NOTICE: This review covers the whole franchise; not just the first season. No need to make different reviews for the exact same show.
- Animated by Production I.G. which means it will have a good budget but the characters will behave like robots, or in this case like string puppets.
- Directed by Mizushima Tsutome, who has some fame for his fondness of making comedies with cute chibi girls who act all erotic and/or violent (Hare+Guu, Dokuro-chan, Punie-chan, Squid Girl). Other than that, he is not good in anything else he was part of (especially with the crap he did in Blood-C and Another) and since this show is not about chibi girls it is not one of his better works.
- Based on the manga by CLAMP, one of the most famous team of mangaka in the 90’s. Most of their numerous works have been adapted to anime and most of them were a hit in airing shares and sales. They have a style that combines the cute with the dark and know how to create spicy premises and hot romantic pairings. Sadly their stories are good only as far as premises go; their plots always fall apart under the lack of proper handling of their themes. You end up reading or watching just for the kinky situations and give up on the story. A note must be said here that they primarily make shoujo shows with lots of action and romance that ends up appealing to both genders. But since the shoujo is their base template, it is expected to focus almost entirely on character chemistry and visual aesthetics than… well, anything else.
It is an almost entirely episodic show about Watanuki, a high school boy with a curse, working for Yuuko, an eccentric witch, in order to remove it and together dealing with supernatural cases concerning ghosts and demons. There is very little to write about the story; you can read the description of the premise and this is as far as the whole thing goes. There are some episodes in the second season that offer development to the main characters but it is still close to zero. And there is an OVA that exists purely to have a cross over with Tsubasa Chronicles, another CLAMP title that was nothing but a parade of cameos.
Because of the episodic nature there is very little character development throughout the seasons. Watanuki is just a typical hyperactive high school boy, and Yuuko is just an enchanting witch that loves to change clothes every episode. Just like in all CLAMP works, you mostly like them for their simple-minded personality and eccentric clothes. You tolerate everything just to see the sexual tension of Watanuki building up slowly next to the super hot Yuuki and you just wait for some spicy romance to occur… slow as always. There are some other interesting secondary characters from time to time but the show barely tries to offer backdrop stories for most of them, so they too have close to nothing as far as fleshing out goes.
The artwork is very good as far as cinematics, clothes, and decorations goes. There is a lot of detail given to make everything dark and plethoric as means to attract your attention. It is average to bad when it comes to animation, backgrounds, or character designs, since there is little actual motion, the sceneries are simplistic, and the characters look damn skinny and simplistically drawn.
There is nothing overall great regarding the music part. The first opening is somewhat good and there are some famous and professional voice actors in the cast but in all there is nothing I found above average or memorable. Most dialogues are dull, most BGM is passable.
Having close to no on-going plot and mostly style than substance is of course nothing new in the genre but it definitely looks less interesting than its cousin shows.
- Mushishi is far better in atmosphere and philosophy.
- Mononoke is far better in aesthetics and fleshing out the characters.
- Bakemonogatari is far better in cinematics and fan service.
- Natsume Yuujinchou is just… cuter with those cats.
So in all, it is a boring and passable anime.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 0/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 0/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 1/4