Finally some proper boy loving to watch, as Monochrome Factor (モノクローム・ファクター) enters the tableaus of TV Tokyo, Mondays at 26:00 JST.

Based on Sorano Kairi’s action comedy manga in a paranormal setting, director Kou Yuu of Loveless fame takes up another pretty boy project. With the 5th volume of the original work just out, screenwriter Kawahara Yuuji (also from Loveless) will have his work cut out for him if he’s going to fill the supposed 24-26 episodes the show is rumoured to be planned for. These two also worked together on the second season of Zero no Tsukaima, and they totally raped the plot in that, so I’m not very hopeful here.

The story’s hero is second year high schooler and semi-bad boy Nikaidou Akira, who likes to skip class and get chased by a cute disciplinary patrol student girl called Suzuno Aya. On his way home from another lazy day on the school rooftop, he encounters an eccentric platinum blonde in a black coat and hat. With an enticing voice, the stranger asks to have a little talk with Akira, and after addressing him with his full name, the long-haired beauty has Akira’s full attention. An introduction is made, and Akira is made aware that the person speaking to him is known as Shirogane, and soon it’s apparent that Shirogane is not human, but a Shade. When Akira refuses Shirogane’s request to come along someplace where they can be alone, Shirogane makes a puzzling remark that they’ll meet again soon, as they are fated to be together, then vanishes.

Later that evening, Akira lies in bed pondering the strange meeting, when the doorbell is rung by his classmate Asamura Kengo. The cheerful Kengo drags Akira out to an arcade, where they rescue an 11-year-old university graduate researcher genius (a character original to the anime, apparently) from some brutes. Out of the blue, Aya appears with a shinai and chases them out of the establishment, but the three eventually end up back at school to pick up an item the lass forgot in her desk. Passing through the dark hallways, they’re suddenly attacked by a huge lizard-like monster. Akira manages to drive away the black bug, but several more emerge from the darkness. Luckily this is where Shirogane makes a second appearance, to save the day with a magic barrier.

Shirogane explains the fiends are Kokuchi from the world of Shade, and that Akira’s help is needed to fight them. After a bit of love quarrel, Akira rushes out of the barrier despite warning, but the ground swallows him. Again, Shirogane saves him, by dragging his body out. In the process, Akira has lost his shadow, and is now a Shade as well. Shirogane explains the way to counter it is to establish a covenant between the two, transforming him into a Shin. This turns out to be done through a long, deep kiss, and after a light effects display, Akira’s hair has turned black from the original brown, and he’s wielding dual knives. With his newfound powers he then deals with the rest of the monsters easily.

Come morning, the two stand alone in the schoolyard. Shirogane tells Akira that his new life as a Shade has made him invisible to others, and that they should take this opportunity to elope. Yet Akira is not convinced, and asks if there’s no way to reverse the effect. Shirogane replies that it just might be possible if they exchange another kiss, but a blushing Akira expresses his disbelief, pointing out that there was chanting involved last time, and wonders if the kiss was really necessary. With a wide smile, Shirogane says that it was, because of love. A moment later, Shirogane is gone once more, but as Akira looks around, a bright light glows from within him, and he finds himself turning back to normal – shadow and all. Presently Kengo and Aya come running from the school building, and in confusion, Akira asks them if they can actually see him. When they can’t seem to understand what he’s getting at, he acts a bit nutty, and his two friends watch his hair-pulling antics bemusedly.

The animation’s done by a company called ACGT, who’ve worked on Kino no Tabi to name one title, but in this case it looks very plain and generic, where the monster design is especially flat. The comedy bits are in chibi mode and do seem to have more frames, though. The music is some sort of collaboration between Abo Takeshi and Murakami Jun, but it still sounds like cheap game music to me. Protagonist Akira is played by Ono Daisuke, fresh off Jin in Dragonaut, so you’re bound to love him. In contrast, Suwabe Junichi (Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist) makes Shirogane sound very seductive. Asano Masumi (Mai in Popotan) is great as Aya, and pretty much makes the show worth watching all on her own.

If the summary seems long today, it’s because I couldn’t figure out how to say “Boy meets cross-dressing weirdo and turns into monster hunting superhero” in any less words. While I can’t actually list any titles off the top of my head, I’m sure I’ve seen this exact same show a dozen times before, albeit not necessarily quite so gay. The comedy bits are somewhat amusing, but the monster battles are so dreary that I hope there’ll be a really unique and original boss type waiting behind the curtains, or only the most bored viewers will bother to watch it to the end. Of course, even Kaze no Stigma had some fans, so who knows.


  1. omg…they change the anime into a yaoi show…god damn! THE PINK LIPS!? WTF!( &%(@!&%(@(*& man…they just ruin the anime for me -.-”’ but i’m gonna keep reading the managa =/

  2. Kaze no Stigma, which also starred Ono Daisuke, was pretty entertaining though. Also, Suwabe Junichi played Gio from Dragonaut, so they’re both fresh off that horrid project.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have minded the genericness of this series, because I agree that Asano Masumi‘s portrayal of Suzuno Aya (i.e. a tsundere) is fun to watch. However, the feminine-looking Shirogane sounding like Nekoyashiki Ren from Rental Magica (who is also played by Suwabe Junichi) is putting images of a gay Nekoyashiki in my mind–something I don’t enjoy whatsoever.

    Other than that, the remainder of the cast makes me want to keep watching the show though. It’s quite an all-star cast with Kamiya Hiroshi (Tieria Erde in G00, Itoshiki Nozomu in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Takemoto Yuuta in H&C), Yoshino Hiroyuki (Allelujah Haptism in G00, Nobuse Miyokichi in true tears), Konishi Katsuyuki (Ishida Toraji in Bamboo Blade, Sergay Wang in Mai-Otome), Saiga Mitsuki (Kousaka Makoto in Genshiken, Chie Hallard in Mai-HiME/Otome, Johan in Shakugan no Shana II), Okiayu Ryotara (Kuchiki Byakuya in Bleach, Furukawa Akio in CLANNAD, Scar in FMA, Andrew Waltfeld in GSEED), and last but not least, Tamura Yukari (Yoshino Sakura in Da Capo, Furude Rika in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Kawasumi Mai in Kanon, Wakatsuki Syuri in Myself; Yourself, Tenten in Naruto, Sugiura Midori in Mai-HiME/Otome, Sunohara Mei in CLANNAD).

  3. divine|s – Hrm, OK, wonder where they’re getting the information, though. The official website for the anime only has 13 spots for “episode information”, and with only 5 volumes, I’m not sure how they’re going to fill 26 episodes. Anyway, it’s just an assumption on my side, hence the “seems”. Holler if you run across official statements on the matter.

  4. A BL-ish anime adaptation? That’s just weird, since I sense very little BL-ish element in the manga, if at all (and I am usually pretty good at reading between the lines). The kiss (or whatever it was) is definitely not in the manga. But I absolutely adore Suwabe Junichi, so I might give this one a try just for his voice alone.

  5. Bitch bitch bitch, I’m glad there’s something other than ecchi stuff coming out this season, even if it isn’t that exciting. Seriously, so far everything coming out has been catering to boys… fan girls need love too.

  6. Too bad the animation quality seems quite average, and the fact that this is not aired on HD just makes me sad. I had great expectations towards the animation quality, as the first drafts of character designs were pretty good, and so was the commercial and promotions.
    Let’s just hope Monochrome Factor delivers on the story side of the production, it trully has a big potential (at least the manga has it).

  7. Fangirl or not, I’m not sure that I need this kind of love! When looking through the pre-season stuff, even though there was no mention of BL I immediately thought yaoi when looking at the artwork. May give it a go just for the craic.

  8. So they took a SEINEN manga series that probably has BL subtext, and the anime producers totally exponentiate?!!! Now I’m fu**ing jealous because there’s a bunch of series with yuri subtext, and the producers did practically nothing with it!!! Why they decide to do it with this one?

  9. I agree Waz, Kazuma and Ayano from Kaze No Stigma? I had no problem with the series BECAUSE the relationship between those 2 made up for the “more than average” rating of the series.

    The last yuri series I “accepted” was Blue Drop…just because the girls/lesbos were hot.

  10. fck fck fck fck fck… the story might’ve been interesting, but the yaoi element? wtf wtf wtf wtf… and the kiss??!!??!! WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF…..there’d better be a good yuri anime coming soon. Bring on the yuri.

  11. Finally some proper boy loving to watch

    Are you serious? If you are, then what are the chances of you blogging Junjou Romantica? (You know, the main course of the apparently BL shows. 😀 )

  12. Not to double post but

    fck fck fck fck fck… the story might’ve been interesting, but the yaoi element? wtf wtf wtf wtf… and the kiss??!!??!! WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF…..there’d better be a good yuri anime coming soon. Bring on the yuri.

    *facepalm* Why are there noobs everywhere I turn? ._.

  13. I’m find with the Yaoi content cept I just don’t like the character design of Shirogane is so feminine and that scares me a lot. I thought he was a she and I don’t like when that happens.

    I rather watch Junjou Romantica cos the guys looks as guys.

    NO cross dressers for me thank you.

  14. I hope this turns out to be a shounen-ai throughout the whole show and not just a little one episode teaser thing. I support Akira x Shirogane! *bricked*
    But I was surprised about the kiss (in a good way. I actually screamed “YES!” when I saw it. xD) because from what I’ve read of the manga–it’s shounen-ai-less. I’m definitely continuing this, that’s for sure~~

    A Person
  15. “Waz: Kaze no Stigma was awesome. Okay no it wasn’t, it was very average, but Kazuma and Ayano were awesome”

    “dxZZ:I agree Waz, Kazuma and Ayano from Kaze No Stigma? I had no problem with the series BECAUSE the relationship between those 2 made up for the “more than average” rating of the seriesZ”

    Agreed! I actually liked Kaze no Stigma. Kazuma was Awesome, and i liked the relationship between Kazuma and Ayano.

  16. I’m watching the episode right now. It is different from the first volume of the manga. They introduce Haruka very early along with the “old man”. Eh. I thought Haruka Show Spoiler ▼

    was just a sign of being impressed. The manga itself, isn’t shounen-ai or BL buuuuut that scene of when Shirogane becomes one with Akira. Eh, yeah. I can see where this really splits from the manga. Therefore, going with manga all the way. -_- Just what in the world was A.C.G.T. thinking?

  17. It’s weird, whenever’s yaoi, the guys are being spammy with their “OMFG GAY GAY”. When there’s yuri, they shut up and masturbate… and the girls chose not to say anything about yuri. Makes you wonder who is the more mature in the anime field.

  18. Ouch what’s with the shot at Kaze no Stigma? Definitely Kazuma was such a good lead it made up for everything else. Not the story’s fault that Gonzo was behind it after all. Plus the interactions with Ayano made it a solid (not spectacular by any stretch) series.

    Will wait for subs and see how this series goes before making a call one way or the other.

  19. dude does anyone even read the blog besides looking at three pics and comments? probaly not, if u actually took some time reading, u might find its not shounen ai…or whatever yaoi gay stuff…

  20. …No wonder this show had some LOVELESS vibes in it; i.e. the fated-pairing thing. Its not a bad thing though >_> I’m a sucker for some sweet BL~~ The comedic parts were laughable; that’s the good part besides the BL hints here and there lulz.

  21. [i]So I heard u liek gay shows, Patrik. Could this mean you’re a HOMO, my dear Patrik?[/i}

    Patrik, sometimes, I swear that if this were a paying company, you’d be rolling in money from all the worker’s abuse claims you could file. Well, in any case, I think you’re doing a wonderful job.

    Why is it, when a gay guy/girl watches het, no one ever accuses them or turning straight? It is possible to enjoy yaoi/yuri without it having anything to do with your sexuality. When it’s yaoi it’s terrible but when it’s yuri it’s great? Geez, talk about double standards. What’s wrong with people liking both yaoi and yuri?

    Okay, so that had nothing to do with the actual show. On topic though, I was sort of excited to watch this, but it appears that it is somewhat disappointing. Well, I won’t leap to conclusions so I’ll probably stick with it for a while. Though I must admit, the pink lips are a little jarring to look at. Especially in contrast with that pasty white skin.

  22. Replying to: It’s weird, whenever’s yaoi, the guys are being spammy with their “OMFG GAY GAY”. When there’s yuri, they shut up and masturbate… and the girls chose not to say anything about yuri. Makes you wonder who is the more mature in the anime field.

    Are you sure just the guys? Some could be girls.. O.o Like me. I don’t like shounen-ai, shoujo-ai, yaoi, yuri, hentai, etc. It’s all about the preference. Girls who aren’t so open abuot yuri is because you won’t find them anywhere near yuri. Once they know it’s yuri, they avoid like it’s poison. 😀

  23. Why the Yaoi overtones in this production? There was no BLove in the manga as far as I can tell, so the change? To draw more viewers from the Demographic? I can’t seem to understand the logic in that.

  24. ahem, now that I’m done with my noob complaints (which was a lot more fun than trying to act and pretend to be a respectable person), here’s what I thought about the series:

    The yaoi element freaked me out. The story was *kinda* interesting, in that it followed the generic premise of “Normal guy/gal one day finds out that he/she has an important role to play in an alien world”. While many people find these type of stories repetitive, I kinda like them, since this is what many fantasy-themed anime/games/movies use.

    However with this series, it was really boring. It doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, be it story-wise, art-wise, or character wise. Throw in my ick for shounen ai and the guy with the lipsticks, and the series turns from a “just another boring series” to a “screwed up series that is boring”. Since I’m unfamiliar with the yaoi fetish, it didn’t do anything for me. If anything, it made me lose my appetite.

    Now that I’m done with the “mature, non-trolling, and actually constructive” criticism, ….

    Welcome back NOOB JAYARZ!!! I’d choose guro over this series (anime version. Have not seen the manga yet), any day, just as how others will rather watch guro than yuri.

  25. Just want to apologize for trying to send my last post three times earlier. ^^; I was going a bit nuts since I didn’t see my post right away. Very sorry about that. >__> I just want to know what the Japanese Wikipedia spoiler is all about concerning the main character. This is my only drive to read more of the manga. Show Spoiler ▼

  26. To “A Person”: here you go. The first group is my own translation and below it is what an online translator came out with. It is a little different, but at the same time, points towards the same meaning.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  27. I actually have the manga and it really isn’t that bad I kind of enjoy it, I guess the anime version just sucks. But we shouldn’t be surprise since 9 out of 10 times manga to anime adaption usually ends in horror but I never expect them to make it so gay. Since in the manga it never nor have I seen any indication that theres any yaoi material involves.

  28. i’m with peaches, anime usually caters to guys with the giant boobs (soul eater) & i don’t have any problems with that, so what’s the problem if there are a couple shonen-ai-ish shows. i can’t wait to watch this.

  29. Thanks for the summary! I’ve read the manga but I know very little Japanese and this summary helped me understand the various twists!! I can’t wait until episode 2!!!

    Evil Kage
  30. To me there is a smidget bit of shounen-ai in the manga… I don’t know how I felt it or what I was smoking but I felt something… Do not bash this anime. I suggest if you want to bash then do something about it instead of flaming the hell out of someone’s work. God, that’s so annoying…

    Evil Kage
  31. Hmm…good try with the translations of the spoiler, but they’re not completely correct. Here is basically what the spoiler said plus some elaboration. WARNING: Spoilers given through vol.4 of the manga.

    There are beings in the Light world called Rei which are the counterparts of the Shin of the Shadow world. Shirogane is A king of the Shin (there are two) and Akira is basically the reincarnation of A king of the Rei (again there are two) who died named Ryuko. However, Akira has not yet fully awakened as king. AND the fact that he has been turned into a Shin when he should actually be a Rei poses some difficulties.

    Yay! I’m glad people are discussing Monochrome Factor. But…the anime really did butcher Shirogane… >_

  32. Well, what pissed me off about this series is that I noticed no BL element whatsoever when I read the manga. So the studio’s changed what to me was a pretty good start to a series that I thought had quite a bit of potential based off the first manga volume, into something, well, does not seem as good. All the BL moments from the first episode have been added in, and to be honest, I have no idea why they even decided to completely change it in the first place… >

  33. Well, in my opinion, I like both the manga and anime so far. Yes the anime does have shonen-ai, but i kinda think it’s funny. tho i was surprised to see it because it’s true there is no BL in the manga and all of the shonen-ai in the anime was added in. also, i wasn’t expecting them to change it so much and don’t understand why they did. and like alot have said, I did get that whole LOVELESS feel when whatching the first ep. But I am still going to continue reading the manga as well as whatching the anime! 🙂

  34. I tend to be very critical of animes that i watch. I have watched many but truly like only a few. So far I really like this anime, even if the animation isn’t as best as it could be and the story is eerily familiar. So far the plot and characters have kept me watching. I have only watched 5 episodes though, so it may be too soon to tell weather this anime is any good.

  35. It’s not that bad…

    Well actually maybe it is. I’m not really into shounen-ai so the only reason I’m still watching Monochrome Factor is because of the OC, Haruka Kojou aka, the 11 year old university graduate. He’s pretty interesting for a OC (and yes I admit it, adorable :D)I want to see more of him.

    Sakuma Yuuko
  36. dude, i was seriously considering watching the anime adaptation, but after reading all of this,im not sure i can now, and i was able to get throught the crappy anime remake of Air Gear, in which Akito was clearly gay

  37. i love this anime. ): a lot of the people who commented on this read the manga before the anime, so i know how you guys feel about that. this is kinda making me want to read the manga, but I ORIGINALLY ONLY WATCHED MONOCHROME FACTOR BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS YAOI/BL T_T the fact that the manga doesnt have any makes me ultimately depressed. but since its very suspenseful and good and the manga is further than the anime is, i must read it ;_;

  38. Do you know if there’s a second season of Monochrome Factor anime? I can’t believe they end it like that. I kind of like Shirogane in anime. He’s hilarious. I know the manga is still continuing.

  39. Super awesome!! The first few episodes were good quality humor and fight scenes, then it kinda takes a toll from there and redeems itself at the end? Dunno, can’t really blame the Animators because the manga hasn’t been updated in a while– I also think Sorano probably is having a artist block, considering how slow the series moving.

    Anyways, the BL is highly amusing and wonderful.

    Yes, the BL is not a main part of the Manga but Sorano does use it quite often in the extra’s of the manga, SO can’t blame the animators for taking it up a notch.(I’m quite pleased actually)The BL is not extreme where you need to censor stuff, they don’t do much but look at each other…if that’s a crime.

    And to those poor repressed homophobes, we all know you like homo’s anyways- why else would you be interested in looking at pretty men? No need to hide it. ^_~


  40. I thought this started off really well and it did remind me alot of Loveless, particularly with the themes of fate and how Shirogane came to meet Akira (A bit Soubi-ish). I only started to watch it when I found out it had BL themes, which where actually really subtle (so I don’t know why people are complaining), after a while the series started to become a little boring and the end was heart breaking! I would have liked more BL than there was, however I find it strange that some one decided to change a seinen manga into a shone ai anime, that would just confuse existing fans of the manga and upset fans of the anime (like me) when they discovered the lack of shonen ai in the manga. Still I quite liked it, particularly Shirogane’s flirty humor (really funny) and Akira’s protests! I actually love the pairing Akira/Shirogane and the pink lips weren’t even that bothering, being a fan of shonen ai (Loveless in particular) I’m used to Bishōnen.


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