Elfen Lied meets Tokkou. That pretty much describes this series. It has a lot of splatter, along with some psedo-serious aspects, such as people forced to do things that hurt them. But, like the aformentioned titles, the series is just a chain of shocking scenes, unreasonable bahaviors and convinient events.
ART SECTION: 5/10 [Cute Japanese schoolgirls, covered in blood.]
Visually, the series is fine. Colors and shapes are wonderful; girls in mini skirts and monstrous Ayakashi are lovely. It gets a bit ridiculous if you don’t like the dumb expressions the characters have, or the simple special effects that are used in the fights. The battles also feel “turn based” and without choreography, the monsters are static, and the splatter scenes lack realism. Overall it is quite mediocre once you see it past the pretty colors.
SOUND SECTION: 2/10 [-Me kill you. –Me screw you.]
It didn’t strike a chord, in any way. Forgettable music themes and lukewarm voice acting is all there is to it. What I didn’t like at all is the context of the dialogues. It was completely stupid and shallow, from one-liners of seduction and threats, to endless monologues full of shallow motives.
STORY & CHARACTERS SECTION: 1/10 (spoiler alert!) [-Oh my God, they killed Kenny! –So what? Big deal!]
We have an interesting main idea for a story (monsters empowering humans but destroying them in the process). The usual “kids that level buildings with energy beams, without a penalty by the police or their parents” has gotten very tiresome. Then we see them using their powers, despite knowing that they hurt them. That initially feels stupid but then you see that they are either gotten overboard by the power they possess or are forced to use it for helping somebody else. Very nice.
But then … the nice premise is ruined by the silly presentation. The anime is based on an eroge. That means that the feeling of having “all the females in the story acting like dumb, squeaky voiced bimbos who want to screw the hapless leading male” is strong. Males on the other hand just talk like barbarians and simply want to hurt or kill the protagonist. The game also featured action and gore, so expect somebody’s head or limbs to be thrown across the screen every 5 minutes. This is NOT part of the story. Just shocking events to lure you into watching more.
The story has little sense and the characters behave in quite ridiculous ways. (major spoilers follow) I mean, there is a scene where a villain cuts to pieces dozens of people. The protagonist looks and says “Hey, another Ayakashi user is near.” Get it? Not “Oh my God, he killed my friends!” Then a phycho little girl appears out of thin air and he says “Nah, it can’t be her. She is just a girl.” Very reasonable answer, right? Then the scene changes and he is mysteriously bound with chords in a warehouse. The girl is dressed like a bride and wants to have sex with him. Then another girl (which of course also digs him) is mysteriously freed and summons her Ayakashi to defeat the evil girl. And then the protagonist gets all powerful (a thing he could do anytime he wanted, but didn’t) and saves the little girl because “She is just being used.” Yes, she is just being used and so, all the hundreds of people she has turned into mincemeat are no longer an issue. The girl simply fades into thin air again and the protagonist returns home while caring the other girl on his back, while feeling her legs all over his body… Did any of these make any damn sense to you? It was just 15 minutes of the entire series. You can imagine how it goes from there. Villain women trying to seduce the protagonist instead of simply capturing him and stealing his powers. Characters standing still in plain sight when fighting with Ayakashi that move like the wind and cut people like butter. Totally senseless stuff.
VALUE & ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 [You are one cheap whore Ayakashi.]
Just like Elfen Lied and Tokkou, this series tries to pass for serious by implementing as much splatter and insanity possible. It even tries to play it mysterious by having secret organizations, the amnesia routine and lost old friends in the background. Which of course is like having a naked woman talking about the injustice in the world. Are you going to listen to her or look at her hooters? Thus, it is just a scam or even an insult to one’s intelligence. I didn’t like it and so shouldn’t anyone who has basic logic or a shead of taste.
Just play the damn eroge and skip this entirely.
Elfen Lied and Tokkou, if you don’t care about decent storytelling and characters.
Berserk and Gantz, if you do.
Plot for this one was pretty good along with the concept of the creatures. It was a basic plot though of the big bad wanting to take over the world at some point and be a god. I did like how the big bad barely got his hands dirty and had a good variety of people to do what needed to be done, but then again it is usually that way with that sort of plot, but it was kinda of different in this one.
Animation was pretty good. The only complaint I have about this one is that some creatures had good detail to them and others did not, I would have liked if they stuck to one or the other.
Soundtrack on here was ok. There was really only one theme of music throughout the anime and it was the opening theme music. Even though the opening theme is good, I would have liked to hear something different then that and the ending theme.
Character development was pretty good. The main character interacted with many in this anime and there are some twists there, but you don't know that till the end. I would've liked to see more interaction with the characters that were behind the scenes, because you know about them, then they disappear for almost the entire series.
Overall it was a pretty good anime to watch. I would recommend this one to anyone to at least watch once.
First some items I need to adress. I'm Dutch to expect some spelling errors, if they are to annoying just message me and I'll fix it.
My opinion may vary from others and this is fine. People are different so there is a good chance that I will not like what you love. Deal with it. I'm not telling you that you should hate it too, I'm telling you why I didn't like it.
I'll try to keep swearing to a minimum but fail utterly on occasion. In general it is the more the anime pisses me off the more I swear so watch out for the low scored ones.
Art: Art is pretty awful considering it was made in 2008 but it does what it needs to do and that is to show a visual story.
Sound: No real complaints actually, it's pretty ok. Voice actors are good and I don't remember any music either. This is how I generally prefer my anime.
Characters: The main character is Kusaka. A young highschool boy whos dream of becoming a champion of justice has never come true. While he does want to do the right thing he aften turns to look the other way. He makes some money on the side using some special power that he has but this often lands him into trouble.
Hime is one of his childhood friends and she obviously cares for him. Her mission in live is to keep him in line.
Izumi is his other childhood friend and she died 2 years before.
Rei is a transfer student who seems to follow Kusaka around and protects him.
Kare is a mysterious man who is desperately searching for the Ayakashi called Ryuu for reasons that only he knows. Even his closest associates are left in the dark.
Story. After watching snow come down during a hot summer night, things change for Kasuka and his friends. Unknown to them, they are now infected with an Ayakashi. This parasite infects the host and grands it amazing powers but at a price as the Ayakashi slowly consumes the host. Kusaka is infected by a particularly powerful Ayakashi and is trying hard to figure out what is going on and why so many people are hunting him down. Rei, a mysterious young girl, suddenly appears out of nowhere and starts to help him while a man known only as 'Him' stalks him from the shadows.
Rant. This anime sucked. In terms of visuals I was shocked that it was made in 2008 but I was happy to see no overt sign of CGI. It looks hand drawn and if it is....well done. It was done cheaply but hand drawn is still prefable over most CGI garbage that they put out these days.
Main issue I had is that I really didn't like the main character. He starts out as an asshole and doesn't really improve as the series goes on. Side characters are also annoying and as usual; most problems could easily be solved or avoided by simply talking to each other.
I was kind of disappointed near the end though. Monster design was overall pretty good and each Ayakashi is very unique and easily identifiable. The reason for the uniqueness is the fact that every Ayakashi is fairly unique as well as the host determines partly how it will manifest. So at the end many people are infected with an Ayakashi and you see it burst from its host to go on a rampage. Sadly these Ayakashi all look alike or have such minor variations that it doesn't really matter. I would have liked to see them go all out with this part.
If you can get past the main character then you may like it. I couldn't and didn't.
When anime is made that targets a certain audience it seems to have a mixed reaction; this, of course, if it does reach its intended audience. Ultimately, though, what is the difference between one within the 'shounen' genre and another? People seem to appreciate longer-running series, it seems, which makes sense considering one develops impressions over so many episodes, but they may also simply like remakes/completely adapted series, of which the latter is also sensible, but this seems 'whole' too, despite its short length.
It is, though, typical of this genre... so, what's the difference, yet again, about, say, FMA and this? There are even superficialsimilarities, e.g. when it comes to a similar artificial arm, although not when it comes to the background narrative. It is similar in its conflicts... even the overall narrative, if one takes into account proportionally the fewer episodes... but, clearly, people prefer one much more than they do the other, which I don't quite get...
Perhaps, then, it hasn't reached its intended audience? If one watches this straight from its identically named series about samurai and their horror... one might indeed get a different, possibly inferior impression... and they are different, but then I doubt they were ever intended to parallel each other (although, as the samurai one was made just a year before, I assume many thought it was about to copy it, but no, even the colours, besides the narrative, are entirely distinct).
So... what one can only compare it to, if indeed comparisons are needed, is others of this genre... the ayakashi in the samurai version are slightly more subtle, perhaps congruent with their mythology, and while both have an element of romance, it is approached differently... also, while the ayakashi are handled distinctly in this one too (kind of like chess pieces), in both (as Mononoke explicitly distinguished) they impose a malign influence.
But, effectively, this series is more similar to other shounen than a seinen-type that the samurai tales exhibit... it involves this kind of mindset, where, like in a video game, someone at the end needs to be defeated; although, to be sure, what distinguishes this from FMA, HxH, or even KHR, is that in these the villain isn't entirely so, or at least isn't throughout, but that may be due to the length of the series, where time is spent developing all kinds of characters. Perhaps the latter could be the more simplistic, comedically similar to Ayakashi (although in its twelve episodes it had more drama than comedy, with KHR spending the first fifty or so episodes mired mostly in comedy, then changing to drama, although Lambo was comedy throughout). Of these four, I think HxH turned out to have the most subtle villains, with the Chimera Ant arc turning any shounen narrative inside-out.
Was, though, Ayakashi affective? If compared to, say, Mononoke... well, that would be too steep a hill. Graphically astounding, with a mind-bending narrative... but Ayakashi was never intended to be like that, even with its identical number of episodes. Even Mononoke's prequel, the samurais' ayakashi, had a mostly casual story centred around ghosts, and not until the last arc did it 'evolve' into its sequel. So, I suppose, if this Ayakashi had a proper sequel, it might have had potential like all the other shounen consisting of hundreds of episodes.
As it is, though, it fulfils a certain kind of genre, but doesn't go beyond it as HxH does. Is the drama 'powerful', perhaps? It is kind of comparable to Inuyasha, which is also about yokai, practically equivalent to ayakashi mythologically (although in Inuyasha only one side mostly controls them), but again, that had close to two hundred episodes, and throughout it developed the drama well... but sometimes repeated itself, which is what can happen in such a long-winding narrative. Ayakashi doesn't do that, but still, the drama doesn't contain quite as much pathos... Inuyasha had this existential element to it, this idea that death could be around the corner, and even different kinds of such states, but Ayakashi only played with it momentarily, and not quite as effectively. Also, in Inuyasha hair colour meant something, and while in Ayakashi there are all sorts of colours (Inuyasha being more realistic in this aspect), I didn't get how they related to anything. Perhaps different hues of blue indicate forms of relationships, but there were some that didn't fit any sort of pattern, so I wonder whether they were mostly random.
What I did notice, that seemed to differ from most other anime, is the characters' expressions, where at some points they appear exaggerated (more so than is expected in this medium), and while they still made sense I thought they might have perhaps landed the series a source of unexpected comedy... since normally two serious characters in the middle of talking down a classic villain do not look at each other and smile (or was that a giggle?) - sort of breaks the mood, but then again difference is what is interesting.
So, in the end, it doesn't break many moulds... but, if one is in this kind of mood, and one doesn't compare it with others due to their similarity in names and not genre, it can be entertaining. Not as deep as any of the aforementioned, but could still be considered amusing (this is, by the way, solely about this series specifically and nothing else made in relation).
Ayakashi is a load of garbage that will make you want to delete your memories so you won't be embarassed with how you wasted your time and instead be left with the intriguing proposition that you drank until you blacked out. Don't watch it. Really, just don't. I can't stress it enough. I made the mistake because the first few episodes are promising, and then went through the rest in the hopes that there might be one moment where it stops making me want to cause internal bleeding in my brain. There wasn't one.
Allow me to explain.
Under the definition of ill-executed generic rubbish, you will find the poster for this series. It starts out rather promising, but at a certain point the production team just said "screw this, let's go get some drinks since we ran out of money". What we're left with is more a collection of concept art than actual animation - including choppy animation and just a sliding layer over a background. The soundtrack manages to be both cringeworthy and forgettable. Characters whose development is haphazard at best and mindbogglingly stupid at worst. And the story, dear god is that a trainwreck of cliches and oh god I wish I had never seen it.
You know the thing where they say that if you put a million monkeys in front of a million typewriters and give them a million years, at some point they will write the complete works of Shakespeare? Well, give twenty monkeys five typewriters and a couple of weeks, and you would probably get a better team to adapt the visual novel. I'm not sure the source material was good, but it couldn't have been this bad.
There are plot twists which are rather nice which save this from being an utter failure, and there were some nice concepts. My guess are that all of these come from the visual novel. But just like they don't make Batman movies by copying comic book dialogue word for word, then... oh who am I kidding, the best thing the writing staff could have done was learn the value of the copy and paste functions.
Oh, and the last three episodes were obviously written by a particularly untalented fifth grade special ed class. A bunch of normal fifth graders could have done better. Just putting that out there.
The high point of the series is subpar. The concept art is cool, because hey, magic monsters with scribbly things on them is awesome. But animation is not a collection of still shots, so this feels like something that was produced in the mid-90s. Really, I'm not expecting top-of-the-line stuff here, but in the age where there are computers, I don't want "animation" to be a picture moving over a background. Is that really too much to ask?
In this series, yes.
Now really, I wanted to give it a higher rating because some of the monsters and stuff were rather nice. But I tried giving it four and a half out of ten and just thought "oh who am I kidding?", as the four I gave is obviously too generous and probably because I am rationalizing how I wasted my time with this crap.
The sound for Ayakashi cannot be properly described without the use of four letter expletives. I really don't know who to blame for this. Was it the mediocre voice actors? The bad composers? The guy who decided to reuse crappy melodies over and over? The special effects guy? For a better world, I would recommend all of these guys get shot in the face.
The only redeeming factor in any of these things is that I have heard worse. The bad part about this is that in most of those cases, it was for parody purposes.
The writing is terrible, the dialogue mediocre, and you can just imagine some douchebag going "hey, this character needs more character, let's have her say 'peace' a couple of times, you know, like a, uhh, thing!" and the other guys just went with it because they're tired of him being so loud and talkative since he's been drinking. I cannot say I liked even one character. I actually hated some of them actively. Do you know how hard it is to get me to actually hate a character in an action series? I cheered for Joffrey in Game of Thrones, and I couldn't get myself to like a single character beyond "they're not a terrible copy of other characters that this has obviously ripped off".
There's bad. There's so bad it's good. And then there's Ayakashi. I would write more specific things, but really, you don't want to watch this, I don't want to remember it, and hopefully, I will manage to forget this ever existed. I really wish it was worse, because then it would be funny. Unfortunately, even that isn't going for it.