I normally go out of my way in an anime review to find something positive to say about a story even when I didn’t much like it. I consider who in the audience may have been watching a show like Deep Insanity: The Lost Child and got really caught up in it or maybe developed some empathy for any of the cast along the way. Only, when it comes to Deep Insanity: The Inane Waste of Time, I just can’t find anything particularly good to say other than, at least it wasn’t worse.
The last anime that left me feeling so disappointed that I’d actually finished it was Full Dive and that was largely because it was just full of unpleasant characters who made poor choices but at least that anime remained true to its overall premise of a guy playing a game because he got tricked into buying it and because he was too stubborn to just cut his losses and quit.
Deep Insanity: The Dull Progression can’t even manage to figure out what its actually about.
The synopsis and first episode set up the possibility of exploration of a brave new environment. There’s a huge underground world that has appeared in Antarctica and been called Asylum for reasons that are never made clear. Only exploration is difficult and risky and only certain people are actually compatible. Those that do explore it are called Sleepers (again for reasons that don’t actually become clear). It has all the makings of a less moe Made in Abyss from that set-up.
Throw in a mysterious disease that is sweeping through humanity and the many organisations manipulating situations for power and wealth and there’s a near endless array of interesting plots Deep Insanity: The Meandering Heap could have followed and been half-way decent.
Deep Insanity: The Lost Child was a confused mess of a narrative with dull characters and zero joy.
Unfortunately none of these plot points really come to fruition or even really get much in the way of a mention after their initial set-up. The disease, Randolph Syndrome, doesn’t even get mentioned in the entire second half of the series and we never learn anything about it or even if it is actually connected to Asylum. So the plot thread that appears in the synopsis and is introduced to us straight up in the first episode just vanishes and never really seemed to make any impact on any of the story anyway.
What does Deep Insanity: The Lost Cause focus on instead?
That’s kind of hard to say. We’re introduced to main character Shigure Daniel Kai as he enslists to explore Asylum as a Sleeper. He’s taken into a squad run by the laconic (and almost always seen sitting in an empty room in front of an empty desk) Vera Rustamova. The squad’s executive officer, Leslie is fortunately quite verbose but doesn’t actually answer questions or ensure Shigure gets any training before they all go for a few forays into Asylum where the untrained Shigure makes numerous mistakes.
Go figure that sending an untrained person with minimal explanation into a hostile environment wouldn’t work out so well.
The objectives of this squad are never really made clear other than they are ‘investigating’. But investigating seems to consist of walking to a spot, getting attacked, shooting the thing that attacked them which seems to have no impact, until the XO draws a sword and cuts the thing in two. Then they return back to base.
And I guess having characters carry out vague missions could have been interesting enough had Deep Insanity: The Empty Shell bothered to make the core case more than just one note characters.
Shigure is just hopeless as a lead, not so much because he’s not good at the job he just started and wasn’t trained for, but because he is incredibly boring. From his blank expression to stilted movements and his tendency to simply repeat dialogue back to people, even in his more passionate moments the lines he uses are just echoes of things other people have said, there’s nothing vaguely interesting about this lump of generic average male lead.
The rest of the squad is made up of Larry who apparently doesn’t feel fear or pain except when he does and Reika who doesn’t talk much but likes to draw in her spare time. They are also supported by a formal idol who doesn’t enter Asylum but communicates with them from the base and likes to bounce around the base in bright revealing clothes probably because someone realised this anime was duller than dishwater to look at.
I’m not even kidding about that. Deep Insanity: The Murky Mess is a very grey anime when they are on the base and when they enter Asylum it is more a pea-green murkiness. It isn’t attractive to look at and the monsters Asylum throws at our characters are not only ugly in form but their animation is pretty horrendous to look at as well. Which doesn’t allow the few action sequences to really come across as anything more than a visual mess upon the screen.
Anyway, the ‘story’ such as it is for Deep Insanity: The Desperately Reaching really kind of kicks off when Shigure is tasked by Vera with assassinating someone who is living inside Asylum. Why there are people there is also never explained. Just don’t ask.
Anyway, turns out the person he’s to kill is a child and one he met randomly when he snuck into Asylum with Larry when they were off-duty.
The remainder of the series is the various assassination attempts with the different factions trying to abduct or save the child for their own ends only we don’t know what any of their end-goals are or even what their intention is for the child so there’s little reason to become invested. By the time they throw time-loops into this story you may as well just toss your hands up in despair if you are expecting anything to get an explanation or be in any way satisfying.
From start to finish Deep Insanity: The Most Disappointing didn’t manage to engage. The best thing about the entire series is the promotional video that suggests a much more serious and methodical story and one that has some tension and drama. Instead you can watch the squad in Deep Insanity plan BBQ’s and get beaten by a pair of grey rabbits, more than once.
If it isn’t clear let me sum it all up; don’t waste you time watching Deep Insanity: The Lost Child because I can almost guarantee any other anime would be a more satisfying watch. This one isn’t even so bad it is good. It’s just dull and lazy and ultimately pointless.
Images from: Deep Insanity: The Lost Child. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2021
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