Monday, October 14, 2013

Supernatural: The Anime Series

Supernatural: The Anime Series is licensed by Warner Brothers Entertainment.

Very few show's on cable TV can capture the atmosphere of a horror movie and bring it to the small screen every week.

One of the few that seem to do it on a regular basis is Supernatural.

The story of the Winchester Brother's traveling across the USA and killing everything from pre-biblical gods to vampires has entertained fans for 8 seasons on the Warner Bros. owned television Network the CW in America and Space in Canada.

So with a show so popular why not expand the show to the animated market?

Supernatural: The Anime Series was co-directed by Shigeyuki Miya and Atsuko Ishizuka and was based upon a TV show of the same name created by Eric Kripke.

The show follows the same basic plot as the TV show, as Sam Winchester gets dropped in his families business of killing monsters after his girlfriend is killed and his estranged brother Dean reappears. While driving across the country saving people they also search for their father whose missing after investigating the demon that killed their mother.

The anime series also shares a number of similar episodes from the first two seasons as they were re-adapted for the anime universe and a shorter running time. Probably the best example of this was the Tricia Helfer-less remake of Roadkill.

However, the show isn't just a direct remake as most of the episodes are original ideas written for this anime series. A number of these plots are strongly influenced by the culture that made the show, and might confuse some people not familiar to Asian culture. While a lot of them might not be as great there are a few that fit in with the original show quite well.

These episodes can range from the brothers being framed for a series of automobile related murders, to their separate investigations of a Bloody Mary Ghost or even Dean being followed by an Asian demon of bad luck.

I hate when that happens

While the name Supernatural might excite some people who haven't heard of the anime spin-off, there's a reason they're unfamiliar with it. It's not that great.

For a show of it's scope and budget the Supernatural TV series looks great, however the anime series sub par. From the animation to the character designs the production feels rushed. This probably due to the short turn around time for the animators and artists.

Also underwhelming is the show's voice acting. While Jared Padlecki is recast as Sam in this version, Jensen Ackles could only do the last two episodes due to scheduling issues. Filling for him as Dean in the 20 other episodes is Andrew Farrar. All three of them end up sounding very wooden and forced while reading lines, which is to be expected due to their lack of voice acting experience.

However, the show's production isn't devoid of anything good as its soundtrack is fairly strong.

The soundtrack does a good job of capturing the original series' tone and each episode also ends with a cover of the Kansas' song Carry On My Wayward Son, a song normally saved for the final episodes of a season.

And while the show's voice acting might not be great there's still a few moments where they hit some of the comedic beats of the original show and might make viewers giggle.

While Supernatural is a good series on the TV, the anime version didn't translate so well and it makes it difficult to recommend.

Despite its mix of original and redone episodes and it's soundtrack, the show's production values and voice acting don't really make this the best use of the franchise.

If you need something to tide you over till your next fix of the Winchesters this one might be worth looking up but if your a casual fan of the show or anime in general I'd skip this one.

Supernatural: The Anime Series was produced by Madhouse and distributed by Warner Brothers. The series is available to watch for free on Warner Brothers'YouTube channel.
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