Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Amatsuki

Original Run: April 4, 2008 - June 28, 2008
Number of Episodes: 13
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Shinobu Takayama

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Amatsuki. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

After failing his Japanese history test, Tokidoki “Toki” Rikugo (voiced by Jun Fukuyama) visits a high -tech virtual museum in order to make up for the exam. This museum is unique because it perfectly recreated the Edo period of Japan with the use of virtual reality goggles.

However, things don’t go as expected.

Toki is suddenly attacked by a mythical creature known as a nue — a beast with the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon, legs of a tiger, and with a snake for a tail. He is saved then by a young swordswoman named Kuchiha (voiced by Romi Park). To make matters worse, the virtual reality goggles are destroyed, but instead of returning to reality, Toki remains stuck in nineteenth-century Japan.

Along with that, Toki finds himself in the middle of an ancient conflict between humans and demons. As it turns out, he is not just an average bystander. It is reviled that he has the power to drastically alter the course of this fight.

Being one of the few humans able to see the demonic world, Toki learns that he possesses the power of the Blank Page; a being whose destiny has not been foretold by heaven. He must now choose whether to use his power to side with humans or with demons. To help him with this task are Kuchiha and his friend Kon Shinonome (voiced by Koji Yusa).

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Series Positives

No anime is perfect. Conversely, even the worst shows have at least one positive aspect to them. Amatsuki was no different; as in it was a bad series and I am trying to think of something positive to say.

Although the show had the potential to be something really good, much of it is wasted.

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The Characters

The series had likable characters. Never did anyone come off as annoying or frustrating.

Tokidoki was a good protagonist. Lax and easy going, nothing really seems to bother him. He was able to dissolve a lot of unneeded tension that would have only added to the slew of problems with the series.

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The most interesting character is Kuchiha. When first introduced, she left a powerful impression. Undoubtedly the most serious person in the show, Kuchiha was also the most developed in terms of background. While displaying a proud and rough demeanor, Kuchiha does succumb to embarrassment and she allows herself to be a tad more feminine whenever around Tokidoki or Kon.

Kon Shinonome was also from modern-day Japan. However, he had been stuck in the Edo period for a full two years. His relationship with Toki was one of a mentor. Despite being one of Amatsuki’s main characters, Kon was an example of the many things in the show not having a point in the overall story.

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Series Negatives

While I do believe all anime have their good points, never will I say all anime is good. Case in point, Amatsuki.

I did not like this show. There may have been some things it did right, but there was not enough to save it from itself.

The Story

I don’t even know where to start.

The story was extremely jumpy. Things happened for no reason, characters just show up, nothing ever got resolved, nothing was explained.

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We knew that Tokidoki failed his Japanese history test and to make up for it he visited the extremely high-tech museum of…I have no idea where. All the information given about the place was that could recreate the Edo period of Japan.

You know what? That was actually really cool. I would have liked to learn more about that.

Unfortunately, Amatsuki dropped this gimmick and never brought it up again.

Tokidoki then walked around the museum for a bit where he came to a bridge leading towards Edo Castle. What was waiting on the bridge? Why just a gigantic beast from Japanese lore.

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The problem wasn’t even the beast itself. The problem was it showing up with no warning whatsoever. It would’ve made sense if the system glitched a little beforehand or if there was some sort of display on Japanese mythology. Even a simple narration in the first five minutes of the show summarizing the hostile relationship between humans and demons would have been sufficient. Instead, nothing.

This was how we are brought into the story by the way. There was no moment indicating when Toki crossed from reality into the virtual world.

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Here’s another instance of what-even-the-hell-is-going-on:

The main characters had to follow this one guy to this his castle.? Why? I don’t know, but it would make sense when we got there. Wait where are we now? Who is this new person? What happened to the other guy? This is not who I thought we were about to meet? How is this person involved? How was the first guy involved?

What is going on!?

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This kind of event happens in cycles. A little bit of story, some confusion, then a little bit of a new story, some more confusion; rinse and repeat three times.

Then the show ended.

Amatsuki must have thought it was getting a second season because why else would it leave everything so open-ended. Even if a second season were ever to be made there is nothing worth expanding on when there is no interest left.

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Final Thoughts

I don’t think I have to say it, but I was not a fan of Amatsuki. However, it is by no means the worst anime out there. That fact alone is the most important thing to remember about this show. There are worse out there, a lot worse.

But don’t let that misguide you. Amatsuki wasn’t a good series.

The grand ideas and intentions of the show truly prevented it from being something meaningful. There was just a devastating lack of focus and wasted potential.

I can’t recommend this anime. Even to the most avid of fans, go ahead and skip this one.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Amatsuki? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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