Thursday, March 6, 2014

List: Top 3 Gen Urobuchi Anime Titles

List is a new category in the blog. If you want to know how it works, see the About Us page. Also in that page are the other review policies of the blog.

Gen Urobuchi is a Japanese writer of anime, visual novels, and light novels. In case you didn’t read the review policies, let me tell you now that I review anime as standalone projects, meaning I don’t really compare them to the material they are based on, unless I state that the review is a comparison.

What I’m trying to say is, anime is the only medium I am generally interested in, so this list is about Gen Urobuchi’s anime work only. Well, here it goes...

3. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

            Requiem for the Phantom is an adaptation of the visual novel game by Nitroplus. Gen Urobuchi is one of its staff writers.

            The pacing of the story is sluggish in a good way -- the execution is what makes it good. The anime could be compared to a Film Noir -- very artistic and sensual. These traits make the slowness rather perfect. But take note that the story does develop every episode -- no random crap.

            The best thing the writers have done here is the characterization. They are very flat, yet very deep at the same time. That might sound contradicting, but really, the writers did a good job on moulding characters that seem empty at first sight, but actually full of depth deep inside.

2. Fate/Zero

            Fate/Zero is based on a light novel by Gen Urobuchi. He is the main writer of the second season.

            The factor that makes Fate/Zero amazing is the characterization. Really, Gen Urobuchi knows how to write characters. Every character has something going on in his/her head, giving them depth. He has also taken advantage of the story to create ‘epic’ characters, and that’s where the other Fate titles seem to fall short.

            This could be a tedious watch though, especially the first half, primarily because it is very dialogue heavy. Personally, this is not a problem for me.

1.  Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica is an anime series written by Gen Urobuchi. The reason this is the best Gen Urobuchi work for me is that it is the one that has affected me the most. I really like how the story portrays the consequences of desires. That opening spiel in Fullmetal Alchemist comes into mind: The Law of Equivalent Exchange.

The story takes some time to take off though, but once it does, you’re in for a ride. This ride is mainly carried by the characters.

I actually know some people who really didn’t relate to the characters and found them bland and annoying. But I think this is just a matter of preference. I find the characters to be very relatable, and the fact that their situations are tragic makes them even more endearing.

            The ending of this anime is also one of the best I’ve seen. It’s cathartic and tragic at the same time -- and that’s where Gen Urobuchi really excels, actually.


Gen Urobuchi

All in all, I think Gen Urobuchi is a great writer. His greatest assets are how he writes characters and bittersweet endings. His weakest point is his tendency to sacrifice pacing to give room for exposition. I'm still looking forward to his next projects.

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  1. My boyfriend is a big fan of Phantom of the Requiem, and I knew that it was originally a visual novel, but I didn't know that it was written by Gen Urobuchi. All the more reason to watch!

    I don't think that the other Fate titles fall short... Maybe the anime versions do, but the original VN was great in my opinion, and I liked it more than the Fate/Zero anime. I do like the Fate/Zero anime a lot, though, and I have to tell you, Type-Moon works paired up with the studio Ufotable are amazing in general. Have you seen Kara no Kyoukai? The storytelling and art are very similar to that in Fate/Zero, so I would highly recommend it to you as a fan of Fate/Zero.

    1. I have heard that the original VN was really great, and that studio deen ruined the franchise. But I don't particularly subscribe to those kinds of things, so my only references are the anime adaptations.

      Yeah I was beginning to have the same conclusion with Type-Moon and Ufotable, especially when I heard of the new Fate Stay Night they're making. I haven't seen Kara no Kyoukai, but it's definitely on my watch list, since a lot have been recommending it too. I think James has seen it though.

  2. These list posts are an excellent idea! I always enjoy a list.

    Gen Urobuchi's work is great. Hopefully he will continue his great writing in future projects. I have not seen Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom yet, but I will add that to my watch list. But thanks to your recommendations, Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero are two of my favorites. It is difficult for me to chose between the two for my favorite of his work. Both have their merits and both have great teams behind them with the animation and Yuki Kajiura soundtracks. Madoka was such an excellent deconstruction of the genre and it had great characters and an excellent ending. Fate/Zero had intense battles, and extremely well developed characters with well thought out motives, and amazing Ufotable animation. Great list! I enjoyed reading it.


    1. I felt the blog needed something new, so I thought adding a new category would be nice. Glad you appreciate it!

      Yes, Gen Urobuchi is definitely a writer to look out for. I'm waiting for the next season of Psycho-Pass, since the story is not finished I'm expecting a new one. Madoka and Fate/Zero have a lot of commonalities and differences, so overall, I think it's only a matter of preference which is better. For me, Madoka is better, but as I said, that's just biased because I was attached more to the franchise.

  3. I'm sorry but this list is objectively wrong without Psyco Pass

  4. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.Anime Community