Phoron Tatara's no ordinary musician. As one of the rare Dantists who can summon elder spirits using music called Commandia, his gift is so strong that his spirit partner is none other than the infamous Corticarte Apa Lagranges. Sure, she may look like a young girl in her human form, but you don't get nicknames like "The Crimson Annihilator" and "The Bloody Duchess" for sitting back and watching the daisies grow.
Now, at the behest of the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office, this dynamic duet travels the continent of Polyphonica on Phoron's combination motorcycle/organ, following the song of the open road, orchestrating rescues and generally fixing whatever's baroque! Some musicians wait for a muse to hit them, but Phoron makes his work for scale!
There aren't many anime that heavily feature music. The most well known would be Macross (any of them), Nodame Cantabile and La Corda Doro, and those anime that do rely on music are often reasonably straightforward affairs. Every so often though, an anime basen on music will appear that deviates from what we've pretty much come to accept as the norm. Happiness! is one such show, as is Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica.
The series is based on the highly successfuly visual novel created by Ocelot in 2006, which spawned several light novel adaptations, a manga version in March 2007, and finally an anime in April 2007. Since
then there has also been another anime adaptation (Crimson S), which was released earlier this year.
The story is set in a fantasy world, on the continent of Polyphonica, and follows the lives of the Dantists who work at the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office, in particular, the Dantist Phoron and his contracted spirit Corticarte Apa Lagranges (Corti).
The series actually has a rather refreshing take on music, and relates it to the summoning and command of spiritual creatures whose power is relative to the number of wings they have. While music in Polyphonica is not restricted in any way, the Dantists are the only ones with the ability to use "Commandia" - a summoning song or piece of music. Unlike most other series Polyphonica makes a definite connection between music and "magic" (although here it is limited to summoning spirits), which is interesting in itself as historically, and in folktales, music and magic in the real world are linked in many ways. It may also be the case that the term Dantist is an oblique reference to Dante and his Divine Comedy, although that is supposition on my part (for now).
As interesting as the concept is, the story suffers from it's episodic nature. The series would have been better served by showing some actual progression rather than taking what is effectively a haphazard approach to the plot. Although the anime is fairly easy to get into, there is an overall lack of depth to the plot which is an effect of the format, especially as the characters suffer greatly from it.
Visually the series looks good. The colours are bright and bold, with nothing that looks "washed out", especially in relation to the backgrounds and settings. The animation is decent, however the series suffers from an overall lack of cohesiveness which causes the animation, in particular of the characters, to sometimes become unnaturally rigid. Design-wise, the series is above par for the most part. There are some unique innovations in the show that separate it from the typical supernatural or music based anime, the two main ones being the "One-Man Orchestras" and the "wings" of the spiritual beings.
As this is a music based series, one would expect the sound to be of a high standard. Unfortunately the show only passes muster with it's music and effects. The music is, at first, rather pleasant, however this quickly fades due to the repetitious nature of the series. The effects are okay for the most part, however (and unusually), they are sometimes too quiet, and play second fiddle (pardon the pun), to the music.
The voice acting isn't bad at all though. The cast does a good job giving their characters a "soul" as it were, however the episodic format, and the repetions I mentioned, mean that there's really nothing there for the actors to get their teeth into.
It's unfortunate that the anime has failed to capture the essence of the visual novel, epsecially when it comes to the characters. This is understandable on the one hand though, as the audience is simply thrown in at the deep end, with only a few hints given about how it all began (something which Crimson S has attempted to resolve). As much as I liked the show, there is an incomplete feeling to the characters, something which only makes their stereotypical nature more apparent.
I have to admit though, even with the flaws I actually did enjoy this anime. The odd take on music is something I found appealing, and although this phenomenon is only lightly touched on in the series, it still manages to keep things reasonably interesting by highlighting how strong the bond between dantist and spirit is.
This isn't the best anime about music, nor is it the worst. The concept is pretty good on the whole, but the execution is lacking in several areas, and this causes the series to lose cohesion from time to time. One thing I should point out though is that the series is actually better if you watch Crimson S first, as that series is a prequel to this one. Like many others though, I watched Polyphonica first, and I was dubious about watching Crimson S when it was released. I'm glad I did though as it makes the characters and events in the first Polyphonica series much more understandable, and my score is reflective of that fact.
If you're planning to watch this series, I would advise doing so after watching Crimson S.
okay. my first review. let's see how this plays out.
the story was cool. kinda like a master has a spirit fairy like thing and you give it the ultimate power by playing music. some people are preppy and others are emo. as you watch it, later on a story unfolds.
this show was umm... colorful. i didn't pay much attention to the art. simple clothing, jumpsuit and a school uniform. i like the wings on the spirits though.
something that can not get below a 10! if the master has no song to play, the spirit that they made a
contract with goes berserk. the rhythms made me want to beat along, but i, the couch potatoe that i am, was lying on the bed.very awesome part to look forward to. i hate it when the people sang. the dudes sounded like a low pitched girl and the girls sounded very high!
the characters were so cute! the little spirits with two wings made me want to hug them! I'm into characters that have a strong past so my wish was fulfilled. the story doesn't really show the depth of the character, but i still know their thoughts and how they feel.
i thought that this series was short, yet great. i wished that the story would continue on. i wouldn't mind re watching this. now i have to go search for an anime similar to this.
Writers note: This is my first review so be “gentle” =D
Firstly let me start by saying that I´m not the biggest romance/school/drama genre fan there is but from time to time even I need to take a break and watch something just for the sake of seeing something “different” from what I usually prefer/watch and as luck would have it I managed to stumble upon a jewel that nicely surprised me.
Now that the intro is done let me get straight to the point. Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica (later only SSP) can be seen as your every-day normal romance/slice of life/fantasy anime with all the basic
elements (via spirits, magic/abilities, school, romance etc.) but it also has something you won´t find in many (if any) anime of this genre and that is the concept behind it all. Sure, spirits, contacts, huge fights, lots of effects, love story, etc. that all has been here before but the idea of controlling a spirit by playing music is something "I´ve" seen for the first time and I must say it astonished me how well it was executed.
The story of SSP takes us to a world where spirits and people coexist mostly in harmony, with exceptions of course, and their relationship is based on a contact between a spirit and its “master” (contractor). The master plays a special kind of song for the spirit in order for it to attain additional power in battles or to do whatever the master desires. The songs played differ from person to person as do the instruments that the masters preform them on. Unfortunately that is as far as the “plot” of SSP goes since the story behind it is episode-based or in other words episodic (meaning each episode is its own story with its beginign and end, the only thing linking them together as a whole are the characters that appear in them).
Throughout the run of this 12 episode series you are introduced to a number of characters, some are more interesting than others (and are also treated that way). The main leads (Phoron and Corti) are done very well along with the rest of their main supporting characters. With their ups and downs they take you through the entire series leaving a smile on your face from time to time. The character development isn´t playing that much of a role due to the episodic nature of the series but there are hints of it if nothing else. Unfortunately though, the shows gives a feel that there could have been more to the characters and their backgrounds which is a bit disappointing (luckily this is more or less resolved in the Second season which is a prequel to this one).
The art of SSP is pretty much more on the average level. It isn´t bad b ut it´s also nothing that stands out for its greatness. The character design along with the backgrounds and all the other minor details are done pretty well but you´ll probably find some kinks here and there but nothing major. Like I said, nothing out-of-the-ordinary but you won´t be disappointed that much either.
The music in SSP is something that literally swept me of my feet and left a lasting impression of near-greatness. In anime, songs which are in the background are mostly unimportant to me, not because I don´t like them but I like to concentrate more on what is happening on screen rather then listening to the tunes that are being played (but I must also admit that sometimes there is a song that just won´t leave me impassive even if it is in the background). But back to the point. The songs and music preformed in this anime are really one-of-a-kind and frankly, they are AWSOME (at least most of them). Whether it is the instruments that are being played or the singing done by the characters, you can prepare yourself to be amazed. Of course even the OP and ED are quite nice.
I personally enjoyed the series really much and there aren´t many things I can complain about. It has it´s brighter sides (characters, music) as well as its darker ones (episode based, art) but that is still no reason why not give it a try.
All in all, as I mentioned in the beginning, Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica can be compared to an unpolished jewel. It doesn´t really stand out that much from its genre and it isn´t that well known but once you give it a try you´ll find out that you stumbled upon something quite unique that you won´t definitely see every day. Whether its for the better or for the worse ? That is up to you to decide...
(5)- Anywhere, anytime, as many times as you like!
(4)-Definitely worth seeing more than 3 times…
(3)-Once for regular viewer, 2 (or even 3) times for a fan.
(2)- Seeing once is more than enough.
(1)- Impossible to even reach the end…
Polyphonica: great setup, so much potential to be much more than it is. Unfortunately.
We are introduced to a world where spirits and humans live together, linked by songs. Aspects of this relationship drives the story, and it's fun to see it unfolding as the series goes. Theme of the show is episodic more than having an overreaching arc. Which, IMHO, is a shame. Most episodes are not resolved satisfactorily, leaving you to wonder, is that it? Prine's episode (8) was an example of an episode done right. Characters are introduced throughout the series, but their interesting background stories are only hinted upon. There are very
few interesting ones anyway.
So, if you treat this anime as a slice of life, you won't be disappointed. The music is great and drives the story very well. The art is good, although the animation budget looks rather lacking. There are plenty to enjoy in this series, but if you're looking for story development, you'll be sorely disappointed.