Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou -And Dai Ni Maku- (2007)

I’m starting this review with a shocking revelation of sorts. I had downloaded a show called ‘Arigatou Tokyo Majin’ from the site where I usually get my stuff. Hadn’t read the synopsis. I thought it was going to be some really sweet ‘Haiyore! Nyaruko-san’ type show.

Oh boy, was I wrong!

Arigatou Tokyo Majin was not a comedy slice-of-life. Hell, the reason why my expectations were so wrong in the first place because the uploader had (apparently) put the anime up under a wrong name. That’s right, people. It’s actually called Tokyo ‘Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou’. And, it’s not a single season show. It’s got two seasons of 14 episodes – unlike what was falsely advertised by the uploader. The second season is called pretty much the same thing: just add ‘Dai Ni Maku’ after Tou. I’ll be writing about both of them here.

Now, I’m not here to rage at the uploader. Well, actually, I’m not mad at all. I have no reason to be. Tokyo Majin isn’t a bad show. It’s quite decent.

Synopsis from MyAnimeList: Something evil is stirring in the shadows of Tokyo…

During the spring of his senior year in high school, quiet Tatsuma Hiyuu transfers to Magami Academy in Shinjuku. The mysterious boy’s “outsider” status and his profound skills in martial arts quickly earn him the friendship of class delinquent Kyouichi Houraiji. Through an uncanny connection and a happenstance challenge, he also meets Yuuya Daigo of the wrestling club, the captain of the girls’ archery club, Komaki Sakurai, and Aoi Misato, the Student Council President.

During their encounter, there is a sudden, harsh disruption of the Ryumyaku (literally Dragon Pulse, otherwise known as Dragon Vein or Dragon Stream), the flow of arcane energy. The surge awakens within the five teenagers a latent power, giving them each a supernatural ability. Enlightened to their newly acquired gifts by Hisui, the young heir of the Kisaragi Clan who maintains his family’s antiques shop – as well as their duty to protect Tokyo from Oni (demons) – the Magami students decide to use their power to protect the city from the onslaught of dark forces.

Battling the demons alongside Hisui Kisaragi, the five unlikely friends discover that they may have to face a greater threat to Tokyo other than destroying a few malevolent, random monsters. The Ryumyaku had been disrupted by force, from someone invoking the Dark Arts – and that person has a wicked desire to unleash a long-dead evil.

Can the teenagers overcome their own fears and flaws to fight against the Dark Arts? And soon they will also have to face their own destinies as they discover their Stars of Fate.

Holy shit, that’s a long synopsis – for season one. Posting season two’s will spoil the show. I’ll be talking about the show as a single one instead of two seasons so, the episode count is continuous.

Tokyo Majin starts out with a bang and lots of blood. I’m not joking. People die in like the first 6 minutes of the show. The first episode casually and very quickly introduces most of the characters with whole bag of action sprinkled with a pinch of confusing directing. You’ll be blown away by all booms and ka-pows but, at the end of it all, you’ll be very confused as to what is going.

And that’s where most of the show’s faults lie. Sometimes it is too slow: sometimes too fast. A lot of things aren’t explained well and when explanations are given, they are done in such an uninteresting way that you’ll often question why they (the characters and writers) are even bothering in the first place. But, it’s too expected. Tokyo Majin is an adaptation of a manga based on a game that came out way back in 1998. Things like this are to be expected – especially when it comes to old games as sources.

Tokyo Majin is largely an action show with a rather large emphasis on Chinese mythology and non-black-and-white matters. To be perfectly honest, the black-and-white thing really kills a good chunk of an otherwise good show. Pretty much all of the characters are sad or have deep ISSUES. Oh wow. A free pass for discussions on justice and whether to save or kill people. Oh geez.

Almost all of the characters except for the main duo of Tatsuma and Kyouchi adhere to the whole ISSUES shtick. I mean, they have got their own problems too but at least they’re not whining all of the time. Seriously, the female characters cry so damn much. Daigo the wrestler also cries. A lot. Proper character development is almost non-existent for the non-duo characters. The few who do get it, develop so blandly that you’re left to ponder over matters like: ‘then why the fuck did he became an evil bitch in the first place?’ and ‘you were so happy and shit these last 18 episodes but one brief trip down memory lane later and now you’re acting like an old man gulping a bottle of Scotch mixed with your crush’s tears’.

For an action show, it does a decent job. The first few fighting scenes are pretty sight to behold but, after that, the fighting scene quality really goes down with each consecutive bout. As the heroes and the villains become stronger, so does the need for actual engaging combat scenes. Animation is thrown out and replaced with dramatic stills. That’s sorta sad for an action show, ya know. It’s a personal thing so I’m not going to let it come in between.

The overall animation is good for it’s time (2007). Smooth where it needs to be and detailed where it counts. An episode or two had rough animation so I guess there were release issues or something. No biggie.

The music didn’t do anything for me. The Opening and Ending songs and visuals were… boring, to say the least. None of them clicked with me. The background music is heavy on sad violins playing. It’s not bad, I guess. It just doesn’t suit the show. You’ve got an action show here and you’re giving it music you’re most likely to see in a Korean tragedy drama. Utterly off-putting.

Now, even though the characters are half-assed and the story requires one to be patient and be accepting of all the cliches in the cookbook of Japanese story-telling, the show is quite fun for what it is. An action show that is to be enjoyed at night when you’ve got nothing better or specific to enjoy your dinner with.

Tokyo Majin Blah Blah Blah gets a 5 out of 10.

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