CHAOS;CHILD – Review
Original Air Dates: January 12th, 2017 – March 29th, 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….
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Chaos;Child stumbles to its conclusion, compounding many of the issues I mentioned previously in the Mid Season Review. While the series had failed to give proper avenues through which to get attached to its cast, the mystery remained compelling and engaging. But as the series ventures into the back half of the season, a need to pile on twist after twist compounds things to the point where emotionally charged scenes fail to engage you. Characters are dying, people are suffering mental breakdowns and you’ll find yourself watching it with complete and total detachment.
It’s not hard to imagine the game Chaos;Child is based upon could manage to suck you in, with a longer narrative and more time for character development and exploration it’s easy to see how the events unfolding here could be incredibly gripping. But what’s contained within the show is so intent on hammering in every single twist and turn from the games that there’s no time to stop and just get to know everyone.
This means when shit hits the fan, the only emotion you’re left feeling is shock at the sheer brutality of what are increasingly violent events. It’s such a shame too, as Chaos;Child had been managing its twists and turns much better than its predecessor. It was more willing to lay out answers and reveals at a steady pace. But like Chaos;Head, Chaos;Child has a mass of reveals saved right up to the end. This means we’re subjected to flashbacks, exposition dumps and more in order to get every last twist in before the final credits roll.
Part of the trouble comes from how they’ve chosen to adapt Chaos;Child. Like many Visual Novels, Chaos;Child features multiple endings. Some are less complex than others. Chaos;Child was apparently initially following one of the simpler arcs, but then shifted to also include one of the more complex and ‘truer’ endings available in the game. As if condensing a 20+ hour story down into just six wasn’t difficult enough, this attempt to shift plot lines mid way only adds to the chaos. This, also, apparently isn’t even the true conclusion, as the game’s best ending will be adapted in an unaired episode that Western fans will likely never have available for streaming.
In another bizarre choice, after having now seen the conclusion to the series, I’m left wondering why we needed a Chaos;Head recap at the beginning? The series rarely has much to do with the original, only borrowing scant aspects of Chaos;Head in order to save on a little world building. But it’s not hard to imagine a rewrite that not only pairs down the mystery and twists to better fit a twelve episode series, but one that doesn’t require a twenty minute recap of the first where much of that anime’s plot doesn’t even matter or apply here.
Chaos;Child is a disappointment much like Chaos;Head, unable or unwilling to scale back its complex narrative to better fit a shorter run time. Chaos;Child started decent, if not strong, but failed to improve upon its early deficiencies until we’re left with the same outcome as Chaos;Head: a series so caught up in a never ending series of twists and turns that it fails to properly space them out with character development.