- This review contains spoilers. If you haven't seen this anime, read with caution. The Story section DOES indeed contain major spoilers. The rest contains phrases or recollections that might be considered spoilers -
Chaos;Head was an anime I was really looking forward too since I had read it's synopsis. As soon as I began watching the series, I was instantly hooked and couldn't be stopped from finishing it. This is one of the few animes that I've watched all in one day. This was one of those animes that always ended each of it's episodes with a major cliffhanger, which would horribly irritate me if I didn't find out what happened next as soon as possible, which is probably what created the drive to keep watching it non-stop. Now, to business.
Some of the fine details that were put into the show are truly a great thing to behold. I can remember a scene where the main character, Takumi, is in a park with the character Yua and you can see Takumi leaning against a railing that separates him from a river. The art and detail put into making this scene bought out the true artistic ability of the animators. Some more of the great animation can be shown through their precise creation of figurines that Takumi owns; by no means did they have to be as detailed as they were to look acceptable for the show, but the animators went to the length of making them posses some realistic traits from all the fine details. Some other examples would be Ayase's gothic styled dress, showing Takumi's lack of sleep from facial features and the looks of the Di-Swords. Overall, the animation was great and easy on the eyes.
The opening theme song was somewhat typical and boring. It was like hearing a new song every time watching a new episode since it didn't hold any kind of significant sound that was enjoyable. While on the topic of songs, the ending theme ("Super Special" I think it's called) was very bad. The opening line hit me like nails on a chalkboard. The themes aside, most of the female characters have the typical, unrealistic voices. My primary complaint on the voices is the voice belonging to Ayase. She's by far too monotone. No matter her emotion, her voice expressions are exactly the same tones every time; which would seem a tad off since she's supposed to be the vocalist of a band that's getting famous (reference to the story). Shogun's voice doesn't match the state of his body. His body appears all worn and old, but his voice is that of a chipper young boy in his teens. It's a bothersome thing to me and I'm sure other people would/will feel the same.
The only character of Chaos;Head that I feel has originality in their characteristics is the main character, Takumi. Takumi is basically a hikikomori, he shuts himself off of the world as much as possible so he can be alone with his anime and computer games. He has delusions of an anime character he loves that he refers to as his "wife" and can not interact socially in the slightest without wishing he were in a "two-dimensional" world versus the "three-dimensional" reality. His character slowly changes over time, typically because other people have forced him into interacting with them, and he eventually comes to terms with who he is and his place in the real world.
Every other character in this anime are the typical anime clichés.
This story is highly original, so I feel. Chaos;Head, overall, deals with how the senses are based off of electrical signals and how people can manipulate these electrical signals to force them to have a delusion, and how there are people (referred to as "Gigalomaniacs") are able to bend these delusions into reality.
It starts off with our beloved Takumi on one of his online games, when all of a sudden, someone under the name of "Shogun" sends Takumi picture links form the internet. When Takumi views these images he is shocked to find that they are of a brutal murder. The next day, Takumi ends up stumbling into the very murder scene as it was happening (the images being on the 28th of the month, but the actual murder on the 29th). At first, what seems as a wonderful supernatural murder mystery, it actually gets twisted into an evil corporation trying to manipulate the ability of Gigalomaniacs (the people who are able to bring their delusions into reality) to reach a God-like state. As overly clichéd as that may sound, it actually fit into place quite well.
Where the story lacked was proper explanations and that everything moved far too fast. At one point, a detective in the show starts explaining how gravity starts to mesh with biorhythms, and from which can alter your personality. This theory is so poorly explained that it might be hard for people who don't have past knowledge of these theories (in real life, that is) to be able to properly understand. Another example would be at the end where the group of girls decided to go to the river that's under the city to help them in the final victory. It was just randomly explained and never previously mentioned in the show, like, "Oh hey, ya' know, we can just go to that underground river to use." There's no back story to this river that I can recall. A lot of points where a great "realization" or plot twist takes place aren't fully explained or all the details seemed rushed. If they took everything a tad bit slower and tacked on an episode or two, they may have been able to create such a great story that'd flow wonderfully.
In conclusion, Chaos;Head has a wonderful idea of a premise and plot, but poorly delivers it. A lot of the characters are complete run-of-the-mill clichés (both through characteristics, voices and even through how they're animated). Chaos;Head is a great idea and I wish that the creators took more time to work with it. Because of this, I have to give Chaos;Head a 6.5/10.