Synonyms: X/TV, X TV, X the Series, X/1999, Ekksu, X (2001)
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 2001 to Mar 27, 2002
24 min. per episode
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.621 (scored by 19860 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action clamp drama fantasy
SynopsisHis destiny has finally arrived as the young Shirou Kamui returns to Tokyo after 6 years. A powerful psychic, Kamui vows to protect the happiness of his childhood friends Fuuma and Kotori, even if it means avoiding them. But fate is cruel, whether or not Kamui wants to be involved; he holds the future of the world in his hands, given the choice of becoming a Dragon of Heaven or a Dragon of Earth. The Seven Seals gather, and so do the Seven Angels; all individuals who have their destiny carved out as one who would battle for the fate of the world. What future will Kamui choose to become reality?
Related AnimeAdaptation: X
Alternative version: X/1999
Prequel: X OVA
Parent story: Tokyo Babylon
Characters & Voice Actors
X was a pretty interesting series, which had pretty much all of the ingredients needed to make a classic, yet at the same time the ingredients sometimes don't seem to mix properly, making it miss just that last little edge.
Still, it has become one of my favorites, because it has exactly those things that appeal to me in an anime show: a good storyline with enough twists and changes, excellent animation, a great soundtracks and amusing and diverse characters.
Of course the series has CLAMP all over it, which shows mainly in the characyer design and story, both of which are on par of the average CLAMP series, meaning they're good. The animation in action sequences is fast-paced and intense, and the soundtrack accompanies each scene well, drawing you in even further.
As I stated in the beginning of this review, the plot is decent and there are enough twists and turns in the plotline, with the most important one taking place halfway through the series; I usually see these things coming, and while all the clues were there, spread out very obviously, I was still surprised.
What follows after that is a dive into the various main characters backgrounds and pasts (heroes and villains alike), and while that could've been drawn out a little more, it adds a bit extra..though not much.
The ending is... a bit less intense that I personally would've hoped for, but it still fits the series; still, it's a non-canon ending, and I wonder how the actual series will end now...
A nice series to watch; if you like action with a touch of fantasy in a modern setting, then X is a nice show for you to watch. read more
This series highlights some of the wonderful reasons why you shouldn't make an anime for a manga that isn't finished.
STORY - Honestly, X has a pretty decent story, even if most of its themes are far from original. It is, essentially, another battle between humanity and the planet they live on, of man against nature. This conflict has been addressed over and over again throughout history in century-old novels and vintage films, in addition to a wide splattering of anime and manga. Mostly-unexplained supernatural powers and angel/demon parallels, both rather characteristic of CLAMP, aren't very new either, and really, even combining the two doesn't add a particularly intriguing angle. Nevertheless, X's story is solid. It has everything a story needs: a clear theme, a clear point, a clear hurdle, and a clear goal. And actually, the final, deepest concept may even be controversial enough to be original. So what then, went so horribly wrong?
My main issue was pacing and bad storytelling in general. Despite having tons more time to deal with themes, issues, and characters compared to the disastrous X OAV, the anime still doesn't seem able to utilize this time effectively. The first few episodes are heavy and fast-paced, tossing the audience into the crazy complex details of the conflict with little preamble. Then it cools noticeably and a lot of the macabre and shock is diminished. You kind of wonder what all the hubbub was about. The entire middle of the series seems to slow to a snail's pace. There are frustratingly long scenes depicting nothing more than a man walking down a path. We really don't need to watch Subaru walking in silence for five straight minutes and passing the same shrine multiple times. At least the Lucky Star girls were talking about something for five minutes.
Those slow episodes were attempts to delve into the individual backstories of our fourteen plus relevant characters (seven Dragons of Heaven, seven Dragons of Earth, plus supporting roles), but they fail to give much attention to these characters' connections to the overall plot and theme, making them pretty useless in the grand scheme of things, especially since many of these personal struggles are never resolved. The story used to be clear and have a point, but after trudging through a half dozen of these character-centric episodes, you stop caring. Oh, right, we were concerned about the fate of the earth right? Morals and stuff, what about that again? The last few episodes are forced to pick up speed again, but it happens in that disorganized and rushed way where nothing really makes sense; they explain very little, and the ending leaves you more confused than anything else. And being a non-canonical ending doesn't help either. Personally, I prefer the X OAV's ending, even if the rest of it sucked. Clearly, the anime isn't much better.
CHARACTER - I never did like Kamui much, even in the manga. Like many other things in the series, his backstory seemed uninspired and recycled to me. Typical cute childhood. Typical teenage sobstory. He is oversensitive, and all attempts to shape and transform his character never seem to go very far. The ruthless demeanor he tries to put on for the first few episodes doesn't last long, and he ends up seeming pretentious rather than complex. I just found him incredibly hard to sympathize with, which is never a good thing. Fuma further seemed like a cheap shot at tragedy, and after a while, he was nothing more than yaoibait. Kotori? How many other "girl from my childhood who I'm in love with"-type characters have you seen? Typical shoujo.
The rest of the cast is a little more forgiving, if still despairingly typical. Of the Dragons of Heaven, Arashi fills in the role as priestess girl. Sorata is the endearing comedic. Karen is your religious character; Seichirou, your nice guy. Nekoi filled the cute school girl role, and Subaru was crossover material because CLAMP loves crossovers. Of the Dragons of Earth, Seishirou is also crossover filler, Yuto was amusing, and Satsuki reminded me of Lain. Nataku did not interest me at all -- a clone just seemed unnecessary, but it was yet another archetype. Kusanagi, another nice guy, and Kakyo... eh. I'm indifferent. Hinoto and Kanoe are more of the same. All of these characters, more than anything else, seem to represent dozens of anime and manga archetypes, which limited my general interest in them. Their personal stories were intriguing at times, but were never explored to the depths that they were in the manga, and it was difficult to become attached. They were okay: not good, not bad.
As morals play a huge role in the series, each characters' personal views and beliefs are the most interesting part of them. Those whose views come to shift and change, those who grow to question things, and those who have complicated relationships with others are the ones that are fun to watch. Nekoi's relationship with Kusanagi. Subaru's relationship with Seishirou. Kamui's with Fuma. Seichirou's with Karen. All the crossing of relationships over enemy lines was fun -- like one giant, strange concoction of Romeo and Juliet-esque drama! Including all the sudden love! Sadly, while a few of the characters do manage to develop a little (read: Kamui), most don't. They just don't have enough time between when they're introduced, when their backstory is explained, and the end of the series. Abbreviated depth when translating characters from manga to anime is nothing new though, sadly.
ART & ANIMATION - It seems to me that there are a lot of series weak in story and character, but strong in the technical aspects. X is beautiful. One day, I'll figure out why CLAMP's style of noodley bishounen and wide-shouldered biseinen is just so damn appealing. All the characters have wonderful and memorable designs, many of which highlight their clear personalities. Kanoe and Karen are both confident women. Kakyo and Hinoto are fragile and delicate. There's a very clear connection between a character's visuals and his or her substance. Backgrounds are impressively detailed, and I'm always enthralled by animated cityscapes. Rooftops and bridges all looked great, as did all the explosions and magic, all of the blood and macabre. For an anime series, X is definitely full of eyecandy.
MUSIC - I. Love. X's soundtrack. It's what I like most about the entire series, hands down. All of the music in the series is beautiful and distinct, especially the leitmotif. There are beautiful piano themes and much wilder, energetic battle themes, including a few very chaotic mixes charged on adrenaline. A lot of the sounds are reminiscent of more traditional Japanese music as well, giving a unique sound. There are also a few tracks that remind me of Native American and perhaps even African tones, adding even more to the blend. Seriously, X's music is worth listening to even if you don't see the series. The opening and end themes are both relevant to X's themes and echo the kinds of sounds that present in the soundtrack. Good, good music all around.
VOICE ACTING - The change of cast between the anime and the OAV was disappointing in general, but the worst of it was trading Tomokazu Seki for Kenichi Suzumura as Kamui's voice. It wasn't so much that Suzumura did a bad job though, so if you haven't seen the OAV (don't), then it probably doesn't matter very much because there's no benchmark. As most of the characters fitted nicely to archetypes, most of the cast just seemed to give a generic voice. Tough guy sounded tough; cute girl sounded cute. Nothing special. Nothing to critique. Nothing to praise. I haven't seen the dub for X, but I don't imagine that it'd be much different.
OVERALL - In general, I dislike the idea of trying to make an anime out of a manga that hasn't finished, but it is possible to do so without failing utterly. Fullmetal Alchemist is probably the best example, at least up until the last few episodes. So the fact is that X could have been handled much better. Trying to explore more than fourteen characters in twenty-four episodes while still orchestrating a main plot is hard. Instead of that, I think it would have been better to compress some of the smaller storylines or to get rid of them altogether, especially the ones that never got close to any sort of resolution. The main story was about morals, priorities, and the fate of humanity and earth. They never seem to explain that very well though, and things got confusing as a result. I, personally, didn't like the ending, but I think that's more because it was poorly executed than because it was actually a bad conclusion.
The main characters in the both seires are similar, both made by CLAMP, the story is similar to...
Maybe it's CLAMP's story telling way that makes me think this recommendation is a good idea.
In both, Code Geass (especially the R2 part) and X TV:
* The main cast chooses their role in war to accomplish what they believe in, and both sides are simultaneously "right" and "wrong".
* The main character risks everything he has to make sure the people he loves will have a future (Kamui, for Fuma and Kotori; Lelouch for his sister Nunnally).
* The future, human emotions/actions and wishes play a very important part in the story.
* A tragedy waits to happen (and does happen).
If you liked any of those aspects in one of the series, you'll probably enjoy it in the other, too.
Well, considering CLAMP did the character designs and thus made Lelouch look like a carbon copy of Kamui...
They also explore similar themes and are beautiful and tragic. Code Geass, however, is fanservicey while X is not at all as it is shoujo. Geass can also be more frustrating to watch at times.
Both X TV and Code Geass are about a young male lead who is gifted with supernatural powers and holds the fate of civilization in his hands. Also both Lelouch and Kamui suffer hardships and heartaches, as well as difficult decisions. These anime have a very similar feel and while the plot lines vary greatly the characters of Lelouch and Kamui are very similar; both show a cold exterior whilst actually being quite caring inside. Both anime aren't afraid of a high death count either.
Both series tell a rather dark story about a secret battle, involving 14 participants with supernatural powers, fighting to death for their ideals/wishes.
-Battle to the death between sides
-14 actual participants with many more involved
-Flashy action sequences
-Both feel kind of incomplete. Fate/Zero is a prequel while the X manga hasn't actually finished.
-X is to do with the end of the world while Fate/Zero is more to do with the battle for the holy grail.
-In X, there are 7 members on each side while in Fate/Zero, there are 7 teams of 2.
-X has CLAMP-like character designs which may not appeal to everyone. Fate/Zero has the Type-Moon designs which have a much more universal appeal.
Both have fights, magic, and are dark, each participant uses an unique skill for fighting. Fate/Zero relies more on the summoning of heroic spirits and X in magic and inner abilities. However, both are similar in some plot points: both deal with the concept of changing the world for good (or bad), both are tragic, and a deep message unveils in each chapter. If you enjoyed the war between dragons from the earth and dragons from the heaven, the holy grail war will keep you on the edge of your sit. Also, the artstyle is gothic in both series.
Opening Theme"eX Dream" by Myuji
Ending Theme"Secret Sorrow" by Kohei Koizumi
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