13 of 13 episodes seen
When I heard of this anime, I read up about its storyline and was intrigued. At first glance, it resembled Gintama in the sense that it consisted of humans and aliens living together however, in this circumstance the humans don’t know that they are sharing the Earth with countless aliens.
“In 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.” – MAL
The quote is literally the introduction in each episode and is a constant reminder of the situation occurring in the anime.
So basically, the storyline revolves around an alien often called “Prince Baka” and follows his ‘adventures’. The plot in a way is also similar to Gintama as there is no fixed story. In total, there are about 5 or 6 mini arcs, some consist of 1 episode and others consist of up to 3. I guess you could say that this kept my attention to the anime as it wasn’t being dragged on like the mainstream anime we watch e.g. Naruto, Bleach etc.
There is a general pattern you will notice in the anime and that is the arcs consisting of a serious plot which unfolds to be something quite hilarious.
Prince Baka, is a character of royalty but doesn’t want responsibility. He is a character who is constantly toying with people to entertain himself and will often come up with the most random ideas and solutions to problems. However, he is not stupid unlike his name suggests, he is quite the opposite as he is generally the person to find the solutions for every problem that occurs.
In a sense, Prince Baka, probably wouldn’t be considered a protagonist but an anti-protagonist similar to that of Light (Death Note) as he is the main character but acting as a villain. In Level E, this is not very explicit and the character doesn’t go to extremes, his actions are more like pranks which will entertain you throughout.
Because of the various arcs, there are also a multiple of characters available. Some arcs re-use characters from previous arcs and this reminded me of Higurashi no Koro ni.
The bodyguards of the prince are probably in almost all the arcs and there are 3 different characters all with completely different personalities. There is Kraft who, if he could, would probably kill the prince and he is probably toyed around with the most. Then there’s Sade who tends to diagnose the main problem in each arc (if he’s in the arc) and is obsessed with bugs and insects. Finally, the third bodyguard is Colin who seems to be the one who is easily fooled and believes things as he sees it.
The list of other characters consisting of aliens and humans will take forever to explain but there are a bunch of them and each one of them is used to progress the narrative. Probably the most noticeable human characters are Tsutsui, Miho and the five elementary school kids.
The aliens are shown disguised as humans. To me, this representation suggested that some people are different to each of us and may seem “alien” to us. Whether, I may be indulging in the representation a bit too much is a different story but it seemed to me that the aliens represent humans in different ways.
What can I say about the soundtrack?
There were a few slow piano pieces which are pretty melodic and tend to come at serious moments in the anime or when a problem is found in the arcs. The opening of the anime didn’t really get to me so much but I found the ending to be a bit more suited to my taste in music. In terms of language, the aliens and humans communicate in Japanese and this is the same for aliens who can not speak the human language so the audience can understand but an echo has been added or the voice is slightly auto-tuned to differentiate between them.
There were a bunch of intertextual references I found in a few episodes. Firstly we have the parody of Power Rangers which is then blended with a parody of Dragon Quest which mimic the whole RPG genre of gaming. In the same arc, we have the skyboard as an attainable item which is a spoof of Eureka Seven and during an explanation, a Weedle (Pokemon reference) was used to graphically explain the problem.
I don’t know a lot about art but the art displayed in the anime was constant and never compromised. The art was standard and wasn’t placed too dark like Death Note or on the other hand to childish like that of Pokemon or Digimon. The tones and shadows used very moderate and there was no exaggerated parts.
It was a really fun anime to watch and the mix of apparent humour and serious humour really expressed itself in this anime. I am glad that the anime is only 13 episodes because it’s a nice anime to watch which doesn’t drag on to have a million arcs, making the anime easy to follow.
To those interested in this anime, I think you will enjoy this if you have seen stuff like Gintama. However, don’t take my word for it because the humour may seem a bit more serious in Level E.
25 of 25 episodes seen
Let me start by clarifying that this review is only for the anime series of Bakuman and although it may mention some references to the manga, I will try my best to focus on what is shown in the anime.
“Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi are pretty much foils of each other. Mashiro, an average 9th grade student but talented artist, and Takagi, an overall advanced 9th grader and aspiring writer. After great convincing, Takagi convinces Mashiro to join him in becoming the greatest mangakas Japan has ever seen. Takagi, with his gift of writing, hopes to become a successful mangaka, and Mashiro, with his gift of art, hopes to marry the girl of his dreams, Azuki Miho.” – MAL/ANN
The plot of the story focuses on Mashiro and Takagi working hard on manga to make their dreams come true. The genre of the story is a hybrid of slice of life with some romance with themes revolving around friendship, teamwork, dreams and competition which are mostly seen in shounen animes. Throughout the anime, the narrative concentrates on the duos road to serialization in Shounen Jack (Shounen Jump in the manga), starting with one-shot mangas and entering competitions to work their way up as an author with other mangakas attempting to block their path. Although the anime resembles other romance animes, the conventions are broken from the start when Mashiro and Azuki, the female protagonist, decide to get married after the team have an anime.
Each episode will make you want to watch the next.
We have a range of characters, the main protagonists of the anime here are Moritaka Mashiro, a character who is determined to do well and spends a lot of his time trying to improve his art, he illustrates the art. He is the conventional character seen in most animes who is shy when he is around the girl he loves. Takagi Akito, is the central character who attracts Mashiro into becoming a mangaka. He is an intelligent character who gets the highest grades but because he has the passion for manga, he decides to perceive that as his career and writes the stories for the manga. We then have the two female character, Azuki Miho who has mutual feelings with Mashiro and wants to become a seiyuu (voice actress), she is a shy character but also has the determination to take on the obstacles blocking her from what she wants to do. There is also Miyoshi Kaya, Azuki’s best friend, who is a violent character and is sometimes displayed as stupid. She also becomes Takagi’s girlfriend with in the anime and motivates the two mangakas to advance in their work.
To provide a bit of movement in the theme of romance, there is also Kawaguchi Taro, Mashiro’s uncle who taught Mashiro everything about manga and has a similar story to Mashiro’s when the anime starts.
We also have the antagonists such as Niizuma Eiji, who is only a year older than the main protagonists but is considered a genius after becoming serialized at the age of 15, sparking a fire within Mashiro and Takagi, making them desperate to get serialized as soon as they can. There is also Fukuda, Aoki, Nakai and Koogy who compete with the duo and attempt to obtain serialization.
The last set of characters is the editors who provide constructive criticism and advise the mangakas on their work. For the duo there is Hattori, who becomes a character the team can trust and although he is a bit unsure whether the two should be serialized at a young age, he decides that they can pull it off. There is also Yujiro, Fukuda and Eiji’s editor who seems to be a rival to Hattori, possibly because Eiji and Ashirogi Muto (the 2 characters pen name) consider each other as rivals as well.
The art is expected to be good as the mangaka for this manga is that of Death Note, which shocked me at first. The anime’s art shows a great amount of detail yet still maintaining that slice of life environment in the anime. Something which intrigued me the most, in terms of the art, was the displaying of the stories each mangaka made. By animating the storyline and having a narrator explaining the information in the manga, improved the anime.
Soundtrack resembling that of stuff like Honey and Clover, a very slow and mellow opening and the the first ending is similar to the opening, the second ending is a bit more heavier but still maintaining the romantic element of the anime, a bit like Toradora! Etc. There is narration when each one-shot or idea for a manga is displayed, explaining the story and dialogue in the manga. This anime isn’t really the type where you have to follow the dialogue completely like Gungrave or Death Note but still it helps understand the story, so I suggest you watch the anime properly without having to skip bits.
There is probably a lot more I can say about this anime in this review but then everyone would be bored of reading this, if you aren’t already. I really enjoyed the anime and can’t wait for it’s sequel which has already been announced. I do recommend it, but I also recommend the audience reading the manga as it’s pretty awesome. In whatever order is upto you.
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26 of 26 episodes seen
I still think this anime should be ranked higher than what it is. But never mind about that, let’s continue with the review.
“After a tragic scene with the murder of his friends, Brandon Heat follows his only friend Harry McDowel into Millennion, the largest mafia syndicate. While Harry McDowel is striving for power, Brandon is only staying in Millennion to see the girl he loves whose custody was gained by the leader of Millennion, Big Daddy. But as the years pass and Brandon proves loyal to Millennion, Brandon learns the true purpose and passion of Millennion, and that's when true conflict arises.” – MAL
I think MAL’s synopsis sums it up and it’s what attracted me to watching the anime. But for those who still want to know more about the anime before you watch, continue reading. I have tried my best to not mention any spoilers.
“There is something you must never do in Millenion and that is to betray.”
Although some aspects of the story can be anticipated, I found myself enjoying it regardless. The genre of the anime is a hybrid of action and sci-fi and themes such as betrayal, friendship, revenge and protecting a loved one are displayed throughout the anime. Even though this seems to be a common element in most anime, Gungrave executed it perfectly. The narrative of the story at the start seems quite slow paced and most of the actual storyline consists of a flashback of when Harry and Brandon were just hooligans. The flashback explains the reasons of why the two joined Millenion and how they came to know Big Daddy, the boss of the organisation. Coming out of the flashback, the audience follows Beyond the Grave, Brandon’s counter-part, attempting to get revenge on the current Millenion while protecting a girl named Mika.
Brandon Heat is a character that breaks the conventions of main protagonists, this is because he possesses strength and skill but is a quiet and reserved person. On the other hand, like main protagonists he protects the people close to him. Harry MacDowel, Brandon’s closest friend, is someone who wants to make it big in the shortest amount of time, his strength is his intelligence and he is the initial character that led Brandon to follow the organisation. Although, they are the two main characters, there are a range of other characters such as Maria Asagi, Brandon’s love and Big Daddy, the leader of the organisation who becomes someone dear and irreplaceable to Brandon that progress the narrative. Bob Pundmax, Balladbird Lee and Kugashira Bunji are characters who are new to the organisation like Brandon and Harry and follow them to make it huge.
Not a lot I can say about the art. The art compliments the narrative and is suitable for what is portrayed in the anime. I would recommend you watch this anime in good quality (it’s quite difficult to find HQ for this anime though)
The opening is an instrumental which resembles the Cowboy Bebop opening, it’s not that long either. The ending is nice and after a while the beginning of the music will remain in your head. There were no problems with dialogues and there wasn’t any unnecessary conversations (so most of it is important, make sure you listen) and finally sound effects only consisted of what is required.
I’ve seen the anime twice and there wasn’t a time where I was bored. The anime is something different to what I have seen and although there are a couple anime which resemble Gungrave such as Berserk, I still thought the concept was brilliant.
A must watch.