「人類皆征服」 (Jinrui Kai Seifuku)
“Conquer All Humans”
Boy meets little girl. Little girl wants to conquer the world. Boy joins little girl. Tanks get blown the $@&% up. This show is ridiculous and interesting, I’m just not sure whether the crazy setup works with the quasi-serious tone.
The World Exists To Be Conquered
The premise of this one is certainly original, for a certain value of original. Some of the characters are tropes, chief among them ordinary high school student (trope!) Jimon “Dva” Asuta (Hanae Natsuki), but the central premise – that an organization centered around a little girl is out to conquer the world with, seemingly, strange technology and powerful magic is, if nothing else, fresh. What most surprised me though, coming from someone who researched this show for the season preview, was the story proclaiming that the world will be conquered by Zvezda at the very beginning. I’m not sure that truly means it’s a foregone conclusion, but that did pique my interest.
Storytelling is an art if nothing else is, and it’s one your can liken to fishing. (Only without getting up so early in the morning, and with either more or less beer. Depends on how you do it.) By this I mean there’s an art to giving your audience enough information to make them interested without giving it all away at the get-go. You’ve got to reel them in until you’ve got them seriously invested and, preferably, up on your boat and filleted for frying. I think I lost the metaphor there.
My point is that often storytellers tease us with information to get us interested, and they did that here. It started with Asuta’s meeting with Hoshimiya Kate (Kuno Misaki), also known as the leader of Zvezda, Venera-sama. No, let’s go further back–it was when it was so casually mentioned that martial law was in effect that they really started to reel me in, something which was furthered when alien-like squid monsters started blowing up in the background.
Where I think they faltered was in not explaining enough. I felt like they were deliberately holding back information to doll it out later on, and that kind of parsimony is something an audience notices. I prefer stories like Mirai Nikki, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, or Shingeki no Kyojin (at least at the beginning), who always seemed in a hurry to show us as much as possible because they had so much story to tell. This combined with Kate’s dodgy reasoning for wanting to conquer the world made it seem like they’re holding things back when they don’t need to, which is irksome.
A counter example: Them not explaining how their magi-technology(?) or whatever that was works is totally fine. That’s the kind of thing that makes me go “I want to know how they did that” (even as I realize this wasn’t the time to spout exposition). It’s more the broad questions about why the characters are doing what they’re doing that I wanted more clarity about.
Art, Movement, Music, Tone
The art and animation in this show is great so far. Mainly hand-drawn save for the military equipment and the bouncing demon tribbles (or whatever those were), it was appealing to watch, there was a lot of movement from all the characters, and the character designs are nice and distinctive. It appears that A-1 Pictures isn’t holding back the budget for this project, which is good.
Its tone is odd, though. That’s kind of nice in a way, and it’s something that the soundtrack backs up – something is wrong with this world, this is an evil organization we’re following, and that shows everywhere from the alien-like background music to the darkness that permeates the entire episode. It’s the combination of a ridiculous secret society and a semi-serious plot that made it all feel very…off. I’m unsure whether this is good or bad yet. Probably I’ll need a few more episodes to absorb the atmosphere before judgement can be rendered.
What I’m looking for going forward are some answers to what Zvezda is up to, which Asuta’s newbie status should be perfect for forcing some exposition. I don’t plan to cover this one weekly, but I will be following it, so I’m sure I’ll speak about it again as the season progresses. Until then!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Ridiculous and interesting, but the tone & the tightness with information are points of concern. Still plenty of potential #sekaiseifuku 01
- Some of the dialogue in this is good, specifically “If you swear fealty to me, I shall share my snacks and the world with you” and “Lincoln had potential. However, his weakness was he couldn’t handle bullets.” I don’t know why they would bring up Lincoln of all people when talking about conquest (unless they’re implying some kind of civil war situation), but I can’t argue with the latter point.
- Hanazawa Kana really is in everything this season. Her agent/manager is doing some serious work this season, sheesh.
- This is no time to play Tank Man, kid! Historically that hasn’t worked out well for the person in question. We think. We’re still a bit unclear on that point.
- I’ll give Kate this, only the truly confident try to sway the soldiers sent to kill her. That takes balls. Huge, throbbing girl-balls. I made this weird again. I’m going to shut up.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Don’t break the chain, Nerds & the miracle of human consciousness, Urgency & the rush to come, and Explain yourself. My current combo counter: Writing chain, 1 day long. Editing chain, 1 day long.
Full-length images: 01.
OP: 「Be mine!」 by Sakamoto Maaya