Tokyo is the city where the final battle between the Dragon of Earth and the Dragon of Heaven will take place in the Japanese anime film X, directed by Rintaro (a.k.a. Tarô Rin; Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion) and writte... more »n by the all-woman writing team Clamp. The Dragon of Earth wants to wipe out humankind because of the damage people have inflicted on the Earth, while the Dragon of Heaven is fighting to protect civilization. At the center of all this is Kamui, the chosen one, who must pick a dragon to fight for. Full of dreams and flashbacks that pop up out of nowhere, the structure of X could be considered confusing and needlessly complex--if the story weren't so simple. Obviously, we're supposed to root for the Dragon of Heaven to win and save mankind, but the funny thing is, the Dragon of Earth has the better argument. If it were a debate, humanity would lose. But it's not a debate, it's an action film, and many of Tokyo's most famous buildings get destroyed in the battles. As with most anime, the women are either girlishly cute or slutty, but luckily in X, there are no graphic rapes; the love interest is merely crucified three or four times. It may not be the greatest anime film out there, but at least it's never boring. --Andy Spletzer« less
nogana_naishi | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 09/27/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"X is a stylish, well-written and interesting manga. It's also a stoic, laughable and trite anime movie.Follow if you can. Kamui leaves his home, best friend and girlfriend in Tokyo for some inexplicable reason. A naked visage of his mother then comes to him and pulls a Mary Poppins by pulling a sword out of her stomach (you heard me), and gives it to him for an equally inexplicable reason. Heck, the rest of the movie is pretty much like this, and often makes you wonder whether LSD is pretty much just pumped directly into Japan's water supply.Trying to explain the plot is quite pointless, as that doesn't even seem to be the driving force in "X". Let's just say half a dozen ilicit drug-induced dream sequences and a few ultra-violent fights later, we get hit with a completely unprecedented ending. An idea that worked well in video games like Suikoden II or even episode 24 of everybody's favorite inane anime, Evangelion... Too bad here it makes you just wonder, "Uh, is that physically possible?"Quite possibly the coolest, and therefore only redeeming part of this movie, the X music video featuring completely unreleased footage and a damn-cool song, was... cut out. And as some sort of final cruel joke, the English dub was apperantly specifically made to induce bleeding in the ears. Manga Entertainment's marketing sense-- not to mention human decency- astounds me.Thank goodness that's over."
Caught as the Crossroads
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 08/08/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have several of the graphic paperbacks from the X/1999 clamp production. I've read and puzzled over those, and now I have spent several hours with this DVD. There comes a point in the quest for value where one has to finally ponder why a work is the way it is. I don't expect every DVD or book to be a work of art, but I do expect that each such effort have some sense of its purpose or potential value.In the case of 'X', I confess I am mystified. On the surface, a young man (Kamui) returns to Tokyo at the behest of his dying mother to defend those he loves. But he fails to defend Kotori, who loves him, and forces his friend Fuuma to make impossible choices. On the layer below this Kamui and Fuuma are doomed to become the primary antagonists in a struggle over whether the human race should be allowed to survive. In the ensuing fight, shared with the other dragons of heaven and earth, the destruction is sufficient to wonder whether the cure is worse than the disease.In truth, the plot is a pre-ordained ballet of opposing forces driven to a tragic conclusion. I am not familiar with Japanese literature, but 'X' reminds me of a Greek tragedy where anyone could stop the inevitable end, but no one does. Kamui's tragic flaw is his inability to act until it is too late. Fuuma, supposedly the villain of the piece, seems to be the nobler of the two, simply because he throws himself into his role. All of the characters are disjointed archetypes, but despite all of the symbols and portents, nothing really gels.So this becomes an apocalypse in search of a cause. Harumitsu Shimuzu as put together an excellent score, which seems to capture Kamui's perpetual agonizing and the film's ambivalent perfectly. The film's theme, 'Forever Love' by Yoshiki, is worth keeping as well. But good music and interesting artwork are not enough to overcome a skeletal plot that never moves in any direction for long. A glance at the final credits reveals that this was a production with a cast of hundreds, and perhaps that is the problem. Tragedy is best when it is not designed by committee."
One of my favorites......
Cafe | 08/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"X is probably one of my favorite anime movies of all time. It's based on a manga of the same name by CLAMP. However the movie version tells a slightly different story than the as yet uncompleted manga (which is currently compiled in 10 tankabon).The shojo animation by CLAMP and the character designs by Nobuteru Yuki are absolutely beautiful and are far better than the animation in some of CLAMP's earlier OAVs (i.e. RG Veda and Tokyo Babylon). The music is also excellent with the dark and gloomy soundtrack complementing the gothic feel of X perfectly. However the movie's plot suffers from two major problems. Firstly, the plot is rather slim in comparison with the X manga, sacrificing a lot of the character interaction and backstory to fit the whole manga series onto one 90 minute video. Because of this it also suffers from the same problem as RG Veda, in that there are a few parts of the movie which are seemingly unrelated to the rest of the film. It would have been much better if X had been made into a series of OAVs instead of a single movie to preserve the manga's story in its entirety. The only other problem that I had with X was that the main character, Kamui, came off as a wimp because of his voice actor. The other characters were voiced excellently but Kamui seemed to lose a lot of resentment against his fate and because of this the feeling of angst that pervades the manga series in less evident in the movie version of X."
Lack of a plot
Marc Ruby? | 02/11/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Overall, I heard many great reviews for this movie, so I decided to rent it. It was not what I expected. Perhaps, I was expecting too much from it, but it was a great disappointment. It seems that too much money was spent in the art and not enough in plot or character developement. After the movie ended, I can honestly say, I didn't understand a thing. At the start of the movie, they briefly list off the characters and their traits. That's about it in the character developement department. From there, they explain how the these characters need to save mankind or all humans will be obliterated. Mainly, they have to battle the "earth dragons" to save the Earth. That almost makes sense. Then, through all of the jumbled flashbacks, flashforwards, possible outcomes, precognitions, dream-sequences, and computer simulations, you find out that the main character has to fight an evil double of himself to decide the fate of the humanrace. Because of the premise, the whole movie sikes you up for a spectacular fight scene. In truth, it lasted maybe thirty seconds. It was extremely disappointing. I don't recommend this movie, if you are looking for an anime was plot, structure, or character developement. However, the art in itself, is rather stunning. This visuals are gripping, if not violent. I would definantly recommend this movie, if you are looking for an artsy, dramatic show and aren't interested in story. But you would be wise to first rent this before you seriously consider buying."
A Depressing Masterpiece???
J. Worden | Concord, NC United States | 09/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say the cover art of the DVD sucked me in and I bought it. Well I was expecting a lot from the story line, because of the outside cover, but you should not judge anything by what is on the outside. What was inside was definitely far different from what I perceived it to possibly have in it. The plot line was disjointed, but very intriguing, though the messiah image is a bit cliqued, even though it works superbly into this movie. The messiah plot did have some of its own quirks in this movie that are fairly original. The whole mood and tone of the movie was oppressing and brooding, the animation surely made a proper set-up for the end of the world. The characters were excellent, the ones that actually spoke and did not die randomly, especially Fuuma and Kamui. The visuals were remarkable, definitely better than most animation out there. The ending was kind of drawn out with a quick conclusion, and a time of mourning. This is one of the most depressing animes I have seen, even more so than Akira, or the finale of Cowboy Bebop. Well cheer for the Dragon of Heaven, but weep for the Dragon of Earth and watch something funny after this movie, because it really is depressing. One complaint, like recent movies, notably Blood, this movie is too short what is the deal extend the movie so we can see some more character development. Recommended watch for those who aren't afraid of crying and don't mind a couple decapitations here and there."