My opinion on the first three volumes

I’m taking a look at the first few books in the Anima series. To sum it up, here is what’s on the back of the book:

The Anima are beings who possess animal-like powers. In this alternative universe, they walk amoung us - shunned by society - as they search for others who have similar traits.

Cooro is a crow-like boy who is on a quest to find other Anima. When he meets Husky, a disrespectful boy with a past shrouded in mystery, he find a kindred spirit who also possesses animal-like powers. Together they try to gain acceptance in a world cruel to anyone or anything that is different...

It’s kind of hard to describe where this series is aiming because it’s a little bit high and a little bit low.

On the one hand, Anima seems to be mainly aimed at a younger audience: there are plenty of characters who play the role of a villain or antagonist, but none of them are truly nasty; there are many simplified plot elements; and the series has a generally light tone overall.

On the other hand the material here is quite sophisticated and this definitely isn’t something that will appeal just to children. Many of the main characters appear shallow at first but quickly become quite deep; the writer even manages to give a character who is practically mute more depth than most anime-characters who can speak.

The story-lines are generally Episodic; the main characters are traveling, and meet new people each place they visit. Character development between main characters stays between volumes though, so it does make sense to read the books in order.

It’s hard not to like Anima, but if there is one thing that does bug you it will probably be that some of the side-stories and some of the villains-of-the-week can be a bit one dimensional. This is only ever a problem for a few chapters until the side-story finishes and their antagonists go with them, but when an author is usually good at writing it’s very blatant when they get lazy with an element.

So, anyway, that’s a recommendation from me. I only wish I’d got into the series a little sooner; it’s completely translated into English, but now it’s starting to go out of print and getting a little hard to find.