About a year ago, Sothis approached me and helpfully pointed the way to two Shounen Jump Anime Tour specials from 2008 in the hopes of persuading me to write up their entries. The first was One Piece: Romance Dawn Story, which I jumped on like a horny teenager; the second was Letter Bee: Light and Blue Night Fantasy. I almost immediately fell in love with the latter, so when I heard that it was to get a TV series, I couldn’t wait for the 2009 fall season to begin.
Set in Amberground – a land of eternal night – Letter Bee follows the tale of a young boy named Lag Seeing. After his mother was taken from him at a young age, Lag meets a man named Gauche Suede – a Letter Bee charged with the job of ‘delivering’ the white-haired lad to his Aunt. The pair strikes up a friendship, and as they part ways Lag vows to become a Bee himself. Skipping forward a few years and our adolescent protagonist is about to travel to his examination. After successfully making it to the Beehive he receives a great shock upon learning that not only is Gauche no longer working there, but he also has gone missing without a trace. Now alongside his Dingo (partner), Niche, and his new friends and colleagues, Lag is determined to become a great Letter Bee and find Gauche.
The series starts out strong by following Lag on his initial journey from meeting Gauche as a young boy to his entry into the Beehive. These opening episodes immediately grab attention by thrusting the viewer into the middle of a plot where Lag’s mother has been spirited away to the capital by mysterious men. Letter Bee then proceeds to mix slower paced sections of development in the relationships between Lag, Niche, and Gauche with moments of engaging action featuring the Gaichuu (armoured bugs).
Sadly, around episode eleven Letter Bee switches from an interesting plot-based fantasy and descends into a rather repetitive, and at times dull, episodic slice of life. While I can understand that it ingratiates the viewer into the life of a Bee, this segment of the show seems misplaced. Normally the day-to-day aspect of a series happens towards the beginning in order to set the scene while allowing for the more solid narrative to kick in later and seize the viewer’s attention. Unfortunately by reversing this, Letter Bee’s mid-section can feel arduous at times – also, those who have previously seen Light and Blue Night Fantasy will most likely experience frustration at episode seventeen, which is simply a re-hash of the half hour special. Finally eleven and a half installments later, the series returns to its storyline only for the series to end JUST as it reaches the really interesting part. While this ensures that I will spend the next six months chomping at the bit in anticipation of season two, having just waded through what are essentially a dozen filler episodes, I can’t help but feel a certain twinge of disappointment.
This irritating pacing is such a shame because Letter Bee boasts a strong narrative, particularly since Amberground itself provides an impressive backdrop. A land of eternal darkness illuminated by an artificial sun placed above the capital is appealing enough, but adding in the country’s strict class system, makes it even more engaging. The capital remains reserved purely for the elite while the farthest reaches of the country survive in complete destitution – and with stringent rules controlling passage between the land’s provinces each class stays segregated and unable to escape their circumstances. But that isn’t all, as this alien world has one more trick up its sleeve in the form of Gaichuu – massive metallic bugs that feed off of human heart and emotion. These armoured arthropods pose an ever-present danger to both Letter Bees and civilians alike and can only be slain by shooting fragments of one’s own heart into the cracks in their shells. Throwing the mystery of Gauche’s disappearance and Lag’s crusade to uncover what happened to his mother into this world and you have a winning combination. Sadly the series has neither realised nor made the best use of this potential.
Dear Studio Pierrot, thank you for restoring my faith in your ability to actually create a good-looking series. Who’d have thought that the company, which brings us a weekly dose of sub-par animation in the form of Bleach, could actually pull out all the stops and provide such stunning visuals as the likes of Letter Bee? Boasting luscious colours consisting of varying shades of dusky Persian blues through to crushing amethysts, Amberground’s perpetual state of night retains a glorious beauty. During ‘memory’ sequences, the vibrancy of the cobalts and violets make way for a more muted and nostalgic sepia pigmentation that is equally as gorgeous as the show’s normal hues.
All the series’ vistas have a softer, almost hazy quality that, when coupled with falling memory fragments, successfully relay the dreamlike nature of the show. Movement remains smooth throughout, particularly when it comes to the Gaichuu, though these armoured bugs do give rise to my only gripe when it comes to Letter Bee’s visuals. Studio Pierrot opts to use computer graphics for the giant metallic insects. While the animation is technically very impressive with exceptional motion and effective colouring, shading and texturing, this polished CG feels out of place in the otherwise subtle landscapes.
Having provided Lag’s voice for twenty-five episodes (and a special), Miyuki Sawashiro has officially nailed the ability to supply a varied array of sniffling, simpering, crying noises. In all seriousness though, Sawashiro manages to successfully convey the fear, determination and sensitive emotion of the young bee. The rest of the voice cast also performs well, particularly Naomi Nagasawa who voices Steak. You may think I’m joking, but she manages to inject his exceptionally limited vocabulary of ‘Nee’ and ‘Neeeeeeeee’ with plenty of life so that each change in inflection allows the furry foodstuff to communicate with the audience in a strangely effective way.
To use ThePatches highly appropriate and accurate terminology, Lag’s entire personality needs but two words to describe it: ‘Human Faucet’. Seriously, the guy never stops crying! Sure, he has some other personality traits – determination, compassion, loyalty, blah blah blah – but let’s put it this way, you can incorporate a drinking game into this series and have a shot every time Lag wells up and starts snivelling like a little girl – however, I wouldn’t advise it, as you’d end up in casualty with alcohol poisoning.
As with many shows, the protagonist is nowhere near the most interesting personality; in the case of Letter Bee, Lag’s two companions, Niche and Steak far outshine the blubbing crybaby. Niche’s animalistic natures make her far more intriguing as a character. Without anyone to tell her otherwise Niche will go too far in her attempts to protect Lag and would spend her life “running free” without underwear. Her lack of human interaction and comprehension leads Niche to see the world as black and white, and only her ‘master’, Lag, can enlighten her to all the variations of grey that life has to offer. This childlike naivety endears her to the audience and even provides the opportunity for humour to present itself, particularly when it comes to her lack of pants and the relationship with her live bait, Steak.
Letter Bee’s supporting cast also impresses as the series delves into the histories and motivations behind a selection of Lag’s companions. Although in the case of Zazie, the anime does tend to reiterate his back-story on more than one occasion – just in case we miss it the first time – which does annoy a little. Yes, yes, we know that’s why Zazie is so angry, now tell us a bit more about Connor instead… No? Bugger.
With some of the most sumptuous visuals ever to sweep their way across my monitor, and a compelling plot – well, when it’s on track that is – Letter Bee is well worth a watch. Despite the flaws in its story, I still eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Fall 2010 when series two is due to hit our screens, and with any luck it will actually recognise how strong the narrative is and make the most of it.
I cry every time.
Every episode is so sad, The story progresses well is has a good and sad plot to it,
The characters are likeable and overall I really like it so far [Only in episode 18 Currently].
Tegami Bachi or letter bee is set in a world called Amber ground. The world is bathed in an artificial sun. The story follows a young boy named Lag Seeing. And his adventures as a letter bee.
Letter bees are basically post men / women. The world the populous reside in, isn’t very technologically advanced – the best technology they have is motorbike / train. Letter bees also have something called Dingos. Basically they are like partners / bodyguards for the letter bees.
When we first met Lag, he was a small boy of the age of 7. He was chained and left all alone. He had an address stitched on to the back of his shirt, saying he needs to be delivered to Campbell. A young man named Gauche suede, a very industrious letter bee and his dingo Roda. Pick up him. It is here where we see their relationship begin to blossom. Lag was being a brat at first, as he was crying out for his mother. Which he claims to be taken away by men. For reasons unknown. Gauche pretty much took care of him, for he [Gauche] saw him [Lag] as a letter to be delivered. No idea what the mentality is behind that. The journey to Campbell was a dangerous one, as something called a gaichuu. Very large insects, that are covered in very hard skin. Attack the both of them. The only way to beat a gaichuu, is to find it’s weak spot and shoot a shindan or ‘heart’ at them. Letter bees are the only ones that have access to them. Shindans are (typically) guns or weapons with a small amber insect that are embedded in a small crystal, they absorb a small piece of their wielders ‘heart’ then fires it like bullet to attack the gaichuu. Gauche shindan is called Black needle, whilst Lag is called red needle.
As the journey to Campbell continues on Gauche and Lag become close. As Gauche mentions that he has a sister that is a bit like Lag. She even made him soup. Whilst it tasted disgusting to Lag, Gauche was alright with it. Finally Gauche delivers Lag to Campbell and to his aunt Sabrina. Gauche and Lag become good friends. With Lag vowing to become a letter bee like Gauche and met up with Gauche again. He waves off Gauche and Roda, with tears in his eye.
5 years have passed. Lag is now 12 years old. And he is ready to become a letter bee.
Tegami really is an interesting anime. As it doesn’t really follow your typical shounen anime. I found the anime more slower paced than your normal ones. The bulk of the anime consisted of Lag and his dingo Niche and steak delivering letters to people and finding out the ‘truth’ or hearts of these letters, via through the accidental firing of his shindan. Lags shindan has the special ability to see the memories or hearts of peoples letters (these memories are depicted like small windows in the sky). This special skill is attributed to him, due to him having a amber spirit being embedded in his eye. So his shindan is unique. The biggest drawback to Lag. Is that he is every emotional, and often cries a lot. For about 95% of the anime, you’ll have Lag crying at least once or twice an episode. Of course another character can give a run for his money. None other than Sylvette Suede, Gauche younger sister. She is just awesome in her wheelchair. She sometimes goes by the nickname ‘wheel chair leopardess’. His dingo Niche and Steak are funny. Niche cares deeply for Lag. As he was the one that ‘tamed’ her. The running gag between the two is that whilst Niche is jumping around, she wears no under wear and that Lag has to reminded her to put some one. The other running gag is that all the characters find Sylvette homemade soup revolting. They just don’t have the heart to tell her.
The side characters are interesting enough. And they do get some development. But not enough screen time is given to them. The only one that does get a lot of screen time and development is Zazie. Zazie being a near enough antithesis to Connor and Lag. Sure there are some flash backs and an episode or two dedicated to them. But not enough.
One thing that did bug me was, in the early episode Lag was more focused on finding his mother. But as the series goes on that shifts from his mother to his friend Gauche Seuede. Lag crying is kind of sweet as he is a very emotional kid. Whilst many find this off putting, I don’t. The main complaint I have this series is the gaichuu. Whilst it is rendered in CGI. It came off as plastic looking. And not menacing enough. The other complaint I have, is that the ending to the series. It was rushed and well, a ‘very happy ending one‘. Whilst in the manga it does not have this at all. The anime ends on more questions than answers.
This anime is worth watching, if you don’t want an over the top action / adventure anime. But like a more slower pace anime. Then this will be for you. I certainly enjoyed it.
If you like this review and want to read more, then you can check out my anime review blog. Which you can read here: https://roccosanimejournal.wordpress.com/. Thanks for reading.
Haiiii~ (づ｡◕‿‿◕｡)づ ♥
Welcome to my Letter Bee review. Just to start off, this review may contain some minor spoilers that won't affect your anime experience, also lots of fanboying because I really like this anime. I hope you find it useful ^^
So the story is a somewhat ''typical adventure anime'' story. First they introduce you the characters and the point of the story, and then the adventure starts and things happen to the main character.
What I REALLY like is the setting of the story. The story is set in the world where it's always night. So ALL of the scenes happen in night. Which may sound pointless to you, but the whole nocturnal vibe this anime has really blends in with the story. I think this makes all the moments that happen more important.
The story has a lot of, let's say, childish moments and the humor is more less a cute kind of humor so if you're looking for a comedy adventure anime, I wouldn't suggest Letter Bee, but I'm sure it will give you a few giggles unless you're a sociopath or something.
It has an open ending which is logical since it has a second season. The ending made me tear up a bit, because I didn't expect it, but yeah it's just one of those endings where you HAVE to see what happens next.
Ahem. So in conclusion, I personaly LOVE the story, the concept, the setting, EVERYTHING is really my cup of tea. You may feel the same about this, but it's all about a perspective, and of course what you're looking for, therefore 10/10 for me.
Despite only a few sloppy scenes and considering the anime has 25 episodes, the animation is not bad. Of course, it's not perfect, and there are not as much beautiful scenes. So yeah, animation is very typical to the adventure genre.
HOWEVER, props for their impression of the night. I love starry purple skies this anime has and the scenes where the stars are falling down OMG *o*
There's also something about the characters design that I like. Not sure what though.
I just love so much how it's done, but I've seen better therefore 9/10
Hmm. Well I like the music, it's very fitting and it's not annoying or boring.
But the voice acting is kind of special. It almost seems like it's a bit low budget. However I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I think this just makes it better. At least for me, the voice acting this anime has makes the whole story realistic. Like, you can almost feel the emotions these characters have. Almost. Therefore 9/10
Can I say how much I love these characters? (I even claimed the main character on the forums)
So the main character is the cutest little thing ever, if you like cute things these characters are EVERYTHING. Then there's the girl who's the main character's partner and she's like a cute loli tsundere and it's the best thing ever. Then there's their pet who just makes sounds like ''nyu nyiii'' OMG. Kawaii overload.
And to be completely honest, I feel like these characters are so well done because their cuteness seems SO natural. It's not forced like most of today's anime. And that's what I really like.
There are also secondary characters which are well done as well. They are bit more serious and adult like. So the whole character crew isn't based on kids.
I just love this anime so much. Where have I been for the last 4 years I have no idea. But I regret not watching this earlier.
This whole anime really feels like all these people put their heart and their soul into making it. And that makes me respect it so much. Most of today's anime is based on stuff everyone will like and characters almost everyone can relate to. Which doesn't ring it for me. I mean yeah the animation and the story are well done and I'll probably rate it 4/5 but it's always missing something.
Heart. And this anime definitely has it!
This anime is definitely on my top 5 of all time. It's exactly what I've been looking for, and I'm so glad it exists.
Thank youu for reading this review! I hope you enjoyed reading it or it helped you make up your mind to watch or not to watch this anime.
Anyways. I would suggest this anime for anyone who needs a lil bit of something positive. This anime has it. It will make you stop and say ''Gauche'' in Lag's voice. It will.
Both Tegami Bachi and Tegami Bachi Reverse feel as two seasons of one anime rather than two separate series. They are beautifully drawn, with very nice architecture (for some reason I got interested in castle-scape scenes recently) and nicely voiced. Content-wise it features a flipped main character couple (a crybaby hero and a fighter girl protector) which at first seemed suspicious — I kept repeating “please don’t turn into 11eyes!” through the first episodes, because a cute weak kid as the main hero kind of anime is too easily turned into a harem one. Yet, it borderlined, there was some character development involving a let’s say friendship triangle, but not everything evolved around that kid’s helplessness.
The characters are well designed and the plot kinda makes sense, but you cannot help feeling like something's missing. The idea that superpowers cost something beside easily rechargeable mana is very appealing, that was basically the only thing that was good in GT (where it never developed enough, but anyway) and in many other series, but here it had a chance. The main way to defeat the big monsters in this series, you see, is to shoot them with a special gun, but there are no bullets — you need to put a piece of your heart in it [supernaturally, not physically]. Hence, the more you shoot, the weaker you get, until you “lose your heart” and disappear from existence. I was very excited to see this developed, especially since the main hero is a young person who has a big heart [in all meanings of the word] yet he shoots carelessly left and right because his special ability involves seeing people’s memories when he shoots them or items that they held dear.
However, there was a lot of stalling the in middle of the series that stopped this from being developed that much, and by the end of the second season it turned out to be almost just like in any other shounen series: when you are defeated, you just need to grind your teeth, claim that you will never give up, and then you’re suddenly all powered back up. Several main heroes keep shooting one another in the hope of recovering their lost or semi-lost hearts, in addition to shooting monsters left and right, without any regard to the law of conservation of energy. This kinda spoils it for me, but not enough to give it a very bad rating since the overal plot is rather complicated and has enough twists to keep you engaged [unless they throw a let’s talk about friendship and soup kind of episode in between, which you have to survive through without falling asleep].
Yet, I believe that the series could have been so much more. The setting is definitely recommended for roleplayers.