Cerberus – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 4th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: The evil dragon, Daganzord, threatened to spread destruction and ruin upon the land. Bairo and Kismitete, along with a party of wizards, attempted to seal Daganzord with powerful ancient relics. Unfortunately they were betrayed and Daganzord broke free. Bairo and Kismitete, in a last attempt to save their son, Hiiro, cast a spell binding Hiiro and the dragon’s fate.
Now, over a decade later, Hiiro vows to avenge the deaths of his parents. He’s trained by Giiru, who saved him as Daganzord slaughtered Hiiro’s parents. Now, sixteen years old, Hiiro sets out on a journey to slay Daganzord once and for all.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Cerberus is very likely going to be getting our award (we don’t really have one) for worst animation of the Spring 2016 season. Good god it is awful. The color palette is muted for starters, meaning there’s zero visual pop. Second, the animation is often stilted, muddy, lacking detail and generally approaching such a low framerate that your eyes have trouble focusing on any of it (not that you’d want to with how awful the art direction is.) Everything about Cerberus’ visuals screams low budget cash grab.
Linny: Oh god, was this a painful watch. I dislike saying extremely negative stuff about shows as I imagine there has to be people who believed in the show and don’t deserve to have their hard work and dreams stomped on. However, I HAVE to admit that my brain and eyes actively tried to wander off to take a break from the ugliness onscreen while we were watching. Not only are the characters bland and weird to look at, even the action scenes were lackluster and devoid of all visual impact and appeal. The movements of characters were limp and their faces often lacked clean details and definition.
Tom: Hiiro, our prince, gets little real characterization. He spends most of the episode playing with the city street urchins in a game of tag and keep away over his family heirloom that he happened to find in a local pawn shop. What little else we know of him comes from his heroic lines about how swordsmen only draw their swords when necessary. It’s at the end of the episode that we realize he actually gets the whole spiel from his master and is just emulating the man. Beyond that revelation I’m not really sure who the prince is, besides that he idolizes his master. He’s a very bland hero for a, so far, very bland show.
Linny: His blandness makes him an uncompelling lead, especially when much about him still feels like a big mystery. And not the good kind that sucks you in, but the kind that makes you apathetic. Even the villain feels like a total cliche, evil for the sake of being evil. It’s hard to tell allies from enemies as more and more new characters pop in and out randomly without good explanations or introductions or even a proper hint of a follow up.
Tom: The urchins, who are the only other characters we spend significant time with, don’t seem very bright, spouting dialogue about not taking the evil lord’s money, yet it’s also the money he took from them so– why you no want your money back kids? Unfortunately we don’t spend a lot of time with anyone else, either from the Prince’s brief flashback versus the evil dragon, or from the present day. The Prince’s two sidekicks, his master and a little lizard dude, show up at the end and I’d generally assume those two will be main cast members going forward.
Linny: Other than the first few introductory minutes of the episode, the rest of it felt like a messy sequence with events and characters appearing disjointedly or suddenly. It got to the point where the first few minutes felt like a completely different story, seperate from the rest of the show. The desire to tune out was only strengthened by the low animation quality, and I’m still struggling to find something to praise in the show.
Tom: The opening scene is another big problem as the pace and tone just don’t convey the gravity of the events unfolding. The king, Hiiro’s father, tries to seal this evil demon dragon and it fails. He’s then forced to (I guess? This is where it gets unclear) seal the demon by branding it and his son. This should feel like a monumentally horrible event, a father forced to save his own son by cursing the boy and the demon, but instead it feels bland and drab. The end also doesn’t help as it only furthers the confusion around exactly why Hirro and the evil demon dragon share the brand and what that entails.
Linny: I can sum up the quality of the show in one sentence: The hero is named Hiiro. That’s about how much effort was put into the rest of the show with its designs, animation quality and even when conveying its story. It’s all one jumbled, ugly mess topped off with generic and bland characters.
Tom: It should come as no surprise that Cerberus is based upon a 2011 mobile game, continuing the all too common trend of bad anime based upon Japanese mobile phone games. Cerberus offers nothing worth watching. It might be watchable if you’re truly desperate for fantasy anime, but Endride, not really a great show itself, has more to offer than Cerberus does.
Cerberus is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.