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CyanideBlizzard's KIBA Tv Review

KIBA tv Review

Zed is a 15-year-old boy who lives in Calm. He is frustrated by his current daily life and feels that somewhere out there is a place where he can live more fully. One day, at the invitation of a mysterious wind, Zedd dives into a space-time crevasse, seeking the "answer" that might be there. Riding on the wind, he arrives in a world where warriors called "Shard Casters" fight endlessly with each other, using magical crystals called "Shards". With the power of the Shards, the Shard Casters are able to use magic and control monsters called "Spirits". Fascinated by that power, Zedd also aims to become a Shard Caster. However, he still doesn't know that residing in his body is "Amil Gaul", a mighty Spirit with the power to influence the world's future.

Story & Characters

A young man stares at a muddy sky in a stifling city. His mother, completely vacant for whatever reason. His best friend, born with a rare condition that can shorten his life span. In this city, the young man feels trapped. He wants to spread his wings and fly beyond everything that he knows. Little does he know that he'll find himself in an adventure involving strife, betrayal and the worst of all, war. Now would you believe if I told you that this anime was the product based upon a card game made by Upper Deck?

Kiba the Animated Series is a combination effort from Madhouse and Japan Upper Deck and what may be rather difficult to believe is that Kiba is incredibly in-depth and well told. It may even be harder to believe that Kiba is probably one of the darkest uplifting shows I've ever seen. Sure, that sounds completely like a contradiction. Yet, when watching the show this description becomes completely apparent.

Kiba starts off in the polluted and bog down city of Calm. We are introduced to Zed, a white haired rebellious youth who feels smothered beneath the sickly haze of a sky and wishes go beyond the walls. We are also introduced to Noah, a blue haired young man that suffers from an unknown medical condition that results in him being very sickly and frail. Immediately, we can tell that Zed and Noah are inseparable and look out for each other in one aspect or another. Zed, because of his rebellious nature, ends up getting into quite a bit of trouble with the school and Noah ends up bailing him out. However, Zed has gone too far with his delinquency, truancy and door hating, so the teachers and police plan on teaching him a lesson. Poor Zed, all he wants to do is simply help his mother, who acts as if she had a frontal lobotomy. Zed rushes to see his mother, all the while falling into the trap of the teachers. However, Zed has had enough and he refuses to be caught, but little does he know that there are much greater plans for him. A man, who was disguised as a teacher, lashes out at Zed and tries to attack him. His mother defends him with some strange power and Zed rushes off, only to be captured by the police. Noah ends up getting injured and is rushed off to the hospital, only to overtake the driver and crash the ambulance into the police car that Zed was in so that he could be free. Zed, escaping unscathed, rushes off and suddenly finds himself cornered. Fearing that his time is at an end, a green portal suddenly appears and transport him to a mysterious land. All this and a bag of chips is just covered in the first episode alone!

One could probably write out Kiba's storyline, character development and arcs as their final thesis. There is so much material that is covered throughout the series and so very many interesting characters introduced to the series. We watch Zed go on a quest for strength, both physical and mental and on an adventure of self-discovery. Along that way, we are introduced to some very interesting (and some stereotypical) characters. The most noteworthy being Roya, a young woman who is of mysterious origin and her trainer, Master Rico, an older gentleman of great power and wisdom. Along the way we also meet Mickey, a young gentleman who is training yet isn't quite cut out for the fighting profession and Robes, a wealthy, flamboyant gentleman who is quite the swordsman. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are so many more characters introduced and none of them are given weak entries. Each one is given enough screen time to grow and enough explanation for us to want to care.

One thing that needs to be established is in this mysterious world Zed was transported to there are special abilities that certain people have and that is shardcasting. Shardcasters have the ability to summon spirits (think pokemon in a more adult form and more ruthless) and also the ability to use certain elemental powers, depending on the individual. While the elemental powers themselves are never properly explained, spirits are a core element of this series. Not just for themselves, but the mystery behind them and also the effect they can have on people. Spirits are kept in these little balls and absorbed into these gem marked areas that shardcasters have on their body. These areas differ from shardcaster to shardcaster. Out of these spirits, there are legendary key spirits. Spirits that have unbelievable power and can only be wielded by the chosen ones, simply rejecting those that cannot in violent and sometimes fatal manners. There is truly so much to cover here that I've only begun to scratch the surface of the storyline

Kiba takes place in a beautiful world that is separated into a total of five different areas. Templar, Neotopia, Tusk, Zymot and Calm. There are two other regions covered as well, but I want to focus on these main four. One thing I truly have to credit the creators of this series with is each of these worlds are unique. Not only with political settings, but also terrain, habitat and occupancy. Zymot and Tusk are generally regarded as the more evil ones, with Zymot also holding the people of Kalbu-fu as slaves, since none of their species can use spirit shards or summon spirits. Neotopia is shown as a dictatorship under the ruse of "Absolute Law", in which if anyone breaks the law even slightly they are punished by death. Templar, in all honesty, can be more compared to a Republic style of government. Unfortunately aside from the initial episode, we are never shown Calm and thus we do not learn very much more about it until the later episodes. I found one of my favorite aspects is simply the level of depth given to each individual region and the beliefs of the people in that region.

Another aspect that must be noted is Kiba is truly a gritty show. It's not slit-your-wrists depressing, but it certainly is bleak with showing the frailty of humanity itself. Lust for power, slavery, betrayal, deception, abuse, and the grandaddy of them all, war. It must be known that each of these aspects is handled tastefully and brilliantly executed, only with some parts being somewhat sloppy in overall design. For a show that has a children concept behind it, this is far from being for children. A lot of people die in this anime. Yet, at the same time there is absolutely no violence. No stab wounds show, and there is virtually no blood except for the last scene in the final episode. It was done in such a manner to where it doesn't feel bogged down with gore and yet can still tell the story it wants to. Major props to the creators of Kiba for working out of the box with this material.

Kiba is a rare bird that doesn't op for the easy way out with the source material and instead creates a wonderful world and characters for us to enjoy and appreciate. Hands down, this is one of the strongest stories, characters, and overall worlds I have had the pleasure of viewing in some time.

Rating: 9

Art

Artwork is certainly important for telling a series, so how does the artwork in Kiba hold up? Well, not nearly as well as the story. However, that doesn't mean that it's bad. It's fairly obvious that the series was animated by Madhouse. There's a level of detail, at times, that is simply astounding and characters feel rather alive. Combat scenes vary from being very well done to being rather cheaply animated and they do take some short cuts here and there as well. This is a 51 episode series, so I'd imagine they had to work towards spreading the budget out properly. Luckily, the anime does not suffer from this terribly and still ends up being rather enjoyable to watch, despite the frequency of short cuts used.

One thing I want to make mention of is the beautiful backgrounds. I mentioned earlier a little on the scenery and my gosh, this anime series is outstanding in terms of backgrounds. While the character animation was sometimes lacking, the design was not. Nor is the design for the backgrounds. Templar, Zymot, Tusk and several other places each have unique locals and terrain. You become familiar with certain areas and could tell without listening to the dialogue that they've gone to a new area. What's more so they are absolutely beautiful to look at. I'm tempted to take a screencap of Templar and use it as my desktop background, I enjoy it that much.

Overall the artwork isn't going to blow anyone away, but it certainly is above and beyond for this many episodes.

Rating: 8

Sound

So we've discussed two key points and I'm sure by this time everyone is tired of me rambling and just wants to be done with this review. Fear not, for after this review there shall be cookies!

Onto sound, or as I like to call it, "What sound?". I'm just joking, but seriously this is sadly the only part of the show that truly takes a back seat. The opening and closing intros are nice, but I generally don't like to discuss them because they have no overall effect on the show and can be skipped. Sound itself is fairly generic for the most part and is repeated to a fair degree as well. There are certain times when the sound is absolutely fitting and very well done and there are other times where they'll fall back on the same sounds we've heard since the start of the series.

Normally, this wouldn't be such a negative for me, but I felt that while the sound direction was fairly decent, it could of been much better. Especially considering the high points it hits during certain parts of the show. However, because it does hit so well and does do the job it needs to rather nicely, I can't discredit it terribly so for being slightly above average.

As in terms of the VA, I only watched the English version and it was typical of ADV films as far as dubbing goes. While it was certainly nothing to write home about, it's fairly well done, with a few VAs hitting and missing. Unfortunately, I did not watch enough to be able to truly get a good feel for the Japanese version, but I have to say what I did hear was fairly well done as well. Normally, I'd go into more detail but I've blabbered on enough.

Rating: 6

Presentation

I think I love you Kiba, but I wanna know for sure. Well, after the 51 episode rollercoaster ride of a lifetime, I think I do know. I think I really like you a lot Kiba. We've had some great times together and experienced a lot of wonderful journeys too. You taught me a lot about your world and the characters in it. What's more, you taught me about life itself. Sometimes the ending we want may not be the ending that is deserved and the same could be said for you. I'll miss you while your gone. You stayed just long enough to where I felt after all was said and done, I wasn't glad to see you go, but I was glad that it didn't get dragged out longer than it should. You also took me on so many twists and turns. So many things I could predict, yet there were so many I couldn't as well and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I can only hope that life will be good to you, Kiba. Maybe you'll meet someone that enjoys you just as much as I did, for all the depth that you had and all the wonderful things about you and even those negatives. Kiba, maybe we'll meet again someday. If you'd like to, I'd really like to as well.

Take care <3

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.33 (good)

Reviewed by CyanideBlizzard, Apr 07, 2011

Comments

  1. MisaSasekage Moderator Apr 08, 2011

    After reading your review, it makes me interested in seeing the series, since I've heard of it before but have never watched it.

  2. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Apr 08, 2011

    Good job! You were quite thorough and wrote with a lot of voice and made me curious to see the show, though I'd never heard of it before now. Now I think I'll take those cookies you mentioned. :D

  3. z827 Apr 10, 2011

    Holy... and I thought I was long-winded XD
    Anyways , I've heard of the series before but I've never actually got around to watch it and judging from your reviews , despite being a 51 Episode Anime I suppose the storyline is finely stretched out with morality issues and characters who have a decent "kick" to their personalities in the Anime.
    Still , I suppose most Anime with a decent storyline tends to make it up with it's graphics or BGM.
    Ahh... If only there was an Anime that embodifies perfection out there =w=

  4. Aiira Apr 14, 2011

    This is my first time reading a whole review xD and you made the anime really interesting as soon as I'm off school I 'm going to start watching this.
    The image used is also a hooker xD It took me 5 seconds to click the review and read what you have to say for the anime overall.
    And after doing a few more research and reading the summary submitted for this anime I am definitely watching this.

    Also Great job with your review continue doing a good job and I might watch all animes that you wrote a review on. ^^

  5. Distortion Apr 16, 2011

    You covered quite a bit, and did a nice job of not spoiling anything while going while going into detail. My only problem is still that damn random background music. So thank you once more for sending and recommending this series to me.

  6. rosu Jul 03, 2011

    ohh i watched a few episodes of this.. maybe ill get back to it...

  7. RogerSmith2004 Dec 05, 2016

    Great review fam! I remember this from Toonami Jetstream.

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