Purpose: Excellent. Overall, there was a very strong sense of purpose to the anime. Each of the events in the plot generally moved towards the resolution. However, there was a bit of an issue in the middle of the anime where some events didn’t really seem to be making much progress. I don’t really count that against the anime for a couple of reasons. First, they helped cement the characters’ place in the world (discussed more in the storytelling section). Second, those parts themselves weren’t really memorable, but not necessarily in a bad way. They seemed to blend into the background of the characters and the world so that the “grander” plot points stuck out instead. My impression is that they were purposely understated to really highlight the scope of the drama unfolding in the world.
Characters: Good. I am conflicted here and may bump this to Very Good. The characters themselves were competently done and relatively uncomplicated. They each had a fairly singular driving force that changed somewhat throughout the anime. What was really interesting about the characters was that the main two characters had a sort of over-acted and, perhaps, over-dramatic feel that really felt at home within the story. The way the characters felt combined with how they were developed gave the impression that they were really small, petty characters caught up in something huge. In sum, they were more of a supporting cast to the World’s “character.”
World: Excellent. The world was quite interesting and intriguing. So many things were happening in the background, it gave the world a very distinctive character. The viewer’s point of entry into the world was through relatively small actors, contributing to the apparent size and character of the world. There were several different factions, each trying to accomplish something. The maneuvering and movement of these factions really served to drive everything that happened in the story. What’s more, all of this was taking place within the backdrop of a threat to the world itself. My overall impression was that the world itself was the main character.
Plot: Very Good. For the most part, the events that happened took on a very grand scale. As mentioned above in Purpose, the smaller plot points served to highlight the grander ones. The plot served a dual purpose. First, it essentially shoved our main characters towards the resolution. This made the characters seem smaller and the world bigger at the same time. Second, the grander plot points made a definite impact on both the contours of the story and world. Very interesting in execution and very solidly done.
Storytelling: Masterpiece. The storytelling here was truly special. The way that it was told combined the over-acted feel of the characters and grand scope of everything to create a very unique experience in Anime. It felt as though I was watching a western stage play. The grander sequences used an operatic theme that really solidified this impression. It was the storytelling that really created the sense of small characters caught up in something huge. We mostly followed the main characters. However what was interesting was the way they managed to keep the viewer’s knowledge relatively limited to the characters’ field of view, yet giving enough information for us to see the grander forces at play. We would see glimpses of the large cogs turning and the world move in a way that really seemed to make the other goings-on the main focus of the show, accomplished from a generally limited perspective. The story really chronicled the main characters being swept along by the story, almost helpless and powerless against the current.
Pace: Good. Since we were following the main characters, the pace that we went at was their pace. While competent, it gave a little bit of a disconnect, especially in the middle. The characters were moving somewhat slowly while other things, that we didn’t really see or know, were moving much faster. Eventually, the characters’ pace sped up to match the speed of the world nearer to the end.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a really enjoyable anime to watch. There was some pretty cool stuff going on and the mood was really special. I found the anime really unique since it felt like a western stage play.