25 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Scamp /

Horizon on the Middle of Ninja

It’s my turn in the anime blogging roster to cover the latest episode of Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere. The idea was that, since Horizon barely makes sense even when paying attention to every little detail of every single episode, it would be fun to see what someone’s reaction would be to watching a random episode from season 2 with little to no experience of the franchise. Thing is, now that I’m here on episode 10 of season 2, I feel judging Horizon by these standards is unfair. I have to do a like-for-like comparison. With that in mind, for this review I also decided to watch the latest episode of…

Naruto Shippuden!

I’ve never watched the Naruto anime. My dad, bless him, bought me some of the manga back when I first started getting into anime, and I thought it was all right. It was a bit slow but the characters were likeable and it had a goofy sense of humour. However since we’re on Naruto Shippuden episode 278, I think it’s safe to say the story has progressed a bit beyond Training With Kakashi. With Horizon, I’ve seen 2 episodes of the first season, so if anything Horizon has the upper hand in this contest already, as I have proportionally more experience with the franchise than Naruto.

So. Episode 10 of Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere Season 2 vs Episode 278 of Naruto Shippuden. Let’s do this.

1: Did I like the character designs?

Horizon loses points straight off the bat for the characters having no noses. Then it gains all those points straight back again for the non-human character designs being completely batshit crazy. There’s a big wolf dude and some faceless ninja wearing a cap and these creatures who had human bodies but had pink bowling balls attached to their chests and some sort of parasitic growth emerging from the top of their heads. What rather put me off was, despite their exterior body parts and clothing looking crazy and different, all the faces of the human characters looked the same (ie no noses). Naruto actually took me by surprise in this regard. There is a universal style governing the world and how the characters look, but they also have different faces. You know you’ve got proper character designs when they could all be wearing the same clothes and you’d still be able to tell them apart. One strange thing about the Naruto character designs were their eyes looked kinda dead. Not sure if the mangaka has something against pupils, but I found myself, unlike the noses thing, rather liking the look. When your entire story is based around killing machine ninjas, looking dead inside seems like a good fit.

Verdict: Naruto

2: Could I understand what was going on in the battles?

Probably indicative of its family-friendly timeslot on TV, Naruto seems made to be easy to jump straight into. Almost too much so. I mean, I’m not someone who needs everything explained in each little detail, so Naruto got on my nerves a bit here. OK, the dude can copy that other dude because he absorbed some of his Chakra. That’s not that difficult to understand. You don’t have to go into a 2-3 minute explanation while slowly panning over you pinning the dude down. So when Horizon throws out one-line explanations for its battles, that’s a big welcome. For example, the woman with those growths on her chest has a powerful shield because her magic requires her to make a sacrifice, but that sacrifice can be her fashion sense. Which is why she’s wearing terrible clothes. That’s fucking great! It does bring up the question why doesn’t everyone convert to that magic though, because they all clearly have about the same level of fashion taste as she has.

Verdict: Horizon

3: Did I care about the characters?

Horizon? God no. They might as well not have had any characters for all I got to know them. They either spouted technobabble, explained a move they were performing, or spouted some psuedo intellectual shit about Shakespeare. Actual emotions weren’t on display here, especially since the cast of roughly 3015052600 characters got about a 5-10 seconds each on screen. You’d think Naruto, with its phenomenal length, would have a much wider cast, and maybe they do. But they also had the sense to keep the episode focused on a small group who were important to the plot. They had emotions and goals and dreams. You know, like us humans have. Sure, they’d occasionally jump to a character who had no relevance to the current episode plot for them to say a few lines, but even those short segments showed them having emotions. Enough for me to kinda care about what they were thinking about and what was going on in their lives. Although one of the characters they jumped to was Hinata, who was thinking about how much she loved Naruto. Wasn’t she in love with Naruto back at the start of the story? And on that note, they also established Sakura loves Sasuke, which I’m pretty sure was originally established around about chapter 2. Have the characters not moved on since then and found someone else, because clearly those crushes hasn’t worked out for either of them. And besides, wouldn’t the audience already know this? I only jumped in this episode so it didn’t bug me, but surely people watching the show already know this and don’t need it repeated to them?

Verdict: Naruto

4: How much of the lore interested me?

One of the things that fans of Horizon love is how deep and detailed the lore to the world is, and I get that. I get the appeal of a lore incredibly deep that you have to dig to discover all the various nuances. Thing is, there doesn’t appear to be any consistency in the lore I saw on display here. There was one human dude with dog ears. Why? Fucked if I know, he’s just there. This was my problem with Hunter X Hunter too. As funny as the character designs are, there’s no overarching theme to the world that drives everything. With Naruto, there’s a clear world being built here. It’s still kinda crazy, because it’s a world of goddam ninjas, but the ninja shit that goes on in that world appears to make sense in context. Nothing in Horizon makes sense in any context. You know what? I actually want to know why these guys are so worried about Itachi, particularly since earlier in this episode showed him injured and being carried by a dude with a magical eye. Why are they at war? How are you supposed to have a pitched battle when you’re all ninjas?

Verdict: Naruto

Final Result

Horizon: 1

Naruto: 3

NARUTO > HORIZON

QED

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24 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Sounds right to me.

  2. Adamar
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Cue fanboy rage in 3, 2, 1…?

    (For the record, I basically agree with the conclusion.)

  3. Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    A sensible conclusion.

    Battles are actually the (relatively) strong point of Horizon, because the production values are high, the visuals pop like fireworks set off 2 feet in front of your face, and the musical score actually matches the action. But woe to the blogger who sat through the political bargaining scenes in several episodes. You would’ve needed another translator to understand english words.

  4. blackice85
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    I like Horizon but it has so much backstory, so it almost felt rushed right from the beginning. It was a bit better after watching season 1 a second time, but it’s still messy and there is a lot of things unexplained (like why it’s so important to recreate history in the first place).

  5. Posted September 14, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Somehow, someway, this article actually made want to watch the Naruto anime for a bit. As much as I hate to admit it, the anime does have an odd sort of charm specific to its name.

  6. Mr.RR
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    So I like organized groups (like the Trumps and the Akatsuki). And tori walking around naked at some point in every episode makes me giggle because of immature humor. Some of the abilities are off the wall. I’m enjoying Horizon, not my favorite by it has its own quirkiness.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Man, fuck that guy who walks around naked. He’s the most irritating creation in anime ever. It’s like he’s channelling the spirit of the crazy frog

      • Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        One of the most mind-addling things about the series is that you can develop an appreciation for even him.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Yo

        I may have fallen for the whole if you say gullible really slowly it sounds like elephant thing

        But I’m not falling for that

    • Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      ‘Most irritating creation in anime ever?’ I see your Horizon protagonist and raise you a Tomoki (Sora no Otoshimono).

  7. Billish
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Naruto definitely has some appeal, granted you skip all of the filler stuff… and ignore some of the bad stuff… lol. The Sasuke story up until a certain point is very well done. However, the writer ran out of ideas a while ago and the show is pretty much garb now imo. Anyways, I liked your review style for these two tho I won’t likely see either of these episodes.

  8. Chipp
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Wow you was able to see the actual episode of Shitruto that wasn’t filler! Guess you was just lucky.

  9. Posted September 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    While I don’t think you could mistake too many of the cast of Horizon for one another, you could probably mistake all of them for escaped circus acts.

    “We present to you live, the biggest bazookas under the big-top, THE BARONESS OF BOSOM. Watch in awe as she holds one – two – three bowling balls on a single bra string! How does she stand? Come one! Come all! Witness mammaries the envy of moons! Boulders of bodacity! Ladies! Gentlemen!”

    • Scamp
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      That’s more clothing design than actual character designs. Or just the face, that’s what bugs me

  10. Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. A sensible approach. Perhaps too sensible, though, given the task.

    Why not, instead, compare an episode of Horizon to the next three minutes at a busy intersection? Or to the condiments aisle in a supermarket? Or things found behind your desk? Use your imagination!

    Or take the Pale Fire approach and create a commentary that exists only in the fevered imagination of an insane viewer, a commentary that has the barest shred of linkage to whatever is actually happening on the screen (the opportunities for parodying Horizon fan commentary are legion).

    • Scamp
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Everyone else had the nonsensical angle covered. Besides, I have my IMOUTO posts to be stupid in. It was up to me to bring some sensible criticism to this post series. Besides, I liked doing this post

  11. volt9
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Naruto can be pretty awesome at times. But to tell the truth most of the time it’s badly directed and/or animated or it’s one of the annoying filler arcs. I think there should be around 60-70 filler episodes now that are plain boring and you won’t miss anything if you skip them.

  12. luffyluffy
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    hey Scamp, totally off topic but are you going to watch any of the logh movies or the gaidens? because you really should. At least watch My Conquest is a Sea of Stars because it’s honestly the best one.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      I keep meaning to get to them, but eeehhhhhhhhhhh

      • luffyluffy
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        Just do it, oh my jesus the gaidens were so fucking funny. In one of them, Reinhard studies Japanese swordsmanship to fight an assassin and duels on a horse and in one, Kircheis goes on vacation and ends up taking down an entire drug ring and it’s honestly just goddamn awesome.

        Like, the logh gaidens sort of run like how you would want filler to run. Your favorite characters get into a short arc of scrapes and silly mishaps and in the end it still advances the plot.

        It also explains other stuff like the ACTUAL STORY BEHIND YANG AND EL FACIL finally and in HBSHBL it explains a lot about how Schenkopp became the head of the Rosenritters. And, in Spiral Labyrinth, it also has Yang wearing nightvision goggles and looking like a Scopedog, which is just fucking funny considering after Kei Tomiyama died, they replaced him with Gouda Hozumi who voices Chirico Cuvie from VOTOMS.

        tl;dr get off your lazy irish ass and watch them.

  13. Fumoffu!!
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Simply reason as to why the explanations in Naruto are so long. It’s so that they can fill up time. Because of course, they don’t want the show to move along too quickly, something that is the plague of every single long running shounen ever. Perhaps now, even including Gintama.

    The lore of horizon is actually pretty interesting, but you need to read the synopsis for season 1 to learn of it, which I think is a tad…. flawed?

  14. Posted September 15, 2012 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Lucky for you, you didn’t see a Naruto filler.

    • Kiseki
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      The only Naruto episode I’ve ever watched was episode 101 and that was very enjoyable iirc.

      That was probably a special case though.

  15. Erif
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Two words: Naruto filler.

    Naruto

    filler.

    Eighty-five fucking episodes of it.

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