Hi everyone, long time no see! Due to an unexpected onslaught of many problems, stemming from trying to pass my classes and my laptop screen giving out, I’ve been dreadfully out of the loop… but now I’m back, and I’ll be doing a review! But, no Jack and Jill. It’s not like you were actually following the series anyways.
I’m just going through the list of anime I’ve watched, alphabetically, so as you can see, today I’ll be reviewing 07-Ghost. Maybe you’ve already watched the anime, but if you haven’t, well, it’s like never having heard of Justin Bieber; you’re a lucky one. As you can see, I absolutely hated the anime. And, without further ado, here’s why… let’s dig in, itadakimasu!
Let’s start out with the basics of any anime: plot, characters, animation, art and sound. 07-Ghost falls flat on all accounts. The main character is so Mary Sue/Gary Stu, I almost laughed. The whole story takes place in a futuristic empire (the Barsburg Empire, to be exact) that highly prizes people who can use magic, which they call zaiphon. Our not so beloved main character, Teito Klein, is a slaveboy who gets accepted into the empire’s military academy due to his magical prowess.
Due to certain events, Teito realizes that he’s actually the prince of the fallen Raggs Kingdom, that the Barsburg Empire was the one that destroyed said kingdom and killed his father (the king), that he possesses a one-of-a-kind talisman called the Eye of Mikhail which holds great powers unknown, and that he’s a wanted man in Barsburg so he has to flee the empire (due to the fact that he tries getting revenge for his newfound roots).
This all happens within a few episodes, so should I mention that Teito finds out all this and also manages to have time to cause the death of his best friend Mikage, also known as the best character in the series. After his best friend dies, Teito actually does flee the empire and ends up being taken in by a neutral church; when Teito comes to, he decides to curl up into a ball of self-loath and self-hatred and prepares to basically starve himself to death.
Teito is definitely a character that ruined the show for me. As a main character, he was overpowered and yet entirely useless. I don’t know how old he was, but his naivety in the beginning was astounding. He has pretty much zero foresight, so I don’t need to mention that he’s rash, short-tempered and simple-minded. In addition, he overreacts when he gets teased, he can’t express his gratitude properly, and gets angry when he’s embarrassed or happy. Basically, he is a female tsundere trapped in a boy’s body.
Enough about Teito. Let’s talk about the other important character in 07-Ghost: Frau. Frau is a bishop at the church Teito takes refuge in, and is also the one who first saves Teito from his pursuers as he is fleeing Barsburg. Frau by himself is a fairly tolerable character. His defining traits are his perversity, and thereby tendency to hide pornography in the library scriptures, and his persistence.
Frau is the one who, with persistence, eventually coaxes Teito out of his depression. Eventually Teito finds out about Frau’s sob story, which strengthens their bond/friendship. Frau also suggests to Teito to become a priest, as priests get free room and board in any inn in the Empire, and are subject to less stringent inspections at borders; by becoming a priest, Teito can more easily gather information about his past without worrying about being pursued all the time.
Now, there is an overarching plot that I would’ve liked to see get fleshed out more, but I won’t mention too much of it here since it has major spoilers. Basically, in the world of 07-Ghost, there is an age-old myth that is very relevant to both the plot and the title, that I will allow Wikipedia to explain:
According to a centuries-old myth, the God of Death, Verloren (Dutch or German for Lost), ‘killed’ the daughter of the Chief of Heaven and was forced to escape to the earth. In retribution, Verloren invaded the hearts of the people, who slipped into despair. Lamenting over the people’s suffering, the Chief of Heaven dispatched seven heavenly lights in order to punish Verloren. Called the “Seven Ghosts”, they are said to have sealed Verloren on the earth and served forevermore as the guardians of the Empire. Mothers often tell their children that if they are naughty, the Seven Ghosts will come to take them away.
Though Verloren has been sealed away in Pandora’s Box for over 1000 years, his messengers, the Kor, find and contact humans to bring them under his influence. If a contract is made, a mark appears on the person’s chest. This is known as “Verloren’s curse,” and it indicates one’s heart being eaten by darkness. One of the duties of the “07-Ghosts” is to fight against Verloren and his curse and try to stop contracts from being fulfilled. Only the Bishops can remove Verloren’s curse.
Among the many obstacles Teito has to surpass and many mysteries he has to unravel, he also has to battle those with Verloren’s curse. The series introduced much more than it could handle, but I actually found the aspects pertaining to the Verloren myth the most interesting. I’m pretty sure that, with some time, Veloren’s story and Teito’s past will eventually become more related, but the anime doesn’t get into this that much. If there’s ever a second season, perhaps it’ll follow Teito through his adventures with Frau as a priest, and I would be more likely to enjoy the series.
Unfortunately, season 1 here focuses more on Teito’s exploration of the abilities of the Eye of Mikhail through battles with the Barsburg militia, and ends with one of the bigger clashes with the main baddie Ayanami, who is also the overpowered evil mastermind behind the murder and destruction of the Raggs king/kingdom. So Studio Deen decided to end on Teito’s revenge route. Seriously though, the drama with Ayanami was a total drag. It was so boring I wanted to cry.
Before I wrap up on plot, I have to mention the elephant in the room. This series is gay. There, I said it. The shounen-ai in here is over-saturated and just asking for millions of fangirls to jump on all sorts of pairings. Normally I don’t mind this stuff, but this development just didn’t work for 07-Ghost. Simple scenes that should have been motivational or heartwarming would suddenly usher in this heavy dramatic mood of romance, and it just kills the moment. The whole underlying implicit romance factor was like a shadow at the corner of every frame. It caused a lot of frustration for me, and I just wanted it to show itself or disappear.
So, now that we’ve got plot out of the way, I’ll quickly finish my thoughts on the other topics on hand.
Art was actually fairly decent, no one was particularly deformed. The character design was actually pretty good, everyone had their own charm in terms of imagery. I can complain that sometimes people looked a little too thin, and some people had ridiculously spiky hair, but these are style issues, and opinions on style will vary person to person. Animation, though, is something definitely lacking. The animation for everyday life was just really… bad. There are many many scenes in which Teito is running towards/away from the screen, and he basically looked like a two-frame GIF. People’s motions sometimes looked stiff and fake. The fight scenes themselves weren’t all that dynamic either, there was minimal movement and a lot of shiny colors just got hacked at opponents. The backdrops are usually very pretty, but I have an itching feeling that they get reused very often. And, although a lot of work may have gotten put into the marble-pillared backgrounds in the church, it doesn’t work very well. The semi-photorealism contrasts too much with the stylized character designs for the people.
Oh, and the OST for 07-Ghost was mediocre. It’s really an afterthought. There was a fair share of churchy music, especially Gregorian chants. Perhaps there were some decent tracks, but it’s been all too long for me to remember any of them. Although I do remember that I came to hate the OP and ED sequence. Just from forcing myself to finish the series.
And that’s all for today… gochisousama deshita.
Studio: Studio DEEN
Director: Nobuhiro Takamoto
Character design: Maki Fujii
Music: Kotaro Nakagawa
Original creator: Yuki Amemiya (author), Yukino Ichihara (artist)
Original run: April 6, 2009 – Sept. 22, 2009