Nov 6, 2008
26 of 26 episodes seen
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Okay, so after having just completed the whole anime series and seeing that, of the people who wrote reviews, nobody had seen the entire thing prior to writing them. I have decided to write this! Please be aware, this review details the nature of the various elements of the anime, it does not specifically reference any parts of the anime. I don't think describing an anime is called spoiling, or is it? If so, I apologize, please tell me how to better censor myself in the future.
Without further ado, the review:
This is really one of those Anime that goes into extensive detail to get the
audience to understand the world of Masamune Shirow. True to the other series that he has created, his limitless imagination and creation of technology surfaces once again; this time we are introduced to the concept of "The Metal". Throughout the Anime, the audience sees the roles which such futuristic pieces of technology play in the daily lives of the anime's characters. By being able to 'experience' the applications of Masamune Shirow's fictional technology through the characters, we gain better insight to the anime as a whole.
The story carefully unfolds as each of the episodes draws to conclusion, the accumulated knowledge which the audience receives is key in appreciating such a masterpiece. In other words, it is really a good idea to pay attention to what is going on in the anime so you don't get lost later! I'd like to emphasize that the story unfolds with time, unlike many action-based fast-paced anime of today. People should not be quick to judge the quality of the anime based on the first episode or even the first few episodes. At first it may not appear to be following any particular storyline but as I said, it all comes with time.
Unlike Ghost in the Shell, which can be called a predecessor of this anime, the environment is very vividly colored. However, all of the characters, objects, and buildings are uniquely designed. All of this gives the anime a sort-of exotic or 'new' feel. The art of the anime also presents the mood, and as such the audience is left with a less serious atmosphere than that of Ghost in the Shell. CG rendering is used sparingly and only as needed, akin to more 'traditional' animation. It feels as if more work is put into doing animation than CG nowadays. I guess, I'm a fan of crisper and detailed images, but the slight blurriness of the background allows the audience to not be overloaded with images. I am referencing Ghost in the Shell because it is the only other Masamune Shirow work that I have seen. There are also some almost psychedelic colors and patterns, in "the Metal" to contrast the bright, paradise-like environment of the Real Drive world.
Perhaps one unique quality, in this anime, which can be noticed immediately are the characters. The characters are generally a bit on the chubbier side, which is fine, considering, in reality, how many people are actually as thin as characters portrayed in many anime. This contributes to the believability of the anime as a whole. After all, not all anime have to conform to the typical, aesthetic pleasing, character design in order to be considered good. Perhaps it can be said that the characters behave true to their appearances, e.g. behavior. Each of the main characters undergo varying levels of development and thus each character is unique and brings forth their own contributions to the story.
At first glance, the music in this anime is quite different from the OP/ED themes. In fact, they appear contradictory of each other. The OP/ED are kind of like hard rock while the BGM fits smoothly and refreshingly into the art and with the characters of the anime. Much of the upbeat music in the anime had been synthesized with a computer, perhaps has to do with the fact of being futuristic. However, some less upbeat tracks are simple and use few instruments such as the piano, glockenspiel, violin. All of these tracks suit the changing moods in the anime. Getting back to the OP/ED themes, though they contrast the BGM, I don't believe they are bad decisions. They aren't bad to listen to either and hey, if you're bored they're a good wake-me-up, ha ha ha. One thing about the OP/ED of this anime is that they are shorter than the usual OP/ED, instead of being around 1:30, they're only around 1:15. This makes for less interruption I suppose, I definitely did not mind them being shorter. They also make each episode a smaller filesize and such benefits people with less storage.
The journey from the beginning to the end of the anime was well paced and advanced accordingly. There wasn't ever a feeling that there was no story left or too much story at the end. Perhaps though, being a more evenly-paced anime would cause some viewers to get bored really fast. Even more-so when not even all the subs were out. Having fine details yet needing to wait for weeks until the next episode, definitely does not help to tie the anime together as a whole. I suppose it is more suitable to watch it all the way through over a shorter period of time.
Though the first impression is often the lasting, the careful planning involved in introducing the anime's world in detail to the audience, makes me give a:
8/10 for Story.
Detailed and colorful are words that come to mind when recalling the world of Real Drive. Sharpness and blurriness are used appropriately to soften or heighten the anime's vivid colors. The uniqueness of the infrastructure, environment and characters design in the anime get it a:
9/10 for Art.
All of the music is crisp and cleanly composed and fits well the changing environment and moods of the anime. You can listen to the OST on its own and it would still sound good, preferably on 5.1 surround sound please!
9/10 for Sound.
The characters are uniquely designed and should be accepted for that fact; it should not deter the audience's perception of the character as an individual . As well, as individuals and groups, undergo substantial development and growth throughout the anime. This makes them seem more believable, real even.
9/10 for Character.
Each of the individual elements (such as the ones above) of this anime were tied together well, everything was place somewhere for a reason.
8/10 for Enjoyment!
As with many others, this anime started off a little on bland in my mind though, slowly but surely, I began to appreciate all of its fine details. True uniqueness is very difficult to accomplish when dozens of anime are broadcast throughout japan every season but, I will remember this as something truly different from the rest.
Edit: After reconsideration, I have lowered Character to 9 because not all of them really, noticeably, develop over time.