Casshern Sins is a 2008 reboot of the classic 1970s Tatsunoko TV anime series that is set in a post-apocalyptic future where nearly all of humanity has been wiped out by robots and with the death of Earth’s savior Luna, all robots are falling prey to the poisonous atmosphere of Earth as their parts are corroding and rusting away. Luna’s assassin, Casshern, returns centuries later with no memories of the deed he committed and seemingly unaffected by the poisonous atmosphere as he has become immortal and can painfully regenerate from any injury he receives.
This rather dark and grim take on Casshern is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of execution. Casshern Sins appeared to be focused on exploring morals related to mortality and redemption as Casshern encounters different robots and humans who cope with the apocalyptic world in varying ways that include waiting for death, attempting to enjoy their lives while they can, attempting to exploit the chaos of the new era for personal gain, or seeking to kill Casshern either out of revenge or believing the rumor that consuming him will save their lives from death. The series is rather blatant in expressing said themes and this was usually a problem in my viewing of the series at a number of points, especially throughout its first half as Casshern continually angsts over gradually realizing what he has done and encountering others within episodic stories coping with life in the apocalyptic world. Characters that Casshern encounters often throughout the series like Lyuze, Ringo, and Dio have larger roles and more development throughout the show’s run that make their decisions within the apocalyptic world more interesting to see develop than Casshern and the one-shot characters introduced in the show’s first half.
The series starts to improve in quality within its second half when a sudden plot twist helps to further explore the events that happened before the start of Casshern Sins and allows the plot to start picking up steam beyond the self-contained episodic stories found within much of the show’s first half. This development leads Casshern and other major characters within the series reflect on their actions and what they seek to do with the changing developments that affect each of them. The series still has the rather bad habit of being blatant with pushing its moral at this point, but the mentioned plot twist shaking things up with the motivations and actions of the major characters still makes it a considerable improvement over its first half.
Visually, Casshern Sins was of average quality for a TV anime series with details looking a bit on the simple side and having roughly-drawn details with characters and settings. I'm guessing the animation style was used as a sort of homage to the original Casshern anime series. The subdued, dark color tones used for the anime go along well with the it's somber, dark mood and apocalyptic world. However, animation isn't too impressive as it seemed the series got a bit too liberal with animation tricks and shortcuts to compensate for lack of fluid animation and solid fight choreography.
Music is perhaps the best element to Casshern Sins given the great orchestral score and occasional dramatic insert musical tracks sung by Nami Miyahara. The soundtrack does a great job to complement key scenes throughout Casshern Sins’ run, even when the show’s execution isn’t always at its best.
Overall as mentioned, I found Casshern Sins as a whole to be a bit of a mixed bag. While the attempt of exploring moral themes within the series is admirable, it does get a bit too repetitive and blatant at points with hammering in its themes. The second half of the series offers solid and engaging introspection with some of the major characters in response to a major plot twist, though you have to venture through the anime’s first half filled with self-contained character stories and Casshern’s repeated angsting before you can get to this point. Judging from the rather divisive reception I’ve heard of Casshern Sins as a whole, I’d say your mileage may vary with the series and would suggest streaming or renting it before wanting to buy a physical copy for your anime collection.
Rating: 6.5 of 10
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
I never seen the original. I remember seeing Casshern Sins during the old site when Toonami just relaunched? I think I like the series despite it being meandering. I didn't see it that way but I do see where you are coming for the fight choreography. When I first saw the fight scenes on Toonami when I still had cable, I was confused why they fought that way. Reading your review and thinking back, I agree it was bit "liberal."
I remember hating the ending of this anime. I forgot why.
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