And so we reach the last of firsts…
I suspect a lot of folks will sell Big Order short, just as they did Sakae Esuno’s near-masterpiece Mirai Nikki. Because Sakae-sensei writes big (no pun intended) a lot of readers and viewers don’t notice the little. And there’s a lot of little stuff going on in Sakae’s work, believe you me. But then, underrated or not Mirai Nikki was certainly popular, so at the very least Sakae seems to be acknowledged for his ability to craft entertaining thrillers.
I’d finished Mirai Nikki when the anime was produced, and I’ve only read a portion of Big Order. Based on what I’ve seen I don’t think it’s quite as profound (yes, I said it) as Mirai Nikki was – and because it uses some of the same conceits, there’s a measure of impact that’s lost. But it’s still a highly stylized and entertaining read, and in Asread’s hands I suspect the anime will be too. Asread is another one of those studios that fans love to heap disdain on, but their track record with adaptations is actually one of the best in the business. And I think their visual style is a good fit for Sakae’s pulp-influenced material.
The core of the story this time is the existence of “Orders” – humans who have been granted the ability to make their wish come true. The presence of Daisy (Misaki Mari), a self-described “Wish Fairy”, seems to imply some sort of divine origin. The one she’s granted a power to is Hoshimiya Eiji (Morita Masakazu) a young boy who thinks his wish that the world be destroyed caused the “Great Destruction” which happened ten years before the events of the present. Turns out that wasn’t what Eiji wished for, but he can’t quite seem to remember what that actually was. The main focus of Eiji’s life now is younger sister Sena (Kuno Misaki), who’s ill in the hospital with an unspecified illness.
There’s a lot in the premiere that doesn’t make sense, but veterans of Mirai Nikki should know that Sakae likes to take his time filling in the picture he’s painting. There are some classic Sakae touches here, including the character of Kurenai Rin (Mikami Shiroi), a revenge-seeking assassin who poses as an exchange student in order to get close enough to Eiji to do him in for causing the deaths of her parents (and most of humanity). Sakae is a wizard with these kinds of crazy-eyed teenage girls, and Rin is right in his sweet spot.
As with Mirai Nikki, I think Big Order can be taken as an entertaining piece of pulp, though that’s doing it a bit of a disservice by ignoring the layers of satire and farce that Sakae interweaves. Asread is doing their usual faithful job of adapting here, and the music from Elements Garden’s Evan Call adds just the right sense of Hitchcock-ian grandiosity to the proceedings. This is only going to be a ten episode run, sadly, but I suspect it will slide under the radar and be one of the more entertaining shows of the spring.