This anime could have been a lot better than it is if it didn’t feel like a videogame. Although the core idea is very interesting, it is eventually leveled under clichés, fan catering and bad plot twists.
The production values are nothing amazing in overall. There are lots of reused clips and bad CGI all over the place and character figures look generic. The battles scenes are also quite basic despite being numerous and grand scaled. To the most part you just see champions wasting mooks with a few super attacks and the duels lack exciting choreography. Voice acting is ok, albeit too obnoxious for some moe / sexy girls that simply NEED to sound like retards. The BGM is also nice with its blend of folklore and pop, when there are no memorable tunes in it.
The story is about a masked man with amnesia waking up in a place where he is the only one who doesn’t have animal ears. He is found by some pretty girls and after he recovers, he decides to help the local population to get rid of its cruel tyrant. The story does not stop there as for every evil ruler he stops, another one takes his place as more and more nations enter this seemingly small rebellion. Towards the end the entire world is at war and there is a sort of Apocalypse at large as well.
While the war escalates in an interesting way and the parties involve grow in numbers, the whole deal remains pretty basic to the most part. For example, the new nations entering the war always appear out of nowhere, without any proper foreshadowing that they were there before. As if they were locked areas and by defeating a boss they unlock for interaction or something. I had no idea how many of them were there and yet at every boss fight more would appear. Also, the nations in this anime are defined not by skin but by… ears. Some sort of fetish I guess as there are lots of different types of animal eared people here.
In reality, this anime is indeed based on a game. An erotic one. This is why the protagonist has no face and keeps being surrounded by pretty chicks of all stereotypes, all the time. But I guess it is ok since to the most part the war backdrop prevents their interaction from being a complete harem. There are many males as well, and they are there to provide other aspects to the story. Yet at no point is this anime good in war tactics or amazing character immersion; it just offers hints of something extra but never enough to deem it great. The main cast is given a decent immersion yet there are simply SO MANY people in this show that remain nothing but short lived adversaries and platonic (in anime only) lovers. I can’t say they are amazing but they are sure given more immersion than most casts out there.
Its worst aspect is the plot twists, which are aiming to WHOA us yet to the most part are laughable. It usually has to do with mass murder or destruction or sudden character appearances. Not to mention that the hero has amnesia TM and that the revelation of whom he is in the end is just facepalming. They tried to go for something amazing but it felt ridiculous. Also, despite the setting being medieval fantasy, it eventually turns to sci-fi just for the heck of it.
This anime ranks in the better medieval fantasy one out there (since most are horrible to begin with) yet it is not masterpiece level. Its plot is messy, many things are not explained properly and the ending just feels stupid. It can be enjoyable if your expectations are not too high and you are still new in the genre. Otherwise, The 12 Kingdoms blow this one out of the waters.
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