Posted by psgels on 26 September 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, Simoun


In my more recent reviews, I always tried to classify the anime I reviewed in some kind of genre. Strangely enough, I can’t seem to do this with Simoun. There is just not one typical category it fits in. It’s got some yuri-romance, it’s got action, it’s a character study, it deals with heavy themes, it’s got all of these tiny elements which somehow form this beautiful result.

I really mean it when I say that Simoun is an awesome anime. Probably one of the best who aired during the spring season. It’s mostly because of the characters. These characters are so incredibly fleshed out that as the anime progresses, it’s able to invoke their deepest emotions. The anime, however, starts out a bit fragile. The first episode is not necessarily a bad one, but it did turn many viewers away. After this first episode, the anime picks up in a steady pace, already giving the viewer small tastes of the awesomeness which is about to come.

The best of this series appears in episodes 14, 15 and 16. Seriously, at those episodes, this anime will have you clinging to the screen in order not to miss even a single millisecond. These scenes are just too good to be described. Afterwards, the series continues with an excellent average level, until another very good climax comes at episode nineteen and twenty.

From that point, the anime takes an incredibly original turn. It’s something only very few anime attempt. The overall theme suddenly gets shifted from the action and tension towards a more thought-provoking one: saying goodbye and living on. A great deal of time is spent on this, in comparison to other anime, and if I have to say so myself, the last episodes give Simoun a very fitting ending.

This anime shines because of its characters. Each and every single one of them is unique. Each has her own struggles, and when you combine these struggles, tensions can rise incredibly high. It’s also one of the very few anime who doesn’t mess up with the love-theme, and this makes the romance-aspect also one huge success, significantly contributing to the overall mood of the show.

The soundtrack which comes with this anime also is superb. There are certain tracks which will really help bring the best out of the scenes. In the graphical department, this series also shines. Especially with the character design. Each character looks absolutely gorgeous. The battles also are a very nice watch.

Still, like I said, the character-driven episodes are awesome. But they do make the story-driven episodes rather bland in comparison. That’s about the only down part of this anime. The characters are far more interesting that the general story behind all of this. That’s about the only bad point.

16 Responses

  1. Anga says:

    I think the amount of kissing was the biggest turn off for me. I tried to watch some episodes later, but my initial bad impression didn’t really get better. Even if both OP and ED are excellent.

  2. omo says:

    I really like your analysis, even if I would have rated it a lot lower than how you did. Good point in your first paragraph about categorizing Simoun; you just can’t do it without doing this show injustice, at least outside of a generalized, vague way to categorize things.

    If anything, Simoun is original in a lot of ways. That’s what makes it so great.

  3. Matrim says:

    I don’t think the problem is that the story is bland. After all, in character driven movies/books the plot is usually not that great. Some like Marimite hardly have a real plot to speak of. ;) My problem with the Simoun plot is that it was so promising up until episode 18 and the ending just couldn’t live up to that promise. And there were too many loose ends left after it all ended. But since it is a character driven series, this is a minor issue and I can safely say that I love “Simoun”.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Anga: The overuse of kissing actually pretty much stopped after the first episode. But ah well, you can’t like everything.

    Omo: I may have rated it a tad too high, perhaps, yeah. I might fix that in the future. Anyway, I agree with you that this series is very original.

    Matrim: I think you worded that right. It made everything look so promising around that episode. In one way, it’s sad to see that it didn’t live up to this. But everything character-related was great.

  5. Tess says:

    I think Simoun is the most original thing I’ve seen in so long. Right now, no anime series can compare in my head to Simoun. I agree with your score. XD

    It makes it so difficult to watch most of the new fall shows. While some have been enjoyable, nothing can compare to Simoun. So far I can only choose a few series I want to watch weekly, but a few other promosing shows will probably have me waiting a few weeks and then I’ll go back to them and watch it once things have started happening.

    It gives me time to read the original Higurashi sound novel, in any case. (currently the only thing that can rival Simoun in my head )

  6. CuteAnimeGuy says:

    I agree! Simply amazing! My favorite would be Aaeru and Floe!

  7. impz says:

    I finally got a chance to watch this show after a long long time and it’s amazing ^+^

    I totally fell in love with so many of the characters. Especially limone.

  8. David Pulver says:

    I just finished watching Simoun. I agree, fatanstic, original anime! The music is beautiful, too – just ordered the CD.

    Anyway, reading your blog and your episode-by-episode insights into the show was very enjoyable. Thank you!

  9. penguinfreak says:

    i agree that simoun is a very original and loveable show that consists of many interesting elements but i’m a great sucker for beautiful drawings and consistancy in character designs which the show somewhat lacks.

    take for example the two pictures and dominura and neviril at the top of this page. they are both side profiles of the two characters but one of them has an obviously fatter nose and rounder face. but if you have watched the anime you’ll know that neviril’s nose is not that fat and she has a slimmer face. another thing to note is the drawing of lips. some looks so fat it’s unnatural and gives a somewhat uneasy feel about it.

    i think the drawing is very put offing in a sense. if the drawings were more “perfect” and natural like other animes (e.g. strawberry panic), it would be a hit.

  10. koneko_kae says:

    I love This anime! I had read about it in an anime shop once, but within weeks i completely forgot the title. i typed in the synopsis i remembered and volla! i found your site! After watching Simoun, i fell in love with every aspect of it! The woven storyline, the classical music, the strong characters, the concept, the costume, the climax…

    I only have one question though if anyone can answer: “What do you think was the reason the Defense Minister not putting Aaeru and Yun on the final mission? Aaeru and Yun said they have a rough idea..”
    I’m also curious what persuaded Aaeru to join…Maybe…her grandfather is her daughter! – when she finally chooses a gender!

  11. psgels psgels says:

    That’s a tough one… a question which I can’t answer directly, since it’s already been more than half a year since I saw this anime. I do know that it made sense to me when I watched it, but I can’t remember why… I’ll get back to this later

    Also, if I’m not mistaken Aaeru joined the chor tempest because she didn’t want to chose her gender, and her grandfather being a former Sybilla did give her enough inspiration, though I like the idea of Aaeru’s grandfather being Aaeru’s own daughter….

  12. MiDEN says:

    wow thanks for your review, the BT finally finshed aobut 4days ago and i had enoguh time to finsh the series and wow it was jus tbeautiful and everytyhing. i dont really know my reasons for liking tihs anime but dayum its so good. Im so glad i didnt waste my time downlading this, now for The Third :) DL TIMEZ Rawrrs :) thanks again probably wouldve never EVER gotten to this anime w/o you :D

  13. DarkMu says:

    ¿Qué puedo decir?, Simoun es lejos, lejos el mejor anime que he visto en los últimos años, dejando de lado a muchos, los personajes son excelentes en especial Mamiina, es mi favorita, la trama es muy buena, no se centra solo en una cosa y la música es de lo mejor, no me he cansado de ver esa serie desde la primera vez que la ví.

  14. Jerry says:

    I love this series so much. It has a cast of amazing characters. The first time I started watching this series, I dropped it after just the first 5 minutes of episode 1 because of the kissing scene and thought this wouldn’t be the kind of anime I’d like to watch. But after reading your review, I decided to go back and get past that point. It’s been such a blast. One of the best series I’ve ever watched.

  15. I just finished this and it was probably one of the best shows I have watched. It was brilliantly done. I wish Mamina didn’t die, she as my favorite character.

  16. Max says:

    Simoun, in my opinion, was an experiment that the creators wanted to try out. They wanted to produce a unique and open minded show that focus on character development rather than the plot. They wanted their show to incorporate ideas that no other anime has done. Although, yuri aspect of the show didn’t bother me so much, the idea that a girl could become a man or woman was a complete turn off. Not to mention the men retained the voices of women. That’s enough to kill the marketing aspect of the show, which explains the lack of fanservice.

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 01:14 PM)
    Additionally Hammill’s joker got both sides of the character down perfectly.
    My favourite depiction of the joker though is definately in Grant Morrison’s arkham asylum graphic novel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:56 PM)
    @bam, Ledger was the best possible live action joker. But Hamell is the real joker to me. When you read jokers lines in the comics, you hear Hammill. Still that fellow in batman arkham origins didn’t do too bad a job.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:19 PM)
    @Bam: I remember loving the hell out of that old animated Batman movie from the 90s, mask of Phantasm, that mystery of Batwoman one was worthwhile also.
    Here is the new Jared Leto joker: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/51b3dc8ee4b051b96ceb10de/t/54870f57e4b074be5ade38ad/1418137431644/jared-leto-as-the-joker-in-suicide-squad-fan-art
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:06 PM)
    Also it was neat for FF9 to include summons as a plot element. They always existed outside of the story, as most of that series’ battle mechanics seem to happen in a bubble separate from the actual stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:03 PM)
    *@Emma lol
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:03 PM)
    @Joker: he definitely had the quintessential Joker laugh. Ledger was good, but also a lot grirrier due to the film’s tone. That whole animated series is one of main reasons why Batman is still so popular even with the 90s kids who cared very little about comics at that point.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 11:02 AM)
    @Bam: I feel the same way about Mark Hammill voicing the joker.
    As for FF9, I really liked that games take on the Alexander summon.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 09:45 AM)
    @K-off: That’s pretty cool. Conroy is easily the best portrayal of the Dark Knight- as somebody who got the Batman/Bruce Wayne dichotomy down like no other. The trick to get their attention is to be real with them, since they’ve heard every possibly fan praise a million times. I still remember how Maynard’s eyes lit up when my friend screamed “Hey Maynard! You’re a Tool!” at a Napa wine-tasting function he was hosting. You can always bank on weird.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Very exciting, got to chat with Kevin Conroy in Vegas. I dropped 40$ to get a signature, but I met him afterwards outside the convention hall and talked some generic “fan-to-celebrity” talk, telling him how much I respected his work. I ain’t complaining though.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 5. 2015 12:43 AM)
    I enjoyed Vivi’s storyline tho. I think even tho he was bland and quiet he still had the most emotional developments as a character, which tied in to identity and what it means to be alive. I also liked the “I want to be your Canary” play within the game, it was like a fleshed-out version of the Opera House scene from FF6.

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