Well, the Winter 2022 anime season has wrapped up! Being the super selective anime watcher I’ve become that means it’s time for me review the singular anime I watched! That being non-other than Rusted Armors. I promise this won’t be a complete regurgitation of my first impression post, but it might be worth checking out for some comparison and contrast.
I’m sure the morbid curiosity of those who didn’t watch is overwhelming, so let’s revisit my updated plot synopsis-
Rusted Armors is the tale of Saika village verses the world. The village of Saika exists rather peacefully where all inhabitants are treated equally, and are protected by seven wielders of armors. A type of weaponry that connects with the uses spiritual energy, and can give them incredible power. They are led of all people, Magoichi, who washed ashore one day with no memory but a fierce sense of community. The village of Saika is then attacked by the conquistadors of Spain, lead by the fearsome and blood thirsty Lucio who seems hellbent on his target Magoichi. The armors users are decimated by the conquistadors superior strength and that’s when Saburo appears and offers the village of Saika a solution.
Now, there’s a lot of other things to unpack here that some might not be aware of but does add some context. Rusted Armors is the animated adaptation of a stage play of the same name, that does have a sequel. The stage play actors all reprise their roles here as their respective characters. Additionally, there is also a two volume manga adaptation as well, so this is just another take of it.
With that aside, Rusted Armors is pretty a bit sub par in terms of actual story. It’s set in an interesting period time, in a unique area of Japan with a bit of a twist which is all a positive. It’s unfortunate that it trots out the tried and true formula of historical action show; throw us into the story, have a battle, oh no we kinda suck, here’s a mentor some flashbacks and training, etc etc until the final big battle. It’s very paint by the numbers, which depending on what you’re looking for, can be good or bad.
When it comes to more positive elements, I have to say sound is one of them. The biggest part being surprisingly the voice acting cast. I don’t want to be repetitive, but again for a bunch of relative newbies their performances were fairly impressive. Particularly, Sato Taiki who I know and love from FANTASTICS fame was impressive. He faltered a bit in the flashbacks, and some scenes were a bit over the top – but I’d rather it be a bit more over the top then boring. The shining jewel of voice actors was in fact Sato Ryuji. I might have been baffled by his first episode, but the subsequent episodes he got room to actually talk and my god he makes a great villain. I could feel the menace dripping from his voice when he talked, and it was gripping.
Similarly, the sound design was really well respected. There’s a lot of care taken to make sure the sounds of swords, guns, and armor are accurate. The sound of a gun firing makes the animation have weight to it, same with the clashes of swords against armor and other materials. Each character has a distinct set of footsteps, or lack there of, and it really subtly builds up the world of Rusted Armors well. Of course, the OP and ED’s won’t be to everyone’s liking but for a fan of the Sato Taiki like me it’s well appreciated.
So now we can get to what most viewers probably want me to fully rip apart here; the animation. I’m sorry I can’t give you that satisfaction, because aside from a few parts here and there my commentary hasn’t changed by much. I will admit due to the limited expressions of the characters that a lot of the more emotional scenes did not hit as deeply as they should have. I can also admit that especially in the last episode, Rusted Armors did cheap out filling in the falling action with more placeholder slide-show minimal animated 2D clips verses the 3D animation. It was disappointing of course, but not unexpected as we’ve seen this happen to plenty of other shows, 3D or otherwise.
All that being said, I do need to walk back my claims that Rusted Armors uses motion capture. I haven’t found anything that substantiate those claims I made in the first impression and so I apologize for that. The more accurate phrase would be that I suspect, again I haven’t seen the stage plays yet, – they replicated key sequences from the stage plays. Or more inspiration from how the actors moved and portrayed the characters in live action. That’s my suspicion, but the jury is still out on that.
Either way, Rusted Armors had more weight to it when prior animations. You can call it ‘cutting corners’ by cutting between 2D and 3D animation for the action, I would chalk it up to a directorial choice to make it more interesting. It was a bit disappointing to see this used again during the final battle, which gutted the impact a bit – it wasn’t entirely unexpected based on the previous battles. The animation in this series isn’t for everyone, but at least for me it was engaging and fun while it aired.
For my final thoughts, would I recommend Rusted Armors to the general anime consuming audience? Not really, I’ve seen what’s been written elsewhere and a lot of people are ignoring the flaws of the story just to rip the animation a new one. I’d say this story really does have a unique personality; the sound design, soundtrack, voice acting, character designs, and even the almost ukiyoe-esque backgrounds are something to behold. Unfortunately, despite those positives the weak and predictable storyline, coupled with the less accepted form of animation renders Rusted Armors rather unremarkable at the end.
I have to say I dropped out of this one fairly quickly…but then, I have dropped out of a LOT of the anime that have been on offer recently…I wonder if there’s something wrong with me? 🤔
LikeLiked by 1 person
I mean, I go through waves with anime. Sometimes everything looks good and I’ve watching everything. Sometimes everything looks awful and I watch exactly one. lol I wouldn’t sweat it.
LikeLiked by 1 person