Poor Shinichirou Asano has the worst of luck. His parents abandoned him and ran off to Europe. If that isn't bad enough on its own, they barely left him any money to take care of himself. In order to pay rent and keep a roof over his head, he has to work. Unfortunately, he was just fired from his last job and as a high school student, he doesn't have many other prospects.
One evening, he's attacked by a centipede monster on his way home. Shinichirou is saved by a mysterious girl with a bow and arrow, who he later discovers is Sakuya Shimazu, a beautiful student who attends his school. But when he later helps an injured girl, he discovers two things. First, the injured girl isn't human at all but rather a nekomata, a two-tailed demon cat. And second, Sakuya comes from a family of exorcists, who've protected humanity from rogue monsters and spirits for generations. Because Shinichirou was responsible for releasing the nekomata, Sakuya enlists his help in recapturing the demon, but that's just the beginning of Shinichirou's relationship with Sakuya. It turns out the Shimazu family needs a housekeeper and it just so happens that Shinichirou excels at cooking and likes to clean! It may not be his dream job, but if it pays the rent and puts food on the table...
What's up MAL community, here I am bringing you another review about how bad something is. Seriously this one deserves a bad review.
Isuca is quite possibly the worst anime I have ever seen like of all time. I know my review of Absolute Duo painted that series as bad but this one makes that show look like a masterpiece.
By now you all probably know what this show is about thanks to the effort of those who actually tried to write a review without wanting to puke so I won't get into the details, I'm just going to tell you why you shouldn't bother.
The story seems like it is nothing but recycled retools of series that already exist and is mashed together into one anime that is supposed to make you appreciate the verse. Take Kekkaishi, elements of supernatural harems like DxD or Shinmai (and I make this comparison very loosely), the importance of kissing like from Sekirei and gore that doesn't make sense as to why it is censored and that is basically Isuca in a nutshell with a shotty plot. But really, there is no story.
Art - 4
The art manages to skate by but only so much as to make this tragedy only slightly visually appearing.
Sound - 5
The soundtrack is okay but there isn't really anything in terms of sound that makes this anime even remotely memorable
Character - 1
The main heroine is supposed to be some head of a clan but she takes so much shit for just existing that you wonder why she doesn't just tell everyone to off themselves. The main male is like a super hesitant dense ass fuck with no balls and he seems completely useless unless he becomes a plot device. There is no real character growth either so the characters pretty much stay the same throughout. Also, there is like a copy of Origami from Date A Live in this series: emotionless and ready to rape the MC at any moment she can but ironically is like the best character to me.
Enjoyment - 1
If I remotely enjoyed this series, it lasted for a solid second.
Overall - 1
A harem that isn't really a harem that has no real substance for a story and makes you question why money was wasted on something like this. Isuca is the worst anime of 2015 and watching makes you want to drill a nail in your head or something. All in all, do not waste your time.
"Masterpiece" is what I would describe anything else compared to Isuca. I felt like the time I wasted watching this show was better off watching paint dry or some other nonsense I could come up with. This is something you need to stay away from. The writing will make you cringe because of how cheesy it is, the animation is horrid, and characters are just disgraceful and pathetic.
Story (2/10): The plot is nonsensical and downright redundant. It had the grounds to be a somewhat decent plot, yet all their creativity was used to instead put the main character in ridiculous and perverted situations. The
story itself was easy to follow, it wasn't a jumbled mess, but rather the plot was executed so poorly that you just seem to lose all interest.
Art/Sound (3/10): The Animation was pathetic, just by the opening of how Asano pulls out his sword, you instantly know that the animation would be jagged. If I were to give this show any props it would be the animation. That just means that's how high the standard would ever be, in the lowly disappointing range. The sound was equally as bad. The OST was dead to me, none of it even clicked while I was watching this show. That could also just be that my brain was working so hard to understand why I was wasting my time on something as horrendous as this.
Character (3/10): Instead of giving you an in depth analysis of each characters, just take all the generic harems you've ever watched, and remember how those specific characters were. Chances are they are infinitely better than any character this show has to offer. There is one character though that stuck to me like a leach, and that was Tamako. I could write an entire essay and you still would not be able to fully grasp my frustration about this character. I love cat girls as much as the next guy, but this is someone that will annoy you to no end.
Enjoyment (0/10) - Usually, to escape the harsh realities of doing work or anything productive for that matter, I go and watch anime. This show made me want to write a 10 page thesis on how grass grows. The only reason I did not drop this show is due to the fact that I'm a completionist and it would bother me that I wasn't able to finish it. In the end it was sheer willpower that kept me going. If you do want to suffer and watch this show, I recommend that you lower your expectations and your brain capacity to the point where anything can be considered interesting. That is the only way to finish this disaster.
Overall (2/10): As I stated before, you will find it more intriguing to watch paint dry. Go outside or take a bath, just stay away from this show. It might be good if you're into the Ecchi genre, but why bother? I'm willing to bet that a Hentai out there has a better plot, character, animation, etc.
(This has been adapted from my blog/reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
Many people growing up, at one point or another, encounter a situation in which they have to “prove their worth.” Sometimes it’s small, like performing well on the job to earn a raise. Sometimes it’s huge, like saving someone from a fatal accident. But no matter the severity or the situation, accomplishing such a moment makes that guy or girl grow into an overall better person. And even if they don’t achieve their goal, the experience earned gives them the necessary tools to hopefully make that next opportunity one that’s more positive than the last. Isuca
tries to work with this heartfelt message, but it turns out it can’t prove its worth since it’s worth nothing to begin with.
Isuca follows Shinichirou Asano, a young high school boy who happens to cross paths with a girl named Sakuya Shimazu. Through a series of events, it’s revealed that Shinichirou has the ability to give others spiritual energy through kissing and that Isuca fights demons, leading the two on a quest of self-worth.
Where does one begin? Isuca has far and away one of the worst narratives ever conceived in anime form. One of theseveral reasons for this is the show’s inability to carry its drama or plot points from one episode to the next. Most anime have either one overarching story that covers the events that take place, a few arcs that hold relevancy between them, or a series of literal episodic tales. Isuca’s initial downfall is trying to mix these all together. The overarching story makes absolutely zero sense because it goes all over the place. Sakuya has daddy issues, her extended family is looking to out her, her cousin is vying for her leader position; there are so many small ideas at play that never seem to resolve, let alone go anywhere worthwhile. What’s worse is that the show even refuses to utilize its own, established plot points. The two largest grievances are the ending and Sakuya’s “true name.” The former leaves everything open, causing one to come to the realization that nothing happened besides our two main characters coming together. The latter isn’t even used; “Isuca” is Sakuya’s “true name,” which allows her to be controlled by the person who knows it. But it’s used one time and referenced once after the initial discovery. If the anime is given its title by such a device, one would think that it would hold some modicum of importance. But no, Isuca stunningly avoids its own namesake.
The problems continue when looking at each individual episode, rather than the entirety of the series. There are essentially three issues here: the lack of “cause and effect,” the monster formula, and the fan-service. Starting with the largest problem of the three, Isuca, like its total narrative, doesn’t do anything with what happens between episodes. In essence, each episode acts as its own arc, with whatever events that happen to take place in one episode not transitioning to the next (with the exception of the last two episodes). In other words, Isuca tries to tell ninedifferent “stories” at once. But due to their inability to affect one another, it comes off as completely incoherent. These “stories,” though, don’t even stand by themselves. Each becomes a “monster-of-the-week” style, which can be fine if executed nicely. Except here, the exact same events take place: group shows up, Isuca can never defeat the demon, and Shinichirou kisses her to give the energy needed to win. It’s repetitive and pointless. And just to add insult to injury, the fan-service is incredibly weak when it is relied upon. Like the formula, fan-service isn’t automatically bad if it’s done right. But here, not only is it censored at every turn but what is given – dissolving clothes, some underwear shots, a few breasts, etc. – lacks originality, is always lame, and often unattractive to see.
The only “theme” Isuca tries to work with is the one presented in the introduction: “proving one’s worth” to better their person. Besides being lost among the disjointed storytelling and horrible fan-service, it doesn’t make sense. Sakuya wants to demonstrate her powers to both her cousin and the rest of her family due to her “outcast” status and due to her currently holding the top spot. But hearkening back to the repetitive formula, Sakuya always needs Shinichirou’s help – his literal “kiss of life.” That is, she never has the opportunity to “prove her worth” to anyone let alone herself because Shinichirou’s always the one to do the saving. And even when she does get the chance, she’sforbidden from trying her tactics again. The anime literally prevents its own theme from being looked at in favor of the couple kissing one another intermittently. Based on this and the long list of negatives, Isuca’s narrative, simply put, has no redeeming qualities with which to speak of.
Isuca doesn’t continue its downward spiral, because that would imply that it started off rather high. Instead, the show began digging its own grave, with the hole steadily getting deeper the further one goes.
Isuca’s art is as bland as it looks. The locations visited are often devoid of detail, taking on a dreary persona to match the “evil” atmosphere that is generated. Prominently, the show takes place at Sakuya’s mansion, the school, and at random locations that hold no relevancy. Despite being a mansion, it seems to “only” have two rooms: the living room and the kitchen, because nothing else is shown. As for the school, it’s as generic looking as any other. Beyond this, the camera direction isn’t anything to marvel at and everyone involved has an extremely limited set of moves to use – Suseri, Sakuya’s cousin, seems to use one move for the majority of the anime – which brings about less variation and therefore style.
As if it needs to be said, the character designs are rather poor. The only notable person is Sakuya; her long blonde hair, red, blue, and gold outfit, her hair ribbon, and especially her striking green eyes help her to stand out in a sea of mediocrity. The rest of the cast is found in this sea: Shinichirou is painfully plain, Suseri has abnormally large breasts along with her ridiculous haircut, and the evil mage wears all white while touting a silly witch’s staff.
And when the show tries to make everything move, it fails at doing so. A lot of the action that takes place isn’t so much action as it is cardboard cutouts moving across the screen. At most, you’ll see a few arrows flying here and a ferret twirling there, but that’s the extent to which Isuca sees actual animation. In most other cases, the characters are standing around, talking to one another with their poorly detailed designs and their generic backgrounds.
Isuca’s grave-digging continues with its cast, where there is nobody of consequence or purpose when the series concludes, let alone while it is progressing.
The extent of Sakuya’s characterization is so minimal, that’s it’s surprising that she was given one of the top spots within the anime. Her dialogue consists of mainly two phrases: “Shinichirou!” and “Shut up!” Often times, they’re used in tandem. But regardless of when or how many times they are used, that’s it. There is some information given in regards to her father and mother whose marriage apparently ostracized Sakuya when she was smaller. But her plight doesn’t contain any sense of drama due to the aforementioned show’s inability to resolve anything. Conflicts such as Suseri’s quarreling, the rest of the family’s objections, and whoever her father actually is do not amount to anything, therefore making her character’s “development” hold no weight. And many of Sakuya’s issues are directlycaused by her own personality; she’s incredibly standoffish, rude, and angry towards others. This is most likely due to her outing from an early age and her need to, as has been discussed, “prove her worth” in front of everyone. She acts immature and only opens up to Shinichirou very slightly. But not only is it not enough to warrant importance but it holds no relevancy to the issues surrounding her, making her character absolutely useless.
Speaking of Shinichirou, he’s arguably the “best” character within the anime for the simple reason that he’s the most normal. While he has this odd ability to give others spiritual energy, in relation to everyone’s arrows, spells, and dolls, from the outside he seems like any regular dude. He isn’t overpowered, he isn’t interesting, and he isn’t there for any other reason than he’s “a nice guy.” He starts off this way and ends this way, without undergoing any sort of development over the course of the show. He’s relatable because he’s grounded to reality. Yet, without a quirk of his own or experiencing any sort of change throughout the anime, he’s unbelievably stagnant as a character. There’s almost nothing too say about him because he’s so simple of a person.
And regardless of who else you look at, they’re as equally useless or so insignificant that there’s next to nothing to say about any of them. Tamako’s development happens over the course of ten minutes within the first episode, from somewhat evil to obsessively servant-like. Suseri’s emotionless ways prevent her from interacting with any of the characters in a meaningful manner. Nadeshiko, the professor, acts as Sakuya’s pseudo-mother and only provides assistance near the end of the anime, and even then she contributes nothing whatsoever. And the “evil” Isuca harbors some unexplained hatred towards Sakuya and her family – it’s hinted at, but without any clear indication or investigation to her character besides her showing up, performing magic, and shouting a lot, the audience doesn’t learn anything about her besides her one-dimensional despising. The entire cast, from Isuca to Isuca, is an amalgamation of horribleness that clearly indicates the anime’s total ineptitude.
At this point, the grave is filled and the tombstone is being rolled in.
Both the opening and ending themes are generic beyond imagining and contribute nothing to the show’s overall purpose. The OP is named “Never Say Never.” It’s supposed to be about Sakuya and the others never giving up on the problems they face, but it’s drowned out by the simple beat and loud sound effects. And when listening to the ED, it’s supposed to be this “cool” arrangement. But with Isuca’s “mustache” being funny due to how silly it is, and the rest of the track’s unmemorable tone and singing, it isn’t cool but in fact lame.
The rest of the soundtrack is simply there as background filler. There exist “fun” tracks during the naked, fan-service moments, battle-hardened pieces that accompany the “action” that takes place, and tense music that plays when dealing with the demons. But in similar fashion to the OP and ED, it’s either extremely generic or entirely forgettable.
Likewise, the voice-acting involved is somewhere below average, with no special shout-outs to be had.
This anime is astonishing in its capability to fall flat at whatever it is that it’s doing. The show tries to be funny, but it isn’t. As already mentioned, the fan-service is deplorable, with no amount of kissing being able to save it. The fighting that occurs against the demons is boring, the dramatic moments are a slog, the characters are worthless, the execution is nonexistent, the music is insanely not worth listening to, and the narrative is so bad that’s a phenomenon that it managed to have as many episodes as it did in the first place.
While nobody attended Isuca’s own funeral, here’s what its headstone reads: “Here lies Isuca, one of the worst anime of all time.”
Story: Terrible, incoherent plot, unresolved ideas, repetitive in nature, uninspired fan-service, and self-inflicted thematic loss
Animation: Terrible, bad art style, ridiculous character designs, below average actual animation
Characters: Terrible, nobody is worthwhile or developed in the slightest
Sound: Terrible, bad OP, bad ED, forgettable soundtrack, below average VA work
Enjoyment: Terrible, not comedic, not dramatic, not fun, with nothing of value being found
Anime adaptations of manga or light novels make up most of what one would see in any given anime season. With these adaptations, several results can appear. 1. A series will get a perfect adaptation of the source material and get good feedback. 2. A series can resemble the source material to the extent of its being still good. 3. Screw the source material, just do whatever you want, and reap what you sow. Isuca...follows choice #3.
Story (5.00/10): The story of Isuca follows a boy named Shinichiro, a boy who wishes to seek out a part-time job
in order to unburden his family to a certain degree by supporting himself. Upon asking one of his teachers for a job, he then gets assigned a housekeeping job for a household that is more of a pigsty than anything. It is here where he meets Sakuya, the owner of the house, sending him into the world of Youkai, magic, and spirits in a job where he never gets paid.
At first glance, Isuca does have some promising things to be had. Utilizing the fish out of water style of storytelling with our main protagonist being thrown into an unknown situation, one could expect something decent, right? Well, not really. To put it bluntly, Isuca fails to do the thing that all anime adaptations are meant to do upon creation, follow the source material. Having read the actual Isuca manga, this 10 episode crapfest fails to even resemble the series that it was based off to any sort of degree aside from pointing out the more important points in the series.
The entire show can basically be summed up like so. A random, evil Youkai threatens the city, people, sometimes many people die in a horrible fashion, the main female protagonist bitches about having to do things herself even when she clearly can't do anything alone, defeat the youkai after lots of hardship and refusal, evil troll villain laughs at the main characters and leaves without doing anything, scene. Rather than building upon the actual story of the series, this anime adaptation follows a more episodic style of storytelling which really doesn't work at all simply because every episode is more or less the same thing without any variation. It's pretty much just different Youkai attacking our main characters every episode with little to no plot progression. And that right there is just the beginning of this show's problems.
In addition, the series fails to tie up any loose ends. As far as I'm aware, an anime that is only 10 episodes long either fails, or does not do well simply because of the lack of time. Isuca follows this awful tradition by not being able to solve any of the series's issues. Because the series tried to slowly feed in a plotline that requires answers, Isuca failed to really explain what exactly was going on in the series. We're hinted at who the main antagonist of the series is, but we don't actually get to know or learn who he is. There is no character explanation for that, and that really drives home how bad of a series this is.
Overall, Isuca was a shining example how not to create an anime adaptation. Aside from not following the plotline of the original series and going off to do whatever it wanted, Isuca didn't really end on a note that was satisfying. It doesn't solve any questions, it doesn't resolve anything, and the series just kinda...ends without really anything happening.
+ Good story idea (This was the reason I got into this series in the first place)
- Awful execution
- Too many loose ends
- resembles little to the source material
Characters (3.49/10): While the story itself was something that left to be desired, the characters of this series simply just BEG to be criticized.
First up, Sakuya Shimazu. Oh boy...another tsundere, short, flat-chested girl. I totally haven't seen that before... Moving on, Sakuya is the title character of this series, (which really should be a red flag), who is both Shinichiro's boss as her house is the one being cleaned, and classmate. As someone who is part of the Shimazu family, Sakuya has the ability to utilize a magical bow in order to perform exorcisms, essentially having the Youkai who wander around the world "pass on" as they say. While a main female of a tsundere troupe is something that we've seen again, and again, and again, Sakuya manages to break that in the WORST WAY POSSIBLE. Compared to other tsundere characters, Sakuya manages to lean towards a tsuntsun personality, where she simply just doesn't show any soft side. Any time she's in a fight, she does whatever she wants without any word or warning, and pays the price for going off alone recklessly. It is with this unbreakable will of hers that comes off a character that is much hated by fans of the series because she lacks any sort of common sense and treats everyone as someone who is below her. In fact, even the characters hate her, with practically every character pointing out her flaws time and time again in the series. You know that whenever other characters point out one character's awful personality, he/she is an awful person.
And then we have Shinichiro, the fish out of water character in this story. As someone who throws himself into the world of exorcisms, Shinichiro makes out to be the nice guy troupe, earning dokis from some girls in the series, while also not really having a personality to himself. The entire series, Shinichiro plays the chivalry card, demanding that he protect and help Sakuya throughout the entire run of the series. (Honestly, I don't get how he can do that given how she treats him. It's like a slave pact in that household.) He throws himself into the same situations as Sakuya, making himself to look like a "hero" of sorts while also not really doing anything cause he can't use magic. So, useless MC.
Apart from these two, the rest of cast show themselves to not only be more interesting than the main characters, but more developed in some sense. The biggest example is Suseri as the series progresses with the slight character development that pushes her to be overall, a better character. While side characters didn't really serve much of a purpose beyond being "the crew" that aided the main protagonists, they were still overall, much more likable than the main cast. (A couple great characters, particularly the grandmother were never really used, and that really sucks for this series.)
But the real killer I felt for the series aside from the demon spawn that is Sakuya, is the main antagonist of the series. For one thing, the true main antagonist never really shows up. This really puts a big hit on the series because as the audience, we don't really understand the goals of the antagonist or why he's doing anything. Hell, we don't even know his name. Instead though, we get a character known only as Isuca as the "main antagonist". (And no, while her name is the title of this show, she is not really a main character.) The entire series more or less revolves around Isuca's antics as she sends random Youkai to attack people, swearing vengeance on the humans that she hates so much, a fact that you will never forget because she spouts out that shtick every 30 seconds of screentime. Long story short, the antagonists are very underdeveloped and their motives are never learned, thus leading to the massive plot holes that are left by the end of the series.
+ Decent side characters
- Completely unlikable main female
- Generic MC
- Antagonists are underdeveloped without any real character motives
Art and Sound (5.55/10 and 4.98/10): The art for Isuca was made by studio Arms, the same company who produced Elfen Lied, and Brynhildr in the Darkness. The art for Iscua really is nothing all that special. The animation quality is subpar at best, so there's not really many things to say positively about it because of that. What I can say is that the art does waver HEAVILY. Depending on the background for the series, Iscua's artsyle wavers to the extent of it almost being on completely different spectrums. When the show goes into daytime, it's fine, although a little meh at times. But whenever the scene turns to night, the animation quality dips VERY quickly to the point of it having the same kind of quality from anime a decade back. It is because of this that even the art for the series didn't impress me, but that wasn't all, oh no, we're just getting started.
In addition to the artstyle, Isuca adds in a couple of things not existent in the original series to make the show just a bit more ridiculous visually. Those things are, blood and gore, and censor bars. First off, the blood and gore. It's hilarious. Because Isuca was changed so that random Youkai kill people, the Youkai well, kill people and they kill people in an Elfen Lied way, where massive spurts of blood come out like a fountain from dead corpses. Personally, I found this unneeded because it made the scenes that they were tied to kind of meh. It didn't really add anything to the series because the only people getting killed were extras that we the viewers didn't really care for. In addition, Iscua hosts a brand of censorship that is reminiscent of Terra Formers, with random flashes of light, or simply just a big black dot to cover up any breast or nether region that the series added in cause the actual Isuca admittedly, does actually have scenes like this. The censorship is ridiculous, and it would've been better to not even strip the clothes off of the characters because it's so glaringly obvious as to what they were trying to do. (Like seriously, a big black dot is just going to be more distracting.)
The soundtrack of this series wasn't anything particularly memorable. Nothing stood out, and it was all rather meh in the grand scheme of things. (Though, I don't understand the approach of having Sakuya put on a moustache. What was the point of that?)
+/- Meh art
- Animation quality wavered heavily
- Unnecessary gore
- Censorship actually took away from the show
- Forgettable soundtrack
Personal Enjoyment (3.50/10): When I first read up the Isuca series, I was rather intrigued by what could come from this. While my expectations of the series after reading the manga were somewhat crushed on account of the 10 episode runtime, I never really expected anything quite like this...
Did I like this anime?
No. Plain and simple, this adaptation failed in every sense of the word. It failed to capture anything that Isuca as a series had, it missed a lot of details in its storyline, and overall, just didn't sit well with me.
What didn't I like about this anime?
Really though, I'd say this entire series is put to blame. 10 episodes have never been a good amount of time to make a complete series out of, so there were always bound to be mistakes. As for what we did get, there wasn't one point where I was happy about the way things turned out, (except for the Suseri episode) and I was unsatisfied with the approach that this series took. While source material is something that an anime can deviate from, there is a certain degree as to how far away a series should be in from said source material. Cause honestly, Isuca the manga, and Isuca the anime, are two completely different creatures. Plus, Shinichiro, while does his job, doesn't EVER get paid. He even points this out himself!
Would I recommend this anime?
No. Isuca should be regarded as an anime that is a waste of time. There is nothing proprietary about this series other than how genuinely horrible it is. Above not following the actual story, having plot holes, and a really unlikable main girl, the aesthetics for the series are average at best and there's nothing significant that this show has to show for. In the end though, Isuca is a failure of an anime adaptation, making itself to be a show that has zero redeeming qualities on account of everything being less than sub-par.