Anime Corner: 91 Days Review

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Everybody’s dead Avilio. Everybody’s dead.

What’s the Story?

Avilio’s happy life was shattered when a mafia feud cost him the lives of his parents and younger brother. Seven years later he receives a mysterious letter giving him the names of those responsible for the slaughter. Avilio returns to the town of Lawless during prohibition to exact his revenge and he starts by convincing his childhood friend to sell his homemade alcohol to the mafia and befriending the Don’s son. It will only take 91 days for Avilio to complete his revenge, but vengeance can be a bloody business so the only real question is, will anyone be left alive by the end of it?

The Review

I haven’t seen that many gangster animes and if you’re a fan of the genre then I highly recommend this one. There are plenty of stories about gangsters blowing holes in one another and people seeking bloody vengeance out there and I don’t think this series brings anything particularly new to the table, but its told with such confidence and style that it is still definitely worth your time. I have to admit I sometimes have a weird back and forth with gangster stories, especially gangster stories set around prohibition, they are inherently bloody and violent (and this series is no different, the bounty count has to be knocking on three digits by the end). It’s not something that I particularly need to see. I can put up with it as long as it doesn’t go too gory or be gory for gore’s sake. Yet at the same the ones set in prohibition times are by historical necessity set around the 1920s, which stylistically is one of my favourite periods. I love the architecture and dress sense of that era (I partly blame Batman the animated series for this by influencing me at such a young age), so for me it’s great just to sit back and soak in the surroundings.

It’s also a great help that this anime is so gorgeously animated. Colour wise it sticks to a lot of browns and darker shades giving this whole series a very shady feel that perfectly suits the seedy world this show is putting on display. What really works is how the animation captures motion, it’s all the little details, the hesitation as a finger inches closer to the trigger or the way a throat moves as it gulps down some Lawless Heaven. I want to marry this animation sometimes. I also have to give credit to the directors, there are some really beautiful and well constructed shots throughout this anime and its always interesting to watch whether its two character going on a buddy-buddy road trip or an all guns blazing shootout in the streets.

The story as well is also really well written and just because it’s using the standard elements, it doesn’t mean it’s predictable. There are some great twists and deaths along the way that I really didn’t see coming and even when I did they still played out in spectacular fashion. I lot of the tension comes from just having Avilio and Nero sat in the same room together, you know at some point this whole revenge scheme is going to lead up to Avilio trying to kill Nero and you’re just waiting for the gun to go off. Avilio is a really smart guy though, sometimes a little too smart, always one step ahead of everyone else and manipulating all those around him into doing exactly what he wants. There are only a couple of times when he actually trips up and those are when the series is at its most tense because if Mr. Calm and Collected is in trouble then I really have no idea what’s going to happen next.

I suppose the most tragic part of this whole series is that, if it weren’t for the twisted joke fate was playing on all of the characters, I could see Avilio and Nero being really good friends. They have a great deal of chemistry and you believe the friendship that develops between them, if it weren’t for the fact that Nero was apart of the group of men that killed Avilio’s family, or Avilio’s blind obsession with revenge, then these two could go far together. It’s not even worth it in the end, Avilio’s revenge doesn’t bring him any kind of piece of mind or a reason to live, all the death and destruction he brings about and it accomplishes nothing except said death and destruction, in fact Avilio has considerably less after his revenge than before he started it.

You care for all of these characters even though most of them are murdering psychopaths; they feel like ordinary people, people you could laugh or cry with. You get what drives most of them, even if you can tell that it’s not going to end well for them and it is sad to see the majority of them go. Spoiler alert, but I was really upset when Fango went, I mean he really had to go, the man was two sacks of crazy inside a suitcase full of crazy and had it coming to him, but he was just so much fun to watch. Maybe some people would think he’s a little too over the top with his lunacy, but every scene with him in it was a joy because you just never knew what he was going to do.

The Verdict

91 days is stylish, smart and beautiful. As a story of the mafia and revenge, it doesn’t really bring anything startlingly new to the table, but the characters are all relatable and interesting in their own ways and the story itself is so well written and enjoyable that that doesn’t really matter in the end. I recommend this to everyone, not just fans of gangster shows, it’s a great series, just be prepared for a high body count and a tragic end.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

 

Anime Corner: Orange Review

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Post via black holes. Well, that’s a new one.

What’s the Story?

One day high school student Naho gets a very strange letter. It claims to be from herself ten years in the future and lists all of the events that are going to happen over the next year. They tell her that she will fall in love with a new transfer student called Kakeru and that he will die come the winter. At first Naho doesn’t believe it, until the events in the letter start to come true. Can Naho change the future, erase her regrets and save Kakeru?

The Review

Don’t let the time-travelling letter fool you the fantasy element of this series is really just an excuse for the story to take place (I’m not calling it a science-fiction element because again, postal service by black holes, I prefer my science soft but that is non-corporeal right there). Instead at first glance this is a story about a teenage romance with a little twist and a lot of heartache. The story is a very slow burn, it takes a realistic approach to dialogue and emotions, a lot of the time it’s just characters chatting away about nothing really as normal people tend to do. This can sometimes mean that it takes a little while to get going, especially when our two romantic leads are so awkward and nervous about admitting their feelings for one another, sometimes you just want to smack their heads together and tell him to get on with it.

I know I said the whole letter thing was an excuse, but it does help the story a great deal. It adds a level of tension to those earlier scenes were things are taking there time to get going, because you know this is all going to go wrong at some point down the line. You need it in those earlier episodes until you’ve built up a bond with all of the characters. It also adds to the frustration as you know unless Naho pulls her finger out there’s trouble ahead, but she’s so meek and doubting of herself that she can’t do anything. It takes a letter from the future and her friends to get her to take a step, even if it’s only an agonisingly small one.

This series isn’t just about a couple of kids getting together though; it does tackle some fairly heavy issues such as depression and suicide. There are several scenes with Kakeru that are tough to watch, a lot of them revolving around how Kakeru blames himself for his mother’s death and beats himself up over the fact that his last words to her weren’t the nicest things, they weren’t terrible, but he regrets them. So much of this series is about regret, mostly regret of actions not taken or apologises ungiven, every character is carrying a regret around with them and these letters are their future selves way of trying to erase them. Kakeru’s regrets are the deepest though; driving him to hate himself and even begin to believe that he’s life isn’t worth living. You just want to see the guy be happy and forgive himself, but he keeps getting pulled back into that dark place no matter what his friends do, now I’ve never had suicidal thoughts (morbid certainly, but not suicidal) but to me that is what I imagine it’s like for people going through stuff like that.

Orange knows where to hit you where it counts, in the feels. It’s frustrating, it’s agonising and quite often tear-inducing and at other times so heart-warming you’re likely to melt. You feel for Kakeru and you’re constantly cheering on the others to save him and screaming whenever something gets in the way, especially when it’s the characters themselves tripping themselves up. Seriously, Naho, girl, I will shake you until you find your courage and tell Kakeru how you feel (and it is such a relief when she finally does).

Kakeru isn’t the only guy I feel sorry for though, my heart goes out to Suwa too. He is in love with Naho just as much as Kakeru and in the alternate future ten years from now the guy is even married to her and they have a kid, but by trying to save Kakeru he’s preventing that from ever happening. Sure the way time travel works in this show is that the present we are watching is creating an offshoot reality to the one that sent the letters, so when you think about both are running concurrently, which means there’s one where Naho is married to Suwa and one where she’s with Kakeru both existing at the same time. It’s a bit of a cheat, but still Suwa is willing to let go of the girl he loves and watch her potentially married someone else, just to get rid of his own regret. It also kind of speaks to just how affected these people have been by Kakeru’s death, I mean ten years on and all of them are still so haunted by it that they’re willing to risk erasing their timeline (because they’re not sure how time travel works). Now that’s friendship, also a deep-rooted obsession, but hey no one’s perfect.

The only area where this anime really trips up is in the animation and that’s only ever so slightly. It’s not that the animation is bad, it does its job perfectly fine, I believe in the characters and the setting, but there are no real moments where it pulls out all the stops to awe me. It’s a very quiet and slow anime and the animation reflects that, though there are a few moments that feel a little cheap, like the shots of crowds and the classroom to save on anything really detailed while people are just talking. Or the weird framing of the scene where Kakeru kisses Naho on the cheek (I had to watch that a couple of times to work out what even happened). I’m not the biggest fan of the art style either, again not bad, but there’s just something about the way the faces are drawn, especially the eyes and mouths that just feels off to me.

The Verdict

In the end Orange is a really emotional story, it’s not about love or time-travelling letters, but instead it’s about regrets and being saved from them. The characters all feel genuine and likeable, even if sometimes they can be really frustrating. But it’s only that way because this anime makes you care about them and their goals. This can be really tragic at times and tackle some heavy themes, but in the end it’s a truly unbreakable friendship that pulls everyone through. Get your handkerchiefs ready if you’re going to watch this one.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

Anime Corner: Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World Review

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AKA The Dissection of Subaru

What’s the Story?

Subaru was just an ordinary high school student (supposedly) until he’s transported into a strange land straight out of a fantasy. There he meets a beautiful silver-haired half-elf who he instantly falls for and everything looks like a dream come true for Subaru, you know, until Subaru and the elf lady end up dying horribly. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how much you like mental torment) Subaru discovers he has a special power that lets him redo the last day or so when he dies, like going back to a previous save point. And so begins Subaru’s long and torturous journey to find his happy ending and win the love of Emilia the half-elf.

The Review

Warning, to watch this anime is to watch the fragile mind of a young man crumble and fall into an endless pit of despair before attempting to piece himself back together again. I know that’s kind of a spoiler, but I think this series needs it as the show doesn’t give any impression of just how dark and sometimes awesome it’s going to be. The concept for this show isn’t that original, there must be a thousand shows about some kid waking up in a fantasy land, making pop culture and genre-savvy remarks to the bemusement of the locals and gathering a harem of girls to live the dream life with and the first couple of episodes certainly give the impression that this is where the show is going, but it’s a lie. Even the little twist about Subaru getting a do over every time he dies isn’t that original, but I’ve said it before it’s not necessarily the concept, but how you use it and this series uses it’s concept very effectively.

A lot of what makes this anime something different comes down to our lead, Subaru. Now the character can get a lot of hate and I can certainly understand why, Subaru is very much a marmite character. He can be very, very annoying at times, his jokes and poking fun at familiar tropes aren’t all that funny and sometimes he can just be a bit of an arse. Also he’s arrogant, selfish and has this sense of entitlement about him like this world owes him something, which is precisely why I think he’s such a great character, not always a likeable one, but still great. Subaru is human and comes complete with a myriad of flaws like any normal person. Unlike a lot of shows that feature someone ending up in a fantasy world, he’s not some idealised hero that the audience can use as a placeholder for themselves so they might escape into this world. Subaru is probably a more accurate account of what would actually happen if someone did find themselves transported to another world.

Part of Subaru’s problem is that he has expectations for this world even though he’s never been here before. It’s his genre-savvy nature that holds him back more than anything else, he expects to be the chosen hero here to save the day and get the girl and acts according, which often ends up backfiring on him. It brings in that arrogance and sense of entitlement I mentioned before, he saves Emilia and expects her to love him for it because that’s the way these stories work and it’s kind of a smack in the face when Emilia admits she doesn’t feel that way about him, at least not yet and not with the intensity he’s expecting. It also doesn’t help that Subaru is kind of pathetic, he’s in good physical shape but that doesn’t really mean much when he’s going up against curse-ridden dogs, knights and a giant flying whale. He spends most of his time getting his behind kicked across the screen and I do have to applaud the show for never giving Subaru any kind of amazing power to save the day with, he gets a little bit of magic but most of the time he has to rely on others to get the job done.

Subaru’s story is a really touching one, though at times it can be tough to watch. We see Subaru getting torn down again and again and the constant dying and coming back to life doesn’t help. He goes through a mental implosion as he realises that he can’t do anything by himself and his constant struggles to get things to work out as he wants just end up blowing up in his face. I know if I had to go through anything like this I’d have cracked long ago. It’s a testament to Subaru that he’s able to put himself back together, recognising all of his flaws and moving forward to save the love of his life, just this time without the need for any hero-like gratification (though clearly he’s an idiot because Rem is so the best girl in this series). The story is spoilt somewhat by the fact that Subaru does end up as the hero and gets the girl, but that’s kind of a necessity of a narrative having a happy ending.

I know I’ve spent most of this post just dissecting one character and not talking about much else, but that’s just how interesting his character is to me, though there are a few problems with him and how the story uses him. For one, the show can’t seem to make up it’s mind whether Subaru is an idiot or a genius, he wavers between the two depending on what the plots needs of him. One minute he’s taking two to three episodes to work out that he’s actually redoing the same day after dying, the next he’s able to negotiate between a bunch of people and come up with clever strategies. It’s not that consistent and it does dent his ‘realistic human’ image. Another thing that dents the realistic side of him is that fact that the show wants you believe that Subaru is your typical shut in nerd, but he’s way too physically fit and full of self-confidence to be that, I’ve certainly never met a nerd like him before.

Okay, there are other characters in this series, most of them fulfil one archetype or another, but most of them are fleshed out enough or have just enough personality for you to like them. Some characters get brief appearances and are made out to be really important only to never appear again, but that’s only because the source material is still ongoing and I image they’ll have a point there (Heck season 1 ends with the defeat of one of the bad guy’s generals with another six waiting in the wings somewhere). The fantasy world they inhabit is also pretty interesting, even if we might not get that much detail on it  and it could do with another season or two to explore. It’s at least very prettily animated.

The Verdict

In the end, Re:ZERO is a series that’s definitely worth a watch. It might not be to everyone’s taste and the main character can sometimes be a pain to deal with, but it’s worth it just watch the level of torment Subaru goes through and watching him fall apart and put himself back together again (I just realised, I’m a sadist aren’t I?). The series is beautifully animated and has a rich world and some fun characters, they may not always get the attention they deserve but hopefully some future seasons can fix that. This series is one worth starting a life with.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

Anime Corner: Alderamin on the Sky Review

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Fighting the lazy way

What’s the Story?

Ikta Solork is lazy, a bit of a ladies’ man and absolutely hates war, which is kind of awkward since he ends up joining the Imperial army after a shipwreck and saving the life of the Empire’s young princess. Thanks to Ikta’s scientific way of thinking though he actually has the potential to become one of the Empire’s best generals, you know, if he can survive the idiotic orders of his current commanding officers. With his friends at his side, including the elite swordswoman Yatori, Ikta must survive several battlefields if he wants to protect the people of the Empire.

The Review

Alderamin kind of surprised me, I mean I enjoyed it from the start but I really wasn’t expecting something this smart and character-driven. There were plenty of warning signs for this anime to either go into clichés or just generic plotlines. There was Ikta as the jerky character with a heart of gold who of course all the women would fall for (I was really worried this would turn into a harem, but thankfully that never happened, even with Ikta’s womanising tendencies. We see him hit on women and hear stories about him, but we never actually see him romantically involved with anyone.). Then we’d no doubt have Ikta being the only one speaking sense against the idiots in charge and of course he’ll be the only one that can possibly see the path to victory and pull it off against all the odds (this does kind of happen, but it’s a testament to Ikta’s character that it never comes off as a cliché).

Let’s talk about Ikta. It does take a while for him to warm up, he’s always fun, but the character doesn’t really hit his stride until the characters head to the North. Doing the tactical genius character is always hard because, well, a lot of the time they come across as annoying know-it-alls who are only so smart either because the plot makes everyone else stupid or they happen to know something really specific that turns everything around. They can to come across as manufactured a lot of the time, which I suppose they are. Ikta isn’t like that though. We see him struggle with his decisions (mostly in that arc in the North) and it’s apparent that he’s not afraid to come across as the bad guy if it meets with his end goal. Seeing Ikta mourn the soldiers killed by his own decision or doubting himself as he finally meets his match does a lot to make Ikta feel like a real character.

Another aspect of Ikta’s character that helps him feel more genuine as a person is that his tactical genius actually has an explanation. He looks at things in a scientific way, something that is frowned upon about the rest of the Empire, though it does lead to a very interesting philosophy from Ikta, that the best way to be a soldier is to be lazy. Do just enough get the job done and no more, don’t over exert yourself and don’t do things that aren’t necessary. He’s not interested in fame or glory, he doesn’t care about being some hero and he definitely isn’t bothered about protecting his country, deep down all Ikta wants to protect is people. It’s why he hates war so much, outside of being unscientific it’s such a terrible waste of life and even though he’ll claim he’s lazy to the end, Ikta will do everything in his power (including removing his own finger, this happens) to save as many lives as possible. It’s this that makes it easy to root for Ikta and feel sorry for him because no matter how smart he is; he can’t save everyone.

Ikta isn’t the only interesting character in this show though, we also have the scarlet badass that is Yatori. I seriously love her, she’s smart, she’s funny and confidant and a demon with a pair of swords in her hands. I’d call her the brawn to Ikta’s brains, but that would imply that Yatori isn’t smart, which she is. She’s studied scientific methods with Ikta and can often see along the same lines as him, even if she doesn’t get that final piece that turns everything around. Where they stand in regards to the Empire is what makes things interesting. Ikta can see that the Empire is on its last legs and after the unceremonious way they treated his father, he doesn’t really have a lot of love for those in charge. As I said, he wants to protect the people, not the Empire. Yatori on the other hand comes from a long line of warriors who are supposedly the guardians of the Empire and no matter what happens to the Empire, that will always be the case. Yatori is a warrior through and through and will fight to her dying breath to protect the Empire (an idea that is ridiculous to Ikta), she’s less of a person and more of a living weapon which adds a real note of tragedy to her character.

The rest of the character all feel pretty relatable, even though they may only turn up for a couple of episodes. None of them are quiet as interesting but then they don’t really get that much time devoted to them to properly explore them, we do see them progress though, developing as both soldiers and people. A lot of the characters are well written, you get a sense of who they are and what they believe in with how they talk, there are a couple of nice scenes with the characters just sat around talking as I imagine real soldiers do (respect the lonely path of the warrior!).

The one aspect of the series that I wish was expanded further would be that of the spirits. We see the little guys in the first episode and every character has one, but we never really get a good idea of what they are, they’re just there. Are they an extension of the character’s self? Are they mystical being that have some kind of symbiotic relationship with the characters? We never get a sense of what they are or what they’re about, they barely have any lines and we never see any unique personalities from them.

The only real downside with this anime is that its just thirteen episodes long, especially when the last episode sets up so many great ideas that I want to see come to fruition. There had better be a second season or I’m going to, well, go buy the source material, which is probably what the makers of this anime want. Damn it!

The Verdict

Alderamin on the Sky is a series that starts off looking like its going to your typical genius characters proves all his superiors are idiots and saves the day story, but instead proves to be a smart and intriguing story about a young man with an interesting philosophy in a kingdom on its last legs. The characters are relatable and interesting and though the stuff about why war sucks has been done plenty of times before, you feel for these people as they struggle through it. I just wish there were more than thirteen episodes!

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

 

 

 

 

Anime Corner: ReLIFE Review

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Fireworks are kind of lonely aren’t they?

What’s the Story?

If you were offered the chance to go back and do high school again, even if for only a year, would you do it? When Arata Kaizaki is offered the choice by a mysterious stranger down a dark alley he agrees to it (because only good things can happen down a dark alley), though to be fair there isn’t really a better option for him. He’s 27, recently quit his job and can’t find another, his parents are threatening to cut off the money they’ve been sending and he has no real friends or anyone special in his life. Yeah, school can be hell to go through, but I think I’d jump at it too if those were my circumstances.

The Review

I really love this anime, it’s like a warm bowl of soup on a bitterly cold day it just fills me with warmth to watch it. Pretty much every episode has had me grinning from ear to ear whether it’s because of the heart-warming story, the smart comedy or the loveable characters, there is always something to enjoy in this series. The premise itself isn’t that original, I mean the story of an adult getting a teenagers body and going back to school has been done a thousand times with varying results, but this series is probably my favourite use of the concept.

Firstly the series tackles some of the problems with suddenly going back to school. Arata has to deal with the fact that he fails every test because, let’s be honest, who can remember half of what they were taught in school, not to mention that the curriculum will have changed and advanced since attending school. There’s the little things like forgetting his pencil case (an indispensable item in any schoolbag) or freaking out over the fact mobile phones aren’t confiscated on sight anymore. Typing this out is kind of depressing because I’m only a year younger than Arata and I’d have all the same reactions as him if this happened to me (though at least I wouldn’t have to give up smoking like him). They’re some smart observations and pretty funny to watch play out.

The rest of the comedy comes from the character interactions, which are probably the best part of the show. The characters aren’t revolutionary or excessively complex and a lot of the time they’re just dealing with your typical teenage angst and drama, but there’s something endearing about all of them. You can’t help but smile watching this collection of loners and misfits stumble through school life, gradually building bonds and developing as young adults with lots of teasing along the way.

The animation really suits this show, it’s fairly simple and not that flashy, like the series itself really. The colours are bright and the character models are uncomplicated, but the animation is just so expressive whether it be a couple embarrassed to admit their feelings for one another or a young man mourning a tragic loss, you get what these characters are feeling. Also the timing with some of the comedy is spot on and really helps sell the laughs.

Now, I mentioned mourning a tragic loss in that previous paragraph. Now you’d probably be forgiven from reading this review so far and clips of the anime itself that this series is all sweetness and light, a fluffy slice of life to make the sun shine on a cloudy day, but this anime does go dark on occasion. This still has elements of a teenager drama, so you know what that means, angst! A lot of the angst does centre around Rena who is a one girl angst machine, she’s how I picture a lot of tsunderes being in real life completely unable to properly process her feelings and ends up saying rash things that just leads to more angst. She’s not the only problem teen though. We’ve got kids dealing with loneliness and a complete lack of social skills, sports stars who feel ostracised because they’ve just got too much natural talent and no one wants to play them. Heck, even the support guy who’s there to watch over Arata has some inner turmoil considering that Arata isn’t the first Relife test subject and his predecessor didn’t exactly pass with flying colours.

Arata himself probably has the biggest burden to bear though. I’m not going to spoil it, but the reason why he quit his job is the darkest thing this show does, forget quitting I’d be in therapy if I went through what Arata experienced. He’s carrying around a lot of guilt which has robbed him of all of his confidence, he can fake living a normal life, but you can tell his heart isn’t in it. It’s what makes this show so heart-warming, you can’t help but cheer Arata on as he comes into himself, making friends and putting the past behind himself. Yet there’s always that tinge of sadness when you remember that once the experiment is over and Arata gets his 27-year-old body back then everyone in the class will forget about him, well maybe not everyone, but I won’t spoil that. You want Arata to be happy and come out of this with his confidence back and able to move forward. That’s what makes this show work, the comedy and the characters are great, but it’s the shows heart that makes this a winner. Now give me a season 2!

The Verdict

ReLIFE is more than just the cute little slice of life it appears to be at first glance, some clever comedy, endearing characters and a heart-warming story about a man finding his way again make this a great show and one that I wholeheartedly recommend. Also, kudos on never making it creepy that a 27 year old is hanging around high schoolers, now that takes talent.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

 

Anime Corner: Qualidea Code Review

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Maihime for best girl ever!

What’s the Story?

One day the human race was pushed to the brink of extinction by the invasion by a mysterious race of creatures known as the Unknown. In order to protect the children they were sent off a cold sleep, waking up years later to find that they have strange powers called ‘Worlds’ that are the only hope of fending the hordes of Unknown that threaten what’s left of the world. Everything is not as it appears though, but will these kids live long enough to see what’s behind the curtain?

The Review

I have to say this upfront, this is a bad show. I mean really, from the clear budget issues that mean epic moments of battle have to happen off screen to the rushed character development and plot twists that are so sudden they’re hilarious, this isn’t a good show, but it is a fun one. Coming to the end of this series is really weird for me, I mean I know it’s bad and if I where to dissect this show analytically then I’d have to tear this thing apart, but at the same time I’ve really enjoyed watching it. I like the characters, well most of them, and there are some interesting ideas squirreled away in the plot, a lot of them are underdeveloped, but they are there.

Let’s get into the characters. First there’s my least favourite, the arrogant delusional hero, Ichiya. Now Ichiya has a weird place in the series because I could have sworn he was the male lead, but after the first couple of episodes he slides off into the background and this becomes more of an ensemble piece, much to the show’s benefit. My main problem with him is just how arrogant he is, determined to do everything by himself and treating everyone else as if they’re beneath him. I get what they were trying to go for, as a kid he saw the world burning and now is determined to save it and thinks he’s the only one for the job, but did they have to make him so unlikeable? He’s much better as a support character (because he’s on screen for less time) though I did like his little arc of madness after (Spoiler!) Canary died (which was probably one of the most out of nowhere and hilarious scenes in the entire series) it was something a bit different to what I was expecting.

Next comes my all time favourite character, Maihime! My love for her started probably around episode five, which thinking about it is when a lot the characters started to shine. It’s the part of the story after Canary’s death and with Ichiya moving into the background, a lot of the generic and cliché parts of the story are pushed off of the board and we get some genuinely decent episodes with some touching character moments. Like I said though, Maihime is my favourite. At first she comes across as this hyperactive goofball with a maximum of two brain cells active at any one time, but as you learn more about her and her back story you realise there’s a lot more going on inside. Maihime is the kind of character Ichiya should have been, she’s determined to protect everyone and she is overwhelmingly powerful, but instead of pushing others away, she inspires them, standing at the front lines and encouraging everyone to do their best. She’s not without her angst though, because she’s such a figure of inspiration she often hides her own feelings, smiling and acting goofy to cheer others on, even if she’s falling apart inside. She’s a really lovely character and it makes me want to her hug. Also she’s a total badass as evidenced by her taking on a city full of Unknown all by herself.

Let’s talk about the Unknown; though they’re incredibly underdeveloped as a species and spend most of the series as just fodder for the kids, there are couple of interesting ideas dotted around the place. I think the most intriguing aspect about them is the one line where it’s mentioned that the Unknown are a species that are continually changing, so much so that they don’t even remember what they originally looked like anymore. They are a completely alien species with a unique way of thinking, though some of them are clearly being influenced by the human race, I wish it got a bit more attention, but then I wish the whole final arc could be extended. It does feel like the show was rushing to tie things up before it ran out of episodes. Actually the pacing for a lot of the series felt like the accelerator was being hit all of the time, also if that final arc got extended then we could spend more time with mother of the Chigusa siblings because she is brilliant, insane, but brilliant. Every scene with her in is a joy, from her rather direct naming of weapons to the fact that this woman subjugated the world’s military forces through sheer force of will, I love her.

Okay, I’ve been praising this series a lot, but there are a lot of very clear issues with this series, a lot of which I’ve already hinted at. The pacing is too fast a lot of the time, leaving a lot of plot threads underdeveloped or barely explained and some things come right the hell out of nowhere (see the aforementioned Canary death). The big reveal you’ll probably work out before you hit halfway, even if only in part and several of the plot elements are rather clichéd or really just pointless (what really was the point of the ranking system and it’s never explained why they’re talking their sweet time to wake up the kids from cold sleep. Why not wake them all at once?). The animation is pretty disastrous too, most of the time it can just about manage to put across what it has to, but then there’s moments where the budget clearly vanished like the end of the first arc where the big finishing move, instead of being animated, is replaced by a white out. On a final note, the writers of this series clearly don’t understand physics; just go watch episode 4 it has to be seen to be believed. The actions in that episode don’t just break your suspension of disbelief, they atomise it.

The Verdict

While I can’t say that Qualidea Code is a good series, it’s certainly an enjoyable one (well it was for me anyway). Despite the poor animation, the clichés and the physics that make scientist hang their head in shame. this is fun. There are some interesting ideas floating around and I like the majority of the characters, even when the story is stalling and the animation is non-existant, they’re still there to brighten my day. I don’t know if you’ll like this series, but I think it’s pretty fun, even if sometimes that’s not quite intentional.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Anime Corner: Rewrite Review

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I think this show needs a rewrite.

What’s the Story?

Err… I honestly have no idea. Well, let’s see… there’s this kid who’s really lonely and can give himself super powers by rewriting his body and later on he gets these glowing wolverine claws that come out of his hand. Also there’s this secret organisation out to end the world and this super secret group out to stop them. Oh and there’s these little critters from another dimension and the bad guys can summon monsters and the other group has super powers. And about halfway through this new girl shows up who likes cheap coffee and is actually the key to the end of the world. And… and… and… I give up.

The Review

Okay, who put the ten year old with the short attention span on script duties? I know this anime is based off of a visual novel (one I’ve never heard of and really have no intention of playing after this show) and from the look of things and the hints at the end I’m guessing said visual novel has multiple routes that act as separate story lines but build into a larger narrative, kinda like Fate/stay night. Now like I said I haven’t even heard of the visual novel so I can’t judge this as an adaptation, but as a stand-alone series it is abysmal. There are so many different plot elements and characters all competing for screen time and not getting it that everything just ends up forming this cluttered mess of a story where no body wins.

What really kills the story is how disparate everything feels. I mean for one you’ve got the goofy high school hijinks with the occult club as our main character Kotarou gathers his harem of oddballs and stereotypes. Then you’ve got the preaching bad guys who want to save the world by ending it (seriously I haven’t heard environmental preaching this bad since the 90s) and apparently they can summon monsters by using their life force ‘cause they’re all wizards or something. Then we have the group opposing the bad guys who are all skilled warriors that stick to swords and guns with the odd super-powered individual thrown in. Not once did I believe any of that belonged in the same world together. The tonal whiplash alone from the school stuff to the more serious two groups battling over the world is enough to do you an injury.

I think a lot of the fault comes down to the fact that there’s just too much stuff and not enough explanation for what’s happening. As far as I’m aware the magic stuff and the super powers are never really explained, why do some people have abilities, where did they come from? Why can the bad guys someone monsters? How do they summon monsters? I mean we at least get to see how the druids do things (oh yeah, there’s a druid too), but really this could have felt a lot more cohesive if I just understood the rules this world is supposed to be working under. There are some explanations later down the line, but a lot of them are either info-dumps or have been strung along for so long that they’re completely unsatisfactory as a conclusion to a plot point. It takes the entire series for the show to properly example that little flashback at the start of the series with Kotarou and frankly I didn’t care by that point, I’d almost forgotten it. Even then, there are still some questions hanging around it, which considering that this was the last episode had me asking ‘well what was even the point of bringing it up?’ (you know, outside of trying to trick me into buying the visual novel).

Kagari’s role in the story is another problem; it kind of exemplifies one of the major problems with the series because it’s just so random. From the flashback we know she has some kind of connection to Kotarou, but we have no idea what it is and she spends the first handful of episodes floating around as a ghost and nibbling on Kotarou’s arm (another thing that isn’t explained until the last episode!), then about halfway through the series she’s just suddenly dropped into the plot with a completely new personality that we’ve never seen before. If you wanted this to be the Kotarou and Kagari show, why didn’t you start the series like that? Why bother building up a harem of girls if they’re just going to be relegated to the background for the majority of the series! So many plot points and plot elements feel completely random like the people who were writing this got a room full of kids, asked them what they wanted to see and then decided to do all of their suggestions at once.

Even when we get to ending I have to question the point of this further, I’ve already said how some of the conclusions just don’t satisfy me in the least and that’s without going into the myriad of questions that still hang over the series, but that ending, really? That’s how you’re ending the show? Spoiler time! Everybody dies. That’s it, the environmental bad guys win, everybody ascends (whatever that means) and the world is taken over by trees. No character arcs are brought to a close, outside of a few token lines. No grand conclusions are reached. It just end then the after credits scene shows it didn’t really matter because there’s a dozen other routes that you could take instead of that one the next time you play. Also, thinking back, I think Kotarou is probably one of the most useless protagonists in anime history. I can’t remember a single person he saved or a battle he won. He did practically nothing and he couldn’t even manage the cliché convincing the all-powerful deity to save the world because of love, friendship and other sappy emotional things.

I will give some credit though there are a couple of interesting ideas, like the one about the collective memories and personality that are passed down from person to person, and the weight of all that leading the person who gets the memories to lose faith in humanity and want to wipe us all out. That’s a good villain motivation, pity it only gets about two minutes exploration before we move on to the next random thing. Though of course the few points earned are then deducted for putting Shizuru in that god-awful outfit.

The Verdict

In the end Rewrite is a terrible anime. Maybe it’s a good visual novel, never read it, don’t really intend to at this point (so the anime has failed in one of it’s core motives). Its story is a cluttered mess with too many random and unexplained pieces that don’t probably fight together, the characters are too underdeveloped for me to care about  and our main protagonist is pretty much useless. The animation does its best but it’s never anything really amazing. I’d skip this one and go find a review of the visual novel.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

 

Anime Corner: Mob Psycho 100 Review

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It’s the final countdown!

What’s the Story?

Mob is just an ordinary kid, well, he wants to be ordinary; unfortunately he happens to be one of the most powerful espers on the planet. He may look like a quiet, meek little kid, but should the emotions he bottles up reach boiling point then it’s a case of duck and cover as no one’s going to be able to stop him. Under the guiding hand of his con-man master, Mob tries to live a good and ordinary life, while facing off against evil spirits, a secret organisation of espers and his own brother’s suppressed feelings. This can only end well.

The Review

Damn it! He’s done it again. The creator behind One-Punch Man has led to the birth of another anime that I really, really like, actually I think I may like Mob Psycho 100 more than One-Punch Man. It has the zany sense of humour and action so over the top it’s in the stratosphere that One-Punch Man had, as well as a main character who is extremely overpowered yet I still care and root for, but Mob Psycho has a little dash of something else, human drama. I mean One-Punch Man was great, I did care for the struggles of Saitama and the other heroes, but I care about Mob more. He’s a more relatable character, yes he’s super strong, but he’s also socially awkward and nervous about talking to the girl he’s crushing on. Yes he’s a bit too good-hearted and naïve to be a believable teenager, but that just makes me want to put my arms around the kid and shield him from the world. He just wants to be normal and yet never will be.

However much I like Mob though, the more interesting character for me is his younger brother, Ritsu. His psychological state could have a series all its own, I mean he’s everything Mob wants to be, he’s exceedingly normal, he does well at school, he’s good at sports and popular too, he even looks like the older brother and looks out for Mob. Yet despite all of that he yearns for psychic powers like his older brother has and you can see how much it’s eating him up inside not being able to do anything. Then the series reveals another little wrinkle, he’s actually scared of Mob. Seeing what Mob can do when he loses control, I’d be scared too and the reason he looks after Mob so much is one part brotherly kindness, one part preventative caution to try and stop his brother from blowing his top again. All of these emotions are swishing around inside him and conflicting against his admiration for his older brother and if Mob teaches us anything it’s not healthy to bottle up your emotions until you explode, especially when you have psychic powers.

Ritsu’s journey to the dark side is probably my favourite story arc in the series. There’s a palpable sense of tension as you watch Ritsu go further and further down the rabbit hole and the hints at a confrontation with his brother. It’s a different kind of drama to what we had in One-Punch Man and for me I prefer it. There is a bit less mind-blowing action that in One-Punch Man, it takes us until episode 3 before Mob really shows us what he’s holding back and it is so worth the wait. Due to the set up of the series with the percentage popping up to show us Mob’s emotional state, it can sometimes take a while for him to hit boiling point, plus the fact that his master drilled into him not to use his powers against other people. This works for the series though, it makes it so that when Mob does break out the psychic powers it’s a lot more satisfying.

I do have to talk about the animation with this series because it’s another major plus in this series’ favour. It’s done by Bones so you know it’s going to be good from the start and it is. It’s bright and colourful though in some cases when the psychic powers come out I think the best way to describe it would be psychedelic. The action, when it comes, is fluid and fast and it has this continual sense of motion to it, the best way I can describe is that it feels likes you’re on a roller coaster that is going full speed. It’s constantly moving forward faster and faster, but you never get lost with it, you know what’s happening and it is awesome, over the top, but awesome. What I like most about the animation though is the artistic style it goes for. The character models and the motion all have this loose, scratchy outline to them, it looks like the characters just pulled themselves off of a manga page and started walking around. Yet not once do I stop believing in these characters and this world, it suits this show perfectly.

The only real shame about this series is how criminally short it is. Only twelve episodes? Come on! We need more Mob! There is a plot there just begging for a second season, who doesn’t want to see Mob and the gang back to take on the boss of Claw (the evil esper organisation). Also, I haven’t read the source material so I don’t know if this happens, but I would think it’d be nice to have some development of Mob’s crush, I know she’s mostly there for Mob to admire from a far, but I’d like to know a little more about her and get some resolution to that plot thread.

The Verdict

Mob Psycho 100 is one of my favourite anime of this past season. It’s got some really loveable and interesting characters, some heartfelt drama, some funny jokes and some blistering action sequences. If you liked One-Punch Man I think you’re going to like this and if for some reason you didn’t like that show still give this one a try, you never know you might like it. The animation alone is worth the price of admission; it is nothing less than exceptional.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

 

Anime Corner: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 Review

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The curse known as possibility.

What’s the Story?

The Universal Century is nearing its hundredth year and still there is tension between the Federation of Earth and the Spacenoids that where shipped off of the planet and into colonies all those years ago.  This tension is about to explode into a new conflict as the Federation and the forces of Neo Zeon compete to find the mysterious Laplace’s Box that is said to contain a secret that can bring down the Federation. Once more a teenager, this time Banagher Links, will be drawn into the conflict and called upon to pilot a mighty Gundam. The end of this century-long conflict is drawing near, but is that even possible?

The Review

Ok, I’ll hold my hands up, I may love Gundam but my experience with the main timeline (the Universal Century) is rather limited so I’m approaching this review from the point of someone new to this side of franchise. If I could I’d go back and start at the original series and experience the Universal Century as it was meant to be experienced, but for one reason or another it’s really hard to get a hold of over here in the UK, so when this series turned up on Crunchyroll my thinking was ‘Screw it, let’s just dive in’, even though, from what I understand, this is meant to be the end of the Universal Century.

As it turns out my whole ‘let’s dive in’ approach backfired on me pretty badly. This is not a series that is friendly to newbies, there’s a lot of continuity and talking about events and people that I’m clearly supposed to know about. Luckily I’ve read a couple of volumes of the Gundam Origin manga that retells the original series so I could get a grasp on who Char was, a rough idea of what happened in the One Year War and what New Types are (Wikipedia filled in the rest). Even outside of the masses of research you’ll need to do to watch this show, I still don’t think it’s that good a series, I can’t speak for how it stands against the rest of the franchise but it certainly doesn’t work as a standalone series.

We’ll start with this series’ biggest problem, pacing and editing. For one this show is just so slow, there are vast stretches of episodes where nothing really happens, just characters standing around talking and not accomplishing much, if you’re lucky you’ll get a minute or two of giant robots beating one another up, but that’s about it. It just drags on endlessly with wall-to-wall padding, which isn’t helped by the fact that most of the episodes come with a 5-minute recap of what happened the last episode, then there’s these weird cuts in the middle of episodes where the story backtracks a couple of minutes to repeat what happened just before the ad (which is something I haven’t since classic Doctor Who). It just leaves you with this feeling that this is a 13 episode series stretched out to 22. All of this starts to make sense once you realise that this series is a retelling of an ova series, now I haven’t seen that series so this is purely me talking out of my behind here, but does anyone else get the feeling this is just the OVA repackaged and stretched out to fill a gap in the schedule?

The lack of action doesn’t help this series either. Now I get what this series was going for, the previous series are meant to have all done the whole awesome battles between giant robots and looked at the horrors of war and such, so there’s no need to go over that again here. Also this series wants to take a more philosophical approach to itself, looking for a way to end this conflict that has stretched across the century and have a few discussions about human nature and the possibility of the future along the way. I appreciate that and maybe for someone who’s seen the other series this provides a bit of catharsis to this timeline, but more often then not in the show it just ends up as characters speechifying at us. Now don’t get me wrong some of the ideas that they talk about are really interesting, but a lot of the time my brain just switched off and the voices turned into that of Charlie Brown’s teacher. It didn’t help that my inner ten year old was jumping up and down screaming for giant robots to show up and start fighting.

The animation is amazing on this series, as you’d expect. Everything moves with a real fluidity and power to it, the characters designs are all distinctive and colourful; I love some of the designs for the mobile suits. The fights, all 12 minutes of them, are gorgeously rendered, but they’re just over too quickly. The series would finally be drawing me in with some quality action, when suddenly it was over and I slipped back into passive watching of all the events. I wanted this series to grab me, to wow me and make me care, but what with that dreadful pacing, the speeches and the blink and you’ll miss them fights I just couldn’t find the energy to care. The only characters I actually felt anything for were the Captain of the Sleeves ship and Marida (Oh and Mineva when she was in badass mode).

That brings me to Banagher. I really hated this kid throughout the first half of this series; I mean for crying out loud grow a spine boy! And that isn’t aimed at the fact that he’s another teenager put in a death machine who gets all weepy about killing people in a war he was never meant to be apart of, that’s very understandable and I’d be worried about this mental health if he didn’t react like that (he could be a bit less whiney about it, but that’s ok). No, what I mean by the spine comment is his insistence that he’ll do whatever Audrey (Mineva) wants to. A character, a good character, is made up of their own wants and desires (you know, like actual people), what does Banagher want? Nothing. Daddy issues? Forget that. Guilt over having to kill people? Who’s bothered? What does Mineva want him to do? Thankfully it doesn’t last and Banagher eventually grows out of it and starts dealing with other stuff, but when that whole “I’ll do what you tell me Audry” thing came up without diving deep into Banagher’s clear psychological issues for thinking that way, it just infuriated me. Thinking about it, there are a fair few characters in this series with clear issues that don’t get explored all that much, wish we could have spent a bit more time developing that than spilling philosophy all over the place.

The Verdict

In the end, Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 isn’t a series that I can recommend. Certainly don’t watch it if you’re not knee-deep in the Universal Century timeline and even if you are it’s probably best to track down the OVA series that came before this one. The animation is gorgeous and there are some interesting characters here, it’s just that the majority of them are underdeveloped. The slow pace and choppy editing robs what little tension the story can muster and there’s too much philosophy being hammered in and not enough giant robots beating the bolts out of one another. Sometimes possibility leads nowhere.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

 

 

Anime Corner: First Impressions Summer 2016 part 2

And we’re back. Let’s carry on with my first impressions of the shows of Summer 2016.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob is a middle school student who has trouble expressing his emotions, so much so that he often comes across as bored or emotionless. The emotions are slowly building though and when they reach bursting point you’d better watch out, because you see Mob is actually an insanely powerful psychic. All he wants to do is be a normal kid and maybe get to talk to his dream girl, but in a world full of phoney psychics, evil spirits and mysterious groups there isn’t much chance of that. The bad guys had better watch out, when Mob hits one hundred then the butt-kicking is going to start.

From the creator that brought us One Punch Man, we now have Mob Psycho 100, and it’s animated by Bones (I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was Christmas already, but thank you for the present). I’m really enjoying this series so far, it’s funny, it has some great action and it is really really really really really really well animated. I love the style Bones have gone for. It’s this scratchy style that looks like the drawings have just gotten up off of the page, but it’s really fast and fluid, I love it. I can only admire the sheer amount of skill and time put into this animation. There isn’t much of a story so far outside of just getting to know the crazy cast, but then I like the weirdoes that have assembled for this series. I really like Mob, he’s a sweet and innocent kid and I like trying to guess what’s going to add to his countup to one hundred. Also he’s a badass when he uses his powers.

Taboo Tattoo

Justice Akatsuka (stop laughing there are worse names in this anime, the main girl is called Bluesy Fluesy so I think Justice here got off lightly). Anyway, Justice saves a weird guy from some street thugs and as a reward is given a mysterious tattoo that gives him superpowers, said superpower being able to create a void that will swallow anything, even Justice himself (gotta say, not much of a reward when you think about it). Now Justice finds himself caught in the middle of a conflict between the U.S. army who developed the tattoos and the kingdom where the tattoos originate from. Let the superpowered teen battles commence! And fanservice, lots and lots of fanservice (can someone please use the void power on either me or this show; I don’t mind which at this point.)

Ugh. Three episodes in and I’ve already reached the point of ‘ugh’, not a good sign. The fanservice gets worse each episode, it’s like the series is purposefully pushing me. Oh, you can take this much fanservice? Then how about this much? Or this much? All building up to the point where I punch the screen to make it stop. It’s ruining what could be a decent show, not a great one, but decent. The story is pretty average; we’ve got the teen protagonist given an obscenely overpowered ability, joining up with a secretive group to battle super-powered bad guys. The animation is pretty good, there are a couple of interesting powers and triggers among all the generic ones and I like how the military and political stuff adds a little bit of a different flavour, it’s needs more expanding upon, but it’s ok. If they just got rid of the fanservice then this would be ok to waste a half hour on each week.

Alderamin on the Sky

Ikta Solork is lazy, a womaniser and a little bit of a jackass (scratch that he can be a pretty big jackass), thankfully he also happens to be a tactical genius, though he certainly doesn’t see that as plus. Ikta dreams of a cushy desk job where he can just laze around and let life pass him by, but fate has other plans. When the ship he’s on ends up stranding him, his friends and a princess behind enemy lines, it’s Ikta’s quick-thinking and clever plans that save them. Unfortunately this rather impresses the princess who gets Ikta enrolled in the military school, just as war looks set to spread through the kingdom.

I like this series. Ikta has the potential to be annoying, but so far has skirted around it. He’s unmotivated and real know-it-all, not characteristics that are easy to root for, but beneath it you can tell that he cares about this friends and comrades and will do everything in his power to help them, characteristics that can be rooted for. I like that he’s not really that good on the physical side of things, so instead uses tactics and methodical thinking to get around problems, and we’ve had some pretty fun schemes from him so far. The rest of the characters are all enjoyable, if needing some further development, but there’s plenty of time for that. Yatori has to be my favour, and not just because she’s a badass with a blade, but she’s also really cool, level-headed and fun. The one thing I’m hoping for is someone that can match Ikta in the brains department. So far no one’s showing that they can present a challenge to Ikta and I think this series will get boring if Ikta has the answer all the time. So far though, this is an enjoyable series.

Hitorinoshita – The Outcast

I’d sum up the story at this point, but we don’t really have much of one at the moment. We’ve got a main character called Soran who was raised to master a super secret martial arts technique that he’s not allowed to use on anyone except other outsiders (other people with powers). There’s a scary girl who likes knives and killing things. Are villains are a creepy and annoying little kid and his overly sexualised big sister. We have no idea what they want or what their big plan is, just that they want something from Soran’s grandfather. They couldn’t get it from the grandfather’s corpse so now they want to dig into Soran’s memories to find it. That’s about it really.

This series does have some potential, I don’t know much about Chinese mythology, but it’s a nice change and I’m willing to learn. I just wish this anime would pick up the pace a little. I’ve seen three episodes so far what I describe above is pretty much all that has happened. I don’t need all the answers to what’s going on, but give me a general idea. What are the villains’ goals? How does this threaten our heroes? Who are our heroes? Where is this all headed? Why should I care about these people and whatever’s going to happen? I’m not invested in anything about this show outside of the mythology stuff (and there’s not been much of that). Our leads aren’t that interesting either, not the badass weird girl or the martial arts master, who used his powers once, lost and has spent the rest of his time whining and moaning. Way to make me care anime, way to make me care.

Qualidea Code

When mysterious creatures suddenly attacked the world and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction (it must be Tuesday), the children of the world were shipped off to a cold sleep facility. Now decades later they’ve awoken to defend what remains of their world, each of them having developed strange powers called ‘World’, they are the last hope humanity has of surviving.

Well, one episode can certainly change an opinion on a series. I mean I thought of Qualidea Code as a show that just about made it to average. I mean it had an interesting idea with the kids waking up in a world that they have to get back from the mysterious monsters, the Unknown, but never really even hints at using that part of the story in anyway. No instead we get the typical teenagers with superpowers fighting to save the world, with a really unlikeable main character. I get what they were trying to do with him, he’s so obsessed with protecting the people he cares about and he thinks it has to be him and him alone that does the fighting, but does the guy have to be so arrogant about it? The animation’s not that good and the rest of the characters are kind of one note. I was probably going to drop this series; then episode 4 came along. Episode 4 is bad. I mean really bad, it’s so stupidly, insanely bad that it is a joy to watch. I have never seen something so ridiculous and over the top (well not this week anyway), and all of it comes right the hell out of nowhere. They even knock the wind out of the main character so he’s no longer so arrogant. Just go watch this one episode; no description can do it justice.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.