Posted by psgels on 4 October 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews



Horizon had so much going for it. In this season of creativity, it fit right in with its premise, and all sorts of weird powers for each of its characters, its unique sense of combat and its huge back-story. Along the way though, something went wrong with me. What went wrong, and why did this happen?

The thing is, that even though I mildly enjoyed this show, I could hardly bring myself to care about it. I barely managed to finish this sequel without dropping it and each week I had to push myself to watch another episode. It’s not like the episodes themselves were boring: there was enough action and creativity to prevent that from happening and this was far from as generic as Tari Tari was. Still, there is something in the style of storytelling that just could not catch my attention.

The reason behind this is something that I’ve noticed in a few other Sunrise series as well (they’re the one who produced this series), mostly Gundam: the action overload. This show wants to try so hard to deliver action that it keeps on delivering as much action scenes as possible. These action scenes are well animated, and they involve interesting powers clashing against each other, but there is so much focus on them that this show forgets about everything else. The balance is completely gone!

The result is that among all these creative action scenes, nothing really stands out. This show starts with a scene, then moves onto the next and then the next again, without any of them making any impact beyond mild entertainment. It’s like having a 7-course meal in which every dish consists out of some variation of chocolate pie: sure it’s delicious and all, but it’s just way too much and too monotone.

A nasty side-effect of this is that this show also refuses to spend time on fleshing out its cast. Every scene has to make an impact or build-up for the action, and we hardly ever get to know the cast beyond a few comedic skits that do very little in giving them any kind of character to sympathize with. The majority of them are bad boob jokes anyway. And I mean, there is this romance subplot that feels forced at best, but that’s the most character development we see in this entire series.

Horizon is a show that does one thing really well, but instead of using the rest to support this, it just ignores this. The complete lack of any attention to balance just made me unable to care about what was going on. The plot and setting are saved by good source material, but in the end I just can’t recommend this show because of this.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Lack of balance: this show is just action, action and more action without anything to differentiate it inbetween.
Characters: 6,5/10 – Great ideas behind them and they really try to be likable, but this show doesn’t take that further: every character in this show is completely one-dimensional.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very solid, albeit that the character-design style still look quite ugly.
Setting: 9/10 – This is where this show shines: a huge plot, creative powers. You can see that the original source material spent a lot of time in making this stand out.

Suggestions:
Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto
Law of Ueki

17 Responses

  1. Avatar wicked says:

    needless to say I disagree with a lot. Characters on the Spanish side got a lot of development with their screen time, same goes for the witches, the wolf, the commander and the mechanic on the Musashi side. Horizon literally gains an emotion every season.

    Though compare to other light novel adaptations, this is one series that really hyper condenses a ridiculous amount. SAO gets 25 episode to get through 2 books, Horizon gets 13 to get through both books of volume 2 and each of Horizon’s books are 2-2.5 times the length of an SAO book

  2. Avatar dm00 says:

    Horizon has been one of my favorite series of those from the past couple of years — largely because of the creativity you mention. I can understand the complaints that the characterization is hyper-compressed, however. Even so, I think they bring an astonishing amount of life to each member of its astoundingly huge central cast. For many, that may divide loyalties too finely, so that, in the end, one may not care enough about any individual, or may not feel invested in the outcome of any particular conflict.

    I find myself invested in many of the characters (though not, particularly, in the putative central couple of Toori and Horizon — I think the series is wise to keep them in the background the way it has this season). Add that to the creativity shown in each episode, and I’m hooked. I love the way this show rewards repeat viewings, the way it is packed with subtle jokes that are simply there for you to notice, and otherwise made little of. With that, I’m a bit confounded as to what the over-arching theme of the show is, but I’m not sure I care: it seems to have enough mini-themes going for it.

    • Avatar dm00 says:

      It’s interesting to me that you suggest Armed Librarians — I finally picked that up recently, and as I watch it I do find myself comparing it to aspects of Horizon (mostly the world-building, the development of the large cast, the inter-weaving of multiple plot threads). I’m only a third of the way into the series, though.

      I’d consider suggesting Tatami Galaxy, though that is mostly because of the pacing and the way the plot weaves through the episodes.

      Also, Kyousogiga because of pacing and the fact that its alien world will take a while to understand.

  3. Avatar teelaelmes says:

    I don’t want to sound rude but you are mistaking the show not fleshing it’s cast for you not noticing it, svereal members of the cast got fleshed out in this season. Also you probably only noticed the action scenes and ignored the rest, as I see it, it was balanced well enough.

  4. Avatar Babel says:

    If nothing else, this show (and the season preceding it) requires new viewers to do homeworks before and after watching each episode to fully enjoy the content. I’m not saying this is a good thing. A story should stand on its own, but it is what it is. A lot of plot threads this season probably went by way over your head, and you lost some enjoyment because of that.

    If you venture out to other anime blogs, you’ll probably see comments about how so many episodes brought them to tears. That is not a coincidence. They just understood what the scene was about.

    What I don’t understand at all though, are your criticism about action overload. If anything, the show is smart in that the action scenes serve to develop characters and plot. Each fights always result directly in plot and character development. There are always a stake in each fights this season. Its just about understanding what those stakes are.

    Personally, Horizon is probably one of my favorite series in recent years. It asks a lot from its viewers, and rewards them just as much. Also, there’s something so wonderfully refreshing about watching fun and confident characters interact with each other with so very little angst. A rarity in anime.

    • Avatar Babel says:

      List of plot threads that are developed this season (without the boob jokes you mention). There’s probably more. This is just from the top of my head.

      – Toori convincing Horizon to give up logic and embrace emotions
      – Tenzou and Mary
      – Neshinbara and Shakespere-chan
      – Malga’s complex with Margot
      – Gin and Muneshige’s issues
      – Philippe and Juana’s issues
      – Mary and Elizabeth’s relationships

      There’s also a recurring motif with “scars” this season as well, and how they apply to different people. Try to apply the word to the different main characters this season (Horizon, Mary, Gin, Shakespere).

      ALL of these points are neatly developed and completed within this season alone. Now, some of them are quite rushed, but they are there to find. This is not a shallow anime.

    • Avatar wicked says:

      It’s not a series for people casually watching, but it’s a series that does make you want to find out more on your own

      • Avatar genius says:

        Horizon is a full frame that is why not enjoy it and not know anything monotoma horizon is rather a complex world where you see the negociacions, debates and how countries exposed their views on how to recreate the great battles of history.
        the characters take the names of the great kings, celebrities of that time to fulfill a specific role, but they are the same in the end choose the direction they want to take as did Tori, Horizon, Maria, Shakespere, Malga, Neshinbara, Gin, Juana and Felipe Elizabeth 2, etc.

  5. Avatar genius says:

    I was wrong to send the message well,
    and you’re right that wicked anime teaches you many things

  6. Avatar wakka9ca says:

    I still need to emphasize how anyone that is remotely interested in this series should either read the novel or read this:
    http://kyoukaisen.tumblr.com/

    I mean both seasons were totally awesome in terms of the amount of details and dedication poured into it. The second season topped the first one because it was able to actually condense so much story in just 13 episodes… and in such a satisfying way. This is pure dedication from both the producers (thank you Sunrise) and the author.

  7. Avatar respectlost says:

    To criticize this anime without bothering to explore much more is seriously underrating this series. As some comments above have mentioned, this series has an information overload. I consider this the Lord of the Rings of the East, and it would require considerable time, effort and certainly capabilities to truly enjoy this series. The fine details included in this series just goes to show how dedicated the production team. To rate the likes of Mushishi, Kaiba, Armed Librarians as a 90+ series and this as a 76+ series just goes to show that you’re unable to digest multiple issues concurrently and the severe lack of attention and love in your life as reflected in your “insufficient character development” viewpoint.

    • psgels psgels says:

      No, it just means that I found this boring and my taste is different from yours. That’s a big difference. And this comes from a guy who loved Mouryou no Hako, so it’s not that I dislike show that discuss complex issues.

    • Avatar Hogart says:

      At a certain point, you have to get over yourself and realize this is supposed to be entertainment, not some grandiose introspective on the history of humanity. If it’s not entertaining someone, and they point that out, then taking offense at it is just ridiculous.

      Did the anime adaptation leave you with the impression that it was “The Lord of the Rings” of the east? If so then we were watching very different anime and I’d argue that you’ve got some incredibly thick rose-colored glasses there. I’m guilty of that kind of fan-ishness too, but you’re not winning anyone over by taking potshots at people who prefer Mushishi to this.

  8. Avatar Kamen Grinder says:

    Production-Values:
    Horizon 8/10
    Kokoro Connect 8.5/10
    KC higher than Horizon.
    Give up Japan, not making any effort is better received than actually trying to do something.

  9. Avatar Hogart says:

    I tried enjoying this, I really did. I even abstained from reading negative opinions, and read that huge page devoted to explaining season one better than season one actually did. And you know what? I’m even less inclined to read the novels now then if I hadn’t watched the anime. You can argue I have bad taste, but then I’d just argue this wasn’t trying to win any new fans.

    I wanted it to work so badly that I watched it with the most open mind I could give it, but with Horizon’s fanbase it really doesn’t need any more detractors. It’s an acquired taste, and the anime is for fans. If you’re lucky, you might enjoy it. If not, the fans won’t convince you that you’re missing out on anything.

  10. Avatar Kingkirin says:

    Should’ve make a recount on the score. Last time I checked, This anime is terrible. One, too many characters all mashed up into a cramped anime. Two, It’s logic has crumbled into dust just as the tower of babel’s logic foundation is turned into dust turning their form of logic into a muddled mess. I can’t understand what they are saying let along follow up with the nonsense of a story. Lastly, All the characters are so stupid that the characters in that nonsensical show should be placed along the lines of barbarians and unintelligent savages. Furthermore, Reenacting history while people inheriting the names of historical figures is stupid let alone sinful to abuse the names of famous figures of history. If the grading system is shattered, I would give that stupid show a quadruple F Minus.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

8 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

DanMachi2 – 6 [City of Lust (Ishtar Familia)]

DanMachi, as an anime, grew up this week. From the show that brought you the cosplaying mechanic of the “Hestia ribbon” comes an episode dealing with largest taboo in hero anime, and in some ways, Japanese conservative culture as a whole. Watching DanMachi this week is like this: you have a friend who you hang […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 20 [Pretend Family]

After last week’s episode, I had high hopes for Kimetsu no Yaiba this week. Sadly, I think I came away from it with more criticisms than complements. Perhaps natural, since living up to last week was nigh impossible. But I wasn’t prepared for Yaiba to undercut its best episode either. Welcome to Yaiba, episode 20, […]

Dr.STONE – 7 [Where Two Million Years Have Gone]

Ah today is a good day. The day where Dr.STONE reinforces what I loved about it when I first read it. You see this week Science takes center stage, we meet the ancient sorcerer Chrome, and the legendary Kinro gets his fabled weapon. Enough with the preamble though, welcome to this weeks Dr.STONE and lets […]

Mononoke – 2 [Zashikiwarashi – Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

There really isn’t a good way to introduce this episode. Nothing is really going to soften the madness of what I just watched. As this week Mononoke has given us one of the darkest/creepiest yet most endearing episodes I have seen in a long time. So let’s just get on with it. Starting off, a […]

Cop Craft – 06 [Need For Speed]

Cop Craft mixes up many unusual elements such as porno magazines, gay policeman, car chases and even romance into its trip this week. The result is that while it’s light in content, it proves to be more entertaining than when it deals with serious plot. While at this point I still prefer the relationship between […]

Kanata no Astra – 08 [Past]

There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Vinland Saga – 6 [The Journey Begins]

Another week, another dose of Viking murder, courtesy of Vinland Saga. This week we watch our baby boy grow up, learn a bit about Viking history, and get into the series proper. Let’s dive in! Starting off, as always, the production aspect. This week showed us some of the cracks in Vinland’s production. For while […]

DanMachi2 – 5 [The Hearthfire Mansion (Home)]

DanMachi, you have me scratching my head. It takes you less than 20 minutes of air time to wrap up a 4 episode built, fortune changing battle – and then you spend the next 20 discussing Hestia’s Homebuilding. And what’s more – it was a very enjoyable Fixer-Upper-At-Your-Enemy’s-Expense episode. Just…a bit puzzling pace. Let’s take […]

Latest Reviews

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]