Starting strong from the episode one onward, this show satisfied all the expectations I had. What at first seemed like one weird coming of age story, soon after tuned upside down on multiple occasions and escalated into something completely different, but somehow still managing to keep what I originally liked about it.
If to judge only by the atmosphere and world building, it would be an exceptional series because those two were top notch at all times. For a series to manage to remain mysterious all the way until the end and still managed to bring out the bigger picture so well, I can say only praises, but even so, there were a lot of thing this show lacked. The fist thing would be the characters, who somehow turned out to be very bland. SSY is one of those shows who mixed up the formula of world building and characters. Instead of forming the story around characters, they moved around the plot, which is never a good thing. The product of it is an obvious lack of characterization and a big lack of any distinctive personality traits. But even so, I can’t deny the fact that the plot and the world building were great, even without strong cast backing it up. And one thing I absolutely must add is that the minor, non-human characters surprised me a lot, when some of human minor characters were quite unimportant and even blander than the others.
I’m quite confused about the technical department because animation changed quite drastically throughout the series. I was never bothered by it, and sometimes I think it even complemented the world and the mood even better than the previous one had, but as the time passed and we got more into the series, the drop in quality became more obvious by each episode. The implemented CGI looked obnoxiously terrible, and the flow sometimes felt completely out of place. Although, there were some well executed scenes that looked absolutely amazing.
The music was pretty mediocre. The opening theme and few other pieces fitted well, but the soundtrack was very poor in content and the music in general didn’t feel like it did justice to the events it followed. One more thing I didn’t like is the design of characters that for some reason deprived them of any sort of emotional expressions and what not. It didn’t mean that they were not distinguishable, but the lack of it was painfully obvious. But still, the design of everything else was very pretty and quite different than the rest, but sadly it’s not standing out because of it.
All in all, even with many flaws, for me this series definitely stood out in the crowd and achieved some really amazing things. Even if the characters are pretty forgettable and it may not be the anime with the biggest budget, the plot, world building and the general feel of the series were exceptional. There is substance I tell you! This was definitely the best anime of its season and one of the best “fantasy” anime out there, so if you’re wondering if to watch it or not, I say do it.
Best girl: Saeki