Law of Ueki

The Boring Info The Characters The Terms
Ueki Kōsuke
Kobayashi
Mori Ai
Sano Seiichirō
Rinko Jerrard
Sōya Hideyoshi
Tenko
Zai
Blank Zai
Power Restriction
Jingi
The Songs The Opinion
Openings Endings
Falco
No Regret
こころの惑星~Little planets~
Earthship ~宇宙船地球号~
この街では誰もがみな自分以外の何かになりたがる
ボクたちにあるもの
True Blue


The Animoo

Law of UekiUeki Kōsuke, a young boy chosen to represent one of the 100 God Candidates in a battle that will decide who of the Candidates becomes the new God.

The kids representing the God Candidates have their own agenda though. All are after the “Blank Zai”, which can more or less, make their biggest dream come true, if used wisely. However, there are those who would use it in evil ways, such as being able to control the actions of people, of even the destruction of mankind. It is up to Ueki and his friends to win the tournament, and make sure that the Blank Zai will not be used for evil…


The Boring Info

The anime is 51 episodes long and is based on the 16-issue manga of the same name.
It is called うえきの法則 (Ueki no Hōsoku) in Japanese and La Ley de Ueki in Spanish.
Several minor character, no matter how important they may seem, will just dissappear without explanation, never to be heard from again (or at least not for a great many episodes).
The tree theme of the anime can also be seen in the names of the three main characters, 植 (Ueki, which also means “garden shrub“), (Mori), and 小, the bold kanji meaning “tree”, “forest”, and “grove”, respectively.


The Characters

In snack-sized bits

Ueki Kōsuke – A 13-year-old boy chosen by Kobayashi to be his representative. Initially, Ueki refuses, but after Kobayashi destroys a tree to show one of the many powers Ueki would be able to choose from, Ueki asks for a power to “fix” the tree. His power then becomes the one to turn trash in to trees. His personality is the atypical lead of any hero-type anime in this genre. He is somewhat of a dunce (or rather, he becomes one), and will disregard his own safety and even life in favor of protecting his friends and, just as often, total strangers.

Kobayashi – A God Candidate with a strong sense of justice and Ueki’s classroom teacher. He chose Ueki as his representative because Ueki showed the same type of justice that he himself did. During the course of the anime, it is revealed that Kobayashi is actually the reason behind Ueki’s strong determination, as he saved his life when Ueki fell off the roof of his elementary school, making Ueki want to be just like him. He is nicknamed “Koba-sen” (I assume it’s short for Kobayashi-sensei).

Mori Ai – Ueki’s classmate. When she is first seen, she’s stalking Ueki, and after witnessing his powers, believes him to be an alien (which I suppose was sort of right… at least if you ask the Integration Office). Initially powerless, she gains the ability to turn her opponent into a glass lover, which is apparently extremely dangerous, as according to Anon, despite the completely ridiculous requirement of being in a “goodie-two-shoes” pose (hands near the mouth, right leg bent in a 90-ish degree angle or more). He personality is over-energetic and often extremely irrational, but she cares for her friends.

Sano Seiichirō – A young boy with incredible battle sense. He has the power to turn towels into iron by holding his breath. He is probably on of the more creative power users, using his powers to fashion iron springs, spears, shields, boomerangs and whatnot from his towels. He prefers to jump right into things and take them as they come, which has often lead him into trouble.

Rinko Jerrard – Initially a part of Robert’s 10, she found a friend in Ueki, in fact, the first one she had ever had. This, along with the complete disregard by Robert in regards to the former members who had lost to Ueki, made her betray Robert despite being in love with him. Like Sano, she has found inovative ways of using her ability to turn beads into bombs in order to make “rocked shoes” and several other weapons. Unlike Sano though, she prefers to think things trough before doing anything, which ironically gets her into just as much trouble as Sano. She has an incredible weakness for animals and anything she finds cute, but also has quite an evil side to her…

Sōya Hideyoshi – Hideyoshi, a self proclaimed master of tricks. He has the ability to “paint portraits” of a persons voice onto any object up to 10 meters away, on the condition that he can bend a finger or a toe. He can then turn it back into a voice in order to deceive his enemies. While weak in battle, he will still fight for his friends and use his tricks along with his power to make constant surprise attacks.

Tenko – Tenko is a Heavenly Beast who had been held captive in Hell’s Prison for thousands of years on a false charge. He was broken out by Koba-sen and sent after Ueki. Despite threatening to eat Ueki, Ueki manages to persuade Tenko into helping Ueki with defeating Robert. Tenko has his great size due to a birth defect, which allowed him to bypass the changes to his DNA made by Heavenly Beings (this had been done to all Heavenly Beings). His eyes are able to tell what level a Heavenly Being is on. For each start level, on of Tenko’s eyes will light up (he has a total of 10).


The Terms

Zai
Zai are like the natural abilities of a person. For instance, if one had the Zai of Doing Back flips, one would be naturally able to back flips, without having to have tried it before. This is not to mean that it will be impossible by someone not possessing a Zai to do the same, but in their case, it will require effort and hard work in order to achieve the same result. Zai do not have to be active abilities, they can also be passive, like the Zai of Being Like by Animals.

All people are born with a certain amount of Zai, and what exact Zai they are born with differs from person to person. On of the rules of the contest Ueki enters, is that every time a power user defeats/knocks out another power user, the winner will gain one additional Zai. However , if a power user uses their powers to harm a non-power user, they will lose one Zai for each hit. One can get around this by using brute force.

Blank Zai
The Blank Zai is, as the name suggests, a blank Zai. When one power user fights another, the “prize” Zai for that battle is predetermined and the power users have no “say in the matter”. However, the grand prize, the Blank Zai, can be written on by the winner of tournament and give them one ability of their liking.

Power Restriction
Power Restriction refers to the Achilles’ Heel of every power. It’s a requirement that must be fulfilled for a power user’s power to activate. The restrictions can be material, e.g. Ueki has to be in possession of trash, otherwise he has nothing to turn into trees; they can be physical, e.g. Sano’s power only works while he’s holding his breath; or they can even be somewhat abstract, e.g. Robert has to give up a year of his life every time he uses his powers to create ideals (but may use that ideal however often he wishes after that).

Jingi
Jingi means “Sacred Treasure” and are weapons/equipment usable by Heavenly Beings only. A Heavenly Being can rise up to 10 so-called “star levels”, and for each level, they become able to use a Jingi corresponding to that level. The higher level a Jingi is, the more powerful it is. If a Heavenly Being has a special power, they can fuse that power with the Jingi to make them even more powerful as well as give them a new appearance.


The Songs

Openings

Falco is performed by Hitomi Shimatani and was used in episodes 1-32. It has a sort of Egyptian techno-feel to it, and during the first few seconds of music, I find myself making weird, fluid hand motions, Ejipshun stail! That’s probably what hooked me to it. The starting music that allows weird, fluid hand motions. It’s a pretty decent song, and the chorus is ½ a nudge up compared to the rest of the song. It’s odd in the way that even when you don’t really like it, you still like it, just to be able to do the hand motions and bob your shoulders and head from side to side.

The animation is taken from various scenes featured in the anime, and the single “portraits” have been drawn especially for the opening.


No Regret is performed by Kumi Koda and was used in episodes 33-51. If you’ve ever played Final Fantasy X-2, you can blame her for the two songs in it. She is somewhat of a hottie though… Anywho, the song is in her regular style (of the song’s I’ve heard from her), a kind of poppy, upbeat music, with lyrics going a tad darker. The chorus is decent, and even somewhat catchy, but I can’t say it’ll leave an impression. It’s the kind of song you’d listen to at a “mellow” club, before it really sets off (i.e. 20 minutes before/after it actually opens), I suppose.

The animation is once again clips from episodes in the anime, with a few added stills.



Endings

こころの惑星~Little planets~ (Planet of the Heart ~Little Planets~) is performed by Aiko Kayo and was used in episodes 1-15. It’s a slow, slightly sad song, but it’s really good. First verse in every bridge/chorus (I’m not sure what it is, the part with “Planeeeets” and everything with the same rhythm…), ruins it slightly though, but overall, it’s a great song. The music is excellent, and it complements the singer’s voice beautifully.

The animation is a “slide show” of still pictures focusing mainly on Ueki, Koba-sen, and Mori, but still features the remaining main characters during the chorus.


Earthship ~宇宙船地球号~ The title is as close as it’s gonna get to the Japanese without sounding weird. Otherwise, it would be “The Spaceship, Earth”. Anywho, it is performed by SweetS and was used in episodes 16-32. I’m not too fond of it. I like the music, and the guitar riff is actually extremely cool, but mixed with the added vocals (which by themselves aren’t bad), it sounds very messy, and after listening to it a couple of times, it actually started giving me a headache. Not a bad song for a single listen or two.

The animation features the main cast of the anime, each with different foregrounds or backgrounds. The background is always the one moving, while the foreground is static. Whether the character is on one or the other, differs.


この街では誰もがみな自分以外の何かになりたがる (Everyone in this town want to become “someone”, except for myself) is performed by The Ivory Brothers and was used in episodes 33-42 and is a pretty fun song. The singer is clearly talented, and after the first verse, it goes into a 70s-80s disco kind of thing á la The Jackson 5, but it works! This song is so corny that it’s awesome, I can’t put it in a better way.

Once again, the animation features “stills” of all the characters. Everyone seems to have been given a color theme though.


ボクたちにあるもの (…) is performed by Romi Paku and was used in episodes 43-50. Earthship made my head hurt, this made my ears bleed… If you’re into Jap songs trying to sound Greek by having a person start hyperventilating while playing the pan flute, you’ll enjoy this song. If you don’t, you’ll want to go into a rage and slaughter anyone who says anything slightly annoying while this is playing, just to get it out of your system.

I don’t know what the animation is, I saw it once all the way through, and I regret it because of the song, so I’m trying to suppress the memory of it. What I can figure out from the bits I still remember is that it’s right after the final fight with Anon.


True Blue is performed by Hitomi Shimatani and played in the final episode only. It’s not really an ending in the common sense of the word, since the final episode doesn’t have such a sequence. Rather, the song plays during the final parts of the epilogue. All I can say is that it’s a nice background song.


The Opinion

I’m having mixed feelings about this anime, I really am, so I think I’ll write it as a two-parter, giving the good and the bad sides of it.

The Good: The anime had a very good idea to keep the viewer plastered to the the screen and follow the series, cause every time something started feeling somewhat stale and reused, there would be an “upgrade” of sorts. Ueki gets powers to turn trash into trees, interesting, reuse, reuse, reuse, gets boring –> Oh, he’s a heavenly being and can use Sacred Treasures, interesting, reuse, reuse –> oh, he gained some new star levels and gained some new Treasures, interesting –> Oh, there’s a level 2 to his powers, so now he can use several Sacred Weapons at the same time, interesting –> oh, that was a side effect of his regular powers, and not his level 2 powers, which have yet to be revealed, interesting… Well, you get my point. Anyway, this constant change is enough to keep you hooked, even in the slightly boring episodes, because you know something is gonna get upgraded and you wanna see what odd powers people have.

The Bad: While you will get hooked and likely watch it to the end, when you finally get there, you will have this feeling of something missing. Don’t get me wrong, it does have an epilogue of sorts, that tells you what happened to all the characters, but that’s not what I mean. When it ends, it a sorta “… Oh, well… uhm… yeah” feeling you get, and then you move on with your life. You haven’t really learned anything from it, an you don’t really have a desire to do anything related to the anime after seeing it, like e.g. after watching Bartender, you might want to learn how to mix a few cocktails. So it’s kind of hollow (first one to make a Bleach joke will receive tons of hate-mail from yours truly).

The Law of Ueki fun, and it has all the right things, but the “umph” that sets it apart from every other anime is sort of missing, which makes it not very memorable. So while you watch it, it is made of Teh Awesome, but as soon as its over, it’s just another anime not really worth remembering.

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