Caligula Series Review: Virtual Reality is Cool – Do You Really Need Plot?

Caligula Episode 5

Caligula Series Review

Caligula has the distinct honour (dishonour) or being the anime I watched this year that I just cannot find any merit in having sat through it. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few good moments scattered throughout the 12 episodes, but I will admit that I was definitely breathing a sigh of relief as that final episode ended because it meant it was all over.

Caligula Episode 5

I think what frustrated me with this show was that I very much went into it wanting to like it. Virtual world with people trapped inside is a formula that’s been done more or less to death at this point but I’m a fan of a lot of these types of stories so that wasn’t a problem. There were cool character designs, some interesting music, and the basic idea of an AI wanting to make people happy and failing at it miserably all could have been interesting.

Caligula Episode 11

Even if the plot had just kind of dribbled along as it did, if the characters had been compelling or if they’d actually gotten into any of the ideas of whether living in the virtual world was real or not, or looked at the Musicians (the villains) and their motives with any kind of depth or desire to really explore the human condition, I still might have  really enjoyed this. Unfortunately, each episode I walked away and just kind of felt the entire thing was a little bit (okay a lot) juvenile.

Caligula Episode 9

Massacres and emotional releases/revelations are littered throughout the episodes of this series but none of them are ever given any weight. It is more that the writers seemed to get bored with all the talk and endless snack eating and so suddenly dropped one of these scenes in. The powers the kids unlock within themselves look cool but are poorly explained and ultimately serve little purpose. And given we’re almost at the end of the series before the characters decide to reintroduce themselves to one another (I guess they realised no one in the audience had a clue who these characters were or why we should care about them) it becomes really apparent that the characterisation and writing in this anime just aren’t up to scratch.

Caligula Episode 10

Now, I know some viewers had fun watching this. And I guess if you just want to go along for the ride there are some flashy fights, the music is pretty great (the one thing I won’t criticise), and it does in fact resolve at the end even if that resolution makes no sense. But for me, this is the anime I wish I had walked away from this year. It just didn’t do anything for me in the end except make me think about how much better it might have been.

I’m not going to drag this out anymore. I just didn’t like this anime. I never connected with a single character, the plot at first kind of meandered giving us glimpses at some possibly half-decent discussion about psychology and the like and then it derailed itself and just kind of blew stuff up for awhile before it got to some kind of ending, and so many of the ideas it presented just never went anywhere. Part of me really wishes that maybe this will get another anime one day just to tell the story with less clutter. In the meantime, I’m clearly not recommending this one. There are plenty of better anime out there.

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Karandi James


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4 thoughts on “Caligula Series Review: Virtual Reality is Cool – Do You Really Need Plot?

  1. I tried to watch this when it aired, but I just couldn’t get into it. The graphics were indeed nicely done, but that just didn’t make-up for anything else. . .

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