Imagine a beautiful summer day with a pleasant breeze, it's peaceful and even though you feel a hint of boredom you can bring yourself from the soft grass. Now add in some mysterious creatures floating around you and even though you you have no idea what they are you aren't frightened by their presence, quite the contrary, your intrigued. If where able to imagine this then you have a small understanding of what watching Zettai Shonen is like. This anime's unique deliverance was a breathe of cool air in a clustered and humid room. This is certainly an amine that is highly underrated.
Now the anime has two separate yet whole parts, and on top of that the for this particular anime to stay interesting it must always keep you guessing. So what I'm trying to say is bear with me as I attempt to describe this anime without spoiling it or leaving anything out.
There is a young boy by the name of Aizawa Ayumu who has come to the small rural town of Tana for the summer. A typical rural town everyone knows one another and things stay relatively quite, However this summer is special. Mulling around Tana Aizawa finds a young boy by the name of Wakkun as well as strange orange balls of light. Aizawa must now wade through Tana folklore as well as his own hazy past to understand the connection between Wakkun, the balls of light and himself.
This is episode 1-12 of Zettai Shonen or the summer arc. The story itself is truly unique and keeps you guessing episode to episode. While the Anime is quite slow it is in no means dull or frustrating. This tale is told flawlessly, it always seems that when one question is answered another persists and has enough of a hook to grab your attention. The truth unfolds subtlety bit by bit there are no giant revelations so every second of the show feels worthwhile. This also insures the plot is always moving and never feels stagnant. Add to that the surreal, peaceful, calming and mysterious vive that I thought only Mushi-shi could pull off and this plot nears perfection.
After his summer in Tana Aizawa returns to his home in Yokohama. Here the Story shifts to focus on a Young girls by the name of Kisa Tanigawa. It appearrs to be 2 years after Aizawa's summer and Yokohama has been abound with peculiar activity and rumors have been going around about blue lights that bring fortune. One day Kisa finds one of these blue lights and blue lights and brings it home with her. Coincidentally her friends see these blue lights within the same timeframe. As strange events intensify and people awareness of these strange glowing creatures grows, Kisa and her friends try to better understand the situation. While at the same time try to understand themselves and each other.
This is episode 13-26 or the winter arc. Some of the Characters from the previous arc resurface including Aizawa but with smaller roles. The Winter arc more focuses on the drama between the tense friendships of kisa and her friends. There where times during the winter arc that reminded me of School days with how much unreasonable hatred once friends had for one another. That aside most of the anime was still beautifully portrayed, there is still a large element of mystery especially with the arrival of the blue lights. The plot continues effortlessly where it left on in Tana and gives you hints as to things that have happened over the past two years. As well the Mystery behind the orange and blue lights comes to a satisfying conclusion.
While a paranormal slice of life anime is not unheard of it is by all means not at the for front of genres. This makes the story unique and engaging however that would be nothing if told poorly. thankfully Zettai Shonen delivers with a well written masterpiece. I loved how this anime engaged me as though it challenged me saying " come on just try and guess how this ends ". As a veteran of the of the anime world I know a good anime is one that you never guess right.
The animation in this anime is nothing less than spectacular. The color is vivid and while bright not cartoonishly so. Every scene looks like it was painstakingly hand drawn for hours and the lighting defines the mysterious and calming feel of the anime. The character designs are unique but in no way are they overly flashy. There are some economizations apparent within the anime but then every rose has it's thorns. This is easily one of the most visually appealing animes that I have ever seen and probably ever will see.
Without mood a production is a car with no engine and Music creates mood. Thankfully Zettai Shonen pulls out the big guns and head shots you with them. By this I mean that the music is wonderfully original and delightfully soothing. It further emphasizes the peaceful mystic throughout the series. From surreal carols to peaceful orchestras it never fails to set just the right tone. However music isn't played constantly and thats where the background sound comes in to fill the void which it does with a symphony of street noises and summer crickets. The voice acting was also superb every characters voice matched and accentuated there personalities. On top of that every one of them wasn't annoying and that my friends boggled my mind.
The Characters within this are deep and engaging, to the point of overcoming the revulsion of their obvious personal faults. Theirs Aizawa a emotionally distant, loner with an openly objective mind. Kisa an anti-social, and selfish goth, Miku a supportive and strong small town girl. Shione desperately co-dependent rich girl, Rieko the well to do busy bodied class rep type. Shigeki a shogi playing, isolated intellectual, Ryūsuke a a supportive but obsessive hic. Masaki a shy overly apologetic gamer and Akira a busy bodied, stubborn and energetic reporter. The relationships that the characters form with one another is gripping without distracting you from the main story-line. From Aizawa and Miku's subtle and gradual progression from friends to something more to the Shigeki likes Kisa, Rieko likes Shigeki, Masaki likes Rieko. Which drives the characters actions throughout the winter arc. The character development in this series is also quite prominent. The characters obviousy mature in their own ways and the bonds between them either strengthen or weaken for better or worse. This anime certainly conveys the real life actions and development of humans perfectly with a little optimism.
The series although slow catches your attention and never lets go. Not only does it keep your attention but it conveys complex ideologies and integrates them effortlessly into the anime. The simple day life feel of the anime complements the paranormal and theological aspects that play throughout. The drama although apparent enough to be engaging plays second fiddle to the main mystery, at least most of the time. Even the way the story is played out, though the conversations between characters is unique and refreshing ( I was getting tired of inner monologues and flash backs ). On top of this all symbolism and foreshadowing entertains a guess as to future events without outright spoiling the plot. This was one of the most enjoyable animes I have ever seen. Not once did it ever rely on objective material or shameless cliches, only well written story-line. I highly recommend this unless you need constant actions, boobs, or stupidity within your anime. I for one am glad that I found such a gem.