ThatAnimeSnob's avatar


  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 42 / M


Jan 21, 2012

Sit down. Press play. Watch the song and the opening credits. Press pause when it finishes. Congratulations, you just watched the summary of Amatsuki.

As weird as it sounds, the plot of this anime is so small you can actually see all of it in the intro song. And I don’t even mean it repeats on every episode either. It really is just what the intro will show you and nothing more in terms of plot. There is of course a lot more story than just that but it will be nothing but talking and talking and talking some more. And it’s not like talking alone is not enough to make a good series but the nature of the story by default is supposed to include more.

Let me be more analytical (as I always am). First of all the premise of the story is cliché as frakk so don’t mind it if you want to have hopes of enjoying the anime. And since it is revealed right away, it is no spoiler to mention that it’s about an indecisive lead magically taken back in a time full of mysticism, ugly monsters, and beautiful warriors. Because he has this broken power in his left eye that can surpass the Gods and thus becomes the epicenter of the story. The premise is indeed overused these days if you look around. People taken to magical lands and having magic eyes or transform to demons is no longer as rare as funky as it used to be.

But it still sounds like a great premise for a story despite the cheese, doesn’t it? Sure it does; I mean it has demons and miko priestesses and demon-morphing samurai women and talking dolls. Well I’m afraid in practice it is presented in the dullest way imaginable so don’t get you hoped up. It could work despite its cheese if it was just shown nice. Like, with great action, or great characters, or great animation. Which it didn’t… somewhat. Production values are rather high and the allusions to mythology and mysticism are great but the feeling of excitement lacks completely. If a magician wants to pull a rabbit out of a hat, he doesn’t need to worry on how to do it right but also how to do it in a fancy way. Something that this anime lacks like water in the desert.

Here is what happens in each episode more or less in a non-spoiler way. The lead goes somewhere, sees something, talks with someone. Some supernatural thing appears, says some weird mystical words, a few slashes are exchanged and the episode ends. That’s it.

As much as I want to give it some credit for the effort given in making the world look nice or the story to appear mysterious, it still feels like having your grandmother reading you a bed time story. It is supposed to make you be interested in what happens but in practice you just fall asleep. There are no WOW moments in it to wake you up either. I mean there is a scene with battling a Nue monster, a scene with a woman turning demon and a scene with a talking doll blasting weird stuff out of its mouth. All the above are done in the simplest and driest way possible, thus losing any impact on you.

In a way, the plot of this anime is the opposite of a heavy brainless action anime like Bleach. Where Amatsuki has the method of telling important things in a dull way, Bleach tells you useless things in an exciting one. And unfortunately, anime are supposed to be entertainment and not a school essay on feudal mysticism, thus the second method wins in this case. Thus all the charm of this anime is lost because of wrong implementation.

As I said earlier, the production values are rather high as the sceneries have very good variety, the characters nice looks and the visual effects look mystical enough to fit properly in the story’s themes. At the same time, all these are just… dull. There is not much choreography during body movements and the fact most of the duration is talking, feels like they are standing still. The jaws move a bit, which is always a good extra but the way the limbs move is like they are bored to move or stiff from too much sitting idle. And the eyes of the cute characters, well, they look stupid. Like watching Mickey Mouse or something; they don’t fit with the setting. Nor do the bijin characters fit in either. What is this, all the main characters are like top models. Fan pleasing or not, there are still no connection points. And no, not even bijins were enough to make the plot more interesting. Who made this anime anyway? … DAMN, it’s made by piece of poop studio DEEN; no wonder it looks so awful. It is also directed by Furuhashi Kazuhiro, who some years ago directed Rurouni Kenshin and Hunter X Hunter. Strange, with this guy at the helm the battles should have been very exciting. I guess having DEEN’s shitty production values ain’t going to end good no matter how good you are at something,.

Now about the characters. Besides the fact they have stupid eyes or are date-sim material, each one has a distinctive role in the story. They are definitely not cardboards and each adds something to the whole. The whole in this case is the lead finding out what is going on with his eye and the power to see monsters. That practically means the universe revolves around one character with all others being just allies or adversaries. And since the main character is a spineless wuss with zero battle experience and no idea what’s going on, you can just imagine how terrible it feels. Powerful mystics swarm him and talk and talk and talk and… don’t do anything else. Where is some action dammit? Why this magical world full of monsters and swords and stuff is like that but nothing happens? Why not just having a normal setting if you don’t plan to use them?

So you see, this anime has its way to not only fail to excite you with what is going on but also to disappoint and even enrage you with what never happens. At first it makes you think it will be a mystical journey in far away lands through caves and dungeons, filled with traps and monsters, where in the end the secret to enlightenment awaits. Well forget it, not only there are no traps and monsters but also the only journey you see is walking around in a temple and talking with various people throughout the series. Not only that, but the ending does not even offer anything. Because it doesn’t exist! It just stops in the middle of it in the most dull and uneventful way possible. Such joy.

Down to it, the main idea of the anime is good in terms of story and characters but the presentation is damn dull and unfinished. If you happen to have watched a few episodes of 12 Kingdoms, Inu Yasha, or Full metal Alchemist then Amatsuki has no reason for you to even bother with it. Not only that, but even if you are new to the field and give it a try, it will most likely still feel duller than an average Hollywood action film; thus you still won’t enjoy it.

Well, I warned you and that’s it. The rest is up to you. Maybe you will see it differently and like it for its other merits. I definitely had a nice nap with it playing on the tely.

4/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall

You must be logged in to leave comments. or

There are no comments - leave one to be the first!