Plot: Four years after the ending of 3×3 Eyes, Pai is still missing and Yakumo continues to search high and low for her. He eventually finds her living as the high school girl Pai, or Pa-bo, Ayanokoji, and she has no memories of who she really—Oh come on. Amnesia? Really? Anyway, she doesn’t remember who or what she really is, who Yakumo is or anything else about her life before four years ago. Yakumo and she decide to go off and find a way to unlock her memories, but Benares is still around waiting to resurrect Kaiyanwang.
Damn shame too. I was actually looking forward to some resolution but nope. Just a ton of confusion, the always cliché since the beginning of time plot point of lost memories and an ending that, while being unexpected at least, was just plain stupid and still resolved nothing.
I will give this series some credit. The pacing is at least better than it was in the original series. It plays things out at a fairly decent pace now with three episodes coming in at 45 to 50 minutes long each instead of four episodes with a half hour each, but that is just weighed against the story issues, continuity problems and even the fact that the show is basically ignoring most of the first series.
The show’s main issue of amnesia really does just make you roll your eyes, and it negatively impacts this show hard. Even when it’s done well, amnesia stories are overplayed in every medium. Oh and let’s not forget the little thing about Pai already having some modicum of amnesia in the last series as she wasn’t able to remember anything before she started journeying to become human. So now she has compounded amnesia and dual identities.
To make matters worse, the amnesiac Pai, or Pa-bo, is extremely annoying. Whereas Pai was very innocent, cute and even funny, Pa-bo just cries and calls out the names of various people when they get hurt. She’s very much your stereotypical whiny female lead, mostly useless, and that’s just painful. I missed the hell out of Pai during this whole show, and she never returned once.
Yakumo used these past four years to get much more badass, and I welcome that change because it was something I really wanted out of the first series. However, since Yakumo went up in badassness and Pai got a major downgrade, he’s now pretty much the typical knight in shining armor who just fights and tells Pai to run away.
We have some new characters this time around.
Jake MacDonald is your stereotypical loud, incredibly rude and violent American character who only cares about money, money and more money. He wishes to enter the Holy Land of the Sanjiyan in order to gain everlasting youth because somehow this will make him a millionaire and not a government experiment.
Neparva is a Tibetan monk who has been helping Yakumo for some amount of time.
Tin Zin is a funny old master monk.
Ran Pao Pao is a feral demon child who has the ability to turn into a giant four-armed crazed demon. While she was initially controlled by some random bad guy named Choukai (who also has the most annoying laugh ever), she befriended Pai because she was kind to her and now acts as her servant.
And no, no old characters besides Pai, Benares and Yakumo appear in this series. No Ling Ling. No Mei Shin. In fact, no mention of them whatsoever is in this series, which is incredibly weird considering they still have the statue of humanity that is needed to turn Pai into a human.
We do learn more about the Sanjiyan (though calling them ‘holy demons’ kinda threw me. In addition to being an oxymoron, they were just called flat out demons in the original) and we learn a little bit more of Pai’s past, such as the fact that her real name is Parvati the Fourth and she was actually engaged to Kaiyanwang before he became all evil. Why he became evil or how child Pai sealed him away when he slaughtered all of the Sanjiyan without issue is never explained, but something’s better than nothing.
The ending was…..so weird. Follow me here. Amnesiac Pai wasn’t even Pai at all. In order to seal her memories (instead of just killing her because Benares wanted to use her power to strengthen Kaiyanwang when he awakened) Benares used a demon snake and turned it into three diamond symbols. During their battle at the end of the previous series, he used his attack to strike her head with the symbols. The snake, or Hawasho, didn’t just seal Pai and Sanjiyan’s memories, the snake became the new Pai that they’ve been conversing with this whole time….
I was side-swiped by this. Not many mysteries end with ‘And she was a snake the whole time!’
Hawasho has two choices at the end – either obey Benares’ orders and forget about all of this yet again in order to live out her life with her friends like she wanted, or she could recite a spell that would release the snake from Pai’s body, unleashing the real Pai and Sanjiyan and simultaneously destroy both him and the altar of Kaiyanwang.
She decides to do the latter after kissing Yakumo, which, considering we now know she was a snake this whole time, is kinda icky. I don’t even know why Benares gave her that choice.
After this, Benares is gone, Kaiyanwang can no longer be resurrected I think and Sanjiyan has returned. Pai’s personality is sleeping for some reason so Sanjiyan is running her body now, and she decides to stay in her holy land to recharge until Pai comes back out.
Sanjiyan is also being oddly kindhearted for some reason. She’s come out twice in this series and both times she was pretty OOC. The first time was understandable because she didn’t remember who or what she was so she was acting like a crazed psycho out of frustration and confusion, but kindness out of her when she remembers who she is is just weird.
She tells Yakumo to wait in Tokyo until the day Pai finally awakens, but that’s not all. Sanjiyan has somehow granted Hawasho with the life of Pai Ayanokoji now sporting brown hair instead of black, which is even stranger because Sanjiyan still has black hair when she’s supposed to have brown….And Pai’s eyes are consistently covered up for some reason. She also has no memories, again, of her adventures with Yakumo.
This part was also quite odd to me…..Yes, even outside of the obvious. It’s not like we knew Hawasho before this happened. It’s a non-character that was introduced 20 minutes into the final episode. Sure, we know Hawasho as Pa-bo, but that was the demon snake’s personality while trying to fulfill Benares’ wishes. Hawasho was technically the one with amnesia. We’re basically supposed to be happy that a random snake demon got her happily ever after.
While this ending did resolve the big issue with Benares and Kaiyanwang, in a really really really unsatisfying way especially considering that Kaiyanwang never got revived, it barely even addressed the main theme of the entire show which is to make Pai human. They didn’t even unlock the secrets of the Statue of Humanity from the previous series. Who knows if they ever did it because it was last in the hands of Ling Ling and Mei Shin, neither of which are even mentioned in this series.
I guess we’re just supposed to assume that, down the line, Pai becomes human and Yakumo gets his humanity back as well and they live a happy human life ever after, but why waste all of this series on amnesia when you could’ve been addressing the main story all along?
Art and Animation: I actually think both are a step down from the original. It doesn’t look as detailed, Pai’s fang is suspiciously missing, and the animation seems kinda clunky at times. The colors also seem a bit off as Pai’s eyes look almost pink sometimes, and, like I mentioned, her hair is black for some reason throughout most of the series instead of her regular brown.
Music: I still really liked the music, even if it didn’t seem as memorable as the original.
Bottomline: It was just such a disappointment. Supposedly the manga fleshes out things much better so I’ll probably check that out, but I really wanted the anime to be great. Don’t get me wrong, there were still various cool parts, touching scenes and funny lines, but not nearly as endearing or awesome as the original series.
Additional Information and Notes: 3X3 Eyes Seima Densetsu was directed by Kiyoko Sayama, who also directed Saber Marionette J to X, Skip Beat!! and Vampire Knight. It was written by Kazuhisa Takenouchi, produced by Studio Junio, now known as SynergySP and is currently licensed in the US by Geneon, now known as NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan LLC.
Recommended Audience: Yakumo’s still immortal so he continues to flex his gore muscles. Several other characters also get pretty badly wounded to the point where I have no clue how they survived. There are a couple of instances of bare female chest, one from a mannequin demon and a few more from demonized Ran Pao Pao, which considering she spends half of her time as a small child can actually be kinda squicky. She’s also naked as a child several times. Some mild swearing, no sex. 14+
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