Enter the XY escape room, where more mysteries appear after exiting than when you enter.
This has got to be the little known gem of the season. Is X&Y perfect? No. Is it better than most of what's come out this season? Heck yes it is. This show is a good slow burner and is very refreshing for the season. The scenes are a little more realistic, the characters are reserved and feel real, and the plot is sufficiently gripping. Story: This anime is about kidnapping, escape rooms, some drama, and a little bit of paranormal activity. Honestly, it has something for everyone. A few episodes feel slightly slow but overall, very good. Animation: In an age where every color is bright and cheery, I've got to admit that it is very satisfying to have a show where people look realistic while still having interesting designs. No one looks bland but everyone has character. The 3d elements? Yeah, there are a few scenes where a car looks pretty bad. Good enough for me and very refreshing. Sound: The OP is good, the use of sound as being important is also fun. I think it gets passing marks for sure. Characters: This is the high point of the show. The characters are diverse in motives and methods. They carry the show more than anything else. From them alone, the show is worth watching. Xu is fascinating and mysterious. Yan is analytical, driven, and loyal. The show feels very well rounded and everyone is competent.
Story: During an office break, our protagonist Yu Yuechu along with his colleague Hu Zhi, goes outside for a walk together. Due to sudden rain, they had to take shelter under a building which is apparently an escape room. Being curious about the rumors of the escape room's owner Aiyou's beauty and abilities, Yu decides to give the game a try and tags Hu with him. They did pass the game but tragedy strikes Yu after that incident. Every night he would have nightmares about the mysterious owner of the escape room, not only that he has to solve the puzzles as his own bedroom would turn into an escape room. Can he escape the misery he bought with his curiousity? Speaking of escape rooms, I think we all are fimilar with them. You gradually procceed by solving small puzzles and the answers to the puzzles will led you to leave the room. The anime does its job when it comes to creating the puzzles. The puzzles are actually interesting and main character's moves are good and briilliant. You may also find yourself serching for the clues. But many flaws compete with this simple good point. Let's talk about the pacing first. The main genre is orginally horror accompanied by back drops of suspense and romance. Combining romance with thriller is a difficult task. And that's where the anime fails. At first, every episode ends with a cliff hanger, which makes you jump into the next one until you reach the 5th episode. Then, it'll look like a very ordinary rom-com anime which doesn't sync with the entire plot. Boom!!! The seriousness is gone now. The main character is on a date with his girlfriend they are shopping, eating. What about the actual plot? The forced romance doesn't blend with the rest of the plot until the very end. You'll lose the thrill to procced. The main plot doesn't make any real progression until the last few episodes. There's this girl getting kidnapped and unneccessary things that doesn't have anything to do with the main plot. Meaning we do get the escape games but the X&Y escape room and the main character's investigation on X&Y remains untouched leaving the audience confused and unexcited. It switches genres a lot in the middle (drama, comedy, slice of life ) which made the 12 minute episodes (except the OP and ED) feel like a day long. In the middle of the anime, I didn't really care about the plot, I just wanted to end it quickly. The ending also didn't add much in my plate. It just made it worse to be honest. Animation : On the bright side, the animation is really clean. The visuals, landscapes, details are well drawn. The character design is not that exccesive and I love how simple it was compared to the japanese ones where characters are given unrealistic or unneccessarily enlarged body parts. Screenshots collected from Google : Credit goes to their original artists. Sound: The opening and the ending themes were ok and gave off mysterious vibes. There was a song in the 10th episode which was really cool. Characters : Characters were good. The protagonist appeared smart and his co-worker who seemed cowardly at first did well in the end surprisingly. The escape room owner Xu Aiyou is a mysterious woman until the end. Others were also ok. Conclusion: X&Y/ Aiyou's Secret Room is an anime with wonderful animation details and sound delivary. However, that's how far the possitive parts go. The switch of genres, pointless tension, bad ending gives the anime a down-grade. But the puzzles, animation and sound still manages to make it above average. To watch the anime you must check if it meets your criteria otherwise, you'd think that it's a waste of time. Does the good animation the only thing that matter to you? Do you mind unwanted, disguised romance that ruins the seriousness of a plot? Do you mind if the genre switches back to back? - make sure to ask these questions to yourself first. Then, again other guys seem to like it. So,due to having different perspectives you might even like this anime.
TL;TR: Would I recommend watching X&Y? Yes and no. It was fun to watch (especially after sunset) and it easily sucked me in only to put me off and leave without a sure resolution. Still, it was a decent show with great music and if you're a fan of thrillers or mysteries and the Chinese language isn't a deal breaker for you, then I believe it's worth giving a try. Sound: The opening and "Dear My Friend" songs are such bangers, I listened to them on a loop. I am honestly obsessed. The sound design in X&Y was excellent, it set the tone of each scene perfectly, letting the viewer know if the scene is to be romantic or tense. I have nothing bad to say about the music, it was really really good. Animation: I enjoyed the animation. I liked how detailed the eyes were and the mix of 2D and 3D animation wasn't jarring but the movement sometimes fell flat. Characters: "Intriguing" is the first word that comes to my mind if I were to describe them. The ambiguity of the characters' backgrounds and motives made the show more enjoyable to watch. Maybe no one is who they seem to be, wow. I really liked it, though I have some issues with their childish and playful behaviour that was meant for comedic relief. Personally, I didn't feel the need for comedy in a supposedly horror series. Story: My greatest issue lies in the story itself. The first three (I guess?) escape rooms were super thrilling. We are introduced to the mysterious escape room owner, Aiyou, and as the story progresses the viewer starts to wonder what is reality and what is just a dream, whether there are supernatural powers involved, and what happened in Yan's past. At least that's the sort of musing that floated in my mind. Then, 10 or so episodes in, the tone of the show changes completely. Suddenly it's light-hearted, romantic and comedic which felt so out of place that I put off finishing the series for over a month. Perhaps, I just didn't like the romantic storyline between the MC and the least trust-worthy person in the series, shrug. This bizarrely cheery tone after the kidnapping that almost resulted in death lasted for a couple of episodes, the show picked up the pace again before its finale. The plot twists were what I expected in a very satisfying way (it felt nice to be proven right about some of the theories I had and it was all in all well executed). The ending itself was very ambiguous and there were loose ends left which made me feel a little bit disappointed after such an exciting second-to-last episode tbh. There are still a lot of question marks and a murder case (multiple??) to be solved so maybe, just maybe, see you in season 2.
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