Shounen and shoujo animes have very different flavours as a general rule. Shounen tends to place more importance on fighting scenes and makes the protagonist suit this theme. Shoujo will look at the effect these things have on characters and concentrates on the cast a bit more.
This anime is where the two meet as X TV has beautifully depicted fighting scenes while being very character driven.
It probably will have more of a shoujo feel to some people as the story develops a little bit slower than most shounen and the cast is full of bishounens and bishoujos. I find that the prettiness of the characters suit this theme of apocalypse here very successfully as the contrast with the mood is explored intensely.
X TV has some of the best looking animation I have ever seen in a TV series. The framerate is excellent in keeping with the intense battles. The backgrounds are not only well drawn but also have intricate detail. 3D graphics are not excessively used and as a result do not feel out of place. The character design has an elegance that really suit the series and the costumes range from fun to completely cool!
The reason this particularly breathtaking series does not get a full score for animation is in the reused footage. Scenes are repeated way too often and they are always the same ones. Other scenes which deal with similar issues could have been used to vary the repetition a little but that never happened.
Some scenes are interesting to watch again though as when the story progresses and a scene from the start is repeated, you can see how the show has built on that and how much more significant it has become.
I love the music in X as it sets the mood of the series spectacularly. The intro has a very good energy and vibe that keeps with the intense themes very well. The intro also depict scenes that show you what the series is about at its core with pictures of Kamui and Fuuma being prisoners of each other. This also serves in creating an interest in the series and that works really well.
The background tunes here were also great and kept with the mood quite well. Some background were very good pieces on their own too and they feel like signature pieces for the series.
The voice acting was excellent for just about the entire cast as everyone depicted their character with grave tones and warped humanity without ever sounding melodramatic, which is to be applauded with these themes.
The story of X is one of the most interesting for either Shounen or Shoujo anime. I really believe that it is one of the reasons it sits so well with fans of either genres. The story is about a battle between the dragons of Heaven (the 7 Seals) and the dragons of Earth (the 7 Angels). At the start we are introduced to Kamui and as he is at the core of the battle, he has to choose with side he will fight on. When he makes his decision, things are really set in motion and the series just becomes more and more interesting.
Themes of dreams, wishes and destinies are explored not only well but atmospherically to create a higher sense of depth.
There is a point in the middle where the pace of the series slows down a little so you understand certain characters a bit more. This slower moment of the series might annoy some viewers but it is necessary to grasp what some cast members are fighting for.
At times, the characterisation is so good in these scenes that they give more depth to the story.
The cast of characters is an immensely interesting one here. They all have very distinct features in their personality that makes them interesting individuals as well as heroes/antiheroes. Subaru and Seisshiru are great examples of that as their aim is not really to comply with what their purpose is but rather recover the balance in their relationship. Other cast members seem to have forgotten themselves in their foretold destinies but take a stand for it when they become affected with the turmoils and love of someone else.
The story is so good that the characters really come forward as strong and well explored as they could be.
The 7 Seals are given more of a chance to shine though which is a bit of a shame since the other group also had interesting characters. There is a silver lining as what you get to see of the 7 Angels is interesting enough to get you to care about them and be moved when they do what they need to as well.
I have really enjoyed this piece and think it is a vast improvement on the X movie. It just goes to show that the X movie was actually just a preview for this great series. Its depictions of powerful themes like separation, loneliness, self-worth, determination, love and acceptance are never over played for emphasis and it never talks down to the viewer, making it one of the most heartfelt animes I have seen. A high recommendation.
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