Gleipnir – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: Shuichi Kagaya is an ordinary student until he learns he can transform into a monstrous dog with a revolver and a zipper down his back. Unsure where his powers have come from and whom to trust, he risks it all to save a beautiful classmate named Claire. He learns he’s not the only one with a secret; she wants to use his monster’s powers—no matter how brutal the violence or bloody the action. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Gleipnir is weird. Let’s get that out of the way. The series is draped in this grim, seinen tone, with an atmosphere of hopelessness and mental struggle. At the same time we have a main character that transforms into a gun wielding mascot character and develops strong, near uncontrollable urges to commit sexual assault. So yeah, a bit of a mixed message.
What’s presented is clearly a series steeped in mystery. From an opening P.O.V. sequence seeing an unnamed individual depositing a coin in a vending machine for it to then pop out a young man, to our lead Shuichi turning into his mascot form, to a young woman who black mails him in order to make use of his abilities, there’s a lot teased and begging for answers. It’s definitely going to be something for people that love atmosphere and unconventional developments or ideas rather than asking that their entertainment make sense right away.
It’s also not a series for anyone iffy on sexual content. The series skirts a number of lines, as expected of an anime marked with the ecchi tag. The ecchi content is so far realized via ogling shots of women’s bodies, panty shots, a lead female character who doesn’t mind letting men watch her undress, and as previously mentioned our main character’s near uncontrollable urge to commit sexual assault. The latter is probably the most uncomfortable part of the episode, and while portrayed like Shuichi isn’t entirely in control of his own actions, still could rub viewers the wrong way.
In truth Gleipnir is one of those rare anime where judging it solely on its first episode is difficult. I want to like the series. I think the juxtaposition between the tone and Shuichi’s absurd transformation is fun, but a lot of what’s presented is mere set up, and it’s only at the end of the episode that we see that Gleipnir is probably going to have a heavy tilt towards action going forward. Shuichi and Claire, the girl blackmailing him, find themselves under threat from an unknown individual who can also transform into a monster like Shuichi. I get the sense that Gleipnir might be best viewed as what if you took a typical battle shonen, gave it a darker tone, some vague psychological elements, and steeped its weirder elements in a heavy layer of mystery. If that sounds like a good time to you, and you don’t mind the more sketchy ecchi moments then I’d say Gleipnir might be worth a try.
Gleipnir is available for streaming via Funimation.com