This is review number two hundred and eighteen. This anime is part of the Spring 2013 lineup. I’m close to finishing this lineup. It’s weird. The Spring 2012 lineup overwhelmed me but it looks like I can handle any lineup with ease now. Pikachu help me for Fall though. I can already tell that lineup will hurt. Anyways, the anime I’ll be reviewing is Zettai Bouei Leviathan. It’s a thirteen episode anime about some…girls. Let’s just say I wanted to give my second ever low score of one when I saw this anime. Let’s read on.
The anime is about three girls as they have a great adventure in the world of Aquafall. Leviathan, Bahamut and Jormungand are three girls that knows magic and they can transform into half dragon girls that destroys a bunch of monsters trying to invade their world. Of course, the girls also do their best to have fun by going to picnics and the beach while they kick some monster ass. It’s a lighthearted RPG anime about three girls and their “cute” times together.
Taking the Pants Off
Zettai Bouei Leviathan is an anime that was designed to give intrigue to a Japanese mobile game that was released at the same time the show did. This anime is a clear sign of the growing trend for mobile games. The game is described as a freemium where you obtain the game for free but you have to pay to keep playing it. It’s apparently big in Japan so this game was given the appropriate buzz by having an anime slowly divulge its premise. The show is basically a prequel of sorts for the game and this is a really dangerous approach. The game is Japan only so I’m not really sure how the show gave the game justice but, on the merits of the anime, I wholeheartedly believe it is pretty awful. Worry not. I’m an impartial guy and a lot of people have expressed their fondness for this anime so I will try to be fair. This whole thing depresses me though. You see a lot of people throwing rocks at Devil Survivor 2 for having overused themes and the ugly shadow of its predecessor hounding it yet you have a clearly below average show on every way given great praises. I hate the fandom and I hate myself. This show had a wonderful RPG background and enough RPG elements that it can write itself. For some odd reason though, Gonzo thought making a lighthearted show out of an RPG concept was the groundbreaking way to make the anime interesting and to convince people to try a freemium game. It boggles the mind.
The RPG element of the anime is actually pretty enticing. I love the rich background and the familiar setup that it makes me want to try and control the girls so I can grind for hours in one of the show’s dungeon. A huge meteorite fell on Aquafall and a bunch of dangerous monsters are now crawling out of it. These creatures are trying to invade Aquafall and kill anyone that gets in their way. Several towns are in danger and it’s up for the people of this world to protect their land. Things aren’t simple though because these are really tough monsters. In Aquafall, men are given immense strength as they grow up while girls are given awesome magic powers so they can defend themselves. The main characters are now given the responsibility of joining forces and trying to kick some monsters ass. Using their power over the elements, they do their best to keep the monsters from hurting others.
There are two kinds of monsters. The low level ones are called Toripu. They’re just pesky bugs that annoy people. They attack in groups though and that immediately becomes a problem. The bigger ones are called Lucasite. They unleashes Toripu from inside them but they themselves are pretty intimidating bastards. Think of them as the bosses where the difficulty are turned way up and their fight pattern is unbelievably deadly. Throughout the journey of the girls, they often meet both of these kinds of monsters and they do their best to fight them. Of course, the girls are proven to be too weak to beat most of them so they often rely on summon monsters. There are various dragons in Aquafall that the girls can help. Think of it as a side mission where they get the dragon’s help once they complete the mission. These dragons can help take down certain Lucasites that are too impossibly hard for the girls to fight. It gets pretty straightforward from here as they would just continue their journey and fight harder monsters. Doesn’t this sound like a pretty fun RPG game? Add the fact that girls actually explore dungeons and ruins, visit certain towns for their aids and meet interesting creatures like fairies and temple spirits then this show had enough RPG elements to truly go all out. The fact that it’s a prequel can easily give the freemium game enough intrigue. Just smartly pace the battles and slowly progress to harder bosses, it really is a no brainer move.
I think this was the pitch of the game. It does look pretty damn intriguing from how the anime presented it. For this show though, an exciting RPG themed show is just too normal. They wanted to add more. They wanted to focus on the girls and their youthful exuberance. The show added the element of “cute girls doing cute things” to this interesting RPG element. Yes, for godsakes, this is an RPG anime with cute girls doing cute things. Beside their journey full of grinding and defeating dungeon bosses, they also have time to basically drink tea. They go visit beaches and hot springs while they poke fun of each other. It’s full light hearted fluff with the girls just really doing nothing but be adorable at every possible second. Can you imagine an exciting RPG game where the characters had time to sit down in the grass, eat picnic and tickle each other? Actually, that can work. I actually want to play that and you can actually pull it off. The problem is that Gonzo cannot. I’m a pretty open minded guy but even I call bullsh*t on the girls cutely bickering at each other while a Lucasite is trying to kill them. “Hey, don’t try to hit me with your fire!” Jormungand said in a very cute angry voice.
There are some many things wrong with this anime. It’s not even funny. First of all, the story was roughly introduced. The anime never clearly explained what it was going for and its premise was never established. It opened with the three girls meeting and then a fairy suddenly trying to recruit them to join the “Aquafall defense squad” or something. You’d expect the following episodes to focus on the girls actually forming a group but, no, it does not. It suddenly shifted to individual episodes of the girls spending their normal days together. The threat of the monsters is downplayed, the plot point about the girls forming a group was downplayed and this wonderful idea of the girls transforming into half dragon bad asses was roughly used. It did, however, had a lot of moments where the girls are eating, making breakfast, helping a friend who is stuck in the mud, and basically other light hearted fluff that focuses on the “cute girls doing cute things” element of the anime. Any sign of a stable progression is non-existent as almost every episode is stand alone and barely small portion of the show is dedicated to something that can be carried over to the next episode.
The idea of mixing lighthearted fluff with RPG elements doesn’t work for this show. Any sign of an enjoyable RPG adventure of the girls is dulled down by the lighthearted fluff. There is really no excitement for the anime even if you force yourself to enjoy it. The girls spend a lot of time just being adorable that it dilutes any possible story from the anime. I do get it. They want to focus on the cute girls and I have no qualms with that. They can go to the beach as much as they want and I’d even point out its underlying beauty. The problem for me was that they put it in the guise of an RPG anime. I love my RPG. I love the elements presented in the anime. I love the potential that it has to be an awesome show. This was all denied, downplayed and used as nothing more than a bland plot device as they focus on the girls. It’s annoying and a bit insulting. Basically, the girls are in an RPG themed club as they spend their time together. They should’ve just done that instead of this ridiculous RPG anime about girls transforming into half dragons. How stupid does Gonzo think its audience is and how did they figure we all have ADD?
As I pointed out before though, some people enjoyed this anime. The basic consensus is that the anime was laidback and the “cute girls doing cute things” appealed to them. If you can block out the potential RPG greatness of the show, then I guess you can enjoy what the anime had to offer. Now, to be fair, I did try to pinpoint on that aspect of the anime as well. I did. I covered all the bases and gave up on the RPG potential of the anime. I simply watched it for the light hearted fluff but it clearly doesn’t work for me. As I said, the story is dull. It doesn’t even try to be interesting in any possible way and just uses cliché to carry the load. The other problem was that the characters themselves are pretty dull as well.
This was the biggest problem of the anime. It had really dull characters. I’m not talking about cliché characters or massive stereotypes we’ve seen before. Oh no, the characters in this anime are far worse. They don’t have a personality, for starters. While there are distinctions between the main characters, there isn’t enough for the audience to truly like them as individuals. They are all one note and they stay that way all throughout the anime. The characters are pretty crucial for this anime because, as a common rule, they should carry the show if the story sucked. It was pretty painful to see the same one-dimensional characters just kept on being bland as you watch a pretty awful anime. They don’t provide the needed variety that could’ve saved the anime. I could’ve settled for a tsundere, a kuudere and an air headed character as long as they are flexible enough to make the show interesting. The anime couldn’t even give me that.
In this show, we have a timid girl with very little facial expression. Her timid personality is too subtle though as she spends majority of the anime just literally staring blankly into space. There is also the loud girl. Bahamut is the rich spoiled kid that enjoys the luxuries of life. She does nothing but complains and does random tantrums though. Jormungand is the strong character type but she has very little personality of her own outside smashing things. The anime did try to give the girls a decent fleshing out by having them confront personal conflicts. The lightheartedness of the anime completely counters any effort these personal conflicts would accomplish though. I can’t buy that Bahamut is a lonely girl when she just happened to express it in one certain scene that needed for her to be lonely. Everything the girls do is forced and their lack of personality made it more of a chore to enjoy the anime. Their bland personalities also made their interactions pretty dry. This could’ve honestly saved the show. We just needed a bright interaction from the girls but the anime can’t provide that. The value of the girls poking fun of each other can only last for so long and you’ll eventually want more. Unfortunately, the characters don’t have anything more besides being one dimensional cute character. It even came to a point where they are just downright annoying.
The rest of the characters aren’t that great as well. You can’t expect the side characters to be great when your main ones suck. They don’t really do much but just take space. The story wasn’t polished enough to make the side characters relevant and the lazy interaction among the characters didn’t do them any favor. The fact that these cliché characters could’ve shined if they were in an RPG anime instead of a lighthearted fluff one also made it hard to watch. For godsakes, we have a really menacing dragon asking for the girls to gather herbs for him as he blushes when he compliment Leviathan’s beauty. It’s stupid. This show is stupid.
There is so much you can do with the show and the studio did the most horrible thing on the checklist. The lazy writing and the bland characters was hard to watch. This show had a lot of potential that could really make it amazing yet it didn’t even try to achieve it. I hope the freemium game is great because this anime is one of the biggest displeasure of 2013 so far. Gonzo is a really scary studio. They aren’t afraid of releasing really bad anime since they expect a certain niche to accept their work. The sad thing is that they once had a really strong showing back when they had the Macross franchise. They honestly still produce great works but they also release a lot of anime like this. It’s pretty depressing for me since I watch every anime in a lineup. A show as bland as Zettai Bouei Leviathan can really crush your love for the medium. I’m not exaggerating and I don’t care what others think. This show is just plain bad.
Sight and Sound
Character design is pretty average. There really isn’t much to point out from the way the characters look. They have a pretty familiar look with the way the face and their bodies are designed. They are too average though and the lack of details was such a waste for the characters. For characters set in an RPG world, the anime should’ve done more to make the characters interesting. I’ve seen a lot of anime that had bland characters saved by their flashy look. This was just bland on bland for the anime. The fact that they also didn’t add enough emphasis on the “moe” was annoying. To have a “cute girls doing cute things” anime with bland girls is like a sin or something. The appeal of fluff anime is to have these girls act stupid while having their highly detailed moe look push through everything they do. This anime lacked a lot of things and it’s disappointing that the character design was just way too average for an RPG/fluff show. The use of light colors also didn’t help the anime. It was begging for bright colors that would catch your attention yet the anime settled for a bland color scheme. The anime could’ve at least added personality using eye popping colors but it couldn’t even fucking do that.
Animation is pretty weak. The anime does have an inconsistent way of presenting its animation. Some scenes do have pretty great animation like certain fight scenes and certain close up of characters. Majority of the scenes in the anime are pretty low quality though. The movement is pretty awkward and the low frame rate is evident. Check out the GIF above and tell me that the movement is natural. Certain animation in the show is very stiff and it lacks certain details that call for such action. Most cute scenes in the anime are also pretty bad. It isn’t as cute as you’d expect and it looks unnatural the way the characters do it. Most fight scenes are pretty bland and they don’t have the excitement it desperately needed. The lazy script is to blame though but the animation could’ve easily made the fight scenes at least as flashy as they can. The whole anime screams low budget as you watch it.
The CG is also something worth noting because it’s pretty awful. This is CG of the 2009. It’s the stiff kind where it doesn’t blend well with the background. Check out anime by JC Staff from 2009 and you’ll see these kinds of anime. Certain vehicles and other stuff like that are often done in the same CG. They’re the stiff kind that clearly looks out of place. It’s pretty embarrassing to see such rough CG in the anime. This doesn’t make the anime interesting. It actually looks pretty bad since it clearly doesn’t fit with the rest of the anime. The design of the monsters is pretty great but the use of CG for them is questionable. The design work is also pretty decent and the anime could’ve done more to make sure the CG is more presentable.
The anime’s OP is “Hajimari no Resolution” by Yuki Kanno. This is a pretty decent OP song. It has a nice instrumental opening and Yuki’s voice is pretty awesome. It’s a bit mature that nicely compliments the style of the song. The Op sequence features the characters in a stylish montage but like the rest of the anime, it also feels a bit bland. The animation work was the best I’ve seen in the anime though.
The anime’s ED is “Truly” by PASSPO☆. This is a pretty great song. Passpo is an idol group so the song has this bubbly and sugary style that comes with an idol song. It is pretty upbeat though despite the simple pacing of the song. The singer’s voices all nicely standout despite the one note beat of the song and I really like that. The chorus is also pretty great. The ED sequence features the girls in different places of Aquafall being cute and stuff like that.
2/10 “Dull story, dull characters and dull animation is guaranteed to give you a pretty dull anime experience.”
The evil son of a b*tch inside me wanted to give this show a one but it isn’t that bad. It has value if you look hard enough and I guess the laidback moments have some merit to it. It doesn’t appeal quite that fast and it requires a little warming up but it’s good enough. As an impartial reviewer though, it’s best if you just don’t watch this show.