Takumi is a high school student. He is withdrawn and is not interested in 3D things. In his town, a mysterious serial murder case happens and people get panicked. One day, when he chats on the internet, a man suddenly contacts him and gives him an URL. He goes to the website and finds a blog image that suggests a next murder case.... On the next day, it really happens....
Takumi suffers from intense delusions as a result of his apparent schizophrenia and the extremely secluded lifestyle he lives as a hikkikomori. One day he accidentally stumbles upon a gruesome murder scene, a part of a chain of events called "New Generation." After this, his life gets caught up in these events, and he meets a bunch of increasingly insane anime girls with swords.
Story & Characters
Alright, admitedly, looking at the first couple of lines, my first impression was, "This sounds like a rehashing of 'Welcome to the NHK'," with some crazy NEET at its center that I could quite easily not give a dang about. Well, alright, I watched it anyway. My first impressions from the first few lines, part right and part wrong. To those of you that are NEET-allergic, sorry to dissappoint you, but that was spot on. To those of you that didn't like NHK or are hoping for something different, you should be happy that it's nothing like NHK.
The Story progression was spot on to make a great show. They always provided enough information in one episode to get you to start thinking it would go one way, then out of the other side of the field throw you off next episode. (At least, they really landed that home on me and my roommate.)
In terms of shock factor behind the characters, they did everything spot on. And as I have said earlier they kept me (and my roommate) guessing right up until the end, even about the characters and their motives. The complex nature of entangling affairs that brought everyone to together prior to the final episodes was carefully concealed until the rise into the climatic final battle.
But the real kicker of Chao;Head, for me, was the use of perspective in the beginning of the series to create this very intimate feeling of who Nishijou Takumi was as a person, and ultimately, how they used that initial feeling and plunged the viewer into a very dark and disturbing story of the different sides of the human heart and both the conscious and unconsious minds we all have.
And, alas, we all have to admire the use of Takumi's delusions as both a story device at cementing our understanding of Takumi and his character and the create venue it created for fan service for all audiences and preferences.
Considering the harshness and splendor of this show with the sheer power of its story and implications for our world, throw in some originality, and I can find no better way to have told this modern day scifi mystery thriller with a little spice of ecchi and romance. There was enough of everything. Eat the 10!
And on a side note, with a fair backing in modern science, one only realizes that all those spiels that the characters gave throughout the story were pretty accurate and were well depicted. Side note now over, kudos to the staff who added those in to that detail. Power to them!
As an exercise to grading whether the art work style was appropriate for the series, I often think about if other studios had been in charge of everything. And I also compare it to, in cases like this, to the game. I can think of no better studio to have done this and the anime images are on par to those of the game, so they not only did the story justice with them, but they also did the game justice.
I have to say that the use of line art style artwork on the Di-swords when normal peopel weren't supposed to see them was quite good, although I tend to think that there must have been some better way of doing it. Yet, for my talk, I can think of no better way to show their presence and maintain the aura that they aren't visible to normal people. Ah! Gotta love conflictions such as these.
Some of the most powerful images in the series came from Takumi's delusions, thankfully, and they should be more memorable than the normal day in the area around Shibuya.
The vocal cast was diverse and talented and really played up their parts well. Those that were weak-kneed (aka Takumi) and those that sounded strong (aka one of the girls at one time or another) sounded their respective parts. And I didn't sense any inappropriate tone-age that sometimes comes across in some shows.
The insert song "Haritsuke no Misa" is perhaps one of the most memorable songs in the world of anime. And has the sound of a metal song that would get even the most avid Rammstein fan's attention while it's playing. A great song, by a great artist. And...as a bonus, the lyrics are as disturbing as some parts of the series.
The BGM is just that BGM. It's not meant to stand on its own, but as an enhancement to the story.
And a note on the OP/ED, absolutely wonderful songs that really, and I mean really, match the series' intents and mood. Although, at first, one's eyebrow will reach for the sky when hearing Seira Kagami's "Super Special" (ED). And one's eyebrows will have no ready made expression for the lyrics of the Itou Kanako's "F.D.D." (OP). Eyebrows excluded from the initial stage, they are great songs.
That kind of leads us with an 8 in this area.
As you can tell, I love the way they told this story. If they had a 20 in this section, I would give it. Now, I will tell my reasons.
You already know that this was a great thriller, as it keeps one guessing right up until the end. And your interpretations of the characters change on a pretty constant basis as the story progresses. Here's an example: I first hated Takumi, but at the end of the series, one could only feel jealous of the ------- with a certifiable harem of great women and the powers of a god. Perhaps this is all a little exagerated, but I think my point was made rather readily with that.
Thriller anime are either great or they suck. This was one of the great ones that came with a few bonuses, including some pretty good backstory and backworkings within the story. Another bonus not often seen. So in all due fairness. I recommend this anime.