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Kamui Shirou and Fuuma Monou have been best friends ever since they were kids. Fate, however, separates them when Fuuma's mother died under a mysterious circumstances. Fast forward, 6 years later, a 16 year old Kamui has now returned to Tokyo with the intention of facing his 'destiny'. Little does he know that his destiny will collide with that of his best friend's Written by
Breathtaking new anime series based on the manga by Clamp
"X" ventures into territory familiar to viewers of the 1996 Japanese anime production, X: THE MOVIE, a feature adaptation of the long-running manga (comic book) series, "X/1999," produced by the all-female manga collective known as Clamp. While X: THE MOVIE offered a highly sped-up condensation of the incident-packed manga and closed everything off with a jarringly tragic finale, the 24-episode 2001 TV series goes back to the manga and offers a more faithful new adaptation, allowing viewers to gradually meet each of the many characters and get to know who and what they are long before the action takes off.
Like so much of anime, the story is about highly advanced evolutionary young people fighting over the future of the earth. Here, the main characters are split into two camps, the "Dragons" of Heaven struggling to save the earth and its human population, and the "Angels" of Earth seeking to kill off all "polluting" elements, including people, so that the earth can be born anew. At the center of the conflict is the young, handsome Kamui, who has returned to Tokyo to fulfill his destiny as leader of the Dragons of Heaven, although the Angels of Earth seek to recruit him to their camp. (All the main characters are impossibly good-looking.) Meanwhile, all the characters go about living their everyday lives, including enrollment in school for the younger ones, a key element missing from the movie.
The animation is fluid and the design quite spectacular, with an evocative, dramatic music score provided by Naoki Sato. The background details of Tokyo's streets, buildings and skyline are all meticulously rendered. One scene noteworthy for its exquisite recreation of a Tokyo landmark features Lady Arashi, one of the Dragons of Heaven, leaving the secret chamber of the ancient (but young-looking) Princess Hinoto, situated underneath the Diet (the building where Japan's Parliament meets), slowly taking a secret elevator up to the main floor, and walking through the great halls of this massive edifice and down the sprawling front steps, with the camera following the whole time and the music swelling. I have often been critical in my anime reviews of the new technique of 2-D digital animation as it is applied to anime, but I must confess that the results here are as satisfying to me as if they'd been done the old hand-drawn method.
The series' chief director is Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who is best known for such titles as WICKED CITY (1987), MIDNIGHT EYE GOKU (1989), NINJA SCROLL (1993) and VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST (2000). He wisely sticks to the style of the manga and the overall design scheme of X: THE MOVIE, which was directed by the equally notable Rin Taro, and avoids the sex-and-violence excesses and "noir"-like nightmarish visual schemes of his earlier works. Even so, it's cleanly executed and powerfully told, with enough visual imagination to impress even the most hardened anime purist and a strong enough story and interesting characters to engage even the newest anime convert. The Pioneer DVD offers both Japanese and English language tracks. The English dubbing is surprisingly good.
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