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: 7.321 (scored by 32442 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, Series Composition, Original Creator, Music
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard
(warning: this is slightly long. If you wanna read something grab to munch on or drink while reading)
If you either watch Anime regularly, or at least dappled into its online world; chance are, you have heard of Vocaloid or seen its icon, Hatsune Miku. One of the biggest confusions that I faced when first entering the online world was that whether Vocaloid was a show or not.
And it turns out, it isn't; and instead, it is a popular program used to create artificial voice to sing and much more. With a devoted fanbase promoting its artworks all over the web, it is one of the most recognizable icons of the Anime online culture.
Naturally, I was consistently interested in what would happen if a show were made out "Vocaloid," or any of the alike franchises; even though I was not a regular listener of any of the artists that use the program.
In 2013, when it was announced that "Kagerou Project," a series of songs created by Jin(Musician) will be animated by Studio SHAFT - a studio known for its unique style - it was an exciting thing. Although I knew nothing about it aside from its success, I was hyped to see just what kind of a show a Song series could produce.
But the result, was also one of the most disappointing. In this review I will review several aspect of the show, and suggest whether you should watch it based on the criterial.
One of the more important things of Anime with a story to tell is how it handles its pacing.
The allocation of its episodes and what happens in them, and the handling of the pacing was probably the most disastrous aspect of the series.
The story starts with an ambiguous tone of playful interactions between the cyber-girl Ene and her "master" Shintaro, then it quickly delved into a hostage situation, which brought about the Mekakushi-dan, a group of supernatural ability users. Then, the story uses an arc pattern to advance each episode, with each character given about 1 episode of time for their background story.
Several placements of important story aspects resulted in ineffective communication. For example, Ayano's appearance in the beginning of a few episodes was brief and abstract, followed by the story shifting ina radically different direction, making it hard to remember that she was even there. Then there is the "story of the monster," a segment placed in the end of each episode telling a story in a abstract, fairy-tale slideshow manner. That story was one of the most important aspect of the series, but it was placed AFTER the ending theme, resulting in it easily being skipped. Another problem came along the monster story seems to be the abilities themselves. They were never fully explained in the early stages of the series, and thus had to be fastly explained near the ending.
Secondly, much of the character arcs were taken up by humorous interactions. Which is in most cases, fine and important for developing believable relations between characters. But due to the slow pace of the series, the humorous interaction defocused the story from the plot and resulted in a large infodump around the end of the series, showing its poor allocation. Some inappropriate interactions, such as the battle between Ene and Kano did more to detract the mood rather than anything else. Though it is noted, some of the light hearted moments were truly entertaining to watch.
Third, some of the more important characters were ignored/not given an arc/had a counterproductive airtime. Marry, an important character to the "monster story" was virtually not given any background information until near the end of the story. Seto also came off as boring and rather forced into relevancy due to him hardly given any memorable lines in the show, and the nature of his meeting with Marry. And Shintaro just spends his time roaming around most of the series, hardly interacting with the rest of the Mekakushi-dan. More important, Hiyori, whose character displayed a fowl mouth towards Hibiya that would make one less sympathetic towards her and puzzling to those that wonder why in the world did Hibiya like her.
The conclusion: the Cohesion is a jumbled mess that does not focus on the story that the series ends up centering around, and added with poorly placed foreshadowing and detracting character interaction makes the series hard to comprehend, and resulted in a condensed ending that shows poor pacing.
Coming from Studio Shaft, the series is animated with a focus on the main characters in a simplified, Metro style artwork(Just as the popular Monogatari series has). Most of the world is simplified into single colors filling a shape, such as the background characters. But that doesn't stop it from having complex artwork, such as the ink-drawn detailed animation that Ayano's mother's diary received, and the video game world with the complex colors.
The animation isn't very fluid - that is not to say it is clunky - but it follows the Shaft style. Examples such as slowly zooming up to a character's face as he/she talks, sudden cut-scenes within seconds. Some poor choices were made such as using CGI to animate the infamous episode 8 opening, but all in all, it was mostly stylistic.
However, a cost also came to the unique animation that Studio Shaft offered. Most of the dialogue exchanges were uncomplicated, unlike that of the Monogatari series'. In fact, there series dialogue was so uncomplicated, that at times it felt boring to watch the uniform landscape. Another problem was the character designs, they at times, felt too simplified as well, and lacked the finished touch of some of other Shaft's works.
In short, there is a wide variety of animation style in a generally flat design of the scenaries, but at times, it could feel boring, with the combination of its next aspect.
Most of the episodes were named after the Songs themselves made by Jin, and were at times inserted into the episodes. However, in the first half of the series, a noticeable flaw was the lack of background music(BGM). This, combined with the simplified visuals, made a boring experience to watch as ill-developed characters interact with each other, while not exchanging anything particular interesting. The songs and OP/ED are all fine, especially if you are already a fan of the Kagerou Project. For the most part, the Sound does a suitable job.
The character is composed of a relative large central cast(10), as did Baccano and Durarara. Where the latter 2 series handled their character development and interaction with mastery, Mekakucity Actors did not. Due to time restraints, some characters were left feeling dull such as Marry and Seto's, and others would likely confuse you as to whether you should feel sorry about or not(Hiyori).
While Shintaro and the Dan's interactions was handled fine, there was a sense of purposelessness at the end of the series to him being the central character; their interactions almost felt like they had no reason to exist, and calls in question whether he is the protagonist or not.
The villain is even weaker. Until episode 10, there wasn't even a clear villain.
Moreover, the villain's motivations were weak and cliched, weakening the story(and the poorly explained abilities).
Some characters' feelings did not resonate nearly as much as they would with the Kagerou Project songs, such as Haruka's feeling of loneliness. Most of the characters, all in all, came off as unmemorable and weak(possibly due to time constraints and allocation).
This was an interesting attempt to translate popular works of songs into animation. Some of the other successful franchises, such as Black Rocket Shooter, Vocaloid, Touhou franchise, and the Kantai Collection, in my postulation, mained garnered such a large fandom thanks to the non-linear nature of their franchises. Most of the characters were simply nice designs, with plenty of room for the viewer's personal interpretation of the character, resulting in the plethora of fanarts that can be found across Pixiv.
Mekakucity Project failed to live up to the expectations of fans mainly due to its poor explanation of abilities as well as the background for the finale of the story, the constrained timeline, the poorly presented characters and the lack of some, the combination of simplified animation and lack of engaging BGM during some of the isolated scenes across the series, resulting in a poorly produced, and apparently rushed anime.
But it is still watchable for those interested in the characters themselves mostly, and would like to see them interacting together, as well as the modern animation style of Studio Shaft along with some quality Kagerou Project songs. For the average viewer, this could be a fresh approach to Anime.
The Final score: 6/10
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
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)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
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