English: Level E
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 11, 2011 to Apr 5, 2011
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.661 (scored by 20561 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisIn the present day, hundreds of extraterrestrial species walk the Earth. Some are pacifistic, others violent. Some are here for research purposes, others are career criminals. However, humans don't know they are here.
Now, one more alien has arrived on Earth. One of the universe's foremost geniuses with a personality that's bound to attract all sorts of trouble.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Level E
Characters & Voice Actors
Why are aliens so attracted to Earth? It's a question that many fans of science fiction have pondered at one time or another, and there have been a number of different answers - vacations, natural resources, food and water, building a hyperspace by-pass, enslaving the population, experiments and general curiosity (to name a few). Of all the possible explanations though, boredom and baseball are two that probably wouldn't spring to mind.
Togashi Yoshihiro is a name that fans of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter will recognise, and as popular as those two franchises are, like every mangaka he has a few skeletons buried in his closet, one of which is Level E. The original manga was serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump from 1995 to 1997 for a total of sixteen chapters, and in a very weird irony (or maybe it's fate), since 2003 Gintama has also been serialized in the same magazine, and it's a good bet that Sorachi Hideaki found some inspiration from Togashi's earlier work.
The story begins with Tsutsui Yukitaka, a young man who is due to attend Kisaragi High School in Yamagata in order to play baseball. Unbeknownst to him, aliens from across the galaxy have come to live on Earth, and while they are all aware of each other, humanity has little to no knowledge of their presence (thanks to some fancy disguises). Tsutsui's troubles begin when he finds an elegant young man sitting in his new apartment, wearing his clothes, reading his books and drinking his tea. He is Baka Ki El Dogra, an alien who has crash landed on Earth and is now suffering from amnesia.
What follows is a story about the beneficial relationship built up between aliens and humans by bonds of trust, respect, friendship, and all those other nice things.
And if you believe that then you probably watched E.T. instead of Level E.
Now at first glance it may seem like the plot is focused on simply telling short stories over the course of thirteen episodes, and to a certain degree this would be a fair assessment. That said, one of the things that is generally overlooked is the overarching theme of the series as it isn't immediately obvious. The reason for this because there is very little in the way of continuity between story arcs, and even with "subtle" reminders viewers will often forget that this tale is really about boredom, and the lengths to which a person will go in order to be "entertained".
There is a serious side to proceedings though. Level E features some dark topics which can sometimes seem at odds with the fact that it's a relatively lighthearted anime, but like Gintama these act as a foil to keep things interesting while offering the viewer some food for thought (the whole thing with the baseball stadium being one example of this). The apparent lack of any real direction to the storyline is also purposeful as it allows for a style of situation comedy that many shows have attempted over the years, but few have actually mastered. The quirky blend of parody, slapstick and satire can sometimes be reminiscent of a good episode of Blackadder or Red Dwarf, and Togashi's distinctive sense of humour has been retained, refined, and on a few occasions, improved upon.
Which rather neatly leads me on to the visuals.
Level E has had quite a face lift from the realistic designs of the mid 1990s, but this is actually an improvement as anyone who has read manga will know that in terms of looks, it hasn't aged well. The characters are particularly noteworthy as rather than completely re-inventing them, Takeda Itsuko has instead decided to retain specific physical traits from the original design, and simply update clothing, facial structures and features, etc. Now offering praise here may seem counter intuitive to some, as the generally accepted rule for adaptations is that aspects like character design aren't that important as much of the work has already been done. The truth is that completely redesigning or simply adapting from a different medium is easy in comparison to making something look fresh and new whilst retaining key elements of the original work, and that applies to almost everything in this anime, from the characters and backgrounds, to the aliens and their spaceships.
One of the more surprising things about Level E is the quality of the animation, especially the sometimes exaggerated actions during comedy sketches. The irony here is that while the characters generally move very well, it's Baka's cartoon-like antics and deadpan delivery that really steal the show. In addition to this quality of the CG is pretty good, but not without fault as there are a few odd moments that do stand out. That said, special attention has been paid to spaceships and visual effects to create some rather imaginative set pieces that add a different dimension to the series.
The opening theme, Cold Finger Girl by Kuriyama Chiaki, features a decidedly pop art styled sequence that, aside from the aliens, has almost nothing to do with the main theme of Level E. In essence the OP is nothing more than a joke on the viewer as it is designed to make you think this is a serious anime, and in that respect it reminded me a little of the trick played by Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokan. The ending theme, (Yume) ~Mugennokanata~ by Vivid, features a more traditional sequence that focuses on starry skies, planets, UFO sightings, cattle abductions, and close ups of Baka's face as he looks windswept and interesting.
To be honest, there's so much cheese in the ED that you could easily start a business, yet like the OP one can't help but think that somebody, somewhere, is having a laugh at the viewer's expense.
As for the background music, there are a variety of suitable tracks on offer that remain rather subtle, but add definition to particular scenes. The score and audio effects are well choreographed, but it's the acting that takes pride of place, thanks in part to the lack of background music in many scenes. Namikawa Daisuke hasn't had many lead roles in comedy anime, which makes his portrayal of Baka Ki El Dogra truly surprising as he excels not only in terms of timing, but also delivery. The rest of the cast perform to a very high standard as well, but in a very real sense they're nothing more than the stage upon which Namikawa's Baka frolics, dances, and generally amuses himself.
Now given that this is a comedy series one might still expect a degree of character development, but that isn't actually the case. What Level E does have though, is characterisation, and lots of it. Everyone is clearly defined as an individual from the outset, with all the quirks and foibles that come with being a free thinking individual who is subject to no man or alien overlord.
Except for when they're dealing with a certain blond haired, blue eyed humanoid.
Baka is quite simply the dynamo that drives everything in Level E, and his indefatigable spirit, unbreakable will, and towering intellect are ever present in his constant search for something amusing or interesting. In many respects his entire personality (barring the intelligence), is very similar to Guu's (from Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu), in that both really do care little for the people that get dragged into their schemes, and both really seem to enjoy making their closest companions have a nervous breakdown.
Level E's humourous approach to alien/human relations is something that may initially sound like a straight copy of Gintama, but don't be fooled. While the two bear some similarities, at their core they're as different as chalk and cheese. The irony is that this series actually makes a great introduction for those who want to know how funny Gintama is, but are daunted by 200+ episodes. Then again, maybe it's only natural for their to be some link between the two given the history of the original manga. Suffice to say that anyone who likes comedies about aliens on Earth, or strange little girls who tend to eat, well, everything (and I do mean that), will probably find something appealing in this series.
That said, as enjoyable as this show is, it's unfortunately more of a blip on the radar than a sign of changing trends in the anime industry. Sadly the future looks set to contain more high schools and harems, which is a shame as Level E is a fine example of how good manga, novel or game adaptations could be, especially if the source material is up to standard.
Still, it's better than having Baka in charge, so I suppose we should count our blessings. read more
Story – Imagine if aliens resided on Earth in disguise alongside us humans! There would be aggressive aliens, peaceful aliens, and aliens that are on the verge of extinction. Not noticing their presence, they would be right under our noses living with us in harmony. That’s until Prince Baka shows up in baseball star, Tsutsui’s apartment…
Characters – There’s a huge variety of different aliens in this series and it’s certainly interesting to watch them! From flesh-eating aliens to alien assassins, new species are always being introduced to the show. The little backstories created for each alien race were also all different and exciting.
Our main character, Prince Baka, is a prankster who lives for tricking people. He’s very playful, light-hearted, and not too very bright. He’s also quite annoying at times. His poor loyal henchmen must have such a hard time always having to be by his side. They often play the victim of his antics and are all fun to watch. Tsutusi, the baseball star, has a love/hate relationship with Prince Baka and it’s great to see their interactions. The entire cast of this show were portrayed wonderfully.
Art/Animation – The artwork for this anime is very shounen and that’s understandable because it was actually created by Yoshihiro Togashi of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. I often found that Tsutsui’s facial expressions and actions were very similar to Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that Level E was by the same man. The artwork isn’t very complicated and there aren’t too many details; it’s simple. It worked perfectly for the anime because the animation was able to come out very smoothly. Fight scenes were very clear cut and you could see every single movement taken. The animation was very strong and enjoyable to watch.
Music – The music was fairly weak for this series, unfortunately. There were a couple of suspenseful songs used for some serious moments, but otherwise there wasn’t anything extraordinary. The only memorable song was the jazzy opening, sang by Chiaki Kuriyama,
Pros – Level E is a master of storytelling. Its ability to fool you into believing something is actually happening in the anime is extraordinary. I was deceived almost every episode because the layout of the episode was so believable! The producers of this anime did such an excellent job in directing this show by properly generating the moods that certain situations took place in.
Level E also has a fantastic sense of humor, as it actually made me burst out laughing pretty frequently. The material used was spot-on and had perfect timing. Tsutsui and Prince Baka actually reminded me of a manzai duo; with Tsutsui being the tsukkomi and Prince Baka as the boke. They constantly had epic interactions and their “fighting” was more hilarious than anything else! Seeing them argue back and forth with each other was very amusing to watch. Although the humor can be slightly random in some episodes (Prince Baka appearing out of nowhere was random in itself!), the comedy can be at its best when you are least expecting it.
Cons - If you don't like having your leg pulled, then this anime isn't for you. There are tons of "troll" moments in this anime that sometimes even I would actually get annoyed. Imagine watching something like Attack on Titan and finding out it was all a dream. It gets frustrating! Level E isn't as serious, of course, but many events in this anime turn out to be hoaxes or experiments that Prince Baka conducts for his own pleasure. He may be having fun, but it's annoying when you’re watching a whole episode about something mysterious and it turns out to be a tv show. Kind of makes you think, "What's the point of watching if everything turns out to be fake?"
Another downfall is that Tsutsui disappears for a few episodes. His interactions with Prince Baka were priceless and that is where the best comedic moments stood. The lack of his presence was very risky and the anime felt like it was missing something. The anime still had funny scenes, but they just weren’t as amusing. Plus, I really enjoyed seeing Prince Baka getting punched and kicked around.
Overall - Level E is definitely something I haven't seen any anime do in a while! It’s not everyday that I see a comedy mixed with some drama and sci-fi, so that’s pretty awesome. It wasn’t a perfect anime, but after the last episode, I was kind of seeking more. Too bad the manga is only 3 volumes long. Prince Baka may have won a spot in my list of “Most Annoying Anime Characters”, but Level E’s comedy and storytelling were spot on.
Rating - 7.5/10
Comedy with surreal setting. Putting sci-fi elements into the realistic environment. Can be looked as both a pure comedy show with action sidekicks, or animated action show with certain degree of comedy. Must admit that putting comedy in that kind of setting is also a lot of fun. If you only have experienced school-life love comedy then it's about time you try something else.
both have aliens and the same comedy style
Ep 7 of Gintama has what I think may be a strong reference to level E manga. An Alien prince loses his pet and team Gintoki is charged with finding it; it has this funny scene where the characters are arguing about the Prince being a baka.
Stylistically and in terms of their approach, they're quite different. But on a superficial level they're quite similar in that they both use parody as a secondary element to their humor, feature aliens among humans and often involve plot build-ups leading to crazy antics and/or bizarre situational comedy.
Aliens assimilating into human society, shounen comedy, douchebags, violent government officials and alien princes known as 'baka-ouji.' Wouldn't be surprised if Gintama was inspired by Level E, since it was serialized in Shounen Jump some 8 years prior to Gintama's debut in the same magazine.
Level E pays more attention to the aliens, and Gintama to the shounen comedy/adventure. Gintama also has more girls.
1. They are both random.
2. They are both hella funny.
3. They both have aliens.
4. They are both epic.
5. They will make your day.
Very similar humor, A lot of randomness in both of these shows.
I like to believe that when Gorilla was a young chimp, that still suckled on his momma's tweet, he read Togashi's Level E. Both comedies are set in an alien invaded Japan (although the humans don't know about the aliens in Level E). But the only real reason I recommend these anime in a pair is that they were made to troll you.
Both series are about young men meeting and coming to live with an alien (coincidentally both aliens have long blond hair and kind of similar character designs). Although Arakawa is more comedy focused, the comedic moments of Level E feel quite similar, as do Arakawa's dramatic parts.
Alien on earth , Blond characters [but difference in gender] and same Narrator
Both animes have the same humor level. They are both all over the place with their stories and have something to do with aliens or weird different species. The are both unique in the sense of their stories, they make fun of odd things and have a lot of similarities.
This boths series have a sense of humor, very surealistic, show things that could never happend, but in some way they make a very good plot around it
Opening Theme"Cold Finger Girl" (コールドフィンガーガール) by Chiaki Kuriyama
Ending Theme"Yume~Mugen no Kanata~" (「夢」～ムゲンノカナタ～) by ViViD
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.
Related ClubsMissile Punch, Level E fanclub, Manga Anime League (MAL), Color Rangers FC, Daisuke Namikawa Fan Club!, Otaku Rakuen, AnimeServ Club, Characters out of space fan-club, Fantasy Club, English Dub Fanclub, Traditional Friends Card Club [TFCC] [Coming back in July!], Trolls Appreciation, Kickapoo Fansub, Satoshi Hino Fans, Anime Fun Club, Prince Baka Ki El Dogra Fanclub
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