[Review] Spiritpact – episode 1

Keika You’s ancestors were apparently famous exorcists, acknowledged by the emperor. Their status has fallen over the centuries and now Keika works part time in fortune telling, part time in computer repair. Broke with no family, partner, house or car, he dreams of being reincarnated when he is killed by a truck. However, rather than being reincarnated or accepting his death, exorcist Ki Tanmoku tries to convince him to become his ghost partner and help him rid the world of evil spirits.

There is a very niche audience for Spiritpact, and it probably includes at least some people who loved Gravitation for Shuichi’s character. Keika has all of Shuichi’s heightened personality (minus the actual comedy), while Ki has… no detectable personality traits, unless you count “excessive patience”. For those who haven’t seen Gravitation, if an aggressively silly uke and a calm, sophisticated seme sound like your thing then check it out. Everyone else, there’s little to like here.

Ki is in the foreground, wearing a dark suit and coat with short silver hair and blue eyes, looking handsome and serious. In contrast, Keika is marching around in the background with a cartoonified face looking very pleased. Subtitle: "Wow, I feel like I'm a hundred times more energetic."

Ki wants to make a pact with Keika which will last for eternity. ETERNITY. I couldn’t stand 20 minutes of the guy. In the one scene they have together alive Keika is rude, distracting and slow to catch on. He’s not even useful! All he can do is see the ghost Ki is fighting, proving he has some kind of innate ability. That’s it. Ki’s keenness on building an unbreakable professional relationship with him is a mystery.

As for building a romantic relationship, I have no idea how that’s going to happen. Hard to kabe-don a ghost who can sink through walls. Maybe the pact makes Keika solid only for the person he has a pact with? I don’t care enough to keep watching to find out.

I kept waiting for the scene in which Keika would show a glimpse of his true potential without Ki’s help, just a hint of the kind of power that might merit an emperor’s recognition. Nothing. It would be as if Naruto‘s first episode didn’t show him overpowering a bad guy with an unusual amount of strength, making him just an obnoxious kid who got into trouble. If your character’s a brat you have to give them some qualities suggesting there is more to them than meets the eye. If your character is a 23-year-old brat, you’d better frontload those qualities fast.

Keika looks in his reflection in a window, cartoonified with big eyes and a puppy mouth as he puts his hands on his cheeks and marvels at his own face. Subtitle: "Huh? I thought I'd be a hot guy, but I'm a sleek, handsome boy with pale skin!"

While we’re on the subject, the fact that he’s only 23 is another incomprehensible decision. When he dies, he reverts to middle school age – which, as an anime character, means his eyes get a bit bigger. If he didn’t tell us about how young and beautiful he suddenly looks we would never know. His whole monologue bemoaning the fact that he doesn’t have a wife or a house by the ripe old age of 23 – I’m not sure whose sympathy he’ll get from a millennial audience.

If this character is supposed to be jaded in a dead-end life, they could have at least stuck another two or three decades on him. It would have added credibility to his worries, made the physical transformation truly impressive and added a new dimension to this character. For a cynical middle aged man to be given a second chance as the spirit partner of a younger man living the exorcist life that could have been his – there’s potential for conflict and character development right there which would have got me to a second episode.

A woman acquaintance of Keika's is in the background with hearts in her eyes as she looks at a handsome man, while Keika makes a snide comment in the foreground. Subtitle: "You must be hitting menopause. That's why you're over-reacting."

Oh, and as per a particularly unattractive yaoi trope, every woman who shows up is terrible in some way, and Keika spends his time insulting them. I was able to recommend Saga of Tanya the Evil based on not being anti-feminist from my perspective, but Spiritpact doesn’t even have that. Unless you’re a BL fan who already likes the type of pairing dynamic mentioned above and can overlook the fact that the main character now apparently looks like a 14-year-old boy, this is one to skip.

Read the ANN Preview Guide review.

 

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