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sarisasenshi's Saber Marionette Tv Review

Saber Marionette

Saber Marionette tv Review

In a world populated only by men, Terra II, the surviving men have fashioned curvaceous androids in the female form. They are called Marionettes, and are built for one purpose--to obey man's every whim...except one.

While these beautiful mechanical beings are modeled after women in every way, to fall in love with them is taboo. So what is the poor boy Otaru Mamiya to do when he develops a massive crush on a Marionette named Lime, a unique Saber model with a special circuit that gives her emotions? When Otaru awakens two more mysterious Saber Marionettes, his life as an average man quickly becomes as extraordinary as the circuitry under the flesh of his busty new friends.

Credit: sarisasenshi

Story & Characters

I remember when I watched a few of my first episodes of Saber Marionette J on VHS back when Anime Village was more widely known than its newer corporate label, Bandai Entertainment. Back then, Saber Marionette J brought something very new and interesting to the table, even before the creation of the Chobits series by CLAMP.

True, this isn't the first time that anime has attempted to tell the story of androids living among human beings. But rather than brushing the series off on that fact alone, you have to consider the setting that the story takes place. After an unexplained catastrophe had taken place on the human migration spacecraft, the Mesopotamia, seven men had survived the ordeal after landing on the surface of a nearby planet known as Terra II. Trapped on a barren world with no means of populating the planet, they turned to cloning and other methods of science in order to be able to survive. Through cloning, the planet was able to thrive and become totally populated by men. But the memory of the human female was not completely forgotten, and that lead to the production of female androids known as 'marionettes'. They help to perform menial tasks, and are mainly considered as being a complex form of machinery.

Introducing an ordinary, young man by the name of Otaru. He is just your average male who is going through life steadily but slowly, taking on part-time jobs and training as a martial artist. He is constantly being pestered by Hanagata, who has a shameless crush on him (which is not unusual in a world totally populated by men), but otherwise he lives a normal life. However, his life takes on a dramatic turn as he (almost accidentally) as he awakens three unique marionettes: Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry. But unlike most marionettes, these three are able to smile, cry, and fall in love. This is made possible through their 'heart', a unique piece of equipment known as a 'Maiden Circuit'. But even as they cater to Otaru's every whim in thanks for awakening them and out of love for their master, they are constantly being pursued by evil forces.

All in all, Saber Marionette J possesses a whole slew of themes that can be enjoyed by all kinds of anime fans. You have fast-paced fighting scenes, sprinkled with a bit of nonsensical comedy and a large spoonful of romantic comedy. But at the same time, the series addresses some of the deeper matters of the heart, from deep love to hatred. - Saber Marionette J is definitely a series that can get a grip on you and hold you in your seat if you are not too careful.

Rating: 7

Art

What can I say about the art of Saber Marionette J?

Well, to start, the animation for the series itself, while not all that comparable to some of today's marvels and CG effects, is very clean and consistent. Very rarely is there a moment when the characters or background are left in check, looking sloppy or half done. Honestly, I think there have been only one or two moments where I noticed that sort of slip-up, but it was hardly anything that would draw a lot of attention. Otherwise, the animation in the movement of the characters is fluid and smooth, and especially beautiful in the opening credits for the series, in this reviewer's humble opinion.

As for the characters designs, I feel that they are really unique and also true to the original designs of the characters from the manga. Also, I cannot help but shake the feeling that everyone looks the way they should. How can I put it? Lime's character design appropriately encompasses her energetic, cheerful personality with bright colors, a bit of a tomboyish clothing design and a cute, sometimes befanged smile. Cherry portrays her traditional and motherly nature through feminine colors and a kimono, etc. Their styles are appropriate for the time, setting and their personalities, which never makes them look too out of place. There a clear differentiation between the marionettes with Maiden Ciruits (Lime, Cherry, Bloodberry) and your average marionettes, usually encompassed through a sort of empty look in the eyes, and all the while... Hanagata continues to look laughably ridiculous with his someone effeminate and 'floofy' style of dress.

In short, Saber Marionette J certainly out to impress or to imitate any truly realistic manner of art style. But that isn't typically the point of anime. Instead, the art of Saber Marionette J tries to make you smile, laugh, and grab your attention in just the right ways without looking too ridiculous or sloppy.

Rating: 6

Sound

The music, once again in this reviewer's humble opinion, is something I consider to be one of my favorite features of the anime. As a series clearly centered around technology and the interaction that Otaru has with the marionettes, it contains a lot of soft and techno-centered beats. They all tend to get the right moods down to a science, with the haunting and dramatic techno melody that plays during Lime's awakening to the almost bittersweet piano rendition of the series opening theme, "Successful Mission." True, many of the background themes are reused, but not to the point of becoming annoying or sickening.

Along with the background music, you have a handful of vocal music provided by the lovely and talented Megumi Hayashibara. Megumi provides the vocals for the opening and ending themes, "Successful Mission" and "I'll Be There," and if you have ever heard the openings to series such as Slayers or even Shaman King, then you'll know her to be a lovely vocalist. Both "Successful Mission" and "I'll Be There" contain a respective, technoish beat that fits the mood of the series, with the opening really encompassing the story of the three marionettes through its lyrics and the closing really getting down to the matters of the heart by telling a sort of bittersweet love song. Personally, I consider both to be really catchy and do not fast forward through the opening sequences unless I'm in a hurry, because along with the great visuals, they really do get a hold on you.

Now, while I haven't explored the English or Spanish dubbing of the series (as of yet), I can say that the voice actors selected for the series are definitely up to snuff. Here, you have the talents of female voice actors such as Megumi Hayashibara (Lime) and Yuka Imai (Otaru (!)), along with some of the great male voice actors, Hikaru Midorikawa (Faust) and Takehito Koyasu (Hanagata). In my experience with the Japanese dialogue, I have had no qualms with any of the voice actors chosen for the series. In fact, the only voice characterization that has ever grated on my nerves would have to be Otaru, because his is so squeaky and unusual and I just can't really place it. But it never got to the point of being intolerable for me, and quite honestly, I wouldn't know who (or what) to replace it with even if I were ever given the choice.

Rating: 7

Presentation

Now for the fun part!

As a romantic comedy, Saber Marionette J is positively hilarious as the viewer looks at the chaos that unfolds as three marionettes attempt to win the heart of their beloved master, Otaru, which in itself ranges from being noble to downright ridiculous. But it isn't just the touchy-feely romance that you can find in this series, even if it does seem like one of the most prominent. There is also the love that a child can have for, say, a big brother, which really encompasses the nature of Lime. Then you have some of the more romantic attempts at love through Cherry and her fantasizing, right down the downright sexy and scandalous attempts to win Otaru over through Bloodberry and her bold nature.

But along with the laughter, there is also enough drama to keep you in your seat. A great deal of character development comes out of unexpected places, and even out of certain fight scenes when things seem to be at their worst of the marionettes. But it all really captures the heart, without seeming too corney or cheezy. I know, because for one reason or another, I was left crying multiple times towards the end of the series. On top of it, the series does forget the root of its backstory and attempts to wrap things up neatly and without too many loopholes. It is a series that you can walk away from feeling truly satisfied.

Overall, Saber Marionette J is definitely worth a try. I feel that it can be a really unique part of any anime fan's collection, along with being a classic. It will keep you in stitches and make you hungry for more as each episode unfolds.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by sarisasenshi, May 26, 2006

Comments

  1. seanchronic May 29, 2006

    I remember Saber Marrionette quite fondly it was one of Bandai first US titles.... ah good times, thanks for the reveiw!

  2. DanTheGreat Banned Member May 30, 2006

    a nice and funny anime. good review!

  3. shoujoboy Jun 01, 2006

    I remember SMJ fairly well myself. I also remember it being quite a bit better than the quite frankly awful J to X and J again. SMJ was pretty entertaining in its mindlessness. It's biggest strong point was the voice acting, and of course, the great Megumi Hayashibara music. Don't know I would consider it an 'above average' anime, but not too far off. Good job.

  4. Jay203 Jun 02, 2006

    i loved this anime =) ^^
    i even watched the second series ^^
    first series was better tho
    <3 Lime! xD

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