NO MATSUEI - Descendants of Darkness
in August, 2001 by Mark Vallen, Jeannine Thorpe, and John Lentini
Screen shots generously provided by John Lentini.
by Jeannine Thorpe) Even with all of the wonderful
anime coming out of Japan in the past few years, I'll admit
I've felt a bit of longing for the epic shoujo fantasy dramas
of a few years back that really cemented my love of anime.
It was series like Yuu Watase's Fushigi Yuugi that
really grabbed my attention and rocked my definition of what
anime could be, gorgeous animation, characters that you adore
and relate to as much as real people, drama and tragedy, comedy
and suspense. If this describes you too, than I am happy to
introduce you to the next generation, Yami
no Matsuei (Descendants of the Dark). Luxuriously
drawn by Matsushita Youko, the only thing that amazed
me more than the series itself was that I hadn't heard of
it until so recently!
story focuses on the fellows of Summons Division, a secretive
organization that investigates unusual and unnatural deaths
which result in the souls of the dead somehow being trapped
on earth. But the twist is that the Detectives themselves
are undead... beautiful yet powerful beings known as Shinigami
who walk the earth with the living yet whose electric colored
eyes speak of their supernatural identities.
is the veteran who hides his troubles in humor, and can
command the magical powers of the animal gods Suzaku
and Byakko at his whim, while Hisoka is
the beautiful rookie with expertise in traditional Martial
Arts and an extremely troubled past. Together they must
solve mysteries and unravel the plans of the enigmatic Muraki,
who seems to be controlling both of their destinies.
amazing manga recently made into an anime combines the fantasy
and humor of Fushigi Yuugi, the male comraderie of
Weiss Kreuz, and the gorgeous and dark romantic visual
style of CLAMP's X / 1999.
You will immediately sense the deep friendship and
emotional ties between the characters, you'll laugh at Tsuzuki's
antics, and the dramatic lighting and gorgeous animation will
take your breath away. The opening animation sequence is one
of the best I've seen in years... the kind of opening that
is so good you actually get restless in your seat, because
you know a truly great show is about to follow.
melding of computer and hand drawn animation allows for fantastic
mood-creating visual effects... at times the lighting seems
as real as a live action scene, other times the abstract blurring
takes you past realism into an almost hallucenogenic trance.
computer enhanced animation combined with Tsuzuki's
ability to command both animal gods and traditional paper
charms (ofuda) result in some of the best magic fight scenes
I've seen, when Suzaku rears and flaps his massive
flaming wings you'll think to yourself, "Now THIS is
how it was meant to be done!" I can't wait to see more
of this wonderful series, right now, it's the beautiful Art
that has me hooked!
by Mark Vallen)
Vampires prey upon the innocent and the Undead walk the streets
of Tokyo in Yami
but this anime isn't a spine tingling chiller like BLOOD:
The Last Vampire. No, "Yami" doesn't take itself
that seriously, it is more like a supernatural adventure series
with a comedic edge. Full of handsome characters, easy laughs,
and humorous situations, you'll find yourself caught off guard
by its friendly, comic exterior. And then... just when you've
relaxed, it comes at you full throttle with angst ladden
scenes replete with fiendish monsters.
Yami no Matsuei anime constantly goes back and forth from
the macabre to the mirthful, and to fans of the Gothic horror
genre that might seem a bit unnerving, but those who stick
with this show will be richly rewarded. At first I didn't
know what to make of the gushoushin (pictured at right),
the bird-like, twin God librarians who chronicle the good
and bad habits of people. They seemed an unneccessary comic
relief, but then they grew on me. The same thing can be said
of this entire show's unusual story line and style, it will
get under your skin!
offbeat tale is about a group of young men called the shinigami.
They are undead... and detectives of sorts, who investigate
unnatural deaths and guide lost spirits to the underworld.
The show abounds with Japanese style goblins and demons, and
the top notch animation is sure to impress even the most jaded
by John Lentini)
for something completely different in the world of anime?
Than I suggest you check out Yami no Matsuei (Descendants
of the Dark), to crave your variety and need for another anime
series. This series has a little bit of everything, the supernatual,
nice character designs, CGI, magic, summuning of creatures,
demons, sword fighting, a little comedy, and even The Hong
Kong Knife. Don't worry, that's the group singing the
ending theme, Love Me, which accompanies the fantastic
manga images you'll see in the closing credits.
course every excellent storyline needs a good opposition or
the 'so called' bad guy in the story. Meet Muraki Kazutaka,
who kind of looks like Professor Tomoe (of Sailormoon),
with his very light silver hair. However he's not as light
hearted as Tomoe-san, in fact the one word I would use to
describe Muraki Kazutaka is, sadistic.
Kazutaka will be one of the features in the first three parter
to open up the series that will definitely get your attention.
By the way this show uses a detective story type format, and
you better grab a snack because each mystery will span over
three episodes, except for the series finale which is a four
parter. When you finally sit down to watch Yami no Matsuei,
make sure you're paying attention and put on your thinking
cap. Because this anime series is wonderous and has a very
deep plot line right from the beginning. So enjoy this little
gem we've reviewed for you and make sure your soul isn't branded.
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