Endride – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 2nd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Shun Asanaga, a bright eyed and overly positive fifteen year old middle school boy loves Crystals. They fascinate him to no end and he loves to imagine there’s a world hidden inside each crystal. When his father fails to show up for his own birthday party, Shun heads into his father’s place of work to drag him home. But instead, Shun finds a beautiful crystal in his father’s office and upon touching it, becomes sucked into another world: Endora.
There he meets Prince Emirio, who has been imprisoned for trying to murder his deceased father’s enemy: the current king, Deruzain. When Shun is attacked by guards he manifests a powerful sword, much to his surprise, and defeats the guards, allowing the two to escape. But now Shun must learn about the world of Endora and search for a way home, or otherwise remain trapped within the realm of Endora.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Endride is visually competent, offering basic character designs and fluid animation that gets the job done, and might even remind you of older works, like Kenshin or Bastard!! (one of those two mangakas worked on this, or perhaps both, it remains unclear.) but otherwise Endride remains unmemorable in its entirety.
Linny: There’s nothing especially exceptional about the animation quality or style, being neither amazing nor repulsive to look at. Even combat sequences look generic and at one point, comedic as we get an extended close up of Prince Emirio’s face and nothing but sparks to imply the intense combat he’s engaged in. Heck, the most memorable part about this show is that for once, we have a protagonist with both parents alive and living altogether with Shun, our protagonist.
Tom: I’ll give Endride that it manages to stray from the normal parental dynamic in anime (as in: not there.) We have a mother who seems fairly into her son and his passions, and a workaholic father that’s ultimately responsible for Shun’s disappearance into the world of Endora. But outside of this, the parents seem to be primarily for set up, and with the way episode one ends, I wonder if we’ll ever see his parents again. Everything else in Endride is standard fantasy anime faire. Transported to a bizarre fantasy world, immediately gaining a magical weapon or power, etc. It’s not bad if that’s your bread and butter, but it also lacks its own personal touch.
Linny: It doesn’t help that both protagonists are bland and generic: Emirio, seeking to avenge his father, and Shun accidentally achieving the fantasy he’d desired all along. It’s not just the premise but also the events that feel predictable as revenge seeking Emirio gets tossed into jail, world swapping Shun accidentally rescues him, both get pursued and attacked and then both fall into a river and are presumed dead. Sorry if this is spoiler filled but most anime fans have probably encountered this story and its elements several times over by now.
Tom: Everything that happens with the world of Endora feels stilted. The conflict with the prince and the king just doesn’t grab me and I think that’s because we just don’t know enough about this Endora world for the struggle to feel interesting or powerful. It’s just there. We also don’t get a sense that the king is particularly bad, or the prince particularly good. Heck we don’t know enough about either of them to really side with one over the other. But the anime forces the Prince into the hero’s role when he hasn’t earned it.
Linny: The main, big tagline of this story is that apparently certain people can produce a mythical weapon from within themselves, oh, and crystal(s) are magical gateways. But because everything is so under explained, it all feels less than compelling or enticing. Maybe the lack of explanation is to build mystery or simply lack of airtime, but either way, the show does little to make itself stand out from the plethora of similar anime out there.
Tom: We really needed to know more about our prince character, his struggle, the current king and the world of Endora in general. Perhaps it would’ve been better to start with him and introduce Shun in episode two? As it is, we didn’t learn nearly enough about either Shun or Emirio to make them feel like unique characters in their own right.
Linny: There’s a high chance you’ve seen this show already, just with different characters and voice actors, because it all feels so familiar. For those that love this kind of storyline as described in the summary, the show holds promise to be exactly as you’d expect. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is all up to your personal tastes.
Tom: One thing that doesn’t give me much hope for Endride is its origins. It’s yet another anime based upon a smartphone game. In this case, it’s acting as an accompaniment to this particular game’s launch this very month. It’s become obvious over the years that the Kantai Collections of the anime world are few and far between, and smartphone game based anime are much more likely to become another Divine Gate. Also Funimation is toting this as from the creator of Ruroni Kenshin, but that’s slightly false advertising. Nobuhiro Watsuki is only responsible for the art (or he may not be, there’s also claims the creator of the manga Bastard! did the character designs) so if you’re expecting Nobuhiro’s particular storytelling style then you’re just out of luck.
Linny: In conclusion, Endride is a predictable ride. It’s not going to blow you away with a novel concept or design but it might comfort you with its familiar plot line. It’s a tale of a young man seeking revenge, and him receiving unexpected aide in the form of a complete outsider. If you like that type of story, here’s the latest entry. If not, then move along.
Tom: Endride has a lot to do to prove itself. For fantasy fans you might feel like sticking around for awhile, given that Endride is meant to run for twenty-four episodes. But for more general anime fans, it really needs to do something, and fast, to show why Endride’s version of this tale is worth watching.
Endride is available for streaming via Funimation.com.