Shion no Ou follows the story of Yasuoka Shion, a 13-year-old Shougi player with a past of tragedy. Shion's parents were brutally murdered in front of her when she was 5 years old. The murderer sat down with her and challenged her to a game of Shougi, after telling her that if she wanted to stay alive she should forget how to speak, and forget what happened that night.
Now Shion has entered the realm of female pro Kishi, mute but strong. As her playing gathers more and more attention, so do the questions about her past and the brutal murder she witnessed. Shion's memories slowly come back, and the mystery begins to unravel, thread by thread.
Story: 9 (Shougi connected to a crime mystery is impressive)
Art: 7 (Good quality for today's standards)
Sound: 9 (The way Shion moves Shougi pieces is sexy)
Character: 8 (If you find a way to hate Shion, you're going to hell)
Enjoyment: 8 (Very good from beginning to end)
Overall: 41/50 = 8.2 (Serious sports anime are a rare find )
Shion no Ou was a fairly fun take on the game of Shougi. It could easily have taken the tired and true route by just making this a shounen sports title with an emphasis on comedy. But instead, they manage to make this quite an involving story
concerning dead parents, corporate undermining, a mute loli, and a sexy trap. Sounds pretty ridiculous for a show centered around Shougi.
But I'll be damned if I didn't love every minute of this show. A great draw to this show is that if you know anything about Shougi or not, you can still have a very inquisitive experience with all the mystery and drama stored in this lovely little 22 episode show. It paces itself perfectly and keeps the Shougi games very intense and thought provoking. Granted many things get left out during the games but once you're used to the terminology, you'll feel like you're right there watching the match. Also, for an anime about shougi, its pretty G-darn bloody.
The high definition aspect the the art and animation wasn't used to its full potential but what can you expect. Everything looks crisp and clear, but at the same time it has a feel of simple and plain. Don't get me wrong, there are amazing details thanks to the high definition aspect, but it looked like they preferred to keep most things simple and settings limited. I mean theres only so many changes you can do to a shouji room and some matches last longer than one episode. The only things that changed constantly were the characters.
It's hard to talk about sound effects in this day and age considering its pretty tough to critique such a simple (yet essential) part of anime. All I'm going to say is that I was shocked when I actually appreciated the crisp sound of shougi pieces slamming on to the board. Something so simple, yet you can literally feel the emotion relayed through the pieces (also a recurring theme in the show).
The characters are a mix of 'pretty boy' men and 'cute loli' girls, there are also a mix of middle/old aged adults that really look their age and all have their own unique look and personality. Well not so much in personality since most of the shogi players are either passive or aggressive. Thankfully, The main characters are the big draw for this show. Each has their own play style and matching personality to how they play. But enough about the personalities, the my favorite of this show is definitely the lovable, Shion Yasuoka. Theres something about a cute little girl that cant speak and only communicates through written messages in her sketch book that makes her very, VERY moe. Her facial expressions are simply classic, and even her non spoken words feel like they have more character and power compared to most anime characters WITH voices. And don't get me started with Shion's fashion sense. Ever since she was a baby she's been wearing omega cute clothing and it definitely works for her and her character.
Overall, the way this story was constructed perfectly. From the beginning to the middle to the end, it will constantly keep you guessing on many aspects. It's kind of embarrassing when a show like this can write a better crime drama than most anime out there. Don't let the shougi fool you!! I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good mystery anime. You wont be disappointed, this is definitely a diamond in the rough.
Shion no Ou is the story of a young girl with a past full of tragedy and a present full of love.
This anime made me redesign my entire scoring process...
Story: Unique, genius, suspenseful, and even funny at times. I barely knew what Shougi was before I watched this, and while I was watching it, but I still enjoyed it. There are several twists and turns, but they all follow the main story line, and are extremely well thought out. It is easy to keep up with this show, but at the same time you have to think a lot.
Art: Near the end it got
funky, but for the main part the art in this show was good. Very dramatic, cute, silly, and so forth, but only when it was needed. I loved it.
Sound: You hardly notice it in the background, but it makes your heart pound and increases the suspense.
Character: I don't even know how to go into this. Shion has amazing development, considering she was mute. I changed my suspects in the middle of the show, before it became obvious, because of the dropped hints that made me think. The other characters are also very interesting, Ayame in particular. It is hard not to love some of the characters, and hate others. They design it in a way that made the wins and losses somehow make sense.
Overall, This show, as I stated before, made me redesign my entire rating method. It brought into my eyes a whole new meaning to a 10 score. I will never watch anime the same again.
This is my first ever review, but i hope it helps.
This anime is much more than it seems, i have never like these genres of anime, i have always been more into romance, but this is the first time ive changed my mind, I recommend this to all no matter you're genre, it is the kind of anime that will stick with, leave that feeling that you have learned something, it it really has taught me a lot, i have fully enjoyed this anime greatly!
Art- It may not be the top newest art, but i don't think any other kind of art could replace
it, the art itself gives off so much emotion, i absolutely loved it.
Story- The plot of this anime fell together like a masterpiece! It kept you guessing but gave you a feeling of completeness, just when i thought i figured it out, it came up to be something different, it really was an amazing anime i will never forget, so for me i (obviously) recommend this to everyone who like anime period, lol well thank you for reading all the way to this, have a nice day and watch this anime! Its a must see!
One has to wonder what the makers of Shion no Ou were thinking in mixing aspects of mystery and board game developments into a title that quite often goes overboard with its plot and characters. The series covers Shion's rise in the game of shogi and slowly unveiling facts that reveal the killer of her parents from years earlier. The series does do fairly good at setting up reasonable character depth with a number of its major characters and they have enough personality where they don't feel tacked on with a random character archetype, with Ayumi's character having the best development of the characters in
this series with his personal issues and the conflicts he has for his reasons of playing shogi. On a basic level, it also does well at setting up suspense with its mystery as the series drops hints to keep one guessing over who may be threatening Shion and had killed her parents. Also expect a good number of cliffhangers at the end of many episodes of the series that make for effective hooks to suck you into seeing the next episode.
However beyond all this, a good amount of Shion no Ou got quite a bit ridiculous with its developments thanks to its board game/ mystery mix. While Shion makes for somewhat of a likeable character with her strong determination and resolve to avoid intimidation in heated shogi matches, the levels in which she is committed, despite issues affecting her like harassment and health problems, gets quite ridiculous in attempts of forced drama. Elements to the plot also get their absurd moments with the amateur/ pros tournament organized later in the series with the heavy amount of media coverage and how the games are promoted, as well as the reasons for why its lead sponsor even organized it considering the likelihood of how the whole thing would go. The mystery element also runs into its flaws thanks to the depictions of Shion's killer. When they are in cognito during early episodes to threaten Shion, the killer's attire sticks out so much that it makes them look more silly than threatening. Then when you come to learn who it is and why they pulled off the murders, their personality takes a sudden change that wasn't consistent with their personality in earlier episodes and their reason for killing makes no sense at all.
This series also might alienate Western viewers not familiar with shogi as Shion no Ou is made in mind for Eastern viewers familiar with the game as characters frequently toss out different terms and scenarios of the game. Unless you are either familiar with the game or are watching a fansub with notes on the various terms discussed, you could get lost following what is being discussed or understanding what is going on in current competitions. Also with the series being a game based one focused on Shion's efforts, the outcomes to games can get quite predictable at many points which kills much of the suspense one has from anticipating who they think could win them.
On the visual end, Shion no Ou does get a bit inconsistent with its animation quality. The first few episodes and scenes throughout the show at points feature character designs and scenery with clean details and lush color that make the series look like an above-average work. However, later episodes have a number of scenes where the quality of design details take a hit either looking rough or being simplified and the color applied within scenes look washed up.
I wouldn't recommend watching this series if you are looking for a worthwhile game-focused title. While Shion no Ou is fairly engaging with its character developments and having some surprises with seemingly hostile characters, the blurring of its mystery and gaming genres creates enough of a mess with creating believable situations and developments facing its major characters and plot. You'd be better off checking out Hikaru no Go as the series retains believable developments with its exploration of Go without attempting a mish-mash of different genres.
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