Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas – Movie 1 – Review
Note: Outside of the addition of Opening and Ending Credits, Chain Chronicle’s TV version seems to have no additional footage.
Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas:
Original Air Dates: December 16th, 2016
Synopsis: The Chain Chronicle is a book that describes everything that happens in the world it exists in, a land that maintains balance between its divided regions, by appointing a lord to rule over all the lands joined together, that is until the evil Black Army arrived. They, beneath the Black King, sought to take control of everyone and everything. But the volunteer army appeared, led by Yuri, the last best hope of the people. Unfortunately Yuri proved no match for the evil King and during their ultimate confrontation the Chain Chronicle was ripped in two. Now, seeking to regain the capital, Yuri forms a new band of heroes, including the mysterious young man, Aram, in hopes of sundering the Black King for good.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Chain Chronicle’s best feature is its animation. The movie boasts generally high quality 2D artwork that’s often blended with impressive CGI animation. The CGI is incredibly well done, and if the shots are quick enough, it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the two. Outside of the blending, both forms of animation are fluid, never choppy, and rarely off model. It’s a great looking film (although why it’s chopped into four ‘episodes’ on Crunchyroll I don’t know.) but the praise kind of dies there.
Linny: What also makes Chain Chronicle unique is its rather novel start. We begin the story right smack dab in the middle of their big showdown with the ultimate baddie, which is animated on such a grandiose scale that you feel like you entered the movie at its climax. However, because of this big introduction, it could also lead to a divisive reaction among audience as some may applaud the innovative approach while others feel like they were dumped into the deep end of the ocean.
Tom: The idea that the heroes lose their ultimate battle and have to regroup to try again is a noble one, and interesting, but because we start so late into the proceedings it makes it difficult to relate and get to know any of these characters, particularly when the movie makes zero effort to offer up character moments that introduce our large and sprawling cast. That means that without a connection to this fantasy world the whole thing feels unfamiliar and by proxy hardly engaging.
Linny: The movie also does a sub par job of explaining the lore of its world and how magic/mana works in it. The world seems to consist of lots of different races as is seen in the big battle, which features several different factions coming together to fight the evil lord. However, they then disperse and some seem to disappear for good, with no specifics as to exactly how the land is laid out. Going back to my point about its own magic system, one of the main characters is shown being able to steal the mana of others and use it as his own. The people he steals it from are shown to be shocked like this is clearly a unique ability but besides generally mistrusting him for being a newcomer, nobody ever really grills him or gets an answer about how or why he can do that.
Tom: Chain Chronicle moves at a real clip, keeping the plot rolling with near every scene, forcing the story forward at every turn. That’s great, but with zero time to develop or expand on any of the characters means I don’t have a feel for anyone, outside of Aram, who’s perhaps the only character with any real discernible personality. Everyone else is staunchly serious, perhaps rightly so, but with few moments to showcase the kind of individuals they each are, I can’t help but fail to recall any of them.
Linny: This decision to focus more on story and less on producing unique characters could hinder viewers who prefer connecting with the cast. None of them stand out except for story purposes and their personalities all feel like they could easily fit into stereotypes. Having watched this a couple of days ago, I find myself already struggling to recall their names and faces and if you’re someone who watches a lot of anime regularly, you might find yourself with the same predicament. It doesn’t help that the story ends on an open note that makes you feel like you had to stop watching just as the story was starting and that the MOST backstory we get for our original cast is through still images during the ending credits.
Tom: Chain Chronicle is the latest in a long line of anime based upon video games, particularly mobile phone games. It’s unclear exactly what’s going on with this adaptation, as the story in the anime almost seems like it’s based off the game’s fail state rather than a ‘straight’ adaptation. But it’s difficult to say as the game remains unlocalized. That said, Chain Chronicle isn’t a terribly engaging watch without that knowledge, feeling generic and plain, with little personality and character to spice up what is otherwise a competent, if generic, fantasy tale.
Linny: If you appreciate good animation and enjoy viewing it for the sake of that alone, Chain Chronicle definitely deserves your attention. Its art is well done and there is even a very stylish first person angle shot/scene when one of our heroes runs into battle which really pops out and leaves an impression. However, this doesn’t feel like a great character driven story thanks to our cast having vague personalities and that could prevent viewers from really taking to the movie. If you are debating checking this out, do it for the animation but go in with lowered expectations story and character wise.