Reviews: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World

Some good parts but they never come together

This can be described as a Magical Girlfriend show with many elements of Neon Genesis Evangelion in a classic bishoujo art style. And unfortunately never gets much beyond that.

The girls' clothing especially shows the influence of Kyoto Animation's adaptations of Visual Key works. I believe they wanted to not just cash in on them but also go above, creating a story about our place in the world. But what resulted is nine episodes of ecchi comedy that are derailed into an apocalyptic story that feels thematically bankrupt.

Character art is pretty if generic, monster and mechanical designs are good and they are used in a few spectacular action sequences. Even the softcore pornography that takes up most of the screentime is artistic, though at length exasperating. Fitting music, and the English dub is fine save for some extras. There are also some good comedy moments and very Gainax in-jokes.

But the characters... our protagonist is said to have a self-loathing complex, again harkening back to Evangelion, but this is never shown properly. The two magical girlfriends have hardly any character trait to tell them apart, even though they are supposed opponents at the end. The robot has the most human reactions for most of the run, then suddenly insists he does not understand human ideas. The rest are one-note and of little relevance.

There is a theme of finding joy in the mundane and beauty in an ugly world, but then it never shows its world to be mundane or ugly. The threat to all life in the last few episodes comes as a non-sequitur to the comedy before then, not only in tone but also in scale. Again like Evangelion, it tries to show a sympathetic character who wants to see the world end, but unlike it fails to show why they might feel that. In a way it is too pleasant for its own themes.

In short, there are ideas here but they are never fleshed out at all. Evangelion failed to answer the questions it posed, but this successor fails to formulate those questions. It's a show that needed either much more thought, or to accept itself as a simple comedy.

I like it

To begin with this is the kind of story where it started out silly and funny and OMG is that the harbinger of death? Despite that there are many interesting moments in the story and in a way this story is an allegory of life itself. Life is like blank paper that is colored by many different colors: some bad, some good. But maybe because life is imperfect, that it is flawed that it is all the more beautiful. This world and the reality we live is a terrible place to live in but what makes it beautiful is the effort of people and perhaps the world to struggle and make it better, to fixed it. The struggle to beautify this world is what makes it beautiful even if all else are ugly. I would recommend this story in subs though, the dubs are a bit narmy but hey, YMMV.