13 of 13 episodes seen
If you want a quick, no-nonsense action anime, Avenger is your ticket. People looking for good character development and a fleshed-out story will be fine skipping on this.
The story on this one is relatively stripped down and straightforward, though it unfortunately gets a little derailed and doesn't do much to answer many questions or present a complete ending. However, like I said, if you're looking for action, you'll find it here, as much of the story centers around Layla fighting her way to the end of the anime, and there's enough of a difference in her fights to keep your attention. No rehashed fighting animations here! All the cities involved in the story are all unique as well, so you won't feel like the characters aren't going anywhere; it manages to convey that 'going on a journey' feeling quite well, complete with wandering through the barrenness of Mars between cities.
The story fails a little where development is concerned; the Dolls definitely could have been explained more especially since they seem like they should have had more of an impact on the story, as well as Layla's history with Cross. There's a lot of stuff going on in the story concerning the 'Original Twelve', a red moon getting too close to the planet and causing all sorts of ruckus like no babies being born, as well as the general drama associated with the characters. Thirteen episodes is painfully short for how much Bee Train tried to cram into the series, and unfortunately it becomes evident as the story gets holes in it that don't get filled at the end. At some point, it's pretty easy to wonder just where everything is going and what the connection is; it's a frail thread, but the story never quite breaks completely.
The sound and animation, however, are above-average, with themes by the famous Ali Project, and exceptional graphic quality. Like I said, no rehashed animations here! The character designs are all unique, especially that of the 'doll' Nei, and the Original Twelve, not to mention all the differing cities, which are all known by a specific trait that the others do not have. They do well conveying this, so every place manages to look different and doesn't get too repetitive.
When it comes to development of these colorful characters though, the art of it will be obviously skin-deep. Some of the major characters aren't fleshed out at all, leaving you to wonder just what their background is, and what it is that is making them do what they do. However, if all you want is someone having a reason to punch someone else in the face, odds are you probably don't care much about their family drama. XD; There is an attempt to explain Layla's bizarre past, and it is all done in flashbacks that never give you enough pieces to really 'get it'. It is made very obvious why she has a grudge, however, even if her cliche taciturnity is a bit overdone. Unfortunately, most of the characters are forgettable, with the exception of Speedy. He's kind of the black sheep in this anime, and provides the rare moments of needed comedy. I really really wish they had explained Nei completely, for reasons which you will find out, as it is a huge spoiler. XP
Going through this anime, odds are you'll either watch it all to see the fighting, or to see if it ever explains itself. There's not really much to get out of it, just like a summer action blockbuster, but with less explosions. If it had been longer, it definitely would have faired better, but with the amount of story points that were stuffed into it, its easier to just accept it and its flaws and just watch it for the pretty and the unique concept. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Tired of long, detailed, action-packed anime for the moment? Cuddle up to Arashi no Yoru ni, then! This is the slice-of-life story of an odd pair of friends, who will travel to the ends of the earth and sacrifice it all for each other.
A wolf and a sheep. Mortal enemies right? Not here! Through a strange set of circumstances, we end up with the very strange pair, Gabu, a wolf, and Mei, a lamb. You'll have to watch and see how they manage! ^^
This is primarily some mushy-gushy friend stuff, there's no real action here, though it has its tense moments that make the story what it is. Arashi fills the feel-good niche very well, and those searching for a cute-sweet anime with a happy ending will find it here. On the surface, Arashi appears to be something of a kid's movie, but there are several serious moments that will attract older fans, plus the concept of protecting and going through tough times with friends is a universal feeling that anyone can relate to, young or old. Older anime fans can come away with the same renewed sense of friendship as the younger ones can.
Art in this one is well done. I'm pretty positive some of it is CG, but it blends so well with the actual animation that it is very hard to tell apart, and it makes for some excellent transitions. All the characters, despite their same-species appearance, are all distinguishable from one another and the seiyuu are well-matched to their character. There is a strange absence of music in some places; it may bother some people, but it really serves to reinforce what is being said and done on-screen rather than occupy you with a musical score also. The main characters Gabu and Mei are both very likeable, though a little cliche to their species, wolves portrayed as conniving and vicious, and lambs as a little too innocent and trusting. I digress, however, this is completely acceptable for what could be taken as a children's film. I would have liked to see more of the wolf and goat tribes, but what was there sufficed for the story.
If you ever feel like straying from the path of typical anime series, or just need a cute little pick-me-up, please give Arashi no Yoru Ni a try; you won't regret it! read more
11 of 11 episodes seen
Ah, Japanese culture. So varied, so complex, so .. involved. Ayakashi is a collection of three Japanese legends and folklore, each one told in a stand-alone fashion and with different art styles. They may as well be completely different anime, but nay, it is all packaged together for your convenience!
The first, a variation of the telling of the Yotsuya Kai Dan is very dark, befitting for such a tragic tale. It fills the 'horror' genre very well, with its manifestations of vengeful spirits, curses, and tense moments. It flows very well, with real story or character bumps along the way; all goes on as it should. For a historical piece, this one is very involved, and it would be good to have some in-depth Japanese cultural knowledge, or there will be some things you will miss that are important to the story, since Yotsuya Kai Dan makes excellent use of imagery, the mark of a truly good horror story. The seinen-esque style of this one will let you know this is a story that will not end well~ There is a small cast of characters here, but very involved, as no character that is introduced is disposable; they all have a significant impact on the story, which is also very complicated. Pay attention! Anyone that does not enjoy figuring out complicated plot lines and lots of talking will probably not enjoy this.
The second is a bit of an oddball: Tenshu Monogatari. I would recommend watching it last, as it completely changes gears into a sort of fantasy-genre fairy tale. It's a little more forgettable as the cast of characters is rather large, and not much screen time is given to some of the other goddesses in the story. Animation in this one is noticeable more colorful than Yotsuya, which is fitting as the first tale is very doom and gloom while Tenshu is a love story with a cast of goddesses whose main way of differentiating each other is the color of the very complicated things they wear. The difference between the goddesses' realm and that of mortals is notable because of this, you'll see a lot more neutral tones in the few times you see the mortal realm. More imagery! The characters are a little forgettable, since as I mentioned, most of them do not get enough screen time, though what I saw of the other goddesses reminds me slightly of Aa Megami-sama. This one is sweet as a standalone story, but a little strange to find in the mix of Ayakashi.
The third story is definitely the best, and has generated a spinoff of its own recently: Bakeneko. This entire story is animated with a rice-paper overlay effect and in vibrant, oddly-textured colors, making it look like a moving representation of a Japanese ukiyo-e. To say Bakeneko is beautiful is a severe understatement. Bakeneko very aptly fills the hole left by Tenshu in the 'ghost story' description, as well as having a crafty mystery spin to it. This story also has quite a bit of Japanese folklore in it, so some knowledge of the history of exorcism is good to have. The first two episodes of Bakeneko are buildup to the finale, filling in the story and coaxing the mystery from the woodwork in several pieces, to lead up to the shocking conclusion! The characters are very unique, very memorable, especially the Medicine Seller for his enigmatic air and his transformation in the conclusion, which is wisely not explained as to add to the mystery. For such a short story, it is surprisingly easy to develop feelings for the victim woman in the story, making the finale so much more believeable, and in so many words: freaking awesome. Very well done; I loved this one the most and it is apparent why this one was chosen to be continued in its own series, Mononoke.
All in all, all stories were told very well, and are all completely standalone. If you don't like one, please try the others, you are bound to find one you like. The animation style differs according to each one, but fits each story well, and the characters are mostly well done, with the exception of Tenshu's not getting enough air time. I definitely recommend Ayakashi if you are a fan of historical Japanese tales, folklore, and legends, or just a fan of historical Japan and its culture. read more