For citizens of the Ken Empire, justice is a myth. Lord Keiro, the deranged Shogun of the Imperial Army, blazes a trail of terror across the countryside in search of the sacred sword that will make him a god. Standing in his way is Taito, an omnipotent star reborn in human form—a young hero who vows to use his celestial strength to avenge those slaughtered by the villainous Shogun.
Taito's mystical powers steer him toward a violent showdown with Keiro, and if used recklessly, his newfound abilities could shred the very fabric of his being. To master the art of control and become a heroic martial artist, Taito must seek the guidance of others like him: the seven star-born warriors with the strength to shatter a corrupt empire.
I must say, the concept of an anime using a wuxia context really intrigued me. But in the end, it was yes and no everything that I could expect. The very bad news is, it’s about 90% of your typical shounen anime. Such characterizations and development is present, but it’s already stuff you’ve seen before in typical shounen anime. The good news is, it’s in a completely different context and it makes those qualities feel fresher. But what I personally was expecting was a balanced mixed of the qualities of anime and wuxia. Taitou is your typical big hearted and small-brained overly righteous teenage hero
with a big appetite, and his sister is your typical damsel in distress. And the rest of the characters have their purpose but felt they were created partially to be each other’s foil. I mean, they have their own individuality, but I feel they were created more out of a reaction from one core character to the next.
But some of the character’s individuality such as Koyo’s and Ryuuko’s bring that balance to the atmosphere. Ryuuko is overly serious and has this kind of mentor role, but I like how his flaws are presented in the show and how he tries to confront them. Koyo may have a care free life, but he knows what’s at stake and is serious about getting the job done. Housei is your typical friendly rival with Taitou, but in the end, they know they must unite. I felt Keirou was quite a unique and excellent villain in his own right. I would get into him, but to give my thoughts and reasons of why he was such a great villain would have to make me reveal spoilers.
Anyway, if this anime has one huge flaw, it’s the pacing. I felt the anime could have been shorter by five to eight episodes. There are episodes where the characters are in an emo-shell like Kenshin near the end of the manga of Rurouni Kenshin and felt in this anime, it could have been done much quicker. I felt there were times they could have taken advantage of the slower moments and also get into the other characters more deeply. Also, I felt it’s pacing also rushed and forced too many things at the end. But I’ll confess it was still a descent ending.
But I say it’s best trait is the unpredictability. The plot twists are kind of forced as well, but I say it does make those twists much more effective.
In case some of you Full Metal Alchemist fans that are watching this, you’ll be able to recognize that the way the eyes, shapes of faces, and angles are drawn, the characters are designed by Araka Hiromu, the artist of that respective anime. Granted they will be recognizable, but I have to say with the character design, I was personally not that impressed. I felt they were too one-dimensional (such as lack of distinction between Housei and Taitou and some other characters) and lacked detail (such as little use of shadowing, lighting, and cross hatching). But I guess what makes it for this flaw are the authentic but a little flashy costume designs, and I think the anime does a great job of capturing the setting of ancient China. I felt it was geographically and architecturally well represented.
Unfortunately, the anime does not have much action presented, and it’s not really action driven. But what I liked was that it did have martial arts action that wasn’t over the top. None of your typical Matrix bullet time or wire fu crap. The hand to hand action at some capacity feels realistic. But I felt the action was very stiff in a Japanese Karate kind of way. I’ll get more into my reasons when I get into the overall commentaryAnd last, despite my praises for the anime of being realistic, it also has action that has typical anime qualities such as using ki manipulation. But I like how the ki manipulation called Sekihou in the anime, has an interesting foundation and concept and only the seven stars can use them. So it brought an interesting twist to the action.
The music and voice acting, is definitely one of this anime’s greatest qualities. The opening theme Winterlong sung by the Beat Crusaders, is sung in English. Granted the English isn’t perfect, but tolerable and actually makes sense. Granted the style is not culturally appropriate to the context, but I felt it’s energy and lyrics brought an appropriate sense of feeling to the intense and light hearted atmosphere this anime has. And High and Mighty Color who sang songs for Gundam SEED Destiny are also present for future themes in the later half and bring the same qualities that Winterlong has. Despite the theme songs not being culturally appropriate as either Japanese or Chinese, the background music however is dead on. It’s what you are to expect in a Wuxia film or when you enter an authentic Chinese buffet restaurant. Nothing really much to complain with music.
The voice acting is also superb. Suzumura Ken’ichi, the voice of Shinn Asuka from Gundam SEED Destiny plays our main lead, Taito. Pretty much take his portrayal of Shinn and put it into a typical shounen hero, and that’s what you get and it works pretty well. The legendary Ginga Banjou, the voice of Giren from Gundam and Souther from Hokuto no Ken plays the main villain, General Keirou. He brings that intimidating charisma to his character. But the winner to me with the seiyuu cast is Koyama Rikiya, the voice of Takamura Mamoru from Hajime no Ippo as Koyo. He brought Takamura’s badassness to Koyo and felt like I was getting prepared for season 2 of Hajime no Ippo. So the voice acting is great.
Granted this anime has all kinds of flaws, but I think a lot of its good qualities make up for them at the right circumstances and brings a minimally decent balance. Even though some people may rightfully disagree with me, but I think the problem is that despite a Chinese setting, I found this anime to be way too Japanese with its action, story telling, and characterization and development. The disagreement of course will be, “but it’s made by Japanese people” which I do understand, but I have felt that there have been some animes that did not take place in Japan, and yet did not have to come across as typical Japanese or shounen. In the end, my impression was that it made the typical shounen story fresh with a different kind of context and twist. I think if this anime took some qualities from Hero, Once Upon a Time in China, Monkey King, and other iconic wuxia classics, I think it could have achieved something bigger. It’s of course not the most perfect anime in the world, but interesting enough to say it's good and worth watching.
Best Rating: 4.5/10 Worst Rating: 3/10 Average Rating: 3.7/10
*note: pardon me for my language, it's just the way I roll*
don't agree with what I say about this anime? that's your problem....
Review: Hero Tales
Could have been good, but turned out bad. It had potential, but it was wasted unfortunately.
Started off with a good idea/plot.
~but then turned it into something completely stupid with out of proportion power and not much logical understanding or explanation behind the back-story and background of the story.
(Ex. Karma of the stars) (Ex. over exaggerated
strength of the bad guy at the end)
Decent fairly well developed characters.
Karma of the stars/ Alkaid concept makes no fucking sense at all. It’s basically saying that this and that are destined to happen but its total B.S. because the people themselves decide what to do, not some fucking stupid destiny karma of the stars garbage.
The anime failed to truly make sense of the forced karma of the stars destiny, never thoroughly explained how they are forced or why…
Main character is forced to put up with his very annoying bitch sister at the beginning and being called “dumb” by everyone for no reason.
Main character keeps getting beat up by stupid side characters all the time.
~the main character should be the one kicking ass, not getting his ass kicked.
Weird psycho ending that is completely blown out of proportion from what is already established. The big bad boss at the end turns into a complete monster. Doesn’t make sense how the main character won at the end since he hasn’t really done anything special that warrants victory, no training, no prophecy, nothing that would make logically be able to explain why he won at the end.
It was a lame, happy and sappy ending which I predicted and just about expected. I saw it coming a mile away. This was one of the worst ways to end it or at least in my opinion.
This is definitely not an anime I recommend watching unless you're really really bored and have absolutely nothing better to do with your time, in which case enjoy.
The storyline of Hero Tales isn't really anything special. A used-to-be nobody kid named Taitou finds out that he's actually the incarnation of a star. When he gets too angry he gets out of control and only his sister can stop him from destroying himself. I don't really want to explain it here I'm too lazy but I'll just say it disappointed me coming from Hiromu.
Taitou gets really obnoxious around the middle of the series and is so whiny it made me want to stop watching. I almost did stop but I had to keep watching to see if it got better. It did for
a little bit but then went back downhill. The final fight is pretty lame and ends in the stereotypical anime fashion( if you know what I mean). I most certainly won't be watching this series again but it's okay to watch through once.
There were so many negative reviews I felt compelled to leave a positive one because I actually quite liked it.
The anime itself I feel isn't as bad as others are making it out to be. I feel the reason it leaves a bad taste in people's mouth is because they try to over complicate things.
The story is a straight forward good vs evil fantasy set in a fictional ancient empire. It's the classic save the world from an overpowered evil power hell bent on wreaking havoc. The plot is somewhat predictable and the characters lack depth but that isn't necessarily a bad thing for an
anime like this.
Who is this anime for? If you want to sit back and watch an entertaining, easy to digest anime with tons of action, comedy and the characters have an unwavering sense of loyalty and duty then this is for you. It's an adventure from start to finish and the plot isn't tied down to any one location. Nothing is over complicated and the anime doesn't emphasise on character's emotional baggage.
I wouldn't call this the best anime out there, or even one of the greats, but if you come in with realistic expectations then there's a good chance you'll enjoy it as much as I have.