When I promise to post something within a certain time frame, it usually gets delayed. When I promise delays, I find myself with so much free time that I’m fully up to date and don’t have anything to post. Funny, isn’t it? Anyways, I decided to use this time to promote Ray the Animation, a short series which… isn’t even that great (you’ll notice I’ve left ‘underrated’ out of the title :razz:). Still, it was very fun to watch, if mostly for the wrong reasons…
Plot summary: The main character, Ray, was brought up in a weird institute where children’s organs are sold for huge prices. Ray herself ends up losing her eyes, but is later rescued. She is then given new eyes by Black Jack (yes, THE Black Jack), but these are no ordinary eyes. They give her the ability to see through anything she wants to – walls, skin, clothes, whatever.
I can think of hundreds of uses for such a power, but Ray chooses to become an epic surgeon, using her vision to look into people’s bodies and identify the causes of whatever illness that week’s episode throws at her. She has some pretty awesome skills with a scalpel too, but I think that’s just her natural ability. Oh, and all the nurses in the hospital are martial artists. And the director is a one-eyed, peg-legged beardy pirate man who
repels boarders beats people up by spinning like a Beyblade. In summary, the world of Ray the Animation doesn’t seem to be a bad place to fall ill, as if you did you’d be in VERY safe hands.
What makes it worth watching? Actually, forget what I just said. The world of Ray the Animation isn’t a good place to fall ill at all, because the illnesses they have to deal with are FREAKING WEIRD. While at the start of the series they’re dealing with diseases that aren’t TOO much of a stretch of medical and biological science (especially if you’ve already accepted the protagonist having X-Ray vision), they get stranger and stranger with every episode. Some were sickening, others were just hilarious. All in all it made for very entertaining viewing, though often for the wrong reasons.
But of course, the show also has a larger mystery and plot behind everything – the evil organisation that sells children’s organs. There are two people in particular from her past that Ray is determined to find for different reasons: Koichi, another child who was her closest friend when she was in the institute, and a person only known as the ‘H-Ring Man’ (because he wears a ring with a H on it, believe it or not), who was in charge of the organisation. As the series progresses, we learn small amounts about both these characters, but the majority is kept back until the final few episodes when all is revealed.
The plot made sense and was pretty unique, I’ll give it that, but it was a little underwhelming compared to the hilarious medical monstrosities that made up the first half of the series. H-ring guy in particular was NOT what I was expecting – they built him up to be a generic bad guy, but when they revealed his motives… simple, pathetic, VERY creepy, but also very human.
Music and animation: The BGM was VERY cheesy. OP and ED themes were odd, but as I didn’t remember either of them, they can’t have left much of an impression. The animation wasn’t bad for the mid 2000’s, but I’ve seen better – I’ve always thought of OLM Inc. as being middle of the road, and Ray the Animation is no exception.
Possible reasons for it’s obscurity: Well the anime didn’t get a US release until the middle of last year, and to me it seems quite a risky title to have licensed – then again, this is coming from the company that licensed the equally obscure (and IMO far worse) Himawari!. It got fansubbed pretty quickly, but I guess most people’s eyes were on Ouran High School Host Club, Nana and xxxHOLiC that season. ADV also picked up the manga back in 2005, but it got dropped after three volumes.
Overall thoughts: I’m not going to lie. For the most part, this series is hilarious…ly bad. Then it tries to become serious towards the end, and while the plot isn’t awful, it was difficult for me to take anything seriously by that point – I just wanted them to come up with a new super disease! Ray remains a guilty pleasure though, and has some real comedic value, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered posting about it.
Anime-Planet average rating: 2.4/5
My personal rating: 2.5/5