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It's here one of the most anticipated anime of the spring season has just started airing and this will be one that I plan to review on a weekly basis (the other is going to be Tsuritama and possibly Jormungand). Back to Zetman, have my fears of TMS messing up this potentially great show been realised
Literally 14 seconds in and you already see blood being drawn, great start to give the series a darker feel but the episode was very focused on emotions, particularly Jin's emotional development which takes a quite a few turns throughout the episode. I quite liked that Jin, though strong is portrayed as very vulnerable and that he already looses so much in just the first episode of the series: his grandpa, his friendship with Kouga and Konoha. The whole episode is about Jin and very little information was revealed regarding the truth behind Jin and the Agami corporation. Better yet, I did like how the stripper with the heart of gold was introduced quickly as well and that she now has become Jin's "hope." The ending was a nice change to this episode since the rest of the episode was filled with despair and misery for the main character and I'm assuming served as the basis of his character development, allowing the story to take another leap forward with the next episode (based on the preview is already a meeting between adult Jin and adult Kouga).
The story itself is very dark sci-fi especially in the manga, so to have it portrayed well in the anime was a pleasure. As expected of an anime that is trying to get through a mountain of source material (at this point something like 180 chapters) and compress it into a 2-part series, the episode moved unexpectedly quickly and as such took some liberties with the actual stories. I remember reading on Otakuness that the one thing one of their main authors expected was for fanboys all around the world to get on the net and type in the comment "that wasn't how it went in the manga," and I'm beginning to see why since after watching the episode I went on myanimelist to see some of the reactions to the first episode and the responses were just as Otakuness predicted: "why did TMS changed the story " "I thought the episode was good until I went and read the manga's first few chapters, " so I would officially like to congratulate m0rg0th for that unbelievably accurate prediction.
Whilst some fans of the manga - and god knows with a series like Zetman which has been around for a decade so there is bound to be quite a few - already might be put off by the anime's straight away cut and paste approach with the source material, which I admit was even unexpected to me (compressing 12 chapters of the manga into 1 episode of an anime is quite a feat), the episode was still a good watch and has yet to display a full-throttle powered up battle; the first battle seemed to be animated in a rougher style and the second one was still on the more tame side of things. Even though the original work has quite a few battles, I'd say so far the anime has made a go at animating the series to appeal more as a psychological battle anime as opposed to a fantasy battle.
Have TMS screwed up
No they haven't (at least not yet). TMS may have been stuck in a rut, only dealing with utter crap like Bakugan and the nth season of Pokemon so I was worried they would have no clue as to properly handle a dark seinen fantasy manga like Zetman but the first episode was very good for a first episode; introduced us to the characters, plenty of emotional moments, had blood and gore and of course set the story in motion (and rather well at that). I was less surprised by the deviation of the anime from the manga and more surprised to see almost no fanservice in this episode. If anyone has seen just the first episode of Gantz, that alone would make you understand my surprise at the lack of nude anime women, well in this case woman, in the first episode but also because even with the expectations for some seinen ecchi which the manga does boast a lot of, the scene where Jin is bathing with Akemi presented itself with at least 10 opportunities for the director to add some fanservice - must say, even though I hate fanservice (you would know if you have read any of my posts mentioning it) I was a little disappointed.
All in all, it was a good start and I hope it continues with no drop in quality. Initially I was expecting something with a more western feel to it, but in a way it's interesting that the anime is going with a much more Japanese feel to it unlike Tiger & Bunny.