OP: 「retrospective world」 by 下野紘、岡本信彦 (Shimono Hiro, Okamoto Nobuhiko)
「コンシューム大陸 厳しい（ハード）戦争」 (Konshūmu Tairiku Hādo Sensou)
“The Hard Wars of Consume”
So here we have the premiere of the second to last new anime of fall 2012. To say that expectations have been low for Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de would probably be an understatement – a lot of people don’t even seem to be aware of its existence let alone hyped for it. But perhaps this is a good thing – no hype means there can be no hype trainwreck and dashed expectations! Video game related anime seem to be in vogue at the moment, so what better time to adapt Crimson (known primarily for their distinctive art-style in various h-doujin) and Anastasia Shestakova’s console war parody manga? For those who may be curious, you can actually read the manga entirely online (in Japanese of course).
To quickly summarise the events of the episode for this series intro, after the death of Til, (Uchiyama Kouki) Gear (Okamoto Nobuhiko) resolves to finally join Segua in their war against Ninteldo. After arriving in the capital, he quickly gets added to the country’s special forces by Ramses (Monden Yukiko), proves himself to Opal (Kitta Izumi) and ends up being trained by Tejilof (Shimono Hiro) to rescue the captive general Alex.
Perhaps the biggest focus in Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de is on its references and parodies. Almost nothing goes by without being in some way related to the age old console war between Nintendo and Sega, for whom Ninteldo and Segua are named respectively. Even the continent – Consume – over which they fight is an obvious reference to the fact that the companies battled over consumers in the past with their games. I’m going to try and point out as many of these references as I possibly can, though I’m bound to miss a few here and there (and there are some which I’m sure I should get but just can’t quite grasp).
Let’s start with characters since their references are generally the most blatant. Before we begin, it’s probably worth noting that several of the characters, rather than being direct references to a character within a series, tend to be references to a game series in general. Gear (whose name is likely a reference to the Sega Game Gear) is obviously modelled around Sonic the Hedgehog, the titular character of Sonic the Hedgehog and someone most people will be familiar with! Going hand in hand with that is Til, most likely a Sonic’s sidekick Tails. Everything about Gear is a reference to Sonic, from his blue-tinted flashbacks to all his lines about running and going fast (but only to a first stage level, hence why he couldn’t beat Tejilof!). Next we have Nel (Mimori Suzuko), seemingly a parody of Nei from Phantasy Star II. Ramses and Tejilof are both references to puzzle games (hence why they both graduated from Puzzle Magic Academy). The former refers to Coulmns while the latter refers to Tetris. As a game which was released under a large number of different brands (including Sega), Tetris is treated as a mercenary in this instance. As you might expect from a game which involves slotting objects between other objects, Tejilof is extremely fond of his innuendos and gap-filling puns. Last on the Segua side of the war is Opal, an anthropomorphisation of the sentient spaceship Opa Opa from Fantasy Zone. Her instant dislike of Gear seems to be partially related to a mysterious man, but could also be considered prophetic – Opa Opa is frequently seen as Sega’s first ever mascot character until the position was stolen away by Sonic.
The Ninteldo forces are much larger, but few have been introduced so far (which means less work for me!). First we have Marcus (Ono Atsushi), who parodies Mario all the way down to destroying a ship by jumping on it. We also have Zerig (Koyasu Takehito) acting out his role as Link, and a quick glimpse of a character representing Fire Emblem. Outside of characters, there are a few other references. Outori, the capital of Segua, is most likely a reference to a particular area with similar style in Phantasy Star Universe and the concept of Red vs Blue has been around in video games for a long time (and coincidentally reflects the colours of two of Nintendo and Sega’s biggest franchises).
As the first anime solely produced by 5th Avenue, the animation is nothing spectacular. The few fight scenes we were treated to were rather minimal in nature, and Gear’s speed gives them an opportunity to skimp on the details. The completely random (and censored) fanservice seems a little unnecessary too, particularly the early scene with Ramses, but I guess that’s nothing less than should be expected of an anime overseen by Crimson. I wonder just how much tearing of clothing we’ll be seeing throughout the other episodes! On the other hand, the music is quite a nice touch, seemingly paying homage to older video game soundtracks which is extremely fitting given the whole parody setting. All in all, it’s certainly not an anime to take seriously, but still good for some fun (especially if you happen to be a video game fanatic)!
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – References! References everywhere! I actually quite like some of these character designs too. #AoiSekai
- ‘Things are moving a little too fast.’ Certainly not a line I would’ve expected to hear from Sonic, but perhaps fitting given that the pacing of the episode also felt like it was a little on the brisk side at times.
- Gear’s speed is so great he tears away clothes on impact! I fully suspect this will be a recurring element in combat…
- I feel like I should recognise this dungeon layout. Any thoughts?
- Unfortunately, the next episode doesn’t air for roughly three months, but since I plan to blog it, I’ll see you guys then!
ED: 「０と１の花」 (0 to 1 no Hana) by 橘田いずみ、三森すずこ (Kitta Izumi, Mimori Suzuko)