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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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:08 AM)
    Ah but that would frustrate me in muv-luv, I’d be the one suffering as a result of having to wait for the characters suffering to start.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:06 AM)
    I’ve heard kickstarter being used for crowdfunding indie films, honestly as a film buff I really should get on that and start supporting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:41 AM)
    I generally don’t pre-order unless its a gift for someone else, so I can guarantee for 100% sure I can get it for them and it won’t sell out.

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