Spiritpact – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 7th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: You Keika is the heir of an old and once famous line of Exorcists. Unfortunately he’s now stricken with poverty after losing his parents and struggles to provide for himself as both a street fortune teller and part time computer tech. But one night while scrounging for parts at a junkyard, he meets a mysterious and charismatic Exorcist, Tanmoku Ki, who is fighting an evil spirit. You Keika’s life changes shortly after, as Tanmoku asks to form a pact with You Keika that would see the two begin a new friendship as heroes.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: For those who have been checking out a lot of the Chinese collaboration/animated shows recently, Spiritpact immediately shows its Chinese studio roots ranging from the main character’s clothing to the animation style. Expressions and faces during comedic moments often get either hyper exaggerated or appear emoji like, once again clearly displaying its non traditional roots.
Tom: It can give the entire production a very low budget feel, although some anime, like To Be Hero, work well with this particular style. It’s becoming a common characteristic with Haoliners Animation, often the studio behind the last few seasons Chinese Manhua adaptations. I’s not to say the art is bad, but there’s a certain quality to it that sets it apart from the usual anime fare and in this case can’t really be listed a bonus.
Linny: The animation and the story move at breakneck speed, as if it’s a short that needs to fit a ton of info into just 10 minutes or less. This might have been forgivable if it actually was such a show but sitting through 30 minutes of jokes executed at the speed of light is no fun and leaves you feeling rushed and baffled. The story keeps teasing twists and surprises here and there but ultimately ends up feeling very predictable.
Tom: It lays its narrative on thick, surprisingly so when it has twenty-three minutes to ease us into the story. Instead it rushes through all the set up with hamfisted monologues and blunt introductions that lack any finesse. It’s over the top, and not in the fun way, often trying to take its darker aspects so grimly serious that it becomes painful to watch.
Linny: Labelled as Shounen Ai, Spiritpact is clearly going to be a story about our two lead males making for a very odd couple. The odd couple trope works best when you find yourself fond of either one or both characters and enjoy how they play off each other. Personally, I found You to be a rather unlikable character with his lack of professionalism and the fact that he is penniless hammered into the viewer’s head. Tanmoku’s obession with and decision to make a pact with You feels very draw by numbers, and the chemistry between them feels formulaic/non existent, adding to my personal issues against the show.
Tom: I have to second Linny concerning You. He’s more annoying and irritating than off the wall funny as the show intends. There’s often too many leaps in logic for any of his jokes to make sense, and on the rare occasion they do connect, the show either hammers the gag into the ground or moves right onto another joke that isn’t nearly as crafty.
Linny: Overall, Spiritpact was a bust for us. Its jokes are too forced and poorly executed. Neither of the leads won us over with one coming off as annoying and the other lacking impact other than to play the straight man against You’s insanity. Combined with the crammed and rushed pacing, this first episode feels like it could have used some more time on the development board.
Tom: Spiritpact is based upon a Manhua (Chinese Manga) and outside of To Be Hero, these Chinese productions have been far more miss than hit for us. It has a real problem balancing its tone, finding worthwhile humor and properly introducing audiences to its world and characters.
Spiritpact is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com