Another death game anime, where a bunch of people need to kill each other for some silly reason; in this case, the orchestrator being a psycho who loves murder. Yeah, it is shallow and stupid but HEY unlike the villain of SAO, at least he has a purpose. It would be more than enough if they left it as simple as that, but that is the thing with this show, it tries to be over-the-top in an attempt to keep things exciting, and ends up passing as completely retarded. I mean, the orchestrator doesn’t simply love murder, he is also a robotic talking bear with magic powers. And don’t try to tell me all that are technology, because they are so improbable, they become magic. And also don’t try to convince me that just because there is motive, the show makes sense, because 5 minutes after the series began I was wondering why is a talking bear the manager of a prestige school, or what drove it to become so sadistic, and I never got any answers.
The over-the-top nature of this anime does not stop at the bear, since most participants look like mutants, while the rest dress and behave in ways that make even Yu Gi Oh seem normal. How is it possible to feel sympathy for something so bizarre? They don’t even bleed like normal people; their blood is pink! Call it a form of censorship all you like; it still looks like their veins are full of strawberry juice.
Another excuse is that this is done deliberately as an artistic touch, so the characters will be more memorable. If they were normal-looking, they would blend in with characters from thousands of other shows and you would have a hard time remembering them. This expands to their personality, which is made simple and extreme, so it will be easily noticeable and memorable. This though, does not make them good characters, since all you see is external. They are defined by a silly voice, and a single personality quirk that is based on what they are good at. Technically, they are not even characters but caricatures of archetypes.
They are also not fleshed out much, since the show lasts only a dozen episodes, and half of the duration is spent on solving murder mysteries. When you have over a dozen characters and you kill them off one after another, you don’t give the viewer the time to get to like them. It also doesn’t help when all you see is teenagers in a school setting. For a show that tries to be creative with its visual presentation, it uses the most overused and unimaginative of all premises in recorded history.
Also, for a show that is supposed to be about people solving murder mysteries with super talents, there is very little actual usage of said talents. They are just there as a reminder of the personality quirk they have. Many of them are not even useful in a death game. How does being a model or an otaku can be considered equally important as someone who is good at martial arts or hacking computers?
The biggest offence is the protagonist, whose super amazing talent is being… average in everything. And since skills define personality in such a type of a series, he ends up having none. While everyone else easily stands out for that something he is good for, the protagonist is duller than a rusty hammer. He is a blank piece of paper, whose only feature is being nice and helpful to everybody, someone the audience is supposed to self insert, and imagine him acting as they do. For a show that tries to have eccentric behaviors, it left the very protagonist with the most basic and boring of all behaviors since the dawn of civilization.
As I mentioned earlier, half the show is also supposed to be about gathering clues and questioning suspects. That’s supposed to be done in a serious and logical way, but imagine how well that will be done in a story about deformed clowns and magic bears. The clues they find in the murder scenes are usually pretty vague, and the protagonist figures out what they mean at the last moment, without ever showing us his train of thought. Meaning, the solution comes out of nowhere, and the interpretation of the clues could be done in many ways, making the outcome very arbitrary.
Adding to this, are the suspects who deliberately don’t reveal vital information up until the last second, making it impossible to figure out what happened on your own. Some go as far as deliberately changing the evidence to help the murderer get away, just because it is a fun thing to do, even if this way everybody but the killer dies. And on top of that, the clues and the deduction procedures don’t even matter, since the guilty person usually gets revealed by a slip of the tongue, or the victim writing down his name.
The only thing that is very predictable, is knowing who will die next. Since the show has very few episodes, it just goes for the laziest of methods, and fleshes out a character a few minutes before it kills him. And yes, I do know this is not so obvious in the source material because it doesn’t cover only the major events, but that doesn’t excuse the adaptation being so shitty, nor it makes it better just because you played the game.
Not even the ending attempts to wrap everything properly, since it simply goes for some random last moment plot twist that makes it feel like everything was caused by self-inflicted mass-amnesia. Yeah, that makes sense to use in a story running on logical thinking. It also neglects a lot of side stories, and leaves everything open for a sequel that can’t possibly link with said side stories because most characters are dead. So in all, it is a braindead show that tries to be attractive with a ridiculous artstyle, and fails miserably at being a detective story with characters you care about and mysteries that make sense.