What is it about being young and having so much energy? Hitomi's mad dash through the school grounds to get to practise is just one example of such; I wish I had the energy to take stairs three at a time. In any case, the opening to this first episode quickly grabs the viewer both with some well detailed animation as well as with a solid music score. More than anything, the music is what attracts the viewers at first as Hitomi races through the school to get to practise.
The vocal piece as Hitomi sees her first vision of a strange young man is one of the more prominent melodies in the series. Unfortunately, because it is sung a capella, in this first vision, the vocalists were somewhat unsure of their starting note. A shame since it really is a beautiful melody. However, despite this one slip in the music, the rest of the music is beautiful and does a wonderful job of enhancing the viewing experience.
As a first episode, character introductions are handled in an easy and logical manner. Indeed just before Van is transported to Earth, we see him running in a parallel scene to Hitomi's race against the clock for her first kiss. While the story itself is neither particularly deep nor extensive, it sets up the idea of the story for the next while effectively. It's a standard time slip/transportation to a strange dimension style story. Why is it that it's almost always girls who are transported to alternative realities??
Overall the animation quality is strong for a TV series with good detail although there is also noticeable use of CGI as well. The dragon would be one point where CGI wasn't entirely smoothly joined into the production as a whole. However, the detail seen even in quieter scenes is strong for a TV series.
Perhaps the most noteable area in this episode with respect to inconsistency would be the voice acting. While the voice actors are all solidly into character, Hitomi's character as well as her lines after the battle were a bit odd. Perhaps because they were meant to show the effects of her fear that Van would die I found that the lines themselves were awkward, rather like having a handful of lines with the meaning you want to impart but no real idea on how to string them all together in a way to make them sound natural or normal. Despite good inflection and intonation by the seiyuu, the lack of coherency to the lines makes for a slightly awkward scene.
Despite that one scene however, the overall impression left by this first episode is one of some very interesting action to come given the foretellling from Hitomi's vision, as well as a beautiful viewing and listening experience to come. Lots of promise is being seen here...
- JYN 00.10.16