I absolutely fell in love with this anime and the story as it unfolded. Erin is truly an inspirational character and her development throughout the entire series was top notch--kudos to the creator of kemono no Souja Erin. I will not give a synopsis of the story as that is already given but I will take the time to discuss some of the highs and lows of the show.
The story in my opinion was definitely one of high caliber and careful planning. It truly felt like an epic tale that really got you engrossed in every aspect of the story. That being said not every part of the story was carried out as well as the others.
Read on if you have already finished...
Let me start off with the high points. Erin's beginnings were picture perfect. We got a sense of where she came from, the importance of Soyon, and Soyon's death and how it affected Erin. In my opinion, every part of the story from episode one to the part where Erin and Lilan create their bond and grow closer to one another until she is about 18 was spot on. I could go on forever, but it is better to watch it than read this review--I cannot do this story justice in my own words, that's what the writers for this anime are for. For me, the whole political plight of the country Ryouza was unclear and not very well developed. As an example, Avatar the Last Airbender had a great political struggle (i.e. "the fire nation attacked") and set the Fire Nation as the clear cut villains with an agenda. The whole relationship between the Queen's quarter and the Duke's quarter wasn't explained very well and the animosity between Holons and Wajyaku was not very apparent either. Also, many, if not all of the characters involved in the politcal aspect of the show (grand duke, queen harumiya, seimiya, damiya, shunan, kiriku, ngan) did not have adequate character development and their goals and ambitions were never clear. I feel if the political aspect was more direct and there was more attention given to these characters (like backstories for starters) then this could have been a much better story.
Also, throughout the series, I found Ngan to be very annoying. he was such a one-dimensional character that had no purpose in this show. There were many plotholes surrounding him and Shunan. There were also plotholes around Damiya. Why did he want the wajyaku gone and the country to be ruled by a pure queen? what were his motives? backstory? goals? agghh... Also, I felt as though the relationship between Erin and Lilan became confusing towards the end. I thought that Lilan saw Erin as a mother figure (someone to love and respect) yet Erin still had to use the threat of the mute whistle to get Lilan to "obey". This is just ranting and I can only complain about it. I cannot change the story, but I really wish some of these issues were addressed. This series is made from only the first two volumes so maybe a second season would make up for some of this season's lacking features.
The animation was truly amazing and very interesting and diverse at times. This includes the animation when they explain the story of Je and when the touda and beast-lords fight each other/beast-lords eat the touda.
I loved the OP and ED and OST, all of it. Just beautiful to listen to.
Overall, I liked it a lot more than average but still feel as though some things could have been improved to make it a masterpiece. A definite watch and a definite top favorite.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments!