Saturday, August 18, 2001

Saber Marionette J

Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1996 Satoru Akahoru (creator). Masami Shimoda (director). Bandai

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Cover Description:
Welcome to Japoness, an all-male society, where the only females are high performance emotionless androids known as 'marionettes'. Martial arts student and all-around nice guy, Otaru, accidentally discovers and wakes a marionette named Lime. He soon learns that Lime is very different from other marionettes; she has emotions! After waking two more emotion-filled marionettes, Cherry and Bloodberry - Otaru faces tough challenges ahead of him as he battles the evil Faust and his Sabre Dolls. Can Otaru rise up to the challenge whil teaching the marionettes about human emotions? Get ready for the love comedy of the year!

(25 episodes)

During my early days of animanga fanaticism, there was Saber Marionette J. >>> by thundersenshi
I am writing this review from memory, so what I say now might be outdated opinions. I don't know exactly how I would review this anime four years and 100+ animanga titles later; my standards now are higher than it was before, of course. But based on what memory tells me, I often trudged home early after school ended just so I could catch this on TV...which means, I probably liked it a lot.

The story revolves around Otaru, and the three marionettes he found. The setting is a bit futuristic, and in this world, there are no females...just android ones, such as Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry. Now what makes these three special is that they have unique intelligence. They have emotions like regular humans do. And all of them are very fond of Otaru, and they go out of their way to show their affection for him. The feminist in me scoffs at the very idea, but if memory serves me right, I enjoyed watching Saber Marionette J, so it couldn't have been that bad. Never mind that the regular marionettes are supposed to be mindless cyborg servants, and they are all females...

Okay, okay, I'll stop harping about that particular aspect of the series, and go on with the rest of my opinion. The plot actually gets more interesting in the later parts of the series. It seems there are more to the marionettes than they seem. What started out as an entertaining show about Otaru, his marionettes, and their everyday lives thickens to heavier conflict regarding the world's history and the marionettes' own fight for identity. It doesn't hurt that there are subtle romantic angles thrown in the mix as well (and no, I'm not talking about anything between Otaru and his gay admirer). All in all, despite the dated cutesy-style artwork, it's a pretty good watch. I can't name a specific fanbase who'll especially enjoy this, but you can probably decide that on your own.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 7

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