Posted by psgels on 28 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Guin Saga



Guin Saga: epic fantasy done absolutely right. It’s based on a series of light novels, counting in at a whopping 130 volumes, and these 26 episodes animate the first 19 volumes of the story. It’s a terrific combination between classic fantasy and politics, Satelight did a great job in bringing the whole story to life.

There’s a lot of things at which this series stands out, among which is its absolutely HUGE cast of characters. Despite this size, a lot of them still manage to stand out as individuals, with their own roles, motives and purposes. it’s also no wonder that the story in this series is incredibly complex, successfully combining king-level politics together with small-scale battles and fights. A lot of the major characters go through quite a bit of development throughout the series, and especially the developments of Remus and Amnelis, who both start out as the most useless characters of the entire cast, is memorable.

As for the graphics, the story Guin Saga is so epic that you’d need the budget of a Hollywood movie in order to fully do it credit. Satelight obviously didn’t have this, but they definitely tried. Despite the limited budget, this series is full of eye-candy. The graphical designs in this series are absolutely amazing. The architecture and landscapes are incredibly imaginative, the character-designs make every single character unique, even the most insignificant ones that don’t have any dialogue (with the only exception those soldiers that always have their helmets on). On top of that it also has an amazing soundtrack to complement the epic atmosphere, with an OP and ED that I would rank among the best of the past half year.

But yeah, in order to make these amazing graphics possible, sacrifices had to be made. The animation is often jerky and rushed, but this series especially shows its weakest side during the battles between huge armies, which end up just as an onslaught of repeated frames and bad animation that fail to capture the grandeur of such large-scale battles. Thankfully, the creators realize this and as the show goes on they focus more and more on what they’re good at: short and sweet action-scenes, politics and character-development. And they do this really well.

I wouldn’t exactly recommend Guin Saga for those who are looking for just action. There’s Shin Mazinger for those people. Instead, the Guin Saga has a bit of everything: politics, action and character-development. If that sounds interesting to you, then by all means give this series a chance, because it’s one of the most epic shows to have come out in the past year along with the new Mazinger.

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

21 Responses

  1. Solaris says:

    I liked this so much. I halted it around ep 18 or 20 to enjoy the last part in a single burst!
    I hope this show would be enough popular to grant the other novels to be published too.
    Unluckily this is a serie with a soul (that is to say solid plot and definitely wel developed chars). Such series tend to be underrated in favour of other more flashy and meaningless shows. So it was quite sure we’d have another season of queen’s blade, but i’m not sure about Guin Saga. I really hope i’m being too pessimistic here and be proved wrong.

  2. windy says:

    I still think there will be another season of it because this episode left us with a feeling of ” what’s next”, just like at the end of each episode of this series, maybe even a lot more. Besides ,the main question laid out at the beginning wasn’t answered, that is who is Guin, where does he come from, what will be his destiny after his journey, those questions haven’t been resolved yet, so I cross my fingers and hope that maybe after a year or two that sooo awaited second season will be released… How can this show be underrated anyway… For me it was the best show of the previous half-year, even surpassing Phantom, Canaan and Shangri-la, which were also extraordinary in many ways! But I was a bit surprised by the score you gave it, psgels, I was expecting a better score, definitely above 95.

  3. gottrolledagain says:

    Shallow. Derivative. Cheaply animated. Homoerotic.

    9/10 material.

  4. Keith says:

    windy, unfortunately, I’ve heard that even after 130 or so novels, the question of who Guin is hasn’t actually been answered. lol

  5. reverse says:

    @keith lol indeed

  6. marumaru says:

    Kaith, windy,
    You will know who Guin is if you read the novel.
    I love Guins Saga very much and it was awesome show.

  7. windy says:

    marumaru, how can we read the novels, I think only 5 volumes out of 130 have been translated into english, and I guess to know who’s Guin we have to reach at least volume 30 or even the middle of all of them. Because, even at the end of vol 19 ( the last episode of this show), he didn’t seem to get close to discovering the truth about his identity and all, he just started his journey all by himself. The only option we have is to learn how to read japonese. Did you read all the novels in its original language?

  8. marko says:

    I totally agree, this is the only series that relly deserves to be completed up to the 365th episode!!! I donno why you ranked it after Shangri-La though as Shangri lacked quality in development( mainly because most characters had mental flaws ) :S I have to compliment you for blogging it as you really found a great show to blog. Now of course Satelight has no finance. So even expecting a second season is a lot. Now also, the author of the books died right after the series started. ( I think that it makes sense as a farewell gift to get an anime in the name of the longest world novel. But yea I think the series graphical lack and lack of real fanbase is the greatest handicap. Ugh if only some would understand what it means to listen to an OST by Nobuo Uematsu if only they knew >.> and then why did SQUARE ENIX or Mistwalker not support with funds?! Insubordination, letting a small studio handle one of the strongest stories that can be animated is simple irritating. Guin Saga 4 life ^o^ (and all that follows)

  9. marumaru says:

    windy,
    I read all the novels in Japanese.
    My first language is Japanese.

  10. darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    @windy
    In that case, may I ask a question: Is it clear where the story was going? Was it, in your opinion, close to an ending?

    Also, how close is this series to the novels? Do you think it’s a good adaptation?

  11. darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    *I meant to ask marumaru, obviously…

  12. earl says:

    anyone know if there are subs for eps 24-26? I can’t seem to find a place to watch it after episode 23..

  13. windy says:

    marumaru , do you know where we could buy the novels in japanese? And also , do you know what will become of Amnelis and Naris, my two favorite characters of the show. If you do could you tell me, please. Just what kind of trials await them , if they’ll meet again ( that sounds obvious, but we can’t be sure), what will their destiny be? Actually the end of this season looked like the beginning of everything, that’s why I’m just dying to know what will happen next!Thanks!

  14. jho says:

    i absolutely loved this series, just finally got to finish the sub today. wow only 19 of 130 got animated? i really really hope somehow that we’ll get to see this series continued.

  15. E I N S O F says:

    i loved every second of this series, i want more….

  16. james emmanuel junsay says:

    well i think you may call it season 1. the total episode of it is 26. wow, you guys said the 26 episodes animated…the 19 volumes of the story..then i will crave to wait season 2!!!!

    can’t wait to see whats gonna happen next..
    to guin.

  17. Z.N. Singer says:

    Good at character development? I have never ever seen an anime more character retarded in my life. All its attempts were laughable and shallow. And when I say laughable, I mean they would try for being serious and I would laugh. Or snort. Or gag. Depends on whether the Red Avatar of Puppy Love was involved. Lion my rear, give him a chew bone and put him in a padded basket in a corner somewhere. Yeesh. You are way too easy to please.

  18. Rima says:

    I hope there is another season of Guin Saga. It’s really good but I’m still left with tons of questions.

  19. Joey says:

    I know the author is passing but I really want the anime to continue. Guin Saga rocks!

  20. Twistedmindz369 says:

    I wish u make a other Season 2 please I really like the Anime

  21. Sunny says:

    I would say that some of the characters are unrealistic in their shallowness. However, I still like it. Yet, the story is badly played out, because it doesn’t have a reference to things doubling back. There is too much of a gap between some episodes that you have to make up things that have happened. A series should flow well, and this does not. None the less, I still like it.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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