~SPOILERS~ Of course, I discovered this anime on the official noitaminA website and I was like, "Oh, it looks pretty epic!" (I shouldn't judge by covers... :P) I did end up enjoying this anime a lot. It drew me in about half way through the show. That is weird because I normally stop watching an anime that I don't like after the first two or three episodes. It is one of the "OH MY GOD SOOO EPIC" or "OH MY GOD I HATE THIS" kinds of animes. You can't really get in the middle of the two. So here is my review. (WARNING: I rant sometimes.)
Story - So the anime started off kind of slow for me. I didn't really pick up the actual storyline until like (I don't know) the 13th episode. After that, I really began catching on. It went really fast but that was one thing that I appreciated about it, how they could move the story along at such a fast pace. The ending was quite admirable because it slowed to a stop and gave a secure feeling. The original idea of the storyline I found quite interesting and I was very pleased with the ending. It gave me a secure satisfied feeling even though the actual storyline wasn't built well at all. It reminds me of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Everybody had so much faith in it and it looked great after building... That was until cars started driving over it...
Plot Development: 2/5 - Main idea was okay but often strayed far from it. Storyline waivered tooo much. It was like the first episode was Shu being bitchy. Then the second, he'd turn into a badass. Third, back to a wimp. I HATED IT.
Smooth Story Progression: 1/5 - Nope... Not at all.
Originality: 3/5 - Many type of these animes but the futuristic difference sit it apart from the rest.
Depiction of Themes: 1/5 - Couldn't tell what the theme was. What was it? COMMENT. Most people say that it was the theme of "Is it okay to use your friends?", but I saw none of that in the anime.
Overall Enjoyment: 4/5 - Just because the virus idea intrigued me and piqued that awesome kickass side of me.
Animation - The animation for this anime series was absolutely breath-taking. This was produced by Production I.G who were the same people who also animated Usagi Drop, Eden of the East, Kimi ni Todoke, Prince of Tennis (an old one), and even xxxHolic. All of those shows had very light tones which really surprised me when I saw this anime. The colors were more monochromatic and on the dark side except for the occasional pink and red tones. The animation wasn't one of those "sooo much detail on the eyes" animes. Instead, the group directed their attention to making the combat scenes and Apocalypse virus more vibrant and detailed. I think that was a good move considering the fact that it made the anime look much more epic.
Clear Tones: 5/5 - So beautiful >.<
Smooth Animation: 4/5 - Some fight scenes were choppy but you could tell what was happening.
Balance: 3/5 - Had some epic fighting scenes but when it comes to light tones, they put so much in that it didn't fit with the story, characters, OR plot.
Variation: 3/5 - Variation between the computer effects and the traditional anime were mostly covered up and smooth except for some of the scenes where Shu uses Inori void and the rotating silver thingies were sooo obvious CGI-ed.
Shading: 1/5 - The light airy shading didn't fit at all.
Creativity: 4/5 - It was good........... O.o
Overall Originality: 4/5 - Pretty great work but I've seen it before.
Sound - I have to say that this anime's soundtrack/OST was absolutely astounding. To think that the music and sound crew did much better than any anime of these past years. The ops and eds were created and recorded by the wonderful Supercell who also sang Euterpe which was "Funeral Parlor's song". I enjoyed the different types of music and the different genres that contributed to the album. I went to search for the songs and just listened to each and every composition thinking to myself how it's even possible to have music like this. From the intense battle themes to the soft and quiet lullabies of a girl dying, they got it going for this anime. I really do think that this is one of the more stronger points. I think this because when listening to the soundtrack itself, you can really feel the emotion and feeling behind the instrumentals and vocals. What also struck me was the creative use of german in the tracks. I thought that was a nice touch and a good change that other future animes could adopt.
Unique-ness: 5/5 (COME ON NOW.... German?!? Who thought of that, the little genius)
Reflection of the Anime: 4/5 (Fight scene was fitting. Sad scene was fitting. Doesn't explain the story.)
Soundtrack Meaning: 1/5 (Even though it was epic, I feel like the music wasn't telling anything about the story plot.)
Overall Satisfaction: 5/5
Overall Enjoyment: 5/5 (Sounded sooo EPIC)
Characters - Throughout the anime, I kept getting this constant feeling of "OMG KILL ME NOW. SHU IS SUCH A WUSS". But now when I think back, he was only doing what most of us in the real world would do if there was every an apocalypse that was going to take over the world. For a normal guy living a normal life, I think he did the right thing. And what people don't understand is why he was so attached to Hare and Inori but wouldn't you be attached to your best friend and the girl/guy you liked. If one of them died because of you and you know it's because of you, wouldn't you do the same thing as him. I bet you would too. I bet you would go overboard to save the people you love and care about from dying. And then, carrying the constant feeling that you killed them. I know that having a strong main character who can handle anything that's dealt to them is crucial when having a good anime but Shu Ouma made me realize that a wimpy character isn't what most people want but what usually does happen in real life.
Aside from Shu, all of the other characters regardless of them being evil or good, had their own personalities and histories. I think they could have expanded more on Daryl's case because I was curious about how his personality is so twisted and what could have happened in his past to cause something like that. I also held an interest in Inori's case. i constantly wondered how she was "made" and how she is a monster. They literally had only one scene where she was in her true form. Tsutsugami Gai was a particularly interesting person. I was constantly really annoyed at him and I was specifically confused in the end where he suddenly turns good while he dies. I just don't understand him. I think if I had the chance to hear what he was thinking, I would take it. Adise from that, all of Shu's friends were really hatable at some times but in the end, you just end up loving them because of all they do for Shu. I have to say that two of my favorite characters were Ayase and Tsugumi. Ayase had that type of "I'm handicapped but I am strong enough to do what ever I want" kind of feeling which I liked about her. But she was also not as strong inside as she was outside which made her so lovable because of her complex about being handicapped. Tsugumi is one of those characters who just grow on you. The way she talks is really impolite but just the way she is a bit tsundere and cares about everyone is really cute. I also wanted to know why she knew Daryl but they cut that off too...
Character Design: 5/5 - Nosebleed worthy!!
Personality: 2/5 - Everybody else was kinda okay. Shu really got on my nerves though. One minute, he's whining about living and the other he turns into a monster who doesn't care about anyone. It was too much of a difference to me.
Close to Reality: 3/5 - Any normal person would react the same way Shu did except you minus the badass part because nobody in this world would ever truly do that.
Good amount of Character History: 2/5 - Too little and often when they dove deeper into one's past, they stopped at a very horrible time leaving soo many cliffhangers and potholes. Most of the histories (i.e.Daryl and Tsugumi's history), ANNOYED THE FRICK OUT OF ME.
Satisfaction: 3/5 Characters fit the story. But some's screentime just had me saying "GET OFF THE SCREEN"
**Badassness (Just because it's that sort of anime): 4/5 - Don't really care about Shu. It was Gai who got to me until the last 8 episodes where he turned into a wimp who only cared about himself.
Overall - I gave this anime a 7.5/10 because even though it had many missing elements in everything (except for maybe the soundtrack), I enjoyed enough to keep watching it and it made me happy while doing so. I don't dare compare this anime to any other animes like other people do because I don't want to demean the work and effort the whole crew put in to make this happen. I'd say is a a great watch for when you have the time to soak everything in. Even though it is slow in the beginning, it's worth watching till the end. (BUT, that's only if you can stand to listen to Shu's SUPER ANNOYING LIFESTORY.)