Daydream Sanctuary Features

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monochrome Factor

Monochrome Factor

It seriously sucks in many ways! Too bad because the story idea was actually pretty interesting. But despite its flaws, it had been very enjoyable to watch! The characters had been fun, and I really like the comedy!

Rating: C- SO-SO! Very average and typical whatever!
Favoritism: 2.5/5 hearts = AVERAGE
The story revolves around high school student Akira Nikaido, a typical slacker living a normal life. That is, until he meets the mysterious Shirogane, a man who suddenly appears and tells him that they have a destiny together. When Akira hears this, he is shocked and doesn't believe a word of it. Aya, a friend of Akira, forgets something in the school one night, and asks Akira to help her and go find it. He agrees, and while there, he gets attacked by a shadow monster. Shirogane convinces him that the balance between the human world and the shadow world has been distorted and that Akira must become a "shin"- a creature of the shadow world- in order to help restore the balance. The anime has shonen-ai themes which are completely absent from the manga. (Wikipedia)

I saw the manga version of this first. I got attracted to its cover because I thought the two Akiras there were identical twins (I'm obviously very interested on anything that deals with goodlooking identical twin boys) and the supernatural stuff in the plot got me really interested (that's one of my top favorite genres, I can't help it. Hehe). When I read the first few chapters though, I was pretty surprised that it's actually gay, though fortunately it wasn't yaoi level, so I was able to tolerate it. It didn't get me that impressed but I still looked forward to the anime adaptation because . . . of the seiyuu cast. Haha!

But a good cast can't really save a series if it's just too horrible. Biggest disappointment in this series is the story. Actually, the story idea was pretty interesting, but the development, pacing, narration, and other story related stuff . . . . all sucked! It used up too many cliches and its twists had been so terrible and predictable. Speaking of twists, I don't know if I can call the twists in the story as real twists because supposedly the later events explain or reveal what actually happened previously, right? As in, it connects each event so things make sense later. But here? No. The twists from before were changed later in order to force a twist. It's like done for the sake of making a twist. They changed what had happened. What kid of plot twist is that?! Oh I find that really really stupid.

Another thing that's so bad is that there aren't any progress in the story! It builds up in the first few episodes (which is done badly as well) then it's always the same thing on the later episodes: Main characters encounter a character, then later it'll hold a grudge, villain shows up to the victim to make a monster possess it, the good guys beat up the monster, and it's always a happy ending. Same formula, all the time. Though the story does pick up around the middle part, but later it goes to usual again. And then all important parts get rushed in the ending. It makes you think "I waited for 20+ episode for just this?!".

I know that this series is actually episodic, but they shouldn't have wasted that many episodes with the same type of weak villains and the same way things happen and end. At least make some variety or show something new on those stories and characters. Even if it's episodic, there should be some advancement or difference in each episode at least!

I know some story flaws in this series were done on purpose for the sake of crack, but I think that's only excusable if the main genre of the series is comedy, however it isn't! They had excuses on some story flaws in the end though (like the deal with the enemies ALWAYS popping out on people around the main characters), but still, it had been lame and typical.

And about the characters . . . oh they're just as bad in terms of development. Main charater recruitment was done per episode until they're complete (except for one who only showed up later . . . because he only became necessary on the part where the story began dealing about his kind). Main character's friends are also so special, because since they're the buddies, they get to have powers too . There are other characters who can have fighting potential that got close to the main character too, but NO, only the main character's buddies get to have the magical weapons (oh bummer!).

And also, for some reason, it's like a requirement that the main cast always has to be complete in every freakin' episode (or at least, almost all episodes, if not all). I didn't see much development on the characters as well, except for the main character I guess (who only had such in the middle and in the end . . .. yes, there had actually been improvements only in the middle and in the end *sigh*). I didn't see them change; they had been the same since the time they showed up and the time they got involved in the supernatural events in the story. For instance, there was a time that a character had betrayed them, but he didn't seem evil enough to the point that I absolutely expected it that in his heart he isn't really a bady guy. In other words, the betrayal wasn't that convincing. So it also follows the stupid rule that a main character can't possibly part of the bad guys, eh? Right. Speaking of bad guys, the main villain is the biggest let down of all. You know, he finally shows up in the ending as someone pretty powerful but after one hit by the leveled up leading character, even though he's not really that damaged, he claims that he's no longer in the mood to continue and leaves, after the main character became unconscious (who became conscious a few minutes later. The hell . . . ). So much for a season finale.

About my other complains, this series actually had some demon summoning. I like mix of religious stuff, but summoning a shadow king with Shinto outfits and materials, but with a pagan symbol and uttering names of christian devils? Oh come on. You can't mix different religions just like that. It's like the writer or author hadn't done any research on this kind of thing. It's similar to a shoujo manga making the devil Lucifer a gay bishounen and acting like a good guy. The hell . . . Another thing is the fanservice. I know it wants to cater to shounen-ai/yaoi lovers but many of those fanservice scenes are seriously out of place. It's like those nonsense were forced to be added in the episode even if they don't exactly relate to what is going on. The heck . . . you think fanservice can make up for the bad story?

So yeah, it had been really really horrible. Not to mention the animation is so average. There's nothing fantastic on the fight scenes. They all look the same. And the costume transformations sucked. I think magical shoujo series had done it better. Oh this series sure used a lot of ways to waste time.

But despite all those bad points, this series is actually very enjoyable. Why? Believe it or not, it had been very entertaining because the comedy was good and the characters had been fun. There are several types of comedies, and this belongs to the lame-but-damn-hilarious type. If the comical parts of a series had been funny, then I call it good comedy! Haha! I admit some nonsensical in this series made me go "WTF"; but most of the time, they were so amusing that I laugh a lot in each episode! Hehe!

Also, if you ignore the lack of character development, the characters are actually so fun and dynamic. They had been so funny, I can't hate them. And it's because they're so fun that the show had been so fun to watch as well.

Other good points I'd like to mention I guess would be the voice acting cast and the music. No, I'm not exactly being biased on the seiyuus, but they really did a good job. The voices really fit the characters and how they acted made the emotion of the characters seem real. I hadn't paid attention on the backgorund music, but the OP and ED theme songs had a really nice tune. At least for me they were.

So, if you're not strict with good stories and don't mind shounen-ai undertones, then I guess you won't have much problems with this series. It can't be considered as one of the greatest series out there, but it certainly is one of the enjoyable ones. :-)