I looked at reviews and watched a clip online before buying. The reviews were either glowing with no gripes (which isn't the best indicator of real quality), or the gripes that were voiced had to do with the storyline being borrowed from X-Men, which I was sure I could get past (or so I thought).
Very fluid, like they had a feature-film budget. The opening scene is mind-blowing. (This was the clip I came across on the net and bought the series with the quickness after viewing.) The fighting choreography is fast-paced and inventive. The powers the characters possess are not original by any means, but the choreography employs them in a graceful and effective way.
While not abundant in variety, the music is powerful and driving. It helps the show reach for epic.
That is all.
It's X-Men. There are kids with special abilities. The mean old authorities have it out for them. The main character owns a secret refuge where they can learn to control their powers and dodge prejudice. The episodes are only six in number, but each is longer than the norm. As a result, the narrative drags to a crawl. The storyline is two-dimensional and for kids. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if this is for children, then why the stellar animation and blood? Blood and gore are abundant, but the adult nature of the action seems out of place for a story that is open and shut, basic.
These characters are pieced together from successful animes and formulas, and delivered unsuccessfully. *SPOILER - BUT NOT REALLY* When a cool bad guy with white hair and an attitude shows up, you know he's going to be part of the good team (Vegeta/Green Ranger syndrome). The good guy (Quan) has a past: He was brutal, but now he's nice and wears a girl's hair band so, okay. He also can't be killed (ingenious) and takes tons of damage hoping the audience feels for him. He'll heal. Who cares? There's a cool girl who cares but doesn't let people get too close. There's a kid with a beanie who pretends everything is lame but has the biggest heart of all. All the other kids with abilities cry "They don't understand me!" while causing a ruckus until Quan shows up to say "We're in this together." Then they stop and smile. The finales are a jumble of fantastic action sequences and floating, nude characters touching fingers in a blinding limbo to attain POWER THAT CAN'T BE BEAT! I've seen it too much.
In summation, this show has some noteworthy battles and beautiful animation, but the storyline demands patience while offering nothing new. I will say that kids haven't seen everything under the sun yet and might enjoy it. Fans of art, choreography, and animation quality are invited to watch it through once to admire some masters at work, but don't stay for the story; it falls victim to repetitive mediocrity fast. It just doesn't hold up well with all the good stuff out there, and that's a shame.
The last couple of years have spawned some anime series that ditched the usual 20-minute
episode format in favor of longer episodes. ‘Break Blade’, ‘Kara no Kyokai’ and
‘Katanagatari’ all released new installments that were (at least) double the
length of a typical anime episode up to and including feature length films.
Upsides to this approach are that the production values tend to be much higher
and that the longer format allows for more deliberate pacing. The downside is
that viewers who follow these series end up waiting a long time between the
release of new installments.
‘Towa no Quon’ (TnQ) is a superhero story as well as Studio Bones’ attempt to hop on the bandwagon. How is it?
Not bad, actually.
It opens with a tense sequence involving a shady organization chasing a young boy. Their
attempt at capture is swiftly interrupted by a strange figure who proceeds to
engage them in a blistering and beautifully animated action sequence. Eventually
said figure manages to escape with the boy, and it’s from then that the story
well and truly starts up.
The rest of the movie is basically what you’d expect from a first installment. It mostly
concerns itself with establishing the major players, the setting and the main
conflict. It’s all handled well. Characters all fall under familiar archetypes
but not annoyingly so and the larger conflict has the potential for cool
developments. Kudos for introducing it all without too much spoon feeding of exposition.
Which is something Bones has often tried to do though it’s lead to incoherent messes like ‘Darker than Black’ and ‘Xamd’. The narrative in this, however, is simple and
straightforward so there’s no fear of getting lost, for now at least.
By far the best thing about TnQ’s first episode is the excellent balance between all its
elements. It manages to introduce all the important things while keeping the
story going. This is further enhanced by the fact that titular character Quon
is already introduced as a skilled fighter from the very beginning. Thus
avoiding typical clichés revolving around a hero who must come to grips with
his powers et cetera (this gets turned into a subplot). On the flipside, it
avoids making Quon so powerful that he can effortlessly defeat any opponent. He
gets considerable injuries in most fights he’s in and he actually needs the
help of his colorful ensemble of sidekicks. This makes it all the easier to
warm up to the characters even though they’re yet to be fleshed out.
The animation is great. Environments are well drawn and most of the characters have
distinctive designs rather than recycled models with slight alterations. But
most of the effort went into creating the wonderful action sequences which,
this being a superhero story and all, are sure to be the main draw of this
series. They’re not just well-animated, however. They also manage to feel
compelling because of the way they’re written. It shuns dry 1-on-1 fights in
favor of dynamic confrontations between groups of powerful characters with all
sorts of abilities which they use in cool ways in order to get the upper hand.
The director deserves props for showing these fights in such a way that they
feel dynamic and hectic without making them chaotic. Once again, the balance is
excellent. It’s no exaggeration to say that the action sequences are some of
the best since ‘Sword of the Stranger’.
The music doesn’t particularly stand out even though it was composed by acclaimed
composer Kenji Kawai. It’s competent but little more.
Judging from the first episode Towa no Quon has the potential to make for a great
action series. The brisk pace, well built up tension and outstanding action
certainly make it very promising. One can rightfully criticize the series for
its liberal use of clichés and lack of depth but those hungry for something
action-packed should seriously consider giving this a try. The jury is still
out on whether or not the rest of the series will be good but this first movie
is still well worth checking out.
A series consisting of 6, 45 minute, movies……isn't that just called a mini-series?
Story - 5/10
Since everything is broken up into separate movies it's going to be pretty tough to rate them, as each only gives a bit of the story.
For an introduction to the series, The Ephemeral Petal was pretty vague. We learned the basic concept of the "Attractors" but we've yet to learn what they really are, how they get their powers or what each individual's powers actually are.
We also know about the group searching for them, CUSTOS, but again outside of the "Attractors" being dangerous, we don't know why or who these secret police really are.
For a basic introduction things were still lacking, but it shows some promise.
Animation - 8/10
First the good, the background scenery is some of the best I've every seen in Anime. They created such vibrant and intricate images for the handful of locations that were featured in the film. They also did an amazing job with the plant life, the scene with the Cherry blossom tree is gorgeous and a true work of art.
As for the character's themselves, when there are closeups they look great. Sure most of the characters are generic looking, but they did a good job creating them. The big problem arises with scenes that are the real meat of an action anime, the action. Whenever they get into a battle scene the characters become terribly drawn and lose all detail. During one of the first scenes a character turns into a nearly faceless being, drawn with two uneven lines instead of the parts you’re supposed to have on your head. Also during some of the medium shots characters lose their proportions, as if they were drawn too tiny and had to be stretched to fit the scene.
Also, while it's not such a big deal, there was a scene with a map of Tokyo in CUSTOS headquarters with Tokyo International Airport labeled as Tokyo International Import. I mean if you expect to take over the world (what else would these guys be doing?) you've got to get your spelling right first.
Sound - 3/10
The music in the first installment was predictable at best. It was the same generic battle music we've heard a hundred times before, and even then it was a very poor attempt at it. The worst part of all was the ending credits, where it sounded as if they gave a composer "Through the Night" from Outlaw Star and just told them to ruin it.
The voices weren't terrible, but again they were nothing special. They didn't try to do anything new, each voice was exactly what you would expect, down to the whining annoyance that is Yuuma, one of our soon to be main characters.
Characters - 4/10
Much like the sound in the series, our characters were extremely dull and predictable.
We learn next to nothing about them, outside of the girl who's story is so common and lazy (Amazing singer, witnesses parent's death, loses voice.) As for the other characters, we learn the powers of some, and are hinted at a friendship/rivalry between two of them, but that's about it.
Overall - 5/10
A poor introduction that really doesn't make you want to come back for more. We can all kind of tell where this series is going, copied off a hit comic/movie franchise, but I have some hope that it veers off on another course. I'll keep watching for the great animation, if nothing else, but they need to start giving me an original and compelling story.
Towa no Quon ( or Towanoquon, depending on the translation you're watching) is a 6 movies franchise produced by Bones Studios. This is the review of the first movie, Towa no Quon : Utakata no Kaben.
As it a movie series, the story in the first opus is vague and a bit unexplained. I believe it could act as an introduction to the series, I guess. Otherways, it looks like an simple science fiction story with ressemblances to Darker than Black. It is way too soon to epict a judgement on the story as it is not developped enough to see the large picture.
Bones did it again on the animation. Fluid, colorful and masterly done. Pure eye candy to watch. Is it me of the character design look like Oreimo? Forget that last line, just my imagination...
A lovely soundtrack made by none other than Kawai Kenji, what to ask more? His music is incredible. The main character, Quon, is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya and he does once again a really good job picturing him with a really sweet voice reflecting his kindness. The cast in general had good voice acting. Did I mention Sawashiro Miyuki AND Okawa Toru are there? It makes me an extremely happy fangirl right now.
Ending section: Remashed of the movie with an irritating song.
As it is only an introduction, he have not seen much in this film. But one thing: I adored the midget main character, Quon. So tiny and so adorable with a good vibe around him. I like his demeanor and the way he stays so calm. I just wish he'll stop hitting us with his ''I want to save everyone.'' cliché.
Overall, I'm hooked for the following movies to see if the series will surpass itself ( I hope). We haven't seen much up to this point and I really want to see those characters shine. Hope the time will respond to us.
Score: A ok start with 3.5/5. There is room for amelioration.
NOTE: Sentai Filmworks licensed the series for a release on DVD/BluRay in 2012. Depending if the series gets better or not, I shall get these ones.
Next! Sailor Moon and my DVD reviews of Soul Eater and Guardian of the Spirit ( Seirei no Moribito).
I’m in love with this series. It may be my secret desire to have a secret power that no one else has that I can use to save the world…but I can’t help it, I love it. Yes it’s kind of silly at times and maybe even perhaps, lame…but in my opinion the rest of the show outweighs the lameness.
Like I previously mentioned, I’m a sucker for the super human powers coming together to save the world. Oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of superheroes though…go figure huh? Anyways, this show has more of a, dare I say, X-men feel to it. Instead of mutants we have Attractors, people with special powers that are awakened at various times in their lives and are controlled by emotions…okay so that sounds lame but it’s really not as touchy feely as it sounds. The main character, Quon, is bound and determined to find all of the Attractors and save them from themselves, as well as the antagonist group, Custos. Custos is made up of some pretty shady guys that use cyborgs to eliminate Attrators. The cyborgs retain some of their human emotions and thoughts from their previous lives but really only live to serve Custos. It’s a pretty simple good vs. evil plot to begin with but the secrets from Quon’s past and the real intentions of Custos begin to show in the later episodes and really add some depth to the story.
Way too cool. It may be that I haven’t seen a lot of good animation lately, or it really could be that this series has fantastic animation…either way, I was blown away. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped the first time I saw Quon fight…and every time after that. I love the animation they use for his fighting style; it’s really obscure yet precise. So far, the other Attractors don’t have a ton of animation to go along with their powers so they haven’t been too impressive, but the cyborgs have a similarly interesting fighting style/animation like Quon.
Nothing way exciting. I wasn’t annoyed which is always good.
Quon could be the only character in the show and that would be just fine with me. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for the badass main character with a troubled past, but still he’s just way too cool. The other Attractors are pretty decent as well, none of them are deal breakers or bring the show down every time they appear on the screen and a couple of them have decent powers that may be pretty sweet in the future. So far, I like the bad guys as much as you can like the bad guys…and maybe a little more. A couple of them seem to be unhappy with their current situation and I could go for a cyborg rebellion of some sort, but honestly I’m just really excited to see where this series is going to go from here with all of the characters. Especially Quon. Definitely Quon.
Pretty high rating I know, but this is also just for the first 45 min episode of 5. It may get better or it may be just awful in the end, who knows? But I’m definitely excited to find out.
Another time, another review.