Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - PINE JAM
HANAE Natsuki
Mild mannered high school student Suichi Kagaya has a secret: for some reason, recently his vision has improved greatly, his sense of smell has become exceptional, and in general his health has become tip-top. The problem is, he can't help feeling that this is all because he has a 'monster' within him.

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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3829#628]
(Four episodes watched):

After it begins with an unexplained and confusing scene of a person with an ill-defined shape (was this something that happened to Kagaya at some point?), episode one of Gleipnir makes more sense. The carefully drawn and distinctive characters are a definite good sign. We meet Kagaya, who cannot decide what sort of career to pursue, perhaps because he's already having weird feelings. It's stuff like Kagaya's talk with the girl who got the college recommendation that he declined, or what he did with a dead animal he found that instill a character with personality and make the viewer care what becomes of him/her. It turns out that his personality isn't entirely attractive, however. Why doesn't he stand up for himself when he's basically being psychologically bullied by a girl? When she threatens to expose him as a 'monster', he could threaten to spread the far more credible rumor that Clair set the fire at the warehouse and was attempting to commit suicide. She seems to have gone from suicidal to domineering literally overnight, which is hard to buy. I don't like her and he's pretty hapless. As the episode progressed I became slightly bored and frustrated. Kagaya is mildly freaked by his first transformation, but not all that much. It was pretty easy to guess what was about to happen when Clair placed Kagaya's cellphone at the rim of the school roof. Still, there's a fairly intriguing mystery here, and I remain curious. Why do monsters take the bizarre, cartoonish appearance that they do? What role do special coins (and the vending machines they are spent in) play? Clair must have seen at least one 'monster' before Kagaya. I'll be watching episode two, but I hope this show will tighten up a little and in particular that Kagaya will learn how to stand up for himself.

It did. We learn a good deal about both Kagaya and Clair: unlike many--indeed most--characters who find themselves in bizarre, terrifying situations, he is genuinely spooked and psychologically messed-up, which makes him seem much more realistic and believable. And, while less 3D, Clair isn't pure evil, because after what she has been through it is hard to blame her for the way she acts. We also learn a good deal about why Kagaya transforms into a strange costume while under stress, and it is intriguing. The two of them are attacked by another monster and fight a brutal battle for their lives. The show is violent but not all that disturbing, perhaps since it involves bizarre elements that could never exist in the real world. All things considered, Gleipnir is looking pretty good so far.

In episode three we get a hint that the blond teenager who seems to be behind this business with the coins may not be a purely nefarious person acting out of nothing more than malice and evil. I appreciate this; in most shows, he would have been two-dimensionally evil, but here he's more 3D and we don't know what to expect. Suichi and Clair go looking for Clair's sister, Elena, who she says killed their parents. But there's reason to doubt that Clair is being completely honest. They find Elena, but, like the teenage boy, she doesn't behave the way we had expected--more unpredictability and genuine intrigue. As the illustration above shows, she will almost certainly wind up as their ally rather than their enemy. Gleipnir continues to surprise me with how sophisticated and clever it is. I was wary of all the weird monsters in the OP sequence, but I think I am now confident that whenever they come along this show will handle them with finesse.

In episode four we learn a good deal about who is behind the creation of monsters, and why, and why the coins are so precious. I was surprised that this show actually falls into the science-fiction category; I had figured that nothing more than magic or something like that would be the explanation for all the bizarre things that happen. It makes some sense and is fairly plausible--more plausible than magic, at least. But since the powers a person could conceivably attain are virtually unlimited, things remain kind of hard to grasp. What is Elena's power, for instance? Are Kaguya and Clair fighting to prevent someone without ethics being given fantastic power?

Last updated Monday, May 18 2020. Created Friday, April 17 2020.

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