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My thoughts about the show, as a long-time anime fan

By March 04, 2012, 22:35:11

I'm a pretty hardcore anime fan, and I must say that Wakfu is one of the non-Japanese shows I've enjoyed most. I'd definitely rate it among the top twenty shows of all time. I'm not going to write a full review, but here are my thoughts:

  • The character designs are the show's strongest point - they are nothing less than *amazing*. Even minor characters just shine with personality and originality. No two characters look alike, and all of them fit their personalities.
  • The animation is also great - it's much, much smoother than most TV shows and even most feature films. Especially the fight scenes are usually a joy to watch. I'm guessing some kind of next generation 3D rendering engine is being used behind the scenes. I'm hoping other studios take note.
  • The backgrounds are usually very good, but perhaps not quite as outstanding as the rest of the animation, for the most part. The Shusu world, for instance, seemed kind of rushed and cartoony, whereas some of the forest and island scenes are really beautiful. Overall the show does natural scenery very well, but architecture somewhat less well. That said, the quality here easily surpasses most shows.
  • The script is well written, but it has too much filler (episodes that don't advance the plot). The chemistry between characters is good, as is characterization. Sometimes it seems like the writers can't decide whether to be funny or dramatic and end up sort of in between, which kills both the humor and the drama. I would advice not being afraid to go full-on serious or full-on comedy when necessary. The end of season one was successful in toning down the comedy for the last few seasons, but season two has a problem here. I think so far the season two finale has been far too silly in tone compared to the pretty serious plot. For instance, I think Prince Adale and his crew shouldn't have been played for laughs so much, since they need to be credible in order to show just how big a threat the Shushu invasion really is. The show does comedy very well but doesn't seem to know when it's appropriate.
  • The direction is all right, but not top notch. It's obvious that the director is new to this genre (shounen-style fantasy action/comedy), but hopefully he'll improve. Among the voice actors, Ruel and Eva shine, but Yugo and Pinpin seem a bit too restrained somehow.
  • The use of music is an area that could be much stronger. The theme song is perfectly good, but the rest of the score isn't that great and not used to full effect. For an example of a show with a similar feel that uses the soundtrack effectively, I'd like to point to the currently running remake of HunterXHunter.
  • The world-building is another area that could be stronger. Some countries and cultures are well realized, like the Sadida nation, but others need much more fleshing out. It seems to me that the backstory needs to be more detailed and come into play more.
All in all, Wakfu is one of my favorite fantasy series of the past few years. I hope the creators keep learning and that we'll get either a third season or a new show set in the same world soon.
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