Shinzo

TV review by
KJ Dell Antonia, Common Sense Media
Shinzo TV Poster Image
Advanced sci-fi anime best for tweens and up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Nonviolence is preached but not practiced. The central female character often plays second fiddle to the male characters who are constantly rescuing her.

Violence & Scariness

Enterrans (the beings that populate this world) fight in the anime "card game" style, killing each another by slicing the cards that represent their enemies in half. One character preaches nonviolence ("the way of peace"), but let's just say she gets a LOT of opportunities to preach.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this anime series centers around the idea that all humans are now extinct except for one character who's on a quest for peace. Characters fight in the anime "card game" style, killing each other by slicing the cards in half that represent their enemies. Yakumo preaches nonviolence ("the way of peace"), but it doesn't seem to have much effect. And although she's the focus of the quest, she remains a secondary character and is constantly in need of rescue by her (male, of course) fellow travelers. Although this series -- like Duel Masters -- may be marketed to younger kids (particularly fans of Pokemon), it's better suited to the young tween crowd.

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What's the story?

Following the Battlestar Galactica post-apocalyptic space opera tradition, SHINZO takes place in a world in which humans have become extinct after a war with their own genetically altered creations (insect-human hybrids called Enterrans). Extinct, that is, except for Yakumo (voiced by Peggy O'Neal), a girl who must find Shinzo and help the altered world find peace. (The audience the whole while is kept guessing as to exactly what Shinzo is and how it will help.) The Enterrans she travels with include Mushra (Tom Gibis), Kutal (Bob Papenbrook), and Sago (Steven Jay Blum). Mushra (who appears to be a young boy until his hyper-Enterran powers morph him into an attractive young superman), ends up being the real lead.

Is it any good?

Because Yakumo is the one with the mission in this series, you'd think she'd be the lead character, but instead she's reduced to a typical girl victim. She's constantly in need of rescue and doesn't have any special powers -- or, indeed, much personality at all except for a tendency to bleat about "the way of peace."

Shinzo's animation is weak, even for anime, and the voice-dubbing is noticeably off. But kids moving from the Pokemon oeuvre into more complex anime will be fine with it, since the violence is stylized and the plot has only slightly more depth.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the insect-human hybrids (a.k.a. Enterrans) on the show. What insect powers would be cool to have? Would you want to be able to create a web or jump that far? Older kids might even be interested in discussing the ethics and intent behind the type of genetic manipulation that led to the Enterrans' creation. Do they think anyone would actually try it?

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