Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Ultramarine Magmell

Original Run: April 7, 2019 - June 30, 2019
Number of Episodes: 13
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Di Nian Miao

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Gunjou no Magmel. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Suddenly, from the depts of the Pacific Ocean, a new continent rose to the surface. Dubbed Magmel, this mysterious place sparked a new age of exploration. However, humanity quickly learned that this land and its creatures were unlike anything the world had ever seen. As a result, many who left for Magmel never returned.

Out of necessity, a special breed of professionals was needed to save those who went missing. Known as Anglers, these select few are experts on the dangers that exist in Magmel, and the best among them is Inyou (voiced by Kengo Kawanishi).

On a daily basis, Inyou and his trusty assistant Zero (voiced by M.A.O) venture into the heart of Earth’s newest sandbox. Often, they are tasked with guiding the uninitiated through this strange and deadly land. Other times, the two must rush to save those who foolishly thought they could tame the untamable Magmel.

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Series Positives

Gunjou no Magmel perfectly illustrated why I don’t like assigning numbers to anime. Ranking a show is arbitrary because how much can you really gather by seeing one series listed as a 6 out of 10 and another as a 6.3?

Please, don’t get me wrong. Gunjou no Magmel was not an underappreciated masterpiece. If someone expressed to me their disappointment with this show, I would understand where they were coming from fully. There were issues, and I mean a ton of issues that prevented this series from becoming something genuinely worthwhile. Nevertheless, we should not do the disservice of ignoring the elements which allowed this to be a surprisingly fun anime.

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For starters, the titular continent of Magmel was very much itself a vibrant character. This strange, mysterious land felt alive, diverse, and otherworldly. Plus, there was the added layer of having a grand fantasy-adventure being accessible from a contemporary Earth. Just the idea of a sci-fi-esque planet being only a helicopter’s ride away from any Pacific coast city brought a narrative which is typically set beyond the stars, home.

There was so much potential in Magmel, and simply having that went a long way into keeping my interest invested in this series. And I’m okay with saying, “The time I gave to this show was time well enough spent.”

However, I could go on and on naming all the anime which have had fantastic settings and locations. Additionally, I could give an equally extensive rundown of all the series that failed to capitalize on what they had. Although I would agree Gunjou no Magmel didn’t go as far as it probably could have gone, I would also argue it didn’t flat-out waste its material.

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That saving grace was thanks to this series’ two main characters, Inyou and Zero.

It was to this show’s benefit that this pair was as reliable as they were. Inyou and Zero provided the leeway needed to be flexible; even if that flexibility was sort of the major problem with this series. But, more on that momentarily.

First, let’s begin with Zero.

Zero was cute; I don’t know how else to phrase it. I have yet to mention how brutal Gunjou no Magmel was willing to go. The occasional blood bath was well within this show’s arsenal. Nevertheless, this series found ways to be adorable, and that success was due to Zero.

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Next, there was Inyou, and it was he who kept Gunjou no Magmel afloat. He was this show’s compass, its joker, its badass, and its resident jerk. There were so many roles Inyou played; many of which he played simultaneously. But on top of that, it was Inyou’s backstory which made him so interesting. The mystique surrounding where he came from and how he became the person we were introduced to, provided this series’ best moments.

To put it simply, Inyou was sort of like a jack of all trades. When this show wanted to get serious, Inyou could get serious. When this series wanted to be silly, he could be silly. Whenever Gunjou no Magmel wished to do something random, weird, and utterly uncharacteristic, Inyou could be counted on to ensure everything remained entertaining.

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Series Negatives

Normally, I would advise people to give the first episode of any anime a watch. That way, a person can get a feel as to what they’re about to walk into. I can’t really do that with Gunjou no Magmel. If you were to only watch episode one, you would not get a sense of this show’s nature.

The rub is, Gunjou no Magmell was tonally inconsistent. Watching the first two, three, or even five episodes wouldn’t be enough to nail down what could possibly happen next. It is for that reason, more than anything, why I think many people will never be able to get behind this show like I did.

And I say that because even though I did enjoy this series, I still found this to be incredibly annoying.

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Gunjou no Magmel began rather well. We got to see the continent of Magmel and how dangerous it was. It was a place where people went to find their fortune at considerable risk to their life. Should anyone have entered this place on a whim, or even fully prepared, there was no guarantee they would be coming back. Therefore, only someone like Inyou – a person who was an expert on Magmel and its species, and who could also use a powerful form of magic – had the highest chances of survival.

Magmel was a land that changed people. Here, family betrayed family, friends killed friends, and basic human greed went up against forces that could push back hard. In my head, I thought to myself:

“Okay, show. You have my attention. What are you going to do from this point on?”

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Possibility after possibility crossed my mind, but Gunjou no Magmel occasionally turning into a screwball comedy was not one of them.

That was jarring, and I think that’s putting it mildly.

It got to where literally anything could have happened. Fortunately, Gunjou no Magmel had two lead characters who were able to adapt to whatever atmosphere this show wanted to do. However, I would only describe this as a lucky break, and not an example of good series-crafting. Jumping from one extreme to the other at the drop of a hat is not clever, it’s inconsistent.

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Also, this was just the core problem with Gunjou no Magmel. Although it may have had fun characters and a neat premise, on a purely technical level, this show was laughably weak. Background animations consisted of stiff CGI models. Often characters’ lips didn’t sync up with what they were saying. Movements, particularly movements during action sequences, were not at all smooth.

Like I said at the start of this review:

If someone were to tell me they didn’t like Gunjou no Magmel, I would understand where they were coming from.

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Final Thoughts

This series could have been great. It had the potential. Thus, on that level, we could see this show as a major disappointment.

However, with all things being equal, don’t immediately disregard this one. There is still a lot of fun to be had.

To its credit, this series had a vast playground it wasn’t afraid to explore. It even provided the perfect guide to show us what there was to offer.

Although this show had a bad habit of inconsistency, it remained relatively enjoyable throughout.

Therefore, I will give Gunjou no Magmel a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Gunjou no Magmel? 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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