Let’s start the anime off with a battle between characters no one knows with no context and then let’s transition back to normal everyday Tokyo and see if we can figure out how they got from point A to everybody ending up dead.
This technique has been kind of used to death at this point and it isn’t really very effective. Dumping the audience into the middle of a battle sequence when they’ve yet to form any attachment to any of the characters rarely makes any kind of emotional connections, and no matter how cool that fight sequence is, without a context it is all just a lot of lights and colours whizzing around. Worse in this case, as every character is paired up and exchange about two lines of dialogue so that they name each other and then they wipe each other out. Over and over again. Meet two character, quick exchange of words with names I’ll never remember thrown in, and then bang, one of them is dead and then the other realises they are also hit and falls over. And this goes on for the whole opening without a single narration or explanation so it is just noise on the screen while we wait for the story to actually start.
Once the story does start, I can see why they started with the fight sequence. We meet Chihiro and some other guy at a dojo where they are practising and we are told that Chihiro always uses a disarming technique rather than going for a killing blow but still manages to win. He’s told, in an incredibly dreadful attempt at foreshadowing that he can’t win an actual fight like that which he agrees to. Then they go to uni, here a weird noise and pass out. Jump forward five months and Chihiro is the last person in Tokyo to wake up (everyone else managed it after a week, so what makes Chihiro so special is I guess a question we’ll get answered eventually). There’s some exposition about the state of the city and then Chihiro and friend return home to be attacked in another no-context fight sequence, but at least that clumsy foreshadowing came in handy.
While there is a very small chance this won’t be a dreadful mess of a narrative, I’m thinking this is one that going into with any expectations would be a mistake. I’m going to give it another episode or two to try and pull itself together but I don’t really expect much.
Thanks for reading.
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