The story revolves around high school student Akira Nikaido, a typical slacker living a normal life. That is, until he meets the mysterious Shirogane, a man who suddenly appears and tells him that they have a destiny together. When Akira hears this, he is shocked and doesn't believe a word of it. Aya, a friend of Akira, forgets something in the school one night, and asks Akira to help her and go find it. He agrees, and while there, he gets attacked by a shadow monster. Shirogane convinces him that the balance between the human world and the shadow world has been distorted and that Akira must become a "shin"- a creature of the shadow world- in order to help restore the balance. The anime has shonen-ai themes which are completely absent from the manga.
If this show were a video game it would be terrible. Thank your Wii's it's not. Basically the story revolves around a typical guy, Akira, as he and his friends try to stop the onslaught of "Kokuchi" or shadow monsters from invading Japan and ultimately the world. As you can guess, it can get pretty repetitive. That's not to say, however, that you won't enjoy it, as humor seems to substitute for plot most of the time, which, in this case was a good thing.
Let me first say the pacing of this anime was awful. As a
common rule enemies are supposed to get stronger as the show goes on, but halfway through it I realized that nothing was going to change- thus my video game analogy. Sure, there's plenty of action to go around if you're okay with transformation sequences longer than the actual battle. There were a few interesting battles scenes though the enemies were very, very generic.
Like I said humor plays a very big role. Expect to laugh even when Akira is slicing and dicing some Kokuchi. Unfortunately, the humor does nothing to further the plot of the anime, though it does make up for it. You would hardly guess that it was time for the finale to come around because of an utterly humorous go-lucky ending from the episode before it, which again is due to horrible pacing. Luckily, the story, when it finally did pick up, was pretty satisfying and DIDN'T have me thinking "I waited twenty-somethn' episodes for this?"
Nothing special. Kind of generic. There isn't a lot of blood and the effects are mostly an embellished digital. I found some of the transformations laughable, but for the most part the art is consistent and mostly simple. The character designs are okay, though you really have to decide for yourself if some characters are really that beautiful or if you're okay with Akira's mullet (IMO- I just wanted to chop it off!).
Hits and misses. Some pieces seemed like they belonged in the 90s while others conveyed the scene very well through piano.
A very enjoyable bunch of character, albeit, shallow. The basic characters are here: the bossy girl, the dumb blond, the ambiguous guy, the badass, the genius kid, the guy who can do everything, I could go on. If you're annoyed by ditzy horny and/or violent women with high pitched voices you shouldn't watch this- but then again you're an anime fan so it's like you practically signed up for that kind of stuff anyway. Still, the characters try their hardest with chibi scenes to put a smile on your face, so you can live with them.
The series is also very ambiguous with relationships. They had it all almost- shounen-ai, shoujo-ai and even shota. Though none of them were expounded upon a great deal most of them had something to do with the plot, which can't be said for many other anime with these types of relationships.
Chances are you'll either be bothered by the pace or the character's antics, but that's exactly what makes this show fun to watch. It's a fun little ride for fans of the actions genre (and doubly fun for those who squee at shounen-ai). I found myself fully enjoying it and in the end humor won over the weak story. That can't really be done for most action anime which take themselves too seriously, so consider this a rare treat- at least where enjoyment is concerned. Overall, it's a fair 6 for me.
When I first learned about this anime, I was hopeful. During the episodes, I still waited for something--anything at all to make it a good series. The only good thing about it is Shirogane. He was the only one in the entire series that had potential to be the shining gem. However he just became annoying along with the rest of the shallow and unpolished characters. I have to admit though, for making such uninteresting characters, they sure did know how to make them all equally annoying.
The novelty of BL in this show would be the only reason it
might attract a few viewers but the actual content of it (none) irks many away unfortunately too late as they are usually mostly through with the series.
The actual story is the old classic: "This is a complete accident but hey you're the chosen one anyhow so it's okay!". Oh and guess what, some of the characters get their own 'transformation sequence' and I guess the producers wanted you to damn well know how they do it because it happens in each episode all the way through. On a side note I would like to say how utterly pointless the scenes before the actual story line (a few episodes in, you'll understand). They are neither funny nor amusing, or anything close to having wit.
Now, the opening and ending credits are actually very beautiful. They were very well done and it may have been the only thing keeping me going throughout the series, that along with the soundtrack. For those of you fans of music, you may want to look around for the OST.
Last but not least, the art. As I mentioned before, the opening and ending credits are beautiful, and I can actually say that the art style was fairly decent, however, side views are still--erm--odd. In front view, none of the characters have noses.
Overall the series gets a 2. Instead of watching this series, I would suggest watching (or re-watching) Loveless.
So I'm starting to wirte reviews again...... And I'll start with this one. OK so, I picked up this title because most sites have this series pegged as a “shounen-ai” anime. But really? Is it really Shounen-Ai AKA Boy's Love? Because I don't see much “LOVE” in this series...at all. What I do see is one character, the lanky fem [and it's always a fem] character endlessly throwing himself at the main character, with no reciprocation whatsoever. This show has as much BL elements in it as X/1999 [X-TV] by CLAMP does And if no one views X [X/1999] as shounen-ai, then Monochrome Factor isn't
really shounen-ai either because it doesn't offer any true BL for anyone who appreciates that genre to enjoy. And once you remove this from the series, what have we got left, really?
Considering that this show was made in 2008, only THREE years ago! I would have to give the animation for this series pretty low marks. There are anime from the 80s with much better, much more impressive and innovative animation [Akira, Macross just to name a few] than what Monochrome Factor has to offer. The art looks very flat, cheap, low-budget...at least to me. Then you have the choppy animation sequences and frequent drops to the even cheaper looking chibi-mode with plain backgrounds, a lot of still frames with the blurred backgrounds [used for the fighting scenes] and of course the recycled changing sequences [which are totally unnecessary after the first 3-4 times we've seen it]. Monochrome Factor doesn't really give you a lot of scenery to look at either. They tried to do an Beach/Island Paradise episode and they might have well have been at a backyard pool party.
Can't say that I recall if there was any music during the series beyond the OP and ED themes....and those were both pretty generic. I watched the show in Japanese dub, it was OK. Just OK, though.
OMG what story??? Each episode was basically the same thing!!! Don't get me wrong, I can totally appreciate the concept that they were probably aiming for, perhaps something of a BL series that really wasn't centered around the angst and turmoil of being attracted to the same sex or being gay. I can appreciate the intention at least, but if this is supposed to be the finished product.....then no, not so much. For all sakes and purposes this show might as well have been an American cartoon, There is an overall theme, yes, which is much like G.I. Joe or Teen Titans, but what lies beyond that theme? Not a whole lot.
There always seems to be hints of a bigger story popping up here and there but the series never delivers on the promise. Like most anime shows, the source is probably a manga and I'm sure the characters have more depth and dimension there but I'm only scoring the anime at this point, which again gets a low score, because of the dumbness. Another example, the Butler episode was just as dumb, if the rich boy, Haruka—isn't that a girl's name—didn't like the idea of the Butler's friend getting fired....then why didn't he just hire him as a second butler for his own house....or for one of his many houses? And there are many many episodes like this that grates on my nerves a bit.
Even though this show has some moderately good points, namely the comedy and the hint of BL elements, Monochrome could have been hacked down to 12 episodes....Maybe even a 4-part OVA easily!
Pretty one-dimensional if you ask me. I can see why a lot of people got irritated by these characters. They have no depth, no meaning: Akira = anti-social/rebel guy, Ken = Dumb Jock guy, Aya = the bitch, Shirogane = the flaming goth-guy...etc. etc, bleh! Homer and Marge Simpson have more layers than these guys. And yet, the anime is steadily fixated around these guys. You don't see secondary characters unless they are going to be possessed by those shadowy centipede looking demons. Even when the world is ending in episode 22, with all the huge tornadoes and red lighting, absolutely NO ONE is seen running out of the buildings or cars, you only see the main characters. And that's all you'll ever see: the good guys, the bad guys and the victim to be possessed per episode.
The characters were nice looking, but poorly coloured and shaded, which is why I think they look so cheap to me, because not a lot of effort went into the colouring and shading and it pretty safe to say that the character design came from the manga....tho I've never seen it. I also hate the fact that they're always wearing the same clothes, I know I'm being kinda petty at this point, but it still bugs me, if the show was any better I might have overlooked it.
Sometimes I can feel an underlying irritation when I watch anime, and I'm not quite sure what it is exactly but it mostly comes up with shows like this one. Where there's no plot, but not only is there no plot, the art is underwhelming....and then there's all the Euro-pandering going on, ie., big western-styled homes and this “aristocratic” behaviour which is NOT common to Japanese people whatsoever. And WTF with the whole butler thing....like, really? Frankly I was intrigued in the beginning and and then mildly interested again by the end, around episode 22....but all that shit in the middle I could have done without, they could have used all those episodes to develop the characters, maybe create a deeper bond between Akira and Shirogane or maybe an Akira X Kendo storyline. Something to make this anime interesting, but no...they didn't, so the only thing that's really “awesome” about this series is the title itself: Monochrome Factor.
It's my first time writing a review so i apologize if it's vague and not of help to you. :|
The story has got two main characters that is somewhat like loveless; Akira and Shirogane, sharing a bond to fight off evil and with Shirogane carrying unconditional love for Akira. Both of them, together with Akira's peers, fights to defeat darkness which are mostly in the form of kokuchis. However, It's somewhat predictable as to what might happen in the first 15 episodes of this anime?
[spoiler]A character will appear in that particular episode. Wallow in sadness for their whichever reasons. And suddenly, taking
advantage of their situation, someone will appear and plant kokuchi(s) in their body hence, making them transform into a monster. However, they'll definitely transform back to normal with the help of Akira and Gang.
There was a twist to the story but unfortunately, the most exciting part of the story came to an abrupt halt at the final episode. It kind of leaves you hanging there. Perhaps, there might be a second season to this. [/spoiler]
Don't get me wrong that the characters are boring. The reason as to why I'd give the characters a 6~7 score is because i felt that there was a lack of development in relationship between Akira and Shirogane. If you're a yaoi/shounen-ai fan like me, you will most probably be disappointed by this anime. Yes, I'm here because I'm into shounen-ai/yaoi and therefore, I'm here to warn of those who might be cheated to watch this anime cause of its genre.
The main character, Akira, is surrounded by a group of friends that's got extremely interesting personalities. They've got really laughable actions that gives this a Humour level of (7) to me. Watch this anime not for the un-promising shounen-ai genre but more for the foolish things that these group of youths will do and how they will save the world from "darkness". (-. -) I felt that the bond between all of them as friends were much stronger than that of ShiroXAkira. As for the Antogonists, there was only a small amount of them. Therefore, I was hoping for them to posess more powers. I was also looking forward to more actions and less setting up of booby traps (kokuchis. kokuchis. kokuchis.) to defeat Akira and gang.
I'd give it a 6.5 in overall for the humorous studs & cranky female characters and the drawings of the character. The sound was okay - nothing amazing in particular. If you're those that's for light-BL anime, you can go for it. Don't expect too much of this anime but just enjoy the humor and see how this group of friends come together to save the day from being engulfed by darkness.