The Violinist of Hameln; animation without animation

Getting this post out sure was a glitchy experience…
Violinist of Hameln is a strange animation series. It has a strong story, great music and compelling animation. However, it lacks what animation should have; proper animation.
From the get-go the Studio DEEN was in budget problems with Hameln. This shows in the series so much, that bulk of it is simply still screens of your standard TV-animation cells with voices. Sure, the most action intensive scenes are animated well, but Talking Heads syndrome is strong with this one. However, there are times when animation is strong and very well done.
Objectively, this brings down the whole meaning of having an animation overall. The story could’ve been told as a visual novel, light novel or something along those lines rather than making it into an animation with low budget.

I have to mention the music first, as the whole series has an orchestrated soundtrack filled with classical musical scores from Mozart & co. with the series own score, which serve their purpose very well and more. The first opening is a sort of 90’s techno influenced pop song that blends in surprisingly well, and the second opening is basically an opera I want to sing myself. The songs fit very well in their respective parts, mirroring the overall atmosphere.

A good, light and happy atmosphere

No, that’s not a bass, that’s just one big ass violin he has there

There’s this joke that the Japanese has made the motionless picture into a moving one. Violinist of Hameln is perhaps the best example of this. However, this also has forced the animators to use these still images to convey a lot more than they actually can. A series of still images with perfectly set music and spoken lines still manages to tell a great story overall.
It’s interesting to notice how well received the series was despite its constant lack of animation.

While I’m still fresh from the series itself, I admit having a really soft spot for the series. While the comic its based on is very much light and full of comedy, the animation series is serious from the get go, allowing only few instances of comedy here and there. Granted, I’m not the best person to talk about comedy as I prefer more serious approach in my stories. That might be the reason I have such high regard of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and MuvLuv, as they both blend tender comedy with heart stabbing drama.

The story, right. I will go with the animation series story as it’s the subject here more than the comic’s.
In this world, humans and demons fought a bloody war sixteen years ago. This war came to an end when the Queen used a magical field to protect the world with a barrier that turned all demons into stone.
Where these demons came from? The a box that a woman named Pandora opened for the man she so much loved.
The story is that of Hameln, a young orphan man who has lived in a secluded town. In this town, there is a custom not to let outsiders enter the, but for one girl named Flute they allowed him to stay. They grow up together with the double bass sized violin Hameln has, and with his “pet” crow Oboe.
One day a swordsman appears in the town limits, wounded. Hameln and Flute take him to the town, where Flute’s grandfather recognizes him as his old friend, a knight of the Queen Horn. His last words are “bring the Princess to her mother” before a demon consumed him from inside out. Here, Hameln shows what he would become known of; to play his violin to invoke the magic within music. With this, he realizes the wishes of the townsfolks defending the Princess, Flute, and gives them power to stand against the demons.
Flute, being a normal girl up to this point in her life, refuses her being called a princess, but after her and Hameln’s home town has been burned to the ground, she and Hameln have no choice but to embark towards Sforzend, the city where the Queen resides.
Along their way they meet Raiel, Hameln’s old friend he has no recollection of, and the tragedy of their home town where Hameln lost his memories. They are accompanied by Trom, prince of the Country of the Sword, whom finds courage and sadness among his new friends.
Of course, all this time Hameln and Flute are under constant attacks from the demons and their Warlords. They have little to no time to rest, as the demons are readying their full assault against Sforzend, to reclaim Pandora’s Box and to take over the world.
It’s very clear from the very beginning that Hameln isn’t what you would call human. When the assault of Sfrozend occurs, Hameln fights against the question whether is a human or not.

I’m struggling not to spoil too much for those who want to see or read the series, so just skip these few paragraphs.
It is shown, that Hameln is the son of Pandora and Chestra, the Demon king. In his veins runs the blood of the demon kind, and he shows this in order to slay one of the Warlords amidst the assault. Flute, claiming that she will love Hameln no matter what form he should have, never abandons him. After the assault the war is seemingly over, Demons defeated. However, during the victory party the demons attack the palace in the shadows, trying to reclaim Pandora’s Box. This Box the Queen holds is a fake, and thus the second part of the series takes place, one year after these events.
Here we see Hameln and Flute looking for the real Pandora’s Box, and ultimately they found more than they were looking; the truth behind Pandora, Hameln and her sister, and the destiny set for Flute. It all ends in Flute sealing away Hameln, the New Demon King, inside the Pandora’s box… until the temptation of love finally makes her to open it.

The ending is, by all means, a good ending. It’s a melancholic one filled with sadness and loss, and none of the characters really have their own personal resolutions. The world is saved, but with a high cost, only to be thrown away one day. While I admit to be a sucker for happy and nice endings like in MuvLuv, the animation’s ending doesn’t really leave me yearn for more; it ends the series and puts the ‘end’ in the end.
The comic has much more happier ending, a much more brighter future (with a sequel) where Hameln and Flute live happily through much of it all.
Thou the comic is far too gag comedy for my likings, at least in the beginning.

But fear not! The same animation company created a 30min TV-special before the main series and this special nothing to do with the series. It doesn’t suffer from from the budget issues of the series and follows the spirit of the comic. I recommend watching this after the series because it’s fun to see Hameln acting like a goddamn jackass, that is if you haven’t read the comic. If you have, then jump right in and leave the TV-series for later watching.

Indeed, the emphasize is different in each version, and quite honestly, if you don’t like the other, you most likely will find the other more interesting. Granted, even among anime folks this series seems to be rather unknown or at least infamous for its bad animation, but that never stopped me enjoying it through and through.

Yes, every time I listen to this song I sing along out loud, even the parts that go high and kill my throat

It certainly is a flawed series, but then again I am after these interesting shows and stories that are forgotten in annals of time. Sometimes you find a gem like this, that just needs to be dusted off, and placed on the shelf for the whole world to enjoy once more.

Now, I won’t make it a habit to make this kind of posts. Well, I wasn’t going to make a habit to post about video games either… Also, it seems my previous post about Langrisser IV has been deleted due to a glitch. Rewriting time.