Posted by psgels on 21 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Here’s another Clamp-adaptation, the anime with one of the least descriptive titles in existence: X. It tells the story of a bunch of people who have been destined to fight over whether or not the earth is going to be destroyed. And I must say, it hits the mark surprisingly often. Recommended for anyone who likes a good character-study.

There are very few series that can claim that they only get better and better as they go on, but X sure as hell does come close to this. It starts out a bit mundane, but for nearly every successive episode as you get an idea of the plot, and the different characters show their backgrounds and stories, it just gets more intriguing with episode. Especially in the second half, where all hell breaks loose, this series just continues to keep the balls in the air.

What impressed me the most about this series was the maturity of the cast of villains. These guys are miles away from your stereotypical evil overlords, and despite the fact that they’re trying to destroy the world, they’re all surprisingly calm and down to earth which is very refreshing to be honest. The protagonists also receive plenty of attention, which allows each of them to grow beyond stereotypes, and actually develop a bit. A major theme in this series is loneliness, and I really liked how each of them chose to deal with their feelings in a different way.

With all that however, it’s a shame that the least interesting character in this series is the main one: Kamui. With such a colourful cast of side-characters, he fails to stand out and is yet another one of those angsty teenagers with huge powers with the task to save the world. He does develop throughout the series, but it’s all just too predictable and shallow. It’s because of him that the finale of this series turns out to be really cheesy. A pitiful exception to how everything in this series just gets better and better.

Overall, X is a bit too angsty for my tastes. Too often, we see characters stare pointlessly into nothingness instead of actually doing something, and the lackluster lead character and ending prevent it from really standing out, but aside from that there’s a lot to like in this series. It’s an interesting effect you get when half of the series’ plot twists have already been prophesized (especially if you watched the special episode 00, which is basically a very cryptic recap of the series). With a strong soundtrack and very solid animation by Madhouse, I definitely don’t regret watching this.

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

19 Responses

  1. Brett says:

    I watched the movie, and since it was so short the plot and characters seemed rushed. It didn’t help that I was lost through the entire movie. I guess it would have helped to have seen the series first.

    Regardless, good review. It was so expensive to buy this a few years back, if I ever see it down in price I will definitely pick it up.

  2. Pax says:

    definitely agree that it’s a bit too angsty at times,but overall it was definitely worth the time even f i did not like the ending but considering how the manga was not finished i kinda expected the ending to be quite bad.

    now that Tsubasa Chronicles is suppose to end,i do hope that we will get to see the end of this manga .

  3. Etrangere says:

    Hehe, I’m a pretty big fan of CLAMP in general, and the X & Tokyo Babylon continuity in particular. The TV series is a decent adaptation, with an especially brilliant soundtrack, although I still like the manga better, and it’s also much better to read Tokyo Babylon before. Of course it is pretty much all about the angst, eros/thanatos and gore but I dig those XDDD. I agree that Kamui is one of the weaker character.

  4. juu says:

    I read the manga first(and loved it) But afterwards I really couldn’t stand the anime^^°
    but that’s how it usually goes with me and manga adaptions^^°
    I totally agree on the “villains” in this one. They were really interesting characters.
    So I’m glad you liked the story.
    I only wish the manga had an ending now…

  5. Keith says:

    Oh man, I have been waiting for this review ever since I started reading your blog 2 years ago. This was the first anime that truly got me into anime, so I consider it my favorite just because of the impact it had on me. I remember I bought it on a whim and marathoned the first 12 episodes because that’s all that had been released so far (didn’t know about torrenting yet). So when it ended on that cliffhanger on 12, what was a mediocre show suddenly became shocking and intense, and not many shows have been able to live up to that “turning point”.

    I agree with the above comments that the manga is better. It definitely is. I takes the theme of the tv show and then pumps it up a notch. And as much as I enjoy (somewhat) Tsubasa and xxxholic, if CLAMP doesn’t finish the manga when they’re both done I am going to be a sad sad boy.

  6. Keith says:

    Oh, psgels, Why didn’t you like the ending? Because considering the way the show’s built it can only really end a couple other ways.

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Keith: I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know how they handled it there (if it actually handled it at all), but like you said, it was the only way for the show to end properly, but it also came as a deus ex machina, it was badly explained and way too hasty. I could hardly take it seriously. It would have been a nice ending if the creators would have gotten an extra episode to give it a bit more time.

  8. Anca says:

    This, along with Escaflowne, are the two series that seriously got me into anime; unlike Escaflowne (which does still rank as number one for me), I’m still a big fan of X. It’s one of the shows that the more you think about it, the deeper it gets.

    For example, did you notice the parallels in the cast? Kamui and Fuuma and Subaru and Seishiro are very obvious, but you also have the other characters that are ‘ranked’ the same – take Karen and Yuuto, fire and water; but are the most sexual characters of the cast. Or Satsuki and Yuzuriha, the character who is least concerned about humans and the character who is most.

    Of course, the manga is better (like in pretty much everything else); it diverges near the end and Subaru receives a bigger role, taking Seishiro’s place, in the sense that they used him to characterise Dark Kamui instead of Seishirou (and in the manga they’ve been hinting that Fuuma hasn’t lost all of his personality).

    Kamui is what Subaru was at the end of Tokyo Babylon, but CLAMP left it unfinished exactly when I believe he was going to snap out of it.

    CLAMP said the major theme was individuality over group think in a setting where the later would have been a more natural message. The villains are all people who don’t care whether they live or die.

    – I’m rambling, but X has this effect on me >_>;;

    Thanks for the review.

  9. Etrangere says:

    The villains are all people who don’t care whether they live or die.
    I think this, to me, is the principal theme of X. The struggle between the parts of ourselves that want to die, and the parts of ourselves that want to live on. At the core it’s a story about how we want to live because we have ties to other people (stop me before i start quoting BtVS), so that’s why the Kekkai only exist as long as the Shi no Ryu have a special person they care about. That’s also why it’s wrong to kill people, because that makes the people who care for them sad. Kamui has both asect of this in himself from the beginning. A big part of him doesn’t care if he lives or dies, if the worlds end or not… and a part of him does want to fight on and keeps the world alive for the people he cares for. When he makes his choice, it’s Fuuma who ends up embodying his death wish (and his masochistic wishes, which is why he tortures him as much ^^)
    But in X, way too many people think it’s worth dying in order to save, help or protect the people they love. Which, well, ends up being pretty silly and self destructive as well. The manga having no end, we’ll never know how far it goes with that :(
    but the anime ending is pretty good with what they have, even if I wish there were other subtleties they’d had kept.

  10. Anca says:

    Etrangere:

    Yes, it’s very possible that Kamui’s true wish is ‘to live’ – it /would/ be something only D. Kamui could fulfill (who else would kill him?). It’d make for a nice, entirely non-homoerotic ending scene too.

    The only problem with what I said earlier is Subaru – he had the mother of all death wishes of the cast. It only starts making sense if you look at his TB personality, but even then: back then he hadn’t ‘awakened’ as a Seal. The only reason he didn’t commit suicide at Seishiro’s hand (because we know that was his intention ever since Hokuto died) was because Seishiro had one up on him with his own death wish: he knew what Hokuto did.

    But even if he knew about the spell, I honestly doubt he’d have had it in him to stab Seishiro – it’s *Subaru* we’re talking about, probably the kindest member of the cast, along with Yuzuriha. (Even Seishiro, who knew him best, fully expected to be hated, fully expected him to wish to kill him).

    After Rainbow Bridge, he’s a walking corpse; in the manga he gets some measure of closure with a nice heart to heart with Dark Kamui, after which he will probably proceed to become Sakurazuka Subaru, as per the succession ritual and his loved one’s wish (I can’t remember that clearly what happened at this point, after their conversation) – and at this point he stopped being a Seal. In the anime he disappears, and I honestly thought back when I first watched it that he jumped off a bridge.

    Still, he didn’t fit the Seal mold even before he changed sides; unless ‘wanting to live to be killed by THAT person’ qualifies as ‘wanting to live’, in which case Seishiro would not qualify as an Angel.

  11. Keith says:

    Yeah, the subtleties in the manga were what brings it a step above the anime. The anime was good and all, but it really only kept the most obvious message, which was that our ties to others is what makes up want to live on.

    They had to leave the deeper parts of the manga out because it would have actually made the ending of the anime betray those themes. The biggest message of the manga is that self-sacrifice is a terrible thing to do, because it only hurts the ones who care about you. There’s no way to make everyone happy, but sacrificing yourself really doesn’t help it.

    psgels, the manga has been on hiatus for over 6 years now, and it ended at the biggest cliffhanger in the story yet, so it has been the most torturous hiatus in anime history, especially considering how popular the manga is in Japan. Apparently, in 2003 there was a devastating earthquake in japan and since the end of the world is depicted by earthquakes, CLAMP was given the choice of toning the manga down or putting it on a hold. They chose the latter (thankfully).

    The biggest difference between the anime and the manga though is that, as said previously, Fuma is not actually a cold-blooded killer with a new personality. He is actually the same Fuma as always, but has to cope with his newly assigned role. He’s probably my favorite antagonist of all time because of this internal conflict he has.

  12. Anca says:

    Fuma is not actually a cold-blooded killer with a new personality.

    This was revealed after the anime was produced (I think); for the most part, we assumed that Fuuma’s personality had been rewritten by SADAME in the manga too. Dark Kamui mode Fuuma acted a lot more gay and sadistic than normal Fuuma before the Choice too. How Fuuma if he still has a conscience could be such a fucking ass if still one of the biggest unresolved mysteries yet (for me).

  13. Keith says:

    Anca, my theory in this is that when the choice was made, Fuuma was probably overwhelmed by his awakening. Also, “event” that happened once Kamui made his choice was fated to happen.

    Another thing to point out is the fact that Fuuma is compelled to grant people’s wishes. Even if he doesn’t like it, he has to fulfill someone’s true desire, and if they desire is death then he doesn’t have a choice. He can still have a conscious because he is still the same Fuuma, but just because he is still the same doesn’t mean he can control his own actions. It’s the same way for a lot of the characters, the dreamseers especially. Like Fuuma, they can only sit back while other forces decide what will and will not happen.

  14. Etrangere says:

    Anca,

    Yes, it’s very possible that Kamui’s true wish is ‘to live’
    I’ve no idea what Kamui’s true wish is. It might just as well be to die. I was just pointing out that his personnality is pretty much split by the two wishes, and that’s also why he becomes Kamui and D!Kamui. I see Dark Kamui as the embodiment of Kamui’s darkest wishes.

    It’d make for a nice, entirely non-homoerotic ending scene too.
    *snort*
    Yeah, but a bit redundant after Seishirou and Subaru.

    The only problem with what I said earlier is Subaru – he had the mother of all death wishes of the cast.
    Oh yes.
    From the beginning Subaru is the one who shows the most extreme tendancies of the Seals – he cares a whole lot for the world, but little to nothing for himself. Even before Seishirou messed him up the boy had zero sense of self preservation.. but he really, really cared about others.
    Subaru’s whole journey was about learning selfishness, as Seishirou’s whole journey was to learn to care for someone else – except they are very warped journeys. Remember how Hokuto wanted Subaru to care for someone, for his own sake? Something that he wouldn’t give up on, like he did his dream of zoo keeper. Well that was Seishirou. The one person Subaru really wanted, for himself, in the world. However due to how messed up their relationship was, it ended up being warped in Subaru’s deathwish (and Seishirou’s! lol) but at the beginning of X, Seishirou is the one person Subaru cares for, the reason he can produce a Kekkai. Even though he wants Seishirou to kill him… well he wants Seishirou to kill him, not anyone else would do. No suicide thus. When Seishirou dies, Subaru’s Kekkai disappears…. he no longuers has any stakes in keeping the world going on, and in the manga, Subaru becomes a Ten no Ryu as a result.

    it’s *Subaru* we’re talking about, probably the kindest member of the cast, along with Yuzuriha.
    Agreeing with you. Also Yuzuriha is clearly the only Seal who i able to face D!Kamui and survives because she really, really wants to live and to keep on protecting the world. No ‘but’, not ‘i want to die to protect this person’. No death wishes. She’s one of the strongest Seal.
    In the anime he disappears, and I honestly thought back when I first watched it that he jumped off a bridge.
    In the anime, Subaru actually reappear right at the end, to save Kamui’s life. I think he even produces a Kekkai to do so. Silly Kamui/Subaru shipper anime XD

    Still, he didn’t fit the Seal mold even before he changed sides; unless ‘wanting to live to be killed by THAT person’ qualifies as ‘wanting to live’, in which case Seishiro would not qualify as an Angel.
    lol, yeah; Seishirou is a shit Angel. Because he ends up caring for Subaru, in his own carped manner.

  15. Ebod says:

    Hmm, I’m really curious to how well the Subaru and Seishirou relationship is conveyed through just anime alone *has watched the anime and read the manga*.

    Oh right, psgels, are you going to watch the Tokyo Babylon OVAs in the future as well?

  16. Reltair says:

    I remember watching X TV way back in the day. Definitely a memorable series with the deep character development and progression to epicness. If you haven’t seen it already, go do so now!

  17. Marla-the-turist says:

    Wow, it brings back memories.. X was among the first animes I have seen and it really impressed me and made me want to check other series as well… it still has very special place in my heart. You just made me want to rewatch it all again, so thanks I guess :)

  18. Shiro, Long Tail\'s says:

    If you didn’t like X (TV) ending you can always give the movie a try. It’s relatively the same but with a different ending. Much shorter too so you can say goodbye to character development or context.

  19. sam says:

    read the manga!!!!!!!!!! the anime is nothing but a pale imatation the other kamui the so called bad guy is so amazing and complex you will love the manga

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:48 PM)
    @topgavin, I am not gonna deny that’s a large part of what I like about it as well. And practically everything really does become a side plot when the other guy is introduced.
  • topgavin
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:19 PM)
    I think, after watching the recommended episodes for kaleid and watching the first 3 eps of it, I’m solely watching for Gil. All the other stuff (and girl mc’s) is a side-plot to Gilga-f******-mesh wrecking people.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 05:43 AM)
    @Aidan: You know how a boomerang works.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:08 AM)
    @RealJustified, pretty sure that’s Kevin pretending to be afgm.
  • reaLjustified
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:49 AM)
    @afgm How so? I’ve rarely even seen you on here, plus trolls aren’t even a common occurrence.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:40 AM)
    this chat is ass, to be honest
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:35 PM)
    @Krista, relax. He’s the only one that riles people up like this. Normally this chat is fairly civilized.
  • Krista
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:24 PM)
    The chat’s becoming too angry for me, thanks for the recommendations guys! I’m gonna try to find another place for this kind of stuff.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    @Vonter, Personally I only give a score to stick to Psgels format. If up to me I would just give a recommended or not recommended verdict.
  • Vonter
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:37 PM)
    Ok, then now it’s more clear. Since from what I’ve heard in-between critics some say comparisons is the path of unhappiness. Or so I’ve heard.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

orange 04c

orange – 04

Orange takes it very slowly this week, even slower than its standard. Indeed, we can summarize the plot of the first 15 minutes just by one sentence: After Kakeru dating with another girl, Naho feels brokenhearted and avoids Kakeru like a plague. Which actually makes sense. After all, the guy already had a girlfriend so […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 03d

Thunderbolt Fantasy – 03

With this episode we basically get an idea where the show will head for the rest of the series and I pretty much enjoy the direction they taking so far. Of course it makes sense that in order to get past those obstacles, the band needs to ally with others who are most suitable for […]

Fate Kaleid Liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! - 03 2

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei – 03

Plenty of action this week as we have faceoffs between Beatrice and Illya with Gil and Angelica firing legendary weapons back and forth. I wish there was a bit more fight animation here as while it was the same in the manga, it’s still a shame to have the scene cut away just when the […]

91 Days - 03 4

91 Days – 03

Seeing as things didn’t quite go to plan for Avilio last episode, it’s now time for him to prove his innocence to Nero. Avilio is playing his cards right and things would have gone to plan if it wasn’t for the man who lead them to Fango before. He states out of curiosity that he […]

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 17 4

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 17

While I did enjoy this episode and think that some interesting things have been brought up, I must admit that even my patience is starting to run out. I blame this mostly on the fact that I am watching this weekly instead of binge watching it all as the progression in these episodes has slowed […]

EVA 01b

Neon Genesis Evangelion – 01

Truth be told, I’ve never seen any of the EVA franchise, and it’s not normal since EVA is a must for any anime viewer. I don’t really know the reason why I keep myself from watching it, maybe both because mecha is not my favorite genre, and the hype of EVA is just overwhelming that […]

Berserk - 03 2

Berserk(2016) – 03

Forgive me for the delay on this particular post but I must admit that in light of Berserks quality my interest in covering it has somewhat declined. I know that for every episode to come I will have to dance around the elephant in the room but this series isn’t making that easy for me. […]

Orange 03d

Orange – 03

So this week we finally encounter a love rival. Of course with a romance drama show like Orange there had to be someone who would stand on their way right? Except there’s not much of a rival really since Naho never stands a chance against the new girl Ueda. As she learns hard and clear […]

91 Days - 02 2

91 Days – 02

At this point I think it’s clear what kind of show we are getting. It’s not Hitman Reborn which essentially uses its mafia inspiration as window dressing for shounen battles. Nor is it Baccano with a silly yet funny atmosphere combining the prohibition setting and supernatural. No, what we have here is the old school […]

Latest Reviews

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice a

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice (2015) Movie Review – 85/100

Welcome to the third installment of World Animation section, but this time we head back to Japan for my favorite anime movie out of last year. If anything, I have always wanted those reviews to be a recommendation if you want to look for something different. So if there is anyone who would check out […]

Untitled-1

Legend of Legacy Review – 80/100

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this […]

My Life as a Courgette a

My Life as a Courgette (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

It’s never easy to make a good family’s animation. For movies aim at adults, the filmmakers can easily get themselves loose, go crazy and the audience can still get it. But for kids, these movies might be one of the first movies they’ve ever seen and that’s a huge responsibility. They have to aware of […]

Red Turtle a

The Red Turtle Review – 93.5/100

Welcome to my first movie review on World Animation section, the column where I wholly dedicated to indie/ art-house animated features around the world that hardly got coverage anywhere really (but rest assure our since sometimes I will review anime movies as well). And what’s a better way to start this section by reviewing one of […]

Flying witch 09d

Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

Bungou Stray Dogs 12a

Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]