In Amberground, the land of eternal twilight, Letter Bees and their dingos – creatures trained to protect them – deliver mail to the general populace. However, unlike normal mail carriers, their job is perilous as they must traverse the country while fighting off the giant armored insects known as Gaichuu. One day, a Letter Bee named Gauche collects his latest delivery: a young boy named Lag Seeing, whose mother was taken under mysterious circumstances to the capital of Akatsuki. As the pair travels together, they strike up a friendship, but when they finally reach their destination Lag and Gauche part ways. Now, several years later, Lag is about to take the exam to become a Letter Bee himself so that he can meet with Gauche again and find out what really happened to his mother all those years ago. But before any of that, he must find himself a dingo...
Letter and Letter Bee
Crybaby Boy, Letter Girl
The Letter to Jiggy Pepper
Yuusari Central Nocturne Hood #13 Head Post Office Bee-Hive
Seeing Sylvette Suede
The Crybaby Boy's Vow
Under the Light
Letter of Lies
Red and Green Ribbon
StoryAbout a year ago, Sothis approached me and helpfully pointed the way to two Shounen Jump Anime Tour specials from 2008 in the hopes of persuading me to write up their entries. The first was One Piece: Romance Dawn Story, which I jumped on like a horny teenager; the second was Letter Bee: Light and Blue Night Fantasy. I almost immediately fell in love with the latter, so when I heard that it was to get a TV series, I couldn’t wait for the 2009 fall season to begin. Set in Amberground – a land of eternal night – Letter Bee follows the tale of a young boy named Lag Seeing. After his mother was taken from him at a young age, Lag meets a man named Gauche Suede – a Letter Bee charged with the job of ‘delivering’ the white-haired lad to his Aunt. The pair strikes up a friendship, and as they part ways Lag vows to become a Bee himself. Skipping forward a few years and our adolescent protagonist is about to travel to his examination. After successfully making it to the Beehive he receives a great shock upon learning that not only is Gauche no longer working there, but he also has gone missing without a trace. Now alongside his Dingo (partner), Niche, and his new friends and colleagues, Lag is determined to become a great Letter Bee and find Gauche. The series starts out strong by following Lag on his initial journey from meeting Gauche as a young boy to his entry into the Beehive. These opening episodes immediately grab attention by thrusting the viewer into the middle of a plot where Lag’s mother has been spirited away to the capital by mysterious men. Letter Bee then proceeds to mix slower paced sections of development in the relationships between Lag, Niche, and Gauche with moments of engaging action featuring the Gaichuu (armoured bugs). Sadly, around episode eleven Letter Bee switches from an interesting plot-based fantasy and descends into a rather repetitive, and at times dull, episodic slice of life. While I can understand that it ingratiates the viewer into the life of a Bee, this segment of the show seems misplaced. Normally the day-to-day aspect of a series happens towards the beginning in order to set the scene while allowing for the more solid narrative to kick in later and seize the viewer’s attention. Unfortunately by reversing this, Letter Bee’s mid-section can feel arduous at times – also, those who have previously seen Light and Blue Night Fantasy will most likely experience frustration at episode seventeen, which is simply a re-hash of the half hour special. Finally eleven and a half installments later, the series returns to its storyline only for the series to end JUST as it reaches the really interesting part. While this ensures that I will spend the next six months chomping at the bit in anticipation of season two, having just waded through what are essentially a dozen filler episodes, I can’t help but feel a certain twinge of disappointment. This irritating pacing is such a shame because Letter Bee boasts a strong narrative, particularly since Amberground itself provides an impressive backdrop. A land of eternal darkness illuminated by an artificial sun placed above the capital is appealing enough, but adding in the country’s strict class system, makes it even more engaging. The capital remains reserved purely for the elite while the farthest reaches of the country survive in complete destitution – and with stringent rules controlling passage between the land’s provinces each class stays segregated and unable to escape their circumstances. But that isn’t all, as this alien world has one more trick up its sleeve in the form of Gaichuu – massive metallic bugs that feed off of human heart and emotion. These armoured arthropods pose an ever-present danger to both Letter Bees and civilians alike and can only be slain by shooting fragments of one’s own heart into the cracks in their shells. Throwing the mystery of Gauche’s disappearance and Lag’s crusade to uncover what happened to his mother into this world and you have a winning combination. Sadly the series has neither realised nor made the best use of this potential.AnimationDear Studio Pierrot, thank you for restoring my faith in your ability to actually create a good-looking series. Who’d have thought that the company, which brings us a weekly dose of sub-par animation in the form of Bleach, could actually pull out all the stops and provide such stunning visuals as the likes of Letter Bee? Boasting luscious colours consisting of varying shades of dusky Persian blues through to crushing amethysts, Amberground’s perpetual state of night retains a glorious beauty. During ‘memory’ sequences, the vibrancy of the cobalts and violets make way for a more muted and nostalgic sepia pigmentation that is equally as gorgeous as the show’s normal hues. All the series’ vistas have a softer, almost hazy quality that, when coupled with falling memory fragments, successfully relay the dreamlike nature of the show. Movement remains smooth throughout, particularly when it comes to the Gaichuu, though these armoured bugs do give rise to my only gripe when it comes to Letter Bee’s visuals. Studio Pierrot opts to use computer graphics for the giant metallic insects. While the animation is technically very impressive with exceptional motion and effective colouring, shading and texturing, this polished CG feels out of place in the otherwise subtle landscapes.SoundHaving provided Lag’s voice for twenty-five episodes (and a special), Miyuki Sawashiro has officially nailed the ability to supply a varied array of sniffling, simpering, crying noises. In all seriousness though, Sawashiro manages to successfully convey the fear, determination and sensitive emotion of the young bee. The rest of the voice cast also performs well, particularly Naomi Nagasawa who voices Steak. You may think I’m joking, but she manages to inject his exceptionally limited vocabulary of ‘Nee’ and ‘Neeeeeeeee’ with plenty of life so that each change in inflection allows the furry foodstuff to communicate with the audience in a strangely effective way.CharactersTo use ThePatches highly appropriate and accurate terminology, Lag’s entire personality needs but two words to describe it: ‘Human Faucet’. Seriously, the guy never stops crying! Sure, he has some other personality traits – determination, compassion, loyalty, blah blah blah – but let’s put it this way, you can incorporate a drinking game into this series and have a shot every time Lag wells up and starts snivelling like a little girl – however, I wouldn’t advise it, as you’d end up in casualty with alcohol poisoning. As with many shows, the protagonist is nowhere near the most interesting personality; in the case of Letter Bee, Lag’s two companions, Niche and Steak far outshine the blubbing crybaby. Niche’s animalistic natures make her far more intriguing as a character. Without anyone to tell her otherwise Niche will go too far in her attempts to protect Lag and would spend her life “running free” without underwear. Her lack of human interaction and comprehension leads Niche to see the world as black and white, and only her ‘master’, Lag, can enlighten her to all the variations of grey that life has to offer. This childlike naivety endears her to the audience and even provides the opportunity for humour to present itself, particularly when it comes to her lack of pants and the relationship with her live bait, Steak. Letter Bee’s supporting cast also impresses as the series delves into the histories and motivations behind a selection of Lag’s companions. Although in the case of Zazie, the anime does tend to reiterate his back-story on more than one occasion – just in case we miss it the first time – which does annoy a little. Yes, yes, we know that’s why Zazie is so angry, now tell us a bit more about Connor instead… No? Bugger.OverallWith some of the most sumptuous visuals ever to sweep their way across my monitor, and a compelling plot – well, when it’s on track that is – Letter Bee is well worth a watch. Despite the flaws in its story, I still eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Fall 2010 when series two is due to hit our screens, and with any luck it will actually recognise how strong the narrative is and make the most of it.
Storyline This series follow the young boy named Lag Seeing and his pursuit on becoming a letter bee. I actually liked the original idea where he wanted to be a letter bee, because he needed to gain access to the capital city, where only elite and where his mother was taken to. Series start out good, him being only 8 years old and a letter bee doing a delivery, where he is the letter. Lag starts to look up to the letter bee and aspires to become just like him. The story continues 5 years later and that's pretty much when the storyline started to get messy. The main character gets so easily distracted that it's pretty much painful to watch. First he goes traveling to another city in order to take part on the exam, but before going on the train, he notices stray letter and decides to deliver it, because letter bees can't for some reason (apparently the address wasn't clear enough). After he's done that, he regrets it and goes back and then goes to the other city, his pass gets stolen and so on. It just goes on forever. And after finally becoming letter bee, like he wanted to, he already had forgotten his mother and instead wanted to find tha original letter bee that delivered him when he was 8. Also it's extremely annoying that the whole plot is about him chasing someone's shadow and not actually focusing on the friends he's got at hand. Otherwise. I liked the concept of the world they are living in. It's interesting, but that too has way too many plotholes that I would like to be filled. Animation I'd like to give some praise to the art. It's a bit old today, but it's still enjoyable. Actually the only reason why I'm still watching this. The desings of characters are stylish and easy to imagine as cosplays. Backgrounds are detailed and even though the world is pretty repetitive I didn't see same frames used too many times in out of places. It's a bit sad they decided to add 3D animated monsters, instead just 2D, since they seem so out of place. They really did best they could n order to make them fit, but it would've been better just to use that effort in making them 2D. They don't really use the same monster that many times so making 3D models of them isn't that handy at all. Sound First of all, when I heard the opening for the first time I instantly thought "did I accidentally open Sims" since the opening sounded like it came straight from the sims loading screen. They just added some lyrics to it. Also I really hate the voice they decided to give the main character. It doesn't fit at all and it makes him sound like a girl. The voice actor isn't bad, but that matching is. There are some soundeffects too, that are very old and clishé but not so bad. Soundwise they did some bad choises, but overall is pretty good. Music choises are well done and they create mood very well. I really wish that was enough. Characters ...Well, I'm just going to clear this out. I absolutely hate the main character. I do think the name Lag Seeing fits him. Lag, as in being so painfully slow you just want to beat your computer on the wall. Seeing, as in seeing every sinle little rock on the ground and thinking it must have some purpose. "He cannot be bad, you just don't get it." Is basically what he tells to every single person who disagrees with him. He is a child being 13, but for a main character he is way too childish and naiive. It's unbelievable how he actually makes others believe in his childlike beliefs. the most annoying thing about him though, is all the crying. There hasn't been single episode where he doesn't cry. Everything seems to shock him or surprise him and he cries. He cries even when he's a little bit happy. He is extremely weak too and it's almost unfair how easily he gets everything he wants. He has absolutely no talent whatsoever and everything that actually helps, is done by his friends who blindly follow him. Speking of which. He is accompanied two another characters. The other one is pet like and insanely useless. I guess it was meant for comedic purposes only, but a minimonster eating someones head isn't really that funny and that's basically all he does. Personally I think the other friend is much funnier. Niche, that is a interesting character and has interesting backstory. She is basically a living weapon and people talk about her as a dragon. Not much resemblance though. It's fun how she has absolutely no manners and no idea how basic humans work. Altough after being with Lag for a while, she bacomes less interesting as she obsesses over Lag and does everything she is told. She starts to act like a baby and is even more childish than Lag. It seems like her history won't even be shown anymore so it's just a huge disappointment. I should also mention that the guy Lag looks up to, doesn't seem all that great. After all he left his only family, crippled little sister to live alone. It was for a good cause, but again someone is just following a shodow, instead of just focusing on the moment at hand. These characters were good examples of what all the other can be. I feel like the less effort they put on to characters, the better they are. Character I liked the most, was Lags letter bee friend Connor, who is a food addict and has no interest in drama whatsoever. Overall It's really hard to focus on watching this, since the series never seems to focus on the moment. It's filled with flashbacks and intentions, but there seems to be no moment at all. There mey be some short moments, but they end in less than 5 seconds. Also everyone seems to be talking in references that make no sense sometimes. It wasn't really clear to me when the talked about "putting part of your heart into bullets" because at first I thought they meant literal heart and that's why they get tired when firing them. But then I started thinking they meant "heart" as in "spirit" but then it would make no sense for them to get so tired and need rest. So I ended up with "heart" being their life energy, but I'm still not so sure. In the end, the series lacks logic and clarity. It could've been good, but the main character makes it impossible for me to watch it any further.
I just finished the anime and I must say, I cried at least 6 times when I watched this. Im a binger so I watched all 50 episodes in the past two days. When I binge, I feel as if I am able to connect with the charachters and stories more but this one did not need binging to develop that connection. It was so sad and hard to watch, even as I write this review now, I wish to cry! The constant loss and pain that the charachters felt truly responates through your heart and entire being. In the end, *spoiler alert* I felt as if Noir left, leaving behind the last bit of his former self with Lag. No matter though, that memory that he has with Lag's mother is enough to convince me that somewhere, deep inside hi, there is a little bit of Gauch left and that is enough for me. In this anime, it proves that you do not need memories to have a lifelong connection.
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