The record of the bloody battle between the twelve proud warriors—
The 12th Twelve Tournament that gets held every twelve years... Twelve brave warriors who bear the names of the signs of the zodiac fight each other for the lives and souls. The participants are twelve very strange warriors: "Rat," "Ox," "Tiger," "Rabbit," "Dragon," "Snake," "Horse," "Goat," "Monkey," "Rooster," "Dog," and "Pig."
The victor of this tournament gets to have one wish granted, whatever the wish may be. The one wish they want granted—
Juuni Taisen is an anime about 12 scumbag mercenary's named after the Zodiac signs or whatever the fuck, fighting to the death for one wish.
There's 12 characters and 12 episodes and since all but one of them has to die by the end of the anime... They kill someone off every episode, and to give the characters a little depth before they die the writers shove 15 minutes of exposition down your throat before killing the character said exposition corresponds to with an obsessive level of violence effectively wasting your time because you just learned the backstory
of cannon fodder.
Are you worried about your favorite character dying? Well don't be I assure you that every backstory is written in a way to guarantee that the viewer will hate the guts of any character that gets one.
Each of the fights are dynamic and interesting, but the charismatic characters, and over the top action scenes ultimately fail to make this show anything more than a predicable death game with little more to offer than a stripper bunny and blood shed.
Watch it...If not for the near mindless gore watch it for the bunny.
This is entirely preliminary as only 3 episodes are out, but so far, I gotta say, I'm impressed. I'm gonna try to do the best I can writing about it without major spoilers and I will update this when I've seen the whole thing. Be warned, minor spoilers for the basic synopsis and things that happen in episode 1 will be in this so I suggest watching it first.
First, the story. 12 warriors, each carrying the names of one of the 12 Zodiac animals are gathered together to fight each other to the death in a free for all, no holds barred battle for both
survival and a bonus. That bonus is a wish for essentially anything. The orchestrator of this battle seems to have incredible powers as it is said that even the dead can be brought back to life with this one wish. I'll be honest, we've all seen this kind of thing before again and again, so while it is well carried out, it scores no points for originality. What I mean by well carried out, is it seems to have a rather nihilistic approach to its characters. I thought I'd be able to take a glance at the cast and predict who would die early on, who might win and who would be a "villain." But I wasn't. By the time, I got to the end of the first episode, I realised that it's not really possible to root for one character as a favorite to win. Yeah, the ones who don't get developed at all do get axed but so do some of the more well known ones. I also thought it was pretty great for SPOILER: one of the combatants to already be killed before the competition had even begun as it did a great job of setting the tone of expendability of the cast.
Art: Pretty phenomenal. I'm no art expert, but there are some really dope fight scenes (as you would expect) and I like the character designs and how they make each character seem like their animal counterpart. For example, Monkey wearing big headphones that look kinda like ears, the brothers Snake and Dragon having weapons that seem tube based like a tail (possibly a flamethrower in Dragon's case but we haven't seen it used yet) and the dog having dog-like ears and fangs. It makes it easy to tell characters apart and guess which animal they represent without having to be told.
Sound: What do I look like to you, some kind of sound geek? All I can really say is that the sounds were immersive in the intense scenes and were never jarring or annoying to me.
Character: Oh boy. I do like it, really I do. There are warriors who think they can take on everyone alone, warriors who feel the same as the first group but are horribly wrong, people who don't want to fight at all, people who want temporary alliances, people who try to deceive. There's really a good mix which could lead to a lot of interesting things. However, a character I liked, who we are lead to believe, from his forward thinking and cautious approach, is very smart, who does something phenomenally stupid and faces the consequences. This wouldn't irk me so much if the character was shown to be stupid, but it did feel a little inconsistent to me. Even so, we get a few glimpses into the past of some of the 12 and I really am looking forward to seeing more of them.
Overall, I am very much enjoying this series and found it to be a nice surprise. I understand that the series is only a quarter done but these have been my thoughts so far. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something with loads of action and paper thin plot armour.
This is an extremely fast-paced show so if you are the type of person that likes deep character development and to bond with the characters in a killing game story this might not be for you. If you are the type of person to like nonstop action with a small amount of character development you've come to the right place. Every episode we learn the short backstory of a character then we watch them fight. The story itself is about 12 people representing the zodiac killing each other to retrieve a poisoned gem from each other bodies and then getting the one inside you
taken out upon victory. Somehow we have pacifists in this competition but that's not important. We don't know exactly why people showed up for this tournament but maybe we will learn. I do like any killing game plot and this is no different but I like character development also so I have a love hate relationship with this show maybe you won't.
The art is amazing as shows like this need good art because there is so much going on and people will drop janky and bad art like a sack of rocks. They have nothing to hide behind with this show and I appreciate the effort.
The music is also pretty nice and fits everything the show needs well. You know what you're getting just from the music used when it shows up. The voice acting is also pretty good.
Like I said before we get a short backstory every episode for each character then we don't learn much more about them. I don't mean that as a bad thing though. So you can't make bonds with everyone except for maybe the pacifists if they live long enough. What I will pick out is the powers. Every character has an ability related to their zodiac even if it may not seem like it. the chicken can control birds, the boar holds ammo like a pig does it's slop with endless reloading so she never has to stop firing her gun as long as she has ammo like a pig never stop eating as long as they have food. The rabbit has necromancy so the people he kills does his bidding for him with their powers intact I don't know how to compare that one. The dog can control poisons I guess because dogs can sniff them out and etc.
I like the way they balance this powers out so no one is too overpowered even though all the dog has to do is sit around until everyone else dies since he is immune to poisons.
Overall I'm loving this anime and can't wait for a new episode every week especially since we have so many duds this season. I'm somewhat liking everything about this show and hope it keeps it up. They even keep you on your toes by throwing you things you may never expect.
To be honest, I was amazed at the aesthetics of the show, and could see how easily this alone would be one of the underdogs for the Fall season.
To the setting is just like the Chinese Zodiac, where the 12 animals pit themselves against each other in a battle royale for the supreme, where the last animal/human representative standing would be granted a wish of any kind (oh, and also obtain the poison gems).
Right from the start, this show embodies folklore with the oh-so-exact replicate of the order of the animals, so the order of assassination goes backwards (spoiler predictability) or that the creators choose
to have a twist in the order. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.
As you would expect with the zodiac wars, all 12 supernatural humans are treated similarly to their animal counterparts, each with their backstory, traits and their intention of killing. Some are interesting, some will have turnoff, and others are so-so. So with each episode every character has the spotlight in the order above (as mentioned) so it's no surprise.
What DOES surprise me is the art and animation that Graphinica has put into making this show shine in the aesthetic department. For a show that's purely based on action, you would have wanted good art along with consistent animation, and it has done its course (though Ep 4 wasn't the best of the starting bunch).
And what better way to support the show than to give an impressive soundtrack, at least IMO. "Rupture" by Panorama Panama Town is easily one of the best OPs to air this season, and both the ED and OST are of no slouch, helping to develop what I hope will become better as the series progresses.
Verdict (after Ep 4):
A double blue-tick for a series that while is ongoing, it shows promise and delivers it outright with some of the best action shows we had in quite a while. Will definitely watch this towards the end, so for now...