「リヴ・フォーエヴァー」 (Rivu fōevuā)
A trash-filled town, a young boy with secret dreams, an amnesic girl with a mysterious history, a loving older sister, a world filled with Earless monsters, and finally, a musically charged mecha created to save the world; what am I watching exactly?
This story feels original in some ways and so familiar in others. But the familiarity comes from the retro aesthetic in the animation style, recalling originals like Cowboy Bebop. It’s a funky little show.
This premiere offered perspective into Echo Rec‘s (Murase Ayumu) life. Ten years prior to this episode’s events, a younger Echo witnessed a disaster that left his town, and townspeople devastated. But for him, the event left him with the desire to seek out the adventures of the world. But this became his little secret. In his world, there is no room for dreams. Only for work, trash, and trinkets. That’s all he could aspire to be, to do. Until he meets μ, pronounced Mu, (Takahashi Rie).
This first episode sets up a new friendship, a coming of age story, and the beginning of a worldwide adventure. Mu and Echo will take on the Earless together and whatever else comes their way.
Overall, this was a fun first episode. Young Mu is overly confident even with her amnesia and seems to have a big heart, one that pulls Echo out of the shadows and into the light of fame and battle. She’s a lost girl, with no memories, who somehow is part of an elite force meant to battle those who wreck chaos in their world, these warriors are called “Players.” They have a jack input in their bodies (can we discuss this?) that allow them to connect to ‘Equipment’ which are essentially amps that transform into these…machines. Does this make her a machine?
And our protagonist is one we’ve seen many times before. A timid boy, with no assertiveness who must overcome his low self-esteem to support his new friend. This combination of characters isn’t by any means new, and neither is battling the enemies of the world with mechas, but there’s definitely something here that differentiates these two from the rest. Something that makes the whole series ‘new and improved. It doesn’t matter that this relationship has been explored before, what matters is how the series conveys their story and captures the audience. Whether it’s the character design or the dynamic, I can’t say yet because it’s too early. But I’ll be watching the next episode to get a better sense of how these two young adults deal with the challenges ahead. It’s too early to say what will come of the story, but let’s just say I was left with a good first impression. A little overdone, but welcome in a time where all I’m doing in binging shows from the confines of my home.