Kaiba Series Review

I remember the first time I became aware of this show – I was reading THAT Animeblog’s spring preview – something about the picture drew my interest. I had a feeling it would be a good show but with little more then that feeling to go on I decided to leave it off my spring preview. Looking back I should have trusted my gut because it did turn out to be a really great series.

Final Series Score: 12/12 Perfect
Rewatchablity: high, this type of show practically screams to be rewatched multiple times
Pros:
interesting art style that complements the show, awesome OP/ED and music, interesting characters that felt real due to depth and character flaws, plot/story was both intellectual and about the character’s feelings and problems
Cons: nothing that detracts from enjoying the show

Awards that this blog has given to the show

  • #1 in Top 5 for Spring Season 2008
  • Best OP/ED for Spring Season 2008
  • Best Overall Music for Spring Season 2008
  • Best Story for Spring Season 2008
  • Best Animation for Spring Season 2008

If I had to condense the plot into one paragraph and try not to give it all away, it would go like this. The show opens with Warp waking up with a severe case of amnesia with the only clues to his life being a pendent with a picture of a girl in it and a hole in his chest. With “help” from those around him, he sets off to figure who he is by boarding an interplanetary ship. The ship takes him to many different places and we learn through his eyes how society is ordered and the rulers of it. To the viewer, this society is very disordered and places almost no value on it’s individual citizens. The action shifts to the original planet where a group plots to overthrow the tyrannical ruler. Warp eventually becomes ensnared in this plot and must fight to save the girl he loved, pictured in the locket.

Several aspects of this show deserve special attention. The first is the complexity of the characters. Almost every character has hidden facets to themselves that are not obvious when we first meet them. This causes the story to go in directions that are not instantly obvious and that’s a good thing. The next thing is the attention to detail shown. For example, we see some of the difficulties that inhabiting bodies of the opposite gender would cause the person. Another aspect that is related to the previous one is the show is unflinching in it’s portrayal of a society where people can trade bodies and edit memories as easily as changing the clothes they wear. It’s depressing to see the selling of bodies (young and old) and murder as commonplace occupancies that barely illicit any emotion from people and the show gives it all to us.

This show also surprised me. If I was asked at the beginning of the show if this “experimental” SF anime would bring me to tears or end positively, I would answer no in both cases. And in both I would be wrong. In the middle I found that I had to fight back tears at the death of one of the characters. Also, the show does have an actual endingand it’s a pretty positive one – more so then I thought possible.

I’ve mentioned liking the art style. If you’ve only seen pictures you might be fooled to think that it appears much to simplistic but at several times during the show I couldn’t help but have my jaw drop at the animation.I guess you could say the sum is greater then it’s parts.

I’d like to be to recommend this to everyone but I realize that the story will be too far outside some people’s frame of reference to enjoy the show. I had very little problems with understanding the story but I also read a lot of SF so I felt at home watching this. If your trying to decide if you should watch this series but don’t know if you should, one test I thought of is if you’ve seen the movie Paprika. If you have and didn’t think it was to strange to enjoy then I think there’s a good chance you’ll find that you like Kaiba. If on the other-hand you watched Paprika and felt too lost to like it then Kaiba might be one show to pass on. I’m not saying that you’ll like or dislike both just that if you are not bothered by one the other will probably be similiar.

I hope to see this show licensed and brought to America, it’s definitely worth buying the DVD’s for (as long as it’s not 2 episodes for $40+ dollars). Maybe it’ll even be shown on tv overhere, I could see it on either the Sci-Fi channel or IFC.

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