(This post was originally meant for video, but I had very little to say about the show besides it being fun and made with puppets. I figured out there was very little to say unless I either rewatched it or waited for Season 2. Here’s the few paragraphs I got done before backing out on the project).
Taiwan’s Anime Series Thunderbolt Fantasy creates an action packed and endearing narrative with a great cast of characters and interesting plot development. It does this all while being animated with puppets and stop motion. I’m amazed by and aploud it’s existence based on idea alone. Most people look at puppetry and can’t see something like this come out of it. The creators obviously had a lot of heart for what they were doing when given a project as ambitious as this. This show made me realize the capabilities of puppets and how to make an interesting world out of it.
There’s been far more risk taking in Anime of recent years. Shows that try to present an idea within their animation and really explore it in depth. Shows that challenge preconceived notions and break the mold with their individuality. Thunderbolt Fantasy posits the question, “can a great action series be created with tools like puppets?”. This concept is explore through it’s cast of interesting and well rounded characters and action filled narrative. If we were to break it down into generalizations, it does everything an action anime could use to be a “good” show while also being taking risks.
Every action scene has a very real weight to it whether or not the characters are evenly matched or if it’s important emotionally. They give off the sensation of scope through the excellent score and directing. There’s lots of cool explosions and swordplay. Because the “rules” (which i use very loosely) of action anime are being allocated to puppetry it feels fresh. These battles may have not been as special in any other anime, but because of the skill behind it’s puppetry it feels very big. Like I’m watching an innovation take place.
I wouldn’t doubt for a minute the director, Urobuchi-san was going for the use of puppets in a way only they could be. There’s a certain feel that can only be exhibited through puppetry. Whether or not that feel is respected or believed to have any tangible value beyond the Minutia it’s none for when applying that specialty to the experience Urobuchi-san had from working on shows like Black Lagoon it makes sense that we’d receive a totally unique experienced.
Thunderbolt Fantasy makes puppets badass and there’s any number of things in it to talk about, but I want this video to be a simple recommendation on something interesting. You don’t see a lot if any shows that look or feel the way Thunderbolt Fantasy does. Check the show out for yourself and maybe I’ll do a post talking about the more specific elements of it when the second season comes out.