Content Warning: Suicide
What’s it about? When Oda Ryuhei was a child he witnessed the mysterious death of his beloved elder brother, who left behind a strange symbol in his final moments. Still trying to come to terms with his brother’s death as a teenager, he’s been having strange dreams about monsters called “Desaria” randomly attacking him in his sleep.
When it comes to CG animation Studio Orange is the one changing the game with the success of Land of the Lustrous and Beastars, but it seems Sanzigen Animation Studio is also a company we should keep an eye on. The animation in this show is surprisingly stylish and while the facial expressions are sometimes stiff, the body motions are fluid. Director, Kon Yoshikazu is known for CG animation in most of his work such as Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Tiger & Bunny, so it’s safe to say that at least this show won’t have bad CG (I know, I’m shocked too).
I think this story has potential. The first few minutes felt something straight out of a suspenseful horror film, but it was a little jarring when the atmosphere immediately changed to a more lighthearted tone. Despite the tragedy, it’s clear Ryuhei tried his best to move on and have a happy life –he even has a childhood friend to prove it. While it isn’t emphasized as much, I get the feeling he started boxing as a coping mechanism to deal with his brother’s death and still questions why he died at all.
The series quickly throws Ryuhei into dreamlike action sequences where he meets different people fighting strange the “Desaria,” and eventually these weird creatures end up in the real world. Thankfully, Ryuhei is as confused as I am about what is happening around him, but it seems these monsters manifest in the real world when people make a malicious wish and unintentionally offer themselves to the Desaria (I have no idea if I am right about that). Ryuhei is quick on the uptake and somehow managed to learn how to use his abilities as a Knocker-Up (what a name) in order to fight.
I am concerned that some of his eventual comrades are probably teenagers that happen to look like elementary school students. When characters like that are introduced, it’s often the case that they’re put in inappropriate situations, and to be honest I really hope I am worrying for nothing. Also, while it was brief, the train scene was really sad to watch, because it’s so indicative about how suicide is treated as an inconvenience rather than something important that should be viewed with sensitivity and care.
Overall, this one is okay. It’s definitely stylish and is creating intrigue about why all these strange events are happening around Ryuhei. I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with this show, but it’s worth checking out a few more episodes to see where it’s going.