Anime Meta-Review


Shadow Skill, TV Series


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-6
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • genre: magic_war
  • people: Hayashibara
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Sep 22 11:06:47 EST 2000
  • mod: none

This is at the bottom end of worthy. If it was not for the handicap provided by being part of the magical warrior genre it probably wouldn't be here. In any case, the story takes place in a fantasy world where magic is a known force. Although while this magic is powerful it is more along the lines of physical modification and enhancement, rather than awesome ranged energy blasts. Thus the strongest possible person is one who has mastered both martial arts and the magic that enhances them to superhuman levels. In one country a title, the Sevaar, is bestowed each year upon the mightiest exemplar of this combat magic. This person is naturaly expected to be a sterling example of herodom in the eyes of the people, and a stalwart defender of the nation. Then again they might just be a young but awesomely talented young woman with an astounding lack of discipline and a talent for running up debts. Indeed we follow the 59th Sevaar, and her close friends, as they get involved in random adventures and encounters in this fairly interesting fantasy world.

The first thing that becomes obvious is a certain similarity to slayers, which is unfortunately amplified by the lead character's personality, appearance and voice actor (Hayashibara Megumi). Indeed if you consider this character as the `fighter' variant of lina's `sorceror' you've probably got a fairly good model. Likewise she has a small group of friends, each with their own personalities and powers, as she basically bums around the kingdom. Of course being a fighting anime, and given her personality, this often involves beating something or someone up. Although the stories do try for a bit more depth than that, making it fairly clear that this sevaar, despite her weaknesses, has her heart in the right place. And while these stories are not amazingly novel or deep they do enhance the experience quite a lot. On the other hand it has certain weaknesses. The dialog and character interaction amongst the group fails to sparkle with most of the `other' members being quite flat compared to the lead. This is a pretty serious problem for a series where a lot of the entertainment is meant to come from within the group. In addition the episodic stories, and relatively confusing picture of the `world' rob a great deal of power from the title. Then again, these sort of things often need quite a while to build up character, atmosphere and power so hope remains. If nothing else, as a member of the magic warrior genre, it is quite good and pleasant to watch.

The production gives some additional concerns. To start with there are the character designs, which look strangely artificial and fail to blend in with the fantasy atmosphere being attempted. Then there is the fighting itself. This alternates between some very fun physical sequences, generally for the low key stuff, but often ends as a really sucky `transform' sequence and a single still frame `named move' which is pretty damn corny. Indeed some of the best sequences come from matching her physical skills against non combat problems. A good example is tripping while working as a waitress, then using her physical skills to recover in a really sweet sequence. The production itself is pretty good, although it seems to fight between `dusty' fantasy look and `sharp colorful' anime look at times. In addition the quality seems to vary somewhat, and sometimes you'll see a character look very strange. On the whole it is produced at quite a reasonable modern level. The music has a weird alternation between `weird' sounds and normal energetic rock stuff. The voices are pretty good, but there seems to be no-one for Hayashibara to play off.

While Lord Carnage has a review for the OAV predecessor of this series none of my regular sources has a review for this title. Also have to say that the cover for OAV #1 really looks like a hentai title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009