Trickster First Impressions
“Since the day mankind began to dig graves, offer flowers, and mourn the deaths of others, all 110 billion people who have lived on this planet… have perished.”
Oh, I don’t have the patience for this. I think it is fair to say I stopped caring early on with this one. Going into this episode blind might not have been the best idea, seeing as I feel like I was hit out of nowhere by stuff… just stuff happening. Within the first 10 minutes of Trickster, there is an odd pretentious monologue about humanity and its relation to death, an attack by a giant robot, a hacker girl on a workout ball, a guy in a tracksuit chasing a dog, and a man who appears to be Naze Turbine from Iron-Blooded Orphans pursuing a man who can change faces. None of this is ever given even a modicum of context, and it results in what I can only refer to as a confusing mess. I even went and checked to make sure that I hadn’t somehow missed an episode, or accidentally started watching the second season of a show that I wasn’t familiar with. This is one huge ball of “What the hell?!?”
The only element of the plot that I can make a claim towards having a solid grasp on is that a young detective of some sorts (I don’t know. I think he’s a bit like Encyclopedia Brown blended with The Question) discovers an albino boy who is practically incapable of being hurt due to an odd force that protects him. There is also an individual referred to as the Fiend with Twenty Faces who appears to be orchestrating a terrorist attack or something. And there is a man attempting to stop him. And they have a girl who is a hacker who aids them, or something. “Or something,” seems to be one of the most useful phrases when talking about this series, because I honestly don’t understand what is going on. I remember long ago when I would catch a random episode of an anime on television, but would have no grasp of what exactly was going on. That is the feeling that Trickster evokes. Things are happening, but I don’t know who these characters are, what they do, or why I should care.
The animation for this show is solid, but the character designs feel a bit unoriginal. The albino boy I mentioned earlier looks like he could be a piece of Tokyo Ghoul fan art given movement, and I already referenced the fact that one of the characters is a dead ringer for Naze Turbine. There is some decent movement throughout this episode, but without any greater sense of understanding, it all fades into the background. I feel like comparisons could be drawn to Kiznaiver’s opening episode, but at least Kiznaiver’s plot made some sense to me. It was pretentious and the characters didn’t click with me, but, in broad strokes, I understood why they were all there and what the central concept was. The best I can figure is this is a bizarre adaptation of author Edogawa Ranpo’s Kogoro Akechi series which consists of stories released between the mid-1920’s and the mid-1950’s, but this rendition takes place in an odd future and only uses portions of the stories instead of being a direct adaptation. A fictionalized version of Ranpo had recently appeared in Bungo Stray Dogs, but none of this actually lends me any understanding of what is occurring here. It’s possible that a greater familiarity with Ranpo’s works may lead to a sense of understanding here, but I find that idea questionable. I recommend skipping this one.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- I don’t think there was a single character in this first episode that acted like a normal human. Even nameless characters, like a factory worker who is saved towards the end, act like bizarre caricatures of humanity.
- I’m pretty sure the character that I described as looking like Naze Turbine is Kogoro Akechi himself. Beyond that, I know nothing about his character except that he’s lazy.
- I’ve got nothing else. This went in one ear and out the other.
I checked out within a few minutes of starting this episode. Knowledge of Edogawa Ranpo's characters and stories may aid one in understanding what is going on, but it fails miserably when it comes to standing on its own. Skip. Skip. Skip.