Animated by Studio Madhouse the king of anime shows. These guys almost always manage to create exceptional show… emphasis on almost. In this particular show they didn’t bother much and it looks bad. Direction is done by Koujina Hiroshi, a man with a most unimpressive roster (Grenadier, Neuro, Rainbow).
Kiba is a show doing everything wrong. Not only it has an unimpressive story that easily reminds you other ones, it also has some of the crappiest directing you can hope NOT to encounter in any show. The first thing that looks bad right away is the fact that it tries to make you feel it’s a fantasy adventure in a magical land. Which isn’t; in fact it is on the same level as Pokemon. Forget all the fancy swords and spells and medieval castles, all the work is done by summoning monsters. And even if you like that sort of thing, you are again pitted with some horrible writing that makes it impossible to enjoy.
In order to prove my point, I will describe to you the storyboard of the second episode in the end of this review*. Don’t consider this a spoiler since it’s still the beginning of the series and it is still the point where the makers were still trying their best to win your first impressions. You can also not bother reading it at all if you consider it unnecessary and you are content with me just saying the writers of this show were 5 year olds.
So for similar reasons, I objectively give an ace to the cast as well. Not only they are generic shounen characters, but the terrible storyboard is making you hate them despite all efforts to appeal as likable to you. Presentation is everything and this is done so badly, there is no hope for them to deserve more.
The sound part is also bad. The dialogues are impossible to tolerate for long as they feel completely cheesy and immature, plus the characters keep repeating things that happened five minutes ago because the scriptwriter forgot what happened. Not only the BGM feels completely irrelevant to what happens half the time, the sound effects during battle are very annoying to the ears. It’s like bubbles popping and plastic toy guns making silly laser sounds. The opening is rather good for being a song full of teen angst that fits the mentality of the protagonist.
The visuals are the best part in this piece of poop show, as they are full of colours and medieval fantasy stuff. The amount of detail is high and the battles are full of cool spirits going BAM BOOM on each other. And I deliberately make it sound so immature, since if you try to see them from a more mature angle, you will definitely yawn at the boring choreography and the childish premise of the whole thing. The way the spirits appear in a bubble in the sky looks plain laughable. Most monster designs are also very unappealing to the eye; the protagonist’s spirit looks like a blind naked guy with freckles.
So what you basically have here is a Pokemon variant done in a medieval world. And don’t expect any awesome mission to go save a princess from a dragon or something, because midway the show turns to a typical fighting tournament with pokemons… err, I mean spirits. And even after that it tries to go all dramatic by bringing in the protagonist’s best friend who are now in a conflict for reasons that not even the scriptwriter knows. And guess what, the series ends in the most terrible way possible and so I warn you not to watch the last ten episodes.
There is no value or enjoyment in this anime. It is a complete waste of time and if you found it even slightly enjoyable, then I advise you to watch Digimon Tamers or Berserk as means to realize your folly. For the same reason DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO ANYONE SCORING THIS HIGHER THAN 6! They don’t know what they heck they are saying.
* So this is how it goes in the second episode:
- The protagonist is taken to a magical land, right where a villain is fighting two other heroes, an old man and a girl. The old man tells the girl to protect the newcomer while he is summoning his spirit. And exactly here you realize how crappy the storyboard is, because for the next 5 minutes the protagonist is trying to evade the attacks of the enemy spirit and the girl is NOWHERE TO BE SEEN when just a few seconds ago she was right next to him. They just forgot about her!
- Not only that but she also doesn’t summon her own spirit to aid in the battle. And it’s not like the summoning takes more than a few seconds to happen.
- Not only that, but then you see how the dragon spirit of the old man defeats the enemy spirit by throwing fire at it. Well why didn’t it do it right away and for five minutes it was just wrestling with it? Chewing time for no reason, are we?
- After that the protagonist runs in the city near by instead of thanking them and is immediately questioned by the guards for why are his clothes so different. Instead of explaining, he starts fighting them before out of nowhere the old man knocks him unconscious and explains to everyone that he is a newcomer.
- In the meantime, a thief kills a soldier in the forest in order to steal his spirit.
- After that the protagonist is taken to the old man’s house where they explain this is a different world. They also give him a fancy sword to protect himself if something happens. So what is the first thing he does? He runs in the street where the soldiers are AGAIN asking him why his clothes are different and he AGAIN starts fighting them instead of explaining he is a newcomer now that he knows what happened. They completely forgot what took place a few minutes before and repeated the exact same scene!
- Not only that but the girl comes in and instead of stopping the fight with a few words, she summons her spirit to kill the very protectors of her city INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING THEM HE IS A NEWCOMER! What the hell girl, your tutor ended the battle civilized and you repay his kindness with this brutality?
- They run towards a bridge which is supposed to be the borders of the kingdom. At this point you have no idea why they both want to escape since the guys back in the kingdom were really nice and civilized and were just doing their job asking if the protagonist had shady business in their homeland. But no, they prefer to run in the surrounding areas, which are full of criminals and monsters. They don’t manage to cross it because the champion of the city teleports in front of them and arrests them. The thief is watching all that behind a tree.
- They are both taken to a prison where the old man arrives to tell the protagonist that the charges against him will soon be dropped because he is a newcomer. The protagonist can’t wait and demands to be freed right away since “he didn’t do anything wrong”. Yeah, nothing wrong other than starting a fight TWICE for no reason and killing the city protectors.
- So the old man orders for the cell to be opened and even gives him a spirit of his own despite being nothing but a troublemaker he hardly knows. What do you think the first thing the protagonist does afterwards is? He runs to the cell where the girl is and smashes the bars in the window for her to escape, a thing that was completely unnecessary since their charges would be dropped in a few hours anyway. And instead, they AGAIN cause havoc in the prison and escape with the girl’s flying spirit.
- They are AGAIN going to the bridge and for some reason decide to cross it on foot instead of just flying over it with the spirit, despite well knowing the champion will AGAIN just appear to stop them. Well this doesn’t happen because for no reason the champion is nowhere to be seen. Instead, they are ambushed by the thief, who wants to kill them and take their spirits. The thing is, he has captured the girl and yet DOESN’T kill her, despite not showing the slightest remorse and having killed the soldier before in a second. How consistent!
- Furthermore, the protagonist is attacked by the enemy spirit and is about to be killed, when his own spirit appears on it own to save him. This is against the summoning rules, since a summoner must first touch his hands and pull out a pokeball… err, I mean a summoning orb, and then throw it towards the enemy. But no, instead we get this ridiculous plot armour.
- His spirit easily kills the other spirits and even the thief, a thing that seems impossible since he was using the girl as a human shield and was even hiding behind his spirit. Yet with a single shot, he kills all three of them. Did I mention his spirit is blind?
- All that are observed by other guys hiding behind some trees. AGAIN!
And that was just the second episode, where the story was still at its best. You can now try to imagine how crappier it becomes later on.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 4/10
Voice Acting 1/3 (stupid)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 1/3 (crappy)
STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (horrible)
Complexity 0/2 (none)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 0/2 (retarded)
Personality 1/2 (typical)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (messy)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch this crap)
Memorability 1/4 (just a lame Digimon clone)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 1/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (feels generic)
Characters 0/4 (they are retarded)