I have a problem with long-format shows, as I am not certain where to break it and give a review. A long-format show is any offering with 50 or more episodes, things like “Monster” or “Toriko” and certainly “One Piece” or “Detective Conan”. Should I wait until 52 parts are in the can and do it then or should I wait for it to ‘end’ and give the overview at that point? Such is my dilemma with this one.
A show about world domination and interplanetary protection, “World Trigger” (“Wārudo Torigā”) has as much working for it as working against it. But I get ahead of myself. Perhaps too far ahead. I started writing this in a mistaken belief that it would end fairly soon, but I guessed wrong and here we are, loads of episodes in and possibly more on the horizon.
In the town of Mikado City, an interdimensional gate opened up about four-plus years earlier. These strange creatures emerged and began to capture people. Now, as to why they were referred to as ‘Neighbors’ is confusing, as they do not act very neighborly. I mean, they come down, destroying property, capturing people, causing devastation and destruction. Is this how you act in your dimension? I bet you leave the toilet seat up as well! There was terror and panic and fear and stampeding, as regular weapons were of no use and there was nothing that could be done to stop them. However, a heretofore shadow group, Border, came to their rescue. Although the city was saved, 400 residents disappeared and a huge swath of the town had to be abandoned. This has since been referred to as the Forbidden Zone.
Years later, Osamu Mikumo (guy with big sword) befriends Yūma Kuga (white hair), as he is rather slight and this makes him an instant target for bullies. As they square off in the Forbidden Zone with a group of bullies, a portal opens up and a Neighbor appears. Well, the creeps flee and Osuma watches while Kuga defeats this menace like it was a mere bagatelle. The next day, a portal opens up at the school and Osamu is forced to reveal that he is a Border agent. He tries to dispatch said Neighbor, but lacks the talent, power and ability to do so. Kuga does it, but permits Osamu take the credit for it.
We are now slowly being drawn into this world, where these monsters appear, bent on capturing people. A longtime friend of Osamu, and his pupil, Chika Amatori (rifle to the right), appears to be a magnet for these monsters, which is turned into an asset. The series details their efforts to fight not only the Neighbors that plague the area, but earn the respect of their peers to move up in the organization.
There are a variety of issues I have with the show, the biggest being that the opening credits are in the MIDDLE of the show. It does act as a kind of halftime bridge piece, but since I’ve gotten this far in any given segment without the open, why have it at all? OK, they do have a slight recap at the front, but that’s not real opening credits, right? Aside from a textural concern, there are the story arcs and the numerous characters that we keep adding. The series is broken down into various arcs that build off of one other, but some of the arcs get too capacious for their own good. For example, the Attack Arc (this is when one of the attacking nations come down for a very intense, very extensive, very numerous episode tale) takes up a big chunk of the season. I can’t tell if we have four ‘seasons’ of 13 or it’s one gigantic offering, but it drags at times.
The ‘enemy’ from this land is all the things that I really hate in a villain: overweening arrogance, a smug attitude, puffed-up self-importance and an inability to admit they are wrong, so it is nice when things are not as easy as they surmised. Still, it goes on and on and on and what little action and interest is generated gets piled under pretty quick with that Yu-Gi-Oh approach to announce your attack and then do it. The one nice thing going for the show is Osamu.
He knows that he is deficient in numerous categories and he has gotten as far as he has owing to Kuga’s help and support. But he wants to improve and he really shows his mettle in the Attack Arc that he is a force to be reckoned with. It’s just that the key people do not see him as such; he’s a bit higher than a novelty, he’s not going anywhere any time soon and if he went into real battle, he’d be dead. You then see the overweening arrogance, a smug attitude, puffed-up self-importance and an inability to admit they are wrong from those who are, in theory, his co-workers, so it is doubly irritating. The only higher-up who has any degree of faith in him is Yūichi Jin (the guy to the far left), who also happens to be the leader of the squad that our three are attached to (OK, that odd-looking black football thing is Replica, a kind of robot or support for Yūma).
It starts to dawn on you, as you watch the show, that the upper reaches of Border really do not have a clue as to the full depth of abilities that a lot of their soldiers actually possess. They are too tied to structure and protocols and hierarchy to make these forces at their command work as best as they can. It reminds me of a person who owns a Maserati, but just drives it around town; you have no real idea as to what it can fully do, as you are not applying things properly. It’s an interesting series, but because it is more long-format than I had surmised, it can run hot and cold and some things just do not make sense in the overall scheme of things. Even “Toriko” had an overall goal and this series kind of lacks that for the most part.
The artwork drags as well. There is something wrong with people’s eyes. You can’t see it too well here, but you have the pupil, an inner ring and an outer ring. It’s unsettling, especially with the multiplicity of close-ups. Also, a lot of tropes are used, especially the fish lips and the three lines for eyes when people are bemused. They are used far too much, when they are best saved for a salient time to use them. I feel the design could have been stronger than it was, but since I don’t get any input during the early art phase, I get to have my snarky comments.
There is an end piece on every episode. This kind of explains things that went on in that particular episode, in case you got confused or perplexed and it is rather silly, as the characters are cut-out figures on a stick, as a kind of cheap puppet theater. It does help at times, but in other instances, it comes off as a tad condescending. I know I may not grasp things like I should (faster than the horse but slower than the raccoon), but I’m not a total dummy. But I would suggest it and since we have a strong amount of episodes on tap, you can certainly link it all together (again, no binge watching; not good for you) and get a better sense of things, rather than a hurry up and wait or catch a block of episodes (you wait a month to get an eight-in-a-stretch kind of thing).
It’s just that at the one-year mark, the Grand Adventure has not been realized as a lot of smaller skirmishes have to take place first, so we could be looking at another year before it wraps up. We have launched into the Rank Wars arc, where all of the squads prove their true worth and value by having these battles to improve their status. It’s just that it honestly goes on and on and it suffers by having too many fights, bookended with Osuma knowing he is hyperdeficient and trying to figure out what we do for this battle and the next one. O, woe is me! So, we start Episode 73 with two problems: the kick-off of the final Rank Wars to determine if Osuma and his crew can cut it and an invasion by more neighbors. What do we do in this situation? We end the run. What?
We stop the show dead on the cusp of a triple game changer cliffhanger. And why 73? Why not 72 (six seasons of 12 episodes), 75 (divisible by five), or 78 (six seasons of 13 episodes)? It’s just a needless bit of irritation, unless they thought you would have to come back for the ‘next season’ and see what goes down. You HAVE to, anyway, as none of the issues are resolved by a long-shot. I hope it won’t be like “Space Brothers”, which also concluded without ending, but still left a huge amount on the table and no timetable for a potential resumption. Maybe if you start watching now, the next parts will come up by the time you conclude with things. Or not.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Sometimes very annoying)
Plot 7 (Good plot, but bogged down by side stories)
Pacing 7 (Better for the personal stories, diffused by the fights)
Effectiveness 7 (Lost because of uncertainty as to where to take the stories)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 7 (Needs stronger goals and aims)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. How are things, Four-Eyes?