Alma Tandoji lives a lonely life. One day, Ruri Alba, a girl accompanied by her butler and maids, visits him. Knowing the power of Sacred Seven is latent within Alma, she asks him to lend her his powers. However, he refuses and drives her away since he injured many with his unusual strength in the past.
Meanwhile, a fiendish Dark Stone creature suddenly appears in this peaceful town in the Kanto region. Only Alma's power of Sacred Seven can fight against it. But Alma just lets his power run amuck and things begin to get worse. Ruri raised her gemstone in order to release his true abilities, My Soul I give to you.
With Ruri's wishes engraved in it, will Alma be able to defeat the Dark Stone?
Entertainment is a cut throat industry, and while every studio and publisher scrabbles around in a desperate search for the next big thing, they must continue to make ends meet in some way. When it comes to anime this is usually achieved by creating a one season adaptation of an existing manga, game or light novel, and the aim of these shows isn't simply to generate revenue, but also to test the market for potential franchises. There are other methods though, one of which is to string together several well known base concepts, add something resembling a story, and release the finished article
as an "original" work.
Now while the latter method can produce some very good titles, more often than not the results are ... underwhelming.
Sacred Seven follows the exploits of Tandoji Alma, a seventeen year old high school student who leads a solitary life on the outskirts of a port city. One night he sees a ship on fire in the harbour, and whatever has caused the incident also triggers a reaction in him, one that he desperately fights off. The next evening Aiba Ruri, the CEO of the Aiba Foundation, pays him a visit in an attempt to recruit him, and she seems to know more about his secret than he does.
One of the problems with bringing together several "popular" themes is that all too often something fundamental is sacrificed in the process, and that's pretty much what happens here. The plot may initially seem interesting, but once the story gets going it quickly becomes clear just how rushed this show actually is. In addition to this there's a distinct methodology to the composition of the series, almost as if director Ohashi Yoshimitsu and writer Yoshida Shin adopted a "check-box" approach. Unfortunately this brings the major issues to the fore, one of those being the rather obvious drive to include certain scenes and events - some of which have no bearing on the story. There's also an automatic limitation placed on the narrative, and while the lack of imagination and creativity is palpable, it's the knock-on effect on the development of both the plot and the characters that really stands out.
In contrast to the lacklustre storyline Sunrise appear to have done a half-decent job with the visuals, and there's some interesting design work on display - especially where the monsters are concerned. The animation is a little on the utilitarian side, but there's a surprising fluidity and range of movement during many of the action scenes. In addition to this the characters are well realised, but this is tempered by the fact that they're also rather mundane and a little too reliant on certain stereotypes. This is also reflected in the banality of the settings and background imagery, and these factors attest to the speed with which this anime was completed.
Sadly, these aren't the biggest problems with the visuals.
There are several errors that any sort of basic quality control would quickly spot and rectify, one of those occurring at an auction in England where Aiba is bidding on a new gem. The auctioneer clearly states the closing price is £990,000, but the display reads £9,900,000, and while this may seem like nit-picking, it's the ridiculousness of the mistake that lowers the viewer's expectations of the show.
That said, the auctioneer does have one of the best British accents in anime, but that's one of the few high points where the acting is concerned.
No amount of preparation or talent can resolve the problems with a script that, like several other aspects of Sacred Seven, is too reliant on what has gone before. While the actors try to do the best they can, it seems to have been impressed upon them that their characters should speak or behave in certain ways. The dialogue is far too manufactured, and with little in the way of natural flow to balance conversations, this results in some severely wooden performances.
The strange thing is that the music seems to have received more care and attention than any other part of this anime, with much of the background music being well suited and choreographed to the on-screen action.
To many people it can seem as though Sacred Seven features two opening and three ending themes, when in truth all that happens until the end of the final episode is that the first OP and ED swap places. "Stone Cold" by FictionJunction is quite the upbeat techno track, and the opening animated sequence does a good job of introducing the main players whilst being stylized enough to be eye-catching. The second theme, "Kiseki" by Nanri Yuuka, is a more traditional blend of J-pop/rock, and its accompanying animation is well choreographed and suitably heroic. As for the third track, "Tsunagaru Made" by Nakajima Megumi is a much quieter song that plays out at the conclusion of the final episode..
Now some of you may have noticed that there has been no mention of ending sequences. The reason for this is simply because Sunrise, like so many other studios, don't think it's worth the effort of making a decent one, and aside from some spinning jewel thingies in the first ED, both rely on still images.
Strangely enough, this sentiment also appears to ring true where the characters are concerned, although admittedly part of this is due to the check-box approach taken by the director and the series writer. This is a heavily manufactured anime, and this fact becomes very clear when one considers not just the portrayal of each character, but the manner in which they develop as well. While it's true that Alma grows more than anyone else, the simple fact is that he starts the series as nothing more than a blank sheet with little to no personality, and given that situation it's very easy to make the character appear more defined by the end of the story. Sacred Seven uses age old methods to ensure this happens, including Alma's solitary lifestyle, hidden power and traumatic past.
Throw in some alien meteorites and you're supposedly on to a winner.
On the other hand Ruri is rather well defined from the beginning, but alongside this is the fact that she doesn't really change at all over the course of the anime. The only supporting character to receive any kind of back story is her personal butler Kagami Makoto, but aside from giving the viewer a reason for his dedication to the Aiba family, he remains nothing more than a stereotype (you know, the intelligent, dark haired guy with glasses who's always stern and serious).
Everyone else is treated as narrative furniture, and given that Sacred Seven attempts to include some kind of human drama, this is nothing short of wasteful.
Even with its many flaws, Sacred Seven is still a surprisingly watchable series, and Onigawara offers some genuine moments of amusement that break up the monotony. While it falls just short of being "no-brain entertainment", the simple fact is that the heavily manufactured storyline and characters make it both familiar and easy to follow. Unfortunately the price of this is that far too many questions remain unanswered by the end of the anime, which is a shame as there were a few interesting ideas that really should have been given more detail. The sad part is that if more time had been given over to developing the series before it hit production, many of its issues could have been resolved - but as everyone knows, anime is a serious business.
One of the most basic rules of storytelling is that it should never be rushed, but in a world where time is money, such sentiments are normally viewed as idealistic nonsense.
Okay kids, time for some more real talk. Scryed came out 10 years ago, that's a whole damn decade. That show was a masterpiece, it took every aspect of its genre and executed them perfectly. The story was straight to the point and didn't have any bullshit to weigh it down. No titties, no robots, no girlymen, no school setting, no overelaborate art direction, no holes, no filler, no extraneous characters, etc; it was a super power fighting show about people who beat the shit out of things and were proud to have that privilege. It was truly Sunrise's greatest work of its kind.
reason why they're re-releasing it for its 10th birthday.
The other is to show how secretly ashamed of themselves they are for what they're making nowadays: Sacred Seven.
>>>This is a review of my impressions from the first episode. If you have gripes akin to "oh man, you can't review the merit of a whole show from one episode!", well I say "The hell I can't." First episodes are important. They set the tone for series and generally give a good idea for what you're getting into. Have some great shows had bad first episodes? Yeah, but this show is not Baccano, or DRRR!!, or Gungrave. It's another vapid and shallow merchandising action series by Sunrise.
Sacred Seven is a superpower fightan' series for the new decade, and it's a piece of shit. It takes all of the genre-polish Scryed applied a decade ago and does away with it. The show's about a 10-foot tall, YuGiOh-haired, noodly wuss named Arma, who spends a majority of his day staring out the generic Japanese classroom window from his back-right desk and eating on the school's rooftop. Everyone thinks he's dangerous, because none of the tertiary characters in this show have the perceptive abilities to tell what a loser he is. When he gets all mad he turns into a really lame ripoff of Knight Blazer, and then some loli uses a plot device to turn him into a really lame ripoff of Megaman.
Joining him is the aforementioned otaku hug pillow model Ruri, a mysterious, wealthy, secret organization-leading magical lolita who changes into a new fabulous outfit in every scene. And she's an exchange student who pops up in the student council too, truly a jack of all pandering. She has a generic butler guy with glasses and a clunky mecha who'll gratefully accept the role as the series' jobber. And then there are the copy/pasted worthless schoolgirl characters, the wisecracking mascot thing, the rival that looks like Soul Taker and an army of French maids to increase the show's DVD sales.
Basically the story is "So there's this kid with superpowers that he doesn't want because he's a pussy, so some magic chick makes his powers heroic and then they fight monsters while dealing with school shenanigans on the side." It's really sad how poorly thought out and boring this is, it's like something that a B-company would've released in the 90's that everyone immediately forgot about. There's really no reason for a show this bland to exist today, especially when it's coming off the heels of Tiger&Bunny, a far more refreshing and interesting show by the same studio that's in the same damn genre.
The animation is smooth, but not impressive. There were no particularly memorable or striking scenes, which is horrible for a big budget first episode. The characters are drawn very CLAMPy, and pretty much all of the designs are boring and forgettable. The main girls boobs vary greatly in size depending on the scene, outfit and camera angle, I guess that's Sunrise's way of appealing to all kinds of deviants without introducing more than one important female character.
The OP sucks. The ED sucks. Both are generic-as-hell synthy J-pop tunes that don't bode well for the show ever developing a serious or masculine tone. The opening animation is basically Star Driver's first OP without any decent art direction. The rest of the audio is just as underwhelming, there are no catchy badass action BGMs here, and nothing uses any instruments or sounds that are out of the ordinary. The voices are lame, everyone sounds basically how you'd expect them to, except for Arma who's less intimidating than Star Driver's "GINGA BISHOUNEN!".
To sum it up, Sacred Seven:
-Shits on everything Scryed did for the genre.
-Is basically Code Geass with no hook.
-Is directly competing with Tiger&Bunny, a similar show that's better in every way by the same studio. Not to mention the upcoming Scryed OVAs too.
I don't have much hope for this series. If it turns out better than a unanimous 6/10, I'll be very surprised.
Update of 2014: It should be noted that this series has a median review score of 6/10 and below. Damn I'm good.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star as two detectives who investigate a series of murders relating to the seven deadly sins, like wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. They discover that these series of murders are conducted by Kevin Spacey who plays a hardcore Christian who's only trying to do God's holy work and.....
...wait? This isn't Se7en? You mean, we aren't watching the David Fincher movie? Oh, you want me to review SACRED Seven, not Se7en. Oh, okay.
Alright, let's talk Sacred Seven. Now, let's say you're a producer at Studio Sunrise and you are asked to produce an anime for the Summer of
2011 Schedule. What do you do?
Why, remake Scryed of course! With Code Geass visuals!
Now, Sacred Seven is basically that: An updated version of Scryed with the appeal of Code Geass. It's pretty much one of those dumb things you get while you're at a meeting room brainstorming for an idea. It's like a cupcake. It's sweet and might get you fat, but it looks really good.
The story revolves around Squal...i mean Alma Tandoji (voiced by Takuma Terashima), an outcast high schooler who gains the power of the "Sacred Seven", which is used to defeat Darkstones. Darkstones are pretty much the tamer equivalent of Angels, except they have the bodies of rocks. His power is so strong that she is summoned by a socialite named Ruri Alba(voiced by Megumi Nakajima) to help her defeat these Darkstones once and for all.
And while he's not defeating Darkstones, he spends most of his days looking for rocks on a river with the help of The Rock Club, led by a "rock otaku" named Itou.
As the series progresses, Alma & Ruri met with various individuals using these Darkstones like Kenbi Yuuji(voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi), a multi-millionaire and Knight Kijima(voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto), a former lab patient-turned-fugitive. It also delves deeper into Alma and Ruri's relationship as well.
The story is really stupid, and when it has filler episodes, it goes into boring slice of life tropes. It also has the laziest writing in a Sunrise anime, and the fight scenes are filled with bad pacing and thus you are unable to care about what is happening during those scenes. It's weak, and proves how lazy and rushed this series is.
The characters in this series varied from "Boring" to "boring". Seriously, Alma wants "to turn into a rock" because he is one, and he is such a bore in this series, along with almost everyone else in this series. The closest thing we have to interesting characters are SP and Ruri most of the time. And SP is nothing more than Kenbi's subordinate so when a suppoorting character with less than 5 minutes of screen time is more interesting than most of the main characters, then you'll know something is wrong with this series.
And Miyu Irino plays an asshole battle butler who's pretty useless in the "battle" part of it. And he's only there to ramp up the fujoshi potential between him, Knight and Alma for the next Comiket.
But, the good thing about this series is the visuals. They are beautiful, and it pretty much uses Yuriko Chiba's work to it's full potential. It's great to look at and it has elements of scenery porn here and there. Now, i heard that the budget for Tiger & Bunny got halved for the animation of this series which causes lots of controversy, but i'm kind of neutral in this issue so i don't want to go further into that.
The character design is really cool. Alma resembles a certain Final Fantasy character, but he is well-drawn for a character without an interesting personality. But i love how Ruri is drawn. She's a loli, but she is not drawn like one. Instead, she is drawn in a way that she doesn't resemble a loli at all. I like that kind of design, because it's rare since most lolis nowadays look like stock character designs taken from a JC Staff artbook.
And the music in this is what kept me from dropping this show. I love listening to the music, especiallythe OP which sounds like the classy 90's Techno/Trance tunes i used to listen back during my rave days. And it also has amazing orchestra scores which are pretty fitting for this series. The OP is composed by Yuki Kajiura, and the full score is done by Toshihiko Sahashi, so you know that the budget also goes to it's amazing music.
And to be fair, this series manages to be humble with itself and not make it cringeworthy for the viewer. because atleast it doesn't turn into another shallow vanity project like Star Driver. Even with it's flashy visuals, character design and music it's pretty good that SUnrise manages to not make it another Star Driver or Code Geass in both production and marketing aspects, because if it does then it'd suck. It's already low on the character and story aspects so let's not go lower and turn this into another Brain Powered.
Overall, Sacred Seven is a rushed project that was conceived out of Yajime Hatate's ass. It's filled with a stupid story and uninteresting characters but it does have a great score and amazing visuals. Will i recommend it? Well, it's okay but i'd prefer you guys to watch the fansubbed version of this series instead of an official sub/dub release. Fansubbers have done a fun job with this series, like replacing the OP with Gangsta Rap music for example. the fansubs are trolltastic. And if troll fansubs are your thing, then this series might be for you to accompany the great visuals and musical score that comes with it.
Nowadays it has gotten to the point where there is so many action-oriented shows that it is hard to find one that stands out. With its retro-vibe, Sacred Seven tries to stand out from the crowd astedically. However, it also goes to show that it takes more than aesthetics to make a show something truly special.
The story is simple superhero hijinks following one Alma Tandogi, a rather intimidating looking outcast who has inhuman powers, and keeps to himself because of them. He spends most of his free time searching for a purple gemstone in a river, a keepsake of his late mother he had lost
in a bullying indecent. His life takes a turn when pretty billionaire heiress (and obvious romantic interest) Ruri Alma enters his life. She asks him to lend her his power and fight monsters called Darkstones.
The premise here is pretty basic stuff. The show sets itself up to be exactly what it is, a monster-of-the-week bash 'em up. As the show progresses and new characters are introduced, there is of course a healthy amount of plot twists and developments. Unfortunately, these are wildly predictable and cliche; enemies with less-than-villainous goals, allies with shady intentions, really nothing we haven't seen several times before. Without a doubt, the plot is the weakest aspect of the show. The only saving grace is that the show has no pretenses of being deep or complex. The creative team knew that the plot was run-of-the-mill and did the smart thing; they play plot-twists straightforward, and don't ramp up the melodrama to a ridiculous degree. They made a show that simply strives to be a good blood-pumping action, and didn't try to make it something it is not; there is something admirable about that. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the plot is as cliche and predictable as they come.
The characters are unfortunately as equally unremarkable. Alma is the misunderstood loner with a good heart; Ruri is the good-natured girl who sees Alma for who he is and yearns to be closer to him, and that about sums up their personalities. They're by no means unlikable characters but there is just nothing complex or remarkable about them. The rest of the cast follows suit; a bunch of static stereotypes, from Ruri's butler Makoto Kagami, to Alma's brooding adversary Knight Kinjima. There are bits of character development like Alma opening up to others, and an emotional punch every now and then, but they're not enough to make the characters any more interesting. Oh, and then of course there is the token mascot character Hellbrick, who uses the word 'hell' in every statement he utters.
The main draw here are the shows technical merits, specifically in the action sequences. The animation in the fight scenes is fluid, and exciting to watch. The music pumps up the excitement. Then, of course, there are the retro-tastic character designs for Alma and other combatants, which recall anime action heroes of the 70's like Casshern and Tekkaman. All in all, some very good fight scenes in the show, though outside of that, Sacred Seven isn't all that impressive on the technical-side either. Character designs and backgrounds for Alma and companies everyday lives are pretty standard, not at all bad, but ultimately won't leave a lasting impression, and the same can be said about the music.
In the end, Sacred Seven isn't really a bad show, but it isn't a particularly good show either. It is a fun action show, and that is all it really tries to be. If that is all you need in a show then you might even like this. However, if you are looking for a gripping plot or compelling characters, it is best to look elsewhere.