Mekaku City Actors Episode 1

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STORY: Shintaro is a shut-in who hasn’t moved from his apartment in over a year. His only friend is his virtual companion Ene who shops online, criticizes him, and deletes his files without permission…

I have about half my post written on the first Mushishi Zoku Shou episode, it’s going to be rather long on this series because of how extensive it is in storytelling and atmosphere. So I want to get out at least 1 or 2 more initial impressions before finishing writing that up and posting it.

Here is a bit of background for this series. Mekaku City Actors is part of a vocaloid song series “Kagerou Project”. This began on NicoNico streaming website and became very popular. What followed alongside this were the light novels following in the same vein as how the anime’s first episode is. From what I have heard these light novels switch perspectives introducing a larger cast. SHAFT animation studio picked up this series and this is what we have now. Mekaku City Actors. I really wonder how this will all turn out.

Now onto the anime episode. Wow! The idea behind this is genius! I have been a huge fan of SHAFT’s animation since the first Monogatari series aired way back in 2009 and this series’ style is a tip of the hat of that. Hatsune Miku finally shows up in anime form and she is hilarious in this episode! She plays off at first being all moe to Shintaro, luring him in. 2 years passed by and she deletes his files, shops online for clothing items that cannot even use!

The cool factor of this is that Ene (look-alike Hatsune Miku voiced by Kana Asumi) is a downloadable virtual idol for his computer! SHAFT and director Shinbou are known for creating strange camera angles and storytelling can be quite off based and obscure. The first half of this episode landed on the mark pretty well as a commentary on technology and the effects it has on human society. We see that here with Shintaro being a NEET (Not in Education, Employing or Training). Having to step foot outside in almost a year has him pretty nervous as seen in his dialogue as the second half of this episode begins.

Such a turn here! He goes out shopping for a new keyboard because all the online stores are sold out, and this situation breaks his shut-in routine. It happened in a flash that terrorists would show up at a mall and take everyone hostage. What was quite unique here was the technique in animation. A straight forward shot of all the terrorists and Shintaro in the background face covered, deeply illustrated his disconnect from society. This is where I could really see this animators got really lazy with the animation. Less movement and just dry single shots where some of the faces weren’t even drawn in. I can understand that this is the first time SHAFT has done two anime series in one season (Mekaku City Actors and Nisekoi), but they could have done a much better job of this series. Nisekoi looks completely different than their usual animation. This would have been a lot better if they had gone that route with this series. Guess you can’t have everything perfect.

This is where the story started to get complex and strange as scenes were cutting into other parts of a different story. I am not really sure what I watched in the last five minutes, parallel universe, dream state from Shintaro or what it was. As poorly written as that last five minutes may have been, I am still intrigued by the setting of this series and the concept of Ene.

Likely to Blog: 70%


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