This review is dedicated to Imaoka Sumiyo, better known as Kurimoto Kaoru, the author of Guin Saga, who passed away in May 2009. Few can come close to matching what you have achieved as a writer and author.
As a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I'm always on the lookout for enjoyable stories, and this is one of the reasons why I'm such a fan of anime. Imagine my surprise then, when I learned that a series that I've only ever managed to read parts of (and small sections they were too), and that I have tried on numerous occasions to find in English, was
being adapted for anime.
Guin Saga is, first and foremost, a series of heroic fantasy novels, written by Kurimoto Kaoru, that began publication in 1979. Unlike many other fantasy series though, Guin Saga never ended publication, and upon her death Kurimoto held the record for the longest continuing single writer's work in the world. At an astonishing 126 published volumes, 21 side story volumes and two manga adaptations, it's fair to say that Kurimoto's vision for Guin Saga was of truly epic proportions.
The anime begins with the invasion of the city of Parros by the Mongaul army. The King and Queen attempt to save their children, the royal twins Rinda and Remus, by magically sending them to the nation of Argos where their aunt is queen, however something goes wrong and the twins find themselves in the Roodwood. Here they meet a man with no memory and no home, but who has the bearing of a king and the skills of a warrior born.
He is the leopard-headed Guin, and his destiny will shake the world.
The one big complaint that many people have about this series is that, come the end of the 26th episode, there are simply too many parts of the plot that have not been explained or fully realised. In all honesty I have to agree with this sentiment, as the series introduces many themes, characters, ideas and concepts that are never fully explored. However, while there is a very clear argument to be made for the lack of completion in terms of the plot, one has to remember that the anime can only cover so much of the tale, especially as the novels continue on for another 100 or so volumes.
In terms of what is there though, the show has a depth and complexity that is rare in fantasy anime. While many aspects of the plot are never completed, there are enough elements that do reach a conclusion to make this show not only watchable, but enjoyable as well. The pacing is good throughout, however many people find the latter half of the series to be less enjoyable due to the fact that the action takes more of a backseat, and all the plots and political shenanigans come to the fore. To be honest, I enjoyed both aspects of the series, especially as the latter part of the show was more character focused than the series had previously been.
One thing that really stands out about Guin Saga is how it looks. The backgrounds and settings are varied and interesting, but above all, highly detailed and impacting. There are some moments when the scenery will take your breath away, and the influence of various real world civilizations is prevalent in many of the towns, cities, buldings, character designs, and even clothing. The characters are very clearly individuals, and have been designed with this fact in mind. Each is facially expressive, even if that expression is generally a stern one, except for Guin, however this only adds to the mystery surrounding him.
Animation-wise, Satelight have really pushed the boat out, not only in terms of standard animation, but also with its application of CG. The characters, monsters and animals all move in a very natural manner, although there are some odd occasions when the choreography seems a little off (Guin's mouth movements when speaking being the major one, but given his leopard's head this is understandable). CG has been incorporated very well, adding to the overall quality of the series' visuals and enhancing some of the backgrounds and settings.
Guin Saga is a little bit special in terms of its music as it is the first full anime series score composed by none other than Uematsu Nobuo. Fans of the Final Fantasy series will recognise the name as Uematsu is responsible for the music on most of the games, as well as a number of other titles by Square-Enix. The OP, Theme of Guin, has an almost heroic feeling to it that manages to capture the essence of the titular character. The ED, "Saga ~ This is My Road" (performed by Kanon), is a haunting, melodic track that has overtones of determination, resignation, and the bittersweet nature of the journey. The rest of the muic used throughout the series is well choregraphed and, in Uematsu's own inimitable manner, adds depth and atmosphere to any given scene.
While the music for the series may verge on excellent, the same, unfortunately, can't be said of the acting. Although the seiyuu generally deliver some fine performances, especially Horiuchi Kenyuu as Guin, and Nakahara Mai as Rinda, there are some telling moments when the characters appear wooden. Thankfully, these moments are few and far between, and for the most part that seiyuu portray their characters well.
Guin Saga has a plethora of characters, many of whom are fairly prominent in the series. One of the apsects of the series that I enjoyed most was the fact that, on many occasions, the titular character was not central to the action, and while Guin himself is an imposing figure in the beginning, the series also shows him as a friend, guardian and mentor to both Rinda and Remus. The characters themselves develop fairly well over the course of the show, with the most development being on the part of Amenlis, the Mongaul Princess. Remus, Rinda and Istovan also show a good degree of growth, however this is mainly because of their association with Guin.
And what of the titular character himself? Well, as characters go, Guin doesn't really show any real development or growth, however while Guin may have no memory or past to speak of, he is portrayed as a fully realised character, with his own sense of justice, his own ideals, his own honour, and this fact is demonstrated time and time again throughout the show. So the question becomes, does Guin need any development? Aside from finding out who he is, where he comes from, and why he has the head of a leopard, there doesn't actually seem to be any real need to develop him further, at least, as far as the anime is concerned.
I will admit that I was intrigued by this show, especially as I know something of the stories behind it. That said, I didn't actually hold out any real hopes that it would be good, especially given the amount of source material that would need to be packed into 26 episodes. Thankfully Wakabayashi Atsushi, in his first full time at the directorial helm of a series (he also produced the storyboard for the anime), and writer Yonemura Shoji, chose to adapt only a portion of the story so far. Because of this, the anime adaptation of Guin Saga doesn't feel the need to cram everything into one season, and this allows the story to progress and develop in an almost natural manner at times.
Guin Saga is very much an old style heroic fantasy like Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and The Lord of the Rings, and it bears all the hallmarks of one too. Fans of Seirei no Moribito, Berserk, or any other heroic fantasy anime should really give this series a try as it is a singular example of the genre and has the potential, should the series continue into two or more seasons (and oh, how I hope it does), to rival the mighty Legend of the Galactic Heroes in terms of plot development, character growth, complexity, and worldbuilding on a grandiose scale.
While many may be disappointed at the final few episodes, it's worth remembering that the story continues even after the anime ends and, if you're like me and you want more Guin Saga, then you can either find the books or hope that a second season is produced. Granted there are flaws in the show, however many of these stem from the fact that the story is incomplete, and the anime should be recognised for its achievments, rather than derided for not putting forward a complete tale.
Comperessing 126 novels into 26 episodes would have made a mockery of Kurimoto Kaoru's life's work, and I for one am glad that only part of the tale is told here.
And should anyone from Satelight read this review, more Guin Saga please :)
Considering 2009 was the first year i really started to notice that fewer shows were getting released year on year, it is truly surprising this project got the go ahead at all. Guin Saga is truly a faithful depiction of classic Fantasy/Adventure story telling, for better and for worst.
The story sets up and has the potential to be an epic masterpiece, the scale and complexity of the tale is vast, and ambitious, and while the scale of the story is rarely an issue, the show doesn't quite get there.
What the show does well, is what i would describe as the political aspect of the adventure,
the various countries, their royal families and the various stages of the conflict and occupation of Parros are engaging to watch and really set in around the early mid stage of the series. This steered me quite happily from episode to episode without any complaints.
What the show handles poorly are the day to day events following Guin and the Remus Twins, my interest in the events didn't last long beyond the introductory episodes to our protagonists. Now while i quite enjoyed watching the Remus twins and their adaptation to the situation they find themselves in, everything regarding Guin came off as underwhelming. Guin is very much our all action straight laced hero, sadly this show is all about the bloodless violence, every time the show went into a small scale battle, i would always be left disappointed, there's simply no edge to any of the action, it's predictable and stole screen time from the events i did find enjoyable.
The art is strong worthy of a 2009 anime, the character models for better are classic fantasy designs, nothing of the current moe trends, far more reminiscent of years gone by. The background animations are reasonable, albeit lazy at times, they do a good job of bringing a huge world to life. The sound was reasonable, if not overly memorable, the voice acting was functional if not a little repetitive (blame the scripting as much as the voice acting)
The characters actually grew on me quite a lot, by the end of it i had grown genuinely interested in what was going to befall the Remus Twin's and even Istovan finally showed another dimension to his character, which i appreciated.
Overall if you like fantasy shows you'll almost certainly enjoy this show, i happily breezed through the 26 episodes in 4 nights without any real complaints. There's plenty to poke at if your looking to not like this show, but all in all it was a good not great introduction to what i'm sure turned out to be a fairly epic story, the show could have been a great portrayal in it's on right, had it taken a few more risks, but settled for being a fairly standard affair in the end.
After watching the first 9 episodes, I can say "Guin Saga" has a lot of potential and has proved to be rather enjoyable. Guin, an unusual leopard-headed man, awakens in the dangerous Forest of Rood without any memories except for the names Guin and Aurra. It is then that he wishes to find more about himself and why he is the way he is (a leapord head with a human body). When in the forest, he comes across the parros twins, a princess and prince. As they are being hunted down by Mongaul soldiers, he takes the twins along with
him promising them safety. From then on, Guin proves his unnatural strength to many in battles.
This series doesn't just contain one on one fights, but battles and wars - country against country. Seeing various types of warriors in battle, battle strategies, and creatures - this anime has kept me entertained. Because of the way Guin is, people caution themselves against him, even sometimes looked upon as an "evil spirit". However, Guin's kick-ass skills in fighting, courage, and good will gives him allies as well as enemies. Many of these allies and enemies he comes across are interesting individuals as well. The twin pearls of Parro who are the only heirs to a country's crown, a mercenary, various generals belonging to the Mongaul empire, the people of the Sems (country with monkey looking warriors), and many others.
This series doesn't just have interesting characters and story line, but the animation is well done. The music through out the anime is also top notch - I'm looking forward to the release of the OST.
Guin Saga is a very interesting show. It gets you all pumped up with the action and fight sequences in the first half and plays with your emotions and keeps you guessing with complex political exchanges. As a preface, I have yet to see the entire show, I can't find the last two with subs, and the version I'm critiquing is a fansub, so dialogue and actual character development may, and probably will, differ from the official version. Needless to say, I am excited for official release.
Story: They do a pretty good job of introducing all the main characters in the first two or three
episodes. If you have seen the first episode already and was really pissed about the male twin Remus, it's okay, he will get cooler later on. The overall story is almost perfect, the issues are namely:
1.Guin, Rinda, and Remus get captured all too often in the first couple of episode.
2.There is almost a sense of reality in the world of Guin Saga, but they don't explain enough. They show the two nations of Parros and Mongaul. Then they say there is the middle country and Nospherus and Aldros or something. Later on, when countries are joining up or betraying different counties it would be nice to know where the stand, both geographically and politically.
Like I said, other than those points the story is uniquely compelling.
Art: The art is fine. I'm not really picky when it comes to art style, as long as they pick a style and stick to it. And they did. I wasn't blown away by the animation but it didn't distract from the story the overall enjoyment of the show.
Sound: The sound was pretty good. The music adds to the scenes making the emotional scenes more emotional and the battle scenes more intense. The main theme is original and they don't play it so often it gets annoying.
Character: The most unlikely characters are the deep ones. Guin is your typical brute who smashes everything in his path, but he says somethings that are interesting. Most of the other main characters develop into something opposite I had originally expected. These are good points in character development. If the show is too predictable it gets boring. I was hardly ever bored during Guin Saga. However one character had to go and ruin that. Istovan, during almost every conversation you can guess he is going to swear something to or on “the gods.” This gets really old really fast and actually gets really annoying.
Enjoyment: I really enjoyed this series, at least so far. Most of the time it kept me second guessing people's motives or their intentions. Later on, they really get you, or maybe just me, to feel for the characters especially when they turn morality on it's head. They have like a thousand love triangles which gets to be a bit much but it seems to turn out all right.
Overall: I'd have to say an 8/10 for now. The end really seals the deal for me. I think the ending is the most important part, so depending on where and how they tie off the loose ends, this rating is likely to change.
Not having read any of the novels this great yet short series is based off, I really liked the presentation, development, and the events which took place throughout this series.
This story surrounds the main protagonist, Guin. I myself never seen a barbarian-like man with the head of a Leopard! That was the main reason why I got interested in this show and I surely hope it's the reason for others. Besides our bold, responsible, refined, and primal-powered warrior role-model mentioned, the music, side characters, sub-plotting and development are just outstanding!
Though Guin is a very powerful soldier and leader,
he is faced with much stronger calamities than any of the other characters in the story (durp, Onslaught2k3, DURP) which doesn't leave you with the aftertaste that Guin is overpowered like some other protagonists in other franchises. His greatest weakness is his lack of self-knowledge that propels him to search throughout the lands to find out WHO he truly is and more importantly his DESTINY.
A few issues any informed viewer of this anime would have are natural. The only/main one being there's SO MUCH MORE to be told in this anime it's hard to believe that it was officially ended at ONLY 26 episodes which I believe covered the first novel of the 127 novel series.
Each character has their own severe trails brought upon them as if it's some sort of test sent to them by their respective deities (there's Jarn, the god of Fate, Doal, the god of Evil/Darkness, others in which I've forgotten). Every character is thoroughly explained in the anime and there's no confusion as to what their true intentions are (minus one supporting protagonist named Aldo Naris).
This story largely focuses on betrayal as many people are stabbed in the back throughout the series. The involvement of spirituality, the different racial backgrounds and the significance of each, and the more serious trials involving Guin is what really sucked me in to loving this series in almost any way possible.
From open to close, each episode is filled with significant material like some sort of beautiful birthday or christmas present. The opening/closing themes are well-composed and vocalized (closing theme I absolutely adored) in this series and is worth recognition.
This series in my opinion is meant for the younger adult crowd looking for spiritual and deeper enjoyment out of a japanese cartoon. I would've loved to see how far the anime could go (who knows, maybe there is litigation going on to get more seasons pumped but as subtitler [Frong] says: "I guess that much is left to the novels.").
This anime adaptation of Guin Saga will definitely leave you wanting more, but in a much more positive and heart-warming sense. If you want to watch this or have a glimmer of hope you'll like this show, WATCH IT NOW! JUST WATCH IT! I guarantee you that you'll have at least SOME enjoyment out of this show!
Well my first review, so bare with me. I decided to write this review because all of the other reviews for this series are positive ones, but this is really a mediocre show at least it turned out to be. This review is for people who have not seen it yet and are thinking giving it a chance.
This is a pathetic show, with very minimal enjoyment and even less value. It started pretty good. It was a tail of adventure of Guin, a mysterious warrior and his search for his identity (yes, amnesia). The first part of the series is the presentation of the characters
and settings and this part is the only decent side of the series. You get to know this "middle ages" type world with countries at war, with magic and science. The characters are weak and uninteresting mostly, but Guin is decent. He is very cold and wise, so you do want to know more about him. His fighting skills are great too, so is his leadership and that's what the creators should have gone for. But they didn't and soon we all get a new main character and that's when the series tanks. The name of this freaking show is "Guin Saga" not "Aldo Naris Saga", but Guin is limited to 20 second fights against mediocre assassins for the past 10 episodes or so. The series dose not have a direction. The creators started many plots and subplots but had no clue where to go, so the series soon turns out into a train wreck. After some time you stop caring anymore. The amount of holes in the story is staggering and I was getting a feeling that the creators were thinking that only complete idiots will be watching this show, so they didn't hold back. I can honestly go on and on about problems of this series, but I will just say this. After 26 episodes I didn't have a clue who is the villain of this series. There were several candidates but I didn't care anyway, even worse I didn't even care for our heroes. The only reason I completed this series is to understand what in the hell the creators were thinking. The stupidity of this show will not allow any emotion other then anger to flourish.
To Recap. This is a really bad show and you will waste your time if you watch it. It keeps you in hope that soon it will get better, one more episode and it will turn out good, but it never does and even worse it keeps getting worse. The bastards that created this series kept this trend even at the last episode, but this time it is "one more season and it will get better". WTF? They say that anime industry is very competitive and only the most talented people will ever make it there, so I would really like to meet "talented" people behind this "masterpiece".
The royal twins of Parros have been driven on the run after their kingdom becomes overrun by enemies, and during their flight they come across Guin, a leopard-headed warrior seeking his lost memories of the past.
Be warned. If you’ve heard anything about Guin Saga it is most likely the fact that the story isn’t finished. The anime covers only around a tenth of the entire saga, written by Imaoka Sumiyo. This is not news and is simply something one needs to accept when going into the series, therefor I would mainly recommend Guin Saga to those that love pure high fantasy.
I will say that
Guin Saga starts off refreshingly straight-forward in its story-telling. We are taken on a simple Conan-like adventure, with a fast pace that succeeds in keeping it entertaining. Eventually the supporting characters however take over the lime-light, letting the simple adventure turn into a more involved political drama. All this is accompanied by a beautifully animated setting and an enchanting soundtrack.
The show’s main flaws come from the fact that several books have been compressed into such few episodes, resulting in clunky exposition and character-developments that feel too rushed at times. In Guin’s case he is the protagonist, yet the least developed in the entire cast, despite having the most interesting mystery surrounding him. While these flaws can’t be excused, they can be understood. Considering how long the author’s body of work is it is no surprise that the anime simply had to live with these problems.
Overall Guin Saga is a nice love letter to high fantasy, and hopefully something that will spark interest in the books that have yet to be fully translated into English. Guin Saga consists of at least 130 finished books with several side-stories, possibly making it the longest published work made by any author out there. Imaoka Sumiyo has truly achieved something most writers could never do, a feat that should inspire admiration in any writer out there, and for that I tip my hat to her.
(99% spoiler free, a very small hint about the ending, but I don't go into detail about what actually happens).
Another great medieval-fantasy themed anime. This was actually quite good and mature for being PG. However, I watched the anime before ever hearing about the manga and found out the manga is actually much more gory and it seems to have been cut from the anime. I personally don't know why I think they should've kept it in all its glory. Anyway, the only negative thing I have to say about this anime is the ending is left as a cliff hangar because the original
writer and artist of the manga died before she could finish it. However, her friend wound up continuing her work and the manga is still going today. Sadly, only the first 3 manga seem to be translated to English or are just very hard to find the rest. Really this is a pretty legendary series and deserves respect by anyone who loves medieval fantasy themed manga and anime because a lot of authors note Guin Saga as being a large inspiration to their own work.
The reason my interest was piqued for Guin Saga was because I was already a fan of Nobuo Uematsu's band Earthbound Papas. They performed a piece called Thread of Fate and the song was entrancing to the point where I became curious of it's origin.
I did research on Guin Saga and was surprised to find that it was a novel that was in publication since 1979 and the series had to be concluded after the author's untimely death. I felt emotionally attached to the series before I had even started to watch it as a result of this prior knowledge that I had attained.
When I finally did watch the show, I had these impressions: the animations and art were truly gorgeous and the music was very well matched. The characters develop accordingly as well as realistically and the story was simply captivating.
The progression of the show's story starts with Guin, an enigmatic amnesiac who wears a leopard mask. He travels with the twins of Parros and a rogue who believes he will one day be king. As this cast goes about their adventures in this fantastical land, others are introduced. It eventually moves away from the centralized story of Guin and follows the lives of the show's other characters, almost comparable to that of A Song of Ice and Fire series' storytelling (otherwise known as Game of Thrones on HBO).
If you are fan of the fantasy genre, then Guin Saga is worth checking out. The only complaint I had with this show is it's indecent ending and there is no news of the show continuing from now on. Even on that note, the show offers a level of immersion and captivation that will leave you wanting more. With luck, we will eventually get more.
Guin Saga certainly started out with an interesting premise and the thrill of all that high fantasy, but fell into a twisted mess of poorly done politics. Even with the politics, it was a decent watch and left some intrigue to the viewer.
Now call me edgy if you want, but oddly enough, it's an anime about a leopard man with a big sword killing everything left and right - but I can say almost certainly - not a drop of blood is spilled in the ENTIRE series. The swords do not cut ANYTHING, the one scene where someone is decapitated results in only
a shadow of the decapitation showing. An anime about war and politics and a conan-esque character completely bloodless? That just bothered me to no end.
I'm inclined to think this complete absence of blood was simply a cost cutting measure for the animation. Even if the animation was incredibly poor to begin with.
I gotta say, the animation was what truly ruined this series for me.
A man who cannot remember his own past, he has the face of a panther. Two Twins who were whisked away from their homeland now struggle on their own in real danger, this is the story of Guin Saga.
Story: The Story of Guin Saga is very well-written, the characters grow and change as the story moves along, especially seen in Remus more than any other character, I think where I have to dock it marks is the fact that the story had a bit of a inconclusive ending specifically near the last five minutes of the final episode, I think there was something with
Remus that specifically stuck out as a sore thumb and didn't conclude it for me perfectly. Granted, there are 130 Novels written by Ms. Kurimoto before she passed on, but this one only adapted around 13. But for the story in the anime it was well paced and planned out.
Art: The Artwork in this anime is beautiful, especially the ending credit sequence, it reminds me of Gustav Klimt's the Kiss and I think it was specifically based on that piece of art work. Now I'm not an art critic and generally I'm judging based on how the animation looks, It's very hard for me to pick out inconsistencies in certain episodes unless it's glaringly obvious. So there are really no animation issues.
Sound: First of all, coming into this anime, the one selling point was the fact that this was the first anime series whose music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, I don't think I even need to talk about who this man is if you've played any of the Final Fantasy Games. The Music is Perfect, the opening theme is one of the best composed themes I've heard in anime. I prefer to watch my anime in English. Usually the quality of the English Dubs has gotten better as it goes on, this is one of the few instances where there have been major quality issues with this dub, There is a scene with two characters Flori and Amnelis that is supposed to be very serious and sad but the emoting in this scene is just really bad, I honestly blame the director for not doing his job right. The other thing that was bad was the song Malius sings in I think Episode 15 or 16, The Japanese version was perfect but the audio must have been out of whack because the voice actor could not hit the high notes and I had no idea what lyrics he was using, it was incredibly awkward and left a foul taste in my mouth. The other problem with this dub is that many characters had their voices changed after the first set (Scaal, Loluka and many more) I have no idea why this happened but this is a reason this dub is a major mess. The one thing that shocks me is that the ADR Director of this anime (Steven Foster) has done some fantastic dubs like Mardock Scramble and Le Chevalier d'Eon), but this whole dub is a disaster it's like he didn't even try to direct his actors.
Character: The Characters in this show are very complex, they aren't 1 dimensional, they tend to be well rounded and display a variety of emotions, Istavan is brash but loyal. Guin is a voice of wisdom and somewhat of a fatherly figure to Remus and Rinda. Remus starts off as weak but he grows into a strong young adult by the end of the series. Rinda, grows stronger as well. We even see a character like Amnelis who seems to have it all but ends up... well you'll just have to wait and see.
Overall, Guin Saga is an anime for those who like to see well-rounded characters, some fantastic music, beautiful artwork and strong story, the dub needed a lot of work though but if you can look past that flaw or even prefer to watch it Japanese you will enjoy this!
Reasons this show rates so high on mal: people who haven't finished it (It has no freaking ending), people who enjoy the books.
That's my reasoning for how this trainwreck got such a high score. The anime starts off promising, a badass mysterious leopard-headed warrior kicks some ass defending two royal kids. Did you like that? Good, cause it's all downhill from here.
From the few sword fight scenes that feature no blood whatsoever. To the awkward dialogues with characters standing still staring blankly in front of them. To the adult warrior hitting on the pre-teen princess, scoring, and then deciding "hey! I'm leaving now!". To the
prince that has a vision and his entire personality changes *snap fingers* just like that. To the switch of the entire setting of the anime from "Leopard dude defends kids" to "politics time with all these people you haven't heard of before."
Now add to that zero closure at the ending, seriously, all that shit you were wondering about? Zero answers, nothing, nada. Go and read the books.
The only redeeming feature is some of the background art, the opening and ending themes. If you're wondering why I watched this series completely? To laugh at the unintentional comedy of the hilariously bad dialogues and story changes, I just wanted to see what the actual hell they would come up with next. Stay the hell away from this trainwreck, if you couldn't believe me and decide to watch it all, do me a favor and rate and review this so it gets the reputation it deserves.
Kentaro Miura’s Berserk blatantly ripped off its story from Guin Saga. I know that Miura cited Guin Saga as an influence, but if Kaoru Kurimoto had never written this epic novel series―Berserk wouldn’t be what we know it as today. Kurimoto’s fantasy tale is very political and yet it focuses heavily on character dynamics; it is exactly the type of formula that I look for in a created-world setting. Many other high-fantasy series that I’ve consumed have only focused on world-building or the just character focus with a lazily written escapist setting, but Guin Saga finds a perfect medium.
• The execution, on the other hand, could
have been handled better in the anime adaptation: Satelight isn’t known for the best production quality, so we see some scenes where figures aren’t animated and slide across the scene. The sun-spot lighting effect was also used quite a bit and I personally think this effect looks really cheap; I prefer hand-drawn lighting rather than a weird orbital sun glare that looks off-putting in a two-dimensional setting.
• This series is full of enigmatic characters that the viewer gets naturally drawn to―whether it’s feeling sympathy for the tough war-hound, Amnelis, or feeling an affinity for Aldo Naris, despite his questionable perspective on morality and devious nature; getting attached to the Han Solo of the series, István, despite him having zero loyalty to any of the character other than Rinda, or feeling sympathy for the wandering bard, Marius, who has minimal screen time, but still had an incredibly touching couple of episodes that created urgency in the tremendously large narrative that the story uses to torrentially devastate the audience; a tour-de-force towards the end.
• Similar to the atmosphere in Fist of the North Star, the medieval setting lends itself to showing the cruelty at the core of the human species in a more blatant manner than our world, a civilization which is programmed to not hurt each other and has morality strongly instilled in us from childhood. There are cruel courtiers, emissaries, and mages who will manipulate, kill, or betray anyone in order to earn notoriety in the kingdom, though the story is written with terse brutality, there is a sense of human will and sympathy among many of the characters.
• The motivations behind the characters are strong, even with Guin being an amnesiac, though I personally think that the anime version could have dipped into Guin’s character more than it did―the story often revolved around all of the other characters more, especially after Also Naris’ introduction, despite the series being called GUIN Saga.
• The story for this series is adapted from 126 novels, so it’s clear that the story ends without a resolution. But, the anime is treated with a great amount of reverence and respect for the source material, despite the sometimes clunky Satelight-isms; Guin Saga’s world invites intrigue and attachment to all of its many characters. I was inspired to start reading the novel series after finishing the anime, so I browsed the Barnes and Noble website and they have translated a few of the novels―BUT, there seems to be no plans of translating them all and when I scanned through the reviews, it seems that the translation is very poor. Time to learn Japanese!
• Overall, the world and characters stirred up the side of me that is fascinated with political intrigue. I would suggest this series if you are a big fan of political espionage and corruption within a court system, where a genius royal has to circumvent the rules in order to accomplish his lofty goals, as well as fresh perspectives on character writing that is typically not seen in anime. A very interesting viewing experience; I haven’t seen anything else quite like it. My rating: 7/10.
• SN: I bought the BD collection that Sentai released and it has VERY GOOD special features: including an extensive interview with the author, Kaoru Kurimoto, and it’s really motivating to watch, to see how a person who writes an insane amount of novels functions, what motivates them, what makes them tick. There’s also an interview with her editor/husband and he also has an interesting perspective about who she was as a person/creator. I recommend you pick it up if you have a chance, out of all of the anime BDs I own, this is my favorite purchase!
An animated adaptation of the decades-long medieval fantasy-adventure novel series, Guin Saga focuses on a leopard-headed man named Guin with no memories of his past and finds himself tasked with having to protect the young twin heirs in line of the throne to the kingdom of Parros, Remus and Rinda.
Guin Saga is a series that many older anime fans may reflect back to older medieval fantasy-adventure anime titles like Record of Lodoss War and Berserk with its storytelling and characters. For an older series, Guin Saga offers a rich world that it takes the time to explore dabbling into medieval elements, magic, and supernatural creatures.
Many key characters within the series get a good deal of dimension and depth that help make them more interesting and defined beyond whatever character types they would have typical for fantasy-adventure titles that include Guin having a tactical mind when confronted with battles, characters like Remus and Istavan feeling inferior in their quests to gain acceptance or power, and the Mongauli general Amnelis shown to have her vulnerable side she reveals to those close to her. The plot for the series is also an engaging one having its twists and revelations revolving around the struggles that Guin and his allies have against the Mongauli forces, Guin attempting to learn more about his past, and other parties shown to take advantage of the conflicts between the Mongauli and Parros armies for their personal gain.
Praises aside, Guin Saga does carry some issues that hurt its quality at points. It can get a bit melodramatic at points in its first half that mostly focuses on Guin aiding the Parros twins, resorts to deus ex machina fairly often to resolve some major storyline conflicts, and some major characters are a bit underdeveloped compared to others. Also, the series is left intentionally open-ended as there are hints of events yet to come involving major characters within the series like Guin, Remus, and Istavan that are left unresolved.
Visually, Guin Saga was above average in quality when it aired in 2009. Character designs are given a good amount of detail while retaining the traditional anime aesthetic, while Guin's design sticks out as a rather unique one thanks to his leopard head. Scenic shots feature vivid color and a good amount of detail applied to the show's diverse settings that include castle towers, caverns, and dark forests. Animation is mostly fluid with characters having smooth movements and action scenes having decent choreography in situations that include traditional sword fighting and occasional unique abilities coming from enemy threats.
While having some hiccups in its storytelling, Guin Saga is otherwise a mostly solid title that offers an expansive world, mostly fleshed-out characters, and an engaging, complex plot revolving around classic story elements of old-school medieval fantasy-adventure titles that fans of the older genre are likely to have interest in checking out.
Amazing Story. Amazing Characters. But the voices make me cringe. Don't rewatch it. If you've never watched it, It's worth giving a try. I watched it a while back and I liked it so I decided to rewatch it I started watching the first episode after 5 minutes of the horrible voices I couldn't stand it. If you decide to watch it I suggest watching subbed not dubbed. A problem with the story is that it's mainly violence and boring stuff but there are several episodes that I loved I don't want to get into details or I'll spoil it for you. The show is
also very short that annoys me because that show was really getting somewhere.
Guin Saga is a 26 episode anime based off of the longest running fantasy novel series in the world, also named "Guin Saga". The plot is "supposed" to be about a man with a leopard mask permanently affixed to his head who has amnesia, and is incredibly strong (strong enough to punch people into the dirt like he's planting them).
Basically, these two twins who are the heirs to the kingdom of Parros find their kingdom is under a sneak attack by the Mongaul army, a neighboring kingdom, and then the two twins are placed into an ancient machine (also called the ancient machine lulz) and
are somehow supposed to be teleported to their aunt in another kingdom. However, instead...they wind up in some woods just where there happens to be some Mongaul knights, and Guin sleeping by the river for some reason. The twins are almost kidnapped by the Mongaul soldiers and they are slapped around a bit, until enters Guin. He scares the shit out of them but they attack him anyway, and Guin proceeds to literally punch a man into the dirt with one hand, one punch. This is pretty cool, and is setting itself up as a Berserk-ish sort of anime. Then he finishes the man off and makes sure the head is buried too. Then he punches another man in just the right way to carve a large chunk out of the tree with the helmet AND light the area on fire. He knocks most of the others away or they run, and then he starts screaming and falls over. The twins come to help Guin and bring him water (from the helmet that started a fire...why was it not hot to the touch? Yeah Remus, the pussy prince, just grabs it like its nothing. I guess he's tougher than he looks if he can touch a helmet that moved fast enough to light something on fire. Its not like he waited, he just grabbed it instantly).
The next epic feat that Guin undertakes, is saving the children from the ghouls of the night, and then is captured. After being captured, some plot happens and Guin kills what is known as a "gray ape". By doing so, he does something apparently nobody else can as its a giant vicious gorilla that so far, only Guin can take down. So as you can see, they're really setting this guy up to be a badass for the rest of the show yeah? Well after they deal with this freaky vampire wanna be count, and pick up a couple new comrades named Istavan, the crimson Mercenary, and Suni a monkey girl, they move on to find this monkey tribe where Suni is from. As it turns out...Mongaul is invading the entire area to find some creepy magic an idiot wizard discovered the hard way but venturing alone into the place and touching a mushroom rock. (Yeah cause thats what any sane man does, travel alone into a desert-ish place with no provisions and just your "magic", where monkey men and large, very strong Aztec-ish warriors live, and touch a mushroom rock. Sounds like a GREAT idea!)
Guin leads the Sems, the monkey people who Suni is a member of, as well as the Lagon, a group of very big guys who are very strong warriors, and even rival Guin in strength. Along the way, Guin also gets their "god" apparently, Akura, in his hand. (It looks kind of like...a cylinder. Why does it disappear into his hand and show up at random times?) With this and both tribes combined, Guin proceeds to use very skilled gorilla warfare tactics to defeat the Mongaul army and thoroughly piss off the leader of this attack, Princess Amnelis of Mongaul. Now don't get me wrong, any sarcasm I've presented is mostly just comical. But here is where I am being serious.
THATS IT! Yeah, thats pretty much all Guin does. Now I'll count how many episodes I just summarized...oh...maybe...nine? Ten? Eleven at the most. Thats the only real problem with this anime tv series, is that its only 26 episodes and it shows MORE about the second in line for the throne of Parros, Aldo Naris, than Guin! After Guin beats the Mongauli forces at Nospherus, you barely see him do much. He gives some meaningful lectures to the kids, everyone once in awhile knocks some idiot down but its barely anything more than a normal fight. He doesn't push his authority, he doesn't do anything spectacular until the very end of the series where he kills some demon. But that fight, after everything else just feels so...bland? It didn't inspire me or excite me. I was happy I got to see Guin one last time defeat something impossible but come on! Does the majority of this tv series need to focus so heavily on Naris? Now don't get me wrong, the times it doesn't focus on Guin is pretty cool too. The story there is very close to something like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics in the sense that its got a lot of medieval-fantasy political intrigue, strategy, war, and espionage. Its quite interesting, and will keep you wanting more. But overall, I wanted them to go back to Guin punching people into the dirt. This is really the problem when you try and condense the longest running novel series in the world, into a 26 episode anime. It just doesn't work very well. And of course, it ends on a cliffhanger. From what I can tell, this anime probably covers the first five or so books? I dunno but I think if they were gonna call it Guin Saga, Guin needed more screen time even at the cost of less shit about Aldo Naris. I could live with that!
There's also this transition about halfway through, where one of the twins, Prince Remus and the immediate heir to the throne, is thinking about how much of a wimp he is. Then, the ghost of the moron who decided to touch the mushroom rock, comes to him and makes him have an out of body experience and shows him some weird shit. Remus concludes if Rinda, his twin sister, is the light, than he will be the darkness. It seems Karu Moru (the dumbass who touched the rock), sort of half-possesses Remus because this point forward the voice actor sounds like he has a pair and Remus begins to start doing cool stuff like fight pirates and try and be a worthy leader. But...it sounds like he got older? He acts very different and sounds older. They question this a bit, but here's one thing they do NOT ask... "Hey, Remus...when did your balls drop?" Like...really. Nobody happens to notice all of a sudden out of nowhere, Remus is acting more badass and has a deeper voice. Does that not bring up a red flag? Rather, they think about him being different but just let it be. Rinda, whose SUPPOSED to be a seer, doesn't even figure out wtf is going on until the last episode. Thats nice right? Now we won't know unless we buy the books! This part, imo, is very rushed and I am almost positive the book is way better at explaining this. I mean...they don't even let us know how much time has passed since the start of the show. There is never a "One year later" sort of thing...so we have no way of knowing. We could assume, but to hell with that. It just looks like he instantly got older and stopped being a baby and his balls dropped because some weirdo shows him his face with purple gas around it. How does THAT change someone?
Overall, I will say it was an enjoyable experience. I think anyone whose read some of the books, or enjoys similar stories will find Guin Saga highly entertaining and enjoyable. It wasn't bad and it wasn't perfect but it was good. If only the huge stretch from the middle of the series to the end wasn't so focused on everyone else, it might have been more spectacular. Oh, and before anyone tries any comparisons to Berserk (like calling it a ripoff), Kentaro Miura, the creator of Berserk, has stated he was greatly inspired to write Berserk BECAUSE of Guin Saga. The novel series started in the 1970s, so many stereotypes and precedents were actually set by this series. Its interesting to know this, and kind of notice some stereotypes and how they were presented and done in the first place, before they were stereotypes. They were done in a great way as far as I can see in this, so everyone please make sure to give it a chance and remember, this thing started a lot of these stereotypes, so if you want something INCREDIBLY original, you may not find it here but it WAS original in its time.
Now don't get me wrong... I loved this anime and I am shocked that it has such a low score considering its overall quality.
It had fantastic music that made me feel as though I were watching an anime version of a Conan the Barbarian novel.
Its action sequences were very well done and the strategy of the combat was excellent as well.
Its art was... interesting. The twins had very chubby cheeks and I swear that the little monkey girl had one of the ugliest animated noses I've ever seen but all in all the art was very good.
The titular character is interesting,
inspiring and generally but not excessively OP which I always enjoy. The rest of the characters were interesting in their own respects as well.
So why then if all this is indeed as I claim it to be would I only give it an 8/10?
The first 13 episodes were captivating and I powered right through them but that was where the anime lost itself. I understand that the show needed to explain what was going on elsewhere but it did so at the expense of the main characters.
There were a few episodes where the title character was lucky to get 5 minutes of screen time and the anime focused so much on politics and needless backroom drama and shied away from the meat of the story.
Nevertheless I enjoyed it overall and I highly recommend it to any fantasy theme fans.
I REALLY wanted to give this 1/10. The version I watched certainly deserved it! Alas, the version I watched was the dubbed, and I can't fault the story, animators, or original voice cast for what may be one of the worst performances by an English voice cast. Frankly, I'm surprised none of the English cast ever stopped in the middle of their lines to just say "are people REALLY going to buy into this crap we're giving?" because I'm certain that no one would have bothered to edit it out. It's actually so bad that I was motivated to finish the series for the laughs.
my complaint is only one part of Guin Saga, and it's only in the dubbed version. So, in the interest of fairness, I'll just pretend that I'd seen the subbed version and the subtitles weren't as equally horrible as the dubs. In that case, it's just a mediocre story. Guin himself is somewhat interesting, but the kids who are the primary focus of the story are anything but. Indeed there are many plot holes and the writing gets bad at times. It's really a shame, though, because I've heard the actual written series is pretty good, and justice is not being done to it (bad dubs aside).
Take home message: if you want a laugh, please do watch the dubbed version. It's great! Otherwise, I can't imagine there's anything else worth watching in the series.
Well, then , I don 't think there are a lot of things I could add , but for once , I have to say that I found an outstanding piece of fantasy .Why ?
We all know that the writer at the origins of this adaption is known for her beautiful work . So story-wise , we can only applaud : it ' s a nearly perfect balance of action, diplomatic and politic schemes , exciting adventures and the plot has enough complexity to deviate from the classical and overused ''I am gonna save XXX Prince/Princess of XXX Land
and defeat evil villain XXX " trope . Yes , Guin became a protector figure , yes , he becomes a key point to the fate of several countries , but we are soon surprised to be often invited in the psychology of both antagonists and protagonists alike .Seeing the plot through several sets of diverging eyes and opinions , the show stands out . We end up seeing all characters with mixed feelings : they all show flaws , and the heroes are not spared .
Art-wise , I would say it ' s a good , above-average quality . Nothing that will make you want to pause and go "OMG LOVE ! " but the slightly more realistic art style serves its purpose . Trying to imagine it with the usual bug-eyes , flowing unnatural colored hair and scrawny toothpick bodies , I can 't help but shiver . Thanks god the art fits and serves the plot .Some of the landscapes are pretty agreeable to watch , though . So one might not watch it for its aesthetics , but it ' s a nice plus to get decent art .
As for the music , I would say it ' s correct .The soundtrack doesn 't really stand out, which is a bit sad , but it ' s not horrible .Oh no ! Wait ! The ending is a little jewel . But then , I am a Kanon fan , so I might be a tad biased .
All in all , a good anime . I would especially advise it to anyone who ' s tired of the typical midlde-agey- dragon -demon-pixie -whatever fantasy animes we tend to get too much . The plot is strong , and when you finish an episode , you can 't wait to see what is going to happen next , which is always a good thing . My only regret ? That it ' s only 26 episodes , covering only the first books . Yes yes , I watched the ending ( I was curious ! ) half through it and it leaves you on your hunger . That is great publicity for the books , though . Time to look for them.