⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ I added “Jyu Oh Sei” to my list after my sister reviewed it, but she warned me that the ending made no sense and neither did the “shoujo” tag. That was back when I was adding anime to my list willy-nilly, and I’m not as picky about anime as she is, so I thought it’d be alright. Looking back, I experienced a variety of emotions while watching this 11-episode show, though not all were great.
⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ I can’t really explain that well why it took me about two months to watch “Jyu Oh Sei.” There were a lot of things factored into that time period… I was watching another TV show (that wasn’t anime), lots of movies, and was preoccupied playing Pokemon, I think. A measly 11 episodes is something a real person could finish in a week. I suppose then I’d have to say that “Jyu Oh Sei really couldn’t capture my attention that well. It wasn’t that it was boring. There was enough content to get me wondering about the plot, but the plot was too strange.
Setting aside the “Lord of the Flies” feel to it, the mystery of the brothers Thor and Rai appearing on the planet of Chimaera is kept a mystery until the very end. All viewers know from the beginning is that their parents were assassinated for some political reason and the twin sons were shipped to some crazy plant-infested planet way out yonder. Oh, and add the bombshell that this planet is used to house dangerous criminals from other planets, great.
What’s interesting, though, is how these abandoned humans have survived. They have a whole hierarchy and factions based on skin color and gender. As females are not as common as males, they’re more valued and less likely to be killed by others. Food and water are scarce and seasons are harsh. Everyone must always be on the lookout to make sure they’re not killed by voracious and carnivorous plants.
Then again, not enough of it is explained. Where do they get the materials for their huge buildings? Why the freak do some of them have air motor bikes? What kinds of crimes do people have to commit in order to be sent to Chimaera?
Anyway, the rising action has to do with Thor’s rise to power as he fights his way up the ladder to be come Jyu Oh. Once he learns that becoming Jyu Oh allows him to return to his home planet, he will not stop at anything, even killing others, to get to the top. For a large portion of the story, though, what drives it is the characters. They each have their own agenda and motives, some of them more sinister than others. You never really know who is on Thor’s side or not until later on.
⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ Thor himself is an interesting character. Aside from the fact that his physical characteristics are unique, as many like to comment, he’s the polar opposite of his brother. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, is a quick thinker, and is physically fit enough to protect himself very well even in the unfamiliar and harsh environment of Chimaera. He might slip up here and there but he’s never far from the goal.
Third and Zagi are the prime mystery dudes here. I never trusted Third from the beginning because he seemed to be hiding stuff about himself at the start. Zagi doesn’t have much of a presence until halfway through the series, but he plays some evil guy so there’s that. Anyway, both are hot and that’s already suspicious enough, but gives a lot of development when they unveil their true personalities and incentives.
Ah, and poor Tiz. She appeared at the beginning as someone interested in Thor’s heart but was never able to obtain it because of that sisterly love Thor had for her. It’s the show’s little effort at unrequited romance which I find is actually better than their attempt at forming some real romance later on.
⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ Can’t comment too much on the animation and artwork as it’s dated, but I think back then it wasn’t bad. It’s a little strange how different Thor looks after that five-year time skip, but puberty hit him like a train and he also turned hot, so I must comment that artwork-wise, it’s still appealing to me nine years after its release.
The saving grace of this anime is probably its soundtrack. I wouldn’t say that it’s something that took my breath away all the time, but a few pieces were definitely worthy of keeping on my playlist. There are some really pretty electric cello solos that really create the mood of mystery and dramatization in such a careful manner. They allow you to take the anime more seriously albeit the plot holes.
I’m not a huge fan of the OP because of the funky sax downbeats, but my sister really enjoyed it. The ED is better, in my opinion, as it verges between a casual and upbeat tone and leaves a hopeful vibe afterward, perfect for someone who needs some encouragement after seeing how hard it is living on Chimaera.
⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ ⊥ I have to say that “Jyu Oh Sei” is definitely not something I’d recommend to anyone. It isn’t the worst anime out there, but the ending comes with huge plot twists and tons of information that isn’t well explained. As a casual anime it might be okay, but if you prefer watching something thrilling or that actually makes sense, you’d be better off watching something else. The perk is that it’s only eleven episodes, but if it were longer then it would make more sense. The beginning makes it seem like it could be worth watching, but it goes downhill pretty fast near the end, so it’s disappointing in that regard. Nowadays there are lots more survival anime out there that can do a better job. (And I still don’t know why this is labeled “shoujo,” as I can see nothing in it that seems aimed toward young girls.)