Posted by psgels on 28 June 2008 with categories: Amatsuki, Anime Reviews


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.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

17 Responses

  1. PhuzyBuny says:

    I know you’re trying to introduce the new star rating system but I actually really liked the xx/100 score system and was wondering if you could include that as well for the overall score. And for the the individual category ratings, I’d think it would be easier to read if you had 7 outlined stars for each section and filled them in for the rating! Just a suggestion though but thanks for the review!

  2. Lyi says:

    Glad to see someone in the blogsphere who actually enjoys Amatsuki. Here’s to that second season!

  3. shunka says:

    enjoy Amatsuki? shoot, we love it! this is right up there with Otogizoshi (Heian arc only). graphically not as vibrant or complex, but the story line and characters/character development are outstanding. so far it compares favorably to Shounen Onmyoji. Can you tell we prefer the “historical” anime ?

  4. Ez says:

    Agreed, I can’t wait for the second season.

  5. cj says:

    I love this anime too….I would put it right up there with Inyuasha and Claymore (two excellent animes that ended just like this one (but I think this one will have a second season).

  6. Adrastea says:

    I really hope there is a second season and that this season wasn’t just an introduction to make people read the manga..

  7. Cody says:

    Wow, this anime was just amazing to watch. I had downloaded night wizard and kept amatsuki on my computer to watch sometime but I hit episode 9 in night wizard and just thought to myself “I can’t watch this piece of crap ANY longer”. I threw amatsuki on and almost marathoned it. I think I fell in love starting on episode 2. These not necessarily slow, but “soft” moving shows just hit me where it counts. I LOVE how the borders between the “good” and the “bad” guys are just BARELY there.

    The last episode…Wow. Just loved it. IF. There is a second season. The first part of the final episode was just so heartwarming and great. The second part was good as well for a build up for the second season.

  8. Panther says:

    Its just too slow for my taste (in a way). It’s just like it was building up to something but ended the series still building, no closure for me or sense of satisfaction. Considering the length of the series 6 episodes on the fox and a couple of episodes on flashbacks and alot of philosophical talk sprinkled about seems a bit too much for the length of the series, maybe if they continue the series it will turn out ok having given it a good foundation, though I look at it as a promo for the manga as it is.

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Panther: yes, I reviewed this title under the assumption that a second season would arrive some day. It’s a bit aggravating that there still is no word on it, but it would be so much wasted potential if the creators didn’t continue this series somehow.

  10. Joanne says:

    It was a beautiful looking anime, but I found it a bit long-winded and puzzling in places. I think the theme of misunderstandings and clashes between humans and ayakashi is better fleshed out in ‘Natsume Yuujinchou’. Saying that, this felt like a long introduction, so if it does make a second season it might grow into something outstanding. (Also, I loved Utsubushi! There should be more giant beaky birdmen in anime!)

  11. Sha says:

    I loved this anime (also assuming that more is to come)! I don’t know why since it’s something that normally wouldn’t have caught my attention… I cannot wait for season 2, and I hope that they make it longer and develop the story more because it has GREAT potential.

  12. kitty87 says:

    i wish they would make a second season! everything about this anime was wonderfully done, but they left of at the begining of something new happening! I also believe it would be a waste to not continue this series!!!

  13. Alex says:

    I LOVE the Amatsuki manga, but I’m actually not a huge fan of the anime. They left out the whole subplot in the “real world” with Sensai Corp, Hashita, etc; they don’t mention Suou…it seems like a lot of the intricacies of the manga–which make it a bit hard to follow, but make it more unique–are completely lost in the anime.

  14. Keaton says:

    Loved it, I’m currently re-watching it, and keeping my ears to the ground for news of a second season. I also saw that they left out a subplot about Sensai Corp. or whatever, but I only saw that on wikipedia. I actually might go out and buy the manga. Its recommended if you like an actual story and not just mindless violence.

  15. Z.N. Singer says:

    Mmm – IF there was a second season, I could give it a higher ranking…but to be honest, despite being very tolerant of slow, character/diaolgue focused paces I found it very banal at first. It got very little reaction out of me throughout. It did steadily ramp up however, I was quite intrigued by the end…but I’d really require a sequel to approve.

    In your first paragraph, you said you aren’t sure why you liked it so much. Me, I’m the opposite: I couldn’t for the life of me say exactly why it so completely failed to reach me. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was just my mood at the time, and if I retried it I’d see it differently. Who knows. Funnily enough, I can’t actually disagree with each individual point you make…

  16. yeah says:

    is there still a chance for a season 2????! :o

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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.

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