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Anime Info

Creator: Fukuchi Tsubasa
Genre: Fighting
Length: 51 Episodes
Purchase: Here

Summary

+ Unique powers used by fighters
+ Differs from other fighting series
– Poor character development
– Easily predictable plot
– Anti-climatic and rushed ending

Overview

Despite the lack of depth the story involves, the Law of Ueki is a decent series that won't leave viewers bored. While the twists and turns the series takes may be obvious, the outcomes are always interesting to watch. Only fans of fighting genre anime will be interested in this title since combat is what the show entirely focuses on -- no side romances or underlying messages here.

Public Rating

Our Rating

Score of 3 out of 5
3 out of 5

The Law of Ueki Anime Review

Written by: Raye on 7/12/2006

Introduction

Ueki Kousuke may not be the brightest middle school student or the most popular. You could say that he is normal, but that would be a huge understatement. It's not because of his strong sense of justice or desire to protect the weak, but because Ueki possesses the power to turn trash into trees!
The Law of Ueki
The reason for Ueki's transforming powers is due to his participation in a tournament that will decide the next God. There are a total of one hundred participants, all middle school students. Each is backed by a God Candidate and a similar transformation ability. In addition, the winning student will receive a blank zai, a tablet which will enable one with the ability to do anything he or she desires. In order to keep it out of the wrong hands, Ueki forms an alliance with his teacher and potential God candidate, Koba-sen.

The Law of Ueki is in a league of its own. The series takes the basic concept of the shonen genre and adds a twist. Rather than watching yet another series involving giant energy blasts and special maneuvers with ridiculously long names, the Law of Ueki substitutes what viewers and fans of this specific genre have become accustomed to with satirical super powers. With special abilities ranging from turning beads into bombs to dirt into cannonballs, the Law of Ueki is apparently not a show to be taken seriously, and it isn't in the long run.

Review

From the get-go, the Law of Ueki already sets itself up to be a long series, as most shonen anime that feature tournaments usually follow. The early episodes introduce the initial rules of combat. In the world of Ueki, fighting is not only based on strength and techniques; there are abilities referred to as 'zai' which function as talents. Zai ranges from the talent of running to the talent of attracting girls. It basically can be anything, considering the wacky environment the show takes place in.

Of course, there are specific guidelines that must be obeyed by all participants. For one, power users cannot use their abilities against anyone except other fighters. If they do, one zai is lost per attack. Each combatant is limited to a certain number of zai. Once his or her stock runs dry, the fighter physically disappears from reality. Zai plays a heavy role in the beginning, but it later becomes unimportant as the show moves along and begins to develop its plot.

While the fighting system may be slightly unique and the powers of the fighters almost comical at times, the biggest flaw the Law of Ueki suffers is its lack of character development. The only change in character seen aside from power-ups is the shift from the side of evil to good in predictable fashion. Both the main cast and side characters are one dimensional. Ueki is your typical "stupid" lead male character who always overcomes obstacles, and that never changes from the first episode to the last. Background information comes in the shape of poorly misplaced episodes. Certain characters, especially Ueki, receive a background story far too late into the series. By time such episodes come around, it's a wonder why the director expects the audience to care at such a point, especially when the series is nearing its finale. However, it's not as if knowing a character's past in the Law of Ueki aids in their development since each character is pretty cliche.

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Facing a dilemma such as poor character development is what tournament-styled anime series face regardless of how good the overall story may be. There are simply too many characters to remember. Instead of the stereotypical tyrannical demon seeking world domination, the Law of Ueki contains over the top baddies with traits only rivaled by eccentric circus clowns. Most of the villains that come along are one shot deals. Their purpose is to serve as a stepping stone for making a certain character look better. Law of Ueki goes through this process so many times that it becomes redundant at the midway point of the series. Even if there are a handful of characters with more interesting abilities rather than turning trash into trees, their presence isn't enough to make the series more interesting along the way. In short, all of the characters in the Law of Ueki are forgettable and unworthy of any fame in anime history.

The story is so-so and does not get any more interesting until the first major villain, Robert Hayden, makes his appearance. About a quarter-way through the series, Ueki's battles finally become more interesting beyond dumb luck and minimal strategy as he battles Robert and his gang of misfit power users. The change of rules create comical situations, especially when Mori, Ueki's gal pal, is forced into her first fight. The start of the second round of the tournament kicks off the much needed change of pace. Ueki is forced to create a team and go through a series of battles to reach the final round. The appearance of random characters finally comes to a halt as the remaining power users become stabilized characters. However, in no way does the plot become more intriguing along the way. Instead of reaching any sort of climax, the story simply ends when the last battle wraps up. It is neither satisfying nor displeasing since the ending becomes downright obvious.

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Conclusion

The Law of Ueki may be a bit off the wall with its strange characters and their unique abilities, but it's just not an anime that can work on a number of levels. The plot is far from intriguing and the characters are so badly bland. Newcomers to the series may be turned off early on, disabling them from witnessing the more interesting battles the series has to offer. I cannot recommend this series to anyone except fans of the fighting genre. It's mindless combat with bizarre special abilities and nothing more. Everything about this series becomes predictable right down to the anti-climatic and rushed ending. Fortunately, the series is tolerable to watch. It's not tasteless in an Ikkitoussen fashion nor drawn out like Dragon Ball Z. Even if background information may come at an unnecessary point, the pacing is well-done for a series spanning 51 episodes. Unfortunately, due to its poor development of both plot and characters, the Law of Ueki is a series that cannot rank up there with rivals in its genre. Nothing about this show is very memorable, and not to forget mentioning, the humor reeks.

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