Using tournament-based fights are another way for baddies to rule the world or get what they want. Feels like money laundering. But that’s not the point of this versus blog today. Though in this blog I have both animes that spend most of its run on the course of the tournament, The Law Of Ueki (Ueki) and Flame Of Recca (Recca). You can tell that the hero of the show is uber cool partly because he has his name embedded in the series’ title itself :). And one of the good points of doing team tournaments is that the other teammates get to flex their abilities as well instead of leaving it all to the hero. Which goes to show that no man is an island. So here are the comparisons between both these shows:

Japanese title
Ueki: Ueki No Housoku.
Recca: Recca No Honoo.

Name of tournament
Ueki: Battle of the Supernatural Powers.
Recca: Ura Butou Satsujin.

Winner’s reward
Ueki: A Blank Zai that allows the winner to write whatever talent he/she desires.
Recca: Since losers lose what they wager, the winner will take all that is at stake.

The main hero
Duh…
Ueki: Kousuke Ueki.
Recca: Recca Hanabishi.

His powers
Ueki: Turning trash/garbage into trees and subsequently Level 2 powers in the form of Recycle.
Recca: Ability to produce and control fire.

His secret powers
Packs more punch and firepower.
Ueki: The 10 Sacred Treasures AKA Jingi.
Recca: To summon the 8 Flame Dragons called Karyuu.

His ‘teacher’
Ueki: Kobayashi AKA Kobasen.
Recca: Kage Hoshi AKA Kagerou.

His sibling
Not really blood related anyway.
Ueki: Adoptive sister Shouko.
Recca: Half-brother Kurei.

His background
Refers to our main hero’s family background.
Ueki: A heavenly being.
Recca: Second son of the Hokage clan’s leader.

His teammates
Those joining him during the tournament rounds.
Ueki: Seiichiro Sano, Ai Mori, Rinko Jerrard, Hideyoshi Souya.
Recca: Fuuko Kirisawa, Domon Ishijima, Yanagi Sakoshita, Tokiya Mikagami, Kaoru Koganei.

The ‘princess’
Well, serves more like a cheerleading support…
Ueki: Ai.
Recca: Yanagi.

Foe turned friend
Once part of the enemy’s side is now part of the hero’s team.
Ueki: Rinko.
Recca: Koganei.

Main antagonists
Ueki: Initially Robert Haydn and then towards the end Anon.
Recca: For the most part Kurei and subtly his foster dad Mori Kouran.

Their group of fighters
Even baddies have their own personal team of strongest fighters. You can’t really fight the big boss till you’re done with his underlings, eh?
Ueki: The secret group who fights for and only for Robert called Robert’s 10. Team Ballow are a group of heavenly beings tasked in helping Anon.
Recca: Uruha Juushinshuu are the strongest warriors under Kurei.

Reason for holding tournament
Ueki: To decide the next God with each junior high school kid called Power User representing a God Candidate.
Recca: As Kouran’s obsessive attempt to obtain the madougu for eternal life.

Fighter’s abilities
Ueki: Each Power User has the ability to change an object into something else.
Recca: Elemental tools called Madougus enable users to control elements or enhance their abilities.

The fox mascot
Ueki: Tenko, a gigantic tail-less fox-like creature in its original form but is mainly stick onto Ueki’s wrist as an arm protector.
Recca: Kondo, a small fox doll of Ganko.

The monkey
Ueki: Hideyoshi – because of his face (sometimes acts and sounds like one too).
Recca: Fuuko – at least that is what Mikagami insulted her during Yanagi’s rescue mission. Oh, there are more insults from him. Recca the sea monkey and Domon the gorilla…

One man team
How is this even possible?
Ueki: Rihou.
Recca: Raiha.

Best hairstyle award goes to…
Ueki: Junichi Baba – Nice ‘wormy’ dreadlocks you got there.
Recca: Domon – Is that a Mohawk hairstyle he spot?

Playing God
Ueki: Kamisama is the current ruling God, a happy womanizing hippy.
Recca: Kouran who is obsessed in acquiring immortality.

Healing properties
Ueki: Tenko has a healing chamber within its body.
Recca: Yanagi has the innate ability to heal any physical injury.

Taken away
Ueki: Kobasen is whisked to hell after his interference and breaking a tournament rule to save Ueki’s ass during a battle.
Recca: Yanagi is abducted by Kouran as he believes her healing properties will bring him immortality.

Out before it even starts
Not in the match proper because taken out early.
Ueki: Rinko, due to a surprise attack right at the start by a very organizes Team Marilyn.
Recca: Fuuko and Domon temporarily trapped by Kurei for the second round match against Uruha Maboroshii.

No-show potential
They seemed to have the potential to give our heroes a run for their money but unfortunately, we don’t get to see them flex their muscles much.
Ueki: Oni – Defeated too fast and easily.
Recca: Jisho – Died during a match with another team under Kurei.

After tournament opponents turned friends
True to being a shonen genre, the opponents you beat becomes your friend.
Ueki: Team Marilyn.
Recca: Team Kuu.

The battles fought
Ueki: Individual knock-out matches serve as pre-qualifying rounds, followed by fights against Robert’s 10 and then more fights against new members of Robert’s 10 before the final team tournament.
Recca: Fights against companions in test of acceptance, Yanagi’s rescue mission before the final knock-out elimination style team tournament.

Final match shamble
Ueki: After Anon devours Kamisama, he invites all Power Users to beat him (by individual or by team, whichever he is fine with) on a raised platform within a time limit of 12 hours or else he will bring upon his wish onto the world.
Recca: Having grown tired of Kurei’s incompetence (not that his adoptive son would give a damn about that old fart either), Kouran sets loose a clone of Kurei with his own flame powers. However the clone can’t control its own powers and soon the fire goes spiralling out of control.

At the end, the winner…
Ueki: Of course Ueki lah! And his wish on the Blank Zai is the Zai of Reunion.
Recca: Well, Recca is the last one standing in the ring so he has to be the official winner, right? But he didn’t get any prizes nor any of the issues solved. Like left hanging…

Number of episodes
Ueki: 51 episodes.
Recca: 42 episodes.

Year of production
Ueki: 2005.
Recca: 1997.

Conclusion
Ironically I watched Ueki way before Recca so my memories of the latter are much more intact than the former. But after thinking hard, I feel that Ueki fares better than Recca not just because it is a more recent anime but rather it had an ending (good one or not depends up to you viewers) rather than an incomplete one (for Recca, though the anime stopped, the story and plot continue through the manga). Of course Ueki also has better quality animation and art though Recca may look old but it isn’t that shabby either. The fighting sequences are also better for Ueki but some of the matches can take more than an episode to finished as compared to Recca, I can say that 99% of the matches start and end in 1 episode. It won’t be a draggy affair that way. Also, Recca‘s plot and terms are less complicating and simpler. Not to say that Ueki‘s are hard to understand, you need to sit down for a while and digest things if you’re going to understand. But aside all that, both series are similar in the typical flow of the shonen genre. Hero and his team goes along defeating baddies, powers up and continues to fight even more powerful villains till the final boss. In the process, we learn about their past and just about everyone else’s past and how they came to be. So if you like team action and some comedy in it (sorry, don’t keep your hopes up for any romance), give not only these titles a try but other similar ones like Shaman King or Marchen Awakens Romance too. Hmm… Maybe I should’ve included them in this blog too? Or maybe I’ll just wait another fighting day.

 

Ueki No Housoku

October 20, 2007

Okay, I take back last week’s blog on Gakuen Alice that it was the longest duration that I’ve watched for a short series anime. Likewise, I could safely say that The Law Of Ueki also took me around that duration to complete watching the entire series. If my memory serves me well, it’s more than a year an a half. And my last blog on it was on 25th February 2006. That feels like a long time in blog sense.
 
But unlike Gakuen Alice, this series didn’t have subbing problems in the sense that the fansubbers decided to drop subbing it half way. So why did I stop watching this action adventure comedy of 51 episodes? Mainly, when I watched this series more than a year ago, the series was currently running in Japan and sadly I think I wasn’t that patient to wait for the subs to come out yet and I had several other animes I intended to watch at that time. Thus, I decided to ‘leave’ this anime and watch the other more ‘priority’ animes and keep this one at the back of my head.
 
Over time, I must’ve forgotten all about it and even when the series has ended its run. So what prompt me to watch this series again? Well, the local tv station just aired this series several weeks ago and instantly it brought back some memories about the show. Thus, I made it a point to complete the once forgotten series. And I finally did. Phew.
 
So just a short recap of what the show is about. We have this God, whom is known as and we shall refer to as Kamisama, who decides to select the next candidate to become God through some kind of battle royale style tournament involving high school students and those students, AKA Power Users, represent a candidate to become God. Kamisama’s personality makes you think how this guy could get such a position in the first place. The interesting thing about the fights is that the Power Users have the ability to change or materialize something into something else like beads into bombs or towels into steel. During Power User fights, the loser will lose his/her power changing ability and his/her candidate is out of the running whereas the winner moves 1 step closer to achieve a blank zai. What’s that? Well, the last standing person not only has his/her God candidate become God but as a reward, gets a blank zai, in which he/she is able to write the skill that he/she desires most. Sounds like an easy way to achieve one’s skill. Of course that there are other rules too like how a God candidate cannot help nor interfere with a Power User’s battle and if a Power User uses his/her power on a non-Power User (read: normal humans not involved in the tournament), he/she loses 1 zai and if a person has zero zais, that person will vanish from the face of the Earth.
 
Thus our main hero of the show, Kousuke Ueki, is your typical densed, not-so-smart kid but his sense of justice and friendship stands tall above anything else. With his power of changing trash into trees, and along with his friends, Ai Mori, Seiichiro Sano, Rinka Jerad, Hideyoshi Souya and Tenko (some Heavenly Beast who somewhat becomes Ueki wrist band), the gang manages to pass the first round and qualify for the second. They’re not doing it for the blank zai but to save Ueki’s God candidate, Kobayashi, who has been sent to hell for interfering in a Power User battle, and Sano’s God candidate, Inumaru, who was also sent to hell for the same reason.
 
At the same time, Margarette, Robert’s father with a girl’s name, decides that his son has no longer use after Robert’s battle with Ueki causes Robert to come to his senses a little, and uses his other son, Anon to devour and hence disguise as Robert. Just like Anon, Ueki isn’t a normal human being and is a Heavenly Being, meaning he’s born in Heaven. Therefore, Ueki is able to use the 10 Sacred Treasures in addition to his usual power. If you want more information on this, I think wikipedia has a comprehensive explanation about this.
 
However, Ueki and co didn’t get pass round 2 because Ueki chose the wrong ice cream stick?! Gasp! Don’t worry it isn’t the end of the world yet. Those who don’t pass the second round go into the third round like most of the other Power Users. Those who did, skips this round and automatically qualify for the fourth round. Albeit only Rihou and Anon are the only ones successful. At this point, only Ueki and co only knows Anon is disguising himself as Robert and to everyone else, Anon is Robert. But to avoid confusion, I will refer to Anon as Anon.
 
So round 3 takes place in Heaven and has the remaining Power Users split into groups of 4 or 5 members and in this round, every team fights each other in 1 round robin. Thus Ueki Team’s first match is with Gurono Team and the former wins after a hard fought battle. Of course throughout the course of the series, Ueki has his chance to power up and use his 10 Sacred Treasures more effectively like how he gets another ‘lesson’ from Rihou. Ueki Team’s next opponents are the battle-hardened Marilyn Team. This was where I stopped at somewhere halfway during the battle story arc of Ueki Team and Marilyn Team.
 
Each Power User is given a necklace which holds 1 point but unknown to everyone, 1 member on each team hold a 10 point necklace. Meaning by the end of the match, the team with the most points win. With Rinko taken out very early in the match and Marilyn Team seems to be having the upper hand, Ueki Team is in a pinch. Plus, with Marilyn Team’s Barron holding off Ueki while the rest goes after the ‘weak’ members of Ueki Team, can Ueki finish his match and come rescue them all in time? After seeing lots of this kind of animes, the answer is of course yes. You just need to be patient. Besides, Ueki’s pals aren’t that useless. They manage to cooperate and bring out the best of their powers.
 
Kamisama decides to make things more interesting when he reveals which member is having the 10 point necklace. For Marilyn Team it is Marilyn herself and for Ueki Team it is… Ai! Oh no. Now this Power User who hardly knows what her special power is will be the new target. Though Ueki manages to reach the gang in time, Marilyn decides to take him on as she orders the rest to capture Ai. Yeah, Hideyoshi has been taken out by this time. During the fight with Marilyn, Ueki notices how Marilyn doesn’t want to fight and proceeds to walk away to go to his friends, pissing her off, as she hits a weakened Ueki to make him fight her but to no avail. Ueki just kept walking. In the end, though Marilyn remembered her painful past and fainted because she used up too much of her power, that Ueki still decides to bring her along with him and he didn’t take the 10 point necklace. Viewers may go "Hey! He’s so dumb for not taking the necklace" but I don’t think that’s the most important thing Ueki is thinking right now.
 
Meanwhile Sano confronts with Matthew and this is where Sano powers up to Level 2. You see, each Power User has the chance to power up into Level 2 to enhance their special power even further. I don’t really remember how one could power up to Level 2, but I guess Sano’s strong will and determination allows him to do so. Thus Sano’s Level 2 is super magnetism. Yeah, he’s having lots of creative ideas and fun while battling Matthew and eventually wins. At the same time, a helpless Ai is confronted by Marilyn Team’s Memory. Also here, Ai figures out what her special power is. I kinda felt how in the world could there be such a special power like this. Could you guess it? It’s the power to make people fall in love with glasses! That’s right. You’ll turn into a megane freak. And Memory is her first victim. I’m not really sure how those clues during the flashback made Ai discover this power by chance. Something to do with a profiteer and mice. I’m not sure how they are connected to the glass loving power as I don’t recall any explanation on it. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Though Ai manages to make Memory knock herself out, she was unable to Memory’s necklace because time had ran out. But in the end of the battle round, Ueki Team wins with the scoreline 3-2.
 
Buoyed with their second consecutive victory, Ueki Team are pretty happy facing their next opponents, Caption Team. That’s because a victory will ensure them they’ll go through the next round. However, Anon decides to bring them back to the ground by beating up all of Ueki Team. Because Ueki Team couldn’t make it in time, Caption Team wins by default. Ueki Team are pretty sore by the fact that Anon played dirty but Anon’s intention is to make them stronger this way. Before their final match, Ueki Team is granted some time to go back home on Earth and some moments between Ueki and his ‘fake/substitute’ Earthly father and real Heavenly dad. But let’s leave the drama aside.
 
The final match for Ueki Team is Ballow Team. However, they are not just any ordinary team members. Just like Ueki, the members of Ballow Team are Heavenly Beings too! Which means they can use the 10 Sacred Treasures. Looks like Team Ueki is at disadvantage. Ballow Team’s goal is to let Anon win the tournament at any cost, which is unlike Robert’s 10 whose goal is to reduce the number of Power Users. This match is a best out of 5 and the first side to achieve 3 wins will win this battle. The members are picked at random and when a match is over, that member has a potential of getting picked again unless he/she is unconscious. Plus there’s a spot in the ring which nullifies all special powers but staying in it for 10 seconds will mean the opponent team’s victory. That’s good news and bad news.
 
First up is Rinka and Ban Dicoot (yes, that animal name but he doesn’t look like it. More like a punk) or Ban for short. Ban’s power is to change his Sacred Treasures into living objects. Since Rinka loves animals, she can’t lay a finger on it. I suppose everyone has their limits because after much mocking and teasing from Ban, Rinka snaps and goes into some sort of scary ‘trance’. She’s slapping Ban and his living Sacred Treasure like nobody’s business with her super power gloves. Rinka wins in the end but has no recollection of what has happened and is back to her genki self. So Ueki and co, be careful of what you say to her. Ballow knocks Ban unconscious as punishment for losing the match.
 
Next up is Sano against Diego (no relation to that Argentine footballer), whose power is to change his Sacred Treasure invisible, therefore Sano can’t see what’s coming nor does he know what hit him. After some power exchanging blows, Sano lost because he stayed too long in that nullification area. He can’t get out either because Diego will pummel him with his Sacred Treasure. No choice. Then it’s Ai against Kilnorton (do the producers have something against that anti-virus programme?). That bespectacled guy thinks he’s got an IQ of 179 but I think he’s the dumbest one (obviously). Why, he even allow Ai to use that glass loving power on him and tells her all his theories about how he’s got each area covered of not falling into her control like gluing his specs to his face! Ai wins in the end, partly because of his stupidity as Ai not only carry 1 pair of glasses, but a whole bunch of them in her backpack. Besides, Kilnorton’s special power is never revealed nor known throughout the rest of the show. He should get his IQ score rechecked again.
 
Since Ballow is the only 1 left on his team, obviously he’s the next one but who is it gonna be for Ueki Team? It’s Sano. To cut things short, Sano lost but not before he vows to reveal Ballows special power. What could it be? I’ll get to the point it’s a deja vu Sacred Treasure, meaning he can make past visions of the Sacred Treasures into reality once more, hence like a deja vu. With the score now tied at 2-2, the final match is set to be between Ballow and Ueki. As usual some sad flashback from Ballow on how he came to be but more importantly, Ueki now powers up into Level 2. Yes! His Level 2 power is recycle! Which means he can undo the Power User’s power back into its original form. Not only that, this also applies to his own power from garbage to trees to garbage. It’s like a recycling process. In the end, Ueki wins the match and the overall battle. Now that all the times have fought, Ueki Team and Ballow Team qualifies for the fourth round with each having 3 wins and a lost. Marilyn Team has 2 wins, 2 losses (they forfeited the match with Ballow Team), the same as Caption Team while Guroro Team occupies bottom spot with no wins.
 
While our heroes are relaxing before the final round, another back story of how Kamisama got the idea of organizing this tournament in the first place. It was some girl he met while he’s on Earth. That girl’s Haruko and is Ueki’s mom. Haruko is quite positive and energetic as she always look towards the future. It’s quite ironic to see this girl, a mere mortal, teach God about the future. Haruko ‘forces’ Kamisama to be with her because she’s gratitude towards him after he saves her from a couple of thugs. Later, she even disregarded her own safety and life to save an old grandma who’s stuck while crossing the railroad tracks. With that Kamisama’s eyes opened. Haruko died in an accident shortly after giving birth to Ueki. Another main reason for holding this tournament is that he wants to teach those Protector Clan from Hell about the future. It seems that they’ve been dwelling on the past and is using this tournament to take over Heaven. I’m not sure about the details, but I think it’s like that.
 
Thus before the next round begins, Kamisama and Margarette have a face-off between themselves. With Kamisama representing the future and Margarette representing the past. Both different points of view in time. Can Margarette really whack Kamisama like that? Well, it seems Margarette notices Kamisama isn’t serious because he isn’t unleashing his full powers during their bout. But before anything further could happen, Anon decides to move in. Yup, he stabs Kamisama and devours him! Just like being the true evil devil, Anon tells his dad that he’s gonna do things his way. So much for Margarette’s plans. Oh well, he did brought up a monster. Anon then decides to start the final round now and reveals himself as Anon and no longer as Robert. Since he has become God after devouring Kamisama, he has the right to make or change the rules too.
 
The final round rules are simple. The final Power Users need to get onto the raised platform where Anon is and beat him within a 12 hour time limit. They can team up and stop other teams from reaching him first or they all can gang up and beat the crap out of him, whichever is fine. As long as nobody wins in that time frame, Anon wins and will bring his wish of a world without obstacles, that is, by destroying the current world. Typical evil baddies intention. So the first to confront Anon is Rihou but to cut things short, Rihou lost. And he even stood by his words of not using his special powers to defeat him. Once Rihou is unconscious, it’s Sano and Rinko who’re teaming up with Ban and Diego. The Ballow Team members felt betrayed by Anon’s words and Ban and Diego wants to go beat Anon while Kilnorton decides to withdraw because he thinks they’ve got no chance of winning (chicken!) while Ballow himself is indecisive.
 
Meanwhile, Margarette confronts Ueki and decides to help him power up so that he can use all his 10 Sacred Treasures. While doing so, Ai is heading towards the platform only to be confronted with Kilnorton. She thinks he’s a pervert. But what Kilnorton wants is Ai to make him fall in love with her glasses so that he could follow her orders to fight alongside with his companions. But it’s later revealed that Kilnorton did it on his own accord and not because he was under Ai’s glass controlling spell. He really should have his IQ checked. The duo finally made it and it’s time for Ban, Diego and Kilnorton to unleash their super Sacred Treasure combo. Unfortunately, Anon took Kilnorton out on the first blow and everyone is shocked to find that Kilnorton is already out just when he arrived. Then there’s this funny part when Sano is gonna unleash some super never seen before move. The aftermath of it indicates that it didn’t work as Diego quotes how cool that move was. Then a note on the screen appeared and says "Please imagine that move yourself". Hahaha! A lot of viewers felt they were ripped off (in a funny way of course) but I think that’s the best punch line I’ve heard so far in this series.
 
The quintet are trying their best to defeat Anon, but even their combined attacks are no match for a superior Anon. Finally Anon decides to finish of Ai by dropping her straight down to her death. Is this the end? As expected, Ueki arrives just in time to catch Ai from her impending doom. Yay! Ueki’s powered up and now he can use 1 of the Sacred Treasures flight ability, the 9-Star Seikku. Thus begans the much anticipated final battle between Ueki and Anon. Prior to that, we see Hideyoshi actually chickening out as he thinks it’ll be okay if Ueki handles it. Not that he’s being selfish, it’s just that with his useless powers, he thinks he’ll be in the way. But Hideyoshi met Ballow and well it seems the latter too is running away. Hideyoshi is good at bluffing people and bluffs Ballow that he’s here to pick him up to fight alongside his pals (also to save his ego). And they’re both on their way.
 
So a lot of action, fighting and also talking as the 2 heavyweights try to outdo each other. The duo also by this time has unleashed their 10-Star Sacred Treasure called Maoh, believed to be the ultimate weapon. While Anon’s resembles a deadly giant ram, Ueki’s one is… Kobayashi! Looks pathetic at first sight because the form is based on the user’s will. However, Ueki’s Maoh is not as powerful as Anon’s. Not only that, Anon has spit out Robert and the effect is that since Anon takes over whatever attributes for those he devours, Anon is no longer a Power User and if Ueki uses his powers on him, he’ll lose 1 zai. At last count, Ueki has 18 zais left. You might think Ueki’s being reckless, firing his Kurogane, Picks and other Sacred Treasures at Anon just to try to find a way to take him down. Ueki’s losing zai like as fast as the flow of a tap water! Then Anon mentioning something about 1 can only use the Maoh 6 times. Since Anon has used up all of his and Ueki has 1 more turn left (not to mention 1 zai left!), Ueki is gonna give it all, even if it means disappearing from the face of the Earth. No Ueki! Don’t!!! Ai and the rest could only watch in horror as Ueki lands his final Maoh blow on Anon.
 
As the gang recovers from the shocking and dusty aftermath, everyone is fearing the worst that Ueki may be gone when Ballow arrives carrying an unconscious Hideyoshi on his back. Though they’re skeptical about Barrow at first because they thought he knocked Hideyoshi out, Barrow then mentioned that they went up the wrong entrance of the platform when a stray Kurogane hit Hideyoshi right on, knocking him out. Ai then realizes what Ballow has said and there’s a possibilty that Ueki may still be alive. Why? Because 1 of the rules of the tournament is that if a Power User defeats another Power User, the winner gains a zai. Which means, Ueki has 2 zais before that last blow. And true enough, Ueki emerges from the smoke and wonders why he hasn’t vanished yet. Hooray! Ai is so happy and relieved. So in the end, the most ‘useless’ person turned out to be the real hero. With that, Ueki wins the overall tournament and gets the blank zai. Well, Anon even admits he lost.
 
I felt that even though the ending was good but it seems that it was as though they’re trying to do a rush job in tying up what happened to all the main characters. Thus, it wasn’t that satisfying. For instance as narrated by Ai like how each of them went their own way, Rinko and Robert ended up together but it’s a short-lived one because they broke up soon after, Rihou goes back to train himself further, how Marilyn and co writes to Ueki and the rest from time to time, and how the 4 Ballow Team members got along well with each other. Also, Kamisama is recuperating in the Heavenly hospital and the next God as agreed by Ueki and co, would be Inumaru. So are Inumaru and Kobayashi’s pardoned of their ‘sin’? Anon and Margarette were sent back straight to hell and without a human body, chances are that they won’t be returning so soon, and probably never. Tenko returns to Heaven and I felt that this little guy didn’t turn into his big self ever since I resumed watching this series. And once it’s all over, Ai thinks back and sometimes felt that it was all just a dream. I think that single zai Ueki has left is to be good in maths because he answered the question damn well, though he’s still his sleepy self in class (tired from all that fighting maybe). Then the class gets a new transfer teacher. Why, it’s Kobayashi! Why is Kobayashi here? I’m thinking it’s because of what Ueki wrote on his blank zai. The zai of reunion. So which means, Ueki gets to meet all his old buddies in time? Oh well. Kobayashi’s a start.
 
Overall, I’m glad to have finished watching the series. Many thanks to the local tv station which serves as a ‘timely reminder’ for me to go watch the series. In some ways, the series reminded me a little like Shaman King in which the good guys enter a tournament, fight their rivals, made friends and triumphs over evil. But this one is a little different in the sense that there really is a winner (and I expected Ueki to win too).
 
Though the drawing, art and animation seems pretty standard, I somehow can’t help find that the character’s facial features at times are somewhat ‘simple’. Uh-huh. Sometimes they remind me of pac-man. Hmm… Must be their mouths. While the cast of characters are colourful, Ueki’s selflessness is something one should admire but my favourite character is still Ai because she’s usually the voice of rebuking in comical situations which may seem contrasting to what they actually are. Yeah, even the next episode preview is narrated by her in a ‘distressful’ voice. Quite amusing.
 
Speaking of characters, there’re quite a number of star-studded voice actors and actresses for this series. For instance, Ueki is voiced by Romi Paku who also did Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist and Tao Ren in Shaman King. Mamiko Noto voices Rinko who also did Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo and Yakumo in School Rumble. Kappei Yamaguchi who voices Hideyoshi is well known as the male Ranma in Ranma 1/2, Shinichi Kudou of Detective Conan, and Inuyasha of Inuyasha fame. Souichiro Hoshi who voices Sano also voices Kaoru of Ai Yori Aoshi, Kei of Onegai Teacher and Son Goku of Saiyuki. Tomoko Kawakami who voices Ai also does Athena in Aria The Animation, Sayuri of Kanon and Fuyuki of Keroro Gunso.
 
There are several opening and ending themes songs in this sereis but the one I still like best is the first opening theme song, Falco, sung by Hitomi Shimatani. It may sound like an Egyptian song, but it’s quite catchy and upbeat. The rest were just okay and didn’t appeal to me like the first ending song Little Planets by Aiko Kayo is a slow ballad just like the theme on the last episode by Hitmoi Shimatani also, True Blue. The second opening theme, No Regrets, by Kumi Koda sounds like a comeback song whereby the good guys are gonna win while the fourth ending song, Bokutachi Ni Aru Mono sounds like a tropical song. The third ending theme has the title so long that I forgot how the song like. Something like Kono Machi De… Erm… Ah… Ah, forget it. (It’s Kono Machi De Wa Dare Mo Minna Jibun Igai No Nani Ka Ni Naritagaru. Phew!).
 
The title of each episode has the lines ‘~no housoku’ meaning ‘The law of~’, though not necessarily that particular subject’s law is like that. I also kinda notice that whenever the Power User activates his/her power, they must say that long line of "The power to turn ~ into ~" and swoosh. Here it is. Maybe it’s part of the process like how all magical girls go through their henshin. Plus if you notice that there are some green and environment friendly themes in this anime like how the characters Ueki, Mori and Kobayashi means planting tree, forest and small woods. Even Ueki’s power and recycling Level 2 power are eco-friendly. So remember to properly recycle your trash and plant more trees. But I kinda notice that during the battles, they caused some environmental damage to the surroundings. Maybe that’s not so important.
 
Oh yeah, in my previous blog of the series, I did a little comparison of how some characters look like characters in other animes. Let me add to that list, albeit is just a short one. Rihou looks like Kai of Yakitate! Japan and likewise, Adachi too resembles Kazuma of Yakitate! Japan. Kilnorton looks like Abiko of Mamoru-kun Ni Megami No Shukufuku Wo, Matthew a bit like Kenpachi of Bleach and Ban looks like a delinquent from Cromartie High School. That’s it. You’re expecting a longer list? And my special power to change faces into smiles and laughter… I think my own face is funny (perasan!) enough without having to pull any stuffs. And that’s the law of Chua Tek Ming after watching too much animes.

Ueki No Housoku

February 25, 2006

There must be something really interesting when I first watched The Law Of Ueki. Yeah, I somehow got addicted after just watching 1 episode of it. In addition, this anime is relatively new in Japan, as it’s still being aired over there. I’d love to summarise what this whole anime is about, but it wouldn’t do any justice to it. Plus, you wouldn’t understand the whole picture if I didn’t do some bragging.

 
There’s this tournament that will decide who the next God will be. Uh-huh. God here isn’t that One And Only One All-Mighty. And the current God, AKA Kami-sama, is portrayed as a merrily-hippie-womaniser kind of God (I know what you’re thinking). So candidates to be the next God however need to select a mortal to fight on their behalf. And as you know, the current God decided what would be more interesting than to use middle school kids as each God Candidate‘s representative.
 
When a God Candidate has chosen his/her representative, that representative (AKA Power User) will be bestowed some awesome but mainly weird kind of powers. Hmmm… Now that’s the interesting part about this. And I can say that the producers are quite imaginative and creative. For instance, changing coins into whirlwind, changing beads into bombs, changing towels into steel, changing shadow in robots, changing cotton into stakes, changing ring into rocket, changing earth into scythe, changing tomato into magma. The list goes on and on and there’re quite a number of these Power Users and you’ll get to see how they creatively use their powers in battles.
 
Of course, the winning God Candidate will become the next God and as for the Power User, he/she will be given the most ultimate & prized ‘Zai’, the Blank Zai. What’s that? Well, Zai is actually ability (Mandarin = Cai) to do something, like Zai to sing, Zai to dance, Zai to do homework, etc. You get the point. After each fight among Power Users, the winner will randomly receive 1 Zai while the loser will lose his powers and is out of the tournament. However, if a Power User uses his/her power on a Non-Power User, 1 Zai will be erased or deleted as a penalty. And if one has zero Zais, that person will disappear from the face of the Earth! Sounds like a lot to know, right? But if you’re an addict like me, you’ll know these terms like the tip of your fingers after watching several episodes.
 
So this anime focuses on our hero Kousuke Ueki, sometimes blur, naive, and stubborn but with a great sense of justice and friendhsip (if only there were such people in this world). Chosen by God Candidate Kobasen because of this, Ueki has the ability to change trash or garbage into trees. Along with his classmate, Mori Ai, the 2 embark on a quest to win the tournament and obtain and keep the Blank Zai from falling into the wrong hands. Unlike other people who have their own desires on what they want to use the Blank Zai, Ueki doesn’t. His reason is just that. Like I said, if only therer’e such people in this world. However, Ueki seems to have very low number of Zais (an average Power User has approximately 100 Zais) because he seems to use his power to defend bully victims. But he makes them up in battle phases he wins. Oh well, easy come easy go. Ironically, justice here seems blind, though. So Mori has to always warn and remind Ueki before he gets into a fight with a Non-Power User.
 
Along the way he learns and discovers how to use his ability, defeating Power Users alike and making many friends along the way (due to his sense of justice!). But when Kobasen was sent to Hell after breaking a forbidden rule not to help Power Users engaged in battles, Ueki becomes even more determined to hunt and take down Robert Hayden and his henchmen known as Robert’s 10. And you guessed it, he single-handedly took down each one of them (well, with the exception of Rinka). But I was a little disappointed with the fight between Ueki and Oni, one of Robert’s 10. He seems to be like one of the tough guys, but got beaten so easily and so fast. *sighs*
 
If you notice, Ueki seems to take alot of beating from his opponents at first. A normal person would’ve been unable to continue or died already. But yet, he’s able to stand up, devise a comeback plan and win. How’s this possible? Well, you see Ueki isn’t exactly a mortal. He’s some sort of a Heavenly Being just like Robert Hayden himseld. Meaning, they’re born in Heaven so they’re abe to use Jingis (AKA Sacred Treaures – some gigantic weird looking weapons) during their battle phases. Yeah, it’s some scam from their dads so that they can eliminate the competition and be sure that they become the next God.
 
As the story progresses into the second round, the remaining Power Users form teams up to 5, battle each other. Plus, as a twist, Robert is no longer around and is replaced by Anon, which is supposed to be Robert’s dad’s real son. Yeah, his father found out he was getting soft after that gruesome battle with Ueki and decided that he’s no longer of use to him and is thus replaced. Some kind of father, I tell you.
 
Overall, I found this anime to be quite entertaining although at times I go blank when they explain certain strategies or stuffs like that. Oh yeah, somehow most of the characters remind me of other anime characters as well:-
 
Ueki reminded me of Yahiko of Rurouni Kenshin and Haru Glory of Rave
Mori reminded me of Elie of Rave
Rinka reminded me of Koran of Sakura Taisen
Sano reminded me of Ryouga of Ranma 1/2
Hideyoshi reminded me of Goku of Asobotto Senki Goku
Kobasen reminded me of Ichiro of Angelic Layer
Kageo AKA Black Shadow reminded me of Kippei of Aishiteruze Baby
Karl Paccho reminded me of Onizuka of Great Teacher Onizuka
Myoujin reminded me of Maruko of Chibi Maruko Chan
Kami-sama reminded me of Harima of School Rumble
Margarette reminded me of Nerine’s dad of Shuffle
Gitar reminded me of Nagi of Tenjou Tenge
Yugo reminded me of Shino of Naruto
Marilyn reminded me of Candy of Candy Candy
 
Note that I used the word ‘reminded’ as they don’t really look 100% alike but has a close resemblance to that character. Maybe there’re other characters which resemble other anime characters, but I couldn’t think of it right now.
 
If I ever become a power user, my guess is that my power would be to change faces into smile and laughter. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Alamak… Kena sendiri…