Genre: Romance / Adventure
Parental Guidance Recommended
1998. Yumi Tamura (creator). Noburu Takamoto (director). KSS. Sun TV.
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In a small village where the Aka no Ou (Red King) rules, twins were born -- a boy who was named Tatara and the girl was named Sarasa. The prophet Nagi said that the boy would be an unmei no shounen (child of destiny) to the village oppressed by the Red King. When they grew however, her brother was brutally murdered and so Sarasa came out as Tatara, saying that their savior still lives. At this time, however, Sarasa meets a handsome man named Shuri, introduced herself as Sarasa, and who she later meets every now and then. Unknown to her, when Shuri puts on his red cape, he becomes the Red King once again. The Red King is in pursuit of a rebel named Tatara who he considers a thorn in a great country he wishes to create and Tatara is bent, as the child of destiny, to save her village and avenge the death of her brother. In this bitter irony however, Shuri and Sarasa's bond is becoming more and more intense. "She took my heart," Shuri tells his bestfriend Shidou. Can love be fated in this epic saga as well?
Cool bishounen overload can make things boring. >>> by firesenshi
Yes, I know. I'm asking the same question. Why am I complaining? Not because the cover has a lot of bishounen in them means it's very good. Boy, are there a lot of bishounen! From the main character, Shuri, the Aka no Ou (Red King) to his right hand man Shido, to the dancer cum advisor Ageha and the blind prophet Nagi, hey... that's 4 bishounen already! Aside from Shuri, the other three are all quiet, cool, rarely-speaking, strong men who I really look for in a bishounen. But too much rarely-speaking "cool" moments make "kakkoii"-ness wear out that it gets boring. Yuu Watase did fill her Fushigi Yuugi with bishounen but created such a diversity in their character that some, if not all of them, engage in candid moments to break the ice. Now I realize that in my search for bishounen, too much perfection can be boring. Shuri is the character who is actually playful, mischievous and even hentai! But this part of him he only bares to Sarasa. Most of the time, he is Aka no Ou (the Red King), and back to his indifferent, cooly answering, ruthless character. For diversity in character design, this anime lacks quite a lot. To break the ice, they bring in a cute character, a baby owl named Shinbashi and Shinbashi is really cute. His entrance in the scene though seems pretty immature or even unnecessary. The other one left is Hayato, a self-sworn sidekick to the lead character Tatara (who is Sarasa in disguise). In one episode, he makes jokes with poor comic timing. Or maybe, he's not trying to be a comic at all.
The art itself is very good. The details in the artwork actually remind me of CLAMP but when you look in how the eyes were drawn, the shiny elements in the eyes remind me of Rose of Versailles or Candy Candy. I would have given it a 10 if they hadn't drawn the necks so long and unproportional to the body.
The story in fact is a very promising one. Star-crossed lovers Sarasa and Shuri are actually each others' sworn enemies, with their destinies foretold before they were even born. The setting is also set in a universe of Japan in the 21st century, now barren, and back to using swords and establishing a monarchy. Watching the anime however makes me feel like watching an epic historical saga than a story of fate, love, adventure and all those mushy departures from an epic historical saga. Shuri's strategic thinking, however ruthless, reminds me of Alexander the Great. Sarasa, a girl who suddenly took her brother's place as Tatara, had a more realistic approach. She wasn't an instant swordswoman or fearless leader. She was really herself, trying to learn, and in all things very feminine in all emotions. It could have been better though if they did not add to many characters. They keep introducing more and more characters, the plot takes so long to develop!
Here's a funny thing. The titles themselves have spoilers. Gee. And for that person who did die (don't worry, the title will tell you who it is), I wonder why it took him so long to die. I understand that a man's life will flash before their very eyes in that moment but I don't know why I had to hear all of them.
I may have come to diss without knowing the full story though because the anime only continued until volume 5 of the manga. It was an open-ended thing in the end. No resolution or any hints to that resolution. If you wish to know the story, you just have to buy the manga.
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 6; Sounds 5