Posted by psgels on 5 April 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Level E




My favourite comedies are the ones that don’t just make me laugh a lot. They also truly excel in another area, whether this is its cast of characters (Kodocha), storytelling (Law of Ueki, Gintama) or subject material (Excel Saga). It’s been a long while, but with Level E I can finally add another series to my top 10 of favourite comedies. This show is an absolute delight to watch.

Adapted from a manga from the same writer as Hunter X Hunter and Yu Yu Hakusho, written in 1997, Level E is a brilliant comedy. For one, it is hilarious to watch. It’s got a fantastic comedic timing that plays together brilliantly with the chemistry between the different characters. This show really has a knack for getting under the skin of its different characters, with hilarious results.

Beyond that, though… this series is also just a fantastic storyteller. It basically consists out of a number of unrelated arcs, ranging between one and three episodes, all of which focus on alien life on earth in their own way. Some arcs share similar characters, but apart from that they just all have their own focus and story. This creates a ton of variety: every episode is different. And on top of that, they’re all really well told. They make excellent use of their momentum in order to both be hilarious, and actually tell some serious and interesting stories here, with a ton of well built up plot twists. It all comes together wonderfully in the end. While the stories have nothing to do with each other, they do all build up to the same atmosphere and universe, leaving an excellently fleshed out series behind, especially considering how there are only 13 episodes.

Beyond that, this show also has an amazing sense of characterization. Every character here is likable and original, miles away from the usual stereotypes. Both the males and females set themselves apart, with especially Yukitaka, Kraft and Miho. Due to the nature of this series they have relatively little airtime aside from perhaps the blonde prince, but they still stand out as amazing and down to earth characters who refuse to act like idiots just for plot convenience. the second biggest flaw of this show is really that we don’t get to see more of its awesome characterization.

The biggest flaw meanwhile is that it’s one big tease. The thing is, that it has an absolutely fantastic first arc. If the rest of the arcs would have followed in its example we would have had one of the best comedies ever made here. Instead, the rest of the arcs of this show do take a step back, but even then there is more than enough to like here. The amount of cliches in this series is really the bare minimum of what you can get and due to its rock-solid characters and storytelling it’s even enjoyable when it’s not funny, something quite rare for comedies.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Extremely witty and an amazing comedic timing. It’s a show that is constantly changing, even within its own arcs and that makes for a really diverse 13 episode series that leaves no moment wasted.
Characters: 9/10 – Amazing characterization for a 13 episoded series that focuses on different characters in each arc. It’s not that these characters are well developed. Instead, they’re the type of characters that are full of life, yet are down to earth and compelling to watch throughout the entire series. They’re the perfect example of how you can also get an amazing cast without a ton of drama.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation is average, but even this is made excellent in a few episodes with some excellent camera angles and visual ideas. The CG can be a bit obtrusive, though the soundtrack is excellent.
Setting: 9/10 – An excellent look at the concept of aliens on earth. The stories all feel fresh and a lot of imagination has gotten into creating a simple, yet over the top, yet consistent setting here.

Suggestions:
Ooedo Rocket
Sexy Commando Gaiden
The Law of Ueki

10 Responses

  1. Ransom says:

    In my opinion this has been the best anime of the season.

  2. Watcherzero says:

    The only way I could have possibly improved this show was if the intro didnt make it out to be a bishonen action show.

  3. Sapphire says:

    Best anime of the season, hands down!

    Thanks for reviewing it the way you did psgels, or else I would have never given it a try (since I’m all for shoujo, slice-of-life or adventure ^^).

    9/10, on my MAL list.

  4. Morralan says:

    Best show for this season. I just hope when they come out with the blue-ray, they will have the last chapter animated in an OVA.

  5. Mushyrulez says:

    Hey, I guess I’ll add this comment in too: best show of the season.

    The only possibility is if Madoka’s last episodes are really awesome, but Madoka’s a Spring anime, right? ;)

    To be honest, though, some of the characters seem to exhibit some obvious stereotypes – Kraft with his Dinn-er, hatred of his employer, Yukitaka with his ‘*goes off to do stuff* WAIT A MINUTE YOU GO YOURSELF’, and Miho, not really with much of a character.

    It’s not the characterization of Level E that impresses me, but the lack of extreme lack of character and the lack of overly characterized characters.

    That and there are no Kazuyas in this show :v

  6. Joojoobees says:

    Let’s face it: if this were the “average” quality of anime, we would be a lot better off. I give this one props for coming in above the curve.

  7. Belle says:

    I agree with psgels that the middle arcs did lose some steam. Though I really liked Level E, I give the best anime of the season card to Hourou Musuko (unless Madoka’s ending rocks my world)

  8. meow says:

    If the rest of the arcs would have followed in its example

    I have to disagree with you here. The whole reason the first arc worked was because we hadn’t been spoiled by the punchline in the end. Even though there were hints of slapstick, the delivery in the middle really had me fooled. And there’s alot of seriousness. That Diskonian coming back from the dead really freaked me out. The “aliens in school” arc was just creepy (was it really just a story?) and the mermaid arc was really sad. While the first arc worked it’s magic best, once, I’m glad they didn’t try to repeat the formula too much and make follow-ups stale by comparison. In a way, you might consider the final arc a kind of repeat, where again, the creators try to pull a hat trick on the audience, only now, having witnessed the first trick, I for one kind of suspected what that Princess was up to, especially after she admits basically stalking him and following his footsteps all her life.

    I do agree that this is probably the best series this season. And it was written in 1997! Fine wine. Really wish there was more. XD

  9. kura says:

    I would probably watch it, but before doing so, I would just like to know why one of the genres of this anime is horror? Is it scary? Any gore?

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  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 11:03 PM)
    Damn Tokyo Mirage is expensive. Costs more than a Fire Emblem game and Persona 4 combined so this better be worth it.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 10:57 PM)
    Always difficult to talk about slice of lifes. Usually its always “This week our characters went to the park. The end.”
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Bam: There was this bizzaro Joan of arc slide show arthouse erotica anime from the 70s that recently got a re-release, its somewhat tied to Tezuka, really trippy shit, Kanashimi no belladonna.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:35 PM)
    As a book I could see it flowing better. Oshii or Kamiyama could more effectively adapt such density of material to screen.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:32 PM)
    Ultimately I think it got too ambitious and had too much on its plate.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 PM)
    I have yet to see genocidal organ, although yes Harmony was pretty below average and that was putting it mildly. I will consider re-evaluating it if it gets dubbed/when the dub comes out.
    Admittedly its a film of big ideas, my problem with it that the movie itself is just so plodding and I found it too overstuffed to properly focus on/fully develop its themes and the exposition was particularly heavy handed.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:15 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, heard about the Project Itoh, from what I heard they’re not that good thou, with only Empire of Corpses has a slightly favorable reviews. I believe Kaiser watched Harmony alrready and he gave a very negative rating.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:55 PM)
    For those who have somehow managed to miss the hype for Harmony:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC-6U8HCF8c
    The visuals are intriguing, the palette very sharp, and the CGI relatively well integrated. The early reviews been scathing tho, and given my experience with Empire of Corpses I can guess why.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:49 PM)
    Each piece of the trilogy is handled by a different cast and company. Empire of Corpses was done by Wit Studio, Harmony by Studio 4°C, and Genocidal Organ by Manglobe (or Geno Studio as they are called now).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:43 PM)
    Anybody seen Empie of Corpses? I watched it to get primed for that Harmony feature film anime, which is part of Project Itoh trilogy. Studio Wit went all out here. The animation is great, and the premise has potential, but the delivery was just botched.

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