Yamibo: Darkness, The Hat and the Travelers of the Books

Alt title: Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

TV (13 eps)
Fall 2003
3.026 out of 5 from 1,773 votes
Rank #5,828

Hatsumi and Hazuki are two best friends who share a bond like sisters, and perhaps something more. With newly found (and forbidden by nature) feelings of romance developing for Hatsumi, Hazuki finds her world becoming more and more disarrayed. She finally works up the nerve to confess her love shortly before Hatsuki's 16th birthday, but suddenly, Hatsuki disappears in a green light, leaving no trace. Now, with the help of the mysterious Lilith and a feathered friend, Hazumi sets out on a journey through a plethora of worlds to find her love and bring her back safely.

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StoryThis is another one of those "spawned from H games" series. It was originally a H game released by ROOT in 2002. The TV series differs quite a bit from the game though, and while the ecchiness definitely is there, it's handled nicely and does not become annoying or overwhelming. Do not expect any H or yuri-action worth mentioning in this series. There are things that the viewer should know when watching this series, as they basically throw you into a story without giving any background information. Luckily some people decided to write up a small page which explained the foundation of YamiBou. They have borrowed some elements from religion to create this foundation. This is a quick and basic explaination: In the beginning Adam and Lilith created various worlds and then Eve helped populating these worlds with humans. Then Gods came and started to wage battles against each other. Fearing that all worlds would be destroyed Adam created "The Great Library" where each book would represent a single world. A being called "Yami" was born to protect and manage whis library. The story itself is okay. During the first episode we are thrown into a completely different world with trains, spies, russian military and similar things. Lilith, as well as her little yellow, fatty bird is also present here but nothing is explained and things might appear quite jumbled. Lilith meets Hazumi and decides to help her out and each episode basically features a new world where they look for Hatsumi, who isn't quite what she first appeared to be. At times the plot becomes confusing and not much happens -- it stalls. I didn't find that particulary problematic myself, as I thought these side stories were quite interesting nonetheless. AnimationBased on H graphics, nothing less than very good was expected. The character designs are very well done, as are the sceneries. The colors were well balanced, not too dark as with old "tech" animes and not too sugary as in dating-sim games. The character design is, however, that of a Dating-sim game. We've got the big eyes, small noses, small mouths and pufffy hair styles. It's not a style which I usually like but I actually found myself coming to like some of the designs. SoundOkay music. It's mostly synthesizer based, but the sound quality is quite good on the various FX used. The background music fit the scenes well and sounded a bit old style European at times, those of you who have watched Noir will know what I talk about. The opening tune is great though, good Jpop with a nice beat. I give that one a 9/10. The show is only released in Japanese so I watched the sub. The voice actors all did a good job on their parts. I found myself liking the VA of Hazumi since the voice is a bit darker, not the squeeky squeeeky type, it fit her character well; hard on the outside but softer within. CharactersThere are not the traditional mix of personalities in this show as in many other game-derives. We dont have: the tomboy, the shy girl, the sloppy girl, the athletic..etc you get the point. The characters are by not unique...or perhaps some of them are in a way. It's not every day where you come by people who have the ability to travel through worlds via books after all. The main characters grow during the show and there are some episodes which bring us back in time to other events which happened earlier when the main characters were young. This helps to give the viewer an insight into the different personas. There is more to say, but doing so would spoil the show. Some things are not explained in the show though, like why Hazumi always has one of her calves loosely bandaged or why she's one helluva sword fighter. There are some small bits here and there that I guess are explained in the game but were left out in the anime. OverallSome people have voiced their utter hate for this series, while other people say that it gets way too confusing after a couple of episodes, while others like it. YamiBou is an okay mix of Fantasy, Magic, Sci-fi, and Drama with Ecchiness here and there. I didn't think it was very confusing myself, although the story line dose lose itself here and there. However, it picks up eventually and various occurances throughout the series are tied together during this journey through worlds. Rewatchability is a possibillity. The animation was good and some episodes are quite crammed with happenings It's not a series for everyone and it seems to be one of those "either you hate it or you like it and watch it" series.


Note: this is from a video review, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve3kln-y64UOne of the first noticeable things here is the quick change of genre; mostly taking a couple of episodes, they delve into entirely different worlds, kind of like Chrono Trigger, which then ended up resembling different styles. It starts off in a Baccano-esque train, which makes one think it's possibly a neo-noir, although even within this setting there are odd traits, like a traditional Japanese dress within a Siberian surrounding, and what seems like a stereotypical magic user (two sort of constants with variations throughout).While there is always an entirely different type of environment, there are still similarities, besides the protagonists. What is interesting (that some people don't seem to appreciate or understand) is how the whole of this anime is like a combination of Inuyasha and Lain, with added innuendo. In thirteen episodes it certainly managed to include a variety of narratives and visual differences. It could have combined elements even more explicitly, but the subtle approach to it is interesting too.The point of this anime isn't the ecchi at all, no... how much hentai out there has the same average rating, though? For some people it seems having everything else also interesting makes no difference... To Love Ru is how popular, again? They have things in common; both attempt sci-fi, except in TLR it is almost deflated. Lala keeps inventing gizmos and the only thing the narrative comes up with is the same exact comedic routines invariably involving the protagonist falling, with inevitable coincidences. Lala in Yami happens to be an AI in a spaceship that cares for children for one particular reason... and yet the latter is what the average viewer rates less, really? Yami has so much depth to it, TLR tried to have bits of romance too, only to fall flat on its face (literally, often), whereas the romance in Yami can be funny and deep at the same time, with added existential complications.The ecchi, in a sense, is only there because there is also everything else along with it. Ecchi shouldn't be the point of an anime, just like the sports genre shouldn't ideally focus exclusively on that, and instead be merely an accompaniment along with characters' lives. If there is only ecchi, of course, it would practically be hentai, and that is what TLR very nearly is sometimes. Whereas with Yami, even in such scenes, the narrative is making itself cohesive, and not a moment is wasted on capricious nudity for its own sake.This is when a story is powerful - when, in a scene that could evoke merely lust, there is also a sense of inter-dimensional love, of a chance that something could be lost. Anime that would not settle with only a single relationship, but includes countless analogies of what that relationship could be, of what a cyclic universe could contain. This is when animation tries to do a lot, and ends up doing it, on average, well and visually interesting.

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