ēlDLIVE – 01
ēlDLIVE comes to us through Studio Pierrot from the pen of Amano Akira of Katekyou Hitman Reborn! (which gets an Easter egg in the premiere). Reborn! was one of those series I always thoughts I should like more than I did – I know the manga is extremely popular and it’s an interesting premise, but I tried the anime a couple of times and it just never clicked with me. ēlDLIVE is pretty new for an anime (about three years) and I know it’s not as popular as Reborn! was, but there was something in the look and description that made me think it was worth at least a flyer.
I don’t imagine this show is going to be especially popular either – it feels old-school for a number of reasons. I quite like Amano’s character designs and the overall look of her art, and Pierrot is (as usual) pretty faithful, but there’s no denying both manga and studio have a tendency towards the old-fashioned visual style. The premise here is also very 1997, with a young boy struggling to fit in whisked away to serve in an intergalactic police force which also happens to include the tsuntsun girl he’s crushing on.
But you know, I rather liked ēlDLIVE. I think whether one does will depend on their openness to the idea that “dated” can be a compliment in the right context. There’s an innocence and silliness to this setup that I rather like, and middle-schooler Kokonose Chuuta (Murase Ayumu – and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role) is more interesting that your normal lead in this sort of show. He talks to himself, which understandably makes him a bit of a social pariah, but he has a good reason – the voice in his head (Kugimiya Rie – again, hard to imagine anyone else here) actually exists. It belongs to a cute little alien that will eventually reveal itself later in the episode.
As for the police angle, the master computer “Mother” has picked out Chuuta as a prime candidate because it detected the presence of the “Monitalien” inside him. How much staying power any of this is going to have I can’t say, but I thought it worked quite well for an episode at least – the humor worked most of the time, there are some good sight gags, and the supporting cast has enough variety to potentially be interesting. Given orphan Chuuta’s connection to his ditzy but loving aunt I imagine he’s going to split his life between (ab)normal schoolboy and space cop. Imagine ToLoveRU without most of the ecchi (even the pants look the same) and a younger and more self-aware protagonist and I think you’re pretty close to ēlDLIVE.
Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari – 01
I didn’t watch any of the prior incarnations of Chain Chronicle, a game adaptation which has already had a multi-episode OAV version. So I came into this series cold, kind of treating this show as a flyer. I love fantasy and I’m always willing to give sword and sorcery RPG adaptations a chance, though anime seems to have fallen into rather a rut with them lately – most of them look and sound virtually indistinguishable from each other and the ones that don’t (like Grimgar) have other serious problems that are deal-breakers for me.
Unfortunately Chain Chronicle pretty much fell into the first category for me. I got bored with it pretty quickly to be honest – I was loving Ohtsuka Akio’s bravura as the Black King, but apart from that no one and nothing in the premiere struck me as particularly interesting. There are a lot of human and demi-human characters who fall into intensely familiar boxes, some violence, some light gore and fanservice, a bunch of middling CGI. It was pretty much assembly-line as far as I could tell from one episode. I’ll try one more, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of reason for optimism with this one.