Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Asura Cryin’ Season One & Two
Anime Studio: Seven Arcs
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Action / Supernatural
Released: October 28th, 2019
Length: 650 Minutes
Extras: Clean OP and ED, Disc Credits, Trailers.
Ghosts, demons and alternate realities!
Some people are haunted by memories, but Tomoharu is haunted by his friend Misao, who died in a horrible plane crash that Tomo somehow survived. While having a girl that no one else can see hanging around is a little odd, it’s not until Tomo’s mom gets remarried, leaving Tomo alone, that things get really weird: A mysterious girl appears with a package that Tomo is supposed to guard. A second girl breaks into the house, demanding something called an “extractor”. And both girls can inexplicably see Misao! As more people target the package and Tomo, the mystery only deepens. What’s in the package, why are so many people after it, and is it connected to the plane crash or something even more sinister?
So, I want to start this by saying well done to MVM on this release. The decision to release both seasons in one box set was a good one as, with the two fitting easily on three Blurays, this allows viewers to see the complete story in one go rather than having to wait for individual sets. The splitting of seasons is a release habit that has always bugged me, especially when twenty-six episodes could be released in this way.
Now, with that out of the way, I want to add that Asura Cryin’ is a frustrating show. Starting with the technical side of things, the soundtrack is decent. The first ending theme is suitably epic given the mech aspect of things, and the background music fits well without being overly memorable. The voice acting is perfectly fine, but nothing you haven’t heard before.
Meanwhile, Seven Arcs are no strangers to anime. While not as prolific as the larger studios, they did work on a number of well known shows, such as White Album and Trinity Seven. The problem here is that the animation is so variable. At its best, it’s perfectly fine. While not as standout as some of the more pretty shows out there, it fits nicely with the tone of the show. At times though, it seems to take a dip into a mass of simplistic movements, an apparent lowered number of frames, and an odd shifting in the shape of character’s faces. Just as the show’s best is not world changing though, its worst is not earth shatteringly bad either. In a way, that reflects the show as a whole.
You see, Asura Cryin’ is a series that ticks a lot of boxes, but doesn’t live up to the expectations that it itself sets. Take the key things set up in the first episode for example. Tomoharu being haunted by the ghost of his dead friend Misao is an interesting plot device. Throw in the mysterious briefcase that’s delivered and the subsequent battle that breaks out, and what you have is an intriguing – if slightly rushed feeling – first episode. But then the second episode kicks in with the action having taken place off screen.
That’s right, we don’t get to see the full battle. This isn’t the only example of this happening either. Character development fares no better. Sure, there are multiple groups vying for Tomo’s package – in more ways than one – but none of them even try to stand out from standard harem tropes. Throw in that the girls from different groups that are mortal enemies end up just hanging out too without any major plot points to explain the change from out-for-blood to friends. Even the interesting concepts that thrown out about demons and their role in the city don’t go beyond just getting mentioned briefly.
Being a show with harem elements too, the show can’t resist throwing in the expected fan service tropes. Accidental boob grabs? Of course. Accidentally dropping a vibrating tube between the large breasts of a female character. Why not? The sad thing is, if these scenes had been trading in for finishing battles and building up the general ideas, the series would have been far more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy show to recommend. I applaud the decision to release it all in one set, and it’s not like it has no redeeming qualities. Poor development and inconsistent execution prevent it from reaching the potential that was there though. I give this 2.5 out of 5.