Posted by psgels on 27 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Aoi Bungaku



My favourite show of the season? Definitely. Aoi Bungaku provides an awesome closure to this decade in anime with a collection of six beautifully told stories. Every single one with its own director, style, atmosphere, focus, graphics, soundtrack, themes and stories. It’s a really big experiment, that worked out wonderfully well.

No Longer Human is a wonderful character-study with a powerful and well developed main character. The visuals look like a non-action version of Kurozuka in a way, but with even more detailed art. In the Woods, Under the Cherries in Full Bloom proved to be a great combination between comedy and mindscrew, and it really had the director of Death Note and Kurozuka in its element with its Bleach-like character-designs. Kokoro is probably the least impressive of the six shorts. It’s based on a very nice idea of varied perspectives, but it’s a bit cheesy in its execution. It’s certainly not bad, though.

Hashire, Melos! Is just incredible. It’s done by the director of Mouryou no Hako, and the dialogue is just as deep and detailed as it was there. On top of that, the animation is utterly fantastic. Characters move wildly and even the slightest movements are incredibly detailed, and it gives the characters so many powerful emotions. A Spider’s Thread in its turn is a simple but all around enjoyable and tense story with great screenplay. Hell Screen then continues to close off with a huge bang with a great and powerful mindscrew, combined with a really strong direction, soundtrack and visuals.

And seriously, it’s amazing how much talent Madhouse managed to stuff into this series. It has a total of five directors, and four of them are absolutely brilliant in what they do, and have their own styles and their own brilliance. The animation is just amazing, especially in Hashire, Melos!, and definitely the best of this season, and not to mention that every single story looks unique with its own distinct set of graphics. Even Hi no Tori (which had a similar formula) had at least similar character-designs!

The depth of the characters varies from simple (Spider’s Thread) to elaborate (Melos, No Longer Human), but nearly all of them make impact. And heck, even if you don’t like one story, there’s always the next one that turns out to have a completely different focus. As much as the fansubbers will hate it, I’d love to see more series like this (imagine for example if other studios would attempt this as well). This collection of adaptations of literary works manage to fit in the stories pretty nicely in these relatively short amounts of episodes: some of the stories have been changed here and there, but it’s been done with conviction.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Powerful and gripping in six different ways.
Characters: 9/10 – Amazing characters, especially for short stories.
Production-Values: 10/10 – Detailed animation, incredibly imaginative visuals for every six of the stories.
Setting: 8/10 – Not the main focus, but solid.

4 Responses

  1. andrea says:

    “I’d love to see more series like this”

    Actually, I wish this trend of making anime stories shorter and shorter would stop. I’d like to see more longer-than-26-episodes series. Even so I enjoyed Aoi Bungaku a lot, especially the hashire melos arc.

  2. headachebaby says:

    Overall, this anime is awesome. I agreed that more anime should be based from literature because it’s a different approach. I’m tired of seeing the manga developed into an anime. I want something new and fresh.

    My favorite stories:
    1. Run Melos (best animation and dialogue)
    2. No longer Human (more character depth)
    3. Kokoro (2 perspectives of the same story)
    4. In the Woods (funny ^_^)
    5. Hell Screen (crazy…)
    6. Spider’s Thread (crazy…)

  3. jako says:

    Wow. This anime is really great. I always have to put on a jacket before i watch it because i get chills the whole time.

  4. Will says:

    As much as I’ve found Bungaku to be a good series, I had to disagree with you that Kokoro was the worst of the bunch.

    In my opinion, the two same stories told in different perspective was wonderfully crafted. I would say it was my favorite of the bunch.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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