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AKA: 獣王星 (Juuousei), Planet of the Beast King, Planet of the King of Beasts
Genre: Action / adventure / science fiction
Length: Television series, 11 episodes, 25 minutes each
Distributor: Licensed in North America
Content Rating: 16+ (blood, violence, mature themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, The Vision of Escaflowne, The Twelve Kingdoms
Notes: Based on the manga by Natsumi Itsuki, which ran in LaLa sporadically and then moved to Melody, another shoujo manga magazine. (Yes, this is a shoujo series.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: Because we use the Hepburn romanization system on this site, this review romanizes the title as Juuousei rather than Jyu-Oh-Sei (which, regrettably, has been adopted by the licensors despite making Japanese language students' eyes bleed.)
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars
 

Jyu-Oh-Sei

Synopsis

The year is 2436. Humans have moved off Earth and expanded throughout space. On the space colony Juno, the twin brothers Thor and Rai live carefree lives. However, suddenly, Thor and Rai's parents are murdered by an unknown man, and the two of them are sent to the prison planet, Chimera, a place populated by carnivorous plants and 4 groups of people who are just as ruthless. In order to get out of this harsh planet, Thor must fight to become the "King of Beasts" (Juuou). Will he survive and be able to find out the truth behind his parents' murders?


Review

I had very high hopes for Juuousei when I first heard it was in production, and these hopes were fulfilled with the first half of the series, which brought viewers a suspenseful, original, and exciting adventure story. However, the second half becomes weaker and weaker, trying to cram everything into eleven episodes, not an easy task considering that the original manga is five volumes long. Unfortunately, this series suffers due to its short length. But first, I will tell you what I liked about Juuousei.

First off, I liked many of the characters, especially Thor. Unlike certain other anime protagonists who would probably angst and whine and wouldn't survive on Chimera for a day, Thor is a strong, brave, determined, and resourceful character, and even though Rai is far weaker than him, he tries to protect him and the other characters as much as he can. Thor also doesn't just rise to the top because he is SPESHUL™ and has AWSUM POWERZ™, but through his own skills, which is something very refreshing. The other two main characters, Tiz and Third, are also decently characterized. Tiz is devoted to Thor and loves him, and she'll fight to help him, though sometimes she can be a bit annoying. Third is a mysterious character, who doesn't talk about his origins, but also has an engaging and sometimes humorous personality.

The art and character designs are very good and pleasing to the eye, and the design of Chimera perfectly portrays a wild and harsh environment that at the same time seems almost beautiful at times. The animation quality is also pretty good and not too low-budget. The opening and ending songs are not super-duper awesome, but they do stick in your head and are pleasant to hear. As for the seiyuu, most of their performances are fine.

Unfortunately, as mentioned before, the second half when Thor becomes an adult slips in quality and feels rushed. Many important characters seem to be instantly killed off without getting to know them more, and there are many plot holes. I have not read the original manga, but from what I have heard, the manga is far more detailed, explaining many things that the anime didn't care to even mention. I feel that for an anime of this scope, there should have been at least three or four more episodes - heck, they could have made it 26 episodes. Perhaps that would have made the second half better.

In the end, though Juuousei isn't doinky by any means, it left me feeling very disappointed at the end because the first half was so great and the second half did not live up to that greatness and promise. It's a decent series, though, and worth checking out if you can. I just wish someone would translate the manga ...

An OK anime, but it could have been so much better. Add a star if you really like action.Jennifer Berman

Recommended Audience: This anime has a lot of violence in it, and also some blood as well. The anime also deals with some mature themes. Recommended for those 16 and up.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub.
Review Status: Full (11/11)
Jyu-Oh-Sei © 2006 INA, Inc. / Hakusensha / Jyu-Oh-Sei Production Committee
 
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