Set in a somewhat futuristic version of Japan in post World War III, where people are prosecuted for believing in any kind of “spiritual powers,” Night Head 2041 follows the Kuroki brothers Yuuya (Kensho Ono) and Takuya (Takahiro Sakurai) who are part of a special forces group that set out to crack down on supposedly phony cult groups that claim to use magical powers. We quickly learn that spiritual force users are indeed real, as the story simultaneously follows the Kirihara brothers Naoto (Daisuke Ono) and Naoya (Nobunaga Shimazaki), who has recently escaped confinement using their powers. Here are my thoughts on what has transpired so far:
What went well:
I know it’s a common trait among anime fans to prefer the regular “page-flicking” style of animation as opposed to CGI, and I am no exception. However, this series really made me reconsider that view, because the animation seemed to have enticed me quite well into the show. With visuals that make you feel like you’re actually there, the producers certainly had an eye for detail with how they portrayed the different environments of this episode. From the life-like futuristic Tokyo city to the gorgeous night roads that gave me a modern Initial D vibe, this series does a great job of engaging you into the nightlife feel (as expected from a show called Night Head right?).
I found the plot itself fairly simple to follow, and this opening episode did well to establish the main characters and where they’re heading. I feel they didn’t overload me too much with information but explained enough of the plot points to give me the gist of things. I’m interested to see how the Kirihara brothers manage to conceal their abilities to live in a society that outcasts anything to do with the supernatural. I also want to know what their plans are moving forward; will they wage war on a nation that refuses to accept them? Or will they take a more diplomatic approach? Whatever the case, the premise has intrigued me and as someone who has not seen the original TV drama series, I enjoy the feeling of not knowing what to expect next.
What went not-so-well:
Perhaps my main complaint with this opening episode is I don’t feel I know enough about the main characters to really sympathize with any of them. For example, I’d like to know how the Kuroki brothers ended up in the special forces group in the first place, what their main motivations are, and how they view the world in which they live. Perhaps I am demanding too much from an opening episode, but the fact of the matter is if other anime can achieve this in their first episode there’s no reason this one can’t.
Similarly, I would’ve liked a little more background into the Kirihara brothers, as we were told very little about them other than the fact that they have special powers and are not accepted by society. With four main characters leading the plot of this show, not being able to feel a connection for any one of them can hurt the audience, and I suppose this is a challenge of having this many main characters of equal importance. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of time to shape things up, and perhaps applying the “3-episode rule” will prove rewarding with this one.
Looking forward to the next episode!
ED: 「シオン」 (Shion) by (Myuk)