My favourite show of the season? Definitely. Aoi Bungaku provides an awesome closure to this decade in anime with a collection of six beautifully told stories. Every single one with its own director, style, atmosphere, focus, graphics, soundtrack, themes and stories. It’s a really big experiment, that worked out wonderfully well.
No Longer Human is a wonderful character-study with a powerful and well developed main character. The visuals look like a non-action version of Kurozuka in a way, but with even more detailed art. In the Woods, Under the Cherries in Full Bloom proved to be a great combination between comedy and mindscrew, and it really had the director of Death Note and Kurozuka in its element with its Bleach-like character-designs. Kokoro is probably the least impressive of the six shorts. It’s based on a very nice idea of varied perspectives, but it’s a bit cheesy in its execution. It’s certainly not bad, though.
Hashire, Melos! Is just incredible. It’s done by the director of Mouryou no Hako, and the dialogue is just as deep and detailed as it was there. On top of that, the animation is utterly fantastic. Characters move wildly and even the slightest movements are incredibly detailed, and it gives the characters so many powerful emotions. A Spider’s Thread in its turn is a simple but all around enjoyable and tense story with great screenplay. Hell Screen then continues to close off with a huge bang with a great and powerful mindscrew, combined with a really strong direction, soundtrack and visuals.
And seriously, it’s amazing how much talent Madhouse managed to stuff into this series. It has a total of five directors, and four of them are absolutely brilliant in what they do, and have their own styles and their own brilliance. The animation is just amazing, especially in Hashire, Melos!, and definitely the best of this season, and not to mention that every single story looks unique with its own distinct set of graphics. Even Hi no Tori (which had a similar formula) had at least similar character-designs!
The depth of the characters varies from simple (Spider’s Thread) to elaborate (Melos, No Longer Human), but nearly all of them make impact. And heck, even if you don’t like one story, there’s always the next one that turns out to have a completely different focus. As much as the fansubbers will hate it, I’d love to see more series like this (imagine for example if other studios would attempt this as well). This collection of adaptations of literary works manage to fit in the stories pretty nicely in these relatively short amounts of episodes: some of the stories have been changed here and there, but it’s been done with conviction.
|Storytelling:||10/10 – Powerful and gripping in six different ways.|
|Characters:||9/10 – Amazing characters, especially for short stories.|
|Production-Values:||10/10 – Detailed animation, incredibly imaginative visuals for every six of the stories.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Not the main focus, but solid.|