Welcome, one and all, to the penultimate first round match of Crunchyroll of the Dice 2018! This time around, we have two stylistically different anime to look at. So, let’s watch the action unfold as … The Ancient Magus’ Bride takes on Flowers Of Evil in … The Battle of the Animation Styles!
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Studio: Wit Studio
- Beautiful looking shot of auld London. There’s an almost classical painting style to it. I really like these early minutes too; they introduce the magical qualities well and give a clear indication as to the style of the animation.
- Aww, tired dog. Or, tired talking dog, rather. The scenery in this is stunning so far. It’s almost a shame that it doesn’t seem to move at all. There’s certainly a charm to the domestic scene at the breakfast table though.
- Really loving the animals in this, as well as the almost Fantasia-esque feel to the different items in the study. The tonal shift in style for the tragic flashback is good too. Seeing Chise’s suffering, not only with her Mother’s suicide but with the clear ability to see magical entities when others can’t does help to make her more than just an apprentice in an unusual house. She’s clearly had it rough, and you can see how much more settled she is in her current situation (though even then it’s obvious that she still has some issues from her past to deal with).
- The rat monster was suitably creepy. I’m a fan of things like that; they look familiar enough to feel like they’re part of our world, but at the same time unfamiliar enough to feel out of place.
- The end credit music is really nice. The whole OST so far has been superb, actually. I’m honestly amazed at how quickly that went by.
Flowers Of Evil
Genre: Psychological Thriller
- Being a rotoscoped series, Flowers of Evil has an immediately different feel to it. And not just with the characters. The backgrounds here look more like pencil art to Ancient Magus’ Bride’s painting styled appearance. That’s not knocking it either, the quality is high. The music is helping create a tense feel early on too. The opening theme flies in the face of that though and breaks it into something a bit more upbeat. The brass section actually put me in mind of Lupin III.
- I kinda feel like the characters are moving about a little more than the actors would naturally. It may just be the style of animation, mind you, but it does feel like things are a little exaggerated. At the same time, some of the movements are a little slow, which may also be part of why it feels that way to me.
- I did smile at the reference to Army Of Darkness. That’s one of my favourite comedy horrors. What’s interesting is that the teenage boys are behaving in a way that teenage boys are usually portrayed in the West. Outside the more ecchi style series, anime teens usually come across a little more balanced and engaged than this.
- The publicly declaring the highest and lowest scores in the math test by the teacher is quite shocking. It’s no wonder people seem like they have a disconnect in the school setting.
- The shot where we see the characters in a mirror, and then Kasuga runs off and we see him in the foreground was nicely done. The violently vibrating flower is also a really nice touch. The way the next episode preview was dealt with, with the overlapping voices, did a great job of creating a creepy atmosphere.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be:
- Best Character: which character, whether leading or background, drew me in, or at worst annoyed me the least?
- Best Individual Scene: which scene stands out the most in my mind?
- Best Art And Animation: which show did the best job in terms of overall art quality?
- Best Soundtrack: which show shone in the sound department?
- Best Opening Episode: which show did a better job of creating intrigue or setting up the series going forward?
So, let’s see who unlocked all achievements, and who failed to clear the tutorial …
BEST CHARACTER: Okay, so this is actually a pretty easy choice to make. In Flowers Of Evil, we only really get a good look at Kasuga. While he isn’t verbally as bad as his friends, he does consider stealing his crush’s gym clothes. He also comes across as very disconnected with the world. All in all, he’s not too likable as yet. In The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the character we learn most about is Chise, and while we’ve only really started touching on her, she does come across as sympathetic. That being the case, I have no hesitation in saying that … THE WINNER IS: Chise (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: This is surprisingly close. I really liked a lot of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, but the whole chase with the rat monster was a real stand-out for me. It was tense, creepy, and a lot of fun. Meanwhile, Flowers Of Evil had some wonderful inserts with the growing flower. They were highly stylised, linked together, and did a great job of representing the growing negativity in events. With both being very different but equally good … THE WINNER IS: Draw – Running With The Rats (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) and Blossoming Darkness (Flowers Of Evil)
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: The rotoscoping in Flowers of Evil was interesting. It’s not a technique that I’m used to, which possibly affected my thoughts on it though. You see, there were times that it felt off. The exaggerated movements, the slowness, the almost jerky style to it at times … it was a little jarring to watch. The Ancient Magus’ Bride meanwhile was more in line with what I’m used to. Had that been all there was to it, I’d have likely given the points to Flowers Of Evil for experimenting with something different, but the truth is, the quality was way up here. For being a shining example of modern animation … THE WINNER IS: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
BEST SOUNDTRACK: The soundtrack in The Ancient Magus Bride was beautiful. Each piece really added to the atmosphere and it all felt like a fantasy film to me. On the flipside, Flowers Of Evil did a good job of creating a tense feel with the one piece of music, but then cut through it with an opening theme that felt out of place. For having multiple great pieces of music that fit with what was going on … THE WINNER IS: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
BEST OPENING EPISODE: I can see the merits in Flowers Of Evil, but the opening episode felt really slow. I think that was intentional, maybe as a way to represent Kasuga’s life and make it so that what happens next is more shocking, perhaps? It did mean that it struggled to keep me interested a little though. The Ancient Magus’ Bride was the polar opposite; well-paced, engaging, and a breeze to watch. So … THE WINNER IS: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Final Scores: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – 9 points, Flowers Of Evil – 1 point
And that, as they say, is that. Sometimes, landslide scores like this don’t accurately reflect my thoughts on an episode, and it’s simply that one edged the other in everything without either being bad. While I wouldn’t call Flowers Of Evil bad, the points really do fall in line with my general feelings on the two episodes here though. There was a clear winner, and there’s no way around that.
But what about yourselves? What do you think of these two series? Do you agree with the result? Let me know in the comments below.