The emphasis on the bishounen drawing style continues only now we also have the wonderful addition of shounen-ai sex appeal between certain characters. The only thing is, the characters have only really met one another and there's no reason for this to be happening yet in this series! (Unless you believe that strongly in love at first sight...). Quite frankly, it's very frustrating to watch characters being paraded in this fashion simply as fan service for those who love the manga. What's worse is that the results of this concentration on the characters' sex appeal falls horribly flat and is rather painful to watch. It would have been nice to have some actual character development before getting to this point.
While the story concept itself is good, again, not enough attention is spent on developing the story line compared to fan service. The race to complete the story line continues in this second episode as Tsuzuki and Hisoka must stop Maria. Please somebody give viewers time to catch up with the story and understand where everything is coming from first!
Don't get me wrong; personally I like the story as written in the manga. It's reasonably done, there are occasional bits of humour, but more importantly the storyline is developed - especially the partnership aspects between Tsuzuki and Hisoka. The anime tries but fails to develop the characters, partially due to the voice acting, partially due to the direction and partially due to the amount of story they are trying to stuff into each episode. I realise that going to four episodes for the one story might create other problems, but this feel of being on a runaway horse isn't great either. Adding scenes of pseudo-comic relief doesn't help either. It detracts from the overall story line and annoys viewers due to its irrelevance to the overall plotline.
The voice acting likewise isn't going to win any awards here. Inconsistent performances by the seiyuu makes it difficult for viewers to understand the different characters and categorise them. And while they are getting more accustomed to their roles, the seiyuu still aren't comfortable with their roles, at times sounding choppy, overacted or simply like they're reading their lines. So my question is simply this, where is the direction?! There is no feel of progression towards an end really, nor that there is any controlling concept to what is revealed when. Rather, viewers only have a feel of galloping runaway horses as they try to comprehend what's happening in the story.
Adding insult to injury, the music isn't helping matters any here and generally does not suit the mood nor the scenes being depicted. While I do like the melody sung at Maria's concert, there are times when the same melody is played over and over and over again that I feel like I'm listening to a scratched record. I'm really not enjoying the music for this one.
The animation quality took a bit of a turn for the worse as well, losing out on some of the beautiful detail seen in the first episode. Even so, it's decently done for TV, so I can't complain. I will give this episode one positive point. The story ended on an interesting point which leaves viewers wanting to see what happens next. The only question is, will we be able to stand the garbage thrown in the middle to reach the conclusion? I say let's wrap this story up and finish with the concluding episode quickly and put this reviewer out of her misery please.
- JYN, 2001.04.24