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This Ugly Yet Beautiful World Vol. 1
Author: Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World Vol. 1

ADV Films
15 May 2007

Created by Gainax and Geneon, TUYBW carries a lot of expectations. The unusual title is pure Gainax, but the series itself is a mish-mash of comedy, romance and super-powered monster killing...

The series starts by introducing us to Takeru, a slothful teenager who sees little reason to do anything in this world and, whilst good natured, is somewhat fatalistic. By contrast, his best friend Ryou is talented, popular and hard working.
Both young men are about to recieve unusual house guests, as one night, during a delivery, a beam of light shoots toward the Earth, splits in two and enters a forest.

Investigating, Takeru finds a ball of light which takes the form of a human girl the boys name Hikari (meaning Light). Once the girl recovers, a giant creature attacks them, and Takeru takes on a new form, battling the creature in a fight to the death.

And that's just episode 1.

You get the feeling that TUYBW is only a high-school comedy to pull you in, and that the series will get murkier in future episodes. There are some nice moments on this disc which indicate a darker side to proceedings, none more so than when Hiakri addresses a dying creature with an evil smile and a clear enjoyment of it's painful death.

Sadly, these moments are few and far between as, for now, the series concentrates on the comedy. This is a shame, because as a comedy it's a lame duck. With a horde of stereotypes introduced early on (girl-hungry nerds, jealous little sisters, drunk intellectual with big breasts etc) it fails to raise a chuckle. This is down to the fact that the situations aren't inherently amusing, and that there's nothing we haven't seen done to death already. The Guyver, Devilman or Generator Gawl have all done this before to varying degrees, and in many cases better.

It's unfair to judge a series by the first volume, so to the discs credit the animation isn't bad, the character designs are appealing and the music is ok. So far, so average, and that sums up disc 1 quite nicely.


A couple of TV spots attempt to pad out the usual opening/closing animation sans text, but otherwise nothing but trailers.

Yet to deliver anything that will hook you, it remains a decent enough watch if you can stand the tweeness and the frequent comedy misses.
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