CHAOS;CHILD – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 12th, 2017 – ???
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: The year is 2015. Six years after a devastating earthquake that rocked Shibuya the city is still working to recover. Takuru Miyashiro, a student at the newly constructed private high school, Hekiho Academy, is investigating a new series of serial murders known as “The Return of the New Generation Madness” as part of his work for the school’s newspaper club. However, this investigation leads him into a dark mystery, one that could claim his very life….
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Chaos;Child, for those unaware, is actually a continuation/sequel of the anime series/visual novel game Chaos;Head, released in 2008. Without getting bogged down with too many details, Chaos;Head has received a mix reception since then. The series is largely criticized for how down its own rabbit hole it goes, with a convoluted plot that the anime supposedly fails to do justice. The visual novel apparently holds up better, but by and large time hasn’t been kind to this story.
Chaos;Child itself seems to be a loose sequel to the anime, taking place in the same world six years after the events of Chaos;Head. Chaos;Child’s story likely hinges on Chaos;Head’s plot as the anime opens with a twenty minute summation of the original’s thirteen episode narrative. For those who’ve seen the original, the summation does a decent job of hitting all the major beats and helps to remind viewers of important elements for Chaos;Child going forward. It also injects our new lead into the events of Chaos;Head in a couple of short sequences bound to be of importance later. But if you’re a newcomer to the franchise this twenty minute summary is more likely to leave you confused and befuddled than prepare you for Chaos;Child’s first episode.
The summation condenses a thirteen episode story, a complex one at that, down into just twenty minutes, cutting out a lot of information, and final reveals in an effort to distill it all down into what you really need to know going into Chaos;Child. Since it feels mainly aimed/helpful to Chaos;Head viewers, it’s probably best newcomers avoid jumping into the franchise here. Instead I’d recommend going back and experiencing Chaos;Head as is if you really want to wade yourself into Chaos;Child’s violent mire of entertainment. Thankfully Chaos;Head can be found via Funimation’s service.
As for Chaos;Child itself things seem pretty good so far. We open six years after the original events of Chaos;Head and dive into a narrative that’s clearly tied to the original as our new lead, Takuru (who bears some resemblance to Chaos;Head’s Takumi.) rushes into a series of murders that seem to line up with the original murders that began the events of the first series six years ago.
Takuru and the rest of the cast are largely unexplored in this first episode. The series offers little time to delve into characterization for any of its cast, instead focused on providing plot point backstory for each that does little to explore their personality. If you’re looking for the more psychological/mind bending/sanity questioning aspects of Chaos;Head’s characterization, Child seems to be downplaying that particular aspect. Looking for characters to latch onto there really aren’t too many, rather Chaos;Child’s biggest draw is instead its mystery.
The mystery of Chaos;Child is brutal as always, with lots of gruesome overly sadistic murders. There’s already clear ties, or hints there of, back to Chaos;Head, giving strong insentive for long time fans to keep watching to see exactly how all this ties back together. That curiosity is enough to keep me hooked, at least for now.
Overall I’m cautiously optimistic as someone who felt burned by Chaos;Head in the end. Here Chaos;Child so far seems to be building itself off the best parts of what Chaos;Head had to offer. It’ll need to do a bit more characterization in the long run, and there’s always a chance it’ll tie itself into the more disappointing aspects of Chaos;Head, but for now I think it’s worth jumping into.