World Break First Impressions
Fun fact, I had to look up the title of this anime twice when setting up this article and I still got it wrong. To be fair, the full title is World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman. With a title like that, part of me suspects that this is the result of someone trying to be as generic as humanly possible. This theory might actually hold water seeing as the first episode of World Drake: Wario of Hearse is almost exceptional in how generic it is. If I was teaching a course on how to write for anime, this would be on the short list of anime episodes to show in class as examples of what NOT to do. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. World Steak: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb focuses on a group of super powered teenagers who gain their abilities through their connection to their past lives.They have been gathered together to learn how to use their abilities in the safety of a school environment. To the show’s credit, the idea of channeling a past life isn’t entirely unoriginal, even if it does bring to mind some aspects of Shaman King and Yu-Gi-Oh. Unfortunately, everything else about the execution feels contrived and stale. The school even has special arenas that exist in a pocket dimension or something so that any injuries that are inflicted there don’t carry out into the rest of the world. Plus, the students have dog tags that can transform into the weapons or their past lives because… Magic… or Science… MAGIC SCIENCE!!! None of this comes off as anything but a contrivance, and it really doesn’t take long to start grating on the viewer.
The main character of World Flakes: Electric Boogaloo in the Hood is… one second… Haimura Moroha, a somewhat underwhelming student who, despite outward appearances, possesses the spirit of some important ancestor. The show tries to hammer home the fact that he is the badass hero via a cold open involving a climactic scene in which he and a bunch of students we don’t know yet are fighting a dragon. This may have been a bit more effective if it hadn’t looked like an off-Broadway rendition of the dragon fight scene from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. After that balls-to-the-bland-as-hell-wall intro, both the viewer, as well as Moroha, are introduced to Ranjou Satsuki, an annoying chibi joke of a character who was apparently Moroha’s sibling in their past lives. NEW PAST-LIFE INCEST WITH ONLY HALF THE EWWW! OF NORMAL INCEST!!! The show doesn’t even seem to understand the concept of subtlety, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that she rapidly reveals a rather unnerving brother-complex. She actually gets into a lengthy cleavage-off with another student… whose name I am outright going to refuse to look up. That student can be referred to as Lethargic Boobs for the remainder of the review, because her only purpose in this first episode is to incite conflict and offer up some unengaging fan service.
The plot of this episode is just as atrocious as everything else in it. The show gives us a bunch of exposition dumps that rush us through the setting and even going so far as to use the phrase “I believe you’ve already been informed.” Apparently the cast is being trained to fight something called Metaphysicals, but the episode doesn’t seem to care to explain what those are, and I don’t care to care. The conflict of the episode comes both in the fan service off between Satsuki and Lethargic Boobs, as well as an appearance from the most stereotypical bully that I have seen in quite a while. This is a character who mocks the teaching process by claiming that they should be going up against Metaphysicals, publicly humiliates the female lead, and then calls the main character weak. As anyone with a fistful of brain cells can guess, this character is simply an excuse to have Momoha pull the heart of the cards out of his ass and use it to beat the shit out of this bully. Now, the bully getting shown up is a common trope in fiction, and the success of its use often hinges on either how nuanced the show can make the bully in question (like in BECK) or how entertaining it can make their ultimate comeuppance (see ANYONE who picks a fight with Shizuo in Durarara!!). This doesn’t succeed on either front, and it just feels like the show is absentmindedly going through the motions, like a bizarre fan service laden paint-by-numbers.
Speaking of painting, the art is also nothing to write home about. It’s not awful, but it does look like it could be a few years old, and there really is nothing distinctive about it. The fan service is pretty damn unappealing, too. Generally speaking, I don’t care for fan service, but I don’t tend to let that get in the way of enjoying a good series, and plenty of shows can even utilize it to good effect. World Lake: Dance of Curse actually has fan service related plot-holes! When Satsuki is told that her not-really-brother is fighting in the arena, her reaction is to run out into the hallways naked. I instinctively slammed my hand into my forehead when that happened. And yet, when she arrives at the arena she is fully dressed in her school’s uniform. Lazy doesn’t even begin to describe it. There is a scene in which our protagonist spends more than a minute with his head jammed into a woman’s breasts… Sometimes it’s better not to branch out and watch new things.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Birdy called dibs on Durarara!! x2 and Death Parade first impressions, so I figured I’d check out one of the other non-sequel releases from this season… winter seasons tend to be kinda sparse.
- Those “Metaphysicals” better not ALL be dragons, because, if they are, I can think of a better name for them. Like… you know, dragons.
- The protagonist jokes that Lethargic Boobs is “devaluing women” after she spontaneously kisses him upon meeting him. She later throws this back at him after forcing him to motorboat for a solid minute… There is a sentence.
- Based on a light novel… no f***ing shit!!!
World Snake: There is a Python in my Pants is one of the most insultingly lazy shows I have seen in a long time. Normally one might expect something this generic to be forgettable, but this actually might reach the point of being memorably generic. Is it impossible to recover from this first episode? Well, no, but I wouldn’t bet on it getting much better. The harem that the main character appears to be establishing would appear to be far intimidating than any dragon due to sheer annoyance. My recommendation is to avoid at all costs.
Unappealing and generic to the point of being insulting, World Break's only real saving grace is that it doesn't seem outright malicious in its approach... just moronic.