Posted by psgels on 17 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

From the creators of Vexille, TO is their next work as they adapt two stories from the 2001 Nights manga. This manga was a collection of stories (most of them unrelated) that chronicled the challenges of humankind as they ventured into outer space. The two episodes of TO are completely unrelated, and so they can be watched completely individual from each other. Like Vexille, these OVAs are also shot entirely in 3D CG, and unfortunately, they didn’t escape the big weakness of 3D-movies: the botox-faces. But apart from these botox-faces, how do they hold up? As a very mixed bag, actually.

The first story is Elliptical Orbit, and for the most part it’s just average: average action, average, characters, average story; it all feels like it’s been done before. While I do appreciate that one of the lead character is an actual grown up male (somewhere in his forties, I guess), there just hardly is anything interesting or noteworthy. The bad guys are stereotypical bad guys who are evil because they’re evil; the kind that want to blow lots of stuff up and kill as many people as possible.

There is one spark of light in here, though. The twist at the end of this episode is one I really, really liked: it’s creative, and adds quite a bit of depth to at least the main characters. Throughout the average action, the build-up at least came together quite nicely in the end, and so this is a story that left me with a good impression.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the second story, Symbiotic Planet. The episode should be applauded for its background art, and design works, which are absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode isn’t just average like with Elliptical Orbit, it’s just outright bad.

The story is stupid, it centers around a silly love story between star crossed lovers (since their parents hate each other and want to blow each other up for badly explained reasons). The build-up of tension is ruined by very one-dimensional characters who only seem to have one character-trait and nothing more. The real disaster is the climax, though: it’s full of lazy plotholes, deus ex machina, storyboards that just don’t make any sense (about a dozen of people completely vanish at one point, with no explanation of where they went; which is a bit unnerving because they were just infected with a dangerous space virus) and the ending itself is just such an incredibly cheap knock-off that it completely destroys any sort of build-up that still remained.

So overall, Elliptical Orbit has its charms, Symbiotic Planet doesn’t. However, the manga of 2001 Nights has already been adapted once before: in 1987 a movie was created with some of the other stories. Even though it actually has less airtime than TO, it’s a really good story and really well told, giving you a great idea of some of the basics and challenges of space travel. If you’re interested in this story, check out that one before trying trying TO. Unless you’re looking for nothing but action or botox people, I guess.

Storytelling: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10

4 Responses

  1. Avatar tk007 says:

    The twist at the end of the first story caught me off guard too. It seems we were deliberately misled throughout the show. Good one : )

  2. Avatar Akizuki says:

    Hi, can you please post the director or imdb number of this movie, I’m having an incredibly hard time finding it online by virtue of it being named “TO” +__+


  3. psgels psgels says:

    I don’t have the imdb number, but here is the anidb link. I hope that that at least helps.

  4. Avatar Akizuki says:

    Arigats to the max dude! Got it : )

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