Posted by psgels on 23 January 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




I think it’s no surprise that my favourite director of all time is Kazuki Akane. If you look at my Top 10 favourite anime, this guy directed three of those spots, and even his flawed series of Geneshaft was fascinating science fiction. Now, I’m not going to compare Heat Guy J to his other series, though. The entire review would then pretty much look like “Yeah, the [insert element here] is very good, but not as good as Escaflowne, Noein and Birdy” over and over again, because as a standalone series, Heat Guy J has a lot to like.

Starting off, the action in this series is really good and also surprisingly varied. The animators here ended up experimenting with a ton of different styles for animating their action scenes, you have clean brawl-fests, there are fights with messy yet very expressive animation, there are gunfights, car chases, sword battles. This wide array of different styles makes every action scene here worth watching. If anything, just watch the first episode for some superbly directed and animated action. The soundtrack too is very excellent and varied as well. The character designs will probably take a while to (this and Escaflowne have the same character designs ;)), but once you do they too look great, diverse and imaginative.

The show is pretty episodic, and the ratio of random to plot related episodes is about 30 to 70, and even episodes that might seem random at first turn out to have some significance as the story goes on. Heat Guy J’s story is very much dependant on its cast of characters, which really is excellent. The acting is perhaps a bit stiff at times, but the entire cast grows into something lovable by the end of the series. All of the major side characters either get some significant development or an interesting back-story, and I especially loved how the final fight with the major villain at the end ties everything together, wrapping this series up very nicely without leaving any bad aftertaste whatsoever.

The series takes place in another one of those post-apocalyptic futures, but what’s interesting is that while most shows of this kind tend to have a very bleak and depressing outlook, Heat Guy J balances this out with also a lot of positive energy. On one hand, it delves into corruption and crime, but on the other it’s having fun and celebrating humanity’s collective ability to survive a harsh environment and making the best of what they have. This balance they create is great and definitely gives this show an interesting setting to work with.

So yeah, to get back to the first paragraph: this show has a lot of good stuff in it, though I also admit that it did not reach the heights of Birdy, Noein and Escaflowne. Most of the difference lies in the details, though: the latter ones were much better fleshed out and the only real flaw of Heat Guy J is its stiff acting at times, Still, it’s hard not to love the titular J and his constant one liners about what a real man should be, or any of the other characters for that matter.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Nice pacing, interesting stories.
Characters: 9/10 – Great and lovable characters with diverse backgrounds. Nice depth and development to them as well.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Excellent animation, especially during the action scenes. Awesome soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Simple but effective. It’s well fleshed out at the end.

Suggestions:
Noein
DT Eightron
Turn A Gundam

5 Responses

  1. rever5e says:

    Yeah the main storyline definitely the weakest compare to other of his work, never manage to hit any height. even so I definitely enjoy watching it, because I love the character in the series. it bonus point because it similar to stuff I like.

  2. Judoh says:

    I think it is one of Kazuki Akane’s best projects. If Casshern Sins can get 90/100 I
    think this should too. For me, I think it’s like Kazuki trying to do a ‘Cowboy Bebop’ style series but it didn’t take off as he thought it would. The characters are so realistic but I think the main problem is it’s an episodic series for too long and there ends up being no time for much of a bigger plot.

    …But man look at those Screencaps.
    This was a 2002 series and it looks alot better than some of the current season.

  3. DangerMouse says:

    Yeah, I loved the characters, action and tech of the setting, this was a great show that never quite broke out with what it could have been but was still a fantastic watch.

    I agree, Judoh, I don’t mind some episodic content but I thought that was the main flaw as well since the setting was begging for it with all the details we saw of it and for these great characters to be able to tackle it.

    As pointed out in the review the variety of action and all the neat touches to it I still remember as quite striking despite not having seen the show in ages. I also liked at the time the totally fitting experimentation of CG for J himself and I remember it made some of the action really stand out appropriately too given the andriod hero, not to mention the relatively iconic smoke cooling moments after J pulls off some cool action. I’ll always remember the main character’s bike too, the creators obviously loved that thing.

    This review also brought back my memories of this show and Geneon’s great dub as it reminded me of how super-cool I thought dub J’s deep fitting voice was when I got the first dvd. And ofcourse Bosch’s crazy bad guy voice for the first time needs to be mentioned for those who like good dubs.

  4. Judoh says:

    @DangerMouse
    Yeah I think this is just one of those shows that got swept under.

    It’s alittle like how Code Geass is more popular than Darker than Black even though they came from the same season….I think?
    Doesn’t mean it was a better series just means it was more commercial/different.

    Also little fun fact about the bike. The guy that designed it also went on to design the bikes on ‘Advent Children’ that’s why they look alittle similar with the Akira look and big pipes on them and all.

  5. Yarow12 says:

    Oh, God! I’ve been searching for this show for years! I first saw three episodes of it on MTV2 when I was a kid (a little over the year of 2000). I had no idea what the title was, but I was addicted, for the first time, to what I actually knew was anime. Thanks!

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:32 AM)
    @Bam: I feel so dashed that blame only got that 45 minute ova…
    He got a proposed zombie manga which got cancelled before it even got started =<
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:30 AM)
    While Macross zero may not have been the highest point of the franchise I almost felt Gargantia was a confused poor mans version of it.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:28 AM)
    Tsutomu Nihei’s works are criminally underutilized in the anime industry. I remember how hard I fangirled out when I heard the rumors of a Madhouse black&white Biomega anime that they called a ‘moving manga’, but all of that dissipated into thin air unfortunately =/
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:26 AM)
    Theres talk of a new macross coming out I think and man, oh man can I not wait, feck off sunrise, this deserved to be the big mecha franchise not gundam, geass or insert sunrise mech here.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:26 AM)
    @emma haha true
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:24 AM)
    Escaflowne never got to finish out its run properly, there are aspects I like of it such as the antagonist, the lead males background but it doesn’t always mix all of what it tries to do together as well as it thinks. And Dilandau…boo hiss…
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:22 AM)
    The old mecha shows are too campy for me X(
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:21 AM)
    @emma i also think Gargantia held its own pretty well. Although obviously not as well as sidonia, it was a mainstream mecha show that was fresher than the rest. As for Sidonia, I love the atmosphere. Its so rare nowadays to get an anime as atmospheric
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:21 AM)
    Then you get the odd mecha like shin mazinger or giant robo.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:20 AM)
    @Brendan: Geass was a sneaky show like shana at the time, I too left anime alone for a bit, then came back and initially those shows got me.

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