A young man named Akira
is falsely accused of murder, and in order to regain his freedom he must go to the dystopian district 'Toshima', fight in the deadly game 'Igura', and defeat the strongest man in Toshima... Il Re. At first when I hear of the plot I was kind of iffy about watching this anime. The only reason I had played the video game before was thanks to the fact that I was bored with one of my friends. The anime, didn't really interest me, despite the fact I really liked the video game. Just a heads up, the video game is hard core, twisted yaoi, and not to be played on a whim. But it wasn't the yaoi that drew me to the game, it was the multiple story lines that spawned from unique character to unique character. I decided to watch the anime and I'm still very much on the fence about this anime, specifically because I compared it to the game.
What I liked about Togainu No Chi were the characters, the music, and the personal feel. But I was disappointed with the length of the anime and the pacing (these two tie in very closely), and the execution of the anime. There's also some epic usage of the doughnut theory here.
TnC had a very unique cast of characters, which I found very enjoyable. This allowed the viewer to choose a character they were rooting for, and because there was such a small cast, no character was given a ridiculously small amount of screen time. I found that my personal favourite characters were Shiki
, probably because they are all very attractive, and because they were well played. The character designs were nice, and the voice acting for these characters were some of the best out of them all. I liked how every character weaved into the next, and everybody was somehow connected. It felt noir, sort of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian noir with intense homoerotic subtext. The characters were also believable, something I get very hung up about. Often times in anime a character will go through some sort of crazy change, and it doesn't make any sense. I liked how each character was established one way, and even when there was character development, it still fit the character's original personality. The character designs for most of these characters were very fluid and fitting, especially to the world around them. Probably my favourite would be Gunji's impressive character design.
The music was also a huge highlight of Togainu No Chi. It wasn't like every other anime where the background songs go unnoticed because hey, it's just another piano. The music in TnC was a sick mix between rock and cinematic expression music. There was the whole piano and violin thing when it was really needed, and some awesome punk rock tunes in the back there. I was bouncing about in my seat and bobbing my head to the soundtrack. It really added a punk feel to the whole anime which is definitely what TnC is all about. I also enjoyed how every single episode had a different ending, which generally fit the tone of the episode.
TnC somehow had a very personal feel towards the end. I think that this closely connect to the whole idea of the believable characters. By the end I was rooting for certain characters, and when things went the way I hoped I felt over joyed, and when they didn't I legitimately felt sad. On the flip-side, when bad things happened to characters I wasn't too fond of, I still found myself genuinely upset.
But I can't say all good things about Togainu No Chi. I did have a massive amount of flaws. Firstly the pacing and length of the anime was all out of whack. The TnC PC game is massively long. There are multiple different choices for every single character. Of course the anime couldn't be a 'choose your own adventure', and I admit, they had to choose one story line to follow, and in the end they mushed a few together and pretty much made up their own ending, from the storylines I have been able to follow/play. The problem is that they seriously rushed the anime. Most of the TnC story lines are surprisingly complex, and just because the anime creators made their own hybrid story, it doesn't mean that it still wasn't complex. Because of the 12 episodes TnC was given, they weren't able to go into detail about the important things. The scene where Rin
and Shiki reveal that they're half brothers was literally about 2 minutes, and the two only got about 5 minutes minutes of screen time during the whole 'we-think-this-is-the-final' duel. Kind of a big deal there. Plus the whole Project Nicole was briefly described in some mambo-jumbo by the resident creeper, Arbitro
, then pretty much regurgitated by Nano
at the end. A lot of moments didn't get the screen time they were worthy of, and in the end I was slightly confused with what the hell was going on.
Compared to the PC game, the anime was poorly executed. As I stated before they couldn't make an anime a choose your own adventure, so they made a hybrid baby of a bunch of story lines, which they hopped up on Red Bull in order to rush through 12 or so episodes. I would have liked for them to go into deeper details. Plus, I wish they would have chosen a solid ending, not one the just drops off, ready for a sequel that will never come. On top of it all, there were much more interesting stories to follow in the PC game that would have been fantastic as an anime. I was thoroughly disappointed when I discovered that the Togainu No Chi anime would not have full on yaoi. I shrugged my shoulders, and watched the anime and realized that, honestly, it would be a tenfold better with the yaoi, or at least established romantic relationships. There were a lot of holes in the anime where anybody who has played the PC game would jump and say "they totally eff-ed here!", and anybody who hadn't played the game would be extremely confused. Plus, a lot of relations between characters were lacking, due to the illusive romance. The motivation for quite a few characters was lost thanks to the lack of yaoi. And I'm not saying this because I'm a total yaoi fan-girl.
In conclusion, The Doughnut Theory. I, myself, have thoroughly explored the science of the doughnut, and I shall compare that delicious pastry to Togainu No Chi. Just like Togainu No Chi, a doughnut has a big, impossible not to notice hole in the centre. TnC had a lot of plot holes, but by the end it was something I got used to. Doughnuts are awesome, and delicious, and I love them so much. Togainu No Chi was all of the above... Yes, the delicious too because those guys were hawt. But as you eat the lovable doughnut, and as you watch Togainu No Chi, you realize that it's actually bad. Doughnuts are full of fat and sugar, and really it isn't good for you. Similarly, Togainu No Chi is full of cheesy lines, passable animation, and shameless fanservice for the ladies. The best comparison I can make is with a doughnut... or Interview With The Vampire. Although I loved TnC I can't say that it's legitimately good. It's sure as hell enjoyable, especially for fans of the PC game, but really... honestly think about it... It's not that fantastic.