I really like Studio Deen. Sure, they may screw up their series very often, but when they hit a classic, they really deliver an amazing series. Their newest series to add to that list is Amatsuki, with the interesting thing being that even after watching it I’m still not 100% sure why I liked it so much.
For starters, Amatsuki combines history, science fiction and fantasy with each other when the main character (Tokidoki) gets sucked into a virtual world, which ends up being the ayakashi-infested feudal Japan. At first sight, it’s not the most original premise, but it’s the execution that makes this series unique.
The dialogue in this anime is absolutely amazing. They’re really deep and detailed, and you can see that a lot of time has been put into them. It’s no wonder that this series shares a director with Le Chevalier d’Eon. These characters could start talking about watching paint dry and still make it come across as interesting.
On top of that, this series also has an excellent sense of storytelling. It carefully builds up everything that you need to know for this series (again with that excellent dialogue), and there have been so many subtle details added that makes this series come alive.
Then there’s also a very complex storyline. This series really likes to make the boundaries between good and evil as fuzzy and complex as possible: every character has some kind of secret agenda or own goal. Today’s friend may be tomorrow’s enemy, and vice versa. Because of this, this series is especially in its element when many characters are together at the sane place: there’s so much going on at the same time.
Obviously, this series’ main selling point is talking, so don’t even dare to come near this series if you’re expecting Naruto and Bleach-esque fights. Sure, there is some action in this series, but it often gets overshadowed by said dialogue. That’s not to say that the fights are bad, though. It’s quite the contrary: fights are brutal, they come out of nowhere in a light-hearted mood and progress to mercilessly beat down the characters, with large amount of blood.
This also isn’t a series that you can watch to relax. You need to constantly pay attention in order to catch all the subtle details and nuances to get the most out of this series, even though the overall pacing in this series is similar to that of .Hack//Sign (in other words: sloooow).
Whether or not you’ll like the graphics is a very personal thing. Studio Deen has always been a fan of brightly coloured and frilly character-designs. The same goes in Amatsuki: everything looks very stylish, but it’s just a matter of personal preferences. The soundtrack is an excellent one, though, although a few tracks may have been played a bit too much.
Overall, I recommend Amatsuki to those with patience. It’s a wonderfully written first half of a series that’ll be continued… some day. It’s very stylish, with a unique sense of storytelling and a complex storyline. Another outstanding series by Studio Deen.