Friday, October 8, 2010

Anime review: Box of Goblins

After giving up on "K-On!!" I switched to "Box of Goblins". It is a 2008 anime which I had in my wishlist for some time, but never gave it much thought. I decided to watch it because I wanted something serious and short. It turned out this was a big score!

It's hard to define "Box of Goblins". In first episode we are introduced to two high-school girls. One, Kanako, is a captivating and popular, while other, Yoriko, is not. But for some reason Kanako befriends Yoriko, and so Yoriko starts to practically worship her. There is a lot of talk about reincarnation, past lives and future and so on. It gave me completely different fell of the anime than I expected. Then, a crime happens and Kanako ends up almost dead. This is where the action starts.

Show is quite a mix. It starts with philosophical mussing of a teenage girl, but then changes to a detective story. Then to supernatural mystery based on Japanese mythology. And then again to science fiction action... But it does so in such a great way that all feels natural. Show is broken in different POVs and in between we have slices of history (probably imagined, but looking realistic) that gives it a feel of real-life story. It has a resemblance to "Aoi Bungaku" series, because it happens in first half of 20th century (after WWII, which is important) and has that creepy mood, dark tones and surreal scenes. But it also has something of a Frankenstein novel (you will see why if you bear till the end).

We have a moderately large cast of some dozen important characters. What is peculiar that some of the main character got introduced only after half of the show. All characters are interesting. For some we get a nice characterization, realized from one side by inner monologue and from other by psychology analyze by others. While other character are just shown from the outside and we don't know anything of their history or motives. I hope for more series revolving around these characters, because two of them (exorcist and private detective) have great potential. I just checked Wikipedia: anime is based on a novel, and there is a series of novels by same author (Kyogoku Natsuhiko) with one of them a main character.

Visually, it's quite strong and realistic. The same is true for audio. And it has to be pretty good for me to notice it.

Anyway, I'm quite surprised that this "Box of Goblins" is not more famous. Although, first episode can be something of a turn-off, but after second and third, you should be already hooked up on this great fantasy-SF mystery-history mix. Definitely an anime for all fans of seinen and mystery shows.

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