Plot: "Thor and his twin brother, Rai, are cast off to a forsaken planet by unknown masked men after witnessing the suspicious death of their parents. Given only a beam knife and a smelly satchel, they wander together in search of civilization on the primarily plant based world. They soon discover the plants have the advantage. Only the strong survive; the ones who throw away their humanity and become the beasts humans once were." Anime News Network
The cover art (the first picture) is slightly deceiving because at no point in the anime does the main character Thor appear like that. So here's a better cover art piece that represents the anime more wholeheartedly.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the plot of Jyu Oh Sei drew me in right away and all of the episodes never failed to leave a suspenseful cliffhanger (although it got to the point of being obviously calculative). It's seems like a blend of Trigun (with the theme of two brothers being sent from a futuristic setting to a desolate planet) and the movie Origin: Spirits of the Past (with plants being the dominant species).
I really liked the theme of brotherhood but I was really disappointed that one of the brothers, Rai, was killed off so early in the plot; And not only was he killed off, but Rai showed up in maybe three more episodes before he disappeared off the face of this anime. This seemed to cheapen his existence and greatly weaken the bond between Thor and Rai which could have proved to be a strong plot theme.
Jyu Oh Sei dives straight into the core essence of the plot, leaving no room for dawdling; I can't exactly blame the writers though with this hefty piece of fiction and a limit of 11 episodes.
Both environments and characters were animated beautifully. The space colony which debuted for only an episode or two, successfully portrayed its cold and sterile environment where even computerized projections of a clear blue sky only made the setting appear more unnatural. Chimaera on the other hand was a fascinating and harsh environment with stark contrasts between the lush green forests and desolate wastelands. Carnivorous plants came to life and reenforced the fact that it was a hard reality to live on Chimaera.
Character designs are reminiscent of Escaflowne. Overall, I liked the characters' appearances although some of them could have been a bit more original; Characters such as Tiz looked like at least three other characters from separate anime series. I found it somewhat amusing that the child version of Thor was graced with an awkwardly large nose compared to when he matured later in the story. Aren't children supposed to have smaller noses than their older counterparts?
The music wasn't all that memorable and I can't even remember any of the background music. The only thing that I can recall is the opening theme song which is has quite a catchy jazz tune. It's not a bad song for the opening theme although it's tone doesn't really match the series. Well, at least it's memorable.
I was happy with most of the English voice cast except for younger Thor and Rai. I found it really strange how their voices sounded so much like whiny little girls. Younger characters usually have women for a voice actor but when kid Trunks (DBZ) sounds more like a boy than these two, I'm a bit iffy about it. In this situation, I don't think Allison Viktorin was a good fit for the character.
The most emotional performance I heard was probably from Trina Nishimura who played Tiz. Tiz is a character with an annoying personality but Nishimura made her character much more likable with her honest and emotional performance.
If I were to watch this anime over again, I'd probably go with the original Japanese dub as I've watched a few episodes in Japanese and overall, the voice acting is much more emotional than its English counterpart. Also, young Thor manages to sound like a boy.
Jyu Oh Sei fell short of developing to its fullest potential. This is partially due to the fact that there were a limited amount of episodes and this story seems to be one that should have been 20 episodes minimum.
There were some other tweaks that could've been made such as giving Rai more flashbacks and actually putting some effort into incorporating him into the story. The wrap up at the end was also squeezed into one gigantic elaboration that could have been slowly spaced out and hinted from the beginning to end of the series.
Lastly, I shall briefly mention my thoughts on each of the characters. Just a warning, I won't be subtle about it!
Unfortunately for Tiz, continuing to act like a total booty-call did not earn her points in favor of Thor's affections. She must have appeared to Thor as an overly possessive girl who only wanted him for his body (with her constantly pestering him about being her baby-daddy).
Don't get me wrong, I do like Thor, but I was fairly disappointed that even with all the effort Tiz put into getting Thor to like her over the years, after just a moment of seeing a hot girl, he drops Tiz like a hot potato and gives her the "I think of you as a sister" explanation. She seemed so shocked after that revelation that I'm left to believe that Thor hasn't ever revealed this fact to Tiz. Shouldn't he have told her this a long time ago? Talk about crap timing on his part.
I love mysterious characters and Third adds just the right amount of suspense to the show. I never expected what would happen at the ending with Third and honestly, I was very surprised with the outcome. He could have used a bit more of a back story though as his motivations were a lot simpler than I had imagined.
Zagi is obviously a special person in Thor's life because he was the first person Thor encountered when he first landed on Chimaera. He disappeared for a while after Thor joined the Ochre Ring but came back in later episodes with some unclear objective which added a lot of mystery to his character.
She holds great importance to the story because she eventually gets over her issues and supports Thor in the end.
I guess you could call her an honest slut because she openly admitted that she wanted to sleep with both men. I could just imagine this b*tch suggesting a threesome! Karim is a lame character because she based her whole world around Zagi for God knows why, has little self-respect, and above all, is a slut.