First I have to say that this is only my second review, and I only write reviews for anime that I think are underrated. This review may be some what one sided, but I honestly feel this anime deserves a lot more respect than what it is given, so I'm here to balance things out a bit. Overall I give this anime a rating of 10, which may seem too high and simply not true, but I guess it all comes down to perspective right?
Not everyone believes in the same thing, not everyone sees things the same way. Some people live for the future and others live in the moment. That seems to be the basic underling philosophical concept explored in this anime, and the fate of Japan depends on how the main characters handle this question. They certainly could have done a better job at exploring the concept, but for an 11 episode anime you can't really fault them for giving it a good try.
Some people will dislike the philosophical nature of this show, they might even consider it to be contrived and convoluted, and an unnecessary addition to an otherwise great anime. It is of course moderately convoluted and hard to understand at points, with small holes in the plot and a lack of some character development. However, this anime is attempting to explore complex philosophical questions that don't necessarily have one right answer.
The core of the story is not economics, in fact it would be pointless to criticize the economic theories presented in this anime, because it is after all a fictional show and the validity of the economic reasoning presented herein is far beyond the point of what this anime is really about. To claim the philosophical struggle between wanting a good present and wanting a good future destroys this anime, is to claim the fundamental foundation of this anime should simply be ignored.
From the very beginning it is clear the underlying basis for this story is a struggle between two different paradigms and ideologies about what really matters in this reality. The economic overlay is simply a fitting way to present those philosophical conflicts and create the framework for a story containing characters who are given the chance to accumulate vast wealth and thus wield great power of the state of reality and the future of our reality.
Even if it comes off as nonsensical babble to half the people who watch it, there is always something you can get from an anime like this, even if half of it doesn't make much sense to you. The story isn't as disconnected and structureless as it may first appear, although it certainly isn't perfect either. The spectacular art and gripping action make up for any downfalls this anime may have, and you will certainly not struggle to keep watching this anime.
STORY - 9
The main idea behind this story line involves a hidden world of money and fierce battles (so called "deals"). The Financial Districts are other worldly realities where only a select few are granted access. These hidden realities exist in all major economic epicenters of powerful nations, and the people plunged into this world are given an "asset" (some sort of creature) with which they must fight for the security of their future. Each "Entre", as they are called, have different goals and motives for fighting these battles.
The story line of this anime is extremely unique, nothing else like it exists. That alone makes it worth watching, because the majority of anime made these days seem to lack any true individuality and just take from plots that we've seen over and over again. While it does have a few small holes, I feel they did an excellent job at fitting so much into 11 episodes. There was hardly any filler at all and even though there was a lack of character development they used their time wisely.
I felt that they had a goal in mind from the start and reached that goal in a more conclusive and satisfying manner than most animes are able to achieve. If you think they strayed off onto wild tangents and didn't seem to know where they wanted to take it, then I would say you need to watch it again and watch it much more closely this time. Although a bit predictable, they did build up the story in a meaningful way to reach their desired outcome.
ART - 10
The art is this anime is without fault. The style of the art has some very unique features, such as a sort of digital blocky overlay effect present in certain parts of the anime to facilitate scene transitions and the presence of an asset. It also uses a mind-boggling blend of 3D and 2D visuals that doesn't particularly disturb the overall feel of the artwork, but provides outstandingly detailed and colorful scenery that captures the imagination and jumps out of the screen, particularly in the financial district.
The characters are also moderately unique, especially the designs of the two lead assets, Msyu and Q. The character designs of these human-like assets will certainly provide all the cuteness and uniqueness one desires in appearance of certain female character roles. The quality of the art is very high quality and extremely detailed, and is probably one of the strongest features of this anime. It is very fluid and the emotional expressions of most characters are very clear and easy to read.
SOUND - 9
While I didn't really pay much attention to the sound, it was definitely very good quality and suited the anime very well. The action scenes had gripping and intense dramatic music and the emotional scenes had deep and heavy scores that echo the gravity of each situation nicely. The character voices were actually very good, and in particular I thought the voice of Masakaki was extremely well done, and helped a lot to enforce the ominous insanity of his character.
CHARACTER - 8
As I said, they did skip out a bit on character development, but it still deserves an 8 because the relationship development between the main character Kimimaro and his asset Msyu was actually very well done. I don't really get sucked into the relationship aspects of most anime, but I couldn't help admire the way their relationship grew stronger in this show, especially considering the way it started out.
Msyu had an undeniably adorable personality, however I felt like there was a lack of explanation and back story for her and all other assets. Her desires and understanding of the world wasn't very well explained, although I can understand why they avoided that for the most part. They did dive into it a little bit, but it seems like they decided to skip over it and just leave it as a bit of a mystery for viewers to discern on their own.
Kimimaro is a rather typical male lead character, the classic ordinary everyday guy constantly conflicted by morals and an inability to do things the right way until he is literally put through hell and finally realizes what needs to be done. While he may be overly stereotypical in a lot of ways, he does have a certain respectable uniqueness about him which seemed to be a necessary and key part in the development of his relationship with Msyu.
While Kimimaro does have a moderately developed back story revolving around the fate of his father, there is another Entre named Souichirou who attempts to befriend Kimimaro and mentor him on how to reduce any damage done to the real world by planning the outcomes of his battles carefully. Souichirou probably has the most detailed back story, he also has issues concerning his father, and claims to fight for the present reality.
ENJOYMENT - 10
There is no denying that the anime has an overall enjoyment factor of the highest degree when all aspects are considered - well it did for me anyway. It had all the necessary features to make a great anime in my opinion, the story was unique and fairly well done, and involved ideas that I really enjoy. The mix of a magical money world hidden away from reality and the philosophical concepts built around that world make for a story that had me on the edge of my seat all the way through.
The phenomenal art and the impressive battles only served to push my enjoyment level to the limit, and I finished this anime in less than three days because I just couldn't stop watching it. It could have been a bit longer but I have no real problems with the way they handled the story given the length of the anime. This is certainly an anime that is worthy of reaching my top 10 list of anime. I don't re-watch many anime series but this is one I would consider watching again.