
English: Marmalade Boy
Japanese: ママレード ボーイ
MAL Score: 7.47
Miki Koishikawa is a high school student who enjoys a very simple life. However, her ordinary life is about to be turned upside down, and she may not be able to handle everything that is coming her way.
After a very “fun” holiday in Hawaii, her parents have decided to get a divorce. As if this wasn’t enough of a shock for the poor girl, she also discovers that they will soon be re-marrying and swapping partners with another couple who they met on holiday. In order to include Miki in this shocking turn of events, they ask her to give the new couple a chance, and set up a dinner date with everyone. Miki may have tried to be emotionally prepared for her new parents, but what she was not expecting was their handsome son Matsuura Yuu.
Miki develops an instant crush for Yuu. What starts off as a lovely friendship between them soon develops into romantic feelings which they are both finding hard to control. But more trouble is ahead in their relationship, as both Miki and Yuu have admirers of their own who are trying very hard to keep them separated.
About 2 years later, I took the plunge and decided to give an actual try…and I think it’s safe to say that I’m glad I did. Marmalade Boy is a classic shoujo series from the 90’s, and it’s influence is probably seen in just about every other shoujo manga ever since. There are love triangles galore, angst, hormones, crying, everything you’d expect from a show like this! But what makes MB stand out is the fact that it plays out like a Soap-Opera– In that it’s twist come at such fierce speed that you can’t help but go”Wait…what?”, and boy is like crack. MB turned out to be one of the most addicting animes that I’ve seen in quite some time, you can never really comprehend how or why the melodramatic ‘drama’ entices you so to keep on going.
Miki Koishikawa is your average highschool girl, aside from being rather at first embarrassed by her parents’ eccentric and illogical behavior by switching spouses from another couple, then all together moving into one big house, bringing daughter Miki and son(from the second couple of course) Yuu with them. Miki and Yuu soon fall in love together though, and their relationship is challenged and manipulated many times by jealous ex’s. There will not be a single moment where you don’t think”Why are some of these kids so damn selfish?”, but then you realize that that’s the point of MB in the first place. It’s about young men and women falling in love for the first time, and acting on their emotions, not logic. What makes MB work is that it’s so addicting in it’s own indulgent little way, but at the same time it shows an innocent and honest side to the human heart.
The animation and art can be an acquired taste– this is an anime from 1994, and it shows by rearing it’s low budget head pretty often, but it’s quite manageable once you get used to it. The ost also fares well, my only complaint regarding it is that they use/reuse/remix the main theme way too many times, making the song too tedious to listen to outside of watching. Regardless, I have to say that the final ending theme(“Yoake no Etude”) really complimented on the events of the final half.
While I may have have enjoyed it quite a bit, like all shoujo– It’s probably not for everyone, especially people who nitpick and complain about as many illogical fallacies they can find in a show. Because frankly, there will be too many to really even count. The best example would have to be the New York City arc that pops up during the 3rd quater of the anime. These kids will infuriate you, baffle you and annoy you at how stupid they can act by being so self-absorbed. But like I said earlier, MB continued to hold a charm that kept me from losing my composure. It may sound like it’s not even worth a shot, but in an odd way, it’s still worth plowing through.
MB really was a wild ride in the end, so much that after the final episode was complete, and the final credits rolled, I couldn’t help myself but feel saddened that I had to say goodbye to this cast of folk that I soon found myself attached to. And I’m confident to tell you guys that I thought the ending tightened up all the loose ends we wanted tightened by the end, so no annoying cliffhangers.
While the final arc can get pretty twisted, and the irrational behavior will baffle some people. I also believe that it’s fantastic as it still provides a lovable cast, and shows us a very sweet and sincere look at growing, learning and falling in love with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. With an open mind, and despite some of it’s issues with the wonky mindsets, MB is a very enjoyable watch for both women and men.
And certainly one that’ll go down in my books as one of my personal favorites.
The story was written by Wataru Yushizumi (Ultra Maniac belongs to her too).
The art is very nice, but the animation is actually not that good (an anime from 1995, what do you expect?) but you can live with that.
The OST of the anime is very good. In some ways it is very childish (the opening theme, for an example), but mature too (some songs).
Most of the melodies in the series are actually kind of karaoke of the songs. The voice actress of Miki, the main female character, sang many songs in the series.
The love story in the anime is very original and displayed to us, the watchers, by a point of view that makes us cry with the characters, laugh with them and even be angry and more. The events are very realistic, the characters and the relationships between them too.
The only bad thing in the series is that in some episodes the events are… not make sense. I won’t say what they are, but I am not the one who thought so…
With the series there is a 25 minutes movie, which is a a point of view of somebody else, that made you understand the things better. [though it is not existed in the manga XD]
Why did I love the anime? Because of the childish atmosphere, the point of view and the plot itself.
Well, I could say 1000 good things about it, but I will shut up. Go watch!
Fantastic Cast of Characters; has good humor; fascinating Relationships
Overused Themes; very predictable; unlikable lead character; a season too long
This one was quite the adventure. It took me a significant amount of time to complete this anime and for the most part I was fairly pleased. Spanning 76 Episodes, Marmalade Boy is your standard high school romance, with a twist. Our two main characters have two parents who switch spouses that force them to live together. This alone was an interesting concept.
There are many other strengths in this anime. For one is the wonderful cast in Marmalade Boy. Almost each and every one of the characters is memorable and have marvelous, fleshed out personalities. The cast is truly what makes Marmalade Boy special. Of course, with great characters, come the intricate relationships. Sprinkle the great character interaction, with an icing of great characters and a dash of humor; you’ve got yourself the recipe for success.
Although, as the series progressed the story seemed to run out of fuel, as Marmalade Boy is clearly a season too long, as the same themes keep bring revived…only with different characters. The “I love you, you have a lover” theme is played out so much, it’s almost ridiculous. This sort of repetitiveness also leads to another flaw, Marmalade Boy’s occasional predictability. If you pay enough attention, you can basically build the conclusion for yourself and find that you were mostly correct, if not completely correct, which I must stress, not a good thing. The last season could’ve easily been written out and still have left a strong anime behind.
Nevertheless, Marmalade Boy is a good entry in the Romantic Humor category. With it’s exceptional cast of characters, it’ll be sure to catch your attention, just don’t be surprised if you figure out the ending before you even watch it.
Wriiten by AlterGenesis-X
August 8th, 2005
MAL Score: 7.48
High school student Yawara Inokuma lives a completely happy and ordinary life. She aspires to an average lifestyle as a delicate young lady with a handsome boyfriend in the near future.
Unfortunately for Yawara, she has an undesirable prodigious talent in Judo, a modern martial art that is neither feminine nor fashionable. Moreover, Yawara is the only granddaughter of the seventh dan Judo master Jigorou Inokuma, who expects her to become a Japanese Judoka superstar of the ’90s.
Yawara cautiously hides her strength from everyone to maintain a normal reputation but is often pushed to situations when she must exercise her Judo skills. Observing Yawara’s immense potential from the shadows, Kousaku Matsuda, a sports reporter from a substandard paper, is willing to do everything he can to bring her into the limelight.
This is the whole plot of this anime. It is said in the description on many websites that it is a sports anime but in my opinion it is a shoujo’ish slice of life anime with the touch of sports in it. The plot moves along the same track over and over in an eternal loop, “She dislikes Judo, she is going to stop, something happens, she does it, and she wins.” Then the circle starts again. The sport Judo is not the focal point, it is the reason. At the end of 124 episodes you are left with the impression that she doesn’t hate the sports that much anymore but that is it. That is all the real satisfaction you get out of the whole plot of a 124 episodes long anime.
The art reminded me a little of Itazura na Kiss. I am not a giant fan of that style but I don’t hate it either. At least they do have “real” bodies and no matchstick limbs with watermelon sized chest area and giant heads with triangular noses. All the characters are distinguishable and no two characters look the same.
All I can say is, it didn’t bother me. There was nothing outstanding for me, no piece of music I started tapping my foot to or started mumbling the words unconsciously.
If I tell you they annoyed the hell out of me to the point where I started assembling assassination plans for imaginary drawn people, it is an understatement.
Inokuma Yawara: Is the main protagonist. She is a whiny, indecisive, weak and a not very smart girl who wants to have a boyfriend and thinks she cant have one unless she doesn’t do Judo. She gets older but does not really evolve in my opinion during the whole 124 episodes.
The Grandfather Yawara: A manipulative old Judo “God” whose only objective is to gather certain medals through his grandchild. Said grandchild could be Male, femaie, plankton or alien. He is not really prejudiced. As long as that holy Judo family genes and -name bearing being practices Judo. To meet his objectives he is not above or below anything that could help this purpose. Admittedly he does provide a comedic relief now and then.
The mother and the father: Each a piece of work. Father up and left. We really do not know exactly why, even though there are two theories, both Judo related. Apparently he is a wimp and a wuss and a sore loser. He left, either because a five year old bested him once or he lost a practice match to one of his friends/rivals. ONCE. After that, he left his wife and daughter and vanished. He is like yeti, they hear stories about him but he is always elusive. And the mother is the yeti hunter. Whenever there is a story of the yeti-father the mother runs to check it, and doesn’t come back until she knows more. This could be a day, a month a year. Who knows. We don’t.
Love interests.: There are two. One is a playboy, the other is a fan-boy. The playboy gets engaged to the rival. And lo and behold, the Miss goodie 2shoes-protogonist doesn’t really see anything wrong still going out with an engaged man and hanging on to him. The fan-boy gets at some point a bo..bie-wonder attachment, a co-worker who decided they are in love. The guy doesn’t really like her. He says he likes Yawara, but doesn’t really tell the annoying co-worker off, they go on dates, but hey, the guy likes the main character. Same goes for the playboy by the way. But at the end of the day they are both very lukewarm in their pursuit of the girl.
Friends are more or less interchangeable. the main rival is annoying and repetitive at best. And there is no real tension in the air, because she is too mediocre and too lukewarm to be a real villian and yet she is too villainous to become a friend. Oddly enough the only characters that evolve in my opinion are the ones from the judo clubs. Both High school and the College one. But the main characters and the first string supporting characters are always the same. Yawara is whiny, Grandpa is manipulative, mother is a doormat, father is, well, I don’t have a polite word to describe him. So think your own words. The rival and the lover-boys also are always the same. Really, I could go on this raging negative review for 50 pages and I would still be annoyed. And this is coming form somebody who actually got over middle-aged looking middle school boys with supernatural tennis shots and glowing, flying bodies for over 178 episodes with giant plot holes.
In episode 1 Yawara is in high school. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has a few friends. She is real good at Judo and she wants to quit Judo. 124 episodes later: Yawara is in college, she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has a few friends. She is real good at Judo and she is kinda sorta maybe ok doing Judo. 124 episodes. And that is all that there is.
Altogether, this is NOT a sports anime. This is a shoujo, slice of life, useless personal angst and drama anime, where sports play a role. I am guessing at the time they were trying to create a hype for the upcoming Olympics in Barcelona but apart from a countdown and an honorable mention at the final arc (About 30 days before the Olympics they START training to join the team. Yes you read it right. I said 30 days and start)
That all said, before I got this anime I checked all around and there are more glowing reviews of this anime than not. I am apparently odd ball out here. Still, if you are searching for a sports anime, watch the first couple of episodes before obtaining the entire series. You know, just to be on the safe side.
Wait! Come back! Before you dismiss “Yawara!” on the basis of its silly title and sports premise, remember this is Naoki Urasawa we’re talking about! While he did write “Yawara!” early on in his career, you don’t need to look hard under the hood to see the interesting details that distinguishes “Yawara!” from a typical lengthy sports anime.
In many ways, “Yawara!” is a subversive take on the sports genre. A typical sports anime would start off by introducing some total n00b that gets attracted to some sport, and it would turn out that The N00b(TM) is immensely talented in the said sport. Early on, The N00b(TM) would meet a rival who is far ahead in terms of skill level, The N00b(TM) would be inspired to work very hard to catch up with The Rival(TM) and they would form a rivalry that runs throughout the show. Etc.
Well, “Yawara!” mostly dumps this formula on its head.
Yawara, the titular character, just wants to be a normal girl. Unfortunately for her, she comes from a family of elite judo athletes. While both her parents are alive (which theoretically puts her in a better position than most anime protagonists), they’re both AWOL so she’s being raised by her grandfather (which effectively puts her in the same position as most anime protagonists). Her grandfather, being a famous judo champ, has trained Yawara hard from a young age in the hope that she’ll also be a champion some day and even win an Olympic gold medal. But Yawara would much rather go shopping and date boys than do judo, and the story essentially revolves around her grandfather and a bunch of other people pushing Yawara towards greatness in spite of her reluctance.
The first thing to note is that this is not a zero-to-hero story: despite not having participated in any tournaments, Yawara’s power level at the start of the show is well beyond even those of a typical rival character in a sports show. Rather amusingly, the show then proceeds to find a n00b rival who has to catch up to Yawara! You can even say that “Yawara!” is a sports show in name only: it takes about five episodes before we even see the protagonist participate in a proper fight. And while the matches are well animated and executed in their action sequences, they’re often over quickly, rarely dragging its feet across multiple episodes as sports anime are wont to do. To top it off, the protagonist doesn’t even like judo, and spends most of the series trying to get away from it.
So what do you call a sports anime that’s not very sporty? In the case of “Yawara!”, I’d probably call it a sitcom. Like all good sitcoms, “Yawara!” provides good entertainment value and comfortable viewing; its comedy brims with warmth and its characters quirk and charm. I find Yawara’s grandfather Jigoro to be especially amusing: a lot of the show’s running jokes involve him, such as his habit of inflating his judo rank and his tireless and shameless promotion of his book. What tickled me the most is how unexpectedly far the anime managed to take his habit of ending all his sentences in “ja”. Amusements aside, many characters of “Yawara!” are also infused with depth, with “Beanpole” in particular going through an incredible amount of development in the course of the show.
Unfortunately, the generally strong and endearing cast of characters only ends up highlighting Yawara herself as rather unlikable. Her constant rejection of judo is taken so far that the show can be teeth-clenchingly frustrating to watch. That said, it does end up providing a lot of food for thought: for the longest time, I couldn’t make up my mind whether the anime’s views about women are progressive or outdated. After all, not only does Yawara harbour no ambitions of becoming a champion, her own lofty dreams consists of going shopping, finding a boyfriend etc, and one of the reasons she rejects judo is because she thinks it makes her less feminine. Also, considering Japan isn’t exactly a shining beacon of progress when it comes to attitudes on women’s role in society, and it’s easy see “Yawara!” in a cynical light. On the other hand, the female characters of “Yawara!” tend to be more successful than their male counter parts, and it’s the men who are playing the supporting parts. For an anime to make this role reversal in the 80s – or arguably even now – it has to be making a pretty powerful feminist statement, right? Is Yawara’s lack of ambition perhaps meant as a critical reflection on a society that nurtures women to do nothing beyond dress prettily and start a family? Whatever the anime’s intentions, this is the aspect of “Yawara!” that fascinated me the most, and I find myself continuing to ponder back on it long after I finished the show.
“Yawara!” also has other aspects that sets it beyond a light-hearted sitcom. Not dragging out judo matches means that the show actually ends up covering a lot of ground in its characters’ lives over the course of its 100+ episode run. Yawara starts the the show in school, then goes to college, then ultimately graduates into the job market. Along the way, the anime takes its characters down surprisingly mature routes such as job hunting and parenthood. Judo may be the topic, but “Yawara” is at least as much about its characters’ hopes and fears, dreams and ambitions, and general lives. However, with so much development going on in so many areas, I was all the more frustrated with the fact that the only notable aspect of “Yawara!” that settles into the status quo is the main romance.
Don’t get me wrong: Yawara’s romance thread isn’t exactly bad, and there are even pockets of tenderness worthy of a great romance anime. The problem though, is that in the big picture, the main romance is locked in a boringly familiar dance of two step forward, one step back, then one step forward, two steps back, never quite going anywhere significant. This displays in stark contrast against other side characters’ love stories, which, like the general trend in “Yawara!”, go further and faster than what you would expect.
It’s a shame, really: the main strength of “Yawara!” is built on its quiet, thoughtful, delightful unconventionality. But the few aspects that remain conventional is what holds “Yawara!” back, and ultimately those are what end up preventing the show transcending from merely being very good to being great.
Personal rating: +1.5 (very good)
The Story talk about “Inokuma, Yawara” a 3rd-year high school girl, She has been practicing Judo since childhood with her grandfather. However, she never played a real judo match ever, so no one knows about her. Until one day a reporter called “Kousaku Matsuda” for the Daily Sports Newspaper discover her talent by accident, and he wants her to play judo and won a gold medal in the Olympics. In the other hand, Yawara does not like to judo, she wants to be a normal girl, having a normal friend’s normal job and most importantly normal love. So the story is about Yawara’s life between judo and having a normal girl life.
The anime aired at 1989, at that time this is the best you can get, however, we are in the present now so it pretty old, the animation is not amazing, however in few episodes you will get used to it, the girls’ characters are not that cute the guys are not so handsome. However, I have to give some credit to the amazing judo fight spatially for Yawara’s fights are so exciting and fun to watch.
The sounds are good, it is an ok sound for both voice acting and the music. The voice acting was done perfectly for the main characters and somewhat fine for the supporting characters. The music is all classics, and it fit the anime moment so much, the opening and the ending were ok, nothing is so amazing but it works.
Characters are the main strong point for this anime, all three main Characters “Inokuma, Yawara”, “Inokuma, Jigorou” and “Matsuda, Kousaku” are well developed throughout the series, Yawara changed a lot in the anime from an average teenage girl to a wonderful woman the you will feel so attached to her. And the way the main love interest in the anime developed was fantastic. When it comes to The supporting characters there are the really good ones that have a great development, and some bad annoying and useless ones.
The main enjoyment of this anime is not the judo but getting to know the characters and seeing their life throughout the series, yes it is a Slice of Life anime that focus on Yawara’s life and how every step she makes lead to a happy or sad outcome. The attachment to Yawara’s life, her school life her friend’s life, her love life is what makes this anime so fun to watch. So if you looking for a good slice of life anime with some romance Yawara is for you.
22: Kidou Senkan Nadesico
English: Martian Successor Nadesico
MAL Score: 7.51
Akito doesn’t want to fight. Despite a childhood spent on the anime Gekiganger 3, a Mecha show, he’d rather cook than pilot a Mecha. Fate intervenes when his home on Mars is destroyed, and he is transported instantly to the Earth, mysteriously. He has questions no one can answer fully, but follows a girl from a chance meeting in hopes to discover any. The girl, Yurika, is captain of the private battleship Nadesico, and in order to follow her, he enlists as their cook. Possessing the nanite implants that allow to control mechas, he’s a handy backup pilot for the mechas of the Nadesico. He joins a crew bent on avenging Mars that seems to be composed of only misfits, otakus, and ditzes; however, in reality, they are handpicked experts. They take their own private war back to Mars to face the harsh reality that life may not always be like a Giant Mecha series.
Nadesico is a love letter to the space/mecha genre, both laughing at it and along with it with the same level of panache as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
It parodies the genre with clichés, and honours it by keeping to them itself. For example, Nadesico lampoons over the top sacrifices via its in-show 70’s/80’s inspired mecha anime ‘Gekigangar 3’ then does the same thing itself anyway, revelling in the genre trope. It has a young adult unwillingly thrust into a mecha on an almost daily basis, yet his mecha is pink for crying out loud.
It’s actually a smart comedy because beyond the love for the mecha genre they’re playing with, the writers are self-aware enough to acknowledge the details that a serious story would tackle, such as the (contractual) consequences of a corporation funding a military ship, funerals for the deceased, the effects of anime on viewers, and the different cultures of Earth, but never stopping the laughs along the way. They even justify the sillier stuff in the show such as having such an airhead for a captain, by again satirising corporate tendencies. (the concept of tailor-made captains because of technology handling the rest of the ship)
The backbone of this show, the factor that keeps it from descending into meaningless skit show histrionics is the attention to detail, on both a narrative level and thematic level. It has the enthusiasm for sci-fi so much that it goes to lengths to explain many of its technologies using nano-machines, cyber-networking and boson particle manipulation and any number of concepts that any avid reader of hard sci-fi will automatically recognise. Bear in mind this was released in the mid-90s before nano technology had hit the mainstream media as it has today, in the way it’s overridden nearly every mainstream sci-fi story as an explanation for fantastical stuff occurring on screen.
On top of that, the show for the most part avoids one of my own little pet peeves, that of ships in space taking hits from lasers and not blowing up instantly, as if they were back on Earth and only got hit by a few stray bullets. This little annoyance is avoided by the usage of actual force fields bouncing lasers off of the hulls. The animators even show waves in the ocean peeling backwards as the Nadesico hovers above.
It’s this trivial, yet much welcomed, attention to detail that helps elevate the anime above mere comedy. It’s not just about making you laugh, but immersing you in its world with consistency and delivering a genuinely engaging story. Rather than be a gimmick, the Gekigangar anime actually becomes more and more relevant to the main story in interesting ways that are better left unsaid in a review.
The story flows between cliché and creativity every five minutes constantly surprising you. Individuals who in no way belong on a ship are brought together anyway, characters who look like they’ll be in main roles are dispatched speedily, enemy ships get progressively stronger, generic alien bad guys are revealed to be not so faceless or generic after all, a brilliant time-jumping Memento-esque episode that riffs on Evangelion’s psychoanalytical finale in a humorous (yet always honourable) fashion also pops up, it’s just a complete mix.
And every single character on the Nadesico gets some level of development, which is no mean feat considering the comedic nature of the show. Even Nadesico’s successor, TTGL, didn’t develop every character to any kind of level (Leeron for example), so when Nadesico goes out of its way to give a little detail to the past of a random pilot who you figure is only there to give bad puns, well you really appreciate it.
The actual plot of Nadesico when you strip everything else away is actually pretty interesting, which is why the anime works, it’s built on a good foundation. What starts as a generic ‘faceless aliens invading Earth’ story ends with the characters and viewer not wanting a victory for either side at all. The Nadesico ship itself belongs to a corporation, hence justifying the motley crew of misfits and the airhead of a captain. Because their superior technology is mostly automatic the captain was chosen for her looks, tailor-made for the crew’s emotional wellbeing. It’s crazy, it’s cynical, but you just know corporations could be that stupid to do such a thing one day, obsessed as they are with end results and not the methodology to get there.
The mega corporation responsible for the Nadesico ship is also a brilliant way to force conflict and danger upon it, from both Earth’s self-defence forces who don’t like the idea of corporations messing with military matters, and of course the invading aliens who don’t like the Nadesico for its pesky meddling. This is much more interesting than having a generic plotline where a military ship goes ‘rogue’ for the billionth time in a sci-fi tale. (ok, that happens later as well) As the threats to Earth get larger, and more time passes, uneasy alliances are formed, love triangles are formed then imploded, revelations are uncovered, suppressed memories are, well, unsuppressed.
The first three episodes are perfection, throwing you headfirst into its pitch-perfect comedic tones with hilarious stuff involving humour on both a physical and meta level. The voice acting is oldschool 90’s assured goodness. Nadesico has some of the best and funniest ‘Engrish’ I’ve ever heard in anime. The soundtrack is also very decent; nothing too memorable except for the OP music, but the soundtrack isn’t too generic either.
So as stated earlier, Nadesico shares much in common with TTGL for its skill in blending irreverent humour with its homage to a very popular genre of anime, but a key difference between the two is that TTGL is not afraid of leaping outside the box and tossing physics to the side to bring almost-abstract comedic imagery, whereas Nadesico is always weighed down by consistent logic whether in physics or narrative.
This is to say, no matter what crazy stuff happens in Nadesico, unlike in TTGL, there’s always a reason behind it. In TTGL Kamina’s sword can stretch to infinity for no reason other than to make you laugh. In Nadesico, for example, there’s a reason why only certain people can boson jump, it’s not used for convenience’s sake. Nadesico is actually a better homage in that it uses meta-humour with the Gekigangar TV show, not for a gimmick but as part of the actual plot. Nadesico is actually a decent analysis and commentary on anime. The latter half of the show ups the drama and emotion, and pretty much blatantly celebrates the very medium itself with bold proclamations that are infectious.
Nadesico is an essential anime for sci-fi/comedy fans. Observe a young guy with suppressed memories get pushed around the solar system by a blue-haired witless captain of a White Base-ish ship blowing up insect-looking baddies while watching mecha anime in his spare time. The ending is far from cliché, however much it will leave some viewers disgruntled for its unresolved story, the fact is that everything of importance in the narrative actually IS resolved; it’s a cliché-avoiding ending that doesn’t resort to what Gekigangar, the mirror of most mecha anime, does.
It doesn’t force an ending on you with cheap happy shortcuts, Nadesico is better than this, going at its own assured pace always treating story and characters with respect. If you’re the type that just has to have every single plot point wrapped up and a more ‘complete’ ending, then there is the subsequent Animage Grand Prix Award-winning movie Nadesico The Movie awaiting you, though the movie is a separate beast entirely, different in tone from the series.
So there is only one Nadesico folks, one specific combination of humour, drama and space hijinks that hits the right spot each time. “Gekiga In!”
STORY – I guess I will start with the story, the fantastic story. The story is mostly a parody of more modern mecha anime, which just so happens to include a parody of your typical 70s/80s mecha anime. Fans of every genre will find something to like within this series. Fans of harems, romance, action, mecha, comedy, parody, and drama will all find something to like here. It’s simply a jack of all trades among anime. Truly one of the more diverse series. After the halfway mark, the story begins to answer questions found earlier in the series. The story takes a life of its own and is no longer just a simple parody, and several twists take place. Though the comedy fades slightly, I’m willing to bet it will be near impossible for anyone to drop the series at this point as it still retains its delightful addictiveness.
ART – Yes the art is from the mid to late 90s which may cause a problem for some people. It did for me as I’m very much now used to the extravagant art of today’s anime. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just dated. I did notice some problems with Haruka Minato though. For some reason it just seemed like she was differently drawn than the other characters. Once you get by the fact that it’s from the the mid to late 90s, you’ll have no problem enjoying the art. Another thing to point out is how well the 70s/80s stereotypical mecha anime characters are included into a more modern mecha series.
SOUND – The opening theme, “You Get to Burning” is insanely catchy and will probably stick in your head for awhile. The ending theme, “Watashi Rashiku” is equally as good, and will probably follow suit, and stick in your head as well. The bgm is typical science fiction fare. It fits the setting, and none of the music is out of place, which is great, considering the diversity of this series.
CHARACTER – One of the best features of this show. You get great diversity within the cast. The tomboyish girl, the moe girl, the ditz, the justice loving guy, the “afraid to fight” guy, etc…etc. The best part is how wacky the crew is, yet they are all extremely qualified for their positions. You’ll see what I mean when you first see Yurika. The relationships between characters are also really well done. You’ll feel sorry for some, while hating several others. In my opinion that equates to a great series. To fully appreciate the cast, if it weren’t obvious enough, the series must be watched in full. Also, I feel it’s near impossible to not fall in love with Ruri, you’ll see what I mean.
ENJOYMENT – The series is highly addictive and very entertaining. When you’re not laughing, you could be feeling one of many emotions guaranteed while watching this show. It has its dramatic moments, but you’ll be mostly laughing throughout the series. It’s a great anime, and I feel it would be very hard to not appreciate at least a little.
OVERALL – I make it my goal to watch a series that usually places among those considered the best in anime, and though I just finished this series, I have to say it is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was highly addictive and hilarious. It had great characters, and a decent plot. Oh and did I mention it was hilarious? One of the best features is the diversity of genres within Martian Successor Nadesico. There is literally something there for fans of nearly any genre to appreciate (except for horror). I would certainly make it in my best interest to view this series as soon as possible.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to mecha anime, Nadesico doesn’t fail in its quest to poke fun at its ancestry and let you know about it. It’s rather fun to watch the show and point out the parody moments in each episode. It even contains a parody within a parody in the form of Gekigangar 3, a spoof of the mecha anime of the late 70s and 80s. Don’t think that parodies are the only things that will make you laugh. There are many points where the crew takes over and keeps the laughs coming with their daily interactions.
Speaking of which, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the crew of the Nadesico. Each crew member is unique and memorable in his or her own way. The entire spectrum is there: the otaku, the diva, the quiet one, the pervert, etc. It’s almost impossible to not find one character that you can relate to in one form or another. The seiyuu do an equally great job at fleshing out their respective characters. Houkou Kuwashima (InuYasha’s Sango, Azumanga Daioh!’s Kagura) does a wonderful job as Yurika, switching from heartfelt to hyper with ease.
As the series cruises along the half-way mark, the focus changes. The rampant parodies are taken back a bit, and a solid plot emerges. There are several psycho-analytic moments that blatantly poke fun at Evangelion, but I just didn’t find myself laughing as often as before. As everything hit the fan and the end began to come in sight, I was waiting for the epic conclusion that I had planned out in my mind. What I saw was nothing close to my hopes. Rather, Nadesico simply ended.
The ending left me with mixed feelings, and it will most likely be seen as a love it or hate it ending among others. On one side, there are numerous plot holes that are left wide open, and several events are left unexplained. To put it simply, under most circumstances, I would see such an ending as a failure. However, I found it to be fitting finale for such a quirky series. There didn’t need to be a perfect ending. I was able to leave the Nadesico with a smile on my face and a satisfied feeling, and that’s what matters.
Whether you’re a fan of mecha anime or not, I still highly recommend this anime as an enjoyable comedy. Sometimes, you just have to take some time to laugh at yourself, and Nadesico does just that.
21: Magic Knight Rayearth II
English: Magic Knight Rayearth II
Japanese: 魔法騎士（マジックナイト）レイアース II
MAL Score: 7.52
Soon after Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu return to Tokyo, the three of them meet at Tokyo Tower to talk. Hikaru says that she wishes they could return to Cephiro and do something good for the land that Princess Emeraude protected so dearly. Umi and Fuu agree. Suddenly, a light appears in the sky and they are transported to Cephiro. Clef explains to them that with no Pillar to keep Cephiro peaceful, it has fallen into chaos. Monsters are multiplying and the land is becoming desolate. All the remaining inhabitants of Cephiro have moved into a magical castle. Clef also tells the girls some alarming news; three other countries, Chizeta, Fahren, and Autozam are trying to invade Cephiro and take over the Pillar system for their own purposes. The girls must stop the invaders as well as the mysterious and evil Lady Debonair, who believes she is the rightful Pillar, all the while desperately hoping and searching for a new Pillar to make Cephiro into the beautiful land it once was.
I thought the magic knights were developed enough already and they were able to use their maturity and experience, but they just simply couldn’t develop any further to some extent. To me, at that point, they just hit their peak. If they didn’t go back and have that ending where they are embracing each other and crying, then this story would have worked out better. It’s just my main beef will always be that the ending had an incredible impression on me filled with emotion and resolution But by going back, and then coming back, you truly do see their development of how much they cared about protecting Cefiro.
Along with the characters, we now have a lot of new elements to the series with design. Like the Autozam people represented industrial and robotic technology. Of course with the Magic Knights have those Mashins looking like mechs, the Autozam people have their own mechs like the FTO and the GTO. Their costume designs are pretty nifty as well. It has a descent balance of being fantasy and sci fi features to it. The FTO that Eagle pilots bares a very strong resemblance to the Dunbine from Aura Battler Dunbine which I thought was pretty cool, but had more of a First Appearance Iron Man twist to it. I also like how the other antagonists from Fahren and Chizeta were more cultural looking. Fahren was based on ancient China and Chizeta was more Arabic but they spoke in Osaka dialect. To combat the Mashin’s, Lady Aska brings a drawing that resembles her servant to a gigantic form and the Chizeta twins can use humongous genies.
Which leads me to the action. It is more reliant on the lets say “mech action” and we don’t see much sword play or magic. I guess that takes away from using excessive recycled footage. I really like the action, but I just really miss the approach and how it tried to distinguish itself from other magical girl anime. Now it tries to be more like a mech anime. Granted I do like the designs of the Mashins and the FTO, but giant genies and weird drawings once again comes into why I didn’t like the humor.
And the miniaturization of the characters isn’t really as prevalent as it was in the previous season.
Ferio now being revealed to have royal blood is now dressed up more formally, and lets say Caladina shedded some clothing.
Other than that, it’s the same old CLAMP school of how they draw eyes and faces. It’s a pity thanks to the circumstances of the story, we don’t get to see much of the scenery that the first season had which brought a great imagination element to it.
Well, I couldn’t get past an episode of watching the English dub in the first season, so I never really bothered watching the dub for the 2nd season. But anyway, the cast still remains the same that were initially introduced in the previous series. The original cast still do their roles very well and convincingly. I still love how passionate and emotional Hikaru always comes across. Juurouta Kosugi who played Zagato is also back and this time he is playing his brother Lantis. I don’t think the role really requires his charisma or his dark voice, but character wise, it was important.
Some additions to the cast are Inoue Yo and Hisakawa Aya as the Chizeta princess twins, Tatra and Tetra. Inoue Yo still has that calm voice you always hear in other roles as Belldandy from Ranma and Kasumi from Ranma. But she brings a more humorous tone with how she likes to joke around. Hisakawa Aya who has played Sailor Mercury as Chizeta is not really as recognizable as Inoue Yo. She is more darker toned and tends to sound more angry and serious.
Some of the background music is still the same from the first season. Like instrumental versions of Yuzurenai Negai are still sometimes used and still plays very orchestrated music. A lot of the new background music is well cultural appropriate to some of the characters. Especially that of Tetra and Tarta who represent more of an Arabian kind of background and that kind of music is played to represent them. So I think it’s really well appropriate to the mood as usual.
I can’t really get into the new opening theme, Hikari to Kage wo Dakishimete Mama. Sure it’s still sung by the same singer of the previous song, Naomi Tamura, but because I don’t like the themes of the story, the song also does a good job of telling it but doesn’t have the kind of pacing or the kind of emotion that was appealing that Yuzurenai Negai had. But on the other hand, the video clips does go pretty synch to the song.
Well, in terms of story, on a conceivable sense, it was a great idea. I thought it took a very original and distinctive approach. I really miss the Japanese style RPG like characteristics it had. And as a result, there are no video games based on this particular story arc in considering the fact I do happen to still enjoy the Sega Saturn and Super Nintendo games. And with the art and animation, since the 2nd season aired a week after the first season ended and didn’t have a year break like how other anime seasons do, they really couldn’t do much to have any significant improvement in the design. But the newer characters were fresh, but not really that exciting or distinctive. The music is still alright and didn’t really change too much.
This is emphasized by the three nations invading the crumbing Cephiro, each who have their own reasons for invading, but eventually, two of the three decide the better, and actually help to save Cephiro during the final battle.
Besides the invading nations, there is the mysterious Nova and her “mother” Debonaire. They are, in fact the only real bad guys in the story. The characters from other nations are all likable. It’s neat how they play off of different civilizations too. Even the music matches, which is very good!
The series develops Hikaru more, from the naive hyper girl into a much more mature girl. She also has her first experience with love. What I dislike about this season, however, is that too much time is focused on Hikaru, leaving Umi and Fuu pretty much forgotten about.
It’s also nice to see the bonds that have formed between the former villains of the series. Lantis is an interesting addition, but is far too emotionless. I find a lot of CLAMP’s male characters, especially the tall skinny black haired ones, to be hard to tell apart, and somewhat emotionally dead. But it’s great to see Ferio back, now fulfilling his position of royal blood. And the romance between he and Fuu is shown a little more.
The story is moving, i would say it is even more moving than the first season. While it is missing some of the beautiful scenery, it is made up for by the story.
Besides focusing too much on Hikaru, I also did not like the mecha theme that was there. The knights spend most of their fighting time in their mashins. But the battles where they do use magic and swordplay are good.
The music is amazing, especially the last opening theme. The first opening theme of the season is meant to link the two stories together, each showing scenes from the first season as well as the current. The song kind of sucks. But the last opening theme, Hikari to kage wo dakishimata, is beautiful.
The end of the series is also very emotionally involved, but on a happier note than the first season.
Overall, this season is very good, and if you liked the first season, you should definitely watch this one. (as long as you avoid the dub, then again, I have never seen a good english dub, I don’t even bother anymore!)
If there’s one thing I like is how the show starts off by addressing the aftereffects of the previous Season’s finale. It was not a happy ending to say the least, and the girls are understandably traumatized by the ordeal. Thus their main motivation is to try and do something to try and fix the mess that they made… even though, as all the other characters point out, it wasn’t their fault.
That’s also something I like. It is shown that the problems that arose in the last season wasn’t something that could be attributed to any one particular person, but rather a problem inherent to a much larger system that was the problem. In turn this Season does address that, and at multiple points the stupidity of such a system is pointed out. Hell, the morality in this show isn’t too far off from what you’d see in a Ghibli movie, with it being rather white and gray overall (Bar one small element of it that I’ll take about in a bit). In turn, the storyline has also become far more serialized. No more filler episodes here, folks, this is one long ass storyline that takes its sweet time to develop.
That said, it’s not as if this show is perfect. While an improvement overall, I dare say it does some things WORSE than the previous Season. For instance, while I do appreciate their attempt to give Hikaru a character arc, the actual subplot is hideously drawn out and unnecessary, with it dominating the whole plot during its last few episodes. Also, the previously mentioned morality? Well for some reason they decided to introduce a VERY CLEAR VILLAIN, which just kinda ruins the idea, especially since apparently this subplot wasn’t in the Manga and was instead a replacement for one I find to be much more interesting (At least from what I’ve heard about it. I admittedly haven’t read Rayearth’s Manga). So yeah, while there is a lot of good here, there’s also some very notable bad stuff.
The cast is pretty good, but yet again our main trio is the weak link. Hikaru is better than before, namely as a result of the previously mentioned subplot, but overall she’s still kinda generic to me. Umi is still my favorite overall and this Season does give her what’s quite possibly her absolute best moment, while Fuu… is Fuu, so I don’t really care about her.
The sidecast yet again comes in to save the day. A bunch of new characters are introduced, and I did like most of them (Bar Primera, she sucks). The new cast is quirky, yet there also is more to them than just their quirk. Wether it be Tatra and Tarta and how wonderfully they contrast each other, Asuka and her endless childishness, or Eagle Vision’s calm, polite demeanor, the new characters certainly don’t fail to be entertaining. Hell, even Lantis, despite looking and sounding identically like him, somehow managed to avoid being a blatant copy of his Brother.
That said, the same cannot be said about the final villains. To wit, Debonair is boring, with absolutely nothing going for her other than being the embodiment of fear or some crap like that. By contrast, Nova is just annoying. Look, I don’t mind Yanderes, but the problem is that Nova’s dialogue is extremely repetitive, with her basically repeating the same sentences over and over again, which is not helped by the fact that there is literally nothing else to her. I was quite happy when she got killed off, to say the least.
It’s a slight upgrade over Season 1. In general, everything looks crisper, the movement is far more fluid, and the Animation is just better in almost every way possible. I also have to commend the artists as they did a great job at differentiating the different factions. Characters from Cephiro all look like if they were right out of a traditional fairy tale, Autozam is very clearly inspired by multiple Cyberpunk stories, Fahren is a very clear China expy, and Chizeta is a very nice homage to classic Arabian folklore. Say whatever you want about CLAMP’s artstyle, they sure know how to make their characters varied in terms of design
No Mecha section as it’s basically the same as the last Season. Moving on!
The soundtrack is as good as always, with all the songs fitting their respective scenes and characters. As for the Opening and Ending themes, I did admittedly quite like “Hikari to Kage wo Dakishimeta Mama” and “Itsuka Kagayaku”, but I didn’t really care for “Kirai wa Narenai” and just plain disliked “Lullaby ~Yasashiku Dakasete~”.
Bar Okiayu Ryotaro, the whole cast from Season 1 returns and does a great job as always. This does include Ogata Megumi and Kosugi Jurota, whose characters were killed off back in Season 1. The way they went about it is quite nice, with Kosugi now playing Zagato’s brother Lantis and using basically the same performance, all the while Ogata gets to play into her more usual typecasting as the effeminate yet clearly male Eagle Vision. On that note, Takayama Minami gets a chance to use her huskier voice in this Season due to Ascott getting a growth spurt, which is nice. Beside them there’s Itou Miki, Otsuka Akio, Inoue Kikuko, Genda Tessho, Hisakawa Aya, Yanada Kiyoyuki, Koorogi Satomi, Kakemaru Junichi and Shiratori Yuri.
While not a perfect show, not even a great one, I do feel that this Season was better than the last one. It had its flaws, sure, but I did overall enjoy myself. If you liked Season 1, I’d say you should watch it. If you didn’t though, I would say no, as while it is better, there isn’t enough different so that someone who didn’t like Season 1 would like it. Still though, as far as I am concerned, it was pretty good.
Final Score: 8/10
20: Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
English: Nadia: Secret of Blue Water
MAL Score: 7.53
In 1889, the world is on the pinnacle of great discoveries in technology. In mankind’s grasp for the future, a sinister foe known only as Gargoyle, obsessed with restoring the former Atlantean empire to the glory it once held, begins his plans to take over the world. Nadia, with the help of a young inventor, Jean Roque Lartigue, and Captain Nemo of the submarine Nautilus, must fight to save the world from Gargoyle and Neo-Atlantis. Based on the Novel ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne.
Of course, no review of Nadia can get around a certain arc in the middle. Episodes 23-34 are directed by a replacement director. The twelve "filler" episodes, in my opinion, aren’t horrible, but they ARE horribly mediocre in comparison to the rest. For those twelve episodes (episodes 30 and 31 excepted), the plot comes to a stand still. Life on a deserted island simply doesn’t compare to the excitement of the main plot. However, that’s not actually the worst part of it. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it hadn’t also distorted the characterization to a nigh-insulting level. More on that later.
So would you be better off skipping the island and Africa arcs? While they have their moments, in my opinion, the answer is yes. The experience would probably be enhanced if you left them out. The director felt only episodes worth keeping from those twelve were 30 and 31 and I’m inclined to agree. Those two are good and should be watched. You won’t lose anything by watching the rest unless you’re remarkably touchy, but you won’t really gain anything either.
Art: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s character designs are as nice as ever, and the animation is generally good. Emotions are portrayed nicely and the complicated technological wonders and battles are quite nuanced and pretty. However, the series IS 20 years old and looking its age.
As for the supposed iffishness in part of the animation during the filler arc, I can’t say I noticed it. It did, however, suddenly become somewhat more cartoonish than previously (like a character running off a cliff and only falling when he noticed it…) It wasn’t very fitting, in my opinion.
Sound: The sound of Nadia is good but not notable. I watched the subbed version and the voices were fine. They suited their characters and the performances were good, as far as I can tell. Nothing much to say on this. In any case, the soundtrack was composed by Shirou Sagisu, so you know its good. The action-comedy parts and the epic struggle for the fate of the world are both handled nicely, but Sagisu’s tracks for the bittersweet scenes really shine. I can safely say the score greatly enhances the emotions of the last episodes, especially the ending.
Character: Nadia’s characters are, in a word, great. The leads and supporting cast are all very well developed, but even the minor bit parts aren’t left as two-dimensional ciphers. The relationships between them are very carefully crafted and actually change believably over time and with new revelations. I personally rooted for Nadia and Jean’s romance.
Especially noteworthy is Gargoyle, who is, in truth, a world-class villain and one of the best I’ve seen in anime. He appears in only about a third of the episodes, but comes off as a true menace who you really learn to hate by the end.
The worst offense of the filler arc is probably the messing with characterization. Nadia herself is by far the worst victim of this. While she has a canonically difficult personality, the the filler arc upgrades this to "annoying bitch". Every flash of likability is negated by another act of irritating stupidity. Especially retarded is her falling in love with some random African kid – a huge slap in the face of the love story that forms the core of the whole series. Thankfully, this and most everything else that happens in the island and Africa arcs is pretty much ignored later on.
Enjoyment: While one can certainly like Nadia solely for its artistic competence, it’s also damn good fun. It’s been a while since I watched a series as engrossing as Nadia. It’s humorous moments are amusing and its sad moments are ridiculously touching. I’ve rarely come as close to crying while watching an anime as during the ending of Nadia. The characters are likable and easy to get into. The series doesn’t take itself seriously all the time, but when it does, so do you.
Overall: Nadia, the Secret of Blue Water isn’t nearly as well-regarded as it should be. I saw a bit of it as a child on television, and expected to at least nostalgically like it when I rewatched it. Instead, the series forced its way into my Top 10 list. It’s an undervalued classic that most people have not heard of and possibly never will because of its age. Do yourself a favor and watch it. And you wouldn’t be doing yourself a disservice if you only watched episodes 1-22, 30, 31, 35-39.
The story begins at a Paris World Exposition Fair where Jean, a nerdy but charming and instantly lovable inventor boy of fourteen, becomes smitten with a pretty, dark-skinned girl his own age. The girl, known as Nadia, is an unhappy circus acrobat with no clue about her past other than a jeweled necklace she wears. After rescuing her from a trio of comic bandits (the Grandis Gang) Jean earns Nadia’s trust. The two set off on an even bigger adventure to find Nadia’s birthplace, which supposedly lies in Africa. Along the way, they have run-ins with a supercharged submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo and his pretty but overprotective first officer Electra as well as a shadowy cult of Nazi-like masked soldiers known as Neo-Atlanteans led by the misanthropic, sinister Gargoyle, who wants Nadia’s pendant at any cost. In the course of their around-the-world adventure, Jean and Nadia adopt an orphaned little girl, Marie, who senses that her new guardians will become more than just close friends. Although Nadia’s explosive temper poses problems, Jean’s patience and loyalty keeps their relationship afloat, and her growing love for the boy gradually transforms her as a person.
Nadia has all the makings of a classic series: a well-rounded cast of characters, unforgettable sequences, and a long, involving action adventure. There is a distinctive “Miyazaki-esque” style to the visual designs of the leads, yet only Jean seems to emerge as a Miyazaki creation. Which is arguably what makes him the most lovable character in the whole show. It’s easy to see why Nadia finds herself falling for him–who wouldn’t want to be with a boy as intelligent, genuinely compassionate, and impossibly generous as Jean? While he does display clumsiness in terms of social graces around the opposite sex, it only makes him all the more appealing as a character. Nadia herself, by contrast, is not always lovable. In addition to having serious anger management issues, she also has unbending and irrational principles about killing, eating meat, or trusting grown-ups. She does, however, display courage and, as mentioned, finds herself growing to care for Jean. Actually, Anno has said that he created Jean and Nadia based on his “light” and “dark” sides. Shiro Sagisu’s music is sometimes bland, although some of the later tracks, notably the Neo-Atlantis themes, are memorable. The opening and ending theme songs as sung by Miho Morikawa are also enjoyable.
For all its assets, however, Nadia suffers from one fatal flaw that prevents it from being the classic it aims to be–it doesn’t always stay afloat throughout its 39-episode count. The first twenty-two episodes are old-fashioned adventure at its best, with humor, young love, traumatic situations which involve death, and compelling, engrossing mysteries as we learn about Nadia, the Nautilus, and the Atlanteans. The production values in these episodes show their age at times, but frankly, they still exude detail and clarity for an early ’90s series. In episodes 23-34, however, it devolves into a painfully dull, unengaging, haphazard, incoherent Saturday morning cartoon, with warped characterizations, and even worse scenarios totally devoid of imagination or credibility. Simultaneously, the animation takes a hit in these dozen episodes, with some episodes looking downright sloppy or dreadfully cartoonish. (In all fairness, these dreadful half-hours weren’t supposed to have existed; distributor NHK requested that they be made after the show became a smash hit in Japan.) In the final five episodes Nadia does recover in terms of artistry and storytelling, delivering a satisfying finale, but it’s hard to compensate for the damage that has been done. Simply put, the show would have been far better if it were eleven episodes shorter.
For their part, however, ADV Films deserves a shout-out for their work on bringing this series to American audiences. The visual and aural transfers are competently done, but it’s their translation that really shines. The English dub, provided by Austin-based Monster Island studios, is notable for casting three actual children in the roles of Jean, Nadia, and Marie–Nathan Parsons (12), Meg Bauman (14), and Margaret Cassidy (11), respectively. For inexperienced youngsters, all three do exceptional jobs, and are amply supported by a similarly entertaining cast of adults, particularly Sarah Richardson, Corey Gagne, Martin Blacker (as the Grandis Gang) as well as Jennifer Stuart (Electra). Ev Lunning Jr. (Nemo) and David Jones (Gargoyle)’s performances do take a bit longer to find their groove, but when they do, they really shine. This dub has taken a lot of undeserved flak from critics who have made the mistake of writing it off on account of the sometimes uneven accents (Jean’s admittingly shaky French dialect in particular takes some getting used to; although Parsons does improve on it as the show goes on). Despite that and the occasional trepidatious moment in the opening episodes, the end result is still a spirited, energetic, emotionally charged dub that really brings its characters to life. It is most certainly a very commendable effort that deserved better recognition than what it was accorded for back in 2001 and even today.
The ADV dub is not the only English track of Nadia to exist. In the 1990’s Streamline Pictures attempted a release of the show. Interestingly, the head of Streamline, Carl Macek, did express interest in paring down the much maligned filler arc. As his version only got about as far as eight episodes, we probably never may know how it would have turned out. Having said that, though, I don’t think the Streamline dub compares favorably to the ADV version. Wendee Lee and Ardwright Chamberlain are both very credible actors, but both are miscast as Nadia and Jean and unfortunately underwhelm. Jeff Winkless is a bit less stiff than Ev as Nemo, but even then his turn isn’t anything amazing. I did like Edie Mirman as Electra (she ties with Stuart) and the Grandis gang doesn’t sound too bad, but on the whole I prefer the ADV dub. It strikes me as the better of the two by far.
Out of curiosity, I did sample a few episodes of the Japanese version. Although some voices are solid (Nemo, Gargoyle, and Sanson), I felt rather indifferent about the others. Marie’s voice is the weakest of the bunch; no offense to the late Yuko Mizutani, but I feel Margaret Cassidy does a far better job of bringing out this little girl’s innocence as opposed to Yuko’s high-pitched shrieking. Likewise, despite Yoshino Takamori and Noriko Hidaka’s solid turns as Jean and Nadia I found myself preferring Bauman and Parsons, if mainly because both characters are supposed to be children. It just feels more natural to hear them voiced by actors of the appropriate age. Despite insistence from some long-in-the-tooth fans that this show should only be appreciated in its native language track, I don’t consider either version better or worse, only different. Whichever one you prefer is a matter of personal preference.
Is Nadia a complete waste of time? Not at all; as mentioned, the characters are fully-realized, and for twenty-two episodes and the final five, the show does indeed deliver an entertaining, consistently engaging adventure story with just the right amount of heart, humor, and drama. It’s just too bad that it goes downhill in the second half (despite delivering a phenomenal conclusion). Otherwise, this series would truly be worthy of the praise it receives as one of the greats. The best way to appreciate Nadia is to view episodes 1-22, then 31 (the only “filler” episode to have any genuine plot development), and finally 35-39. It will provide for a much more pleasing experience.
Well, I say that, but this series wasn’t actually made by Miyazaki… It was his idea, but after some initial financial controversy, the project was picked up by Studio Gainax, a rising animation studio who recently changed their name from Daikon in order to pursue more high profile titles. After already having a successful movie and OVA series under their belt, Gainax decided to take Nadia as their first televised series, and it was highly successful… to a fault, even, but we’ll get to that later.
Right from the first few minutes of episode 1, Nadia shows you exactly what it’s animation style is going to be. We’re shown a few frozen panning shots of people enjoying themselves at a science fair, immediately followed up by the impressive CG effect of an electricity machine. This is indicative of a well allocated budget, where the bulk of the production money will be spent giving motion to scenes that need it the most, while leaving other shots… Not all of which will be as unimportant as these opening ones… High and dry. Thankfully, the budget is managed well enough that those opening shots are the exception rather than the rule, and for the most part, this show does look very good.
While it may look cheap and dated, in terms of it’s visual style, keep in mind that Nadia came out back in 1991, when an anime couldn’t look expensive without actually being expensive, due to the limits of the technology of the time… High frame rate, Miyazaki quality productions were a rare treat, and the lesser spectacles were given a lot more leeway than they are today. Having said that, as cheap as Nadia can occasionally look, there are a ton of moments in the series that look like they could have come straight out of Ghibli itself… The visual of Nadia daringly leaping down from the Eiffel Tower to protect her sacred jewel is only a small taste of this, and it will in no way be the last.
While most of the character designs may seem generic at first, they grow on you more and more as the characters in question develop throughout the story, and their backstories begin to become unraveled. There are only two designs that really stand out right from the start… One of them is Gargoyle and his sinister cult of Neo Atlanteans, the true villains of the series whose actions are unfortunately wrapped in spoilers too heavy to discuss. The second one is Nadia’s, as she’s wearing what has to be one of the most iconic outfits in Studio Gainax’s long history. It works very will with the backstory of her being an acrobat and a utility performer at a circus, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, the reason this design has endured for over twenty years in peoples’ memories is because of how revealing it is. I’m not going to say this is necessarily a bad thing, as I know that women should wear whatever they want to without feeling ashamed, but it does feel kind of strange when you consider that Nadia was wearing a normal looking european dress when we were first introduced to her, implying that that’s how she likes to dress when she’s off the clock… But for the rest of the series, she seems to prefer skin baring clothing so much that she’ll tear entire pieces off of any other outfit that’s handed to her. Again, this wouldn’t bother me if it felt like her decision, and not just that of a horny animator.
But that’s not the only thing about her that’s made her such a fixture of Gainax’s history… She’s also, in general, a very likeable and dynamic character. She’s cautious around new people… Who wouldn’t be, after working in the circus for so long… But she’s willing to give them the benefit of the doubt after she becomes more comfortable with them. Her convictions and principals are also a very strong part of her character. She’s a pacifist, who’s adamantly against the idea of people killing each other for any reason, and while this belief isn’t portrayed as strongly as it was in Trigun and Fullmetal Alchemist, she also takes it a step further by being a strict vegetarian… Yes, she believes that animals and people should both be spared from the wrath of greedy humans, and she’s not afraid to act on those beliefs, even when it may cost her the good graces of her peers. She can be difficult because of this, but she never seems to cross into the territory of becoming unreasonable, at least not until… We’ll get to that later.
Oh, and her baby albino lion has giant balls. Because… Yeah, courage, and stuff. He’s awesome.
Jean isn’t really as complex as his nimble crush, but that’s not to say he’s some bland self-insert character, either… The darker tones of the series take their toll on his happy-go-lucky outlook, maturing him just like the rest of the cast. He also has a very distinct personality, even if other personalities sometimes overshadow his in the story. He’s very open about his feelings for Nadia, that visibly develop from infatuation to actual interpersonal romantic interest throughout the course of the series. He’s very passionate about technology, and not just about his own inventions, but about the technology of the anachronistic Nautilus submarine, as well. He’s fascinated by Nadia and the Nautilus, and will take any given opportunity to learn as much as possible about both, as they respectively become the inspiration and the basis for his future inventions, since only a flying machine can take Nadia to the faraway land she yearns for. But just because he’s an inventor doesn’t mean he can just whip up deus ex machina devices whenever he needs them… Unlike that Mary-Sue technology-bender from Big Hero Six, Jean’s inventions are consistent with his familiarity of technology and the materials available at the time, at least until… Once again, we’ll get to that later.
Surprisingly, those two aren’t always the most likeable characters in the cast(YES I KNOW I’M GETTING TO THAT). I mentioned before that the three villains who attacked Nadia for her jewel go through a heavy amount of development and reveals, and I wasn’t kidding about that… They have a backstory that will redeem their actions almost immediately after you hear it. The motivation that led them to the Nautilus changes soon after they take up residence in it, which is a refreshing development compared to the Team Rocket baddies that they almost certainly inspired. They become more and more relatable as time goes on, and there are points when their roles in the story become even more interesting than that of our two main heroes… In fact, after one of them pulls off the daring rescue of a young orphan girl named Marie from a Giant Enemy Crab, I could see him instantly becoming a fan favorite.
And the English dub, well… It’s not the worst I’ve ever heard, by far, but it’s also not really up to par with the time period in which it was released. It was initially dubbed by Streamline Pictures, and if you’re familiar with their work on films like Vampire Hunter D and Wicked city, then you’d probably guess that Nadia is one of their better dubs… But you’d be wrong, and being worse than those two titles is saying a lot. The dub was picked up by ADV films after Streamline put out the first eight episodes, and ADV completely redubbed them, producing much better results… Mediocre results, yes, but they’re still much better than the awful Streamline dub. While the ADV version isn’t bad by any means, the only actor that really merits any praise is Meg Bauman in the role of Nadia, who puts forth a much more sincere performance than voice acting heavyweight Wendee Lee. Actually, that seems to be a common theme of this dub… A cast full of unknowns who would mostly go on to have very brief careers in the industry did a much better job than a dub full of respected talents and recognized mainstays.
It is worth mentioning, though, that Nathan Parsons has gone on to have a moderately successful live action career. Most recently, he played the role of James in True Blood, which I guess is an interesting bit of trivia.
Aside from her, this is a dub that has to grow on you in order to be enjoyed… There are several characters sporting foreign accents that are fake-sounding, inconsistent and half-committal, with the worst offender being Nathan Parsons in the lead role of Jean. His attempt at a french accent replaces all of the ‘th’ sounds with ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds, but aside from that, he barely inflects when he should. Sanson’s upper-crust accent sounds irritatingly like James from Pokemon(Which makes sense because Grandis sounds like Jessie and Hanson sounds like Meowth, and I don’t think any of this was accidental), and in the role of Elektra, Jennifer Stuart focuses so hard on perfecting her British accent that she barely emotes in the process. As I said before, it’s not a bad dub, and all the performances do grow on you after a while, but unless you’re a hard core dub fan like I am, there’s really no reason to switch the Japanese version off.
So, when I started watching this series, I didn’t know whether or not I’d be able to review it, and I had Mahoromatic on standby just in case. The problem was, of course, that there wasn’t really anything to talk about. It just felt like a really, really well made action adventure/title. It wasn’t terribly deep, but it was well written, wonderfully paced, and it was able to handle a large, diverse cast while showing respect to all of their differences in background. There were clashes between the beliefs and ideals of our main characters, especially where Nadia was involved, and there was an admirable level of ambiguity in regards to who was right and who was wrong. All in all, I didn’t really have anything interesting to say about it, and I was fully ready to review something else… Until IT happened. It, which I’ve been putting off until this point in the review. It, which if you’ve seen the series, you know exactly what It is.
See, as the series was airing, it was earning very high ratings… And deservedly so, all things considered. Because of this, the network got greedy and hired an entirely new director to extend Nadia’s 26 episode run into a 39 episode run, adding in 12 episodes of filler material just to pad their precious success’s run time. If you ask any Nadia fans to talk about the series, this story arc will inevitably be one of the first things they bring up, as it’s believed to be the single worst thing about the series. And having seen it for myself, I can say that this assessment is… Completely accurate.
After some spoiler events occur, Nadia, Jean, Marie and Nadia’s lion cub King wind up stranded on a mysterious island, with no clue where they are, and no hope of summoning any of the ships that they keep seeing out in the distance. And I’ll say right off the bat that this idea, in and of itself, wasn’t a bad one. There are a ton of ways this development could have been a great opportunity to further the depth of the series… But it wasn’t that at all. It’s boring, it drags the pace of the series down to a dead crawl, and it does everything in it’s power to rape, dismember and display the remains of everything that was good about the show up until that point. The animation quality also tanks, looking uglier and cheaper than it ever did before. No joke… This show has worse filler material than Naruto and Bleach combined.
To be fair, I’m not actually bothered by the fact that this filler arc screws up the original material. Representing somebody elses work can be an extremely tough thing to do, and I don’t think anybody should ever be vilified for failing to do so. What bothers me is the outright contempt that the new director, Shinji Higuchi, had for the original material. You see warning signs right from his first episode, which I believe was 23, when the four children of the series are riding a jettisoned mini-sub to reach the mysterious island. The sub starts to flood, and Jean drinks all the leaking water, blowing up balloon-like as though he were a freaking Looney Toon, despite the entire series up until that point featuring no such cartoon physics whatsoever. He then spews the water back up, which in retrospect is pretty good metaphor for the way Higuchi barfed up the rest of Blue Water.
Higuchi proclaims early on, loudly and proudly, that he has no respect for the themes and characters that have been unfortunately entrusted to him. It also becomes clear all too quickly through his treatment of Nadia that he doesn’t possess a very high level of respect or understanding for women or vegetarians, either. Immediately after setting foot on land, Nadia turns her back on the very idea that her companions may have to eat meat to survive for an extended period of time, as the canned food they brought over with the mini-sub won’t last them very long. Instead of working this out with him rationally, she dashes off into the jungle like a monkey and goes feral, which ultimately culminates with her stealing his food cans and crushing them under rocks, despite the fact that the island is clearly shown to be covered with fruit bearing trees. I’m not a vegetarian myself… Far from it, as the partial pizza I just deposited in my fridge will tell you… But when I hear Nadia saying things like “I’ll go a week without food and water to prove that I’m a better survivor than you!” it even offends ME.
That’s not to say Jean is a whole lot better, though… With Nadia reaching levels of likeability that make Asuka Langly Soryu look like Belldandy, Jean is left to fill out the role of ‘smug white male,’ a role that would be more subtly played by Seth McFarlane. It’s Jean’s job in this story arc to be right about everything, sigh and shake his head whenever that angry woman-thing yells at him for no reason, and whip up inventions from the giant piles of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that the island has to offer him in terms of material.
And the relationship building that happens between the two is the absolute worst of it. I don’t consider this much of a spoiler, because it has nothing to do with the plot or ending, so I’m going to describe the moments that begin their relationship in detail… This is going to be a rough patch, so brace yourself.
Nadia finds an old, moldy can of spinach. She eats it… Because it looks so much more appealing than any of the plants on the island… And it gives her a fever. Not a stomach-ache, but a fever. She winds up sick in bed with Jean going out to fetch herbal medicine for her… for the second time in the series, I might add. But he winds up finding a patch of drug mushrooms, which knock him out, so Marie has to drag him back to the tent. Later, Nadia wakes up, completely fine, despite receiving no medical care of any kind, and is told by Marie that Jean tried to help her. She kisses his unconscious lips, and all of a sudden, her attitude completely changes towards him… All because he tried to nurse her back to health. Like a fucking pet.
Oh, and later, after they finally share a consensual kiss under the stars, she blows up at him for not remembering the kiss she gave him WHILE HE WAS UNCONSCIOUS.
In other words, this director has boiled women down to petulant pet dogs… They bark at you for everything, can’t understand or care about your feelings, and they’ll love you forever if you help them while they’re sick or otherwise vulnerable. Puke. Well, at least the relationship development doesn’t wind up mattering, because after they escape the island on a popped balloon that never runs out of air and wind up in Africa, she falls head over heels in love with some sexy African guy, which gives her a new reason to hate Jean. Like a dog finding a new crotch to smell. Oh, and then there’s an episode of music videos.
I wish I could just look past this story arc and consider it non-canon, like so many other people do, but I just can’t. The show does eventually get better, with the animation and writing returning to their former glory around episode 35, but that 12 episode stretch is just unbelievably awful. I’ve heard people say you should skip most of those episodes, taking the entire viewing experience down to episodes 1-22, 30-31, and 35-39, and while that would successfully cut out all the awful, it doesn’t really improve the experience, it just makes it confusing. If you follow this list while watching the series for the first time, you’ll wonder about the things happening in those episodes, like ‘when did this character come back,’ ‘how did these characters come to this point,’ and ‘was that material really as bad as I was told?” Sorry, but those episodes aren’t self contained, and the only way to know how much of an improvement the abridging of the series would be, you’d have to have watched it all the way through at least once… And by that time, the damage is already done, to both the viewer and the series.
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water has been available on VHS in the past, but is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray from Sentai filmworks. Both sets are available online for quite a bit of money, but at the time of this writing, you can find them as part of the Rightstuf.com holiday sale for 30-40 dollars a piece. The collection 1 and 2 DVD sets that were put out a few years ago are available for fairly cheap on Ebay, and you could say the same about the individually released DVDs that ADV put out in the early 2000s. There’s also a series of video games that have never been released stateside, and a movie that I haven’t actually watched yet… Although I’ve heard some not-too-flattering things about it. At least I know that it’s a sequel, and not just one of those BS cash grab retellings.
I really wanted to give Nadia a high score. I really, truly did. If it wasn’t for that filler arc, I’d be calling it one of my favorites of all time with no problem at all. Without them, Nadia is an exciting adventure title that never slows down or panders to the viewer, offering romance, wonder, and new surprises at every turn. There’s some sexism at play, but it’s largely innocent, and hits both genders about equally, never turning into straight up misogyny until the dreaded filler arc. If my initial introduction to this series had been to the episode list that many fans… And even the original director himself… considers superior, I may have given this show a 7, but that sadly wasn’t the case. I can watch it without those episodes, but I can’t review it without those episodes, which is why I’m going to give Nadia: Secret of Blue Water a 5/10.
19: Gokinjo Monogatari
English: Neighborhood Stories
MAL Score: 7.54
The protagonist, Kouda Mikako, is a student of “Yaza Gaku”. Specialising in fashion design, Mikako dreams of becoming a fashion designer with her own brand. Living next to her is her childhood friend, Yamaguchi Tsutomu. Even though they have been close since they were young, they share a platonic friendship. However, Tsutomu has been gaining popularity, especially with the girls, because he seems to resemble a popular vocalist from a band and somehow, Mikako begins to see him in a different light. This is a story about how youths cope with dreams, love and friendship.
Well, as much as I am loathed to put labels on what are clearly three-dimensional characters, here we have a show where Ai Yazawa pretty much presented us with what could be a psychological profile of a tsundere before such a term even came to existence. She’s brassy, full of herself and can sometimes be unfairly cruel, but that is just a front she she feels she has to put up in order to shield her vulnerable side.
Yes, it would be convenient to say Mikako is the way she is because of the childhood trauma of a divorce (and what her Mom did afterwards). But alas, the reason behind her disagreeable personality is artistically anticlimatic. That is simply the way she is, as is evident from the flashbacks from her childhood and later when she becomes “honest with herself.” This is the place where I feel the anime succeeds because we become too used to seeing the lead female character who is cutesy, klutsy, timid, moe or whatever stereotype that is supposed to appeal to the regular anime audience. She is truly one of the more variated full-rounded characters you’d find in any narrative.
The main drawback from this show, like a lot of the shoujo anime that aired around that time (Marmalade Boy, Kodocha) is the number of episodes. I really believe they could have more effectively told the story that they presented if they instead aired around half the episodes. Of course I am talking about filler episodes that sometimes introduced inconsistencies (***spoiler****e.g. why would Mikako be unable to sell her wrong-sized clothes at the second flea market if she was able to sell out all those exact same clothes at the first flea market?***spoiler***), but that is a minor quibble compared to the parade of episodes that occupied the middle featuring a love triangle between three supporting characters. They could have easily settled that matter in a handful of episodes, but they stretched it out over at least ten episodes, padding those with situations based on uselessly masochistic self-abnegations so contrived that my suspension of disbelief almost never recovered.
But thankfully, it didn’t overtake the main story of the show, which was the real draw in the first place. It’s clear the creator had a lot of fun with her inaugural anime adaptation and it shows through her somewhat unconventional artwork and character designs. The whole thing sort of reminds me of “Doug”. The animation certainly shows its age, although it’s pretty solid for what was shown at the time. For those who are expecting the quality put into Yazawa’s other two animes by Madhouse Studio, be warned that you’ve been spoiled.
The music, mostly provided by Mikako’s seiyuu Rumi Shishido might be an acquired taste for some (for those who don’t like unsteady singing voices), but it grows on you, at least it did for me. The story, as long as it focuses on the two main characters, is pretty solid-grade work as it navigates you through the ups and downs of a teenage girl trying to cope with her contrary personality. As for enjoyment – well I wouldn’t have spent at least 62 total hours going over the series if I didn’t enjoy it. So in the end it would have received a higher grade for the story and characterization if it weren’t for the mostly repetitive fillers.
What initially drew me to watch this show was the very unique art style. Everything is done completely with flat colors which made me think of ’70s cartoons. It’s definitely a peculiar look, but fits the show to a tea. There’s a perfect balance between being tastefully retro and progressively modern. Thankfully nothing is really lost with having such beautiful artwork either. It’s similar to Sailor Moon in the sense that the art style at its core is so strong and appealing that the limited animation isn’t as much noticeable, though, that’s not to say that it doesn’t also look great in motion, because it does.
But art only nets you so many points in your favor. I could also mention the music which is absolutely phenomenal and so good that it can almost be a little distracting at times. Take that as you will, I see it as a positive. But the characters is where Ai Yazawa shines and Gokinjo Monogatari certainly doesn’t skimp out on that. Despite being one of her earlier manga, it works because it all feels very personal.
Every character in Gokinjo Monogatari is lovable and easy to empathize with. Even if there were a character you didn’t particularly like or connect with at first, I guarantee you’ll grow to love them during one of their episodes. Yes, while there definitely is an on-going narrative, for the most part it’s pretty casual. There definitely is plenty of drama and romance, but it weaves in and out of relevance rather than being the main focus. And in between that you have a string of really wholesome episodes that’ll tug at your heartstrings. These were some of my favorite episodes and really showcases the show’s wide emotional palette.
With that being said, comedy is one thing Gokinjo Monogatari does not prioritize. Most of it comes from cheeky banter between the characters. It’s more charming than anything, but you won’t exactly be laughing out loud. Honestly I kind of like that though. Makes everything feel a lot more genuine. Every scenario feels like it could’ve been directly inspired from the creators’ lives. It creates this very intimate bond between the show and the viewer. Gokinjo Monogatari is something you watch to invest yourself into these characters’ lives. To see this group of friends figuring themselves out through the hard times, but ultimately sticking together out of mutual love for each other. While some moments hit very close to home and and made me feel the same guilt and anxiety as the characters, at the end of the day it encourages self-improvement and shows you that there are people out there for you. Is it anything life-changing? Maybe, maybe not. It’s honestly more reaffirming than anything. Makes me feel more confident in myself. And I think that’s something everybody could appreciate. Regardless of what you get out of this show, it absolutely will stick with you one way or another.
Now I wasn’t too thrilled with seeing the opening of this anime because it looks so old, the characters are drawn in a funny way, none of the female characters have boobs and the music was kind of blah. But, somehow, you get hooked on the show and start to enjoy it without realizing.
Story is great. I love that everyone is in a Art school. Each character has goals and aspirations that are different from typical anime out here so I enjoyed that. Also because I can relate to most of the characters as well. Mikako wants to have her own brand and sell her handmade clothes. Her friends study, work hard and make everything that they by hand to sell at the flee market. It just goes to show that hard work really pays off! There’s a lot of love triangles that takes place in this anime. It might become too much at times but just follow along. Great story. You see the characters unfold when the time is right and you get to learn a lot from this anime too.
Of course the art isn’t all that great but it doesn’t matter because the story and plot is what keeps you watching. Also, I realized that even though the females are drawn a certain way and don’t seem to have womanly features such as breasts, hips and thighs, they are still beautiful in their own way. Especially with the several fashion ideas and clothes they wear. I kind of liked that because you don’t have to draw a busty woman just to make her look sexy. It’s all about the personality of the person, or in this case, the characters.
Many of you aren’t going to like the music. it took me awhile to get used to it but I grew to like it.
I love the characters mainly because it’s a creation of Yazawa Ai. But also since I am a big NANA lover, i like to think that Mikako is Hachi and Risa is Nana, Risa’s boyfriend is Ren and Yuusuke is Takumi.. But that’s just me and my fantasies lol I grew to love all the characters even though some of them annoyed me. Mikako annoyed me through half of the show because she is actually a tsundere character to the fullest. But I learned to appreciate and love her and her personality because most girls go through the same feelings and thoughts. Everyone has thought of something that isn’t true or loved a person so much but couldn’t tell him so you be mean to them for no reason. Or when you see your lover talking to someone else you get jealous. Mikako goes through so many emotions that you learn to love because she is like most people, even yourself. There’s a lot of ups and downs in this anime and in the end, it will be all worth it.
I enjoyed this very much. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I like how creative everything is and the journey of a young girl trying to sell her fashion brand clothes, with the conflicts of relationships and family. Yet she still tries her best to become successful. Her and everyone else in her group. It’s a bitter sweet kind of anime. The one thing I hate about this anime is the filler episodes and the constant flashbacks. Sometimes it would be so long and so repetitive that it can take up half of an episode! So, its ok when you know when to skip a few minutes but all in all its a pretty good watch.
I was going to rate it a 7 at first but after finishing the show and looking back on it, the story was really great. Especially for an anime back in the 90s with a story like this. I really enjoyed it and to everyone that has seen Paradise Kiss, please watch this anime and watch Paradise Kiss again. You will enjoy it 10xs more because now you fully understand each character and the message being sent about women, aspirations and goals, and conflict with love and family. Thank You.
18: Kaitou Saint Tail
English: Mysterious Thief Saint Tail
Japanese: 怪盗セイント テール
MAL Score: 7.54
Meimi Haneoka, 14, is a normal girl during the daytime, but during the night, she assumes the “position” of Saint Tail, a modern-day Robin Hood who steals from thieves and gives items back to their original owners. She is aided by her friend, Seira Mimori, a nun-in-training, and she is chased by her classmate (and soon-to-be love interest), Daiki Asuka (often called “Asuka Jr.”).
Meimi, of course, is Saint Tail and the young detective trying to catch her is her classmate Asuka Jr. You\’ll have to suspend your disbelief with this one as one impossibility after another keep Saint Tail out of the cops\’ grasp. And another thing – it\’s not as if she actually hurt anybody. Who will persecute someone who steals somebody\’s running shoes and return them to the original owner, anyway?
But as I said, you won\’t really dwell that much on the robberies. Like me, you\’ll probably get hooked on Meimi and Asuka Jr. and waiting for the moment that Asuka Jr. finally catches Saint Tail. Lighthearted and cute, this anime is definitely one of my favorite classics.
like 2 episodes for themselves so I give character a 9. 10 for enjoyment I loved this show so much I reached it immediately, yes a 44 episode show. You may be wondering why I left Story for last, well mostly because it’s the shortest but a complex woven tale. This show really centers around the love story between Meimi and Asuka Jr. this is not a only because it is well established in the first episode there seems to be nothing that stands in the way of these feelings. Knowing this before the watching bears no harmful results on ones enjoyment because this show is a love story woven throughout and everything else is merely a backdrop for it to grow. To quote Shakespeare: Life is but a game, men and women, merely players.
17: Jigoku Sensei Nube
MAL Score: 7.54
Nube is a clumsy, easygoing, and very kind teacher, but he has a secret under his glove on the left hand. He has a monster hand, and he also has the ability to sense ghosts and evil spirits. So he protects his dear students from these evil spirits with his monster hand, proving to be very powerful.
Basically, it’s a school story with all the weird and scary things you wish could happen to you in a real school, that is, if you’re into ghosts and that kind of stuff.
Hell Teacher Nube is an anime about a schoolteacher with a demon claw in the place of his right hand, which he covers with a black glove, and all the hilarious and touching and sometimes just weird adventures he has with his students as what seems like the entire pantheon of Japanese lower mythology causes havoc in their school and town.
Nube and the students deal with ghosts, UFO’s, youkai, oni, doppelgangers, curses…you name it, they’ll take care of it.
Urban legends are also incorporated into the episodes…spirits of suicides in bathrooms, ghosts appearing in photographs, odd gods…
What else could you want in a supernatural school anime?
The best part of this anime are the stories. When I watched it, the wonder of all the crazy creatures and the wacky characters was a lot of fun. But what hooked me was that it was my first foray into Japanese superstitious culture. The stories are absolutely great!
Nube is an elementary school teacher who has an Oni sealed into his left hand. During his role as a teacher, he develops a great relationship with his students vowing to always protect them from danger. This is constantly proven when his precious students are attacked by ghosts, yokai, & other supernatural demons. While the series is episodic, it later adds more characters such as Yukime the snow demon & Tamamo a fox sorcerer which increases the quality of the anime.
Episodes contain a blend of comedy & horror, however sometimes its focus will be more on horror which can be very disturbing at times.(Ep31 & 44) Other episodes can be more comedy based or either touch upon an important morality lesson which tend to be some of the better episodes such as ep28 being about xmas. It should also be noted that the main character can vary every episode as some are focused on Nube while others are based on his students.
One of the highlights of this series is Nube himself as he a shonen hero in every respect and is a well written character who shifts from a wise mentor to a comedic love crazed buffoon. I should mention that a love triangle forms in the anime which intentionally was done for laughs but towards the end of the series becomes a very serious subject.
Overall, Hell Teacher Nube delivers in entertainment at times being a much darker version of Goosebumps. It may have a monster of the week formula but it’s not a battle series & provides much more content as a whole. Examples include some of its dramatic storytelling and the good nature of people such as eps (20 &34 aka Nube’s origin) or possibly the best heart touching episodes being 47 & 48. It may take some time to getting into, but you may end up loving this anime. Whenever you finish the anime, I recommend to watching the 2nd movie & the OVAs. The OVA episodes are actually cannon, being based on much later manga chapters with its final episode being the best way to finish the anime series.
Hell Teacher Nube is a supernatural/yokai episodic “monster of the week” show from the mid-90s that is flying under the radar of most anime fans nowadays since it was never really a hit in the first place back then, and as most of the titles that fail to generate a solid initial impact, it couldn’t avoid the fate of being forgotten in time. Debuting in the same year Neon Genesis Evangelion sent bittersweet shockwaves with its controversial last 2 episodes, Rurouni Kenshin became the new fighting shounen attraction after Dragon Ball was quickly running out of steam with Dragon Ball GT, Detective Conan started building its empire drawing the attention of the ones interested in mysteries, the Slayers franchise was getting stronger in the fantasy genre with its second installment (Next), and Sailor Moon, the most iconic and popular magical girl show from the 90s, was saying goodbye with its final season (Stars), among other competent shows that made their debuts in 1996, there was hardly any room left for a fully episodic and simple show like this (which also had to face direct competition in the supernatural genre with the more well-known and established GeGeGe no Kitarou (1996) household series) to make itself a relevant name both in Japan and the West.
I first knew about this show back in 2007, when a local anime specialized TV station started airing it after midnight and I used some of its episodes as background television while I was finishing some of my homework and was preparing myself to sleep, never really paying much attention to it and consequently remembering virtually nothing besides the visuals, character designs and the catchy J-rock opening theme. But there was something about its captivating, youthfully-sinister atmosphere that after all these years did manage to stuck in my mind that encouraged me to revisit it now, 11 years later, with complete dedication. And I have to say that -despite its simplicity- it has been quite a pleasant surprise, and that it’s truly worth the try for those who have no troubles watching old shows with dim colors, simple characters and an episodic monster-of-the-week structure. Watching it has been such a delightful experience, that I just can’t help to try to increase its low awareness levels.
The argument: it follows the paranormal adventures of Meisuke “Nube” Nueno, a kind, funny, lovable and young teacher at Domori elementary school who since birth had an abnormal sensibility to perceive evil ghosts and demons from the spiritual “yokai” world (a faculty that made him an easy target to them and allowed him to evetually become a demon connoisseur and a demon slayer) and the 5th grade naughty students he has in charge, with whom he develops a very close, warm and trustworthy relationship, to the point that he even gets permanently and tenderly bullied by them. Due to a tragic incident (which is told with details in one of the later episodes) before becoming a teacher in that school, he managed to seal a powerful demon in his left hand, which turned it into a monstrous-looking one and which he has to cover with a black glove in order to not reveal his true nature and frighten the people around him. This sealing granted him the ability to fight other demons with said hand, since the power of that demon is at his disposal there.
I have to say that the “horror” tag this show has is kind of misleading. Though it’s about ghosts and demons attacks, it is really not scary or uneasy to watch at all. You don’t watch this to feel frightened, to feel that suspense that true horror works stimulate. No episode will really have you on the edge of your seat nor covering your eyes from shock. It is after all very kid-friendly, there’s no gore, no raw scenes and no body parts flying through the air. There is blood, but nothing that terrible or excessive, and virtually the whole time from the teacher’s part, never from the kids, who are only threatened by the supernatural entities and never physically hurt, so no edgy and cheap child torture here. The tone is really very light, innocent and with lots of goofy comedy the whole time, though it occasionally gets more serious.
As an episodic, “monster of the week” show, most episodes are pretty formulaic with an autoconclusive story; one or some of the students of the class will face –in a certain context- the threat of a yokai world entity (ghost, demon, monster, etc.) that will take advantage of a particular weakness, insecurity, moral fault or dark inner sentiment those children have in order to scare them. When the entity is about to make his act, Nube appears, confronts it and ends up slaying it with the power of the demon he has in his left hand, saving his students in the process, something he is happy to do since he believes it is his mission in this world to protect them from their attacks. Everyone celebrate at the end and the kids learn from the mistakes that allowed the creatures to attack them in the first place.
Despite being formulaic, the episodes still show variety in focus, relevance and tone. Some are very light, while some others are more intense and/or heavy. Some are more relevant than the rest, in the sense that they tackle the backstory and some mild character progression of the characters. Some are just to have simple fun, others to leave substantial moral messages. Some are more disturbing or creepy than the others, or even thought-provoking, like one which involves an artificial biology-class mannequin that started to develop a soul inside and started considering himself as a real normal human being with genuine feelings, a situation that made the class feel uneasy and that led them to face a moral dilemma and to take questionable decisions. And while teacher Nube is the main character and the ones who saves the day, not all the attention is put into him; the show does a good job in giving every character of the class a fair share of focus in terms of number of episodes centered around them (including Nube himself).
Speaking about the characters, they are not realistic and most of them are stereotypical. Nube himself represents a virtuous and beloved shounen hero that will protect the ones he loves no matter the costs. Hiroshi, the main character from the children, is a naughty, hyperactive but kindhearted and brave boy, who likes playing football and has lots of friends. Kyoko is an insecure, neurotic but grounded girl everyone likes to bully (I’d say she’s the most interesting among the children because she is the most mature and can see and analyze the situations they face with an adult perspective). There’s also a malicious girl who likes to gossip and brag of her early developed breasts, an innocent, righteous boy, a spoiled rich kid and a delinquent, among others. But being an unambitious formulaic show, I don’t see any trouble in this. You never come to this type of shows expecting realism and lots of character development and stuff. However, this doesn’t mean they are totally static throughout all of the show’s run. As said before, some of the terrifying incidents with the ghosts make the kids learn important life lessons and grow up as human beings, which is effective.
Anyway, watching all these characters interact, having fun with their teacher and living all those thrilling and mysterious ghost adventures in their own school and surroundings is truly the main appeal of the show and precisely why you come for it, because in all honesty, who wouldn’t have liked to live all this during their elementary school days? Scary and everything, supernatural and paranormal activity has always been a subject that has awakened the interest of people trapped in a boring, mundane daily life, even more in kids discovering the world they live in. And this show really delivers in dragging you to those times when you were a kid fascinated with ghost stories. It appeals to that child wish most of us had of living fun and adventurous supernatural experiences along with our friends and classmates. It does an excellent job in making you wish you would have lived all that to make your school life way more entertaining and memorable, in company of an unorthodox, funny, young and close teacher everyone loves that wasn’t just that typical distant person you treat with a lot of respect and fear looking from below.
The art irradiates a particular charm hard to describe that makes this so addictive and the atmosphere so obscurely lovely. The color palette is colorful enough to not give this image of something that is trying to sell itself as very dark and serious but rather kid-friendly and at the same time dull enough to print in the viewer this absorbing feeling of people being menaced by creatures sneaking from the shadows, especially when action takes place at nights. It perfectly suits the overall tone and direction of the show. Anyway, you just have to see it to understand, it’s kind of hard to do so with cold words. All I’m going to add here is that this youthfully sinister and haunting feel is something that you just dont see very often in modern anime with digital coloring and shading techniques and that cel-animation had an advantage when it comes to this matter.
To conclude, Hell Teacher Nube is a show that, while nothing special in regards of being an episodic show which follows a monster of the week formula, it’s still a show with a fascinating, obscure-but-innocent charm, able to delight and entertain almost effortlessly given it’s likable cast, easy-to-watch condition and absorbing atmosphere. Besides, it is also educative, you can use it to learn a lot from Japanese folklore. And while it obviously won’t work for people who have a hard time getting into monster-of-the-week shows, I believe that those who don’t have troubles with them will find this show to be an overall gratifying experience that is worth the try. 7/10.
Some additional tips/comments:
Being episodic, you don’t really “have to” watch every single of its 48 episodes to understand it and you can skip some of them. However, episodes 20 and 34 are essential, since they tackle the past of the main character and explain more who he is and why he feels he has the mission to protect kids from the attack of ghosts. And if you really want to feel the whole emotional impact the heartbreaking last 2 episodes provide, I’d say it is indeed necessary to have watched the whole show so said impact can in fact, materialize in you.
As a show dealing with ghosts with a gloomy, somber (but still innocent) feel, it is highly recommendable to watch it at nights, and ideally inside your bed. That way you will be able to get more immersed in its exquisit and haunting atmosphere, which is precisely the idea when watching a show like this! The same way you enjoyed more scary shows like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” or “Tales from the Crypt” when you watched them surrounded by the mysterious and menacing feel of the night rather than by the clarity-safety feel of daylight. The feel of this show is such that it just doesn’t work much if watched during the day.
The show gets a little pervy sometimes. You will see some boys conveniently falling into women breasts, some nosebleeds, the teacher fantasizing with naked women, and what may be probably the most annoying issue, an 11 year old girl bragging about her early developed boobs. There’s also an episode where a teenage girl literally suffers from spontaneous body incinerations that burn her clothes leaving her totally naked in front of everyone. But as most of the 80s/90s shows with raunchy stuff, all this is used for more comical rather than erotic purposes, so it’s really nothing that annoying. But if you categorically can’t stand the inclusion of this type of moments in shows involving kids, then it would be better to not try this show.
16: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
English: Mobile Fighter G Gundam
MAL Score: 7.56
In the year Future Century 0060, the many countries that once comprised Earth’s surface exist as separate colonies floating in space. Their home planet now uninhabitable, the ruler of all of the colonies is decided by their unanimous participation in the intergalactic Gundam Fight Tournament—a series of battles between the champions of each colony to determine who is most fit to reign over them all.
Neo-Japan’s champion is Domon Kasshu, a man who accepts the role with some ulterior motives. Domon searches the galaxy for his brother, a criminal who allegedly murdered their mother and made off with the Devil Gundam, a highly advanced weapon with the power to unleash mass destruction across the galaxy. In his quest to bring his sibling to justice, Domon travels from colony to colony, meeting many of the fighters who will become his allies and enemies in the forthcoming Gundam Fight Tournament.
Armed with the strength of the Shining Gundam, Domon battles to uncover the truth behind his tortured childhood, suffering great betrayal and crushing blows on his quest toward personal and national triumph.
The presentation of the culturally diverse cast is of course where the Ring ni Kakero influences come into play. Certain portions of the characters are stereotyped or portrayed in what Americans would find not politically correct. I mean, the Russian is a prisoner? The Japanese portrayed as righteous? The American portrayed as strange and arrogant? And the list goes on. If you’re not offended by that kind of stuff, then you’ll probably laugh because it gets to you in that kind of way. Because the Japanese are oblivious to the concept of political correctness, they can of course get away with doing something like this in their own country. In addition all religious referenes such as Domon’s future Gundam, known as the God Gundam, or G Gundam for short is changed to Burning Gundam; and the Devil Gundam would be renamed to the Dark Gundam.
I really enjoy the characters because of their personalities and they each bring in different elements to the show. Domon is the quiet and anti-social super powered guy; while someone like Chibodee is the obnoxious loud mouth comic relief character. Even some of the minor characters like Alleby have their own contribution to the advancement of the story as well and has some touching moments that I don’t want to get into because it would be a spoiler.
Along with a whole new set of story, setting and characters, you also get new Gundams. For traditional purposes obviously, a huge majority of the Gundams will stick to the grill face, have either the green and yellow eyes, and still maintain the iconic red, white, blue, and yellow color scheme. But they add new details to certain Gundams to make them look more culturally authentic to each country. Like Lumberjack Gundam of Neo-Canda is literally meant to resemble a Candian lumber jack. The Gundam Spiegel piloted by Schwartz has a skinny frame to give it the agility and speed that gives blitzkrieg-esque assaults.
The human characters on the other hand were really meant to have the old school style of design from the 1970s mech anime. The character’s slim builts, the pointness of the chins and faces, the shapes of the eyes, the hairstyles and side burns, and some of the clothing designs gives some indication of that. Plus, it’s not Gundam vs army anymore. Prior to Gundam, mech anime was always the main mech against another bad guy’s mech of the week and G Gundam’s story was meant to present that kind of narration so they bring in all of these Gundams for one one one battles which I will now get into.
The battles are also distinctive because it’s not about lazers, guns, and beam saber fights. It’s hand to hand combat and as Daigouji Gai from Nadesico would say, that a mech is most idealistic for such kinds of battles and is the best means of proving who is the man. Granted certain Gundams are bulky, but the heavy blow action makes up for it. While the smaller Gundams like Spiegel and Nobel Gundam have speed and agility and they move like Spider-Man. So you’re getting martial arts mixed with mech. Despite the lack of convenient war fare weapons, the Gundams of course have special powered moves. Like Domon’s finishing move is the shining finger where he turns gold Super Saiya-jin style and then emits a large beam of light to his opponent.
Of course there are also times we get to see the pilots fight outside of their mechs. Afterall, you need to be a legitimate accomplished fighter to be legible to compete in the tournament. The fights are DBZ-ish with the speed but not of course where they power up and fight for a long time and do fire balls. The fights are still intense and fun. So, the art and animation of G Gundam for it’s overall unique use of character and mech design and intriguing battle.
Tomokazu Seki also happens to play the main character Domon Kasshu who has played other notable roles like Keisuke from Initial D, Miyata from Hajime no Ippo, and Kenichi from History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. He uses a rough and loud voice, but not high pitched. He can make the character sound cold and calm when he’s not in battle, and yet sound crazy when he’s in a fight. Speaking of the dialog in fights, I just love how dynamic the acting and dialog is in the middle of battle. Like before a fight starts, to officially commence the fight, the fighters have to say “Gandamu faito!!! Rediiii Goooo!!” It’s something you can say is as synonomous as John McCarthy’s “Lets get it on” when he signals to start a fight in the UFC. It’s just that awesome.
And it’s real funny in the Japanese version, Chibodee, played by Hochu Ohtsuka, the voice of Jiraiya in Naruto and Yazan in Zeta Gundam brings a funny tone to his voice and really brings the comedy out of him with his Engrish and how he calls Domon “Japanese.” And Saisaici is played by Yamaguchi Kappei, the voices of Ranma and Inuyasha, and the voice of L from Deathnote. So the Japanese version has a top notch voice cast. As for the dub, I have not seen it in years, but I just feel with the Japanese version, you’re getting the accurate dynamic delivery you need to most enjoy it because I don’t think this anime isn’t fun without the silly Engrish.
The music itself is pretty good. The opening themes Flying in the Sky and I Trust You Forever are really good songs that have a type of passion and feeling to it. Though it doesn’t have a warriors feel like Ring ni Kakero’s or Ashita no Joe’s, the songs still reflect on its semi-unintended campy nature.
G Gundam was mixing old school Shounen Jump, old school mech, and the moderninzing of Gundam all into one. It brings its own unique story that excellently mixes a diverse cast of characters in not just culture, but in personalities; top notch unintended comedy if you’re not Japanese; and high octane action
But simply being different isn’t enough to be good and that doesn’t change the fact that the end result is nothing short of a nonsensical battle shounen that thinks an excessive amount of plot twists and shouting equates to actual quality.
The story can be split up into 2 parts, the first being a revenge tale and other a long winded battle tournament. Set in the future where war is abolished and a new system is put in place, each nation takes part in a battle royal to determine who will obtain supremacy of the universe and the other colonies. These fights are carried out by a Gundam pilot of their choosing and is the driving force behind most of the show’s conflict. It’s through this battle royal that we meet our core group of characters, with our lead obviously being Japan’s representative Domon Kasshu. Using the battle royal as cover Domon’s true objective is to find and defeat his brother Kyoji who has come to poses Dark Gundam, which objective is (you guessed it) to destroy the world.
Now the core story itself isn’t bad on paper but where the problem starts is how it’s presented. Being that it takes a shounen approach, it should come to no surprise that it also obtained the issues commonly found in the shounen demographic. Containing everything from poorly conceived asspulls and powerups to questionable plot twists, G Gundam’s storytelling is just all over the place. Another glaring issue is it’s regurgitation of needless exposition and plot conveniences. And despite the constant bombardment of nonsense like a mermaid, a mummy and windmill Gundam or gundams going super saiyan, it still ask of the viewer to take it seriously. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was going for a self-aware satire but sadly it never took that route. What we get instead is a show trying too hard to angst and too hard to be cool while coming across as a laughable concoction that you’d think up as a child while playing pretend with your toys.
Now if there was ever an area where G Gundam deserves recognition it would be with it’s production values. The Gundam franchise has always been proclaimed to being ahead of its time, with titles like Zeta Gundam that was leagues ahead of other anime titles of it’s era in terms of cinematography and choreography. But with titles like Double Zeta and Victory Gundam it had seemed that the franchise was finally losing it’s luster. But G Gundam brought on something like a Renaissance for Gundam, bringing with it the familiar levels of animation quality found in OVAs like War in the Pocket and Stardust Memory.
Being that the story focused on mecha fights a great deal of effort was placed into making all the battles to feel grandiose when called for it. And with a introduction to a new way of piloting the mechas by body synchronization, the aesthetics and easy to read body mechanics were ahead of it’s time. The attention to detail really made it an entertaining watch that never felt hindered by the time period it was made. It even looks good for today’s standards. But of course corners were cut with reused scenes and still shots but given the effort placed into everything else it’s easily forgivable.
NOW the same can’t be said for the mecha designs. To put it bluntly half of them are beyond idiotic. Everything from a evil clown to a windmill, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the poorly thought up designs. It’s like the artists all got drunk and doodled up any nonense that popped into their heads. But given the cheesiness of the story they may just help heighten your B-movie experience.
“so bad it’s good” is the best phrase used to describe the voice acting of G Gundam. This is schmaltzy over acting taken to a new extreme. Every one liner is delivered with so much ham that you can’t help but chuckle as they’re delivered. That said I highly suggest watching this dub to optimize the effect. The soundtrack itself works well with the show’s content. Delivering the right amount of “oomph” when needed and adding to the overall 90s vibe.
The characters all felt like they’ve been ripped right out of the pages of cliches. With a spiky hair protagonist that think yelling and “talking with your fists” is the only way to solve problems, it borderlines obnoxiousness at times. The rest of the cast follow the same 1 sided personality with one predominant straight that forces them to be marginalize as typical archetypes. May that be the pretty boy “man of honor” or the strong dumb brute, all of them exhibit the behaviors of easy to write and even easier to read characters.
But being typical characters aren’t necessarily bad per say but the way the writers go about using them is where it really becomes a problem. Everyone is flimsily handled to the point where their personality can flip flop from friend to foe with no proper build up. It’s like they were manipulated in order to serve whatever objective the plot was going for at the time. This result in too many role reversals to be taken seriously and also a sad attempt to try to add depth and complexity to a cookie cutter cast that were only surface deep.
Now without a doubt G Gundam is entertaining. Due to many factors but mostly contributed to the time period it was made, G Gundam has aged into a campy b-movie romp that offers cheesy one liners, laughable plot twists and hammy moments throughout. This b-movie experience is even heightened further if watched dubbed, with a vast array of schmaltzy voice acting performances that deduces genuine bouts of laughter. It’s truly among the pinnacle of cheesy 90s entertainment and those simply seeking dumb fun should look no further.
G Gundam is the ultimate 90s cheese experience. Idiotic plot twists, nonsensical mecha designs and over the top voice acting. It’s the pinnacle of anime cheese but a face palming journey that can’t be forgiven. For everything it had going for it, it always took 2 steps back. It was an experimental attempt to do something different with the franchise that led to half-baked results. For fans of Gundam this might be a fun time waster but this isn’t a something recommended to any newcomer trying to see what the franchise is all about.
The story takes place in an alternet setting, not Universal Century. This new world is called Future Century. In Future Century, nations from around the world leave their homes and begin to live in space, in the newly formed space colonies called the Neo Nations. Even though many have left Earth, it’s still a vitial resorce, and to prevent any further wars the Nations declare that every four years there is to be a Gundam Fight. The Gundam Fight determines which Neo Nation will take Earth into their hands. After each Nation selects one of their best fighters and locks them down on Earth, the battle begins.
In this story, it is now the 13th Gundam Fight. A Martial Artist from Neo Japan, Domon Kasshu, is sent to Earth. With his newly earned title of King Of Hearts, he brings fear upon his opponents, but Domon’s true intensions is to search for his brother, which mysteriously disappeared after an incedent in the space colony of Neo Japan. Now the only remaining member of his family is his father which has been frozen as pusnishment for actiing against the Neo Japan Government. And to release his father, Domon must fight and win the Gundam Fight.
Eventually Domon realizes that he’s not the only one that is willing to go the distance as he meets many formidable foes. Chibodee of Neo America, George of Neo France, Sai of Neo China, and Argo of Neo Russia all have their reasons of fighting within the tournament. They soon become friends after facing a menacing foe known as the Devil (Dark) Gundam.
The story is pretty good. It’s not what I really expected from Gundam, and it was a completely new twist to things. I can rewatch it a few times and still enjoy it. Although, the birth of this series pretty much brought an unnecessary evil to the Gundam Franchise. With all the spoofs of Gundam Wing, Gundam War X, Gundam Seed, and a few other Super Gundam legacies, I can’t help but get mad that because of this one show it had made Gundam into a Super Hero Five show. In the long run, its an okay show, not one of my favorites of the Gundam series, but Gundam Seed wasn’t any better. So if you really want to see what started the Gundam Wing and the Five Gundam concept, this is what you are looking for.
15: Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
English: His and Her Circumstances
MAL Score: 7.60
Yukino Miyazawa is the female representative for her class and the most popular girl among the freshmen at her high school. Good at both academics and sports on top of being elegant and sociable, she has been an object of admiration all her life. However, in reality, she is an incredibly vain person who toils relentlessly to maintain her good grades, athleticism, and graceful appearance. She wants nothing more than to be the center of attention and praise—which is why she cannot stand Soichiro Arima, the male representative for her class and the only person more perfect than her. Since the first day of high school, she has struggled to steal the spotlight from her new rival but to no avail.
At last, on the midterm exams, Yukino gets the top score and beats Soichiro. But, to her surprise, he congratulates her on her achievement, leading her to question her deceptive lifestyle. When Soichiro confesses his love to Yukino, she turns him down and gloats about it at home with only a hint of regret. But the very next day, Soichiro visits Yukino house to bring her a CD and sees her uninhibited self in action; now equipped with the truth, he blackmails her into completing his student council duties. Coerced into spending time with Soichiro, Yukino learns that she is not the only one hiding secrets.
At first glance, Kare Kano is your average high school romance story. Thankfully, the odd personalities of the two leading characters break the idea of this just being another romance story. Kare Kano does contain the usual shoujo romance story elements when it comes to the trials for our main couple (jealous outsiders, temporary separation). But originality is able to come through with the way the leading characters handle their problems, often ending in a comedic resolve to their troubles. Besides the usual love trials, Kare Kano also features a number of interesting side stories about the support characters, so if you’re not a fan of the main couple, fear not, there are other amusing couples in the series as well. Unfortunately, Kare Kano’s story takes a nosedive with the lack of an ending. The last few episodes continue to build the plot up, but the series simply ends before anything can come out of the previous events. This is one of the greatest annoyances when it comes to Kare Kano, especially if one is not a manga reader.
The animation is more or less quite poor in Kare Kano. Taking into account this show is from 1998, anyone can easily see the budget was definitely not allocated to producing good animation. The first half of the show had its moments, the animation in this part of the series were acceptable. One of the techniques that the producers used was to cut out still images directly from the manga, which can be both a good and bad thing. Obviously this saves the producer a lot on cost of actual animation and some may think it is quite cheap of them. But I would think majority of people feel the black and white manga images added to the atmosphere of the show, especially in the moments they were used (which were when things became more serious). The second half of Kare Kano was when the animation began to lose its charm. More still images were constantly being used. Episode 19 of Kare Kano had the entire episode made up of cardboard cut outs, which were stuck on sticks and moved around (like a puppet show). The last five episodes were horrendous, a lot more of the manga pictures were being used, but rather then adding to the atmosphere, it just made the entire show feel cheap. The final episode barely had any animation at all, simply still images.
The sound in Kare Kano is one of its stronger points. The opening and ending have catchy pop songs that some may or may not like depending on their taste in music. There are also a number of enjoyable piano tunes in Kare Kano. All in all, the background music fitted well to the mood in this anime. A good pat on the back for the Japanese voice actors of Kare Kano as well. The VA for Yukino (the leading female) did a wonderful job in bringing out Yukino’s two faced personality, as did the VA for Arima (the leading male). If anything, the only complaint I have for the Japanese VAs was the one for the supporting character Tsubasa. I only felt her voice did not feel right.
Perhaps Kare Kano’s strongest point would be the characters. The leading couple is two somewhat eccentric two faced people (particularly the female) who pretty much break out of the stereotypical shoujo couple. The leading female, Yukino is an absolute riot to watch. You will witness her stressing over the smallest of things, unbelievable for someone who at first glance seemed to be the most perfect person you could find anywhere. Supporting characters such as Asaba and Tsubasa are also equally enjoying to watch as their odd personalities fit in perfectly with Kare Kano’s quirkiness. Character development is very thorough in Kare Kano, with even Yukino’s parents having screen time to develop their back stories. The only negative feature when it comes to the characters is that even towards the end of the show the characters are constantly built up with development, only to have the show end before anything could happen.
For why I enjoyed Kare Kano, I was previously a fan of the manga already. My favourite character would definitely have to be Yukino for her weirdo personality and decisions to solve her problems. I also really like the ending song, which I thought was perfect. Albeit I was definitely frustrated with how the show ended. The terrible animation was just painful for me to watch (especially the last 6 or so episodes). And I thought it was a poor decision on the producer’s part to end the show like it would end every other episode, and slap on a “The End”. I mean, nothing ended at all.
Overall, despite its obvious flaws Kare Kano still manages to be a favourite amongst the shoujo lovers for its interesting array of characters and somewhat unique storyline for the main couple. If you aren’t normally fond of stereotypical high school love stories, try giving Kare Kano a try. It’s recommended though to continue with the manga after watching the anime if you want to see how the story ends, since you won’t find any ending from here. So yeah, If you like comedy, romance, weird characters and high school settings then Kare Kano will probably be for you.
His and Her Circumstance, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou, Kare Kano, whatever you want to call it, there is one important thing you should know about this romantic comedy: not once at all does the male lead accidentally faceplant into the female lead’s breasts, nor does he accidentally see her naked when her towel slips off, nor does his hand by chance find its way onto her butt.
Instead, they have sex.
And this is what sets Kare Kano apart from all the other romance anime that have come out in the last decade or two. Those anime are not romantic comedies, they are comedies with sexual tension. The romance in Kare Kano is real romance. Yukino and Souichiro’s relationship is treated realistically, seriously. They meet, they fall in love, things progress. It has a remarkable authenticity, especially in the early episodes.
The comedy element works, too. Yukino Miyazawa, who obsesses over being the perfect student, gets snapped back into reality by a rival perfect student, Souichiro Arima. But while she is left dejected, he ends up smitten. The comedy is character-based, feeding off the hesitation and awkwardness from the two teens as they muddle their way into a romance. Yukino’s family also provides good comic material, especially in the parents, who had their daughters a little too early in life. Other character types are explored: the sassy athletic girl, the jealous girl, the cute guy who’s hard to figure out, etc. But these side characters don’t get in the way of Yukino and Souchiro’s story.
The series is based on Masami Tsuda’s manga, and its weakness is its format. Even with the legendary Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis: Evangelion fame at the helm, the series suffers from a lack of budget and abundance of static images. Scenes that read quickly on Tsuda’s pages get stretched as filler on screen. The most annoying thing about it are the episode recaps, which on a couple of occasions approach the three minute mark. That’s three minutes that the writers unfortunately couldn’t fill. The budget only gets worse as the series progresses, and when we get to the final episode it’s almost unbelievable that they go as far as they do. No colors, no animation, just line drawings. No full cast either, just two narrators.
The series ends not even halfway through the full 21-volume run of the manga. What the series does cover it covers quite accurately, so the story itself is as strong as the pages of the book, but Kare Kano, for all the quality they could squeeze out of it, remains rough and unfinished. The anime is enjoyable, but I highly recommend reading the manga.
Miyazawa and Arima are one of the most interesting couples in anime. Both suffer from psychological issues and create a fake persona to use in public. As the series progresses, both must learn to discard their masks and be truthful with themselves and each other. Miyazawa has a bad inferiority complex. She is jealous that she isn’t naturally a genius or athletic, so she spends all her effort trying to trick others into thinking she is. She has a low self esteem and has a pathological need for constant praise. Without it, she would fall into a helpless depression. Arima was born to abusive parents who were a disgrace to his wealthy, extended family. He is so terrified that he will become like his parents or that people will associate him with his parents, that he creates an angelic persona. Even though many of his extended family hate him anyways, he must act perfectly or he fears he will lose the love of his aunt and uncle who raised him. We create masks to deceive others into thinking we’re better than we actually are. However, no good can ever come of lying to yourself.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – The Brothers Karamazov
Besides the excellent main couple, His and Her breaks free of several constraints that anime places on itself. Both main characters actually have family that you meet! I want you to think about how rare that is. I’ve seen over 950 anime and less than 10 of them have 2 main characters that each have a father, mother, and siblings that we meet. Anime characters always are orphans or only have a mother or their parents are overseas. Despite the great emphasis that Japan places on family, anime is paradoxically terrified of portraying families!
You know what other taboo this show breaks? The 2 main characters ACTUALLY HAVE SEX in a shoujo anime! If you’re new to anime, you probably can’t appreciate how rare this is. Space Brothers lasts 99 episodes and the main couple never have sex or get physical in any way. Nodame Cantabile is the same way. What about Spice and Wolf, which always makes the top 5 for best couple in anime? Nope! No sex, no kissing, nothing. You sit through 26 episodes of economics lectures to watch the main couple get together and…you get a Wonka ending. “You get NOTHING! You LOSE! Good Day Sir!” The only anime I can think of where the main couple have sex are Berserk (good example) and Future Diary (bad example). As a shoujo, His and Her stands alone in completely unexplored waters.
Finally, you get all the psychology and character drama of Eva without suffering through the most laughably obscurantist plot in the history of anime. A plot filled to the brim with half baked ideas and homages to ancient mecha like Ideon. The central conflict of the entire series is that the Angels are attacking humans. After 26 episodes you never learn why. After Death/Rebirth and End of Eva, you STILL don’t know why. If you want to learn basic, essential plot details without consulting the internet, you have to watch the reboot movies, buy the 15 video games and the Japanese Daizenshuu. Can you imagine any other work of art that’s held in any esteem getting away with that shit? “Yeah Bro! I just finished Werckmeister Harmonies. Now I need to beat the video game in order to make sense of it! I got through the circus level, but the whale boss keeps kicking my ass!”
The character art is shit. I can’t tell which characters are adults and which are children. Miyazawa’s parents don’t look any older than her younger siblings.
Due to massive budget issues, the first 5 minutes of every episode are a recap using previous animation. That way, they only have to animate 17 minutes of new footage each episode. Even that wasn’t enough, so we get popsicle stick characters and animation that’s so bare bones it’s a joke. Also episode 13 is entirely recap. What the FUCK was wrong with Gainax and meeting their budgets? I think they must have blown all their cash on cocaine and hookers.
The secondary characters aren’t really that great. They don’t get enough time to really develop, but do get just enough time to steal from the main characters in a way that hurts the show.
The original mangaka HATED this adaptation and apparently thought it was pretentious. So she drove down to Gainax, screamed at Anno, and pulled the plug on a second season. Anno went into a deep depression and walked off the series after episode 18. The rest of the anime after that point is garbage. Even the most diehard fans of this show don’t watch episodes 19-26. It’s like the Post-Kyoto Arc part of the Rurouni Kenshin anime. It’s so bad it doesn’t exist in the minds of the fans.
His and Her Circumstances isn’t a series for everyone. However, if you have patience and can get over its shortcomings, you will witness one of the most unique and moving romances in anime! Hell, it just might be the greatest anime that Hideaki Anno has ever made (that isn’t Re: Cutie Honey). I can’t get my offline friends to watch this one, and half my online friends dislike it. However, I love this anime and beg anyone who hasn’t seen it to try it out!
14: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
English: Sailor Moon SuperS
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン Super S
MAL Score: 7.60
SuperS centers heavily on Chibi-usa and the Sailor Team. A new enemy, the Dead Moon Circus, has now appeared. Their motive is to find the Golden Dream Mirror that would be used to rule the world. To do this, the enemy attacks innocent victims for their Dream Mirrors and test their energy. Chibi-usa also has a new ally on her side, Pegasus. This season also sees the Sailor Senshi obtaining new powers.
Story: The story is, I’ll grant not as involved as the other arcs. And the fact that we know Chibi Usa has Pegasus right off the bat kills some of the suspense. SuperS is often criticized for being too light and cutesy. But even though most of the episodes are filler, as with the rest of Sailor Moon, they are rarely boring. It is lighter, but we just had S, arguably the darkest season in the series, and we’re about to get into Stars, which is also very heavy on the angst. SuperS is a welcome intermission. Some of the episodes are very funny, such as when Usagi stalks Rei and Mamoru as the red ninja of love, or when Minako dates two of the villains simultaneously. I also like that it focuses on Chibi Usa, she really comes into her own. She also gets her own romance with Helios, which I think is the sweetest relationship in all of Sailor Moon.
Art: I’m not a big art person. The art is I think better than the earlier seasons, but it’s Sailor Moon. You don’t watch it for it’s animation merit.
Sound: The Japanese voices are wonderful as always. The English is…yeah. Though I will say Helios’ dub voice is really sexy. The score is top-notch, I think SuperS has the best music. Lots of new pieces.
Character: The Inners all develop a bit, Usagi really doesn’t but oh well. Chibi Usa is the one who goes through the most change, SuperS for her is like what Classic was for Usagi. And um, there’s Helios, who is awesome!
Enjoyment: It’s fun to watch, really. I swear.
Overall: I wish this season wasn’t written off so much. It has some wonderful qualities. I never tire of it. I highly recommend you at least give it a try!
While the manga of the SuperS arc gave Chiba Mamoru his due spotlight, the anime version utterly refuses him of this. Chiba Mamoru is once again left to linger in the background of every story (virtually absent in the Star season to come) while Chibi-Usa is given yet again way too much screen time.
The SuperS anime focuses on Chibi-Usa, as if an entire S season of her friendship with Tomoe Hotaru wasn’t enough. Unless you love Chibi-Usa (to DEATH) this may not bother you. Just warning, almost every episode has Chibi-Usa piping in it.
The art value changes randomly throughout this series. Some episodes are of excellent quality but many of them revert back to the cheap animation of Sailormoon R (part I, Doom Tree).
As for sound, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is consistant in its good soundtrack, but this season offers almost nothing new.
When it comes to Character Development, an Inner Senshi may have one episode them seems to be about them (namely, when Tiger-eye, Hawk-eye or Fish-eye persues them) but otherwise such expectations go unfulfilled.
The Enjoyment level is Poor due to all the reasons listed above. I for one hate Chibi-Usa and find the entire series grating, frustrating and poor quality. Overall, however, there is some goodness to be gleaned, like the progression of Sailormoon’s powers as well as the Inner Senshi and the knowledge that we won’t have to put up with Chibi-usa anymore in Stars.
Story: One thing that annoyed me about this season, is also an annoying point that the anime did to the first, and Stars seasons. They left out a lot of important manga plot elements. It would have been a much more worthy season if had shown those details instead of leaving them out. It was a cute season, regardless.
Art: I absolutely love how they made Pegasus look artistically. Every one of his appearances had a magical essence to it, so art-wise this season was pretty good.
Sound: No big deal in sound either in this season. No groundbreaking music, a lot of soft melodies were played throughout most of it, so it had a serene feel to it. Not horrible, but not amazing either. The voices though of Pegasus and Nehenlenia were top-notch.
Character: Although I’m not much of a Mini Moon fan, the new character of Pegasus/Helios was a great addition, and actually made me like Mini Moon’s character more. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask were hilarious acting as parents, but other than that, the main leads weren’t exactly main in this season. It’s all about Mini Moon this time.
Enjoyment: I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I would have loved if this season were more like the manga’s story-line instead of just Mini Moon being the main focus. Tuxedo Mask’s origin story was prominent in the manga, instead it was only referenced in this the anime season. The same applies to the quartet villains, who also didn’t get their origin or outcome in the anime explained.
Overall: This season wasn’t the absolute best season, but still it’s worth watching for it’s cute scenes, and romance.
13: Fushigi Yuugi
English: Mysterious Play
MAL Score: 7.63
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes…
Each character for the most part has their own unique use and contribution to the story and they are presented in ways you get to know them. The characters or heck, maybe even one character will grow on you as you watch from start to finish. I would explain this, but it would be a significant spoiler, and if you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m talking about. Whether that character is good or bad, you’ll love them. Hell, my favorite character Nakago is the primary antagonist and even Yuu Watase, the original manga-ka has admitted that Nakago is her favorite character.
The anime will hopefully satisfy men and women. The story overall is very diverse with its appeal, but it went a little longer than it should have, but it ends in a way where everything is resolved and the characters wonderfully develop. It has romance, adventure, excitement, comedy and action, which I will further get into. However, what will annoy male and female alike is the interaction between Tamahome and Miaka when they really get romantic with each other. It kind of drags and we don’t need that much hugging even if we can appreciate how much they love each other.
Well, the character design today doesn’t really stand out in comparison to most shoujo out there for the most part. The costume designs are a little flamboyant for the setting, but even so, they still compliment the character designs very well where it helps make them stand out a bit more. The action is well coordinated, technical and raw which will appeal to male viewers. The city settings captures the heart of ancient China very captivatingly and truly represents their culture at that time period where they gathered to worship the emperor. However, with the modern day settings, you get a different approach to the school uniform with the blazer and ribbon design you see in lets say Evangelion, than the more mainstream sailor uniform which I thought was unique to anime in the mid-1990s with Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon being the rage back then with those designs, so its nice to see something different. It is also unique to point out in the real world in Fushigi Yuugi, nobody has crazy color hair, but in the book, you got the typical crazy color anime hair which was somewhat of the intention of Watase and the staff at Studio Pierrot. So overall, the art may be descent, but the character design 100% stand out, but the action, costumes, and scenery makes up for it.
The dub of Fushigi Yuugi does have some credible names, but I don’t think the dub was good. First off, Tamahome is played by David Hayter who you may know as the voice of Solid Snake from MGS. When you hear that voice in relation to Tamahome’s image, it just doesn’t match. He makes Tamahome sound gruffy, though it’s not the voice he uses for Solid Snake, but when he does scream, he does scream like Snake. This kind of casting is to me, for the sake of casting a big name and you’re giving him a character he’s not appropriate for. However, this was a role I thought perfectly suited his Japanese counterpart, Midorikawa Hikaru, the voice of Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Granted Midorikawa has played character opposite from Tamahome, he had a different kind of cool that Snake has, but he still has that passion and soft side that really captures him. As a matter of fact, Watase actually wanted him to play Tamahome because he had him in mind when he created the character.
I also enjoyed Kae Araki the voice of Sailor Chibi Moon as Miaka. She does sound annoying with her high-pitched voice, but it was at a certain tone where it really captured the character with all of these emotions whether sad, happy, concerned, or excited. And Seki Tomokazu, my 2nd favorite seiyuu who has played Miyata in Hajime no Ippo, Domon in G Gundam, Kamui in X The Movie, and many others was great as Chichiri, my 2nd favorite character. He is so multi-talented and he demonstrates it very well when you get to know his character more. Overall, the cast is just top notch and they all have great chemistry. Even though the romantic tension between Tamahome and Miaka gets annoying, their seiyuus truly make it believable.
The opening theme song Itoshii Hito no Tame Ni does open with this more traditional approach and then at the right moment, transitions to a more energetic J-Pop song. It’s very unique to me because it captures the cultural and romantic atmosphere of the series. And the ending theme Tokimeki Doukasen has a different kind of energy that is generic but still catchy and semi sexually suggestive in a more innocent sense. The background music is well orchestrated in every sense. Such as traditional Chinese music, more traditional cinematic.
Anyway, I think this is an anime I believe you should try to give a chance even if it may not be your taste. There are all kinds of good qualities this anime has that does make up for its bad ones. Even so, the bad qualities are still there but if you concentrate and stick to what you like, you’ll forget about them. I remember during the days of VHS fansubs, I used to talk to people who cried watching this series. It has all of these great themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and they are presented in a very realistically approachable manner. And believe me, there are moments where you might and I’m not ashamed to admit I have watching this series. The only anime that has achieved me to react like this since is the Kimura vs Mashiba oav of Hajime no Ippo.
Although it is one of my favorite series, there are some parts that to me are considered unsatisfactory. I feel a bit sorry for Chiriko because he was one of the lesser important seishis (the other would be Mitsukake). I am not a fan of Chiriko or Mitsukake, but I do think that they could’ve used more screen time.
I also noticed some discrepancies. It could be due to translation errors, but I’ll say it anyway. There was an episode where Keisuke and Tetsuya go to the Genbu shrine. They went there to see the Byakko miko. One question: why is the Byakko miko in the Genbu and not the Byakko shrine?
I have to mention that I watched the english dubbed version, because I found certain voice dubbers annoying. I hate Tomo’s voice – it is the most annoying voice I have ever heard in my life. Whoever thought of making Tomo’s voice sound that way was nuts and should be locked up in an asylum. Miaka was also a bit annoying. I cringe whenever she would cry out Tamahome’s name.
And now for the positives. I love the story – I think it is well thought of. It was able to mix in elements such as love, friendship, deceit, war, etc. into something really decent and worth watching. I first watched the show 6 years ago, and when I watched it again last month I find myself obsessed once more.
The visuals weren’t bad either – although I can’t say if I prefer seeing genitals on Yui and Miaka. Seeing naked people is bad enough. However, the show is filled with bishonens throughout the show. My personal favorite is Nuriko of course. He is my god. The wonderful art shown at the end of the show via the ending theme was beautifully made and I never grew tired of it.
The music wasn’t bad – most of it were mid 90s music, so I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. I do like the ending song, "Tokimeki no Doukasen". It’s another one of those nostalgic song for me – everytime I hear it I can’t help but feel reminiscent of the year when I first watched Fushigi Yuugi. Some of the insert songs weren’t bad either. Again they were mid 90s styled, but they’re not so bad. I did get tired of the opening song after a while. Hearing "Maiagare Suzaku" for more than 10 times tends to get on my nerves.
I think one reason why the show was suspended on Filipino free TV was because of mild sex and vulgar language. This is definitely not for kids, but I would say it is a must – see for the 16+ crowd (mostly because I saw the show when I was 16).
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it’s very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka’s senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it’s music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It’s nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka’s senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I’m not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well… if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV’s, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn’t wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot… 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C’mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV’s, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV’s aren’t enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it’s only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren’t the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don’t, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all… But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it’s just been 9 years since my first watching, and I’ve developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It’s a classic, and for it’s time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the ’92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in ’93) so it’s not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn’t made at the same time. It’s possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can’t find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I’m going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I’m a Tasuki fangirl)
12: Trapp Ikka Monogatari
English: The Trapp Family Story
Japanese: トラップ 一家 物語
MAL Score: 7.63
Based on the same story that produced the classic musical ‘The Sound of Music’, this is the story of Maria, who leaves her life in a convent to take up the responsibility of taking care of Captain Trapp’s children.
The story itself is really simple and holds no real twists for the most part; Maria Kutschera, a nun in training, is sent to be the teacher of one of the girls who is too weakened to attend school. One thing leads to another and slowly, but unofficially, she takes care of everyone and helps them grow as a person. That is the main gist of it and while there is progress, the series stays the same pattern-wise and although that would normally mean it would get repetitive and possibly boring, it manages to keep a warm feeling throughout with almost every “adventure” of theirs, such as preparing a gift for the housekeeper or fight against a possible new stepmother. The pacing is quite good for a show like this and thankfully, the series does not spend too much time on one thing and thus, keeps the interest high enough and only towards the end it seemed to be a bit more abrupt.
The characters have variety as there are 7 children and the story gives enough time for any of them to show their personality and gain some development (some more than others, since a couple of them are really too young to be able to portray complicated thoughts), through their own personal problems. The father is not as strict as he is awkward; an awkward father who has to work a lot out of his house, but the family values he has shine through. Each family member complements each other and one can really see how much they mean to each other and this makes the series a great family story. Maria is the one true change they all needed to move on and is probably the only person with the least development. She stays true to the main girl cliché that wants her positive and bright and helping anyone, but there is no change in herself. We do get to know more about her past and her personality is very likable, either way, but all in all, she will always be that happy girl only.
Art/Music-wise, the show offers nothing much, especially since it is an older show. For anyone familiar with the movie “The Sound of Music”, this series is not a musical. There are songs throughout, though mostly they are only a couple of songs put on repeat, however the characters do not break in song at random times. The songs seem to be children’s songs, but they are nice and some are very easy to sing along too. The art is simple, not detailed and the animation is saving frames whenever possible, but it has bright colors and it is very easy on the eye. The characters are distinct and despite the fact that the characters wear the same outfits almost in every episode, they are easy on the eye too.
As a family story, it did a good job generally. There were times it felt a bit more dragged on or not as interesting, but it is a very easy watch when in mood for some slice of life with no deep drama in every other episode, but enough to spice things up.
11: Hana yori Dango
English: Hana Yori Dango
MAL Score: 7.67
Makino Tsukushi, a girl who comes from a poor family, just wants to get through her two last years at Eitoku Gakuen quietly. But once she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the four most popular, powerful, and rich boys at the school, she gets the red card: F4’s way of a “Declaration of War.” But when she doesn’t let herself be beaten by them and is starting to fall for one of the F4, Hanazawa Rui, she starts to see that there is more than meets the eye…
The premise starts out in a way that you wouldn’t expect much romance to develop from. Tsukushi Makino is a middle to lower middle class student at an exclusive high school attended by mainly wealthy students. Tsukushi is not particularly happy with her high school life nor does she really even want to be at this school. But she attends because of her parent’s insistence and because they have sacrificed a lot to send her there. The school is controlled by the F4, a gang of 4 guys from extremely rich and powerful families. Basically the entire school lives in fear of getting on their bad side and getting the “red card”, which basically means your school life becomes hell on earth until you transfer out. Tsukushi goes about her day just trying to be unnoticed until she graduates, leading a fairly miserable existence. This all changes when the only real friend has accidently incurs the wraith of the F4, she jumps to her defense and finds herself given the red card. But she’s not the kind of girl who’s going to back down and she declares war back on the F4 herself. As Tsukushi fights back and starts to gain the respect of many classmates and even begins to befriend the F4 and we learn that they are not quite as bad as initially thought.
I found the story to be quite moving and powerful and found myself experiencing the full range of emotions. The portrayal of the bullying, which becomes quite intense at times was often very difficult to watch. There will be times you will cringe and times when you will jump out of your chair and cheer. Eiktoku High School may just be one of the 4 or 5 worst places on earth. It truly was a hell on earth and it doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of high society and the people who populate it. I’m not sure I would have had to strength of character Tsukushi had to stick things out and not let them win. It’s difficult to talk about the romance aspects of this anime without giving away spoilers. Though it will become pretty obvious fairly early where they are going and who she’s going to end up with. The journey to this revelation though is quite the ride. The ending differs completely from the manga version, since this anime was completed several years before its run had finished. Despite the original ending it is still very satisfying and believable.
Tsukushi Makino emerges as perhaps the best shoujo heroine of all time. I really cannot give her enough praise for how I felt about her as a character and how much I would love to have a friend like her. She is tough, practical and no-nonsense type of girl in a world full of shallow materialistic bitches. Viewers will be drawn to her both her likeable nature and the sheer torture she has to endure over the course of the series. The things that are done to her and the torment she is put through are both frightening and inspiring. Seeing the events of the story told through her inner monologue made me feel even more connected to the plot and her emotions felt even more intense because of it. Though perhaps she is in the end a bit more forgiving than I personally would be if I was in her place, she is overall a very inspirational character.
Tsukasa Domyoji is the leader of the F4 and one of Tsukushi’s love interests. He has all the classic elements of a shoujo love interest. He’s fabulously wealthy, handsome, and an asshole. I have mixed feelings on him. Initially he is an extremely frightening character. His menacing demeanor and the adjunct terror that Tsukushi often feels in his presence makes him initially almost impossible to like at all. However as the series progresses he becomes less and less the horrible boogeyman he begins as and actually turns into a decent and even sympathetic human being. While I tried my best to keep hating him, he wore me down not unlike Tsukushi into believing someone could actually fall in love with him. As a character, Tsukasa makes a huge amount of growth. He changes from selfish and egotistical brat into a much more humble and likeable guy while still maintaining the essence of who he is.
Rui is another member of F4 and another main love interest. He is almost the complete opposite of the hotheaded Tsukasa. While still from an enormously wealthy family and suitably good looking, Rui is far more introverted and shy. I liked him far more at first than any of the other men in the cast but he really isn’t any nicer that Tsukasa is. While not physically violent his cold nature and inconsistency in when he does or doesn’t jump to Tsukushi’s defense doesn’t exactly win him any feminist awards. My feelings for him are pretty much the reverse of what I felt for Tsukasa. By the end of the series I grew tired of his personality and while he does manage to change a little, his nature just gets more and more annoying. He was also just a bit too bishie for me.
Most of the remaining supporting cast is pretty detestable. The two remaining members of F4, Akira and Sojiro are not very well developed as characters being their basic personality archetypes and never emerge as serious love interests. Tsukushi’s childhood friend Kazuya is likeable and provides comic relief, often at times when the story can really use some. While he is in love with Tsukushi he is more of a friend to her and he provides her with a much needed friend at times when she really needs one. Shizuka also is one of the rare decent characters who also provides Tsukushi with plenty of support and encouragement in times of need. There are plenty of absolutely spoiled rotten waste of skin bitches and assholes to get mad about. But despite the anger you’re likely to feel every time one of them appears on screen or plots against the heroine they do serve a useful purpose in the growth of the main characters and in the development of the romances.
Given the age of this series the animation and visuals are understandably dated. Unfortunately they are bad enough that it’s possible that it will discourage some people all together from even giving this series a chance. That is a real shame. While I can’t say that I loved the artwork, I did eventually develop some appreciation for it as the series progressed. The color palette used is very drab and the hairstyles and fashions are also extremely dated. The character designs are true to the manga and are realistic body types which adds to the overall sense of realism. The settings and backgrounds though are strength are all look pretty good.
The audio is also a bit of a mixed bag. While the voice acting performances are all top notch, I didn’t much care for the music at all, especially the lame and uninteresting OP animation sequence. The incidental and background music is also very dated.
Ultimately Hana Yori Dango is a series that should not be missed by serious romance and anime fans alike. It’s a very intense series likely to stir up just about every emotion there is for the viewer. Though as much as I loved Tsukushi and the story, I just can’t give this series the perfect score I wanted to because of the uninspired art and music. I highly recommend it.
The characters are fully developed and you really start to put yourself in their shoes once you get to know them better. While some of the storylines can be a bit farfetched, there’s just enough balance of drama, romance, and comedy to draw you in. The storylines have so many twists that you’ll never be bored while watching this series.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for an anime packed with drama, romance, comedy, and interesting plots and characters, this is the anime for you. If you are more concerned with pretty animation and good OSTs, you should look elsewhere.
This anime, while old with older art, was amazing for me. I had been feeling like I hadn’t seen a good romance in a while and what brought my attention to it was a review that had said it “restored their faith in the romance genre”
The main characters while childish and obnoxious at the start slowly seem to develop into mature-ish young adults. Starting with Makino, throughout the anime she is rather stubborn, naive and headstrong. She is a strong female character that faces many emotional trials, while struggling with her life she manages to overcome everything relatively well. Her character has been constructed in a way that places you in her position, withering away in fear when she does or feeling happy when she does.
The F4 boys that she stands up against also go through changes as well, making you cringe and want to pull your hair out. There are many things that could be said about the things they do wrong and right, however, overall they are young boys going through school with emotions and things that a normal person could not understand.
The story was captivating and by the first episode I wanted to know more and see more. It was an anime with life and has many lessons in it. It addresses bullying and other themes that high school comes with, and was easy to relate to.
I enjoyed Hana Yori Dango a lot more than I thought I would and I managed to watch it in two days, days off work spent well in my opinion. I felt extremely satisfied with it and the way it ended. There were times were I couldn’t help but laugh along with the characters. The anime came alive to me, it became a real thing and I wanted to give Makino a good slap every now and then. There was not one moment I wanted to give up on it and not one moment I wasn’t entertained.
I give it an overall score of 9/10
10: Tenkuu no Escaflowne
English: The Vision of Escaflowne
MAL Score: 7.68
Hitomi Kanzaki is just an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl with an interest in tarot cards and fortune telling, but one night, a boy named Van Fanel suddenly appears from the sky along with a vicious dragon. Thanks to a premonition from Hitomi, Van successfully kills the dragon, but a pillar of light appears and envelopes them both. As a result, Hitomi finds herself transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky.
In this new land, Hitomi soon discovers that Van is a prince of the Kingdom of Fanelia, which soon falls under attack by the evil empire of Zaibach. In an attempt to fight them off, Van boards his family’s ancient guymelef Escaflowne—a mechanized battle suit—but fails to defeat them, and Fanelia ends up destroyed. Now on the run, Hitomi and Van encounter a handsome Asturian knight named Allen Schezar, whom Hitomi is shocked to find looks exactly like her crush from Earth. With some new allies on their side, Van and Hitomi fight back against the forces of Zaibach as the empire strives to revive an ancient power.
Manga, Anime: There are three different manga for this anime, and the two that were released around the same time as the anime are worlds apart. In order to understand this, you need to know a little something about the production.
Escaflowne was in development for about five years. Shoji Kawamori (famous for his work on the Macross series and Eureka Seven) came up with the initial idea for the series after a trip to Nepal, and hashed out the basics of the series with Minoru Takanashi at Bandai, with Hitomi originally as a curvy, long-haired, air-headed girl with glasses, and a decidedly more shonen bent to the series. Sunrise (famous for their work on the Gundam series and Cowboy Bebop) was originally selected to do the series, which was then planned at 39 episodes, and Noboteru Yuki worked with Kawamori, with the director at the time being Yasuhiro Imagawa. The director stuck around long enough to coin the phrase Escaflowne, and then left before production actually started, and the project was shelved. Two years later, Sunrise picked it back up and bought on Kazuki Akane (famous for his work on Noein -To Your Other Self- and the Birdy the Mighty 2008 remake), who then gave the series a complete makeover, bringing in shoujo elements to balance out the shonen, notably, making the men a bit more into bishonen and remaking Hitomi as the girl we know in the series.
The first of the manga titles to come out shared the anime’s name, and was based on the original production ideas, which gave it far more of a shonen bent. This manga was done by Katsu Aki, and ran in Kadokawa Shoten’s Shonen Ace magazine from October 24th, 1994 to November 26th, 1997. It was licensed Stateside by Tokyopop, and the eighth and final volume was released on September 14th, 2004. The second manga title, titled Messaiah Knight – The Vision of Escaflowne, later retitled Hitomi – The Vision of Escaflowne, was released around the same time as the anime, and was a shoujo adaptation based more on the final version of the anime. Yuzuru Yashiro did this adaptation, and it ran in Kadokawa Shoten’s Asuka Fantasy DX magazine from April 8th, 1996 to January 18th, 1997, and has yet to be licensed Stateside. The final manga title is called Energist’s Memories, which is an anthology of several stories from the Escaflowne universe done by several manga authors. It was released in January of 1997, and also has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Escaflowne is a twenty-six episode series (yes, you’ll notice it was cut down from the 39 episodes originally planned) that was produced by Sunrise and Bandai Visual, and directed by Kazuki Akane. It ran on Japanese TV from April 2nd, 1996 till September 24th, 1996. It was licensed Stateside by Bandai Entertainment, and the latest full boxset was released on April 11th, 2006 as part of the Anime Legends collection.
Story: High school track runner Hitomi Kanzaki has a talent for stunningly accurate tarot readings. One day, she has a vision of a young man slaying a dragon, and, later that night, the same young man is transported to her world in a pillar of light, along with the dragon, and he slays it. As soon as the young man, named Van Fanel, has harvested the energist stone that lies in the dragon, the pillar of light returns him back to his world, Gaea, where both the moon and Earth (known as the Mystic Moon) hang in the sky – only Hitomi is taken back with him. As Hitomi tries to find a way home, her latent psychic powers are awakened, which in turn awakens Farnelia’s mech (known as Escaflowne), and she becomes caught up in the politics and conflict between Asturia, Farnelia, and the Zaibach Empires.
You can tell that the story was originally meant for a longer series, but the decision to trim it down to twenty-six episodes came through just when the series came in just as production was beginning, and the director didn’t want to sacrifice any of the characters or plot lines. So, instead, the already elaborately planned plotlines and character development was made to fit into a twenty-six episode series. And, admittedly, while the story and development is a bit jerky, slow at first but then speeding up in others, it still manages to completely and coherently wrap things up in its length, not to mention give the fairly extensive cast of characters good development.
And speaking of characters, I have so much respect for how they developed them. The characters all start out as fairly common shoujo tropes, but are developed into real people and incredibly engaging ones at that. Hitomi especially; she could’ve been this horrible Mary-Sue, but instead she is developed and even grows up a little as she makes her way through Gaea and reacts pretty realistically to her situation. Relationships between all of them are slowly developed, and you aren’t hit over the head with it as they are; when they are finally bought to light or out and out pointed out, you realize, "Oh, that explains it!"
For those of you who are mech fans, you’ll be happy to hear that the mech fights are paid as much attention to as the the story and character development; there’s at least one major fight every other episode. And especially appropriate is how they developed the mechs to match the level of technology that’s found in Gaea.
Gaea is general is built extremely well as a world; just about every aspect you could think of is given thought and explained in ways that don’t make you feel like you’re being hit over the head with the exposition hammer all that much.
The downside of all this is that you feel like you’re getting bombarded with information, and there are a few minor characters that are mostly running gags and who they seem to forget exist for a few episodes here and there and then are bought back into the story to remind the audience, "Hey! They’re still here!"
So, overall, while there is quite an overload on information, and a few gag characters are forgotten here and there, Escaflowne’s story is still pretty good, and all elements of it are given equal loving attention.
Art: Compared to other shows that were airing roughly around this time (Ruroni Kenshin, Martian Successor Nadesico, Ghost in the Shell), Escaflowne’s art is pretty damn good, if not gorgeous. Character designs are given the perfect amount of detail, not to mention as are all the different races on Gaea, mech designs, backgrounds, just everything is absolutely beautiful in this. There are some very strong lines used in this, like what we saw in Ouran High School Host Club. And overall, the quality of the art has aged quite well.
The style of the art has not aged well, though. Facial features are extremely exaggerated, notably with a few noses that could conceivably be used as swords with how pointy they are. Also, CG use in this is fairly obvious, which is a bit understandable, but it’s still a bit painful to watch at times.
Music: The music for this is absolutely spectacular. Yoko Kanno did the work on this, and it’s not the typical jazz soundtrack that I’ve seen from her in Darker than Black and Cowboy Bebop. Instead, here, we get EPIC orchestral scores, with beautiful string work and special emphasis on the cello (used to be a cellist, so it’s always great for me to hear the instrument used so well) and excellent choral arrangements.
The OP is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, Hitomi’s seiyuu, and is just a lovely ballad (well, waltz, actually, it is in 3/4 time) in general. It’s always a good thing when I don’t skip through the OP, and it’s even better when I sing along to it; I did this every episode. The ED is a more stereotypical upbeat JPop number done by a guy instead of a girl, and was very easily skippable.
Seiyuu: This series is chock full of good seiyuu. Hitomi was Maaya Sakamoto’s (famous for her work as Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club and Aeris Gainsborough in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) debut role, and her singing of the OP was her first work singing. Besides Ms. Sakamoto, Jouji Nakata (famous for his roles as the Count in Gankutsuou and Alucard in Hellsing) appears as Folken, and Juurouta Kosugi (famous for his roles as Akio in Revolutionary Girl Utena and Fernand d’Morcerf in Gankutsuou) appears as Dryden.
As for the other seiyuu, the voices fit well, and were acted well, which is all I ask for.
Length: Twenty-six episodes makes the series feel a bit pushed for time. Having the full run of 39 episodes probably would have helped this in the long run, and especially given it some time to breathe. Any shorter, though, and it just wouldn’t have worked.
Overall: Escaflowne has an excellent story and characters, a well-built and animated world, excellent seiyuu and beautiful music. It has a few flaws, mainly from the compressed schedule it was given to air in, and the occasional forgetting of characters but, nonetheless, is a very solid series. It’s not a ZOMG favorite series for me, but I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a good series.
Overall: 41/50; 82% (B)
So I’ve been patiently watching the series mainly because I have nothing else to do, and tbh I quite enjoyed the first half of the series. And then they lost me. I mean it’s a fantasy anime, so a fair bit of leeway has to be given to the plot. I can make my peace with the hidden power of fate that the MC uses. I can deal with the mana-mechanical transformer-bots in a medieval setting. Hell, I can even swallow the uber ridiculous goal of the antagonist to control fate, and in corollary, control the world. Classic Villain. Pretty easy to swallow. Then it got weird.
There are a bunch of reasons I pretty much hated the series.
1. The antagonists are a fucking joke. First there’s Dornkirk who is our classic villain in the shadows, pulling the strings, laughing his evil laugh, who not surprisingly at all started out helping people. His goal is to create a world without war. Now thats very ambitious. More ambitious is his chosen method of accomplishing this goal i.e. controlling fate. You would think that he would take some kind of care in choosing his generals and inner circle.
Which brings me to Folken. Seriously dude? You joined his Hitler-esque cause because you didn’t want to kill a dragon? Yeah I know, thats not what happened, but take a moment to think about his actual motivation for joining up with Dornkirk. There really isn’t any. I mean I get why the fortune twins fell for Folken, they were half cat so it makes sense for them to unconditionally love the person who saved them. Folken’s origin story makes me believe his Draconian mother had intimate relations with a fucking cocker spaniel, because in the end he’s basically a rescue.
AND WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THIS DILANDAU CHARACTER? I mean seriously. His only motivation to do anything is “I have a boo boo on my cheek and I must destroy the one who did it and anyone in the way of accomplishing my boo boo revenge”. Really man? Is that all there is to you considering how many fucking times you battled the MC?
2. Which brings me to my second point. I don’t like to be masturbated without the pleasure of a climax. Van has a hard-on for murdering every minor baddie, but for whatever reason when it comes to Dilandau his sword needs Viagra to function. Not to mention Hitomi’s nagging also starts ONLY when Dilandau’s close to death. Why? Why is this barely one dimensional character still alive in the 3rd act of the series? Even the final plot twist with this character…WHY? And more importantly HOW? His condition just resolves itself because….profit? This character gave me the biggest murder boner simply because the writers wouldn’t kill the little bitch off and kept teasing till the very end.
And after all that “cold as ice” acting , Folken’s heart suddenly melts? Because his two pussy cats died? Why? Did I miss something? What was your motivation to join Dornkirk ? What was your motivation in leaving him? Were you sleeping while he slaughtered the first few million people, or did it really take your pussy dying for you to regain your empathy? WTF? THIS, if any of the characters from the antagonists should have been the final conflict. Instead, the writers pussy out and turn him into a good guy at the end. Its pathetic. I bet a nun could jerk me off better than this piece of shit anime.
3. Then there’s… Luck enhanced soldiers made by transfusing synthetic blood created from splicing the genes of the luckiest people…….
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!? WHY NOT A FUCKING SPELL? ITS A MAGICAL WORLD!!! A SPELL WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE BELIEVABLE!!!
Unless you’re as nit picky as me, you probably won’t notice, but the mythology and the world design is in a clash in this anime. Much of it is ok, since we waste most of our time with the bland and often interchangeable characters, but for the most part…ehhh…the world isn’t believable as either fantasy or science fiction.
4. The two main characters finally fall in love. This love is strong. Its history is epic. It will become a tale retold in many forms. It had the power to overcome fate. There was nothing in the way of the two lovers making a life together. Theirs was a perfect ending. “Well, I have go back to Earth for absolutely no reason at all and pine for my lover for the rest of my life” – Hitomi.
In conclusion, I’ve definitely seen animes with worse characters, story mechanics, mythology and plot. Credit where credit’s due. It isnt the worst thing out there, but make sure you don’t watch this anime when you actually have the time to watch it. Watch it while you study for a test or something like that. Keep it in the background so you don’t notice the flaws, and you only see the magical transformer robots and furries. At least that way you won’t pull your hair out from the frustrating stupidity that is Escaflowne.
The first thing about this series that earned it a point in my favor was the wholeness and realness of the characters. Hitomi, the protagonist, in particular earned my approval because she, unlike most anime females, seems very realistic. She’s not the stereotypical "cutesy" girl (God, but I do hate those), nor is she overly self-sacrificing; she’s not one of those violence prone angry chicks, nor is she the tough loner, she’s not a goober who’s always eating, nor is she a femme fatale; she’s just a high school girl growing up in stages with a strong moral code. She’s someone I can imagine meeting if I walk down the street, which, after being innundated with the above stereotypical anime females, is very refreshing. Granted, there are many people who dislike Hitomi greatly, but I feel that she’s a strong character and that many of her actions, if you take the time to really imagine yourself in her situation, are reasonable, or at the least, understandable.
Aside form Hitomi, there are many other chracters involved in the story, each having their own personalities and unique stories. You’ve got Allen, the valiet bishounen knight, who is a bit strung up on the old ways of chivalry, Dilandau, the bloodthirsty psychopathic young general, Van, the moody and quiet crown prince, and a variety of other characters. The characters are so well done that it’s easy to fall in love with even the minor ones such as Gaddes, Allen’s right hand man.
The art style is very good given it’s time period. It is a bit older though, so don’t expect graphics like those of today found in animes such as Full Metal Alchemist and Air. The colors are a bit duller, but that only serves to enhance the overall rustic feeling of the anime.
The musical score for the series is fantastic. The emotions of a scene are captured superbly based solely on the ochestra rhythms. The openning theme is one of my favorites. The ending is a bit odd, but it grows on you. The ending also seems somewhat out of place as it has a sort of slowish techno-pop feel to it.
The main genres are romance and fantasy, but there is also a splash of the mecha realm thrown in. Unlike most mecha animes, the mechs in this are powered by the fantastical powers of dragon heart stones, hydrolics, and mechanical sytems. Their subesquent design is unique and intruiging. While seemingly low tech (the world in which Hitomi falls is not really technologically advanced and has a middle ages feel to it), the mechs are actually impressive bits of machinary. The floating fortresses and air ships, powered by magical stones, are also of interest.
There is not much humor to be found. Given that the story takes place in a world in the thros of war, this is understanable. It is not overwhelmingly, depressingly serious though. They do not make a point of expressing the darkest vices of human nature like Beserk or Elfen Lied. However, the anime does examine the destructiveness of greed, cowardess, hatred, and the problems associated with pursuing science for the sake of science. So, if you’re a fan of the overly goofy or light-hearted series, this one is likely not for you. It is also not likely for you if you’re an action fiend that requires an explosion or hand-to-hand fight every ten seconds. This one is mainly for fantasy/romance (but not the teenaged angst romance or the ten girls single guy romance) types.
One of the main themes of the anime is the conflict of fate versus free will. It makes some very intersting conclusions about how one’s free will affects not only one’s self but all of those around one.
I adored the bizarre twists presented at the end and highly recommend this. At least watch the first three or four episodes to give it a try. The only thing that will disappoint you is the fact that there’s not more of it.
9: Turn A Gundam
MAL Score: 7.70
It is the Correct Century, two millennia after a devastating conflict which left the world broken. Earth is now mostly uninhabitable, and thus a remnant of humanity has resided on the Moon while the Earth and its few survivors recover. For years, the “Moonrace,” the people of the Moon, have continued to check if Earth is fit for resettlement.
A boy named Rolan Cehack and two others are sent down to Earth for a reconnaissance mission. Rolan ends up spending a year on the planet working for the Heim Family, aristocrats living in a Victorian-like society. This family, like others of similar wealthy status, celebrates one’s coming of age with a ceremony involving a giant stone statue known as the “White Doll.”
To Rolan’s surprise, the Moonrace suddenly touches down on Earth with the intent of taking it by force. During the attack, the White Doll is broken apart, revealing a mobile suit called the “Turn A Gundam” inside. With Rolan in its cockpit, the Turn A causes a standoff between the forces of Earth and Moon. The young pilot, along with the people of both sides, must keep the peace and avoid another all-out, catastrophic war.
Breaking away from his Kill ‘Em All melodramas that marked his earlier successes, he came up with a much lighter outlook which has shown in the works after. While Turn A follows the usual teenager finding himself piloting a mecha in a war it manages to present plot devise in an interesting and untried way successfully. The Mecha themselves (by futurist Syd Mead who designed Blade Runner and Tron) are so aesthetically different they border on grotesque. This plays very well in early episodes when the battles take on a very War of the Worlds feel to them. The characters interacting in a typically rich Tomino script are well rounded, likable, and surprisingly complex who carry with them stings of an individual plot that the director skillfully weaves into a deep and complex story. The plot itself is heartwarming, funny, tense and has Machiavellian dealings on both sides of the war. Action does take a back seat to plot development, but as the series progresses fights become faster, more brutal, and with none of the canned battles that tend to pop up in mecha series recently. Yoko Kanno delivers again in the soundtrack, one of my favorites she has done. Of Particular note is Tsuki no mayu which appears in the first episodes in one of the most memorable scenes in the show.
Now if there was a downside I would have to say hardcore action fans would be disappointed in the slower pacing as Tomino slowly develops characters and the political situation. On the plus side this is one of the few Gundam series you do not need prerequisite knowledge to understand what is going on. It also has the single best ending I have ever seen in an anime. Whether you are a mecha fan or not I would implore you to at least give this underrepresented series a try, you will undoubtedly find something to you own liking.
If you’re not familiar with Gundam and the UC universe in particular, then this is not a good place to start.
It does have a stand alone story, but it’s certainly not intended for people who have little to no prior knowledge about the franchise.
This is a spoiler free review.
This one takes place thousands of years in the future in which the only space colony left is on the moon and obviously its population has advanced technology (including mechs of course), meanwhile, the people on earth are still living in a 1930s way of life. Everything is fine and dandy, until one day the moonrace decide to return to their roots, earth. And of course, a war breaks out.
It is a little different from the usual Gundam since it gives one side of the war a clear advantage due to their technology and knowledge on how to use it, while the other side is rather primitive. They also make it clear how different the two cultures are in many interesting ways and the 1930s clothes and technology really give off a unique vibe to this series, it’s something you rarely see in anime in general.
It’s also different because the atmosphere is relatively lighthearted, but at the same time it also deals with its themes and issues with a straight face.
Another thing you’ll notice about Turn A is that even though it follows the Gundam tradition of a boy eventually finding a Gundam – piloting it – fighting in a war and so on.. It also goes through its traditional route in a noticeably unique way that you’d never see elsewhere. Furthermore, it’s also famous for containing various easter eggs from previous Gundams that only fans will immediately recognize.
I must warn you though, that the first episode is very rushed and poorly presented. I don’t know what they were smoking when they made it, but thankfully the next 3 or so episodes slow down and assist in making everything sink in. And much like in most series in the franchise, the pacing in general is kinda slow and it does get faster towards the end. And it’s not really slower than usual so you should be used to this by now.
The story is also very rich since it explores this conflict through the various perspectives of each party that’s involved, whether it’s the citizens, the spies, the soldiers or the leaders of each side. It does this very throughly and it keeps going back and forth from peace or some sense of settlement and then back in to war again so the situation won’t remain static. Also things do get wrapped up very nicely and the story is concluded very well. It also focuses a little more on politics than your average Gundam and as a result it doesn’t have as much action and the battles aren’t on a massive scale with many deaths in each episode either, but it does make sure that most deaths have a certain impact on the story and not just death for the sake of it (I’m looking at you, Victory Gundam).
Overall the story is both more unique and more complex than usual, but as a result it’s also a little more clunky and it felt like it’s a bit much for the show to handle from time to time. Heck, at times it’s even a bit hard to follow because it keeps jumping around, but I still think it’s handled very well for the most part.
As much as I love Gundam in general, I can’t deny that characters and characterization are among the franchise’s biggest weaknesses. Gundam characters normally consist of angsty teens and/or dumb adults who randomly do irrational and unreasonable actions for petty reasons just to take the story in a certain direction. This is a bad thing because it normally makes them feel like slaves to the story without much free will or solid reasoning behind them.
Fortunately, in this particular installment those types of things seem to be toned down significantly. Some characters are even more complex than usual and their motives and dilemmas are a lot more believable and easier to follow.
Whether these motives are related directly to the war, or just normal motives related to their personal lives as a result of the war. This is truly what drives the story forward and not in an overly forced way.
Many characters are inserted in to different inconvenient scenarios throughout the series that inevitably change them over the course of it. Their development in general is given a lot of time and focus.
Even the main character is not your usual Gundam angsty teenage boy either. He’s basically a pacifist, (“I’m on neither side!”) and much like the story, he’s also quite unusual. Oh, and I should probably mention that this boy talks, looks and even dresses up like a girl from time to time. So that might turn off some people (and turn on others, lol).
I’m no fan of these types of characters, but this does make him far more memorable than usual. But besides that, he’s also well portrayed and his actions are usually quite believable. The only downside is that he’s kind of a Mary Sue and he’s mostly the one who’s there to change the people who surround him and not the other way around..
The series even tries to avoid having clear villains, but I’d be lying if I said it completely succeeds, since they do emerge eventually. And some characters even seem like plot devices who’s main purpose is to prolong the conflict between the two sides (quick! throw in some random lunatic before they find an excuse to stop fighting each other!). Though I do like how some characters that seem to be very minor at first, unexpectedly play rather important roles later on.
Overall, for a Gundam series, these characters are handled exceptionally well and are also pretty memorable.
The visuals do have their ups and downs.
On one hand the mecha designs are nothing amazing and the production values in general are a little low for the franchise. The Gundam of this series in particular gives me a craving for Pringles for some reason. With that being said, there are cameos of mechs from other Gundam series, most notably, the Zaku which is present through out most of the series. Now that more than makes up for those weird designs for me.
The animation is overall fairly average, but the battle choreography is noticeably good and well above average, despite having less action in terms of quantity than most Gundams do.. And that’s probably the result of it being on a smaller scale.
In terms of character designs, they aren’t the most detailed, but are expressive enough and they do have an interesting variety in their features. Each one looks very different from the other and the 1930s clothes add a lot to it as well.
The first opening is a pop song (I guess) and it isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but you get used to it and at least the lyrics fit perfectly with what the series is about. And pretty much the same can be said for the second opening.
The ending songs aren’t bad, but are way too quiet for me to remember and the soundtrack in general doesn’t have much variety but it does fit the series’ tone and it’s very noticeable. Especially one track in particular that had a violin in it, or something..
I don’t speak Japanese, but voice acting is also ok, I guess, but nothing really stands out about it.
I enjoyed it very much of course.
It’s an exceptional Gundam series and a great anime on its own as well.
Though admittedly, not every Gundam fan would appreciate it because of how different it is. I guess you either love it or hate it.
thats the way of Turn A Gundam.
i enjoyed it very much, got deeply sought in.
even more than by the literary quality of storytelling and the excellent work of all the participating visual and performing artists i was deeply impressed by the great respect toward nature and humanity as a part of it. the smallest thing was allowed to create its own beauty, the least important character was granted its complexity. so this is giving an idea how far you may advance the art of animated film.
the title is programme, but again a mark for the thoughtful balance of this oustanding art piece – a programme not only for the makers also for the recipient. so at least you have to decide how good Turn A Gundam might be for you…
…and. may be there is no turn back!
8: Seikai no Senki
English: Banner of the Stars
MAL Score: 7.70
Three years since the end of their intergalactic excursion, both Lafiel Abriel and Jinto Linn have reunited; Lafiel as the captain of the attack ship Basroil and Jinto as her supply officer. The restart of the war between the Abh Empire and the Triple Alliance thrusts the inexperienced duo into the forefront of the deadly conflict.
As the catastrophic battle between pure humankind and their greatest creation, the Abh, rages on, both sides accept that their conflict is not merely about territory, but about settling the inherent differences between themselves.
Seikai no Senki, or Banner of the Stars, is the 13 episode sequel to Crest of the Stars. It follows the development of the relationship between Lafiel, the Abh princess, and Jinto, son of the administrator of a planet that surrendered and got his family made into Abh nobility.
In Banner of the Stars, Lafiel is now captain of her own Assault ship. Jinto, who promised Lafiel that he would study hard and become a supply officer, has been requisitioned to join Lafiel’s crew aboard the Basroil. He brings with him Diaho, the ginger cat Lafiel bequeathed to him at the end of Crest of the Stars.
Banner of the Stars is about the Abh Empire’s quest to retake territories they lost to The United Mankind. As such, a majority of the story is made up of battle scenes, which are quite well done. The only drawback to the animation is that they re-used those scenes a LOT, similarly with the soundtrack, or I would have rated it a lot higher.
Character development again, is key. You identify with Jinto, and to a lesser extent, Lafiel. There are those characters that you love to hate, and those are well done also. Even Diaho, the cat, is a character in his own right.
The story was a lot better than Crest of the Stars, and overall Banner of the Stars was good, just not as outstanding as some of the other high quality recent releases.
When looking at an anime like Banner of the Stars I, it becomes an interesting task to put one’s own life into perspective. While they are dealing with space, war, and strategies, it makes our own problems seem miniscule in comparison. Forgetting to turn off the light in that room, misplacing the car keys, or not having something nice to wear for dinner become afterthoughts instead of vitally pressing issues. But what this next iteration in the Crest of the Stars series shows is that, despite such massive hardships encircling our persons, those insignificant details somehow always matter.
Banner of the Stars I takes place three years after the events of its predecessor, Crest of the Stars. Jinto has been educated as a supply manager, Lafiel has taken command of the assault vessel Basroil, and together, alongside a few other crew members, will be joining in the war against the Triple Nations Alliance.
Banner of the Stars I looks to separate itself slightly from its initial season by attempting to strike a more unified balance between the space-time exploits and the more grounded character exploration. Whereas the first season focused mostly on Jinto and Lafiel’s relationship with the war acting as the backdrop, the second season spreads out the character focus while having the war acting as the stage. What is given, then, is a look at the various people attached to the battles and a surprisingly high degree of diverse scenarios. For example, the anime will show the terror of fighting a disadvantaged battle or the bravery needed when abandoning a ship one moment and having crew members sit down for a drink or showcasing the commander and his chief-of-communications bicker about her love life the next. The aforementioned talk of perspective encompasses the entire season, showing that both the large scale conflicts and the smaller scale conversations are equally important.
And this is something that is desperately needed. Not that it can’t be one way or the other, but because the show requires both time and connections for the cast at play in order to make their inclusion meaningful. Having such brutality depicted means nothing if the majority of the pieces are expendable or forgettable. This obviously isn’t true for Jinto and Lafiel; we have their background and established relationship, and therefore their predicaments carry the most emotional weight. Which is why so much focus is placed on Samson the country-dad, Atosuryua the Hecto-Commander, Admiral Abriel the calm and persistent leader, and the insane Bebaus Brothers. But it also serves another purpose: showcasing the multitude of parts, or perspectives, on the war itself. Not everyone revels in the fighting for the same reasons. Lafiel does it out of honor, to prove her worth; Nereis does it to combat his and his family’s unkind reputation; and Admiral Spoor does it because she has nothing better to do. The sequences themselves are always well done, but because the anime nurtures the characters so equally, it makes them all more than just action without substance.
Unfortunately, Banner of the Stars I follows the same negative that Crest of the Stars employed, and that is losing itself thematically. There are essentially three different ideas being tossed around by the show: the concept of death, having a place, and knowing “who you are,” each of which revolves around Jinto. The first, on death, is looked at nicely enough. The previous event of Baron Febdash’s killing sparks thoughts in him, he witnesses destruction all around, and he has personal, near-death experiences. And so what is discussed are the “duties of the living” and learning that nobody, no matter their standing, has someone there who cares for them. Sort of piggybacking on this motif, “having a home” is loosely talked during particular scenes, but only when convenient and therefore being rather lackluster. The final theme of existentialism comes out of nowhere and only serves to cloud the already explored messages. The anime wants to tackle these ideas, but cannot, due to either time, focus, or (most likely) both. These halfhearted attempts thus serve as nothing more than hindrances in the end.
Much of the action and the “action” within Banner of the Stars I takes place within space and the inner confines of the vessels, respectively. The locales usually don’t contain a wealth of originality — space is expansive and black, space-time fusion is sometimes colorful, the main deck and other rooms are almost always bluish-gray, etc. — but they do contain a nice amount of detail. Banners, three-dimensional maps, aquariums, viewing windows; in order to combat the “staleness” of the environments, the show does what it can to make each one feel separate and unique.
The character designs remain more or less the same for Jinto, Lafiel, and Admiral Spoor (besides seeing her with her hair down). The newcomers each have their own signature looks — Samson with his scar, Ekuryua’s glazed eyes and short hair, and the Bebaus Brothers’ twin-style designs — are futuristic but not overly unrealistic. Alongside everyone’s respective war outfits, everyone fits the part. Also of note are the differing vessels — the attackers, the patrol ships, the flagships, etc. Some appear specialized (Spoor’s red-and-pronged behemoth), most appear similar (the Basroil’s black painting and anti-proton cannon are common, as are the United Mankind’s signature green ships), yet all are nicely detailed.
Banner of the Stars I contains many more battles and skirmishes when compared to its former season. For this reason, the actual animation is above-average. Lasers fly, mines target, explosions are rampant, battleships move, characters react; there is a plethora of opportunities for the anime to strut its stuff, and takes as many of these chances in which to do so.
As has already been pointed out, Banner of the Stars I effectively spreads out its resources when dealing with its characters. While this provides a more well-rounded experience, this leads to a poor side-effect: the stagnation of Lafiel and Jinto’s characters.
Crest of the Stars introduced, characterized, and developed our duo quite nicely throughout its run. This time, they simply seem to stagnate. Lafiel remains proud and determined, but doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as should be warranted to her. The show provides her with some humanization in the form of very tiny reactions and monologues when thinking or interacting with Jinto. But they’re rather insignificant and often ignored, even by her. Other insights are given — such as her stance on death and her convictions as a captain — but they only help to drive the story, not propel her character.
Jinto suffers the same fate. Even after taking into account all of his philosophical questioning, he never seems to take any of it to heart. Focusing solely on the most concentrated theme, the war surrounding him gives ample opportunities to try to understand life, death, and his position within it all. But there is no real resolution to the thinking; it merely ends once Lafiel comforts him by stating that she would most certainly be saddened by his passing. This peace of mind is cute, and while it moves their relationship forward ever so minimally, it unfortunately doesn’t mean much in relation to this season since so much time was spent away from the couple. If anything, Jinto pulls out marginally ahead of Lafiel due to Diaho. The cat garners a lot of attention, both from the crew members and from the narrative, serving as symbolism for what Jinto’s person should be. He is constantly debated on: with Diaho’s memories of others questioned, whether the ship is appropriate for him, and his seemingly carefree nature in terms of the situation. In other words, everyone (including Jinto) describes the lovable pet in such a way that is applicable both to him and his master. Diaho isn’t worried about death, doesn’t mind the home he has, and hasn’t questioned his being; he simply looks to enjoy the time he has now, doing what he loves (catching mice), relishing in other’s company, and experiencing what life has to offer. That is, having such a grandiose perception of the world may not always be the right way to take things. Sometimes, all that you need to worry about has been next to you this entire time.
The newfound focus on the side cast is a boon, despite it simultaneously being a hindrance to the main cast. There are essentially three other duos besides Jinto and Lafiel: Nereis and Nefee, Admiral Abriel and his chief-of-communications, and Admiral Spoor and her chief-of-communications. Despite all three of the couplings being more or less the “same,” each has their own nuances and specific interactions that make the war itself feel more human. The Bebaus Brothers are true siblings; they bicker and quarrel, but respect each other’s viewpoints. Abriel teases his right-hand officer constantly; quite uncharacteristic for the leader of the largest empire in the galaxy. And Spoor revels in riling up her closest confidant; she finds it more fun to be a sadist towards him than actually participating in the battles. Each dynamic never feels abnormal, even with the craziness of the skirmishes enveloping everyone. And it’s not just these pairings. Jinto and Ekuryua, Lafiel and Atosuryua, and Samson and Sobaash are other relationships that provide similar offerings: a unique and realistic set of interactions.
The OP remains nearly the same as the one used in Crest of the Stars. It’s majestic, orchestral, and fitting, making it a wise decision to keep it around for this season.
The ED is surprisingly good. The catchy drums, guitar, and vocals start off plain enough. But by the halfway point, the background singers kick in, and the power of the song does, too. Oddly, the song’s lyrics focus on love and togetherness when the majority of the season does not, making at least that aspect of the track rather puzzling.
Like the OP, the rest of the soundtrack remains relatively the same when compared to the first season. Synth, drum, and guitar tracks are used during tense moments, flute and piano pieces during the calm ones, and resounding trumpets and drums during those triumphant times. Once again, the track fits the anime well but doesn’t have the capability of standing on its own.
More reiteration, but voice-acting is again average across the board with no special shout-outs to be had.
This season was a bit more of a spectacle. Many of the fights in space were all over the place, in a good way. Directed attacks, multiple strategies, combat prowess, winning and losing; watching everything go down, both the good and the bad, was a lot more fun and involved. Especially since Jinto and Lafiel actually have impact in what eventually plays out.
And while the newer characters are fun and interesting, it was a shame to see such a drop in attention on Jinto and Lafiel’s relationship. I like their characters, and I like their dynamic — it reminds me of a husband and wife “arguing” about the smallest of problems. What was given falls in line with the way the previous season ended, but I would have liked more from them, both in progression and focus.
As it stands, Banner of the Stars I is a small improvement over its first season. With a stronger story, better animation, yet small dip in character development, what is offered is a nice continuation to an already established tale. Hopefully Jinto and Lafiel can juggle both their relationship and the war in the events to come.
Story: Good, balance of war and character exploration, varying perspectives, still thematically lost
Animation: Good, nice art style, good character and battleship designs, above-average actual animation
Characters: Good, Jinto and Lafiel stagnate somewhat, side-cast dynamics and characterization help to alleviate this issue
Sound: Good, good OP, good ED, nice soundtrack, okay VA work
Enjoyment: Good, cool space battles, fun new characters, but needed more focus on Jinto and Lafiel
Final Score: 7/10
Sarcasm aside, given just how utterly horrified I was by Crest of the Stars (scoring it a 1/10 in my review), you might wonder why I even bothered with the sequel. The thing is this – this show seemed to be more about its battle than about its political justifications, and given its undeniable artistic talent, I figured maybe there’s actually some scope for enjoyment here as long as you could put the god-awful politics aside – temporarily, at least. Unfortunately though, even on its own terms, the battle simply isn’t what it was initially made out to be – not unlike the prequel series. And on the other hand, it isn’t long before the horrible politics creep right back and break your immersion anyhow. This right here is the long and short of it – the rest of my review will be about justifying and elaborating on this stand.
The show starts off getting you up to speed with the current status quo, as well as the military logistics of the Abh fleet. It also introduces you to the crew of the attack ship Basroil captained by our lead character Lafiel Abriel, with our other lead Lin Jinto serving as a supply officer. A Terran combat veteran called Samson is notably part of the bridge crew, along with Ekuryua, a somewhat withdrawn and introverted Abh girl who seems overly attached to Jinto’s pet cat, and another Abh lady whose name I forget. Also introduced are the various Abh military commanders whom I’ll get to later. The show wastes no time getting into combat mode, and before you know it the introductions are over and you’re thrust into the immediacy of the war. One thing that the Seikai series as a whole does deserve credit for is its pacing.
Now there are two levels at which the battle is depicted: at the here-and-now tactical level, we’re shown the trials that the leads face and how they deal with them; and at the strategic level, we’re shown various higher-order commanders as they squabble amongst each other and come to crucial decisions. And here’s where it gets interesting: at the level of the here-and-now, the show puts you in the hot seat of the front-lines alongside Lafiel and her crew, and gives you the impression of a gritty and dogged battle against overwhelming odds. Every one in the bridge is practically sweating from the tension, and sirens start blaring across the board as one sector after another of the ship take increasing amounts of damage. The tactical breaks provide very little in the way of relief.
And in between all this, the focus shifts to the higher-order commanders as they deal with the bigger picture and strategic aspects of the battle. But in the war room, things seem almost downright boring – the commanders seem supremely sure of themselves to the point of detachment – one goes for a bath in the middle of all the fighting, and another makes a game of pestering his understaff about her personal relationships. All these ‘cute’ scenes in the high command ships are supposed to showcase the Abh’s supreme competence, and their capacity for mischievous joviality even in the heat of battle. But when the show nears its conclusion, all this charm comes undone when an Abh commander commits a shocking act that reveals what the real stakes of the battle were all along, and makes all their previous joviality and nonchalance come across as rather obscene in hindsight.
Another thing to note is that the battle is depicted solely from the Abh’s standpoint: you only get to see the Abh side of the strategising, and you only ever learn of United Mankind’s strategy or tactics through the obstacles the Abh side faces. So on one hand you get to see how chivalrously the Abh face off against their opponents; and on the other hand how dastardly the enemy is…because that’s what they tell you. One unintentionally good thing about this one-sided view of the war, though, is that the enemy is never given a face this time. You only get to see either their ships or mines being blown up. No dastardly, gratuitously-villainous, moustache-twirling military commanders from the ranks of United Mankind plague the screen this time around (that job is taken over by the Abh commanders, albeit unintentionally).
With that out of the way, it’s now time to address the Elephant in the Room i.e. the two-faced politics of this show. No, you saw this coming a mile away – and no, there’s no getting around this. Because quite simply, not only is it thematically central to the whole story, but it also taints and utterly poisons everything it comes into contact with. So anyways, we’re right back to what Crest of the Stars did worst – any humans who do not wholeheartedly and with tears of gratitude accept Abh overlordship are portrayed as corrupt, greedy, morally broke or otherwise generally pathetic. The president of the Aptic system, which the Abh forcefully took over, gives a defiant speech to never surrender to the Abh invaders – but he is shown to do so just to look good to his voters. He even suggests behind-the-scenes that the Abh retort with racist and condescending insults to spice things up for the cameras. The Abh’s offer to accept surrender from the Aptic government without imposing any deadline on them is made to look like a magnanimous act of generosity. Even those working for the Abh fare no better – a nation is shown to have joined with the Abh simply because the Abh didn’t object to their dietary habits whereas the Terran alliances were absolutely appalled (if you must know, they ate cats – no, I’m not making this up).
And then of course, there’s the United Mankind – the only force in the Galaxy that poses any credible threat to Abh dominion. Their policy is depicted not as a legitimate political resistance to the Abh’s unilateral aggression (which it easily could and should have been), but as a dogmatic mission to either enslave or exterminate the entire Abh race. And surely enough, they are portrayed as genocidal fascists (albeit off-screen this time) who do not consider the Abh to be human, and thus see it as fair game to disregard their enemy’s basic human rights – during combat or otherwise.
On the other hand, Abh commanders like Crown Prince Abriel and Baroness Spoor or even the Bebaus twins, whose actions would have clearly branded them as war criminals in just about any other narrative, are not only never (intentionally) made to look bad, but rather made to look like eccentric geniuses whose outwardly obnoxious antics belie just how “wonderful” and compassionate they supposedly are beneath the surface. The show accomplishes this with its singularly worst act of hypocrisy – while it’s abundantly clear to any rational person that these commanders took many of their decisions with a callous and blatant disregard for human lives, their actions are ultimately justified by the show on grounds that these decisions somehow end up working out for the best. A related point is how the show expects you to overlook all of Abriel’s needless endangerment of his own troops because he expresses the coy sentiment that he’d never be able to forgive himself if anything happened to Lafiel (his distant descendant) or Jinto. The exact same issue loomed in Crest of the Stars as well, and Banner of the Stars continues in the same dishonoured tradition.
Later on in the series, the Terran-born Prime Minister of the Abh Empire has a brief parting talk with the infamous eyepatch-wearing ambassador from the last series, where he praisingly refers to the Empire as “the only force in the galaxy that can impose modernity on the surface worlds”. That right there is the big pretext that the show provides to justify all of the Abh’s military aggression over anyone who seeks to oppose their completely one-sided dominion over humans. I continue to be surprised at how many people seem perfectly fine with this.
To make things worse, the show doesn’t just leave things be even here: even when the crew are on their down-time and just breathing, either reflecting on their lot or even just making small talk, the show takes every opportunity to illustrate how superior the Abh are in every conceivable shape and form, and just how hopelessly unattainable that superiority is to ordinary humans (again, this ties in with the show’s justification of the Abh’s forceful takeover of human worlds). It may not be as blatant as it was in Crest of the Stars – but it’s there, believe me. And it’s done much more subtly this time.
Which brings me to the show’s perhaps craftiest sleight-of-hand: during one of their breaks from the fighting, Jinto has a chat with Lafiel – reflecting upon his lot in life, the position he’s been thrust into, and his possible career options from that point on. Lafiel also shares some of the decisions she’s made about her own future. Throughout the span of that discussion, their relative lack of freedom and legroom within their position as Abh nobility gets brought up time and again, given just how pervasively it is a part of their reality. But under no circumstances is the Abh system itself, which is actually the root cause of their plight, ever brought into question or criticised. The most dumbfounding moment is when Jinto briefly contemplates giving up his title as Count of Hyde and simply returning to his homeworld, but then decides against it because he thinks the people would look down upon him for chickening out of his role as their overlord. Are you KIDDING me?! The people of Martine long for Independence from Abh dominion, and if an involuntarily-appointed governor were to turn down that post and return home, that would make a bold and heroic political statement against the Abh, and the people would have welcomed him home as a goddamned HERO!! Nope, Jinto has no choice (in his own mind, at least) but to continue in his dual roles as a petty officer in the Star Forces on one hand, and a puppet figurehead for Abh rule on his homeworld on the other. Interestingly though, there is one character (and an Abh one at that, to boot) who implicitly criticises the ways of the royals, but the show plays it away as an intentionally spiteful remark made by someone holding a personal grudge, rather than a genuine grievance.
On the technical side of things, the animation is somewhat better than the positively freakish fare that you had to endure last time. The sound and audio cues are pretty much exactly the same as last time, and they mostly do their job quietly and unobtrusively. The opening score, on the other hand (and especially the eerily ominous drum-rolls whenever the voice-over narrator or anyone else speaks Abh-tongue), made me feel deeply uneasy and nauseous – in much the same way that Richard Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyrie” today invokes imagery of cold-blooded monstrosity because of its rather unfortunate appropriation by the Nazi regime.
As for the characters, things are more or less exactly as they were in the last series. Jinto once again proves himself to be an accomplished sycophant. This time around, he is given more space to “develop” – as in, more airtime to express his self-pity with melodramatic wistfulness. Among other things, he broods that no one will miss him when he dies (awwww), and that he won’t be around for as long as Lafiel. You know what, his worries might be unfounded – even in his early twenties, he still looks like a 14-15 year-old, and still retains a husky adolescent voice…maybe he has defied the odds and hit the genetic lottery after all! The show also tries to “humanize” Jinto by showing how he winces and cringes in embarrassment at having to read out the Abh’s official statements of hostile takeover, but it’s a diversion from the plain-and-simple fact that he is perfectly OK with what the Abh are actually doing – the hypocrisy on display is simply sickening. Lafiel is, of course, exceedingly good to Jinto as always, and unfailingly dutiful to her crew – but underneath even that generous and dutiful personality is an uncritical mind, and an unwavering loyalty to the very system that serves to oppress her (and not to mention entire planets besides).
Overall, Banner of the Stars retains the core essence of what made Crest of the Stars so sickening and reprehensible. But where Crest of the Stars provoked shock and outrage, Banner was more of just constantly annoying. The stakes are not something you can sympathise with without rooting for criminal invaders, and that’s primarily what breaks the immersion factor whenever you’re reminded of it. As for the battle itself, as gripping as it may initially seem, it proves to be more one-sided than it was made out to be, and basically depicts the wholesale slaughter of conveniently “evil” enemies in a glorifying light. If it seems “better” than Crest of the Stars, that’s only because it has less obviously-offensive scenes, and instead goes for making subtler insinuations during the more “quiet-time” interactions between the characters. And finally, as much as you may try, it proves impossible to separate the artistic good from the thematic poison of this show, as every event and every interaction is inextricably linked to its reprehensible ideas. It proves once again that it’s just not possible to make good wine from bad grapes.
MAL Score: 7.85
Based on the Shogakukan award-winning manga of the same name, InuYasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old girl whose normal life ends when a demon drags her into a cursed well on the grounds of her family’s Shinto shrine. Instead of hitting the bottom of the well, Kagome ends up 500 years in the past during Japan’s violent Sengoku period with the demon’s true target, a wish-granting jewel called the Shikon Jewel, reborn inside of her.
After a battle with a revived demon accidentally causes the sacred jewel to shatter, Kagome enlists the help of a young hybrid dog-demon/human named Inuyasha to help her collect the shards and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Joining Kagome and Inuyasha on their quest are the orphan fox-demon Shippo, the intelligent monk Miroku, and the lethal demon slayer Sango. Together, they must set aside their differences and work together to find the power granting shards spread across feudal Japan and deal with the threats that arise.
There are flaws in the overall composition. Things one might ask themselves like; why, if you KNEW you we’re going to be trekking across feudal Japan for months on end, would you bring only one outfit? And more importantly why would it be your Junior High School uniform – i.e. a bright green miniskirt?
Regardless, the story itself is very weak, as its the random plot arcs and ridiculous character relations that really make the show. To summarize, a young girl falls down a well at her family’s shrine, only to be transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she frees a grumpy dog eared half demon man who is stuck to a tree (The result of a bad breakup) and ends up breaking a magical mystical artifact that then shatters into a bazillion pieces. Ditzy teenage girl and pissy dog demon guy now must work together to find all the shards of “The Sacred Jewel” before the bad guys do. Sure there’s another load of subplots – pointless, funny and romantic alike – but we’ll get to that.
Although the premise is simplistic it does expand further along in the story, but only if one likes the show enough initially to move on in the series through the 160 + episodes.
The subplots and the arcs are what make this series entertaining. (And also agonizing if the arc you’re in bores you to tears) We’ll have run ins with random demons and get mixed up with numerous characters who may or may not come and go. Each plot brings changes and the characters do a very good job of growing and evolving as a result. The series does, despite its episodic nature, still follow some sense of linearity. Development in the characters remain as they would in a real person. (This excludes the Inuyasha movies, unfortunately)
Despite all that, its still one of those series that makes it very easy to drop in at any time and figure things out eventually. I watched from the middle first before I decided I loved the show and went back to see the beginning – which was drastically different to me considering the amount of change that takes place from beginning to middle to end.
I can’t go into detail very well considering the story, as there is so much of it its hard to find a place to start. The elements of the setting and time really come into play with the presence of the spirits and demons all of which offer a uniqueness all to its own. The multiple love triangle issues are superficial but also complex, so there is a degree of decent conflict in that regard. I also really appreciate personally how the development of the relationship between the two main characters, Inuyasha and Kagome, is gradual.
Coming to the characters, there are many. Too many to identify them all in this review. This is a great thing about the show, but can also be annoying and for the casual observer, confusing as hell. I’ll touch on the main characters at least:
Kagome is a really plain Junior High School girl. As a heroine she starts out pathetically dull and often comes off as a total ditz. However if you give her a chance she does show you how she can grow to be a capable human being despite the fact that she is a 15 year old idiot running around feudal Japan in a miniskirt. Throughout the show we find shes short tempered, opinionated and rash, but she does keep a sense femininity intact somehow. She also retains an ability to sympathize with and care for the people she comes to know. What I love about her is that she starts out completely incompetent. Literally she is nothing but a Mary-Sue-ish teenage airhead with little care in the world aside doing well in school, and she morphs (gradually) into a priestess who can use a bow and even protect herself. She – going through the show constantly compared to the priestess Kikiyo (Details will become clear if you decide to watch the show) she makes a deliberate effort to break free of that confine and become her own person, and I like that.
Inuyasha is also a great source of character development. I know I keep saying “Development development development!” but really is one of the biggest things this show has going for itself. I almost see this anime as some kind of document of how Inuyasha becomes a man. Hes over 50 years old but despite that he is extremely childish, boorish and often rude and annoying. He also works pretty hard to gain strength and create a name for himself. He is an ‘underdog’ (lol puns) and also has a bit of a Gary-Stu thing going for him. Being a half demon with a snobby older brother and a messed up undead ex-girlfriend gives him a lot of stuff to complain about.
The characters ARE shallow. But their relationships are entertaining and – if you get all the way to the end of this series and the short Inuyasha Sequel: Inuyasha the Final Act – are rewarding to see until the end.
I’ll keep the review of the art quick in saying that it is very traditional for the time it was made. Its got a lot of square and rectangular shapes and brightly colored character designs that fit in well with its shounen genre. The style is very consistent, budget obviously allowed for lots of attention to detail and a tone of seriousness. It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi’s earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980’s. Almost a retro anime style if you get my meaning. Movies have much more bold and sharp lines. Character designs could use work (I can’t get over the miniskirt thing, I’m sorry. Its just too stupid. And I get really sick of Inuyasha never wearing anything but his giant red.. thing)
Even quicker, my opinion of the sound. The music is diverse and beautifully complex. One of the best parts of the show. Multiple opening and ending themes, background music all magical and perfectly suitable to the time period. Voice acting is always better in Japanese. English is very harsh on the ears, I strongly dislike it nowadays.
Very long review and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Inuyasha, as I see it, is a classic shounen. Its time in the limelight long passed when it made room for Naruto and Bleach to move in on the scene. For those of you who can take a long series and like the sound of this show, give it a shot. Perhaps google a list of filler episodes you might feel like skipping if this does tickle your fancy. Inuyasha does have something for everyone. From the action to the supernatural, to the romantic and the historical. Its a story hard to place and hard to review with a fair share of chaos and confusion. Its a mess, really. But its a big fun mess if you’re willing to see it through.
As always, keep good humor in mind while watching. This show is bananas and it will make you want to throw objects at the screen from time to time.
For now, I tip my hat to Inuyasha. I thank it for showing me this world, showing me complexity and hilarity, and for showing me how flaws can be celebrated for their entertainment just as well as the parts that shine.
The storyline is basic and very easy to follow, however the story does seem to drag on, so if you have patience with animes this could be for you.
The characters are pure genius, each with their own running joke. Each character (with the exception of Kagome) has a dark and kind of upsetting past often including the death of a loved one. My favourite is Miroku by far. He is a perverted womanising monk who flirts with pretty much any girl. However, some characters, like Shippo (an adorable fox demon), have a minor role with little or no fight scenes. (Then again that’s a small part of his jokes).
The fights are good, lots of blood in some places. However the fights are short and it seems to always be Inuyasha doing most of the work. (As he has stated a few times). The others seem to be back up and use the same moves. For example, Sango, a demon slayer, uses her Hirakotsu (a giant boomerang often used hitting Miroku when he flirts with other girls or touches her butt) but she has a sword which rarely gets used. I think I’ve seen it 3 times and then I can only remember when she is about to use it on Kohaku (her little brother who has no memory of killing their whole village because he’s being controlled by the main bad guy).
The romance is my favourite part in all of the series. It’s more sweet than it is romantic. But it’s the sort that makes you feel all warm inside. I’m sad to say that the romance barely progresses. (Apart from Miroku and Sango). And there is a really big love net. But like I said, it sweet in a LOT of places.(Oh, for you fan girls, I know Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s brother, is a favourite. Oh, I’m not a fan girl.)
All in all, Inuyasha is a good anime (and my favourite). Watch it if you have patience and love a good laugh, fight sometimes full of blood and sweet romantic bits in an anime.
After the intoduction of the fourth protagonist ( Sango), apart from a few side-stories, the plot essentially deteriorates into a viscous cycle. In a few occasions it seems there will be some new development, but I was dissapointed when the same-old thing happened again. The fillers were heavily Naruto-like, admittedly better.
Overall: I think the series can be alot better, but if you like extended series, this could be for you.
6: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S
English: Sailor Moon S
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン S
MAL Score: 7.86
The Sailor Guardians and their leader, Sailor Moon, continue their duty of protecting Earth from any who would dare cause it harm. However, Sailor Mars’ apocalyptic visions and the appearance of two new guardians—Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus—signal that a new battle will soon begin.
These newcomers seek three Talismans that are inside the Pure Heart Crystals within human beings. Once brought together, these objects form The Holy Grail, a magical relic with extraordinary abilities. They want to use the Grail to save the world, but an evil organization known as the Death Busters seeks its power for their own desires.
The removal of a Talisman from a person’s Heart Crystal will cause their death, something that Uranus and Neptune see as a necessary sacrifice to form the Grail, while Sailor Moon and her group deem it unforgivable. But can any sacrifice be worth the cost if it saves the lives of the entire human race?
It has always been a peeve of mine when a story develops to a point and then mystically finds itself reverting back. Sailor Moon S suffers from the introduction of some pretty unlikable characters plus the reintroduction of an annoying one. The later is Chibi-Usa, the future daughter of Usagi and Mamoru who pointlessly returns from the future, apparently to just become a pest. The progress made in the relationship between Usagi and Chibi-Usa apparently is meaningless as we are again treated to constant arguing and disrespect shown to her “mother”. Honestly the whole time I just wanted Usagi to take her over her knee and throttle her back to the future. Even more inexplicable is Chibi Usa’s constant interference in Usagi’s and Mamoru’s relationship. I mean she does realize if they aren’t together she won’t be born… right?
The other new characters are the introduction of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. A pair of completely unlikeable, cruel, and arrogant girls who never do answer for their own crimes as they ruthlessly pursue their own goals. Their rude and despicable attitude towards Usagi and the other guardian senshi despite being saved by them multiple times made them, for me at least, difficult to like.
For the most part these are my early impressions, and made it hard to get through the series until it starts to reach its climax. Chibi-Usa does become less annoying and she really isn’t in the series as much as it appeared she was going to be by the end. Though my dislike for Uranus and Neptune remained until the end. The story is pretty good but really not as strong as the first two series. The motivations of the villains don’t feel as defined as in previous seasons and the plot really feels repetitive for almost three quarters of the show. The weaknesses of the first two series remain, though the action is a little better. Mostly because of the addition of the new warriors the numbers of combinations increase which makes the battles a little more diverse. Though they are still pretty boring. I also felt that the Inner Senshi characters that are really important took too much of a backseat to the unlikable Outer Senshi. While each girl does have a couple episodes devoted to them it does feel like they have been mostly neglected. Also the romance elements were almost nonexistent in this series, which was a major disappointment for me. Despite all these things, the ending arc is very well done and I did enjoy the whole Sailor Saturn/Mistress 9 part of the story.
The art is probably the best it has been up to this point. Though there are a number of issues I had with the animation. Mostly this has to do with the really silly and overly long cut scenes, the biggest offender being Usagi’s use of her special attack. Really was all that dancing around and spins necessary? Also the music really suffers here as well with the introduction of some of the corniest anime music I have ever heard. Now when the sailors transform we get treated to individual songs for each girl. I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry when listening to it.
Overall though I still did end up liking this series, and it is particularly saved by the last arc involving Sailor Saturn. It has a number of flaws but it is still the Sailor Moon I know and love. It seems to know when you are really getting annoyed or frustrated with something and stops in time before you want to turn it off. Fans of the first two seasons will still enjoy this but you will probably be a little let down, particularly on the romance side, like I was.
Now I think this is one of the precious animes I have ever seen because it is funny un childish in its sort kind of way, it is romantic and a little bit nude but isn’t too pervert to show to children, it shows different kind of situations that could happen in real life too (mostly metaphorical of course) and it shows that bravery and good friends are most valuable think in world.
It is good anime because of these situations which teaches us to be brave and never give up. At least from this anime I learned that and now I never give up and continuing to be brave when it is needed.
We open with a new threat. One that gives our heroines a cold sweat. They call themselves the Death Busters. Emerging from deep dimensional clusters. At the same time new soldiers appear. Representing a new era, we have Uranus and Neptune, both quite queer. I don’t mean that in any kind of demeaning sense. So please don’t take offence. It’s quite literally true. These girls quickly cause yuri to ensue. The Death Busters are seeking talismans for reasons unknown. The Sailor Soldiers seek to make them atone. First, however, they must discover the talisman’s locale. As well as Uranus and Neptune’s motivations and rationale. Can they stop these villain from stealing the crystals of people’s hearts? What’s the best way to bring down these upstarts?
There’s only one real narrative failing. At times the story seems to be flailing. Rather than pushing forward and progressing with the story. Fighting further monsters gives them glory. In all fairness, filler episodes are nothing new. The positive side to it is that they allow the characters to develop their dynamics without much ado.
On to more positive aspects. The narrative works in many respects. The battle against the Busters has some high tension. The whole conflict with Uranus and Neptune, revolving around differences in outlook, adds dimension. This is also the funniest the series has ever been. With plenty of humorous episodes and many a comedic scene. There’s also some strong romance. Not betwixt Mamoru and Usagi, they’ve already blown their chance. The romance between Uranus and Neptune is really strong. You can tell that together they belong. There’s also a budding romance when Hotaru and Chibi-Usa meet. It’s really very sweet. The climactic battle is very intense. Containing several factors for suspense. It makes for quite interesting viewing. Seeing the plans that have been built up and the attempts at their undoing.
The cast in this works really well. Adding Haruka, Michiru & Hotaru really helps it excel. The three all get fleshed out back stories. Which help elevate them above simple categories. The villains are also quite interesting, I must profess. The way they’re written has finesse. Like the other villains we’ve seen, they’re quite sympathetic. They aren’t just evil for the evils and unapologetic. You actually feel for them and hope to see them mend their ways. Before they find themselves going out in a blaze. Our favourite soldiers all make a triumphant return. Complete with more facets still for us to learn. I also have to admit that Chibi-Usa is vastly improved. With her more annoying attributes from the last series virtually removed. The character dynamics are very strong. Especially given that the cast has become a veritable throng.
The artwork in this looks quite dated. It’s not bad but it’s also not to be venerated. It has the usual over-used stock footage attacks. It also spends too much time with the transformations and those are facts. That being said, the backgrounds can look pretty nice. The series also has some more active action sequences that help add spice. All things considered, it all looks decent enough. Albeit it can be a bit rough.
The series brings back its already stellar cast. With additions for the new characters amassed. Ogata Megumi, Minaguchi Yuko & Katsuki Masako all make their appearance. Fitting in with perfect adherence. All the acting is quite terrific. With many actresses prolific. The music was composed by Arisawa Takanori and it’s really good. Helping convey the mood and build the atmosphere as it should.
S has more yuri than the first two series of Sailor Moon. In that area,, the addition of Haruka & Michiru is quite the boon. These two have les-yay with all five main sailor soldiers, Haruka especially. There’s even a scene where Ami, Rei, Makoto & Minako compete over which of them will dance with her when she’s back from dancing with Usagi, freshly. That being said, it’s their dynamic together that’s truly a sight to behold. It just gets cuter as we watch it unfold. We also get Chibi-Usa and Hotaru’s relationship. It’s certainly no stranger to skin-ship. There’s also a nice little scene where Ami gets jealous seeing Rei with another girl. Only to have really obvious relief when she discovers that it was perfectly innocent and not a romantic whirl.
That’s it for Sailor Moon S, how does it hold up? Well, it’s quite strong in terms of set-up. The characters get fleshed out and developed well. Their relationships are certainly swell. The artwork holds up the least. The rest of the attributes are surprisingly uncreased. Of the three I’ve looked at so far, I’d say this is the best. Being a definitive cut above the rest. In terms of rating, a 9/10 is how I’d rate it. Although I’m sure, like the first series, the English dub is shit. Starting this Sunday I’ll go into this year’s film festival week since it seems like good timing. Although those reviews will be sans the rhyming. I’ll start with Kara no Kyoukai Mirai Fukuin since starting with a KnK film has become a habit. So let’s see what’s in store for the world they inhabit. Thanks for sticking with me for three hundred reviews. I hope my words have helped amuse.
5: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
English: Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン セーラースターズ
MAL Score: 7.92
Like the R Season, Sailor Stars is divided into two arcs:
The first arc (also filler) solves some conflicts from the SuperS season, and also sees the return of the Outer Senshi, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru (now reborn as a child).
The second arc is the actual plot from the manga. Usagi bids farewell to Mamoru, who is going to America to study abroad. In his place comes the Three Lights, an idol trio consisting of three boys, Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten. The new enemy is Galaxia, a woman who desires to rule the entire galaxy by collecting the Star Seeds of humans. Three new Senshi appear, the Sailor Starlights, who also intend to stop Galaxia without Sailor Moon’s help.
First of all, let me tell you, I can agree on why Sailor Moon Sailor Stars wasn’t licensed for the american dub version. If you watch this series, you will find out why. But enough with that matter, let me tell you what I thought of this amazing season of Sailor Moon.
I personally thought the story deserved higher that a 6, at that matter. The story was actually well thought out and planned detail to detail. Naoko Takeuchi had really improved since SuperS. I mean, how the new characters incorperated right into the story perfectly. The Starlights added a new sense of different careers in the story and how Seiya tried his/her best to be like a ‘new’ Mamoru for Usagi.
The art had pretty much improved since SuperS, in my opinion. The detail and different colors use to express the characters was amazing. I really thought that the design of the new senshi outfits was absolutly genius! Also, I must say, Sailor Moon’s Moon Tier was really detailed and perfetly executed the attacks every episode.
The sound in the series really got me into the season more and more. The new opening theme really changed the sense of the series after the same theme song season after season. Change was definetly in order. But I must admit, some of the songs the 3 Lights sang weren’t very good in my opinion. I understand they were looking for their princess for a very long period of time but I never got use to the songs they sang.
The Starlights intro into the series really up-ed my opinion on the rating of Character. Yet, in the anime, how they were changed into Male to Female really didn’t make me happy. I’m sure Naoko diefinetly felt the same way. Anyways, away from that matter, I believe that most of the characters didn’t change that much, yet I enjoyed how they comforted Usagi in her hard times.
The enjoyment of the series difinetly deserved a 10/10 in my opinion. The story brought along many happy, sad, romantic, ect., to the series. I think that Naoko did an exceptional job on this season and the manga at that.
Overall, this series deserves a 10/10! The series was outstanding to me and was one of the first anime I watched when I was young. The series always kept me at the edge of my seat and I really enjoyed some humor here and there. If you are in the mood for an amazing series, I highly reccomend this series to any mahou shoujo anime fan out there. The series was excellent to me and I bet any Sailor Moon fan would agree.
There’s plenty of new scouts from other galaxies and other leaded by another princess. It also features a cool idol group as some of the season’s new characters.
This season was the last season of Sailor Moon and it was never dubbed in English during it’s original release. This season may be still new news to some fans who just watched and were familiar with the original English dub.
Break from Mini Moon-
And of course we get a break from Mini Moon. Even though she is still an important character in it’s first episodes, she does get a break and doesn’t appear through the second arc of this season. This could be a relief to some fans after SuperS.
Yes, this season has plenty of hardships, downfalls, and Sailor Moon will be find herself very heartbroken at times.
Villains are scouts-
Yes! I mentioned there was drama. Not only are there new scouts called the Starlights, the villains themselves are also scouts, which makes it hard to know who to trust.
This is all around a super season and is a must watch for fans. Despite the flaws that Tuxedo Mask is absent from the second arc (but it’s for a reason), and the outers appear very little times. It’s still it’s a great season and you won’t be disappointed.
And this last season was the best one (I missed Mamoru-chan but.. ^^).. We saw friendship, love, longing, and also determination and faith.. of course with the sufficient amount of humour ^^ It has everything in it, and it is an anime that I’d show my children..
Everybody should watch this classic, imo. The storyline, the characters, fight scenes.. all of them were 10/10 for me ^^
(Should I begin watching it again?? ^^)
4: Ginga Sengoku Gunyuuden Rai
English: Galaxy Warring State Chronicle Rai
MAL Score: 7.92
Rai is a space opera that fuses feudal Chinese and Japanese customs with vast galaxy spanning empires and space-going societies. The story follows the life and times of the samurai Rai, and the quest of several spacefaring factions for control of territory and, of course, the Empire.
The story never slows down and keeps us always interested even if it change sometimes the mood going from light comedy to serious war drama.
And look out for the opening and ending one being a very heroic animation and song and the other sad and dramatic animation and song.
I love how the story went on. It will not give you any chance to be bored. The setting may not be your usual setting because its like the old history meets the sci-fi setting which kind of unique. Even though that this primary tackles war, the development was not dragging and will keep you interested with different other things like a little comedy on the side and depths of the characters.
Since this is an old anime, the art is quite good comparing to the anime that was shown in the same year.
One thing that I always remembered about this anime is the opening song. I recalled that every time the TV starts to play the opening song, whenever I am in the house, I will definitely rush in front of out TV set, and I even compete with my classmates in singing its opening and ending songs.
The things that I love the most here are the characters. I believe they are well developed. The characters was able to justify the story and they did what they supposed to be doing, keeps the audience interested. I remembered that I did shed tears when one of the main characters died.
As you can see, I really did enjoy this anime, if you’re looking for classic kick ass anime, I really recommend you watching this.
3: Kodomo no Omocha (TV)
MAL Score: 8.05
Sixth grader Sana Kurata has a perfect life. Her mother is a (fairly) successful author, she has a young man employed to keep her happy and safe, and best of all, she is the star of the children’s television show Kodomo no Omocha. There’s just one thing bothering her, and that’s Akito Hayama.
Akito is a classmate of Sana’s, and ever since he’s started acting out in class, the rest of the boys have followed his example. Every day, the girls and the teacher wage a battle to keep the class under control and to get some actual learning done. That rotten Akito… Sana won’t stand for this!
The hyperactive Sana decides to dig deeper and find out what makes Akito tick, so class can go back to normal and the teacher can stop spending every day crying instead of teaching. But the more she learns about him, the more she realizes that there might be more to Akito than meets the eye.
Kodocha was the very first anime series I watched from start to finish. Yes, this show was definitely worth finishing. Overall, this anime is a 10, even though outward appearances don’t suggest so. Never judge a show solely on its art.
My friend referred me to Kodocha, saying I’ll definitely like it, but at the time I wasn’t interested in anime, so I wasn’t sure.
I was curious enough to watch it. Admittedly, I was really not impressed with the beginning of the show (Beginning as in, the first five minutes. I guess I saw the pastel colors, so I was a little put off). Quite frankly, I don’t know why I didn’t drop the show within those five minutes, but I’m glad I didn’t.
After the first episode, I was hooked. I don’t know about other watchers, but I was up until the darkest hours of the night watching one episode after another. Each episode ends with a little cliffhanger (sometimes you’re blindsided by a shocking event at the end of an episode), and it’s enough to make you want more.
The story was interesting enough to create an addict out of me. There are a lot of interesting plot points. I suppose there is no singular plot, but there are little “plotlets” that somehow connect in a weird way. In other words, when one problem is resolved, another one forms. It may seem like another cutesy shojo anime, but there are a lot of serious moments as well.
The Art…fair, at best. My standards are high when it comes to artwork (think Satoshi Kon or Makoto Shinkai). The pastel was off-putting for me because the characters and backgrounds seemed washed out. Yes, I am well-aware that this anime was made in 1996, so the art is definitely impressive for its time.
I liked the sound. I really did. Especially the english dub, because Sana’s voice was spot-on. Many people say that Akito’s voice sounded too old in the dub, but I thought it suited the character just fine. His was my favorite voice in the dub. I also enjoyed the zany music (especially the “Kodocha Mambo” and all of Sana’s raps) and the appropriate (not cheesy) music was played during the sad and/or touching moments.
The characters are cute and lovable or wacky, yet endearing. Each character is very different, and I think you can find something to love or hate (good character development means that nobody’s perfect) about each of them. Sana is amazing. She runs by the high of life (and the occasional energy drink) and she has the bubbly personality that everyone likes. But Akito is by far my favorite character. He’s he strong, silent type that seems rough on the outside, but you can tell he has a good heart. If he were real, I would definitely pursue him.
I enjoyed the entire show from start to finish. The funny moments made me laugh out loud, some of the sad moments made me cry (and I don’t cry easily), and the overall crack-craziness of the show was enough to make my entire week.
This was the show that led me into the world of otaku. Good or bad, I’m not sure. I’ve watched a lot more anime since then, but no other series or movie can quite compare with Kodocha. Some have come very close, but they barely missed the mark that Kodocha set. This show will always be number one in my book.
Im serious i was sooo lost at the end of the anime it didn’t make any sense. Although the manga is wayyyy more serious than the anime it makes a lot more sense at the end than the anime and it has a better anime.
P.S. this series may be hard to find i dont know why but every single time the series gets deleted then re-added on youtube. You might wanna try www.veoh.com it has better results for anime than youtube n_n
I am sure that the sellers didn’t know how rare and valuable the series was but I took the advantage anyway and decide to buy the Kodocha DVDs for the total of £26.00 making the second cheapest out of print anime I have ever brought only losing to Bezz My-Hime Anime Legends complete collection set which I brought for £15 on my local CEX store. A week later I got myself the set and I immediately binge-watch it and after watching both season 1 (Episode 1-51) DVD and season 2 (Episode 52-102) online am going to be truly honest with you. This show is not only the best romance anime I have ever seen but it’s also one of the best animes I have ever seen period.
Like with Eureka Seven, My Hero Academia, Full Moon Wo Sagashite and Gundam Build Fighters I never really expected this show to be good but man did this show proves me wrong in every way possible. This was the anime that made not judge an anime based on its cover because while this show has a funky childish cover but man this show completely fooled me because outside the goofy cover this show is pretty dark.
So what made this show so great you may ask? You will soon find out.
The story of Kodocha follows Sana Kurata who is a star of a popular TV show called child’s toy while being in 5th grade. One originally day at school as she goes into class the boys in her class are raising hell. The ringleader of the group Akito has counted the teacher into silence in some sort of blackmail. So, the boys are free too, reach havoc as they please. Very determined too, lead a normal school life Sana targets the ringleader Akito with all of her energy and the relationship and daily lives of Sana and Akito begin.
Now, what do I think of the story of Kodocha? The story of Kodocha is executed perfectly. The story starts off a very simple as boy’s vs girl’s rivalry but as the series progresses it story become surprisingly complex and it becomes a great coming of age story.
The one that I really liked about Kodocha is how it was able to synergize its comedy and romance elements meaning it’s was able to have a nice blend of comedy and romance.
The one problem that I have with a lot of romcom anime in recent memory is how they don’t have a balance of romance and comedy elements meaning they have one genre element taking over the other which is not a good thing for a romcom anime
Kodocha doesn’t suffer from any of those problems because the show knows how to an element in an appropriate manner. The comedy in Kodocha is just amazing because not only they are funny and original but the execution and the timing for the jokes are flawless.
The pacing in Kodocha is great. It knows hows to pace itself for certain arcs and scenes and too, be honest you will never get bored when watching this show.
Surprisingly the show really explores really hard-hitting themes and social topics such as child abuse, divorced parents, teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and adoption and these themes are explored in a very mature way too, the point where the viewer can sympathize with the characters.
Also, when those themes are explored the show goes into a different tone that is suitable for those themes and this show knows how to to use its tone correctly as well blend them.
The one thing I loved about Kodocha is the use of foreshadowing. As early as episode 8 the show does a brilliant job at foreshadowing later events that will happen.
On top, of the shows great directing and clever dialogue Kodocha is very unpredictable with its writing which the writing itself it was great, to begin with.
Kodocha is an anime that will make you laugh, cry, happy and it will keep your edge too, your seats from to finish with great plot twists great and interesting arcs and good pacing.
Overall the story of Kodocha was amazing from start to finish and it’s easily favourite coming of age story in all anime.
When it comes to the characters in Kodocha I thought they were all pretty awesome.
Sana Kurata is an 11-year-old cute redheaded TV film star girl with an uncontrollably hyper and active personality.
Sana is just an amazing character. She starts off a simply uncontrollably hyper character with a lot of passion but as the series progresses she becomes an amazing multi-dimensional character with lots of emotion and depth. Sana is a perfect example of flawed charterer in anime. She is a chararter who barely reacts to emotions and love and every time when facing the reality of life, she will just sing a song so she can keep her positive outlook on life. This obviously, later on, backfires on her because as series progresses others chararters like Akito, Fuka, Tsuyoushi, and Misako start to make Sana face reality where they are grown out of Sana antics completely where they tell her to take life more seriously. Her chararter development in the series is fantastic as this hyperactive girl slowly transforming into a mature young girl who is able to understand love and people feelings.
Overall Sana Kurata is an amazing character and she became one of my favourite female characters of all time.
Next up we have Akito. I personally really like this character Like Sana he is a multi-dimensional character who is realistically flawed in his own right. Not to mention I really adored his character development from start to finish.
Also despite being a troublesome stoic individual he actually cares for Sana deeply. Not to mention he’s chararter reactions towards the other chararters including Sana was great.
His character chemistry with Sana was just awesome as they start off as enemies but as the series goes on they eventually stop being enemies and they start helping with other peoples problems and eventually in the second half of the show they start having feelings for each other.
Overall Akito is an awesome character and he’s easily one of the best Shoujo main leads I have seen in anime.
Misako is easily one of the best moms in anime. She is a great mother figure to Sana she is very likeable and very entertaining to watch and she has a great and well-told backstory. This is how you do a mom-type character.
Rei is another great character that I really liked and he is a great surrogate father figure for Sana. Like with Misako Rei has a really tragic and well-told backstory that the audience can relate.
Tsuyoushi is Akito best friend and the main voice of reason for Akito. Like with the other characters I just mention he is also another fascinating and well-written character that I really enjoyed from start to finish.
Naozumi is another fascinating character I really liked.
Like with Sana he is an orphan where he was abandoned as a baby and both Sana and Naozumi used to spend time a lot with each.
He also has a great story/character arc that was well executed. He’s an also a great love interest for Sana and I really liked the love rivalry with Akito as they fight who is worthy of being Sana’s girlfriend
Fuka gets a special mention to me because she gets a lot of hate from fans of the show for being a backstabber and overall annoying but I actually don’t Fuka as a character, in fact, I liked her quite a bit. Sure I will admit she can be a bit of a pain of the ass to deal with in the beginning but the end of the series she does redeem herself as a charter.
The rest of the characters are all pretty great that have a lot of charm into them.
Overall the characters in Kodocha are perfect. This is easily one of my favourite charter cast in anime.
Visually Kodocha has surprisingly has aged well for the most part least. Studio Gallop really did a great job on the charterers designs, character moment, and the backgrounds scenery while dated was still pretty solid for what it is. It totally has aged well and for a 102 episode series that’s really impressive. If I had any nitpicks with the shows visuals than it would be some use of recycled animation in some of the episodes.
Other than that the visuals were pretty good for the most part.
The soundtrack is honestly great and well executed.
There wasn’t a dull track whatsoever and all of the tracks fit the tone of the series perfectly. My favourite track from Kodocha is hands down Always Be With You. This song is amazingly well made as it perfectly captures the tone with the more emotional moments of the series. Other favourite tracks include Sana Tomorrow, Don’t Cry For Me, Vitamin Love, Goodbye Love, Harmony of Sana and Hayama, Sepia Wind and Kennema De Fuka.
Both openings of Kodocha were really good, catchy and they really fit the mood and the tone of the show. I personally prefer opening 2 over opening 1.
As for the ending themes they were all great.
The first ending theme Panic by Still Small Voice is a great catchy ending theme that I adore. Easily one of my favourite anime ending themes.
While I wasn’t a fan of the second ending theme DAIJO-BU by Tomoko Hikita at first however as time went by the second ending theme grew on me to a point where I liked it as much as the first ending theme.
The Third Ending theme Pinch (Love Me Deeper)” by Rina Chinen is one of my favourite anime ending themes period as it was very catchy and it song itself fits well with the second season of Kodocha as a whole.
Now for sub vs dub.
Both are honestly fantastic for what they All of the actors in both dub and sub really did a great performance in the roles.
Funimation did an amazing job with the dub overall and it added more life to this wonderful series.
Laura Bailey did a fantastic job at voicing the hyperactive Sana Kurata. She is filled with range and her portrayal of Sana was amazing. Easily the best performance in the dub.
The rest of the voice actors did a great job in the roles.
If I had to pick which one is I prefer I would pick the dub even though the dub cuts off after episode 51. Sad times.
Overall the soundtrack is great, the openings were amazing the ending themes were good and both sub and dub are really good.
I absolutely adored Kodocha.
It has everything that I love about romcom. The story is amazing, has great pacing, wonderful theme exploration and its handled in a very mature way. Great and well-developed characters that are relatable to, the viewer. Visuals that have aged well for the most part and the soundtrack is amazing.
Kodocha is a romcom anime done right and it’s not the best romcom anime I was seen but it’s now one of the best animes I have ever seen.
If you’re looking for a great romcom series that deals with heavy themes as well as having great and interesting characters then I strongly recommend Kodocha.
Sadly, Kodocha hasn’t been licensed in the UK by any UK DVD studio but it was once available by Funimation in the USA before going out of print.
I hope Kodocha gets re-licensed someday as well getting a Blu Ray with a new English Dub that has episodes 52-102 dubbed.
Final Score 10/10
2: Cardcaptor Sakura
English: Cardcaptor Sakura
MAL Score: 8.15
Sakura Kinomoto is your garden-variety ten-year-old fourth grader, until one day, she stumbles upon a mysterious book containing a set of cards. Unfortunately, she has little time to divine what the cards mean because she accidentally stirs up a magical gust of wind and unintentionally scatters the cards all over the world. Suddenly awakened from the book, the Beast of the Seal, Keroberos (nicknamed Kero-chan), tells Sakura that she has released the mystical Clow Cards created by the sorcerer Clow Reed. The Cards are no ordinary playthings. Each of them possesses incredible powers, and because they like acting independently, Clow sealed all the Cards within a book. Now that the Cards are set free, they pose a grave danger upon the world, and it is up to Sakura to prevent the Cards from causing a catastrophe!
Appointing Sakura the title of “the Cardcaptor” and granting her the Sealed Key, Keroberos tasks her with finding and recapturing all the Cards. Alongside her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji, and with Kero-chan’s guidance, Sakura must learn to balance her new secret duty with the everyday troubles of a young girl involving love, family, and school, all while she takes flight on her magical adventures as Sakura the Cardcaptor.
The premise itself is fairly typical for a mahou shoujo anime. A happy-go-lucky girl suddenly comes across magical power and begins her quest alongside a cute lion-like caricature serving as her guardian and mentor. Sakura’s role as the chief protagonist is to capture the fifty-three magical cards of Clow Reed, each inhabiting a unique power that inconveniences Sakura and the people around her in some way. Some of these cards are immensely powerful, including the ability to manipulate time and dreams, while others are fairly weak or trivial in comparison and encompass smaller abilities like creating flowers or making objects float. After Sakura fights against the power behind the card and then seals it away it becomes a part of her possession that she can then use at will.
At least, this is how the story first seems.
The series is largely changed and complicated with the introduction of the deuteragonist in the eighth episode. Syaoran Li, a boy from Hong Kong, suddenly transfers into Sakura’s class and disturbs the situation by antagonizing Sakura and competing for the Clow Cards. This relationship serves as the basis for the central theme of the series as their feelings and relationship change and develop immensely, from rivals to friends and finally to lovers. This is a very gradual change and it’s paced well enough that it feels completely natural, a change you might not even notice without retrospect. You contempt Li when he’s first introduced and by the end you grow to enjoy his presence almost as much as Sakura herself.
Shoujo series are a bit infamous for their overly-idealized and sudden romances but Cardcaptor Sakura is again an exception. There is certainly idealizing, sparkles and bubbles, but the depth is there. The feelings between Sakura and Li naturally grow and evolve over the course of the series, with no contrived events used to advance their relationship. There is not even a confession by the end of the 70-episode run, yet there is no need for one as the anime has already communicated how strongly the two feel for each other. Character interaction and body language are used to express this– not conveniences followed by dramatic outcomes. The end result is one of the most natural and endearing romances in anime. As a mahou shoujo it is good, but as a romance it is excellent.
Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly a lighthearted and fun series. Most of the entertainment revolves around Sakura and her interaction with the characters, most notably her guardian Keroberos (endearingly shortened by Sakura to Kero-chan) and her closest friend Tomoyo who often goes along with her to the scene of each card to record footage on her camcorder. Other important characters include Sakura’s beleaguering older brother Toya and the object of her affections, Yukito, a friend of Toya whom she holds a large crush towards. Still, the series does eventually take a more serious turn in the second half after the initial card collection draws to a close. Some characters reveal hidden sides that will surprise the audience and certain side characters develop and become integral to the story. At no point does the show ever feel too silly or too serious; it’s a perfect blend of the two.
Interestingly, there are several elements that deviate from the conventions of most mahou shoujo anime. There isn’t a traditional transformation sequence in the anime nor one unique outfit that Sakura wears when using magic. Instead she wears normal clothing like a regular girl, or rather whatever silly costume her friend Tomoyo decides to dress her up in before the event. This adds a lot of variety to the action sequences and gives the audience a small something to look forward to each episode.
Despite its young demographic and reputation as a family-friendly anime, there are also some surprisingly taboo topics that are covered in the anime. There’s the forbidden love between teacher and student and homosexual feelings between two important characters. The anime does not use any of these elements as shock value, though, simply presenting them as-is with no moral connotation. ‘Love’ is the main theme of CCS and the amount of detail put into the relationships of even periphery character is certainly commendable.
On the other hand, the music here is nothing short of stunning. Some of the songs that play in the series, such as the first opening and the track used when capturing a card, are classics that will stick in your head and be remembered fondly for a very long time. More than simply enhance the experience, these tracks are a large part of what makes the anime what it is. The soundtrack is by far one of most defining and important aspects of the series, and perhaps one of the best in anime.
That being said, Cardcaptor Sakura is definitely not without flaws.
One of the largest complaints can be put on the rather long length of the anime. At 70 episodes it can certainly drag on at some parts in the story. While CLAMP carefully tried to make each episode as engaging and interesting as possible, it’s only natural that some episodes are weaker than others and that some events can become a bit predictable at times. Luckily, this mostly changes in the second half of the anime where the story expands and takes a mostly different direction where more emphasis is put on the characters’ relationships. As fun as each episode is, I can’t help but feel like it would have benefited from a shorter episode count in order for the story to flow better. A 50-episode story would have been a perfect fit, neither too long nor too short.
It should also be mentioned that the changes between the original Japanese version and the English localized “Cardcaptors” are very drastic, and certainly not in a good way. Music and names of the characters are changed, episodes are flipped and mixed together in an odd and sometimes incoherent order, and important backgrounds and plot elements are minimized or removed completely. While certainly not unwatchable, it’s a very toned down and poor imitation of a fantastic anime. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice by watching any version except the original Japanese one.
In a genre where conventions and inspiration form the crux of most stories, Cardcaptor Sakura is a brilliant title that breathes new life into the genre and anime as a whole. While not quite flawless, this is a classic that has acceded its spot as one of the most influential and quality anime titles in recent times. It’s a consistently high-quality, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking anime that has more than earned its widespread acclaim and influence. This is a title that shows that there is indeed a correlation in storytelling between creativity and quality.
Cardcaptor Sakura has certainly earned its place in history.
The first and second season, in my opinion, is not most impressive plot-wise. It is pretty much very episodic, with recurring goofs such as Sakura’s battle costumes, Tomoyo with her camcorder, Toya always showing up at the right (or wrong) times, Sakura trying to win over Yukito, Kero looking up at the sky saying “Yue” like he’s heartbroken, and Syaoran once again tries to compete with Sakura. The impressive part of the first season is its comedy and action, because it was just amazing. For a magical girl anime, the action was just there. Every scene, suspense, effort, luck, desperation, success, it was there. When Sakura is not capturing cards (she approximately captures one per episode), she enters an environment with heartfelt friendship and goes through life very joyfully and often humorously. Even though the only plot is to “capture them all,” Cardcaptor Sakura such a variety of enjoyment that you will find yourself staying glued to the screen.
The season offers a change of pace as Sakura embarks on a brand new adventure, meeting a mysterious new rival. This is where the plot starts to change, as the cards are no longer the main emphasis of the plot. It is clear that while the cards changed her destiny (in capturing the cards), it also affected her daily life as well. The third season explores how the cards created a new path for Sakura in friendship and romance. This part of the plot is present in the first two seasons, but it became the main focus of season three. Personally, this is when Cardcaptor Sakura won me over. Until then it was just a very addicting and enjoyable show. Season three gave meaning to the cards and provides a few dramatic moments that fortifies the underlying themes and symbolisms the series tries to convey.
If you are new to Cardcaptor Sakura, then you might not realize that it was made in 1998. For its time, the art was amazingly amazing. From the opening sequence, you can point out minor details such as the movement of Sakura’s costume in the wind and the animation of her hair was just so realistic. Voice acting was awesome (and cute), and facial expressions were especially awesome. And then, there are the action scenes themselves. When the cards are released/captured, there’s a “wow” moment that you don’t expect to see in a typical magical girl series. Even though the action isn’t very technical with cool names and gadgets, it features everything from flying, sword fighting, evocations of the elements, and last but not least, Sakura. One thing that cannot be expressed enough is how cute Sakura is portrayed. That may sound stupid, but it’s one of the main attractions of the show.
Not only are the opening and ending sequences catchy, the background music was incredible, simply incredible. From the opening scene featuring Sakura on top of a tower, the music was engaging in every aspect. Then it smoothly makes a transition to everyday music when Sakura introduces herself, and finally to the suspenseful and catchy battle theme that everyone loves. One of the main complains about the dub (Cardcaptors) was that the music was changed. The original music was excellent, and it fits the situation it is for very well.
For an anime like this it’s tough to be perfect character-wise, but which anime masters character portrayal, right? The anime focuses the most on Sakura, Kero, Tomoyo, Syaoran, and Meilin, as expected, since they’re the main characters. Of course Toya and some other characters I don’t want to spoil have their roles also, but mostly it centers on the elementary students (and Kero). While a good deal of the supporting characters were developed, it is done mostly through inferences and vague symbolism. In a way this is good, because it gives Cardcaptor Sakura a deeper meaning if you see it, but if you don’t, it’s still a very enjoyable anime with minor plot holes. So in short, Cardcaptor Sakura is mainly an anime of character development and emotional maturation, and it mostly succeeded, for the main characters only.
From what I said above, this category would definitely have to be a 10/10. In fact, it has one of the best re-watching values of all the anime I’ve watched. The first time you go through the anime, it’s just plain enjoyable. The second time, you tend to pick up symbolism and motifs from here and there. That “ah hah” moment where everything clicks makes the series even more enjoyable, because it connects its episodic attribute to the main plot more closely. Cardcaptor Sakura just enjoyable no matter how you look at it.
An interesting character in Cardcaptor Sakura is Meilin. She is a filler character, meaning, she is not in the original manga. However, her roles are clearly defined and becomes one of the major plot-driven characters at the end of the anime, as well as being a very consistent character. One example is how I regard an episode that dedicated to her as one of the best, even though it is a filler. The addition of Meilin is not for the detriment of the plot, and I applaud the excellent direction it took to incorporate such a character.
Another factor that might affect some viewers is how everything is in rōmaji or English. At the opening sequence, Sakura’s name tag says SAKURA, the cards are in English, even how Sakura says them is in English. There’s just a lot of convenient things here for English watchers, something curious but gladly accepted.
If you watch this anime, then watch out for some controversial topics. The first one is homosexuality, which is present plainly in one relationship, and very vaguely implied in a couple of others. It would certainly bring up some questions for younger viewers, but in the end, the anime explains it in a very fitting and safe way. Still, it could be a concern but it shouldn’t stop you from watching it. It’s safe to say that yuri/yaoi isn’t a main component of the plot.
Another controversy is incest, the legal kind (in Japan). While a non-Japanese audience might be a bit uncomfortable of a first cousins relationship, it is best to keep in mind that in Japan, it is completely normal. There’s no weird things like brother/sister, mother/son, or stuff like that, so don’t worry.
And there’s a third kind of relationship explored in the anime, which is an innocent student-teacher crush. The anime never really goes anywhere with it, but it’s nice just to mention that it’s there. The one important thing to keep in mind is that all these three types of relationships do not affect the enjoyment of the series in any way. Relationships, after all, are part of the main plot, and they should be treated in an adult manner.
Lastly, although it’s something that not many cares, there is death. Throughout the series, no one really died, but the motif of death, angels, and the afterlife appears frequently. It’s listed as a controversy due to the assumed target audience (young females), but in the end, death is one of the aspects that gives more meaning to the plot.
As much as I don’t want to bash Cardcaptors, I feel that it is relevant. If you watch Cardcaptors, then my ratings do not apply. These ratings only apply to the Japanese subbed version, as well as what I think is the best version. Get this one if you can!
I can’t bring myself to give this anime a ten just because it carries no major revelations or any of the sort. You can argue that the ending is pretty dramatic, kind of, but the main purpose of the anime is to let the audience sit back, relax, and enjoy. Of course I am being harsh because I want something out of every anime I watch, but for Cardcaptor Sakura, enjoyment alone is enough to get it to a 9. Once in a while, it’s good to just watch a series and and enjoy it wholeheartedly.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Story: The anime is “episodic” in nature, usually consisting of single episode stories that most often serve to develop the characters and their relationships with one another, as well as Sakura coming in contact and attempting to “capture” one of the lost cards. Being a long series however, it can begin to feel very repetitive after only a short period of time. Although I think the overall concept of the story is good, I feel as though it could have been executed better, with more emphasis placed on the cards. In some episodes the cards have a very little role, sometimes being captured very quickly. A few times a card doesn’t even show up at all.
Animation: The animation is good overall, a few scenes are reused at times, but I have no major qualms.
Sound: Like with the animation, the sound was done well. There are a few songs I liked, and a few that I didn’t. The voice acting was done well, with voices that suited the characters nicely.
Character: I really felt that the characters were developed nicely throughtout the story. The Love triangle involving Sakura, Yukito and Li developed and resolved itself in the end, giving a feeling of closure after so long. The develop of characters and their relationships felt very natural to me as well. Their actions rarely, if ever, felt forced or out of character.
Enjoyment: If you are a fan of shojo or “magical girl” anime, and can stand a little bit of repetitivness, I would say that Card Captor Sakura is a must see for you. I personally enjoyed it thoroughly despite a few lulls hear and there.
1: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
English: Rurouni Kenshin
Japanese: るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚-
MAL Score: 8.30
In the final years of the Bakumatsu era lived a legendary assassin known as Hitokiri Battousai. Feared as a merciless killer, he was unmatched throughout the country, but mysteriously disappeared at the peak of the Japanese Revolution. It has been ten peaceful years since then, but the very mention of Battousai still strikes terror into the hearts of war veterans.
Unbeknownst to them, Battousai has abandoned his bloodstained lifestyle in an effort to repent for his sins, now living as Kenshin Himura, a wandering swordsman with a cheerful attitude and a strong will. Vowing never to kill again, Kenshin dedicates himself to protecting the weak. One day, he stumbles across Kaoru Kamiya at her kendo dojo, which is being threatened by an impostor claiming to be Battousai. After receiving help from Kenshin, Kaoru allows him to stay at the dojo, and so the former assassin temporarily ceases his travels.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan tells the story of Kenshin as he strives to save those in need of saving. However, as enemies from both past and present begin to emerge, will the reformed killer be able to uphold his new ideals?
The story is deep, intricate, emotional, and touching. Everything from romance, action, suspense, and even some thriller in included in Rurouni Kenshin. There are a total of 95 episodes to Rurouni Kenshin, however, only the first 62 (the first two seasons) are only worth watching because the third season is all fillers. The first two seaons depict the story of Himura Kenshin, also known as Hitokiri Battousai, and his motley bunch of friends in Sagara Sonouske, Myojin Yahiko, and Kamiya Kaoru. Without giving too much away, the first season is based on his stay with Kaoru Kamiya and how he keeps his vow of not to kill. The second season is where the plot develops and we are introduced to a little bit of Kenshin’s past.
To some of the younger fans out there, the animation may seem a bit older and not as new as some of our recent anime like Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist, it still is drawn with very exceptional quality and after the first few episodes, you find that the style perfectly suits the time frame in which the story takes place.
Taku Iwasaki has done a beautiful job with the soundtrack to Rurouni Kenshin as during each and every part, there is the perfect song that fits the scene. This is especially the case during the second season as Iwasaki unveils a multitude of amazing pieces of music that you will undoubtedly look to download.
You will either hate the characters or love them. The character development during the anime is portrayed very well. An example of this is the development of Yahiko from an innocent child to an exceptional swordsman throughout the show. The only qualm people may have is the lack of romance between Kenshin and Kaoru. Though its hinted at very slightly during the first two seasons, there is not much between them. All of Kenshin’s rivals also have unique personalities and Nobuhiro Watsuki has done an excellent job with them.
The only reason I advise you to avoid the episodes 63-95 is that they are pointless fillers. By the time the second arc had ended, the Kyoto arc, the anime had caught up to the manga. So as with all animes, they stopped animating the manga and aired fillers so the manga could develop. However, by the time the manga finished, the fillers were so terribly bad that Rurouni Kenshin had to be cancelled.
That is why after episode 62, I urge you to find the manga and start reading it from Volume 18 to enjoy the amazing story of Enishi and the Revenge Arc. It is there where the true story of Kenshin is continued and completed, and not with the later episodes.
I rate episodes 1-62 a 10/10 because they follow the manga very well..
I rate episodes 63-95 a 6/10 because even though they are pointless, some of the fillers do have good back stories and battle scenes..
A final overall rating of a 9/10 is due to the anime, Rurouni Kenshin (the manga I would give a 10 ^_^). There is no doubt in my mind that if you are looking for an anime with a little bit of everything and looking for an anime that involves mystic sword styles, amazing battles and an "oro-ing red-headed samurai," look no further.
Rurouni Kenshin stars its titular protagonist, Kenshin Himura, a former assassin who became legendary for his skill and body count during the Bakumatsu wars of Japan. Years later, Kenshin becomes a rurouni (an unemployed samurai) and wanders the country now seeking to atone for the lives he’s taken by helping others, and vows to never kill again. He soon meets up with Kaoru Kamiya, the manager of her own dojo. After Kenshin saves Kaoru’s life he’s given a place to settle down in and protect. The two are later joined by the young child of a family of samurai, Yahiko Myojin, and a roughish street fighter named Sanosuke Sagara who mainly battles with his fists. This main four accompany Kenshin as he fights other lost souls from the Bakumatsu who often seek to challenge the new Meiji government who threaten their archaic sword-wielding way of life.
With the manga beginning in 1994, Rurouni Kenshin became a flagship title of the “battle shonen” subgenre that was now truly beginning to acquire momentum, and the franchise is now considered a staple classic of the entire genre. Getting into Rurouni Kenshin now is rather interesting, as it holds this historical evolution inside of its own story. Rurouni Kenshin begins as not fully a battle shonen, being more like that earlier hybrid of action-adventure where fights were frequent but typically short, simple, and bookended by longer exposition or downtime. As the series progresses it changes and benefits from becoming increasingly about the fight themselves as special fighting abilities become more common, villains stick around longer and violent conflicts are hyped, and the pacing changes to nearly non-stop action as entire episodes become centered around the battle ahead.
One way of looking at this progress is that it means Rurouni Kenshin “starts slow” and doesn’t reach part of its full potential in the early stories. This would be true for the manga or anime, but it’s the anime that really suffers from this crawl. Given that the manga was still in development when the anime began, the producers started preparing filler material early on. Shorter stories and plot details from the manga were stretched out to get more of an episode out of them, and many original episodic stories were also introduced between following the manga’s events. Not only this, but parts of those original manga stories were arbitrarily changed, such as Kenshin’s fight with Sanosuke, and nearly always worse off for those changes. The anime also tries to appeal to a younger audience by censoring much of the violence and darker imagery depicted in the manga, an example here being Hannya’s back story.
Despite many of these frustrating concessions, the original storylines of the manga are present enough to still make the anime’s beginning engaging as long as you’re out of the stretches of original filler. The soft-spoken, peaceful Kenshin Himura is a very unique protagonist for shonen anime. The typical shonen protagonist is a young boy, or at the very least someone who begins weak but has a lot of potential to become more powerful or grow as a person. Kenshin is nearly the opposite of this, being a fully developed adult whose philosophies on life are already finalized by his vow to never kill again, and he’s instantly implied to be the best swordfighter in Japan and routinely demonstrates that fight after fight. Kenshin feels almost invincible at points and lives up to his legacy, but how does the action maintain dramatic tension if the match-up results always seem so obvious? The answer is by giving Kenshin two serious handicaps. One is that Kenshin fights using a blade where the sharp edge is on the opposite side so as not to easily kill his opponents and betray his vow, and the second is that vow itself. Kenshin is forced to hold himself back from full strength to prevent killing anyone, which levels the playing field somewhat between his opponents. As Kenshin is forced to face stronger enemies he’s routinely challenged to revert to his merciless killing ways to stand a chance. Because Kenshin does not change much as a person throughout the series, the progression of watching him is centered on revealing more of who he actually is. That is, his personality as a cold assassin. Kenshin also doesn’t spend the series learning new attacks but instead slowly reveals ones he already knows. Kenshin’s fights stay interesting as he’s forced to find openings to incapacitate his opponents instead of killing them, which would actually be far easier.
Kenshin’s love interest is very obviously and immediately Kaoru Kamiya. The original title of the manga was “Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story”, but anyone who recommends this series as a romance would have to be out of their mind. If anything, Kenshin and Kaoru’s relationship is the poorest major part of the storyline. Kaoru’s romantic interest in Kenshin begins almost right after they meet, and from then it doesn’t really evolve beyond this unrequited gushing of Kaoru over Kenshin and falls into a generic anime stasis. Kaoru struggles maintaining agency in the story because nearly all of her thought processes involve Kenshin in some way, and she is almost never, ever seen contributing to major fights. This only gets worse in the anime due to its countless light and comedic filler episodes revolving around Kaoru’s feelings towards Kenshin and his “hilarious” misunderstanding of them. She becomes almost annoying in the anime because of these additional jokes making her character even shallower, and her breakdowns over Kenshin possibly becoming the killer he used to be can cross over into trite melodrama. Given that Kaoru is trained in the art of the sword to the point of teaching it, it would’ve been nice to see a character who’s around at nearly all times actually contributing to the fighting around her. Instead she’s seen as too weak and is never really given opportunities to prove herself in the first place. This also would’ve given her more personal stake in what’s going on rather than nearly all of her actions being centered around Kenshin. It’s disappointing that one of our main characters is one of the show’s few females who can fight and she does nothing with it, instead usually being relegated to cheerleader status and an irritating ditz.
The first 27 episodes of the anime are a mixture of filler episodes and mild to moderately altered adaptations of the manga’s arcs. The best of these arcs is the one that stays truest to the manga, which is the Oniwaban/Megumi arc. This is where the show’s transition to battle shonen begins, with a variety of opponents who use weapons other than swords and specific techniques rather than raw strength and agility. With the exception of the arc’s final fight against Aoshi and the subsequent climax these battles are fairly short and not that interesting, but they are fun to watch now that our opponents are intriguing and have surprising fighting styles to show off. Despite this satisfying arc, the rest of the first season ranges from average to downright boring. Its canonical manga stories are mainly short introductions to characters and the Meiji era setting and culture the series is set in, and we’re prevented from getting to the really good stuff by a bevy of terrible filler that threatens to destroy the quality of the series as a whole.
Rurouni Kenshin isn’t just full of filler, it’s full of some of the worst filler I’ve ever seen. Filler that’s so bad and mishandles the base material so much that it insults the characters and cheapens the surrounding canonical storylines. I’ve already brought up how the lighter tone of the anime and the filler’s focus on comedy relies on Kaoru’s shallower traits and develops her as a worse character than she actually is, but the same goes for everyone else as well. Yahiko is turned into a whiny spoiled brat because there’s more to work with there when it comes to comedy than a stubborn inspiring samurai, and Sanosuke may not be very bright but he’s turned from a badass into a doofus as he’s constantly insulted by Kaoru and Yahiko. The attempts at comedy are the most painfully generic and lazy jokes you’ll come across, as literally the same gags are spread out in filler across this 94 episode series. Kaoru is a bad cook! Yahiko is always complaining and calling Kaoru ugly! Sanosuke is a freeloader! All of this hundreds of times as you’re also forced to put up with extremely dull original storylines that can revolve around main characters being frustratingly stupid (Yahiko stealing Kenshin’s sword), or they revolve around simplistic, awful original characters that only show up once. The typical filler plot is some random helpless idiot needs to be encouraged by Kenshin’s group to not give up at doing whatever, and these episodes can involve the group trying to help a circus girl blast off out of a cannon or Kaoru pinching a sumo wrestler on the ass. And the filler villains are usually the most cartoonish, relentlessly evil brigands that would make a real serial killer look like a more reasonable guy.
The filler in Rurouni Kenshin fails to retain anything that made the original story captivating. For starters, the action (or any excitement at all) practically doesn’t exist in the filler. The series’ excellent ability to capture the grace of the time period its set in by its semi-realistic tone that contextualizes the super-powered characters into something believable is upended by the anime’s constant appeals to children with no regards to quality as it’s doing so. Rurouni Kenshin’s filler is almost always excruciatingly boring, and I’m almost stunned that the anime’s writers could even bear to write around 50 episodes of such trite stories for a living and would never be encouraged to try harder for the sake of their own entertainment. Even something like Dragon Ball Z’s filler sometimes tried to do the base material justice by making its own supervillains and staying close to what the main stories were about. If you’re wondering why I have this series as a 6, then it’s because the anime’s filler is actually what makes up a majority of it and it’s worth a 3 if not even less. But enough about numbers, because it’s time for the part anyone who’s seen the series before was waiting for me to get to.
After about 10 enjoyable episodes of manga adaptations and about 17 mind-numbing episodes about Kaoru being ugly and a bad cook, it’s almost (not) worth it to fully experience the revitalizing whiplash of the series instantly taking the kid gloves off. A mysterious man named Saitou Hajime shows up at the Kamiya Dojo searching for Kenshin. It turns out Saitou is a former member of the Shinsengumi and an old rival of Kenshin’s from the Bakumatsu. Saitou challenges Kenshin to see if his abilities have weakened since he’s settled into a more peaceful life. The anime’s production and sense of direction finally comes alive in this scene, as Kenshin’s warm crimson visage is dominated by the icy navy blues of Saitou that exude from his cold personality and cover the entire screen for the duration of the fight. Yahiko appropriately seems to mimic the perspective of the young audience during this fight as he shouts “I knew it! Kenshin can never lose! Kenshin is invincible!” right before his hero is cut down by Saitou with the same ease Kenshin has been defeating his previous opponents. Kenshin is barely spared, and Saitou insults him afterwards by saying Kenshin Himura as “the wandering samurai” will be of no use to him and the police in the upcoming battle for the nation of Japan. Another man said to be the closest to Kenshin in skill, or possibly better, during the Bakumatsu is raising an army to overthrow the Meiji government. The psychotic Makoto Shishio and his gang of underlings are threatening the country from within the city of Kyoto, and Kenshin leaves for Kyoto as his friends chase after him to make sure the Kenshin they know isn’t lost in the fierce battle ahead.
This is the beginning of the Kyoto arc, and this arc is the sole reason why the Rurouni Kenshin anime has obtained classic status, and it’s a perfect beginning to boot. The creators address the audience and tell them things are going to be different. There’s going to be more violence and blood, and even major characters could die against a villain that’s said to be too much for even the man who just beat Kenshin to handle. The stakes and threat level are higher than ever before, and the new sub-villains are set up early on to give as much anticipation of their battles as Shishio’s himself. Aiding that anticipation is everyone in this arc having unique fighting styles which reach their full potential through more dynamic action sequences than seen before.
Kenshin’s journey across Kyoto introduces several new characters. The aforementioned Saito is a fantastic addition to the series and probably my favorite character period. Saito’s eclipsive moral compass makes him a great character to demonstrate the ethical borderlines of maintaining a samurai code of justice in a more rigid judicial government. He’s a true anti-hero in a series that had previously been defined by righteous do-gooders, and his complete misanthropic disdain for everyone else around him makes his personality starkly stand out and he has both some of the funniest and most dramatic lines in the series. His begrudging companionship with rival Kenshin and the less-skilled Sanosuke makes for a highly entertaining dynamic. The female ninja Misao also contains much of the series’ best attempts at humor, and her relationship with the Oniwaban group is an excuse to bring former opponent Aoshi into the Kyoto arc and make it even bigger. Misao is also never shown being as helpless as Kaoru, and even Kaoru and Yahiko get literally their one important fight of the entire series in the Kyoto arc. Kenshin’s former master Seijuuro Hiko is brought in to establish more of Kenshin’s past as well as some actual growth, and Seijuuro’s every action becomes significant as he’s a monolithic type who’s implied to be the strongest fighter in the series but prefers to stay out of the action as much as possible.
The Kyoto arc just does everything right and is exactly what Rurouni Kenshin had the potential to be. The pacing is brisk and the story filled with large obstacles the heroes must overcome at a moment’s notice, such as Shisho’s army advancing on the city of Kyoto or his heavily armored battleship threatening Japan from the seas. The growing cast is full of universally good additions, and they are divided evenly across this big adventure and are all given at least one special moment to shine. Later shonen works could take lessons from how to effectively manage a big cast of characters as well as Rurouni Kenshin does during the Kyoto arc.
The production team stops cutting corners here and adapts the manga more faithfully, and the increased amount of effort is palpable in the greater quality not just in the writing but in the animation as well. Fights are extremely dynamic with more constant camera movement that darts around the frame, and the characters themselves move very quickly and fluidly with no noticeable framerate skipping. The main reason the Kyoto arc is such a joy to watch is because everything’s always moving. There’s a kinetic soul to this entire production that the rest of the series completely lacks that makes this story, its characters, and its action breathe and come to life. When the studio plays with color like in the aforementioned Saitou fight, all of the story’s events feel more dramatic. The speed and intensity of matches is emphasized wonderfully, and Rurouni Kenshin’s Kyoto arc is the golden standard of 90s shonen anime productions and it even transcends the basic story it adapts from the manga. This all peaks exactly where it should in the final fight against Shishio which is a serious contender for the best match ever in a battle shonen anime. In addition to the scenes often rippling from the humidity caused by the torrents of flame surrounding the arena, the studio also plays with aspect ratio at parts to give a broad widescreen perspective that recalls Rurouni Kenshin’s original influences from samurai films and makes the scenes as intense as those classic film moments.
The Kyoto arc is full of the heart the rest of the series doesn’t have and then some. It has the courage to go beyond the original manga story’s quality and understands the story and its implications well enough to be able to successfully accentuate them into something more powerful but nonetheless faithful. The characters reach the peak of their established personalities and every single one of them grows in some way from the challenges they face. The action is enthralling and absorbing. Everything comes together in this big arc and none of it flounders to deliver a perfectly satisfying experience that deserves to stand the rest of time as a blueprint for a fully-realized battle shonen arc.
Things were looking good for the Rurouni Kenshin anime now that the team was taking it more seriously, but the anime had now gotten too close to the manga to have anything new to adapt. You know what this means: more filler. But after a few episodes of the same terrible junk from the first season, something promising is done as the team decides to write more serious original storyline arcs. They clearly learned something from covering the Kyoto arc and putting so much more effort into it, and I was open for the possibility that the team could finally write filler that did the base story justice even if it didn’t reach the same heights. There’s very little information on Rurouni Kenshin’s post-Kyoto arcs so I had to find out for myself if they were any good. As it is now, most people haven’t even seen anything past the Kyoto arc and still shower the series with perfect scores (this ought to be a federal offense). The anime also makes a strange decision to change the animation and art a bit after the Kyoto arc, but it’s so minor and subtle that its “uncanny valleyness” just makes it even more off-putting whenever the changes stand out. Regardless of how minor the style change is, it’s lower quality than before and these final filler episodes are full of a lot of very still frames with little movement.
Rurouni Kenshin’s first filler arc is… actually tolerable. The storyline come up with here is about the religious persecution and exile of Christians from Japan and their return to take revenge on the country. It’s actually an extremely clever way to stick to Rurouni Kenshin’s historical setting but not settle on the same stories of swordsmen alienated by the new government. It’s another story of disenfranchisement caused by old grudges but with different motivations and different types of characters. The main new character is Shogo Amakusa, a sort of prophet to the Christian movement who claims to have sword skills blessed by God. He fights using the same style Kenshin was taught which makes him an acceptably threatening follow-up to Shishio, and there is ethical conflict regarding their religious motivations as Shogo and his group are willingly taking advantage of their followers’ beliefs for the sake of revenge, even though it may be justifiable for their religious freedom.
Shogo is accompanied by his own gang of villains similar to Shishio, and they also each have distinct character designs and powers. Where this arc particularly falters though is the action goes back to being very simple and dull. The choreography is basic again, the animation goes back to being cheap, there’s no tricks with color or perspective to give the fights that same energy, and the fights don’t build up suspense as they’re all settled in 3 to 5 minutes. It’s a massive disappointment that shows the team hasn’t abandoned their laziness, even if the basic promise of these qualities is more than they’ve done previously. The actual plot is somewhat interesting as Kenshin is given a very serious handicap I won’t spoil, and most of the villains this time around are victims who need to obtain religious freedom but don’t want more violence. Sanosuke is actually the best part of this Christian arc, as he becomes an actual deuteragonist and a major player to the plot with his (actually somewhat touching) relationship with Shogo’s sister, Magdalia. He’s actually focused on in a bigger ratio here than he was in the Kyoto arc. While this arc is ultimately rushed (for literally no reason since they just make more filler after) and doesn’t execute well the same things it copies from the Kyoto arc, some parts of it actually work to a degree and there’s a basic foundation for a good story set up which is more than I can say for the rest of the filler. It’s by -far- the best filler story in Rurouni Kenshin, but that’s less of a testament to how good it is and more of an example of just how little the rest of the series tries. I got a baseline enjoyment out of this arc but as a stand-alone story it’s not good enough to the point where I would recommend anyone watch it.
At this point I was relieved to see any improvement in the filler quality and thought the team might continuously evolve in future filler arcs, but instead the exact opposite happened. Subsequent arcs got increasingly shorter and the characters even worse. After several stupid comedic episodic filler like brought up earlier the team decides to make one of their terrible two filler ideas into a mini-arc. This time it’s the one where Kenshin and co. encourage some pathetic sap to achieve his goals, so you get several episodes of a wimpy nerd crying about swinging a wooden sword being too hard. There’s no threatening villain in this part or anything, just a total bore and flavorless story.
The next arc begins immediately as a group from Europe called the Black Knights have come to Japan seeking an ancient treasure called the Divine Elixir which is said to be able to cure any illness. Ignoring the fact that putting a magical MacGuffin in a historical setting at this point is stupid, the Black Knights are basically the illuminati with a medieval fetish who secretly plan to control the world from the shadows with the money they get from the elixir. The Black Knights we see are a main trio that wield a lance, an axe, and rapier each. This is actually a very solid idea that the original manga itself could’ve used, as the characters being western is a perfect excuse to bring new weapons and fighting styles into the series. Don’t get your hopes up to see any of those fights brought to their potential though, as like in the Christian arc every fight in the Black Knight arc is short and unexciting to watch (though the final is borderline okay). The Black Knight arc isn’t a total pain, but it’s quite worse than the Christian arc because the plot has no momentum whatsoever. Many of the episodes focus on adventure and exploration over any action, and there’s a lot of the characters just wandering around and trying to figure out clues to the elixir. And as we expect, the filler writers are not good at creating entertaining dialogue to carry these slow moments.
After one brief filler episode that’s actually okay just because it dares to develop a certain main character without the manga’s guidance, another mini-arc begins that’s the finale of the series. And what a finale it is, because this is the worst one yet and the most egregious core concept. The Feng Shui arc revolves around magic. Literally magical spells that control dragons made of water and sudden blasts of wind. What an insult that so close to the end of this series they throw in magic that betrays the historical setting like never before. Rurouni Kenshin has always crossed the border of reality into fiction, but it made an attempt to disguise it with its serious tone and convincing explanations for its ridiculous powers. There’s a guy who breathes fire, but oh he does it by carrying oil in his stomach and using flint on his teeth as a spark. It may be total bull, but the idea of it is constructed out of the materials of the setting so that it doesn’t seem too out of place despite being a fantasy. There is no justification for magic because its very definition means it’s conjured from a place outside of reality, and it’s so fitting that the final idea to come out of the filler would remind of us of how poorly the series was understood. It’s not worth covering this arc more other than to mention there are no real fights and the final confrontation is two guys trying to overcome each other’s spiritual force or something like Dragon Ball Z. The anime series ended up being so mishandled that they didn’t even get a proper final episode done in time and the story abruptly ends after this boring arc. They could’ve cut these five episodes and come up with a better ending. They could’ve cut this entire “third season” and the series would’ve ended better. What’s even the point of doing filler if you’re not biding time to adapt the rest of the manga?
The series’ music is pretty solid all around. It’s often anachronistic with its frequent use of electric guitar, but it doesn’t sound out of place because the modern instrumentation doesn’t draw attention to itself. Guitar chords are slow and smooth, almost sounding like a flute and very organic. I think I still would’ve preferred to see a more classical score with more folk instrumentation that matches the setting, but they didn’t screw the pooch from the choice they made and the compositions can be quite nice. The opening and ending themes are good all around too, but only having three openings across 94 episodes is kind of tiring. I do like how they changed the second opening’s animation to include new characters, and the opening during the Kyoto and Christian arcs is especially cool because of the “flickering flame” effect over the arc’s antagonists. I grew to like it even more than the first opening, “Freckles”. Siam Shade’s “1/3 Pure Heart Emotion” is fucking awesome too, especially with its accompanying graffiti art animation.
For those not already familiar with it, the English dub is well done. The casting is what mostly stands out, particularly because I feel the same way about Mayo Suzukaze as Kenshin as many people do about Masako Nozawa as Goku. I realize Kenshin is meant to be effeminate and has a relatively small constitution, but he’s definitely not an 8 year-old boy. I find it impossible to take Kenshin’s original voice seriously, especially during his violent “battousai” phase, and it’s enough that I’d take any dub over the original. Sorry folks. Richard Cansino carries a similar light, gentle tone with him that’s more suitable for Kenshin’s age. Not to mention his starker, sterner tone when Kenshin’s personality switches stands out far more and further emphasizes the difference between each of his two halves while also being more threatening due to his more mature tone. The line delivery isn’t always perfect depending on the assigned actor, however. Dorothy Elias-Fahn as Kaoru can be irritatingly shrill, and Lex Lang can be somewhat monotone as Sanosuke despite being a perfect voice. But Philece Sampler is hilarious fun as Misao.
When everything’s said and done, Rurouni Kenshin deserves better than what this series gave us. Outside of the Kyoto arc, even the material it adapts from the manga is weakened. The filler is an insult to the canonical storylines and setting as well as being downright painful to sit through. If you want a number, I’d gladly slap an 8 on the Kyoto arc alone, but I’m not rating the Kyoto arc. I’m rating all 94 episodes. Even the score I’ve given it is generously curved in the Kyoto arc’s favor because of how the amount of terrible filler dwarfs the length of the Kyoto arc. With this recent trend of manga re-adaptations giving worthy revivals to old manga that was mishandled, I hope to the bottom of my heart Rurouni Kenshin will get the treatment it truly deserves. Funny enough, the outlier in how incredibly well the anime adapted the Kyoto arc here and made it better than it was before with remarkable animation, dynamic perspective, and color theming, makes me think a newer anime would be unlikely to match this series’ adaptation in quality. It’d be worth doing the manga in its entirety again however to improve the pre-Kyoto stories and finally take on what’s after them. Will it happen? Who knows, but I’m waiting patiently.
Maybe we who haven’t gone back and finished this anime until now have prevented a new one from happening. It seems like many people are perfectly satisfied with their memories of this show that’s actually extremely troubled, and it frequently ranks on “best of all time” lists. Ultimately though, this anime as a whole is not a classic, and I recommend no one watch it in its entirety. If you want my advice, then read the manga up to the Kyoto arc, watch the Kyoto arc, and then finish the manga. You could watch the pre-Kyoto stuff too because it’s not -that- much worse, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Let’s let it be known that Rurouni Kenshin needs to come back and become the anime series we wanted it to be.
The characters are great and well developed, which is the sort of thing you’ll expect from a shounen action series, of this calibre. But the character that truly stands out is "Kenshin", with his 3 contrasting personalities; dopy Kenshin, noble protector Kenshin and manslayer Kenshin and it is interesting how all of this is crammed into a single character. However there are a few brat-like characters that can get quite annoying at times but it doesn’t take much away from the show.
There were two things I had to consider when looking into the quality of the animation; the time it was made and how well it depicted scenes. The animation quality of RK is exactly what you’d expect from something made in the 90s however when it comes down to it, it is really good especially during the action sequences. It is able to show the true intensity of the intense fights however those kinds of fights happen to rarely in RK.
The music on the other hand isn’t all that special and there are only a few noticeable good tunes that go well, with the situations. The OP and ED themes are a range of catchy and annoying tunes however you’ll definitely find some of them really enjoyable and hard to get out of your head. Another thing I just have to mention is that RK is one of those few anime that even a Sub anime fan like myself, actually prefered viewing the Eng. Dub version (uncut).
Overall RK is definitely one of the classic Shounen anime series that every shounen anime fan must watch. There a great deal of action, comedy and drama; with a superb story to back it up. The characters are also well developed and bring forth some really emotional moments but some are just plain annoying. Also little things like stupidly thought-up enemies and the huge number of cheesy moments reduce the overall quality of this fine anime. Another thing that badly affected the series was that it ended with a bunch of fillers but if you don’t get bothered by all this, then you’ll definitely enjoy RK.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
2. Cardcaptor Sakura
3. Kodomo no Omocha (TV)
4. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
5. Ginga Sengoku Gunyuuden Rai
6. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S
8. Turn A Gundam
9. Seikai no Senki
10. Tenkuu no Escaflowne
11. Hana yori Dango
12. Fushigi Yuugi
13. Trapp Ikka Monogatari
14. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
15. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
16. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
17. Gokinjo Monogatari
18. Kaitou Saint Tail
19. Jigoku Sensei Nube
20. Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
21. Magic Knight Rayearth II
22. Kidou Senkan Nadesico
24. Marmalade Boy
25. Magic Knight Rayearth
26. Hime-chan no Ribbon
27. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
28. Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade
29. Tenchi Muyou!
30. Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
31. Akazukin Chacha
32. Kaikan Phrase
33. Saber Marionette J
34. Cinderella Monogatari
35. Legend of Basara
38. Ayashi no Ceres
39. Tobe! Isami
40. Mikan Enikki
41. Princess Nine: Kisaragi Joshikou Yakyuubu
42. Lodoss-tou Senki: Eiyuu Kishi Den
43. Macross 7
44. Love Hina
45. Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala
46. Robin Hood no Daibouken
47. Blue Gender
48. Blue Seed
50. El Hazard: The Wanderers