Cover of Level E volume 1 as released by Shueisha on March 4, 1996 in Japan
|Genre||Comedy, horror, science fiction|
|Written by||Yoshihiro Togashi|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Original run||October 2, 1995 – January 15, 1997|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Toshiyuki Kato|
|Written by||Jukki Hanada|
|Music by||Kunihiko Ryo|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||January 11, 2011 – April 5, 2011|
Level E (Japanese: レベルE Hepburn: Reberu Ī) is a comic science fiction manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi. The plot follows an alien prince who crash lands on Earth and begins living with a high school student. Along with its short length and more realistic art style, the story of Level E focuses much more heavily on humor than Togashi's more famous shōnen series YuYu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter.
Level E was originally serialized in the Japanese Shueisha magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1995 to 1997 for a total of 16 chapters. These chapters have since been collected into three volumes, as well as two magazine-style books. An anime adaptation of Level E was produced by Pierrot and David Production and aired on TV Tokyo in early 2011.
Earth has been populated by thousands of aliens from all over the galaxy. While all the other aliens are aware of their presence, it is a secret only from the Earthlings. Baka, the prince of the planet Dogra, crash lands on Earth and loses his memory. He forcibly moves in with Yukitaka Tsutsui, a first year high school student who had just moved out on his own. The normal life he once knew is quickly pulled away as he becomes the target of the prince's torment.
- Prince Baka (バカ王子 baka-ōji, lit. "stupid prince")
- Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese); Vic Mignogna (English)
- The effeminate-looking first prince of the planet Dogura. He has an exceptionally high IQ and has little interest other than using it to torment those around him for his own amusement. His real name is Baka Ki El Dogra (バカ＝キ＝エル・ドグラ Baka Ki Eru Dogura), but everybody refers to him solely as Prince or Prince Baka.
- Yukitaka Tsutsui (筒井 雪隆 Tsutsui Yukitaka)
- Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Japanese); Micah Solusod (English)
- High school student and the Prince's roommate. Plays baseball. A former punk.
- Miho Edogawa (江戸川 美歩 Edogawa Miho)
- Voiced by: Satomi Akesaka (Japanese); Lindsay Seidel (English)
- Yukitaka's next door neighbor and school mate. Miho's father is a researcher studying alien life on Earth. Has been taught to notice hidden cameras, tracking devices and secret guards.
- Captain Kraft (クラフト隊長 Kurafuto-taichō)
- Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (Japanese); Jason Douglas (English)
- Captain of the Royal Guard Army. He is in his tenth year. His top priority is that of the Prince's body guard. Fifth year guard, Sado, and first year, Colin, work under him.
Level E was written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, who had established himself as a prominent manga artist with his popular action series YuYu Hakusho. When the decision was made to serialize Level E, Togashi had only created the first chapter. Because the story involved the protagonist as an alien changing each chapter, he titled the manga "Alien Crises". He quickly changed it to its final name after being told the former title was too explicit. After renting a videotape called "Level 4", he affirmed to himself that he should name the series using the first English language letter of the word "alien". He was informed that the first letter was "A" and not "E", but he replied that he always associated the term with E.T.. Togashi has stated that he is a fan of the horror genre of films and has cited visual effects designer H. R. Giger (of the Alien franchise) as a major influence. Togashi based the setting of Level E on his own hometown of Yamagata with close attention to detail. For the humor, Togashi took inspiration from the gag manga Gaki Deka.
The Level E manga began its serialization in the 42nd 1995 issue of Shueisha magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan, and ran until the combined 3rd-4th issue on January 15, 1997. A total of sixteen chapters were collected into three volumes (tankōbon) altogether. The first was released on March 4, 1996, the second on October 3, 1996, and the third on May 1, 1997. In addition, Level E was re-released as part of the Shueisha Jump Remix series of magazine-style books, with two volumes being released in 2009. It was also re-published by Shueisha into two bunkoban volumes released on September 17, and October 15, 2010. Level E has been translated into Chinese, serialized in the magazine Formosa Youth, and released in volume format by Tong Li Publishing in the Republic of China (Taiwan). It was also published in Brazil by Editora JBC, in France by Kazé, and Spain by Planeta DeAgostini Comics.
|1||An alien on the planet||March 4, 1996||ISBN 4-08-872071-7|
|2||Here come color ranger!!||October 3, 1996||ISBN 4-08-872072-5|
|3||Full moon...!||May 1, 1997||ISBN 4-08-872073-3|
A 13-episode anime adaptation of Level E was produced by Pierrot and David Production. The series originally aired on Japan's TV Tokyo from January 11, 2011 to April 5, 2011. The show's opening theme, "Cold Finger Girl" (コールドフィンガーガール Kōrudo Fingā Gāru), is performed by Chiaki Kuriyama, and its ending theme, "(Yume) ~Mugennokanata~" (｢夢｣〜ムゲンノカナタ〜), is performed by ViViD. Crunchyroll has simulcast the series on their streaming website in other parts of the world one hour after each initial TV Tokyo airing. As stated by Kun Geo, the website's CEO, “TV Tokyo's streaming of Level E shows their commitment to bringing anime to a global audience. We are honored to be able to present this title from one of the greatest manga creators of all-time, and to be able to say that Crunchyroll's streaming of this title will directly contribute to the financial viability of all parties involved in the production, from broadcaster to animator to creator.” Funimation has announced that they have licensed the TV series at Katsucon 2012.
|1||"An Alien on the Planet"||January 11, 2011|
|An alien invites himself into Tsutsui's apartment, and hilarity ensues.|
|2||"Run After the Man"||January 18, 2011|
|Captain Kraft's team finally locates Prince Baka in Tsutsui's apartment, along with a seemingly dead Disckonian alien in the trash can.|
|3||"Risky Game!"||January 25, 2011|
|Cornered by the hostile Disckonian gang, our heroes appear to be doomed when the truth is suddenly revealed -- and truth is stranger than fiction.|
|4||"From the Darkness"||February 1, 2011|
|The existence of a woman-devouring alien is being investigated -- or is it?|
|5||"Here Come Color Ranger!!"||February 8, 2011|
|The Baka Prince kidnaps 5 human kids and turns them into the color rangers against their wills.|
|6||"Dancing in the Trap!!"||February 15, 2011|
|The 5 color rangers finally manages to take the transformation wristband off but was met with a surprise from the Baka Prince. They soon find themselves in a rpg world created by none other than Baka Prince.|
|7||"Game Over...!?"||February 22, 2011|
|The color rangers decides to play into Baka Prince's scheme and tries to defeat the Demon Lord.|
|8||"You're My Darling!"||March 1, 2011|
|Princess of the Macbac race descends to Earth to look for a potential mate with the consequences that whoever mates with her will have their race destroyed.|
|9||"Love Me Tender"||March 8, 2011|
|Baka Prince gets wind of the situation and joins the action.|
|10||"Boy Meets Girl"||March 15, 2011|
|Shimizu of the 5 color rangers is moving to America with his family. On the way home he runs into a mermaid alien whom he later tries to save.|
|11||"Field of Dreams!"||March 22, 2011|
|Yukitaka Tsutsui and his baseball team warps into someone's mind on the way to their semi-final match.|
|12||"Half Moon…!"||March 29, 2011|
|Prince Baka's little brother and Princess Luna, his betrothed, comes to Earth to convince Baka Prince to marry Princess Luna and become the King.|
|13||"Full moon…!"||April 5, 2011|
|Prince Baka discovers that both Prince Baka's Brother and Princess Luna are impostors. In order to counter the two's plot which is to have a bloodless revolution by making Prince Baka marry Princess Luna, he set up the two. However, as he finished implementing his "clever" plan, the tables turned and Prince Baka was married to the real Princess Luna.|
Several pieces of merchandise that tie into the anime have been released. These include CD singles for the opening and closing themes, apparel, and towels. Aniplex released Level E on DVD in Japan beginning on February 23, 2011, concluding with the sixth volume on July 27, 2011. It included as between two and three episodes apiece, as well as extra features.
Carl Kimlinger of the Anime News Network gave an average grade to the first six episodes of the series, though he found that the artwork, animation, and music were good, and that its writing was "undeniably clever, even audacious". However, the reviewer felt the series to be less and less endearing to watch, particularly after the first three episodes, the absence of character Yukitaka Tsutsui, and the use of mini-story arcs. "There's a quixotic dignity in its use of entire story-arcs to set up single gags and a laudable courage in its willingness to experiment (check out the aged atmosphere created by episode four's thick lines and faded colors)," Kimlinger summarized. "That doesn't make it fun to watch, however. In fact, each successive episode leaves one feeling emptier and less charitable towards Prince than the last." Erin Finnegan of the same website made similar comments regarding the narrative progression of Level E. Finnegan stated, "Maybe it's just me. I can't get attached to characters who are only going to be around for a few episodes unless they make an incredible impression, otherwise it's very hard to write loveable characters that will only last for three or four episodes. [...] In Level E, it's hard to get attached to the Prince, who doesn't appear at all in some episodes, and in other episodes he gets very little screen time. Plus he's such a jerk, it's hard to like him or care about his shenanigans."
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