Posted by psgels on 26 June 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Zetman



Anime as a medium has a lot of great points, but its system also has plenty of disadvantages. One of those problems: producing a full fledged anime series is expensive. Now try finding someone who’ll fund the production of a full fledged series for the adaptation of your obscure manga. This problem has been huge, especially after anime started to become more popular and the amount of series produced each season increased. Six years ago the common length of a series was 26 episodes. Today it is half of that. Zetman is another one of these series with a huge manga that had to be stuffed into just 13 episodes. This seemed like a recipe for disaster, but holy crap it definitely tried to make the most of what it had.

Let me get one thing straight though: this series is rushed. Incredibly rushed. But here is the thing: among the incredibly rushed series of only 13 episodes long, it is one of the best. The reason for that is tha the plot, while flimsy at times, never really falls apart: the story has a clear beginning, middle and end and it has a fairly good progression. The ending also doesn’t feel tacked on at the last minute and actually closes off the series properly. Sure, a lot of things had to be cut and rearranged for this, but at lest this series feels complete and not a cop-out.

This series stands out with how much raw passion has been put into it. The character designs look gorgeous when they are put into action due to all of the details that the creators put into the facial expressions of the characters. There is a lot of great animation in this series that attempts to bring the characters to life, and even though it’s clear that this series has a small budget, the creators tried to use their budget as much as possible and make every frame have a strong visual presence. Especially the first episode has some animation that deserves to be checked out, and even though the episodes after that never manage to be as well animated, there still are plenty of interesting visuals throughout the series.

This is a series about Superheroes and it pushes the limits of what it means to be a superhero throughout the series, but this series also has a lot of themes about family. Whether you should watch this series if you’ve read the Zetman manga.. I have no idea. If this isn’t the case though and you’re in for an over the top and expressive series and don’t mind many graphic themes as rape, then call this a recommendation because despite being rushed, Zetman turned out to be a very engaging series.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Should have been 39 episodes, but surprisingly this show doesn’t fall apart, nor leaves with a bad inconclusive ending.
Characters: 8.5/10 – Very expressive characters and this series loves to challenge the beliefs of its cast.
Production-Values: 8.5/10 – Amazing detail on the facial expressions. That’s the point where Zetman really set itself apart in terms of graphics this season.
Setting: 8/10 – Takes the concept of superheroes and does very interesting things with them. It just could have been so much more interesting if it had more episodes.

Suggestions:
Hitsuji no Uta
Mononoke
Shinrei Taneti Yakumo

13 Responses

  1. Anon says:

    Madoka Magica is to magical girls as Zetman is to superheroes.
    I’ll have to read the manga in the future. I was enjoying all the deconstruction of what it means to be a hero.

    • Hunter-Wolf says:

      Same here, specially with what happened to Kouga, all the tests and moral dilemmas presented to him were really interesting, harsh and cruel, and actually would put most comic super heroes to a halt when they realize they really can’t save everyone no matter what ^_^

  2. Arno says:

    I hear you, it could have been a masterpiece without the Kouga character, which is a retard with 5 years of mental age, and should be in an institution.

    It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story and the intellectual level of all the other characters, monsters included, the time spent on him was a nuisance for the viewer.

    The Kouga character was bearable in the first episode when they were children, and in the two next episodes which concentrated mainly on new grown-up Jin. But as soon as Kouga came back into focus in episode 04 the show was dead imho.

    • Chu says:

      This is pretty much what turns me off every single time – an idiot.

      It could have been so much more epic without Kouga.

    • Hunter-Wolf says:

      You clearly never saw a nerd in your life, i’m not even sure what are you doing on an anime blog .. Kouga simply was a nerd that happened to also be on the side of naivety .. nothing more nothing less .. he is pretty intelligent and capable despite his naivety getting in his way many times.

      Actually the series would be pretty damn hollow if it wasn’t for Kouga, by presenting Jin and Kouga as different almost contrasting forms of super heroes, each with his own way of justice the series really explored the concept of superheroes and deconstructed it, asking along the way about what it truly means to be one and the REAL moral dilemma that accompanies that .. in Kouga’s own words “Things don’t always work out nicely, sometimes we are forced to make gut-wrenching choices” .. his character development from a nerdy naive rich boy who is using his family’s fortune and capabilities to make his dream of being a super hero into reality into an actual super-hero that had to do some real hard choices and go through some serious shit to become one is one of the most interesting things about the series.

      Seriously, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about nor understood the series.

  3. Armpit says:

    I stated that was going to happen with Kouga very early on. There was just no way they could make him as awesome as he is in the manga with only 13 episodes to work with.

    That said, the anime turned out much better than i expected as a fan of the manga. I can’t remember too many anime out there that adapted a manga that has enough material for at least 50 episodes, crammed it into 12-13 episodes, and still turn out pretty solid as this did

  4. ChocoBar says:

    These comments are hilarious

  5. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Well, well .. first i have to say i just marathoned Zetman in one sitting .. and heck .. it was one hell of ride, i don’t really understand why you Psgels insist it is incredibly rushed .. maybe if you compare it with the manga .. but i didn’t read the manga (let alone know it existed before reading about it in your posts) and it didn’t feel rushed to me one bit .. remember that if someone had no point of reference to compare the series to there is no reason for them to consider it rushed .. heck they would be annoyed to hear someone calling the series rushed (i am) !!!

    Ok, now back to the series, i have to agree that the animation and art style are very good, i really loved the extra care given to the characters faces and facial expressions, the faces really do have a lot of depth and character to them, and most of the character designs stand out.

    As for the story, while Jin didn’t get as much development as Kouga i have to say both where a joy to watch … but Koga gets the cake forbeing the one with the best devleopment .. he really changed a lot .. while seeing Kouga’s nerdy side take over whenever justice or Alphas was mentioned was hilarious and sad at the same time it is understandable .. i imagine a nerd getting his hands on a military-grade power suit that gives him powers like his fav super hero would act like a 10 years old kid out of excitement .. actually who the heck wouldn’t be this excited .. his naivety also was handled really well .. and it played a big part in his development which reached a high point when he took control of the situation in ep11 and killed those two “players” and Hayami who was behind those cruel mind games .. after that point his naivety was long gone .. and again .. anyone who goes through the shit he went through would either go nuts (he almost did) or mature a dozen of years .. and in this case it helped him a lot despite the losses he suffered and the mistakes he did, which makes him by far the most interesting character in the series

    As for Jin .. he too had to face some difficult choices especially near the end of the series .. and surprisingly his “i want to save everyone” justice was actually way more naive than Kouga’s “i want to eradicate evil” kind of justice even if Kouga was acting more naively most of the time, Jin’s concept of justice only worked very few times like when saving that family from the fire (a very risky move that could have really killed them all), but fact is Jin couldn’t really save everyone he cared about no matter what he did (his father, his love Tanaka and many others he failed to save .. even in the simulation sequence in ep3 Akemi died a horrible death) .. to be fair both concepts of justice the two main characters had are flawed and not perfect .. and the series did a good job showing us that there is no single “perfect” concept of justice … which i have to say is a very interstign aspect of the series (almost a deconstruction of the super hero idea .. specially with the bloody messy tests and cruel mind games Kouga had to go through to become the super hero he sought to be).

    What else to say, the animation, action choreography and music were all fantastic, the story was really straight forward but had some surprising twists and also handled the subject of superheroes in a fresh interesting way .. all in all .. it was a fantastic watch and the life-goes-on ending fit really well with the themes of the series … 9/10 for me ^_^

  6. Nightwatch says:

    Zetman was a pleasant surprise, and one of the most underrated shows to come out in a while (case in point — it’s ranked 2389 on MyAnimeList and 1492 on Anime-Planet).

    Even though Zetman was rushed, it did it consistently from the first episode, so it never felt jarring/unexpected, and interesting enough its resolution was less rushed than 9/10 anime (from movies to 50+ episode anime).

    Each character has clear motives and appropriate flaws. For example, Kouga’s strong sense of justice (Jin’s justice) is hindered by his own vanity and how to achieve that justice (naivety). The father/son human player combo are so consumed with revenge, they underestimate Kouga and can’t see that they are actually pushing Kouga to embrace/rationalize his own sense of justice. And so on…

    Zetman also does a great job at painting things grey — nothing is black and white — none of that simplistic good vs evil bullshit you see in most anime.

    And to anyone complaining about Kouga, you must absolutely despise Code Geass, because if not your words are contradictory — Suzaku is a million times worse than Kouga in every way…

    Anyway, Zetman is a solid 8/10.

  7. MochiRochi says:

    Hi,

    I hope you don’t mind that I quoted you for my review of Zetman. If this is a problem, I’ll delete your quote right away.

    Great site by the way ^^

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Ah, it’s no problem. In fact, I’m glad if people quote me, as long as they don’t rip my entire articles. ^^;

  9. Cras says:

    So Hanako is a player, although they made it seem like she didn’t know she was one.

    Anyways, Jin really gets the shaft here in the ending guys. He gets a girl he loves, she turns out to be a player, and then Kouga ends up killing her because he thinks all players are evil. Now, any remote fantasy he had for a normal life or a family is completely shattered, while on the other hand, Kouga gets fame as a superhero, gets a girlfriend, and runs the family business. Da fuq?

    Kouga’s character development was on point, but he ends up just completely going insane… Come on Jin just stab the poor dude, his children are going to become complete shit heads, especially with that girl “my sense of justice is you”.

    Anyways, everything seemed good until the ending, it left a lot to be desired and I just really dislike Kouga’s character at the end. I think the writers wanted him to become the laughing stock for the audience, like here’s Zetman and then Alphas…a name Kouga stole from a superhero TV show he watched as a child.

    It just annoys me that Jin starts off with almost nothing, gains a few precious things, and then loses almost everything. Life is hard, man. Kouga doesn’t even react to accidentally killing his own mother.

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