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Anime / Night Head 2041

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Night Head 2041 is a reboot version of Night Head Genesis, which aired in Japan and parts of Southeast Asia in 2006. It's also based on the original Night Head drama, which aired from 1992 to 1993. George Iida, the creator of the drama, also planned and conceptualized the show. Oh! Great is responsible for the character designs with the animation done by Shirogumi. It airs under Fuji TV's +Ultra block while Crunchyroll has the rights to stream it overseas. The anime ran for 12 episodes.

While the anime is based on the Genesis and the original TV drama, it has some CyberPunk and Dystopia themes in the form of 20 Minutes into the Future.

The story is still the same, but Japan and the rest of the Asia has experienced World War III and has known peace only after it ended in 2023. The show takes place in 2041 in a post-WWIII Japan where Tokyo has made worship of religious gods (whether they're real or not) as a thoughtcrime, including cults, under the Anti-Religious Beliefs Law. To enforce this, the Special Weapons Enforcement unit was created to solely go after those who would violate the new laws. The SWE also enforces book burning of religious materials from time to time.

Naoto and Naoya Kirihara find themselves awake and alive in 2041, when the last thing they remember is with their parents drugging their drinks before they brought to a psychiatric institute in 2014 and finding out that they were supposed to be around by 2023. Meanwhile, SWE operators would be tasked to investigate and apprehend the Kiriharas. They include Takuya and Yuuya Kuroki, who also shared the same backstory as the Kiriharas when their parents abandoned them too.

This anime provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The anime takes place in 2041. The Kiriharas remember that they were supposed to be awakened by 2023. Naoto lampshades why they woke up by 2041 constantly.
  • Book Burning: The SWE has adopted this tactic by publicly burning controversial books in public to discourage anyone from learning about cults and other banned materials. Michio Sonezaki mentions that the SWE is doing this to hide from the public about the existence of persons with psychic powers.
  • CyberPunk: A dystopia-type where the SWE is mandated to go after anyone deemed thought criminals while given free rein to use Book Burning and other means to destroying prohibited materials while Japan surviving 18 years of peace after World War III. Not at all helped by the Japanese government considering them to be far superior to the rest of the world regarding how crime is handles.
  • Dirty Cop: Needless to say, the SWE are willing to look the other way if criminals act out in a way that appeases the law against fiction. As Kazama brings up in "Shoko Futami -Shoko-", an old man was actually freed from all charges simply because even though he burned a child, it was justified because Kazama was singing a song.
    • This doubly applies to the psychics working under the SWE, who are fine taking out or even murdering people with even the tiniest hint of supernatural abilities and use their loved ones as hostages or worse. A trait that Naoto calls Takuya out on during their fight. Takuya unsurprisingly doesn't believe any of this and tries to kill Naoto over the incident that involved both sets of brothers seemingly being taken away. All the while trying to justify himself and the other psychics under the SWE in their actions.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: As brought up in "Shoko Futami -Shoko-", any attempt to talk about fictitious concepts results in either imprisonment or outright execution by the SWE, while actual crimes like arson are either completely ignored or even allowed to happen by law enforcement.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Between the world -Between the Worlds-" has the prophecy of people disappearing all of a sudden with some left on Earth as being compared to Noah's Ark.
  • False Flag Operation: The SWE secretly tolerates the recruitment of psychics as operators as long as they're willing to help them crack down on thought criminals by publicly making them into cult leaders with supernatural ability, which is done by the SWE psychics. Unsurprisingly, the use of them to suppress free-thinking people gets called out by Naoto during his fight with Takuya.
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the series, both sets of brothers get similar visions of them being taken away from their parents, with Yuuya and Takuya further seeing a pair of fully adult Kiriharas in their version of things This sets up what really happened with the Kuroki brothers in the finale, with the presence of Naoto and Naoya being the result of a Stable Time Loop.
  • Hypocrite: In general, the SWE's use of Psychics to track down, incarcerate or even kill people who think differently than what the government wants, including the Kiriharas, has shades of this.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In "Protection and Salvation -Our Destiny-", the SWE is ordered by Tokyo that they'll be in Russia with limited support as they can't be seen as intervening in Russian affairs in the course of investigating the Kiriharas' connection to the country.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The Free Speech Alliance is created in response to Tokyo passing draconian laws against free speech and thought. One of its members, Mark is revealed to be The Mole working for the SWE and shoots his brother and leader Kazama when they actually attempt to carry out their mission.
  • Myth Arc: The Kiriharas are figuring out why they woke up in 2041 instead of 2023. As of "Inspiration -Resonance-", it's revealed that Kuroki brothers have a similar backstory as the Kuriharas. With later revelations confirming that the two brothers are more connected than either of them thought.
  • Noodle Incident: What happened during World War III? And why did the Kiriharas wake up in 2041 instead of 2023? Some of these questions would eventually be revealed in "Between the world -Between the worlds-". With "Revelation to Ruin -March to Decimation-" further elaborating on the details. Namely that the Psychics of the world departed to their own Earth, and that World War III and the subsequent crackdown on fiction was simply a convenient excuse to cover up this fact.
  • Medium Blending: Just like Shirogumi's previous series Revisions, the anime blends 3D character models and vehicles with 2D background characters, along with the younger versions of both brother pairs and on Mikuriya, and background art.
  • Mythology Gag: "Fake -Deception-" has Naoto remembering his parents drugging their drinks before they were sent to a psychiatric institute.
  • Serious Business: The SWE will go after you for violations of the ARBL for something so innocent like singing or drawing something fictional.
  • Shout-Out: "Fake -Deception-" has a teenager holding on volume 3 of Akira.
  • SWAT Team: The SWE is a law enforcement unit going after pro-religious and pro-fiction thoughtcrime that includes a tac team element, while also having Psychics under their employment and a Mad Oracle being used as part of their network.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The Kiriharas had their drinks drugged up, part of the show's Mythology Gag before they were taken to the institute. It would be later revealed in "Inspiration -Resonance-" that the Kuroki brothers share a similar backstory.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: While the whole world was affected by the events leading up to the series. The Japanese government uses their position as the "safest place in the post-war world" to spin the narrative that the rest of the Earth is inferior to them in pretty much every way. Notably, a couple of talking heads mock the Middle East for still engaging in wars, confirming the anti-fiction and anti-war laws aren't universal across the planet.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Inspiration -Resonance-" suggests that the Kiriharas are not the only ones who are wondering about what happened in the 2020s, but most of society lost their memories of what happened in those years. Also, Takuya and his SWE teammates' psychic powers were artificially awakened, and the Kuroki brothers are revealed have similar memories to that of the Kiriharas.
    • "Shoko Futami -Shoko-" reveals that any and all fiction has been outlawed, not just religion, the Kurihara brothers come out as psychics to the rebel group that saved them, and Naoya is held hostage as Naoto is drugged into helping them against his will.
    • "Thought, confrontation -Showdown-" has Mike, one of the rebels, come out as The Mole working with the SWE and shoots Kazama; while Takuya and Naoto fight each other wherein the latter calls out the former for working with the SWE. Ending with the Kiriharas, Miki, and a third member of the resistance Emily, vanishing in bright lights.
    • "Between the world -Between the Worlds-" features the Kirihara brothers learning the truth about their side of the story after being brought to meet Mikuriya in 2023, the man who took them away. Telling them about a prophecy that would lead to two-thirds of the world to transcend to another Earth while the rest would be left behind to ravage the original into what the brothers have seen. While Yuuya finds out more about his side of the past and witnesses a fully-grown Naoto supposedly killing the Kuroki brothers' mother.
    • "Revelation to Ruin -March to Decimation-" introduces Akkio Okuhara, a Mad Oracle under the SWE's employ, who contacts Yuuya after he directly connects to the network itself to find out more about his and Takuya's past. Finds out that the Kiriharas were indeed involved with their past, and then she reveals to him that they're a Temporal Paradox and supposed to be on the other world; that their presence on the world the Kuroki brothers are living in is going to cause The End of the World as We Know It, which Naoya and Yui witness as well. It's also revealed that World War III was just a cover-up to hide the fact that the psychics left the world the non-believers lived on.
    • The final episode, "Inheritance, Episode -Start Over-" has both worlds saved in the nick of time by the Kiriharas returning to their own timeline, and Kimie now taking over the SWE and feeding the Kurokis a lie about their parents' death and how they were the ones responsible for killing them before leaving. The truth of the incident is revealed shortly thereafter — Okuhara sends some soldiers out to retrieve the Kurokis as children by killing their parents; the Kiriharas arrive to perform a Stable Time Loop that shows they were in fact, trying to save the family. Their mother is shown to be alive, but injured due to some glass cutting her forehead during the raid. which ends with the two being sent into hiding so as to not arouse suspicion from the SWE.
  • Wham Line: "Dimensional Fusion -Unity-": Said by Daisuke: "I'm a psychic too!
  • Would Hurt a Child: The SWE doesn't spare young kids and teenagers when they're caught breaking the law. In some instances, they're forced to be put on display to humiliate them and to serve as a means of deterrence against potential/future lawbreakers alongside the adults.
    • The Kuroki brothers also had their lives threatened by the government as kids after their father ran off with a secret, which surprises the brothers when they find out. As shown in the finale, the soldiers sent to their house were more than willing to gun them down alongside their parents, being saved only by the intervention of Naoto stopping the bullets with his forcefield.