Posted by psgels on 2 June 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Before I start with the usual review, I first have to say that this is the 100th review I’ve written for my site!

Okay, I’m finally back with my reviews of the interesting-looking 12/13-episode series. For the past few months, I’ve either been too busy, the series I downloaded turned out to suck (Gun Frontier), or the bittorrent files got stuck in the middle due to lack of seeders. Bittorent really isn’t the best way to get your hands on the rare series out there. Luckily, after a bit of searching, I found out that Vision-Anime still had this series on IRC-bots. Anyway, onto the review.

Rumiko Takahashi is a great writer, in my opinion. She just has one huge bad point: she doesn’t know when to stop. The first season of Ranma 1/2 was just classic, though I quickly lost interest with the second season, and to think that the entire series was seven seasons long! Inu Yasha also spawns lots of people bashing it, though based on the things I’ve heard, it would have been a great 26-episode series, and I can imagine something similar being the case with Urusai Yatsura. So what about her short stories? Well, they rock. :)

Mermaid Forest already showed this once, but the stories in Rumic Theater also were really entertaining. While not as good as Mermaid Forest, it’s a real recommendation to any slice-of-life fan.

Rumic Theater really fits perfectly along with three other series I’ve seen recently: Human Crossing, Seraphim Call and Sentimental Journey. If you liked any of these four, you’ll like the other three as well. Yet again we have a random story about a random person for every episode, unrelated to each other apart from a few references here and there. While Sentimental Journey showed how twelve girls deal with their past crushes, Human Crossing shows the problems and the worries of various adults and Seraphim Call centres around eleven rather unique girls in a futuristic setting, Rumic Theater features thirteen ordinary people or families, with extraordinary things happening to them.

These people really couldn’t be more normal, they actually could be your neighbour if you lived in Japan. If you’d ever like to see how normal families live, and what their problems are, Rumic Theatre is the perfect show for this, as it really takes a step away from all the usual stereotypes you see in anime that deal with modern Japan. The extraordinary things can be anything. Some of these events can happen to anyone, like being invited to a school reunion, after 25 years of absence. Others deal with supernatural elements, like a salaryman who keeps getting bothered by the ghost of his deceased wife, while some of them could happen in real life, but are just really improbable, like a housewife, having to take care of a penguin.

Enough blabbering about the contents. How does it deliver? Well, to be honest, Rumic Theatre has the best entertainment value out of all four series mentioned above. For starters it doesn’t really have any clear bad points, unlike Human Crossing, which had the nasty tendency to end its episodes forced and unnatural, or Seraphim Call, which was really inconsistent and a bit too unpredictable, or Sentimental Journey, which had a few boring cases.

And Rumic Theatre still manages to come up with thirteen individual, well developed and varied cases. Two or three episodes were really sad ones, while others really cracked me up at times, others were heart-warming and plain sweet, and all of them had some kind of hidden message. Each of the episodes, the better and lesser ones, were some great character studies, accompanied by a nice atmosphere.

Another interesting thing was that actually quite a few cases centre on a misunderstanding. While this was sort-of annoying in Sentimental Journey, they didn’t really mind me with Rumic Theatre, and some of these cases actually were brilliant, even though you knew beforehand that the main character’s view was completely wrong. Out of the four series mentioned above, it really felt the most natural, the stories fit the episode-format perfectly, and rarely was there a rushed episode.

In terms of graphics something needs to be said, though. Don’t expect any beautiful girls with bright hair and crisp and detailed character-designs. The character-designs are done in a typical Rumiko Takahashi-style, but they do look rather outdated. They by no means look bad, though if you need detailed and mainstream character-designs in your anime, you probably will get annoyed with Rumic Theater.

Overall, even though I’ve seen four series with almost the same premise, I still can’t get enough of them. If you want thought-provoking cases, then go and check out Sentimental Journey. If you want a thick atmosphere, go for Human Crossing. For lots of creativity Sentimental Journey is best, and if you want a bit of everything and a good dose of humour here and there, Rumic Theatre is the best. A few highlights were:
Sentimental Journey: Episode 6 and 10
Human Crossing: Episode 4 and 13
Seraphim Call: Episode 2 and 7
Rumic Theatre: Episode 6 and 12
Each of them are well worth watching. ^_^

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.

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