The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Fantastic Children

Title: Fantastic Children
Genre: Drama/Action
Company: Nippon Animation
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 4 Oct 2004 – 28 Mar 2005

Synopsis: For 500 years, a group of white-haired children with blue eyes have shown up all over Europe. Known as the Children of Befort, these “children” perpetually steal the bodies of real children as they search for a girl who possesses the mysterious knowledge of an unearthly place. Thoma, through his desire to help two runaway orphans, becomes caught up in events far more magnificent than anything ever seen before.

The Highlights
Plot: Epic – many different plotlines come together to create a great story.
Characters: Not all of the characters are given sufficient time or enough of a purpose.
Ending: Resolves nicely, very satisfying.
Music: Mysterious classical melodies set the mood.

In a decade full of pulse-pounding action, stoic bishounen anti-heroes, moé-licious girls, and vampire cheerleaders, Fantastic Children has been largely ignored. Perhaps it is the simple, child-like (how else should children be drawn?) character designs, the lack of an immediate impact on the viewer, or perhaps because it did not include the aforementioned conventions. Whatever the reason, Fantastic Children deserves far more attention than is bestowed upon these clichés.

Like knitting, the many different threads of the plot come together in intricate and well designed ways. The Children of Befort, Thoma and friends, Dumas, so many different characters come together as they follow their own paths to form a plot rife with drama, intrigue, politics, romance, adventure, sin, redemption, a little bit of decent action, and much more. Things start out slowly, but before long are advancing at a quick but steady pace up to a very satisfying and emotional ending. Every step of the way, the score never fails to add tension or an air of mystery to the events.

While everything comes together nicely in the plot, many of the characters become increasingly extraneous as the show progresses. Chitto simply exists for about two-thirds of the story doing nothing of consequence, and Cooks disappears for most of the events of the plot, only to come back later to fill an unnecessary bit-role. Helga is completely emotionless for a great deal of time and says about six or seven words (I’m not exaggerating) for the first half of the anime. Even most of the Children of Befort receive little to no time to develop as individuals. That I often felt for the characters despite these flaws is a testament to the level of writing put into creating the circumstances that they go through.

Fantastic Children may not be fantastic (in The Nihon Review sense of the word), but it is an awesome anime nevertheless. If even one anime per year had a plot as good as this one I would consider myself a blessed individual. Epic in its scope, but down to earth in the way one can relate to it, Fantastic Children is one title that everyone can enjoy.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kuma

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