GIBIATE – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser July 16, 20200 Comments
Two buff men in 17th century clothes sitting next to a teen girl in post-apocalyptic gear

What’s it about? The year is 2030. A mysterious disease called “gibiate” has ravaged the globe, turning all the humans it infects into monsters. 18-year-old Funada Kathleen, who’s part of a small band of survivors, has sworn she’ll find a cure. It’s in pursuit of this goal that she crosses paths with a samurai and a shinobi who’ve been thrown forward in time from the year 1600.

Take a look at that summary, folks. Really drink it in.

Got it? Good. ‘Cause even that won’t prepare you for the beautiful shot of a reporter looking at the window of a passing plane (from her….helicopter?) as its gore-splattered window is licked by the friendliest ‘lil CGI chameleon-spider you ever did see. Then the plane just sliiiiiiiiiiiides casually across the static background of the burning city below, where we are given to understand it probably exploded horribly.

a lizard monster licking a bloody plane window. subtitle: Oh no! It can't be!

GIBIATE is not, how you might say, good. I can’t wait to watch more of it.

This is the kind of anime that demands a non-traditional assessment. I cannot tell you about the characters except to say that they speak entirely in exposition. To speak of the production values means noting that its use of minimal animation, still pans, and speed lines is on a level I haven’t seen since Berserk ’97. Or that the monsters would be right at home chilling with that bear from Golden Kamuy. They provoke as much dread as the star of a Full Moon Pictures production, and also their blood definitely looks like it’s made of semen. But all of this is transformed, alchemically, by the X-factor it possesses in spades: earnestness.

The writing makes the rather refreshing choice to have Kathleen and one of her companions roll with the whole “time travel” thing—because like the phrase “murder hornets,” it is but one more borderline-inconceivable thing in a timeline full of them. Later, the camp scientist (who I fully expect to either bite it or turn evil given Kathleen’s stated raison d’être) makes a similar remark. And then, in between those two scenes, the samurai Sensui remarks that Kathleen’s mom also took the news of time travel well. TO WHICH KATHLEEN UNIQUELY RESPONDS WITH THE FOLLOWING:

close-up of Kathleen's face. subtitle: My mother's so mentally broken she can't tell humans and Gibia apart.

What does that have to do with the context? I don’t know! I don’t think GIBIATE knows either! Isn’t it marvelous?

As with Japan Sinks: 2020, it’s worth noting that this is a story about a global pandemic airing during the actual hell-year of 2020. GIBIATE is considerably sillier and clumsier in its execution, but it’s worth being careful if the overall concept will be a trigger. Otherwise though, it at least does well by the two female characters we see, and there’s a buff woman in the opening credits who looks like a Jojo that I will absolutely be sticking around to see. It’s not even that the production is all-bad all the time, as there are some beautifully composed illustration-style stills and decent moments of fleshy ’80s-style body horror scattered throughout.

a woman with pink spiky hair and a scar over her eye

Shows of this type often lose their steam halfway through, but in an already weird season I’m rooting for this toddling little oddity to go the distance.

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