Five Numbers OVA Review
Synopsis: Four people awaken in the ultimate prison: an ex-soldier, a beautiful woman, an average Joe and a young computer hacker. Why are they there? Who’s the fifth prisoner? (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Five Number’s 25 minute long runtime makes it immediately obvious that you are not going to get any kind of plotted out and deep exploration of its story or characters. And indeed we get so little information about our cast that we never even get to learn their real names. What little we do get about our characters is either basic as possible or even stereotypical; like the pretty woman of the group being a flirt and shamelessly using her body and looks to try and get an advantage over others or the nerdy girl wearing glasses and being obsessed with numbers; or the quiet and mysterious one who remains both quiet and mysterious till the very end. We only get the briefest of glimpses into their past and lives through short, silent montages. There’s nothing about these characters that make them all that special or charming. They are in the story mainly to push any agenda or development needed for the narrative and that is it.
The story is truly only concerned with its central mystery; where these people are, why they are there and how or if they’re going to be able to escape this prison they’ve found themselves in. It spends most of its runtime following their attempts to figure out where they are and if there is any means of escape. There’s some touches of symbolism throughout the animation, such as the numbers of the clothes of the prisoners that correspond to roulette numbers and is even brought up by one of the characters. A sharp viewer will probably notice a lot more but for the average audience member, these references will likely be lost and add little worth to the story. The best part of Five Numbers is the sequence where the group discovers a limited means of escape and it turns into a whimsical competition of sorts between them to see who actually gets to use it. It’s unique and fun to watch as they all try their best to win such an unpredictable contest. Five Numbers is good at keeping the audience on their toes and it could be what earns it some fans. There’s a twist in the story that’s touched upon early on and adds a new level of storytelling and understanding of the plot. What makes this twist so impressive is that it then turns into a shocking grand development in the final moments, one with consequences that extends well beyond our secluded and tiny group of protagonists.
The aforementioned positives could have made Five Numbers worth recommending especially given its short run time, making it a quick and easy watch but there are unfortunately a lot that makes it more of a reserved or even not recommended watch. First off, its art and animation is basic to the point of being off putting. Characters not only look simplistic but movements are both limited and stilted. Even if one were to try and watch it solely for the central mystery, it’s hard to ignore how stiff everyone looks and moves. Also, because of its short runtime and the way they choose to tell the story, you will be left with more questions than answers. It is not a show for people who want resolved plot lines.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
And Finally, it touches upon a virus causing a pandemic and bringing about the extinction of mankind and that might be a bit too dour for some, especially with how relevant that is for our the current times. In conclusion, I would only recommend you pick up Five Numbers if you are someone who enjoys short animation that toys with concepts and ideas and even enjoy the occasional open ended story that lets you construct your own narrative and interpretations. Otherwise, the cramped narration and paper thin cast will struggle to grab your attention, already failing against the weight of its limited animation. Also, I watched this dubbed on HIDIVE and no matter what I tried it refused to display the captions for the English dub so if the problem persists, this is a heads up to those who like to have subs on with their dubs.
Five Numbers is available for streaming via HIDIVE.com.