This is a dark and gritty series with none of the fluff that typical anime includes in order to cater to younger viewers. Its strong points are its unique animation, understated score, and pervasive mood. The animation is stylistic and highly detailed. The action and pace are slow and deliberate, so that the animation really focuses on the details of the scene. This type of animation looks like it could be the inspiration behind some of the recent American motion comics, like Iron Man Extremis, which I really enjoyed. The score is also carefully paced and understated, combining with the art to set the perfect mood of darkness and despair.
Sounds pretty good so far right? Well the story and plot are fairly straightforward and simplistic. There's nothing blatantly wrong with them, no cheesy plot-fillers like in the early episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist. It's just that there's nothing that unique about the story (one stoic samurai seeking honor, another ambitious samurai seeking power), and not many surprises or strategies to the plot (of which Death Note was the pinnacle). Additionally, the plot jumps multiple time lines, making it a challenge to keep up with the story.
But despite the slight flaws in the simplistic plot and story lines, the art is definitely worth checking out if you want to see something innovative and have the patience to stick with the deliberate pace of the series.
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