Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Anime Review: Towanoquon

I was fairly curious about this project, like Break Blade it was going to be a set of six, hour long OVAs instead of a regular tv series, and saw the first two episodes via fansubs. Then Sentai picked up the series (and Break Blade now that I think about it) and I decided to do the right thing and see if I got a chance to view it legally. And then over Memorial Day weekend The Anime Network was streaming the whole show for three or four days and I rushed to finish it (normally this wouldn't have been a problem but I had a graduation and a con to go to, both of which take a lot of time). Did have a few technical hiccups but they had a very responsive tech team (that and complaining on twitter seems to work well for these cases) and by the end everything was working well. Well, the stream was, how well did the show itself do?


Summary: In another version of Japan there are a group of people called "Attractors" who have strange powers, like the ability to teleport or talk to animals. Mainly they wish to lead normal, peaceful lives, but a secret branch of the government is dedicated to wiping them out, especially ones who are just beginning to manifest their powers and are the easiest to find and kill. But those who survive are saved by those who live in Fantasium Gardens are a lead by young looking, although clearly older than he looks, Attractor named  Quon. It's becoming harder and harder to find though as the government draws ever closer to their hideout, will they survive or will they all be killed in the end?

The Good: I only saw the first two episodes via fansubs and was a bit bored by them, turns out the show picks up in the third episode and, while it's not a good thing that it takes a third of it's short runtime to pick up, it is good in that it turned out to be a well-done story. It's nothing new, I've seen a number of other people, who are much better versed in American comic books than I am, compare it to the X-Men and most of the tropes used are ones I've seen a lot before as well. But, once it got over that hump, it was interesting, paced well, Quon's personality and behavior were well explained and Epsilon was much better fleshed out than I expected (since I figured out what the writers were going to do with him when I saw the first clips from the series). The series also ended very well with only a single loose thread hanging (or, depending on your perspective, none at all) and was one of the neatest endings I've seen in a long time and it worked rather without feeling like a cop-out of any kind. 

The Bad: One thing that I think wouldn't have been a problem if this show had been a tv series (and therefore a bit longer) would be that the side characters would have been much better fleshed out. Their characterization is spotty overall, some characters got a lot of time to grow up and change and others never deviated from the, a bit bland, personalities they started out with. That's basically my biggest problem with the show, it also can't decide if it wants to be a "monster of the episode" or a central plot kind of episode (it's too short to pull of both sadly) and like I said earlier, the first part of the series is a bit rocky. 

The Audio: Each episode ends with a kind of cheesy rock song which I'll admit really grew on me as the series went by (I've seen a lot of people point out how the art was a bit of an homage to 80s shows and I'd argue that this song and the plot to an extent were homages as well). And after two months that's the most I remember about how the show sounded; there was no opening theme and the voice acting seemed competent. The show was only streaming in Japanese so I don't know how the dub sounds but there is one and I'm sure that someone has reviewed it. 

The Visuals: The show was produced by Studio Bones and, as usual, they make the series look really good. There's at least one fantastic looking fight in each episode (I'm always impressed when a studio manages to animate a fight where not only are the characters moving around at lightening speeds but, if you pause, almost every single shot looks on model or if it's distorted it's clearly for effect, not a time-saving measure). The show's designs, from the characters to the settings, had a clean and not overly-detailed look that was quite eye-pleasing and remained distinctive even if it was a bit on the simple side.

This show ended up being much better than I had expected, from having seen the first two episodes, but it's still not good enough that I plan on buying a copy for myself/re-watching it. I'd certainly recommend it to friends and such but it just wasn't the story where I think I'll get anything out of re-watching it. 

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