DEM美しい骨格 Chapter 3: Natura nel presepe (自然の中でキリスト降誕) / Nature in Nativity
Another year (or give or take 9 months) has passed and over at Eastin City Jail, Rick Cane has finally released out of jail and of course the brother Dice just got out of boot camp. They both meet up after the pick-up and into the local fast-food joint Killer Crenshaw. “Yo, Dice? What little word you got from your boys about that kid? You know that tall, big, Afro Samurai looking motherfucker?” Then Dice mentioned that MAK hasn’t been on anyone’s radar nowadays and seems to disappear whenever shit’s about to go down and that after high school, he completely fall on the face on the Earth. “Well, that guy must be one crafty N**** if he can get himself out of the spotlight”, Cane retorted and told that tonight, they are going to find him and figure out who or what power he has…..and of course, payback. But where was MAK nowadays? He was still practicing his Blue Leaf with Big Daddy at the back of his local shop still in secrecy of everyone he knows and once MAK heard of Dice and Cain back on the streets, getting their own revenge to the people that owe or betray them. MAK sigh at the thought of them discovering his power including his own family and suddenly Big Daddy came into the room and said, “Well, today’s that day and from I heard in the streets, one of the guys they are looking for is you. Well, it’s been over a year and a half. Are you ready to accept this challenge?” Then MAK responded with this, “Big Daddy, I was born ready to do this shit. In fact, I planned this whole thing out.” So MAK pulled out a schematic with blueprints and maps of the city, buildings, and local business and call it OPERATION: SLAYERS.
Anybody remember the name of Sho Aikawa? Well, people who follow anime and especially manga knows him from doing scripts for Fullmetal Alchemist, Martian Successor Nadesico, Gad Guard & Violence Jack to name a few but with this wholly original idea from him, it actually has a peak of interest in one anime connoisseur to another but once going in, should we be quick to call this a classic in the making?
Anyway, in the 14th year of the Tenpo era, there was a secret shrine for “Bansha Aratamesho” (a research institution for foreign literature and learners)…more under the city of Edo. To the public, this organization was punishing the scholars who studied the Western Culture. However, this organization’s true mission was far more significant. Bansha Aratamesho was responsible to slay the “Yoh-is”, the evil spirits with flesh and blood from another world, that were expanding into Edo. Bansha Aratamesho is not an official organization. Members do not have the typical credentials to be the vassal of Shogun. It consists of a man who lost his memory, a man who was raised in a mountain and a girl who dresses up in a man’s outfit. Their special powers are yet to be known, but they all have special abilities that help slay the Yoh-is. The code name given to them is – “Ayashi”. Ayashis collect all types of information that seems bizarre. With thorough investigation, they locate the Yoh-is and hunt them down.
Now this is where I got to share my problems with the series…..and the main problem is either the pacing issues in the plot, as in it is very slow and it will feel like you’ve been watching the show for half a day. The series does highlight Japanese calligraphy and word study if you interested in learning the language itself and some historic facts often show up in the show, much like Hetalia does sometimes and while it is informative and I will give them merit for that, this series sells itself as an action series and yet the action isn’t up to par to being exciting, it’s just there and it does the pattern of an “monster of the week” plot and for the main storyline does suffers of you trying to keep up and not drift asleep to it. I can see why the series was originally supposed to be 50 episodes, but due to low ratings in Japan, they decided to can the series with only 25 episodes and 5 OVA episodes entitled “Ghost Slayers Ayashi: Inferno”, which I don’t think concluded the series to a satisfying finish.
The characters are honestly very unenthusiastic and dull, and you couldn’t care less about what happens to them. You got Yukiatsu Rydou, the main character who’s a vagrant and has the power of the Ayagami and he was a relatively okay character but I was never completely invested in any of the characters, not even the cross-dressing member of the group Genbatsu Edo or Saizo, the female warrior of the group who dresses like a man and possibly Atl and she is summed up to be the damsel in the group. The other characters are too forgetful or unimportant to mention.
The animation and production values from BONES are remarkably well. Even though I thought the action scenes just felt like it’s just there so you’ll be awake, it was well-animated and the art style of the characters, minus the Yoh-is (they were more “meh” rather than threatening), was acceptable and feel smooth overall. The music of the series was the standard feudal-Japan era BGM and it was done fine but the opening and ending songs are just generic J-Pop tracks that I’ve heard too much in anime and I would just skip them every time I watched an episode, to be honest.
And then there’s the dub by Bandai/Bang Zoom and like the series, it was lacking in the writing department but the dub isn’t bad, it’s just dull and yet the dub has some of my favorite LA-based anime voice actors (Steve Blum, Crispin Freeman & Stephanie Sheh) and even they can’t save this show and that’s the hard thing about it. Maybe Crispin Freeman voicing a cross-dresser help a little bit but the script was written to be straight-laced, no intentionally funny wits and not bullshitting around; and I thought that the script should’ve used a little bit more humor to even it out.
FINAL VERDICT: I’m going to be straightforward about this show…..AND THE FACT THAT IT IS BORING!!! It’s one of the shows that had some potential but it kept on stubbing some toes along the way. I’m very sad and disappointed for this and I wouldn’t recommend this show to action/samurai fans but I’m not going to fully discredit this series and if you like some of the history facts about feudal Japan and calligraphy, then it’s your cup of tea.
Now that I partially slayed this series a new one, what rating does it deserve?
5/10 – An Acquired Taste
Nightfall has come and the whole crew of Dice, Cain, and some of the older and rookie members of their gang has been hunting down every person who owe them by threatening them, beating the living shit out of them if they have no choice and eventually killing them, meaning it’s no longer that safe and as they approached Big Daddy’s shop and when they went in, they asked about if they have seen a tall black guy with a low cut afro and Big Daddy acted like they didn’t know who the fuck they were talking about. They kept questioning him, bargaining him with many bribes, and spare his store from being trashed and burned until they saw a blue flash out of nowhere and it was headed for the roof. “Wait a fucking minute”, Dice said, “It’s FUCKING MAK!! Get that N****!!” Soon, Cane and the rest followed Dice’s cue and pursue to get MAK from the rooftops. They try aiming and shooting at him and MAK could easily teleported out of the way but didn’t want to show his power in public and so he dodges the shots carefully and once he jumps down, he then transported into one of the empty buildings, leaving the chasers wondering of his location. They send a couple of people into the building, armed with a pistol and a switchblade. MAK wanted to use stealth mode for them but he was still sneezing back then so he avoid that but for the first guy with the switchblade, the guy creeped behind MAK and was getting ready to pounce at him and then he swiftly grabbed his blade and kept stabbing him over and over again but wonders why he wasn’t bleeding to death. As it turns out, MAK set a trap for him and the person that was stabbed was nothing more than a cleverly disguised mannequin. “HEY, N****!! You better come out and just give up!! You can’t hide from us anymore and we’re going to find out about that power of ours. Hell, we could use that to be ultra-powerful.” And then suddenly MAK swing a bat at him and grab his arm, then twisting it until he dropped the switchblade and he head-butted him, causing a nosebleed and then MAK grabbed the switchblade and slit the guy’s throat, as he heard the gurgling of him choking on his own blood. That feeling MAK got from it wasn’t exactly victorious…..at first. He had the need to vomit and after that, he prepares himself for the next target via pistol and his stance was valid.
The fighting is not all over yet for the Hybrid. What will come of him in the next chapter? And the next anime coming up to review is…..
And until then, TO BE CONTINUED……
GHOST SLAYERS AYASHI – animation by BONES, distributed by ANIPLEX OF AMERICA (formerly BANDAI ENTERTAINMENT)
music inspired by DEM LOVELY BONES: (Hieroglyphics – Make Your Move [9th Wonder Remix] feat. Goapele), (Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone) & (Boom Boom Satellites – On The Painted Desert (DJ Krush Remix))
THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE – my Tumblr page.