Reviews: Re Creators

Outstanding anime

I only started this series because Hiroyuki Sawano, but I continued for everything else and stayel until the end. Re:Creators won't probably be recorded in history with golden letters, but if something deserves it among the smoking pile of awful quality light novels and animexplotation series of the last years, it's this. Re:Creators is a rare series with a genuinely interesting iteration of a classic plot, a cast of surprisingly well used characters (not perfectly used, but still), a smart genre introspection and a cunning way to extricate its development into its metafictional theme; in summary, exactly what 90% of anime lacks nowadays. Add that to a signifcantly good animation and a soundtrack with some serious jewels and you will have what I believe it is one of the best pieces of anime produced in recent times.

At this point, after reading so many bad reviews (which I strongly believe they are actually not so many as we are being led to believe, but meh) I cannot help but feel like Roger Ebert in Dark City and wonder both what kind of critics have we bred and what exactly they want when they watch an anime series. I suspect many of them only wanted to see fight fight, punch punch, cool battles, baddies driven to the ground and omae wa mou shindeiru, and they got bored with all the existential chatter and media symbolism; or alternately, that they wanted to see played straight all the cliches and tropes Re:Creators tries to play around with; but I don't actually care this time. Strongly recommended.

Wasted Potential: The Series

This show had an amazing premise: several archetypes from Japanese popular culture suddenly appear in the real world and have to manage the shock of going face-to-face with both their real-life creators and the villain that summoned them, who threatens to destroy the world. How do you manage to screw that up?

Well, first you have to make everyone as dull and unappealing as possible (both fictional and real people): they barely interact with each other and when they do it's in the form of over-long dry, boring exposition. Forget the amazing stuff glimpsed from the (fictional) anime and games they come from! 22 episodes is more than enough time to develop characters but most of them either don't change (despite the promise of them adapting to reality), barely do anything, or act in unrealistic ways just for the conveniency of the plot.

Then you create a Boring Invincible Villain, who proceeds to make even the most amazing fight between Creations pointless with her powers. She, with her blank slate personality, irritating smugness and homicidal temper tantrums, almost seems to spoof edgy Villain Sue characters, but is treated completely seriously... and here's another of the show's problems: everything from traced drawings, retweets and deadlines is taken extremely seriously. Which does make sense story-wise, but, since it's hard to get attached to anyone and to their predicaments, comes off as narm-y and melodramatic, almost to the point of parody.

Similarly the very "meta" plot to get rid of her (trap her in a story and have the audience decide her fate) is cool on paper, but drowns in a sea of exposition, technobabble, asspulls and has to rely on another character's bullshit Reality Warper powers in order to work. And then doesn't work anyway. Cue the predictable resolution, which was in fact foreshadowed from the beginning, but this doesn't make it any less anti-climactic. It makes all the characters look like useless puppets in the hands of the writers, which ironically negates the very concept of the characters coming to "the real world" to evolve past the limitations of their universes.

Re:Creators wants to be an entertaining fake crossover, a character study and a meta reflection on the state of Japanese entertainment industry. However it's so boring, bloated, self-important and unfocused that fails on all accounts. Its only redeeming features are the humorous Recap Episode and the great soundtrack, which however is sadly under-used in the series itself.

Rating: 4/10
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