「再会と再開」 (Saikai to saikai)
“Reunion and Restart”
You know rings a new anime season in best? Why a new alternate world show of course! With no less than three such series gracing our screens this season we’re going to be seeing a lot of isekai before all is said and done, although Shichisei no Subaru might be the fortunate (or just plain lucky) one to break through the competition. Having hyped this one in the handy dandy RC Preview I had high hopes my expectations wouldn’t be unceremoniously ruined, and while we are still in early days, things are looking up quite nicely for SnS.
For anyone even remotely familiar with RPG themed stories SnS’s premise and setting should be no surprise. We have the widely popular MMORPG that everyone (including foreigners) play, the boss battles, the typical party makeup and general (read: cliché) roles and banter, the special game mechanic determining the cream of the crop, and even the romance sure to develop from spending inordinate amounts of time together with the opposite sex. Sure SnS might deviate from recent convention by repeatedly indicating in-game death results in no respawn and account deletion (important plot element guaranteed), but that’s just basically SAO with some extra steps—hell just look at the game technology, you know perfectly well which franchise first and foremost inspired this story.
The key for SnS, however, was never going to be its setting as much as its story, and it is here where we find the first signs of ingenuity. Rather than some save the world premise, we have a form of AnoHana-esque murder mystery where certified cutie pie Asahi (Oomori Nichika) dies in real life after a boss fight only to somehow reappear six years later in-game before her devastated future lover (ring swapping never lies) Haruto (Takanashi Kengo). How she’s still present and, mostly importantly, seemingly unaware of what happened following her death are the elephants in the room, although appearing in a random treasure chest after a dungeon glitch-out certainly doesn’t hint towards anything good. Provided the show focuses on Haruto trying to square this circle we are effectively looking at a less abstract and philosophical .hack//Sign, where the mystery of Asahi and its investigation are front and centre and any game mechanics (barring the Sense system itself) are used mostly for flavour. This approach is already evident too from the focus on the game’s—i.e. Re’Union’s—function in selecting executive members for the game developer’s staff, the requirement for players to have a Sense ability, and those aforementioned remarks on in-game death permanency—the reason for Asahi’s death and Pleroma Industry’s ulterior motive (because there is one guaranteed) will be the primary driving force behind SnS.
Before we get into such super serious topics though, first comes the characters and properly reuniting the destinedTM couple. There’s a lot of emotions for Haruto to sort through before he can start figuring out Asahi’s shocking return, and that’s before considering the other Subaru members waiting to come back. Designated NTR boy Takanori (Ishikawa Kaito) in particular is going to be fun to watch interact with Haruto considering where his heart very clearly lies, and no need to mention poor Satsuki (Kito Akari)—we all know what happens to such childhood friends.
SnS may have been more teaser than proper introduction this episode, but you can be sure that will be more than made up for next week. With a mystery to solve and a party to reunite, it’s only fun and games (and probably more death) from here on out for this little alternate world story.
OP: 「360° 星の才ーケストラ」 (Hoshi no Ookesutora) by petit milady