Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Impressions: No. 6

Plot Synopsis: (from MAL)The story takes place in the ideal city "NO.6" in 2013. Shion was judged as having "highest-ranked intelligence" when he was two years old and was allowed to live in the luxurious area "Cronos".

On his twelfth birthday, he met a beautiful boy called "Nezumi," who had escaped from a reformatory. Shion protected him, but the Public Security Bureau deprived Shion of all his privileges and expelled him from Cronos to "Lost Town".

Four years after the banishment, a mysterious accident leads Shion to the secret of the city NO.6.

Before Viewing: Oh heck yeah. noitaminA is my favorite animation block.Every series I've seen from it has been a great one. The programming block was started because Fuji TV wanted to expand the target audience beyond the typical anime audience, and the series they show indicate that. NoitaminA series are usually more mature, better written, and more unique than most anime. The most typical anime they've released was Shiki, which I still enjoyed as a pretty typical horror series. So I expect great things from this series as well.
 Judging by the plot synopsis, it appears to be a dystopian series, which is a genre I'm rather fond of, so I'm pretty psyched.

After Viewing: This episode wasn't long enough. It ends before the Public Security Bureau finds out that Sion has helped Nezumi, so the plot synopsis has given away stuff that doesn't happen in the first episode. Which is annoying, but not the series fault. The series does however focus on a lot of things unrelated to the central plot, but it does help drive home how peaceful Sion's life was, which will make the big change even more impactful, so I guess it's alright.

In terms of settings, it's a fairly typical dystopia. The world seems very peaceful at first glance, a place where no one needs to worry about anything, because everything is taken care of for them. Everyone is given a house, enough food to live comfortably, can go to school, etc. But there is an undercurrent of darkness in the world, that not all is right in the world. There are certain details that are treated casually in the series, but often tend to be placed in a negative light in many science fiction novels, like the bracelets everyone wears that works as keys, credit cards, ID and trackers. The character Nezumi demonstrates this undercurrent in a less subtle way; despite being a child, he is being "hunted" by "those who hunt humans". The reasons why he was locked up are unknown, but he seems to have suffered a lot in his life, unlike Sion, who never seems to have experienced suffering in his life. It reminds me of the story about the village that has never suffered, except for one member who must bear the burden of every possible kind of suffering imaginable. The idea that for many to be happy, someone must suffer, and whether or not it's right, seems to be present in this series, and it usually makes a pretty good theme.In fact, it feels less like typical anime science fiction, and more like a Western science fiction novel. It seems pretty calm at this point, but the series is rated R, so it may become very dark and disturbed later, like many dystopian novels do.

Nezumi and Sion have great chemistry, and the way their personalities work off one another is excellently written. They haven't known each other very well at this point, but you can see that they will become very close, and there is a somewhat romantic feel to their interactions. Whether or not this will come to anything or not is unknown at this point, as it's not uncommon for close friends in anime to give off the feeling of being a couple, but both the opening and the ending still give off that feel. It makes it obvious that it's a shoujo series though.

This is a series that I'm definitely interested in. With its interesting dystopian world, sweet interaction between the two main characters and the possibility of being a very dark series, it's one of the more unique series this season. It's definitely something I would recommend.

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