Monday, March 3, 2014
ANIME REVIEW SERIES: Guin Saga!
I've been wanting to sit down and write a review for an anime series for a while now. Anime is a form of entertainment that I’ve loved for so many years and I figured I owed it to myself to really put forth the effort to chronicle the good, the bad, and the ugly of the genre. So what better day than today to write a review? The following review is for a series that really grabbed me from the first episode and carried me on the edge of my seat to the very end. It’s a series that I went into with absolutely no expectations and came out of it knowing that I’ve truly experienced something special. The anime series I speak of is called Guin Saga, and to be quite frank the show was an absolute delight!
First off let me just put it out there that I love stories such as this. You know, stuff with swords, war, action, armies, medieval settings, long journeys and.....well, you get the idea. This particular setting has a feel to it that would appeal to the Lord of the Ring's fans out there, or fans of mythical creatures and epic battle sequences. If you've ever been into fantasy of any kind then I believe you should be right at home with Guin Saga. The story puts you right in the middle of a mystical world filled with dastardly villains and heroic saviors who find themselves engaged in a perilous battle as the bad guys try to kidnap/kill a pair of white haired twins (Rinda & Remus) and conquer the land. A land in which the twins have become heir to the throne. It may come off as a typical medieval story until you get to know the main character, Guin, who wakes up out of a deep sleep with a leopard mask fused to his head. Guin has absolutely no idea who he is or what he's doing but he knows right from wrong and see’s the children in a vulnerable spot and jumps to their aid. After a quick and bloody battle he takes the two children under his wing and promises to protect them from their potential captors, which puts them on a journey to travel to one of many locations they visit throughout the series to find shelter.
Instead of finding sanctuary they end up engaging in a series of epic battles along the way and make friends with a tribe of monkey-like creatures while on their journey, who agree to help them in their fight against their rivals. After finding a few more important allies, everyone assembles and takes a stand as they take on what hasevolved into a massive army that was led by a woman who was hellbent on finding and killing the twins. One of the key people Guin befriends along the way, named Istivan, ended up being one of my favorite characters in this entire show. His story and involvement was very interesting and the way he handled his battles and adversaries during the series was really fun to watch. When it was all said and done I could not help thinking that he could have had a 12 episode series all his own.
The action packed into this series is really quite awesome. It features a ton of amazing fight scenes and epic battles that are really complex and entertaining. What I really appreciated was that this show isn't just another hack and slash anime where people are just fighting for no reason whatsoever, pretty much all of the battles contained within these episodes have a purpose. An example would be that one particular fight in this show has Guin defeating a barbarian to be the ruler of a small band of warriors, he would then enlist their services to help fight in the war to keep the royal twins safe. Another important battle has a guy trying to prove himself in front of the the woman he desires so that he could achieve a higher rank within her army, hoping to win her heart and approval in the end. I’ve always felt that whenever there are high stakes involved in a battle that it always makes the fight a bit more interesting, and that’s something Guin Saga excelled at during it’s run.
One thing that really made Guin Saga stand out was the remarkable music within the series. Without it's strong music many of the epic scenes would have not had the effect that they did, this is something that could be said about any form of entertainment and I can't stress enough how a solid musical score can set the mood. Everything from the awesome pounding opening theme to the soft sweet ending theme was just perfect. I loved how most of the episodes within the series would end with a cliffhanger that would have one particular theme playing that just pumped you up for the next episode. It played during the final reel of many of the shows episodes and was just spectacular. When the music in an anime is spot on than you know you're in for a treat. Now it's time to turn our attention to the animation side of things, which was fine, but I wouldn't say this was one of the most beautiful anime's I'd ever seen. It certainly wasn't animated badly or anything, but I feel that It did feature the standard run of the mill animation that we see when a series isn't originally backed by a large company. That's something we see quite a bit in this medium but it doesn't always end up being that way and shows like Tears to Tiara are perfect examples. But again, the animation wasn't bad or anything, it just didn't excel, but for what they were trying to do it was perfectly fine. You won't be raving about it when it's all said and done. I'd say it's on par with other major anime productions out there.
All in all the overall production on Guin Saga was extremely solid and showed no major faults. It's certainly a series that's story driven and very character based and I highly recommend it to people who really love fantasy style storytelling. Along with Tears to Tiara, I'd say that Guin Saga is one of the better fantasy anime tales of the past several years, but I guess the term "fantasy" can be very broad considering almost everything could be considered a tale of fantasy. But I'm guessing you get the picture, here. In a nutshell Guin Saga was phenomenal with everything from the music to the story-line coming off as pure genius. The characters will reach out and grab you without letting you go and you'll eventually start to care about not only the heroes, but the villains too, and that's something that can be rare for some people because most stories tend to fall heavily on the heroic side. My only complaint is that the show is only a 24 episode series and not a long running anime like Naruto or Bleach, but I guess that could be seen as a good thing too due to the amount of filler that tends to plague longer anime's. At the end of the day if your only major complaint is that the anime you're reviewing is shorter than you would have liked than I guess you don't really have much to complain about to begin with, so I guess it's time for some ratings....
Art & Animation – 8.0
Music & Sound Effects – 9.5
Story & Writing – 9.5
Fun & Enjoyment – 9.0
Overall Score – 9.0
© B-Sly The Gamer Guy