24 February, 2011


A girl comes to a deserted place where she finds a boy, slightly younger than her who has spent his whole life training in martial arts with his grandfather. The boy knows absolutely nothing about the world but joins the girl in her quest to gather the 7 12 Dragonballs Deviant Blades. Of course, although he loses some fights along the way, the boy turns out to be the strongest warrior possible.

This is the latest and probably one of the last anime I watch. Initially I wanted to lump it together with the Lost post, but they have nothing in common except the fact that the ending is disappointing (and this would be the place I mention that I watch anime because they have endings). But I am getting ahead of myself.

The first impression you get of this anime is the unfamiliar artwork. It's strange and it's crude, so it had better compensate by content. And to some degree it succeeds. The introduction may suggest that I consider it a rip-off of Dragonball, not so. This series is remarkable in that it pretends to be an action series, but is instead a dialog driven journey. The fights are usually less than 5 minutes of the unusually 50 minutes long episodes. Being dialog-driven it reminded me of Bakemonogatari, but the similarity in content and title is no coincidence as they were written and animated by the same people.

While the former excels at what it does, this 'sword story' (rough title translation) could have been better. Not by much as each episode is pretty good in its own right (except the one where we don't even see the fight for the sword; instead it is just summed up by a 2 min. dialog), but they don't seem to be linked in the best way. The pacing is all wrong. I mean he faces of against the strongest enemy, which happens to be his sister, half-way through. What was the logic in that?

Ultimately, it is the ending that stands out. It's appropriate (the feeling that nothing good will come of their quest is pretty much established from the first episodes), but not satisfying in the least. <SPOILER> What is remarkable is how the Japanese don't seem to have any problems killing of main characters, even where there are as little as 2 of them. See Gurren Lagann for a much better example. There, an unexpected death is the only good part I saw in the series. Here, although it is well executed, it prevents the ending from giving a sense of fulfillment </SPOILER> Speaking of lack of fulfillment, although we get to see the Completed Deviant Blade and the power of Kyotouryuu when he is actually unleashed, no longer ordered to protect the swords or himself, it is all for naught. Not even the philosophical twist of Kiki not being a sword smith, but soothsayer which attempted to change history through his Completed Deviant Blade, made any impact as it was offhandedly dismissed as a failure in the epilogue. <SPOILER> And I can't even begin to imagine what they were thinking when they had him end up travelling the country with the wrong princess. I understand to have a non-hollywood happy ending, but this seemed just plain wrong creepy </SPOILER> I guess that's just how the Japanese are... can't understand them, that's what makes their shows special.

So all in all, was it worth the time? Probably.

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