What is it about aliens that they are either out to destroy the earth or are so utterly obnoxious you have no idea why they aren't strangled on the spot? Despite being very typical in this regard, NieA_7 does have its share of good and bad. This first episode quickly introduces us to the main characters of NieA and Mayuko as well as a couple of minor characters, namely Chiaki and Yoshioka (Yoshinen). With only a few characters actually being introduced and a few others given brief cameos, viewers have no problems in following the character introductions. Also, we're very quickly introduced to the characters' personalities and the lifestyle of Mayuko and NieA.
Indeed it's a bit surprising at how much character development is present in this first episode. However, as this is not a high action adventure story, there is little in the way of actual story therefore. Even so, viewers are quickly drawn into the quiet insanity of Mayuko's life as she tries to deal with part-time jobs, a free-loading guest who took up residence in her closet, and trying to make ends meet.
The direction in this first episode is actually quite good with solid timing of jokes and gags. However, the jokes can get a little too heavy sometimes and may become wearisome. For those looking for a light-hearted, mild anime however, this one does deliver. Occasionally a touch too cliche, some scenes are that bit too obvious in delivery.
What caught my attention and is rather surprising, is the quality of the animation. Being lower than normally encountered, there is heavy use of stills, pans, low scroll rate, and generally the detail level is much lower than normally encountered. Despite the circle hands and general shapes often encountered, what is there is sufficient to create the desired atmosphere. Likewise, the music is quite unremarkable. Being much less present than in most anime productions, NieA_7 becomes a slightly subdued anime which helps to create the very poor feel that surrounds Mayuko. What music is present is well suited to the scenes however.
The seiyuu, despite this being the first episode are all solidly into character and do a good job at portraying their characters. Mayuko's frequent mood shifts particularly when dealing with NieA is very well done. Combined with the animation, Mayuko's character very quickly takes on tangible characteristics, being the quiet, deferring type, but who has very strong and definite feelings and opinions running below inside. NieA's character on the otherhand, is much less developed here, but there is plenty of time in future episodes to discover more about her, including why she suddenly took up residence in Mayuko's closet, let alone why she has no antenna.
A few questions come up for later development, about both Mayuko and NieA which will hopefully be answered. Viewers are left rather bemused by this episode. It's an interesting watch for the evening at home, but by no means a must-have.
- JYN, 2001.08.20