My first currently airing (seasonal) anime ever came via my participation in the Anime Lottery Game: Summer 2018 Edition. I was "blessed" (sarcastically) with the viewing pleasure of Seven Seas of the Re'Union, which is based on the Light Novel by Noritake Tao. If not for my ALG pick I probably would've never given this anime a chance. Honestly, it isn't too bad.
It starts off in the MMORPG game Union with the renowned party known as Subaru. The elite six-member group isn't afraid to take on any quest in the game, regardless of the difficulty level. They decide to take on a quest where no one has defeated the dungeon boss. Unlike any others in the game, this one comes with the added challenge of permanent game over for all players defeated. What happens to Subaru in this fight changes the course of the six friends forever.
Overall, the story isn't boring and does have some interesting ideas, but it's nothing overly impressive. I have not seen Sword Art Online (SOA) but from what I've read about it, Seven Seas of the Re'Union is a similar concept in that at least one character, Asahi Kuga, is stuck in the game and cannot log out. The draw here is what exactly is going on with her. Why is she truly unable to log out of Re'Union? Is it because of what's supposedly happened to her in the physical world or is it due to something within the game? From the very first episode her life, it's purpose, and her fate are made the primary focal point, at least in the beginning it is. This is what kept me intrigued the most about the anime as I'm watching it, along with the facts that I have never seen this genre before, it's part of the ALG, and the color palette of the series is keeping my eyes visually entertained.
However, the biggest problem with the story is that the show is trying to be more than what it should. Specifically, the over arcing story line gets confusing later on and starts to make a major shift in direction. That shift hurts this anime, badly! It tries to be more serious than what it should be, which takes away from the overall experience the viewer can get from it. This becomes very clear once you are just past the midway point. Keep that in mind if you decide to give this anime a try.
One last thing to note is the shift causes major holes in the story-telling, which become more frequent and apparent later on. Characters like Haruto and Satsuki are "awakening" their powers with no real explanation as the story progresses. The moments of angst are short-lived due to them always overcoming the odds by the end of each episode. While these moments are slightly intense and entertaining, it's disappointing as well and only further hurts the story line.
Speaking of the previously mentioned visuals, bright colors are displayed throughout a generous portion of the series. Most of the backgrounds are appealing and above average. However, the characters are not particularly detailed, which is a bit disappointing when compared to the aforementioned. The animation is consistent enough to where there aren't too many scenes with characters talking, but little to nothing is actually happening or moving. One negative that does occasionally stand out is the CG animation. Sometimes it's good, other times it just doesn't look quite right. But as a whole the visuals are solid with the backgrounds and the color palette being a good representation of RPG/MMORPG games, where as the characters are lacking a little, just like their development.
The characters are not much better than OK. Aside from Asahi, they oft can be lacking in development and personality. When I say that the story is most intriging because of Asahi it's because it truly is. In this case that doesn't bode well. The characters aren't bad per say, just nothing out of the ordinary. Their development somewhat comes along but at a slow and uneven pace. In the final arc, more characters feel foreceably thrown in to try and create depth in what is the weakly executed plot. Although their presence brings about some decent battle entertainment, it just lacks cohesiveness.
Lastly, the soundtrack can be on the weaker side sometimes and can get lost in what's happening on screen. The sound effects applied when items are found and used during Re'Union battles or when special attacks are used could be better too. They are practically nonexistent in a few occasions. However, when the battles are more intense or significant, then the audio (as a whole) does come through much better and adds a certain flare to the moment at hand. This happens a great deal more in the second half of the series.
For my very first anime of this type, Seven Seas of the Re'Union is a somewhat enjoyable, colorful anime where the entertainment value is average at best. I have certainly seen better shows, but I have seen some worse ones as well. If nothing else, it does pique my curiosity about watching SOA and other MMORPG and Guild-based anime. Regardless, having watched the series in its entirety I cannot completely stand behind it or recommend it to someone. There are just too many unanswered questions, both in story and in the characters to come away feeling satisfied enough.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE: 6/10
I had huge expectation after reading its synopsis but ended up dissapointed by the third episode. the kings avatar, sword art online overlord should not even be considered as recomendattion of this anime. Great leap of time and six years latter the protaonist is a sad looser.
When Asahi dies in the sensational VRMMO Union, she DIES IN REAL LIFE. Six years go by before our protagonist, Haruto, logs back into the game after the traumatic experience. After logging into Re'Union, the remastered edition of Union with hopefully less "kill you irl bugs", he stumbles upon none other than Asahi. Addressing the elephant in the room, this really is Anohanameets SAO, there really isn't a better and more concise way to put it. Of course the similarities to SAO are pretty superficial, and really if anything, it reminds me more of a .hack//Sign or maybe Accel World. In the end, it is incredibly... normal? I mean really it doesn't do anything new or out of place, to the point that it feels like everything it does has been pulled from another work. For this though, I think it actually manages to be okay, but... Overall 5/10 You can absolutely get some enjoyment out of this, especially if you don't watch a large amount of anime, or if you're just a fan of SAO-like MMO anime.
The story of Seven Senses of the Re'Union is sorta interesting. Our story starts with trying to understand Asahi's existence, as she by all means should be dead. We can fairly quickly determine that she is in fact Asahi, though only a day has gone by for her, in the 6 years she was gone. From there, I think I could summarize the rest of the story as "defend the Asahi". Which isn't really all that bad, it's much like the anime itself, okay. There are some interesting hooks to this story, but I don't want to spoil you on them, incase you're actually interested. That said, I'd be scum not to mention that this story definitely seems left at a cliffhanger. It's not too major or anything, but I'd be shocked if there wasn't more to this story. The entirety of this anime covers the reunion of Subaru, their six man party, made up of children they went to school with. So it stands to reason that the story isn't just, let's all gather, and then nothing. I mean, the whole "Asahi is right here for some reason" thing isn't even resolved. So story will be 5/10 as well, I find it in a way acceptable, if a little bland.
I wasn't really sold on the art of this anime, but it grew on me pretty quickly. The animation itself is alright, but nothing to swing a-, oh god these fight animations, oh god, oh no. My eyes cannot unsee the horror. While others seem to have gotten over this, I for one find the animation in fights horrid with a couple exceptions. There is some decent bits of character vs character fight animations, but anytime they fight a monster or something, I feel physically ill. Thankfully, they at least keep it short and too a minimum, so it doesn't ultimately detract from the enjoyment much. Outside of fighting, it's okay, it's unfortunately not doing a whole lot of interesting idle life animations, but clearly the budget went to embezzlement, wait what? The loss of company funds aside, animation gets a 4/10 and I sincerely feel bad, it was so close to getting 5's across the board.
Sound 5/10, while the soundtrack never even managed to register on my radar, I can at least say that the voice acting was pretty spot on, and some of the sound design, even for those horrible fights I don't want to think about, was aight.
Oh man, characters, I must say, one thing I love about anime is characters. An anime with good enough characters will always get my love, regardless of how bad it may be in other places. Which is why I'm so hecking confused with this show. The characters of this anime are so generic that I feel like I'm already invested in them by watching previous anime that had these exact characters in them. At some point, I'm starting to think that this anime is being meta and secretly an anime created within an anime. It features popular characters of anime playing these characters. "Every protagonist ever-kun" as Haruto, Meiko from Anohana as "Asahi", "every tsundere girl-chan" as Satsuki, Iida from BNHA as Takanori, Firo from Baccano dressed as Izaya from Durarara playing Clive, and so on. So while I don't actually know anything about these characters, I know everything there is to know about them. Iida killed it as Takanori by the way, I knew he was cut out for acting when him and Bakugo played the villains in that training exercise.
I actually don't dislike most of these characters outside Haruto. Our protagonist is far to generic, even for this cast, his only notable trait is trauma, and that goes away over the course of these 12 episodes. The rest, I don't mind, Iida is actually a pretty fun foil for most of the series, and they actually resolve the biggest issue you'd have with him by actually pushing him towards a romance with another character. Asahi is cute, she's designed to be cute, I hate that I fall for this, but here we are. Speaking of which, I hate that I don't hate these characters as much as I should. Remember when I said Re'Union was so close to getting 5's across the board, I lied. 3/10 for characters, they're a bit worse than okay, mostly because they're so generic. However, I don't outright hate them, except protoganist-kun, I actually kinda hate him, and I can be pretty forgiving to protagonist-kuns.
Drama gets a 5/10, because there is drama, it is okay, also, I thought about using synonyms for the times I've said, okay, but really, I wanna drive the point home. For being the source of nightmares, action is a shocking 1/10. I know, all that and it actually gets more than a zero, that said, it did have action, even if it wasn't good. Mystery 7/10, so actually, I kinda liked the slight "mystery" aspect of this show, it's not prevalent or anything, but it at least was intriguing in a way. I'm specifically referring to the ties between the game and the weird reasons for it's existence.
Re'Union is an okay watch in my opinion, I wouldn't watch it again, but I wasn't bored trying to watch it or anything either. So maybe you'll feel the same, however, I would say, there are a lot of good anime out there. This might seem like it'll scratch an itch you have, if so, where is the harm in giving it a try. I actually only said "okay" eight times in the review counting that one, if you were wondering.