I was curious what other viewers thought of Deep Insanity: The Lost Child and so went looking for some posts about it on a variety of forums. The end result is that it isn’t being particularly well covered with a number of first episode impressions and then it just kind of goes quiet. Which more or less matches what I thought given I was trying to think which blogs I followed were covering this anime during the Fall 2021 season and I was coming up with very few options.
Now not having a lot of reviews doesn’t necessarily make for a bad anime. Some of my favourite anime were very sparsely covered for a variety of reasons. But in the case of Deep Insanity, which had quite a bit of buzz pre-season (or at least a number of reviewers were curious about it), it really seems like after people got a taste of these characters they decided it didn’t matter what the truth was about Randolph Syndrome or the random Asylum region that appeared in Antarctica.
And if I’m being really honest, now that I’ve finished episode 4, I’m feeling pretty indifferent to this series.
Deep Insanity: The Lost Child isn’t even bad, it’s just bland.
Episode three introduced us to the idea of Exiles or people who apparently live in the Asylum. You know the place filled with monsters and apparently the source of a disease that can potentially turn people into monsters. And we met the cute El-Cee who starred as damsel in distress in order to allow our dull protagonist Daniel to play hero saving both her life and Larry from his own recklessness.
But there was the twist at the end of the episode that I’ll now spoil in order to discuss episode 4 properly. You’ve been warned.
Yep, El-Cee is the target that Daniel was tasked with assassinating.
And episode 4 picks up right from this point with Daniel being told he can’t hesitate but needs to follow his orders.
Of course, not in this episode. We’ve got a month to kind of kick around first. Really have to give people time to uncover this conspiracy and try to stop it. Oh wait, that happened almost in real time and almost before Daniel has decided to actually carry out the mission someone is trying to kill him.
Deep Insanity seems to be under the mistaken idea that just leaving out huge chunks of explanation and leaving the audience in the dark makes for an intriguing viewing experience and will build some kind of anticipation and suspense. While it might be true that delaying an explanation or leaving out a key piece of intel might succeed at this, and delaying gratification can have a good payoff, you can’t leave out everything and expect us to just ride along with dull characters and wait for the exposition to drop.
The characters do continue to kill Deep Insanity: The Lost Child as a viewing experience. We’ve had an episode where Daniel gets to know a bit about Sumire, which has added nothing to any scene she appears in and it doesn’t even look like Daniel has interacted with her since. Last week was a focus on Larry but again its added nothing to his few lines in this episode.
Part of this episode has Daniel asking the others about Leslie, the XO of the group, and doing some basic searches on his history but by the end other than a few random factoids we’ve really learned nothing about what is driving Leslie’s character. And while Leslie might be the most dynamic and interesting character in the cast, that isn’t saying much when everyone else could be replaced b a plank of wood with a name written on it.
So El-Cee is being targeted by some faction that Vera and Leslie are clearly a part of and they are going to use Daniel, the new kid, as their patsy to carry out their plans to avoid problems if it all goes south. That much makes sense even if the reason why this is needed at all is still incredibly vague.
How any of this is connected to Randolph Syndrome is completely unknown and Deep Insanity doesn’t seem ready to try to answer that question.
Why the girl with the rabbits and the guy with the interesting hair-cut who eats nutrient supplements in a manner clearly not as directed on the label want to interfere with this plan is unknown other than they talk about a ‘star child’. How they get into the facility, recruit cultists from within the Asylum and get them into the base, and manage to orchestrate an attack on Leslie and Daniel is anyone’s guess.
If you were just going to shoot Daniel why bother getting the cultists there? It seems less efficient and more likely to fail than just walking up to him in the bar and stabbing him.
Of course none of this answers the overwhelming world building question of just what are these companies doing in their exploration of Asylum and what do they actually hope to get out of it? Because we’ve watched the team go down, fight some random things, and come back a couple of times now and I still don’t get what the point of this facility is or why they keep going down there. They don’t seem to collect samples or do anything useful.
Anyway, all of this adds up to Deep Insanity being deeply unimpressive and while there’s still potential in the overall plot, even if it manages to answer some of the questions and fill in some of its world-building, the characters are going to need to really pull it together to make viewers actually care and so far they are coming up short.
Images from: Deep Insanity: The Lost Child. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2021
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