I kept expecting Justin Sevakis to have written a
what I was forced to produce at Central Park Media this week Buried Garbage column about Himiko-den. It is really, really bad. The best thing that I can say about it is that at least it’s one step above the Mars of Destruction-s and Garzey’s Wing-s of the world; rather than being mind-blowingly incompetent, it’s just shockingly incompetent. Seeing how it came out in 1999, I’d say that the poor show never had a chance in the first place.
Ah yes, the late 1990s in anime. Late-night anime (you know, the kind that most people think of when they think of “anime”) just started to explode. This was the time of shows like Cowboy Bebop, Cardcaptor Sakura, Trigun, Outlaw Star, and others. But yet, there was also a dark side. The number of shows were exploding, but there was also the issue of actually you know, making a much larger number of show than were being made at a time. This lead to growing pains while studios got used to things like digitized animation and Korean outsourcing, giving us yashigani titles like Lost Universe and Gundress.
Himiko-den is never yashigani-level bad in terms of its animation, but it’s still pretty awful. I have no fine arts talent, so I’m as far as you can get from those sakuga otaku that are obsessed with the animation and can tell you who did the key art for any given shot in any given title. But even I was constantly like “Wow, the characters are completely off-model here” or “Wait a minute, none of the lip flaps are at all syncing up in this scene.” This leads to the show somehow making Oh! Great character designs look terrible. The OP at the beginning of this post is by far the best that the show ever looks. In the actual show itself, the characters just look so…off compared to the OP.
It’s also an awful attempt at a media mix. Himiko-den also had a manga, video game, and series of light novels. I don’t know about the game or novels, but the manga was somehow even worse than the anime. I guess that RED Company was hoping that they’d be able to score the next Sakura Taisen or something with this, but instead they just get a completely incoherent mess. Now, part of the reason that anime earned its “The story and ending makes no sense” was because of totally random anime adaptations that were just covering a certain event or story arc that would’ve made sense to overseas audiences if they were familiar with the source material. With Himiko-den (the anime), the individual scenes themselves often didn’t even seem to relate to each other in any way. It was almost like they took a story that would’ve covered at least twice as much material, then randomly chose pieces to include. Possibly not even in order and possibly without excluding parts that were already picked. The manga was somehow even worse than this. The manga felt like it did the same thing, but here it was like they took random panels (panel! not even pages!) for a 20ish volume series and filled up one volume with those.
Also, the seiyuu that plays Himiko is terrible. I think she has one other credit (Lime-iro no Senkitan). The English language Wikipedia page for her has a lack of notability flag.
Would I watch it even if I weren’t forced? Ugh, it’s not even fun to watch for the wrong reasons.