Scar-red Rider XechS – Preview
Scar-red Rider XechS :
Original Air Dates: Jul 5, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: Our world is under attack by feirce creatures known as Nightfly O’Notes, sent by an opposing, alternate world known as the Red World. In an effort to defend our world, the Blue World, 17-year old researcher Akia Asagi is selected to take charge of the combat unit “IS” composed of a group of rowdy young men, the Scared Rider XechS. However, Yousuke, one member of the team is unable to utilize his innate power to transform like the rest of the team. Can these six heroes protect us from the onslaught the Red World’s forces?
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Scar-red Riders XechS (or Scarred, it’s written two different ways in promotional material) is outright dull. It doesn’t help that the animation and color palette are both stilted and washed out. There’s nothing eye catching here and it only speaks to deeper issues plaguing this anime. For example, Yousuke has an issue that prevents him from being able to transform into his armor like the rest of the team can. It seems like a fairly big deal, and is harped on quite frequently throughout the episode as another character seems quite angry with Yousuke for his failings. Yet, despite all the lip service Yousuke performs a miraculous transformation just before the episode ends abruptly. It makes Riders feel very heavy handed, harping on issues in order to sell their magnitude and then immediately solving them mere moments later.
Linny: Xechs features a central cast of five different guys, some of them a lot more peculiar than the others. While Yousuke is a more familiar archetype, the loner outcast, we also get this extremely strange fellow, Suzuki Kazuki who has a really thick Japanese accent when he inserts random English words and sentences into almost every line of dialogue he has. Heck, I had to include a gif of one of his craziest lines below just to give a taste of the nonsense presented in this show. The exaggerated personalities and archetypes along with the designs of the male characters are an obvious influence of its origins as an otome game. Maybe because I have personally never been into otome games, I did not find any particular character appealing or interesting, but I also feel that their poor presentation and their very bland (or in Suzuki’s case, over the top) natures are to be blamed.
Tom: We’re also introduced to a girl early on in the story who gets left behind on a bus tour. She meets up with Yousuke after slipping in a puddle of mud and then– well actually she disappears from the story shortly after he cleans her off. We don’t see her again even once by the end of the premier and it feels like the series just forgot the poor girl even existed in the first place. We’re briefly introduced to the rest of Yousuke’s team, filled with characters who are so subdued you can barely tell the difference between them and the dull background supporting characters, or so obnoxiously boisterous that they barely make any sense, let alone draw you into the story.
Linny: I went into this show not realizing it was based on an otome game. For those who do not know, an otome game is basically a game aimed at female players (or male, I don’t judge) where the player is surrounded by and can pick from a number of male characters to pursue a romance with while playing through the game’s story. Shows based on these type of games are usually a little lazy about properly establishing and explaining their story and characters, presumably due to an assumption that the viewer is already familiar with the game. Which brings me to my point that Xechs is most likely meant to be enjoyed by fans of its origin game as it does such a terrible job of introducing and juggling its characters and plot.
Tom: Thanks to some very odd terminology to describe the world, the evil monsters and our heroes’ powers, along with a needlessly confusing and difficult to follow plot, Scarred Riders XechS almost feels like a chore to watch. The terminology is confusing, with musical overtones in all the words to drive home this heavy handed theme. The trouble is none of the terminology is all that catchy or memorable and as the frequency of usage increases it becomes more difficult to understand what’s going on. The show also remains vague with its set up, introducing new elements, but never really explaining the inner workings of the world, making for a jumbled mess that’s technically possible to understand, but not at all fun and enjoyable.
Linny: The first episode is really all over the place, hurling terminologies, events and characters at the viewers in a haphazard manner without ever taking a proper pause to set up any of them or follow up in a sensible manner. Like Tom mentioned, a young girl introduced early on in the episode who features for quite a bit disappears from the later part of the episode. The show also introduces a rather strange “burning flame substance” creature who is supposed to combine with our hero but the creature jumps into a field of tall grass/ crops mid-episode and never appears again even during the action packed combat scenes when one would assume his presence was mandatory in aiding our hero.
Tom: It generally feels like Scarred Riders XechS skimped on the set up and explanations in order to rush us into the action. Maybe if we’d spent more time with our characters, defining them and the team dynamic I’d feel more attached to what’s going on in this series, but right now I can’t help but feel I watched a sloppy mess of a story.
Linny: As someone completely unfamiliar with the game, I noticed that the episode seemed to be going for a musical theme with the episode titled Track 1, Yousuke constantly on his guitar and Suzuki bursting out into some terrible made up songs ever so often. For now, music seems to have very little actual effect on the events onscreen but maybe it will play a bigger part of the story later.
Tom: Scarred Riders XechS, despite feeling a lot like a Tokusatsu series, is actually based upon an Otome game of all things. There’s some of that still here, namely in the art for the male characters, the sheer wealth of guys and a supposed token female lead who might be appearing in the second episode? No matter which way Scarred Riders XechS goes it has a lot to do to build upon what little there was in the series opener. I don’t have a lot of faith things are going to improve.
Linny: If you’re not a fan of otome games in general, Xechs is a poorly executed adaptation of a genre you already dislike so I do not see any point in giving this show a try. If you’re curious about the Tokusatsu vibe, you are still going to have to overcome some really terrible storytelling. It seems this show is destined to be adored mostly, if not only, by those who like otome games or fans of the original Scarred Riders Xechs video game.
Scar-red Rider XechS is available for streaming via Funimation.com.