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Shadow Skill TV Review

by: sothis
August 6, 2005

story 6/10

Shadow Skill TV screenshot Shadow Skill TV is a series which comes across as many things: the foremost being action, but also comedy. The basis, as mentioned above, is definitley fighting and action, with Elle and Gau wanting to fight to become stronger for various reasons. One thing should be noted that although this is indeed a retelling of the OVA, the tone is EXTREMELY different, and many plot points are told differently or in a different order. Character designs are also totally different in many ways. (Check the helpful info blurb for either for more information). So, if you planned on not watching this because you've seen the OVA, I'd suggest against it.

Shadow Skill TV starts off in a comedic fashion, similar to Kenshin TV. Elle and Gau wander around with new friends, helping to save people or causing problems and having to work off the debt. And of course, lots of drinking is involved! During this time, many names and places are introduced that you don't understand. And for the most part, by the end of the series, there are still some things you don't understand. About halfway through, the tone becomes quite a bit darker, as two main arcs are introduced, with a bunch of new bad guys and harrowing situations. Honestly, I felt the two tones were not integrated well together. The series is so comedic and lighthearted, and then becomes so serious just as suddenly.

But in general, the plot that you actually start to understand is decent, but buried by the confusion and great deal of plot holes. By the end of the story, a great deal of things aren't wrapped up or explained at all, which is fairly frustrating, considering you are likely to have been confused about a lot of things since near the beginning of the series. But even so, I didn't think the ending was that bad as others have complained about. Certain things ARE wrapped up nicely, just not most.

animation 6/10

Although fairly recent, the animation style is severely lacking. Character designs were quite weird, though not as strange as the OVA for sure. Faces were very animal-like with very simple shading. Non animal-like faces such as Kyou looked super girlie, but still extremely simple. Elle looked like a beast, a male beast at that, with extremely ugly hair (a sprayed mullet, almost, with a giant braid down the back.. ugh). Male characters wore giant ball earrings that were extremely tacky, etc.

Colors used were equally as obnoxious, from Elle's bright orange hair with bright pink clothes, to Kyou's bright red hair with bright neon green clothes. Other characters had nicer colors used, like neutral black for Gau, and an enemy's dark red hair with black. But in general, very clashy colors used everywhere. The one part that was nice was the backgrounds, such as the sun setting or the forest at night. Cities were fairly interesting as well, looking very arabic in nature. One city reminded me of the arabic place in Kingdom Hearts, even!

It was hard deciding between a 5 and a 6, but I went for a 6 because some things were decent. But in general, I wasn't happy with a lot of the elements of the animation style.

sound 6/10

The music tended to be very generic most of the time, or rock music intermixed with synths once the show became more serious. Appropriate, but still generic. One thing I wanted to note was the outro, and how it was handled. There were two outro pieces, chosen depending on the tone of the end of that episode. Both did not blend at ALL with how the outro picture was shown. You know how some series tend to show the outro pictures in time with the music, etc? Not in Shadow Skill TV. Also, the outro NEVER changed during the whole series. You saw one very boring picture, still, at the end of every episode. The dubbing was also frequently off with the animation.

Voice actors were decent, but Kyou's voice definitely changed halfway through, like I mentioned.

characters 5/10

The only character that I thought really advanced, in a believable way, was Gau. He definitely had a lot of crap happen to him, and it shows. He grows from a weakling to a strong guy, willing to protect those he loves. But everyone else was not so fortunate to have believable character development, or any character development at all. Kyou, I felt, was one of the most shallow characters I've seen. She starts off as a clutzy ditz, and then suddenly becomes very serious and introspective when the show becomes serious? How does that work? It was totally unbelievable to me. If you are going to portray someone to be air headed, clutzy, and immature, at least make a gradual change, don't make them suddenly serious and thoughtful. Elle just always seemed pissed off and aggressive, with not a lot of depth to her emotions. Other characters weren't really introduced at all, and you still had no idea who they were when the show ended. Too many characters were introduced, not enough were explained, and barely any made you feel empathetic towards them.

overall 6/10

While Shadow Skill TV had its interesting moments and sometimes compelling plot points (hence the 6), I felt it lacked a great deal of things that made it an enjoyable series. First, the animation was hideous. Second, the characters (in my opinion) had no depth or range of emotions. The love aspect was weak, there were too many plot holes and things left unexplained, and the story just wasn't that interesting.

The rewatchability level is extremely low, in my opinion. I had to force myself to finish this as it was, and I wouldn't watch it again. Unless you really liked this show, I can't see it being very rewatchable for most people.

If you like fighting shows, you might enjoy this anyways. But in general, this was one of a few series I had to make myself finish. So I guess it's your call. If you have lots of time and love this genre, check it out and see if you don't like it, too. Else, don't bother.

Anime Info

In the land of Kuruda, warriors with magical powers and incredible fighting skills battle for the ultimate prize: the title of Sevaar, the strongest warrior in the land. Elle Ragu, nicknamed Shadow Skill, is the newest Sevaar to emerge, but that doesn't make her life any easier. Teaching her "little brother," Gau, how to be a warrior, fending off assassins from other kingdoms and thwarting enemy invasions is hard enough, but her biggest challenge will be paying off her drinking debts!

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About the Author

sothis's avatar


My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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