Name: Argento Soma (dont feel bad if you read it as Ahento Eoma)
number of episodes: 25(ive heard there is a special episode 26, but..*shrugs*)
Plot = A(i called it Shakespearean for a reason)
Characters = B
Music = B-
Overall = A-
This has everything a great shakespeare play would have…well with the “minor” inclusions of mechs and aliens of course. No dont stop reading. This show also has one of the few bastard, evil, psycho, main anti-hero ive seen in an anime to date. But true to a shakespeare plot, we see what has turned him into the “monster” he is now. Takuto was a engineering student with a see-saw relationship with another brilliant student, who was working with a professor of great genius to “rebuild” one of the aliens(made of metal he is). Takuto figures things out, in time to help with the experiement, and the tragic accident which would shape his life. The “alien” nicknamed Frank, by the professor, is given life, but the lab is also “attacked” by the military, and in the ensuing chaos, Takuto watches as his beloved is killed before his very eyes, but not before he sees the monster wake up and reach for her. In the resulting explosion, Takuto is the only survivor, and is horribly wounded. His psyche as well as his body, in recovery a mysterious man who qoutes Shakespeare like the bible offers him revenge, in exchange for his name, similar to Faust and his deal with the devil. He is reborn in his hatred as Ryu Soma, and infiltrates with the govermental body which collected Frank, called “Extra-1” by them. His plans are complicated by the young girl who found the alien, Hattie Bartholomew, who reminds him of his lost love and past, much to his hate and despair…In this backdrop of pure shakespearean work, is the constant threat of aliens invading, and having to be fended off. Great stuff.
Yeah yeah, everytime i say how cool the opening theme is, but its not my fault. They make them that way. This opening theme, is very fitting, a tragic love ballad of sorts, called “Silent Wind”. This theme, and the other partially fittiing, but not overpowering music is why it has its grade. The ending theme, is why it has a big minus next to it. *blah* I realize that NOW after seeing all of the series the ending theme/credits makes sense now, but the song choice is still ungodly poor.
You will love the character design of Ryu Soma, the split from Takuto’s past. Being so emotionally and physically scarred this was a perfect character concept to fit him. His body covered with scars, and half his face, bearing an evil prestige fitting him. At times this makes him look like Takuto from one side, and Ryu Soma on the other. It in a physical way details his painful battle inside himself. The other characters, are all really well done, but not made to stand out in any way, other than being his comrades.
Hattie has a oddly haunting similarity to his lost love Maki, which is constantly shown.
The only other character to be detailed in a way, is Frank himself. As his name implys, a conglomerate of alien parts, and peices, his outward appearance belaying his apparent gentle nature and love to Hattie. The design on the mechs of the series called Sargs(coffin in german i think) is also well done, as another focus of the series. Very nicely done overall.
My Thoughts(and spoilers):
I admit that at first, i was still drawn in, but i wasnt much seeing where the story was going. The shakespeare motif wasnt as blatantly apparant, which is ironic, because it is during this time that so much shakespeare is used. I was very pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded around me, and i realized what was happeneing. I am loathe to admit, i was actually moved by some actions, and only reinforced the shakespeare role in it. This was the perfect modern day portraytel of shakespeare masterpeices.
Tragic, and touching, and oddly haunting. Painfully examining details in characters not sought out, and rendering a ending satisfactory to any lover of drama. I loved the wonderful details that the shakespeare qoutes have in the series, and you may find yourself qouting them afterwards(as they are in japanese). Its funny to hear such familar words in another language and still feel the same impact they had. This is a really surprising series, and im very happy i watched it.
As was qouted near the end of the series…”Alls well that ends well..”
By Darknight ZO