The Law of Ueki is an anime series based on the manga created by Tsubasa Fukuchi. It is released during the same period where it follows the similar concept of battles among superpowers. Such concept is popular a decade ago, especially with anime such as M.A.R, Shaman King, and Rekka no Honoo. In a sense, it is a shonen anime from the beginning till the end. With 51 episodes long, this is one of the lengthier series that does not depend on ‘Seasons’ style of story continuation. Now, let’s get into the review!
The basic premise is set in modern Japan and also in a fictional God’s world above. One day, a God King decides to hold a contest to select the next God King. Each candidate is allowed to choose one high school student and the student represents his/her candidate in each battle. What’s more, each student is granted a special power of their choice but it comes with its own limitation. Ueki is one of the chosen students to participate, but he really doesn’t really care about it. However, little did he know that the battle might cost his friend’s life. Will he be able to save his friend from the oncoming students with super powers?
The Law of Ueki uses a pretty simple artstyle that does not border on complicated design at all. In fact, most of the backgrounds and characters have solid colours and almost none of those watercolours or beautiful mix of colours seen in higher-budget anime. However, the design and colour are easy on the eyes, allowing us to focus more on the characters and the actions themselves. The art is just as light hearted as the narrative itself.
Animation wise, there are plenty of fast action fighting sequences with those superpowers that will catch your attention. They are neither the smoothest nor the best choreographed, but it just works and fits the quality of the arts. There are some 3D CGI but this is done to the minimum, thankfully, and most of the actions are still drawn by hands.
There are plenty of characters to be found in this anime series, especially so when it is about students fighting each other. Thankfully, with such a myriad of characters, most of them look different from one another. In fact, you can easily recognise a character through a specific physical trait by the shirts, hairstyle of just the super power itself. Characters have different abilities with different personalities that are the opposite one another. I particularly love the simplicity of the main character that is the epitome of shonen mc with his strong sense of justice yet with a careless attitude. The rest of his friends are also interesting bunch with quirky traits which leads to quite a few comedic scenes. With that said, the relationships between characters are not very complex, so don’t expect any more from dark stories/dark pasts like other anime with darker tones.
The premise is as simple as it gets until the second half. As expected of a more typical Shonen anime genre, there is hardly any complex plot with complex characters. Nor are there any gory or violence that borders on Seinen or mature anime style. I like how it begins with the gradual introduction of the characters and the rules of the game. However, it takes some time for the story to flow along to the more interesting midsection. The antagonist is introduced fairly quickly, which I really like, especially with the beginning few episodes being quite draggy. The second half, though, is a marked improvement over the first with more stuff to be discovered and also a twist.
This anime is one of the few that constantly reuses its own music. In total, there are only 5 OSTs in J-Rock style being repeated throughout the episodes. The opening theme is used in both the awesome moments and a slower remix is used for the sad scenes. One grace I could find is that the music themselves and the remix are pretty good. However, too much repetition can make some episodes seem dull by comparison.