Let me just start by saying the synopsis and tags are extremely misleading. From that you'd probably expect something like Btooom or Danganrompa or Death Parade even. You'd probably expect death, violence, dark themes, a fight for one's life, sinister characters, and bloodshed. Yeah... you won't get that with this. Luckily I read hulu's description first which is slightly less misleading.
It's not that the tags and description are wrong exactly. They are technically correct. There are mentions of high stakes and the posibility of death throughout the episodes but you quickly learn these threats are empty and nothing of the sort comes close to happening. The challenges aren't that high risk despite being made out to be and a broken arm and collapsing from poor self care are about the worst things that happen to anyone. So yeah, not really a high stakes survival anime, as much as it tries to talk like one sometimes.
Story: It's not well fleshed out or explained at any point but, from what I could gather, a group of gaming streamers are brought to an isolated location to participate in a real life game. (Whether this is on the "real earth", a fantasy world, or inside a computer is a bit unclear). Each character has a game genre they specialize in. The players must complete various tasks and reach a hundred million views to be freed. If you break the rules or act out, you could be placed in a white room for eternity supposedly.
Each task has the threat of death, serious injury, or becoming a drop out (not being able to finish and being sentenced to a room forever) attached to it but, like I said, it's empty threats. Nothing ever comes of them so it doesn't have the feel of being high stakes, just the claim. Most of the characters don't have weapons or their weapon is something like a flash bomb.. not very deadly. Most of the tasks don't include fighting of any kind and there's always a fairly easy way to avoid big problems either through the design of the game or the knowledge a character poseses.
The world building in the show isn't that great either. We never get a lot of details. Even a very vague idea of where the characters are doesn't happen until ep 9 and it stays vague. There's not much on the game that these people supposedly played, why they are here, where they are, or anything else. Like I said, I couldn't even tell you if they were in fantasy land or inside a computer or maybe just a very weird earth. Not a clue. There's just not enough information given to make it a solid world or story so the experience isn't that great.
What information is given usually has no significant bearing on the plot or mystery either, from what's been seen so far. Perhaps if it gets a second season but I'm doubting it will. So we're just left with a lot of information to a mystery we never make any significant progress on.
Now it definitely seems like they are setting up for a second season and maybe that will make it a better anime. It could finally make use of all the random information and give us a real ending. I still think it needed more for a first season. It needed a better last episode and more pieces of the puzzle to create the world in the first season, but it could redeem itself with a second season if it manages to get one.
Overall, the plot is weak, even for a mystery getting a second season, it's weak. It feels half done. It doesn't give enough information for a strong background or idea. That's not to say I hate it. I enjoyed it more than my score probably reflects. But I wasn't enjoying it for the plot. The story is a giant mess and a 5 might even be being generous at this point.
Animation: Pretty standard. The designs aren't anything special and look like about 50 other animes but it's fine. It works. It's easy to look at. The color choices work, unless it's trying to be a dark high stakes game in which case they fail terribly at creating that atmosphere with the animation. But, if that wasn't the goal then it works. It keeps it light and has lots of cute characters to enjoy. That said, their are some effects that don't make a lot of sense and some scenes that felt lacking in continuity animation wise. Not sure why, but there were some moments where the animation felt very off.
Sound: Again, nothing very notable. I'm no expert though. The opening and ending felt appropriate. There were some points where it sounded like they just threw in some gaming background music and it added nothing. It didn't really harm the scenes but it didn't help them either. There was no point. But it was also almost unnoticeable unless you're picky so I don't see a reason to take much off for that.
Characters: The characters are fairly flat and predicatable. There's not a whole lot to any of them. I still find them enjoyable as they are but you're not going to find any masterfully created characters with multiple sides to them and complex personalities. One of them literally sleeps almost the whole time and only wakes up when it's useful for plot reasons. And he suddenly has whatever skill is needed to survive. Another is just hot headed all the time. Another is kind all the time. Everything is really basic and sterotypical.
They did try to add some darkness to most of the characters backgrounds. You get vague clips of trauma they went through or mentions of things they did or had happen to them but it doesn't have much effect on anything usually. Sometimes it sets off an event that amounts to not much. Sometimes it explains an article of clothing. Most of the time it could have been left out and would have had very little effect on the overall story. It feels like an attempt to flesh out the characters and the plot but you need more than a sob story from the past for that. It doesn't flesh them out.
Again, I enjoyed the characters for what they were. They made me laugh sometimes and they were kind of silly. But they aren't well written or anything so don't go in expecting something great.
Some things I did enjoy: Since a lot wasn't great but I still enjoyed the show, I figured I'd point out some things I DID like a lot. The alpaca man is great. He's the guy kind of running things and he's a funny character in a funny mask. It's almost worth watching just for his existence. I also enjoy the giant panda. Who doesn't enjoy a giant fluffy panda?
The overall ridiculousness of the games was kind of fun too and, since the plot was so weak, it didn't take a lot of brain energy to watch. It was simple. There were also a lot of creative twists to the games the characters played. The twists were enjoyable.
Also, one of the characters suffered from bad outdoor allergies and another from a sleep disorder. That was actually part of why I kept watching after the first ep or two because I liked that the characters had these. And they were often inconveinent and somewhat realistic. Not being able to sleep without medicine and suffering consequences from that. Sneezing at the worst moments. Yeah that's allergies and sleep disorders for you. It kind of got less attention as the show went on but the fact it was there and used at all was something I liked.
Overall: The plot, characters, and pacing are weak. This will never be some masterpiece. It hardly fits the atmosphere of a high stakes, mystery, survival anime either. But, it is fun. It has some enjoyable characters even if they aren't very developed. It has some fun scenes and twists. It's a good anime to pass the time with and you don't have to get super invested in it. I think shows like this have their own kind of value too. Just don't go into it with high expectations or thinking it will be like the typical show you'd find with these tages and descriptions. And enjoy it for what it is. Enjoy the alpaca man.
So, let me start out by saying that the synopsis of this show is not on point. I was expecting something else and sorta avoided this show because of it. But eventually, I saw the first EP just to try it.
Boy am I glad that I did xD
This show is, structurally, just like Dangaronpa. The actual playout is absolutely hilarious. I am laughing everywhere. The show has themes of horror, humor, mystery, and more. I have no idea how they pull it off, but this show has everything while still meshing really well. Best of all, the story isn't as simple as it appears...
If you have seen my other reviews, you will notice that I am quite critical. I honestly have not found anything I am upset with in this anime. It really is a treat to watch.
all of the characters were so intriguing and the alpaca was just hilarious
I'm not really sure if it will get another season but I really hope it does, I wish they told us more about the character's backstory, but it was enough
the ending confused me though, I do only watch anime and rarely read the manga, they say there is a clearer explanation in the manga so I might just have to read it orrrr wait for another season ( hopefully )
overall it's a great anime and Its certainly up there with my favourites!
The show’s name almost seems like a perfect precursor to what lies ahead, as you can ask “The ones within what?” just like you’d ask “where did the rest of the episodes go?”
Story - 3/10
Unlike many of the other reviewers here, I haven’t seen any similar anime that deal with a game like this, outside of maybe High Rise Invasion. So my review and opinion will come from a fresh and unbiased view of the genre, and not how this show relates to others like it.
A group of popular game v-tubers are transported into the beta test of a brand new game that combines the attributes of many different top selling games. They’re immediately informed by the head of this project, a man wearing a large Alpaca head, that their task is to amass one hundred million viewers, which will allow them to then exit the game world and return to real life.
They now take on each task, which usually causes the players to have to confide in each other and reveal some past trauma, which possibly may be the motive of the game master as a way to build viewership.
Unfortunately there isn’t much to it beyond that. The games they have to play aren’t really massive, and more or less are just puzzles; and while there are risks involved in each, they never actually felt risky. They do start to build back stories for each character, and for the game world itself, but with so few episodes everything just feels rushed. They end things on a completely pointless episode that, while a bit funny, adds absolutely nothing to the story and makes you wonder what the whole point of this was.
Animation - 5/10
The animation for the series is pretty good, though nothing out of this world. The characters are pretty basic, there are a few cute elements, and the chromosome rewards are meant to look sparkly and pretty, but hardly groundbreaking.
Each character is also supposed to look like a specific type of gamer/game character, though they all still appear very similar. Again, nothing in this area is bad, but also nothing better than average.
Sound - 5/10
I did like the English actor choices for most, if not all, of the characters on the show. Notably Justin Briner just has the perfect voice and delivery for a character, like Iride, whom you expect to say “GeeGolly guys, let’s go out and do our best!” and Ben Phillips really captures an authoritarian game master, who can be equal parts sympathetic and psychotic. The only weird thing is I swear I’ve heard both these voices before, but at the time of writing this they don’t appear to have worked on any of the shows I’ve watched.
The other VO Artist are main stays in many of Funimation’s recent products, and while they’re all good, no others really jumped out as much much as those first two mentioned.
The opening is….interesting. It fits the series well, but the music sounds almost like an eighties Whitney Houston song, with Nu Metal style rap rock over it. The ending song is pretty standard anime fare, though more for a shoji style slice of life show, not what we have here.
Characters - 7/10
The characters are all supposed to cover the various anime and gamer tropes, and they’re done in a somewhat mocking way. I like that they do attempt to make the characters deeper than just what they appear.
Since this was such a big ensemble it’s hard to say any character really Is the lead, but I guess you can give that to Iride, as he’s the one to volunteer for the most games within the show. He’s also easily the most likable, as he’s basically just a nice kid who enjoys games and wants to help people. None of the other characters are any worse than him, but some are just supposed to be sort of brooding downer characters, which might play in to their larger story, if we were ever given a full larger story.
Like everything in this show, the characters are all promising, and you want to watch them grow and figure out their problems, but unfortunately none of that ever happens.
Overall - 5/10
While I did enjoy the show, and think it’s an interesting concept, it just didn’t feel like a complete show, or even a complete season. Be it the overall story, or that of our characters, nothing moved past its initial plot. Each character had a little bit of their real world life touched on, but it was barely enough to know them. The main story was no different, we get what is happening, and what the desired outcome is, but all the important bits in-between are missing. To top it off the show’s ending appears almost as if the series was canceled without allowing them to even wrap up the season, as it was a throw away episode with no nod to a followup season.
This was a really promising show, and was enjoyable to the end, but once it’s over you’ll feel like there was no reason to have watched it in the first place. They add things that make you believe there will be some bigger story, some amazing twist, or a shocking secret, but it never actually comes.
Positive Reasons for Score:
* A fun and funny take on the high stakes game concept.
* All the characters are very likable.
* The story, if actually completed, could be very intriguing.
Negative Reasons for Score:
* It’s not a complete show or story.
* Nothing is really explained as to the larger picture when it comes to what’s happening.
* Don’t add new, and fairly interesting, story lines when they don’t get even an episode of development.
Ways to make the show better:
* Just finish even a minor plot.
* Seriously, any story being completed would mean a lot.
* At least trick us thinking you’re going to explain something by ending on a cliffhanger, not a “lets go to the beach” type filler episode.
at first i thought it will be like dangaronpa that have typical dark mystery survival story. but apparently not it have some refreshing and light story have some comedy
and interesting mystery in it. it shows flashback & some background story of the characters make it more interesting to watch or read.
the story is well laid out and structured, supported by good animation.
cute, handsome, beauty char with variety personalities that not make u bored but make u laugh with their behaviour.
and dont forget their oufit's very well out and suitable their personality :D
i think the sound was okay, but i think they can choose more charismatic seiyuu for male char
i think it good but i have complain for the studio, bc it makes this animation like persona with coloring and stuff i hate it.
and they chop some story different from manga. u know, the manga was perfect why u change it :<
i hope they don't make some drastic difference between manga and anime. i hate it when good dialog chopped or 1 panel in manga that make story compelete/full was not there in anime.
why some good manga messed up when it come to anime.