**WARNING: I am not biased with this rating.** I would just like to clear that up before I start on what may seem like a judgemental rant. I usally rate anime strictly, but I typically give them the benefit of the doubt most of the time. The only reason that I rated this a 2.5 out of 10 was because I had to be fair to this - as much as I hate this.
**If you doubt anything that I say about this, then I suggest you take a look at my anime ratings. This is the lowest rated anime (that I've rated) by far.
There are no spoilers in this review. Or shall I say: There isn't anything to be spoiled at all...
I am forgiving. Really, really forgiving. To the point of giving even bad anime decent ratings. But not this one. Before I go on a rant and tell you why I hate it, I'll just give you the short part first.
The reason why this is #1 worst anime of all time in my opinion is simply because of one reason: The anime had the best concept of all time - but fucked it up...
Really, really bad.
This anime is nothing but giant cliff hangers with zero content. It is all fluff. This must have been the best fluffed up anime that I've ever watched. You expect something awesome is going to happen, but it doesn't. Nothing happens. Actually, stuff does happen... but it is the most normal and predictable crap that I've ever seen...
Every. Single. Time!
I am a huge fan of Code Geass (as I'm sure a lot of people are). I really like to compare this anime to Code Geass. Why? Because this anime could have been as great as Code Geass. No wait... It could have been better. Seriously. Chas;Head could have been one of the greatest animes of all time.
Every time Chaos;Head would get to the point of doing something awesome, I would literally squeel with joy! I would get that really exciting feeling on the inside that something awesome was going to happen! But it doesn't come! It simply doesn't have anything to show for itself! There are no plot twists. None.
Anyway, down to the core reviews:
The only reason that I rated this a 1 was because it actually had a story. Literally. THIS WINS BY DEFAULT... Don't be fooled though! If you watch it, you'll probably see some form of a story. But in reality it's all just fluff. Nothing is really new or fresh. The presentation of this anime is outstanding... I mean, it even got me to watch the entire anime... But when the anime was comming to the end... I asked myself, "How are they going to finish this anime in just 2 more episodes!?" It literally half-asses the ending.
The ending is so predictable, it will make you as angry as I am... I thought that the ending was going to be the last salvation of this series. I thought it was going to rise up - do something amazing and be imprinted in my memory as something I can look back on... But I'm afraid that just wasn't the case...
I can't believe I actually rated something a 1. I literally never do that...
Ok, I'll be fair. The animation is sexy. Not legendary artwork or anything, but the graphics are excellent for the genre. Visually stunning. Has great camera angles, shots and views. I really enjoyed the artwork produced and any computer generated imagry. Flowed together really nicely. This is probably one of the reasons why I decided to watch this anime. I really regret it though. The animation cannot save such a terrible story I'm afraid.
Nothing that I really take paricular attention to. So I guess nothing really stood out as bad or good. I would say it was decent quality and had some good sound effects.
A few steriotypical characters, but a lot of new and fresh ones. I really liked the main character of this anime. Unfortunately, the characters don't grow. There is absolutely no change in character from beginning to the end. I actually sensed that there might have been a slight change - but they really don't go into detail. One moment the characters are put through a problem - but afterwards, they just look tired. No real change in emotion or action. This is rated a 5 because the flavor of some of the characters is different than most anime. But just like the story, the characters really don't have much content.
This anime is not worth your time.
If you're looking for a quick anime-fix and/or filler anime to watch - This isn't it. Even if you're really bored and this looks really interesting - just don't do it. It'll make you feel angry at this anime.
This anime will literally crush your dreams and kick you in the nuts. We all fantisize about what is going to happen next in a story, what kinds of twists and turns it'll take, who will end up dating who, and what the villians plan on doing next... But this anime... this anime takes those ideas and puts them to shame.
I can't defend this. I just can't... I'll leave this rant with a list of other things to compare this anime to.
THIS ANIME IS LIKE...
I dedicate my first anime review to this one. May this anime RIP.
Not so super special (unless you mean... )
First of all, I should preface this by saying this isn't my usual genre of choice. So why, on my long list of series that I'm intending to watch one day did I choose to watch this series now? You can probably guess it's the easy answer... the supposed 2nd season is coming up in the Spring, Steins;Gate (at least that's what I thought, though that is not actually the case). But moving back to the issue at hand, a lot has been said here on the website about this series. Frankly, most of it is accurate, but I still feel a bit too harsh. So more than anything, this review is a different perspective on what you may have already heard about this series. One nice thing about reviewing this series is that it perfectly illustrates what I mean when I often differentiate story and plot in my reviews. The story of this series is rather poor; however, I found the plot to be very engaging for the most part. In my definition, which I'm not saying is the only definition by any means, the story consists of the background story and the motivation of the characters as well as any thematic trends. In other words all the inner workings of the series. Often the story is not in direct highlight of a series (as is the case here). The plot then refers to the progression of the events which take place within the story. This is why the plot is so critical to a series as it is always in focus even when the story is not. So in the case of Chaos;Head, I found the story to be rather flat and shallow with some exception. The political corruption theme seemed unnecessary and forced, the background story with regards to the main character, Takumi, was lacking as it was not well-enough addressed and remains unclear, and the motivation of the characters outside of Takumi was also very much lacking and shallow. However, one thematic trend that I did like because it was a change-of-pace from most anime was that of pro-individualism. Most anime condemn individualism as purely selfishness and always emphasize selflessness. But let's be honest, all that goody two-shoes crap gets old after a while. It's refreshing to see someone ball up and take that me-versus-the-world mentality. Now granted, the ending deemphasized this theme (which is one reason why I didn't like the ending), but it was present at several critical junctures of the series. And as I said the plot of Chaos;Head is very good for the majority of the series. What this speaks to is that you can't put this series down. Once you start it, you have to finish it. Pretty much every ep ends in a significant cliffhanger. Usually characters go through a rise and fall, but with Takumi it's the opposite. Through the first half of the series or so, Takumi falls deeper and deeper into the depths of his psychosis and dementia (or delusions). He becomes a tortured soul, so much so that there's one ep in which he's just constantly asking for people to kill him. Needless to say this was a very eerie sequence. But after what I guess you would call the 'anti'-climax, Takumi picks himself up for the sake of the girl he loves. And sure, it's corny and the fight scenes leave a lot to be desired, but as I've already expressed I liked the thematic trend here. There's not much to say about the other characters in this series. They all severely lack depth, though some of their backstories were pretty powerful. It's probably been brought up in all the other reviews on the website that the supplemental characters pretty much conform to the standard anime archetypes. However, they neglect to mention that this was intentional. After all, Takumi is a serious otaku so the fact that the supplemental characters of the series were shallow stock anime archetypes is supposed to be ironic. This is even brought up in one of the major delusions that Takumi has in the final battle. Now one can argue whether this sort of irony was appropriate in a psychological thriller such as this, in fact it's probably not. Most of the attempts at comedy in this series were really lame. One final note I'd like to make is that I didn't like the technique of beginning the series with the final scene as that is just such an old cliché. So overall, the bombastic nature of this series fails to impress at any level of depth, but on the surface this is an entertaining series if you let it be so 6 out of 10.
It was an okayish kinda goodish anime, know what I mean.
The main character was kinda interesting seeing as he felt like a normal extra anime and gaming nerd. Wasn't that likeable though.
The story is what was really interesting and could have been a great thing but the execution was not good. And being a 12 episode anime, it took way tooo long to start things up and then wrapped everything up in a rush.
I really was interested in the first few episodes and was really wanting to see where the story was heading but sadly, it didn't pan out well.
And other than the main character, no other character was given any real closure or development. It was just feeling like a typical Harem.
Overall all, I would say, it was an Ok anime with some good parts in it.
This is a really creepy show. I never know what is real or what isn’t with this, it seems to be all in Takumi head. I can understand why they call it Chaos;HEAd, his head is all screwed up. The guy seriously thinks a anime character is real and his girlfriend, he lives in a strange box on top of a roof, and just keeps being a whiny little prick for almost the whole show.
I got confused easily in the beginning, it was odd and out of place almost. I do have a question though, a lot of shows seem to have the main character that’s really off and then he ends up being the center of attention for all the girls. And of course, they all aren’t what people call normal. This is the base of all Harems and yet I still cannot get into it with the character. The strange thing is, Takumi sounds a bit like a couple people on DesuDes in his love for anime and such. He even talks about studying the director and writers which is pretty awesome. I like the fact that they really seem to add that part to the show.
When they say Psychological Thriller, they really mean it. It’s been making me wonder why a lot of these types are being dubbed now. I found this one on the Funimation Youtube account or I would of probably not heard about it until one of DesuDes looked into it. The whole show if a mind fuck, seriously. I watched with I had no sleep so I might be making it worse then it is on that account but really….
The artwork is really good, very crisp like normal shows in this time. While looking at all these shows, it’s hard to say anything about artwork that looks almost exactly the same as every other show that’s out there at around the same time.
The music for the ending is a little odd, and I don’t get it even if it’s a good beat. The opening is much better sounding then the ending and seems to give a better feel to the show. The English dub is pretty good and the girls don’t seem bothersome except for his sister. She is just plain annoying, like Eimi Ohba from Comic Party.
You know what the worst thing you can do to a show with a psychological theme? Make it star a slightly older Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I can't for the life of me understand the thought process behind making someone so useless as the male lead. To build a harem around him is even dumber, unless you are doing a parody of anime cliches. But no, Chaos;HEAd takes itself entirely too seriously for something as self-aware as that.
It's a shame, because there is so much working for Chaos;HEAd. There is a lead character that doesn't know if he's hallucinating or not. There are plot threads everywhere that mold together into coherency (eventually) that make the cast have relevance. The artwork is Madhouse, meaning that the aesthetic standpoint is powerfully executed. There is mystery, there are moments of tension, plenty of ominous moments, and some clever combination of metaphor in writing matching up with artistic license from the visual aspect.
Chaos;HEAd is a show that you can't decide if you like or not and then it ends. It is as thought provoking as the amount of thought you are willing to put into it. The psychological aspect isn't particularly deep, but it is definitely well executed. It could have been magnificent had the lead character had half a modicum of charisma. Not since Shinji have I ever felt like beating someone up so much. He is characterised perfectly from his absolute cowardice to the cringe-inducing whiny voice acting. The one saving grace as that he mans up at the end rather than remaining a whimpering wanker.
So, did I enjoy it? Well, just like the other ; work, at the start it was more interesting than enjoyable, but has an engrossing feel to it. It grew on me though. It isn't particularly deep, and the twists become obvious. And yet, Chaos;HEAd becomes a satisfying experience. Even though each arc has an ultimately cheesy and obvious ending, it doesn't change the fact that the resolution feels right and helps clear up most of the series (though there are a couple of glaring holes left in the plot that you might forget by the end). What can I say, it's rather fun in the end.
Writing (Story and Characters):
Chaos;HEAd is ultimately the prototype to the wildly popular Steins;Gate in writing style. It is far less refined, but also uses characters who aren't particularly likable at the start, bouncing between reality and possible fantasies. There is a lot of "tech tech the tech"s to explain the important plot points (the famous Star Trek writers' phrase for insert "psuedoscientific BS here"), but it doesn't really matter as long as you don't think about it too hard. While there are technical issues in the way of holes in the plot, inconsistent characterizations, and a helluvalot of other flaws (which Steins;Gate dealt with far better), in the end the writing is engrossing.
It may seem complex, but Chaos;HEAd's story isn't, not really. The ending is cheesy to the extreme, and you can see it coming from a mile away. There are holes in the plot and forcibly "ooh that's dark and edgy" moments. There are issues with everything from an inconsistent tone, whether the show decides if it is dark at a given moment or not, missed opportunities for greatness, and so on. Yet there is no doubt that the story is not standard, and it pays off.
As to the characters, what can I say that isn't insulting. The main character for most of the series is Shinji 2.0, and then becomes "standard shounen hero" in the end. Some of the other side characters have stock personalities. The interactions are forced, and the harem(ish) touches are so artificial that it's painful. The backstories are overly angsty to the point it is nearly laughable. The character development and resolution are cheesy to the extreme. But despite all these huge technical flaws, the cast is balanced and it gives a general warm and fuzzy feeling (and has moments of greatness, like the detective girl when she's aggressive - not tsundere, but intimidating as hell).
While you might think of what I wrote about the technical flaws of each quite a bit, I did like the writing of Chaos;HEAd quite a bit. It isn't genius. Steins;Gate which was basically the same staff in their next showing was executed far better using similar literary style and themes. But, extra credit for attempting to go outside the box, and as opposed to most anime going for something that feels different (except for the shounen ending). Technical issues aside, the writing is enjoyable.
Art (Animation and Sound):
Really, it is not easy to analyze how good the art of Chaos;HEAd actually is. There are moments where it is downright brilliant, when the audio and video make a hole in the plot completely irrelevant by stealing the show. There are others where you just can't miss the corners cut for budgetary concerns. In the end, it is a mixed bag. Overall though, the quality is high, and the artwork memorable.
Madhouse have done better than their work on Chaos;HEAd. Sure, the character designs are distinct. Yes, there is some beautiful use of style to make the relevant parts of a scene pop. There are moments where it may very well wow the viewer. Still, the palette choice for the series is a bit on the dull side, and while the backgrounds are diverse and detailed, they aren't really memorable. There are too many moments where you can see that a part of the scene lacks motion which is one of the more obvious ways to lower budgets, and it can get annoying at times. Still, it is a strong showing overall, as even on their off days the Madhouse crew does a good job.
There are less issues with the audio other than the glaring one: the main character has an annoying voice. He is supposed to have that kind of voice because he is an annoying character and it fits well, but it still annoys the hell out of me. There aren't any moments where the audio will wow you, but there aren't any moments where it doesn't fit. It is solid, and the soundtrack is surprisingly good. Still, I can't really say more than "it is somewhat above average" due to my one subjective issue with the annoying voice of the main character. I don't care that it is right, when what is right annoys me.
Chaos;HEAd has solid artwork. This is a great contrast to the writing, which is everything but. It is a balancing act of trying to tie down the plot into a more grounded world, and it is effective in doing so. There are few technical issues, but they are there. As much as I dislike the main character's voice, it is the correct choice for the series and how it plays out... so while I dislike it, I cannot rate it lowly from an (attempted) objective standpoint. Ugh, it is not easy to judge. Above average, obviously. Good, and at times great. But not magnificent.
Chaos;HEAd is more interesting than enjoyable. And that's fine. You can see how it is the first attempt of the crew behind Steins;Gate, but is far less refined and powerful a work. But what can be said is that the show is quite good overall, if you can ignore the slew of technical issues that plague everything.