Since the Edo periods of Japan, gladiator arenas exist in certain areas. In these arenas, wealthy business owners and merchants hire gladiators to fight in unarmed combat where winner takes all. Tokita Ouma, nicknamed "Ashura," joins these arenas and devastates his opponents. His spectacular ability to crush his enemies catches the attention of the big business owners, including the Nogi Group chairman, Nogi Hideki.
This is my first review so I apologize in advance for poor formatting or it's not done well but I just thought I'd have a go at it.
First of all to all of those reading this please please please please try and look past the fact that it's 3D CGI as it's not as bad as you might think. It's not nearly as bad as Berserk was and in fact feels like it excels over traditional 2d when it comes to fighting scenes. The movement feels fluid as well as the choreography is very well done with no repeating actions and speaks well
to the source material. The downside being that there is quite a few moments of exposition where a commentator or the peanut gallery may through in a few comments but overall wasn't too jarring.
The story felt true to the manga however it doesn't have as many interpersonal character development as the manga which is okay considering they have to fit the story down in to a 12 episode season. It certainly was able to transition well between the comedic moments as well as those that were more serious in nature and the impact of certain scenes were conveyed well.
I think the sound was one of the highlights of the show, every fighter has had theme song which really made their entrance into the fights feel more memorable and sometimes even gave more character to the fighters or fleshed them out a bit more. The sound effects in particular never felt like they were dull or out of place and felt natural as well.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation, it deserves a 2d animation medium for sure but don't let that distract you that the anime direction, sound, choreography and overall feel of the show felt like it was a memorable use of my time.
The Kengan Ashura anime is the most disappointing thing I've seen all year. I love the manga, it's one of the best martial arts stories and I wrote an entire review on how cool it is. I've been wary of the anime adaptation ever since I saw the first trailer and realized it was going to be in CGI. Being a Kengan Ashura, I felt obligated to watch it but I set my expectations extremely low. apparently, those expectations weren't low enough because I am still baffled at how awful this show is.
The most glaring problem with the anime is the CGI animation. While not
the worst CGI that I've seen, it's far from what I'd call good. Character models are clunky and stiff, the attacks lack impact. The CGI does a poor job of emulating the beautiful art of the manga. The fight choreography is terrible, the camera is all over the place, never knowing what to focus on. At best it's uninspired and at worst it's just disorientating. It doesn't feel like it's ever taking advantage of the fact that it's CGI. The anime tries its best to replicate the exaggerated and detailed facial expressions characters have and it often falls flat. Sometimes they look fine but other time it just doesn't look right on a 3d model. The presentation of some of the techniques used by the characters is just abysmal. Raian's Removal and Ohma's Advance look ridiculous in the anime. Something about the way they glow is just off. There some 2d scenes during flashbacks, which are mostly still images with very limited animation. They're not great but they look better than CGI. The switching between the 2d and CGI scenes can be quite jarring at times.
The CGI is bad, but the real problem with the Kengan Ashura anime is the story. I've already talked at length about how good the story is in my review for the manga. It's a simple story but well thought out and executed. The anime somehow completely butchers it. The anime adapts 73 chapters from the manga, not counting the extra chapters. Obviously, a plethora of stuff was cut to make it fit into twelve episodes. Entire subplots and characters are just gone, it's a mess. For example, the anime just skips the second major fight of the series and jumps right to the third fight. I'm astounded that they would skip a fight, in a series all about fighting. The character that Ohma fights against is also important to a later subplot, so of course, that entire subplot was axed. I think the baffling change is the absence of Yamashita's secretary Kushida Rin. She's an integral part of the story and she just doesn't show up at all. They even cut some vital character development for Yamashita. He's more a comedic relief character than anything else in the anime. It's upsetting because he's one of the most well-developed characters in the series. The side characters suffer the most from the cut content. There are a lot of good character interactions that give good characterization and flesh out character relationships between side characters and most of them were cut. Because of this you're never really given a good feel for or reason to care about characters other than Ohma and Yamashita. The most these characters get is a flashback during their fight. The manga excelled at fleshing out all the characters and the anime seems focused on getting to the next fight as quickly as possible. Another bizarre change is that in the manga there's a character named Adam Dudley, a fighter from Texas. He's a rude and vulgar man with "FUCK" engraved on his teeth. Oddly enough this was changed to "DAMN" in the anime. It's a minor change but it feels unnecessary. He's still just as foul-mouthed as he was before, so why change it at all?
If there's one positive thing I can say about the anime, it's that the music is pretty decent. The opening song is good, even if the visuals of the opening leave a lot to be desired. The ending song is terrible, the rap does not complement the series at all. The background music does its best at trying to get the audience hyped for the fights and would succeed if not for the fights themselves didn't look so bad. The voice actors are fantastic for the most part Daisuke Namikawa is absolutely perfect as Kiryu Setsuna, he gives the best performance in the show.
Quite simply Kegan Ashura is a bad adaptation of a brilliant manga. The visuals and all the cut scenes are just horrid. It's an insult to both Daromeon's art and Sandrovich's storytelling. The manga was full of passion for martial arts, and I didn't feel any passion for martial arts or even love for the source material in the anime. It's such a hollow and soulless adaptation, and it's unlikely there'll ever be a proper adaptation. I'd advise anyone who was put off by the anime's visuals or story to try and give the manga a shot, it's a far better experience.
I'm sorry but if you're going to thrash out an entire anime for CGI, you should stop doing reviews for this anime. There's more than just graphic or double standard. (Kingdom S1 for instance...)
The story was able to capture the interest at episodes 2, which is quite a slow paced for a short series. However, the wait was worth so far. The story was quite straightforward by episodes 2, basically, our main fighter has some sort of vengeance plot while his rep. company has a twisted goal in mind. It's from that episode that you slowly learnt the protagonist story.
Sound details were also fine,
the add of bone cracking sound and other miscellaneous did enhanced the fight.
Yes, animation isn't anywhere close to typical anime post 2015, but overall it was enjoyable and nowhere cringy as people make it sound.
I loved the manga. It's the best thing I've read so far and it's honestly great. But this is just a mockery of what the manga was. I was disappointing when I saw the trailer for this ONA but actually watching it is another level of terrible.
The story is simple and interesting but it's not exactly what it was in the manga. I feel like the pacing was far better in the manga. Things were also explained far better in the manga too with a lot more detail and making the read a lot of fun but its numbed down in the anime.
The art style
in the anime is truly terrible. I hate it so much. There are so many awesome moments in the original manga that just have no where near the same impact here. The main cast of characters looks so much better in the manga due to the amount of detail put into it but it's nowhere to be seen here. I would love to see how scared Kazuo would get in the manga due to his facial expressions but those are just missing in the anime.
The sound design is pretty mediocre. Often during the start of the episode I was thrown out of immersion purely due to the sound of the drums making me think I'm watching Naruto. I also don't like the generic impact sounds during the fight scenes as it just doesn't carry that heftiness.
I like the characters, I really do. There are so many charming and interesting things about these characters that make them compelling to me but it's just all over thrown by the awful animation and how they decided to go about the character designs.
Yeah... It wasn't an enjoyable experience at all.
I really wish Kengan Ashura gets turned into a proper anime at some point in the future as there is so much potential in it. I hope it gets the same treatment as JoJo where it gets fully remade somewhere down the line.