Ayakashi 1-7 – well, it’s hard to put my finger on it but…

snapshot20080124215223.jpgsnapshot20080124215322.jpgsnapshot20080124215328.jpgsnapshot20080124215336.jpgsnapshot20080124215416.jpgsnapshot20080124215433.jpgsnapshot20080124215442.jpgsnapshot20080124215454.jpgsnapshot20080124215505.jpgsnapshot20080124215513.jpgsnapshot20080124215532.jpgsnapshot20080124215543.jpgsnapshot20080124215611.jpgsnapshot20080124215644.jpgsnapshot20080124215654.jpgsnapshot20080124215704.jpgsnapshot20080124215721.jpg

Is it because I have seen too many anime in my life that I haven’t been severely impressed with this one, even though for some reason I feel like I should have?

The action sequences are nice. Nothing spectacular but nice. The characters are certainly all right, nobody particularly stands out except Sugita Tomokazu – that’s right, no more Kyon or Gin-san, but a serious bad guy with a seriously cold chuckle. I find his voice being a little flat when he doesn’t wise crack, and no, he’s dead serious here.

The plot is interesting because even though everything seems to be coming clearly at this stage, there are still some points waiting to be revealed. I talked about this show in Anime Diet Podcast Episode 17 . My impression was, well, not terribly impressed but not particularly hate it either.

I can tell that this is not a small production, I mean the animation, the character designs, especially the guardian forces…I mean the Ayakashi, are nicely designed. Of course, most of these monsters these days in anime have that clearly-it’s-digital-magic-look to them, and so do the characters.

I get the feeling that they’re trying very hard to convey a certain sadness of the main character, Kusaka Yuu, and the “destiny” that all who has an Ayakashi (or two, or three, or however many one person can carry), but somewhat all that gets lost in the battles and the main plot itself, which doesn’t look like something that’s particularly extraordinary so far – our hero has supreme power, and Mr. Wise-cracking villain who can’t play sincere well when trying…Oops, I mean “kare”, who’s a serious villain with intentions to take that power for his own.

I don’t know, I get the feeling that this series is going to be 12 or even 11 episodes only (what happened to the good ol’ days where a real series means 26 episodes? Or at least 13?) and I’d say that we do get a taste of what the characters’ personalities are like, and for the main characters, their conflicts as they each have his or her own purpose. But somehow, the overall presentation seems to fall a little flat, and the acting dynamics among them just don’t seem to be there. I don’t think they work well as a team.
One thing particularly bothers me is Yukino Satsuki and Sugita Tomokazu playing deadly serious characters. For me, I have a very difficult time thinking them that way. They definitely are better cast as comedic characters, where they really shine. But as villains or the opposing team members, I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with the efforts of either. Maybe it’ll just take some time to get used to.

The concept of having strange powers that hurts those around you become alienated because of the powers isn’t exactly new, but it’s not over used either. I’d like to see just a little more on that or see the show does something that hasn’t been done before and strike me, but that’s not fair because that’s hard to do. I’ve become a hard to please critic ever since I begin writing this stuff, but then again, my taste have changed since 2006, and these days, only the extraordinary gets my praise (or my inferno).

I do encourage those who wants to introduce their friends to anime and a tiny little bit of Japanese culture to watch this show and see if this isn’t a good for an anime beginner; I think it is because it introduces something that can seem fairly exotic, but not too foreign to people, especially people who play video games that involve RPG, and nothing here is too heavy or light.

However, that may be its problem, because nothing throughout the series makes a particularly strong impression on its audience. I think I know what it is.

Even the grand battle between two huge monsters seem so unepic, especially with the scale of their battle ground – a town or small city. The music is OK but doesn’t help in that aspect much. With the concept of powerful monsters/spirit going around, everything here could very well come out of a B-class graphic novel or a C-class RPG game.

In any event, it’s a decent watch so far, and I’d say give it a shot, because it’s a fairly well animated series after all.

But to me, it just lack that bite.

Leave a Reply