What’s it about ?
In the future, augmented reality is going to be wicked awesome… Oh, wait, it’s a shounen fighting series.
Haru, our protagonist. Nothing says “punchable loser” like being voiced by Yuki Kaji, but the character designer went out of their way to portray him as a very short fat dude who looks utterly out of place among the other characters. He spends most of his middle school life being harassed by bullies and retreating into virtual reality games, until he meets…
Er, well, I really doubt Kuroyukihime (“Black Snow Princess”) is her real name, so let’s call her Black Lotus, her virtual reality screen name. She’s the beautiful idol of the school, although that’s just a front for her actual personality of a complete troll. She goes out of her way to introduce Haru to the underground community of Burst Linkers, which are basically people who use a program to hack the omnipresent augmented-reality/internet/network to get super-speed. This sounds awesome and addictive until you learn you must play a special game to get more doses of it. The big mystery here is obviously what’s Black Lotus’ angle in getting Haru under her wing.
Haru has what looks like a successful big brother to feel inferior to, and a clingy childhood friend who’s all set for the mandatory love triangle by the end of episode 2. Hopefully they won’t get too much screen time wasted on them.
Wow. The real world sequences and characters aren’t much to speak of, but as soon as the augmented reality kicks in it looks awesome. (The virtual worlds don’t look too bad, either.) I really, really want to live in this future world where you have the internet hardwired into your neck. Sure, the Big-Brother-cameras everywhere feel a bit dystopian, but it feels worth it.
Dull characters, including yet another Yuki-Kaji-voiced loser protagonist ? Check. Already starting to degenerate into a fighting tournament series ? Check. Oh, dear, those aren’t good signs. But on the other hand, it’s a series with a killer concept at its core (and the visuals to back it up), and that may be enough for me to keep watching it.