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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  • wicked
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 07:26 PM)
    Fire dragon arc! Fire dragon dies in the 5th episode
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • 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.

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