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20 of 25 episodes seen
Well, Star Driver reminds me of those shows. Each episode contains the same confrontations, the same transformation sequences, the same fight sequences and same slap-stick comedy between the main trio. But there's just something about the show that just hooks me to it. Maybe it's the fact that it moves beyond shows like Sailor Moon and delivers a decent plot, crisp art, great soundtrack, and extremely likable characters (with pretty costumes to boot!)
Takuto, the show's hero, ends up half drowned on a remote island. There, he meets Wako, a happy-go-lucky shrine maiden and Sugata, the cool quiet guy. He ends up going to their school which turns out to be a lair for these giant mecha robots called 'cybodies'. Turns out most of the school can pilot these things and what do you know, Takuto can pilot one too. Complete with his own transformation sequence (because guys need them too!), he turns into Ginga Bishounen (Galactic Pretty Boy) to protect Wako from the 'bad' cybodies.
Like I said, story from episode to episode is pretty much the same thing, only with different characters. But the little side stories and funny moments they add really boosts the enjoyment factor (like Wako's BL fantasies). The beginning episodes give you little snippets and hints for the main plot, then it really starts delving into it starting in episode 20.
Art is superb, it's been the only show where I've actually noticed characters eye movements and blinking. They definitely did a great job with the details and didn't cheap out with the panels. Even the repeated transformation sequences are quite tolerable with the great graphics ;) Might I add I love their costume designs too!
The cast is amazing too, Fukuyama Jun (ie. Lelouch, Grell) plays Sugata, Miyano Mamoru (ie. Light, Zero) plays Takuto. OP/ENDINGS are catchy and I do like the random songs the characters sing from time to time.
The characters have taken on almost stereotypical standard character types from anime. Takuto is the bright, optimistic guy, Sugata is the cool, level headed pretty boy. Wako is your damsel in distress but still very likable. While not entirely original, it's been tried and true. The antagonists are well introduced, each with their background story and specific quirks, they actually don't really feel like bad guys. It's really easy to get attached to the characters.
To be honest, my enjoyment rating is higher than all the other ratings (I gave it a 9), which doesn't really add up. But I have to say that I am really addicted to this anime at the moment. I definitely recommend for others to try, maybe more so for the girls since I feel there's some male fanservice going on in here (if the transformation sequence is any indication) =P All in all, a fun enjoyable watch!
18 of 22 episodes seen
Shiki is by far the most riveting, suspenseful and thought-provoking series I have seen all year. Truly a category of its own, it not only contains elements of horror and mystery but also makes you question what truly is considered good or evil?
The story is set in a small village where a string of unexplainable deaths start to occur. What is suspected to be an epidemic proves to be something the villagers would never suspect. The main plot and characters are introduced in the first few episodes, while pacing is slow, it provides an important backdrop to the rest of the episodes. As the story progress, we start to see what is really going on. What I like most about this series is it’s nack for detail and realism. Even as some of the characters gradually figure what is going on, there is a vehement disbelief from the villagers in general. The anime pays tribute to vampires well, but even better it addresses our society’s inability to accept those who are different (be it humans or the supernatural). In addition, what I think is the highlight of the series has been the last few episodes where the line between good and evil, humans and vampires have been crossed. What defines a ‘human’, can someone who still feels emotions be considered a ‘monster’? Shiki makes us questions that.
With Shiki’s large cast, it seems likely that characters who don’t get as much screen time to be very shallow and two-dimensional. However, I didn’t get that feeling in this anime. Most of the characters have enough background story told to ‘flesh’ them out. And they aren’t ridiculous or unbelievable background stories, you could say we all knew these kinds of people at some point in our lives. I would say the two most intriguing characters are Muroi and Ozaki. Both carry the great burden of knowing the truth behind the deaths but make completely different decisions in the end. And many other characters surprise me by fighting against expectations.
Rich colours, dark lines and detailed shading. Some of the horror scenes are reminiscent of Higurashi with its emphasis on the eyes.
Gothic opening song and melancholic ending. Background music is very appropriate and adds to intensify the scenes.
I literally marathoned 18 episodes non-stop. It always kept me guessing as to what would happen next. Shiki is also one of the few animes that has underlying meanings to them, it really made me think about the actions of some characters and what some characters have said (particularly Sunako). I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series.
I highly recommend this anime to anyone who has a fondness for thought-provoking shows. It’s definitely not comedic, if that is what you’re looking for. But if you appreciate mysteries, dark themes and some psychological reasoning, then do give Shiki a try.
EDIT: Now that I've finished the series, I'm dropping the score from a 10 to a 9, simply because the ending wasn't as great as the middle. Perhaps my expectation were too high for the ending, I just found it wasn't what I expected. It is also is pretty up in the air, which might suggest a second season.
16 of 25 episodes seen
At first glance, it may seem like a typical shoujo, boy-meets-girl kind of series. That's what I thought when I first read the synopsis, so I was kind of reluctant to watch it. But now...am I glad I did!
While not the most exciting or original plot line, it's simplicity charms me. It has a rather slow flow, but it doesn't bore, rather it helps emphasize the special moments that Sawako experiences in her school life. The process of growing up, feeling love for the first time, making friends, and even enemies are all so amazingly portrayed through this show.
Seriously, I've never liked a female lead this much before. Sawako is just too cute. She's innocent to the point of being humorous, but she's not stupid or weak. Quite the contrary actually (I was pleasantly surprised by how she interacted with Kurumi). She's always being positive, always trying to help others, and always being true to herself. You can't help but be moved by her. For the male lead, you've got the 100% refreshing Kazehaya who is actually not your typical male lead. At first glance, he's Mr.Perfect who everyone admires, but after a while you learn that he's just like any other guy. He gets flustered, nervous, angry and embarrassed like all of us do. And in my opinion, that just makes him more endearingly cute and charming.
Also, this show's supporting characters are some of the best I've seen in shoujo anime! They really define the true meaning of friendship :) Heck, even the antagonist is pretty awesome.
The artwork might not be considered the best out there, but it does the story justice (and then some). It's bright, simple and cute. There were certain times when I would think "wow, the colours look amazing here" (you gotta pay attention to sunset scenes!). They also did a good job with the characters, I think they purposely made them look plain so that it helps contrast times when they stand out (like when Sawako smiles!). So overall, they did a lovely job.
I love the opening song and I think it fits the series perfectly. Can't say much about the background music though because I haven't paid much attention to it...too busy enjoying the dialogue =)
I wish I can give this a higher rating than 10. I was pretty much smiling like an idiot throughout the first few episodes. The interaction between Sawako and Kazehaya are too cute for words, I felt much warm and fuzzy feelings when watching them. It makes me wish I could go back in time to experience high school romance like they did. But then again...who can find someone like Kazehaya.
Anyways, this show has really grown on me. I will definitely keep watching and rooting for Sawako. If this review or the ratings hasn't helped convince you to watch it, please seriously reconsider. Don't pass this up!