Re:Creators – Anime Review
Synopsis: People have created many stories. Joy, sadness, anger, deep emotion. Stories stir up emotion and captivate.However, those emotions are nothing more than the feelings of a spectator. What if the characters in the stories had their own will. In their eyes, are we, the creators of the stories, like gods? Revolution for our world. Punishment for the land of the gods. Re:CREATORS. Everyone becomes a Creator. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Re:Creators holds up quite well over its 22 episodes, in both animation and story as anime characters come to life, teaming up with their creators all in an effort to stop the end of the world at the hands of a rogue anime heroine and her quest for revenge upon the world. It’s a series that, while not perfect, oozes with care and passion. You can tell how much effort and love the team behind this put into it as even the recap episode features new animation and twists on established content, making for one of the few must watch recap episodes in recent memory.
Linny: Re:Creators put a lot of effort into setting up its rather peculiar premise and universe and this means a lot, and i mean a WHOLE LOTTA talking and exposition, which translates to hours and hours of characters sitting around and talking to each other. It’s great news for people who enjoy a show that takes its time establishing its story but could prove to be a snooze fest for anyone who prefers a more action oriented approach to storytelling.
Tom: Indeed Re:Creators penchant for focus on its mechanics makes the series a tad lopsided. While there’s still some action in the series first 11 episodes, it pales in comparison to what awaits viewers later on. But this uneven nature damages the emotional under current that gradually comes surging up to the surface in the anime’s final moments. It’s a shame because the series nails a general understanding for each of its characters, particularly the fictional heroes come to life. You get to know their basic personalities so well, so thoroughly, you can almost predict their responses to given situations, making you really feel as if you know them as individuals. But so much focus is on mechanics that we never get to properly know character’s history, or personal drama, making late game revelations feel emotionally unimpactful or distant.
Linny: It’s most definitely a shame that the emotional moments in Re:Creators lose their full impact. The show features twists and intense moments that could have really evoked deep emotional responses from its audience. We never really get to observe the close bonds between characters as much as needed to make us feel for their losses as tragedies play out. It’s all a bit weaker than it truly could have been.
Tom: It’s terribly damaging to the series that the emotional groundwork wasn’t there, as it’s all action and emotional pay off in Re:Creators’ last four episodes. While the action works wonders, delivering upon the visual flare and mayhem promised in the series’ very concept, the ability to move you and grasp at your heart is weak and unearned. While the series final twists remain touching, they lack a connection with the viewer, keeping you distant and surprisingly chill about the whole thing.
Linny: And once the action really kicks in, the solutions and concepts employed in the story start to show cracks in logic, which is a shame considering how much time the show has spent explaining and establishing itself. Yes, the exposition helped to define the situation and problem our cast is facing off against but then we encounter several elements and even characters that defy common sense and logic in a manner that will have more curious viewers feel like they’re loose ends that needed to be tied up or polished.
Tom: Pulling back a moment, praise needs to be given to the sheer wide range of fictional characters come to life Re:Creators has to ply you with. We’re offered up the most classic of arch atypical characters to act as stand ins for famous characters. We’re given off-brand magical girls, mech pilots, Light Novel heroines and more. And the series doesn’t stop there, letting those characters exist as little more than stand ins for the likes of Shinji or Madoka, but rather offers up enough unique personality that these characters feel like true anime heroes, rather than cheap knock offs. Also just as much attention and care is put into familiarizing the audience with the memorable creators behind these creations come to life, each brimming with a unique and relatable persona, making them too a blast to watch. These fictional authors are just as much the stars as their creations are.
Linny: Re:Creators also deserves additional praise for not being afraid to kill off cast members. Right from the start, we discover that authors are being killed or hunted but as the show continues, even main cast members start to fall into real danger of meeting a sudden and untimely death. There are no magic wand solutions or reset buttons, so every physical altercation and encounters between our characters ends up with the potential to have shocking and permanent results.
Tom: All that praise aside, the series very much drops the ball on our central, “point of view” character, Souta. This young student, who stumbles into his favorite anime characters come to life, has little real influence on the story outside of Re:Creators’ emotional through line. His character gets only the most bare-bones of attention to both keep him, as well as the show’s emotional core, relevant which gradually comes to play a significant role in the epic climax. Because of this, Souta feels like the most detached character to the story, and while one struggles to think how he might’ve played a greater role, perhaps that’s the issue in itself. Perhaps Souta needed more to his character in order to feel like a true integral component tied closer to the main narrative.
Linny: These character discrepancies happen with supporting characters too. For a show that delights in defining its world and settings, it still ends up relying on a plot device character in the form of Magane Chikujouin, a devious, sadistic maniac, whose powers are almost deux ex machina-like, used as a solution to impossible situations. Even though we get an explanation of her powers, it still feels vague and confusing. Her entire reason for existing seems to be to act as a wild card meant to shake things up and provide a surprise element for either our heroes or our main baddy, Altair. Then there’s Shou Hakua, a classic shonen hero come to life, seeking vengeance for betrayal, whose motivation for a crucial decision later seems weak and unbelievable. Without spoiling too much, he lets go of a grudge for reasons I believe most people would not be convinced by anywhere as easily as he is, making it hard to buy his ultimate decision.
Tom: Overall Re:Creators is an incredibly enjoyable ride. It’s exploration of its mechanics is interesting, and its characters enjoyable and likable. But that extreme focus on the former damages the emotional through-line that comes to form the series’ conclusion. One can imagine a version of this show more balanced, more connected, that flows through to its climax with the right balance and attention paid to all its elements and one that would absolutely leave you in tears. As it is Re:Creators is more a ‘one and done’ anime that begs little rewatch. Even so, it remains an engaging, enjoyable, mechanically thought provoking and flashy series that is still indeed worth your time.
Linny: Re:Creators is a fun tale of a world where fictional characters are coming to life in our own world and the many complications and occasional humour that can arise out of such a situation. It isn’t scared to take time setting itself up but it’s a shame that it still fails to cover all its loose ends after so many episodes of pure conversation. And by focusing so hard on its mechanics, the emotional core of the story, which plays a big part in the plot, comes off feeling hollow and lacking in conviction. However, Re:Creators makes the journey fun by injecting real personality into its characters and telling a story that has imagination, comedy, action and heart, just maybe not in a well balanced manner. It’s a show that could definitely use some fine-tuning but as is, it is still a competent and enjoyable watch for anyone intrigued by the premise and not daunted by initially low action and high exposition parts.
Re:Creators is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.