Anime original by Tatsunoko Production and Tezuka Productions
Streaming on Funimation
Muteki arrives at the busting Neo San Francisco with plans to stay with his grandma. While out exploring the city he meets DJ aka DJ, a man with a boombox and little care for personal space. When an evil force turns a crowd of festival-goers into a puddle of ink, he uses his boombox to transform Muteki into Muteking, the Dancing Hero!
Euri’s verdict: Plastic Love is now an anime song
Muteking: The Dancing Hero was on my radar simply because it marked the return of Orange Range to the anime opening world. We’ve not seen a new song from them since 2008 – with the caveat that an old song of theirs was used in ReLIFE in 2018, and a cover of their song Shanghai Honey was used in Taiso Samurai. I’m not a massive fan of theirs or anything, but thanks to Bleach, Code Geass and that bizarre Pocky advert, their music remains incredibly nostalgic.
On top of this, Muteking is some bizarre reboot of an anime from literally forty years ago, so I couldn’t help but want to check out episode one just to see if this might be a secret gem. Which, uh, I don’t think it is, but it’s not terrible either?
The first episode went by at a breakneck pace, throwing us from one bizarre scene to the next. We’re still recovering from the knowledge that New San Francisco is a place in this universe when it throws a scene involving a rat stealing cheese from an angry pizza chef. Muteki, our protagonist, promptly saves the rat with a bit of moonwalking, before we shift again into another scene where an old lady is almost hit by a train, and ends up giving her thanks mistakenly to a fire hydrant.
This is very, very Tatsunoko. Everything in this episode screams Time Bokan and Yatterman, which is of little surprise given those aired in the same period as the original Muteking. The reboot looks set to be packed with this kind of classic goofiness, and while I’m not particularly nostalgic for it, I am very interested in how the show does or doesn’t reference the age of the original show. Even if it doesn’t, a hero on rollerskates goes a long way towards having me stick around.
What interests me the most about Muteking going forward has little to do with the show itself, and is actually to do with its music – and I’m not talking about Orange Range again. The episode literally opens with a version of Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love, which is incredibly exciting as someone that does a little behind-the-scenes work on the music for fellow Glorio writer Peter’s radio show. On top of that I’m a huge fan of Reol, and having a new song from her show up in the episode without prior knowledge of it was a great moment.
I have no idea if future episodes will give us more great music, but given Muteking is the dancing hero, I have high hopes. If nothing else, that’ll have me following Muteki’s antics if the show otherwise turns out to be a bust.