The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Innocent Venus

Title: Innocent Venus
Genre: Action
Company: Brains Base
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 26 Jul 2006 – 25 Oct 2006

Synopsis: The world is in shambles after a series of hyper-hurricanes, causing the loss of five million lives. Mankind enters an era of pandemonium as it is split into two classes; the ruling class call themselves Logos while the poor is named Revenus. Both classes are being kept at bay by an elite force called Phantom, which is mysteriously in pursuit of a girl named Noto Sana. Their efforts are continuously thwarted due to the presence of two people Jo and Jin, who were formerly members of Phantom.

The Highlights
Plot: So many plot holes. Sigh.
Characters: Account for most of the damage done on the series for several reasons.
Role switch: Shocking in a dismal way.
Action: The sole redeeming attribute of the series.

Innocent Venus is a series that shows which common pitfalls an anime should dodge by falling into many of them at its own expense. It is also a series that starts out fairly well and takes a nosedive before the halfway point. The only relief it promises is copious amounts of fast-paced action sequences from start to finish—albeit with some awkward CGI, but sadly it doesn’t get any better than this. Innocent Venus is an example of how to waste potential by marring it with plot holes and more importantly, characterization issues.

The series starts out fairly well with fast-paced action and an intriguing storyline. This can work in favor of the series only if the suspense serves its purpose of the overall story. It doesn’t work in the case of Innocent Venus, as each revelation is overshadowed by other, new revelations developed in the course of the series. Furthermore, the series is bombarded with a number of plot holes which leaves behind some loose ends.

While the plot holes undeniably hurt the series, it comes nowhere near the damage caused by characterization problems. I am not exaggerating to say that virtually all the characters have fallen into at least one of the common pitfalls in the concept of characterization: in this show’s case, shallow characters and plain annoying ones. Most characters in this show are shallow because of a lack of background stories and individuality. As for the annoying characters, though they do not necessarily affect the overall caliber of the series, they are wasted attempts to make the audience care about the conflicts at hand.

Role switching is a double-edged sword that an anime rarely gets cut by, but in this case, it is actually the main factor for the series’ downfall. Two of the main characters unpredictably switch roles past the halfway point and at at first, this appears to be a good thing. However, instead of utilizing this plot twist in a meaningful way, the series takes the exact opposite route and shoots its own foot by contradicting the purpose of switching roles in the first place. Worse still, the same two characters get an unforeseeable and conspicuous personality overhaul for no apparent reason after the switch. The overhaul is similar to seeing Code Geass‘ Lelouch suddenly behaving like Suzaku, minus the rationale for it. Due to so, the story becomes baffling as it begins to raise questions about the original motives behind the characters’ previous actions.

Innocent Venus suffers all kinds of problems but they all stem from this: the series is simply too short. Since the series is only 12 episodes long, the show is unable to address and expand on the various issues encountered as the story develops. The series could have avoided falling into any of the pitfalls and realized its full potential if it were twice as long. Instead, the anime begins on a high note and ends up on a very low note. It is pitiful to see a series that is bad from the beginning but it’s worse to see a good series that gets worse all the way to the end.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: AC

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