Re:Creators – Mid Series 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)
Mid Series (11 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Right off the bat you need to know that this is a slow and dialogue heavy story that will most likely turn away anyone who was expecting a more fantastical and action oriented tale. The characters in the story often spend a lot more time engaging in discussion after discussion rather than some flashy combat. It’s not that there isn’t any action, it’s just that it’s often inter-spaced with several episodes worth of talking.
Tom: There’s a huge focus on the mechanics of Re:Creators’ concept, how characters could possibly come to life from the fictional world, what that entails, what’s possible, what’s not, etc. In fact episode after episode is centered upon dialogue heavy exploration of that core concept, only given a break for more emotional, character driven moments. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the scenario and its inner workings, but whether you appreciate that depends on how interested you are in the characters discussing those ideas and mechanics directly, rather than weaving that information and detail sub-textually into the narrative. While Re:Creators does feature some very action heavy moments, ones that are generally impressive, the majority of the show is on the discussion of the mechanics and it’s not till practically the middle of the season that you’ll see the series interject more action into its run time.
Linny: Re:Creators takes a bit to pick up the pace like Tom point outs and has a tendency to switch the focus around and among a handful of characters constantly, sometimes even completing ignoring other characters for several episodes despite giving them a flashy introduction. Fans of morally ambiguous stories might take to Re:Creators as even though there’s a bit of a divide and indication as to which side is ‘evil’ and which is ‘good’, there’s definitely a bit of ambiguity and depth as to why certain people are ‘evil’ or doing things that seem to go against their nature. There’s some guesswork to be done about some of the characters and their motivations, and the fact that some may be hiding big secrets. But on a negative note, for a show that loves to talk on and on and on, it severely under explains the power of one of its fantasy characters named Magane, who seems to have a rather unique ability. However, the way the show explains and establishes her ability might leave you wondering exactly what it is and how it actually works.
Tom: Outside of the heavy mechanics talk and occasional action, there’s an emotional core to the series, particularly as we hit the mid season and begin to strip away at the mysteries to the series in search of answers, though you’ve likely long guessed the reveal before Re:Creators chooses to discuss it. It’s here that Re:Creators gets character heavy, focused on the emotional ramifications of the events that set the entire show into play and the way that effects poor Sota, our average shy otaku main character.
Linny: Sota is a subdued protagonist, which actually works well with his initial presentation as a shy and awkward guy. While he ends up getting involved in all of the ongoing chaos, he has a rather passive role for much of the show, almost like he is a well wishing onlooker rather than someone actively influencing what is going to happen next.
Tom: While Sota’s emotional journey is highly relatable, and perhaps a high point in the series character work, Re:Creators can be hamfisted in other ways. Dialogue is often long winded and on the nose, generally buffering scenes far longer than they really need to be. This, coupled with Re:Creators propensity for long winded monologues about its setting and mechanics makes the series far more talkative than one would’ve ever guessed going in and it’s that blow to expectations, more than anything else, that is likely to sour.
Linny: The show features writers/mangakas as crucial cast members and while some of them initially come off cliched or even riddled with negative stereotypes, the show then does a good job of showing them to be more than just a cliche. Most of them eventually become likeable characters who genuinely care for their creations and it’s heartwarming to watch them working together for the greater good, all while making a joke or two along the way.
Tom: Overall the cast is likable enough, from the Mangaka/Light Novel authors to each of the stereotypical fictional characters that’s come to life. What’s perhaps the most fun with Re:Creators cast is when our fictional characters are challenged in the way they’ve been written and grow beyond the confines of their creator’s original vision. It’s an interesting piece to the series, although one that hasn’t quite flowered just yet and is likely to really be for the second half of the series.
Linny: On a positive note, if you’ve been craving a show with strong female fighters, Re:Creators has them. While there are three male combat oriented characters, it’s usually the ladies who are doing the bulk of the fighting and none of them are in sleazy or exploitative outfits either. They all come off as more or less competent battlers and almost never as damsels in distress.
Tom: Re:Creators is far from perfect. It mishandles itself constantly, content to languish in lengthy dialogue and monologue that could easily be condensed and refined. The action featured in the opening of the series plays far smaller a role and sets expectations around the wrong way. But, if the idea of fictional characters coming to life is interesting enough to find the discussion of its mechanics intriguing, and don’t mind a stay on the action, Re:Creators remains an engaging, if clunky idea.
Linny: Re:Creators isn’t as heart-poundingly action ridden as it’s premiere episode and opening song will have you believe. You need to be someone who enjoys or tolerates episode after episode of expositional and conceptual discussions which then turns into emotional explorations. And there’s no denying that even with all that talking, the show leaves some topics severely under serviced. However, Re:Creators still manages to be a somewhat entertaining cerebral approach to the concept of fiction come to life told through a large cast that raises the chances of you finding a couple characters to root for. And while it is nowhere near flawless, it still has the potential to be an enjoyable tale.
Re:Creators is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.