Aug 4, 2010
26 of 26 episodes seen
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Just... wow. I just finished it and I'm blown away. I haven't cried this hard at an anime since I was on the last episodes of Clannad After - FC hit strings I didn't even know I have. From the moment Gretha remembered she was Mel, to Helga and Duma's little bonding session - and Thoma, oh god, Thoma. Just - I was sobbing and still feel like crying when I think about it.
Sakamoto Maaya as Mel was fantastic. This is the second time I've ever cried for a side character - the first time was Shiroe from Terra e, and even Shiroe was set
up as a main character for two episodes. Her voice brought so many feelings to life in her. I've never held her as the voice acting goddess her reputation holds her, but now suddenly I'm not sure anymore.
But the biggest star in this anime was Junko Minagawa as Thoma. When Thoma started bawling, it was impossible not to be pulled in along with him. Crying is often annoying, agonized tearful screams mostly unremarkable after a few hundred anime, but that - that-
The theme songs, those beautiful, heatwrenching theme-songs, they couldn't have chosen better ones. Having Aghi sing the ending in some of the episodes was also a stroke of genius - especially because he had no singing voice to speak of.
Of course, this anime had bad sides too. Heaps of them. The directing was almost amateur and the script was somewhat cheesy. Unsurprisingly, the director wrote the script too, along with one other guy, and also unsurprisingly neither of them had anything remarkable on their resume - except for this.
I was never sure what the series composition guys were for what exactly animation directors are for, but after watching this, I think I understand. This anime is their work alone. Checking their resumes on ANN, it becomes even more evident - only one of the three series composition guys doesn't have several good series listed; the other two, Hiroshi Fukutomi - storyboard on LoGH and Law of Ueki, and Katsumi Terahigashi, who worked on seven episodes of Durarara and several of Cardcaptor Sakura and Umineko (which again had script trouble). I want to say more here, but I don't know how to explain it - something about the series, something they must have done, because you can feel it strongly, saved it from the bad directing, and so well that you just stop caring about it and just enjoy.
The script is salvaged by the excellent use of music. I'm planning to hunt down the OST after I write this, but it wasn't the music itself that did the trick (some parts of Kara no Kyoukai still bored me out despite Kajiura Yuki's score) - it was the use of the music; it underlined every single line spoken and made it jump out and grab you, pulling you in. In some places it was overpowering, reminiscent of .hack//SIGN, in others it was rather subtle, but it always felt perfect.
Also, on the art: it's not perfect, but it's wonderfully haunting after it grows on you. Greecia is just plain beautiful. Still, it's not the best ever seen and the series could have benefited possibly from more budget here - to compensate, it has a definite character.
I'm not sure whether I can even give the director points for the original story, since it's eerily reminiscent of Please Save My Earth. It lacked some of the dilemmas that made PSME worth reading, but, on the other hand, at least it handled the ones it had very well. I'm glad Soran wasn't an abusive ass, I'm glad Love Rival #1 for once wasn't a dick towards everyone and that his bottled up emotions erupted realistically, and furthermore I'm glad that they didn't spend much screentime angsting over the local Yamato Nadeshiko and made her have a personality beyond that. And it was sher genius to have Thoma not be [X], but [Y]. (Spoiler?)
And nobody had tragic pasts beyond what the plot required them to! Ok, Soran did, for, like, half a minute.
Fantastic Children is what I wanted Please Save My Earth to be, but I wasn't expecting that when I started watching (I was seriously expecting a vampire series), and it went above and beyond that.
I gave this one of my rare (maybe not so much these days that I have an idea of what to seek out) 10 ratings. In spite of its misgivings, it deserves it, in heaps.