Tokyo Majin: anime review – beautiful, bloody and terribly messy

Review: If one wants to create a fun, action-packed anime and never really care about complexity or deep, thought provoking story, using the plot about a bunch of high school kids with superhuman powers fighting the demons invading Tokyo is actually a smart choice. This kind of plot is very generic yet easily accessible, flexible and endlessly provides opportunities for cool action scenes and lots of touching drama. Believe it or not, with such simple storyline, Tokyo Majin still messes things up so badly that I have a head-splitting headache every time I watch more than two episodes consecutively.

The first half of the series is rather episodic. New monster is introduced every one or two episodes. The later part deals with more continuous stories concentrating on protecting Tokyo from some conspiring demons and there are also larger group of recurring characters. The anime suffers from poorly introduced characters. Hiyu shows up at school, get in the fight with Kouichi, meets the others who happens to have magical powers as well and then they start roaming Tokyo at night hunting demons. The characters are unique only in the way they dress and the weapon they possess. They are shallow and predictable. They somehow lack context, backgrounds and convincing motivations. I don’t know who they are. I can see how they look like but I don’t know what kind of people they are, where they come from, why are they here. The series’ creators do not bother to explore these sides of the characters but rather focus on the action and the monsters. So how can they expect the viewers to care about these characters? This results in fragmented storytelling and failing to create intimacy with the viewers.

Numerous supporting characters show up along the way just to help fighting the monsters. While some pops up just to explain, albeit very briefly and obscurely, what is going on and who the villains are. It’s almost like watching a street fight. It catches your attention because it is noisy but soon you get tired because you know none of them. They are just faces and voices with no meaning. The villains are also badly portrayed. They are just a bunch of evil looking people who show up, introduce themselves as a member of certain faction and then lunch attacks on the good guys. After that, there are fighting and fighting and before their defeats, there will be some flashback showing how they suffers in their youths and that they are not really evil and so on. So what do they really want? It doesn’t matter as long as they keep the action sequence going on. Are the creators trying to cover up the weak plots by blinding me with lights, sounds and flashy images? Who do the creators think I am, a nine year old?

Not only the characters that are poorly presented, the storytelling is also a failure. The main plot is scarcely touched during the most part of the show. All that is told is that some ancient enemy has resurrected and he wants to destroy every living thing on earth. Every now and then new subplot will simply emerges and will soon be dropped. Someone will suddenly turn into a monster or someone will suddenly reveal that he has some tragic past or someone will surprisingly possess extraordinary power and is destined to do this and that. Every time new subplot is introduced, the show will shift its focus towards it and leave everything else behind. So Tokyo Majin ends up as a giant collection of unrelated and underdeveloped subplot while its main plot is buried so deep underneath.

The look is the only merit of the series. The animation is nearly flawless with smooth, fluid movements of the characters which are most distinguished during action scenes. The soundtrack is quite generic but works well enough during the show. I’ll have to give special credit to this anime for its two brilliant opening songs. But without decent script and characterization, the sound and animation are meaningless. Conclusion: Tokyo Majin is a painful disappointment. After four or five episodes, the urge to drop the series kept getting stronger and stronger and when I finally finished it, I learned that my feeling was right. I can’t believe I actually got through all 26 episodes of Tokyo Majin. I never knew I was so tough or so foolish.
Rating: D

Title: Tokyo Majin (act 1 & 2)
Genre: action, fantasy, horror, supernatural
Released date: January 19, 2007 – April 20, 2007 (act 1), July 27, 2007 – October 12, 2007 (act 2)
Episode: 26
Director: Shinji Ishihira
Animated by: AIC Spirits

43 responses to “Tokyo Majin: anime review – beautiful, bloody and terribly messy

  1. I considered buying this show because I remembered seeing a gorgeous-looking preview that promised lots of action. Thankfully, I watched an episode of the show before making my decision. It looks like a mess. I pretty mess, but still a mess. Reading your review, I’m relieved to see I must have judged this one fairly well. I’m impressed you got through the whole thing. Bravo!

  2. I agree with your opinion on the poor plot and the confusing events. This anime could have been a lot better if only they had chosen to stick with one overarching storyline instead of wanting to introduce as many characters as possible. The villains were appearing out of nowhere, and that got me annoyed quite a number of times.
    I want to make one remark on what you write about the characters, though: while it is true that most of the supporting characters felt shallow, I think that their portrayal of Hiyuu was quite good. I really felt for this character, and his sudden change of character in the second act was quite unexpected. It’s true that he could have used even more developed, but he was already exceptional in this show in terms of development.

    • You are probably right. Hiyuu got lots of screen time during early part of the series. He would have shone much brighter with better script and direction (sigh).

  3. Very funny review of one of the few anime series I actually own on DVD, and I agree with most of what you say – Tokyo Majin was pretty on its surface and had a lot of potential, but they squandered it away by not developing the characters better and not concentrating on the main plot. I actually bought the first DVD at a big discount and then found the remaining DVDs in the series for a few dollars each on Amazon – believe me, I did not spend a lot of money to get this series. ;)

    • Glad you got it on discount! :P
      I often have hard time deciding on buying DVD because if I buy it, I have to finish it and, you know, some series are just not worth finishing T_T

  4. Never heard of the series, and after reading your review, I’m glad I didn’t. Good ideas on paper translate into good shows when done properly, this must be one of those times it fell through the cracks.

  5. I was actually planning on buying this on DVD because it looked good, but it doesn’t seem all too great. Thanks for saving me the $25.

  6. Yes, the story in this was pretty bad. The animation was great, but the airing quality didn’t do the art justice. One of the things I did enjoy was the intricate use of monsters/gods; I think the subs I used left about 5 minutes of notes at the end of each episode. The backbone of the series was fair enough, the writing just didn’t do anything for me, and even though there was plenty of geek points for the folklore, that cannot be a replacement for character development and storytelling.


  7. I passed on this series after reading a few reviews

  8. Saw the first half of the season and thought it was good, but the second season half was more or less the same. Kept watching till the end, but I do not see it as exciting as I did years ago.

  9. Yet one more show that joins the watch list (I read this a while ago and apparently never commented). Anything with a remote amount of blood will get me to watch.

  10. I watched the series just recently…I got to admit right before I did watch it didn’t look to amusing to watch but i gave it a chance…in my opinion it was pretty good…I mean it defiantly wasn’t one of the best but still it did keep me amused…^_^

  11. I managed to watch the whole series as well! :D Well, basically because it was shown on TV here in our country. So I’m thinking that having to wait the next day for the next episode made the series sort of…more tolerable? Like a buffer. Haha.

    Anyways, I do think the animation is sick, in a good way. Kind of reminds me of Casshern Sins movements. Plus, I’ve been listening to its opening song until today. I really like that song. :)

  12. Well, I just finished the series today and I honestly don’t understand why all of you dislike it so much. This is one of my favorites (on the same level as Angel Beats and Casshern Sins.) I loved all the characters and to me they did have good development. Even Aoi, who was annoying at times, was believable. Seriously people, I guess none of you have lost someone very close to you or none of you ever considered what a soldier fights for. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, someone somewhere has, is, or will risk their life, and lose it, to protect you. That’s why truly good people become soldiers, police officers, scientists, governors, doctors, and any other job created for the service of others. Also, most of the Tokyo Majin characters lost people very important to them. Somehow I think this anime was trying to portray the way the world is just in a different way. You all want to say that the creators didn’t focus on the main plot, but you don’t realize that the plot, the purpose, was about protecting instead of killing. Just because something like this hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening to someone else, and of course it can always happen to you or a loved one tomorrow. Now about these bad guys, I can’t believe none of you acknowledged what was said at the end; people do start out good, but they get corrupted by this messed up world full of it’s own demons. And before anyone asks, no, I’m not speaking from personal experience, I’m speaking from understanding. I don’t care that I’m offending anyone or that you all think I’m nine years old for loving this anime, and I don’t care if you still don’t watch it after reading this. I just want people to know that this anime, its characters, and its plot was anything but shallow.

    • Thank you for sharing!
      The point you raised about protecting other people was great. That same concept was universally used (to different extent) in countless other anime. The only problem this anime suffered from was how poorly this concept was exercised.

    • yamishikineko

      I agree, even though this anime isnt as loved as other underrated shows out there, I still really liked the show, even though the major complaint I have is that the ending was to rushed and felt kinda anti-climatic, but that’s just me…

  13. For some reason the Wtf ending got me more hooked into this series like I really wanted to know what happend Hyuu because that’s the only character in this series that they bother to make a extensive background on well I was wondering if you ever felt like that

  14. recreational fan

    This article the truth and nothing but the truth. It’s like the creators got so wrapped up in their own imagination that they forgot to make a comprehensible translation… I really really wish this show was good. Not redone, just good in the first place.

  15. I agree with u myuki this was a great anime and I love it.I don’t get the ending thy should make ep 27 because it doesn’t make sense how ep 26 ending thy should hav made another season.

  16. Scratch that not another season another episode

  17. This is a good anime, it would be nice if it would have more seasons, the next season could be Tatsuma meeting back with everyone after being victorious in his battle and that the ones with the 4 deities inside of them would get rid of them so they wouldnt have to die and then a new threat appearing and them having to fight again or it could not be about fighting at all it could just be Tatsuma returning and the 4 deities gone and them just having a normal life with normal teenager problems wich does not include the fate of the world. This is just a thought but I think is jacked-up that while Kyouichi gets Aoi tatsuma doesn’t, even though he is the main character, and if you think about it he has had horrible luck, first he finds out his new girlfriend is actually undead and is working for the enemy, then his foster parents are killed, and then he has to be locked in an endless battle with Yagyu, if you ask me that is some horrible luck. And whats up with Aoi is she stupid, she likes Kyouichi who not even once (until the end) was nice to her, but she doesn’t like Tatsuma wich has always been nice to her and protected her in some occations and the only person who, out of her friends, she tells about the scar on her back. I think either Tatsuma should have found another girl throught the story or, something I was hopping for, would end up with Aoi. Ps: If you haven’t figured it out my favorite character is Tatsuma, thats why I’m thinking ways it could be good for him.

  18. I another viewer who enjoyed the series but as you said it feel short of a few things. I personally loved the action scenes, but as stated in most of the comments above, the character development sucked beyond amazingly heights. Such as Saikurai’s friend from when she’s a kid, (the bee b***h) from season, had no importance at all. they would randomly throw someone here or there and think it would work. In my personal opinion, they could have possibly continue the series to develop the character’s further while Horaiji and Kisaraigi were on their search for Tatsuma. The show was left open for tons of possiblities and improvements. Hell, they could have pulled a Dragonball Z. While Goku, the main protagonist was away, let the other characters get more screen time, and develop further, to make the plot deeper and so the viewers could get a better feel. Even the antagonist had possible potential to make the series better after all the b/s, (Ryuuji). Overall I did enjoy it, mainly the ending of season 2, simply for the amazing fighting scene against Yagya/Ryuuji. I think people should watch for themselves before they just “X” it out for good, because how it appeals to everyone is different lol.

    • The action scenes were great and they were the first thing that made me stick to the show until the end. Character developement could have been much better with better constructed script. :)

      Thanks for sharing your thought!

  19. I actually thought it was pretty good doesn’t matter if it gets a bad review as long as you like it

  20. Worse ending ever…

  21. I really love it. The antagonists are interesting and they look very cool. For someone like me who hates unnecessary touching stories from the past and want to stick with the action, this is totally awesome. I have watched and finished tons of anime but only few gave me excitement. This is one of my favorite, you guys should give it a try, don’t judge it by his/her review, it’s only an opinion.

    Don’t count the mess of an anime, just enjoy it. Be a kid sometimes, it’s fun.

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