To Aru Futsuu no Anime Review

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?

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  1. Right now I could easily criticize you for taking the safe route instead of expressing your genuine opinion. But my point is that the anime fandom is one of the most intolerant and unforgiving groups on the internet. No matter what you say or do they will hate and detest you for something. Just do what you think is best I know you are very smart guy I am pretty sure you’ll figure something out. Just be yourself regardless of the intolerance of the anime fandom.

    • Yes, I’ve been taking the safe route for a while now. No one will criticize you for writing a negative review with a positive spin on it, but writing a purely negative review seems to be a no-no.

  2. Ahh you got for a second there, then I saw that it was “directed” by Ishihara and laughed.

    I agree with you in the sense that writing overly negative reviews is good for no one. While it might be the most horrible anime you have ever seen, in the end what you write about it is just your opinion. You can’t measure how “good” an anime is by any unbiased means, so there’s always going to be an opinion that is opposite of yours.
    exilehero recently posted..quesQ Yukari Yakumo – the Border Between Posts and No Posts

    • When I first started blogging, I found it surprising that some people considered certain titles to be the best anime they’d ever seen when I (and the majority of people) thought they were terrible and cliche. Those people were very offended when I said a series was a bad anime. It almost forces you to find something good about everything in order to not suffer any backlash.

  3. I admit, I do find myself taking the “safe” route a few times; but I also have quite a few purely negative reviews written and published. I’ve never received much backlash from them (then again, my review blog that I share with a friend isn’t all that popular) so that’s never really been a deterrent for preventing me from writing more overly negative reviews.

    When writing reviews for anime, even very bad ones, I do at least make some attempt to take a neutral stand-point on things. I fully understand that reviews are based mainly on personal opinion, so I try to look for good things in bad anime even if I hate them. Similarly, even if I really love a particular series, I’ll still list the possible bad things that people may have a problem with. I think that’s just being “fair.” Well, as fair as reviewing goes anyway.

    I guess I don’t care too much about internet opinion when it comes down to it. As much as I love getting nice comments, I prefer writing honestly because that’s my style.
    Ari recently posted..Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita/Mankind Has Declined Episode 5

    • After my first few negative reviews, I changed my writing to try to find an equal number of positive and negative points. The problem I find with that is that I always end up at the same line after every review; that an anime had some highs and lows, but that it was worth watching depending on your tastes. It leaves my reviews sounding very empty. I’m using this post to gauge whether people like that kind of writing and if I should continue writing like that.

  4. Was feeling weird when I saw Coffee-Kizoku illustrations (a VN illustrator) in an anime review. A pretty interesting way to bring up a topic.

    I think the most important thing is the balance. Even if you’re writing a review for a very, very bad anime, there HAD to be some good points and it’s important to bring them up instead of saying all the bad things of the anime, which if done so, would sound more like rants then review. After all, no anime is 0/10 right? That’s absurd.
    Kai recently posted..K-ON! Movie Review

    • I like Coffee Kizoku’s illustrations, which is why I used them.

      I’m not against having balance, but there are some series where it seems impossible to find any good points. Sometimes I wonder if it’s fair to put so much more effort into trying to find something good about a series when it’s not obvious. At that point it makes you wonder whether you should put just as much effort into trying to find all of the flaws.

  5. Crap…why’d I decide to read this…

    Not that I have a problem with the question you asked, and it is a very good one. In my opinion, you have to write what you think, you should write how you want to write and like to write instead of playing it safe. In the end, just don’t review like a fake person and whatnot, and know what you wanna say. Readers will either accept it or just not. Either way, it also can make for easier discussion most likely, especially if they disagree with you respectfully or agree with you.

    The problem I have is you inserted the question in a review about a title. Why couldn’t you have tried to write a separate post about this issue? I feel it’s kind of awkward to suddenly know your thoughts about a show, then you go into a 180 degree and ask about a review. It’s like you tried to combine two posts into one. But really, the only thing that’ll stick out to me is the scripted anime reviews question, and nothing about To Aru. I don’t know man, it’s probably just me, but this just feels plain wrong. When I’m reading a review, I suddenly don’t expect to have a question like that pop up, especially when I know it could be elaborated on and my intent was to know your thoughts about a certain title.
    Justin recently posted..Sunday Spotlight: “See, This Is What Happens In A Team Blog…”

    • If it makes you feel any better, this is not a review of a title. In fact, “To Aru Futsuu no Anime” does not even exist. A rough translation of the title would be “A Certain Ordinary Anime”. Osaka Animation doesn’t exist either, nor does Ari Project; they’re just plays on Kyoto Animation and Ali Project. The characters Ken and Shinji just happened to be the first names that popped into my head. Shintaro Ishihara is also not an anime director, but the governor of Tokyo. The only real thing mentioned in this post is SweetS, which is a now-defunct group of 13 year old girls that released 1 semi-popular album.

      To put it simply, this is not a review, but a review script with some blanks filled in with made-up names and events. I had thought of using an actual anime, but for the reasons you pointed out, I decided not to.

  6. now you’ve totally puzzled the german guy, lol at first I thought this anime existed *damn* XD

    I only write anime reviews of shows I liked, so they are mainly written in a positive way. Ripping anime shows apart can be fun if you disliked the show, but you have to be prepared for the feedback you’ll receive.

    Reading a destructive review of an anime I liked doesn’t make me happy, I think no fan of a show will be happy about reading despiteful words about it. Im ok with a few harsh words, but when the review is too negative I will stop to read.
    Wieselhead recently posted..Wonder Festival Summer 2012 hysteria

    • Maybe a producer will read this and actually create an anime (one can always hope).

      The few negative reviews I’ve written seem to have garnered the same reactions that you described. The problem is that I really couldn’t find much to praise about them and I couldn’t back up my claims without spoiling the series. Right now I’m considering just explaining everything when I write a negative review, even if it spoils the series. At least that way it doesn’t sound like I’m just ranting.