Posted by psgels on 13 August 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

Spiral is a battle of wits. It’s set up in such a way that the lead character (Narimi Ayumu), who is a highly gifted teenager, has to face a number of opponents who rather than simply shooting him to death attempt to bring him down by creating all sorts of puzzle situations for him to overcome. Not really the most believable of all premises, but it does work.

Because I have to admit, these mind games are well created. They’re creative and not as ridiculously elaborate and far-fetched like you’d see in shows as Death Note or Code Geass. The creators really did well in keeping a balance between believability and ingenuity, and that’s where the fun comes from: the situations in this series are so created that a lot of them can be figured out by the audience as well. The characters make well use of their surroundings, and also carefully try to analyze the persons they’re dealing with and predict what kind of moves they might make.

The mind games and the psychology in this series is what makes it worth watching, and that’s a good thing because apart from that there really isn’t anything notable for this series. Spiral basically is a series that’s really good at one thing… but fails to stand out in any other way. The lead characters are serviceable: the creators are good at analyzing them, but they could have been fleshed out much more. The villains however are a real joke: we learn absolutely nothing about them: they’re just a bunch of paper bags with no motivation whatsoever.

But the biggest problem with this series it the fact that it leaves so many questions open. And sure, I’m not often concerned with this and I usually don’t mind if a series leaves a bunch of plot-holes open at the end. But Spiral takes this to a completely different level when it fails to answer just about every major question it asks throughout the series. Seriously, this series just stops at one point and nothing whatsoever has been solved. My guess would be that this is another series adapted from a manga that never got its second season due to unpopularity. Such a shame!

Anyway, whether or not you’ll like this series is simple: if all you want is a battle of wits, then this series isn’t going to disappoint you. Especially the first half of this show has everything that makes for a bunch of very interesting mind games. If you’re interested in something else though, then you’d better stay away, because this series sure as heck doesn’t have it.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruno Guilbert says:

    Well, i have to go and defend this series.

    After all the manga surpasses death note (that’s the most similar series i can think of) easy, its really a shame that only the first 6 volumes (it has 15 in total) of the manga were animated, and then they throwed a shit ending to it.
    About the plot holes; avoiding spoilers i can say that the complexity of the plot and the psychology of the chars, even the drama are elevated so high that it was impossible to show on only 25 episodes.
    The last 4 chapters of the manga weren’t translated to english yet, so i don’t know how it ends, and i’m obligated to admit that it can go from shit to epic.

    Well, if you aren’t going to read the manga and want some answers fell free to ask me, here or by e-mail.


  2. Avatar Azura says:

    Interesting review. Will have to check this anime out!

  3. Avatar VSky says:

    I agree. While the first half of the Spiral anime is good, overall the manga does a much better job. I prefer the characters in the manga, with the exception of Hiyono, I like her anime counterpart more.
    I would definately encourage you to give the manga a try if you want to know the plotholes – and meet the elusive Kiyotaka. I found the ending quite different and in my opinion, it worked well – although I almost wished for a happier turn of events for a certain character. Pity the anime didnt get a second season – its where all the fun would have truly begun.

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    Manga’s ending is depressing, cool show though I enjoyed it

  5. Avatar Bane says:

    As you have guessed already, and as others have said, this is based on a manga but has an anime-original ending which ignores half the plot, thus being a bit of a waste.

    The Record of Fallen Vampire is another series written by the same author (but different mangaka) and focuses on multi-layered perceptions of truth about events that transpired over a thousand years ago (in the manga timeline). So it has a similar mystery aspect to Spiral, but IMHO it’s a much more interesting story, so I recommend you check it out. It’s not been completely brought over yet but it’s on an active English release schedule (Viz has released five of nine volumes so far).

  6. I’m going to be repeating what others have said before me, but the manga absolutely blows the anime adaptation out of the water. This is particularly clear with the characterization of the villains; like you said, they’re pretty shallow in the anime, but in the manga they get a lot more depth, to the point where they honestly are probably more life-like than some of the “good” guys are. If you even liked the anime a teeny bit, you’d probably love the manga.

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