Tokyo Majin: Season 1 (Parts 1 & 2) Review
I picked up Tokyo Majin for two reasons: (1) It was available on Netflix and . . . I thought the guy on the cover was cute (yes, I admit it), and (2) A reviewer on Anime Planet mentioned that it reminded him of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite TV shows.
I really wanted to like this show, and in some ways I did. But it was also painfully bad in many other ways. I explain below.
The story line in Tokyo Majin was completely disjointed and nearly incomprehensible. It seemed like the writers were throwing everything together randomly and trying to make it feel coherent. It wasn't.
The season started out with monster-of-the-week episodes, but then grew into longer story arcs that were supposed to be connected in some way, but weren't really - not naturally anyway.
Even if the main plot had been coherent, it didn't turn out to be very interesting. Superpowered bad guy wants to destroy Tokyo, and he's manipulating people to help him do it! Good guys want to stop him! And they do! Wow, really? That's it? Basically, the story sucked.
Also, the "big reveal" at the series' end about the "vessels" and "deities" lacked any meaning because of the problem I describe in the "Characters" section.
The character designs in this show were decent, but kind of weird. Tatsuma had his adorable sweatshirt and trademark finger-less gloves. But then they made another guy, Kareha, that basically looked just like him and robbed Tatsuma of his unique glory. All the girls had hairs sticking out in random directions, which was weird. I did enjoy the design of the first major baddie, Kozuno, as well as Marie Claire, the fiery bug-eyed girl that hung around with him. The Gigantor Nurse was also cool. Other than that, nothing special about character design.
I also didn't particularly enjoy the animation in the series. First, the supernatural elements tended to have a hazy, washed-over feel to them. Second, the action looked stilted and not particularly smooth. Third, the cuts between scenes were really abrupt, which made the show hard to follow and quite confusing.
I loved the mix of music in this anime. The opening theme was a kickass heavy metal song by ACID that was reminiscent of "Howling" (the theme from Darker Than Black). It really set the tone for the anime. What I really appreciated was mixing in classical music - in particular, the dissonant chords followed by the fast 16th note violin passages (a modified version of Vivaldi's "Winter" from the Four Seasons, perhaps?) - during the action scenes. The use of strings really complemented the action on a screen in a unique way - not your average heavy metal action scene accompaniment.
As for the voice acting, it was a mixed bag: mostly unremarkable. I was intrigued enough by Tatsuma Hiyuu's English voice actor to look him up. (Okay, fine, I admit, maybe I was kind of in love with him. So sue me.) It sounded just right for the character - easygoing, unassuming. Aoi's voice actor, of course, annoyed me, as female leads are wont to do. And Daigo's voice actor took too much of a "meathead" approach for my tastes. Komaki's actress was decent, if a little unvaried. And Kyouichi's was fine, if not particularly subtle.
Good god, it felt like the writers took character crack, because this show was a giant character clusterf*ck. Characters that we were supposed to care about sprouted up like noxious weeds and robbed our main characters of valuable screen time. Which was infuriating, because I quite liked our main cast.
But who were the random drag queens? And the gaggle of guys with scars that hung around with Kyouichi? Why should the audience care about the look-alike Oribe twins, who were randomly introduced and had no personality or backstory whatsoever? Who are all of these old geezers that appear randomly to explain mystical stuff and then don't do anything? Why did they have to make mind-control baddie, Sagaya, a regular character, not to mention the nurse that works at the hospital? I'll admit I was a bit intrigued by the rabbit-feeding teacher (who remains a mystery to me), but was I supposed to care about the blonde female teacher? Who was the random blonde chick that they showed hanging around with the bums under the bridge (I have no idea)? Why did they have to bring in some new, random Alan Claude character to be one of the deities? Why did they devote screen time to the random detective and the autopsy guy? And then in the second season, they added even MORE characters in the form of the Martial Fist assassins - one of whom was just a copycat version of Tatsuma, too! Gah!
I was hoping they would come up with something cool for Kareha, the Tatsuma-look-alike (say, perhaps, Tatsuma's evil twin or something), but instead he was an incredibly boring character. Anyway, I digress.
I don't have a problem with ensemble shows, but when you have such a huge cast, you have to DEVELOP the characters for your audience to care about them at all. Otherwise, when old geezer #1 gets shot up with arrows, or blonde teacher gets her arm blown off, all it elicits is a yawn instead of a feeling of peril.
And **SPOILER** when the identities of the vessels and deities were revealed at the end of the season, I felt cheated because 2 of the deities had barely registered on my radar.
The presence of all of these excessive, unnecessary characters took away screen time from the main cast, who I actually kind of enjoyed. The show took the time to develop interesting backstory for Kyouichi, Tatsuma, and Daigo, which I appreciated. However, I wish the show had done the same with Komaki, who came off a bit one-dimensional. As for Aoi, they gave snapshots of her backstory and tried to explain why she feels such a need to protect people, but it wasn't very effective. She was just a very nice, boring character with little depth and annoying, patronizing speeches. And Kisaragi was okay, what with the family legacy burden on his shoulders, but he also had little depth as a character.
The lack of depth is pretty much a running problem in the show, except for maybe Kyouichi and Daigo.
My favorite part of the show was watching the main cast interact with one another, and watching their interactions change as they fought together over the course of the show. Itdid remind me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in some ways: gaggle of young teens fighting against the forces of evil. Except Buffy explored larger themes through its cast and supernatural storylines; Tokyo Majin, not so much.
I did enjoy the romantic undertones, though I wish the writers had drawn more drama and created more tension from them. I mean, Daigo loves Komaki, who loved Aoi, who loved Tatsuma, who's basically asexual but is also loved by Kyouichi, who may also be loved by Aoi, who is loved by Kisaragi? Come on, we needed to see some bitchfights out of all that angst and tension!
But unfortunately, the gaggle of extraneous characters - including the annoying Reporter, who was mostly a useless character - dragged the show down and ate up valuable screen time. So there was no time for bitchfight awesomeness.
I wanted to like this show. Tatsuma was so good-looking. And I loved the little "tch" sound that Kyouichi made every time he scoffed. And I thought Daigo's backstory with his troubled teen years was very well done.
But nothing else in this show really worked. If Aoi's power was so powerful, why didn't she kick more ass? Komaki was given one "backstory" with her archery friend, but not much else. Why not? Oh, right, because the show was wasting time on the gaggle of extraneous characters.
Such wasted potential...
This has to be the most incoherent series I've ever seen. Granted, I'm only on episode 8 (so I'll update the review if anything changes further down the line), but I still have only a loose idea of an overall plot and next to no understanding of how events have preceeded throughout the last 8 episodes. As in, for the first 6 episodes, I didn't even feel I'd been watching the same show the whole time.
The first episode starts off in the middle of nowhere, explaining nothing, so I thought maybe things would be sorted out in time. That can be cool sometimes. Nope. I still don't know the basics. Maybe I just spaced out during one of the incomprehensible scene transitions, but I still don't know how these kids from vastly different social circles became a "group" to begin with. I've actually gone online to make sure I didn't miss an episode somewhere or to see whether I'm watching a single, coherent show. Well, it is one show, but it isn't coherent.
I'm not sure what to say. Most of the scenes are incomplete. Meaning, the creators move onto the next scene without finishing the one they are on or explaining what has just transpired and what's now going on in the current scene. I suppose that's the primary cause of the incoherence throughout the show. Then there are the flashbacks. Not the kind that provide information and backstory (although there are those as well), but the kind that are supposed to remind you of or elaborate on something that happened earlier--only it didn't. So the characters have conversations that make no sense because they're referring to things that never actually occurred in the show, and then there's a two-second flashback to try and provide context. But it just isn't enough to close the gap. And this isn't like one of those trippy anime that's supposed to be non-linear in a crazy, edgy sort of way. No, this one is supposed to have a lucid plot, it just fails. It's like there was a complete series to begin with, but it was several hours too long, so the editors just cut things out here and there, and we're left with bits and pieces of what was once a story.
For example, one minute the characters are discussing something together and the next they're in different places, and we don't know where they went or how they got there or why. We think they're still together until we realize they aren't. They were practically mid-conversation, and now they're each doing different, unrelated things out of nowhere! Or at one point one of the guys makes a big deal about saving an impaled girl in the middle of a fight, leaving the rest of the fight to his friends. But I, at least, have no idea who the girl was. Was she a main character or just some girl? They didn't show her face. What happened to her...did she make it? Where did he take her? We never find out. His friends fight for a bit and we move onto another scene like it never happened.
In other parts, the scenes are slightly more coherent, but the characters are stupid. There was once an evil guitar-playing baddie who bent things and people to his will by playing his guitar. And his best friend decided he had to kill him for the good of the world. Um...why not just take his guitar away? I guess no one thought of that. So after the kill attempt, the kid turned from a guitar-playing baddie to a full-on demon. Life's full of missed chances.
The main characters are fairly average inasmuch as I can ascertain their personalities throughout the cut-and-paste storyline. At times, they feel inconsistent, not because of any character development, but just because of poor writing. For a couple episodes, one of the male characters is super angy, misogynistic, and mean-spirited, then suddently in another episode he's nice to the girl he's been mean to, with literally nothing having transpired to explain the 180 turnaround. He hasn't shown a secret softer side and hasn't seemed the tsundere type, he's just been mean...then suddenly nice.
Then there are the moments of incongruous dialogue. Everyone always gangs up on Aoi for being weak and being unable to save anyone--like, several times in each episode--yet her power is pretty obviously stronger than everyone else's, and she actually HAS saved those very people. But it's like that never happened: it's like the other characters are living in some other reality, and the disparity is never explained.
There are characters it seems like we're supposed to know, but we don't know them and aren't let in on their relevance, and they just pop in and out randomly. Also, how did these kids get their powers? I think there was an attempt to explain that in episode 2, but it didn't explain anything! I'm not even sure if that scene was depicting when they got their powers or if it was something else. Again, there was no explanation of what happened.
The animation is fine, but the fight scenes can be a little confusing, as we don't get to see what everyone in the scene is doing (sometimes characters just disappear, and we don't know what they're doing during the fight) or why people decide to do what they do.
The sound is OK, though at times the metal (music) can get annoying. The voices are decent except for the teenage journalist with the huge glasses. No real human has a voice like that (praise the lord). It's painfully inauthentic, as if the voice actor tried to sound like a five-year-old but failed and instead comes across as an embarrassing adult playing Pokemon alone with her pet hamster. Her pet hamster who wants to scratch its ears off before throwing itself off it's hamster tower.
It's entertaining enough, and while I won't say it's bad enough to be objectionable, after a while, you do start to wonder if you're crazy if you try too hard to find a linear plot or make sense of what transpires. I'm still watching to see where this goes, but so far, it's probably not something I'd recommend.
How many tropes can we fit into one anime? Let's find out!
Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpotato Two, is your typical contemporary, Eastern mythology inspired, horror, magically superpowered, teenage team, action show. It's based on a series of half VN, half strategy RPG, games which came out on the Playstation 1 but never made it state side. The series opens in spectacular fashion with lots of zombies and random scenes of people doing random shit for no reason, and somehow no one happens to notice 500 zombies chasing a single school girl through the back alleys of Tokyo until they catch her and presumably suck the life out of her. The cops are predictably completely baffled when her corpse turns up the next day because cops are always stupud and inept and things like this are better left to the junior varsity ghost busting division.
Queue the introduction of the protagonist. Check-list time!
I think we're pushing the envelope with this one.
So naturally some shit goes down and MES as the Rest teamup to fight the undead and the demonic forces that control them using all the blue lights and laser beams that can be sold in Tokyo as per city regulation. Of course the cops know nothing about the otherworld despite the rampagings of 20 foot tall demons and zombie hordes which plauge the most populated city on earth and serve only to act as transitional scenes for the JV Ghostbuster Squad. The whole thing feels like it started off in the middle of a story that we weren't privy to. People the protagonists know pop in and out with no explaination as to who they are or what they're doing there, events occur which serve little purpose other than as filler. While the story might be disjointed, the action is a well done with actual fighting, and the series revels in dishing out horrible deaths to random people in all the gory detail in can muster. The plot quickly devloves into your standard tropes and ends promising another season.
The animation isn't shabby for being released in 2007 and the character designs are at least interesting even if the characters are mostly cookie cutter templates. The music is fitting, broody and angsty when appropriate.
An all around unimpressive peice but slightly better than average.
Ill start off by saying that this is one of the most underrated anime that I have ever seen. I do not kno why it's not ranked in the top 100... ATleast!
This is about a group of friends who discover that they have abnormal powers when demons, and other creatures start infesting the city. They must work together with their friends, and friends they will make throughout their adventure. The story also becomes much more complex, and draws you in with no mercy. The story can get a little predictible at times, but I kinda find that flaw with like 90% of anime so it didnt bother me at all. This isnt one of those anime where anyone is sfae from harm because the writers cant kill them off.
I loved this animation! the action scenes were so fluent and crisp. The only time the animation gets a little iffy is once an a while someones face looks a tad weird buts not often at all. The zombies, demons, and creatures look great they are so disgusting and drawn well, its awesome. Its top-notch animation.
I think this anime has the best music of any anime I have ever seen, and i've seen a lot. Its beginning and ending sonds are amazing. They have a great mixture of metal, rock, and some emotional music for the hreat wrenching times.
You will fall in love with the bond that all of these characters, and will hate the characters that try and break them up. They show indepth background stories on each character to let you completely connect with them, and ever episode will have you worried something will happen. For the romance loverts, this anime does hint at some relationships, and does have moments between them. The supporting characters really round of the greatness of the characters that help you connect with the main five even more.
As I started off saying.... THIS ANIME NEED TO BE IN THE TOP 100!!!!!! Watch this anime and you will see what I mean when I say; There is no way in hell there are 1,000 anie better then this one!
I watched this series on Youtube before buying the DVD Set. I try to do that to avoid purchasing a bad Anime set. I liked this story because it was not drawn out too long, and the story unfolds in an unusual style. You don't learn how they got their powers till the second episode, and it honestly works for me that way. They plunge you right into the action, and then take you along for the ride. The characters themselves are what interested me the most, because they all seem to unfold themselves as the story progresses. They're not always fearless and perfect, and they don't always save the person that needs saving --but they try. My only complaint is that there were other characters that needed more fleshing out and the ending to the show leaves it open for a future return to tell another tale. I honestly wish they would do an OVA or something to give us that conclusion but I'm not holding my breath for one.
The kids kind of reminded me of the cast of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series in that they find themselves in this world of mysticism and horror, and they do their best to deal with it. They try to protect each other and grow through the series. There are some heart wrenching moments and I think I liked that best of all. A lot of people pick a particular character and start harping on that one because they didn't like them or what not. I can't really do that because I realize that we are all flawed. I grew up knowing a little miss perfect just like a lot of us did, but as the series progresses, you get to see a little more of the person behind the facade and that is a rare treat.
Even the villain of this season was engaging. Kozunu Tendo was flawed and perfect at the same time. You can see his evil ways, but by the end you get to feel just a little bit of his anguish and you feel for him. My only complaint really is that the season was too short.
If It makes any difference to anyone, I watched the series first, then I bought the DVD.