What luck! An early review (certainly not because my next match in the Aniblog Tourney comes before the date that I otherwise would have posted this, nope)! Casshern Sins is a show you didn’t watch that, as Funimation is so fond of informing you, you should be watching. Stop! Don’t read this review! Just watch it.
I hate you so much. This review is not meant to be read. You should need nothing more to convince you to watch this than the picture I have provided you, clumsily put together yet still gloriously beautiful. After all, that is what Casshern Sins is. Glorious beauty.
Designs and key animation by Yoshihiko Umakoshi, the directing of Shigeyasu Yamauchi, and all the money of Madhouse. How can you not get something that looks awesome with such a combination? Even the background art looks amazing. I actually noticed it, and I’m someone who almost never notices background art in anime. The quality is also consistent for the most part, at least until the second half of the series. And even then the problems are still nothing compared to most anime and if you’re not me you’re probably not going to notice it much. You can also pretty much pause on any frame and have great wallpaper material. That’s pretty special.
Shigeyasu Yamauchi’s directing style, totally unbridled in Casshern Sins, really gave it a unique touch that sets it apart from other anime. The odd angles, the fighting scenes with all their bizarre yet infinitely interesting movements, and even the awkward moment where a female character pats her rear end for no particular reason (see also: Shigeyasu Yamauchi’s episode of Tatakau Shisho). I’m no film student so I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I do know that whatever it is about all these things that Shigeyasu Yamauchi likes to do, I like it and you do too.
Did I mention that the colours are really cool? They get really strange and sometimes horrifying in the later part of the second half. Be ready. Actually, everything gets strange and sometimes horrifying in the later part of the second half.
So, let’s talk story. It’s episodic and very formulaic for the first half, but you don’t care because the first episode has the most brutal violence against robots you’ll ever see in any media. And after that you actually care about all the people Casshern meets while wandering the desolate land, despite the fact that you know you will not see most of these characters beyond the episode they’re introduced. The show also has a few starving orphans, because they make everything better.
The characters mostly serve the purpose of the story, which is really easy to relate to even though the world is totally different from ours. It’s basically about life. Living it, making yourself happy and not moping about over the fact that you’re mortal. I mean, this is a super depressing show, but at the same time it can be really uplifting and beautiful. That’s a really good thing, because without that and the amazing presentation this would be difficult to enjoy. Nobody wants The Depressing Diary of Casshern and the Robots That Died or Casshern Plants Flowers and Smiles Because Everything is Okay.
The staff behind this is great at making you think it’s going to do horrible things that you don’t want to see. Sometimes it actually does these things, other times it doesn’t. Just to keep you on your toes. Last thing about the story: it may be classified as SciFi because it has robots, but don’t let that fool you into thinking anything’s going to make sense or be consistent. This show does not make up its mind about what’s normal for robots and what’s not, and that’s because it really doesn’t matter. That’s not what it’s about, so don’t try to watch it for that.
Now, for the third kind of beauty. The one for which Casshern Sins reaches a level almost no other anime comes close to. The sound. Yes, sure, lots of things have good music. In fact, probably everything I’ve reviewed thus far at least has decent music. Casshern Sins does not break that pattern, because Kaoru Wada is a pretty good composer for the most part. There are some really beautiful songs in this and it uses them up for all they’re worth. But why does Casshern Sins get such a special mention for its sound? The sound effects, you silly goose.
Casshern Sins’ use and quality of sound effects is something you’d really only normally see in those wonky, artsy, and generally short anime like Cat Soup. You’d never expect this kind of sound effect quality from a 24-episode TV series. Most anime just use sound effects because they feel like they need them, but Casshern Sins uses them to make the world come alive. I really can’t say much else about this, because of course it’s something you really need to hear (viewing context helps a great deal as well). Just know that they’re probably better than any TV anime you’ve ever seen, and they add a great deal to the already awesome atmosphere of Casshern Sins.
tl;dr Casshern Sins may be inappropriate for the pro-life crowd and if you’re reading this sentence you require more instruction regarding the following of instructions. Get out of my house.