Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Spiral - The Complete Series |
The Viridian Collection
Director: Shingo Kaneko
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
"Every episode of Spiral left me wanting more." --- toonzone.net Ayumu Narumi's older brother Kiyotaka disappears mysteriously one ordinary day. The only clue Ayumu has are whispered rumors of a bizarre group called the B... more »
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Unwind the Spiral
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 02/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So just who are the Blade Children, why are they cursed, and what does our hero have to do with all this?
Those questions lie at the heart of "Spiral," an intricate mystery series with solid animation, a compellingly dark mystery.... and no ending. Despite a distinct lack of answers at the finale, it is a solid anime, with well-drawn characters, amazing art and some nail-biting suspense during a few of these arcs.
Two years ago, Ayumu Narumi got a phone call from his older, genius brother Kiyotaka. He announced he was investigating the "Blade Children," and then vanished.
Much later, a girl named Sayoko falls from a balcony -- and Ayumu seems like the only possible suspect, even though the police inspector is his sister-in-law Madoka. But Ayumu has the same astounding analytical skills as his older brother, and he soon solves a pair of crimes connected to Sayoko -- her fall, and a locked-room murder -- only to find that they both involve the Blade Children.
Unfortunately, the Blade Children are getting interested in Ayumu -- first a "smart bomb" is planted in a piano concert, and then a weird boy lures Ayumu to an abandoned school, playing a deadly game with the young genius. And after a teacher is murdered, Ayumu is pulled into a deadly mind game with a precocious Blade Child. She sabotages his self-esteem, and then snares him into a deadly cat-and-mouse game.
But even as Ayumu outwits the Blade Children, he learns that another deadly faction is involved with the Blade Children -- the Hunters, who kill them and anyone they are allied with. Even worse, he has a new enemy among the Blade Children -- Kanone, a young man who believes that the Blade Children "must not live." And since Ayumu may be their only hope, he is now Kanone's enemy...
"Spiral" starts delving into the mystery of the Blade Children literally from the first scene, with Kiyotaka's parting words. Those expecting lots of action, slapstick and flashy superspecial powers will probably be bored by this smarter brand of anime: the confrontations usually end in nothing more spectacular then a scuffle, and the only special powers Ayumu has are his intellectual ones.
While the writers don't really reveal much, they do spin a web of clever, intellectual mysteries, with magic squares, explosive neckwear, bombs, mystery future killings, card tricks and an abandoned hotel rigged with explosives all throughout it. Some of these are pretty hard to figure out, despite their simplicity.
And when Ayumu isn't pondering mysteries, the episodes are peppered with comedy (in one scene, Hiyono keeps distracting Ayumu as he tries to get an arcade toy for her) and flashbacks that show the characters' pasts. And though we don't find out what the problem with the Blade Children is, the episodes are infused by a sense of ominous hopelessness, but you never quite pity them yet because of their casual brutality.
There are a few problems, though -- for one thing, the second half of the series seems much more dependent on big kabooms than simple mind games and murders. The mindwork is still there, but not as prominent. And... there's no ending. We never learn what the Blade Children are, where they came from, or why the Hunters hate them so.
Daniel Katsük does an excellent job with both Ayumu's laid-back, unemotional demeanor, and his inner turmoil. While it's hard to really be sympathetic to someone who has so many natural gifts, he makes it understandable that Ayumu would feel so inferior to his seemingly perfect brother. Caitlin Glass' Hiyono is rather annoying and hyperactive ("Thank you God, for blessing us with these awesome seats"), but Gwendolen Lau is excellent as the gutsy, vulnerable Madoka.
And the voicework for the Blade Children is pretty uniformly excellent -- John Burgmeier and Greg Ayres are excellent as the melancholy Eyes Rutherford and the devilish Kousuke. Laura Bailey is excellent as the gutsy runner Ryoko, and Monica Rial is solid as the girlish, ruthless Rio. I'm not sure if Kanone is supposed to have that brick-thick Southern accent, though.
"Spiral" winds into a mystery that it never really leaves, but the intricate storyline and suspense are definitely worth checking out. A nice series if you don't mind finding the end elsewhere."
Charles Stuckey | Florida | 04/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After the reviews and description I was expecting a decent mystery type with innovative plot twists. If that's what you want try Death Note. I was expecting edge-of-your-seat suspense. I found myself browsing catalogs while it played instead. There were no real unpredictable surprises here, and the story line was kind of mediocre. The only really interesting parts, who are the Blade Children and who are the Hunters are never even answered. Quite a bit is left unanswered. In some stories that's a good thing to enhance the mystery, here it detracts as the writing isn't up there. In fairness, I have not watched the subtitled version. Assuming there is one. Package listed extras and I never saw a menu to access them. Didn't look real hard though. Maybe in a year or two I'll go back and find it better, once the expectations are forgotten. Then again, maybe not."