I will fully admit that I had absolutely no interest in checking out Re:CREATORS when I first heard of it over the weekend. Yet another story about an average dude who suddenly gets involved with a cast of female characters from a fantasy world who’ll end up centering their existence around him, that’s essentially how the summary read to me. I’ve had my fill of crappy light novel adaptations trying this formula over the last few years, this being a manga adaptation didn’t fill me with more hope. Yet, here I am, about to give you a surprisingly positive set of first impressions.
Re:CREATORS is about fictional characters coming to life in the real world, realizing they’re creations and deciding they’re going to kill their creators, or gods, and take control of their own existence. The story is told by Mizushino Sota, who is less the protagonist of the story than he’s the narrator, something he even points out himself. Souta is an artist whose favourite light novel is currently airing as an anime adaptation.
One day when he’s checking out the PV for an upcoming episode of the series, his tablet suddenly transports him into the anime’s world and eventually vice versa as the main character of that fictional story, Selesia Upitiria, is pulled out with him into the real world. It’s in the real world where Selesia starts learning about herself being a fictional character and getting involved with the war against the creators that’s been going on behind the scenes.
It’s not necessarily a great sounding plot. As someone who read multiple write-ups of the story summary and thought it sounded awful I can certainly attest to that. But Re:CREATORS is not only surprisingly clever with how it handles the whole “fictional character in the real world” writing so far, it’s also surprisingly funny. I think that was my biggest surprise with this first episode, that it wasn’t afraid to just suddenly stop the story in its tracks to be silly and fun. It’s a surprisingly refreshing watch compared to how the genre is generally treated.
And that’s why I feel I need to issue a detailed content warning here. Because while Re:CREATORS is a silly fun action series for most of its first episode, the opening scene is completely tone-deaf to this fact in a way that outright upset me. If you absolutely don’t want details for the opening minute of the episode, skip to the paragraph after the next image. The content that I’ll be talking about relates to suicide.
The episode starts with several shots of fictional stories being marketed around Tokyo. Tons of light novels, manga and anime based on real-life counterparts and such are displayed throughout the scene together with a girl walking to the train station. Once she’s at the station and the train arrives, she steps out in front of it. This suicide scene is not once brought up in the episode past this intro, which ends on it, and doesn’t at all match the silly and fast-paced tone of the rest of the episode. It’s possible they’ll bring this up in a later episode, but if so, it had no place as part of this first intro and it comes off as needless shock value with intense disregard for the viewer’s potential reaction.
Alright, now back to the less depressing stuff. The action is really damn solid in this first episode, which was a bit surprising to me as neither the director Aoki Ei or animation director Nakai Jun are people I tend to relate to action scenes. But they’ve done an astounding job in making sure the action scenes in the first episode have a strong sense of thrill to them. Small details like having Selesia catch a sword flying her way to use as a second blade to some truly beautifully choreographed scenes of dodging attacks leaves a strong first impression with a high bar of quality to stick by. I hope they can deliver upon that.
The voice acting is stellar across the board so far, which isn’t too much of a surprise considering the talent involved. Selesia herself is voiced by Komatsu Mikako who delivers a strong, though somewhat restrained, performance. It suits her character just fine, I just wish she would have been given something a bit out of her usual range to make her stand out a bit more. The opposite can be said for Toyosaki Aki who absolutely get to experiment more as the villainous Gunpuku no Himegimi. Though if you ask me, the voice and character that stole the show was Minase Inori as the laid back Meteora Österreich, though I will fully admit my strong bias towards the voice actress being a factor.
I’ve not exactly been a fan of series creator Hiroe Rei‘s previous work. I barely enjoyed half of Black Lagoon despite it being a fan favourite, but I can definitely say his style of blending comedy with over-the-top action works well so far. He’s doing the series composition for the anime adaptation so hopefully that means the two cours planned for the series are in good hands and won’t wind up a drawn out mess to fill up the twenty-two episodes.
So yeah, I’m rather impressed by Re:CREATORS so far. It’s by no means the best series of the season or anything, but it’s probably the most positive surprise I’ve had so far. I definitely recommend checking it out, though I will reiterate that I believe the content warning I issued earlier should be taken into account first. I do hope I end up enjoying the series enough to stick around for both cours as something that’s unfortunately quite rare for me these days.
One last thing. Re:CREATORS is an Amazon license, meaning it’s in a messy spot when it comes to watching it. People in Europe can watch it with Amazon Prime where as people in North America have to subscribe to both Amazon Prime as well as their recent Anime Strike service to watch it. I’ve been less than impressed with how Amazon handles anime so far, from both a translation perspective and their double-subscription crap with Anime Strike, but that’s where the series currently stands for its western release.
Re:CREATORS is licensed by Amazon and is currently being streamed on Anime Strike in North America and Amazon Prime in Europe.
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