Innocent Venus is a show I watched for the first time a few years back. I’m not sure what the exact reason I chose to watch it was, seeing as how I had never heard of it before (and I still never hear anyone talk about it). I’ll just assume this was way back when I was checking out random anime like Speed Grapher and Noein and I chose this one in particular because the opening was by Yousei Teikoku, a band I’m pretty sure I was first discovering around that time.
My first impressions of the show after my first watch of it… Well, basically, I had loved the first half aside from the horrible mech fights, but once a certain plot twist happens I felt like too much went out of control. I didn’t understand what was going on in the plot anymore; the hand to hand fight scenes stopped existing, being completely replaced by the extremely inferior mech fights; the animation let itself go in the bad way, giving such results as my previous entry; and overall it just seemed like a massive trainwreck. The only thing I remembered still liking after that point was the relationship between Joe and Sana, which is actually the reason I ended up rewatching it.
See, recently I’d been wanting to watch shows involving someone protecting someone younger as a main part of it. You know, shows like Seirei no Moribito and Kurenai. I’m going to blame the fact that I played Tales of Graces in January. Anyway, I tried to find new shows that would fulfill this desire, but my mind kept wandering to Innocent Venus. So, after not finding many promising shows that I hadn’t already seen, I decided I’d just rewatch this.
I still think the second half introduces some flaws, but my opinion of it is much higher than back then. I really do think that the worst thing about this show is the mechs. If they didn’t exist, there would be more time for the show to expand on plot points that were, well, never explained, and nobody would have to deal with how boring the fights were or the fact that the CG meshes horribly with everything else. That last issue only gets worse as the series goes on, as it seems they spend less and less time and money on making it actually look somewhat acceptable.
The art style itself is wonderful, and the animation is usually quite good. The fighting scenes that do not involve mechs are actually very good, though they’re also short. That seems to be how it goes for all genuinely good fight scenes though; they’re never very long. I’ve said already that the plot got a bit confusing for me… really, the only thing I felt I fully understood once it was over was the main plot. I didn’t really understand what characters liek Drake were trying to do, though, and I didn’t understand the state the world was actually in since we basically never saw it. Maybe I’m just bad at brainworkings and everyone else can understand it just find, but I wish more time was spent on this regardless.
The music has its ups and downs… It’s sometimes rather amateurish, sticking in a comfort zone of repetition, but that’s actually a good thing with some songs such as Operation. on the other hand, though, there are quite a few pieces that aren’t made up of much repitition at all. I’m pretty sure everyone’s (yes, mine as well) favourite song from this show is the piano piece Jin and Sana play a number of times. It has a beautiful melody that’s also used in other songs such as Joe’s theme, which really has a great effect when it’s played later on, thanks to a certain event that I’m not really interested in spoiling.
The best thing about this is, of course, the characters and their interactions. Despite the fact that this is only 12 episodes, you get the feeling that you know most of the characters fairly well, even outside of the main three. The talented voice actors they chose (at least in the Japanese version; I’ve not heard the dub yet) for everyone certainly help with this. The three main characters are definitely the best of the characters though. It’s really hard not to find Sana cute and/or moe; really hard not to like Jin for his coolness, craziness, and devotion to protecting Sana; and I’m not entirely sure how to describe why Joe is so likeable, but to me it seems he’s one of the more “human” characters in the show. He’s quiet and no good at socializing, but he really is a nice guy, and it makes for so many heartwarming moments when you find out later just how much he cares about Sana despite initial appearances.
In short: Everyone in this show is always fashionable and while mecha isn’t the cancer killing anime, it certainly is the cancer that will kill Innocent Venus for those unwilling to look beyond it.