This review is biased, because I read the VN. I thought about writing a review that does not mention the VN at all, but I that I'd rather write one that does, one that mentions the VN throughout the whole review.
It's also a long-ass review. Did I mention that I'm rambling on the game?
ChäoS;HEAd is an adaptation of a popular Visual Novel of the same name, spanning 12 episodes.
Just from the idea of a 30-40+ hours Visual Novel adapted into a 12 episode anime (about 5-6 hours) you already know that many segments will be shortened or cut off completely, unless it is only the first season out of few, which is not.
When I first read the synopsis of the game: "Takumi is withdrawn and is not interested in 3D things" I already had a great interest in playing the game.
Mixed with a mysterious serial murder case and Takumi chatting with people in the internet, staying in his room most of the time... it sounded like an excellent idea.
I installed the game and started to play it (without knowing Japanese) and just from the beginning I was hooked. The menu music and design, the atmosphere in the beginning of the game.. it has blown me away.
And when I knew that a translation project has just started and is progressing fast, only a few months after the game came out.. I looked forward to this real bad.
A few months later, Right when the before the anime started, finally a decent beta patch came out (playable with pretty much the whole game, unlike the patches that came out before that).
I started playing the game and in the next day, I watched the first episode of the anime.
Already, I noticed a few differences between the anime and the game, but overall, the differences were not that great, and the anime had a good start.
I finished the game after some time, and while it had mixed reviews from other people, personally, I enjoyed playing the game very much - even if it suffered from some problems which I overlooked because it was thoroughly an enjoyable experience for me.
While progressing in the anime I felt that the anime lacked the emotion that was present in the game, but overall it did a nice job following the main storyline without any problems up until episode 6.
I couldn't wait to watch episode 7, because the most interesting stuff are about to begin from here, if it had followed the game.
To my surprise and disappointment, episode 7 had some significant changes , emitting one of the best parts of the game, and made the anime lose all the horror and suspense parts it had up until now (even if they were few in number).
Episode 8 was an episode that was not present in the game at all.
Episode 9 followed the game, but rendered episode 8 unneeded completely.
Episode 10 emitted all the best parts from the game, completely, and was censored as hell, more than others, and was not enjoyable for me at all.
Episode 11 was bad, and censored as well.
Episode 12, the final episode,was good, considering that the previous episodes were a trainwreck.
Wow, that was a long introduction. So lets get to the technical details:
Story 6/10: Rushed, best segments from the game were not present in the anime, lacked feeling, lacked almost all of the horror and suspense elements.
Art and Animation 6/10: Character designs were simplistic, and while the animation was really good in some scenes, it was choppy as hell in others.
While some backgrounds were done beautifully, most of the background characters were done so badly, really badly.
So in one word... inconsistent. In Two words, very inconsistent.
Sound 9/10: I think I'm one of the few people that liked the anime OP more than the game OP. The ED was great too, I never skipped the OP or the ED not even once.
The background music was really nice.
All the voice actors did a great job, and overall in the sound department it gets a 9/10. Why not 10/10? because the anime was rushed and the script was rushed , the voice actors had to rush it too, and it's a shame. Because of that, many scenes lacked the feelings that were presented in a much more superior way in the game.
Character 7/10: While in the game, some of the characters were stereotypical and undeveloped, I liked pretty much all the characters, and especially Takumi.
Takumi is a stereotype of a withdrawn person that is not interested in 3D things.
He's pretty much the biggest stereotype of an anime Otaku almost Hikki that barely goes to school just to graduate), collecting figurines, shuts himself in his room all day, playing MMO's, living on a container on the roof, has an imaginary anime character WAIFU (He likes her more than all of his other WAIFUS) that he faps and fantasizes about all day up until the point that he talks to her when he's alone and her voice is served as his inner voice giving him the ideal advices for him when he's in a pinch... getting to the shoes of a guy like that can't get more interesting for me. It was so awesome for me to know what Takumi thinks about, the fact that he barely talks in the game, the fact that he doesn't trust anyone.... the way that his characters was developed and was faced with all the crap he has to go through it was amazing. I found myself agreeing with him, being amused by him... I just really like his character.
Now the anime... take his character, make him less pathetic, make him more talkative, and the fact that you barely hear him thinking... suddenly I didn't care what happens to him as I did in the game. He was much more flat, and it goes to almost all the characters in the anime compared to the game, mainly because of the changes in the anime and the fact that it was rushed. I didn't like the Imouto because she wasn't as moe in the game... the same goes to pretty much all the other characters (Rimi, Sena, Ayase, Yua , detective Ban, Shogun, Suwa, Hazuki, even Daisuke... and so on).
I liked Kozu-Pii just like I liked her in the game... maybe I liked Kozu-Pii a little more in the anime. I'm not sure about this. It's just that I didn't care what happens to the characters as I did in the game, because it was rushed, and the new mediocre story segments made things only worse in the development of the characters.
Enjoyment 7/10: The most important factor for me. Did I enjoy the anime? Most of the time? yes. Did I did not enjoy the anime at other parts? yes.
I had some mixed feelings, really. But I guess the reason I'm giving this a 7 in not a 6 as I planned because to my surprise... I enjoyed the last episode. No other hidden meanings here.
The anime was a:
In one world: Trainwreck.
In four words ( I think..):Trainwreck that I enjoyed.
In eight words (Wait.. I'm not sure here): Trainwreck that I enjoyed most of the time.
Should you watch this anime? You should decide for yourself.
That is all for this long ass ramble first review. To my surprise, it didn't take me long to write this. I guess that I wrote what I thought, simple as that. Sorry for the spelling mistakes and all other shit.