Firstly let me start by saying that I´m not the biggest romance/school/drama genre fan there is but from time to time even I need to take a break and watch something just for the sake of seeing something “different” from what I usually prefer/watch and as luck would have it I managed to stumble upon a jewel that nicely surprised me.
Now that the intro is done let me get straight to the point. Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica (later only SSP) can be seen as your every-day normal romance/slice of life/fantasy anime with all the basic elements (via spirits, magic/abilities, school, romance etc.) but it also has something you won´t find in many (if any) anime of this genre and that is the concept behind it all. Sure, spirits, contacts, huge fights, lots of effects, love story, etc. that all has been here before but the idea of controlling a spirit by playing music is something "I´ve" seen for the first time and I must say it astonished me how well it was executed.
The story of SSP takes us to a world where spirits and people coexist mostly in harmony, with exceptions of course, and their relationship is based on a contact between a spirit and its “master” (contractor). The master plays a special kind of song for the spirit in order for it to attain additional power in battles or to do whatever the master desires. The songs played differ from person to person as do the instruments that the masters preform them on. Unfortunately that is as far as the “plot” of SSP goes since the story behind it is episode-based or in other words episodic (meaning each episode is its own story with its beginign and end, the only thing linking them together as a whole are the characters that appear in them).
Throughout the run of this 12 episode series you are introduced to a number of characters, some are more interesting than others (and are also treated that way). The main leads (Phoron and Corti) are done very well along with the rest of their main supporting characters. With their ups and downs they take you through the entire series leaving a smile on your face from time to time. The character development isn´t playing that much of a role due to the episodic nature of the series but there are hints of it if nothing else. Unfortunately though, the shows gives a feel that there could have been more to the characters and their backgrounds which is a bit disappointing (luckily this is more or less resolved in the Second season which is a prequel to this one).
The animation of SSP is pretty much more on the average level. It isn´t bad b ut it´s also nothing that stands out for its greatness. The character design along with the backgrounds and all the other minor details are done pretty well but you´ll probably find some kinks here and there but nothing major. Like I said, nothing out-of-the-ordinary but you won´t be disappointed that much either.
The music in SSP is something that literally swept me of my feet and left a lasting impression of near-greatness. In anime, songs which are in the background are mostly unimportant to me, not because I don´t like them but I like to concentrate more on what is happening on screen rather then listening to the tunes that are being played (but I must also admit that sometimes there is a song that just won´t leave me impassive even if it is in the background). But back to the point. The songs and music preformed in this anime are really one-of-a-kind and frankly, they are AWSOME (at least most of them). Whether it is the instruments that are being played or the singing done by the characters, you can prepare yourself to be amazed. Of course even the OP and ED are quite nice.
I personally enjoyed the series really much and there aren´t many things I can complain about. It has it´s brighter sides (characters, music) as well as its darker ones (episode based, art) but that is still no reason why not give it a try.
All in all, as I mentioned in the beginning, Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica can be compared to an unpolished jewel. It doesn´t really stand out that much from its genre and it isn´t that well known but once you give it a try you´ll find out that you stumbled upon something quite unique that you won´t definitely see every day. Whether its for the better or for the worse ? That is up to you to decide...
(5)- Anywhere, anytime, as many times as you like!
(4)-Definitely worth seeing more than 3 times…
(3)-Once for regular viewer, 2 (or even 3) times for a fan.
(2)- Seeing once is more than enough.
(1)- Impossible to even reach the end…
ART SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
- The series uses a very nice blend of fantasy and normality. The world looks like ours but there are several scenes where fairies and fairytale-like sceneries mix with the rest. Another good point is the artwork on the characters and their gear. They dress in pretty phantasy cloths and use musical instruments and vehicles that reminded me of the Irish mythology and of the Renaissance. Especially the neon glow fairy wings and music scores were really something. These are the good parts.
- And now for the bad parts. Way too many still images. The characters stand like frozen most of the time. The battles they take part in feel very sluggish and most of the times it is the camera moving or zooming that gives the illusion of movement. The character detailing is also poor. Most girls look alike and you need to distinguish them only by their hairstyle. Even the sketching outlines feel rough and big. The most dreadful problem though, is the absence of lip and hand synchronization. What do I mean? Read below.
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 4/4, Sound Effects 2/3
- Voice acting and sound effects were nothing out of the ordinary and won’t stick at all in this. Plain average.
- The music themes are superb! Something between opera and symphonic metal. Trully wonderful that give color to the entire world of the story. By far the best thing in this otherwise uniteresting series.
- Too bad there was no synchronization at all. The characters sing and play music and there is not much sync between sound and image. That ruins most of the fun.
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
The main story is about our world melding with the fairy world and using the energy of these creatures to benefit human society. As usual, there are several evil critters popping up as well, so a team of youths from both worlds works together in order to help both worlds to prosper. The Earth team plays musical instruments and the Fairy team sings in order to tap into the power of the multi-winged fairy creatures and use it to perform all sorts of magic tricks against demon-like evil beings.
So, we have a story of cooperation, superpowers and demon attacks. What’s could be so bad about it? Well… All of it.
-There is no real death or violence in the series. Characters bump or bleed a bit but none die. In the meantime, buildings and forests around them get blown to bits all the time.
-Battles suck. Just stale images and crude magic attacks. The whole singing power-up premise looks fine at first; but it is just dressing an otherwise boring battle phase.
-The main story goes nowhere. Just people talking and doing some unimportant things that lead to a totally anti-climactic situation.
-The peoples’ reactions are ridiculous. Their world towards the end befalls into chaos and what do they do? They clap their hands and sing, like nothing matters. May I remind you, this is not a fairy tale and clapping your hands if you believe works only for Tinkerbell.
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 1/2
In all, the story as it unfolds and the things the characters do are snoring at best. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the fate of the world or about the characters because of the unimportant events. Despite the cast having an interesting chemistry at first, the lukewarm plots just kill all the interest and they pass as nothing but cardboards afterwards.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTIONS: 1/10
Value Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
Enjoyment Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 1/2, Story 0/3, Characters 0/4
Nice premise, boring presentation. Ends up being completely forgettable. Not recommended.
Princess Tutu implemented ballet dancing and opera plays during the battles.
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross used pop singing in order to fight an alien armada.
Black Heaven – Hard Rock Save the Space used rock music in order to fight an alien armada.