Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: Based on the popular mobile game Rune Story, a young hero joins a party of travelers along with a talking white cat on a fantastic journey to a cluster of mysterious islands. But after arriving to the isle’s ruins, one of the adventures becomes corrupted by darkness. Afraid that the balance between light and darkness will be broken, the party race to find the Seven Great Runes before it’s too late! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Shironeko wastes no time. Within just the first few minutes we’re treated to the Light Queen launching herself against the forces of darkness, before abruptly cutting to a young man whose village is under attack by horrific monsters, which slaughter everyone except him. It’s an instantly engaging way to kick things off, but perhaps more importantly doesn’t seem to have much of anything to do with the official synopsis above? Instead what we have is a story about a young man who lives in the land of darkness, lucks into meeting the former, dying King, and is given the chance to become the lord of the land himself, and save his failing nation. On the other side we have the Light Queen struggling against the rising dark forces, spurred on by the current King of Darkness’ lust for more power.
Linny: This is hands down one of the most plot heavy premieres of the season. The entire episode is focused on setting up its story and dispensing information at all times. We jump from action packed scene to scene and even when we stop for a couple characters to converse, it’s all in the service of establishing the world and the various elements at play. In fact, it feels so focused on plot delivery that the episode actually runs out of time. Towards the end some enemy named Bahl attacks the Light Kingdom. As soon as we learn that, the Queen orders her troops to mobilize. We then cut to a quick shot of Bahl and then BAM! end credits roll as if whoever was editing only just noticed the run time.
Tom: What keeps Shironeko fun though is the dialogue. There’s so much, likely unintentional, hilarity to be had in how angsty our Prince to-be is, or how negative one of the Queen’s advisor is. Everyone takes their roles just a bit too far, turning what could be emotionally resonant scenes into something altogether amusing instead. Another example is when a Knight comes upon our Prince of Darkness to-be. The to-be Prince has seen his whole village slaughtered, and now digs a hole to bury them. Despite the wreckage surrounding them, the Knight spends a whole minute dragging the obvious out of the boy; that there’s been a horrible massacre and that he’s literally standing in the town he’s been looking for.
Linny: If it wasn’t obvious, the focus on plot means the cast gets little real exploration. Everyone is shoved into the most basic of roles and we barely learn anything about them besides their names and what role they play in the story. Couple that with the painful dialogue Tom mentioned in the paragraph above and you’re probably going to be rooting for these characters for ironic reasons rather than sincere admiration.
Tom: Overall I’ll give Shironeko some credit; we’ve seen way worse game adaptations. I’d even say Shironeko almost manages to obfuscate its origins as a mobile game, with only its fervent devotion to hammering in as much plot as possible giving the game up. That said, supposedly what this episode covers is but the prologue to the real story. If that’s the case, and somewhere down the line we switch over to what’s discussed in Funimation’s official synopsis, then I have no idea what to expect. But if the remainder of the story is anything like this first episode then it may not exactly be top tier entertainment, but if you’re looking for something fun, maybe even a bit schlocky, Shironeko could be a modest source of enjoyment.
Linny: For a game based anime, Shironeko Project looks serviceable. It’s no Bungo & Alchemist but visually, it doesn’t look like it was made on a shoe string budget either. Just like its animation, Shironeko Project isn’t going to wow anyone. Its obsession with plot regurgitation and its strained dialogue could definitely use some work but if you want to chuckle at cringe inducing lines and oblivious characters, you could give this show a look in.
Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle is available for streaming via Funimation.com