Lies a utopia, far away from Earth, that soon comes to a conclusion: nothing is going to work out. In the Balkan system, there are numerous planets, however their terrains are man-made, so humans can inhabit it. Technology is advanced, humans are civilised, and everything appears perfect, but there’s a flaw for humans: living past fifty is a miracle, even with a special operation to extend their lifespans. Two twin brothers –Thor and Rai– have a simple wish, and that is to travel to Earth; the planet where everything is natural, no man-made rivers, lakes, or mountains; their home planet, where humans can live up to the age of ninety. Well nothing goes according to plan for these two. They come home to horror; both of their parents are murdered and moments later the brothers are knocked out and shipped off to an unknown planet to survive on their own. That is the reality of Jyu Oh Sei!
I happened upon this anime after No. 6 came to an end; someone had posted this as a recommendation, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.The story may come off as a cliché; survival of the fittest, only the strongest can rule, the lead character wants to take down the man. We’ve seen it before, but what makes this special? Well for one, although this series deserved to have been spread out into maybe a twenty-four episode series, it was all crammed tightly into eleven episodes; very fast paced, but the story was executed very nicely.
(I will try to keep spoilers out!)The two brothers are dropped off in an uncivilised, desolate land, where plants are the strongest of them all. This reveals that Rai is a weak and whiny brat, while Thor is capable of handling himself. They quickly learn the system of this planet, rings. The rings are divided upon gender and skin color, and ruled by the three strongest of each ring. This planet (which is named Chimera) is essentially a prison for people in the Balkan system. Things get rough for the boys, and they happen into a life/death situation where they meet Tiz (second in charge of the only women’s ring). It is here that Thor makes the decision to become the Jyu Oh (Beast King) –by becoming the strongest of them all– so he can get back home and to settle things once and for all.
I just couldn’t stop watching this series once I started (so I was lucky it was only eleven episodes long), it just awed me. One thing I certainly fell in love with was the soundtrack (especially the main theme, “Who Am I”). I’m not familiar with anime composers other than Yuki Kajiura, so I don’t know too much about Hajime Mizoguchi, but I’ve heard he’s an excellent composer, and I definitely won’t doubt that! I found that the music is fitting, but the opening and closing themes…I’m not too sure about those two. I mean sure, overall I like the songs; they’re nice and catchy and I find myself humming them every now and them, and they give a feel for a non-industrialised civilisation; however for the anime, they seem cheesy. The opening is “Deep In Your Heart” by Koichi Domoto, and the closing is “Te Wo Tsunaide” (Holding Hands) by Younha; I understand the opening, but the closing was a bit odd. It felt too happy and cheery for this series; it fits for the romance mixed into this series, but otherwise, I’m not too sure. In fact, I want to know why Tiz is in a yellow dress in the closing. I don’t get why she showed up in the anime in it, in that one scene…I digress; overall the music was great, it easily set the mood for the scene, and Mizoguchi did an amazing job.
The characters were excellent too, although the “symbolism” of the names are silly. I would’ve appreciated more background stories, but there’s only so much you can cram into eleven episodes. Near the end we learn a little
bit more about Third, but nothing about Tiz or Zagi, and they played pretty large roles in the series. Thor, being our main character, had his story told in bits and pieces here and there, but his was at least there. Regardless the characters had been very interesting to follow along and it was easy to feel for them. They developed well and quickly, not to mention there’s a time skip~ (where Tiz and Thor go from watery eyed children to matured adults) I also thought that the voice actors are very fitting (at least in the Japanese version), and I won’t ever forget the characters.
Lastly, there’s the animation. It was pretty nice; since the main setting takes place in Chimera, a planet of plants, you would expect a nice backdrop of plants that won’t kill you. Well, the plants do kill, however they were drawn with great detail. The series was animated with mostly darker colours, and it added to the effect of the darker times on this planet as well as the dangers that lurk around. The animation runs smoothly, and I didn’t notice anything too bad, but there is one thing that bothered me: their noses. There’s just something about them that looks off, I don’t know what it is. It’s just the closeups, too; the shading is just weird. I’d guess it’s because this series was made before things got ultra fancy in the anime world. The art just gives off the feel of a classic anime when you take a look at it, but once again it adds a nice effect to the series; if everything looked clean and advanced, it wouldn’t be fitting!
I really enjoyed this series; of all the animes I’ve seen, this one is in my top ten (though that might not mean much to the lot of you). I give it an blue violet, on a scale of red to purple; only because it could have been longer and the story could have gone further to explain some things.