107 years ago, the Moon was destroyed in a massive cataclysm that shattered Earth's former satellite into 81 quintillion tons of orbital debris. However, thanks to super-science, the Earth itself was saved and today no one really thinks much about that century-past disaster. Which is why when teenage Haruka Amami auditions for something called the Idolmaster Project, she THINKS she's trying out to be a singing idol. Instead, Haruka finds herself at a secret school run by the Mondenkind Agency, living with a group of other girls who have also been selected as candidates to pilot an iDOL - an advanced robot specifically designed to intercept falling chunks of moon rock. Except, the people who run the Mondenkind Agency aren't exactly knights in shining armor. And then there's the question of whether the iDOLs are really JUST robots. Because from almost the first moment, Haruka starts to feel emotions resonating from within the iDOL called Imber.
I'm using up my first review for this show...
I am someone who enjoys all sorts of shows with idols involved, and as a fan AND player of IDOLM@STER, I wanted to give Xenolgossia a try. First of all I don't normally watch mecha, so my knowledge about them is minimal, to the point I can count with my hands and still have fingers left of the amount of shows that have them I have seen.
When you jump into XENOGLOSSIA as an IDOLMASTER fan, you are prepared for the consequences. Aside from Haruka (which doesn't saves herself too much either, but it is the most
intact character) all the character personalities are TWISTED, in the meaning that they aren't what you normally see on the franchise. Do you know Makoto? the one that strives to become girlier and wants to be an IDOL? She is DARN SEXY but very mean towards everyone, she only cares about missions and her big sister complex. Ami? DOCILE AND QUIET (wut) she is as energetic as her sister, but Xenoglossia didn't care, and made her to be a quiet (yet very helpful) girl. Yukiho? Not afraid of men anymore, still quiet, not so much change until later in the show. Chihaya? Well, not that she isn't like that, but they gave her plot, she is old and very dark as a person, even more than before, and I can go on and on about how the chars sucked... but there's a trick for this
The only way you can really enjoy this anime is to forget that this even has IDOLM@STER characters. Forget it, and you'll get your run of the mill EVA wannabe show. Realizing this sooner would had prevented the amounts of time the impressions I had on certain characters crumbled into tiny bits.
The story becomes good by the episode , but is still not good enough. If you are an IDOLM@STER fan, avoid this anime by all means. If you want to be tortured and suffer for the sake of supporting the franchise (like I myself thought was doing) do so prepared by reading the warnings above.
To tell the truth, I was not expecting much from this anime at all. Judging by all of the reviews and comments that I have seen floating around on the internet, I was prepared for a trainwreck. However I was pleasantly surprised when I was proven wrong.
Xenoglossia's plot is ridiculous, to under-exaggerate. Add robots punching meteors together with Girl x Robot romance, and plot twists thrown left and right, and you get Xenoglossia. However, for a good part of the show - until just a little over half way - we have a story better categorised as a 'slice of life'. Rather, as a 'slice
of a mecha pilot's life'. For some people, this may be seen as an euphemism for 'slow', but I digress. These episodes were used extremely well for building up character relationships and personalities. After this 'slow' beginning is the point where the action really starts, and we begin the rollercoaster ride of emotions. Viewers who survive until the end of the series will be rewarded with one of the best endings to ever grace anime. (Disclaimer - the previous sentence is subjective.)
Not having watched many mecha series before, my opinion on the art of the mecha may reek of inexperience, so I will just say that "I did not dislike it". Existing iDOLM@STER fans may be discomforted by the huge difference in character design initially, compared to the original designs, as was I. However the character designs have gradually grown onto me, and I can say that I have even come to like them. Other than that the animation is fluid, and there certainly are not many noticeable animation mistakes, as expected from Sunrise.
The background music is merely 'there'; not overwhelming, nor was it lacking. Voice acting was top notch, and never annoying or unnatural. The OPs and EDs were very catchy. I always enjoy the intro of EDs being played just before the ED animation sequence begins. Xenoglossia did this in every episode, if I am not mistaken, so it receives a bonus in this category for this.
Now we come to the best part of this anime. Remember that slow first half of the series? This is why it was seemingly slow: it is packed full of character development. It is only because half of the series is dedicated to introducing and building the characters that I was so attached to them. This is the first show I have watched where I was affected so deeply by the characters. Truly, my feelings reflected those of the characters - Haruka especially - and my heart was heavy when the characters were depressed. I could even understand Imber's feelings, who did not have a single line of dialogue throughout the entire show. It only through the continued exposure to the characters and their antics that we can notice these changes in character throughout the series. Because of this, every decision each character makes is clearly supported by their motivations. Coincidentally, this was the show which helped me fully understand the phrase 'character development'.
As you may deduce, I enjoyed this series immensely, and I could not bear to see that counter on MAL gradually rise to reach '26'. As I have said in the beginning, I had expected this show to be a trainwreck. But to my surprise, when I had finished this show, I felt very empty inside. This has only ever happened once before, when I finished K-On!!, which I loved at the time. I did not feel like starting up another series, or watching anime, for that matter, which only ever happens when I finish series that I grow very attached to.
So, what prompted me to write this review? Xenoglossia is so tremendously underrated that it depresses me. A score of 6.85 (at the time of this review) is usually reserved for very terrible anime. I am not saying that Xenoglossia is a masterpiece, but it definitely does not deserve such a low score. This score is easily explained though.
A reason for this is that there is not much in the way of action in this anime at all, for an anime which is categorised as 'mecha' and 'action'. Most of the action during the earlier half of this anime consists of robots punching meteors in space. It is only nearing the end of the series that there is any considerable amount of mecha action.
Xenoglossia is truly an exciting ride of emotions. It is a series that I will always look back on fondly, remembering the surprise I had when I could not let it go.
STORY: Well, there's not much to say except it was your basic fare. There are some hidden secrets and such, and many of the people are connected in some way. However, while there isn't a problem with this formula, it was executed terribly. Most of the "revelations" weren't surprising, and when you expected something great, it couldn't have been any further from it.
For a mecha anime, there was a surprising lack of action throughout the whole series until the end. When there was action, it was extremely boring. It's almost as if they were saving their budget for the end, and as a result,
the ending significantly better than the rest. But still, this is not saying much. There were definitely some plot holes*, or at least events that should not have even happened if the characters had a fraction of a brain.
Oh, and look out for some episodes (not that I recommend watching it) that basically mirror NGE and musical ideals that parallel RahXephon somewhat. It just seems to be an extremely bad mashup of other mecha anime.
ART: I did like the designs of the mecha, especially when shown up close. Overall, the art was done quite well, and so was the animation -- again, it looked quite good for the last couple of episodes. There also weren't that many reused scenes (probably due to the lack of a significant amount of action). In fact, the only one I can't think of off the top of my head is the launch sequence.
SOUND: I won't go into this too much. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't excellent. However, along with the animation, it was one of the better aspects. Plus, you should not be basing a watch on sound when there are more imperative qualities that are lacking.
CHARACTER: This is probably my biggest gripe with this anime. I couldn't even count all the time I was left entirely disgusted with the amount of angst that all of the pilots had. Just when you think they became a better person and learned that important lesson, they regress back to exactly where they started. Talk about frustrating.
And of course, the relationship between Master and Idol was portrayed ridiculously. The main character, Haruka, said multiple times that she loved her Idol. She even called it her boyfriend. I am not making this up. No matter how many times they said that the Idols might have something equivalent to a heart, it's a ****ing robot. Really, it started to get extremely creepy.
OVERALL: I could go on about other faults with it. It's really just an average mecha anime, but they also did some very odd things with it. It just makes one question their thought process when they were making it. You also might be wondering why I finished it -- believe me, I had a hard time. But I just don't like to drop a series for some reason. So even though it was obvious that I don't like it, it wasn't bad enough to where I had to drop it. I definitely thought about it more than once; thank God it started to get better eventually (although it took around 18 episodes).
*PLOT HOLE; HUGE SPOILER: For example, why could Chihaya pilot Imber near the end all of a sudden when he was supposed to be so finicky?
This anime was made, because the idolm@ster game was super popular singer harem game.. question is. how did they get from something as popular and interesting to this...filled with elementary school girls. Im sitting here waiting for the manga to be updated because the idolm@ster series is just sooo good! why couldnt they make it off the actual idolm@ster series. Don't watch it will waste 30mins of your life