You're welcome! Have you read the X Manga, or seen the Anime?
X tv,manga Review
Kamui Shirou has returned to Tokyo after 6 years, following the wish of his mother, and ultimately, his fate. It is 1999, and Kamui, gifted with psionic powers, has been foretold to either save the world, or to destroy it. The Seven Seals (Dragons of Heaven) wish to save humanity, while the Seven Angels (Dragons of Earth) wish to destroy humanity in order to save the physical Earth and cleanse it. Kamui must choose a side, but unbeknownst to him, his twin star awaits to serve whichever side will become his rival.
The world can only watch the destruction after the choice is made as time draws nearer to the Promised Day... and perhaps the Apocalypse.
Story & Playability
Kamui Shiro comes back to Tokyo at the request of his deceased mother triggering a rather unfortunate trail of events which might end with the destruction of mankind as we know it.
Let me be blunt to you, X's premise is rather unoriginal and generic, especially since the time it came out, around 1999, everyone was doing the whole end of the world bull; but what sets X TV and the Manga apart was its original characters and the mature way in which they handled the subject.
The Manga will not shy away to rip someone's guts out and throw them across the room. The anime on the other hand, prefers to use the more refined technique of implication, rather than showing us graphic images, a trait for which I am actually thankful (because the Manga was bloody enough for the both of them). However, frankly, violence seams to be the premise for the whole movie, which proved to be a real waste of that wonderful animation.
It's hard to review the characters when I'm doing a review on all three of the X adaptations, mostly because they evolve in such different ways. For those of you who've heard that the TV follows the Manga faithfully, well, sorry to burst your bubble, but the TV series branches out from the Manga after ep 13 or so, there are some elements different even before that. But I still want to talk about the characters, since this is a character driven show after all.
The movie has almost no character development, people are simply puppets in this show, without the power to resist the faith they were given, and that's a pretty depressing theme. Most if not all of them die off, and you just don't care.
The Manga and TV series on the other hand are purely character driven, and they are treated with a lot more respect then in the movie. They're not just cannon fodder, waiting for their inevitable faiths, but actually have choices to make, and in these choices that some characters make lays the difference between the two series.
The main difference, I would say, in the Kamui of the Dragons of Earth. The DE Kamui of the Manga is a lot more carefree and cheerful than the one in the TV series, which comes of as somewhat of an asshole. But the main difference is that the TV tells us from beginning to end that the Kamui of DE is possessed by the "Earth's will" as such he is only a vessel, therefore, absolving the actual character of any fault in the end, because he wasn't conscious or wasn't himself when he did all those nasty stuff. The Manga takes it one step further, and actually implies that the DE Kamui willingly did all of those cruel things to spare Kamui of that faith, which made him a much more interesting character to observe than the one from the TV who, closely resembles any generic villain you see in Anime these days.
There are again, another few impressive character developments in the Manga, which didn't make it to the Anime (probably because they'd caught up to the Manga and had to improvise), like: Arashi (the TV series was way off as to how she'd choose to protect Sorata), Nataku and Karren (their story impressed me actually, and it gave Nataku more depth as a character, that I actually started hating his role in the TV series for it), Subaru (I find this one to be the most ironic of them all), and many other characters, which unfortunately, we'll never see the conclusion of since the Manga is currently on hiatus.
Not to say I didn't like the TV series, it's my favorite of all times, but I for one prefer the Manga in terms of Character Development and Story.
Overall 9, because I added the movie to the review as well.
The first I've seen was the TV series, and it was one of the best animated of the time. The scenes were beautiful, the character design was almost flawless (they had a few scenes where the animation quality was not so brilliant, but not many), the lighting effects were incredibly effective, the feather scenes were always a welcomed sight and the fighting scenes were amazingly detailed and fluid.
The second I saw was the movie, and if there is one thing it had going for it, it was animation. It was superb! (I'd recommend you watch it just for the fantastic scenery and some truly wonderful panoramic views of Tokyo) The fighting scenes were awesome! Their movement fluid, but the facial expressions were a little too edgy for my taste. So my only beef with this one is character design.
The last I read was the Manga, and I'll be hones, I wasn't a fan of the Manga's Character Design either. Sure, it was artsy, and the author drew some beautiful scenes, but the character design just didn't click with me. But half way through, the design changed, actually it was almost unrecognizable. The first part of the Manga looked a lot like the design of the movie, while the second one looked a lot more like Tsubasa Chronicle, in short it became too girly. But I wasn't bothered much by this, since the story and Character Development were what kept me interested to begin with.
Overall, I prefer the character Design for the Anime the best, but I guess that's more a matter of personal likes than any, and the BG were beautiful for all three of them, so 9.
Manga has no sound, so I'll judge the Anime and Movie only.
Let me finish with the movie, cause there's really not much to say about it. It had some of the creepiest sounds I've ever heard. And I realize that was great for the atmosphere and all, but they really annoyed me at times, especially that "Intoxicating Blossoms" thing really got under my skin. In fact the only song I actually liked was the ending song ("Forever"), and that's it.
The TV, on the other hand, had a wonderful soundtrack. My personal favorite is "Sadame", so I really wasn't at all bothered by the fact that it was repeated a number of n times throughout the series, but some people might get annoyed by this. The songs for the "Ten no Riu" and "Chi no Riu" were exceptionally beautiful as well, and I though they fitted the characters nicely. Though there is a song or two that bother me ("Mou hitori no Fuuma" and "Futari no Shin-I"), but the good outweighs the bad.
As for the voice actors, I first saw X on Viva Anime, which was a German channel, and am rather fond of the German voice actors who portrayed the characters beautifully, especially Kamui's voice actor Sebastian Schulz, did a wonderful job. The Japanese voice actors were great, and the English were ok, but what really made all the difference for me was Yuzuriha (my favorite female character). Her English voice actress was annoying as hell! And while Kumi Sakuma wasn't half bad, I still prefer Rubina Kuraoka's performance over hers.
Overall, I prefer the German voice actors. Just my personal opinion.
Both the anime and Manga take their time building up the characters and back story, so, for all you shonen fans out there who like action packed flicks, this might not be the thing for you. Religious people might not enjoy the way the God theme is handled in this Manga, and the ambiguous sexuality of some characters. Insensitivity towards the earthquake victims are what got the Manga band in the beginning, so I guess they won't take to kindly to it either, and there's a loooooooot of violence in the Manga (Dismembered people are an every day occurrence there, just to give you a taste of what's ahead), so I'd recommend the anime if you're not into that kind of thing but still want to enjoy and engaging story with realistic character development and great payoff.
If you can get pass all that was mentioned above, and the fact that the thing might be left on hiatus forever, give the Manga a try, it has all that's good in the anime and more.
Skip the movie entirely, unless you're looking for a gore fest.
8.50 (very good)
Reviewed by kamuinoyume, Mar 20, 2011
kamuinoyume Mar 20, 2011
nixhel Mar 21, 2011
Thanks a lot for the in-depth review (^_^) It brings back bitter-sweet memories - sweet cos it's one of the earliest manga I've read and still one of my faves, bitter cos the series is still on hiatus after 8 yrs, blah. If CLAMP ever resumes the manga, I'll need to read the past chapters again since so much time has passed and memories lost. The movie was definitely much weaker than the TV anime and manga. It was like a dragged-out MTV with the vocalist missing. Not boring, but still devoid of actual plot & character development. The only benefit I got out of watching the movie was discovering the brilliant music of X Japan & Yoshiki.
CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Apr 01, 2011
I really liked the fact on how you combined both the review for the anime and manga and merged it into a compare/contrast styled review. It gives us, the reader, an excellent chance to see if we should pursue the manga or if the anime series itself will suffice. I've been tempted to try such a thing before, but I've always been afraid of running into the tl;dr section of people that do that. You pulled it off nicely!
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