Posted by psgels on 25 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Crystal Blaze


Some great anime have a very detailed art-style with absolutely gorgeous animation. Others have a smashing soundtrack, performed by a famous composer. Others hired a cast of well-known voice-actors to perform on their characters. Again others put a lot of attention to their dialogue to make this as deep and thought provoking as possible. And more others don’t have any of this and just want to tell a good story. And that’s where Crystal Blaze belongs: an excellent anime on a low budget and the dark horse of the past spring-season.

The production-values are nothing to write home about. The animation is simple, the CG is obvious and not integrated and it doesn’t have a big animation-company working behind it (after all, Studio Fantasia’s reputation is rather questionable). And still, it makes up for everything through its amazing storytelling. The story itself is not very complex, but the way it’s told makes it something special. Throughout 12 episodes, not even one scene was wasted. Every episode continues to develop both the characters and the plot, ending in a very satisfying climax. There are no plot-holes whatsoever, everything gets closed off nicely, there are no stereotypes. For a fan of storytelling such as myself, this series was pure gold.

You should be aware of one thing if you want to watch this series, though. This series became the dark horse of this season for a reason. There’s one particular character which will turn off a lot of viewers: Manami. This is supposed to be a tale about adults, but she’s one of the very few teenagers in it, and she very easily gets on your nerves. She’s not a bad character by any means, and her weaknesses are used well, but the fact remains that the combination of an annoying voice and her continuous whining make her a very hard to like character. Thankfully, she gets less annoying as the series goes on.

Speaking of voice-acting, this is the second series along with Kurenai that did something interesting with its voice-actors. I can’t exactly pinpoint to what it was that the creators did, but conversations end up sounding much more like ordinary conversations instead of coming from a recording-studio.

All in all, Crystal Blaze turned out to be among my favourites this season, due to its great cast and awesome storytelling. This is exactly what a twelve-episode series needs to be, and I hope to see more non-fanservice series from Studio Fantasia in the future!

5 Responses

  1. chenshang says:

    I think the voice actors need to raise their voice so that the audience can hear what they are saying…

  2. Solaris says:

    Lucky you can do a review. Subs are laaaate very laaaate

  3. mark says:

    Too bad the last two eps are not subbed….

    I watched them raw,and was only able to understand a few bits and pieces here and there…

  4. Alex says:

    I thought the show was semi-decent, but I don’t think it developed the characters that well. For example, I didn’t really care about Sara because she didn’t really do much. The villains are also pretty standard – evil scientists and fighting women and the conflicted police type of characters. None of them are given THAT much development, except maybe Manami and her friend (can’t remember name) — but I find Manami obnoxious and since the social and political situation isn’t so fleshed out, the direction of the anime kind of flails around…decently entertaining but I found lacked depth.

  5. prettykai says:

    i liked the series except for every damn scene manami is in… how irritating can a character get???? really she pisses me off every time she enters a scene and opens her big mouth! I wanted to shoot her! why wouldn’t they just kill her!

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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