I watched an anime: God Eater
Before we begin I have to point out that this title was originally a video game, a game that I haven’t played, have barely seen and overall I know very little about. Hence, any of the useless thoughts I scribble down in this review are based solely on the anime series only and aren’t a reflection on the games. In saying that however, I also have to kick start us off by saying that this won’t be a very nice review, but as I’ve said in previous articles these are only my personal opinions and what do I know? I’m just a jaded old pop-culture nerd that hates everything.
I’ve never turned off an anime series half way through. Given it a rest after a few episodes and come back to it? Sure. Plenty of times. But I’ve never waved a white flag at the half way mark and thrown an anime series in the too hard basket before.
And that’s coming from someone that sat through ALL of Chaos;Head.
Look, it’s not that God Eater is bad, it’s just it’s not really ANYTHING. I’ve used this analogy before for other things, but God Eater is like a fart in a musty room: you get a sense that there is something there, just with everything going on in the background nothing really stands out.
I think its problem stems from its overuse of exposition. Within the first 2 episodes you’re effectively an expert when it comes to knowing everything you need to know about the world of God Eater, so much so that additional exposition is pointless.
To put it another way – it blows its wad within the first 5 minutes and just kind of leaves you unsatisfied and looking for a quick exit.
So what’s it about? Boiling it down to its most basic, it’s a post-apocalyptic city survival drama that follows hot on the heels of the success of Attack of Titan. Although other post apocalyptic/threat-to-humanity survival dramas have been thrown around lately, this one doesn’t quite hit the mark like others in the genre such as Kabaneri of the iron fortress (which is raaaaaaaad) or Ergo Proxy.
It’s worthy to point out however that comparing this to Attack on Titan is a little unfair. A single 24 minute God Eater OVA was developed and aired in 2009, predating the Attack on Titan anime by several years, with the series being reviewed here being released and aired on Tokyo MX in July 2015. I mention AOT only because it feels like its success was the driving force behind re-launching both the God Eater video game series and anime. The similarities in themes and genre are too great to ignore.
When the show begins we learn that the world has been destroyed by deadly creatures called Aragami, which are mutations of regular animals caused by a mysterious pathogen collected from deep beneath the oceans. Humanity’s only hope for survival rests on a group of trained specialist Aragami hunters called God Eaters, who wield gigantic swords and cannons grown from the cells of slain Aragami drones.
While all of this sounds mildly interesting, it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, probably owing to the lack of depth provided to the characters themselves. Characters that I might add that are instantly forgettable and lacking in any decent back story besides “Aragami killed my family”. The problem there is, this is a world that posits that humanity is on the brink of extinction, with the last city in Japan suffering wave after wave of Aragami attacks that regularly seem to kill hundreds of people.
Mate, EVERYONE is suffering. Take a number.
Here is where we get back to all this talk about the series blowing its wad early - you see, with all the main exposition out of the way early on in the piece, you’re left to salvage any semblance of interest in the show by finding admirable qualities in the witless protagonists or by scraping together a level of excitement in the overall narrative.
But that never really comes and you’re lead stumbling blindly from one fight to another, the only difference between each battle being that one type of Aragami monster has wings and the other kinda looks like a lion. I guess.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I did find the animation quite pleasing and although the character designs were a little cliché (Long trench coats with gigantic collars) the character battle animation was nicely done.
But that’s really all you’re going to get out of me regarding this series. I can’t even tell you how it ends because I turned it off after episode 7. It wasn’t a decision made in anger or disgust, I simply couldn’t be bothered to watch the next one because I judged my ever growing Netflix list to be a greater priority.
To summarize - if you’ve got a chance to watch it, give it a crack.
And that’s all she wrote.
- Andrew Archer