It’s taken a while, but I’m finally starting to twig that Jyu-Oh-Sei has an absolutely stellar voice cast. Young Thor was played by Minami Takayama, whose best work comes in the form of the insane, eccentric Dilandau of Escaflowne. Thor’s love interest Karin is handled by none other than Romi Paku- in other words, the show stealing voice of Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist, and even the heartless Zagi is brought to life by a household name; Kazuya Nakai- the brooding, strong presence behind the likes of Roronoa Zoro (One Piece) and Karasu (Noein). It’s the kind of ensemble cast stitched together only by the deep pockets of Hollywood, so for once, it’s nice to see an anime series with such a well matched, proven acting pedigree.
We’re now almost at the end of Jyu-Oh-Sei and for what it’s worth, I’ve really enjoyed it so far, even if it does feel like a guilty pleasure. There is something about it that is shallow and nonsensical; it’s probably Thor- I just can’t buy him as the “Jyu-Oh”, he doesn’t look tough, he is too trusting and appears to lack the commanding charisma needed to become a true leader. Zagi was a much more interesting personality (strong yet conflicted, passionate yet cold) but having just watched episode 9, I guess that’s him on the sidelines now. I’m getting bored of Third’s antics too, is it supposed to be obvious that he killed Karin? Third’s dark intentions have been clear since the first episode, so why bother with the mystery. A lot of Jyu-Oh-Sei is quite predictable and without the added depth of a few more character-driven episodes, the drama is always struggling against falling completely flat.
Along with the consistently attractive animation, Hajime Mizoguchi’s soundtrack is perhaps the reason why I enjoy watching each and every episode. I was a big fan of the compelling industrial, electronic ambience he contributed to Texhnolyze and here his music is just as immersive; driving the drama forward with heartful acoustics and overflowing strings.