Taboo Tattoo

Taboo Tattoo

img_4906.jpg“Tattoos” – ancient weapons that drastically enhance the physical abilities of their users, known as the “Sealed,” allowing them to bring forth supernatural phenomena when activated through the charging of the user’s own unique “trigger.” When Justice Akatsuka (a.k.a. “Seigi”) saves a man from some street punks, the man gives him a strange stone as a token of gratitude. The moment Seigi accepts it, a mysterious tattoo appears on his palm. And so the battle begins, framed by a web of conspiracies and centering around Justice Akatsuka, the boy who obtained a “tattoo” by complete chance.

I have to admit, I very nearly didn’t watch this one. The first episode was very slow and none of the characters seemed to leap out at me. Seigi, the main character, was dangerously close to being a personality-less male lead in an anime with plenty of strong females, which is one of my anime pet hates. Plus he had a seemingly superfluous childhood friend with ridiculously big breasts. As a result, I left this one alone whilst watching my way through some of the stronger stories in this season’s line-up. After a couple of weeks, I decided to give this one another go. Luckily, things seemed to pick up.

19565ccf-9f9a-4ce1-b01d-5c5bff96e6fc.jpgWhat I think kept Taboo Tattoo in my queue was how dark it can be at times. This is something that’s not necessarily reflected in the first episode so I would have missed this if I didn’t continue watching. Sure, there’s a bit of a skirmish in the first episode towards the end, but if you keep watching things get a little more complex, a bit gory and more interesting as we begin to see what’s at stake and the power of other mysterious tattoo users (or Sealed, in this case). Seigi is quickly pulled into a completely different world from the normality that he is used to, full of powerful people out to attack him thanks to the tattoo that he has unwittingly inherited.

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There were a few times when the producers would use 3D animation, usually when Seigi was moving across the city at a fast pace (by propelling himself off buildings, I might add) and things looked a bit… clunky. There wasn’t a lot of detail to the buildings, which was disappointing and it didn’t quite gel with the amount of detail in the other scenes. Either these have to get better fast or someone just avoid making the characters rush through the city streets at superhuman speeds. Apparently the animation just can’t keep up.

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The battle scenes, however, are very good – sharp and vicious with some great antagonist characters. When a fight is elongated things are nicely spliced so that the action is always moving between several battles to avoid things getting tedious, which is an effective way of maintaining the momentum when done properly (not looking at you here or anything, Bleach). With the hand-to-hand combat couples with the interesting limitations and destructive power of the tattoos, these are clearly the best thing about the anime. The actual storyline, at this early stage, is still a bit flimsy so I hope that things will come together a bit later on. Thankfully I have my selection of anime with intriguing plots and I was just looking for something a bit edgy and action-packed – and Taboo Tattoo fits that bill nicely.

img_4901.jpgThe music used here particularly stood out to me. The opening theme was very catchy and memorable (‘Belief’ by May’n) and the end credits too, both the music and the artwork. It’s one of those rare anime that I find myself watching all the credits because of the impressive artwork/musical combination. Throughout there is a kind of electronic, dub-step feel to the music that fits well with the content and the level of tension.

img_4915.jpgI wouldn’t say that Taboo Tattoo was one of the strongest anime in this season. There were plenty of others that grabbed my attention right off the bat and, of course, there are lots of anime I enjoyed in previous seasons that are now streaming a second that I am keen to watch. However, if you prefer a little gore and darkness to spice up your supernatural anime, then I would say to give this one a look.