Posted by psgels on 19 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




I may be hard on shoujo series at times, but don’t get me wrong: when done right I really love the genre (heck, my favourite series of all time is pretty much a shoujo adventure). Patapata Hikousen no Bouken (otherwise known as the Secret of Cerulean Sand) is a bit childish at times, but it’s a wonderfully charming adventure series that doesn’t shy away from dark topics.

As a story that’s constantly moving forwards, it tells about Jane Buxton and the people she meets as she tries to find her lost brother. While seemingly realistic at first, it quickly shows a number of science fiction roots not unlike Nadia and the Secret of Blue Water. Not surprisingly, since both are based on stories by Jules Verne (a guy who wrote about aeroplanes, decades before they were actually invented). A lot of attention went into creating all kinds of different machines, where this series puts especially its focus on flying machines, but there is a lot more than just that. It’s pretty much the science fiction of 150 years ago. The story also gets pretty epic and fast paced, leaving hardly any time to get bored.

Jane as the lead characters has a ton of charms. She may be a teenager, but she’s smart, knows what she wants, she can think for herself and overall she’s a great character to keep the entire series from flowing smoothly. Among the side characters there’s also quite a bit of character-development throughout the entire series, and I can really only recall two characters whose antics become annoying (a dog and a kid), but even they are not that bad.

While the key animation frames may not look impressive, the in-between animation is where this series really shines. You can spot some repeated frames here and there, but it really is surprisingly smooth and lively at others. The ghibli-esque use of bright colours really makes this a pretty series to look at, despite the seemingly average character-designs. The music is also surprisingly good. Combine this with a solid script and the action scenes are all pretty good throughout the series, ranging from the epic ones to small chases.

You’re going to need a lot of suspense of disbelief, though. It’s entertaining, but this series does remain a children’s adventure. Its main problem is its “children are smarter than adults”-mentality. I mean, I know Jane is smart and all, but when she keeps escaping the bad guys after being captured, time after time, they should have started wondering about how efficient their own security is.

The main bad guy is an interesting one. I mean, he’s as stereotypical as you can get, but the series is aware of it. It knew that it needed a guy like him in order to show the things it wanted to show, and so they did take care in giving him a background, personality and solid motivation… which actually are quite good, and actually result into a surprisingly solid ending. Nowadays, you hardly get to see any new adaptations of classic novels. Which is a pretty darned shame when you see series like this one. It’s not the best, but it has a lot of charms.

Storytelling: 8/10 – If you bring a healthy dose of suspense of disbelief you’ll be rewarded by an exciting adventure whose story just keeps moving and evolving.
Characters: 8/10 – The stereotypical bad guys don’t prevent the charms of the main cast to shine.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Good soundtrack. Smooth animation, surprisingly good for its looks.
Setting: 8/10 – Very neat ideas behind the setting, machines and plot twists. Don’t try to ask the how and why behind it, though. It’s not that solid.

Suggestions:
Mahou Shoujotai
Ashita no Nadja

12 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    Yay! You reviewed this! I’m actually halfway through the series and I really like it so far. By the way, you kinda posted the review twice in the same post. And yes, I agree with you that Jane is a great character.

  2. teresita says:

    Actually this is my first time hearing of secret of cerulean sands, but i really want to watch it now. sounds a bit like FMA though, still great review

  3. Generic Individual says:

    good review! – been reading your blog for a while and I was wondering when you’d get to this/

    it’s a great little show – I think it starts a tad slow and is full of some ludicrous plot holes and leaps in logic (even for a kids show) but its got such a fun adventure, almost Ghibli-ish vibe that you have to love it.

    Hopefully more people go out and find it.

  4. Hunter-Wolf says:

    @Generic Individual

    I totally agree about the Ghibli-ish vibe .. it really feels like a Ghibli adventure from the pics .. this alone will make me want to check it out.

  5. yamapishy says:

    awww..I never thought you’d review this series!!! It’s one of my favourites!!! wahhh arigatou gozaimasu!!!
    I love everything in this series neh…I think shoujo animes should be like this one. It’s definitely one of the best in history…oldies but goodies!!!^_^

  6. vucubcaquix says:

    Well, damn. Another show to put on the list…

    I can’t believe I never heard of this. Any similarity to Kemono no Souja Erin? Because I really liked that show.

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Vucubcaquix: Well, I guess that they’re both shoujo adventures, but the big difference between them is that Erin was very slow paced, while the Secret of Cerulean Sand has a bit of a fast pacing.

  8. vucubcaquix says:

    Thanks for that, I found a copy on bakabt, but the encode is pretty ancient. I mean, man, DivX…

  9. DangerMouse says:

    I absolutely loved this, a great adventure show, nice to hear about it again, it’s been a while. :)

  10. crazedrace says:

    ive just started watching the show, ive got to disagree with your assessment of Jane, she just seems like a spoiled brat, at least for the first 6-7 episodes that ive seen so far

  11. Firechick says:

    @crazedrace: Don’t worry. Jane gets a lot better in the episodes after that. I assure you.

  12. Piroca de Fantasma é Geladinha says:

    Finished it a few days ago, already in 2015, one decade after it was fansubbed.
    Really liked it. Recommended.

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  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:35 AM)
    Its a bit long and gets kind of fillerly/draggy in the middle
    But I enjoy it enough to see myself putting it on my favourites list, its unpredictable, evolving and addicting. I’d recommended it strongly.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:33 AM)
    The artwork still looks good today and hasn’t aged badly.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:32 AM)
    There are also alot of stories going on at once. Theres stuff about politics, rascism, epidemics, rogue AI in there too.
    Hopefully the author can tie it all together.
    My issues with it so far I guess would be that I suppose it gets a bit overwhelming at times, it can be a little disjointed in parts, I would like a greater expansion of all it brings up/has on its plate. But as it is its a cool action flick manga that has at least some heart and brains to it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:27 AM)
    It delivers well enough on the character backstories, has a solid emotional core, finds room for cyberpunk, war, espionage, I don’t even mind the gangster stuff, the world is interesting and theres always plenty going on and theres never a shortage of gorehound action/violence far away. Ontop of that it can call itself good enough to stand among appleseed, ghost in the shell and blame/biomega.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:20 AM)
    Currently up to volume 11 of Eden its an endless world. And, given that I’ve been so long at this anime/manga thing its not often enough that I find something that can still blow me away. But this manga is like a narcotic I can’t get off and I’m genuinely impressed with it. I even started BUYing the volumes.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 04:54 PM)
    Speculating is very hard with the current state of things
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 04:53 PM)
    I’m looking forward to how it’ll unravel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 03:21 PM)
    @Bam, I was thinking of 8/10 too. The extra 0.5 is out of bias.
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 11:52 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: just look at Yukinon. She has major problems to get over before she can consider a relationship with anyone. In the end Haruno was right: she relies on Hachiman too heavily and it isn’t good. If anything they need space to let her disentangle her emotions and find solid ground to her life.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 10:42 AM)
    Now time to watch Fate/Zero and see what the fuss was all about.

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