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.|