Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Ufotable and Daisuki
Production issues are not fun for anyone involved. It’s absolutely terrible for the fans. Anyone who watched Kekkai Sensen as it was airing can attest to this. Production issues coupled with timeslot problems delayed the last episode for a significant amount of time. Unfortunately, these things do happen. The show I am reviewing today was only able to air its last four episodes months after the intended date. I am talking about Ufotable’s adaptation of the beloved video game series, God Eater. I am Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth Anime Review.
God Eater takes place in the rather tired post-apocalyptic setting. The world is besieged by invincible creatures known as Aragami. In the last few bastions of humanity, an organization known as Fenrir developed a means to combat the Aragami. Using Aragami cells, Fenrir managed to create guns and blades known as God Arcs that are capable of killing Aragami. The story follows the plight of a newly minted God Eater named Lenka Utsugi. Lenka is one of the rare God Eaters that is able to transform his God Arc between the gun and blade modes. The series places a lot of focus on Lenka’s ascension through the ranks and on humanity’s last effort to create a safe haven from the Aragami.
Humanity is fighting a losing battle. At any point, they can be completely wiped out by the scores of these creatures. This creates the rather dreary mood of the series. The series has a very depressing mentality and surprisingly, that it a great thing. The struggle to survive creates a sense that the stakes are real. Scores of people are killed and main characters can fail. The only problem is that the series starts off relatively generic. It takes a bit of time for it to find its legs and develop into something a bit different from the typical post-apocalyptic setting. However, I can say that the story was entertaining and I was satisfied by the series conclusion.
Now there is another aspect of the plot and this aspect is fascinating. There are a series of flashbacks that detail how the world was put into its current state. These flashbacks star a group of scientists that eventually became the leaders of Fenrir. These flashbacks provide the necessary information on how the Aragami function, but leave a certain sense of mystery. It’s a very interesting way to present a lot of exposition and I found it refreshing. Overall, the story of God Eater starts of rather generic, but develops into something that is relatively bleak, but satisfying.
God Eater features a wide cast of characters that mostly manage to be interesting throughout the series. However, there is a select few that receive a significant portion of screen time in detailing their backstories. Lindow is one of these characters and is sure to be an audience favorite. For the sake of review, I’ll only focus on Lenka and Alisa.
Lenka is the typical protagonist that has a very tragic back story that really highlights just how screwed the world is now. As a result, he is very kind and possesses an intense desire to help others, even if it requires reckless action. He eventually evolves as a character though. After a few episodes, he develops a rather rational mind. He will follow orders because that will likely lead to the least amount of casualties. He actually gets tempered. The initial fire is still there, but it’s toned down. It’s a rarity that a character actually manages to deal with certain faults, especially in an anime.
Alisa is a character that is initially introduced as a complete badass. She’s a Russian God Eater that is also a new type, but unlike Lenka, she has mastered using her God Arc. Below the surface, she is a damaged individual with a tragic backstory similar to Lenka. Unlike Lenka, this event had a very negative impact on her which wrecked her psyche. At certain points, she goes into nervous breakdowns, in a PTSD-esque manner. I like this fragile aspect of her character because it eschews the typical anime trope of the cold, but badass fighter. Alisa’s arc starts generic as she slowly gains respect for Lenka, then it just goes a completely different direction story wise. I really enjoyed this aspect because it was different enough. Overall the characters of God Eater are good, with Alisa and Lenka being the two standouts, mostly due to the extra time spent on their backstories.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that God Eater has a unique animation style. This animation style was a large reason for the production delays. It caused a lot of issues due to the complexity of creating this CG like effect. Seeing the animation quality though, it was well worth it. This is one of the most unique looking series that I have watched. The almost cell-shaded motif makes every frame of animation with a human character absolutely beautiful. This extends into the fight scenes as well. Every fight is choreographed perfectly. The New Type God Eaters display the standout sequences of the series, due to constant switching between the God Arc forms.
Episode three has my favorite fight scene of the season which showcased just how interesting these fights could be. The remaining episodes featured a large assortment of fight scenes that did live up to this hype. I initially was hesitant due to the use of CGI for the Aragami. They can seem out of place compared to the stylized nature of the animation. However, I found that after a few episodes, the look of the Aragami impressed me. They are unnatural monsters and it fits that they seem a little out of place. Overall, the animation quality of this series was excellent and one of the reasons to check out this show.
The voice acting for this series is rather good. The performances are believable and showcase a certain level of drama. Alisa’s voice actress deserves a special commendation due to her excellent portrayal of her nervous breakdowns. The foley work is also great. Between the roars of the Aragami and the sounds of God Arcs cleaving, the anime does an amazing job at creating a variety of believable sounds. Now the real standout of the sound design lies with the insert songs. There are a large amount of songs performed by Ghost Oracle Drive and these songs fit perfectly with the show. There are even a large range of moods portrayed by this band ranging from action packed bangers to slow songs. Any moment of this show has an insert song that fits perfectly with it. The sound design is great overall and I can’t wait to get ahold of the soundtrack.
Despite the generic start and the production delays, I liked God Eater a lot. It’s a not a perfect show by any means, but it has heart. The story is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world and certain characters are interesting. The animation is beautiful and heavily stylized. The sound design is of a similar quality. I give God Eater my Watch Rating. It won’t blow an audience away, but it’s worth giving it a watch. I’ll be back next week for another anime feature.