The Towa no Quon series picks up significantly in its fourth outing, with Guren no Shoushin. It improves at least slightly in almost all areas, and manages to be both a philosophically fulfilling and thrilling ride. The naive aspects of the show are more maturely realized here, and feel more like powerful idealism fit for characters battling with their lives. It's not prolific, but it certainly is good enough to entertain.
The main themes of this episode have to do with forgiveness and culpability. The battle between the Custos cyborgs and the superhuman Attractors continues on, but it becomes more complicated as one of
the main characters is forced to switch sides due to a revelation about the past that causes an unforeseen accident in the present.
This brings out all kinds of emotions from the different characters - mistrust, hatred, confusion, disillusionment, even enlightenment. Forced to fully experience the individuals on the other side, our switcher realizes the humanity in everyone present there, and feels great guilt over what has transpired previously. Meanwhile, other members simply can't trust the new addition, and question the judgement of their leader.
The movie manages to explore these emotional and philosophical themes in a very nice way. It's never too saccharine or over-stated, and it's deep enough not to feel cheesy or naive. The show feels quite mature, even if the dialogue and exchanges remain simple. These scenes are among the best in the whole show, and lead beautifully in to the explosive ending, which has some of the most dramatic emotions of the series yet.
The animation was again stellar, and the backgrounds throughout were very well-detailed and attractive. My slight complaint from the last episode of being too bland in some scenes was answered and then some - there was a lot of color even in the city streets, with bright neon signs dotting the stores. The fight sequences are also very good, with the addition of a new Attractor stealing the show. My only complaint is that Quon was downplayed in the final fight seemingly only to emphasize the new Attractor, and he felt uncharacteristically weak. But this is a minor gripe, as the ending cliff-hanger left me with a sense of anticipation for the sequel.
At this point in the series I'm not sure if it would be easy to step in without prior knowledge. I feel like the dialogue and themes are universal enough to be pleasing even to an audience who didn't know the characters, but it would definitely lose some sympathetic impact not knowing how everyone has struggled thus far. But for fans of the first three, this episode will surely not disappoint, and it's definitely the best of the first four to me.
(This review goes to all parts of the movie series.)
Now, here’s a thing that I never noticed in most recent anime before and that is called the Movie Series……now this is definitely different from the term “OVA” as in movie series are released theatrically while OVAs are direct-to-video. Many examples of anime movie series include Kara No Kyōukai (or The Garden of Sinners), Broken Blade & Mobile Suit Gundam UC Unicorn. The film series is directed by Umanosuke Iida, known for directing anime such as Devilman, Vandread, Hellsing (the original one), Mobile Suit Gundan: The 08th MS Team & Shangri-La. Unfortunately, before the movies were
released, he passed away of lung cancer at the age of 49 in 2010, and that’s the same year that Satoshi Kon passed away from pancreatic cancer..…..OK, let’s just get to the review.
In a futuristic Tokyo, unique human beings who have awakened distinct powers are being hunted by a secret organization named Custos. Known as "Attractors", these exceptional humans are joining forces to defend themselves. They are led by a boy named Quon, an idealist who is determined to save all the Attractors he can.
Now here’s the thing about these films: They are quite reminiscent of the dark superhero genre and mostly the X-Men franchise, which are the majority of which they are parallel to, such as, ordinary people who have these powers that they can’t control, which have affected their past and scarred them for life and they are being taken in a facility, much like Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters to an extent and like that, they are being hunted down by a secret organization that wants to do them in. Yeah, this idea isn’t exactly wholly original but it’s an interesting concept and premise and I can say for that reason alone, it works on paper and it does work on the big screen.
As for the characters, they are actually very stock characters with hit or miss qualities about them with having powers that can cause consequences and mostly regret. The main character, Quon, who has lived over a millennia, from witnessing his family being slaughtered and wanting vengeance ever since. Now I say Quon was some similarities to Wolverine but here’s the difference between them….Wolverine has more charisma and personality than Quon as that character seems unmotivated most of the time but he is not the all-mighty God-mode being that most people would suspect as he gets his ass kicked a lot in fights but he does manage to heal himself after. There’s Yuri, the flirty but competent attractor whose powers aren’t exactly developed but can maintain it; Kiri, the innocent young girl whose gift is her voice and with it, she can only use it to heal or to destroy and I got to admit, that trait is close to being the character Rogue. Tei is the telepathic woman who can communicate with others from many distances but can relive painful memories of the past. Miu is the young girl that can communicate to animals but her limiter enables her to speak normally and also the animal’s language. Takao is the smart-alecky, lazy, but complacent attractor who talks shit sometimes but not so much to be an asshole. Yuma is the boy whose power is to erupt colored orbs from his body whenever he’s upset or angry and the antagonist Genji Kamishiro is the class-A comic book-style villain who wants to control all the Attractors and to gain order……so, yeah, he’s the typical villain and last but not least Towa is Quon’s younger brother, who is believed that whoever contacts him will have their powers increased.
As for the animation, I can safely say that BONES did an excellent job on this, especially the fighting animation where it feels so fast-paced and often gritty sometimes and that goes to the art style of the show, too, especially with some scenes that would be gruesome for younger eyes. The main theme for the show called “Reckless” by LAZY is somewhat thrilling and yet unintentionally funny for every time I hear, “Feel Rock Emotion, Burning Rock Emotion” because I know they use Engrish in some of the lyrics, but it still feel silly once you heard it so many times.
For the dub by Sentai Filmworks, I can see why I said that Quon had no charisma and that’s thanks to Corey Hartzog and his lackluster performance as Quon sounds too chill, even in a tense situation, but I will say that, I’m pleased with the rest of their performances including Jessica Boone as Yuri, Emily Neves as Kiri & Monica Rial as Tei.
FINAL VERDICT: After seeing some lackluster titles from BONES (No.6, Ghost Slayers Ayashi), this is an improvement and the kind of quality that BONES should have put in most of their shows. It’s a concept that seems foreign to Japan but if handled well, it can turn to be pretty impressive. I could easily recommend this to people who are akin to any Marvel comic character.