What They Say :
Takumi is a despicable otaku. He lives by himself, skipping school to play MMORPGs and obsess over anime all day long. He’s never really lonely- his imaginary girlfriend, a magical girl named Seiru, keeps him company, telling him over and over that his lifestyle is the best for him. “Nobody understands you but me. You don’t need anybody else.” His only contact with his family and the outside world is his little sister, who seems concerned over her onii-chan’s slippery grip on reality. As he immerses himself further into the 2D world, she’s is losing hope that he will ever grow up.
But while surfing the Net, Takumi is sent a link from a stranger on the Internet. The link has pictures of a gruesome murder in an alley, with the stranger telling him this is part of recent chain of serial killings. Takumi doesn’t believe the stranger, since no one on the Net or on TV has reported the killing. Takumi assumes the pictures are a practical joke… until he stumbles across a young school girl killing a man in a dark alley just as the photos pictured. He manages to escape, but now he’s convinced that a conspiracy is out to get him. Pretty girls from school and elsewhere have started to take an interest in him… and one of them looks exactly like the murderer.
The Review :
I watched the release in both English and Japanese (Discs 1 in English, Disc 2 in Japanese) – I have no issues with the visual quality on the DVD release, there was no problems synching in the sound with the subtitles and no issues with glitches or errors during pausing the show, with the animation being fantastic ratio to ratio. Both tracks were excellent as well, as the 5.1 was very strong and the 2.0 Japanese was of very high quality as well, with no glitches regarding pausing and transition issues, overall a colourful and quality release.
The menu is very standard; with the discs contain an image of Rimi upon a near apocalyptic background of a deserted city as she holds her Di Sword in a pose that screams sex and violence. The menu selections scroll vertically where on Disc 1 we have Play All, Episodes and Set Up, whilst disc 2 has the same but with the inclusion of an Extras menu as well. Very standard, no issues in selection (aside from no scene selection) and the background is quite unique in today’s market albeit going into this show with Rimi on the cover you would never expect what was going to be involved…
The only extras on this release are the clean opening and ending songs.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Chaos Head is another series that I had no knowledge of before watching it. And if I took it at face value, I would have been completely shocked in what was in store of me. For what it seemed initially like a harem anime is immediately questioned in the shows very first scene, and it just gets more confusing as it goes along. Strangely though, not in a completely bad way though.
The first scene almost acts as a book end to the end of the series, so without giving it away, after it we get introduced to our main character Takumi. He’s a mild version of a shut in who loves anime and figurines, only goes to school enough days to graduate, and detests 3D girls. He also seems to have a vivid imagination which causes him to go delusional at times, initially for humorous effect. However, one of his online friends named Shogun gives him a link to a story about some unusual murders that have been occurring. The image is so violent that he has to escape from it, but later to his shock, he actually witnesses the same murder occur in front of him, apparently done by a beautiful pink haired girl. This shock gets compounded even later, when the same girl actually appears in class with him…and even more strangely, apparently knows him and is even friends with him for her point of view, despite Takumi never knowing her…
…yet after a minute he seems to remember her name despite not apparently meeting her before. The girl is named Rimi, who seems to try and get to be quite friendly with him. And she’s not the only one – the harem genre apparently kicks in with another girl named Yua being very interested with his anime collection and wants him to join her to pre-order the latest figurine from the show within a show. However, she is actually a spy, sent to investigate these murders known as The New Generation murders. She thinks this Shogun is actually an alter-ego of Takumi, to which he obvious denies. But the more he gets involved with these murders that this mysterious Shogun seems to have access to, the more his mind spirals into a dark pit, and he wonders what is going on.
Trips to nurses and psychiatrists don’t bring any further relief, but then more girls come along which have an interest with Takumi and maybe linked with the murders. We have Ayase, a.k.a. FES, a hit young singer who transfers into Takumi’s school, who seems to have a real sense of the occult and believes Takumi is the one she is seeking for, Sena, a girl who is destroying devices in peoples backpacks which she feels is linked to the crimes by the nearby Nozomi group, and Kozue, a cute clumsy girl but also has the ability to be telepathic. It leads to a confusing plot where all these people are known as ‘Gigalomaniacs’ people who have the ability to bring their delusions to life, and construct Di-Swords, swords created from their delusions. The Nozomi group has created something known as Noah II, which has the ability who can use the abilities of the Gigalomaniacs to their own ends. Takumi, still concerned learning this if his powers caused the murders, and his closeness to Rimi means if she really is the killer or not, makes his life more confused and uncertain, and when the murders continue, including killing someone he knows, and then his sister gets involved…there is a lot of take on board.
To say, the series is confusing is an understatement. There is a lot to take on board – Takumi’s delusions are a key question throughout the series whether he is the cause of the murders, if Rimi is involved, if everything is imaginary, etc. Takumi himself isn’t a likeable character either at first, mainly because he doesn’t like the outside world and shuns most interaction with people, including his own family. The story is one part development as he tries to accept the outside life but he also has to concern himself with what is real and what is delusion. The show does a decent job keeping us interested in that side, albeit at times it does feel that they are throwing too much at you, especially as whilst it does wrap up and finishes on a book end, the ends does feel a bit weak considering all the buildup.
The other characters are not built up well enough either – I would have liked to have seen this being 2 cour because they threw so many ideas that the girls basically have very little development themselves, Sena is quite the badass for example but we have no history of her or any of the other girls, Ayase is perhaps the most intriguing because of her one part music lifestyle and other half occult maniac. Rimi on the other hand you never know if she is truly this killer Takumi is afraid of, or if she is this understanding comrade that Takumi has made the conscious decision to trust. Whilst all the girls have little moments of development, it never seems enough to care for the characters. The same can be said with the police department and even the twists they throw with who are involved with Nozumi seem to fall flat because there is never enough build up.
What they do right though is manage to portray Takumi’s torture, and develop how his schizophrenia becomes reality to him, and how he deals with it. Through his interactions, he realizes he is a bigger part of something quite huge, where incidents of the past become much more clearer once he discovers his powers – everything does link to the end in a way, just not in the best way told. The way the story tells the story of Shogun and if Takumi really is him is cleverly done, whether Takumi exists as a person or another delusion is actually smartly discussed (whether with a phone call with a friend or his delusions of being attacked by an anime character). There are a few action sequences as well, though the animation isn’t the best so it doesn’t always seem to flow well enough to appeal to action fans. With the ending not being the best either (the opening scene was a spoiler in one respect) I will give Chaos Head credit for trying something very unique, and almost succeeding. I had Lain flashbacks watching this, and whilst this isn’t another Lain, it does cross borders between being very smart and very confusing, and whilst throwing way too much in just 12 episodes, it comes up with a series that tells a dark story, intriguing characters and a unique protagonist which does its job as best as it could, and at least gives us a show which is interesting if nothing else.
Chaos Head suffers from being, well, chaotic. It throws a lot in terms of plot and storyline but little in terms of character development with the cast outside Takumi. This leads to a lot of confusion if you’re not paying attention and for that, Chaos Head suffers. However at its core is a deep and engaging story which if you pay attention will give you something interesting and mildly entertaining to watch. It develops well, but falls a little flat at the end, but if you want a really unique version of the gal-game genre, then you may want to check it out.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Ending
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Release Date: October 22nd, 2012
Running Time: 300 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.