This is review number sixty eight and I have run out of Fall 2011 anime to review. So I’m now entering the Summer 2011 lineup. I’ve seen a lot of the anime in this line up though so rewatching them will be a pain. I’ll start with those I haven’t seen first.
The anime I’m reviewing today is “Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi” or A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Sadly, I just gave my next lowest review. I hate giving low reviews. I live in a web of lies were all anime is a ten of ten. *sigh* The web was burned today. It was burned with a torch. A torch!!!
As Taito Kurogane is walking home from school, he saved this girl who was about to get hit by a truck. He was hit instead and died on impact. His even got his head torn off his body. He’s dead now. Or is he? Could a nine year curse just save his life? A curse placed by a girl he once loved?
Taking the Pants Off
I review my anime in a certain order. I know what criteria to look out for and maybe I should write those criteria soon for other to know about it. Basically, I start with the Story. If it intrigues me and keeps me interested until the end then I know the anime can be easily recommended. The characters, the genre execution, the animation and the soundtrack come next. You can have all of these criteria met but there is one thing you must absolutely not fumble in. That’s execution. If the execution of the elements sucks then it doesn’t matter how much potential an anime holds because it can never be felt by the viewer. Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi made this mistake and the viewing experience is really really bad. The sad part is that the anime has a lot of potential but it just couldn’t fix itself properly.
Episode One will easily intrigue you. Taito Kurogane saved this little girl from being run over by a truck because the driver fell asleep. He got hit and his head detached from his body with a nice addition of blood to make it awesome. He suddenly gets up though and regenerated. I am starting to like this premise. A guy that can never die and a vampire girl putting a curse on the one she loves. It really works and it excited me to see how the story unfolds. The anime did a great job of building the anime on the first three episodes. It was confusing at first because the anime started out in a school setting, became gory then turned action and ended in romance. The first three episodes did manage to showcase all the things you can expect from the anime. All those genres are present in the anime. The story of a supernatural world meeting Taito’s normal life fondly reminds me off Shakugan no Shana’s initial set up. This anime even had a nice love triangle between two girls and Taito.
Sadly, the anime goes downhill after episode four. The anime’s story seems to be a huge mess. It had a lot of plot elements that the anime established and then they started competing with each other. It started with a nine year old promise with Taito and Himea Saito. Their love with one another is so strong that it managed to defeat a really strong opponent. The story then shifted to Taito joining the student council and apparently, the school is a place where a lot of dimensions cross paths so the council is established to battle the monsters crossing the dimensions that ends up appearing at the school. The budding love triangle between Himea, Taito and his childhood friend, Haruka Shigure is established. The story then shifted to Taito trying to become strong and he even went to this god who grants wishes in exchange for something of equal value. Apparently, he wasn’t strong enough so the student council would train with this shifty English teacher in a military secluded place. Now take a moment to examine all those elements. There are a lot of plot points there, huh? In the right hands, that can become a great anime. I’ve seen it done in Hidan no Aria. JC Staff can do this with one hand tied behind their backs while blindfolded and smoking weed. Zexcs, a studio I’ve only heard of today, overreached.
The anime had the choice of dropping some of these plot points and forgetting about them. It’s alright to do that but it didn’t. It took all of those plot points and carried them until the final episode. One example of this is when they trained in the beach. The English teacher promised he’d release them if they can kill a dragon. So they trained and got their ass kicked then Haruka suddenly appeared and the love triangle commenced completely overshadowing the training. They defeated the dragon without the viewer’s seeing how the characters became strong which was the point of the training but because it was smothered by the love triangle, it was downplayed. So exactly what was the point of going to the beach to train if we don’t get to see the characters improve?
The characters themselves have serious potential. They were generic but they had a chance to develop but because of a crappy execution, they become a mess. The character’s potential was limited thanks to the story and they only move when the story calls for it. Some of the interactions were forced and some moments contradict the others. There was one scene where Taito promised to protect Himea because he loves her then the minute the love triangle commences, Taito would act like that soul baring exchange never happened. There were also a lot of moments where Taito wishes he can become strong and no matter how hard he trains, he always seem to get his assed handed to him. Why? He trained. He should be stronger, right? Oh no, the stronger character should remain strong by default? Oh, I never knew that can happen. Huzzah.
Some of character is pretty nice. I actually like Himea’s fragility. She was locked up in a cold dark place waiting for Taito and I find it very sincere. She is very vulnerable and her character is really intriguing. The anime just f*cked it up and she became muddled like the rest of the cast. The same goes for the shifty English teacher. I like how he has this bitterness inside him because he was the former student council president and he knows deep inside that the current SCP is much better than him so he acts like a douche bag. Again, the anime muddled up his development so he just stayed an ass from start to finish. It’s really unfortunate how such potential was just thrown away like a used napkin.
The anime also had its genres compete with each other. I like the dark comedy aspect of the anime in the first three episodes. They made fun of Taito dying and regenerating which I liked a lot. There was one scene where he got bit in the face with this gigantic bug and he just brushed it off as if it was nothing. The anime dropped that comedic element on later parts of the anime for…um…something else. The romance aspect was a huge fail because it didn’t get a sufficient build up. A love triangle should be fun and cute. The love triangle in this anime is mere filler. No romantic tension and a lot of characters just going emo. This anime f*cked up a lot of things, I’ll just put it at that. Perhaps the biggest example of how much the anime suck is the contrast between the first and final episode. First episode had gore, romance, and a hint of action. The last episode, a goddamn hot spring episode, is a fan service filler episode. Yeah, that’s great execution right there.
Sight and Sound
The background is normal. There were no visually appealing sceneries in the anime. It’s just your generic background so the anime can function properly. There were some gore and slight graphic scenes though. I love the car accident at episode one where the head rolled off the body. The monster exploding to bits on episode two was also a nice touch. There was no guts though, just blood and body parts.
The character design is nice. I love the way the hair is presented. Himea’s hair has a nice gradient effect and those dots of light that swirls around it. The rest of characters is your generic shounen style design with whacky hair and presented in different colors. The clothes were nice though and some of them are really bad ass.
The puzzling part of the anime is that it had panty shots. There is even my nemesis, the blinding light. It was a weird element of the anime because it didn’t really need it. There were some nudity though but some of those were symbolic because it was partnered with some soul baring romantic scenes.
The action sequences weren’t that great. They all had the same pattern. Good guy attack, bad guy deflects it, bad guy counters, good guy takes all of it then falls down, and then bad guy monologues. The action even fizzled out at the climatic moments. It wasn’t the strongest part of the anime but then again, the anime had none.
The OP song is generic. Hitomi Harada’s voice is a nice touch with a high note at the end but it wasn’t really that memorable for me. The opening sequence starts out with some nudity. You see Himea floating in some space with no clothes on and touching her body. The characters are shown and there is no spoiler but I doubt the anime could be great even if the scenes were spoiled. You can clearly see the missed opportunity of the anime in the OP sequence.
There were a lot of ED songs and they were actually my favorite part of the anime. They all end on a nice note but the added bonus of the seeiyus singing the songs was the thing that made me love them.
3/10 “It’s bad. A lot of potential wasted by an extremely botched execution.”
Execution is important and this anime is the best example of one that ignores such an important element. You can have great characters, some intriguing plot points and some nice animation but with an ineffective way to showcase it then you’re better off watching two kittens fight.