OP: 「Trickster」 by Five New Old
High Card goes all-in on its concept of tying superpowered abilities to cards possessed by affluent gamblers who seek to collect any they come across. But were they able to pull off a Full House, or is it all a bust?
RULE OF COOL
So far, the one thing riding against this show is how it leans hard on whatever seems neat on paper, but has no discernable meaning without proper context. The introduction scene does very little other than set up that you’ll eventually start seeing neat action sequences once they’re done explaining how the world functions. The only problem is that those answers won’t come naturally by Episode 01, and they ride off of the idea that you’ll keep sticking around out of curiosity.
Aside from learning about how the cards function and how each carries its own special powers, they really don’t want you to know anything more than what Finn knows as an outsider. But I feel that it would’ve been easier to be all-in on the show’s idea if they spent the intro giving you a better understanding of who Chris Redgrave, the car salesman, is and not just tossing whatever cool light novel imagery at a wall and see what sticks with viewers. Keeping you out of the loop while all of this is being thrown out makes it feel far more meaningless as if it’s all a test run to see what better avenues High Card would function as within its ambitious multimedia project layout.
At the moment, the main draw is meant to be watching the cast of Absolute Obedience fight the cast of Lucky Dog 1 in bouts won by using superpowers gained through enchanted playing cards. The concept should have been easy to understand and sum up, but when it came to explaining the characters and abilities, it should not have been this hard to sell us on this idea. Explain the cards first, and then give us fun, wacky fights like what we saw between Chris and the bodyguard-looking guy or even what was shown in the beginning.
Instead, the anime’s trump card wound up being Finn, the young teen who jumps head-first into danger to save the orphanage that raised him. From his perspective, I had a ton of joy watching him embrace a sleek yet risky urban life with nifty thievery, a love for cute dogs, and a dream of keeping his orphanage alive by pawning off stolen goods and counterfeits.
By the time he plans to win the money through high-stakes poker, we’ve already endeared to the character enough that he’s practically the only reason to stay engaged with the show. At this point, everyone else is living in their own world, but since Finn’s the only one who lives in any reality we can currently attach ourselves to, we really have to rely on Finn to give us any context of the people and card abilities that he experiences. Those who stick through with this might be able to have a good time with High Card, but I found myself to be underwhelmed with what I’ve seen so far.