Upon skimming over the top 2 reviews for Mekakucity Actors, I went into this anime with rather mediocre expectations, considering as well that the average rating was below an 8. I had not heard or read anything about it otherwise.
Usually the mark of a mediocre anime sports somewhat unnatural or clumsy dialogue, and mundane art or animation. As such, I expected to encounter either. To my pleasant surprise, I immediately sensed a heavy dose of SHAFT animation, so I knew that I would at least enjoy the animation to some extent. The dialogue wasn't horrible either. I pushed on expecting to be disappointed by
a dip in quality.
I think it's here that I'll begin to go into some details. Before I begin, I will state that I am a fan of SHAFT and that I did enjoy this anime, but I will obviously set aside any personal opinion and review this anime objectively.
After completing the anime, I decided to go back and read through the reviews that had originally set my low expectations. I observed reoccurring negative comments; terms such as “confusing [and] convoluted story,” “lack of direction,” being thrown around in conjunction with “average [and] mediocre animation.” The latter of which afore-quoted reviewers obviously pinned on the animation style of SHAFT. This was rather surprising, as the animation is almost identical in style to the well acclaimed Bakemonogatari series, though slightly lower in quality. The story, although sagging under heavy accusations of being overly complicated, was definitely not as bad as I was led to believe.
Before reading the reviews and diving into this anime, of course I read the synopsis that was offered, which, in all honesty, did not grab my attention. It sounded like the set up for another mediocre action-supernatural-possibly-adventure anime that probably would have some fight scenes and some friendship etc. After the second or third episode, though, that the synopsis and reviews gave off a completely incorrect vibe, and that I was clearly in for a slice of life anime.
Anime, like movies, music, paintings, and pictures, has the potential to be a form of art and expression. This is often forgotten when most of the movies we see nowadays only intend to net as much money as possible, and most photographs we see are random advertisements, or impulsively posted pictures on Facebook. But when the creator wants to create art, he gives the work purpose. The work’s purpose may be a gift, or to tell a story. When it comes to movies, tv shows, and anime, generally the purpose is to send a message, or tell a story. Usually when someone says the word “story,” we think of a protagonist, a problem he encounters, a struggle, a climax, and a conclusion (this is oversimplified of course for the sake of argument). And when you go into an anime like Mekakucity Actors, having read the synopsis, surmising that it will take you on a solid, linear plot straight on into the horizon, to arrive at the ultimately conclusive and satisfying ending, standing atop the highest mountain with a fulfilling sense of accomplishment or what have you, then of course you will feel betrayed and confused.
What sets the slice of life genre apart from the classic adventure is the way the story is based and presented. Of course the story is the main feature in an adventure anime, and the character travels through the story. In a slice of life, however, the thing you would call a story is slightly more abstract. The definition of the slice of life genre is, literally, something along the lines of an anime that depicts a part of a person’s life. And that’s exactly why if you were looking for a good story first, you will undoubtedly be let down. Slice of life isn’t about the story. Its about a person. It’s about people. This is also the reason slice of life anime often leaves us feeling unfulfilled yet full of feels, because it follows the characters, who are human. Instead of accepting that they are who they are, we get to feel the hardships they’ve been through, and in the end you’ve created a bond with each of these characters.
In Mekakucity Actors, we start by focusing on two siblings that are lost and confused, possibly expecting that they will band together with Mekakushi Dan and fight some sort of evil. While in the end, that is what happens, that’s not the point of the anime. The point is that each of these youths never wanted this power; that they are struggling simply to live a normal life, and each of them has had painful things happen to them in the past. We even go as far as to follow every single character in their past, which is more telling as to the anime’s depth. In the first half you’ll probably pass off Shuuya as some joker who likes provoking people, and Ene as some annoying program, both of which you will not much care about in the beginning. As the anime progresses, however, you will undoubtedly learn that what each of these characters has been through isn’t something to be taken lightly, and in the end, you do care about them. That’s part of what makes Mekakucity Actors such a good anime. Saying this anime is mediocre because it has a complicated and difficult to follow storyline is like saying Shingeki no Kyoujin is bad because people die too much, or that Bakemonogatari is bad because it doesn’t really have a central plot. The difference between these is that because they are so well known, Bake and SNK are immensely popular, so generally people will watch these with a preconceived idea of what they’re getting, and they will not be disappointed. But it appears many of us watched Mekakucity Actors not knowing what to expect, and expected the wrong thing.
Anime produced by SHAFT certainly has a different taste than anime from other corners of Japan, sometimes creating pieces that would deter a certain number of people. With plenty of stills and wide, slow panning shots, the head tilts, and strange frames, SHAFT’s style will definitely put those off who don’t enjoy or expect their animation style. I was mildly surprised to find complaints about the animation in the reviews, as we know Bakemonogatari’s iconic animation style had made a big impact in anime, yet this animation style is not accepted here? I realized it would have to be the same problem as people complaining about the story. SHAFT’s animation style is very suited to the comedy or slice of life genre. Still and wide shots aren’t very suited for action, and action is what you will not find in SHAFT anime. This brings me back to my earlier point about the story. Expecting an action/adventure/supernatural anime would lead you to expect a more active camera, and some faster paced animation.
SHAFT’s animation was a perfect fit for the Bakemonogatari series. In an anime that very closely tracks unusual, supernatural occurrences and the emotional states of the characters, the subtly to extremely surreal settings which SHAFT creates allows the viewer to understand things without having exposition projectile-vomited at them. Our main character is driving down an endless highway with featureless scenery? Subconsciously adds to the impression that the scene is awkward and dragging on. Ice cream stand in the middle of what appears to be a desert with Joshua trees, even though they’re supposed to be in Japan? A less than subtle jab at how hot it is, and how much of a pain it is to walk in the sun. While the animation in Mekakucity Actors does not go to the same lengths to exaggerate as the animation in Bakemonogatari, the wide shots and still scenes will force you to slow down and absorb how the currently framed character perceives the world around him. After all, the anime is about students who’s pasts and powers set them apart from society. I will be honest, the animation, while good, was not the best it could have been, but I still appreciated many of the settings, especially the metaphorical classroom that Ayano waits alone in for Shintaro.
I have only commented on two parts of the anime, and I think that’s enough. I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack as well, and to reiterate, I enjoyed this anime as a whole. Generally I’m not driven to review anime, but when it so happens that an anime I not only enjoyed, but one I believe is objectively better than other reviews might have you believe, then of course I had to say something. Being late to the party, I don’t expect many to read this, but at least I can rest easy knowing my word is out.
If you’re familiar with shaft anime, Mekakucity fits into their portfolio perfectly, but that’s not to say the anime is perfect. If you’re unfamiliar with Shaft anime, it’s an experience very different to any other anime producer, and it’s very important to bear that in mind. I’m focusing on some of the flaws the show has in this review, but I enjoyed the show as much as I did some of the Monogatari series, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that. Regardless of your opinion on the director, Akiyuki Shinbou’s, polarising style, he has stayed true to it and to the source
material, inviting viewers into the faithfully recreated Kagerou daze world.
Unlike a lot of anime, Mekakucity’s plot is not character-driven. The characters are actually a product of the story, and the behaviour of the characters is defined by the direction of the plot. It’s an abnormal approach to storytelling, and has its drawbacks. Many of the characters as a result are left woefully underdeveloped when a new character is introduced to fit in as many fan favourites as possible, and to help push the story along. However, what it does means is that there is a large variety of personalities put on display, so you’ll likely find that perfect one. Finding a character you really like, even despite having a few flaws is not hard when they’re all so likeable!
The show spends roughly an episode for each of the character arcs, these mini-storylines tying in roughly with the stories of the actual songs. It’s disappointing to say this, but old and new fans won’t be on an equal footing in Mekakucity. The stories are conveyed well enough though to give newer fans fun and hopefully an interest in the original songs behind the series. The way the characters, and their backstories, neatly link together is a convenient excuse to fit the series into 13 episodes, but they fit together very well. In the grand scheme of things, each character’s mini-arc does contribute to the pacing of the overarching plot, about the story of the monster who gives all the characters their supernatural powers. It’s a convoluted story and full of flashbacks, but pay attention and things will fall together, I guarantee it.
What Mekakucity does do, as a result of its roundabout approach to storytelling, is repeatedly twist your perception of the main characters. The show’s big ‘mystery’, where you have to guess which character is actually the one holding the witch’s power, is one that takes a while to become obvious. Inevitably though, Mekakucity’s short running time means that as the pace picks up, useful details are conspicuously left out. Time is probably what this anime needed mostly, but it makes do with its restrictions admirably, and the general tale is satisfactorily wrapped up by the end of the 13th episode. The ending is definitely inconclusive due to time limitations, but also I would like to think by design. Rather like Madoka Magica’s ending there’s a level of hopefulness in the ending thanks to its lack of conclusiveness.
Despite its rather convoluted, serious storyline, Mekakucity does not forget the importance of simple fun. On a more positive note, this is where the show really thrives. On their own, the characters don’t stand up very well. It’s an inherent weakness of having to flesh out characters only introduced through a 3-4 minute song. But this is more than made up for though by the ways the characters are able to interact, playing off each other and enjoying the company of people who have powers like them. And probably enjoying their awesome hoodies as well. Seriously, where do I get one? Anyway, if anything the characters add to the eccentric but fun personality that the show has, what with its distinctive music and art style.
Onto one of the most important features for the original fans: The music. Quite simply, all the music that started the series is there, and it’s really good. Rather than shoehorn them in at the end or beginning, the songs are used in their original purpose: to tell a story. The songs become a natural part of the storytelling, when they could so easily have just been placed in to please the long-standing fans. For the voice acting, the cast of wacky characters have suitably colourful voice actors. The seiyuu of Mekakucity Actors bring so much more into the story, really justifying the anime adaptation, and special mention goes to Ene’s seiyuu Kana Asumi – her character never fails to bring a smile to your face!
On the Shaft artstyle, it really is put to full effect in Mekakucity Actors, for better or for worse. As much as I empathise with the people who hate the largely abstract artwork Shaft have made their own, it can’t be said that Shaft did a bad job here. The surreal geometrically impossible scenery is not a style that will immediately make sense or click, because it seems so unnecessary and pretentious even at times. But even if you don’t love it, there’s excellent use of colour and a particularly heavy emphasis on chiaroscuro, a strong contrast between light and dark. It’s beautiful, and helps covers up some of the inconsistencies in the art itself.
Mekakucity is a polarising anime, and not without its fair share of flaws. What is important to me is that, even off the back off Shaft’s work on Hanamonogatari, Mekakucity Actors comes off as one of the most refreshing and original anime series I’ve recently watched. Yes, I wish it were longer and able to give all the characters the time they deserved. I still consider it a very enjoyable and memorable anime that I recommend to fans of Shaft and Kagerou Daze. I would also definitely say fans of modern-fantasy anime looking for something a little bit different should check it out. Mekakucity Actors is a fine introduction to the wacky world of Shaft anime.
(This is my first review so be gentle)
Mekakucity Actors was definitely among the most anticipated anime this spring season gone past. With an already well-established fanbase, an intriguing premises, and animation done by none other than SHAFT (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the Monogatari Series), the series garnered a lot of attention from the anime community. Not only that, but the creator of the Kagerou Project (the vocaloid song series from which this anime is based), Jin, also had input into sculpting the series. However, after finishing the final episode, I can summarize my feelings towards the series as a whole with one word: disappointing.
have been exposed to the original source material, that being the vocaloid song series, the manga, and the light novels)
This is undoubtedly the major fault of the show. The story of Mekakucity Actors is fairly simple: it explores the events that occur around the group known as Mekakushi-Dan. The people within this group all posses mysterious eye powers, and they were all brought together due to the incidents that occurred on August 14th and 15th. So much could have been done with this premises, however, SHAFT handled it poorly, to say the least.
The way the story is portrayed is far from conventional storytelling. Each episode usually focuses on a particular event or character. The information given to us is then tied into the events of the next episode, meaning that when viewing an episode, it may be slightly difficult to understand what is going on. While I am all for innovative methods of storytelling, Mekakucity Actors simply did not have enough time to use this, focusing too much or too little on certain elements which result in some episodes feeling rushed. Also, SHAFT decided to throw in some metaphorical imagery, which may make things even more confusing for the viewer as they are already trying to understand what the hell is going on. With something with so much potential, it was saddening to see it get butchered in such a fashion.
Something else Mekakucity Actors didn't handle very well. It's not to say the characters weren't likeable and enjoyable to watch: believe me, they were. However, the show had this tendency to focus less on the characters who were imperative to the story, or completely ignore others. For example, SHAFT dedicated an entire episode to Momo, possibly the most unimportant character in the series, while only really addressing more important characters, i.e. Marry, at the very end of the series. Also certain characters *cough* Seto *cough* had so little screen time that they might as well have been superfluous side characters. In terms of character development, the majority of the cast barely showed a sign of difference from the beginning of the series, with a few exceptions. However, I will say that the relationships between the characters were definitely some of the more enjoyable aspects of the series, and were all generally handled well.
The animation of Mekakucity Actors is adequate, to say the least. As expected of SHAFT, each episode contains an abundance of head tilts from each character. The character designs themselves were quite simple, and there were moments throughout the series where the animation was stiff and much too crudely drawn, almost as if the animators were rushed for time and couldn't be bothered animating the scene with care. Albeit there were moments of fluid animation and some scenes were accompanied with well-animated, colourful backgrounds, but the animation was generally average and below SHAFT's usual standards. Also, I should also mention the animation present in episode 10, i.e. The Worst Use of CGI I Have Ever Seen. A small segment of this episode is cheap CGI animation used to accompany the song which the episode is named after: Ayano's Theory of Happiness. They somehow manage to make what was supposed to be an emotional song into an excruciating 3-minute watch.
Definitely the highlight of the series. As expected from a show based of a song series, the music is sublime. Each episode contains the song that the episode itself is based of, redone by an actual singer. As a person who is not particularly a fan of vocaloid, I found listening to each song thoroughly enjoyable. The background music accompanied the scenes well, and both opening and ending are a pleasure to listen to. The opening especially, as it made you ecstatic to see what would transpire in the episode to follow.
Despite the flaws present in the show, I couldn't help but find myself excited each week when watching the show. There were moments where the story was portrayed well, well-executed emotional scenes and the interaction between the characters was enthralling to watch. Despite this, there is no doubting that this show has some serious flaws, and the final episode was far too rushed and sloppy in areas. The writers attempted to tie in all of the unresolved elements and it resulted a rushed and inconsistent episode. The rest of the Kagerou Project franchise, i.e. the songs, manga, and novels, is much better than the anime. People probably have many preconceptions about the rest of franchise due to the result of the anime, but the manga and light novels are completely separate from the anime in that they follow their own routes. They're much less convoluted and the storytelling is straightforward and easy enough to understand while also being compelling and having its fair share of twists and turns. The characters are explored more in-depth and are better developed than in the anime, making the read that more enthralling. If you found the fundamentals of Mekakucity Actors interesting enough, I would highly recommend the rest of Kagepro franchise.
Open with a unique set-up, Mekakucity Actors catch my attention among the other anime of Spring 2014 Anime. Adapted from a relatively great manga (the manga I liked totally) and novel.
At first, I have high hopes that it will be an excellent adaptation. But, that high hopes quickly turn to dust.
The main problem of Mekakucity Actors is the story that done poorly in execution. A combination of a relatively slow pacing and flashbacks brings a suicide bomb for Mekakucity Actors. The plot has many flashbacks on them
and then leaving the main dialog not important. It causes the viewers sometimes don't understand what is really happening in the story. The pacing is not suitable for a 12 episodes anime. It has slow pacing at first and then increase speed 2x at the climax. To make matter worse, we have an open ending in front of us.
The art is done by SHAFT (well known producing great works such as Monogatari Series & Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica). Although I don't really like the unfinished coloring of the art, but is fine. The characters have a unique design.
Mekakucity Actors have a catchy Opening Theme. It's well fit with the entire series, it is truly like an icon standing for this Anime. The seiyuu did a good job indeed.
The character is another problem for Mekakucity, any of them didn't have a decent development at all. Since this anime is like to flashbacks things, we just know their past not more or less. The character is most likely dull, and flat. Well, although the character is still memorable because it's designed. But Mekakucity still fails in the character section.
With a dull character, and unsatisfied story make Mekakucity Actors one of the nightmares that haunts me and makes me desperate at Spring 2014, I suggest you stay away from this anime, and read the manga instead watch the anime.
Having followed the Kagerou Project since it was first uploaded on NicoNico, the announcement of the anime came as no surprise to myself. For anyone already familiar with the Kagerou Project, the story was relatively simple. For sake of no spoilers, I won't elaborate any further.
First up: the story. This is by far the part of Mekakucity Actors that has let me down a little. It is incredibly complicated to follow at times, and even though it is at its very core a relatively simple story, it is presented in a convoluted manner that makes it quite hard at times to follow
accurately or find enjoyment in. Don't mistake my tone for displeasure though. It is fun all the way through, but is confusing at times, and that lets it down to a 6.
One thing that needs mentioning though. The ending was appallingly bad. It was so rushed and jumbled that all the incomprehensibility of the previous episodes seemed to have been added together and fermented for ADDED KICK. Not good.
The art is...eh. Anyone who has seen the music videos for the songs of the Kagerou Project will understand what the art is like in the anime. However, the decision to use CG during an emotional scene...It isn't great, face it, and including the various problems with the CG, means that it doesn't score particularly high.
Now, music. In essence, this is the core defining aspect of Mekakucity Actors. The anime started from a story defined by several songs, so it is only natural that this anime's finest aspect is the music. The songs progress the story in several aspects - one, several defining events that highlight character backstories are featured in the songs, with the song Summertime Record (do NOT read synopses as they are spoilers) highlighting what happens to the characters after the events of the anime. The songs are sung mainly by IA, though Miku appears in several. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this anime, and is an example of the unorthodox nature of Mekakucity Actors itself, being an anime series sprung from stories conveyed through song. The background for the song which isn't the Jin/IA songs are...average, though, which brings it down.
The characters are acceptable, and it is always funny to see the interactions between Ene and Shintaro, coupled with the fights between Kido and Kano. But there's too many characters to remember for a 12-episode series, and some of the core characters aren't developed as well as they could be.
Enjoyment is average. It isn't particularly good, but it isn't bad either. It's not terrible like some anime, but it is FAR from being a revolution. It isn't a must-watch, nor is it a must-ignore, but for the average viewer it won't be very enjoyable. Those who followed the Kagerou Project and its songs might watch this for fun, but again, prepare to be disappointed by the ending. That's all.
So overall, it scores a 5. Not top-ranking, but not bottom-list though. Watch it if you want, drop it if you will, ignore it if you choose.
Shaft does their thing again. Plain and simple, the studio known for pulling out bizarre and avant-gante style of delivery strikes with this piece of work in their latest line of evolution. Mekakucity Actors, an anime adaptation based off of the light novel and manga, is what they excelled at when it comes strange twists. It’s also based off the Vocaloid songs created by Jin, recreational works that became a sensation on NicoNico. For a show based on songs though, this is one such animated work that strikes out as the pinnacle of bizarreness.
The story tells the lives of a group of characters with
special eye related techniques. From the very start we have protagonist Shintaro Kisaragi, an 18-year old NEET. Then, there’s a spectrum of bizarreness that comes from the initial episode. In fact, the first episode can seem a bit overwhelming with everything happening at once. Director Akiyuki Shinbo, well known for his involvement with his work such as the Monogatari series and Madoka, can easily be traced to this show. Fleshing out the gimmicks, Mekakucity Actors isn’t necessarily about word plays or making a deal as a magical girl. Yet, this show has its aspects that can sting like a bee. And by that means, it is memorable but with unusual shenanigans. If you’re really curious about the story though, be sure to pay attention or else confusion will bite you right in the head.
From the beginning, the show transits itself with zany gags. For instance, Shintaro’s weapon against a group of robbers turns out to be a virtual girl named Ene. Keep in mind that Ene also refers to Shintaro as her “master” and although their relationship isn’t necessarily compatible, there’s an unusual way that they command attention. To fulfill the purpose of itself, the show ventures into gimmicks to pull off various stunts through foreshadowing. Not just dialogue wise but many background related details seems to tell and paint the image of a bigger story. Unfortunately, most of the dialogue seems rather dense and vague. It lacks the energy and attention grabber when it comes to descriptive words. Nonetheless though, the series establishes its premise fairly well. Even amidst all the confusion, it’s easy to say that the show has a bigger picture not just involving Shintaro but his world and the people in it, like say for example, the others he meets with eye based techniques. On the other hand, it’s also easy to pinpoint the story with its rushed sequences, scenarios that are explained vaguely, and parts that are left out. In retrospect, viewers such as myself will quickly lose interest with everything happening at once.
Turns out, the group of people Shintaro meets call themselves the “Mekakushi Dan”, also known as the Blindfold Gang. Collectively, these characters all are like dots that connects each other as their lives intertwine with one another. Taking place around the mid-August, Shintaro is caught up in this mess after his keyboard is damaged and he is forced to buy one at the local store. Even from the first episode, it’s easy to identify the show as something of a narrative but told from an on-screen perspective. We meet characters such as Mekakushi Dan leader Tsubomi Kido, the ‘nice guy’ Kosuke Seto, Shuya Kano, Mary Kozakura, Hibiya Amamiya, among others. Most of them has their own story backgrounds that feature exclusive imagery and details from their perspective such as Mary. Otherwise, we also find out how the present time correlate to events that seemingly unfolds like fate. This is especially true for Momo Kisaragi, Shintaor’s little sister and popular idol with a rather bizarre ability to attract others.
As a show with many unusual gags, there are also unusual scenarios. Cliffhangers aside, we get a balance of violence and humor. Told from Shaft’s experimental perspective, the show illustrates them outright in the most atypical of ways. There are also tons of foreshadowing as mentioned before with some points that define what how the show likes play around with itself. But do note that the show is not a game as characters’ lives does get put into jeopardy on various occasions with no second chances. To survive in such a surreal world, they actually show their abilities. There’s no complex mechanics or explanations because everything is shown to the point whether it’d be techniques of attraction, freezing, or travel between technological dimensions. While all this seems gimmicky, it’s unique in a sense and wastes little time with its effort. On the other hand, the series may seem a bit forceful sometimes especially when it comes to its comedy. It can feel tasteless with cliché and stuff throwing itself everywhere including parody-able generics.
To understand the show, it’s also crucial to identify some of its episodes being synchronous. In other words, earlier events will be explained later on while flashbacks will give more insight on the present characters with their past. One interesting aspect revolving around the show is the end of almost every episode with the Monster Girl. She speaks in a cryptic way but her words contain heavy symbolism and motifs. In essence, her speech often incorporate the show’s recreational way to conclude each episode. Also, be aware of certain themes revolving around the show. In particular, fate is a prominent device with characters being intertwined with others in seemingly predetermined events. Yet at the same time, fate is challenged throughout the series as characters test their boundaries. It realizes the potentials of fate but also its consequences. For what’s worth though, this show likes to tempt the audience as well with how far it can go. In retrospect, it tests the limits of how much it can surprise the audience or disappoints them. To put it literally, the show is a hit or miss sketch story in that you either like it or dislike it. In a more figurative way, you’re either with it or you’re against it.
Shaft. Shaft. Shaft. It shouldn’t take less than 10 seconds to realize this show’s artistic style if you’re familiar with the studio’s previous works. No less than 2 minutes into the show, we witness the classic and meaningless head tilts and stylistic decorations. Not to mention, the show has abnormally and influential gimmicks. Some episodes seem to have less of a quality when it comes to production values though including one with very unimpressive coordination. Perhaps three shaft style shows running in the same year (Nisekoi, Hanamongatari, and this) might be a factor here. But whatever the reason, the showcase is simple. Shaft is the mastermind of the artwork. And while you like it or not, it’s the way the show is done with its signature craftsmanship.
As a show based on Vocaloid songs, the soundtrack is one of the most highly anticipated features. To give credit, the show demonstrates degrees of creativity when it comes to insert songs. While not every episode have them, each of the songs has a sort of theme song to go with the characters. Elsewhere, we also get surrealistic sequences when it comes to some of its background music. It has a mixture of techno and quiet music for balance. On the other hand, we also get character voice mannerisms some that reflects the tone of a typical teenage girl while others have a more a commanding tone. As far as voice portrayals go, Ene is perhaps the most noticeable for her annoying yet goofy dialogues. Momo, known for being an idol, also demonstrates a degree of impressive voice delivery with her songs. As a series based on songs itself, Mekakucity Actors’ soundtrack list isn’t very impressive. In fact, it’s hardly memorable in the end compared to their originals.
Watching Mekakucity Actors is like playing a video game where you’ll expect the unexpected. And with that, the show can be a mixed bag or to put it simply, hit-or-miss. If you enjoy a show with bizarre ideas, stories that show rather than tell, and characters with diverse backgrounds, then it will likely be a hit. Otherwise, you’ll be missing the more vocal purpose with its story with barely a drop of its humor being appreciable. It’s easy to notice and face the music though. Mekakucity Actors isn’t just about the characters in some Shafty story. It’s more about the ways the show do with those characters to perform itself. And once it finds that groove, it dances around it like no tomorrow. Unfortunately, the final product fail to step it up with the moves.
Okay get ready for my first review to be chock full of ranting and raving because in short, Mekakucity Actors SUCKED. Not like oldies, cheesy, ten thousand episode anime sucked--more along the lines of did they hire actual animators or did they trace pictures to do it, did they have more than one track for the background sound, and most importantly, was the script for the entire anime written by the director's 5 year old kid???
Before we get into the beef of this horrendous pile of garbage, a bit of background: Mekakucity Actors was based on the Kangerou song Project, which you can search up
on Youtube. The song project was, in my opinion, excellent, which is why I braved the anime adaptation and dabbled a couple chapters into a manga adaptation too. Let me tell you, if they ever announce a Vocaloid anime, tread carefully and beware, because the people in charge of converting the songs have VERY little idea of what they're doing. The songs are going to be better.
Now, on to the anime itself (*shivers*):
Each of the main characters is drawn stiffly, but its pretty easy to ignore if you're willing to tough it all out. One thing I noticed is that each of them likes to tilt their head backwards while they talk, and no one's hair moves at all except Kido's. It's a pain, seeing as the song project was animated beautifully in comparison. The characters' individual personalities are great, and I really wanted to like them, except there wasn't enough time to like anyone; that was the anime's biggest tragic flaw, the flaw that ruined it.
Basically, I am willing to bet if Mekakucity Actors got a 26 episode run or something similar instead of a 12, it would have been fine, enjoyable even! Unfortunately, each of the episodes crammed in as much as they possibly could, all trying to cover different backstories and plot development. This ended up making the whole anime confused and segmented, with each episode covering a completely new topic or scenario.
By the end, I had a vague idea of the characters and what they were after, and I was wondering how they planned to bring on the big finale. I was then greeted by a big finale that was made up of a final plot and villain that came out of nowhere, as well as a great deal of confusion as to where all the characters were popping up from. Suddenly this is what the whole anime's been about and this is what they've been working toward, except I didn't understand what it had to do with the last 10 episodes I had watched. Suddenly one character disappears and reappears, able to resolve the entire situation through an explanation that made little sense whatsoever! Suddenly characters that are dead or gone are back, and it is never explained how! And the very worst of it, they dropped the side plot involving Hibiya and Hiyori completely, never explaining how that ended! They dropped the sideplot involving the woman that caused the whole mess, they dropped the sideplot that, oh, just every character in the anime said they were working towards.
All in all, it's a mess. The writing is all over the place, and the ending leaves you scratching your head and wondering why you wasted so many hours on the measly 12 episodes. If you are in the mood to sit painstakingly through Mekakucity Actors, be prepared for a 12 episode anime that throws its plot around like a football and treats it about as well as a rabid animal treats a baby's head. Just stick to the songs on Youtube. Please. Please do not watch this.
To preface this I should say that I have been a long time fan of Shaft/Shinbo, and generally don't have an issue with their style getting shoved into anything they do. With that said Mekakucity Actors is easily the worst show I forced myself to sit through this season. It's a fundamentally broken concept, held back even further by execution that was botched hard enough to make Studio DEEN blush. To cut the hyperbole, it would oversell the show to call it a disappointment, and leaves a massive black mark on Shat's, fairly solid, filmography.
Let's get the positive out of the way first. The show,
while not amazing and a little generic in the Shaft canon, looks fine. The colors are vibrant, and the backgrounds have a generally nice amount of detail. It isn't Production I.G. or even PA Works, but by broadcast Shaft standards it looks suitable. Though it is worth pointing out that Nisekoi looked a lot better week to week. Similarly the voice acting is passable, and the OST is inoffensive. I'm sure when the BDs come out the typical Shaft #quality will get touched up, and on a technical scale Mekaku will sit in comfortably within the Shaft catalog.
Unfortunately everything goes downhill from here on out. The story and characters of Mekakucity Actors are a mixed bag at the very best, a bad joke on average, and infuriating at the shows lowest point. Story seems like the logical place to start, since the core pillar that stages the show's downfall stems from the structure used to tell what little story Mekaku has. It's not the nonlinear fashion that the events unfold itself that ruins what could have been an enjoyable tale, it's how shallow everything is. The order in which the events were put on display do not support one another. It's hard to really get engaged in any of the stories that the show throws at you when you know that they're going to be over in either the episode that they are introduced, or the end of the next one. On top of that there is very little continuity between them, and the order that they are told in (for the most part) feels arbitrary at best. Mekakucity Actors is trying desperately to be another Bakemonogatari, but it lacks the subtlety that makes Bake such a great watch. It wasn't until the better part of nine episodes in, that the show established any real conflict, but even after it establishes said conflict it goes right back to telling its boring backstories; waiting to the final episode to resolve the first conflict.
The terrible story, what little of it is there, wouldn't be enough to drag the show down this far on its own, but just like the story the characters are also equally as laughable. I would like to draw a comparison to another Shaft anime that finished airing about a year before Mekaku started, in the winter of 2013, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai. Sasami was probably one the most criticized shows of its season. The story was ridiculous at best, and the tone was all over the place. However, the reason that Sasami sits at a five on my list, and Mekaku has a three, all comes down to the characters. While the characters in Sasami-san weren't the most developed or interesting, or even original, they did their job and made the show enjoyable enough to watch week to week. Mekakucity Actors on the other hand comes up with an equally generic band of archetypes, but wastes s solid nine or so episodes of screen time trying it hardest to make you care about them. I feel like the Bake comparison also becomes almost unavoidable here. What made Bake a good show was how the characters interacted with one-another, in fairly realistic ways, in relation to an above average setup. None of them were shockingly original, or deep, there three tsunderes for example. However they all end up feeling well fleshed out enough to support the fits of dialogue that the show throws at you. In short: they characterize the the characters with their interactions with other characters. This is what makes them feel fleshed out. Mekakucity Actors, on the other hand, is trying to hard to set the people in its story up as meaningful characters, and ends up depriving them of the interaction that this type of show relies on. We never get to experience anything about the characters, that the show infodumps on the viewer when its relevant, instead it's time to hop back on the backstory train again. It robs the characters of any sense of depth, and sucks the life out of the show.
To be concise, the interaction of the structure of the story and the use of character archetypes do nothing but clash with one-another in the worst possible way. It took what could have been another average character driven supernatural drama, and boiled it down to the worst components of the genre. There is no real progression, the characters are flat, and it wastes the viewers time with needless backstory. There is no reason to watch this show unless you watched it weekly, or you really just want to watch everything that Shinbo has made.
When I first heard that the Kagerou Project was getting an anime adaptation done by famed studio Shaft, I was excited. As a passive fan of the source material, I wanted to see the interesting stories come to life in a full feature anime. What resulted however, was different from what I was expecting, and in the end, I was wishing for more dedication to the plot and execution. Sadly, I feel that most people who decide to check out Mekakucity Actors will be deterred by the nature of its narrative, which is a shame since the way the plot unfolds is almost genius.
story revolves around a number of characters who, for the most part, have a special ability hidden in their eyes. These abilities tend to be both a blessing and a curse, as our protagonists have to deal with both society and their own personal problems and traumas. However, Mekakucity Actors does not centered around one single character. Instead, it jumps haphazardly between individual stories, with only the vaguest promise that it ties together. Still, it is not so confusing that it becomes annoying. Rather, the narrative implies that there is something larger than the individual struggles going on, it just takes time to get there.
In which case, Mekakucity Actors quickly comes upon its greatest flaw: the series is too short. While it does have a distinct ending, it comes upon you so quickly there is hardly any time for a meaningful development. By the time I reached the end, I wish they had spent less time with the idle dialogues in the beginning of the series, so that they could focus more on important details. And in looking at the source material, Mekakucity Actors would have benefited greatly being a 24 episode series, rather than just 12. But that is not really the anime's fault, now is it.
One reason to watch however, is that the art is great. If you are familiar with Shaft's work, especially Bakemonogatari, then Mekakucity Actors will feel strangely similar. I for one enjoy the metaphorical animations and scene changes, as well as the odd emphasis on poses, expressions and cuts. Mekakucity Actors also focuses quite a bit on a coloration theme, and there are many times when it just looks cool.
The sound is also pretty great. Considering the original concept from the Kagerou project originated from a series of songs, it was nice to hear some in the anime itself. In fact, in many episodes the show turns into a music video that conveys the story while playing the song that goes with it. While I prefer to keep the mediums separate, it did not really detract from the style or method of the narrative.
As I mentioned before, the story is driven by the characters. Since it has to tell so many different stories, each character is somewhat unique and has their own purpose in the story. While one might point out that each character fills a generic role, I felt that each back story, and eye-ability made them individuals. Of course, this is also somewhat destroyed by the lack of time.
Overall, I would say that this is a very enjoyable series. I finished it over the course of two days, and did not feel bored or upset... until the last two episodes where everything falls apart. I would not say that the ending is terrible, but rather it outright does not make any sense. There were also characters who were introduced, but never seen again (unless I flat out missed something). Because it is done by Shaft, there is a missing sense of setting or place. This makes it hard to figure out how certain characters can meet up, or how the plot connects itself.
Mekakucity Actors has a serious case of "teleporting characters" and also "no sense of time"... you think someone is somewhere, but they might "teleport" to a completely different area without a sense of time passing. While it is not impossible to piece together, I would say that at times, the anime is convoluted, especially considering how clear the manga adaptation is. Ultimately, I would say that if you enjoyed the anime, and haven't read the manga, perhaps a year from now you should. There is more time in that medium to develop characters, and explore back-stories at leisure.
I love this franchise a whole dang heck of a lot, and I have to score it well as a result, but this anime is a bit of a mess.
It should be obvious, the inherent flaw in taking a vast, sprawling, and complex narrative, and cramming it into 12 episodes. It's certainly a common thing with anime adaptations, and because of that personally I often regard anime as sort of a sample package of a story, where if I really enjoy it, and want to spend more time with it, I can pursue the more unconstrained and unfiltered manga, novel, or game it's based on.
Regardless, this one just hit me particularly hard. This story is simply not one that can be summed up easily in such a limited amount of time.
Bearing that in mind, it was very interesting to see the decisions they made to try to compress the story. I had mixed feelings about it. There were some decisions made in this adaptation I found to be downright questionable, that demonstrated a lack of understanding of the source material. Having read the light novels and the manga (or at least, as much of what existed and was translated into English at the time the anime premiered) there are many parts to this story I had seen multiple times, altered to fit the different media. The novels, at times, just spend far too long on certain moments or situations, and the anime would actually do a rather good job as an adaptation, cutting out the fat and getting the point across. The light novels also spend a lot of time on character development, which is great, but it's completely reasonable for the show to cut that out in favor of actually explaining what is going on in the plot. The Kagerou Project storyline is this variety of science fiction that simply isn't told easily, because it doesn't resemble other stories you may be aware of. There's a lot of explaining that needs to be done. So much so, that the show, on more than one occasion, just sits you down and exhausts you with exposition. It's understandable, but it's still a little tactless. It's just not good storytelling.
For the first 10 episodes, I remember thinking, this is a fun ride for someone who already understands what's going on, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't interacted with the franchise in some way before, because it might be just too confusing. The last couple of episodes got into material I had not seen before in the novels and manga. Despite the exposition breaks, I still found it at best overwhelming and at worst utterly incomprehensible. A lot of "wait what"s were uttered and never resolved. There are people more well versed in the story than I am, and I'm sure they understood it, but it's still not a good thing if the average viewer can't comprehend what is going on without reading a wiki.
The Mekakucity Actors anime, as well as the Kagerou Days manga and light novels, are all technically adaptions of a series of songs, which came along before any of them. Although the songs are even more pressed for time than the anime, I found the ambiguity contained in them to be actually sort of delightful. Sometimes looking at a brief, representative image can be even more interesting than having it painstakingly, lovingly explained in vivid detail to you. The meaning and interpretations I brought to these abstract things, I found to be equally as interesting and valuable as the thing as it actually was. I don't think it's absurd to suggest that this story (like a lot of science fiction) is riddled with metaphors, as well as complicated human stories. In this regard, I was very happy to have had the experience of looking into this story being told in all its different forms. I did not, however, feel the same way about the anime as I did about the song series. Had the show opted for being a show purely about an interesting abstraction of the story, characters, and images, that could have been interesting in its own way. Sometimes it appeared to be doing something along those lines, incorporating surreal landscapes and imagery, but the exposition tore it unpleasantly in a different direction, of actually trying to tell the entirety of a complex story that was probably impossible to tell in this limited space.
I would not recommend this anime to people who are not a fair bit versed in the lore of this story, from interacting with the other formats, or even just through friends or tumblr explaining it to you. As well as being potentially overwhelming and/or impenetrable, it's simply not the best adaptation. Even if you walk into it knowing nothing about the story, know that. There were times I was watching the show feeling like "this is dumb, I'm embarrassed," so please don't let it scare you completely away from the franchise. Contained within the light novels is a lot of complexity and character development that simply would not fit into the anime.
From the perspective of someone who has interacted with Kagerou project in its subjectively better forms, I found Mekakucity Actors to be charming additional content. I don't think I've spent enough time making that point. The animation and imagery was fascinating, diverse, and often beautiful, and I'd have taken a whole show of that alone. A lot of people take issue with the animation at the beginning episode 9, but personally, I appreciated the diversity in the ways this show would look (even if the faces looked super weird, I know, I get it). The even, often drop in some of the songs from the song series (redone, by the voice actors of the characters the songs are meant to be from the perspective of) out of blatant, fun, fanservice. I sort of feel like, this show is for us. It's made to cater to those of us who know and love the story already, but it doesn't pay enough mind to people coming in blindly. That's probably why it was being aired at midnight - that time is a slot for appointment viewing, not for casual viewers. I found the show to be a whole lot of fun, at least when it wasn't embarrassing, disappointing, or incomprehensible.
"You're all like, 'The story ignores the source material' and ''The voice acting doesn't match what I had in my head' and stuff!" -Ene
Ene might just be predicting my review, but I'll try my best not to base this review on source material, although I may make some comments about the original songs or the manga.
I'll be straightforward. Mekakucity Actors wasn't very organized. In fact, it was a complete mess. Previously, I had written a very optimistic review, but after mulling over the massive disappointment that this anime gave me, I decided that I must rewrite this review.
Mekakucity Actors is an anime that does
not seem to deserve such a high score, yet is still decent after one's careful consideration.
I've realized that my greatest, and possibly only compellent in watching this series was that I am a die-hard Kagerou Project fan. Aside from that, I held little affinity for this anime.
Mekakucity Actors has an interesting setting. It takes place in your generic city, complete with malls, parks, skyscrapers, and suburbs, but this allows the watcher to consider that this story could occur anywhere, and gives the watcher a unique feeling. The story starts right off with an intriguing and complicated exposition, followed by a quick deceleration to a humorous showing of Shintarou's rather drab everyday life. This first episode was packed with information, and interesting enough for most viewers to continue on to the next episode. Throughout the series, each episode introduced new concepts, which to my specific knowledge, are interlaced with deep philosophical significance. To the ordinary viewer, however, it's a cluttered fiasco. Many ideas are introduced and then discarded, never to be seen or heard of again. I had previously expected for the producers to answer these in the last few episodes, but what we were left with instead was a rushed ending and a dissatisfied conscience. SHAFT took a gamble on its methodology, and it lost. Its lack of planning was more than just conspicuous. I cringe when I think about the two or three well-executed episodes scattered across the series, mixed in with stale episodes, and some that were plain miserable. While I do hold great disdain for ANIPLEX's decision to only make this series twelve episodes long, I commend the producers for their conciseness of the story's telling. They have done a model job in fitting such a huge storyline into a single cour anime. Unfortunately, they producers were only able to vaguely explain the central ideas of the story, and not the story itself. With that said, even the fundamental time loop aspect of the story was completely glossed over. This, in turn, leads the anime more into the Slice of Life department than it should. Completely disregarding any source material, the anime didn't have much of an explicit depth.
"These things are all style and no substance!" -Momo's Classmate
The character art is fantastic, and perfectly matches the original PVs. SHAFT's usual habit for creating abstract and unrealistic scenes fits this anime like a glove. The art both exemplifies and understates different aspects of the physical world that surrounds the characters, giving the watcher a state of mind that perfectly matches the scene--fully intended by the producers.
Although small, the selection of background music is perfect for the anime. One particular track is played often, which produces a sensation of the hotness of summer and a feeling of isolation, mystery, and internal turmoil. Another track delivers a mood of lightheartedness and provides comic relief. Both the OP and ED, respectively "daze" and "days", are spectacular songs by Jin. The voice acting was well-done, too, although several characters had voices that I didn't particularly feel were fit for them. One downside of the anime, with respect to sound, is the rather poor quality of the song covers placed at the last scenes of certain episodes. The singing is sometimes unclear, and the lyrics are sometimes misinterpreted, which lead many to feel that it would be more fitting to use the original songs, or even some of the high quality covers sung by Utaite.
I'd give this category an eleven if I could. The progression of most episodes adheres well with the original songs. With ten main characters and twelve episodes, I'm thoroughly impressed that this anime was able to so deeply develop every one of them. Each character has unique traits, and they are all extravagantly developed. Despite the unusually high character to episode ratio, Mekakucity Actors has some of the best developed characters whom I've ever seen.
Perhaps it was an illusion. But I enjoyed Mekakucity Actors a little more than I should have. Kano's sheer awesomeness, Momo's complaints, Ene's snide remarks, and Kido's remotely tsundere qualities all complement the anime with some satisfying humor. No scene comes to mind when talking about these humorous moments, but I do remember feeling glad that I was watching the anime several times.
Mekakucity Actors was an utter mess. But I still enjoyed the watching the producers' attempts at interpreting such a profound storyline, while giving it a rather episodic nature. The progression of the plot was hard to follow, even for someone like me, who has spent years in admiration of the source material. Mekakucity Actors had fantastic character development and high sound quality. I would have given this anime a lower score overall, but the averages of the five said qualities justifies a score of 8/10. However, a large amount of the hype preceding the airing, due to the fanbase's enjoyment of the source material, was unqualified.
I came in this anime with low expectations, and I'm glad I did, otherwise I would have been so upset with the experience. But it wasn't all that bad, there were some good things that came along the way
Story: 5. It was supposed to be a 4 but since the plot was rather unique, I decided to add a point. I got the grasp of the entire story when I finished despite it being so messy , but in the end it's just super shallow. I didn't even get the whole of the story or the ultimate objective of the "Mekakushidan". They were trying
to find a way to bring back their loved ones or ganged together just because they were different? Either way I think most of the time they were just messing around.
I liked how the story was narrated through different aspects though, it was confusing at first but if you look at the whole picture, the story still came through. What upset me was that some plotpoints were just added in for the "cool" factor, in which I found very unnecessary and dragged. The whole story just turned out to be incredibly boring and meaningless to me.
Art : 7. It's SHAFT, I didn't expect exquisite art or ground breaking animation but the studio most definitely didn't manage to capture Shidu(the original illustrator)'s character designs. But I guess they were acceptable.
Sound: 8. One of the upper points of the series, in my opinion. The soundtrack was fairly nice, it interested me even though I'm not casually into original... uh... "Vocaloid" songs. Partly because I liked the different vibes in each songs(?) hahah, I don't know.
Characters: 6. There were barely any character development. The only one who managed to get some was the main character (Shintaro I believe) but the others are rather "nah". I thought the way most characters acted was just very unnatural and awkward, some stuff they did was just, again, to add in the "cool" factor and I'm just very turned-down by those kinds of things.
Despite all I've said I still managed to finish the anime and somewhat enjoyed it (7). It could have been so much better if executed well but it wasn't. I'd recommend it for people who like city hipsters and colorful, flashy characters and plotline, or maybe even slice-of-life lovers, but to those who seek stories with hardcore seriousness and a solid plot should stay faaaaar away.
As a fan of the source material and someone who was never confused as to what was going on throughout the entire anime, I love the story and I think it's one of the most interesting stories I've ever encountered. However, the anime doesn't portray it well and is often two minutes of explanation, ten minutes of characters derping, and twelve minutes of heartbreaking scenes that don't make sense to anyone other than people familiar with the source material. The ending, however, was incredibly rushed and almost completely lacked a resolution.
Art 2/10 and Sound 9/10
Normally I give the art and sound one rating,
however there was such a stark contrast in quality between the two that I just couldn't. The animation was horrendous. I liked the style itself and I thought it fight with the mood of the Kagerou Project, however I think that shaft took its simplicity and decided to be lazy because the style had flat shading. The backgrounds were pretty, but the characters themselves only looked good when the camera was focused on them, and even that was hit or miss. Examples: Kuroha and Marry looked like drug addicts in the last episode. The sound, however, as expected as Jin, was magnificent, although sometimes it didn't feel right for the scene.
One thing the show did well was its portrayal of the characters. They gave each character screen time, and tried to give each one their time to shine. However, they didn't focus for very long on any one character, which gave the show a rushed and jumpy feel.
No matter what shaft would have done with this, I probably would've enjoyed it. I'm so attached to all the characters and I find the story fascinating. However, SCREW. SHAFT. There. I said it. Shaft, you done f***ed up with this one. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great, and I will be mad at shaft for quite a while.
The distance between a good Anime and a bad Anime can be quite a long way to go...
Well, this anime is either of it. It doesn't try to be good, but it has proved; it's better than we might have expected.
Let's have a short and sexy overview; the plot is strange, complex, confusing, interesting, colourful,... yes, I think that's quite a good bunch of useful words to give a short description... ou, different - quite forgotten - might be the best one! And it's different indeed. But yet; different doesn't mean "bad". It's nice to see something new, something, that is not afraid at all
to present itself in a way different than we may have seen before. Undoubtedly, I believe many people will not like it because of all these things. However; the story is easier than we think: it explores all the events that happen around August 14/15th in which our protagoniste - kown as Mekakushi-Dan - find together.
Having said that, this leads us to another good point of the anime: we get to know a bunch of People and each of them has gotten his or her own qualities, skills and personality. You will either find at least one of them you like or dislike - but let me say, I loved following each of them on their personal way and getting through their past and experience. And we must know that each of them has a special ability hidden in their eyes and our young fellows are forced to deal with it.
What I feel stand out most is the art of the anime. It's pure. It reflects the emotions in a certain moment beautifully; furthermore, in a very abstract and strange way. But yet, it gives the anime this very special flair. And the sound does the rest!
The greatest flaw, however, is without a doubt its length: it's too short.
12 Episodes are not enough. It would have been a great benefit for the serie if it had at least 20 Episodes, so they could focus on giving us more details.
I can recommend the show, but only for those who enjoy staying focused while watching an anime of this kind. If you are a person who wants to give your brain a rest then however it's - sort of - my duty to say; you'd better stay away!
this show based off of vocaloid so the soundtrack is pretty amazing and it complements the tone and story. it also gives the show an exceptional introduction the tone of the show is a mix between serious somber and upbeat and this has to do with the way the story is told which is very hard one to follow as it jumps around.
the show has a single focal point and this is good as the show is only 12 episodes. the problem is that the show does not explain it at all until episode 9 so about 70% of the show is exposition by off
screen characters. now don't get me wrong the show definitely isn't bad but in order for it to receive anything higher than a 7 it has to have a season 2 or at the very least 1 more episode as it explains nothing after the main villain is defeated .before we move on to the conclusion its time for a little damage control i really did enjoy this show and do believe it has potential,
ok now that i have that out of the way
this show to me felt like a bunch of wasted potential to an otherwise spot on planning but the delivery wasn't that good but i would still definitely recommend this show but i cannot emphasize enough that it needs more episode(s).
This review could be biased since I read the manga, novels, and was a fan of the music before this anime came out. So I'll try to be as unbiased with these as possible, and only make small references to other things related to the Kegerou Project.
*Spoiler* Our protaginst Shintaro has been a neet shut-in for the past two years, ect. Basically it's basically the adventures of the Blindfold gang, or Mekaku Gang (I don't know what gang is in japanese.) Anyway I thought the story was pretty good. I liked how they had covers of the original songs in each episode. (Go Lost
Time Memory!) However this series was based off of a 20ish song series each song being like 5 minutes each. They have a novel with 4+ novels, and manga with 20ish chapter (it's monthly.) Have the whole story fit into only twelve episodes made it rushed in comparision to the other media. (Kinda like Dangan Ronpa's animation.) I also felt some of the mixture between the songs events, and anime events made things awkward. Like Imagination's Forest's song things where Seto showed Marry the Ipod really awkwardly. Also there was no Konoha's state of the world song! Plus a major plot whole, and several things unexplained like what happened to everyone stuck in the Daze, and why was Ayano able to make it out of the daze since they mentioned in other media that two people go in one goes out. Is Ayano a exception, or was the death of several character's meaningless?
I love the people who did the art for this. They also do the Montagaria, or whatever series. I watched Montagaria souly for the art, and Renei Circulation. Anyway like with the other shows these people made they have the same random pose things. I like random poses so this was awesome!
Since this whole series takes place in one day I don't think the character's were developed well. Like we don't know much about Konoha, Seto, and Shintaro (main character?!) Also Mary acted like they were all best friends after a single day... Yeah she's niave, but still everyone else did too!
As a fan of the series I can't find it in me to hate it. Yes there's plot wholes, lack of character development, and it was rushed, but it was still a pretty good show, and I think anyone who likes unique, and interesting things should watch it.
I just randomly watched this anime and had to notice it really had a lot to it. With deep characters and a diverse storyline dotted with hints to the actual backgroundstory it keeps you watching it.
The background music is quite moving as is the art style, since it allows for an easy distinguishing of characters and also supports the feeling this anime shall transmit. Yet, it is not boring as one might think with a strong focus on interpersonal relationsships, but actually keeps you thrilled with humour and action.
I gave it a ten for one of the best examples of interplay between art, music, general
mood and story that i have seen yet.
(warning: this is slightly long. If you wanna read something grab to munch on or drink while reading)
If you either watch Anime regularly, or at least dappled into its online world; chance are, you have heard of Vocaloid or seen its icon, Hatsune Miku. One of the biggest confusions that I faced when first entering the online world was that whether Vocaloid was a show or not.
And it turns out, it isn't; and instead, it is a popular program used to create artificial voice to sing and much more. With a devoted fanbase promoting its artworks all over the web, it is one of
the most recognizable icons of the Anime online culture.
Naturally, I was consistently interested in what would happen if a show were made out "Vocaloid," or any of the alike franchises; even though I was not a regular listener of any of the artists that use the program.
In 2013, when it was announced that "Kagerou Project," a series of songs created by Jin(Musician) will be animated by Studio SHAFT - a studio known for its unique style - it was an exciting thing. Although I knew nothing about it aside from its success, I was hyped to see just what kind of a show a Song series could produce.
But the result, was also one of the most disappointing. In this review I will review several aspect of the show, and suggest whether you should watch it based on the criterial.
One of the more important things of Anime with a story to tell is how it handles its pacing.
The allocation of its episodes and what happens in them, and the handling of the pacing was probably the most disastrous aspect of the series.
The story starts with an ambiguous tone of playful interactions between the cyber-girl Ene and her "master" Shintaro, then it quickly delved into a hostage situation, which brought about the Mekakushi-dan, a group of supernatural ability users. Then, the story uses an arc pattern to advance each episode, with each character given about 1 episode of time for their background story.
Several placements of important story aspects resulted in ineffective communication. For example, Ayano's appearance in the beginning of a few episodes was brief and abstract, followed by the story shifting ina radically different direction, making it hard to remember that she was even there. Then there is the "story of the monster," a segment placed in the end of each episode telling a story in a abstract, fairy-tale slideshow manner. That story was one of the most important aspect of the series, but it was placed AFTER the ending theme, resulting in it easily being skipped. Another problem came along the monster story seems to be the abilities themselves. They were never fully explained in the early stages of the series, and thus had to be fastly explained near the ending.
Secondly, much of the character arcs were taken up by humorous interactions. Which is in most cases, fine and important for developing believable relations between characters. But due to the slow pace of the series, the humorous interaction defocused the story from the plot and resulted in a large infodump around the end of the series, showing its poor allocation. Some inappropriate interactions, such as the battle between Ene and Kano did more to detract the mood rather than anything else. Though it is noted, some of the light hearted moments were truly entertaining to watch.
Third, some of the more important characters were ignored/not given an arc/had a counterproductive airtime. Marry, an important character to the "monster story" was virtually not given any background information until near the end of the story. Seto also came off as boring and rather forced into relevancy due to him hardly given any memorable lines in the show, and the nature of his meeting with Marry. And Shintaro just spends his time roaming around most of the series, hardly interacting with the rest of the Mekakushi-dan. More important, Hiyori, whose character displayed a fowl mouth towards Hibiya that would make one less sympathetic towards her and puzzling to those that wonder why in the world did Hibiya like her.
The conclusion: the Cohesion is a jumbled mess that does not focus on the story that the series ends up centering around, and added with poorly placed foreshadowing and detracting character interaction makes the series hard to comprehend, and resulted in a condensed ending that shows poor pacing.
Coming from Studio Shaft, the series is animated with a focus on the main characters in a simplified, Metro style artwork(Just as the popular Monogatari series has). Most of the world is simplified into single colors filling a shape, such as the background characters. But that doesn't stop it from having complex artwork, such as the ink-drawn detailed animation that Ayano's mother's diary received, and the video game world with the complex colors.
The animation isn't very fluid - that is not to say it is clunky - but it follows the Shaft style. Examples such as slowly zooming up to a character's face as he/she talks, sudden cut-scenes within seconds. Some poor choices were made such as using CGI to animate the infamous episode 8 opening, but all in all, it was mostly stylistic.
However, a cost also came to the unique animation that Studio Shaft offered. Most of the dialogue exchanges were uncomplicated, unlike that of the Monogatari series'. In fact, there series dialogue was so uncomplicated, that at times it felt boring to watch the uniform landscape. Another problem was the character designs, they at times, felt too simplified as well, and lacked the finished touch of some of other Shaft's works.
In short, there is a wide variety of animation style in a generally flat design of the scenaries, but at times, it could feel boring, with the combination of its next aspect.
Most of the episodes were named after the Songs themselves made by Jin, and were at times inserted into the episodes. However, in the first half of the series, a noticeable flaw was the lack of background music(BGM). This, combined with the simplified visuals, made a boring experience to watch as ill-developed characters interact with each other, while not exchanging anything particular interesting. The songs and OP/ED are all fine, especially if you are already a fan of the Kagerou Project. For the most part, the Sound does a suitable job.
The character is composed of a relative large central cast(10), as did Baccano and Durarara. Where the latter 2 series handled their character development and interaction with mastery, Mekakucity Actors did not. Due to time restraints, some characters were left feeling dull such as Marry and Seto's, and others would likely confuse you as to whether you should feel sorry about or not(Hiyori).
While Shintaro and the Dan's interactions was handled fine, there was a sense of purposelessness at the end of the series to him being the central character; their interactions almost felt like they had no reason to exist, and calls in question whether he is the protagonist or not.
The villain is even weaker. Until episode 10, there wasn't even a clear villain.
Moreover, the villain's motivations were weak and cliched, weakening the story(and the poorly explained abilities).
Some characters' feelings did not resonate nearly as much as they would with the Kagerou Project songs, such as Haruka's feeling of loneliness. Most of the characters, all in all, came off as unmemorable and weak(possibly due to time constraints and allocation).
This was an interesting attempt to translate popular works of songs into animation. Some of the other successful franchises, such as Black Rocket Shooter, Vocaloid, Touhou franchise, and the Kantai Collection, in my postulation, mained garnered such a large fandom thanks to the non-linear nature of their franchises. Most of the characters were simply nice designs, with plenty of room for the viewer's personal interpretation of the character, resulting in the plethora of fanarts that can be found across Pixiv.
Mekakucity Project failed to live up to the expectations of fans mainly due to its poor explanation of abilities as well as the background for the finale of the story, the constrained timeline, the poorly presented characters and the lack of some, the combination of simplified animation and lack of engaging BGM during some of the isolated scenes across the series, resulting in a poorly produced, and apparently rushed anime.
But it is still watchable for those interested in the characters themselves mostly, and would like to see them interacting together, as well as the modern animation style of Studio Shaft along with some quality Kagerou Project songs. For the average viewer, this could be a fresh approach to Anime.
I've been a fan of Kagerou Project for quiet a while, so I was very excited when the anime aired and literally followed the series every week.
The story in the anime can get pretty confusing; I suppose it's because there are actually so much to cover but so little time. Though, if you have been following the main project-- you'd be able to understand more of the story. Still, I think the story's progressing too fast and it got me pretty confused.
The art is not very pleasing, in my opinion. Though it is fine. The art looks pretty stiff and simple. So does
the animations. Thus, I'm giving it a 7.
The sound is decent. The voice actors look so natural and pro at voicing their characters. And the BGM are pretty fine. But it could be better.
Well, I guess my rating describes how I think about the characters. They are great and wonderfully pictured.
There are plenty of actions and humors that can dis-bore me from watching. That's why I pretty enjoy it. I could just be very bored by the anime and snap! The next thing I know I'm laughing or fangirling.
First, I'd like to say that I'm a big fan of this series and I'm trying my best not to be biased.
Story - 3/10
Quite possibly the worst aspect, in my opinion, is the story. From the first episode, Mekakucity Actors (MCA) feels extremely rushed, the exposition thrown at the viewer may be hard to catch on the first viewing and , and nothing really happens until episode 9. I can imagine it can be really confusing to some viewers, and may choose to drop it rather quickly. However, on some forums that I frequent, I've seen that some viewers find joy
in the mystery aspect of the anime's story. For individuals who have read the manga, novels/ watched the PVs you will most likely be very annoyed by the storyline. Many of the facts which were stated within the universe are broken, and there was some obvious retconning which occured to make the story less tragic.
Art - 4/10
When I heard SHAFT was doing the art for MCA, I was ecstatic. I thought the anime would have looked absolutely amazing. As shown by my score for the art, I was extremely disappointed. In many of the scenes that took place within a character's conversation or within the city, the backgrounds were simple, boring and really distracting. There was the odd scene where they showed some really good metaphorical art, and beautiful scenes, however these were mostly present during times when they played the original songs that Jin had written. However there was a scene where use of a 3D modelling system was used, most likely in a rushed attempt to finish it, or maybe because the artist thought it would be artistic, but either way it was was a bit weird as it felt really detached from the anime's art style. For all the bad however, there is some good; A lot of the times the Character Art was extremely well done, and was almost as good as Monogatari's character art, most of the time.
Sound - 9/10
As said before, I am a big fan of this series and as such I really enjoy the original songs which initially ignited the beginning of this story. I honestly have to say, I was blown away by the music. Instead of using a vocaloid to perform the song, they hired professional singers, and boy was it worth it. The singers breathed life into the songs which I thought I had heard many times before, and brought with it a different yet added feeling to the songs. I don't particularly remember any of the background music, but I guess that gives you an idea of any if it were there, isn't really notable, doesn't produce much feeling (which is why I dropped it down to 9). The extremely enjoyed the work of the voice actors and thought they performed their characters really well.
Character - 5/10
The most consistent aspect of the show, was the portrayal and explanations of the characters. The producers were able to explain the basic aspects of each character, their backgrounds, and kept the characters consistent to what that character would actually do in that situation. All of the characters felt different and each had their good side and bad side (Also as I said earlier, some things were retconned from Jin's original work, so this may piss off some of the fans who have been with the characters since the PVs). I really enjoyed the work of the VAs and thought they suited their characters really well.
Enjoyment - 8/10
Whilst there were a lot of bad aspects to the show, I believe that the good shines brighter than the bad, and for some reason it was able to keep me enthralled week after week after week. I guess I just really enjoyed the feeling of the anime, and truly felt pleasant to watch.
Overall - 6/10
In conclusion, I'd say that the problems this anime faced was a rushed schedule and not enough episodes to properly convey the story, given these things, I feel like the anime could have been a huge success and more enjoyable that it has already been. However bad the anime seems, it's a useful tool for any of the dedicated fans of the series, as it helps explain the links between the PVs, characters and helped to explain how the members of the Mekakushi Dan ended their tale (and if you don't like the retconning, then just disregard it and wait for the manga to end).
I'd recommend anyone who enjoyed this series to check out the manga and PVs as you might enjoy those too!