First Look: TRIBE NINE

Game adaptation by LIDENFILMS
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

In the year 20XX Neo Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E. is dominated by street gangs of disillusioned youths. To prevent all-out war breaking out, the government has decreed all conflicts should be resolved through ‘Extreme Baseball’ matches.

Zigg’s verdict: Take A Walk

The premise here is so completely insane that you could have a lot of fun with it, and we’re kind of predisposed to like projects from Danganronpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka after Akudama Drive topped our year end list in 2020. It’s regrettable then that TRIBE NINE comes across as so completely flat and devoid of personality in this opening episode. A lot of this is down to basic presentation – for something with such a crazy core idea you need animation and direction that’s equally flamboyant to sell it, yet most of the shot choices here are very predictable, safe and obviously budget constrained. There’s not really the sense of madcap comedy you’d expect, nor is there much action, although it does pick up right at the end with the introduction of pitching power armour.

More importantly though, I’m just completely uninterested in any of the characters that we get introduced to here. Haru is your basic wimpy newcomer protagonist, but he’s not given any interesting or redeeming qualities to make us root for him, while Shun is the template ace character and also just looks way too much like Nagito Komaeda to take seriously. Taiga isn’t anywhere near stupid enough to be actually funny and as a consequence all of the jokes around him fall totally flat. It’s a shame because I really think there’s a niche for a silly, over-the-top sports show but unfortunately TRIBE NINE is less a home run and more a strike ou(You’re fired – Ed).

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