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Violinist of Hamelin

a.k.a. Haamerun no Baiorin-Hiki

voh-1
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Pony Canyon
Format: 25 episodes
Dates: 10/2/1996 to 3/26/1997

Fifteen years ago, a war between humanity and evil ravaged on until the two sides were separated by a magical barrier. After holding it up for many years, Queen Horn’s power over the barrier is weakening. Word is sent to a small village, and a fifteen-year-old girl named Flute learns that she is the daughter of the Queen. Escorted by a magical violinist known only as Hamel, she must trek to her mother’s palace to defeat the evil, as well as discover the secrets of her and Hamel’s past.

summary by Eek

 

Reviewed: 11/22/2003 by
Grade: 84% av-Eek

Highs: Powerful Shakespearean-style drama; enchanting music

Lows: Dirt-poor animation puts the series into an odd situation

With the existence of a few, dedicated lovers of this largely unknown series, Violinist of Hamelin can easily be referred to as a cult classic. It is rumored that this anime had one of the lowest budgets ever (and it shows), yet it is strong enough to not have to rely solely upon art and animation.

Part of what makes Violinist of Hamelin good is its storytelling style. There is a definite Shakespearean feel to it; the quality of the drama leads the series to be incredibly dark and serious; very few portions could even be considered funny, and the tone all throughout makes it very depressing. The music is just as powerful; many of the orchestral compositions range from simple to very complex and slow to roadrunner fast, which undoubtedly keeps the pacing going at the proper speed depending upon the situation. Parts of the great music are some famous compositions, such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Mozart’s Requiem; they are performed quite well and will make your jaw drop with their raw beauty.

Although this series originally aired about the same time as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Kodomo no Omocha, the animation is not up to par. This series has a gross overuse of stills, panning stills and lengthy loops; this provides more of a storybook feel rather than an anime feel. Since it is not visually appealing, Violinist of Hamelin is forced to be more acoustically appealing than other anime. As was mentioned before, the music is excellent; also, the dialogue is rather well done, too, but the seiyuu cast is just mundane and does not truly mold the characters with their voices. Normally, a mundane seiyuu cast would be just fine, but with such poor animation, this series needs strong voices behind the dialogue. Action scenes are also hampered by the lack of animation; a lot of the thrill from the danger and excitement is mellowed down to being merely dramatic. When there are scenes that should contain a lot of movement, still frames kill a lot of the action that is taking place.

If you are a fan of eye candy, look somewhere else. But if you are looking for a solid series with great music, then Violinist of Hamelin is more than worth your while.

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