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
Lows: Total lack of character and plot developmen
Based on appearances alone, X/1999 would seem to be a promising anime. However, this film really drops the ball and never lives up to the quality of the animation. There really are not too many positive things to say except that it’s easy on the eyes.
The film’s most serious flaw is easily the complete lack of character development. Any emotional impact the film was supposed to have was lost because X/1999 gives the viewer no reason to care about its characters. The members of the Dragons of Heaven and Earth enter without so much as an introduction, and they die just as suddenly. There is no attempt whatsoever to explain their motives; they simply fight and die. The battles feel pointless because the outcomes are not significant, and the deaths of characters are intended to be tragic… but they fall flat because each character’s demise is devoid of any meaning.
Making things even worse is the fact that the plot is practically nonexistent. To begin with, compressing a long, complicated manga into a hundred-minute movie is never an easy task. Rather than trying to adapt the source material into something that works better on the big screen, the movie instead uses just little bits and pieces from the manga that don’t make much sense unless you are familiar with the plot. Even then, it can be hard to follow because of the pacing. Basically, it just jumps from battle to battle, giving the movie a very jumbled feel. It’s never really made clear why they are even fighting.
X/1999 is a seriously flawed anime. Fans of the manga are bound to be disappointed, and for casual fans, it is nothing more than eye candy. Very little of the movie is enjoyable, and I found myself just waiting for it to end. In order to remedy the problems with the film, Studio Madhouse produced an X television series a few years after the original release. Thankfully, this version fixes the major shortcomings of the movie. Do yourself a favor and pick up the television series and skip this film.