The impression left by this anime is greater than the sum of its parts. It really was quite a fun anime to watch. If I were to rate it based on impression alone, it would be in Very Good. However, it’s really hard to pinpoint specially memorable moments or even any strong points of the anime. It’s only the anime taken as a whole that gives a strong impression. Perhaps it was the things going on in the background that was responsible for this. The action was pretty solid, the art style was very pretty and interesting and the music was really great. Definitely worth seeing.
Purpose: Not Really Good. There were some odd things done here. The overall sense of the anime was that it was an action/world-drama genre anime with some comedy as supporting elements. However, they got a little distracted in a couple of ways. First, there were too many out-of-place relationship-type drama points that flew around. It was tiptoeing around going into harem territory, especially since the only real one complaining was Yaya. Second, the actual strong points of the characters were the comedy sequences. This was a problem of purpose because it was at cross-purposes with the main theme of the anime – the bigger, more serious story going on. This meant that characters became merely plot delivery points for the main points of the anime. It created an odd disconnect with the characters’ identities and place in the world.
Characters: Decent. Overall, they were pretty bland. They only really shine during some of the comedy elements. The best examples were Raishin’s banter with Loki and another character’s klutzy assassination attempts. That said, the klutz assassin comedy was a bit out of place, given the setting. Aside from those two, the other comedy elements kind of fell into a rut – it was the same kind of gag replayed over and over. Yaya was the biggest problem in that respect.
Comedy aside, the characters only had a single “issue” each. Relevant backstory established some of why the characters were here, but did little to flesh out the characters. For the most part, the characters were “disposable” in the sense that they had one issue going on, then they reverted to background material when the issue was resolved. There was little character progression – they were mostly the same from beginning to end.
World: Very Good. Quite fascinating what they did with the world. Both the setting itself and the character costuming was really interesting and helped set it as a “foreign” (to Japan) feel. We did get to learn enough about the world to make it interesting – how some dolls work, some of the bigger things going on, and a little bit of how “magic” works in this world. The impression was that we only got to see a small part of a really interesting world. Slightly disappointing, but still really good.
Plot: Decent. There were hints of a larger plot going on in the background, but the anime didn’t really deal with it directly. Instead, we got 4 plot arcs. The Cannibal Candy arc – the first one – was the strongest by far. It was a little bit like a mystery in a magical world – quite interesting. Past that, it got less clever and more into the standard tournament-style anime, with some side-plots going on. The end of the anime wasn’t a resolution per-se – it resolved the plot arc, but did little for the main character’s plotline. On that note, the character plotlines were fairly straightforward. Solve the problem, move on.
Storytelling: Decent. Some parts were done really well, other parts were not. While they managed to connect the plot points together fairly well, often it was just that – point A to point B, missing out on other explanatory elements. The biggest weakness in the storytelling was that it often didn’t convey enough information to “keep in the loop” fully. This meant that the viewer wasn’t really kept up to speed with things that were going on. Sometimes it was clever – the main character knowing something we didn’t. Other times it wasn’t – “wait, why did that happen?” In this case, the viewer’s point of view was so narrowly focused, we didn’t always get the entire picture.
Pace: Very Good. They kept everything pretty tightly together. I didn’t really feel any problems with the pace, with the exception of Yaya. Sometimes she bought things to a grinding halt because they lingered a little too long on her whining.