This has been one of the quietest, yet the most intense first episodes I’ve seen. Suspense builds up slowly but surely – and at the end of the show the mind of a viewer is filled up with questions.
Anime starts off with a scene in the modern-day world. Animation, however, is eerie and puzzling; there are killings, but the narrative is chaotic; there’s a perpetrator, but he seems uninterested in events around him. Nothing makes sense, yet it appears calm, with soothing music in the background. Suddenly, scenery changes – and here we are, immersed in a faux-historical setting, dubiously signed as a far future.
There’s a lot to love at this point. A-1 Pictures (Ano Hi Mita Hana…, Kannagi, Kuroshitsuji) did superb work with animation. Characters’ design is good so far – plot is centered around a group of school kids, and every one of them is clearly distinguishable from another, both looks-wise and personality-wise. There is quite a few people introduced in the first episode, and they’re all clearly three-dimensional – and I just love the fact that I can say that with absolute certainity right now, after merely one episode. There’s no pink hair galore, no outifts extravaganza – characters feel very real and solid.
Furthermore, animation itself has been flawless so far. It feels solid and coherent, there’s virtually no difference in art quality between scenes, and I hope it will stay that way. Don’t you just hate it when a beauitifully drawn person suddenly looks like a child’s doodle five seconds after? That’s surely not the case here.
Color palletes change from scene to scene, the feeling, however, doesn’t. From the very first frames we are enthralled in a world of mystery, world of paranormal. Undersaturated, dim scenes do set you in a certain mood, and make sure you stay that way.
What’s a real keeper here, however, is the setting. Is it the future, or is it the past? It feels like some weird kind of postapocalyptic scenario, and this feeling is fueled by existence of abnormal creatures, magic, rituals, some enigmatic power called Cantus (jap. juryoku, 呪力) – all sorts of supernatural stuff. There’s a veil of mystery over everything, and questions just pile up. Every new scene brings something new to this feeling of immersion; every little thing seems in place and contributes to this sort of ‘realness’.
There’s lots of promise here, and I can’t wait to see more.