24 of 24 episodes seen
STORY - 9
The story of this show is something else. There's just so much depth, and it's so cerebral. I'll definitely have to do some re-watching to get all the little nuances and plot points down. I wouldn't recommend this show if you're just looking for some simple anime that would kill an afternoon. This is a thinking anime that touches on a ton of dark and deep issues. You'll also need to be paying close attention to all the plot twists! These little suckers come out of NOWHERE and twist the story into a completely different direction that one would expect. I was left gasping like fish more than once here. For me, that's one of the best aspects of this story is those little plot twists. I never know what I'm going to see when watching something like this. Now that I've mentioned the good, let's talk about why I couldn't give this aspect a perfect 10. After watching the ending, I was left with some unanswered questions regarding some of the details here. While these details didn't sour the complete story for me (hence the 9), they might sour it for someone else. One detail that they didn't address did leave me a bit peeved, but my mind made a connection with another story aspect that I could guess was the answer. If everything had been addressed here, this would have been a DEFINITE perfect 10.
ART - 10
A simple word here. BEAUTIFUL!!!! The animation flows so gorgeously in this anime. From the fight scenes to humorous antics to zany parties to heart-wrenching death scenes, absolutely everything here is flows so smoothly and sweetly. An aspect I noticed a lot in this anime was lighting. I don't see that a lot in anime and found it very appropriate for this title. If the characters were experiencing a dark and horrific scene, shadows and reds played big parts. If they were experiencing light-hearted birthday parties or servant antics, colors were bright, vibrant, and day-filled. Besides just the lighting, the art conveyed the atmosphere so much. It almost seemed to reflect character emotions and fates/destinies as well as set the mood for the anime. You will not be disappointed here! Just a slight warning, though, this anime doesn't shirk from blood. Not that it's gratuitous, every scene with it almost requires it and the blood adds to the atmosphere. But do be warned; I wouldn't let kids watch this.
SOUND - 10
This is the crowning glory in my opinion. Every single piece of music adds to the atmosphere of this anime and leaves a person breathless. It's so haunting...... It's full of fast consistent beats for the fighting, chants and drones for the dark, plot-filled moments, sad female-filled melodies for the gut-wrenchingly sad parts, and a soft operatic finish for the final anime finale. There was use throughout the anime of a really fast beat chanting/droning thing used towards some combat and many plot-revealing scenes that I found particularly innovative and unusual. It added something really unique to an already beautiful track of music. The opening and ending themes fit the anime to a tee; the 2nd ending, Lacrimosa by Kalafina, especially fits the ominous ending the anime is barreling towards when this ending comes in. It's haunting, lyrical, and so emotion-filled. Just beautiful!! Besides the glorious musical score, this anime exhibits very good character voices. I especially loved Sebastian's dark and low voice. I could imagine my demon butler having that voice. *shiver* I can't think of any misplaced vocals at all. Everyone was distinct and complete unto themselves.
CHARACTERS - 9
There were so many hidden depths to most of these characters that absolutely no one seems two-dimensional. Everyone is fleshed out to some degree with emotional back stories and plot twists. Oh the plot twists!! There were a lot where it came to character development. I only wish that there had been equal attention to all characters. For some of them, the viewers were left wishing fervently for more. I personally wished the back stories of the servants at Phantomhive were fleshed out more. We are given some back hints in a few episodes and one episode almost completely devoted to the four of them, but not really a lot and I was curious! Oh well. The gradual building of Ciel's character and his relationship with Sebastian is more than enough to make up for it. There were some characters who I thought I had pegged when something radical happens and their intents and motivations turn in a completely different direction. Again, oh those plot twists!! Gotta love 'em!!
ENJOYMENT - 10
I thoroughly enjoyed this title, unanswered questions and all. My mind can find connections between points where there may be no connection and so I can answer those questions in my own little mind. It was a beautiful and haunting ride that took me on an emotional rollercoaster and through a thorough mind-wringing. There was so much content here, from plot to wacky humor. I loved every bit of it. And the music!! Ack!! I'm going to be haunting ebay and the net in general looking for this OST ASAP!!
OVERALL - 10
I think I pretty much summed it up in the enjoyment section. Everything just came together beautifully and created an anime that has made it to my favorites and re-watchable list. I absolutely adore it and wish there was more!!
24 of 24 episodes seen
STORY - 5
Like I mentioned above, this anime fails miserably for most of the anime in storyline. The first episode leads the viewer to believe that something special is in the offering as we get pushed immediately into the need to protect Tohru from the hungry youkai. The family Sentinel and a powerful youkai are enlisted to help in this task and the episode climaxes with a BANG as a fight for survival is acted out. HOWEVER, for about the next eleven episodes, what do we have? FILLERS!! Gak!! That's pretty much it, folks. We are introduced to new characters, but this stretch is very episodic. Now while fillers are to be expected from time to time, an anime that exists solely on them for eleven episodes straight is failing in the story department. I'm sorry. As we hit episode 12 and 13, we do get into episode arcs where a story does develop from arc to arc. Things start to get interesting and I actually enjoyed this last half of the story. Again though!! The last two episodes..... FILLERS!!!! So this anime went from good first episode..... to fillers..... to good and interesting arcs...... back to fillers and ends there! Massively bad story telling. And in those arcs where the story does get interesting, we're still left with plot holes that I could drive my friend's truck through. So at the end of it all, is there really a story here? I'd say there's episodes and then "mega" episodes, but no story throughout the entire series to tie everything together.
ART - 8
The art here is pretty good with defining character designs and very pretty graphics. Backgrounds are lushly defined and fights are beautifully animated. I loved to watch the magical elements when the fighting scenes played; the way they flowed so wonderfully into the physical movements of the characters made for very nice fighting scenes. The colors are vibrant and rich, both in the characters and backgrounds. I don't remember that much reused footage either; but then, I didn't exactly look that hard for it. There was one area where the artwork made me cringe. The second ending animation made Kou, Kuu, and Tama look sick to me, like they hadn't eaten in ages and were pale.... Maybe it's just me, but they just looked weird to me. So all together, the artwork was nicely done and rendered except for that one ending.
SOUND - 9
In my humble opinion, the musical score was the best part of the series. It was beautifully haunting and melodic when the story called for it, yet fighting music was heavy and had a great beat. It was the haunting bits that actually got my attention first in this anime. I remember I first started paying attention hard to the background music in episode 4. During the last half of the episode, this beautiful Japanese-style poignant melody plays and just accents the sweet emotional aspects of that episode perfectly. This evocative music continues throughout the anime and sort-of saves it for me from dropping it which I thought of doing a few times. I actually enjoyed the opening song, KI-ZU-NA ~Haruka Naru Mono e by Hitomi Sora. It was very catchy and upbeat; I found myself not minding having to listen to it again and again as I watched this anime streaming. The two ending songs I could have done without, but I didn't hate them. They didn't register that hard with me.
CHARACTERS - 4/5
I can't be exactly sure which one of those above scores really belongs here. I don't think characterization was a really big priority here. There isn't really any back story given for the characters except for one. However, that one is dead so do they count? There are hints and ideas splashed throughout that, if fleshed out, could have made these characters stand out so much more! But sadly, they weren't, and most of the characters are forgettable at best. There were even a few times I was wondering who this person was because I'd forgotten when they'd been introduced. Even though they weren't fleshed out enough to make them stand, the one aspect of these characters that saved me from dropping the anime completely was the comedic aspects of them. Some of these guys are just so WACKY that I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at their antics! Whether the fact that the redeeming factors of most of these characters is because they're just really funny is a good thing or bad, I don't know. But they made me want to continue watching until the end.
ENJOYMENT - 6
All together, I kept watching this anime because it made me laugh, hysterically even at times. I just loved to watch as Misaki angst-ed over whether Noburu was two-timing or what kind of sexual escapades where happening in the Takagami household. Her insecurity was pretty darn funny. One aspect of this anime that kept me from enjoying it to its fullest (besides the lack of a good plot) was the EXCESSIVE use of boob and panty shots. It seemed every time I turned around, I was looking at a girl's behind or taking a massive head dive into her cleavage. This aspect of the comedy was extremely heavy-handed and almost seemed to be bashed over our heads with a two by four. It got to the point where I'd fast forward past these parts and get to more funny things. And what about the guys, huh? Any butt shots there? Nope.
OVERALL - 6
Overall, this anime provided some comedic relief and nice music and art. I wouldn't recommend this piece to anybody looking for anything serious or deep. This anime was the exact opposite of those two qualities. But if you're looking for something to kill time and want to laugh and look/listen to pretty visuals and music, you might want to take a gander in Wagaya no Oinari-sama's direction. read more
75 of 75 episodes seen
This area of the anime is one of its strongest, yet weakest, features. Most sport/game animes have a pretty basic plot that any watcher of this genre can catch, eternal drive to better a game, head for the *insert title here* championship, and grow as a result of playing. HnG has this in spades; yet, it has so much more. I actually started to understand the game of Go by the end, but that is definitely not the reason I stayed watching. Hikago delves into the character's motivations for playing and shows very deeply how those motivations affect the player's game, inner self, and the world/relationships around them. I think that's one of the prime driving forces of this anime, relationships, be they rivals, friends, or the occasional romantic (though there's really not that much there). I kept watching episode after episode, hour after hour, pretty much because I wanted to see how far Akira and Shindou pushed each other closer and closer to the top of the professional Japanese Go world.
I mentioned that this is one of the strongest features, yet sadly, one part of it is the only reason I'm not giving this anime a perfect ten. In the mid-60's range of the episodes, the forward momentum of the plot almost crashes to a halt with about 5 to 6 straight episodes of fillers. There's even about two episodes where the main character makes cameos. CAMEOS!!!!! I'm sorry, this story is about Hikaru's drive towards pro, the perfect Go game/move, and Akira's acceptance as a rival. It is NOT about a side character's training out of country and his re-finding of the game. Now this little plot twist and deviance I might have been able to accept if it hadn't completely taken over the story and moved the anime in a different direction. Thankfully, this little weird direction change only lasts for about 6-7 episodes and then we're back on the track of Hikaru vs. Akira. I can enjoy the advancement and growth of other characters just fine, but it's the rivalry and relationship between these two main characters that provides the main incentive for me to keep watching.
This is actually what caught my attention in the first place, though probably not in the way one would expect. The first time I saw Akira's and Hikaru's children faces, the first thought in my mind was "Fushigi Yuugi eyes!!!". That was enough to make me do a bit of research on this anime called Hikaru no Go that looked so much like an anime from my nostalgic past and put it on my to watch list. While the animation part of Hikago isn't going to be leaving you awe-inspired, it does the job beautifully and actually gets better as the anime progresses which I find very refreshing as more often it goes downhill. The characters faces are all completely distinct and wonderfully rendered; the background settings and surroundings are all unique to their individual places. I don't think I saw any repeated footage, but then I don't really notice that unless it's blaring.
I actually enjoyed watching the Go matches as well since the animators created some unique ways to make watching Go interesting, from light shows to picture layering to computer screen simulation. Something was always done to make a tad bit more interesting for us viewers who may not know the game that well and couldn't possibly remember all those moves and definitions we were provided with (I personally only remember the names to about two moves and don't ask me how they would relate to an overall strategy and placement. ^_^;;).
Another little aspect of the animation that helped the story flow so seamlessly was how the animators created the differences in ages of the characters. Since they grow over four to five years (through puberty no less) in the anime, the art reflects this with the faces and bodies of the characters growing up with them. And this is done so seamlessly that I almost didn't notice. It was like my eyes just followed their growth naturally as I was living their lives with them.
The music in Hikago fits it perfectly where in another anime it might be a bit melodramatic. There were a few times in the beginning where I raised an eyebrow and wondered why the heck I was listening to music I thought more appropriate for an epic siege or swordfight between two samurai when these two kids were playing a board game. It wasn't until I got used to the huge musical score that everything dropped into place to flow seamlessly with the story and the emotional ambiance that the music portrays. Now I can't imagine Hikago without the musical score that puts Lord of the Rings in the shadow. ^_^ The actual sound effects of an anime is something I don't really pay too much attention to. As long as I hear the sounds where I should, I'm good and don't really notice them. However, the sound of the stones hitting a Go board started to become a symbol for the game itself. It became so much a part of my watching experience that I expected the sound and actually listened for it.
Like I pointed out in analyzing the story, the characters are what drives this anime and is it's other extremely strong point; they are the heart and soul of the entire thing. The anime demands that the viewer feel for the characters and to understand why they do what they do. How the characters portray their thoughts and feelings and interact with the world around them is pretty much how any real person would, given the same situation. This especially becomes apparent when the emotional pitch of the story reaches one of its highest points in the late 50 to early 60 episode range. I could understand exactly why characters reacted the way they did; I probably would have done the same. So overall, the characters are extremely fleshed out with past stories revealed and motivations that can echo with a viewer's emotions beautifully.
I think this can be a given since, like I've already mentioned, I devoted a three day marathon to this anime just because I couldn't stop myself. ^0^ My hand had a mind of its own when it clicked that "next episode" link. I found myself captivated by the characters, the story, and the game itself. I probably prompted a few thoughts in my neighbor's brains about how they wished I was quieter when I was cheering for my favorite player and yelling at the screen "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT MOVE?!?!" even though I really don't know what the moves were. ^_^;; I just couldn't sit still for this anime; I constantly moved, wiggled, cheered, and cried. This anime, as evidenced by the many actions I mentioned, pulled at all my heartstrings and reached emotional depths in me that definitely makes it one of those animes I'll need to keep for future viewing.
So all together, with a very strong story, depth of emotion, very fleshed out characters, a musical score epic enough for a Peter Jackson movie, and animation that got better as the anime progressed, this is one of those shows that everyone should give a try. You WON'T regret it!