Juni Taisen is a battle royal style anime illustrated by ikaru Nakamura. It is directed and written by Naoto Hosoda and Sadayuki Murai, respectively. It is based on a light novel by Nisio Isin. As of the writing of this review (11/11/017), it is airing on Crunchyroll.
Juni Taisen focuses around 12 mercenaries, who are named after the 12 Chinese zodiacs, who swallow a poisonous gem and fight each other for the chance to get a wish in an event called Juni Taisen. The event happens every twelve year, and the entire population of a city is erased just so that the mercenaries can have a playground to fight each other.
My My thoughts
I apologize to those who enjoy watching this anime, but it’s meh at best in my opinion. I usually don’t write about anime I don’t like, but I decided to talk about an anime that is currently airing, instead of writing about anime that most aren’t watching.
I wasn’t too impressed by the first episode, but I have a three episodes rule. I’ve learned not to judge an anime by the first episode. I’ve been surprised by anime that have had bland impression of at best. I’ve even come to enjoy some anime I thought weren’t initially worth watching. With that said, after having watched the entire anime, I can still say there is nothing captivating about Juni Taisen. I wanted it to surprised me with something that made me change my perspective on it, but it never happened.
I’m not hating just because I want to hate it. I want to like the anime. I like the character designs, and I like the animation behind them. I can tell a lot of hard work went into making this anime. For example, I like how the action is fluid (even though the anime drops in quality somewhere near the middle). When the characters are fighting, you clearly see them throw their punching without cutting frames every few second to make the action look real. I like the design behind Monkey, Rat, Ox, Boar, and Chicken. However, Juni Taisen does very little to help me get invested with the characters because it follow an obvious and problematic formula.
Once Juni Taisen begins to focus on a character, you immediately know they are going to die. Most characters get one or two episodes devoted wholly to them before they die. In those two episodes their backstories are told. Unless a character is going to die, you don’t learn much about him or her (with Rat being the only exception), and having their stories told before they die doesn’t help me get emotionally invested in them. The character development just isn’t there. Most of the anime feels rushed. The character deaths feel rushed. It’s obvious this anime should have been 24 episodes instead of 12. Their stories should have been fleshed out within the first 12 and then they should have murdered each other within the last 12 to keep the anime from feeling hollow. They could have kept the winner a mystery by choosing not to particularly focus on one character too much.
I am also not a fan of the name tags they have. Such as “Killing silently” and “killing peacefully” and “Killing systematically” and “Killing all” and “killing deceptively”. Some of these tags are inconsistent with how they behave. They are irrelevant to the overall scheme of things, and they feel awkward.
It’s obvious the writer wants us to care about the characters. They want us to lament over their deaths, but it just doesn’t work. The anime doesn’t have much substance behind it, and there isn’t enough style behind it either. The plot is as generic as it get for a battle royal setting and the characters aren’t developed well enough for me to care. The twist at the finally at the end isn’t enough for me to care. It’s meh at best.
Maybe the novel does these characters more justice? Maybe not?
Did you enjoy this review, read the review to one of my favorite anime, Re-Creators.