Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page
X 1999 - movie
Kamui is a young man destined to decide the fate of the Earth. If he should choose the side of heaven, then mankind will prevail and continue on its path in destroying the earth. If he chooses the side of earth, mankind will be destroyed and the earth will return to nature. Kamui however is uninterested in all that. He simply wants to protect the one he loves. Yet as he returned to Tokyo to do just that, things start to go bad. Kamui finds Kotori, the girl he wants to protect; only to end up searching for her after she is abducted. And no matter what he tries to do to avoid it, he will be forced to choose a side. It seems that Kamui is destined for a path of sadness, for whichever side he chooses; his childhood friend Fuma will take the opposing position. And Kotori, a fate even worse may await her. So what path could someone even take with such consequences? Kamui will have to decide.
If any series deserves an all out 10 for the animation category, this movie would be it. It's actually hard to describe not only how spectacular the animation is, but the fantastic artistry in each sequence. So for this reason I would suggest that anyone really interested in animation should most certainly check this title out. However you should also keep in mind that the many drawbacks of this title are also considerable.
The movie is based off of the manga, which has been ongoing for YEARS, and spans a dizzying number of novels. The movie is only 2 hours. So assuming that you're going to have all of these fight sequences, where is the character development going to happen? It doesn't. Actually, there is pretty much no development at all. Yeah you get the gist of the entire dragons of heaven and earth fighting, but really it just doesn't feel engrossing because the depth of it never has a chance to sink in. Likewise there are MANY characters in this series, and all of them are quite interesting in their own way. That is a huge tragedy here, as the movie focuses on Kamui, and the rest are plot fodder. Hell some of them die off so quickly that you're not even sure who is on what side.
On top of all this carnage, there is the soundtrack. As the movie starts there is a single light piece that plays in the background, but everything else feels far too heavy and makes the film seem even more overwhelmingly depressing. On top of all this there is the ending which I absolutely HATED. So with that said, those looking for a storyline or depth will not find it in this series. With these stark contrasts between fantastic animation, and horrible story this series comes out at a wash.
However I will also point you to "exhibit B": the X - TV series. The TV series retains a pretty good look as far as designs go, but was animated on a TV budget. The difference is that all those good parts from the manga are expanded to live up to the great story that the series should have. As I had my doubts I will also assure you that with so much doom and gloom, and "you'll never escape your fate" themes in the series, the TV series will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end.
So what do I recommend for this movie? I actually recommend you see it if you want to see some of the most stunning animation works ever done. Other than that avoid it like the plague. If you want some 'meat and potatoes' in your anime, then the TV series will be something you won't want to miss. It's sad because if they had managed to combine the two, this would have been the perfect anime series. But I suppose this is proof that there is a trade off in all things.
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