What’s it about ?
In the future, after a near-apocalypse, most humanity has settled in a few super-awesome cities where they live carefree existences in a hi-tech environment… Well, at least that’s the official story ; considering there’s a Ministry of Peace around, I really doubt it’s as utopian as it claims.
Shion, our point-of-view character. A very mellow and easy-going high school kid who feels a bit constrained by society’s straightjacket. The utopian setting means he’s on the fast track to elite university and possesses very good first aid skills. He lives with his mother in the kind of house that clearly establishes him as very high in the food chain. (Or maybe everyone’s got one of these in the utopia, but I really doubt it.)
Safu, Shion’s classmate, who’s clearly interested in him, but gets politely relegated to the friend zone, to her despair. We also get to see her grandmother, who’s clearly bored out of her mind considering the dozens of hand-knit sweatshirts in her closet. (Utopia, my ass !)
Nezumi, an escaped convict who takes refuge in Shion’s house (who had left the window open). To his surprise, Shion doesn’t report him to the authorities, and actually hides him and nurses him back to health. Now, Nezumi clearly ain’t has bad as the newsflashes make him out to be, but Shion’s reaction is hard to explain unless you just accept it as part of his personality… And, well, I’m told the original novels played up the gay subtext a lot more, which I have no trouble believing.
It’s Studio Bones : of course it looks good. The direction’s not particularly subtle, though (witness the numerous close-ups on the kids’ RFID tags !).
This is obviously an ambitious project, earnestly trying to be meaningful and deep… but I’m not convinced it works. It’s way too unsubtle in its depiction of the udystopia, and I get the nagging feeling we’re heading for “Shion and Nezumi grow close together while running away from the authorities”, which isn’t a story I have the least bit of interest in.
I’ll give it another episode to try and convince me there’s more to it, but I’m not hopeful.