Produced by Osaka Animation and directed by Shintaro Ishihara (Taiyo no Kisetsu, Hi no Shima), To Aru Futsuu no Anime is a 26-episode action-romance-comedy-psychological series.
The story focuses on a regular high school boy named Ken Nakajima that lives by himself because his parents are on a permanent business trip abroad. One night, while walking his pet pig, Buhi, Ken spots a bright light followed by a girl falling from the sky. He runs up to catch her and she floats into his arms, but is unconscious. Suddenly, a mysterious man named Zeus appears and demands that Ken return the girl so that she can be brought home before the universe is “shut down”. He refuses and just as Zeus is about to strike him down with a lightning bolt, Ken is engulfed by a bright light coming from the girl’s pendant and gains the power of the Titans.
While To Aru Futsuu no Anime comes off as a standard boy-saves-girl-and-ecchi-stuff-happens story, it is actually very thought-provoking if you watch the whole series. The relationship between Ken and Angel (the girl from the sky), for example, brings up some important questions: can love between a 3D boy and 4D girl work out? Should 3D characters from a game-sphere have the same rights and freedoms as real 4D humans? I won’t spoil the anime’s answers, but it’s worth seeing how they resolve these problems.
Comedy is also a huge highlight of the series. It covered all of the classic anime jokes like Buhi running away with an “important” item, Ken walking in on Angel in the bath, and blackmail with a questionable photo. Ken’s best friend, Shinji, also acts as the clown of the series, always ending up at the end of a fist whenever any of the 3 girls that moved in to Ken’s house are present. The comedy tended to push the romance aside though, with not much being resolved between Ken and the girls until the end.
Unfortunately, action was a bit lacking. There was a huge build-up before every battle that Ken fought with the 4D “gods”, but they were always very short or nonexistent. The worst part was when one battle was hyped up for 3 episodes, then at the beginning of the next episode it was already over.
In terms of character development, it was very well-done. Ken starts out as a very weak and average hero that requires saving from his allies, but at the end of the series, he suddenly became awesome through the power of belief and kicked butt.
The animation quality and music for To Aru Futsuu no Anime was great. All of the characters looked good and although Osaka Animation just used some photos instead of actual animation for the backgrounds, it still fit in very well. The theme songs by SweetS were unique and expressive.
Overall, To Aru Futsuu no Anime was a good series with a good amount of humour and seriousness. Not everyone will like it (in fact, most won’t), but I’m recommending it anyways so that no one gets mad and Google doesn’t down-rank my site for negative feedback.
Now this brings me to my main point: scripted anime reviews and pandering to readers.
How often do you ever see a truly negative anime review? From my experience, writing negative reviews of any anime regardless of whether it’s good or bad results in a lot of backlash. This usually includes insulting comments and a drop in traffic. What seems to be the best solution is to try to make negative reviews as positive as possible, like the one above. I’ve seen many bloggers use scripted reviews like this and I admit that I’ve done it a few times too. It’s easy to fit an anime into this mould, even anime that don’t exist. Oddly, these positive scripted reviews seem to result in the most comments and higher traffic. Does everyone really prefer a positive scripted review over a negative review regardless of the series? Do opinions even matter in the anime fandom or is anime so wonderful that it can never be bad? What do you guys think?