Type: TV (26 episodes)
X - TV
It had been his destiny all along. Kamui was fated to decide the future of the world. It had been six years since he left Tokyo as a young boy, and now after the recent death of his mother, he returns. Yet it was his return that marked the beginning of the end: the apocalypse itself. Two opposing sides would attempt to gain Kamui as their ally. If he chooses the Dragons of Heaven, then Kamui will save humanity but the earth will continue to suffer at the hands of mankind. If he chooses the Dragons of Earth, then Kamui will bring about the end of mankind and the earth will heal itself.
For Kamui, this was more than he really wanted to deal with. His only real wish was for the happiness for the two he cared for most. His childhood sweetheart Kotori, and her brother Fuma that was like a brother to him. Yet as things came to pass it turns out that Fuma is in fact his twin star, and that whatever side Kamui should choose, Fuma will oppose him and they will fight to the death. But is their fate truly sealed or is there a way for Kamui to save the two people he wants to protect the most?
I've decided to adjust this review to have a bit more hindsight than it did when I originally wrote it. I try to be conservative in reviews, because it's easy for me to get swept up in the moment and over-rate things. The X TV series is different though, because while I loved it when I first saw it, I've come to the conclusion that this is one of the better titles that was ever animated.
If there is a detractor, it's the animation. While the X movie is one of the best animated features ever produced, the TV series is very much on a budget and many of the action sequences are downright disappointing. Keep in mind that this isn't to be confused with the character designs which are very good. In fact if you take screen captures from the X movie, and put them next to the TV series, you can't tell the difference.
What really makes X is the story and characters. The plot is based around an apocalyptic scenario, but heavily tied to destiny. The cast of characters is fairly large, but they're all developed quite well. With destiny thrown in, these characters become even deeper, because the story doesn't just happen around them. Parts of it have already been foretold, and major plot points deal with the characters trying to deny destiny. One example is how this propels the romance between Arashi and Sorata to become one of the best love stories in anime. Sorata has known from a very young age that he will befriend Kamui, but will die protecting the woman he loves. Later as a teenager he starts to see the pieces coming together, and decides that he will die for Arashi... mainly because she's hot. While initially cold towards him, Sorata expects nothing from her but eventually she thaws to him and falls in love with him as well. This however dooms her to have a broken heart as she knows perfectly well that he will die for her.
If you've had the misfortune of seeing the movie first, don't worry too much since the TV series is developed far better, but also makes much better decisions when taking up the story where the manga left off. One of the interesting ironies of X is how the entire thing is very much based off of destiny, and how it is inescapable, but each incarnation of X (TV, movie, manga) ends differently. What was one of the worst endings in the movie, became one of the best endings I've seen in the TV series. Also if you're concerned with the volume of character deaths portrayed in the movie, rest assured that some of them survive in the TV series. That's a good thing because as they're actually developed this time, their loss feels much more tragic.
In an unusual twist I found I didn't like the dub nearly as much, but oddly it's not because it was badly acted. There are parts of dialog that simply do not fit and I realized it wasn't because the script was bad, but because no matter how you translated it into English it would sound cheesy - while I'm pretty accepting of whatever they say in Japanese because I have no idea how corny anything sounds in other languages. Also Sorata refers to Arashi as "missy" (ne-san in Japanese) in the dub which is a term versatile enough to get the point across, but still doesn't seem to get the feeling right as being translated as "babe" as was done in the fansubs. As such I'd recommend the sub over the dub.
Overall I consider X to be one of the better anime titles. While I highly recommend it, it's hard to give reasons why, as many of the features of X have since been used elsewhere, and you may be getting tired of these themes if you've seen a lot of this stuff. Even then I'd give this one a shot.
Sorata: If I am to die, then I will die for the sake of a really hot girl... And babe, you are really hot!
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