May 21, 2012

Anime Review: Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei

Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei breaks from your typical anime structure and completely experiments with first person dialogue, real imagery and plain art style. Does it work out to be as effective as any other anime?

Yojouhan Shinwa TaikeiSynopsis:

When a college dropout stops for a late night bite at a mysterious ramen stand, he crosses paths with a self-proclaimed deity of matrimony. This bizarre meeting sends the young man hurtling through a horrifying flashback to his not-so-glorious college days when the influence of a cruel new friend turned him from a hopeless romantic into a mischievous “black cupid.”


One word of caution: prepare for the most monotone monologue in your life. This anime is all about the protagonist (name not mentioned) and his tragic love life in his college days. The story is basically him revisiting his many "pasts" and taking on various clubs that all end up to the same ending. Sounds like a dating sim doesn't it? Here the story is totally unlike a dating sim though. The constant monologue by the protagonist will get into your head. The constant thoughts coming from his head will drive you crazy and most of the time you will not understand what he is saying. In the end, you slightly understand what is going on with some guesswork and  philosophical thinking.

The art was uniquely different from your standard anime. Here the art style is quite similar to 'oriental paintings' (featuring white skinned characters, no detail on characters, plain backgrounds, and limited use of colour). It hurt my eyes for a while since I was not used to this kind of limited art with abstract backgrounds and sceneries. The use of real imagery throughout the anime was a nice experiment but I thought it didn't really work out well together. In my opinion, don't mix reality with anime fiction; it doesn't work out. I disliked the overall art presentation. The characters looked unnatural and weird.

The sound wasn't too bad. The theme songs were acceptable and the voice acting was decent. Although I had to listen to the protagonist ramble on about his life for the whole series, I didn't mind that much at all. Perhaps I tuned out after a few minutes of constant monotone monologue. The lack of varied sound effects was disappointing but I must admire the use of subtle ambient sounds and music. This provides a sense to being "alone" in a confined room, excluded from the outside world.

The characters looked terrible. Moving on, the protagonist is some unknown guy that we know very little about except that he pretty much ruined is college love life repeated times. The other characters were quite boring too, starting with Ozu. I still can't figure out who he is and what is he actually. All I know that he is a complete idiot and evil. The only sane person in the whole anime was probably Akashi. She is your typical down-to-earth average girl that seems to be the center of attention of everyone. I will not talk about the others because they are either annoying, unmemorable, or boring.

Overall, I felt that the anime wasn't really suitable for me. Perhaps those who are into abstract stories and art might enjoy this anime. In my opinion, the story was hard to comprehend as it repeated similar storylines from the previous episode with a different arc. The art hurt my eyes for a while and the character detail wasn't that enjoyable to watch. Sound was decent but listening to the constant rambles of some guy wasn't really my thing. Now for some good points, there were some dry humour scattered throughout, the art was unique, and the ending was quite good actually. In the end, it really depends how you understand and view the anime. It could be excellent or terrible depending on your opinion after watching the series.

Hard to completely follow; I am still having trouble comprehending what actually happened in the end.

ART: 4
Not my type of art; it hurt my eyes for a while.

Voice acting was decent and the theme songs were pretty average.

There were only a few main characters in the anime. None of them made any sense to me.

Honestly, I disliked the overall presentation of the anime. Perhaps it is not my type of anime to enjoy.

Strictly depends on your flavour of anime. This one was a no-go for me.