「#1 覚醒 Predestination」

I’ve missed doing my ‘old man mad at the kids on his lawn’ bit, so I’ll say this: mobile gaming sucks. To be precise, it doesn’t all suck but the app stores are such great rivers of suck that flood their banks so seasonally that it’s not always easy to rake through all the muck to find the actual gold. Phones are such powerful devices these days (keeping in mind that mobile phones in my days were two cups attached by a string) and everyone and their grandmothers have one, but we still have developers treating phones as the dumping ground for all their miserable clones and blatant shovelware, hoping no doubt to dupe the grandmothers into spending their hard-earned bingo winnings on outright software scams. One then gets a tainted impression that only the tiniest fraction of phone game development money is allocated to actually making a good game, which means that the only phone games that can make a reasonable display of effort are those with proportionately outrageous revenue. Which leaves us, as we concede with a heavy sigh of resignation, with the NFT casinos that we call gacha games.

Enter Arknights, which has apparently done well enough (in the gacha hungry Japanese market; this is a Chinese game) to earn itself an anime adaptation. That, in itself, is worthy of a congratulations – I scarcely need to tell the informed and rarefied RandomC audience that the making of anime is an expensive enterprise. Even if it’s just an extended promotion campaign it’s still something that somebody with money has decided that Arknights is worth an anime and has enough substance to support an anime. And it does seem like they’re invested. ‘Yostar Pictures’ is effectively in-house without much experience on its record, but they’ve managed to translate some complicated designs to anime and the key frames look overall well composed. Arknights is probably their ‘big thing’ now, which has evidently warranted a corresponding level of seriousness.

It’s worth expanding on the part about the game being able to support an anime because this isn’t something that can be taken for granted. Even a game with a lot of content may not be particularly worth animating; consider Rage of Bahamut more or less tossing out its source and taking the ‘adaptation’ on its own path. The fundamental question always is, ‘why anime?’. why adapt from one medium to another? One of the obvious things an anime adaptation is trying to do in anime is visualise things the original medium could not, allowing something like a mobile game to transcend the limits of their hardware and giving their stories a sense scale and scope no longer confined to a small screen. But sometimes, a game never had that much scale or scope in the first place and when an anime adaptation pulls back the camera all it does is reveal that there’s not all that much there after all. Thankfully, not so with (at least this episode of) Arknights. It makes a point of moving about a lot, indoors and outdoors, framing shots from high and low, all to show off Chernobylbog. There’s definitely an interesting world in the wings; while most of these gacha adaptations have been dressed in the garb of classic sword and sorcery, borrowing heavily from high fantasy and JRPG conventions, Arknights stands out. Sure, it has swords and sorcery of its own but mixes technology and geopolitics that makes its world at once both alien and uncomfortably familiar. Sure, in the end our protagonist character just goes back to playing mobile games but at least when we’re looking around there’s a lot to see.

Still, it’s only the first episode, not that much has happened and not a lot has been revealed (why animal ears? Other than ‘because anime’?). But at least it feels like there’s stuff there that’s worth revealing, which is as promising a start as one could ask for.


  1. 99% People in this “Terra” are part animal or mythical race like Dragon, Demon and Angel.
    the reason is still unknown to this day.

    our self-insert the “Doctor” is actually a normal human without animal characteristic which is also a big mysterious waiting to be reveal.

  2. If the red stuff on Amiya’s arm shows tissue that is normally under the skin, I understand that mum’s reservation in interacting with her. Visible symptoms like that tends to get more of a reaction compared to the invisible ones. At least the daughter is still innocent enough to act normally.

    Cracked a smile seeing the girl? end up playing a mobile game. Probably less fun than all those games in the app store though. XD

    1. Yeah, to be fair to the mother, Amiya’s infection is a horrifying thing that looks as much like demonic possession as a disease. Even if someone tells me, ‘trust me, it doesn’t spread via contact’ I’m still not going to go touching it, let alone let my child near it. It’s like the social stigma of leprosy and AIDS had a baby.

  3. What grabs me about this one so far is how deliberately constrained it feels. This isn’t like Dolls’ Frontline, KanColle, or Azur Lane, there’s no massive infodumps, no grab bag of character introductions, or expectation of being a fan of the original IP. While there’s a few jarring aspects typical of such shows it’s playing out like a ‘normal’ story with minimal cast, emergent story, and plenty of mystery.

    Provided later episodes can keep it up this might be the first true mobage adaptation (Priconne & Bahamut don’t count) which successfully makes the jump to proper anime.

    1. I’m hoping this means that the producers expect to be in this for the long game. Only eight episodes now but maybe more in the future so they can deliberately confine the scope and also tell the story more naturally. I also expect the great infodumps to come later but for now the point-of-view character is an amnesiac who has woken up in in what is essentially a war zone so it’s fine for the audience to similarly know nothing and just get taken along for the ride.

  4. Since Visually what happen to an infected after they died is shown in an one off event (rainbow six collab). Amiya was not kidding when she said that when they (the infected) dies they corpse will turn into Originium Dust in which those dust will later infect others.

    Everything in Terra runs on Originium. Guns, Car, Power Plant, Arts (Pseudo Magic (kinda like To aru Esper ability))


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