Intrigue, somewhat akin to a futuristic science-fiction anime version of the Lord of the Flies, Infinite Ryvius slowly draws viewers into watching the show. Before I start, I have to admit, I like Ryvius and am seriously hooked on this series. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything's absolutely fantastic in this first episode. Afterall, this is still a TV series and this first episode reflects this. Busy with character and story introduction, there is alot for viewers to keep track of.
Quickly introduced to the main character of Aiba Kouji, viewers are left wondering why he complain so much, why he is picked on so much, and why he doesn't say something or do something about those things he feels so frustrated about. And as viewers, we're left listening to his constant mutterings and whinings. (Actually it's somewhat reminiscent of listening to Ikari Shinji of Evangelion). Whether the two will parallel one another or whether Kouji will come to have a different personality from the initial near Shinji clone waits to be seen in subsequent episodes.
Because there are a number of character introductions from brief cameos to literal introductions, viewers are left trying to keep track of everyone. Kouji, Aoi, Yuki, Ikumi, Kozue, Lucson, and many others, hopefully they will all become clearer as the series progresses. However, introducing so many characters so early, could mean that things will become very complex as the series progresses (or that viewers give up having been overwhelmed by all the people). Also, because so many characters are introduced, the actual story has little chance to develop. Rather, we are left with the bare beginnings of what is to come, with a number of people whom we're barely familiar with. Even so, the Lieb Delta's situation at the end of this first episode is bound to catch viewers interest and lure them into continuing watching the series.
Watching this for the first time, I wasn't entirely sure of what to make of Kouji complaining so much in the opening scenes. However, as we switch over to the opening theme song, the j-pop has become one of my favourite theme songs in anime. The rest of the soundtrack in this first episode on the otherhand is rather lacking. With occasion rhythms and minor melodies, most of the background is filled with background crowd noise or other filler appropriate to the scene. A bit of a different approach from what usually happens in anime. You actually don't notice the lack of music since there is so much "other" noise. The sound effects make for an interesting change from the usual repetition of songs and melodies that happens in most anime series.
The voice acting is a touch mixed but overall fairly well done. I'm still not sure about Shiratori Tatsuya's depiction of Aiba Kouji whether it's stiffness on the part of the seiyuu or a reflection of the character's personality and the frustrations he is constantly suppressing. Otherwise, most characters are well into character. I especially like Sakuma Rei's depiction of Neya. Suitably deadpan despite the emotion-laden lines, it makes for an interesting contradiction. It also begs the question of just who/what she is.
All in all a bit confusing because of the number of characters being introduced, but the situation at the end of the episode captures viewers interest for the next episode. Hopefully things will pick up a bit more in the upcoming episodes.
- JYN, 2001.09.03