Synonyms: Blue Literature
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 11, 2009 to Dec 27, 2009
Premiered: Fall 2009
Licensors: None found, add some
Duration: 22 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
Score: 7.951 (scored by 26,095 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
For a long time now, the psychology genre has been dominated by the likes of Elfen Lied, Higurashi, Monster and Requiem for a Phantom. All these anime looked at psychology as the mindset of a murderer or the troubled past of the protagonist, and there were also shows like Death Note, which focused on the mental abilities of two geniuses. This has been the way anime have defined the psychology genre for years.
But, as always, along comes a player that changes the way the game is played.
Aoi Bungaku Series thrusts you into the shows of the protagonists and synchronizes their brain to yours. It gives you a spectacularly detailed insight into their thoughts and feelings, all while following an intense storyline.
The show is the anime adaptation of several literary masterpieces in Japan (much like Ayakashi Classic Japanese Horror), some of them dating back to the late 1920s. ABS portrays six such immortal classics, each of them highlighting the complex and fickle nature of the human mind. Except for the first arc, each arc lasts only two episodes. Writing an in-depth analysis of each of the stories would be giving away too much and might ruin the experience. If you want absolutely no spoilers, then I recommend you do not read the MAL synopsis either, as it contains nearly half the story. Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic elements of each of the stories, while keeping the spoilers to a bare minimum:
(NOTE: Each arc is a completely different story, are in no way interrelated and can even be viewed as a standalone anime. That’s the primary reason why I’m reviewing each arc separately.)
1. No Longer Human – This classic, written by Dazai Osamu, focuses on a psychotic and troubled mind – that of a congressman’s son. Set in 1929, this dark and gloomy arc was the longest, lasting four episodes, which proves to be more than enough time to let the viewer unravel the protagonist’s twisted perceptions of society and how he bears the pressure of being crushed under the weight of his own ego. Drenched with sadness and pregnant with hope, each of those four episodes is memorable to say the least. After watching this arc, you understand why No Longer Human was the defining work of the author and the most read literary piece in Japan.
2. Under Cherries in Full Bloom – Probably the most bizarre two episodes of an anime I’ve ever seen in my life. Ango Sakaguchi, the author, tries to tell a tale of how people need to speak their minds in order to live a peaceful life. However, his idealistic approach on decadence falls short in this anime adaptation, because of unnecessary humor, inappropriate chibi animations and dreadfully boring jazzy songs. The sudden light-heartedness and lackadaisical pacing feels like a fish out of water after watching the melancholy and sorrowful No Longer Human.
3. Kokoro – Natsume Soseki is considered the Charles Dickens of Japan for good reason. I felt like I was drifting along in a sea filled with the characters’ emotions. When I talked about this anime being the game changer, I was mainly referring to this arc. It weaves a bittersweet story of love, lust, trust, jealousy and friendship.
4. Run, Melos! – “Is it more painful to wait, or to make someone wait?” The most straightforward story of the lot. The storyline is very basic and is about a playwright’s life, as he spends his life waiting for his childhood friend to come and meet him. Once again, this was written by Dazai Osamu and is the retelling of a Greek legend (Damon and Pythias), the overall theme of the arc being unwavering friendship. As I said, it’s a very simple story and it can get a tad predictable, but since it lasts for only forty minutes, it’s an enjoyable ride.
5. The Spider’s Thread – What starts off as a brutal Assassin’s Creed anime, ends up as a crude moral story that is far too short to convey any real message. While the basic idea of Ryunosuke Akutagawa was to entertain children with this novel, the anime adaptation is aimed at a much more mature audience because of its gore and profanity. A good story, but 20 minutes proves to be too short to convey the author’s ideals.
6. Hell Screen –Penned by the same author as Spider’s Thread, Hell Screen succeeds exactly where The Spider’s Thread fails – it gets its point through in a single episode. This arc is about an artist and his struggle to paint his masterpiece, much like O.Henry’s “The Last Leaf”.
The animation in this show is one of the best I’ve ever seen, if not the best. The show features some of the highest production values to date. It’s also one of the very few anime that managed to use CGI well. The generous use of the morose red in the first arc, No Longer Human, was what contributed to the eerie atmosphere of the anime.
The soundtrack is great. While the instrumental pieces were fitting, the series doesn’t have an OP and the ED was not very good.
As far as content warning goes, this show is rated R17 for a reason. Not only does it feature a large amount of blood, gore, sex and profanity, but it also contains strong messages about the society, which younger audiences will neither understand nor appreciate.
The subbing by Masterpiece was perfect and provided T/L notes wherever necessary.
But when it’s all said and done, Aoi Bungaku Series is not a show that will ever have universal appeal. Due to its complex nature and dark atmosphere, this show will most probably never see the light of the day.
[ THE WRAP-UP ]
Aoi Bungaku Series is one of the darkest and most complex anime out there. Not only does it show ‘psychology’ in an entirely new light, but it also provides an artful insight into Imperial Japan. Excellent animation and a strong soundtrack make sure that this anime is technically sound. Being an adaptation of six different novels, each arc is bound to have a different impact on the viewer, but maintain an overall consistency in the intensity of the storyline. Aoi Bungaku Series is definitely not for everyone and is made for a limited audience. If you don’t like the first couple of episodes, then I don’t think you’re going to like the rest of the series either. Those looking for happy endings or lighthearted storylines are not going to be impressed with this one. However, if you’re in the mood for a dark, depressing anime about the world’s cruelty and a gripping psychological anime, then Aoi Bungaku Series might fit the bill. Individual story ratings given below:
No Longer Human – 9/10
Under the Cherry Blossoms – 7/10
Kokoro – 10/10
Run, Melos! – 8/10
The Spider’s Thread – 8/10
Hell Screen – 9/10
Overall : 9/10
The Anime itself is divided into 6 different famous Japanese literatures made by famous authors from the past and all of the arcs has no connection with the others, but don't let this make you down because those 6 literatures sure were masterpieces indeed. You may prefer some arcs over the others, but overall it was a roller coaster full of emotions. One has to think deeper to get the full and real meaning of each arc, or as an english teacher would say, you need to think outside the box. You wouldn't really expect what to happen next since it's like a train of irony. You will be left with awe once you finish a certain arc. You will most likely doubt your own instincts since at first you'll be like "ah he's a bad guy", but then later on you'll be like, "wtf I was wrong."
If I can give a number higher than 10, then I would gladly choose that number as Aoi Bungaku's art was a hell of a masterpiece. The art was one of the parts why this show was awesome. The art gave the Anime a mysterious atmosphere and in some part, creepy. Heck, I would be glad if all Anime were drawn like this.
You get different sounds in each arc. The background music that they play when a certain creepy event is happening was so good that it'll make either your eyes closed or wide open, if you're a masochist. Also, when emotional parts strike, the background music really helped to make a viewer sad or cry.
6 different arcs, which mean a lot of new characters. In each arc, you get awesome characters, and by awesome I mean characters surrounded with mystery and such. You wouldn't expect that character would do that to other character such. Also, 2 of the mains in 2 arcs looked like Light from Death Note. :D Plus, you get a 3d guy in every beginning of an episode. Where can you see an Anime with 3d people on!?
Pretty much enjoyed the entire series. There are 6 arcs so normally, one would prefer one over the other. Overall, it was really good. Superb, I must say.
I would frankly say that this is the first Anime I've seen with a different type of storytelling so I'm going to give this a 10. It was very unique. You can't help it but fall in love with the arcs although in some cases, you will most likely hate some of the arcs before you prefer the previous one and wanted that arc to be longer. read more
I’m not a huge expert on art, or animation for that matter (only expertise I have is grade 9 art). But, even an amateur can tell that this series does a very nice job in changing its colour tones for each story. Some of the darker stories such as No Longer Human and Hell Screen had a much darker tone and much darker colours as compared to In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom which had a more colourful palette in its creation. These tones were the most prominent thing to me visually. The character design was also very solid and matched the character personalities to a tee. General art work and backgrounds were also very solid.
There are no openings for this anime as almost each episode is instead started off with a narration, explaining the story, its background, and a little bit about the author. I find this refreshing and unique as it gives you very useful information before heading into the story. There is not much music playing in the background in the anime, especially when there is dialogue. But, in the few instances where there is a musical score in the background, it matches the tone of the series very well. The first series, No Longer Human, had much more dramatic and eerie music playing, in contrast to Kokoro which had more poppy SoL type music playing. The OST for each series represented what type of setting/genre the story was placed in.
This section is hard because there are a lot of characters and in some stories they’re main focus while in others they are not that important. In fact, most of the stories focus more on the themes and the message of the story than the characters. Because of the nature of this series, I will not do a character review section.
Aoi Bungaku has a variety of 6 different stories, each conveying their own message and having their own meaning. All of them are unique and interesting and I didn’t find any of them to be below average. I will do a rundown of my thoughts on each one.
- No Longer Human:
The first piece of literature to be shown in the anime is in my eyes, the best one. No Longer Human shows the life of a man, named Yozo Oba, who has lost all hope in his humanity and, for the most part, life. It shows the inner thought process of a man on the verge of suicide, as he is disowned by his father for following his dreams. You see how he hits rock bottom due to the traumas of his past actions and childhood horrors. The author does a great job of delving into human psychology as it is shown how and why Yozo has completely lost faith in himself as a human. The piece not only shows how sensitive and powerless we really are as humans, but also how society can make us this way with its generalized standards.
- In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom:
This story is much more basic in comparison to the first. It tells the story of a bandit who falls in love with a mysterious yet beautiful woman and how he does anything for her. I feel this is one of the weaker stories as it doesn’t really convey a message of deeper meaning. Instead, it just shows how easily humans can be manipulated and used; the comedy also doesn’t really help or fit in.
Kokoro is another great adaptation, but goes towards a more slice of life feel as opposed to the rest of the stories. The plot in this one is basically, without spoiling too much, about a love triangle. Yes, on the surface it sounds very dull and out of place, but if you take a deeper look you can see that the story shows the struggles of suppressing human emotions and how understanding each other’s (very powerful) emotions can play a key role in life in general. On top of this, the story adds a twist by adding a second, non-canon, episode in the adaptation. This episode shows the importance of perspective and really makes you think about the situation differently. The episode shows the story in the perspective of what was deemed as the ‘antagonist/rival’ of the first episode. I found it a very unique and necessary part, and without it I feel the story would probably be much worse.
- Run, Melos!:
Run, Melos! was another not so great adaptation out of the bunch. Though it tells an interesting story about the importance of friendship, the message wasn’t very inspiring or new. The moral of the story was generic and mundane, thus I did not care much for this title.
- Spider’s Thread:
Spider’s Thread was an adaptation of a children’s book with a very basic and generic moral; it wasn’t very interesting as I have heard stories like it many times before except with a much lighter tone.
- Hell Screen:
This story is has a great message that could last forever and told in a very short and precise manner using the same type of fairy tale style setting as used in Spider’s Thread. The main point of the story was to show how art can fight oppression and help express many things. Hell Screen shows how influential art can be and how loud it can speak to someone. It also shows how a ruler having absolute power is corrupt and can ruin a nation.
Aoi Bungaku is a great series of 6 short pieces of classic Japanese literature with some great themes explored in them. The art was very solid and added a certain tone that matched each story very well. The sound, though lacking, was nice and the background music, just like the art, gave life to the story and matched it very nicely. The stories were also a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of other shows out. Though not all of them were great in my eyes, they were still well done and each had a unique atmosphere to them; none of them were below average. The only major gripe that I had with the series that brings it down from getting a higher score is of course, the inconsistency. By that I mean the difference in the stories and how some were much better than others. Other than that, I feel Aoi Bungaku is one of the better anime I’ve seen even though it can be a bit hit and miss with so many different stories.
Final Score: 8/10
No Longer Human: Great. In just 4 episodes so much was told. One reason why people should watch the first 4 eps of Aoi Bungaku is because as odd as it may seem MANY OF US ask these questions at one point in our lives or another. I don't want to spoil anything or what happens or transpires so I won't give any references. There are several references to this title so it's difficult to say WHY it's called "No Longer Human" exactly. If you don't want to watch a superpowered cartoon involving Super-Sayajin and BAN KAI or some wacky fairytale then relate to this masterpiece.
Under Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom: Great as well. In episode 6 there's even a Japanese version of Sweeney Todd's "No Place Like London" that was done beautifully. The main reference between Sweeney Todd and Shigemaru is that Sweeney Todd was a barber who would cut the throats of his enemies he'd be shaving and Shigemaru actually decapitated heads as demanded or warranted by his new bride. One thing that strikes to me as odd is the description of the "demon" in this 2 ep-long piece. If you watch these two eps, please pay attention to the supposed protagonist Shigemaru as he describes his only way out of a psychological prison created by his wife.
Kokoro: Jealousy sucks. That's all I gotta say about this story. The story is given two points of view (most other productions try to give a bird's eye view of what character progression is). I absolutely enjoyed both points of view as to what happened and it truly explains the shades and complexities of human emotions (regarding jealousy).
Run, Melos!: This is a simpler story told about friendship. Trust is the main theme trialed in this story as it's wagered between two friends. There are side stories explained in the episode (the main character rewrites Greek/Shakesperian plays in to Japanese and these plays are acted out in the episode). One main thing about this story (unlike the previous stories mentioned) is that there's no bloodshed. Don't get me wrong, the story is just as effective without it.
The Spider's Thread: Odd tale. Simple storyline of a homeless bandit stealing & killing innocent people just to live another day (note kandata, the pro(antagonist) of this story isn't a greedy man). This story got VERY interesting when his own path led him to a simple spider who in some weird way showed him that his future was only... well... hanging by a thread. NOTE the following ep in the double-aired series is NOT a sequel to Spider's Thread.
Hell Screen: Instead of a homeless bandit in the spotlight, an artist tasked with the mural in the King's future mausoleum highlighting only the good parts of his rule. Many details revealed throughout the episode show otherwise. If you think the king's beauty was appealing, feast your eyes on the shoddy prerequisites needed to bring his beloved land to prosperity.
With all this said (I know I've prematurely praised the entire series as a whole) I don't regret my ratings as they STAY THE SAME. Great show! Well done in almost every single aspect besides the fact they ARE short stories being animated so there's alot of thinking left for the watcher to do to truly understand the author's motives behind his/her characters' development throughout their respective stories. Just watch this one any sensible anime goer will not be disappointed!
There is one story I'm missing on which I believe is episode 9 or 10 of the series. I apologize in advance to all who've relied on this review before watching the series or any other episodes. please note though you should FEEL FREE to watch any episode throughout this series as it doesn't progress from ep 1 to ep 12. read more
If you have never heard of Aoi Bungaku, don't be ashamed. It is NOT a well known series at all. This is unfortunate, because in both popularity and rating it is one of the most criminally underrated anime on all of MAL. What makes this anime good? I will try to do it some justice and explain.
Aoi Bungaku is an anthology of stories taken from classic Japanese literature. The most famous of the stories featured is the short novel "No Longer Human" which is covered in episodes 1-4. The story is about a tortured young artist who as a child was sexually abused by his maid and emotionally abused by his politician father. As a result, the narrator feels alienated from society and never reveals his true emotions to others. He wears a mask until he becomes hollow and dead inside and no longer considers himself human. He meets a girl who is also suffering from great sadness and they decide to commit suicide together in scenic Kamakura. This is one of the most famous of all Japanese stories, so perhaps it helps explain why so many damn anime take place in Kamakura. She dies during the suicide, but the narrator survives and is haunted by guilt over her death. He attempts to live as a normal human, but the guilt always follows him. When he finally meets another woman that basically makes him feel normal, he discovers that she has been sleeping with his boss in order to keep him employed. The narrator has a complete psychological breakdown and wanders off into the snow, already showing signs of advanced tuberculosis. The stories are masterfully adapted and help capture the psychology, emotion, and philosophy of the originals, even if some of the stories stray a little in terms of plot. At the beginning of each episode, a narrator also helps by explaining certain aspects along with interesting facts about the author of each story.
The art is absolutely beautiful in this series and the animation changes to fit the tone of each story. The colors and shades are dark in the first tale due to the depressing nature, while they are bright and vibrant during the fairy tail adaptations in episodes 11 and 12. Studio Madhouse is a very excellent animation studio and they are really at their best with this one.
Each story is well adapted and has a different style and flavor of its own. This keeps things interesting and fresh. If you are a fan of classic literature, than you will probably have fun with this one.
People praise series like Tatami Galaxy and Mushishi for being artistic, deep, true masterpieces of anime that abandon obnoxious anime cliches and have all the dignity of true art. This series fits that description at least as well, but has a measly 8/10 while those 2 series both have a 9/10. This is sad since I personally felt that the first 4 episodes of Aoi Bungaku beat the shit out of any of the Mushishi episodes and can match in quality anything from Tatami Galaxy. I'm not just giving this series a 10/10 because it is an adaptation of a classic. Gankutsuou tried to adapt a classic and fell right on its face. I'm giving it a 10/10 because it is a GOOD adaptation of a classic that has real depth and artistic value without coming across as annoyingly pretentious. That is really hard to accomplish, yet Aoi Bungaku pulls it off with grace and style! read more
Firstly: The narrator at the beginning. He's great, and there's this eerie background music playing in the beginning as he asks us to please watch. The way he introduces the authors' lives (...All of them seem to be very sad. I'm not sure why.) and the topics is much better than any OP that could have been used. Unfortunately, the ED is really, really bad. It has a gloomy tone to it which does fit the series, but I dislike it a lot. The voice acting was stellar for each arc.
Now I'll review each arc separately.
1. No Longer Human — This, along with Hashire Melos, were my favorite arcs. The artwork is by Takeshi Obata, clearly seen by the way the protagonist (or antagonist?) resembles Light Yagami. No wonder that the art was great! Yozo's struggles with fitting into human society and the ghost that haunts him are all portrayed spectacularly. The music was gloomy to fit with the tone. I really enjoyed this one even though it gave me this weird feeling of helplessness after I finished it. 10/10
2. In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom — The major problem here is the art. Don't get me wrong, it's great, but it didn't sit well with me after sitting through No Longer Human's realistic arc. The chibis come in at totally wrong time. But perhaps that makes the shock value even better; everything's so cute you never see the horror coming. Regardless, I give this 7/10.
3. Kokoro — Different point of views, that's what this is about. On one hand you have Sensei who has had a cheerful life and looks at things in a different way, then you have K, a pessimistic man who has a different story to tell. First episode's from Sensei's POV, the second one's from K's. Really shocking to hear both sides of the story. Artwork is again by Takeshi Obata and very good. 8/10.
4. Run, Melos! — How far would you go for a friend? Is it worse to wait, or to be the one that makes others wait? Run, Melos asks us these questions. This arc has the best artwork in the entire series, everyone's hair is gorgeous, and this arc was my favorite along with No Longer Human. Really sad.
5. The Spider's Thread — Not as serious as the others but ultimately gives us a great ending. It only needed one episode to get the point across. Art was great and fit the tone of the story, as well as the music. 9/10.
6. Hell Screen — ...Messed up, that's all I can say. It seems that the city is the same as the one from The Spider's Thread. And hell is indeed horrifying. 9/10.
Though In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom is not as well done as the others, Aoi Bungaku provides us with a different approach to seinen. It could even get you interested in Japanese literature. If you like stories that make you think, here are 6 of them in one series. Definitely worth watching. read more
Aoi Bungaku (Or Blue/Evergreen literature) follows the adaptions of some of the most popular Japanese literature in the mid 20th century, and how their messages still resonate today.
As for the story, Aoi Bungaku is split into 5 arcs, one 4 episode arc with three 2 episode arcs. The last 2 episode can be left as either separate stories or together as they contain the same characters, setting ext. Furthermore, the show contains a male narrator (or guide) who not only tells us about how the books came about, but the psychology and personality of the writers themselves, as well as their life stories. This gives vital information into why the stories can be so dark and why the characters are they way they are. In terms of themes, as mentioned above, the psyche of the characters play a key in making this a good series. From inner bouts of depression, money, suicide, murder and betrayal, some of these themes play apart in every arc. It's realism into the topic of suicide was very stark and informative. But with each arc, the story changes from friendship based, to the mythical and so on, so there is a good choice of different stories to choose from, as well as many different types of atmospheres too, some sinister, some emotional.
Unfortunately, the main flaw of the anime is it's inconsistency in its arcs, some of which (especially the 1st and 4th) were done superbly, whilst the rest left much to be desire due to the lack of story development in the 2 episodes the arcs had. Nevertheless, the added introduction of the male narrator filled in a lot of the gaps left by the arcs.
As for animation, Madhouse did a brilliant job of making the arcs feel authentic to the genre it portrayed. From the dark and dulled down colours in the first arc to the bright and dazzling scenes in the last, they definitely spent no time making sure the animations were fluid. The character models all differed for the right reasons, which was nice.
In terms of the characters, it's a tale of two sides really. The character development in 2 of the 5 arcs are done brilliantly, from demonstrating how their backstory made their character, whether it be sexual abuse leading someone into dabbling with prostitutes, to a best friend betraying their trust, it did make for a spectacle to watch. Unfortunately, the direction of the other characters went off at a tangent, in the end, some characters were done well, others more shabby.
As for the music, for the most part, it was mixed in well with the different arcs, sad music for sad scenes, emotional music for emotional scenes, simple yet well executed. They're wasn't an opening song, as it was substituted for the narrator which was fine. The ending was a personal favorite of mine. Overall, the music was done to a good standard.
To sum up, Aoi Bungaku sets a slightly high bar for anime's based on real novels, but dropped at the final hurdle by keeping the a high standard in all the different arcs. I do recommend it for those looking for a new change to the psychological genre of anime.
Firstly, as far as the story goes its divided in 5 entirely different stories, so each of them have a totally different feel to them. In my opinion, they tried too hard to be more artsy and create complexity but art already is complex and in Japan's nature they make profound stories but they choose the wrong subject to illustrate that. Conclusively, some stories I was dumbfounded while the others were along the line of good.
Secondly, the art, my God was it beautiful. If your the type whom will disregard the story and watch a series just for the art then you really should get your hands on this one. Since, Takeshi Obata, Kubo Tite, and Takeshi Konomi did a brilliant job, you can watch it just for that ^_~
Thirdly, when it comes to sound then a little to be said, it was fine but sometimes didn't fit the situation in my opinion. Moving on, the seiyuus were good, Sakai Masato did a well job seeing that he is a real-life actor. On a different note, it was a bit funny cause I've seen his movie before watching this show and I have to say his voice was the most distinct.
Fourthly, lets face it, it was too short to properly develop any character especially judging by how complex some stories were. So, the characters were left stranded due to the over-focus on the execution of the whole series, does it make sense?
Fifthly, enjoyment? To be honest, its quite a depressing anime. Thats why I watched 2-3 episodes per day whereas I would usually watch 4-5. That being said you be the judge cause it really was a bit heavy and hard hitting concept wise.
Lastly, overall it can average around 7 for, it has actually but I might change it in the future. It all depends on the effects it leaves on me after some time.
I wanted to keep it short but guess there was just too much to tell.
Hope you found this review helpful! ^_^ read more
I have since read three of the stories that were adapted: No Longer Human, In the Woods (or whatever you wanna call it), and Spider's Thread. They are all great works, especially No Longer Human in my opinion. I would even argue that Spider's Thread is much more breathtaking in the animated adaptation. Oh good lord, if you would like to watch animation at its best, please spend the time to watch this series. read more
'Aoi Bungaku Series' (literally 'Blue Literature Series') is an anime adaptation of 6 Japanese masterpiece novels of 20th century, in commemoration of 100th anniversary of Dazai Osamu's birth (the author of 'No Longer Human' and 'Run, Melos!').
The color blue symbolizes youth in Japan. These works of literature are forever young, in context, the title of this anime series is 'Timeless Japanese Classics'.
Ep1~4: 'No Longer Human' (Dazai Osamu)
Ep5~6: 'Under the Full Bloom of Cherry Blossom Forest' (Sakaguchi Ango)
Ep7~8: 'Kokoro' (Natsume Souseki)
Ep9~10: 'Run, Melos!' (Dazai Osamu)
Ep11: 'The Spider's Thread' (Akutagawa Ryuunosuke)
Ep12: 'Hell Screen' (Akutagawa Ryuunosuke)
Being true Japanese classics, every piece of original literature, other than 'Run, Melos!' are emotionally draining with tragic endings.
Personally, I have only read 'No Longer Human', 'Run, Melos!' and 'Kokoro', but the setting and the way stories are being told are not exactly a straight adaptation, but rather more like interpretations of the original novels by the producers.
With up to only 4 episodes per story, the character development is somewhat limited, but with most characters reflecting the authors themselves (or so modern critics analyze), most of the main characters are quite realistic and have depth.
Because authors in early 20th century weren't paid very well, the writers of these masterpieces endured hardship in their daily lives. As such, the characters in their stories are often in despair and in various stages of mental breakdown, much like the authors who committed suicide and developed drug problems.
Every arc focuses on the main character very well, and tells the story of how their lives led to their doom.
Animation by Madhouse is wonderful as expected. No CG, tried and true Japanese cel animation worked very well on screen for these works of classic literature. The coloring is extremely vivid and breathtakingly beautiful. There were many surreal scenes that expressed main characters' despair, and artwork in general sets creepy, ominous, and dark atmosphere throughout the series.
Some scenes lacked details or were too still, but all the important scenes were done very well.
The cast is comprised of insane amount of veteran seiyuu, and voice acting is generally well-done. However, the use of actor Sakai Masato for all main characters inevitably resulted in ill-matched voices, especially for 'Under the Full Bloom of Cherry Blossom Forest' and 'Hell Screen'.
Music was very well done, each sets the mood for every scene, and noticeably different styles for every story.
ED was somewhat bland though.
I can't really recommend this series to the general Western audiences as it may come across as depressing, twisted, and meaningless violence. However, it's a must-watch if you are interested in Japanese literature or want to learn more about the culture.
The anime itself is in no way a substitute for reading the original novels, but it did stir up my curiosity for the novels that I haven't read yet, and it also gave me an opportunity to learn more about each author.
Each story may not be entirely accurate compared to the novels, but they all convey the intended message and make us think. 'Aoi Bungaku Series' shows that the masterpieces are indeed timeless. read more
And when I say they're different from each other beyond those qualities I just mentioned, I do mean different. Different authors (barring No Longer Human and Run Melos which were written by the same guy), different characters, different styles, and differing levels of quality as well, and that's kind of a negative mark against this anime, unfortunately. I have to side with the popular fan opinion that No Longer Human is the worst of the bunch, and that stance isn't helped by the fact that it's the first story and it takes up 1/3 of the show's runtime, which is probably part of the reason why it looks so bad compared to the other stories to begin with. That said, No Longer Human isn't bad or that boring. It's just not very engaging for the simple fact that it's portrayal of suicidal tendencies across time is just that: a portrayal. They don't use it for anything ground-breaking or epic at all, especially when you compare it to the other stories. It's like Millennium Actress with a less interesting gimmick.
Familiarity with the original stories isn't a requirement obviously, but like with most adaptations, it's fun to see what gets changed for the better or for the worse depending on how attached you are to what you were first exposed to. This particularly comes to a head in regards to Run Melos, which only follows the original story about 25% of the time and the remaining 75% is devoted to the writer and how his personal life is reflected in his own fiction. It's a great use of narrative juxtaposition that complements both stories and their ultimately hopeful message regarding trust and the struggles humanity will go through to fulfill that trust. Although the fact that the director re-used the same artstyle and soundtrack from Mouryou no Hako was a little distracting.
Not that some of the adaptations couldn't have used more loyalty to their source material. The second story, Sakura no Mori no Whatever, tries to pass off "anime humor" as a contrast to the characters' darker nature and it's simply awful. And I guess that's Aoi Bungaku's main fault. Aside from the differing quality in arcs, it saved all its best stories that actually examine its subject material in a mature manner for the end. The stories that are more phoned-in take up the entire first half unfortunately, so it can take a while to really "click" with some people. I honestly think the Hell Screen story should have been moved to the beginning of the anime since not only would it have left a much better first impression (holy hell does the final painting get me pumped up), it would have been nice for both the introductory and the concluding episodes to be directed by the same guy as some sort of show-capping nod. Not to mention, it's not even as great a story as The Spider's Thread - although I should admit that enjoyment of that one comes from how much bloody on-screen violence you're able to stomach in general. Fortunately, I'm a sick human being that can relish in that sort of carnage, but the awareness that I'm in a minority on that stance is larger than Godzilla wearing high heels.
I hate to use the term "it gets better, I swear" to describe an anime, but regardless of my personal opinions regarding whether one story lives up to another, every single one of Aoi Bungaku's arcs deserves to be seen at least once, so the "it gets better" argument is more a side-bonus than something the show depends on. And it definitely doesn't need to, because the overall product is smart, risk-taking, accessible enough, and well worth a watch if you're looking for something beyond mecha, moe, and everything else that makes anime "anime", or if you're just a horrible human being in general. Wouldn't go so far as to call the show a personal favorite of mine, but the last three stories are definitely up there and they're stand-alone enough to the point that I can ignore the lesser aspects if I so desire.
Well, everything except for Japanese Rod Sterling that is. I'm sure he's a nice man in reality, but his "they're called evergreen because they're masterpieces" catchphrase makes me want to reach into my screen and staple his mouth shut. read more
Only watch from the first to the fourth episodes, the first story ends there and from my point of view the others are in other genres. I watched the fifth episode and didn't understand what was happening, but then I noticed it wasn't a fill episode or something inside the Ningen Shikkaku story. And no, it didn't look like the other stories were dramatical or similar in theme.
And the of course ->disappointment
~~~READ "IN SHORTS" FOR THE GIST
This anime is an adaptation of 6 modern japanese pieces of literature:
~No Longer Human (NLH): (episodes 1-4) a rich student who wants to be an artist gets lost in his dreams and falls prey to drugs and alcohol in the mist of his depression
~In the Forest, Under the Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom:(5-6) a mountain man falls in love with a woman who forces him to kill to fulfill her wants
~Kokoro: (7-8) a scholar invites a monk (his childhood friend) to stay with him where the landlords are a mother and her daughter. the monk falls in love with the daughter. the anime shows both the scholar and the monk's side of the story
~Run, Melos!: (9-10) a young man and his best friend make a promise to meet but doesn't show up, influencing the young man to write a tragic screenplay about it
~The Spider's Web: (11) a killer on the loose gets caught and executed. he is sent to hell to pay for what hes done
~Hell Screen: (12) the greatest painter in the world gives up everything, including his and his only daughter's life for art
STORY 5/10: even though the pieces of literature were all made by the same author, the stories arent consecutive. No Longer Human felt drawn out to me and it felt aimless. Not sure if thats the emotion the series want to invoke but it did. Under the Cherry Blossom was my favorite because the pace was quick and the script commanded attention unlike the others. it was also very cheeky and had plenty of funny moments to break up the darker moments! Kokoro was a confusing little love story. It was bland with very little depth coming from the scholar (the main character). Run Melos! was a little above average in story. it reminded me of a love story that was touching but i wasnt crazy about it. The Spiders Web and Hell Screen were pretty good. it was dramatic, deep, intense, the color scheme wasnt the average dull colors. it was captivating to watch
IN SHORT: No Longer Human and Kokoro were very dull, basically the same scenes over and over. No Longer Human seemed drawn out and Kokoro wasnt edgy enough for me (its a love story). Run Melos! was like a love story. Wasnt TOO crazy about it but it wasnt bad. Under the Cherry Blossom, The Spiders Web and Hell Scene were my favorites. It was dynamic, not too drawn out, right to the point, right about of edgy and gore!!
ART 7/10: the art was beautiful in every story. everything was drawn beautifully. the characters were very diverse. the animation was also pretty clean as well! there were no trouble spots either. if someone was carrying something heavy, it was accurately portrayed. the color scheme was the problem. No Longer Human was basically all one color. it kinda hurt my eyes and it made me sleepy actually. it didnt add the eerie touch it wanted to. Under the Cherry Blossoms, Spiders Web and Hell Scene were my favorite. vibrant colors, dynamic contrast, different background settings that kept my interest. they were just really pretty. Kokoro and Run Melos were average. Run Melos was a little better because of the attention to details but they were both decent.
IN SHORT: art and animation for all were top notch. characters in all stories were diverse. No Longer human was all one color basically. boring, unappealing. Run Melos and Kokoro were decent in attention to detail. Under Cherry Blossom, Spiders Web and Hell Scene were my favorite. colors were contrasting, vibrant patterns, dynamic contrast, detail on scenery were gorgeous! very pleasing to watch
SOUND 8/10: it was very pretty. the music seemed to fit the series. the motif of the ringing bell was a nice touch. Again Under the Cherry Blossom wins best in show once again because they created their own show tunes for that specific story and they were catchy!! it was eerie and oddly fit! No Longer Human had excellent jazz music that also very much fit the story and it was great. one thing that bugged me was the voice acting. for some reason the narrator voice acted the main character or one of the main characters in every story and he was terrible. very monotonous!! his voice only fit the scholar in Kokoro. there really wasnt any inflection in his voice that i could remember. also hearing his voice got tiring after a while.
IN SHORT: the anime's strongest category. the music was pretty and it fit well. my favorite part of the series! narrator did one of the main characters in every story and hes honestly terrible.
CHARACTERS 5/10: i cant remember a single character from any of the stories except for Under the Cherry Blossom. they were all boring. Cherry Blossom had the most diverse and memorable characters. They had the crazy wife, the tough mountain man afraid of cherry blossoms, and all of his ex wives and their personalities! (they even had one wife who only spoke english which i thought was comical). but that story made good use of the varying personalities to make some moments light and cheeky, which was a nice break from 4 consecutive episodes of monotony, self destruction and sadness.
IN SHORT: almost all of the characters were boring and made no impact. Under the Cherry Blossoms had the best, and diverse characters.
ENJOYMENT AND OVERALL 5/10: every other episode i was contemplating dropping the series all together. I just really couldnt get into it. i watched and liked Death Note, and Japanese Horror Classics which are on the same lines as this anime but Aoi Bungaku just didnt click with me. I did appreciate the modern literature, but things can get sticky when you take modern literature, interpret it in a certain way and then produce it as an anime. you have to really have a specific taste in anime to get into this series.
IN SHORT: the series wasnt bad, it just wasnt for my taste. i recommend this anime to:
~~people who have a strong constitution/like gore
~~like psychological animes
~~like historical animes
~~like/dont mind constantly changing plots
~~like shorter animes read more
A terrific anime with beautiful art and well-adapted stories of classic Japanese authors and every single one of them interesting.
I believe some may not like it due to the negative vibe the anime shows, during literally every arc. Yes, the anime is not one of those you watch sitting and laughing in front of your TV or monitor, which is one of the factors that makes it enjoyable for some, for me as well.
It doesn't have many flaws and easily it's one of the best of the fall '09 season. The only thing I don't like about it is using the same seiyuu for almost every main character in every arc, but on the other hand - it's an amazing voice. read more
No Longer Human (Episode 1-4) - This is the flawless gem out of these arcs. The story is amazing. We follow the life of an art student who ignored his fathers appeal of studying something useful and contributing to the society. He goes from one addiction to another in order to find a purpose to live. He despises the society and claims that he is not a part of it, eventually blaming his life on its incapability to adapt people. What he fails to understand is that he is a part of it considering the people that he has managed to get involved in his life during the story.
This story deals with the human psychology, and the narrator(Masato Sakai) probably has the best voice to deal with it. Desperation, false self-security and most importantly the indifference that our MC expresses are perfectly acted out.
The art is wonderful. This is a personal opinion but i just love shabby buildings and dark atmospheres combined with the damp, misty light every single lamp emits. The art combined with the sounds really makes this an atmospheric anime, and i love atmospheric works of art.
All this in 4 episodes, 4! Some anime have 12 or 24 episodes and still fail to set a proper story and atmophere.
No longer Human was a 10/10 for me. I will most likely rewatch it.
In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom (Episodes 5-6) - To save some time, i did not enjoy this. I thought about skipping this anime in the middle of the first episode because it was so different from the previous one, a huge step down. The only reason i kept on watching was because i saw a GIF of sakura petals falling over a skull which was beautiful and i figured it was this arc.
This is your usual classic story built around what is supposed to be love. However it seems like it's not love, only lust from our MC. He does not think much, acts on impulse and all characters are overall very shallow.
This was a 5/10 for me considering that the art and music were great even though the story was horrific.
Kokoro (Episodes 7-8) - This was another gem. This time it was the story and not the art that i found astonishing.
We follow a young man(MC) who is set up for life. The good education, the proper manners, everything you might want. Yet he lacks something. He cant find courage, determination and happiness. He goes to a man who seems to have these properties, a homeless guru who he takes home as his teacher to teach him his ways.
Our MC is renting and has the daughter of his landlord as well as the landlord living in the house, and our MC is very fond of the former one. When the sensei moves in, they catch an eye for eachother, making an unofficial love triangle. You feel compassion and pity for our young MC whose love is perhaps being crushed by his own mistake.
Without spoiling it the story progresses fairly expectedly, however when you watch the next episode, you see the situation from the eyes of the sensei. This one hits hard. You start to question everything you've seen so far, maybe our two characters shouldnt have met at all? For a 2-episode anime it sure is one hell of a journey that makes you understand that stereotypes dont go far.
9/10 for a great story and message. The art was not the best and did not set the atmosphere, but the story makes up for it.
Run, Melos! (Episode 9-10) - Another great arc. This is the only arc which made me tear up. The art is on point with similar looks as "No Longer Human" and the story is very simple, yet so sad.
Our MC this time is a writer living with his friend. His friend is also involved in the artist lifestyle but as an actor. The story has alot of time-jumps since our MC is writing a japanese version of a greek tale. During his work he realises that this tale is also the story of his life, making it a hard one to finish.
The arc deals with insecurity, trust and platonic love. Once you get further in and the pieces start to fall into place you understand what the characters had to give up.
9/10 it is a simple but heart-wrenching story accompanied by a great atmosphere. I did not enjoy the ending though, i think they should have cut it earlier.
The Spiders Thread (Episode 11) - A short arc about karma. Nothing too spectacular, i thought it had too much gore.
The story starts off much later than where it should have started and we do not really get to know the reasons for our MC's thoughts and deeds. The story is very gory and progresses exactly as expected. The art is fine which pulls it up a little but not too much.
6/10 watchable but not very interesting.
Hell Screen (Episode 12) - As the pervious arc, this one is very predictable but instead of dealing with karma it deals with totalitarian regimes, which gives more to work with. Our MC is the best painter in the country and as expected the Lord wants him to paint more and more magnificent pictures of this wonderful land. However our MC has had enough.
Very simple and predictable yet descriptive and teaching. It gives an idea of what it is to live under a totalitarian regime. Behind all the happy facades in form of parties and celebrations there is something much darker lurking, ready to attack as soon as you take a wrong step.
7/10 for a predictable short story but nice art and message.
In total i give this anime 9/10 because i feel that especially the first arc outweigh most of the bad ones. The 4 first episodes are absolutely worth watching, you decide on the rest. They are evergreens because they are masterpieces, relevant yet today. read more
*CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS*
First I'm going to talk about the art. So the definition of perfection, the characters are splendid and their expressions are near heaven. But I did have some preferances. I love the colors of In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom, the saddness and blurriness in No Longer Human is strong (and the 3D effect of the creepy monster is really good) but my two favourites parts in terms of visual are Run, Melos ! and The Spider's Thread.
About Run, Melos !, it was especially Melos himself that was impressive. He is clearly handsome in his design. His animation is perfect, his movments when he talks are very dynamic because of the theatrical side of the story since when we're on the phases with this character everything take place on a scene, these movments in the animation are wonderfully controlled for this. I noticed the same effect when Takada writes his script with madness and anger (it makes me think of Death Note and I'm sure a lot of people noticed it)
Then The Spider's Thread/Hell Screen, these ones are pretty obvious about the beauty of the visual, but gosh it IS a real dream, I can't explain how I was crazy about it. The choices of colors are divine. The red assigned to Kandata is powerfull, the blue with the characters of the second episode, the extravagant colors of the King and the world itself with all the roofs. I think I was literally too much in this arc.
Obviously the red of Kandata means evilness, violence, aggressivity, it totally fit him and in that "famous" scene with the meeting of the spider when he's injured, we see the light of the moon that shines on him, as if the only act of kindness of Kandata is enlightened with the sweetness of the blue and override the bright red he wears, it was really significant here. Then there is the Hell, the one Kandata falls in, it looks like a bad trip and was a real pleasure for the eyes along with the track played.
Of course when I say this part is my favourite visually it includes the Hell Screen episode with the notable moments of the burning daughter for the contrast with the red flames the father see and the blue ones we see from the view of the daughter, and the last image that closes Aoi Bungaku with the painting, a strong conclusion.
About the soundtrack now. First of all, I CRY LITERALLY EVERYDAY because this soundtrack isn't released yet and will probably never see the light. One of the track reminds me of Nujabes so it's a big good point. In general the musics in Aoi Bungaku push the psychological thing and made it better. The most famous are from No Longer Human, the violin one for example which is tragically beautiful. We find some tracks in several arcs, it somehow unites the atmosphere of the stories. Since I can't listen to the soundtrack clearly and entirely I haven't much more to say about it *sob* but I can affirm it's wonderful.
The voice acting is really interesting with the presenter Masato Sakai, he voiced a character in each story, mostly calm ones and he did a great job. His voice was very effective with the young characters and particulary Ooba who was just perfect and touching, his tone of voice exposes perfectly the depression he represents.. I think it's an atypical voice and was really sweet.
Now the characters. I'll take one arc at a time.
- In No Longer Human we have Ooba Youzou, he is this kind of tortured character some people hate or adore, but he isn't made to please. I think there are "two" main characters here, Ooba and the women in general. The story is all about Ooba himself, about his mind. Moreover it was said that the novel was somehow an autobiography so we can't easily analyze the character in terms of development, it's the story of a suffering person tell with poetry. The best point about Ooba is that he's a trash and he knows it, he almost scream it so much he hate himself. Yet everyone seems to love him and I think it makes him angry even more, even the spectator find him sweet. He believes he doesn't deserve this love but he can't help it. Death rejected him and he keep acting strangly calm without losing his mind almost until the end.
- For In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom, the characters are pretty confusing here, probably because of the humorous side of them. This is a strange mixture between the parody and irrationality. The protagonist seems empty most of the time, he's like a robot who obeys his wife, a strange character. There is this interesting constrast between the "bestial" man who lives as a Neanderthal and the beautiful civilized woman from the big city but it appears that Shigemaru have more humanity than her in the end.
- About Kokoro, I remember finding K really creepy, very tall and with weird eyes, he intimidated me a lot. Beside, Sensei has a reassuring simple presence but in the end we realize K is the most lovable one for his heartbreaking ending, a poor man. The important thing is our vision of these two characters, which one is the nice guy or the bad guy ? It's a subjective question but I think K is one of the best character of the series.
- Then Run, Melos !, this one is a bromance that's why some people find them a little gay and this reasonning is pretty weak I think. I wasn't especially attracted by the characters, they're very human, there is more to say about the story rather than the characters. But what was really interesting about them was that parallel between the story of Melos and the real persons. Also I personally totally sympathize with Takada's unforgettable pain.
- Finally The Spider's Thread and Hell Screen (I always refer to these together). So yes, I love Kandata because he makes me think of a mix between Mugen from Samurai Champloo and Kamui from Gintama, I know it's kind of ridiculous to like him for ""fangirl"" reasons but thats it. Also his design plays a lot to my appreciation, his aggressive look is so attractive. What is interesting here is the place of the antagonist, or even of the protagonist, it's pretty confusing. Who is the real villain ? The King or Kandata ? I heard the director made the King the main character of the part so I think he is both antagonist and protagonist in a way. For Yoshihide (the father in the second episode) he was a nice character, I particulary liked his madness at the end, throughout the story he is a calm and kind man, and his brutal changment from wise to mad painter was impressive.
To conclude, the stories. Here I'll also make one arc at a time.
- No Longer Human. I have difficulties to talk about this part, it's the most famous, the most described and I don't really feel the need to analyze it, though it's one of the best part. When thinking Aoi Bungaku it's usually the image of No Longer Human that appears to us, it's the headliner of the show so to speak, I also believe that this is the most popular novel among those presented in this anime.
So this is the longest and most popular arc, there is also a manga but as I haven't read it I could not make a comparison. It's a very slow paced story and is not intended to entertain, to be fun, but to tell us something interesting and a bit depressing. All the efficacy is in slow and melancholy side, these four episodes are difficult to live and I think on that point this adaptation is very strong because it is probably the key element to create in the anime, this overwhelming side the story. The scene of double suicide is particularly powerful, especially with the image of Ooba's hands in front of his face preparing to push the woman which is a moving image. There is an eminent harmony between the graphic effects, the soundtrack, the staging ... everything is perfectly controlled. The message is probably the strongest of all the parts. At the end of the arc the viewer becomes completely numb as all episodes are heavy. I personally like the french title which is "La Déchéance d'un Homme", I find it more accurate to Ooba's trip since it's all about his downfall in humanity.
- In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom is the most confusing arc in my opinion because of the comedy elements. I saw it was the least favourite part for most people and it isn't my favourite neither but I liked it. What is surprising is that the original story is very violent and here this violence is softened by the comedy, it seems inappropriate most of the time but at first it is really refreshing. Because when I finished No Longer Human I was almost depressed, my head was heavy and with this arc just after I was like resurrected with the humor and bright colors, that's why the order of the stories is perfect to support everything well. Actually I'm not totally sure to have understand the story entirely in the end or maybe I think too much about it. It was an interesting choice of the director to include humor and I totally understand what dimension of the original novel he found funny but in the end I'm so fond of mature and dark things that I would have prefer this arc to be closer to the original because I'm really fan of that macabre hobby of Akiko. This is what people reproach to this part, the lack of maturity compared to the others. I also found it too short and I couldn't be in the story that much, it would have been better more elements about Shigemaru's deep fear of cherry blossom. However the morale was definitly one of the best, about Shigemaru own choices and happiness.
- Kokoro is surely one of my favorite part. What makes it so great are the liberties taken by the anime compared to the original work, because in reality the novel contains only the first episode and the anime created a "sequel". Or rather a different point of view and it was genius. The first episode itself is already very nice but everything is embellished with the added point of view. The most important thing is our opinion of the characters that diverges completely from one episode to another. We feel that in the first one Sensei is the good guy and K his obstacle, all is well shown with the details that make us think that K is a selfish man trying to steal the Sensei's contender. While in the second episode, conversely we are shown that K can not ignore his love for the woman though he rejects these feelings and it's the turn of Sensei to represent an obstacle. In each episode the protagonist is uncomfortable in the presence of the other and each of them seems very cold. This point of view is extremely well controlled and the end is bluffing. K's suicide is heartbreaking, violent and totally unexpected. I said it was a subjective question about the characters because some may be on Sensei's side and others on K's side. Another interesting point is the conclusion, in the first episode Sensei says K "won", I thought a lot about it and I think that they both won and lost in some way. That is to say that they both lost because K committed suicide (which is in itself a defeat) and Sensei ends up with a woman who does not love him. They won because Sensei can finally live with the woman of his dreams and K managed to stop his feelings which was a hindrance for him. As for the woman, I hated her as I saw her as a bad entity that caused the misfortune of our protagonists, but she is rather presented as an issue.
- Run, Melos ! is an arc I liked a lot too. A story of friendship, frustration and regrets, on the surface it sounds cheesy, yet what a wonderful story. I feel that few boys have much appreciated this arc because of this bromance. But come on, this isn't yaoi ! Of course, the interesting thing is the parallel between the progression of the story of Melos that Takada writes and his own advancement and life mixed with painful memories. He attributes his personal life to his characters. For only two episodes, this part seemed particularly long, I think it's great because we do not have the impression of lacking elements in the end. Of course the end is particularly depressing but still as satisfactory conclusion. I think that in order to fully appreciate this story, we must totally agree with Takada' pain and frustration, that was the case with me and that's why it really touched me. Others may indeed find it a little silly, I understand that it may not be effective with everyone. Again, liberties taken by the anime are excellent and successfully mastered since the story of Melos itself is not the main subject, it was well handled.
- The Spider's Thread. What I greatly love here is that the original novel is a story for children and in Aoi Bungaku it's probably the most hellish part. The morale of this story is the easiest to get, overall it's the less complex one. It seems that after the second arc it's the less liked ones, I was shocked when I saw it since it's possibly my favourite one (along with Hell Screen). It may not be the "deepest" but the harmony is too perfect in it. That's probably because of the classic morale but seriously, the set of the episode is too good, I don't care if this isn't new. In any cases, this is by far my favourite atmosphere, like a child I love when the universe is odd, different, flashy and dark at the same time, it appeals to me. This arc is far away from the others, it looks like an experiment in animation and story, this episode feels different, as if it was a dream or a nightmare because it is short and I myself I found the Hell very terrifying even if it was gorgeous. The fact we end the episode in this place makes me uncomfortable or rather it was creepy, I was afraid for Kandata and I don't talk about the fact he deserves this or not, but just to imagine our own Hell is frightening and I thought about it while watching it, this part is very effective on that point. I'm not afraid of Kandata's Hell but I'm afraid of his...fear of his own Hell, I was putting myself in his position in fact. It may be the main reason this episode blows my mind like that. Kandata was given a last chance and he wasted it taking him into eternal hell. Certainly a very classic morale, but beautifully showed.
- Hell Screen is a great sequel. It's difficult to talk about the two episodes separatly. Here we have the confusing position of the villain, the King is revealed to be the real monster and Kandata was just a result of this dictatorship, a kind of rebel who hated this world. The morale is well followed regarding to the previous episode. Again it's about the good and the bad but still greatly done. Hell Screen is used like an exhortation of the first episode to this one, as if the main think was showed in this last episode and The Spider's Thread was an intro to this. So we are with the King's painter, Yoshihide who finally open his eyes about the tyranny of the King and the terror. Acompanied by his daughter who support him he is asked to paint an entire room with the King's "marvelous" nation. Again it's a pretty simple story, Yoshihide realizes there isn't any beauty in this world and paint what he really see, the hell, the blood of the people. The King gets angry by this initiative and want him dead. But instead of punishing him he grants him the possibility to complete the unfinished painting. Now this is the great moment of this arc, in order to give inspiration to Yoshihide, the King use his daughter and burns her in front of him. Then he somehow explode in madness, mixed with pain and inspiration he draws her along with the dancing flames, a splendid scene. And finally the vision of the completed painting with the representation of Hell with the King, Kandata and the daughter. The morale first shows the blindness of the people but it also appears to exhibits some kind of karma with the King who died in the flames he uses to kill. A great conclusion for a great anime.
Overall I losed my mind with Aoi Bungaku, it was subjugating in every way.
That's right some parts are better than others even if it is really just a question of taste but the overall quality did deserve 10/10. The fact that there is something for every taste following the differents arcs is a good and a bad point. Of course for me it was a good point since I liked almost every details but some people can love a part and hate another and the final opinion suffers from this. I was really surprised to learnt an integrale DVD was released in France, so I bought it. It's one of those rare jewel in animation that haven't a lot of attention in occident, this kind of anime manages to improve the vision of japanese animation which is often denigrated by what I call ignorant people. I would reeeeaaallllly like to see another anime like this today, especially in terms of character design but I think it's just a dream and will probably never happen again. Besides I found it frustrating the kind of animes we have today, don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad, I like some of them, I just notice it's almost exclusively shonen/shoujo style and adaptation of manga. Many serious animes are original work (they aren't from a manga) like Darker than Black, Texhnolyze, Paranoia Agent... Rare are mature manga adaptation (I'm waiting Vinland Saga, I'm waiting...). In general I would like more of these in both way (adaptation and original work), I need this but I suppose it can be risky for the studios. read more
The animation is exquisite; the artwork is truly magnificent and the enjoyment of watching an anime with this level of animation cannot fail to make you happy and satisfied.
Of course, the animation in Aoi Bungaku reflects the depth of the stories, and the complexity of its characters. Although I like to watch an occasional storyless series filled with fanservice, series like Aoi Bungaku are the reason why I am so devoted to watching anime.
I don't think that there is a need for a close inspection of each of the adapted stories. There are enough reviews that do just that, and I guess everyone will have their own favourite.
If you love literature (modern/postmodern) and if you enjoy a story which does not lay out everything for you, but makes you think, makes you wonder, you must see Aoi Bungaku. Sure, people say it's depressing and dark, but it's also fun and beautiful, and it does not make you turn off your higher brain functions.
I believe that the amazing contrast between beautiful and breathtaking animation and dark, desperate atmosphere of the stories is one of the best achievements I have ever seen in an anime; it makes you marvel at the beauty of the world and shiver because of the darkness of the human nature.
It might seem those 12 episodes escaped my memory but, unfortunately, mistake. First history called No Longer Human / Ningen Shikkaku, which was written by Dazai Osamu was literally zenith of everything. Some people search in it biographical conditions, but if that so, author must had ,,interesting” life. Peculiar visions, schizophrenic tendency – yes, it difficult to be bored. Finishing this arc, I really haven’t known what creators have on theirs mind. After turbulent was about ¾ anime to the end…
Second - Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita – or In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom says about some woman and rogue who lived in the mountains, it takes place a few centuries ago. If I’m right, it something doesn’t right, does it? What is in this era do all the technical innovations, known only our generations. We should write history textbooks another time. What’s more, that woman was really…scary. She tricked her lover – love is blind, whatever. Only positive? They keep a hog which can speak. Since then I want to a have hog as a pet too.~
Together, there are a six stories, but what’s up with the rest? You must see on your own. If, despite its flaws won your hearts, it’s still right. In my opinion it bring only disappoint. This, many facepalms and full of curses hurled at the characters? Highly individual matter.
Very confused, Aya.
So if you like horror, thriller, psychological, were intrigued this was so clearly linked to Death Note in the promotional art and cover and thought maybe it might cover some similar stuff then you will be disappointed.
This series is primarily for those who enjoy Realistic Fiction, occasionally with Zany anime wackiness, as well as getting an insight into some Japanese fiction. It was not for me at all. The cover should not be a Light wannabe chilling in a gothic chair with an apple, since it isn't even reminiscent of anything displayed.
However it is really well drawn, the music highlights the stories. That enough will be all some people care about, I know. Personally I'd rather watch a cheaply drawn 80s anime that had a great story than a well drawn 20xx anime with only beauty going for it. read more
No Longer Human (episode 1–4): This is truly a masterpiece. I don't know why they lead with this one, because none of the subsequent stories live up to it. 10.
Sakura no mori no mankai no shita (episode 5–6): The story was good, but I can't give the staff much credit for that, and it took back seat to mediocre singing giving it the feel of an overblown music video. More of the story would have been nice. 6.
Kokoro (episode 7–8): This one almost needs to be broken down again. The first episode is based off the novel. The second episode is from another character's POV. I liked what they were trying to do here, but I felt they failed. Also, the art got really lazy. 7.
Run, Melos! (episode 9–10): Another really solid story. More lighthearted than the previous ones. This one has the same author as the first story, so I don't know if the staff was biased in his favor or if he was just the best author out of the bunch, but this one is another 10.
The Spider's Thread (episode 11): Really good, classic story. The portrayal was rushed though, and the conclusion was lacking. 7.
Hell Screen (episode 12): Really good story. I felt an episode about an artist should have had better art though. 8.
Overall it was a really good series, and I'd give it an 8.5, if I could. read more