The series beings at the home of a young boy named Sho Azuka discovers the magical Bible "Superbook" that speaks and sends him, his friend Azusa Yamato, and his toy robot Zenmaijikake back in time to the early events of the Old Testament.
Ever come home from school one day, only to find a magical talking book that would take you back in time to visit events from long ago? Well that’s the way everyday is for young Christopher.
Well basically it’s about Chris and his friend Joy visiting different eras from the Old Testament in the Bible, from Adam Eve (creation) to the birth of Jesus. (End of Old Testament) Its one of those stories that stays linear with its overall concept, yet changes with each story. The events that take place are fun and enjoyable, since something different is always going on, it helps to keep
the story from growing stale or repetitive. One thing I found odd though, is that Chris owns this toy robot that comes to life whenever they are visiting the stories, yet it was never explained why. Now if your looking for a title with good cliffhangers or deep storyline then you won’t find it here, as all plot in the episodes are lighthearted and end after the credits roll, and aren’t really going to any kind of goal, other than sending the kids to all eras of this time. Though the children can get in a bit of trouble a lot of the times, sometimes even get captured by villains of the particular story going on. For what its worth though, the episode by episode stories are entertaining and cute with nothing offensive in the least. (unless Christianity offends you that is)
Well its a very old title, but the animation on the children themselves is very well detailed and colorful, and does have a distinct design to them as well. The actual Bible characters they meet seem to be a bit more on the bland side though. They are good and represent each well, but are just not as detailed as the main cast is, as most give off a plain and generic look to them, and just aren’t as appealing to look at as the main. The backgrounds also have their high and low points, some are nice, detailed and crisp (for its time), while others just look down right bland and unimaginative (mostly with the fields and roads). Just depends on where the story is actually taking place, I did find many of the housing and temples to be descent looking though.
It has its ups and downs. Regarding the songs, both the dub (light heart party style) and sub version (bouncy kiddie beat) have these wonderful opening and closing themes that come off as quite catchy, and might make some want to sway in motion with it while on your couch. The background is also nice, as it has its high beats that play when something happy is occurring, to lower soft toned when trouble is brewing. Both of which mimic an orchestral kinda flare. However the voice overs are not quite up to par, while the voices on the kids are great and fitting to each personalty. The story characters unfortunately can get tedious, since their always meeting someone new in each episode, a lot of the same supporting cast member voice overs do most of the overall characters, which can get repetitive very fast.
Truly great, each character is portrayed quite nicely to their Bible counter parts, and give you a nice sense as to what they may have been like back then. Nobody ever comes off as annoying, (with the exception of Chris’ dad perhaps), never come off as stereotypical and each have a charm to them. Though again, being that the same voice actors do many of the characters, kinda hurts the overall score.
Bottom Line: 8/10
Superbook remains a solid title despite some of its short comings. If you like your overall plots to be edgy or deep, then you certainly won’t find it here. But if your looking for a fun and lighthearted adventure style title, (or maybe have never actually read the Bible) then Superbook is a fun way to experience it!
So, let me touch on a few things before you read my review. I am pagan, but I grew up Lutheran Christian, reading the bible and watching shows like this (Heck, this is one of the shows I used to watch as a child). I still live with my family that is very Christian. I believe in some things about the bible and the good message that is supposed to be in it. That said, I will not be getting to into the differences between the bible and this show. This show was made for children, and no matter what anyone says, the bible is
not a child friendly book. There are a lot of racist and sexist things in the bible that are no good for children cartoons.
Now pleasantries aside and I haven’t scared you off with my fair warning about what you will find in this review, I say lets get on with it. There is really not much to explain about this show, it’s just not that good. The whole concept of the show from what I gathered now that I’m older is to scare children into doing everything they are told to do. The very first episode pretty much starts out with Chris not wanting to clean the attic that his father told him to and then ends after Chris saw the first story, Adam and Eve, and then he says he will to everything that his father tells him to do. The problem with this is that the way the dialog is written, its very robotic and makes the characters not have that much personality to them.
So besides all the characters from the bible, we have Chris’s Dad, who basically has the personality of an overbearing father, Chris, who basically has the personality of a fast talking little boy, and Joy, a sweet little girl who always ends up hanging around Chris. Then there is Gizmo…. Who pretty much acts like a little kid even younger then Chris or Joy. I think he is more of a annoyance then any sort of help to the children. These are pretty much everything about them. I know that the characters are supposed to have some personal growth going on but their personal growth just ends up being ‘Oh, I did this in the beginning of the episode. Now I went and saw a story in the bible talking about the same thing I was annoyed about so I won’t do what I did in the beginning anymore.’ Rinse and repeat over the span of each episode. The personality of the bible characters are very one sided. They are ither good or bad, and the conversations that they have just seem to come off like a creeper. Every time I hear them talk, the hair on the back of my neck stands on end and I get a chill down my back. How did I not get nightmares watching this?
This artwork might be the reason why I am really into Japanese art now. The look is very Japanese anime from that time. The large eyes and the cute chibi style. When I was little, I had no clue that the super book was actual a Japanese anime itself, I always thought it was from America so it was surprising when I was looking up the info about it. I don’t quite know if this was just from the quality of the show, or the quality of where I was watching it, but the show was very blurry. The backgrounds felt more like blobs of color and the characters seemed to meld into it making it hard to watch.
The opening song is… a product of the times I think. It has a bit of a jazzy sort of feel to it but doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual show. It really dates this whole series and makes me sigh. The ending song is also very dated too. Both songs basically just try to push how ‘super’ this book is. This was a show I loved and now looking back at it, the voice acting and the music just feels like it was rushed or didn’t have that much care put into it. The first episode, even the narrator sounds like he was rushed when you first get the introduction as to what is happening. The level of voice acting in this show is pretty on par with Speed Racer, except speed racer was enjoyable to a point. This is just sad. They do the lamest way possible to explain anything in the bible, and everything just has to be explained. I wonder again just how they caught my attention when I was young because right now, it’s just boring.
This show used to be a show I watched when I was little. Now that I’m older, I can’t believe I used to watch this! It has no personality and no soul to it. This has two seasons but I could barely get through the first 5 episodes. It has nothing to do with me being pagan and everything to do with how mind numbing this show is. It hurts watching it with just how little soul was in it.