There’s a lot of tags attached to Night Head 2041 that made this one I was curious to watch, but the CGI visuals were definitely putting me off starting. Still, unlike the romance and apparently comedy driven Duke of Death where everything just ended up looking creepy, here with the darker aesthetic and more action focused visuals, it isn’t quite the distraction. So is Night Head 2041 worth watching?
Watch or Drop? Rules
Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
First Impressions of Night Head 2041
So is this like The Matrix crossed with V for Vendetta with just a whole bunch of anime weird thrown in?
Night Head 2041 visually takes some getting used to as the CGI characters all have that slightly to smooth movement and slightly rubbery appearance when they speak that is slowly becoming more and more common but otherwise these first three episodes set up a dystopian future with excessive government control, kids with psychic powers on the run and lots of gunfire.
Actually when the action kicks off it looks pretty good it is more the slower scenes of characters talking that are a little hindered by the visuals. Plus, whoever designed the aesthetics of this show really loves the look of LEDs given literally everything comes complete with glowing lights attached in this show (why would your enforcers glow like that when trying to infiltrate a base).
Anyway, logical gaps aside, the first three episodes were watchable though not overly engrossing.
That said, episode 3 really steps up the violence with some suicide and some genuine blood splatter so if that’s a trigger for you this probably isn’t your anime.
Night Head 2041 Series Positives:
Probably the biggest positive for Night Head 2041 is that it ticks all the boxes for the kind of story I’m happy to indulge even when it turns out to not be very good. Given I own a DVD copy of Ultraviolet it should be clear that when it comes to futuristic worlds with corrupt and overly powerful governments and people with superpowers I’m not all that picky as long as the action keeps going and the characters are even mildly engaging.
That so far this anime has managed to also tick off my sense of curiosity by presenting a weird time-gap for the two psychic brothers who had thought only 15 years had passed but find out they’ve been gone longer and a whole war has happened in the interim, is more or less a guarantee that whether this was any good or not I was going to watch.
However, the one clear positive for Night Head 2041 so far is that it gets pacing for this type of story. While there has been exposition this has mostly been done during transition scenes, outside of the info-dump at the start. Otherwise we kind of learn things as the characters do on the fly and so far we’ve had enough information so that we know what is happening in the moment but there’s a lot of unanswered questions to keep us going.
In the meantime, there’s been a lot of shooting, running around, people getting thrown against walls using psychic powers and generally a visual feast even if it doesn’t always make a huge amount of sense.
Night Head Series Negatives:
I suspect, that much like the previous Night Head anime that I had literally completely forgotten about prior to reading the synopsis for this one, that even if I finish this story, I won’t remember much of Night Head 2041 once it is done. It is decidedly pop-corn viewing and doesn’t really stick with you after the episode has ended. Which is a bit of a shame because it feels like it wants to have a grander narrative or social commentary but it really isn’t up to the task.
Likewise, so far none of the characters have left all that much impression outside of all being a bit broody. I mean, that can’t actually be the defining character trait of a whole cast, and yet it kind of is.
Also, I suspect they are attempting to connect the brothers in the military with the brothers on the run, somehow, and I suspect this story is biting off more than it can chew. However they do it will probably feel a bit lame and tacked on and honestly none of these characters feel complete enough to need that convoluted a back-story.
I guess time will tell on that note.
Still, it would be nice if there was a little more logic behind the actions here. The banning of all works of imagination seems quite impossible to enforce in practical terms and given how openly some people seem to be displaying contraband material (one character just sitting in a diner reading a manga), it doesn’t seem overly effective. The banning of psychics and belief in gods makes more sense and seems easier to define and enforce, but even then, good luck in practical terms given how attached to religion human beings kind of are.
However, if we suspend disbelief and buy into the premise, so far these first three episodes have more or less worked though I am curious about where they are going with this.
As I said before, while this one may not end up being good, it ticks all the right boxes that I’m certainly going to give it a try. I’m curious enough to know where they are going and even if the plot falls over entirely there’s a good amount of popcorn worthy action in this story so far so a binge watch seems to be in order.
Let me know what you think of Night Head 2041 in the comments below.
Images from: Night Head 2041 Dir. T Hirakawa. Shirogumi. 2021
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