「飛んで来た男にパンツはあるか」 (Tonde Kita Otoko ni Pantsu wa Aru ka)
“Do Guys From the Sky Have Undies?”
As any anime veteran can tell you, anime originals are always a crap shoot these days. Will we get a fun and entertaining story? Or is the sheen just cover for one hell of a train wreck in waiting? It’s always a game of chance, and Back Arrow will be no different. I have no damn idea if it’s going to fall right off the rails, but I do know I like what I’m seeing.
The important thing to remember about Back Arrow is that it comes with serious clout. None other than Code Geass’ creator Taniguchi Gorou and TTGL’s/KLK’s creator Nakashima Kazuki are leading this project, which given the impact and popularity of those series means Back Arrow has quite a bit to live up to. While impossible to tell right now whether it will (something something confirmed 24 episode show), so far at least the inspiration is quite obvious. Right off the bat we have the fairly standard world setup of two warring states (Lutoh and Rekka) with a zone of unclaimed (yet inhabited) land between them. Of course, it’s not standard in that this world of Ringarindo is fully enclosed by a mystical magical wall everyone assumes is divine, but hey, it’s something.
As to what Lutoh and Rekka are fighting over we don’t really know (yet), but so-called Rakuho, gifts from heaven, are a major component as they supply armbands which transform the wearer into pseudo-mecha Briheights. Besides the sly tongue in cheek irony of Back Arrow’s creators already showing that the answers to everything rest in space (it ain’t a Kazuki show without it), Briheights are important given they’re seemingly powered by one’s personal conviction and that defeat of one’s Briheight results in one’s death. This aspect is bound to be central to Back Arrow’s underlying story given its focus, and indeed the latter half of this episode reinforces it through the survival of a Briheight endowed bandit. I make no claims to knowing where Back Arrow is heading, but through heavenly gifts and surprise events there’s certainly an inkling of just what’s to come.
And all of that that leads us to Back Arrow’s cast. Personally, I’m not really sure what to think of it so far: I’m getting a great kick out of the cowboy aesthetic and parochial nature of Essha Village and its inhabitants, but the paint by numbers characters—particularly Bit (Ono Kensho)—leave a little to be desired. This might just be for the moment however; the chemistry of everyone with Back Arrow (Kaji Yuki) himself, the amnesic man from beyond the wall, is pretty damn good, and when combined with the running underwear joke that is complimented by sheriff briefs and everyone apparently forgetting Elsha (Ozawa Ari) goes full commando you get the idea plenty of tasty banter is in store. Also there’s the whole
Chinese Lutoh side with diviner and routine rule breaker Bi Shuu and reluctant bodyguard Sin Ren, but that I imagine will be delved into better later.
Overall a relatively quiet and unobtrusive start for one stacked anime original, but I’m sure we’ll get a much better idea of just what Back Arrow is all about over the next few weeks.
OP: 「dawn」by LiSa