Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars is an anime hidden gem that most anime fans have never bothered with. Directed by Tatsuo Sato, of Martian Successor Nadesico fame and animated by Studio Madhouse, Shingu is a lighthearted sci-fi adventure story that manages to place its emphasis on strong characters and world building. Set in the year of 2070, in the quiet town of Tenmo, Hajime Murata is a normal middle school student that enjoys his life in the small town, where nothing really happens. One day, a new student arrives by the name of Muryou Subaru, a handsome looking boy who wears a school uniform and becomes the talk of the entire school. After school has ended, Murata happens to find Subaru and the school council vice president, Kyoichi Moriguchi fighting against each other with psychic powers. This turns Murata’s world completely upside down and learns that the town of Tenmo has a lot more going on underneath its quiet exterior.
Shingu is most certainly a children’s anime TV series, that all ages could enjoy. I felt like a kid again, as I watched the adventure that Hajime and the rest of the town gets involved in. Most anime TV series dealing with alien invasions, like Evangelion, take the approach of us versus them, where mankind is struggling to survive. While there are moments of danger and action, a majority of Shingu manages to showcase its characters truly enjoying life and have its characters build relatable relationships with one another. It’s this element that makes Shingu a breath of fresh air and stand out than a majority of anime that exists in the Western market and a true joy to behold.
Since the series was created in 2001, Madhouse’s production on the series was made using hand drawn cels, as opposed to being a digital production. This helps lend to the warmth of the material, by giving it a production that’s both hand crafted and consistently well produced. The character designs by Takahiro Yoshimatsu are very cartoonish and goofy looking, but are distinct, which is suitable for the writing material. Sato not only directed Shingu, but wrote out the story and the scripts for the entire series. While some people might feel like the series moves at a sluggish pace, it makes sure to take its time to present the large scope that its trying to sell. I certainly enjoyed the slow build, because during the big dramatic moments, you feel much more invested in what’s going to happen to all of the people on Tenmo and Earth, as opposed to a few main characters.
Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars is a sci-fi series with a lot of heart and something that any anime fan can enjoy. The Right Stuf International has re-released the series in a lite box edition, that’s so incredibly cheap, that you’ll have to find some silly excuses to not pick it up. Highly Recommended!