Here we are again for another edition of ‘A Crunchyroll of the Dice!’ As always, before we begin, I’ll give you all a quick reminder of the rules:
- I pick two series at random on Crunchyroll and watch the first episode
- If it has multiple seasons, I go with season 1
- I have to at least try to watch the episode, no matter what show I get
After I watch both episodes, I give a quick run-down of my thoughts on each and then compare them in several categories, giving points to the winner in each. With a good mix of pairings having be thrown up thus far, ranging from lucky pairings of good shows to some outright weird battles, this week was something more mundane. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t dull, it just wasn’t too unusual a pairing. With that being said, let’s get this show on the road!
First up, we have Trinity Seven, and we jump straight in with an opening video. That surprised me as I’m used to a little bit of show first, but that’s not a bad thing. Were those FMA Transmutation Circles at the start of the video? That certainly isn’t FMA fan service! Still, the song is good, if nothing unusual. Arata, the male lead, starts off shrouded in darkness and reaching towards his cousin Hijiri. He tries to take her hand and … wakes up. It was a dream. And now he’s grabbing her boob. He doesn’t particularly care, and even comments that they’ve gotten bigger. Well, thanks for that Japan. He points out that he has a drawing she did when she much younger, and then we cut to them heading to school, wherein Arata confirms that he enjoys his mundane life. As he walks along, a pair of boobs walk by and tell him to awaken or they’ll kill him. Now, there was of course a girl attached to them, but the focus was not on her. I think I can see where this sow may be going … here’s hoping the story can rise above the unnecessary bits.
Arata, having already noticed a blackness over the sun, is on the top of the school building with Hijiri. He asks her if the sun has always been black and he says yes, because this is the world that wished for and they can have fun every day. She places Arata’s hand on her boob again and tells him that if he stays, she’ll do whatever he wants. Well, Ok then. Arata gets a flashback to Hijiri fading away and so he asks Hijiri if it’s really her and she says yes. He quizzes her, and she claims to never lie. She maintains that the sun has always been black and Arata produces the childhood drawing with a red sun. Her mod changes and becomes darker, and all of a sudden she nearly gets shot, but is saved by an energy barrier. The mysterious boobs from earlier apparently called Lilith and now have a massive gun and combat mage uniform. Hijiri clicks her fingers and the world turns to ruins. Lilith explains that it happened recently and that it was a breakdown phenomenon, a gravitational quake that wiped everything out.
Arata remembers the black sun swallowing everyone up. He remembers the real Hijri giving him a book on a chain, and saying her goodbyes. She kisses him (on the lips of course, because they’re cousins in an anime) and fades away, telling him not to forget her. Arata wakes in the blackness and pulls out the book, a grimoire, and wishes to return to his normal life. He now realises that he created the fake world and that the fake Hijiri is the book. Lilith was sent to investigate the phenomenon and was surprised to find a city where there should be nothing. She proclaims Hijiri to be a dangerous grimoire, and points the gun at Arata. She tells him to ask the grimoire to dispel the world and give up his memories, or she will kill him. Initially undecided, Arata asks the grimoire where Hijiri is and she tells him that she is alive somewhere in a rift in space time. Arata creates his own third option, refusing to hand over the grimoire or die.
Arata turns up at a magic school and meets Lilith. Why? Because he’s decided to become a mage. Lilith is a teacher and the same age as Arata, and tells him to greet everyone in the class properly. This leads to a girl named Selina asking him what kind of girls he likes. What profound answer could our friendly neighbourhood Arata come up with? Big boobs, of course, though he does add that he could like a girl with no boobs too. Oh, and he likes a pretty face. Selina summarises him as every girls’ enemy. She asks if he really created a world and, when he says yes, the class start calling him a Demon Lord Candidate.
Lilith and Arata visit the headmaster, who welcomes Arata and explains that the purpose of the school is to resolve potentially magic fuelled cases. He does not know if it’s possible to get Hijiri back, but says it could be up to Arata, then explains the Trinity Seven: seven girls like Lilith who excel and are like boss characters in a video game. Just to add fuel to Arata’s perve tendencies, he suggests that he make them his pawns. I’m not sure that that’s standard teaching practice.
Arata notices another girl blended in with the ceiling like a Ninja, and finds that she is another Trinity Seven member named Levi. She says that she’s a ninja and Arata asks if she’s not a mage. She says that Ninja arts, astrology and arts of the bedroom arts all fall under magic arts. Lilith refuses to discuss bedroom arts and Levi starts flirting with Arata. They spot another two Trinity Seven members, Akio and Mira, outside. Arata mentions that they’re all girls, either because he’s not blind or his perve senses were tingling. Levi explains that magic relies on the mind and emotions, so girls are better suited. While there are studies that show that this holds true in a general sense, that is rather sexist. Arata ponders if he should be more up front with his emotions and desires and Lilith says no. Levi points out that Lilith is blushing and says, ‘It turns you on, doesn’t it?’ Arata says, ‘You know it’, and Lilith clouts him and wanders off. Levi proclaims Lilith to be an ice princess but notes that she’s different around Arata. I smell a potential love interest.
Arata goes to bed and starts talking to his grimoire, which asks if he’d like to take a bath. He wonders into the men’s baths and comes across a nude girl that looks like Hijiri. He tries to ignore this and starts to shampoo and she casually tells him he’s using the wrong container and that the shampoo is next to it. Arata is upset that she’s not upset by him being there, and she responds by telling him he’s using something other than the shampoo. The girl isn’t bothered by his presence and tells him her bust size. The girl is Arin, another of the Trinity Seven. She’s … pretty emotionless … and that’s about it. Arata thinks that Arin may be connected to Hijiri, which seems reasonable given that they look alike. There’s some more random fan service, and the episode ends with a gag about Arata forgetting to wear anything over his boxers. The closing theme isn’t as good as the opening.
The show starts with a boy running towards a girl. She tells him that he can ‘get it back’, then jumps off a building, and the boy feels pain. Thus far, I rather like the art style. It reminds me a lot of Shirow Miwa’s Dogs: Bullets and Carnage, and I absolutely love that series on every level. That puts it in good stead. We skip ahead twelve years and see a mascot handing out fliers and being beaten up by kids, then cut to a shot of a kid staring at a cicada.
The opening theme surprised me. I’m sued to rock or sometimes pop, but this was a bit more dance based. Oh, and it seemed to have clips of people doing neon poi dancing. That was pretty cool. The various lights segue into shots of the various characters that we’ll meet and it looks like a pretty varied cast in terms of appearance, so that’s a good sign.
Back to the episode, the boy is named Kacchon, and is the boy from the start, all grown up. He ponders why cicadas come to the surface when their lifespan is so limited. His friend, a girl named Chidori, surmises that they may have wanted to find friends, and Kacchon states that it’s actually to mate but that if he says that then there’s no point. She goes on to ask Kacchon if he’s being bullied for money again, money that his parents work hard to send him, but he says that it’s OK because if he pays the bullies they leave, and if he has no money, then they hit him and it’s over. His lack of emotion upsets Chidori and she storms off. I like the interactions between these two, it makes Chidori liking Kacchon in a romantic sense, but without it being too in your face. Well done tot eh writing staff there. Anyway, the bullies appear and beat Kacchon up, and he declares sewing a button on to be more troublesome than getting punched. All of a sudden, Kacchon’s schoolmate Tenga turns up and attacks the bullies, smacking one with his bag and throwing the other to the floor so that he can sit on his face. He tells Kacchon that if he gets his money back, then he should give him 20%. Kacchon says it’s fine, and Tenga takes this as an agreement, so he tells the bullies to pay back everything they’ve ever taken from Kacchon and never touch him again. With the bullies fleeing, Tenga tells Kacchon not to worry about paying him, and Kacchon says it’s OK as he doesn’t feel pain. Tenga tests this, and accidentally makes Kacchon pass out.
We cut to a classroom, where we see some of the secondary characters chatting. Oh, and the teacher is playing a pervy phone game and complaining that he can’t get any further because it’s the free version. Meanwhile, Kacchon has his flashback again, this time remembering the girl say that he can ‘get his pain back’. He wakes up to find a girl named Sonozaki watching him. They talk a little and she declares the Seven Deadly Sins of yore to have changed form in modern Japan. She goes through them (The Cunning Normal, High-and-Mighty, Goody-Two-Shoes, and The Eccentric Headcase) while we get shots of the other characters carrying out the sins. I did chuckle when Chidori was asking the teacher to speak to the bullies and he said that they weren’t the sort to listen to warning s and asked if she’d like them expelled or possibly killed. Kacchon tells Sonozaki that they aren’t sins and she’s just badmouthing people. She responds by declaring Kacchon the fifth sin, The Moron. She goes on to explain that Kacchon is bullied because he doesn’t get scared, and that everyone wants to be special to someone (either for positive or negative reasons), so people get irritated because his lack of pain prevents them from finding themselves in him and carving their own scars in him. Sonozaki then backs Kacchon to the stairs, tells him to raise both hands, and pushes him down them. On his way down, we almost fall into up skirt fan service territory, but just about avoid it.
Kacchon is on a stretcher with mascots taking him through the hospital in a massive burst of psychedelic oddness. He finally wakes properly under a bright light, and Sonozaki turns up with flowers, proclaiming it to be a celebration. The characters we’ve already seen appear and Sonozaki tells them that they’re bound by their wounds. She says that the city they live in was created for an experiment: The Kizna System. The theory was that fighting is endless in the world because we cannot understand other people’s pain, and if they could all share pain then the fighting would cease. Tenga is then proclaimed sin number six, The Muscled Thug. We learn that at some time between 06:00 and 17:00, all the characters were kidnapped and implanted with the Kizna System, and so their wounds are now connected. Kacchon’s fall down the stairs should have been fatal, but because the pain was shared, he survived. Sonozaki says that Kacchon assisted in the system in this way, making it sound like he was a willing participant, but he doesn’t really try to point out the truth. Not buying this mad theory, everyone decides to leave, other than Kacchon who (much to Chidori’s chagrin) wants to stay and talk to Sonozaki some more. Kacchon doesn’t buy the things that she said about why he’s bullied because he doesn’t understand his own pain and thoughts. He confirms that he’s been remembering the girl from his flashbacks, and thinks there’s a connection between that and the Kizna System. Sonozaki is impressed with his progress already.
Meanwhile, Nico (an atypical kawaii fashion looking character) is searching for the sandman because she thinks this is all a dream. Tenga threatens to fondle her if it’s just a dream, and she quite rightly slaps him hard across the face. Everyone feels the pain, and start to realise that it’s all real. Just to prove the point further, Sonozaki Tasers Kacchon, and everyone gets Kizna scars on their wrists to end the episode. The end theme is pretty bouncy.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be: Best Opening Episode (in terms of achieving the goal of setting the series up), Best Main Character, Best Supporting Cast, Best Storyline, Best Animation, and Best Soundtrack.
If I’m being honest, I thought that both series have pretty interesting premises that lean nicely into the darker side of things, but the execution was a little off. Trinity Seven … it’s almost like it was drunk, mostly staying on the story telling path, but frequently stumbling off into the fan service road. Meanwhile, Kiznaiver suffers from trying to introduce everyone at once and not allowing enough focus on one or two main characters. In all, I think they’re both pretty even in terms of setting up what the show will be like though, so will call this one a tie. Best Opening Episode: Draw
Arata’s story is interesting enough, but my word his perverted side is a pain. Honestly, I find it so off putting. At the same time Kacchon’s non-emotional responses will potentially grate over time. Putting that aside though, he created a much bigger sense of intrigue that Arata did for me, and this gives him enough of an edge to take the points. Best Main Character: Kiznaiver
Trinity Seven primarily introduces Lilith, with a little time given to a handful of others. In terms of design, Lilith reminds me a little of Amelia in The Devil Is a Part Timer, but her personality doesn’t have the same impact because she doesn’t have the same sort of characters or immediate backstory to play off. I don’t dislike her though, so that’s good. Kiznaiver didn’t really give enough time to the supporting case to set them up, and I really wish that they’d mostly focussed on Chidori for the episode as her interactions with Kacchon were so well done. Given a straight battle between Lilith and Chidori, it’s tough because of the different levels of time given, but I’m going to give it to Chidori because she was generally more interesting. Best Supporting Cast: Kiznaiver
This kinda ties in with what I said in the first category. Both have intriguing ideas, and in terms of potential enjoying from a storyline standpoint, they’re both pretty close. This one is another tie. Best Storyline: Draw
There’s nothing wrong with Trinity Seven. The animation is as good as you get in most series, and fits in alongside plenty of other series. Kiznaiver perhaps didn’t feel as smooth at times, but the design work is far better in my eyes. So what edges it? The competent but standard Trinity Seven, or the slightly hit and miss but far more interesting Kiznaiver? I’m going to give it to Kiznaiver for the reminding me of Dogs. Best Animation: Kiznaiver
Both shows come up just fine during the episodes with nothing jumping out as highly inappropriate in terms of mood, and nothing being overly stand out. Trinity Seven has a decent opening theme and a so-so closer, while Kiznaiver has gone for something a little different in both. For taking a chance, I’ll give it to Kiznaiver. Best Soundtrack: Kiznaiver
Final Scores: Kiznaiver – 10 points, Trinity Seven – 2 points
Given that Kiznaiver is from a studio that was formed by the director of the (in my opinion) appalling Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The thing is, I didn’t dislike Trinity Seven. The fan service was far too prominent for my liking, and I felt that it distracted from what was otherwise a good episode, but it just about came up short here. I know, I know, the score makes it look like Kiznaiver walked it, but in truth, Trinity Seven was pretty close in a lot of the categories. This time though, it came up short.
Well then, all that’s left is for me to thank you for reading through to the end, to say that I hope you enjoyed my latest ‘Crunchyroll of the Dice’. That puts us at the half way mark for round one, so keep an eye out for episode two battles to start appearing soon enough! First though, there are four more first round battles to finish.