Goes to show how relative and insular hype can be. When Nick R. and FoxxFireArt were reviewing each episode of this show while it was coming hot out of Japan, the write-ups were getting some gangbusters attention. I didn’t know what the big deal was. Looking back, I realize now that it was most likely due to gamers from our former sister site coming over to check out this tie-in to their favorite game.
As I was also unfamiliar with that game, I didn’t see what the big deal… and I still don’t.
As I finally get around to watching this pilot episode - - still knowing as little about the franchise as I do - - I’ll hazard a guess that this series probably isn’t an adaptation. More likely, it’s a tie-in that expands the universe of the game in a fashion that’s actually signficant to the plot, instead of simply retreading what you’ve already played or offering a superflous “side story” that isn’t that relevant to cannon. I say that because the pilot doesn’t do all too great of a job of introducing its world, not its characters, and I figure any critiques regarding that will be on the order of asking why, say, THE ANIMATRIX didn’t do all the expository legwork that the first MATRIX already did. This is a series for the initiated.
Again, I don’t see what the big deal is. Aside from the boldly yellow color scheme, HALF LIFE-style opening and the way the characters have so confidently reclaimed denim suits for the fashion conscious, this doesn’t feel any more remarkable than your run-of-the-mill anime pilot. Perhaps greater brilliance awaits me later on, when the series “gets good” after episode five or six. Really, I’d rather go with the amsuing notion that a throng of gamers who wouldn’t touch this material if it was present like the rest of “that anime stuff” are gung ho about just because it's got a familiar, cult brand on it.
Watch this episode, "You're Myself, I'm Yourself” here and decide for yourself.