OP Sequence

OP: 「Belief」 by May’n

「呪紋」 (Noroimon)

While not the best show I’ve seen, Taboo Tattoo definitely had some good moments.

Dat Storyline

Okay, if I remember correctly, I think I said this show had a decent story. And I stand by that – the story itself was pretty fun to think about out of context. Who wouldn’t want to have a name like Justice, be a badass martial artist, and just happen to save someone who would give him the power to literally destroy anything he pointed his hand at? It sounds really cool doesn’t it?

Seriously though, seeing the story animated really had me reconsider if there was something wrong with my brain when I was going through the source material. Maybe something was lost to the transition into an anime or maybe J.C. Staff just didn’t care all that much (more on that in a second), but boy did the story feel a little crazy. Honestly, who lets a random old guy put a huge glass rock thing into their hand and allows them to keep it there when it starts emitting crazy blue light and stings like hell? And even if you look past that in order to maintain the story’s premise, who in their right mind would fight someone that obviously has some ridiculously overpowered super weapon powering their entire body? I could understand if Seigi had no idea what he was up against, but he already saw Izzie’s special power and had the crap beat out of him twice now!

The Flip Side

Now, that said, on the flip side there’s no denying the episode was super fun to watch. With a lot of emphasis (and budget) placed in all the fight scenes, there was a bunch of eye candy to keep your mind occupied before it realized it had a lot of serious questions to ask. However, was I the only one who saw some pretty bad art and at times god awful animations randomly throughout the episode? It’s almost as if the team behind this show decided to blow the budget on all the fights and left peanuts for the in-between scenes that handled all the lesser elements like character and plot development.

Looking Ahead

Overall, I’d give this first episode a soft pass (as in a soft okay). Even with some glaring issues in the story that didn’t stick out to me when I first previewed it for this season’s preview, there was enough “fun” stuff to keep my mind off of it while watching the episode. Especially the moments when the camera got right up to Seigi and his opponents as they traded blow after blow. Also, we have Izzie. So, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, give it a shot! It’s not the worst show ever and I’m probably going to keep watching since it looks like there’s still potential to be good.


ED Sequence




  1. On the kinsey scale of good shounen I’d say this is somewhere between decent and good. I think it has potential to slide more towards good in the following episodes. I do have one thing to gripe about and maybe it’s just me but I’m kind of tired of the ‘childhood friend who secretly has a crush on the protagonist’ trope. Can we get childhood friends are not at all interested in the main character?

    1. “I’m kind of tired of the ‘childhood friend who secretly has a crush on the protagonist’ trope.”
      I am tired of how childhood friends are more unlikely to be with the MC in the end. Touko’s is an ideal woman where she has big breast and can cook.

      Notably, what made me interested in this anime is how the Tatoo’s look like Command Seals from Fate/stay night.

  2. I… think I might have gotten increasingly selective (read:fussy) in my anime-watching over the years, but I honestly couldn’t make it through the whole episode. I think it’s a combination of not being terribly fond of the character designs (and art in general), the animation (why does it look like no one washes their hair? Seriously, there’s cgi-shows with better hair-animation), and not being able to stomach the mc—you don’t get to be a martial arts prodigy and be that slow on the uptake.

    I might check the next episode (or try to get through this one), but with 23 shows to check out from the summer preview…

    Sorry for starting off the comments with something negative, just venting a bit. Don’t let this crotchety old man’s opinions stop you from checking out the show

    1. No, I understand it. After watching over 1000s of episodes, you become really adept at telling good anime from bad anime. And usually, you can pick up the subtlety of anime enough that it only takes you one episode to know whether or not an anime will be good.

      Art of Understanding (Kuma)
      1. I’m sorry, but I’ve watched more anime than you to combined and… I liked this.

        Not liking this has nothing to do with: “oh I’m so experienced that I can tell if an anime is good or not after watching 10 minutes of the first episode”.

        You just didn’t like it because maybe this kind of anime is not your thing.

  3. Actually I thought this episode was beyond awful. Everything the characters did made no sense (the boy receiving his tattoo, as you said, and how this military girl got her rank is beyond me) fanservice childhoodfriend didn’t have a purpose beyond being there for the occasional boobjiggle, the animation felt like it was animated with flash at times. And the story itself had really nothing to distinguish itself from any other battle shounen so far. I won’t be watching the 2nd episode for sure, and I even gave that horrible emo poetry show (divine gate?) a second chance…except maybe it will take a 180° turn and turn really awesome in the next 2 episodes.

  4. I liked that the Lieutenant told Seigi that she was much older than she looked. It’s nice to have a show that’s not giving all of its super weapons to high schoolers.
    On the other hand it looked a lot like at the end of the fight the blood on Seigi’s hand triggered the seal, it disappeared/was absorbed just like the Lieutenant’s chalk. I started to wonder if it was his blood or his enemies blood that triggered it and what that would mean when suddenly they started talking about it being the ‘triggerless seal’. Was anyone else surprised?

    1. I was, but less so since I knew what was going to happen since I previewed the show.

      If you want to know though, spoilers.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  5. Okay, we have a female protagonist who kicks ass, is much older than she looks, takes her mission and duty seriously but obviously has a very cute, childish side to her, wears her hair up and dresses like this. Also, she’s short and, no disrespect, but she’s also lacking in the chest area; compared to others, at least…

    In all seriousness, I can’t be the only one who sees it, can I? This is Saber; no ifs, ands or buts about it.

    And her charge is a young man with a mysterious mark on his hand (Shirou) who has an exceptionally well-endowed classmate who’s obviously in love with him (Sakura). Need I go further?

    Ryan Ashfyre
    1. @Ryan Ashfyre: Guess I’ll be the one to disagree. Pretty big FSN Saber fan and I never got the impression the two are all that similar even looking back on that. I definitely disagree about taking duty seriously. The girl in this show is quite whimsical at times to the point she actually abandons her duty/orders when it comes to the ML as I noted in my post below. Actually, I’d say the same for the mafia guy. Definitely NOT Saber in that regard. Also, to me, Saber’s softer side isn’t quite as silly as this girl. I agree that there is some degree of similarity (mostly visual), but not all that much IMO.

      1. I’m not saying that they’re exactly alike (if that were the case, the original creator probably would’ve been sued already, just like how Kubo steered too close to Yu Yu Hakusho before settling on the current version of Bleach), but keep this in mind; they’re similar enough for you to have to get into specifics just to point out the differences. That, in and of itself, is notable and, IMO, only serves to reinforce my point.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      2. @Ryan Ashfyre: No, I don’t think it reinforces your point of “This is Saber; no ifs, ands or buts about it.” OK, they are not literally clones, but I don’t think they are nearly as close/similar as you suggest. Yeah, if you look hard enough, you can find a bit of similarity, but that’s about it IMO which is certainly different than what you suggest.

    2. coincidentally, the guy who worked on the sound effects in the ufotable fate series is also doing the sound in this series, which would explain why some of the sound direction sounded familiar

  6. They kept using pans and zooms to hide the lack of in-between animation, which gave a really cheap vibe to the episode. It also didn’t help that the tone felt all over the place. The premise also feels rather generic. Not a strong start to the series.

    Fat Cat Lim
    1. Exactly, the pans and zoom were so obvious that it was annoying. Only a bit of the fights had decent animation, but even then the CGI use was distracting. Considering that this was the 1st episode that usually has the most work put int, I fear for the rest of the series.
      Disappointing, since the story seems generic, though I’ll probably still check out the next episode to see how much worse it can get. 🙁

    1. agreed; saying that the storytelling is decent is being awfully; the tone of the series is very schizophrenic and there are a lot of unnecessary fanservice scenes aka wrong place at wrong time. It terms of the animation, jc staff’s b-team is definitely on this. it sort of looks like they had just finished ep1 (and maybe 2) about two weeks before the airdate

  7. Not bad at all / I have read the manga and eveything that was used was exactly the same ( reread the 1st CHp to be sure! ) All 96 pages

    And wtiat is very rare / I strongly disagrre with you on JC STAFF

    So with that what source material did you use? because I read it originally and went back before I comment If anything JC Staff did not change anything that was used . I just do not agrre with you becasuse I follwed up with a check It does make sense waht you said about the transistion at all . JC STAFF is getting a bad rap for doing a good job. They follwed the adaptation very well for this episode

    And I pay attention to the manga / anime shows watch.

    The US agents are good but inept at times ( I do like the comedy ) A lot of great Martial Arts movies have humor in them !

    Oh I am glad the girls look good as they were great looking in the manga

    And the action was just like a PV more to come

    IDK if one cour can fit it all in ?

      1. in one punch man and Academia, the humor is used in a consistently appropriate manner and those shows know how to balance the tones; This series doesnt and that’s the difference. Besides, i dont think takaii was saying it was a flawed adaptation, but saying that his viewpoint of the material itself has changed a bit as he now doesnt think the story is as strong as he did initially. It was a faithful adaptation of the material but that does not dictate the quality of the material itself as being good. Hey, at least they took out the feature from the manga where for some reason, all the females nipples look like their in 0 degree weather

    1. Nothing specifically on the source material, but more so how it was adapted to anime.
      I guess it might have something to do with the pacing? In manga form, it felt great and I was super enjoying it versus in the anime where it felt like things were moving a wee bit too quickly.

      But that’s just my opinion.

  8. The action scenes more then made up for that small lack of animation, I was actually blown away by how good it looked, all the punches had impact, and you could feel that it hurt when they got hit. Hands down the best fight scenes I’ve seen in quite some time.

    Also the MC and Izzy was great, and the show made me laugh a couple of times, I call that a win.

  9. This was a mixed bag for me. Visually, it can be good at times (fights fairly well “choreographed”), but then pans, zooms, etc. were at at other times counterproductive. The humor (and/or moe moments) was a mixed bag as well. Things like this worked fine, but then things like this felt jarring/out of place. Frankly, this even has a mixed vibe/tone IMO. Parts of it feel kind of seinen and more serious, then there’s the silly comedy inserts and definitely shounen elements. Not sure how well it will all mesh together.

    Takaii mentioned some of the dubious plot lines, but the most suspect/WTF for me had to be the Lt. girl’s actions (Izzie??? MAL has her name as Bluesy Fluesy (manga) so anime changed her name?). Trying to look at this seriously/immersed in the story, they were dumbfounding. LOL, even her “co-worker”/subordinate(?) guy questions what she does (to which she doesn’t give any substantial answer). She’s on a mission to find the stolen tattoos. Upon finding the ML with one, does she capture him to remove the tattoo (I think you can, but not sure)? No. She fights him, then becomes his stalker. Fine, “surveillance” (terrible surveillance), but still… She also gives him a lesson on how the things work because…???

    Sorry, but WTF? She abandons her entire mission when it comes to the ML for absolutely no apparent logical reason. Huh? Oh, then she lets the kid fight some MAFIA guy WITH a tattoo he can use (maybe not fully, but still)? Yeah, she’s watching “just in case”, but “just in case” could easily turn into “too late”. Again, isn’t it HER mission to recover these things? As someone else noted, the ML goes typical shounen and doesn’t back down because “he can’t lose due to tragic past” rather than avoid such a dangerous fight.

    So a very mixed bag indeed for me. I didn’t hate it and the world/setting seems kind of interesting, but also some large and very dubious (IMO) parts of the plot on top of odd “comedy” inserts. I’ll give it another go, but this may not make the cut.

    1. The Lt’s code name I believe is Bluesy Fluesy. She goes by Izzie though. They didn’t actually change her name for the anime. This should be mentioned next episode. For the record the show is rated R and the manga is most definitely a Seinen series.

      Minor spoilers, should be explained in the next episode regardless. Show Spoiler ▼

      That said as someone who read up to chapter 39 (latest translated rip) of the manga in the past 2 days…there’s still plenty of issues with the story imo.

    2. @Takaii – nice catch (though I wasn’t thinking of “obliterating” Seigi as much as retrieve/recover (erase???) his stolen tattoo). Given Ebisu’s comment, she seems to have another idea than follow orders, but that still doesn’t cover everything (see below).

      @Karma: Appreciate the clarification on the names. Not sure I’d want “fluesy” as a code name so I can understand going by “Izzie”. So I guess this is seinen then given the rating, but there’s still a noticeable “shounen” vibe to it IMO. Middle-school ML factors into that.

      @Ebisu: Even if her objective changed (without authorization unless she’s got a lot of latitude) to recruitment, you can’t get around 14 (or so) middle-school ML. Given the background/setting, uh, WTF? THAT’s the plan? Drafting some random middle-school kid into the army to go against types like powered-up gangsters in what sure seems to be deadly situations? Isn’t there the threat of general war brewing as well? I don’t care if he’s the grandson of some martial arts master and a prodigy in the way of the xyz. Middle-school kid is middle-school kid. I think the premise would work a lot better if he was at least an 18 year old recent HS graduate. Even then, WOW is this girl trusting. She stalked “investigated” the kid, from another country than her own, for all of what – 3 days, and feels A-OK with allowing him to retain hax/op tattoo!? It’s… a lot to buy into IMO.

  10. I really want to like this and I enjoyed watching the episode but man am I worried. I have no self control so I went and read the entirety of the translated manga currently out (which I’m annoyed isn’t still being translated it seems as of ~4+ volumes ago).

    Show Spoiler ▼

    I hope people skip the opening more than not since it spoils so much…helps that the song is pretty meh at best.

  11. Well, I’m not going to give up on this show yet.
    Remember Shakugan no Shana? I dropped it 2 times because of that borderline shitty first episode, but after some time I got so bored that I watched the second episode. Since then SnS became one of my favourite anime.
    They seriously have to improve the animation tho…

  12. I’m glad others noticed the “poor” animation. At first I couldn’t tell if I’ve just been blinded by animes from the last two years with “amazing” animation that this one seemed poor to me even though it wasn’t. But then the dojo scene came up, and boy was that miserable to watch.

    I hope they step up and improve the animation, I’m actually really liking this show.


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