Studios: Madhouse

madh frontA studio established in the 1972 with many great shows on its name. Madhouse is a studio with a lot of experience and already in the animation business for a long time. Let’s have a look at some of the shows they have produced.

chihayaChihayafuru follows Chihaya as she discovers the beauty of the card game Karuta. A physically en mentally challenging memory card game, taking every last bit of concentration of its player.

The synopsis might leave you wondering. How can a card game be in any way entertaining? That is certainly true, but the team behind Chihayafuru made the card game Karuta as intense as a tennis match between the best players in the world.

They made the show exciting, not only focussing heavily on the game aspect, but also creating a story behind the game and the development of the characters. The personal relationships of the characters were explored, displaying various different settings. Despite the heavy focus on the card game, this element doesn’t feel forced or encountering pacing issues.

dnPerhaps on off the most well-known anime, Death Note. Enjoyed by anime watchers and non-anime watchers. A series telling the story of Light-kun who gets his hands on a ‘death note’, a book which gives him the power to decide who will live or die. Along the way he is being tracked by master detective L, who made it his life mission to track down the ‘God’ who decides upon life and death.

I must admit that this series had the hype with it, so my expectations were high. This resulted in a rather unsatisfying feeling at the end. This was mainly due to the extremely strong first half which overshadowed the second half of the show.

Despite its shortcomings, Death Note was a thought out cat and mouse anime. A series in which the role of who decides upon life and death was being questioned. Two sides occurred in Death Note in which one side justified the actions of ‘God’ and the others who despised it.

btooomTelling the story of Ryouta who is transported to an island. He is not alone on this island, he is joined by many others. All of them getting a special set of equipment to fight their way to the end and beat the game.

This setting sounds awfully familiar, having the most resemblance with Battle Royal where a group of school children is stuck on an island and have to slaughter each other to win the game. And admittedly it is inevitable that this comparison occurs when watching BTOOOM!

Nonetheless this show featured gamer meets world and trying to use gaming skills to survive life threatening situations. This gave BTOOOM! some clever story elements to play around with and put trust in fellow humans in the spotlight. Playing with the fact that only a select group can be trusted in the harshest of moments.

dennouA glimpse in the life of children who possess virtual reality glasses. Glasses that resemble to the Google Glass. Dennou Coil tells the story of Yuuko Okonogi who gets in touch with a wide variety of different other children who discover the hidden world of the virtual reality glasses.

It’s almost like this series was a warning to how dangerous immersive virtual worlds can be. Showing different aspects in which children let virtual reality invade and dominate their daily lives.

Dennou Coil explored a wide variety of different topics such as coping with death and the value of friendship. All through the eyes of children who have yet to discover the world. Dennou Coil was an interesting series, not only because of its story, but also due to the interesting visuals.


4 thoughts on “Studios: Madhouse

  1. milesvibritannia says:

    Surprisingly enough, I haven’t actually watched through a whole lot of series made by Madhouse in spite of how popular it is. Of the ones I’ve seen so far, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.

    Btooom is one of the few I have seen, and I really enjoyed it. I’m the kind of person who really likes those survival game type series, so Btooom was easy for me to get into. Only thing was that it was really short, but what was there was a great watch for me and I can’t wait to see more of the series, whether there’s another season or if I just have to go read the manga.

    Death Note’s an interesting case for me. I’ve read the manga, seen the live action movies, and watched a vast majority of the anime’s episodes in very scattered time frames. But in truth, I’ve never sat down and decided to watch through all 37 episodes of Death Note from beginning to end. It’s a strange thing. I can definitely say that I really enjoyed the manga and that it has a great story, though at times I do feel it’s a tad overrated. Mostly because I felt the character development was very lacking for almost the entire cast except for Light (who, honestly, I personally dislike anyway). That said though, the merits of Death Note’s plot are enough to make it great all the same and overall I would say that it’s deserving of its popularity.

    One anime I saw recently by Madhouse is Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, which was an utterly amazing watch. Fantastic character development, a really gripping story, powerful themes, and some of the greatest brotherhood I’ve ever seen in an anime. Just a beautiful story that can be both uplifting and tragically dark, with so much realism. I truly hope I can find another series similar to Rainbow in the future.

    A while back I watched Tenjou Tenge, which was a pretty good watch for me but not a great one. The story wasn’t the deepest and there wasn’t a whole lot of development, but there were still some good fights to watch so it was worth it for me.

    Truth be told, one of my least favorite anime was also made by Madhouse, and that would be Boogiepop Phantom. Boogiepop’s one I just couldn’t enjoy much at all, mostly because the story felt really slow paced and the character perspective switched way too much to be attached to anybody. Now some series (Baccano) can do that in an amazing way, but in this case I just couldn’t bring myself to care about anybody and it’s one of the few cases where I can honestly say that a 12 episode anime actually felt slow for me, and this almost never happens. But who knows, maybe others will appreciate it more than I did.

    I saw the first few episodes of Chobits and the first episode of Chihayafuru as well, both of which I intend on finishing sometime in the future (Chobits very soon, actually). I’m hoping that I’ll end up enjoying both of those a good deal. And I think I’ve heard of Dennou Coil, but I don’t know much of anything about it aside from what I’ve read here.

    • ninetybeats says:

      Btoom! was despite its cliché decent anime. I think they hinted to second season in the last episode. If the sales were steady enough perhaps they will do sequel. The show was entertaining so I think a sequel would be in place.

      Death Note indeed overrated. The characters development wasn’t that good and the show lost a bit of its momentum in the second halve. I wonder what made series so popular. I think it’s the mixed media approach of the series that pulled many people to the franchise.

      I haven’t seen Rainbow, Tenjou or Boogiepop. A studio with that many shows, it is easy to miss a few in between. I must say a lot is pre-2000 and I’m that much into retro anime.

      Chobits was a too long. So long that it became boring. It could’ve easily told its story in the half amount of episodes. Still I like the concept of technophilia in which people create affection for humanoid objects.

      • milesvibritannia says:

        It definitely seems like something that begs for a second season, though only time will tell if they’ll actually make it. I heard that there isn’t enough manga content at the moment to continue so it might take a while. Hopefully it won’t be like Deadman or Durarara where we might never see a season 2……

        Yeah I’d definitely say the characters were the weakest part of the series, though on the whole I definitely found the story to be quite engaging and the psychological battles were great to see. I actually enjoyed the second half a good deal but I would definitely say I preferred L over Mello and Near, not to mention the atmosphere of it all changed quite a bit. And it is interesting that Death Note became so popular, I’d say Death Note deserves its popularity but I am a bit surprised that it has as huge a fanbase as it does, especially since it seems like the masses would be repelled by a lot of dialogue and a lack of action.

        Madhouse definitely has a lot of series so there’s quite a bit that we still have yet to see, especially in my case. That probably applies to a lot of other studios too actually. But I’d definitely recommend Rainbow if you ever get the time to watch it, one of the most enjoyable anime I’ve seen in recent times.

        Ah, well hopefully I’ll still end up enjoying it anyway. Not sure what to expect but I do hope I’ll like it either way by the time I’m all finished up with it.

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