I think some people may have noticed by now, but for the past few months, I’ve been watching some 13-episode series I’ve always been wanting to see, but never got around to. I went to AniDB and made a list of all the interesting-looking series (right now, the list has 17 anime, this one not included). I watch them based on how interesting the concept sounds, with the least interesting to go first. If Figure 17 is any indication of the overall quality of the rest of the list, then I’m really looking forward to them, since this anime is awesome!
You see, the problem I have with slice-of-life series isn’t their slow pacing. It’s the fact that nothing happens. I want to sympathize with the characters, but for that, they need to be put in danger. I don’t really care about characters who spend their time eating cakes at a summer-festival, or something. Same with romances. I want to see the different characters face challenges, put their lives on the line, that’ll make me care about them, if done well.
This anime seems to have heard my calling, as it flawlessly combines slice-of-life with action scenes. You’ve seen those 26-anime who got crammed into 13 episodes? (Good Witch of the West, Narutaru, etc). Well, this anime shows that you can also can do it the opposite way when it increases its episode length with factor 2. Because of this, Figure 17 turned into the most un-rushed series I’ve seen in a while.
Like I said, this show could also have been done in half of its time, but because it took its time so much, it has some great opportunities for fleshing out its characters, and it gladly takes them. Through the course of the series, we get to know Tsubasa and Hikaru, our main characters, through and through. The fight scenes really put them in danger, and because of that, I found myself always rooting for the two of them to win. I’m also glad to say that this show has added itself to the very small list of shows that made me cry and weep. Yes, it’s that good.
The problem, of course might be that this show could drag on horribly, but surprisingly, I almost never felt bored while watching this. Perhaps only episodes 3 till 5 felt a bit tedious to get through, but these episodes did make sure for some amazing scenes, later in the series. I also must praise the battles in Figure 17, which were one of the reasons it turned so good. Even though the antagonists are a bunch of monsters, they can actually think for themselves. They’ve got some amazingly tricky battle tactics, and they don’t only get stronger each episode, they also get smarter each episode. This turns the battles more and more strategy- and skill-based, than power-based. Still, I do admit that some battles weren’t as good as others.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with such a solid piece of work. I thoroughly enjoyed it, not to mention that it actually has a great ending. Still, this isn’t an anime you’d want to marathon. I think it’d be very hard to concentrate after four episodes of the slice-of-life events. But, if you watch this one in a while (like I did), it’ll be an amazing watch. Definitely recommended. You also have to love the soundtrack that comes with it.