Posted 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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  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 09:02 PM)
    Still ecstatic about SNAFU, and man, No Game No Life is friggen awesome. With ep2 I’m convinced its going to be a wild ride. The tracks are clear, everything is in order.
  • JaK
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 07:30 PM)
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 12:29 PM)
    I just read the book. Never saw the films.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:18 AM)
    Lolita is one of my favourite films of all time.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:17 AM)
    It is easy to see however how people would wander to seeing lolita herself as a victim as people traditionally see the child as the victim in that situation.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:15 AM)
    @Aidan: My opinion of lolita matches yours. However I would like to ask of the film adaptations which one worked better for you, the one with James mason or the one with Jeremy Irons?
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    I didn’t like how people tended to degrade the characters just to match their view and forcefully paint black and white over it. It ain’t that simple.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    For example I read Lolita recently. In my opinion it was about two remarkable flawed indivuals. Horrible in there own ways. However when I looked at reviews of it I couldn’t help but notice that people tended to take sides. Either Humbert was the naive man taken in by a succubus or Lolita was the poor stupid girl abused by a monster.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:40 AM)
    One of the reason I feel we hear about world war 2 far more than world war 1 is that it can be so easily be portrayed as good vs evil. Hitler was a perfect supervillain. Maybe even birthed the supervillain in fiction. It wasn’t like world war 1 which was not just one countries fault and was mainly boring trench fights. Moral complexity isn’t really what the masses like. They have a tendency to paint things black and white.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:27 AM)
    @Friend, heard of it. No real interest in playing it.

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