This Ugly Yet Beautiful World
Takeru and Ryou are orphaned high school students who work doing deliveries for the former's uncle. One night, the two go to investigate a mysterious light in the woods, only to find a young girl. Takeru and Ryou are attacked by an alien monster, which is defeated when Takeru "miraculously" transforms into a powerful and strange looking beast himself. The girl, whom the boys name "Hikari", is taken in by Takeru when she confesses to having no memory of who she is.
"This Ugly Yet Beautiful World." What a beautiful title that is, what philosophical contemplations, discussions on the contradictions of human existence, and talk of the mysterious beauty of Earth it implies. And what a misleading title it is, too, for This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, in my opinion, is little more than a falsely advertised moe comedy that delivers buckets and buckets of fan-service and cliched storytelling and none of the musings on the human condition and the nature of extinction that various reviews and descriptions had promised, completely joyless in its attempts to be funny and populated by a cast of useless, whiny brats ripped off of better characters from Gainax and non-Gainax works alike. Indeed, the fact that this studio, the bizarre but brilliant madhouse behind such fascinating epics as Neon Genesis Evangelion and The Wings of Honneamise, ever produced such a show is disappointing to me, and in their laziness they have made an abysmal series that merely panders at all costs and creates nothing of value, embarrassing themselves and their entire legacy in the process.
The story behind This Ugly Yet Beautiful World is indeed a poorly-constructed one. As someone with a lifelong interest in paleontology, I was intrigued by the show's opening discourse on Earth's various mass extinctions, and with the hope that such a topic might be made relevant to the story, I had reason to be optimistic. Unfortunately, the premise essentially proves to be that this "ugly and corrupted" earth will be brought to an end by rays of celestial energy masquerading as moe girls, who, upon their arrival, will somehow awaken the presence of monsters that I'm somehow supposed to believe are surviving descendants of prehistoric life forms, and, in turn, will bring with them cutesy robots that will somehow serve as means to make the necessary catacylysm occur. I was never very clear on what purpose the monsters actually served, aside from their providing token "humans vs. evil creatures" battles, and I must say that not a single one was anything like a real animal I know of, with one, apparently supposed to be a dinosaur, having a forehead of such ridiculous size and proportions that any real animal such features would never have been able to walk, let alone stay alive. Furthermore, the principle that Earth's mass extinctions were brought about by such un-frightening "death goddesses" such as this show deems the girls to be is both ludicrous and, quite frankly, insulting to science, sounding like a bogus conspiracy theory more than anything else and completely undermining this as a "science fiction" story.
The only two decent aspects of this series, poor Takeru and its good musical score, are nowhere near enough to save it from the bottom of the heap. Gainax, I am disappointed in you. — Nick Browne
Recommended Audience: If you watch this show, you will see many, many naked and possibly underaged girls, and you will, at times, prominently see their bare nipples and buttocks as well. This is absolutely not for children, and not at all for those who haven't learned to distinguish between their sexuality and immature carnal urges. There's also a bit of violence, a few racy jokes, and some moments of public drunkenness, but nothing that's particularly striking when compared to the nudity.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD (Viewed in Japanese with English Subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World © 2004 Gainax / SHAFT
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