A term like justice is very dangerous to throw around, simply because it means something different to everybody. Your definition of justice may be different than mine. The amount of motivation behind such a word is what gives it a dangerous nature. Does your version of justice mean that you right the lawful wrongs; or do you right the moral wrongs? Do you go out to fight the bad guys or save the distressed? Zetman is here to show you what happens when these two are put against each other.
• Episodes: 13
• Aired: APR 3, 2012 – JUN 26, 2012
• Genres: Action, Drama, Supernatural
• Studio: TMS Entertainment
In a nut shell, this is a story about righting wrongs. As a boy Jin Kanzaki never knew his parents, only living the slum life with an old man he grew to care for. This old man used to be a research scientist who made creatures for an underground cock fighting ring for the wealthy. Jin was made there as a monster to hunter rouge monsters. The now old man kidnapped him to raise him as a boy. Now he goes around with his friend Kouga, a rich kid in the city, fighting crime. Or at least that’s what they wanted to do. Now a strange group has come looking for Jin and has killed the old man.
You will have to excuse me because I’m gonna give this story props for taking on a new angle on the good verse evil story. What I find most interesting is how both friends have the same goal but a separated solely by how their views differ. Jin goes out of his way to help people simply because he can….. and hope for a bit of cash in return. His friend Kouga found his justice through that of a Saturday morning cartoon (Most likely Power Rangers) because he believes that it’s a duty of somebody to help those in need and ask nothing in return. Same goal, different roads. This becomes a stressing point later on.
This story really reminds me of Gungrave in the way that two close friends are driven apart due to moral differences. There is 1 story being woven together by 3 stories at the same time and you will be focused on all of them. That, in turn, brings up the point of this show feeling rushed. The first couple of episodes feature Jin as a kid, then an episode or two on teen Jin, then adult Jin for the rest of the show. We clearly could have benefitted from more episodes. Also, the plot starts to feel a bit repetitive at times. It’s the kind of repetition that is found in the combat but I not here for fight scenes as I am for context and character so it didn’t bug me then.
All in all, we have a solid plot and one I hear is much better in the manga. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t gotten to it yet. It’s on the list though. I would, however, watch out for episode 12. I don’t know if it was my viewer or not, but the footage was choppy and dysfunctional and just plain hard to watch. So just a heads up.
Art and Sound: 8 and 7
This is a show that looks older than it actually is. Bringing back the old school look with hard lines and gray gradients alongside dull colors. It’s not flashy like some anime nowadays but that doesn’t mean it need be faulted for it. In fact, in my opinion, it fits the tone the show gives off. Design wise the characters look good and the environments are designed well enough to fit the tone of the area well. The slums look trashy and the rich look posh.
The sound did its job……….. What? You want more? Fine. The Opening song is very different to the rest of the tone of the show but after a few episodes, you will start to really enjoy it. The ending is pretty forgettable, consisting of a low, sad beat and it really only fit the mood of 1 episode. Voice acting is hit or miss. Sometimes the characters sound normal, others they sound like they are A. trying too hard and B. Actually reading from a script. The second one might have you going “Well duh, they are.”, but you aren’t supposed to feel that when listening to it.
This is where I feel the show really shines. Each main character has a very distinct personality. You know how you feel about each one. Not a theoretical feeling, a solid feeling about them. Whether it’s a solid like or dislike. And that’s what’s great about them. They are so flushed out. Take our lead character Gin. He grew up as a slum kid with only his “grandfather” there to teach him the ways of the world. He never went to school; he only learned what was absolutely needed. You watch him grow and his ideals being forged, even after everything that he went through. I even backed him on his adventure finding love in a girl he meets out of nowhere but gives her kindness anyway. His story alone is worth the watch. And to make matters worse I felt bad for him because I could relate to him a lot. I even had myself saying I’m sorry every time something bad happens. ACTUALLY SAYING I’M SORRY TO A 2-D CHARACTER.
His buddy also has the kind of character arc you would come to expect from guys like him. Although, it isn’t like you can’t side with him as he too is put through many trials of will that make his resolution in the final act all the more believable. I will say the way they went about it was really dumb. Basically, the bad guy asks Kouga what his brand of justice is and then when he answers he goes, “No it’s not, it’s this contrived reason to make you feel like a fool, an ass, or both.” And Kouga honestly goes on thinking he has a point. Other characters have enough going for them to make me wish even more that the episode count was lengthened so I can get more of the story.
The villain is the really weak one of the bunch. His whole deal is that he is one of the monsters that rioted and escaped from captivity but instead of living the desire to “live as a human” and all he decides that he wants to create further chaos for humanity. He also has this thing about wanting to bring out all of Jin’s power. And all while being overly flamboyant about everything. So he has enough character to feel developed but not nearly as much as the other characters.
I really enjoyed my time with this show. I do wish I could spend more time on it but for what it’s worth, I still enjoyed it. The story was engaging and there were a few times where they hit me in the feels. The characters were there to compliment the story and really grab at your heart. While there are flaws, I didn’t find them too annoying; aside from the rushed feel. Although I managed to move on with that flaw. So go watch this and then watch Gungrave so that more people can see what I mean by similarities. Also so I can boost the number of people who like it.
Final Score: 8 out of 10