This Ugly yet Beautiful World
|This Ugly yet Beautiful World|
North American cover of the first DVD.
(Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Shouji Saeki|
|Original run||April 1, 2004 – June 16, 2004|
|Written by||Ashita Morimi|
|Original run||August 27, 2004 – July 27, 2005|
This Ugly yet Beautiful World (この醜くも美しい世界 Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai) is an anime television series created by Shouji Saeki and Hiroyuki Yamaga. It was co-produced by the Gainax and Shaft animation studios.
The series aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 1, 2004 to June 16, 2004, totaling 12 episodes. A manga adaptation, illustrated by Ashita Morimi, was serialized in Hakusensha's Young Animal.
Takeru and Ryou are high school students who work doing deliveries for the former's uncle. One night, the two go to investigate a mysterious light in the woods only to find a young girl emerging from the light. Takeru and Ryou are attacked by an alien, which is defeated when Takeru transforms into a powerful and strange-looking beast himself. The girl, whom the boys name "Hikari" (light), is taken in by Takeru when she confesses to having no memory of who she is.
They are later joined by Jennifer Portman, an American scientist with an interest in the boys and Hikari; Ioneos, a shape-shifting robot loyal to Hikari; Kuon, a little floating alien; and Akari, Hikari's "sister", who also appeared just as Hikari did. The series follows the daily lives of its characters as they learn about the human condition, Hikari and Akari's alien origins, and face the incoming monsters and catastrophes.
- Takeru Takemoto
- Voiced by: Takahiro Mizushima (Japanese); Braden Hunt (English)
- Takeru Takemoto is the series' main character. He comes off as a lazy and unmotivated teenager, but is really just unsure of his place in the world. He found and named Hikari in the woods in the first episode. After finding Hikari, Takeru gains inexplicable new powers which allow him to transform into a powerful, yet primal being with incredible lethality, but has also been shown to be able to transform into something between his human and monster forms. This power is later explained to be a result of Extended Definition. Takeru eventually develops a love interest in Hikari, ultimately convincing Hikari to spare the world for their love. It is shown that he has some feelings for Mari, but only as a relative. He is obsessed with motorcycles and wanted to take Hikari on a journey throughout the country on one.
- Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese); Cynthia Martinez (English)
- A mysterious girl who 'fell from the sky', Hikari fell in love with Takeru at first sight after being found in the first episode. She is very cheerful and thinks that almost everything is beautiful. While she can not remember anything before the day Takeru found her, it is later discovered her purpose is to destroy Earth. She is the goddess of darkness, death, and destruction. Hikari has split personalities, and her appearance changes depending on which one is dominant; her "good" personality is characterized by orange hair and green eyes, and her "evil" personality is characterized by pink hair and red eyes. By the series' end, she decides to destroy the earth, but Takeru stops her with his love for her. In the end of the anime, Hikari lives with Akari in the stars, though promises to return. Her name means "Light."
- Ryou Ninomiya
- Voiced by: Fujiko Takimoto (Japanese); Quentin Haag (English)
- Ryou Ninomiya is Takeru's best friend and is favored by many of the girls at school because of his gentle nature. He is consistently called "Ryou-sama" by Sakurako and Amika. He is the one who found Akari and throughout the series develops feelings for her. He too develops special powers, his being the ability to grant his wishes, shown by blue spirals on his hands.
- Voiced by: Ai Shimizu (Japanese); Jessica Boone (English)
- Akari is a girl that appears just as mysteriously as Hikari. Ryou finds her in the forest and makes her part of his family. She considers Hikari her older sister, and she grows very attached to Ryou and Kimi. Akari later reveals that she and Hikari are actually one being and that they were split into two during their landing. The part of Hikari's personality that does not want the earth destroyed is manifested in Akari. In the end of the anime, she and Hikari wander the stars with only each other. Her name means "Bright."
- Mari Nishino
- Voiced by: Asami Sanada (Japanese); Luci Christian (English)
- Mari Nishino is Takeru's cousin, While she nags Takeru for various reasons, Mari harbors jealousy of Takeru and Hikari's relationship. Although she denies her feelings for him early in the series, Mari falls in love with Takeru. Throughout the series she is aggravated by the closeness of Hikari and Takeru, and distrusts Hikari, although is kind to her through the beginning of the series. Her jealousy of their relationship grows as her love for Takeru grows largely unrequited. Near the climax of the series, Mari admits her love to Takeru, attempting to make him not follow Hikari, but Takeru only smiles, thanks her, and goes to persuade Hikari to spare the world.
- Jennifer Portman
- Voiced by: Yumi Takada (Japanese); Shelley Calene-Black (English)
- Jennifer Portman is an American super-scientist who came to Japan to study the "Extended Definition", a species' ability to prevent its own extinction, which usually manifests itself in said species transforming into a monstrous form that maximizes its combat potential, and gives it the instinct to attack or kill Hikari. She moves in with Takeru, Hikari, and Mari. She's rarely to be seen without some kind of alcohol and is somewhat of an exhibitionist. Although out of work she appears ditzy and idiotic, she is extremely intelligent at her work. Her personality is seen as a blend between that of Misato Katsuragi and Ritsuko Akagi from Neon Genesis Evangelion (another Gainax series).
- Shinichi Asakura and Daijirou Matsumura
- Shinichi Voiced by: Atsushi Kisaichi (Japanese); Robert Martinez (English)
- Daijiro Voiced by: Hideki Ogihara (Japanese); Chris Patton (English)
- Shinichi Asakura and Daijirou Matsumura are schoolmates of Takeru who seem to always be dreaming up some kind of perverted fantasy, especially once they met Hikari.
- Sakurako Urushima and Amika Kurebayashi
- Sakurako Voiced by: Manabi Mizuno (Japanese); Lesley Tesh (English)
- Amika Voiced by: Yumi Kikuchi (Japanese); Taylor Hannah (English)
- Sakurako and Amika enjoy egging on the love triangle between Takeru, Mari and Hikari.
- Itcho and Sumie Nishino
- Itcho Voiced by: Dai Matsumoto (Japanese); Bob Parke (English)
- Sumie Voiced by: Tomoko Kotani (Japanese); Anne Armogida (English)
- Itchō and Sumie Nishino are Mari's parents. They took in Takeru when his mother abandoned him at a young age. Currently, they run two business ventures: a delivery business and a boarding service.
- Kimi Ninomiya
- Voiced by: Emi Kobayashi (Japanese); Hilary Haag (English)
- Kimi is Ryou's loud-mouthed younger sister who takes care of the housework when her brother is out. She was the only person living with Ryou until Akari came. She seems to be very protective of Ryou and, while she allowed Akari into their home, attempted to put a barrier between them and frequently got mad whenever they came into close contact.
- Voiced by: not available (Japanese); Greg Ayres (English)
- Kuon is the little creature that takes care of Akari. He looks like a specter with two luminous eyes but no defined body shape, except by his clothing. He is capable of levitation and apparently has some sharp tentacles, as he is seen carrying a watermelon with them which he later uses to remove the rind from the watermelon. Towards the end of the series, Kuon and Ioneos enter hibernation mode and become a crystal. Kuon becomes a chip of the crystal which is probably why Kuon was small and Ioneos was big.
- Voiced by: Keiichi Noda (Japanese); Paul Oddo (English)
- Ioneos is like Kuon's "older brother," as he and Kuon are created from the same type of magical crystal. However, Ioneos's appearance and size are much larger and sleeker than Kuon's because he is an entire crystal, save a small chipped fragment which Kuon is made from. He was sealed inside of one of the school's stone pillars until Hikari accidentally released him during a routine fire drill. The entire school was subsequently demolished after the blast following Ioneos's release. Jennifer nicknamed him "Oniita," (or "Neo" in the English dub) saying that his original name was too long. In the end, Ioneos enters hibernation mode along with Kuon and become crystals, Kuon being the little chip and Ioneos being the big crystal. Jennifer puts them on a necklace and wears the crystals.
- Mayu Yoshida
- Voiced by: Mai Kadowaki (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
- Mayu is the class representative. She is short and full of self-doubt. In one episode, Mayu admits to Hikari that she sometimes hates school because everyone teases her, which makes Hikari turn into her "evil" self and destroy the school (brought on by Mayu's hate for school) although Mayu does not seem to remember it.
- "Dawn Is the Dividing Line Between Light and Darkness" - The episode starts off with Takeru, a teenage boy who lives with his uncle. For a living he makes deliveries with his only friend Ryou, One day when they are riding through the road they see a strange light fall from the sky. They quickly go into the forest and discover a strange girl. She looks similar to the girl Ryou drew when Takeru described his perfect girl. Soon after that a monster comes out of the woods and tries to attack the girl, Takeru transforms into some strange thing and attacks the monster. However, just before killing it, Takeru controls his anger and turns normal again. The monster escapes to where the girl is. The girl however has a dark aspect. When Takeru and Ryou return to the river bank where the girl is, they find the monster in pieces and its blood all over the place. At the end of the episode he names the girl Hikari and promises to protect her.
- "You're My First" - Takeru brings Hikari to his home. The next morning, Takeru's cousin, Mari, finds Hikari in his room. Back at the river bank where the monster was killed, the place is examined by people of unknown organisation. Takeru's family and his friends want to know about Hikari. Hikari explains she does not remember anything about her past, except that she wandered in endless stars and suddenly she has a body when Takeru found her. She explains she came to Earth because she was lonely and found Takeru. She quickly gets acquainted with Takeru's family and friends. One of the people from the organization, Jennifer Portman, a billiant scientist, moves into Takeru's house as a boarder. Due to a conversation with Jennifer, Hikari feels she is different and leaves the house. When Takeru finds out, he initially remembers his mom abandoning his. However, when Mari points out that Hikari only has Takeru, he runs out and finds her near the place they first met. He again promises to always be by her side and protect her. Mari witnesses them when Hikari cries and says she likes him very much and realizes her feelings for Takeru, not knowing what to do. Hikari is allowed to stay in one of the rooms. Another girl appears in the forest.
- "Two in the Shade of a Tree" - There are a lot of burglaries around the town. Ryou seems depressed about something and later goes to the place where they first met Hikari, where someone is living and meets a girl. The girl is living on a tree top with a strange floating being which helps her by bringing food. The next day, Ryou again goes to the place and meets the girl. During conversation, the girl hints that she came there at the same time as Hikari in the light. The girl later recalls that she came in the light similar to Hikari and her name is Akari. At the same time, Akari's helper, Kuon, is in trouble and both Akari and Ryou go into town and find Kuon. Ryou promises to protect Akari.
- "Life from Now On" - Ryou brings an exhausted Akari to his home, where he lives with his younger sister Kimi. Ryou looks at his hands, which glow with strange markings. Akari sleeps with Kimi and they talk about Kimi's family and other things. The next day, Ryou and Kimi bring Akari to Takeru's place and they all wonder if Hikari and akari are related. Jennifer theorizes that Hikari and Akari are split from a psychic being, which do not have bodies and can travel the space endlessly, making them both sister, which both the girls readily accept. When Kimi wants to leave Akari with Hikari, she cries and asks to live with Ryou and Kimi as a family and Kimi agrees. Akari is allowed to stay in the attic.
- "School Days" - With Jennifer's help, Hikari is enrolled in Takeru and Mari's school and introduces herself in class as a transfer student. Hikari does not find school as interesting as she imagined it to be. Later, during a fire drill, Hikari suddenly turns into her other personality and destroys the school. When Takeru gets to Hikari, she is protected by a robot, Ioneos, who is Hikari's servant. Later, all the gang gather at the collapsed school building to retrieve their stuff which is filled with their memories of school. Seeing this, Hikari understands the feelings of everyone about going to school.
- "Lingering by the Water's Edge" - With the start of the summer vacation, the gang along with Takeru's aunt and Jennifer, including Akari, all go to the mountains for camping. During the day, everyone has fun by the river. Hikari enjoys splashing in the river and feeling the wind. Later, the kids all play a courage test. Hikari and Takeru are paired and go into the forest first, while all the others secretly follow them. Later another monster attacks them and captures everyone. Hikari and Takeru run away and they are cornered at an old shrine. The monster turns out to be Ioneos, who was drunk. He smashes the mountain and opens a hot spring vein. The gang enjoys a hot spring bath while watching a meteor shower. Later, Takeru and Hikari sit on a tree branch and Hikari is sad because in spite of everyone and watching so much, she feels lonely.
- "Prelude to a Kiss" - The gang all go to the beach. Everyone works at a food stall. The girls work as waiters, while the guys try to make food. Despite her intentions to help, Hikari causes a lot of problems due to her clumsiness.
- "This Wonderful World"
- "Wish upon a Star"
- "False Heart"
- "Flowing Along with Time"
- "My Heart's Song"
Soundtrack composer: Tsuyoshi Watanabe
- Opening song
- "Metamorphose" by Yoko Takahashi
- Ending song
- "Natsuiro no Kakera" by Yoko Ishida (Episodes 1-11)
- "Kimi ni Aete" by Kawasumi Ayako & Kiyomi Ai (Episode 12)
- Gainax's official This Ugly Yet Beautiful World website (in Japanese)
- This Ugly yet Beautiful World (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia