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phaerax' Shadow Skill Tv Review

Shadow Skill tv Review

Story & Characters

Shadow Skill is an epic anime set in a pseudo-medieval world full of monsters and powerful fighters and magic-users.

The main characters are Elle Lagu, a fun-loving girl that happens to be one of the strongest fighters in the world, and her adopted brother Gau Ban who is busy both training to be as tough as his sister and searching for his own reason to fight and live. Other characters include the siblings’ close friends and quite a few mysterious super-fighters, each with their own shady agenda.

The plot is more or less what you would expect from this kind of anime: two countries at war, with many heroes and villains leading them to battle and accomplishing astonishing feats of strength and willpower. It has some interesting twists and most characters are not what they appear to be at first. Aside from the two main story-threads, the war and Gau’s path to maturity and fighting prowess, there are other side-stories including the typical web of conflicting love-interests.

While the plot is not very original, the execution is very good and it is also a fitting backdrop for the most important thing in the anime, which is none other than the characters. New experiences result in major changes of heart for some of them while others have their darker sides exposed throughout the series.

Shadow Skill consists of 26 episodes and is a tale of courage and honor, faith, love, madness, lust for power, friendship and sacrifice. The final episodes do have some elements that I consider a bit of a letdown. It is difficult to explain this without giving away spoilers but some characters seem a little too indecisive even after all that has happened in the series. Fortunately it all ends with some truly jaw-dropping special moves that scatter any doubts about the heroes’ competence.

Rating: 7

Art

Shadow Skill’s art is a mixed bag. The visual quality and the drawing style are so varied it makes you wonder whether the team behind the project stays the same from beginning to end.

The first episodes are barely watchable. The character-models are badly drawn, the backgrounds and special effects are uninspiring and the graphic style is just too simple. It seems no serious effort was put into producing even a half-decent result. If I were to rate these episodes separately I would give them a 2/10.

As the series progresses the visuals are quickly improved to a technically acceptable level with the characters getting a more stylish look. I ‘d give most episodes a score of 5/10.

The last episodes, while still not technically perfect, feature some of the most stylish characters ever drawn in any kind of medium. The hot-spot is unarguably episode 25. Thick lines, lots of edges where curves should be and dark colors make up a unique visual masterpiece. Sadly the animation remains average even in these episodes. For this last part I ‘d reward the artists with an 8/10.

The final score takes into account the three scores above and a slight “thank you� for the final episodes. It’s them you ‘ll remember anyway…

Rating: 6

Sound

The sound effects fulfill their purpose quite well without being spectacular. The voices of monsters remind you of end-of-’80s anime series but are not disturbing.

On the other hand the voice acting of the leading characters is either admirable or excellent. Elle, Gau, Scarface and the rest, all sound exactly as you wish they would. Each voice is fitting to the personality of its owner and most give you a tickling adrenaline rush every time they shout out their special moves.

The opening and ending songs are all very good and make you want to devour the whole series in one pass. The background music is also good but some tracks become a bit tedious towards the end because of frequent repetition.

Rating: 7

Presentation

If you like medieval animes Shadow Skill will get your face glued on your monitor (or TV-screen) with it’s adrenaline-rising battles and special moves. Elle will have you bumping on your chair every time she screams out her Shadow Skill ultimate move. If you enjoy seeing would-be super-villains having their devious plans spoiled and their faces thrashed this is the anime for you. Don’t search for too many hidden meanings and symbolisms here, Shadow Skill is all about cool characters fighting cool opponents and prevailing through their determination and strength of will. The sub-plots and the dialogues build the characters very well and you really end up caring about both the good guys and the not-so-good guys. Of course there are also those who just deserve what they get.

While there is plenty of humour in Shadow Skill that lightens up the atmosphere, the series remains a “serious� anime. Elle’s lack of IQ acts as a grip for jokes and fun and adds to her beast-like cuteness, but it also gives an opportunity to the creators to state some raw truths. At times Shadow Skill even criticizes facts that apply to modern society. It is against pretense and treachery, and promotes sincerity. But if you think about it most animes do so…

One thing that is not directly relevant to the series itself is the quality of subbing. This is a quite rare anime on the net and at least on the version I watched the subs were horrible. I don’t know whether Shadow Skill is licensed or not but if you plan to download it don’t be surprised. The “Presentation� rating ignores this.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by phaerax, Oct 28, 2004

Comments

  1. tecnophreak Oct 28, 2004

    that is one DAM good review, dude. major thanks from all the people that read this .

  2. Miyu-DX Nov 09, 2004

    waw, this is one good review, now i decide to download for this series^^, thx a lot mate

  3. inuyasha Banned Member Nov 09, 2004

    I only wached it a couple of times but it seems pretty good show and i would wach it more but im always busy when it comes on

  4. enaj Jan 31, 2005

    yeah this is a good review... i've watched the anime and i think the story is good to. I like elle becuase of her attitude.. :D :D I love GAu Ban.. he's so cute!!! watched this gyuys this is really good.

  5. nainoi Sep 28, 2009

    It's interesting.

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