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VINE VOICEon January 22, 2009
How is it that this show isn't better known? "Jyu-Oh-Sei" is an 11 episode series that manages to stomp nearly every full-length sci-fi anime series out there in spite of it's briefness. At the end, it seems impossible that such an epic and perfectly-paced storyline could be over so quickly and leave such a large impression. That is a true testament to the writer and the director of this series. Guaranteed to thrill any sci-fi fanatic.

The story begins as a simple revenge tale. It takes place in a human colony in the Balkan star system hundreds of years in the future. Our hero Thor and his twin brother Rai (both 11 years old at the start) are mysteriously kidnapped after discovering that their parents have been murdered. They are dropped off on the planet Chimera, which is a world used by the colonists for capital punishment. The worst criminals are abandoned there and are either soon dead or wish they were. The planet is as harsh as they come; monstrous plants are the top of the food chain and a single day and night cycle takes an entire year. Half of the year, the plants flourish and the planet is one massive carnivorous jungle and the other half is complete darkness and Siberian weather. Great setup.

Thor soon learns just how harsh Chimera is. It is kill or be killed; but he soon finds that he has an uncanny knack for survival. He also finds that there is civilization on this harshest of planets. The people of Chimera are a tribal lot broken up by skin color into a series of clans known as Rings. Each ring is lead by a Top, a Second, and a Third with the Top position being decided by single combat within each Ring. If a Ring's Top is able to defeat each of the other Rings, he becomes the Beast King and is able to return to the colony. In other words, if Thor wishes to return home, solve the mystery of his parent's death, and exact his revenge he has his work cut out for him.

"Jyu-Oh-Sei" would already be an outstanding series based on premise alone. The planet is so intriguing a setting and the characters so strong that it could have cruised almost indefinitely without losing the viewer's interest. But the story flies by with amazing velocity, even jumping several years ahead at one point. It's got places to go and people to see, that's for sure and not one minute is wasted. The show is merciless and unpredictable -which it displays very early on- and filled with twists and turns of the best kind. Even though a savvy viewer will likely soon suspect which character is pulling the strings, the purpose remains an unsolvable mystery until the final episodes which feel like an all-out mental assault on the viewer as bombshell after bombshell hits. The final act is absolutely amazing and jam-packed with pure genius. It's extremely easy to lose track of the mysteries altogether as you become wrapped up in the intrigue, romance, and drama of the story, which makes the effect of the barrage of revelations even more shocking. Without any major spoilers, I'll just hint that perhaps the world where mankind's forsaken are sent may in fact be their only hope for survival. Like I said, epic.

While the price of this set is pretty exorbinant considering the small number of episodes, it's well worth it if you've got the bucks. This is a top-flight work of science fiction that should enthrall both anime newcomers and veterans who've seen it all. There is no weak link in this series; every aspect seems to have achieved near-perfection. I was legitimately sad to see it end; but that feeling may have been partly because of the cheap shot near the end that seems to have no purpose other than to break the viewer's heart. Cheap shot aside, "Jyu-Oh-Sei is animated sci-fi greatness. All who profess to love the genre must not hesitate in seeing it.
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on May 2, 2009
I agree with the other two reviews...Why is this series not better known? Even though it's over far to soon it covers a lot of ground in the 11 episodes. Seeing as how it's a short series you hit the ground running so to speak. While the story moves forward there are flash backs but none of which take to much time. They have done an excellent job with filling you in along the way.
How ever between episode 5 & 6 there is about a 3 year gap. At the end of one episode he is about 12 then the next episode he is going on 16. Yet it blends smoothly and does not leave you with that feeling of "Huh..what just happened?"
This series is well worth your time...It is something that I would recommend and I do not just like anything...I enjoyed Trinity Blood - Black Blood Brothers..Hellsing...Death Note...etc. This hovers right at my top ten and if you liked any of the aforementioned then you should enjoy this. There is blood just not over the edge and as for language..I do not really remember anything that send up a red flag.
Over all it's a 4-1/2 star series....enjoy.
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I have been watching anime for a long time (since the late 80s). This series rates about a 3.5 in my humble opinion. Here is why:

The series itself brings an interesting concept. The planet that has 180 days of day followed by 180 days of night is pretty interesting (despite the reality of a serious greenhouse effect were this to really exist). The show is very well animated and well voiced. I also enjoyed some of the references to ancient Norse mythology, both in the storyline and in the names of the characters and places.

Where the series disappointed was in the pace. 11 episodes were far too few to properly develop this complex world and society. At times the series seemed to move at a pretty even pace, then suddenly rush forward. I thought the passage of time between episode 5 and 6 (or was it 6 and 7) was very well done though.

Several characters are introduced, seem to be an important part of the series, then are 'offed' in the same or next episode. Only a few of the characters stuck around and made a serious impact in the series (trying to not include spoilers). A lot of plot threads are left unfinished. The final episode seems rather rushed and unsatisfying. The final 'villain' is a huge disappointment as well...

I would definitely recommend this to a die hard sci-fi anime fan; but for those seeking a deeper plot and richer story go for Wolf's Rain ~ a similar yet much better series in my opinion. (based not on the setting but on the overall type of story).

Perhaps it would be worth renting from Netflix (which I did) since it is only 2 discs. Though entertaining, I doubt I would watch it a second time.
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on August 23, 2009
I had no preconceptions going into this series--I only bought it because I got it for a decent price ($22) and the cover art looked interesting. Perhaps I enjoyed the series so much because I wasn't expecting much, but enjoy it I did. In fact, I watched the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't tear myself away. (The last short series I felt compelled to watch in one sitting was Paranoia Agent, way back, so that's a compliment to Jyu Oh Sei.)

Although it's not 100% perfect (I'd give it 4 and a half stars, to be exact), it's one of the better dramatic sci-fi anime series I've seen in the past couple of years. The story is engrossing, the animation is pretty, and the music, by Hajime Mizoguchi (who also did Jin-Roh, among other things) is a step up from the norm--mostly low-key piano with jazz inflections. The bishounen in it aren't bad either. :D

Trashcanman pretty much did a sum up of the story, so I won't repeat that. But I second his assessment. I would just add that I had a slight problem with the ending. However, IMO, endings in anime are typically problematic anyways ... few are perfect. It didn't tank the whole series or anything, and I'm already looking forward to a rewatch.
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on April 6, 2016
I saw this series years ago and wanted to own it. The price is competitive for a brand new complete series.I enjoy the animation and the audio is good. The shipping was very fast for 5 to 8 days. I received it 3 days after my purchase. I would recommend this series because its a sci-fi mystery with an interesting plot. I wish the series spanned more than 11 episodes. This makes a great addition to any anime library.
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on August 22, 2015
It was great aside from the very beginning and the end. The end was awful. I do not want to spoil, but I have my own head cannon as to how it should have ended. It seemed the ending was trying to go back to the start of the show, and it did, but I don't see that it was a good ending or that the characters would have done what they did by the end of the show. Honestly I would not have done what they did if I had gone though what they did. The start was fine honestly if they had not used it as an excuse for the ending. I think I would be okay even with the start if they had left it at the beginning of the show. Honestly watch all but the last two or three episodes. Once they make the reveal of what they found way out where don't watch past that, make your own head cannon for the ending. (Also note I didn't check to see if this was a manga or light novel first. It may make a lot more sense if there was a light novel or a manga that went past where the anime was at the time.)
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on October 13, 2013
S.A.V.E. is notorious for housing some regrettable titles that are either infested with animation gimmicks or that aren't received well enough by the masses to reap a solid following (consistent cash spending). Jyu-Oh-Sei is one of the gems that slipped past the anime crowds, ended up on S.A.V.E., and is a great buy/viewing experience.

Jyu-Oh-Sei is solid story that's intriguing and taut (no fat). There are no characters staring off at lotus blossoms to force depth where none exists, no side philosophies that muddle the narrative, and no redundant themes unless they are core to the story. Planet of the Beast King feels like a 26-episode series cut down to 11, but successfully. What made this work so well, and yet why couldn't it achieve five stars? Let's get to it:

***PROS***

PACING
As stated above, this is a trimmed storyline that doesn't waste the time given to it. After establishing an alien world, the narrative time-jumps with the understanding that, although turbulent years have passed, nothing crucial to the story occurred in the interim. I would have liked to see more of those intervening years, but they didn't get a long show. I applaud them for not wandering aimlessly or just ending halfway through the story with a sign at the end saying, "Congratulations. Thanks for playing. Presented by Capcom. Buy the Manga."

STORY
Don't be confused by the pagan mythos infused into the names on this show. (The main character's name is Thor; there's a doctor called Loki.) There are small similarities, but they don't rely heavily on mythology or derive much from it. Thor and his brother live on a space station, find their parents killed, and are banished to a hostile planet ruled by plant life and packed full of unwanted humanity. Survival becomes paramount, and Thor vows to find the answers surrounding his banishment. The storyline takes us from survival to death duels for leadership, internal politics, love triangles, and eventually to the long-awaited answers to Thor's banishment. While the love triangle may seem absurd to most, it's actually a well-structured Shakespearean lovers' quarrel: Mistaken identities, changing perspectives, and devious half-truths corrupt the main characters and destroy their emotional egos, sending them into chaos. When you come across that chapter, try to view it from a classic theatrical perspective. The scenes and events can then carry a tasteful gravity.

***CONS***

These are less about complaints and more an explanation of why this series didn't earn five stars.

CHARACTERS
Thor and the rest of the cast are original when compared to most anime out there, but not in the context of storytelling as a whole. They fit tightly into place and tell the story well, but this anime could have had a powerful effect (like Berserk) if the creators had deepened their characters a little more.

MUSIC
Opening title music means little to the actual execution of a series, but I've come to realize that in the anime world, strong emphasis is placed on the opening number. This show's musical theme is a joke. The opening piece sounds like an early Back Street Boys track and has no place in the mood of the series. I took the show less seriously every time I heard it. The overall soundtrack is adequate, but a broader, bolder theme could have amplified many scenes and carried them to epicness.

It's a shame that a couple of extra episodes to add meat to the storyline, deeper characters, and a sweeping score are all that keep this series from being a five-star experience. Still, it's a solid story, credible anime, and cheap success. Enjoy.

I'm a writer and animator, so I'm always digging through stacks of anime, looking for gems and sources of inspiration. I'll be writing many more reviews. If this was helpful or our tastes seem to align, follow along. I'll try to steer you straight.
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on July 23, 2010
Not an anime veteran only seen about 5 or 6 series most I enjoyed this one was better than all of them though. Great storyline, interesting characters that you really care about, action packed but with a heart as well. Plus while I like to follow a series it's a pain to slog through 50 episodes with some meandering plotlines to get to a final conclusion. Not here 11 eps all great, straight to the point and all drive the story forward. You could kick back one morning and watch beginning to end over the day. Very satisfying and interesting ending to this one, no cliffhangers or wondering what happened after bs. I'll admit I was very touched by how it ended and I haven't said that about most mainstream movies let alone an anime.

For the price you can't beat this series so what are you waiting for buy it now.
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on October 9, 2014
the animation is beyond sub par even though there are some elements
that could be brought in to make the episodes stand out a bit better.
while the action is good along with a decent story a few pre-teen characters are just
plane goofy and do not really seem fully developed, especially when one takes
onto account the kind of hostile environment they are trying to adapt to.
And another thing minor point but strangely noticeable in many manga to anime film
adaptations and that is the "wimpy boy" look, hence= effeminate. it's one thing to
have the characters look young when they are kids, but while they are teens/ going on adulthood?
Bizarre. Simplistically the hero? looks like a metro sexual (nothing wrong with that) but to have
a "warrior boy" play that part? Um.. NO. For what it is ( a good fantasy story) it is fine, but can we
please start manning up the prepubescent characters? a warrior is not supposed to look
sickly with big over done eyes. Seriously i honestly could not tell if this was a male kid, or a
lesbian grandmother on a quest to kick butt. The animation alone is OK and alright to watch,
but i will stick with Ninja Scroll, Berserk, Trigun, Legends of the dark king (Raoh) F.O.T.N.S. and Gungrave.
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on February 6, 2011
I did not know what to expect from this series, but I loved it in the end. Sometimes short anime's don't do the series justice, but this was an exception. The series was set in a landscape that was pretty, but deadly. It was basically kill or be killed. Survival was the main goal on this planet and friends were few in between. Even when some of the characters thought they had friends, the truth came forward and they were basically betrayed. It was very interesting and I would definitely purchase this series to add to my collection.
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