Posted by psgels on 27 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kaiba


Welcome and say hello to one of the best anime of 2008, and along with Haibane Renmei and Hi no Tori, my favourite anime of only 12 or 13 episodes long. Kaiba is the product of director Masaaki Yuasa, who was the one behind Kemonozume, Cat Soup and Mind Game and it shows the result of when an already excellent director learns from his mistakes.

Kaiba is very much an experimental anime, which tries to be different from the stuff you usually see. The character-designs may look childish and simple, but make no mistake: this storyline isn’t afraid to show adult themes at all, and the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s about a futuristic world with the fascinating concept in which people’s memories can be stored in chips and placed from one body to the other. The series smartly spends its first half fleshing out and playing with this concept, so that the viewer feels at home inside the setting, only for the second half to kick in with the real meat of the series, where the storyline keeps spiralling to the point of going out of control. The final episode is indeed one of chaos.

The setting may be already an incredibly imaginative one, what really won me over for this series is its sense of storytelling. It’s hard to explain, but if there ever was some kind of x-factor for anime, then Kaiba would have it. This is one series that knows exactly how to progress a mystery-storyline: lots of random flashbacks, in order to flesh out both the storyline and characters, a back-story that goes way beyond the “person x killed person y in the past” and lots of different hints to keep you guessing.

This also really helps fleshing out the characters, and the interesting twist that they keep changing bodies (made possible because of the setting) puts them in interesting different spotlights. The romance can be incredibly sweet when it’s in its element and even the villains get their own piece of development.

Overall, Kaiba is definitely recommended if you’re into experimental, mystery or science fiction anime. The only bad thing about it is that the plot isn’t the most solid one, so don’t expect everything about the setting to be fully explained by the end. Nevertheless, Kaiba is an masterpiece that makes excellent use of its limited time of only twelve episodes, and it has been my top pick of the past spring season ever since it started.

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

20 Responses

  1. Avatar John says:

    I kind of liked the drawing style a bit. Maybe its because it has that old lets get it done as fast and cheap as we can so we can work on other things feel.

  2. Avatar Denizen says:

    I can’t wait to finish this series, it truly has been good.

  3. Avatar midenz says:

    turtly cannot wait to finish this series, its really good and wow like u said, one of the best animes this year of 2008.

  4. Avatar BlueYoshi says:

    I’ve been checking AnimeSuki non-stop in the last 10 days or so, and I’m still itching for Episode 10 and onwards. The waiting is killing me.

    95? That would be up there in your top ten I think?

  5. Avatar Denizen says:

    @ BlueYoshi – TokyoToshokan is worth checking more than Animesuki

  6. Avatar Omisyth says:

    Thank god for fansubs, just got finished watching the series, and I can honsetly say that its one of the best I’ve seen.

  7. Avatar Gabe says:

    Hey, thought i’d drop you a line to say I am completely agree with your review… I managed to finish watching it today, and I made sure I watched the last 4 episodes one after the other to understand what was going on! but excellent overall! Oh and thanks on putting me onto that other excellent under-rated series Baccano! :)

  8. Avatar Z.A. says:

    well i agree with some of the comments above. i liked everything about this series, BUT for the animation style. i couldnt stop thinking about how terrible the animation was the entire time. i think this ‘experimental’ animation style and the character arts were a disaster. i aint obsessed with hardcore Hokuto no Ken, or slick Seirei no Moribito, but cmon kaiba’s character designs absolutely suck! good story though…kept me entertained…

  9. Avatar Perrin says:

    Didn’t everyone find it weird that Popo helped Kaiba escape into the ship back in episode 1?

  10. Avatar AlexS says:

    Perrin: He just wanted to get rid of him (by sending him to another planet), since he realized he could not physically destroy him.

  11. Avatar David says:

    If you watch the whole series, you wouldn’t be suprised why Pop wanted Kaiba to leave the planet.

  12. Avatar Ehtesham says:

    Wouldnt it have been easier for Popo to just take Kaibas memory chip and destroy it?? I mean all the trouble he went to send him away.
    Kaiba should have a remake with better animation style.

  13. Avatar fernanda says:

    I began watching Kaiba because of the posts you wrote. I though that it had to be somewhat good. I wasn´t prepared, though, for it to be amazing! I loved it, absolutely! It is very rare (and I can´t remember any) for an anime to tell a love story right from the start (instead of the confession being left for the ending). I entered your top ten today, as I was hoping it would be there… Well, in mine it certainly is!

  14. Avatar totoum says:

    Just finished this today.

    Even if you don’t like the style (thought that’s not my case,i really like it) you’ve got to admit that the animation is topnosh.
    Definatly a very creative series,loved the universe (Hippo body is one of the coolest things ever!).But my rating would more like 85 than 95.

    Maybe it’s because i’m not that into mystery series but i would have definatly prefered it if the content of episode 10 was at the start of the show,definatly there’d be less mystery but i would find it intersting that the audience would know stuff the character didn’t and watch him try to get his memory back (but i guess that’s just me)

    I’m just getting tired of the “main character has lost his memory so the audience can’t know everything” routine , off the top of my head i can think of ergo proxy,noir,el cazador de la bruja,denno coil and .hack sign that use this.

    As was said in the review,the plot isn’t the most solid one,i can let it pass if i get really attached to the characters but i just didn’t,especially vanilla,his death was pretty meaningless to me.

    Wow,these last few lines make it sound as if i don’t like this show…but i liked it,i’m not crazy about it.

  15. Avatar Dariel says:

    Guys, the animation was simple so that you could focus better on the deep meaning of the story.
    It’s full of metaphors, just like an Osamu Tezuka work.
    I loved it. One of the best animations I have ever seen.

  16. Avatar Marktheknife says:

    Okay, just finished this show (pretty incredible, though I’m dying for just one more episode. Or an OVA?!? One can dream), but uh, yeah. Does anyone know what Masaaki Yuasa’s working on now? I honestly can’t get enough of his work all of a sudden.

    Also, I’ve been really impressed that no one has mentioned many of the visual similarities/scenes taken right out of Cat Soup. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as it is another Yuasa work, but man, it’s almost the exact same! For instance, the guillotines going off and the people being hung are almost unchanged, and Patch and quilt are definitely nods to the cat sewing lady of Cat Soup.

  17. Avatar tealovertoma says:

    I still need to see Cat Soup. I tried to see it back when I was 15-16, but I was still too much into longwinding boring shounen back then :P

    *Love* his other work. Bought Mind Game on DVD (plan on doing the same with Kaiba… if we ever get it) and Happy Machine is just terrific. Still need to see Kemonozume as well.

  18. Avatar Kara says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I read your review of this the other day and marathoned straight through this series. I loved it. The animation style took a bit to grow on me, but I really began to enjoy it awhile; it’s a nice contrast to the typical art featured in anime.
    Thanks for blogging this, otherwise I may have never heard of Kaiba. :)

  19. Avatar Johnson says:

    The drawing style is totally how they got away with the woman who literally exploded from too intense a fuck in episode 2.

    Or so I thought until I saw Kemonozume.

    Anyway, great series.

  20. Avatar Solaris says:

    What a review (lol)!! The only thing you take out from that is you liked it very much. I’m really glad for you.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Fire Force – 9/10 [Spreading Malice/Promise]

Fire Force is an anime that shows more than it tells.  For that reason, I’ve saved up two episodes to have something more to talk about than a simple recap.  Let’s go!

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 24 [Rehabilitation Training]

Welcome all to another subdued week of Kimetsu no Yaiba everyone. This week is rather quiet comparatively, as we focus in on a few specific characters. Exploring Shinobu’s motivations, Tanjiro’s effect on others and Yaiba’s breathing techniques. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Starting off, Zenitsu is really losing a lot of the good-will […]

DanMachi2 – Episodes 9/10 (Berbera/Argonaut)

DanMachi, you’re making this hard. Overall, this season has been incredibly disjointed…the latest episode (10) is a perfect example of that.  It’s like half the animation team is working on one fight, while the interns get the other (and debatably more important one!)  In the same episode!

Dr.STONE – 11 [Clear World]

Ladies and Gentleman who actually read these posts, this is an important week for Dr.STONE. As this week we meet Kaseki, perhaps the greatest old man of the season. Dr.STONE doesn’t stop there though. Introducing us to the wonders of glassmaking and giving us another heartfelt moment of technological progress. Enough of that though, in […]

Mononoke – 6 [Faceless Monster Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

And so begins another arc of Mononoke, though this one is shaping up to be my favorite so far. This week we get the introduction of a new spirit and a commentary of personal perception, wrapped in a fast paced episode. There is plenty to talk about, so let’s just dive in. Starting off, the […]

Mix – 21-22 [If…/Affection for His Sister]

It is well and truly baseball season on Mix, as one game leads straight into another in this doubleheader. I often refer to multi-episode posts that way, but this is the first to live up to the name. Meisei’s fluke of a win against Kaiou West paves the way for a pitcher’s duel in their […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 23 [Hashira Meeting]

This week Kimetsu no Yaiba picks up right where we left off last time. As Nezuko confronts her demonic side, Tanjiro doesn’t know when to quit while he is ahead and our two favorite boys return. Enough of that though, onto the episode itself. This week was much better than last week, and I think […]

Dr.STONE – 10 [A Flimsy Alliance]

This is a tough week for Dr.STONE, as it has to follow up the brilliant “lightbulb” of last week. However, for as much as it serves as cool-down episode, I think this week succeeds. As Dr.STONE temporarily closes the book on Tsukasa, introduces a new antagonist for the Village, and a great alliance is formed. […]

Mononoke – 5 [Sea Bishop Finale] – Throwback Thursday

Fair readers, if the first arc of Mononoke was a Horror, this one is without a doubt a tragedy. As the Sea Bishop closes with unexpected twists, deep seated guilt and somber tune. Let’s dive right in, shall we? This week, Mononoke closed out its second arc, the Sea Bishop. Compared to the first, it […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]