Zettai Shounen poster

Zettai Shounen

Aizawa Ayumu is a young boy, who is sent to a small town called Tana to live with his father for a while. Even though he doesn't want to go, he agrees to do so when his mother offers him a mountain bike. Ayumu used to live in Tana before, and now his memories of the time are shrouded in mystery - apparently something happened when he was a child. Enter Miku, a young girl who knows more than she tells, weird glowing lights floating around, reflections of UFOish objects in the eyes of cats and dogs, a nosy female announcer, a forest with a mysterious past, and a weird boy called Wakkun, who wears the clothes Ayumu used to when he was a child, and you get the world of Zettai Shonen, where mysteries remain mysteries amidst a slow, normal, everyday life. (Source: ANN)

Ranking 3712

User Count1787
Favorites Count8
Start Date21st May 2005
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank3712
Rating Rank5358
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older



"When the science approaches the boundaries of what is known, the only thing it can do is to pull out and to contemplate what it cannot understand." This rephrased quotation from some book, which I fail to remember, may seem to be the main idea of Zettai Shounen from the few first episodes. It is actually important, as it represents the situation which one of the main heroes, reporter Sukawara Akira, has faced. It is only when such great foundation of modern life as science is shaken that we can broaden our world understanding coming up with simple, yet deep, idea that it is not some objective thing or idea but the person (or, rather, people) and their feelings and deeds that determine everything. This idea is carried all the way throughout Zettai Shounen and this slowpacing, a bit boring at times, highly atmospheric anime is one of the most complicated character-revealing and, in terms of characters, realistic titles ever made. (Note: the review may be too deep-meaning-seeking, but for the good purpose :) Zettai Shounen is divided into two arcs: first 12 episodes represent 'summer arc' with Aizawa Ayumu being main hero and 'winter arc' (episodes 13-26) with main hero Tanigawa Kisa. As usual in 'slice of life' anime Zettai Shounen is not really about common life in common situation. From the beginning it sets a mystic background with enigmatic light balls which are able to fly and to turn into some UFO-like creatures. Only some people, of whom none are adults, are able to see them and main heroes are among these. Ayumu and Kisa are faced them and... Compared to other anime titles Zettai Shounen was the one that surprised me the most times in terms of what characters did and what they said. The first surprise was a low reaction of people to some strange occurences around them, what may seem weird in case of anime. However, that's exactly is how it is in the real life and the explanation to this non-obvious fact is given in the very first episode: common sense, which people use to shortly explain or to ignore what they can't understand. Ayumu's fathers says this sacramental phrase: "...'common sense' is nothing more than taking the lowest common denominator from where you are at the time." This can be understood as follows: common sense is a set of life axioms which people, especially adults, use to replace permanent thought efforts but which also restricts them in understanding some things out of their borders of mind. The lack of common sense results in very sensitive, strange at times, reality perception, because of which such people are not understood by others and are lonely. Two ways are possible as a continuation of that: person becomes either like others (which what would probably happen to Ayumu if he hadn't meet the lights) or like some kind of hikikomori (Tanigawa Kisa correspondingly). Thus, showing teens of 14 to 16 years in the centre of action is for the best in Zettai Shounen. Aizawa Ayumu, who lives in Yokohama with his mother (his parents had divorced), goes to his father for summer vacations. This male version of kuudere is a rather introversive person who seems to have one only emotion: tranquillity (sometimes with a touch of surprise or annoyance, though). However, he is not shy person and can easily communicate with his peers, both with girls and boys. Why would a normal guy without any apparent problems mentally distance himself from others? He has something on his mind connected with his life and he doesn't know what he wants to do (which is very close to this problem of existence, teens are likely to experience). Of course, making an anime about sophisticated guys talking about sophisticated things would be extremely boring to everyone, so it is mystic element that helps author to develop characters. The first arc is lighter and more atmospheric than the second one. We are shown some heroes including Aizawa Ayumu, several his peers, strange girl Miku (her elder sister Miki is a friend of Ayumu), and several adults doing their everyday things. One of Ayumu's new friends, Ryousuke, is obsessed with chasing a cat, Madam Okaka. Unno is after Takuma who neglets her while showing interests to Miki. Mystic light balls enter into the action, but in this case they could be replaced by any mystery, since no one except reporter Sukawara was after them. The peripeties of relationships of main heroes develop most of the time and the complexity of those may be compared to some of Salinger's books (like 'A catcher in the rye'). However, their relationships, as well as the action, are very slow and parallel, for each hero, even the minor ones, is given his time in this anime. While first arc is being more mystical, the second sets more depressive and darker mood, also having more meaningful dialogs. It shows us new situation in Yokohama 1,5 years after with new heroes and their lifes. Action starts from the very beginning with autist girl Kisa, who hardly ever communicates with people; later the story is dragged on, changing from one topic to another every two-four episodes, showing us new heroes and some of old ones (Ayumu, Sukawara, who is again chasing lights). Because of that, it is difficult to mark out the main idea of Zettai Shounen, but it is also an advantage since it resembles more of real life, which cannot be reduced to 1-2 thesises. Two arcs, two heroes with the same problem - inability to figure out their place in the world. So, what light balls can do for them? Ayumu is iritated by them at first, Kisa feels relieved when finding one. They will need to help the creatures from the other world to help themselves in the result. However, though, the anime should've probably finished with some kind of catharsis, since it was difficult to authors to combine mystic and characters, it was done weaker than I expected by first 25 episodes.The graphics and sound do their best serving a tranquille, soft atmosphere of the anime. The art is nothing special itself, while the music is wonderful. Masumi Itou, known for her scores to many slice of life anime yet also to some serious works like 'Zone of the Enders: Idolo 2167' and her masterpiece 'Blue Flow' from 'Haibane Renmei', wrote a charming score fully corresponding with the pace of the show. The opening is active, the most active part of the anime, and very positive, setting the tone to interpret the title attentively; the ending is slow, charming, a bit melancholic, giving the same kind of mood. While so, the theme of both songs is common - searching for something in this world: With words that nobody knows of I sang to you on this nostalgic hill Halt, breeze Quietly show me the unchanged memories Of myself from that time I loved dreams so I isolated myself I thought I was fine with that I know you're still there in the distant skies I'm living with tenderness while I hold back the brimming tears In the season when the melody from the future quietly stirs I want to see you one of these days... wait for me I want to see you, but I am still a humming boy... What surprised me most was that Zettai Shounen made me think more of myself and my life rather than of characters'. While containing word 'shounen' in the title and mostly showing us the life of schoolchildren, it may be also called a seinen due to profound revealing of many important life themes: loneliness, determination of one's life way, various love and friend relationships. The ideas themselves, as well as in any modern anime/book/film/anything, are not fully original, of course, but anime does introduce its own specifics and a unique way of storytelling, which is pretty important nowadays. Even if you aren't after seeking the deeper meaning, you should give it a try. Truthful characters and interesting story, alongside with soft pastel art and gentle music with a touch of mystery, result in a great work of art. I liked Zettai Shounen all the way through and would recommend it to all who loved 'Haibane Renmei' and another great intelligent slice-of-life which is 'Dennou Coil'. Overall: Story: 9/10 - slow to develop, but absolutely great as you are driven into it Animation: 7/10 - mostly consists of static paysages. Not like something bad, it is pretty soft and good to create the right mood, but may as well fall you asleep Sound: 9/10 - light frolicsome and mystical tunes by Masumi Itou work perfectly for the show, yet they may be repetetive at times. OP is good, but you need to get used to it, ED is perfect right the way. Characters: 10/10 - among the most realistic characters of slice-of-life within anime! Enjoyment: 8/10 - deep slice-of-life and mystery, but may be boring first episodes and for those, who doesn't really like slice-of-life genre

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