Here’s another long overdue final thoughts post, and this time it’s for Tatakau Shisho – The Book of Bantorra, a 27-episode anime based on a series of light novels and animated by David Production. I picked up the series on a whim because I thought the promotional art was nice. Luckily, Bantorra turned out to be surprisingly good and is one of the better series I’ve watched recently. To keep things short and to the point, I’m going to use point form for this post. As with most my final thoughts posts, this post contains major spoilers to the series.
– The main reason why Bantorra is such a good series is its storytelling. The first half of Bantorra consisted of several seemingly unrelated story arcs focused on different characters, but in the middle of the series everything suddenly started to converge and the events earlier in the series took on different meanings. It was pretty impressive how Bantorra managed to weave its earlier story lines together into something grand and exciting.
– I also liked the setting of the series and in particular how the conflicts are set up in the series. The story begins with what looked like a typical good guys (the Librarians) vs. the bad guys (the Shideki Church), but it’s not like that at all. It turned out that the two opposing organizations had the same goal and share a common beginning, and there is no clear line between good or evil. The “main” character Harmutz is the personification of this as she is best described as morally ambiguous. Harmutz’s motivations and many other big secrets in the story are only revealed near the end of the show, and the setting and the story telling combined together really kept me guessing and interested in finding out the answers.
– Other viewers have complained about the ending of the series and how it was rushed compared to the novels. I’m not familiar with the Bantorra novels, but the ending wasn’t as epic as the part where everything converged, and the ending was a bit on the cheesy side (people came back from the dead and everyone combined their strength, yay!). However, all things considered I think it was a decent and appropriate ending for the series.
– Speaking of deaths, Bantorra was definitely not afraid of killing off its characters. Many of the deaths were not that important, but the notable deaths really had their impacts on the story. Volken’s death was the most unfortunate in that he just got in the way of Harmutz even though his beliefs are completely righteous. Noloty’s death was the saddest because she was the hot babe with the warm and caring personality. I even felt a little sorry for Harmutz who did what she did because that was all she was taught while growing up, but I think she deserved to die at the end for all of her questionable deeds.
– The production quality for the series is generally decent, especially after David Production toned down on its terribly low quality CG. There were sometimes dips in the animation, but overall it’s not too noticeable. The fighting sequences were fluid and well animated. I liked the art style used by the series and the character designs in general since I’m a fan of more realistic proportions.
Overall, Bantorra was a surprise hit for the fall 2009/winter 2010 seasons. I definitely recommended for people who like magic-fantasy, action, and good storytelling.