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This is one of the best animes(if not THE best)I have ever experienced! The visuals are astounding. Detail is sharp and beautiful. Realistic, true to life detail and color when appropriate, yet vibrant and fantastic when necessary. Run-down villages look dusty and gritty along with the people who inhabit them. Miraculous landscapes, skyscapes, palaces etc. are lush with color and striking in design. The story is very deep, and this may turn off some people. The political and social structure of the society of the Twelve Kingdoms is covered in minute detail. I personally enjoyed this level of description, but if it becomes too much for you, just sit back and let it wash over you because the series (45 episodes) provides so much to enjoy (there is even one episode that is dedicated solely to the workings of the government and society so people can get up to speed should they get lost in all of it). Character growth, development and resolution is at the heart of this story. Definitely a show for those who enjoy conflict of philosophies and ideologies and politics. No outrageously busty half-naked anime chicks here. No wildly unbelievable Dragon Ball Z-type fighting. No too ambiguous Serial Experiments Lain-style plot lines with questionable endings. You will get female characters who are strong and seem like(get this)real people!! You will get mostly realistic combat sequences with a touch of the fantastic from time to time. You will get plot lines that actually go somewhere that will make you angry, sad, happy and even feel vindicated at times. Music should not be ignored either. At moments it is hypnotically beautiful. Music is used subtly and the best way to enjoy it is to pick up the soundtrack CDs. Music is airy and dreamlike using mostly strings and wind instruments. It fits the series perfectly, fantasy music with a slight Eastern edge to it. This anime should be a lot more popular than it is. If you see the DVDs, pick them up now!!
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