When Takeru Amato moved into his new apartment in Akihabara, he was warned that there was one problem with it. He wasn't warned, however, that the problem was a hole in the floor that leads to the realm of the zodiac gods. He also wasn't told about Nyaa-tan, the eccentric, immature, prospective zodiac-sign cat.
Nyaa-tan would like nothing more than to join the rest of the girls, otherwise known as Eto-shin, in the Chineze zodiac, but she's going to have to fight to work her way in. Fortunately, establishing a relationship with Takeru can help her with that. In Etotama the members of the zodiac don't just represent people's births; they draw their power from positive human emotions in the form of energy called Sol/Lull. With this power, the Eto-musume, or potential Eto-shin, can change from their mostly humanoid appearances into smaller "pretty modes" that can battle with each other in the Eto world.
Nyaa-tan needs to get Takeru to warm up to her fast, and not just because they're living together. The ETM12 selection festival to determine the next member of the zodiac is coming soon. With Takeru's good graces, Nyaa-tan just might be able to fight off the other Eto-musume and the 12 Eto-shin themselves, and finally take her place in the zodiac.
Etotama is fun, then its gets cool and it left me speechless of how good it is.
The only reason i'm placing such a high rating on what looks like some
shallow fanservice like anime is that... for me - its not like that at all.
Most people complicate things on how anime must have "this or that" level of animation, sound, blah blah blah for it to be good.
My only basis is solely
"did this anime teach me something important and did it well?"
For me, Etotama delivered - it taught me how to have fun.
Story wise, its simple and easy to comprehend,
I actually appreciate how the
show just keep pulling jabs left and right, especially with the moments that just makes you go WTF.
Animation is good, it just fits well especially when they do those "fun and stupid" things.
Although, the battle animation of this anime is on an entirely different level.
This thought just keeps popping on my head every episode:
"How can a moe anime have one of the best battle choreograhpy/animation ever made."
Sound, is well played.
The opening somehow got me hooked listening the first 10 seconds cause its catchy. ( i like the classical reference. )
The ending song, for me works, since its soothing and somehow appropriate on how this crazy show ends its episodes.
The Voice actors just delivered.
The BGM is appropriate.
Of course, alot of people have different opinions and even I would agree that this review is mostly biased.
But rather than looking at the "flaws" of an anime,
I'd rather point out what it did well.
Etotama is fun - and i'd recommend it to anyone who'd like to have a few laughs and enjoy the ride.
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. The Chinese Zodiac is a figure that has long since been used to identify one's characteristics and personalities, since there's a saying that people are like a certain way on account of their perspective zodiac animal. So, with an anime about this particular zodiac that is NOT Fruits Baskets, what are we to expect with Etotama?
Story (6.34/10): Etotama's story is based around the life of one particular individual named Amato Takeru, a high school student who moves into a rather large house by himself in Akiba. There, he notices a
strange hole in a corner of his house, a hole that for some reason leads to the world of gods (probably). Here, he meets a girl who comes out of the hole, a cat-girl by the name of "Nya-tan", sending Takeru on a journey with this strange eto-musume (basically, a god-like girl, but not an actual god) on her goal to become one of the twelve members of the zodiac.
Etotama plays off from the original legend of the zodiac, where the rat tricked the cat before the start of the footrace to determine the twelve zodiac animals, leaving the cat no chance. With the main story being surrounded around the idea of Nya-tan collecting the twelve sol-lull seals (basically, sol-lull is moe power/gratitude from humans and such) of the twelve zodiac animals so that she can become a member of the zodiac. The show itself plays with this VERY straightforward plotline for literally the entire show. Within a given episode, Nya-tan will fight any given Eto-shin (aka, the zodiac animals) in a battledome-style fight where if she wins, she can get their seal and continue off towards the next one sort of like your classic tournament-style anime.
Its simplistic plot really only scratches the surface as to what kind of story Etotama has. The biggest issue I have with Etotama is that for the most part, it's inconsistent with the way it wants to deliver its story, particularly in the latter half in the show, which is, mixing comedy, with a serious, dramatic plot. I see this as Etotama's main problem because a good chunk of the time, the show will not only go serious for a brief moment and try and instill an actual plot aside from a cat dicking around with eleven animals and a dragon, which heavily clashes its for the most part, light-hearted and comedic tone that it sticks with most of the time. They just don't really fit together well, and that's my main issue with this show. Another problem I have is the fact that this show REALLY has no consequences with what it does. Because it mixes comedic elements with an attempted serious tone, a lot of the more dramatic aspects/plot points that are presented in the less funny moments of the show basically get resolved later on when the show decides it wants to bust your funny bone. To me, it's a bit of a distasteful experience because serious and funny don't really go together all that well, especially when your characters are gods that have the ability to reincarnate, essentially disregarding any sort of serious moment you attempted to put in the show to begin with.
Another thing that bothers me with the show is the fact that it has all of these commandments, rules, and terms that while do get an explanation, don't really retain that explanation all that much. Really, you're told what a certain term/rule is, then you'll probably forget it in a few episodes because the underlying complexity of these terms racks the brain quite a bit on account of their definitions taking at least 3-4 lines of text just to explain, so yeah, I'll pass on that.
In terms of a comedy aspect, Etotama is a show that heavily references the fourth wall. (Insert there is no fourth wall joke here.) Most of the show's comedy comes from Nya-tan herself as her crazy and varying antics boot us from scene to scene of her ridiculous hyperactive personality. But that's not all. While a lot of the moments are created thanks to Nya-tan, a lot more of them become more prominent because of the expansive zodiac girls cast, which each have their own unique personality to give every joke a little bit of a different twist. But, like all comedy, it's really depending on whether you think it's funny or not, since all comedy is subjective.
Overall, Etotama's story isn't really all that fantastic in any real story aspect. All it is mostly just a group of characters fooling around in an episode by episode story where each episode differs from one another with different and sometimes random topics like Shogi, a horserace, kick the can, and even just straight up bribery on several occasions. (Nya-tan will do anything to get those seals.)
+ Easy to follow base story
+/- Good comedy (if you're a fan of fourth wall breaking)
- Has serious moments that clash with the show's mostly comedic aspect
- Terms within the show are somewhat complicated to actually remember (for the most part, you just know what the purpose of said term is, then move on with the show)
Characters (7.72/10): Characters in Etotama are what I think really the selling point of the show, and really the bigger reason as to why someone would really want to watch this show.
But since we have to be follow the rigid formula put in place by the reviewer himself, we'll start with Takeru, the only important human character in this show. (Yay for continuity...) Takeru as a character really...isn't all that special. As a person who produces very good Sol-lull (aka, that moe power thing I was talking about earlier), Takeru is for the most part put into this plot device role rather than an actual main character that has a grave impact on the show. Most of his work within the show is done in the sidelines as a source of power to Nya-tan, and doesn't really involve himself as much with the affairs of the zodiac or Eto-Shin as one may think. He does have this development where he "appreciates" the company of Nya-tan a lot more, but to me, it feels like forced development to give the serious areas of the show more impact, when in reality, it really doesn't. I mean, he's already WAY too accepting of a literal dozen of animal girl gods just showing up in his house randomly. He doesn't even so much as flinch when he learns that gods and a world of gods exists.
And of course, we have the true star of the show (quite literally, cause she has a starfish thing on her head for some reason. I don't know how that thing works tbh. I swear it's like alive or something...), Nya-tan. As a cat eto-musume, Nya-tan aspires to be a member of the zodiac for reasons that she herself doesn't even remember. Oh well. As the central character for the show, Nya-tan is a very exuberant character, attempting to find a character-type for herself so that she can shine and basically, make better ratings for the show. (Or something like that.) What I like personally about her is that she's not a very grounded character. She's selfish, greedy, sometimes smart, sometimes helpful, determined, lazy, all sorts of adjectives. I think that's what really makes her so much of a memorable character and truly stands above all the other characters in the show. Of course, whether or not you like her is really your decision, cause she is a character that goes on quite literally, opposite ends of the spectrum.
And finally, we have Chuu-tan, the rat Eto-Shin. Personally, I felt like this character deserved mention specifically because she mainly serves as the show's antagonist and has a creed to "destroy the cat clan!" and all of that lovely business. As far as villains go, Chuu-tan is a lacking character for no other reason than her lack of screen time. While acting as the bad guy for basically the entire run of the show, she doesn't really appear all that often and has a very lackluster existence overall because she not only doesn't have much to go off on on account of how little she actually appears in the show, but because her actual motives for wanting to slay the cat clan was something I felt was explained very poorly. It didn't really make sense, so I really just had to go along with it, even if I didn't truly understand what was being talked about. That to me, is a major flaw.
But truly though, I believe that the real stars of the show belong to the side characters, particularly the eleven Eto-Shin in the zodiac. While each one of them really gets 1/2 - 1 episode completely devoted to themselves, and they all basically have one-note personalities, they don't actually falter all that much in that aspect. In fact, the one-noteness actually makes most if not all of them more memorable characters. They're a colorful cast that are all fairly easy to remember, and they all show up so often that it really makes it hard to not at least recognize the lot of them right away. And besides, how can you forget characters like a perverted cow, a traumatized horse, a rooster with a three step memory, a sheep nurse, and the exposition pig with the sesame oil addiction?
+ Interesting female lead
+ Great supporting cast
- Male lead leaned towards supporting
- Villain was for the most part, not present/unexplained
Art and Sound (7.44/10): The art for Etotama was made by a little known animation studio by the name of Shirogumi, a studio that really...hasn't done all that much in terms of quality work. Nonetheless, Etotama's art style leans heavily towards the moe-style of animation. With big eyes, cartoony expressions, and these very innocent looking ears on the girls of the show, with the standard animation not really looking all too different from animation these days. For the most part, it's standard fare. That is, until you get to the battles.
Etotama in addition, also uses CGI whenever the characters within the show do battle. And contrary to what you may think, it's not actually that bad. The CGI for these specific scenes doesn't actually look all to bad in terms of Japan's CGI standards and does actually give a new depth to the visuals for the show. Of course, it clashes with the original visuals for the show, that's an aspect of it on account of how glaringly different they look from one another.
In terms of sound, the OP in particular for Etotama is a very...interesting track to say the least. Similar to the show itself, the OP switches its tone as well, going from a rock sounding theme with the guitar before leading towards a bouncy melody and cute lyrics. Personally, I found this song to be VERY addicting and found myself listening to it an absurd amount of times. Is it a good song? It's ok, not the best, but decent enough. The ED on the other hand is a very mellow piece, reminiscent of sleeping on a meadow with its calm atmosphere and tones. The tracks for Etotama aren't bad per say, and they're actually quite memorable, but they don't really stack up to be anything more than a fun song. They're good, but not masterpieces.
+ Standard fare animation
+ Decent soundtrack (that I personally find to be memorable)
+/- CGI is good, but clashes with the standard animation
Personal Enjoyment (9.00/10): Admittedly...I had more fun with this show than I really should've. Not only am I a big fan of girls with animal ears (yes, I'm that kind of person), the fourth wall breaks and the overall comedic style of the show just perfectly suited to my personal tastes.
Did I like this anime?
Far too much. It was fun for me to watch, I enjoyed the characters, and I really liked the style of randomness and just overall oddity that the show presented itself to be. I'm a personal big fan of fourth wall breaks, so that was definitely an aspect of the show that I really liked. The music for me is one of my favorites this season, and even with the flaws that I will mention very soon, I really enjoyed this show regardless.
What didn't I like about this anime?
The clash between serious and comedy was really the only true personal downfall I felt. It's tough to balance comedy and plot together, and when you don't succeed, the end result doesn't really turn out well. That being said though, every other flaw didn't really stick out or bother me too much, and because I really enjoyed the show a lot, there's really not much to complain about.
Would I recommend this anime?
If you're looking for something that isn't too thought provoking, Etotama is decent for that. It's by no means a masterpiece, but rather just a fun show with randomness, CGI, some ecchi acts from a questionable cow, and lots and lots of fourth wall breaks. This show really doesn't serve much beyond a casual watch on account of its material and style of comedy. It's a decent show, and if you're into slapstick or random episodic episodes, and want something new, Etotama's a good pick for something of that category.
Just over 3 months ago when I was searching for new titles to watch, I chanced upon this one and went like "What in the world is this?" 12 weeks on, I am a pretty satisfied viewer of this relatively unique series, because I'm quite confident that we will never see anything like it again.
Without much hesitation, I'm easily giving this a high score. The very instant I knew it was about members of the Chinese Zodiac battling out with one another in cute chibi forms, the decision was made. Because I am absolutely fascinated with this idea. Coming from a Chinese background,
I am pretty much familiar with the stories regarding the Chinese Zodiac, especially the conflict between the Rat and the Cat. So what made this even more special was that the Cat actually tries to battle her way up the ranks. It's a great addition and twist to the initial knowledge I have. Nevertheless, throughout the 12 episodes there were intense battles, heart-warming moments and occasional comical (albeit forced at times) scenes. All these made up what I thought was a decent plot.
Not perfect but good enough to portray what had to be portrayed. This is, after all, a light-hearted action/comedy series. Character designs need not be that complicated and detailed, and they complied to that. The battle scenes were sublime though, with all the effects brilliantly worked out and helped to capture most viewers attentions.
Well, 12 Chinese Zodiacs represented by 12 girls, all in 12 episodes. Trying to concentrate on individual character development would be quite a mammoth task. That being said, overall it went pretty well. You can evidently see the Cat growing in confidence along the way, as well as her comrades' trust in her. Although one down side would be that the Rat's did not feature much, and was kinda rushed towards the end.
Since Day 1, this series has been something to look forward to every week, for me at least. I've enjoyed it; all the battles were exciting and the jokes made me smile. Though I doubt I'll be missing this one badly, but for sure this series won't be hard to remember about, because it's just so darn unique.
For anyone who just wants to while time and watch a series which has a jovial mood to it in addition to some action/adventure, this would be the one for you. If you do pick it up, hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! Cheers!
Since when is the last time you watched an anime that is so much wacky and nuts that you pretty much gave up your soul to Satan? Well, if you have not seen this anime yet, you are going to miss the experience of getting sucked into Satan’s chamber. At the same time, no spoilers in this review.
So, Etotama popped up this season. I did not know what to expect when I first heard about it, since I came to put in on my watchlist because of the voice actresses involved. But upon watching the first episode, I just find out how insane it is.
Produced by Encourage Films, it revolves about Nyaa-tan, a cat who has an amnesia, and she aims to be a member of the Chinese zodiac through her silly methods. She meets Takeru, a high-schooler who lives in Akihabara, and decides to become a freeloader in his house. In order to reach her goal, she has to battle off against the twelve main zodiac characters and obtain their “Sol/Lull seals”. To explain about this battle system, it will have to take some time (probably a few episodes from the start) for a viewer to understand it fully. Even I had some trouble understanding about it, but after a while it came clear. It is a simple “collect all tokens, reap your rewards” kind of battle. Do not worry as there are eye-catch cards with a piece of information about the battle system during the middle of an episode. Back to the main story, usually in each episode, it introduces one or a few zodiac character(s) and how they will carry forward the story. The synopsis may sound quite clichéd, since there are many other anime with a similar one. It started out a bit weak, but as it progresses, the amount of pleasure into watching the anime grows, with more understanding and development. However, having this fast-paced, some parts of the story can be seen as rushed. The comedy is one of the high points in the anime - there are so many hilarious moments such as how meta it goes. There are also a few emotional scenes, especially during the last two episodes, but I do not think the staff is serious in most of them, since they break into more comedy afterwards. The zodiac is something unique since I never heard of other anime that played zodiac as a part, hence it is good to have a bit of originality here. Overall, it is a nice story to follow up on with extra hilarious comedy.
You have twelve zodiac characters, Nyaa-tan, Takeru and maybe two more side characters that are not important as the cast. About Nyaa-tan, the main focal character, she may be dumb and crazy most of the time, but sometimes she understands the situations she face and gets on working to solve them. Maybe a few people will find this daunting, thinking that once she goes back being her usual self, the mood of the story gets ruined. But I felt quite the opposite, since I never want the emotions of the anime to develop further to become forced drama. Her involvement with Takeru is very big, in that case he is like her support. However silly she tries to force him into giving support, he usually does it whenever it is needed. I do not know if there is a lesson learnt in this, but I find it nice. For the other characters, I can say that they definitely have different personalities which have similar anime tropes. As I mentioned earlier, one or a few of them gets their own spotlight in each episode, but I feel that the spotlight do not necessarily be bright. The range of their involvement depends, so while some do have something, others are treated more as side characters who probably make people laugh. Character development is minimal, or I think it was not noticed enough.
Another high point in this anime is the 3D animation. This anime has a fair usage of 3D animation, and most of it is used during the battle scenes. I loved the transformation scenes, the sceneries where two characters battle out, the action and visual effects when they fight and also the cute chibi character designs. Everything there is perfect, and I do not think I have any complains in their 3D animation at all. For everything else, I say that it is normal - nothing really stands out from the rest of the anime this season. The sceneries look nice, the character designs look great, and the facial expressions are funny.
The opening song, sung by the voice actress of Nyaa-tan, is quite catchy and nice to listen to, if you are into this sort of music. The ending song, sung by all the voice actresses, oppose towards the opening song. It has a much more emotional feel and the vocals are good and they match to the instrumental well. There is one original soundtrack during the transformation scenes that I like, which fuses one type of genre into something more Asian. For every other tracks, I think that they are okay. Voice acting is good - yet again, nothing special. I appreciate Rie Murakawa for voicing Nyaa-tan since she did a great job as acting out with that kind of personality.
Etotama is an anime that I found myself to be very high whenever I watch the episodes. Thanks to the comedy, the awesome 3D animation, Nyaa-tan herself, and some of the other characters in the anime, I pretty much enjoyed it a lot. Sure, there are some flaws along the way, but they are just unnoticeable if you do not care at all. And now that is over, I really hope there is another anime next season that fills that spot similar to the anime.