3 of 3 chapters read
Which means it's obviously not for the lightly hearted.
-Why did I give it a 10 overall?
People will have different interpretations of this story depending on their level of intellect and the point in their lives at which they read it. It's a given considering the topics Boys Next Door cover are very serious and reach out to a vast number of vulgar and cruel things that go about in the world around us.
The themes of this story are thick and dark, centered around a murder. Kaori Yuki skillfully weaves us in and out of the clues concerning the protagonist, until we find ourselves purely and irrevocably supporting and wishing for Adrian's salvation, perhaps not in the moral outlooks of society, but in his confused mind.
By taking a look at the background of Adrian and--what little we know of--Lawrence, we find that the two have been constantly mistreated their whole lives. The bulk of their bad experiences seemed to spur from no where, and from no cause of their own wrong-doing. In response to this, somehow the two characters went spiraling into two different paths of morally incorrect behavior--one into the works of a serial killer, and another to that of prostitution.
The story's main outlook on the world is a simple and yet very very brittle concept: The world is unfair.
The characters commit things that are shunned by society because, from the get-go, fate had cursed them to a series of events that would have undoubtedly led to some sinful future. The readers are forced to believe that, despite everything WRONG with the pity of such shameless characters, there is something so very incorrect about how the characters have been treated by the world.
Adrian is a child in the mind, undeveloped and screaming for some sense in the world; or at least for someone to care enough to see how jaded he'd become on the inside, and how much of him they really would not accept if they knew of. Lawrence is that push that leads Adrian to self realization, though Lawrence himself yearns for a recognition from his brother, and perhaps even from society, that he wants to be free in every sense of the word, and that he is disgusted by selling his body.
At the climax of finding everything in themselves and in their love, Lawrence is again reminded of his goal to become free, which is ultimately what sends this story crashing down into another unfair and cruel act; an act that pulls the protagonists apart again, and gives them exactly what they wished for all along: To be cared for, and to be free. But the bitter irony about Boys Next Door is that, no matter how hard the reader tries, we just cannot help but think that the characters were not happy.
-The story has many multi-layered symbolism uses. Here are a few big ones that you should look out for in the story, in order to understand the true genius of the story design, and perhaps further understand how Kaori Yuki comes to bring us to the side of her characters:
Symbolizing the absolute unstable nature of the world, and how it might be torn down and rebuilt again in instant, as a traveling circus does often. It also shows the pure craziness and scary ways in which the world works, masked over by cheap games and fake smiles. To Adrian specifically, the carnival, which represents the world, is also in part his childhood, which is a curious thing that is constantly disturbed and ruined by the presence of his mother, who is completely unfit to be a parental figure. When The Carnival is brought it up, it is a hideously conflicting memory to Adrian; full of happy memories that came back ten fold with the bad. Just as the Carnival is twisted in its treatment towards young Adrian, so is his childhood.
One of the more explicitly said tools of symbolism in the story, the balloon represents the masses of guidance, affection, acceptance, and consistency which are gifted to each and every normal child. Adrian feels apart from the rest of the world from the moment he is able to construct a sentence, but that is confirmed figuratively when he runs to a jester and finds there are no balloons left for him.
Towards the end of the story, with the last appearance of the balloon, the meaning seems to change. Ironically, Adrian, who has always thought of the balloon, eclipses it's symbolic meaning and becomes the balloon's meaning himself, having a complete understanding of what the balloon offers, but somehow regretting the price that came with finally receiving its features. The balloon is a bittersweet gift and, as we understand by the end of the piece, a deadly weapon.
The Merry-Go-Round Music Box:
The music box was not meant to be purchased by Adrian, and remains a secretly kept item to symbolize the childish longing one might have to be released from all the stress and uncertainty in life. When winded, the melody brings one back to a time of carefree acts and zero responsibility. The fact that Vicky rejects the gift for later use symbolizes that she herself is not yet exposed to the stresses of adult life, but is already in her childhood and not in need of the music box. However, it was not mere coincidence that it was stored with Adrian. The box was wound by Lawrence, the key to Adrian's discovery of himself and his needs. It is the symphony that kicks off the relief of the pressure in life. When it is dropped to the ground, it also signals the end of the show, the finale of the carnival.
The Iguana – Lawrence Parallel:
The iguana and its collar appear both in the flesh and as an insignia upon Lawrence's body to represent the boy's enslavement as a prostitute. On the one side, Adrian yearns for the collar and seems to go out of his way for a mundane thing which he could just remake at the pet store anyway; he also seems to keep a pet iguana at his house for not apparent reason save the fact that he enjoys its company. Lawrence has several parallels with the iguana; his eyes are said to be similar to the iguana's, and the fact that he is imprinted with an iguana upon his skin symbolizes that he is forever something Adrian will yearn for, possessing everything that he wants and all the answers to his questions.
-A twist to the perfect ending, and a deliciously disturbing tale of ghastly proportion, Shounen Zanzou makes you think about the world, about how so many “bad” people might have a tale in the newspaper, spun so easily to seem like they are the most monstrous ones in the world, when in actuality they were the true victims their whole lives. The story screams for us to wake up, to understand that sometimes, even if we reach our goals, our lives will still end abruptly and without a clean cut. I highly recommend it to those ready and willing for a challenge to popular thought.
I hope this review helps,
25 of 25 episodes seen
Let's see...Why did I give it a 9?
Most of the architecture was stunning with a unique blend of sci-fi and gothically-oriented themes which somehow melds into a beautiful and consistent world(honestly making the audience seem as though the society could exist, and with my experience as a writer and world builder, melding the sci-fi and the magical is rather difficult).
The story was original. The characters acted distinctively. But I couldn't help getting a sense of deja vu when I watched the anime. In the way that the elements of the story are paired with the setting, the characters, the plot development, and the arrangement of ideas, you really wouldn't notice at first how many elements of this series are like others(ex: uniforms of military are kinda FMA/Code Geass-ish and their zaiphons are like the spells used in Loveless by the way that they are brought out by the emotion one carries). Ok, no series is entirely unique--but the overall story of a boy discovering the world depends on him and some magical power he inherited(but couldn't remember how to use) has been used frequently in the western and eastern story-telling world.
Plot Development: 1,000,000!
This story is a constant, episode-to-episode thriller and you just can't stop thinking about what's going to happen next! The bonds of the characters, coped with the foreshadowing and discrepancies on which-side-is-good leaves the audience on edge, constantly falling at the mercy of the episode designers for those insanely bothersome cliff hangers, the best friend of 07 Ghost's episode conclusions.
Character Developement: 10
Ok, so let's be honest: Our world(ie: this world you're living in right now) is based on a black-and-white, the-mass-decides-what's-right world. However, the characters in this story are fleshed out with good and bad qualities, not mattering what side of the story they are on(ie: those who are hunting Teito, or those who are aiding him in realizing his destiny). Both the church and the military weigh in on their evil(though the church is mainly good and the military is mainly bad). Still, though the entities of the church and military have their connotations of evil or good in the story, the authors remind us that those on the side of the military are people too and it is easy to fall in love with some of the obvious antagonists in this series. The characters grow together, and the patterns of their growth are evident on both sides of the story; when the characters "feed" off of each other for strength, it is always seen as an endearing and heartwarming experience, regardless of whether the character is "good" or "bad." This contrast coped with other philisophical points that deviate from the norm make this story both deep and light hearted, filled with every type of personal interaction known of humans.
Costume Design/Animation: 1,000,000,000!
Animation is self expanatory. Consistantly well-done, there isn't a moment when the outline of a character's face is non-existant or the design of the movement is so sloppy you can't tell what's going on in the fight. In addition, the costume design is ridiculously awesome, I haven't seen anything like those clothing designs--such detail! As I mentioned above, their costumes do seem to have great similarity to those from Trinity Blood(as in, what the church wears) and Code Geass/FMA(as in, what the military wears). However, although the overall shape of the outfits are like that of other series, the accessories and flow of the designs are neither cluttered nor overused(in fact, as I said, I've never seen anything like them before!).
So...Why did I not let that little blurp with the story go free and give it a 10? Well...It all boils down to two things:
1. The strength and abilities of some of the characters were not that fleshed-out(for example, the Seven Ghost are supposed to be gods, and, in a traditional sense, be able to do anything. However, it is frequently hinted that there are things hindering their growth--if not that there are things they are just naturally incapable of.)
2. The story revolves around the idea that The Chief of Heaven gives a person 3 wishes which they will complete in their life, after which they will return back to his side in heaven. However, what three wishes do starving, rotting heaps of flesh on the side of the road get? What do those who suffer their whole lives wish for in order for their circumstances to be adequate in order to fufill their wishes within their lifetime? There are certainly people(especially since they have Sklaves) who are and have always been suffering in Teito's world, yet there is no debating on how and where and why people came into his world, even though there are problems of the idea staring him and the authors in the face.
Anyways, this is my review of the anime. I highly reccomend watching the series, and before getting mad over the ending, reading the manga which is loads better than the anime! Sorry my reviews are so long...I wonder if anyone will read this.
Thanks(and someone else review dang it!),
I'm not one to like it when an anime series alters it's plot just so they can end it ahead of time, but this was a really well done plot ending. Although there were a lot of new characters, Alois, in particular, was my big surprise. Because I'm sure anything anyone hears is just about his "booty-licious shorts." For those of you who are turned off by that factor(I wasn't but..You know, if you are) there's more to him than you'd imagine.
Without giving away any details, he's one of those characters that, if you're an open mind to different takes on justice, you can really come to love in the short amount of time that he was a lead in this series. Though it was definite that he supported Ciel, he also added a new twisted flair to Kuroshitsuji that I really liked. It was really because of him that Kuroshitsuji had as good an ending to the anime. (After all, by his wishes, did everything that happened come to be reality.)
The other new characters such as Hana and Claude are both support for Alois. Because of Alois's "Needy behavior," it was very skillful to add such high contrast characters beside him that help support such a boy(otherwise he probably would have fallen apart.) Hana is a passive maid who lets Alois treat her as a rag doll, while Claude is a sort of absent character who is very hard to please. As Alois's butler, he says things with empty meaning and often, Alois goes searching for actual emotion in Claude. Though Alois and Claude, as a duo, where never as effective as the Ciel-Sebastian duo, they were still a very successful contrasting pairing(not in the romantic way.)
The story begins in a rather rocky start as a lot of information is dumped on you. As the story starts when a big time lapse has occurred between the end of season one and the current events, it takes some time to piece together everything that happened, but the fact that the plot still functions, without the viewers having full knowledge of the previous essential points, is proof enough that the ending to this series was really a piece of work that was woven together beautifully.
A lot of people will debate about the yaoi or non-yaoi-ness of season one. But those who cater toward such style of affection will be slightly pleased to know of a fact that they will learn upon the first few episodes of the series; Alois Trancy is an aristocratic boy with a demon butler(like Ciel). But--rather than being an exact copy of the Earl of Phatomhive--he has differences in his past that led him to his current position and the location of his contract seal is different from Ciel's.
With a detailed past quite similar in cruelty and suffering to Ciel's, Alois's hardships toughened him into a callus soul that masked his wounds with twisted smiles. In some ways, he ended up less "complete in mind" than Ciel in the fact that his consciousness is not completely at peace with itself. By his sporadic behavior, ranging on the bipolar side, we can tell that he is very deeply damaged as a result of his ordeals. And his savior, Claude, is always the person he looks toward for recognition. One can hardly blame such a soul as Alois, though. He clung to what brought him out of the darkness; it could only be cruel to condemn him for not noticing the foolishness in asking for love from a Demon.
If we return to the very sensitive topic for this anime: Yaoi(which makes or breaks some people's experience with such a series), we will notice the location of Alois's demon contract: his tongue. Popularly, he is seen licking people with his tongue, or rather, a single entity. A certain boy for whom also has a demon butler... Ironically, however, Alois does not favor Ciel or seek any romantic relations with him(as I first assumed by all the comments I got on Alois's character), he actually wishes torturel Ciel. This becomes evident in the first episode(so don't think I spoiled anything for you). And the way for which his past, his demon contract, Ciel, and Sebastian weave together to create the finale to Kuroshitsuji make this a MUST WATCH for any fan of Kuroshitsuji, be it the anime or manga. read more