Creator: Fukuchi Tsubasa
Length: 51 Episodes
+ Unique powers used by fighters
+ Differs from other fighting series
Poor character development
Easily predictable plot
Anti-climatic and rushed ending
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.
3 out of 5
The Law of Ueki Anime Review
Written by: Raye on 7/12/2006
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 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.
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.
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.
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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