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Snapshots: Amatsuki

Don’t watch too much anime this spring, or you might warp into a fantasy action world, like the protagonist of Amatsuki (あまつき), broadcasting Fridays at 26:30 JST on KBS.

After three years and 7 volumes published, Takayama Shinobu‘s Amatsuki manga is now joined by an animated sibling, crafted by Furuhashi Kazuhiro, who’s both directing and writing the script with assistance from Suzuki Chieko. Furuhashi’s pedigree is so impressive that I can see why he’s allowed to direct both Amatsuki and Real Drive in the same season, with series like Rurouni Kenshin and Hunter x Hunter behind him.

Having managed to score only 5 points on his history test, easygoing high school freshman Rikugou Tokidoki ends up with the task to write a paper, and heads to a museum theme park displaying life in Edo era Tokyo. He meets fellow student Shinonome Kon, who’s been skipping school too much, and they wander around together. Suddenly Tokidoki notices that Kon has disappeared, and as he rushes off to look for his missing acquaintance, he comes across a bridge with a strange creature standing on guard. Perched on its back is a tiny figure who asks him “What is Lie?” Thinking it’s an event of some sort, Tokidoki ignores it and tries to walk past, but now the creature attacks him. Pinned to the bridge, he’s once again asked, “What is Truth?” Before Tokidoki has time to respond, the creature attacking him is sliced to pieces by a helpful lady. She explains the creature is a Nue, and later introduces herself as Kuchiha. In shock and confusion, Tokidoki gets up and hangs on the railing, but the struggle has left it weakened, and as it crumbles he’s dragged with the rubble into the water below. He passes out, and he dreams. “What is Death? What is Life?” Once more, the tiny figure appears and tells him how the world’s but a perception of the mind. He wakes up to the singing voices of children, and finds himself in an Edo-like environment. By his bedside is Kon, who surprises Tokidoki by explaining he’s spent two whole years in this new realm, while for Tokidoki it only felt like brief moments. Such a place is Amatsuki.

Studio DEEN is animating decently enough, but the character design feels weird with too tall eyes, and a strange palette. In combination with fairly poor broadcast quality, it’s all a bit cheap. On the upside, the music by Fukuhara Mari feels refreshing without dragging your ears away from the dialogue. The protagonist Tokidoki is played by the ubiquitous Fukuyama Jun (Lulu in Code Geass), doing a good job of acting like he doesn’t care. Meanwhile, Kon is played by Yusa Kouji (Vincent Law in Ergo Proxy), and Kuchiha by Paku Romi (Temari in Naruto). This episode also had Kitamura Eri (Saya in Blood+), but I’ll let you guess whom she plays, since I didn’t catch it.

This would be a lot more interesting if it was HD with sparkling character designs and crisply depicted battles, but as it is, I’ll just file it under “generic action show” and likely forget about it within a week. There’s also the little problem of opposing forces. Will there be interesting enemies for our great hero to fight? Or will they be faceless demons without personality? These things often make or break this genre of anime for me. Whichever way it ends up, someone’s bound to enjoy the series when the anime season has calmed down.

April 5, 2008 at 6:29 pm
  • April 5, 2008 at 6:33 pmgyu

    this anime is not for my taste… so boring.. dont have a nice plot for me, i prefer kanokon or toloveru for this season.

  • April 5, 2008 at 6:37 pmDS

    Uhm..sure. Because Kanokon is bound to have ‘a nice plot’.

  • April 5, 2008 at 6:40 pmKovski

    i’ll probably wait a few weeks before i pick this one up or not, tho i keep finding me weak for Paku Romi doing girls, so i prolly will grabb this one.

  • April 5, 2008 at 6:49 pmXellos-_^

    i am reading the manga, keep watching. The enemies are very interesting.

  • April 5, 2008 at 6:56 pmdivine|s

    I added the entry to ANN for Kitamura Eri playing Yakou, who I believe is the tiny figure. I didn’t bother skimming through the episode again to verify though.

  • April 5, 2008 at 7:31 pmmystery

    One of my best manga i’m just can’t wait to be subbed !!

  • April 5, 2008 at 7:49 pmfroggster

    the manga is awesome and I can tell you this: no faceless demons as enemies. (okay maybe only the first one) Bonten and his group are awesome ‘enemies’ :3 (the 3 in the OP)

    It starts of pretty slow, but it’s getting so interesting later on.

  • April 5, 2008 at 7:51 pmSensei-kun

    It looks pretty awsome, i read the comic of Amatsuki. The art is wonderful can’t wait for more episodes!

  • April 5, 2008 at 8:24 pmJin

    The anime will start off reeeeeeally slow, I’ll give it probably three episodes or so. But I’m not sure how the director will go about taking care of the beginning of the series. I can tell you that the manga started off pretty slow as well. But it really does get interesting towards the end of the first volume. It’s worth watching and reading.

  • April 5, 2008 at 8:38 pmAnotherGeek

    The manga is great. It not too much of action (rarely actually)

  • April 5, 2008 at 8:42 pmvoxune

    I think you really should keep an eye on this anime, since the manga is pretty cool. It just has a slow start :3

    Its promised to be good, I hope they don’t screw up in the anime.

  • April 5, 2008 at 8:46 pmAnotherGeek

    I just check and I see a 720p raw version of this. I don’t know if it real but apparently there is HD version of this. Should check it out.

  • April 5, 2008 at 8:59 pmsealouse

    This one’s on my list.

  • April 5, 2008 at 10:10 pmImpz

    I am very sure that this series will be sparkling. I will be keeping tabs on my own anime blog. This is too cool to put it off as “generic action show” by any means.

  • April 5, 2008 at 10:24 pmeipu

    I can’t wait for this to get subbed. I’m currently reading the manga and i must say, i’m impressed with it over all. I admit though the character design is a bit odd since the manga has such an amazing artwork. But it’s gonna get good, especially the plot and the pacing.

  • April 5, 2008 at 11:40 pmelva

    hopefully the animation will be better as I really want to see it nicely animated.

  • April 6, 2008 at 1:27 amsenefen

    I read the first volume of the manga and found it quite good. Ok the start was a little generic dragged-into-the-past type thing. But it did get more interesting with Toki wandering around all clamp like X_O (eye loss goodness) and the boys trying to remember their high school chemistry (ethanol burns good). Naturally Kuchika has a story too.

    I can’t really remember many battles but I didnt get to the second volume, hearing about the anime I decided to watch it instead. Anyway I’d try another episode or two before completly wirting this one off

  • April 6, 2008 at 1:30 amYukiruchan

    The most evident thing I felt from watching the first episode is that it has a REALLY SLOW start.
    Like boring.
    And no, I don’t think it’s because I rewatched Code Geass lately. Or maybe it is?
    But if the beginning was slow since the manga, it should be the director’s job to fix that, not follow the manga blindly… it just implies something like low effort.

    Ok..I admit the quality of Geass is affecting me now. =_=”

  • April 6, 2008 at 2:19 amAnonymotonymoton

    Boobs = Plot. Welcome to Japan.

  • April 6, 2008 at 2:55 amKIJIN

    The Manga is quite ambiguous as to the relationship dynamics. The main character and the swordswoman seem to click together, but theres always these little things that make the characters more Shonen-ai-ish. Nothing blatant, of course. Just fair warning for those who might find that a turn-off.

  • April 6, 2008 at 5:02 amLithium17

    In terms of artwork, I think I prefer the manga, but I’ll wait till the first half of the season is subbed and then watch them all in one go, since I’ve read a lot of the manga.

    I’m giving priority to Kure0Nai over this for now.

  • April 6, 2008 at 7:40 amDS

    Boobs /= Plot. Boobs = mindless fanservice. Even in Japan.

  • April 6, 2008 at 10:58 amhaha

    i read this manga.. and still reading.. love the artworks ^_^ and bonten is so cool…

  • April 7, 2008 at 12:53 amMatroid

    I have not read the manga, but I think Ep. 1 is reasonably interesting even though the plot seems to be predictable. The hero Toki will likely undergo hardship to grow from an indifferent weakling to a responsible adult; his schoolmate Kon will likely change from a hot head to a smart fighter and probably fall for the the girl whose dress is way ahead of her time. The annoying monster will continue pop up from time to time to keep asking the same annoying questions (namely, what is reality? what is life? etc.). The opening is not inspiring. But the anime seems to be a fine production and should be entertaining.

  • April 7, 2008 at 11:07 amelva

    @Matroid You can’t be more wrong. The plot isn’t really predictable. Kon is already a smart fighter. He’s pretty intelligent (although a lot of stuff is not revealed about him yet). And we still haven’t seen some of the most important characters yet. Boten and the miko.

  • April 16, 2008 at 8:05 pmShirozakii

    Lol, is he serious? Love-ru and Kankon is the epitome of plotless as compared to this. Oh i get it, he’s trying to be funny…right?

    And its not a turn-off if ur turned on in the first place.

  • April 16, 2008 at 8:06 pmShirozakii

    Lol, is he serious? Love-ru and Kankon is the epitome of plotless as compared to this. Oh i get it, he’s trying to be funny…right?

    And its not a turn-off if ur not turned on in the first place.

  • April 16, 2008 at 8:07 pmShirozakii

    Haha, Kon turned from a stuffed bear into another side character!

  • April 28, 2008 at 3:38 amIIM

    this anime is good

    and i like the ending song
    any 1 know what the title of it’s ending song ???