Let me give you a description of a show and tell me which one it reminds you of. It is about your average teenage boy making a life pact with a supernatural fighting girl, which is responsible to maintain order in the world, and where there are copies of yourself as replacements in case something goes wrong, and everything is explained with a very weirdly named terminology… BZZZ, and no, it isn’t Shakugan no Shana but its lesser cousin, Kurokami. Damn,m why do all supernatural stories with fiery tsunderes have the exact same stuff in them? Everything feels like a Shana clone! Unfortunately not all of them have a loli tsundere voiced by Rie Kugimiya so they never stand a chance in succeeding from the very second they get green light for adaptation. Further more, none of them will have 4 goddamn seasons of endless softporn and millions of otakus who are watching them for the sake of wasting their brain cells. And even past that, Kurokami is based on a mahwa, and there is no such thing as a good mahwa. Sure, there are very good in terms of fighting but their storylines plain suck. So there you go, I just explained to you why Kurokami never had a chance of being a good anime.
Reader: That is the worst negative bias I have seen in my whole life. Won’t this guy talk about facts instead of straw men, or just say something about the damn show?
Sure, I was about to do that. The above was just an introduction to what you are getting yourselves into. Something NOT good. So basically we get this story where your typical/boring/overused stereotype Keita meets this naive/kind hearted/dumb chick/super fighter Kuro and learns that the world is not what it seems to be. Every person has two others like him as safeguards and in case one dies, the other gets his luck and whatever superpowers that comes with. It is a weird concept but does have its captivating charm; imagine one day that you learn you are nothing but a replacement and that when someone dies is not tragic because his copy will inherit his luck/powers. Scary indeed.
Otaku: WOOO! A show about a fighting chick and an intriguing premise. I am scoring it with a 10 right now and head to buy her figurine!
Sit down no-lifer and let me finish! The premise and the fighting are the only good things in it because everything else is pretty much a mess. And sure, if all you care about is brainless action and shallow philosophy, I am sure you are going to like it a lot. Yet the moment you try to think about it, it won’t take more than 5 seconds to realize it is all nothing but gibberish. Fighting your fate with punches and kicks? Since when can raw power and violence solve such existentialism issues? And why is Kuro so willingly explaining all these top secret stuff to a random guy she just met? And why is such a dumb naive girl in charge of such an important mission to begin with? It all happens in the most silly way possible and makes everything feel shallow and passable.
Action fanboy: Who cares about realism? Anime don’t need to be realistic, they only need to be entertaining. If it has good action and nude chicks, I have no problem with it.
Good for you my superficial no-brainer; but I am not you. I like when things are excused to be as such and to pass as probable based on their importance. If a bimbo appears out of nowhere and starts mumbling about invisible pink unicorns, I will not take her seriously, nor will I care to participate in whatever she plans to do.
Reader: Will this guy ever tell us anything about the ACTUAL show?
I thought I was already doing that. Hm, anyways, I guess I will talk about technicalities like the production values. The show is animated by Studio Sunrise, which means it will have very cool robots… But in this case there are no robots, so it is not going to be cool. I mean, ok, animation and artwork are ok for this sort of anime but they are not amazing. They have a fair amount of details and colouring but they otherwise lack the finer touches that would make it look special or awesome. For example, all the backgrounds feel generic, it is just schools and buildings and streets I have seen a billion times already and no amount of details can save them from feeling generic. Every time I look at such sceneries I always end up comparing them to the 5cm per second movie, and Kurozuka’s level is plain ok. I could say something similar about the character figures, who also feel generic in appearance and are occasionally drawn with inconsistent facial structure. As for the sound part, it is very passable in overall as the characters usually don’t have much passion in their voices and the soundtrack is average songs you will forget very fast.
Action fanboy: Who cares about all that? Is the action good?
Yes it is my fellow no-brainer. There is a lot of choreography in it to make it look like a good martial arts series, plus it has several superpowers to offer variety in tactics and counters. And yes, it also has some basic fan service too, as Kuro is always fighting without pants and her clothes keep ripping. And there are other nude scenes thrown here and there.
Otaku: WOOO! Masterpiece! I will go look for her beaten up and in agony version.
Whatever no-lifer; I was more interested in if any of that make sense as a whole. And guess what, they don’t. It is just the usual shounen stuff we see all the time, where injuries mean absolutely nothing if the hero has enough resolve or if the script said so. It’s the same thing all the time, they just storm in and punch rapidly at the baddies until they are beaten. The premise of the story ends up being nothing but a poor excuse after awhile since all it matters is punching your way through any obstacle. It gets too fake to like it after awhile and the directing is not helping much because most of the action has unfit BGM or the duration of the attacks is usually too short or too long to like them properly. As for the rest of the story, most of the plot is either fillers or boring events. It does have a solid conclusion but by then I didn’t care in the least about the basic idea. It was barely looked into.
Reader: Just tell us a few things about the characters and be over with it; I am about to stop reading here.
Ok impatient reader, I will. The characters are standard stuff you can find in many shounen. As usual, only the main ones end up being interesting and developed, with everybody else being nothing but ephemeral opponents and cannon fodder. The thing is, their chemistry is nothing we haven’t seen before and it sure feels less captivating if you compare it with other famous boy-girl pacts in anime. The ones I can think of right now are Fate/Zero, Shakugan no Shana, and Birdy the Mighty. Heck, even lesser works like Zero no Tsukaima and 3X3 Eyes feel more enriched than this one.
Action fanboy: I don’t care if it looks like other shows, or if the story makes no sense. I am watching this for the same reason I am watching Bleach.
Otaku: And I just want to increase my waifus and this is a perfect opportunity.
Whatever you idiots; I told you it is not a good show and you are free to go waste your money/brain cells/time on it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you afterwards.
Reader: What an asshole… *downvotes*
And now for some excused scorings.
Reader: Excused my ass!
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (typical)
Sound Effects 1/3 (unfit BGM)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (Shana clone)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it)
Memorability 1/4 (too generic to bother remembering it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but generic presentation)
Characters 0/4 (they are overused stereotypes)