OP: 「stone cold」 by FictionJunction
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ED: 「輝跡 -kiseki-」 by 南里侑香 (Nanri Yuuka)
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「イシの目覚め」 (Ishi no Mezame)
“Awakening of the Stone”
It’s the battle of good versus evil using stones, and I don’t mean the rocks you pick up off the ground. In the premiere of Sunrise’s new original series, they didn’t deviate much from the story that was outlined, and depicted how 17-year-old Tandouji Aruma (Terashima Takuma) has been avoiding contact with people ever since his latent power went out of control and he was put on probation for injuring others. Everyone at school’s afraid of him, except the club leader of the Stone Club, Itou Wakana (Itou Kanae), who gives Aruma the benefit of the doubt and continually tries to recruit him into her club. All that went to show was that Aruma is a misunderstood individual who hates his accursed power, which seems to resonate when other evil rock monsters, a.k.a. “Ashi”, are nearby. Enter the CEO of the Aiba Foundation, Aiba Ruri (Nakajima Megumi), who’s intent on awakening Aruma’s true power to fight against the Ashi, and pays him a visit with her butler Kagami Makoto (Irino Miyu) to give him a new lease on life.
That’s pretty much what we were told to expect and very much what we got. What was surprisingly was how quickly we as the viewer were tossed into things. There was no introductory preamble or any inner dialogue build up the premise, and instead, just a lot of things happening one after another, from the deployment of the cute yet deadly Maid Unit under Makoto’s command to the Medusa monster that rose up from the passenger ship wreckage offshore. It almost felt like they were rushing through things just so that Aruma could realize his true powers with the help of Ruri’s jewel, all in the first episode, in hopes of grabbing the viewer’s interest immediately with a fast-paced start. For the most part I’d say it worked, showing both the out of control Aruma and this reborn Sacred Seven self, while dropping a few plot tidbits about how the Ashi are seeking the power of other stones. A proper explanation is probably in order when they dial things back a few notches in the next episode though, along with formal introductions for the Ashi that helps Ruri, Onigawara (Ookawa Tooru), and Wakana’s friends, Yamaguchi Ageha (Yamaguchi Rie) and Akasaki Nanami (Akasaki Chinatsu). (Notice the trend between the names of Aruma’s female classmates and their seiyuu.)
Production-wise, the character designs are somewhat reminiscent to those in CODE GEASS, which probably isn’t a coincidence seeing as designer Chiba Yuriko was the main animator in that Sunrise series. Along with the potential in the story, I like what I see so far, but by no means am I blown away by it either. I only had a lukewarm impression of the promo material after all, but was pretty set on covering this series because original anime have a certain appeal, particularly Sunrise ones. Hopefully my faith in the studio pays off, and things become more interesting once other Sacred Seven bearers come into the picture, such as the Kijima Night (Okamoto Nobuhiko) who’s seen flying about, though I suspect we’re going to delve into the high school aspect now that Aruma has joined the Stone Club. It’s still far too early to tell.
* Opening and ending themes by FictionJunction and Nanri Yuuka respectively are always big pluses in my book.