OP: 「Altern-ate」 by H-el-ical
「僕の中には」 (Boku no Naka ni wa)
“Something Inside of Me”
For a series like Gleipnir that is trying to build a mythology around the mysterious powers that have manifested in Kagaya, the first episode presents an ideal balance of presenting rudimentary information and introducing our main protagonists. It’s also a premiere that draws a line in the sand on whether you would be interested in continuing the anime by bringing in the good ol’ fashioned mainstays of simple yet self-indulgent supernatural teen thriller anime.
Currently, one of the show’s larger hurdles is Kagaya as our leading man. He falls under the umbrella of protagonists who have little to no backbone outside of their creepy urges. He’s uncomfortable with standing out (half due to his powers, half due to being afraid of scrutiny), so he refused a college recommendation. He spaces out directly in front of a girl’s exposed thighs, allowing himself to get on the receiving end of a signature “BAKA ECCHI!!!!” thwack. He spends a bulk of the episode afraid of everything around him, and even if there’s time for him to shape up, it can be difficult to gauge if he won’t just buckle in the face of adversity.
When he does have any sort of call-to-action, there are also ulterior motives that are less than noble. One variation to Kagaya’s character is how quick he is to make the worst out of a rash decision. His powers motivate him to save Clair from a burning building, but his first impulse after leaving her is to smell her and pull off her panties in preparation for assault. This doesn’t seem far off from his own Mr. Kimura-inspired code of conduct either as he plans to sneak into the girl’s locker room to steal his phone back from Clair, taking a break in between his search to take a nice whiff of her sweaty clothes. It definitely has the vibe of something like Tsukihime where the author takes breaks from the plot to write up uncomfortably horny scenarios for their characters to wind up in.
A show like this is incomplete without a mischievous or sociopathic girl who acts as the foil to our otherwise whipped leading man. And Gleipnir would feel incomplete without the presence of Aoki Clair, a freckled girl with a Cheshire grin and a penchant for playing Kagaya like a fiddle. After she’s saved by him, Clair spends the second half of the episode wrapping Kagaya around her finger as she plans to use his powers to achieve her goals. Your mileage will vary on whether she’s a fun, cool character or obnoxiously mischievous, but because she’s the one catalyst that forces Kagaya to make any kind of decision about his destiny or future, Clair is easily a stand-out character from this episode.
To Gleipnir’s credit, they make the smart decision for Clair to acknowledge that having Kagaya’s powers revealed to the world would definitely result in Kagaya getting captured and experimented on to discover scientific breakthroughs or have him be a guinea pig for a number of exploratory studies. You don’t often get that with any series about superpowers or the supernatural, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see that being one of the blackmail ideas that Clair has in mind.
This leads into what makes a Gleipnir worthwhile watch, and that’s how much of the details regarding Kagaya’s powers are trickled in. There are vague ideas or concepts added in, but not enough to overload viewers with a full encyclopedia of the story’s lore. They give you just enough to provide intrigue on what his powers entail, how other people have been able to manifest the same abilities, and why they have a bone to pick with people like Kagaya and Clair. It was never meant to be anything too serious or thought-provoking, but it is wonderful comfort food for those looking for an anime with a rude tude that’s a little lewd.
ED: 「”Ame to Taieki to Nioi” (Rain, Bodily Fluids, and Smell)」 by Mili