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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Curious Case of 12 Kingdoms:

Twelve Kingdoms is a great anime.  Not as good as I remember it being, but nevertheless great.  It has good art, good voice acting, good music, a good story and memorable, likable characters.  The only problem with the anime is it's infected with filler like a terminal malignant cancer.  In every episode filler interferes and ruins every single scene.  You can't go a single episode without something that did not actually happen suddenly jumping in and interfering with the normal flow of the story.  Unlike modern filler, which tries to quarantine itself off from the main storyline, 12 Kingdoms filler horribly attempts to incorporate itself into the story as a whole, thus ruining both itself and everything else it touches.  In order for the filler content to stay relevant, other parts of the story must be twisted into unnatural directions, and characters must suddenly stop acting like themselves and become someone else, someone that gives a damn about these useless filler characters who shouldn't even exist, even though there is no natural reason why they would do so.

As good as the anime is, at this point, I'm fairly certain people would do better to just avoid the anime entirely and read the light novels directly from the source.  Not only will you get a pure, unadulterated version of the 12 Kingdoms, but the story extends well beyond what the anime covers and resolves many of the plot lines that appear in the anime but never get resolved, leaving nothing but a bitter aftertaste in your head of wondering how exactly everything works out.  It's rare for an anime to be so mangled that its source material is better than it, but sometimes you just have to take the plunge.  Like the Negima manga vs. the Negima anime, 12 Kingdoms would have been better off never getting animated at all.  Because there are things I like about the show, even in its warped form, I'll keep it around at the rank of 121.  But the light novels would rank much higher in my esteem on a respective list of great literature.

Meanwhile, I brought Precure back up to #3 on account of how good Doki Doki Precure was, and Naruto back up to #8 on account of the anime finally returning from its enormous filler hiatus.  Now the spring season is back to full strength.  Hanamonogatari won't be coming out until August, so Naruto was the last anime the spring season was waiting on.  And what a thrilling episode to leap back into the series with, the whole shinobi army facing off against just two guys and a giant chakra beast.  Shingeki no Kyojin got a big boost in my rankings, all the way up to #97, mainly because it has an awesome song that kicks in right at the most pulse-beating moments and gets you excited like a little kid on Christmas, except instead of presents it's generally blood that starts flying everywhere.  There's nothing like the sheer visceral tension of Shingeki no Kyojin.  This is a blockbuster anime that delivers better than any blockbuster film the explosions and high speed chases every boy dreams of.  Cities are leveled, people die, and heroes kick ass.  What more could you possibly ask for?

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