Following a recommendation on hunter x hunter 2011, I ended up at The law of ueki, and after watching all the 52 eps, this is what I felt : it has a cliche plot, cliche side characters, cliche mc, cliche setting of a tournament, cliche concept,.......and yet.........non cliche powers, different style of fighting, outright comedy, and cool character roles.(i shall clear the difference between characters, and their role in character part)
The story is based on a knock out tournament (a popular tag which few even classify as a genre of its own) and a final prize for the winner. This concept has been overused like the chunin exam of naruto, or hunter exam of hxh, or a recent example mirai nikki. Yet the execution is entirely different and unique in its own way. The story goes on like this- there are 100 god candidates chosen, and each candidate chooses a student (a middle school student) and gives him a power, and then the students fight between themselves, and whoever wins his candidate becomes the god, and the student gains a null talent, ie any talent he wishes. Moreover if a candidates student attacks a normal citizen the student loses one of his talents, and if they loose all their talents they will vanish without a trace. That is basically the initial setting. It becomes more intense as the show goes on. The few interesting points are the powers of the candidates, like MC has ability to turn trash into trees, another guy can turn towel into iron (looks lame at first, but it is splendidly used).
Animation 7/10 Sound 8/10
Animation is weak, but considering it to be a 2005-2006 anime it is not some exception. It gets it job done. The characters designs are pretty good, though it had room for improvement. No kinds of scenery or stuff is present to comment upon, but animation shouldn't become a barrier to watching this splendid shounen anime.
Sound was better than the animation. The opening song gave a peculiar vibe of some kind of depressing situation, but it was not much pronounced in the anime, probably due to its excess comedy. The osts were pretty good, and there doesn't exist much to complain about.
Tournament battles are overused stuff. And the existence of a decent prize is not an exception. And obviously there exists some kind of powerful antagonist with his own perception of talents and stuff. On a broader view there isn't anything pulling us into the story, but on close examination there exists plenty of elements. First, is the MC, Ueki. He is shown to have a strong sense of justice, and much of the story evolves around the justice factor. Second, is its excess comedy, which was initially used to propel the viewer into watching more ep, and in latter eps, just as a medium to keep the story strong. Comedy is one of its strongest points, (caution : don't drink water while watching this, else water will be spilled.). Third, is MCs peculiar power trash into trees and the possibilities that arise from. Fourth, and the most important is INTELLIGENT BATTLES. This is its strongest points, it delivers incredible battles. Battles are planned, and luckily the MC can actually think on his own and uses many tricks to baffle his opponents. Once 15 or so eps, pass MC also levels up, in very very interesting ways, as such once past 10 eps, there will be little incentive left to give up this anime. The anime also delves into teacher student relationship, and values of morals.
But still, the story lacks many things. First, the initial pace is slow, it is ok with manga but in anime adaptation, they could have cut quite many chapters and may be they could finish the anime sweetly in 35-40 episodes. The chapters I am referring to are not too integral in the story development, and plays very partial role in character development. In fact, the first few episodes were boring, and focused only on MC, and as result few important characters got introduced as late as ep 20. The anime should have neatly deleted unimportant battles. Even in the latter half some battles seemed to be dragged on. And only final battle remained to be seen.
While characters are mostly typical of shounen animes, their roles are quite varied and unique. There doesn't exist a character who is powerless at first sight but then after intensive training becomes op. The charcters develop, become better but only according to their capacities. Starting with MC he pretty much masters his powers, and his development his most pronounced. His leveling up is extraordinary, and he uses his new powers very intelligently and there are many spontaneous combos which he uses to defeat his enemies, and at times I was forced to say Brilliant! Other characters like Mori, rinko and Sano play integral role, and they too level up with unexpected variations. They receive ample development mainly because of solid back stories. The characters are carefully chosen by the author and he has intelligently played with them and the role that everyone plays is incredible. (If I were to elucidate it would be a spoiler).
Interestingly, even god is a character and surprisingly has a backstory. Tbh I was quite amazed at the description of the god, and more interestingly he is a prominent source of outright comedy
I srsly enjoyed this anime, mainly because of highly intelligent battles, and some of the battles might even rival that of hxh. I was also amazed at the non cliche powers, among all I liked the antagonists power the most (can't spoil). The outright comedy was evident and there exists no episode which won't make u laugh. Added to this was powering up of the characters which added spice to the anime. Lastly and the most important part, that it has a good and actual ending, and not some lame original ending.
Even then there exists many points to be criticized. First, irregular pacing, and dragged on battles. Second some cliche elements like nakama powerboost and some friendship stuff. Third, excess comedy, which at times turned into forced comedy. Fourth and the most important part is that it deals with MIDDLE SCHOOL kids. The anime had vast potentials, and with highschool students and a bit of seinen feel, packed with awesome action scenes and intelligent battles could have turned out better in many respects, because the idea of middle school kids fighting didn't really appeal to me much. Fifth, teacher student relationship was quite pronounced but again seemed to be a bit of excessive.
On subjective reviewing it deserves 9/10, but on close inspection and objective reviewing I can't render more than. 8/10. As such the anime should have lasted not more than 35 eps, with fast pacing and appropriate development. Had it acccomplished this feat, it might have become a showcase masterpiece and shared its stage with other good animes.