What’s it about ?
Conspiracy action thriller, with a dash of magic.
Yoshino, our viewpoint character. He seems to be a very ordinary high school student, leading a perfectly normal life (beaten up by the local bullies, etc.). He spends most of the episode being baffled by the increasingly crazier stuff happening around him. Which includes being held at gunpoint by…
“Evangeline Yamamoto, single, 28 year-old and currently unemployed” (one of her actual first lines of dialogue). Whoever she actually works for (she claims she’s just a concerned citizen acting independantly, but if you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you), she’s looking for…
Mahiro, Yoshino’s BFF, who disappeared a month ago. He got more and more agitated after his sister Aika got killed some months ago, especially as the police investigation is going nowhere. Which led him to become an apprentice to…
Hakaze, “one of the most talented mages in the world, even in [her] underwear” (actual monologue). One of the heirs of a powerful magic-using family, she was left stranded on a small desert island so she wouldn’t interfere with their plans. (So why not just kill her, especially as you expect her to starve to death anyway ?) She made contact with Mahiro through that old standard plot device, the message in a bottle.
I have no clue what the baddies are trying to achieve, but this somehow involves unleashing a plague upon the city that turns people into metal. (Fortunately, as a magic user Mahiro is immune, Yoshino and Evangeline were close enough to him to be protected too, and everyone Yoshino cares about – his parents and girlfriend – were conveniently out of town.) They also have a giant rock thingie emerge from the sea and float in the air, which somehow sprouts a huge eye.
The visuals are quite good, as can be expected from Studio Bones. I’m not fond of the character designs, but they work.
I can’t decide whether the score is horribly misused or just crap ; it tries to be Dramatic! All! The! Time!, which really doesn’t work and makes the narrative’s sudden mood changes even more jarring.
What did I think of it ?
Wow, this is a complete mess. The dialogue is chronically terrible, as nearly everyone talks in exposition all the time. The pacing of the episode is horribly jumbled, with sudden timeline jumps and a general ordering of events which is plain bad storytelling (why have Hakaze narrate her contact with Mahiro instead of just showing it in a quick montage ?). The mood shifts don’t quite work either, with some of the slapstick material with Hakaze on her island not fitting well with the thousands of dead people in the city (not that the show seems to care about them).
And still… there are some intriguing ideas in there, not the least of which being the very well-executed twist at the end, putting a lot of what happened into question. I’m actually kinda interested in seeing where this is going.
Oh, fuck it. It’s got Miyuki Sawashiro (the only reason Hakaze still has any dignity after that underwear line) AND Hana Kanazawa (in full-on bitchy mode as Aika in the flashbacks). Of course I’m going to keep watching this, and complain all the time on how stupid and badly-plotted it is. Let’s this be my token trainwreck show of the season…