Level E – 2

Level E continues to be the surprise of the season, full of razor-sharp wit, fine acting and excellent production values. It’s shame they’re going to have to cram a 3-year manga into a 12-episode TV series, but the pacing in the first two episodes was excellent.

In some ways the genre elements that this series is so brilliantly parodying would be more fresh if this were a real-time adaptation done in the late-90’s. But maybe classic sci-fi is timeless – and I know the humor in this series is. Turns out the whole “Clive” thing last week was a (hilarious) troll – our alien friend didn’t mean that disgusting slug was him. He only meant that it was his pet and keeping such a pet said a lot about who he was. Gack – no wonder Yukitaka was pissed. Turns out our friend is going by the name “The Prince” for now – or so say the aliens who come to Earth in outrageous alien suits looking for him. They say they need to get him to a galactic peace conference ASAP or dozens or worlds will be destroyed in war. Problem is The Prince still has no memories, and he’s been getting into a world of trouble. Defending a young lady being harassed by thugs he gets a little too involved and accidentally kills the guy. Except the guy isn’t a guy at all but another alien of the Disckonian race – a species of interstellar hotheads who generally thug it up with anyone they meet and kill everything if you piss them off. And he’s not actually dead – but probably really pissed off.

Through all this we learn about Yukitaka – namely that he’s a hothead himself, a former punk. He gets to spend some quality time with neighbor Edogawa Miho, daughter of an alien research scientist and an observational whiz. She decides to help Yukitaka hide the Prince, but that’s clearly going to be a tall order given that the Prince is a mischievous chap to say the least and has a talent for attracting attention. Even the cat is in on the action – he’s a walking, purring spy camera himself (herself?)…

This show is an interesting mix of elements to say the least. While the humor is very sharp and the show feels fresh, it’s also quite obviously a stylistic throwback – visually and in structure and composition, this is a relic of another time. For a story than ran in “Shounen Jump” this feels very much like s seinen. It’s also missing almost all of the elements that seem to exist in virtually every anime today – there’s no moe here, no osananajimi or tsundere girl or traps or lolis. The humor is droll, dry as the Sahara and very much in contrast with the slapstick comedy that pervades even really good modern shounen like Fairy Tail. It’s like nothing else that’s airing this season or for many a season past – but that in itself wouldn’t mean much if the show weren’t as riotously entertaining as it is. I still have no idea why Studio Pierrot and David Productions decided to adapt it but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth – just watch and enjoy.

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