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Jyu-Oh-Sei – 3 through 4 – Nature bites back

Again I get my hit of Jyu-Oh-Sei in double dosage, and again I’m left feeling completely intoxicated by it. It’s the story that I love; so thick with detail, almost every scene contributes something new or shocking, continuously building on the already heavy narrative with yet more helpings of tribal politics, social commentary and romantic entanglement.

The only real problem with Jyu-Oh-Sei is the intense homoerotic undercurrent. Consider Thor’s skimpy clothes and Third’s “friendly” personality and clearly this is a show perfect for the ladies’ Noitamina animation block in Japan (having previously aired Paradise Kiss amongst others). I’m not a lady though, so I’d rather Thor put on some trousers and get a haircut- and undoubtedly, it’s this very camp aesthetic style that has made it easier for people to write off Jyu-Oh-Sei- their loss, really.

By episode four, the story is moving into high gear; Third’s gradually showing his hand as both a callous manipulator and devious liar while Thor’s quest for his return home has only worsened after discovering that his space-dwelling life is limited to but a mere 8 or 9 more years; a side-effect of having been brought up in a space colony and then suddenly dumped on a foreign planet. Conspiracies and back stabbings are all being promised, and don’t be surprised if it turns out that Third’s behind it all.

Animation-wise Jyu-Oh-Sei rivals Black Lagoon for some of the most electrifying action scenes of the spring season. Watching Thor take down an ugly insect-like carnivorous plant was a particularly exciting moment; this was a scene full of kinetic motion, painful collision and gravity-defying ass-whoopery of the highest order that was very reminiscent of Miyazaki’s ground-breaking movie Nausicaa and The Valley of Wind.

Comments

bateszi says:

I had intended to stop blogging Jyu-Oh-Sei but frankly it’s too good for me to just throw-away like that. I’ve read people talking about how these two episodes weren’t a patch on the first couple but I didn’t see that at all. Anime fans must have high standards! :)

Reika says:

I’m envious — I don’t see the homoerotic undertones *wink*

Kidding aside, the style of this show really betrays its age. Even though the manga was finished in ’93, that was 13 long years ago. I’m personally surprised that they bothered animating a 5-volume manga — but I guess the story’s just that good.

If they had animated Natsumi Itsuki’s latest series, then I’d be right up there with ya on the boylove-innuendo. But it’s shoujo, so the fanservice is practically mandatory ^^;

bateszi says:

It has a very Escaflowne "everything’s beautiful" feel; I love Escaflowne, so that’s cool with me! :)

I’m tempted to looked more into the works of Natsumi Itsuki, though if it’s as heavy on "boylove" as you suggest, I may give it miss.

kuromitsu says:

As for the homoerotic undertones, the anime is perfectly innocent compared to the manga. :D In the manga, Thor gets hit on by pretty much everyone he meets (males and females alike), Zagi blatantly flirts with him, and Third… well, Third is less blatant, but obvious nonetheless. It’s all just fanservice, though, the manga is shoujo not BL.

Onda says:

I love this show and think the homoerotic undertones are very very light (you have to keep in mind this is based on a shoujo/girls manga). It’s funny how many are bothered by Thor’s clothes. If he was a girl they wouldn’t be complaining, I’m sure. Too bad for them who are missing a great story and animation. Hmm… but are they really interested in great stories? I don’t think so.

bateszi says:

I don’t think the homoerotic undertones are "very light" but we shouldn’t forget of course that they just undertones. Jyu-Oh-Sei is first and foremost an involving sci-fi fantasy with a greatly immersive story.

I’m just not a fan of the way anime will sometimes pimp itself out to certain genders or demographics in order to appeal to certain fans, it’s like setting up a safety net and saying "even if this show ends up flopping, we’ll still snag the fangirls!". Jyu-Oh-Sei would work a bit better if the characters didn’t look as, well, girly but naturally that means it would lose a lot of the fangirl audience :)

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