Anime Academy

xtv-3
Genre: Action
Company: Studio Madhouse
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 10/3/2001 to 3/27/2002

The world is on the brink of annihilation, and the fate of the earth lies solely in the hands of one individual, Kamui. He is destined to become one of two things, either the Dragon of Earth or the Dragon of Heaven. If he becomes the Dragon of Earth, civilization will come to an end and mankind will be completely obliterated. His other choice is to become the Dragon of Heaven and try to save humanity. Kamui is now forced to make the biggest decision of his life which will have a resonating impact on the entire world.

summary by Gatts

 

Reviewed: 04/15/2004 by
Grade: 86% av-Gatts

Highs: Topnotch audio and visuals; interesting take on the apocalypse

Lows: A few characters need more development

After viewing the movie version, I really wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. However, the television incarnation was a pleasant surprise, and it is an entertaining, well-paced action series. This time around, the characters make more than brief appearances and actually become quite likable.

While X is basically a story of good versus evil, matters are a bit more complicated than that. Even though there is a definite set of heroes and villains, the antagonists’ motivations are not solely to destroy the world, and some are easy to sympathize with. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep things interesting and progress without dragging. The pacing is fairly quick which helps to maintain the balance between characters and action. Visually the animation is exceptionally fluid and features some of my favorite CLAMP character designs. The audio department is no slouch, either, with some epic tracks, and there are a few excellent seiyuu performances (Suwabe Junichi as Fuma).

Unfortunately, all of the movie’s problems rear their heads here, as well. The number of characters essential to the plot is large, and it is difficult to cram sufficient development for all of them into twenty-four episodes. For the most part, each character is well fleshed-out, but a handful could have benefited from more information regarding their motives. Adding to this problem is an unneeded recap episode which not only breaks the pacing leading up to the climax but also could have been used more effectively in tying up a few loose ends.

X is one of the better recent action series. The story and characters captivated me from the start. Fans of the genre and anyone who wants to know what the movie was actually about should definitely check it out.

 

Reviewed: 12/25/2002 by
Grade: 82% av-Mugs

Highs: Visuals; most characters fully fleshed out

Lows: Some characters direly need more background info

CLAMP’s apocalyptic drama finds redemption in this television incarnation, removing some of the pain in seeing a great concept having failed in its initial outing as a movie. The major shortcoming of the movie was lack of character development time; not surprisingly, that great injustice has been righted for the most part. In addition to intriguing plot, this show features stellar animation and seiyuu cast and has all the makings of a real gem.

Studio Madhouse did the visuals and once again they’re among the best in the business. Thankfully this show takes advantage of every eye catching goodie that Madhouse can provide. The anime is superbly animated, fluid and detailed; when the fighting starts the show is absolutely a treat for the eyes.

One thing that was unforgivable in a show this jam-packed full of characters was the inclusion of a recap episode, as well as numerous flashbacks; the flashbacks steal time that was direly needed for certain characters in the show. Another possible problem is that for such an action based show the climax is rather dull; usually the best is saved for a final shoot-out but that certainly isn’t the case here. The ending really does work for the emotions and mind sets presented in the characters throughout the show, but action junkies will be disappointed.

In the end, if you’re looking for an action anime with characters and story, this will righteously entertain you. Those looking for a more action-oriented series will still find lots to like, but the overall emphasis is on characters instead of action. This might slightly disappoint some, especially when it’s all over.

 

Reviewed: 04/15/2004 by
Grade: 83% av-Eek

Highs: Superb art and animation; massive cast that mostly gets fleshed out; unique approach to Armageddon

Lows: Repetitive songs; more background needed on several aspects

Fixing the drastic mistakes made by its predecessor X/1999, X brings to life the manga that a lot of people thought would never have a chance. For an anime about the end of the world, I think many will be hard-pressed to find something as good as or better than this.

Although newer series tend to have art that has a certain crispness, X‘s art packs quite a lot of detail into every cel, and even its animation is a feast for the eyes. CGI and hand-drawn cels blend smoothly together, making it difficult to tell the difference; if anything, the animation seems to be in a healthy medium between television and OVA quality. With quite a large cast, most anime would never be able to breathe life into each. Even with more than a dozen main characters, this series takes its time on more than ample background for everyone, making you understand their actions and pity them because of their responsibilities. If nothing else, this anime uses its own unique take on Armageddon and the events leading up to it. All by itself, the manner in which two organizations duke it out to make their future a reality will grab the attention of many people.

If there was one thing that irritated me greatly, it was the way that the music was used. The musical score was good but used way too much. The same few compositions were played every single episode, and I found myself sighing with relief when a new song was played… which rarely happened. Also, it would have been nice to get some more information, such as each organization and how they were able to acquire as much power as they had. The brief explanations that were given simply did not give a whole lot of reason for why things were they way they were.

X lacks serious depth that some people may be looking for, but then again, this anime knows what it has to accomplish and does just that. Besides a glass of milk and some cookies, what more could you ask for?

 

 

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