First Look: Girls Beyond the Wasteland

wasteland1a Alternative titles: Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya o Mezasu, Girls Beyond the Youth KOYA (wait what?)
Anime Original by Project No. 9
Streaming on The Anime Network and Hulu.

Premise

Bunta is a teen with that all too common problem of not knowing what he wants to do with his life. He has a talent for writing, even helping out with his school’s drama club, but he’s not sure if he can turn that talent into a career. Out of the blue, he’s asked out by his crush. Turns out she may be after him for something other than romance.

wasteland1b

Marlin’s verdict: Belugas Aren’t Dolphins! Oh right I should talk about the anime…

I actually enjoyed this show for the most part. Bunta has passed the main character test with flying colors. I suppose it helps that he’s in a realistic high school setting, but it is refreshing to see more protagonists that aren’t all powerful babe magnets. The supporting cast has done a pretty good job of endearing themselves as well. Yuuka reminds me of all the best parts of Minorin, who was by far the best part of Toradora. If she continues to bring the tomboyish energy without becoming annoying for it, I can see myself really growing to like that character. Atomu also is pretty unique as a best buddy who isn’t a huge perv. The dynamic these three show in the first few minutes has already sold me on their part in the story. My one real hang up is with Kuroda. While I didn’t really have a huge problem with her character this episode, I feel I would tire of her constantly going about like she’s examining everything. The way she acted on the date felt like Bunta was talking with someone who is on the autism spectrum. The way she would only be focused on her own priorities and not really understand his intentions clearly shows that. While I know this is the central crux of the show, I do hope this doesn’t involve too much into dissecting every aspect of shoujo games. This seems like the kind of show that will live and die by its characters, so I hope we get development and plot in equal measure.

wasteland1c

Jel’s verdict: It had to be Visual Novels…

Normally we pan shows for having great premises but poor execution. This episode was the rare example of having things the other way around. I really liked the characters and relationships that are established here right off the bat, allowing it all to happen naturally without shoving their personalities in your face. I thought the moment with Yuuka falling asleep on the roof was a particularly good example, already managing to have a small, sweet, and poignant moment barely half an episode in. Unfortunately I hate the concept itself. Putting the making of any medium, visual novels or otherwise, that much into the spotlight automatically kills my interest. It’s worth noting that big name VN and light novel writer Romeo Tanaka’s name has been attached to this. Aside from being famous for writing incredibly dark, bitter stories he has been known to self indulge in that kind of thing – see the flawed but fascinating Humanity Has Declined as an example. So perhaps like that show this will be something of a double edged sword, although we are already missing Humanity’s fantastically weird setting to make things interesting. At least the Gen Urobuchi joke, complete with fake Madoka poster, was pretty amusing.

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