Gibiate – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: In 2030, people in Japan are turning into different forms of monsters based on their age, sex and race. The illness is named ‘Gibia’ – after being rich in variety like gibier. A pair of samurai and ninja appear in the blighted wasteland of Japan. They both travelled from the early Edo period, fighting together with help from a doctor who tries to find a cure for Gibia. Facing ceaseless attacks from Gibia, and outlaws that attack travelers for food, they start the dangerous journey with enemies all around. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: If it wasn’t apparent from the official synopsis above, Gibiate is pure, unadultered schlock. Your suspension of disbelief is going to be tested as we combine time-displaced Samurai with a deadly disease that transforms people into monsters. It’s an absolutely ludicrous premise, but one that at least screams with B-Tier fun. Imagine this premise, paired with stunning animation to prop it up, allowing audiences to bask in the absolute absurdity, appreciating top-tier outlandish battles between Samurai, Ninja and Monster. Unfortunately, the visuals don’t hold up their end of the bargain.
Linny: The visuals are downright painful, specifically anytime the show resorts to CGI animation, usually utilized in its depiction of the titular monsters. These sequences clash jarringly with the regular 2D animation and look downright low budget and antiquated. While the monster designs are varied, a lot of them aren’t all that impressive, especially as they’re rendered almost exclusively through low-detail CGI, and they look all the worse for it. Thus, the low animation quality is going to be one of the biggest hurdles you’ll need to overlook in order to have any chance of enjoying the rest of Gibiate.
Tom: The CGI is easily the most distracting thing about Gibiate’s art. At all turns these CGI monsters ‘steal’ the show, and actively pull your attention away from everything else. It’s unfortunate too, as the 90s design sense is quite appealing for anyone who grew up well-versed in 90s/early 2000s anime. The character designs, particularly for Sensui and Kenroku, our time-displaced Samurai and Ninja, scream with the typical balls-to-the-wall badassery you’d expect of anime from that period. Heck, even the monster designs themselves generally capture that same visual attitude. It’s really the quality of the animation, the art, and the budgeted CGI that hold these designs back and keep them from capturing the visual tone needed for an absurd, outlandish, schlocky tale of time-traveling Samurai and Ninja taking it to modern day sci-fi monsters.
Linny: Now it would be absurd to expect much in the way of logic in a story that melds time displaced samurai and humans turned monsters but the amount of schlock on display in Gibiate is on a whole ‘nother level. Most of the characters readily, or even eagerly, accept Kenroku and Sensui as people who were teleported here from the past. The show tries to brush it away with excuses like; in a world where humans are turning into monsters due to a virus, is it really that strange to have time traveling warriors? Or that some folk are so mentally scarred that they’re willing to accept just about anything at this point. Both arguments feel weak, especially with how the show presents them as mere throw away explanations. It doesn’t help that the one character who reacts with utter disbelief is treated in an almost villain-like manner. Gibiate doesn’t want its viewers to approach the show with any expectations of logic, reason or depth, so keep that in mind if you are considering picking this show up.
Tom: It’s unfortunate that Gibiate isn’t more of a looker. Maybe it seems silly to desire incredible animation for a plot so outlandish, but sometimes I think that’s part of the fun of the medium. As it stands, with Gibiate production values as they are, there’s really very little to love. I think that makes Gibiate one of the easiest passes yet this Summer.
Linny: Further hampering the series’ appeal is that its protagonists don’t really stand out. Sensui is the typical quiet, manly protagonist, and Kenroku is the chatty bud with Kathleen cast as the naive and hopeful heroine who first stumbled upon our heroes. They’re all basic standard archetypes rather than unique, attention grabbing characters. It’s not a huge issue in and of itself but again, combined with all the other problems, becomes an issue because the show needs to stand out in at least some way. Because near everything is so underwhelming, it is hard imagine Gibiate winning over anyone except the absolute, hardcore schlock fans who can find delight even in watching the ugly CGI bits or the ham-fisted, low effort exposition, even perhaps considering that a bonus. If you’re always up for trying B-Grade shows, you might be the intended audience for Gibiate. But if you require good animation, charming protagonists or perhaps competent story telling, Gibiate is definitely an easy skip for the summer.
Gibiate is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.