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…
Well what can i say, Downright Disappointing?
From it's promising setting of a boy who made a contract with a special spirit when he was young, got seperated, has grown up, and then got reunited with the spirit after about ten years to do what, some random job that helps people? There is absolutely no story in this as it is episodic and the only thing you can hope for in a next episode is for some good music that they'll hopefully play(since they dont each ep even though it's a music focused anime).
At least they did have some decent music in there with
a good op and ed. If they didn't have a good soundtrack, watching this anime would be completely pointless.
*Tip before watching? Don't expect any story in any ep so you won't have a disappointed feeling like i did and that might make you enjoy it more. But honestly, i've even gotten sleepy in some episodes for watching parts that you won't care about BEcause there's no story.
Firstly, I have not read the manga. I have heard that it is much better.
Secondly, this is my first review. Figured I've got to try it out sometime.
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica was, to sum it up in four words, downright disappointing but intriguing. This anime had a lot of potential, and might have been a wonderfully fulfilling anime if not for the plot and characters. Both were lacking majorly.
The plot in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica skipped all over the place. It had no real direction. Characters, events, problems, and other details were sifted through like the director was going through a pile of useless toys, playing
with one after the other. At the beginning of the anime, the story seems good. The main character, Phoron, is obviously the protagonist, and his companion, Corticarte, was a joy to watch. But by the end of the first episode they had already finished saving a random lady (who's voice was extremely annoying). They spent no time in forgetting about this incident. From there on ensued the never ending slew or random jobs that were thrown at them. The rest of the anime is composed of random "challenges" (I'm not even sure you can call them that) that either involve Phoron and Corticate or other supporting characters. The plot skips around; one moment you are looking at the past of Phoron, the next he is looking for a lost kitten. There was never a real "bad guy", or antagonist, in this series. Ever few episodes he changes. Akatsuki was a good antagonist for awhile, but in the end he was defeated by the fact that Phoron and Cortcarte knew more about his past than he did. In fact, all of the enemies in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica were much too easygoing and easily defeated. The spirits on the protagonist's side were super powerful, but the viewer was never given an explanation as to how they got that way, or who they really were. The battle scenes were lacking in action. All the spirits seemed to have three actions: Deflect via invisible force field, shoot balls of light that were colored in correspondence to the spirit firing them, and wave attacks where the spirit sliced his/her hand in the air and sliced things. Despite only having three moves, the Corticate and the other spirits were portrayed as super-powerful beings.
On the good side, the idea of the anime was brilliant. Who would have thought of controlling super-powerful spirits with instruments would have been so cool?
I can't say much about the artwork. It wasn't brilliant, it wasn't bad. Mediocre. The action scenes were OK sometimes and flat out dull-looking sometimes. There are two blunders that made me give the art a five:
1) The instruments. As cool as controlling spirits with instruments sounds, the instruments themselves flat out sucked. Crazy neon glowing lights on top of a saxophone don't make it super-powerful. A motorcycle that turns out to be a tricked-out piano doesn't make the piano any more cool than a normal one would be. I think that if the Danists (the people who control the spirits) just used old-fashioned instruments the idea would have been much more likeable.
2) The playing of the instruments. No matter how many times you play that piano with your fingers in the exact same position as they were last time, different sounds shouldn't come out... (the playing was stiff, unrealistic, and dull. Phoron seemed to only have three or four finger positions when playing his piano)
For being a musical anime, Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica failed miserably in the sound department. Pianos do not sing. Saxophones do not sing. Violins do not have drums. Every time Phoron played his piano, what sounds came out? Definatly not piano ones. That's right- his piano sang. And the songs were not even that great. Sure, they might've been good by themselves, but they didn't fit in this anime at all.
As for voice acting, Phoron and Corticate sounded great, actually. Everyone but the lady at the beginning and Perserte twins sounded good.
There didn't seem to be much character developement throughout the anime. Although we found out about Phoron and Corticate and the other supporting characters, they themselves did not change. Their personalities were all OK, I guess. The Perserte twins were just there for show, though. They did not partake in any real action once, despite being prized members of the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office, while everyone else were out working their butts off.
The antagonists were lacking as well. Barely any depth. Hardly any developement.
Now, this anime is catagorized as a "romance". This is a grave misunderstanding. Although Phoron and Corticate love each other (it's obvious), it never goes anywhere. In fact, there is only a one episode in which Corticate and Phoron show their emotions for each other. Even then, Corticate just shows her love by finding a song for Phoron to play when he was feeling down. Then, of course, by that time he had already got over his problem, and all that Corticate did to help him went to waste. He never found out, and no romantic moments ever happened.
Despite all its faults, I found myself thinking about Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica. I was drawn to the anime episode after episode, even though each episode left me disappointed. I can't pin it down, but I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly. I would recommend watching it, despite the faults.
Overall, I give Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica a 6. It wasn't THAT bad, in the end.
If you think you can get past the jumpy story, the OK fight scenes, weird and crazy instruments, horrible sound, and bland characters, you should watch this anime.
Not much to say about the story. They were episodic and didn't really have anything significant to them. A couple of background episodes was the only highlight. The rest were a kind of 'been there, done that'.
Art was fine. Sound was fine, though the singing thing kind of weirds me out with the protagonist. Nothing spectacular with the characters, they were pretty flat.
The main reason I watch a series most of the time is for the romance, unless I get bored of that genre and go looking for action or some sort. Four hours, yeah, four hours of my life and all I get is
a *beep* blush from the heroine?
Seriously, you're not missing out on anything by not watching this. You'll probably lose what hopes you had riding on this series by reading the summary.
first of all, Diomedea did a MUCH better job on Polyphonica Crimson S than Ginga Ya did on this anime. I've looked Ginga Ya up and apparently all they've ever done is support animation. AND IT SHOWS! frankly, this 'first anime' in the Polyphonica franchise sucks. it's barely passing as a medium grade anime from 2007.
Sentai Filmworks did the sub on this one and it's terrible. I watched this one on KissAnime AFTER I watched Crimson S. Sentai wrote the nicknames of almost all the characters wrong in the subs. plus their grammar and writing/translating/localization was terrible. the music was good, but it didn't
fit which character was playing all the time. you'd have a piano playing character getting rock n roll guitars, and the 'bad guy' would also be playing a piano but it's still rock n roll. Phoron's classic 'La Luna Mysteriosa' is used MANY times in this anime and Crimson S. sometimes with new background music in this one from Crimson S. it's got an awesome falsetto singer and I'm glad I've heard it so many times. it's heart rending and gorgeous.
facts faces people instruments and spirits were changed (I guess) between this anime and Crimson S. whether it was the Light Novel Crimson S was based off of changed things or the Visual Novel this anime was based on as the 'original' maybe? if you're going to watch this anime, and I can barely recommend it atall, watch Crimson S FIRST!!! it covers Phoron's Academy life and such. this anime covers what Phoron does AFTER he graduates from the Academy. so if you watch this one 1st... you won't get much of the backstory. plus the world building in this anime PALES in comparison to the work building the world/continent of Polyphonica in Crimson S.
there's a car chase in this anime THAT IS HORRID! IT'S STINKING GARBAGE! seriously, The Keystone Cops in the 1900's had better car chases than that one!
go ahead and watch Crimson S, and IF and I do mean IF YOU WANT TO try this anime... brace yourself!
the story is barely episodic in this anime. there might be two or three plotlines linking the whole season. maybe.
the art is horrid. the cars are terrible. the backgrounds are barely decent. the character designs are good. but ONLY for the 'on screen characters' and ONLY for the 'main ensemble cast' and the 'bad guy of the moment'. you know when you've got a crrrrrappy art department doing an anime? there are NO MOB CHARACTERS in the backgrounds, and the few that there are, absolutely minimal detail. they look like freshmen art students did them.
sound bleck! :-P very good with the music and the acting was good. the sound effects for everything else were sub-par or entirely generic and cruddy.
character, if you watched Crimson S, you'll get the 'office gang' better than if you watched this anime first. otherwise, you won't get very much character building what so ever.
enjoyment, blah. I watched it just to see what Phoron and his lil friends were like... but otherwise... meh! shrug. it was barely ok.
overall, just slightly over the average and possibly below for a 2007 anime.
This is solely my opinion and i do not care if some poeple think otherwise. This anime started out very nicely, the Story seems to be very unusual but do not let it discourage you, it might be a little boring in begining but middle part and ending are absolutely amazing. Art looks pretty good, nothing too fancy and not too plain it is well within standarts. Sound, sound was absolutely gorgeous. I do not think i've ever heard this much beautiful and romantic sound in any anime. I greatly enjoyed this anime and if you are into anime with abit of romance,superpowers and decent
art, you wount regret watching it.