24 of 24 episodes seen
The story of Toward the Terra is the strongest point of the show. Coming as it does from the Wellthink-Aniplex stable (another gem of which is Jigoku Shoujo), this anime is spectacularly designed and conceptualised. I don’t know if it’s based on a manga or not, but if it is, it’s going on to my must-read list.
What a delightful story! The creators weave an intricate tale and tell it with gusto-as is evidenced by the lavish explanatory speeches and indepth rationalizations engaged in by the characters. But what is even more attractive is that they have also apparently introduced several doctorates’ worth of mythological allusions: The grand planet-killer ship is called Megiddo, Earth’s central government convenes in a building known as the Yggdrasil, and the great super-computers are called Terras. What more do you need?
Oh yeah, a pace. And this Terra he…has in plenty. You’ll find it an enjoyable challenge just to keep up with what is going on on your screens. The story never lags, but keeps up its lightining pace all through its runtime. Very few parts seem to be fillers, a fact which every Naruto viewer (like me) will enjoy. Also, the story is very realistic in the sense that it inflicts changes upon its characters. Life aboard a Generation Starship has never been so flesh-and-blood; telling as it does the tale of three generations of the two Races of Earth, it acquits itself wonderfully, IMO.
Of course, the most important part of the story is its substance; Terra he… builds on very real human tendencies and proclivities, and succeeds remarkably. In the series, you’ll find a lot of philosophical debates going on. It would be impossible for me to identify all of them for you without missing out many more, but some of those you can look out for are the Schopenhauerian views on life and the will to death, the collectivist argument for united decision, the monarchist/socialist/welfare idea of ‘father-like’ (in this case, mother-like) government, the Platonic idea of education, and the determinist idea of free will. My only grouch in the whole story is that the collectivist view isn’t really battled. But this isn’t a problem; there hasn’t yet been any decisive answer to the collectivist question.
The art-that is, the character design-is attractive without being superlative. You won’t fall in love with any of the characters, the way you would with Production I.G.’s creations. But as itself, the characters are well-designed and well-animated. The villainous guys reflect their badness, while the good guys are made true to their nature. Even the natural truths of life haven’t been ignored; the characters show very real signs of aging such as worry lines and baggy eyes. Over all, the anime being a Wellthink-Aniplex creation, the character design is well enough to justify watching.
One mentionable thing about the art is the design of the ships. A great effort has been put into them, and it shows. The giant Megiddo vessels resemble crosses, while the Mutant ship looks very much like the Moby Dick it is named after. Conventional designs have clearly been shelved here; not many sharp-nosed ships will be seen here. Even the space stations have deviated from the norm; many are top-like structures with bags of some light gases supporting them. Many have no power of their own, and are either tethered to the planet, or float using these aforementioned bags.
The music is good without being great. Unlike Jigoku Shoujo’s haunting soundtrack, Terra he… has a space opera-like soundtrack prepared for it; unfortunately, this isn’t anything to write home about. The only great tracks are the OP/EDs, of which there are 4. The OPs are superlative with a capital S; I’m still jiving to Endscape’s rocking guitar intro.
UVERworld’s Endscape comes up tops and stays in your mind, long after you’re done watching the show. Its upbeat tempo and TAKUYA’s excellent vocals are winning points for this one. Yet the pinnacle of greatness is reached by the ever-delightful Hitomi Takahashi. Jet Boy Jet Girl is a song for all moods; it’s a veritable answer to Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi. The guitar gets you right at the outset, and by the time Hitomi’s soft vocals cease at last with the soft ‘Jet Boy…’ you’re already charmed. These two deserve a definite download.
The EDs are not so remarkable, IMO. The first one, Miliyah’s This Love, seemed just plain soppy to me (though the line “Ikiru imi,/Shiritai” is still stuck in my head 13 episodes down), but “This Night” by Chemistry is a good love ballad. “This night, I’ll be over you,” goes the refrain, and you’ll find it very hard not to (at least) tap your foot and (at most) jive to it. So if you poked me with a zanpakutou, then I’d say download Chemistry but leave This Love well enough alone. Unless you’re Sasuke’s half-brother, in which case I have nothing more to do with you.
SUMMARY: So. Who will I recommend it to? I’ll say the Trekkies (for educational purposes), myth-freaks (for lots of cool names), eco-freaks (the most scathing condemnation of humanity’s Great Error is here in episode 23), philosophers (for lots of fodder), and lovers of anime in general, because here stands an anime that exemplifies John Oppinger’s great statement of anime’s uniqueness: the hero dies, many people die without the hero saving them, the hero’s people willingly kill other people and even enjoy it. Heck, even the kids from both sides fight each other as lustily as Vikings.
But after all this droning and moaning, I’d like to issue a warning: Those of you who thought Ghost in the Shell was really deep, please don’t watch this show. You’ll only make a mess of yourself, because this show is as philosophical-if not more-than I.G.’s great production. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
The art of the anime is superlative. It takes time to get adjusted to the slightly unconventional art, but one soon gets used to it. Additionally, every character except the lead characters is not clearly drawn; rather, you get gray silhouettes which serve to further accentuate the lead characters’ behavior.
The lead characters themselves are very-well conceived of. Their physical structure embodies their traits, and gives us a sense of something slightly off from the real world.
That said the story is eerily un-CLAMP-like. There are not many happy endings, just enough to get the reader hooked. Most times, the evildoer gets a punishment for what he has done, in a way that serves to hold his crime up to the moral judgment of the viewer. But the damage is not restricted; sometimes, even the person who is nearby or a family member also gets mixed up. The story at times seems so real-life that one has to literally shake his illusions away. Several philosophical issues are treated with such deftness that even the hardiest Sophist would be hard put to deny their efficacy on the viewer’s mind.
The character conceptualization is a work of pure finesse, characteristic of I.G. works. Watanuki is a deep study in psychology, Yuuko Ichihara is one of the charismatic philosophers ever seen in anime, and both Domeki and Himawari depict two sides of the human animal: the strong, disbelieving side, and the believer inside every one of us. Maru and Moro, as well as the irritably cute Mokona, serve to lighten the viewer’s concentration with a dash of well-placed humor. Additional characters, such as the incredibly likable Vestal, and the hoity-toity Rain Sprite, also attract the viewer’s affection or irritation: an altogether natural reaction that all anime hopes for.
The music for the show is great. The OP, Suga Shikao’s 19sai, is a foot-tapping number (and my flagship song, hee hee). Its tight vocals and awesome accompaniments will make it an effortless climber on your playlist for sure. The EDs are similarly awesome; the first one, Reason by Fonogenico, will bring out the goofy side of you, while the second ED, Kagerou by BUCK-TICK, is a great listen, well-assisted by the credit scene, where we see Maru and Moro playing air guitar.
So, in conclusion, who do I recommend to? All the seriously concerned folks out there, for starters. Here many sensitive and basic ethical problems are treated with a delicacy and sophistry that’ll probably satisfy all your dreams of being philosophers. Secondly, all you guys who like the fables and myths of Japan should check it out; these abound in the anime. Thirdly, I’d recommend this anime to all those who enjoyed Ghost in the Shell and its beautiful leading lady; I assure you, Yuuko Ichihara is eminently suitable for your appreciation as well.
But that’s of course just a suggestion. All are welcome to see this funny yet serious, hysterical yet humbling view of men and their conception of their true worth in the world.
26 of 26 episodes seen
The storyline is so weak, the viewer often feels as if he's watching a documentary of something. There's no connectivity in the episodes, and the fractal appearance of the whole series will put everyone (except the most devoted .hack otaku) off. The story doesn't have heads or tails; it just plods on, like an excrutiating torture session.
The character design's very weak as well. Though the lead character, Haseo, is created well, flaws in his conceptualization leave him with a schizophrenic character set. Shino and O-van, the other two lead characters, are far better in their conception. O-van, particularly, is a great character, sort of like Hatake Kakashi in Naruto or like Urahara Kisuke in Bleach. Besides these two exceptions, everyone else is useless as characters. Tabby is too smarmy, Sakisaka too vacillatory, Ender too non-violent, and Filo too plodding.
The one high point of the show is the music, produced by Ali Project. The OP (Silly-go-Round by FictionJunction YUUKA) and ED (Boukoku Kakusei Catharsis by Ali Project) are awesome, to say the least, and the INs never fail to enthrall either. IMO, do look out for God Diva; it's a superlative track. Silly-Go-Round, thanks to its catchy tune structure and fine alterations between the violin and modern instruments such as the guitar or drums, makes for a great listen.
Sadly, the music is the only thing we reviewer otaku can rave about. The idea behind the characters is good, and as in the case of Tryedge, almost exquisite. But there is no clarity, no Ichigo-esque madness, no Naruto-style idealism in this story. One misses the clear objective reality of Bleach or Ghost in the Shell (or maybe even the earlier .hack iterations?). There is virtually no action, no drama, no flesh and blood; in short, there's no juice to this baby.
Who do I recommend it to? No one. This anime (as much as it pains me to say it) is simply unwatchable. Don't watch it at all, except maybe the first episode and towards the end. The rest will simply bore you, and make you regret the time you spent downloading the episode. .hack//Roots is a total failure for me.
26 of 26 episodes seen
The anime as a whole, I must say, is awesomely created. Everything is perfect: the characters, the act, even the storyline. A superbly crafted series, R.O.D. the TV manages to leave nothing to the imagination, yet conveys an intellectual involvement that is interesting on so many levels.
The story, to begin with, is superb. The episodes moves from one to another in seamless sequence. Not for a moment does one feel out of place. The exciting parts are long and aplenty, and the soft and melancholy parts do not bore. Highly emotional at times, yet completely cohesive in its entirety, the story gets a definite 10.
The character design is excellent as well. The female characters are, not to put too fine a point on it, dee-LICIOUS!! On their part, the male characters, too, live up to expectations. Overall the characters are well-designed and even better, well-conceptualised. Each character is perfectly natural in his/her role, and while watching an episode, one may well be forgiven for losing track of reality.
The soundtrack for the show, though not overly spectacular, is nevertheless quite good. The opening track (R.O.D. by YKZ) is a thumping good song, and will have you jiving to it soon enough. The ending tracks (there are 2) are good too. The first, Moments in the Sun by kazami, gets you really mellow with its reggae-ish background music and really smooth vocals. In comparison, the second theme, Confidence by Rieko Miura, isn't all that good, and does not at all gel with the pessimistic mood of the later episodes.
In conclusion, then, I'd just like to say that R.O.D the TV is an awesome anime that you have to, have to, watch. I don't care if you have to beg, borrow or steal for it, just watch it!!!! And once you do, I guarantee you: you will LOVE it!
26 of 26 episodes seen
First off, the story. The anime is set in the Heian period (794-1185) of ancient Japan. The Abe clan, long known as the most powerful spirit masters in the land, now have a new successor: Abe no Masahiro, a young boy who's destined to follow in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather, Abe no Seimei. But Masahiro wants to be more than just Seimei's grandson; he wants to make a name for himself. Aided by the ayakashi (meaning 'beast' or 'creature') Mokkun, who is in actuality the Summoned Spirit Toda/Guren, Masahiro fights monsters and demons by night, gaining experience and saving people.
The character design of the anime is very good. Obviously, the character designers have done extensive research. The costumes worn by the characters are true to the spirit of the Heian, a period second only to the modern in terms of experimentation in fashion. The male characters'layered outfits, the female characters' lined layers of robes-all of these have clearly been painstakingly reproduced. Even the hair of the women has been created true to reality: in ancient times, long tresses were considered a sign of beauty. Fans of blue or pink hair will be disappointed completely.
That said, the rest of the anime fails miserably in its task. The conceptualisation is weak, the storyline is flaccid and hasty, and the whole series smacks of inattention.
The first few episodes excite. One expects great things from the young Masahiro as he shows obvious traits common to all great anime heroes. Like Ichigo, he has a moralistic streak that leaves him incapable of ruthlessness. Like Naruto, he has an irrepressible urge to prove himself. But as the series progresses, one finds his character softening, dissolving into something like a shoujo idol. The reasons for this softening are principally the addition of another (and completely useless) character, that of Princess Akiko.
Akiko's fault doesn't just lie there; she comes across as a complete damsel in distress-that, too, in the Western style. She doesn't contribute a single thing to the whole story (except perhaps as the hero's girl), yet the directors have given their love relationship a prime place. Six episodes are spent just preparing for this relationship. The whole scene then smacks of a bad B-grade romance, and whatever interest remains in the series slowly drains away.
The only thing one finds passably watchable in this series are the various gods or Summoned Spirits who are also main characters. They have blue and green hair in multitudes and wear clothes that would've been banned in Heian Japan, but that's what we like about them. Their interaction with the members of the Abe household, whom they are indentured to, as well as their all-too-human concern about the succession, make them likable characters. Even Toda, though some may find him mushy, comes across as a fine character, a model even for future characters.
The music is good, nicely enough crafted to hold attention and maybe-just maybe-to hit that download button under the link on that music download site. The opening track, Kaori Hikita's 'Egao no Wake' comes across as a nice song with nice, energetic beats and fluid vocals. Of the ending tracks, one likes Saori Kiuji's 'Yakusoku'. Though sung in a highly nasal tone of voice, the song's arrangement fits perfectly with an old tale or an ancient hero-chronicle.
Thus, overall, Shounen Onmyouji is not something I'd recommend everyone to watch. If you're starved for anime, or haven't seen it in a long while, then you can try it out. If you're a history buff, or need an idea of how people lived in the past, then this series is a definite must-watch. But to the general anime fan, I'd recommend something other than this. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Adapted from a manga, this series tells the story of a young nobleman, Deon de Beaumont, who in the stormy age of Pre-Revolutionary France, battles a sinister evil which threatens his country and kills his sister, Lia. At first, he is appointed by the king, that great iconoclast of history, Louis XV, to bring back the fabled Royal Psalms (a book believed to possess great alchemic power), a journey which takes the young knight and his companions as far away as Russia and England. Faced with death and destruction everywhere, Deon, who is still grieving for his sister, realizes an awful truth: that her soul, wanting revenge, is within him still, and comes out when he faces an enemy. Armed with the terrible Psalm of Vengeance, she wields her sword with absolute ruthlessness, slaying all that stand before her. It is their story that the anime proceeds to tell.
That's for the story. The anime itself has been superbly executed. It will enthrall every viewer with its splendid character design (so unlike other anime: no huge eyes, no pink hair), awesome storyline and backdrops. Every episode gives edge-of-the-seat excitement; there's a new story waiting everywhere. History buffs will like the historical backdrop placed around what is obviously a fictional story. Characters like Louis XV, Marie-Louise Pompadour, and George III of England seem to resemble their historical counterparts to the last T. Places like Versailles and the castles of England are authentically rendered, making this anime a treat for history buffs.
For other types of fans, too, there's much material available. The fans of magic will love the Poets' manipulation of the words in the Royal Psalms to create zombies and what not. Swordfighting fans will find that in plenty; every episode carries a swordfight or two. Those who merely content themselves with gawking at the female/male characters will also be satisfied, because this anime contains some of the most memorable characters in anime history: the handsome Durand among the males, and the ravishing Lia de Beaumont among the females. In all, this anime would make a must-watch for all anime fans.
However, no anime is perfect, not even Production I.G.'s (look at Blood+). This anime could have done better with a faster pace and a shorter length. The story I.G. chose to tell wasn't worth 24 episodes. Also, the relationship between Lia and Deon (elder sister and baby brother) could have been accentuated. Lia in her later form as Deon's possessor seems far too like a bloodthirsty Boadicea than a kind and gentle elder sister whose ostensible purpose for possessing her brother is 'to protect him'. Granted, she is actually a secret agent, but somehow that excuse does not wash when one sees her brother taking horrible amounts of damage for her.
Another complaint lies in the fact that there are no good antagonists. Madame Pompadour contents herself with just political intrigues, the Comte de Saint-Germain, a powerful Poet, does not make an appearance till the last episode. Even the face and voice of the opposition, Maximillian Robespierre, is so unlike his historical counterpart that he is almost unrecognizable. He has lost all of the reforming zeal that was so manifest in the real Robespierre, who became the hand of the Revolution of 1789. The directors attempt to resolve this by making Robin (previously an attendant of the French queen and a companion of Deon's) the new Robespierre, but the issue remains hanging still. The only 'good' antagonist is Louis himself. The ending, too, is exceedingly dry and confusing.
That said, this anime is a definite 10/10 on my list for, even with its imperfections, the anime remains a superbly-crafted masterpiece which tells a highly-charged story about a time when the instruments of revolution changed from blades to words. While watching the series, I was time and again reminded of my favorite author, Voltaire, who lived in these terrible times and was the exponent of this new form of revolution and along with it, a haunting line from the movie V for Vendetta (I quote from memory): "An idea cannot be killed, for an idea does not have a body. Men may die, but the idea lives on until, helped by the circumstances, it turns into reality." read more