We’re sampling the summer season’s selection! Check out our other pilot write-up’s –
- ALDNOAH ZERO ** SWORD ART ONLINE II ** RAIL WARS ** YAMISHIBAI + AI-MAI-MI
- GLASSLIP ** AKAME GA KILL ** SAMURAI JAM ** PERSONA 4 ** DRAMAtical mURDER
- ARGEVOLLEN ** TOKYO GHOUL
My first thought was about this show’s animation budget, and how it could ever be sustained over a serial. Seriously, those first five minutes with the vandalism run (or was it a smash and grab?) on the research facility was feature film quality. Between the level of lighting effects and rotoscoping applied, it’s just far more rendering on display than you usually see in a weekly show. I can only imagine how much money was burned with that opener.
As for the plot itself…
The prospect of Watanabe and Kanno reuniting is saliva-inducing, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to like this more than I did. I don’t know… a big part of the appeal of a Watanabe show is that he always has a cool sense of humor. Even when COWBOY BEBOP and SAMURAI CHAMPLOO got into headier territory, there was always style. I guess he must just be getting all his jollies out in SPACE DANDY, because this whole thing was just so dour.
Sure, the notion of showing a hero’s journey from the perspective of the ‘others’ who are calling our protag to adventure is an intriguing one. I liked the conceit of these two pseudo-humans having to coach each other on understanding human concepts like bullying so they can fit in. There’s something poignant, too, about an ordinary, picked on girl suddenly being plucked from her miserable life after a huge catastrophe.
But again, the telling of the story is just muddled. You see characters going from Scene C to Scene D, but the connection between two spots isn’t that clear. It honestly felt like they were hurrying to move things along to that big set piece with the exploding building, so you get this odd paradox of a slowy-paced pilot that still feels rushed. It’s almost like Wattanabe is trying to get outside his wheelhouse and make LAIN and, well, he’s falling short of that.
Watch "Falling" and decide for yourself.