With his mother taken away from him and having lost everything, Lag Seeing is now a letter whose delivery has been assigned to Gauche Suede, a Letter Bee. Despite their troubling start, the two of them become friends, leading Lag to realize what his aim in life is: to deliver people's most important feelings in the form of letters, just as Gauche has done.
To be honest, I didn't think I would enjoy Tegami Bachi after I read the plot summary. A government employee delivers letters and fights monster bugs. Great. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Although Tegami Bachi may seem extraordinarily childish at first, the subtle, dark undertones are what make it very appealing.
Amberground, the setting of the story, is divided into three sections based on social class: Yodaka, Yuusari and Akatsuki. The land is covered by darkness with the exception of the artificial sun with illuminates the capital (Akatsuki); therefore, the farther away you get from the capital, the darker it gets.
Lag Seeing, an orphan, was found by a Letter Bee, Gauche Suede, who realized that Lag was the package he had to deliver to Campbell Litus, a small town in the dark Yodaka District. To Lag, Gauche was like a hero - he had saved his life numerous times during the delivery. Gauche was also the one who taught him about how letters hold the hearts of those who write it, and how the gaichuu (giant insects) are out to steal those hearts. Overshadowed by his hero, Lag swears to become a Letter Bee when he grows up. Only, when he finally achieves his goal, he discovers that the person who inspired him is no longer working as a Bee. Desperate to see him again, he begins to search for Gauche during his deliveries. In the process, Lag learns of an underground organization plotting to overthrow the capital, and the price that the citizens of Amberground pay for the artificial sunlight.
Studio Pierrot has done a pretty good job with the animation. All the colours look very comfortable and eye-pleasing, with fabulous openings and endings.
I really like the music in Tegami Bachi because it really adds to the story. Each piece of music was carefully planned out and they really suit the setting of the story.
This is where I really think the story is lacking. Lag is an annoying crybaby who really, is nothing more than annoying. Niche, Lag's dingo, does incomprehensible things almost every episode. Gauche is the only one who has a relatively deep character, that enables you to understand his thoughts and motivations. The occasional flashbacks do help explain Gauche's character, but in general, you can't really relate to the characters.
The light mood mixed with the dark undertones make a nice blend.
There is a strange land called Amberground where it is constantly night, and an artificial sun only partially illuminates it. A mail delivery service known as “Bee Hive” recruits young “Letter Bees” to travel near and far and deliver letters. To make things difficult, the land on which they travel is teeming with monsters called “Gaichuu.” The letter bees are equipped with special guns and a protective pet called a “dingo” to overcome such challenges. Lag Seeing is our main letter bee with a special power and dingo, and he strives to become the top letter bee.
With such an interesting and original premise, was the story executed well? I have to say that Letter Bee started out strong. We first see Lag as a distressed, confused young child whose mother was taken away by the capital. He is nothing more than a “letter” needing to be delivered to a person who will take care of him. You follow Lag as he encounters an inspirational letter bee named Gauche, and upon being delivered safely, he swears to become a letter bee just like him.
Eventually, Lag takes a letter bee exam, finds a dingo, and meets many other letter bees who will occasionally work alongside him. Unfortunately, Gauche isn't among them because he suddenly goes missing before Lag arrives. The series manages to develop a lot of mystery up to this point about his whereabouts, Lag's mother, and the strange events that occur in their world. Letter Bee also becomes a bit political as we gain insight into Amberground's system of government.
Just before midway of the series, all of the mysteries are temporarily forgotten, and filler episodes take over. The majority of the show consists of Lag making deliveries to random people whose personal stories range from compelling to cheesy, looking at flashbacks, blasting up Gaichuu, getting sick with a fever, racing, celebrating Christmas, and so on. After a while, these episodes feel like a waste of time. I personally wanted the story to move back to the mystery, especially with the anime nearing its end so fast.
The final few episodes actually grow darker in nature and return to the mystery that made this series so fascinating in the beginning. My friend and I thought that this was what Letter Bee should have been all along. In the end, the story leaves off with much to be desired; however, a second season has recently been announced which explains why we ended up watching so many fillers. Hopefully Letter Bee’s continuation will explore more of its dark mystery and answer some questions.
To answer my own question, I would say that the story was not executed as well as it could have been, but I do look at this anime under a more positive light knowing that a second season is soon on its way. There is much potential left for Letter Bee to bring out.
The characters certainly drive the series and make it very interesting. Lag Seeing, as I have so often mentioned already, is an innocent, determined child who possesses the power to look directly into people’s hearts upon shooting his gun. He views himself as delivering the hearts of people rather than just mere letters. However, his major drawback is that he is a crybaby in every single episode. Every little thing seems to touch his heart and bring tears down his cheeks. Either you like him or you don’t. I found him to be quite likeable despite his drawback. Lag travels with his dingo called Niche who is rather compulsive in attacking others and is protective of him. It is very fun to watch them interact during their travels.
We also get to really know the other letter bees and Bee Hive officers. They each have their own personality, strength, motive, and unique dingo. Their backgrounds are slowly revealed through flashbacks; however, a few of them have yet to receive proper development which I suspect has been saved for season two. Nevertheless, they are strong and memorable characters.
The rest of the cast consists of people whom Lag meets while delivering letters: a lonely little girl, a pair of lovers, a worried mother, a con artist, you name it. While a few of them are pretty interesting, it is hard to just care about them all and to see the show focused on them so much. Their purpose more or less serves to give Lag and the other letter bees some character development.
Animation, Setting, and Music
The animation is a mixed bag. The character designs are great, as well as the background scenery for the towns and such. However, it has not been a thrill ride to watch the fights that occur during every delivery. The animation there is so-so, and the monsters are a bit too CGI for my tastes. They never feel like they fit quite right in the show.
This season worked very hard on developing its setting and atmosphere. They are simply Letter Bee’s strongest points as of right now. The atmosphere can be rather haunting because the world is always dark and bleak beyond the lively, warm towns. The background music largely contributes to this with its gentle, spooky tunes and classical music.
Letter Bee is a very unique and atmospheric anime full of deep mysteries and strong characters. Its story might have gotten a bit weak midway with all its fillers and flashbacks, but it has so much potential for the second season. This season was all about building up the characters and atmosphere; the second one just might get straight to business. With high anticipation for its continuation, I recommend this anime.read more
This is my first review so please take it easy on me. I will do my best not to write a lot of spoilers.
Story 9/10: The story takes place in a country called Amberground, surrounded on all sides by the sea and is composed of three separated areas. There are the capital, Akatsuki where nobles live which is brightly lit by a man made sun, The second is the middle class, Yuusari and Yodoka the lowest city which is covered by darkness. In the whole story so far its always night time. The story begins about a boy named Lag Seeing chained to a postal sign as he is a letter who was found by a Letter Bee (Specialist who travels around and deliver Letters and eliminate monsters called Gaichuu. Letter Bee uses weapons called Shindanjuu a spirit amber weapon that uses their heart in order to shoot) named Gauche Suede there Lag's adventure begins. The story will have many emotional scenes, great adventures and many unexpected things to entertain you's.
Art 10/10: The art is great as the characters eyes are more detailed then your average anime that you watch everyday. The art is really enjoyable to look at, some will find the monsters weird as it looks cg. But overall the character designs are very nice, the environment is quite detailed the sky has a lot of pretty stars. The colors on the characters are great nothing to bright or to dull.
Sound 8/10: The OP & ED is enjoyable nothing disturbing I find it suited for the anime. The voice actors in this anime are quite good Gauche Suede who is voice by Fukuyama, Jun Yeah! you know it the awesome guy who voices Tama & Lelouch. Some may find the voice actor for Lag seeing Sawashiro, Miyuki quite disturbing or not suit the character but please note: that Lag is only 12 and haven't matured so might suit him a bit in my opinion.
Characters 8/10: The main character Lag Seeing is a boy who might be spoiled at beginning but tends to be really friendly as he sees Gauche memories and becomes a great person in the future. Gauche may be cold at times but volunteered to deliver Lag and who is later becomes Lags goal he is a kind hearted person but only thinks of saving enough money for his sister and doesn't treat those around him as friends at times.
Enjoyment 8/10: The story is quite slow paced at first and might bored many who enjoys fast paced anime. Fast paced animes tend to have rushed endings the animation follows the manga but has slight changes like removing minor characters from the story. There are many emotion scenes and unexpected situations at times which brings me to enjoyment. The weapons won't be as cool as you think they are so any weapon freaks out there might go "lame" when seeing the weapons they use.
Overall Its a great anime who many will find to like. The story gets better as the story goes on introducing new interesting characters and many unexpected scenes.read more
I'm only six episodes in and so far, it's amazing. It has a similar feel to it that Escaflowne (the movie) or Baccano! has. I can't really describe it any other way. The emotions it evokes are similar, I think, as is the fantasy. It's more subtle and the story is very well crafted so far. I love the characters and the music fits it so well. I highly recommend it!
My only complaint is the cg monsters, but I can deal with them.