「英雄か群衆か」 (Eiyū ka gunshū ka)
“Hero or Mob”
Wasn’t expecting to enjoy that as much as I did.
When details on Luck and Logic first came around, I wrote it off as dismissable. The premise seemed like an overly convoluted explanation for flashy powers, the costume designs looked gaudy, and above all else, it seemed like nothing more than bloated marketing to push sales for the physical card game. While I stand by a few of these critiques, they all fade into the background for a surprisingly enticing and entertaining first episode.
While this is the part where I usually explain the basic premise of Luck and Logic, I’m instead recommending that (if you’re intending on giving it a watch) you forgo any research and head in blind. Upon my viewing, I knew little to nothing about Luck and Logic aside from the subjects of my predisposed gripes, and I think it fed into one of the strongest features of the narrative.
Luck and Logic’s debut does a fantastic job with world-building. Aside from a brief bit of narration describing the concept of “logic” in this world (ultimately irrelevant to the plot of at least this first episode), the entirety of the exposition is cleverly hidden beneath details of the story. I don’t want to give much away, but a lot of the fun I had was trying to piece together the nature of this world, and the history of its characters. Brief hints, name-drops, and flashbacks are cleverly employed to feed the viewer morsels of the lore (what is the source of these powers, what happened in the past with our main cast, and so on). This first episode never resorts to a lengthy, humdrum of narration and explanation, instead opting to seamlessly blend exposition with narrative—letting the audience use their mind to figure out exactly what’s going on here, mentally stimulating the viewer and keeping them intrigued to find out more. This is a tremendous testament to the skill of the writers—this is not so usually achieved.
Now whether this was intentional or just a result of my ignorance of the lore is irrelevant—the effect of exposition which provides neither too much or too little remains.
Furthermore, the episode doesn’t answer all the questions that you will no doubt have (again, if you go in blind like myself). Through common sense, you can piece most of the basics together, but this first episode still leaves the greater details up in the air (like what convenants are, the history with ‘logic’ users, and so forth)—left for subsequent episodes to take care of. It provides all that is needed and leaves the more interesting stuff for the plot going forward—exactly what a first episode should do.
I apologize that my writing here is intentionally vague—it’s best that those who want to watch know as little as possible going in.
Another amazing quality of Luck and Logic is its production value. My goodness is this show pretty. The animation is beautifully done, the color palette is pleasing to the eye, and character designs are unexpectedly elegant. The only time this show ever looks a little off is whenever characters suit up for battle, as garishly complicated costumes and jarring CG take center stage. Even these things, though, aren’t nearly as bad as one might previously expect, and are likely unavoidable with a show which draws its source material from a Japanese card game.
The tone in general is surprisingly subdued and unobtrusive. The pacing is in no hurry to get anywhere, and the music perfectly complements the solemn expressions of the visuals (again, outside of the action). I’d even go so far as to say that Luck and Logic sports some of the best aesthetics of the winter season thus far.
While I’m raving on what pleasantly surprised me, there were certainly noteworthy missteps this episode made. In particular, a few scenes and events seem a little out of place and arbitrary, and it occasionally became pretty obvious what this show was ultimately conceived to promote.
However, these hiccups are ultimately insignificant when placed next to everything this first episode did right in introducing a season. It made great strides in establishing at least the protagonist and function of the world while leaving out enough to be addressed in greater detail later on. While its concluding events left me somewhat doubtful as to whether this show will be one for me in the long run (I smell harem), as an introduction to a completely new show, this episode did everything I’d want out of a series premiere. Plus it’s damn good to look at. Luck and Logic definitely deserves to be considered on its own merits—outside of the card game—as having the potential for a legitimately competent show. If I didn’t already know, I might’ve never figured that Luck and Logic was based on a trading card game (something which later episodes will probably make very clear). Give it a watch and find out if it might be something for you—its quality demands at least that.
OP: 「STORY」 by (Kensho Ono)