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(original reviews on the blog have more pictures then ones uploaded unto here)
Type: 24, 30 min, episode series
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama
Produced by Madhouse
Casshern Sins is a reboot of the 1970's anime series "Casshan," but with an entirely different plot, and giving the characters different backstories and roles. In Casshern Sins, the world has begun to die as a result of a phenomena know as the "Ruin," which has turned the earth into a barren wasteland, and which has started turning the mainly robot population into rust. In addition, the human population is on the verge of extinction. In comes Casshern, a robot (or is he a robot?) with amnesia who wakes up only to find two disturbing rumors floating around concerning him. The first is that if one was to devour Casshern, he would gain immortal life. The second is that the Ruin came about after Casshern killed "The sun called a moon" (or something along those lines), Luna. The anime then follows Casshern as he explores the dying world.
Well I will start out by commenting on the animation, for that will diffidently be the first thing you will notice. It looks much older then it is. In fact, it immediately reminded me of Dragon Ball Z. The coloring scheme can also be described as being several shades of gray. This can especially be said of the background, which felt even lower quality then the rest of the animation. I will admit that this did capture the atmosphere of the anime, but I think they could/should have done it in much better quality.
As for the story, the quality varies to a considerably degree between the first part and second part. As a result, I will review them separately.
The first part is pretty much entirely episodic. We are introduced to a dying world, and to the different ways people deal with it. While the individual stories are hit and miss, and I generally found them boring, I did think some of them were well done (especially the first three episodes). The series also felt as though it was building up to a epic revelation and the ending of the first part was general well done and emotional.
Then comes the second part. It is revealed that the ending of the first part was pretty much the entirety of the "epic revelation," and that it won't really be developed up anymore. Instead, the plot will now have a more serial format with the main characters doing... well it is not actually explained what the characters are trying to do until several episodes later when they have actual done it. Besides failing to tell the viewers what the hell the characters are doing, the sequence of events is disjointed, the plot has large gaps, and it contains random events that make no sense. While the final two episodes were better, it was still a bit confusing and felt unpolished. Overall, the whole second part just felt rushed and unfinished.
Now on to the characters, which is yet another element in which the series is lacking. The characters vary from somewhat enjoyable, to bland, to just plain annoying. The characters just lack that human touch. The only non-major character in the entire series that I can remember, and the only character who I really liked in the series was the human (and, as it so happens to be, the only human to play a real role in the story) who appeared in the third episode. In addition, in the second part, the writers seem to be trying their hardest to make you hate the characters. It starts to seem like over half the dialogue becomes the characters repeating the exact same feelings over and over. And the characters start acting on shallow or entirely uninspiring motives.
As for the themes, the series had a lot of potential and tried very hard to be philosophical and thought provoking. The series explores how people deal with hopelessness and death, in addition to immortality and the idea that one cannot live without death. Being hampered by uninspiring characters and a confusing, disjointed plot, however, prevents the themes from going anywhere or really making an impact. Basically, a good idea carried out in the wrong way.
Closing Comments: Though the animation is of pretty low quality, the first part of this series is ok. Though a bit boring, it does provide a change of pace and the occasional good episode. The second part, however, just felt rushed and unfinished with a disjointed and confusing plot. The characters do not help at all, being generally bland and unmemorable. Many of characters also worsen in the second part as they start fixating on a single feeling and acting on motives that are shallow or uninspiring. And while the series tries to be philosophical and thought provoking, any hope of it accomplishing this is destroyed by its bland characters and disjointed plot.
While they first part might be something to interest you if you are looking for a change of pace, I doubt many people will watch this all the way through (I, personally, had to force myself to finish the series just so I could review it).