As a child, Yuu Kusaka made a vow upon a shooting star that he would stand on the side of justice and defend the weak. However, the death of one of his friends robs him of the desire to live up to that vow, and he turns a blind eye to the misery of others, using the mysterious power he possesses as a means of making money instead of helping those in need. His days of living only for himself continue, until he's forced to fight for his life against another classmate with powers similar to his. He's saved by a mysterious girl named Eimu Yoake, who also has strange powers.
Eimu reveals that his powers stem from a creature known as an Ayakashi, a parasitic being that grants the user special abilities at the price of slowly draining the life of the host. She helps him fully awaken his own. Now aware of the ayakashi he possesses, Yuu must live up to his childhood vow, putting his ayakashi to use and fend off those who would use their own for evil, all while unraveling the mystery behind the death of his friend.
Ayakashi was a very entertaining show in the end. It took a bit to get started but I found it a brillaint watch, for a show thats about magic powers, like Night Wizard or Prism Ark, but makes it bloody, throws human ethics onto the production floor.
The base story aids this in its presentation. Although the premise is simple, Yuu holds within him a powerful Ayakashi and finds himself the target of villains wanting that power (played superbly by Tomakazu Sugita) while his friends suffer (the first of which was his childhood friend and crush Izumi. As nw Girl Eimu shows
up to protect, Yuu the story develops nicely along a stadily paced path, with implication's of romance, violence, the price of death, among other themes. Whats intersting about these powers, is that using them, the Ayakashi eats at your own life force, andthe more you use it, the more you get injured, and permanent effects like blindness tart to take place, which offers a more subdued battle show that makes it all the more entertaining. The link between Eimu and Izumi is also nicely developed, taking the series in a nice direction that one doesnt expect making watching the developments very rewarding.
However their are a few niggling problems in story terms that stop this show from being up there with the classic anime. Such developments over the episodes are not linked together effectively and something that doesnt appear to clearly happen, has actually happened (Pam's changing sides seemed to happen overnight) and characters seem to have a tendency to change their minds without much prompting (The Yoake sisters seemingly having the worst problem with this. However most character's are entertaining, if a bit clichéd. Yuu is your typical hero, but he is a bit flakey in his opinion's, Hime is the sweet best friend, Eimu is the stark serious one, all archetypes used before, but played to a mostly decent level that you feel somewhat emotional when character's die. And the show doesnt hold back on innocent sacrifices, which is what sets it apart from other super-power based shows and into the murky realms of Death Note and the like.
And if there is one thing that helps this dark atmospher its the nice Animation. Aesthetically, the art takes a bit of getting used to but really fits well with the piece. The colur palette for character's are varied from piks, purples, light blues to deep greens, but the vibrancy is degraded, and when placed on top of grey morbid backgrounds, really sets up a dark fantasy setting effectively well, without skimping on the attractiveness of its female cast (except maybe Hime, whose desgin seems dull and unattractive). The sound only serves to keep the dark morbid atmosphere and up the tension on a frequent basis and is well used to attempt to make the fight scenes more tense than they actually are. And thats one of the shows other weak points. Despite many conflicts, the battles seem dull and unispired, even if the art smoothly flows through each sequence, its just nothing really happens in 80% of the fights. Still it feels like a minor flaw compared to the show's interesting character developed plot. Wiht the beautiful animation and the appropriate soundtrack this anime is aesthetically pleasing, including one of my personal favourite Ending songs (that i'm listening to as I write this over and over) as it helps really enhance the despair and emotional impact the series can have on its audience and its main cast.
If you want something deep in dramatic tension, with a decent amount of blood and violence (that thankfully doesnt overdo it) with a dark foreboding atmosphere, you can go no wrong with Ayakashi. Its one of the darker tales of its genre, and as animation goes as a whole, its decently executed. Its never going to reach any lofty heights due to being weighed down from uninspired fight scenes and parts of the drama that are glossed over too quickly, but ignoring these little flaws, its a worthwhile 12 episode series that deserves more attention than it has garnered since its release.
Ayakashi, was...not bad. I was bored for a while and had already finished death note but a little advice for people who finish a GREAT MATERPIECE OF ANIME, do not wathc this atferwards, you will feel like crap and think "I could of done better". Ayakashi was okay but it just gets annoying after the first 5 episodes but atleast we get a nudity scene in ep. 4 or 5. :D
Check your brain at the door, it'll just get in the way.
The show starts off with an interesting premise, but ultimately, that's all it is. The show feels like it was created by hobbyist highschoolers shooting for "cool" by being violent and "edgy" with pseudo-intellectual "dark" moments, but the execution was mishandled and it just comes off a convoluted mess.
Too much stuff happens in too quick a succession (pacing problems), and things are conveniently forgotten and parts of the story skipped (lazy writing). You'll find yourself thinking, "Wait, why is that happening? Did I miss an episode or something?" much too
often, and it's not because you missed a detail, but because they couldn't be bothered to explain and just decided to jump ahead.
If could you treat this like a mindless horror-action series, all that would probably be forgiven (ala Elfen Lied and Deadman Wonderland), but unfortunately that's hard to do. The truth is, while there are some gory scenes, they all take place outside of the fighting so they feel like throwaway shock-value (they're not particularly graphically gory either, just violent in nature; and the violence is pretty much shrugged off by the characters, so there's no suspense or gravitas, making the scenes feel decidedly surreal). On top of this, the actual battle sequences are relatively boring and unsatisfying.
The animation and art are quite good, but these guys clearly did not know how to choreograph fights, so you just get a bunch of 30 second skirmishes with half a dozen action poses, and then someone "winning". It lacks the stylistic over-the-top moments that carry and elevate other shows of the type; and that may be its fatal flaw.
If you go into this not having been exposed to the action horror genre before, you might enjoy it more, but otherwise the anime is mediocre at best. It's certainly not absolutely horrible, and if you've got nothing else to do, its easy on the eyes and can pass time, but there's probably something better to watch. The concept and art style make me think this show had potential, but ultimately, all i feel is disappointment that the production company dropped the ball on this one; and that's the core reason I'm so negative on this show.
Story: 3 (The potential was there, but it was wasted :/)
Art: 7 (Visually above average for the time period. The palette and monster-character models are somewhat interesting, and the animations feel smooth... but the smoothness feels wasted, because their actions are so unimaginatively bland, and that drags it down. What's the use in making it look pretty, if you do nothing with it?)
Sound: 5 (Kind of forgettable. I do distinctly remember hearing a sound effect so hackneyed I couldn't help but laugh though)
Character: 4 (The characters are very RPG'ishly one dimensional. I read somewhere this started off as a visual novel or eroge... and it makes sense--... but then, I guess so did Fate/Stay Night. *shrug*)
Overall: 5 I've seen worse. It's watchable at least. It could have been great :/.
The all around idea of the show was interesting but was very poorly implemented...
If I'm being honest, the story seemed like one big cliche and was a little cringey; a random kid finds out that he has some almighty power and a bunch of absolutely random villains appear just to fight him, but wait, there's some mysterious evil mastermind behind it all!... UwU ... And when I say absolutely random villains, I mean absolutely random; every episode up until the last few is literally some new random ayakashi handler that has lost their sanity, they have absolutely no story and the fights between them and
Yuu are dry. I really do like the overall idea of the ayakashi handlers and how they can lose their sanity if they overuse their powers, but it was so poorly thrown into the plot, there was no progression of the idea.
The entire show just seemed rushed, the character development was all over the place, and so many little things in the plot were just random and didn't make any sense. If you're looking for a random short show to pass the time, I guess you could watch this? But other than that I wouldn't actually recommend this as a good show...