"Kill Casshern... Devour Casshern..."
The Casshern franchise is one that dates back to the 70's with 'Neo-Human Casshern', with a four episode OVA called 'Casshern: Robot Hunter' later being released.
Then, in 2008, we got Casshern Sins, a totally different tale from the previous "Save the world/humanity!" themes present in the previous series's.
One day, an amnesiac Casshern awakens to a world flooded with Ruin- humans are dying off, unable to reproduce, and the once immortal robots are falling victims to rust. The world is on it's last legs, civilization as we know it is about to be wiped out.
There is, however, an odd rumor going about. If someone devours Casshern, they will regain their eternal life. And so sets off Casshern's journeys into the wastelands on his quest to answer- what happened to the world? Why is he not yet affected by the Ruin? Why does he seem to have a true immortality that even other robots in perfect condition couldn't obtain?
Just who was the supposed savior of the world, the Sun Named Moon, and what was his connection to her and the seemingly hopeless situation around him?
Casshern Sins is, in my humble opinion, quite possibly one of the best animes I've ever seen, one I'm willing to put on the same level as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (and just for the sake of my childhood, hell, let's throw Yu-Gi-Oh! into the mix! ... No? Ok...). The series itself tends to have a very episodic nature- it's primary focus for much of the series is Casshern's quest in itself, and tends to focus much on Casshern's encounters with people and robots (mostly robots) in the wastelands, some of which do not contribute anything to finding the Sun Named Moon. And honestly? It works out well. Yes, some episodes you can skip- a lot of episodes in fact. The plot itself advances very slowly until the end when everything begins to connect with one another, and as such Casshern Sins is sadly not for everyone. Many fans of fast-paced and fighting animes can easily find themselves bored with the world of Casshern Sins. While it does have some fast action sequences here and there, it's important to remember this series progresses very slowly- and in addition to this slow progression, it has an episodic nature thrown in to boot- again, many of which does not contribute to the ultimate quest that drives the main plot and back-story of Casshern Sins. But, who says this is bad in itself? It is an anime (before the end) that you could probably pick up mid-series and figure out what you need to know in 2-3 episodes. However, if you can look past that, you'll find yourself watching and enjoying the truly heartwrenching story of the greatest robot of them all- Casshern. If you cannot stand or sit through slow shows though, you'll probably find yourself unable to enjoy this series.
The soundtrack itself is beautiful- it was done by Kaoru Wada, the man who brought you the soundtracks of Inuyasha, Kingdom Hearts, D.Gray Man, Princess Tutu, and more. You'll probably agree it has a very (for lack of a better word) Japanese sound to it- much in the same way Inuyasha especially did, although the music isn't so limited. This series in particular was amazing with using the music to enhance the current emotion of the scene- especially with sadness.
I can't lie to you- this show is heart wrenchingly depressing at times. It's hard to go into detail, but when almost every episode (especially 2 and 9) makes grown men want to burst into tears, it's night impossible to watch this whole series without feeling at least a tug or two. While you might feel different about it, 'sad' really is the overall theme- even if it doesn't have the effect on you.
The art style is beautiful- especially when you're watching this on Blu-ray! I won't lie- after so much, you might eventually get tired of seeing the wasteland in the background. Even I did near the end since th background itself doesn't bring much to the plate besides just that- wastelands. Sometimes deserts. The characters, robots, and all the likes has extremely good art. It's pretty nice to watch, I won't lie. As you might be able to tell from the art of Casshern on the box, yeah, sometimes the characters are prone to anime hair syndrome, although rest assured- nobody's as bad here as Yugi Muto. As this character has roots in the 70's, and they haven't let old habits die. It shouldn't be so much a problem that it'll bother you, but I'd be lying if I said you won't notice it every now and then.
And finally, honestly, this is a very good price for what they're selling! DVD and Blu-ray for not even 40 dollars, a 16 disc special? That $74 list price is honestly very fair in my opinion, but off of Amazon.. it's a great deal for what you're getting. It really, really is. To be able to watch this series anywhere as long as you can at least play a basic DVD is an incredible deal for such a low price.
One can only hope that this show being on Toonami's new run will attract more people to the flock, and help Casshern rise from obscurity and into a new world. But, I promise you- with the right kind of mind and right attitude, Casshern Sins will not disappoint you!