Thursday, December 10, 2009


Tokyo Majin is pretty much the kind of anime we've all seen before; high school kids, demons attacking, magic powers. On top of that, it's based on a video game, almost always the kiss of death. Somewhat surprisingly, it's actually a pretty good example of the form, and reminds me why people like the genre at all.

It actually reminds me a bit of Gurren Lagann, in the way it acknowledges the basic material is not at all original, and cuts out all the boring crap in favor of just getting to the good parts. Of course, TM's nowhere near as good as GL (when Gainax bothers bringing their A-game they're pretty much unstoppable), but it is definitely well-crafted; I dig the weird, ornately occult monster designs, and the fights are fluid and not padded out with posing, reaction shots, and pointless exposition about the nature of their powers (Kubo Tite, please see me after class).

The show is also pleasantly short-- fighting shows almost inevitably slide into tedium as the lengthy fights completely wreck the pacing, but this is only one season long, and the first half is basically one compact story. The somewhat breathless pace leaves the characters lightly sketched in at best, but frankly, they were never going to be that deep anyway, so I'd rather they not belabor the point.

Full disclosure; I've only watched the first half of the series so far, so it could easily
all fall apart later, but so far it's been a very pleasant surprise. This probably isn't
going to be an all-time favorite, but I genuinely enjoyed it, and it's kind of sad that
that's become so rare that I feel the need to point out when a show has enough basic
competence to rise above mediocrity or amusing bathos. This is thoroughly enjoyable pop
trash, and I'm a little puzzled it doesn't have more buzz.


  1. I LOVE the first ep of this show and some other eps as well, but I think it falls apart towards the end (of the first series, havne't seen the second) with the way all the characters basically end up being the exact same and the final battle is totally boring.

    I want to say that my biggest disappointment with this series is that the director, who did a great job, hasn't gone on to do anything else good - all he's worked on since then is the currently airing Fairy Tail. Which I've heard sucks.

  2. "all the characters basically end up being the exact same"

    I can't really dispute that, but on the other hand pretty much everyone in every hardcore super-martial-arts anime I've seen functionally loses all character traits beyond "I fight/I don't fight", and I appreciate Tokyo Majin for not wasting time developing characters they're ultimately not going to do anything with.

    "the final battle is totally boring"

    Eh, I'm grading on a curve here. It's not something that specifically wowed me, but at least people actually moved around and were generally visually exciting. Given how many shows can't even manage that...

    The Fairy Tail thing... man, I didn't even bother checking that out.