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  • California
  • Joined Oct 16, 2009
  • 36 / M

Tokyo Underground

Feb 16, 2010


The story was pretty good in this anime.  Simple and a little overplayed, but well scripted and it had good pacing.  Basically, a long time ago, an "underground" beneath tokyo was built for researchers to study and experiment with supernatural phenomenon.  The most notably were dragons.  The dragons were awakened however, and the people on the surface, fearing the dragons running rampant and destroying the world, sealed the underground and everyone in it.  Since then people have continued to live there under the "rule" of The Company, which pretty much controls everyone and everything since they are the only ones capable of providing light, electricity, housing and protection for the common people there.  Due to the proximity of the people to the dragons though, many people born in the underground are born with special powers of the elemental variety, such as being able to control wind, water, electricity, gravity, magnetics and so on.  The Company seeks out and employs, coerces or simply forces anyone they can find with such powers to work for them, keep the population in check, protect against monsters, etc.  The head of the company however is most interested in the "maiden of life" who is the only such person to have the power of resurrection, in a plot to awaken the dragons once again to unleash on the surface world in revenge for them sealing the underground.  Chelsea (who was the Maiden of Life's bodyguard) comes to dislike the prison-like treatment of Ruri, the maiden of life and helps her escape to the surface world in hopes of keeping her away from the company.  Injured and seeking shelter, they hide out in Rumina's Grandfather's Dojo, whereby he finds them.  Rumina decides to help protect Ruri and when battling with a company assassin, he is injured to near-death.  Ruri then uses her resurrection powers to save him, while inadvertently awakening wind powers which his ancestors reportedly used.  Despite the efforts of Rumina and Chelsea, Ruri is captured and Rumina and Chelsea (along with Ruminas geeky friend) travel to the underground to rescue her.

All in all it was an engaging story, the plot was sufficient, the pacing was good and the characters and side plots were pretty much well-done.


Heres where Im really torn apart with this anime.  The actual animation was not all bad, it was simple but well-done, with a vibrant palette, attractive and appropriate character designs, and respectable backgrounds.  The bad part was everything else.  For one, being a pretty action heavy anime, the action was sub-par at best.  Most everything was still shots and other cost saving gimicks which honestly looked pretty horrible.  Another thing was the horrendous overuse of when they will "static" the background a little and black and white it while super-imposing the character(s) face(s) enlarged on top of that.  I mean, it would have been fine, but they used it at least thirty to forty times an episode.  It just cheapened the whole thing and made it look too much like a comic book (or a REALLY old american cartoon like old-school spider-man).  They even over-used it in the action sequences.  It was to the point where I half expected them to put BLAM/KAPOW or something like that along with it.  Honestly for a 2002 anime it really just does not cut it in the animation department.


In contrast to the shoddily-done animation, the sound was pretty good.  I rather liked the OP, an upbeat rock tune, while the ED was a softer melody and both played well to the themes of the anime.  All the voice actors were well chosen and did their roles well (I especially liked the choice of Ruminas geek friend, as hes the same voice actor as Kei from Onigai Sensei, he just fits the role perfectly).  All the sound effects were well done and the audio on a whole sounded crisp and appropriate. 


The characters were on the average well done, but kind of a mixed bag.  The four main characters: Rumina, Ruri, Chelsea and Ginnosuke (the geeky friend btw), were pretty cliched but well thought out, given good enough background, and most importantly, given ample time for development and growing relationships.  At first Rumina looks to be the usual "dumb as a post, cocky and completely worthless" male lead, but once his powers are awakened, he comes into his own as a capable man.  Ruri is a pretty standard "oblivious, cute, magical girl with obligatory crush on the male lead"  But at least her childness (is that a word btw?) has a decent and believable explanation to it, aside from the usual alien/robot who doesnt yet speak English.  Chelsea is well done with clear enough motives, and Ginnosuke is probably the least covered of the bunch, but he does have enough side plot material and screen time to make his inclusion worth-while.  A couple more characters are given portions of a couple episodes for some back-story and side plot to play out but not too much or too little.  Enough was given at the right time to give those characters some depth or explain them more clearly, but never did it detract from the overall experience.  


Overall, I cant say I was too impressed with this anime.  It certainly had a good enough plot and characters to make it a very enjoyable watch, but above average plot and characters simply cant make up for well below average animation, especially for an action heavy anime like this.  I was quite disappointed with this one I must say, as it had alot of potential.

6/10 story
4/10 animation
6/10 sound
5.5/10 characters
4.5/10 overall
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