EVER FELT THE NEED TO PUT SOMETHING DOWN JUST CAUSE IT'S TRYING SO HARD, BUT FAILING...?
Well... I'd say I have a decent grasp of Asura Cryin', being that I popped it in and sat there for the entire 13 episodes running time of around 4 hours and 30 minutes... Did I force myself? No, far from it. Could I have used the time to watch something better? Definatly.
...And that's why. Asura Cryin' was interesting and hinted multiple times at greatness, but definatly not early on... The art style is cute, the voices are overall nice, and the fight scenes that AREN'T mecha were more than satisfying. The story made me think of some bizarre hybrid between SMT Persona and Gurren Lagann with it's school setting and dark religious overtones (overtones that basically never get developed, mind you), while combining TTGL's wanton super action and spiral theme.
The result SHOULD have been amazing, but Asura Cryin' remains a confusing tale with a weak lead. Tomoharu is haunted by admittedly ADORABLE ghost Misao, and... shit happens. Thats really as best as I can describe it. Tomo gets sucked into this battle between factions- and then suddenly it doesn't matter and he's friends with both. Seriously. Asura Cryin' didn't put out any effort to determine what was important, what was supposed to be a plot point and what wasn't... Not to mention I noticed that outside of the action scenes, Asura Cryin' reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally REALLY really needed a new director... seriously this director must have Autism (so do I, but still it's pretty bad) because the scenes flutter around without even putting the effort to make a decent transition... this may not sound that bad, but really it is given that the characters flashing back and forth weren't developed enough to make me forgive the terrible transitions.
However, I still did enjoy this series despite the fact that Tomoharu has no drive as a main character, the conflict is unexplained, characters are added left and right, and overall there's not much of a plot... Until the end, however, where SHIT GETS REAL. But seriously, the ending of Asura Cryin' leads set up to a second season which I hear to be phenominally better than this preceeding series, and due to the actual effort put into the interesting set up that the ending gives. By the end, I finally started to feel for this show something beyond mindless entertaintment. I felt engaged, but it's not something I can reccomend to everyone. For basically 11 episodes out of the 13 are plauged with the problems I described above and the only reason the last 2 were good, was because it leading to the (presumably) better 2nd season.
Was I entertained? Yes! Was I satisfied? No. So overall what would I say about Asura Cryin'? I liked it. Will I watch season 2? HELL yes. I won't deny that I was interested and wanted to like it more, but the circumstances made it tough to. The only thing I can say, is give it a try!
Asura Cryin is exciting from the start. It doesn't take long for things to really pick up. Since there are only 13 episodes per season, that's a good thing. It pulled me in immediately and it kept me watching. As interested as it kept me and as exciting as it could be, it's certainly not the best anime I've ever seen. The characters aren't much different from the usual but they are fine. They lack development, but so does the entire story. And there in lies the problem. The plot is as holy as a catholic church!! (Okay, that was a bad pun, but I couldn't resist. No offense to the Catholics.) What I mean is the plot is full of holes. I haven't watched the second season, but so far, it's not developing, and if they spend the second season trying to fill in all the holes, I imagine it will be very boring. I still enjoyed the first season, but I had to not think to hard about what was going on and not try to make sense of things.
The situation isn't that strange at first, though I wouldn't call it normal. The main character is a boy, Tomoharu, who is about to start high school. He is moving into this big house without his parents and he has a ghost who follows him everywhere. Not normal, but ( I want to continue the pun...but I won't) not too holy, especially considering it's not even ten minutes in to the first episode. Then a strange classmate brings a trunk case to his house. Apparently she knows his brother who is supposedly off studying abroad. Again, nothing too weird. A strange girl with fire abilities crashes through his window demanding he hand over the extractor, the trunk, except he doesn't know what she means so he doesn't think he has it. Interesting, but the only a few holes to fill and twelve episodes to fill them. Then it gets a bit crazy. Suddenly there are two different groups at least plus the girl, Shuri, who brought the trunk, that show up at his house demanding he hand the trunk over. They are blasting holes in the walls and guns are popping out of Shuris body and people are shooting. They start talking about a "Dark Society" and religious war and what all. And now it's weird. But wait, there is more! Tomoharu opens the case and some black dark evil thing that looks like slime starts oozing out of it, and end of the first episode. Now it's weird and it's holy, but we still have twelve episodes for explanations.
The next episode starts, it should continue the fight from previously right? Wrong! It fast fowarded. We did get a bit of a flash back to a small part of what happened, but that's about it. It felt very choppy to me. So now someone is going to explain this "dark society" thing right? Nope. Well then they will at least explain what came out of that case right? Nope, not really. So what do they explain? Not a whole lot. It continues on and Tomoharu is asked to join the science club by Shuri who is also the president of the third student council. Then Tomoharu meets the first student council president, Saeki, who is one of the people who destroyed his house. Saeki wants him to join the first student council. Now why are there three student councils (we meet the second one later). Is Japan that different from America that they have three student councils? Is anyone really going to explain any of this? Shuri explains a teeny tiny bit about Dark Society, but not enough to mean much. Still, I'll bite. Then Tomoharu learns that Takatsuki is the one who broke into his house originally. Takatsuki is a demon and the first student council is responsible for destroying demons. So we get a conflict with that.
Before long, we have mechas that appear from a dark hole in the shadow of their handler and run on the souls of a sacrafice. We have Misao the ghost who died and is the one in Tomoharus Mecha. We have demons that look like normal humans and contracts with demons and familiars etc. We have Shuri who has guns in her arms and legs, litterally, and reminds me a bit of Revy from Black Lagoon. We GD's which I don't really know what the point of them is. We have Dark society and light society and second student council, I forget what they are. And very little of this is explained. To add to the confusion, Misao the friendly ghost is apparently visible and ghost like and also not. See she isn't at first. But then she eats a stabalizer thing and she is. At first it seems like this whole Handler and demon and ghost thing is kept secret from the general public. And then it doesn't. Misao floats around with her feet off the ground and is supposedly visible, but if she was visible, wouldn't people have an issue with the whole floating thing. I mean she walks in school, but other times she just floats down the street or sits in the air in public. Also, apparently sometimes she can touch things and sometimes she can't. She starts school with Tomoharu, so one would assume she can pick up pencils and stuff. Plus she hangs out with other girls and one would assume she is able to appear alive, except then at a party, she tells a woman that she can't touch anything and to demonstrate puts her hand through the chicken. If she can't actually touch or move things, how does she handle school? It's like the rules are constantly changing. The transition from episode to episode was rock at best for the first several episodes. Very little was ever explained. The characters don't feel very developed to me because I have no idea what this dark society and three student councils etc is. As for Tomoharus brother, that's a whole different bag of questions. We don't really know what he has been doing all this time or just what he is involved in and how deep, except that it has to do with the third student council. We don't know why he seems to be in legue with the enemy sometimes. We don't know why doesn't contact Tomoharu directly, all we know is his name really. As for the action, it's not bad, but battle scenes tend to be rather short and sometimes a bit too convinient. Also, if everyone doesn't know about demons and handlers and mechas, then WHY ARE WE HAVING A BATTLE IN FRONT OF THE FREAKIN SCHOOL? Don't you think someone will notice. It's not like we have a shield or whatever its called like in Shakugan no Shana. There isn't anything stopping normal people from seeing this. And yet, somehow, no one seems to notice or care. Consistency is seriously lacking, and I mean SERIOUSLY!It's entertaining, but you can't try to analize it too much or take it too seriously. I like to have full understandings and I tend to overanalyze a lot, but if you just sort of accept the plot for what it is, and ignore all the holes, it's a fine story.6 might be a bit high, but it kept me interested so I don't want to go lower than 6, even though it might deserve it.
The animation is done pretty well. I don't really understand why Tomoharu has this one piece of hair that is longer than all the rest. It's a bit inconsistent with how solid and clear it makes Misao look. One of the characters looks like he has one vampire tooth, but overall, the animation is well done. It doesn't really subtract to the story. I give it a 9.
Sound is fine as well. There isn't an opening or ending song, at least not on the sites I've watched it on. That's a bit odd to me, but whatever. I don't think there was a huge amount of effort put into this anime anyway. I thought they did pretty well with the sound when the kids were in the plane towards the end, but that's the only part where it really stood out to me. It just sounded a lot like being in the plane. On the other hand, I disliked some of the voices because they sounded too alike in a couple cases. It wasn't overly bothersome though. Overall I give it a 8. It's not too impressive, but it's average.
As I said before, the characters are average. Nothing is too peculiar. Most of the characters remain pretty static, but it's not too bad. What bothers me is we know more about some of the minor characters and secondary characters than we do the main character. We know how some of the handlers who are secondary and minor characters came about to possess the Asura Machina's than we do about how Tomo did. We know Tomoharu was on a plane with most of the other secondary characters, but we don't know what happened to him and Misao. It's a bit messed up. Because of that, I give characters a 6.
Overall, I give it a seven. It's about average. Nothing to impressive.
Now this anime is one of my favorites. Also one of the first anime series i watched.
I'm not much of a Mecha anime fan. Well thats an understatement i never watch mecha anime. Suprisingly this anime is only proportionatly about the mecha.
The male protagonist Natsume Tomoharu a young man leading a normal life moving into his brothers mansion while he studies, Pulled into a world were the strongest things in creation are known as Asura Machina. Giant machines powered by Sacrifical Dolls (souls) of people close to a person. With cults, Demons and Familiars on his case it makes his life seem seeminglessly impossible!
The use of the first episode to introduce Kurogane was brilliant you didn't see him right till the end of the episode and that just made me Personally more interested to see what happened next. So i went on. Each episode leaves it at a place were you WANT to see whats going to happen next and thats something i love in anime. The ones that make you want more. Make you need to see the next step the heroes will take.
Now Tomo is not alone in his quest. To power his fighting machina his friend and sacrifical doll Minakami Misao fight side by side.
He also has a demon who controls the fire element on his side Takatsuki Kanade is also there to fight for him to protect him for reasons you'll find out if you watch the anime!
All in all the story was brilliant even if at first you find it hard to follow as there are no hooks to quell your curiosity for a few episodes!
As i said its a story that drags you in it makes you want to see more!
The animation was brilliant aswell. The effects of the machina especially Kurogane's summoning is astounding. The visual art and battle sequences that slightly stand out from the anime art is a thing of beauty.
The only thing i can comment on sound would be the parts of the Machina speech. You know those sciency type lines they say with the multi mechanical like voice when they are summoned or they are about to attack.
The characters eh?
Well overall the characters Kanade wins for me. Shy docile and very cute, But will kick your *ss if you mess with Tomo.
She has great morals and willpower to boot! so she wins my favorite slot!
Overall Great anime and definately worth the watch and the second season is absolutely more amazing so get into that also!
This review is of the entire series, both seasons. A-P has them separated, but I saw no reason to review two halves of the same show separately.
My third watch, and the anime is still as great as ever. The fact that it's a mecha anime might turn you away, if it's not your cup of tea, but let me tell you this: I despise mecha in general, but I love Asura Cryin'. It's not often you see an anime with an awesome, complex plot like this. It's a bit confusing at first, on the first watch, but intriguing from the start, thanks to numerous mysteries. The main character is also a bit on the bland side in the first season, but he gets a lot better towards the end of the series.
Main character aside, there are many great characters in Asura Cryin'. Misao, the protagonist's ghost childhood friend, always thinks out-of-the-box and comes up with hilarious observations. There are also a bunch of totally kickass female characters. There are antagonists who really make you hate them, and some who turn out to be decent, even admirable. All of them, however, have depth. Despite the protagonist having a harem, I find the balance of male and female characters good enough. Also no complaints about character development, though I don't consider it among the anime's many strong points. Despite a few mediocre cases, overall the crew is pretty awesome.
The settings are full of great ideas. It's funny how large a part of such a grand-scale adventure is spent in a school, but once you get over the absurdity of it, it's actually rather nice. Asura Cryin' is pretty much the only anime that I consider to be on the heavy side yet enjoy re-watching often, and the reason for that might be how well it blends light school life with epic adventure and fantasy action. The world also has a lot of intriguing mysteries that I enjoyed discovering (I love ruins of lost, advanced civilisations), and the fusion of magic and technology, demons and mecha, gave birth to a very interesting magic system. I really like the fact that many essential aspects of the magic system are more or less explained.
The action is very nice. Lots of explosions (mostly thanks to Shuri, a woman who carries enough weapons in her body to arm a battalion), magic and unusually cool mecha. There's enough variation to the Asura Machina's and demons' abilities to keep me happy. Besides action, the comedy isn't bad at all, and overall I consider the entertainment value of Asura Cryin' to be in the highest class together with Kaze no Stigma and Ookami-san to Shichi-nin no Nakama-tachi.
Then there are some scenes... beautiful and epic, touching scenes. Foremost among them in my mind is the first season finale, ep 13. Even on my third watch, even though I knew exactly what was coming, the emotional impact was just as strong as ever. Made me cry like a baby. Part of its brilliance is in the 11th episode, which seems oddly peaceful in such an action-packed anime at first, but which deepens some characters nicely in preparation for their starring role in the 13th episode. In its most climatic moments, Asura Cryin' usually manages some great dramatisation.
Musics are generally very good. The best BGM's are very atmospheric, and both seasons have amazing OP's and ED's by angela. Character designs are a bit rough, but the Asura Machina look really cool. Also, the magic circles have pretty cool designs. Battle animation isn't bad at all, there are a few lazy stills but mostly it's pretty fluid combat.
But in the end, the plot is the strongest point of this anime. Certainly, there are a few problems with it that could be considered plotholes, but that's pretty much unavoidable considering there are powers in the story capable of manipulating space and time. In return, they enabled the creation of a really complex, screwed up plotline with lots of delicious mysteries, interesting characters and epic world-saving. What's best, by the end almost everything makes sense (though it might take a second watch): all the important mysteries are properly explained and all the plotlines neatly tied up.
As in any epic fantasy story done right, there is tragedy and comedy, life and death, love and hate, humanity and inhumanity, past and future, a beginning and an end... and a whole lot of good ideas. Asura Cryin' is one of the most complete, fulfilling stories of its kind I've ever seen or read. If not for some minor weaknesses, like the protagonist being rather bland at first, and its wisdom lacking just a bit of depth in comparison to my other 10-point anime... *sigh* Well, missing a place among my 10/10 anime by a very small margin, I rate Asura Cryin' 9.5/10.
So I was writing my rant about Asura Cryin' and Asura Cryin' 2 and I got logged out when I clicked on the "submit" button. I really don't feel like writing the whole thing again, so I'll just stick to the main points.
Watching the thing was a waste of time. The story was so-so and the writing was poor. Romance where guy gets treated like s*** even when he did nothing wrong is not my kind of thing. The guy in question was indecisive and didn't had any redeeming qualities. Other than that I didn't like Nia, but it probably has something to do with my dislike for tsundere lolis (and tsundere in general). The fighting contained lots of shounen cliches, such as sudden powerups and lots of half-a**** explanations. The only reason I kept on watching was because I wanted to know how it ends. I'm a sucker for happy endings, but this one was disappointing (blame it on male lead's indecisiveness).