OP: 「Kyokugen Dreamer」by SCREEN mode
“The World is in Total Darkness”
No one has been talking about Yoru no Yatterman going into this current season, and that’s partially because it’s been difficult to know just what type of anime this was going to be. All I knew this was loosely tied to the original Yatterman series from the 70s, but that watching the original wasn’t necessary. I expected some slapstick comedy with goofy characters and a monster-of-the-week type of storyline; something harmless but pretty mediocre. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say this was the best first episode of the season (up there with Death Parade). The main plot details had been kept from us (well, we did get a vague and downright confusing synopsis) and so when the curtain was pulled back and we got this, well, I was blown away. I just hope everyone gives this a shot, otherwise they miss be missing out on something special.
An Emotional Story:
It’s been a long time since a first episode has made me tear up – the last time would be Ano Hana, which turns out is my all-time favourite anime, so that’s certainly a good sign. I was not expecting an apocalypse to take place, nor was I expected the story of a pregnant and widowed wife living in a land of poverty. Dorothy (Itou Shizuka) instantly comes across as warm and genuine, with her two companions, Voltkatze (Hirata Hiroaki) and Elephantus (Miyake Kenta), sell themselves as a perfect comedy duo. In only a few minutes it feels like we’ve nearly gone through a decade, seeing Leopard (Kitamura Eri) being born, growing up, and then celebrating her ninth birthday. It’s sweet, it’s touching, but there’s something sombre about the whole affair, as we learn of Dorothy’s poor health.
They way the original anime has been weaved into the story here is surprising, but effective. It may have been easy to just assume that this was a modern remake of the same story, but these characters are in fact decedents of the main characters of the very first Yatterman. There’s only mere hints as to what led the current story to where it’s at – like how the originals were banished from the Yatter Kingdom, a country ruled by the almighty hero Yatterman. The details still to be cleared up may have been addressed in the original anime, but for now I’m just going with what we’re told here. We get some well-woven exposition in the form of a child’s storybook, but the idea of heroes and villains flips itself by the end when in search for help for her mother’s illness, Leopard, Voltkatze, and Elephantus head towards the mysterious wall and encounter those from the Yatter Kingdom, who turn out to be evil. It’s not the most shocking twist, but it’s effective, especially with the transition into Dorothy’s death. The whole sequence between mother and daughter was beautiful – the animation was simple, effective, and I had a tear in my eye.
Drama vs Comedy:
If there is one potential worry I’ve heard that I can sort of understand, it’s the balance between drama and comedy, and how it will work. I – and I assume many others – were expecting something silly and slapstick, but as it turns out we’ve also got a powerful story on our hands here, with three very diverse characters ready for an adventure. I found myself chuckling quite hard at moments of comedy here and there, but I do also wonder where the balance is going to lie from here on out. I suppose my expectation of something goofy was delivered when the trio came out in their cheap superhero costumes, but tacky as they may be, the garments are just as endearing as the characters that wear them. For now I deeply enjoyed both the serious and silly sides that were in this episode, even if I understand the opposite opinion.
Overview – What’s Next?:
All things considered, this was a superb first episode. It blew away my expectations, delivered some very fun and sympathetic characters, and set up an ambitious adventure into the unknown. The trio don’t know what awaits them and neither do we, and I, for one, am very excited to see what awaits.
Note: Because this episode was so fantastic, it’s thrown a wrench in my blogging plans. If next week’s episode is just as impressive as this one, then don’t be too surprised if I decide to pick this up.
The World They Live In:
Channelling the Originals: