Synonyms: Mekaku City Actors, Kagerou Project
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 13, 2014 to Jun 29, 2014
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.301 (scored by 36709 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisThe incidents which occurred on August 14th and 15th bring a group of young boys and girls together... They are members of a group they call themselves the "Mekakushi Dan" (Blindfold Organization) and each member possesses a strange power involving their eyes. Will the members of this peculiar organization be able to solve the mysteries behind these incidents and see the truth?
(Source: Aniplex USA)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Kagerou Days, Kagerou Days
Other: daze, days
Characters & Voice Actors
Producer, Script, Theme Song Lyrics, Theme Song Arrangement, Theme Song Composition, Music, Series Composition, Original Creator
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard
It's always a pleasant surprise to come across an anime that isn't afraid to present itself in a way different than most others. More often than not an anime's narrative is linear, with a straightforward progression that is simple for mostly anyone to comprehend. While this method does result in well-written and engaging stories, it can take an extra level of skill to alter the way a narrative is told and pull it off correctly without any hiccups. Mekakucity Actors isn't interested in being your average, everyday anime; it's one of the few that seeks to challenge the conventions of storytelling. To give a bit of background, Mekakucity Actors is based on a series of Vocaloid songs which is known as the Kagerou Project. Created by the musician Jin, the series was an overwhelming success that went on to spawn manga and light novel adaptations. Its popularity could be contributed to its cast of diverse characters and songs that pieced together different perspectives out of order to form a complex and intriguing story. In the spirit of the project, the anime takes the same approach with its narrative. Unfortunately, the end result is a complete mess that comes off as a convoluted cluster of wasted potential.
The setup for Mekakucity Actors is easy to grasp; a group of teenagers with superhuman eye abilities, collectively referred to as the Mekakushi-Dan (Blindfold Gang), is faced with mysterious occurrences and encounters that take place during August 14th and 15th. The main draw of the show is the fact that these incidents have a fair amount of depth that is kept hidden from the audience at first. You might think you have firm understanding of an event that transpires in one episode, but then the next episode will backtrack and reveal sides to the story from another viewpoint that changes how you perceive those events. When this technique is put into use, the results are relatively positive. In addition to the differing perspectives, we are also given episodes that are devoted to illustrating the back stories of the members of the Mekakushi-Dan. It's in these episodes where you'll come to realize the care that was put into their relationships, and how they tie everything together in unexpected ways. Connections between the characters begin to form and revelations are plentiful. It's enough to pique the viewer's curiosity, but it's also a distraction from the show's other shortcomings.
At the same time, the story is definitely what I would point to as the factor that contributed the most to the downfall of Mekakucity Actors. To start off, a major flaw would be that the show lacks direction and focus. It could feel very much like an aimless slice of life at times; there were episodes when I wondered where exactly it was heading and if there was even an end goal in the first place. To make matters worse, the flashbacks interrupt current events way too often and steer the narrative far off course. Normally I'm perfectly fine with a show not having a definitive plot and instead focusing more on the characters, but the problem is that Mekakucity Actors does have a plot, it just does a really poor job of establishing that fact early on. There's even an antagonist that is working against the Mekakushi-Dan; too bad we only get vague hints about who it is up until the ninth episode. These elements are kept a secret on purpose, but are introduced too late into the game for any sort of personal investment to be formed.
It doesn't help that the majority of the show will have you scratching your head in confusion; if anything it's more perplexing than engaging. While the anime adaptation doesn't require you to have prior knowledge of Kagerou Project to get the gist of what is happening on screen, it certainly isn't going to hold your hand to make sure you understand everything as a newcomer. There will be moments when the viewer will feel lost and question whether anything makes sense. This can hinder the emotional value one takes away from certain scenes, as they might be too busy trying to figure out the circumstances rather than focusing on the characters' plights. Mekakucity Actors tries its best to explain itself by the end, but some points don't come full circle and you're left to fend for yourself with what little information it gives you. Don't even expect a satisfactory ending, because not even that is provided. It turns out feeling rushed in order to very narrowly cover the remaining plot threads. It doesn't feel like there is enough of a payoff to make up for the frustration of trying to make heads or tails of what was going on for far longer than needed.
While the muddled story is a massive strike against Mekakucity Actors, there are some redeeming qualities that can be found in its expansive cast of characters. One strength is that they serve a larger purpose; they aren't there just to fulfill the need for a specific archetype. They have importance in the relationships formed with the other members and these bonds greatly impact how the story unfolds. The richness in their personalities makes the banter and communication between them more enjoyable and even insightful occasionally. The characters also have a habit of betraying the viewer's expectations. For example, Shintarou Kisaragi is portrayed as the typical NEET who would rather stay secluded in his room than journey outside, but eventually you learn of an experience from his past that makes his mindset more believable. Another surprising case is with Kano, who is established as the playful, non-serious member of the Mekakushi-Dan. In contrast to first impressions, we get hints of a much more sinister side to his personality, as well as some personal struggles that he might be hiding from other people. At the start of Mekakucity Actors, I didn't think my perception of some characters would change so much. Give them a chance and you might even find your own personal favorite of the gang.
That isn't to say the fundamental issues with Mekakucity Actors don't also affect the characters. In fact, they suffer a lot from the way the show is constructed. When it comes down to it, don't expect to see any significant development from the majority of the cast; they remain the same with only a few exceptions. While they are slightly memorable, I would hesitate to call any one of them more than mediocre. Some characters, such as Seto, are incredibly boring due to lack of any real exposure. The antagonist felt more like your typical villain than anything, and they had dull motives that didn't go anywhere interesting. It was regrettable that the eye powers are mostly pushed to the sidelines. Witnessing more of the Mekakushi-Dan's attempts to cope with their newly found powers would have given some much welcome insight. There are other weak links that could have easily been expanded upon, but due to time constraints they never saw the same treatment the others got.
Also, the show has a habit of not putting enough focus on characters that are important to the plot. This is the case with Mary, who is an essential piece of the puzzle and yet she has one of the simplest personalities out of everyone; the sweet girl who is clumsy and shy. Another example would be the monster depicted in the storybook at the end of each episode. The book tells the past of a monster and how her life progresses when she discovers new things about the world. These segments are treated as mere afterthoughts by being pushed back to after the credits, when in reality they contain vital information that shouldn't be ignored. The handling of the characters is sloppy and unbalanced, which isn't surprising considering the short amount of episodes they had to work with. This was definitely the area that let me down the most, mostly because of the largest amount of potential was lost here.
The animation for Mekakucity Actors was brought to us by the acclaimed Studio SHAFT, renowned for their distinct visual artistry and techniques. If you have ever experienced a SHAFT anime before, you already know what you'll be getting yourself into before you even watch the first episode; expect the usual head tilts, jump cuts, and slow camera pans. It's nothing groundbreaking, and feels very much like your typical SHAFT anime. I can't say anything positive about the animation, as it mostly felt average with some really low points that made the movements feel stiff and limited. There was also a time where SHAFT thought it would be a wonderful idea to have the characters animated using CG models during a scene that was supposed to be emotional, and the results were appalling to say the least. It had to be one of the worst uses of CG I've seen to date in an anime. It's clear that not a lot of care was put into the backgrounds either. They were almost direct copies of those found in the Monogatari series to the point where I wouldn't be able to tell the difference if two screenshots were shown beside each other. There are some moments where the imagery shines, but the bizarre feel is expected and far from impressive.
The music of Mekakucity Actors is unremarkable for the most part. The soundtrack doesn't feel varied enough, and I would often notice the same song playing every episode. Nothing stood out, except some instances of dubstep that clashed with the mood certain scenes were trying to set up. The saving grace is the fact that the original songs from Kagerou Project are inserted into their corresponding episodes. Jin is a very talented musician and his skills become apparent through his meaningful lyrics and memorable melodies. The new arranges sung by professional vocal artists are a real treat to hear, especially for long time fans and people that aren't fond of the synthesized Vocaloid voices. The opening "daze" is a catchy and fast paced tune that made me excited to watch the upcoming episode. The ending "days" sung by Lia is mesmerizing, strikingly beautiful, and probably my favorite piece from the whole project. As for the vocal talents, the actors played their roles well and I had no complaints with any of them. They breathed life into the characters and did well at highlighting their personalities.
Mekakucity Actors has more than its fair share of problems. It's plagued with a less than stellar story and characters that suffered as a result of poor pacing and lack of focus. But despite all of the flaws, I didn't find myself entirely hating the experience. It certainly achieved its goal of standing out from the rest this season, and that alone was enough to draw my attention and keep me coming back week after week. While I would be hesitant to recommend this to anyone due to its abundance of issues, I would say the other works in the Kagerou Project might still be worth your time. Starting with the songs would be ideal, followed by the light novels and manga for further clarification. Each offers its own twist on the story, and the experience can differ drastically from the anime; there was a lot of cut content that wasn't quite able to be squeezed in properly. It's a shame that the end product was a such disappointment, because Mekakucity Actors could have easily been something worthwhile. In the end, it was too ambitious for its own good. read more
"Serves you right."
Mekakucity Actors is a fairly straightforward story depicted in a far too contrived, convoluted and pretentious way.
I approached this anime as a supporter of some of the most renown Shaft productions. I love their artistry in portraying surreal worlds and concepts through the use of captivating art and unusual views. But this time, I think Shinbou went overboard and, as a neophyte of the Kagerou Project, I found myself wrapping my head around trying to grasp what the anime was aiming to convey.
The story is not so difficult nor has some special deep meaning to it. Once you read about it or put the pieces together, it's fairly simple and possibly interesting. It somehow addresses themes such as loneliness, death, sacrifice and friendship. But there's no use of profound symbolism or references that may justify the absurd contrived and convoluted way it is told. It's like making a jigsaw puzzle out of a blank image. Sure, it may be fun to reason and find where each single piece fits inside the bigger picture, but the result will not be satisfying enough to account for the work and time spent. That is to say that the script doesn't really fit with the source material. The aim was probably to be unconventional and peculiar, but overall it turned out as pretentious and unnecessary.
The story revolves around a group of teenagers, called collectively Mekakushi-Dan, or Blindfolded Gang, which bears within their eyes some mysterious powers. This setting sprouts from the seeds of Kagerou Project, a collection of animated songs created by Jin and singed by the artificial voice synthesizer Vocaloid. They gained a huge success on the web and various kind of adaptations followed, including the anime series.
As stated above, the story is properly interesting and not overly intricated, in itself. The way it is narrated, though, makes it obscure and hard to comprehend most of the times. The main problem is the unnecessarily overused non-linear flow of the adaptation. It surely is an intriguing and engaging story-telling device that I like and enjoy when done right, but this time around, I think it really detracts from the overall experience. From one episodes to the next there's a continuous back and forth between present and past events and within each episode itself there are innumerable flashbacks. It makes arduous to keep up with the main plot as it mostly seems like an episodic series. During the first 5-6 episodes I found myself wondering what was going on and what the story was all about. It is as long as half of the series, too much time before seeing some development. To sum it up, too many things untold or unclear and too much unrelated jumping from one scene to another, all for the sake of making the story interesting and catch the viewer curiosity.
The final couple of episodes tries to put things together and sew the thin threads of the story into a meaningful ending. Sadly, this is only partially achieved, as things feel rushed and, again, not completely clear. It is also resolved in a way that's not exactly thrilling nor engaging. The ending itself is pretty disappointing.
ART AND ANIMATION (7/10)
It's sufficiently good for today's standards but surely not what you'd expect from Shaft. It definitely isn't their best production. At times it's striking, others it's pretty mediocre. Characters design appears awkward sometimes, animations tend to be stiff and sketchy and you will see them reused in loops. There's still a fair share of nice backgrounds and settings, but some of them lack details and depth. It feels like the quality is irregular throughout the show.
Artistic imagination is omnipresent, with emotions and concepts conveyed through the use of images, and that's what I like the most as it is fascinating and alluring. But most of the times it is out of place since there's no higher concept to really portray nor explain. Also, don't expect anything near the level of Madoka or Monogatari.
Most of the soundtrack is taken from Kagerou Project, which is famous for a reason. They're all great, enjoyable songs and they pleasantly complement the atmosphere of each episode. They also serve as means to better understand relevant facts about the episode they support. And paradoxically, you may gain more meaning from the song itself than from the whole episode, which isn't appropriate. The song should be the complement, not the whole 15 minutes preceding them. As such, you may want to carefully listen to them separately. It will surely help you with the plot.
The ending is without a doubt my favorite one. A melancholic, sad, hopeless composition that hides in its lyrics a meaning that is fairly important to the story itself, even if in the anime, once again, it is never made completely clear.
There are a lot of characters involved, probably too many for a 12 episodes series. Even if the first episodes try to focus individually on each one of them, still, they aren't properly developed so to be likeable. Some are more developed, like Mono, Shintaro and Ayano, and some others a lot less, despite being fundamental to the story, like for example Marry. Marry should be the main focus of the story, the beginning of everything, and nonetheless for 11 episodes she's on the edge of the scene. A shy, reserved girl which appears to be a mascot.
Those characters that at the end result to be what you'd call the protagonists, during the show don't have the deserved attention. Aside from Marry, Ayano and Shintaro are probably the most important ones. However, they looks like side characters or plot devices for a great part of the anime. Instead, those not nearly as important, for example Kido, Seto and Momo, get far too much screen time.
As a whole, neither of them appears to be secondary, and at the same time no one seems really necessary. It's hard to empathize with them, counting out maybe Ayano and possibly Marry after episode 10. They're all far too limited in their archetypes. They lack intensity. I don't remember any single one of them as striking.
The first episodes got me pretty hooked with episode 4 being the pinnacle of my enjoyment. And the short "monster" stories after the ending of each episode where incredibly charming and mesmerizing. But soon the weekly airing turned out as something I wasn't really looking forward to.
I wouldn't suggest it as a must-watch and neither as a must-try. There are a lot of more interesting stories out there. And if you like non-linear stories, there are better productions.
You'd probably want to watch it if you're a fan of Kagerou Project and it will almost surely make you a better impression since the overarching plot and themes will be already familiar. If you're not familiar with the franchise and still want to watch it, you'd better gain some familiarity first. It will result in a more enjoyable experience as you won't be bewildered after every episode.
Clean unique worlds from both series where plots have to be grasped to get a clear understanding. The artful animation and expresison of the characters is something to be galvanised with. Environments appeared sophisticated in both arrangements and structure that will give you an out of this world experience.
A variety of bizarre stories unfold within a biggish city in Japan. At the center of it all is a confused young man and his endearingly annoying otherwordly sidekick. Shafting ensues.
The animation, camera angles, etc. are extremely similar. Both are made by Shaft. Similar atmosphere.
similar mc and personality
same over reactions and exaggerated actions
suspense and mystery too
When I watched the first episode of Mekakucity Actors it reminded me a lot of Bakemonogatari. So I checked it out and found that they are made by the same director. They have the same design, background, and atmosphere. My personal opinion is that Bakemonogatari is better, but if you really enjoyed one you might enjoy the other.
Same graphic style and over all acting, voices and lighting.
Both are produced by Shaft, have similar art and style to them, both have a similar main character and sidekick duo.
-both are produced by Shaft
-both are SHAFTY, similar art, and close-up camera angles and other angles are used to bring out unique effects and an isolated ambiance
-both are dialogue heavy
-both main characters Araragi and Kisaragi look alike and have similar personalities
-both are set in a city of a similar design and environment
Conclusion: They are both Shafty.
Focusing on the group of teenagers who have something to do with supernatural. Both have SHAFT animation style.
Both show from Shaft Animation with same art style.
Both Anime Have Similar Character.
Both Anime Have Similar Comedy.
Both Anime Have Similar Mystery.
Very similar art,similar atmosphere. When you watch Mekakucity you feel like you are watching Bakemonogatari!
same feel for both shows, both deal with the supernatural, both are mystery too, both focused on one city, also weird red eyes
Supernatural abilities and a bunch of equally important characters who are more connected than it seems at first glance.
Consisting of a group of characters with supernatural abilities, both Durarara!! and Mekakucity Actors has the ingredients of similarities. Beyond that, there are mysteries relating to the origins of both series involving the stories. Expect decent comedy with humor and gags. Both series are also crafted with a story that intertwines the characters lives that ties into the city they reside in. I recommend both series for anyone looking for a supernatural phenomenon curtsey of strange occurrences.
>The same dark, weird and even creepy atmosphere
>supernatural mysteric powers
>a big group of main characters
>the story line is described throughout the show out of the point of views of the different main characters which makes it understandable in the end
Same feel with a group of people bunching up together trying to solve a city's mysteries. The narration scrambles up chronological order. Some later events are shown in the earlier episodes and viewers can only make sense of it in later episodes.
Like Durarara!!, Mekakucity Actors is about what one could call "urban heroes"; a group of seemingly random, but fascinating characters. All these characters seem to have in common is the city they live in, but their lives intertwine in many ways! What drives these characters? What is their history? What can they DO? These people walk around the city unnoticed or very much noticed. They are local legends or idols, or no one knows who they are.
Expect plot twists and surprising turns of events, because you never know what will happen next!
You feel the same vibe with the two show. Also, they both have multiple main/supporting characters and in each episode, the perspectives change. At first, you also get confused but in the end, everything will come together.
>Telling the stories from some characters PoV
>First half confusing as hell, and then the second half is amazing as hell.
-They both start out really complicated
-Both focus on several main characters and they meet somehow along the story
-There is something unique with each one
Both are quite complicated first - situation from 1st episode is being explained in the 3rd and Kano is similar to Kida.
Opening Theme#1: "daze" by Jin ft. MARiA from GARNiDELiA (eps 2-5, 8, 10-11)
#2: "Headphone Actor (ヘッドフォンアクター)" by Jin ft. LiSA (ep 6)
#3: "Ayano no Koufuku Riron (アヤノの幸福理論)" by Jin ft. Aki Okui (ep 9)
Ending Theme#1: "daze" by Jin ft. MARiA from GARNiDELiA (ep 1)
#2: "days" by Jin ft. Lia (eps 2-5, 7, 9-11)
#3: "Yuukei Yesterday (夕景イエスタデイ)" by Jin ft. LiSA (ep 6)
#4: "Lost Time Memory (ロスタイムメモリー)" by Jin ft. Matsuyama Kouta from BYEE the ROUND (ep 8)
#5: "Summertime Record (サマータイムレコード)" by Jin feat. Jin (ep 12)
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