40 of 40 episodes seen
The story has a plot somewhat inspired by Lewis Carrol's book (hence the name of the main character, no doubt) but does not have the same dream-like absurdity or disjointedness. Like Carrol's Alice, our young heroine falls down to a another (dream) world in which everything is very symbolical. In it, magic and the people who wield it are means of expressing very diverse messages all connected to the hopes and doubts of the young Alice. There are many themes treated including identity, individual freedom, love, ambition, knowledge, etc... Each of these themes is addressed with care and all characters and places introduced serve a clear purpose to that effect.
One scene is a perfect example of the whole atmosphere of the show. A little after Alice's arrival, she is brought before the Grand Mistress of the witches along with the two witches who had her in their custody and then let her out of her cage ( namely Sheila and Eve), resulting in the escape of a great number of fairies. The two young girls are punished for the escape of the fairies and a "curse of eternal youth" is cast upon them until they retrieve the lost creatures! There are so many adults who fear old age and decrepitude that they forget that children want to grow up and that staying a child forever is a nightmare to them. The show reminds us how unhealthy it is to want to remain a child but does so in a very creative way, without being insulting.
The story spans over a wide array of themes but also places and times and though it encompasses a whole imaginary world it remains very personal. Indeedl, everything rotates around Alice, her absent father, her gloomy view of the real world and the ways she seeks to deal with her doubts and fears. Despite its great ambition, the show often has a very light and enjoyable tone. Even during the more dramatic episodes, there is measure, and though there might be darkness there is no glorification of despair. Some of the finer messages put forth might prove harder to read for a young audience (for instance the "mirror" half brother) but will certainly please an older one.
Like the story, all the characters in this anime are very symbolical and none of them are truly good or truly evil. There are very few characters one cannot sympathize with, to a certain extent, and the design behind each of these was well researched and executed.
The main character is an energetic and fun loving girl with a lot of maturity but also a great sense of justice which results in slightly rowdy or rebellious behaviour. She is also very creative and her imagination is a tool she uses to deal with the harsh aspects of her life.
Sheila and Eve are the other two members of the squad. Sheila is at first a very law abiding student, eager to earn respect and frowning upon deviation from set courses, even if they seem unfair. Her character evolves for the better as the show progresses and does so in a rather realistic way. Eve is generous and loving but also somewhat weak-willed and cowardly and those traits will factor greatly in the evolution of her character. It sometimes seems as if these two characters reflect two aspects of Alice's personality.
The remaining cast could be talked about in detail but I will leave you the pleasure of discovering them!
Very original to say the least, the art might seem a little odd at first but, in my opinion, fits the world of Alice perfectly. Many of the charaters, creatures, places and vehicles are a pleasure to the eye. The originality of the design is yet another indication of the great effort spent in making this show. The animaton and art seemed very good to me though perhaps not to the point of inspiring awe.
A very strong point here. The score (and even the ending song) fit the world of Alice perfectly. The music is not incredibly original butI have rarely ever heard anything so well adapted to a show.
I greatly enjoyed this show and would recommend it to just about anyone.
Remember that a score of 8/10 means very good. I could probably have given it 9/10 if I just followed my feelings. I truly hope this anime will gain a larger audience in the future so that the anime industry will be inspired to create more such shows.
13 of 13 episodes seen
One of the oldest tricks in the trade is to create an overly intricate setting to try and mask the bias and deceit in an artwork. In my opinion, Seikai no Monshou does this and worse. I will try to explain why I came to this conclusion and I hope to do so in a way that will not seem offensive to anyone.
"Crest of the Stars" takes place in an imaginary future where a race, formerly engineered by humans, has created a feudal empire which has become the greatest force in the galaxy. Opposing this empire are different human groups whose leaders are elected democratically. The Abhs are the genetically modified humans who rule the afore mentionned empire and the show focuses on a young human called Ghintec as he is escorted by the Abh princess Lamhirh. The story basically revolves around this duo and the evolution of their relationship as they are caught in a galactic war between the Empire and an alliance of democratic groups. I believe I can say this much without spoiling the show.
Throughout the 13 episodes, we see the Abhs portrayed as galant, prideful and beautiful beings (well people seem to think they are in the show) who are both impulsive and martial but also reasonable and compassionate (yes, it seems the author doesn't realise that the former are the opposite of the latter). We learn about their reproductive habits : basically they can reproduce with just about anything in any way imaginable. We also learn about their strength and their longevity: they are very long-lived and almost eternally young - yes, pretty creepy when your progenitor - can't really say parent - looks as young as you. Finally, we are told of their social structure which, on a private level, is just about non-existent and on a national level is exactly that of any monarchy of our past. We also learn that their violent campaign of colonization of the galaxy is justifed by saying that it is for the good of humankind and that it is carried out with the intention of bringing peace and development. That will sound familiar to any history students as basically all former colonial empires have justified the horror of their actions in that same way. The only (willingly) negative portrait of an Abh, is that of a noble from a recently created barony who basically loathes humans because his father was one and suffers from an inferiority complex. It really seems as if the author showed him to convince us that he wasn't completely partial but it's the exact opposite that transpires. He doesn't criticize in any way the Abhs or their society but only tries to convince us that only pure Abhs can make it work and that lowly humans can tag along as long they admiringly obey every command.
The democratic alliance on the other hand is portrayed as a rag-tag team of envious and imperfect (meaning normal humans) beings who stage an attack to create a conflict. All members of this alliance are shown as rather ugly people both of mind and body (one of the ambassadors actually has a scar and eyepatch...). Their reasons for going to war against the colonial empire ruled by another species are shown to be greed, cowardice and envy. Their words are shown as being those of hypocrites and all their speeches and annoucements sound like propaganda. The author tries to convince us that only despicable beings can fight against a colonial empire that plans to rule by destroying all existing social structures and imposing its culture and values and denying the human race its basic right to have a voice in the organisation of society.
Throughout the show, humans of the democratic alliance are portrayed in a very unflattering manner and the main protagonists are put into situations that further imply the "greatness" of the Abhs and the inferiority of the humans. The pure Abhs are never made to look bad and all their strange behaviors are passed off as the delightful quirks of rightful lords and ladies. The author went so far as to create a new language for this race in what seems like an obvious attempt to make this show seem awe-inspiring in its form so people would accept the content more easily. Indeed, a person is likely to be astonished by the effort taken to create such a detailed fictional world and not realise that it was done to push through some very twisted ideas and concepts.
It seems obvious to me that the author is a nostalgic of imperialism and this imaginary galaxy and its imaginary genetically superior race was his way of trying to make something so fundamentaly wrong as a feudal and colonial system seem to work just fine. Unlike in shows like "Legend of the Galactic Heroes", there is no debate here, only a mockery of one. Had the Abhs really existed, this anime would have made great propaganda for them. Furthermore, the fact that the Abhs are a GENETICALLY superior race of rulers reminds one of rather unpleasant memories of the past...
The work on these was rather pitiful in my opinion but still very much in accord with the purpose of the show. All Abhs (except for a black sheep) are grand beings and all humans are either dying of envy and hatred or are in unabashed admiration before the greatness of the Abhs... Ghintec would be one of the admiring ones. Lamhirh is a typical member of the ruling class of a colonial empire, sure of the righteousness of her purpose and unquestioning of the principles that govern her life.
I cannot comment on the animation as I have too little knowledge to do so. I very much disliked the art of the show. The exaggerated ugliness of the "inferior" humans was pretty annoying. The Abhs looked pretty freakish to me but I think it quite possible that perveted humans might create such beings to serve them.
Can't really says much about it except it didn't strike me in any way. I don't have much knowledge of music and the show was so annoying to me, no music could have salvaged it.
I have rarely ever been so annoyed by a show as this one. All that it tried to convey was in complete opposition to the values and principles I care for and defend.
One of the things I appreciate most in any work of art, even if the opinions conveyed are not ones I share, is honesty. To me "Seikai no Monshou" is a very dishonest work.
I believe that if you like intricately designed imaginary worlds then you might like this show. I also believe that if you value human freedom and the right to democratically elect your representatives and leaders, if you hate propaganda and dishonesty, if you hate being taken for a fool or when someone tries to fool you then you probably should not watch this anime. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
I have given an overall rating of 6/10 to this animated series because I am not much of a fan of bleak drama that is not quite sure whether it is realistic or symbolic. There are however quite a few things of worth in this anime so I would not discourage people from watching it.
I shall try, in this review, to explore all the aspects of this series that I feel capable of commenting upon. Beware, however, as this analysis will contain a certain amount of spoilers, though hopefully not enough to discourage you from watching the show!
In my opinion, the story deserves no more than 6/10 because it has a few major flaws.The first of these being the existence, in the world of "Noir", of a mysterious organization called "Soldats" (soldiers in French). This strange cult-like organization supposedly underhanddedly controls pretty much the whole world. This ridiculous idea reminds me of the myth that was once built about the "free masons", painting them as a secret society which ruled the occidental world. Conspirationnist theories such as these simply cannot be made to fit reality and the fact that this is the basis of the whole plot makes the story very unrealistic. Another flaw is the choice of having two teenage girls being assasins. It is quite obvious that the choice was made so as to satisfy a "girls with guns" fetish. Indeed, it seems that phallic women are a turn-on for many males, though I have no sufficient knowledge to analyze this to any depth. I must say, however, that no convincing reason is given for the choice of maidens as the elite assasins of the "Soldats" and that contributes to making the story that more unlikely.
The plot, however, is not altogether unninteresting, far from it. The "Soldats", though fictitious, reminds me of many criminal organizations having actually existed. The most obvious being the "Assasin's sect" which was born during the dark time of the European "crusades" in the middle east. Indeed the "Soldats" are supposed to have appeared in times of war and terror when warriors and civilians alike were murdered. The "Assasin's sect" like the fictional "Soldats" were a group of fanatics that thought to fight the "horror of mankind" by killing those they viewed as sinners. The "Soldats", however were apparently not born in reaction to an invasion by a foreign power. Though they are clearly mystical the "Soldats" are not religious, while the "Assasiyoun"clearly were. The "Soldats" aimed to cleanse society of evil by the practice of targetted murder and in that aspect seem very much like the "Red brigades", that Italian organisation that killed high ranking politicians and businessmen in a attempt to bring down capitalism. Though the power gained by the "Soldats" in "Noir" is unrealistic, the appearance of such a group is not unlikely as people will often turn into fearsome monsters in an attempt to overcome the horror around them. The fact that as they gained power the "Soldats" grew further and further away from their original ideals (such as they were...) is also quite realistic as this has been seen to happen in almost every single organization ever to have existed.
The story's end is one of the best there could be considering what led up to it. It is indeed a relief to see people turn away from a path that madmen had built for them. It is however insufficient to lighten the sadness and horror felt before.The overall bleakness of the plot makes it quite depressing and for that final flaw, I have decided not to rate the story above 6/10.
The personnalities of the main characters, namely: Kirika, Mireille (that, btw, is a VERY old-fashioned French name), Chloe and Altena, are all very dark but well-built and rather interesting. Each of these characters has had a horrific childhood and each of them has turned to a form of madness to overcome fear. The most monstrous of all is Altena while the most pitiful is Chloe.
Altena, the root of evil in this story, was originally a lost child in a terrible war. It is made clear, in one of the last episodes, that she was the victim of rape at the hands of a soldier when she was but a child. Clearly traumatized by the horrors of her past, she seeks refuge in blind faith in the fascist ideals of the "Soldats". She is convinced that a pair of skilled, emotionless assassins will serve to make the world a better place. She carries out the "Soldats'" tradition of abducting and brain-washing children so as to train them into becoming murderers. The scenes where she is seen to hug Chloe or smile gently are truly scary because Altena is absolutely convinced of doing what is right while what she is doing is so obviously wrong. One of her pet phrases (quoted from the "Noir manuscript") is: "Hatred can save people".
Chloe is the only child to remain with Altena and is the weakest of the main characters. Though a very dangerous assassin of skill greater than that of Mireille, she has an obsessive attachment to Altena, the woman who stole her childhood and made her into a murderer. Chloe also has a twisted but boundless admiration for Kirika whom she sees as the perfect assassin and a role model. Her admiration verges on desire and she is in fact seen kissing Kirika during a "purification" ritual. Chloe is a frightened teen who accepts all the lies she is fed because she cannot bear the thought of being abandonned. All in all, she is a character that inspires pity.
Mireille, the daughter of a Corsican crime-lord, was trained as an assassin since her very childhood. She claims to have chosen her lifestyle though that couldn't be further from the truth. Under the wrong guidance, she became very much alike to the people who brought tragedy into her life. When Kirika asks her for help, she can only accept her into her life by promising to murder her when she is no longer of any use. Love and life are completely absent in her world except for her ambiguous friendship with Kirika.
Kirika is the third "Noir" candidate and apparently the most skilled assassin. Kirika was initially a brainwashed child craving the life of a normal human and is very grateful for the almost-friendship she shares with Mireille.
There are many other characters but none explored in as much depth as the above four. All in all, the work done on these is quite good and deserves 7/10.
I am no mucisian or music critic and while I find the music in "Noir" not really to my taste, I must admit that is seems quite appropriate. I give it 6/10 because it does what it is supposed to do and no less.
The animation seems quite good to my untrained eye but I will not be a judge of it as my knowledge in the matter is quite limited. The art is quite good and most scenes be it in Paris or elsewhere are rather well rendered and pleasant. The characters do not always have the appearance that suits their age and that is a minus. The fact that despite an incredible amount of deaths, blood and gore has been kept to a strict minimum is a plus. 7/10 from me.
Noir is not a show that entertains but more one that sometimes makes one think. It was interesting enough not to make me want to stop watching but it hardly was a joy ride.
Many qualities, certainly a little more than there were flaws. An anime worth watching despite its shortcomings.
84 of 84 chapters read
The story revolves around Seiichiro, a kind hearted teenager whose face and behavior, unfortunately, inspire the uttermost fear. I won't go into detail about the story because it would spoil your fun but do expect to be surprised. The reactions of some characters during their first encouter with Seiichiro might make you think about how one sometimes (very unfairly) judges a book by its cover.
One simply cannot help laughing when reading this manga. Sure enough the stories are a little far fetched and never realistic but that is not the point. As bizarre as they may be, these stories carry positive messages of understanding and courage. All characters are interesting and Norihiro manages to make almost each and everyone of them endearing.
The author managed to stop before repeating himself so "Angel Densetsu" is a very complete work which absolutely anyone should enjoy. So read it people!