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!
While watching this series I just kept feeling that there was something... missing that could easily make it better. After finally finishing it, what could make it better makes an appearance (probably what made the second season so much more popular than the first), but, by then, it was too late for this season to be redeemed.
What this series has: It tried its hand at comedy, fan service, action, and mecha battles, but none of this was quite satisfying. There was some character development, but so much of it was of the secondary characters that it seemed like a waste. There was mystery, but the majority of that was solved rather quickly, or ignored. It throws you right into the action and rarely slows down. But by the time you start to understand who is whom and the different factions, they bring out a new faction or a new person to an old faction, or a person you've already seen but looks COMPLETELY different because she isn't wearing thick glasses and long pig tails. It also has a lot of details of the background of this world filled with science, demons, magic, the church, and many other things, but it all feels rushed. The only thing this series seemed to have done correctly was lay a basis for a second series, which the last episode managed to do beautifully.
Is it worth watching?: Well, I haven't seen the second season yet, and that will hold the answer. The general opinion is that the second season is a much stronger season, and, if what the last episode had to offer is any indication, it probably will be. If so, then, yes it will be worth watching, even if it is only so you can understand a decent second season. If not, then, well, no. Not worth watching.
Edit: I have now seen the second season, so I can amend this. The second season was strong enough that this first season is worth watching. If you can get through the sub-par crazy happenings of the first season, then I would suggest attempting to do so, if only to see the second season. It had much of what was missing in the first season, and the most important thing that was missing is abundant. That being emotion and risk. The risk is finally given at the end of the season, unlocking a greater since of emotion from the characters and a better ability for them to connect with the viewer. This then allows there to be more tragedy portrayed and the entire series to actually be worth watching. That being said, only watch THIS season if you will be able to watch the second.
Non-direction based critiques: The OP/ED took a little while for me to get used to, but by the end of the series I began to enjoy them. The animation was average. The characters were... ok. Some where likable, but I didn't find any of them amazing.
After I see the second series it is likely I'll come back and edit the part about the second season, so there will likely be an update in 3 days or so, for all of those that will be patiently waiting (just me).
Asura Cryin. Such major disappointment.
For most of the first episode, this show looked interesting. It’s about a high school student named Tomoharu who lives with a ghost, that only he can see, that wou ld no doubt become his love interest. I don’t exactly know why, but I thought this was a neat idea and was looking forward to a good show.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
The episode went fine, (until the end), but after that hell breaks loose and suddenly there are secret organizations, mechas, people blowing up parts of Tomoharu’s house, women with rockets coming out of her their legs, demons, the science club, ghosts, monsters, and random regular high school moments mixed together. Tons of characters of every type are thrown at you in a few episodes and the story seems to get more and more complex (with minimal being properly explained).
The result is a complete mess of a show. It had a few interesting moments, but the large picture is hard to understand, and I felt lost most of the time.
NOTICE: This review covers both seasons of this title.
- Animated by Seven Arcs, a studio which makes only shitty ecchi anime, including the famous (but overall boring) Lyrical Nanoha shows.
- Directed by Kusakawa Keizou who pretty much directed ALL Seven Arcs shows.
- Story written by Mikumo Gakuto who offered us trash like this, as well as The Mystical Archives of Dantalian and Strike the Blood.
It’s a light novel adaptation so TADAAA you already know it is trash material for people with low expectations. It tries to be spooky at times, only to end up sounding as such: Thunders and spells and dramatic set up, and zooming to a wizard using magic speels full of weird lingo. In the name of God’s blissful existence I command you to… Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to grab your boobs! Really! And my Johnny magically appeared between them! I’m sorry for being a normal teenager; I’m terribly sorry! Well thanks for killing the mood you idiot!
Is this really a 2009 work? It hardly looks as one. The characters are drawn rushly, with their facial anatomy looking too sketchy and distorted half of the time. Not that they would be that eye-catchy even if they were drawn more consistent; they overused the school uniform fuss and everyone seems to wear only one set of clothes. Most monsters have really lame looks and the koala mascot animal wasn’t even shaking its mouth. So lazy! The 3D mechas also have some really crude movements, a further indication of low budget. But it’s not like the animators were amateurs; given the proper time and money, they offered wonders such as the final episodes where the budget is tripled and everything looks awesome. Even in the rest of the episodes, the characters have a lively body language despite the weak artwork in facial consistency or smooth movements. There was also variety in background settings and special effects. They did a decent job at mixing hi-tech with religious allusions, even if all that were just superficial and eventually forgettable traits.
Directing-wise it is a mixed bag, as almost every battle looks like a random line of independent shots, where things pop out of nowhere, pay no real attention to physics and end in quite boring and uneventful ways. But what a surprise, every time the lead is in an ecchi situation the girls have double as much attention and details given to their looks and naked bodies. That tells a lot about what they really cared to animate properly, doesn’t it? Anyways, the finale is an exception, since it had very good battle choreography. That dimensional eye in the sky and the energy beams were really something! If the rest of the series was like that, I would be amazed. The cinematics they used in the opening and ending videos is another sign of how they had the talent but not the interest or money to offer good atmosphere.
Intro and ending songs are ok to listen to. Not bad but not memorable in any way. Voice acting is a bit relaxed but does the trick. The dialogues is pretty skipable material, nothing special about them and you are still required to survive all those “You pervert!, I didn’t mean to” cliché catchphrases just so you can listen to the pseudo-scientific explanations and some really spooky hymns here and there. As for the BGM… it went unnoticed. I already forgot it.
Typical to most light novels, they think it is cool to throw as much as possible in the script in hopes of making it interesting, only to be quicky proven they are just lazily trying to dress up a typical harem comedy. Variety in themes and symbolisms may be making something more interesting to pay attention to, but not when it is used superficially for some really trashy content. Religion clashes with fringe science, summoning monsters, contracts with demons and ghosts, mechas popping out of shadows, teenagers with superpowers, magic gismo that fulfils wishes, alternative dimensions, ero-jokes… Yes, sounds cool, but down to it, it is a disjoined random compilation of anime clichés.
First of all, the general idea behind the story is damn good. The whole alternative dimension theory, plus the pseudo science are actually very interesting concepts. The thing is, you don’t have a clue about all that up until the last half of the second season… which is surprisingly very good just for that. That’s right, the terminology is explained almost at the end. I mean, ok, they don’t have to start by infodumping everything and revealing all the mysteries at once. But wasting three quarters of the show in seemingly random battles and ecchi humor and then expecting us to give a damn in the end is plain retarded. If you expect to make the viewer care, you should offer the juicy parts right away.
Even beyond the terribly handled story, other elements like pacing and action, were also below average up until the final arc. It offers a satisfying closure and nice last impressions, but up until then it plays out like random scenes from different series exchanging places with no order. On one episode the lead has a fight that determines the lives of millions. On the next episode… beach fan service! Yeah, that’s what should follow an epic battle for the salvation of the Earth, where each one of them almost died. Another huge battle happens, after of which we get a… spa episode! Yup, 18 episodes of archetypical date sim girls interacting with the dork lead and lots of subpar battles with robots and superpowers. And of course, the police or the army or in many cases casual bystanders simply DON’T EXIST! And wow, look at that, a high school student council is running around with enough firepower to level half the world and the teachers or parents don’t mind. Doodily doodily doo, my disbelief is trying to escape through the ventilation shafts, someone stop it!
But as I said, the final 6 episodes are in fact damn good and I almost beg you to skip the rest and watch only those. I was thinking something along the lines of “OMG, my date sim performed a fusion dance with Noein!” This clearly shows that the producers CAN offer something good if they try. I have nothing against showing some bare leg from time to time, but focusing on those alone for MOST OF THE FRAKKING SERIES becomes a test of nerves.
Fan service ruins the personalities of any character, and this series is yet another example. The lead character is your typical lame, spineless, useless, self-insert indecisive lead characterTM all lazy scriptwriters use instead of… I don’t know, trying not to do the obvious thing. As a result he is a boring character, who, as his archetype dictates, keeps bumping on boobs and naked women and keeps asking for forgiveness before being accused of being a sex driven beast… which translates to a normal teenager. He also has this annoying long line of hair on one side of his head, which is supposed to make him stand out from all others of his brood but it is REALLY pissing me off while starring at it. I want to yank in off!
And then there is his harem… Man, they ripped off every archetype you can find in typical eroges. But hey, at least each one of them has an extra feature to make her look a bit more unique. We get Childhood friend/ghost/part of an apocalyptic conspiracy, Miko priestess/fire user/shy with huge boobs, loli tsundere/luck eater/that changes age, bold mature glasses woman/missile thrower/with meek twin sister. Yeah, we have something cooking up nicely here. They have personalities, backdrops, agendas, there is hardly anyone useless in the story. Even the lead male grows some balls and gets more active. And they all get a decent catharsis by the end of the series.
It is a real shame how this meal was left to burn, because of a mostly aimless story and the fap service which sapped all their dignity. Seriously, if it was half as long and lacked the pointless beach and spa episodes, it could have been far better.
This is one of those cases where you scream WHYYYY? IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOO-OO-OOD! Japan has a thing for sabotaging itself by trashing titles with potential just so it can please roneries with softporn. The story is fine, every single character is there for a reason, the premise for epic battles and mystery is there. But they all went to hell by throwing beach episodes and boob jokes and put to death harem situations and uneventful battles, which effectively translate into 75% dead time and masturbation. And it’s not like titles such as Steins;Gate or Noein didn’t already handle the same premise far better.
Call me a grumpy old man if you like, but modern anime focus way too much on erotism to appeal to a mature veteran like myself. To a great extend the producers simply gave up on trying to be experimental. Nowadays they just rehash previous ideas with a boost of 500% more eye candy and fan service. What’s so bad with that? Well… I watch anime for the story and the characters. If I expect ero stuff, there is always hentai or some porn site. Being bombarded with ecchi humor in a series which is supposed to be action, drama, and mystery is like they are telling you “Screw the story; it’s one of the same; just look for pantsu.” Well excuse me then if my reaction to that is giving up and going for a beer…
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (crude)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (have variety)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 5/10
Voice Acting 2/5 (corny)
Music Themes 3/5 (average)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (terrible)
Complexity 0/2 (unneeded complexity to dress up a harem)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid and cool)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 0/2 (weak)
Personality 1/2 (typical)
Backdrop 2/2 (they all have some)
Development 2/2 (they all get some)
Catharsis 2/2 (solid)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 0/4 (no reason to remember it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas, bad handling)
Characters 2/4 (they are ok but are badly handled)
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.