Gleipnir Episode 1 Review
Mascot Monster Mayhem
Gleipnir is the type of anime that is going to have a slow, but intriguing start. Its a lot to setup a mystery and make it interesting and get all of the component characters in place. In a nondescript Japanese suburban town, Kagaya Shuichi is trying his damnedest to be an ordinary high-school kid. Unfortunately he is much more than that. He is a monster.
In the first episode Shuichi puts his ability to transform into a mascot-like dog in order to save a girl from burning to death in a blazing warehouse. Its just so happens that this girl, Aoki Clair, set it all up and knows that other monsters like Shuichi exist.
The pilot sets up the mystery relatively well. People have the ability to transform, and it all is related to a coin that Clair holds. Shuichi may be very well unaware of the larger plot he is embroiling himself in. Clair on the other hand knows a bit more than he does.
Kagaya Shuichi and Aoki Clair
Kagaya Shuichi is pretty dumb for a main character smart enough to go to college. There is a hint of his desire to be a regular Joe at the beginning of the episode, but that doesn’t really excuse his behavior. Shuichi gives away his chance at going to college just to have another girl get the chance at a recommendation. It doesn’t really follow through with what we have seen of the character so far.
The rest of the first episode he makes mistake after mistake. Shuichi rescues a clearly suicidal girl from a warehouse fire. He leaves evidence, his phone, of his existence at the scene of the crime. What high school student in this day and age would forget their phone outside? Its not really that plausible of an excuse how Clair figures out his identity. Nothing about these dumb decisions feel like they are setting up much of his character. It feels like more trying to get Shuichi and Clair together through circumstance.
Clair on the other hand seems a little more collected and calculated, albeit suicidal. That last portion also isn’t 100% filled out in my mind. No one believes her about monsters in the world, therefore she must kill herself. It lends itself to a somewhat unhinged aspect of her personality.
The calm and collected Clair is better once we see her in her element. She is particularly manipulative. Once she has Shuichi’s attention she knows just the right buttons to push in order to force a transformation, and confirm all of her suspicions.
I think the anime could have shown better how Clair figures out Shuichi is a monster. Not showing her coming to hurts the idea that she would immediately jump to the conclusion that Shuichi is a monster. It just feels rushed trying to get to an action cliffhanger rather than a reveal.
Overall I am intrigued by Gleipnir. There is a whole world of monsters and gatherers out there. A boy transforming into a gun-toting Chuck E. Cheese reject is enough to draw me in. I wish this episode had gotten to the action a little faster. It ends with really just a single punch between this mysterious half monster and Shuichi. The cold opening probably could have been cut for something else in the episode just to get another minute and a half of action in the pilot.
[Image via Official Site]