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Aside from the unfortunate name, Gass is probably the best character in the whole Munto franchise. Outsider, loner, suffering, and in the end, hero; how completely dark Romantic, even goth! He doesn’t get much time in either the series or the movie, but here are a few screen caps to celebrate his mad coolness!







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Munto: Excellent < Trash

Munto is a story of how various Magical kingdoms are battling for survival by seeking to restore the flow of Akuto, the substance that is energy and life force. The king of one of these nations, Munto, must open a portal to the Lower world (Earth) in order to restore the cycle of Akuto. However, he can’t do it alone. That’s where Yumeme comes in.

This series covers the two OVAs and expands them, apparently. I haven’t seen the OVAs, so I can’t comment on this. However, what we have here is classic anime` fail. We have a semi-interesting milieu, a poignant main character, tight writing, and excellent animation and music. How is that a fail? Because like an endless number of anime`s, the quality and the tone all fall apart as the series progresses.

This series begins with a sense of poignant innocent timelessness and descends into fetishistic loli by the end. I kid you not — it’s like the writers and artists were replaced half-way through the project or they started doing drugs after episode 6. I don’t know what the heck happened.

Anyways, the early episodes are worth watching (yes, they are that good), but only watch them knowing that the series is doomed to failure. So if you’re feeling exceptionally masochistic, watch on. Here’s the short review as usual:

Ep 1 — Looks good. The setup in terms of Heavenly kingdom/Magical kingdom all that is barely interesting and I’m not sure how it will play out theologically, but the relationships between the main characters in the Lower world (i.e. earth) are cool. The animation style is decent-to-good, as though viewed through a soft focus lens. Light and color give things a kind of wistful, “life is going by too quickly” kind of feel. The main character sees things that others cannot; this is poignant. Two cuss words. No risque` garbage.

  • Ep 2 — Excellent. Deep, involving, emotional (without being sentimental). One profanity.
  • Ep 3 — Very good. A bit slow in places, but the internal dialog is excellent. Good music too.

Ep 4 — OK. The whole competing factions and warfare thing isn’t bad, but the fight scenes are completely unreal, and consist of Munto or Gass creating big explosions. Everyone else has no real impact upon the battle, which is just lame. No focus on the MC at all. It’s virtually all Magical kingdom this time.

  • Ep 5 — Very good. The relationship between Yumeme, Ichiko, and Suzeme is explored; the results are tender, honest, multi-textured, and believable. The way this series handles Yumeme’s vision and isolation is sympathetic compassion, as though the whole world keens with her loneliness and her struggle at being selected to do great things. This is a level of sensitivity that I haven’t seen since True Tears, and the Girl that Leapt Through time. Intro new characters, seamlessly. The thing that rocks about this series is that the flashbacks support and give depth to the present plot without substituting for it (as they often did in D-Gray Man). Some lame Shinto bs though. Ends on a cliffhanger.
  • Ep 6 — Very good. One cuss word. The tensions between Yumeme’s friends and between Munto and his vassals and allies are well handled. The fight scenes are more realistic this time. It’s a shame that the other magicians are not given more time previously; this is a rare case where the supporting cast is as interesting as the main characters. The bit about restoring the cycle wasn’t mentioned (or wasn’t mentioned enough) previously, so it feels a bit like this episode’s revelation, but every show should have a handful of passes and this is one. Another episode that ends in media res.

Ep 7 — Ok, but nothing special. Some sexual overtones. The history lesson is interesting, but it takes up too little time in the episode.

Ep 8 — Half-good. There’s a lot of nonsensical quasi-deep Japanese metaphysical junk in the first half and artistic semi-nudity. Good music though. The last half is very good.

Ep 9 — Eh, another ok episode. The ending on the lower world is heart-felt; the music is top-notch. The clothes Yumeme is wearing seems borderline loli to me. The declaration of love from Munto skews it even more in that direction. You can’t really chalk that up to simple romance, but there is a definite age difference. It’s just a less-than-good ending to a series that early on, was fantastic.

Welcome to the graveyard, Munto.

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