After impregnating Allison, our main male protagonist takes the easy way out and decided to become a spy instead. A nice excuse of not paying alimony.
For the sixth consecutive time, Wolf and Spice reign as the ‘Anime of the Year 2008’ title holder is being threatened by a series that do things half-heartedly, Allison and Lillia. My review below will somehow tells you how our challenger failed to dethrone the excellent Wolf and Spice that has started to exhibit a resilience shown by Nodame Cantabile.
In a fictional world that looks like Europe during the first half of 20th century, a war has been raging for at least 100 years between two continents separated by a river and a mountain range. Our main female protagonist Allison and three other unimportant characters (well, if they are important, why is their name are not in the title?) managed to stop the huge war in a jiffy, but their stories has just started as peace returned to the world.
This anime is yet another first-part-good/second-part-bad anime titles that have almost always piss me off (I’m looking at you Blood+ and Dragonaut – The Resonance as recent examples that I have remembered here). This anime can be divided into two arcs; the first arc starring Allison while the second arc starring her daughter Lillia, divided of course by your customary time-jump plot device. Within each arc, there are several short stories that revolve around the title characters.
The stories within each halves of the anime are basically slice-of-life plots with some romance and a little bit of action here and there. The ones in Allison’s arc are ordinary at best; starts very slowly especially for the first 8 episodes before accelerating up to task until the arc’s end but generally flows very nicely. The major positive point this arc has is Allison herself who carries the first arc with her considerable character strength. Allison is a similar character that is comparable to Sanzenin Nagi of Hayate no Gotoku or Louise of Zero no Tsukaima, but much better. She is actually very interesting and far more decisive at key moments than the two examples mentioned above, which prevents the first arc from plunging into mediocrity ala Hatenkou Yuugi.
If the first arc of this anime owes its success (barely qualified as such) to Allison, the reverse happened in the second arc. The stories in the second arc are just more of the same of the first one (read: ordinary) but instead of having Lillia propping up the arc the way Allison did to hers, she instead blows it apart. It is obvious that the writers tried to portray Lillia to be the opposite of her mother Allison is, but that makes her looks retarded in the process. Allison and Treize tried to salvage the arc but their efforts have minimal impact at best. To make things worse, the ending of this anime is crap. It would have been just an ordinary ending if not for the lousy and completely needless 'revelation' by 'Ann' in episode 25 and the predictable cliché-laden ending in the last episode. Well, it doesn’t seem that there will be any new season and that’s a good thing.
Character developments in this anime are very well done, with the exception of Lillia of course. Allison is definitely the best character in this anime, with Treize not far behind. This anime is also a very good example of how to use time-jump plot device correctly (I’m looking at you Blood+, which is an example of how to do time-jump wrong).
Frankly speaking, I have never seen a concealed weapon like this one before.
Character design in this anime is decent, with Allison, Treize and Fiona/Francesca (scratch where applicable) being outstanding. Lack of black hair in this fictional early 20th century setting is forgivable. Definitely a positive point of this anime.
This anime is a fine example where voice acting has checkered qualities. Just look at Nana Mizuki who voiced both Allison (first arc, Allison in second arc has different voice actress) and Lillia; with the former being excellent while the second, not so much. You can usually see one voice actor/actress excels in one anime but tanked in another (like Mamoru Miyano who is good in Dragonaut – The Resonance but far less so in Gundam 00), but Nana Mizuki managed to pull both feats in the same title. Brilliant!
In general, the same can also be said of the rest of the characters; some are good, but quite a number of others are uninspiring.
The second half of the series sinks very quickly to the bottom of the sea, just like him.
This anime has not delivered great musical experience for the viewers. Below average OP and ED themes, and OST that is simply isn’t there.
This 2008 anime has bog-standard animation qualities for its time, and did not suffer in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in the small amount of action scenes this anime has is good (maybe). The director has done well, especially with the presentation of the time-jump plot device at the middle of the series, but he/she probably cannot do anything about the stories in the second half of the anime (or Lillia for the matter).
7 out of 10. Wolf and Spice still reigns as the Anime of the Year 2008. One less anime has been removed from my huge backlog.
The villain here dies in one of the lamest method possible, in Allison's arc. But she is awesome and can pepper over the cracks easily.