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. ^_^