Here is what the series is about, I think, in a nutshell. A couple of years back there was an incident that killed Tomoharu Natsume’s childhood friend, Misao Minakami. However this doesn’t mean their relationship has ended, as Miaso has become a ghost and now hangs around Tomoharu pretty much full time.
The series proper begins with the two of them starting a new life on their own, living in Tomoharu’s old place. Their two days there involves being given a suit case from a friend of said brother, being attacked by a supernatural shrine maiden, attacked by religious zealots and humanoid demons, rescued by what seems to be a bodacious cyborg, and Tomoharu becoming a “handler” for a giant robot that crawls out of what looks like liquid shadow. Which, incidentally, possesses the still living (but perhaps not conscious) body of Misao, who our Hero now hopes to free from her prison.
If that sounds like a whole mess of plots slammed together, well yeah. Yeah it is. See there are various forces in the world struggling to maintain order. The religious zealots want to kill the demons (mainly because they are demons and thus evil), the cyborg’s group wants to protect the demons for reasons not made clear in the first four episodes, and the demons want… I dunno. They have to want something. Maybe it gets explained in episode five or something.
But here’s the thing: I don’t care.
Four episodes. I’ve given this thing four episodes, and I still feel lost at sea, without a hint of land. Because no one takes any time out to explain anything. They’re too busy jumping to the next “cool” sequence or your typical Anime nonsense.
For instance, when exactly does this series take place? As far as I can see, it’s a modern day affair. Yet when an arsenal of guns start popping out of the cyber-chick’s various limbs, Misao and Tomoharu hardly blink. Bear in mind that on every other aspect of the story so far neither one of them seems to have an inkling on what’s going on.
Now if one wants to get technical, there have been some hints that Tomoharu might know more than he remembers, but come on! Drop the viewer a bone.
I don’t mind not understanding what the hell is going on. Really. I don’t. I’ve watched The Big O for years and I’m still not sure of what half of it actually means.
Or maybe three fourths. It’s hard to say with Big O.
But with that, you had four main characters, a clearly defined premise, and stories that, as a rule, were no more than two episodes in length.
Here I’m four episodes in and the series is introducing new concepts while still not dealing with the old ones yet. There are too many ideas on display all at once, and on that too many characters with too many motives and no sign that any of it will be explained.
You can have a ton of complex plots, but without a place to stand all it is is sound and fury. As far as I can see Asura Cryin’ gives the view no foothold four episodes in, when, quiet frankly, such a thing should have been in place by the second episode at the latest.
Then there’s this:
This is from episode three. By this point the leader of the religious zealots (the head of the student council at Tomoharu’s school, natch) has decided that Tomoharu has to join his side or die. He doesn’t explain his stance or why it’s important for the demons to be fought. It’s just join or die.
Which is typical zealot, I know, but when the subject in question clearly has no idea what’s going on, you’d think a word or two might be appropriate.
The pictured girl is the supernatural shrine maiden. As she sort of likes Tomoharu (or perhaps feels responsible for him being in such trouble), she sets about rescuing him. At this she succeeds, only to find herself at the zealots’ mercy. Unfortunately for her, she’s a demon, and thus that mercy extends to a brief, pointless trial before her predetermined sentence is past.
Tomoharu, being the hero, is having none of that, and races to save her from her fate. He stands before the zealot leader, threatening to whip out his giant robot thing and in the middle of this we have the above picture pop up.
For no real apparent reason.
Save maybe to distract from the vast confusion that is this series.
On second thought, maybe four episodes was too much time to give it…