As the good book says: “Destroy thy neighbor”. Wait, what?
What They Say:
Osamu Mikumo is a member of Border, an organization designed to protect Mikado City from alien invaders knows as Neighbors. One day a mysterious new student named Yuma Kuga transfers to his school and turns out to be a humanoid neighbor himself. The two are supposed to be natural enemies, but could there be more to neighbors than Osamu has bargained for…
Content(warning as this review may contain possible spoilers): It’s no secret that Shonen Jump has gone through a rough few years as of late. They’ve had some recent success with manga series such as Assasination Classroom, but on the battle manga front which has long been their bread and butter, they haven’t had a real success since Toriko and even that failed to live up to expectations. Now those same hopes lie on World Trigger and it’s being handled by Toei who has been known for their larger successes like Dragonball or One Piece but has been pretty uneven these days, being partially responsible for Toriko’s failure and even the Sailor Moon reboot has ended up being divisive. A lot is riding on this adaptation and as a long time reader of the manga myself, the need for Toei to deliver goes without saying.
In the beginning of the episode we learn that a town called Mikado City was one day invaded by alien invaders known as Neighbors. As with any alien invasion, mankind’s weaponry was of course ineffective and the world looked doomed. That is of course till one day when a group of warriors known as Border (You’d assume they’d be flat out called the Border Patrol but I guess that’s too obvious) appeared with technology needed to fight back called Triggers and reestablished order to the town. Cut to four years later and we’re introduced to our two protagonists, Osamu and Yuma.
Osamu is mild-mannered and has a strong sense of duty so when Yuma transfers to his school and people think he might be an agent from Border, he gets suspicious and decides to keep an eye on him. Yuma on the other hand comes off as a bit strange and doesn’t have a real grasp on the culture of the town. This makes him a target for some of the class bullies when he antagonizes them and they take him towards one of the Neighbor Zones for revenge. Osamu tries to come to his rescue but ends up on the receiving end of a beating from the bullies, with Yuma not really understanding why he’d stick his neck out for him and try to fight them when he’s so weak himself.
Things seemingly take a turn for the worst when a neighbor shows up to attack everyone but it turns out Osamu is actually a Border agent himself and attempts to fight it off to let everyone else escape. However he’s still too weak to put up much of a fight against it, but Yuma ends up coming to his rescue with a Trigger of his own. Osamu questions Yuma’s affiliation to Border and Yuma claims he came to town on the behalf of his deceased father who had a connection to Border. Since his father wasn’t an agent though, that still leaves Osamu confused as to how Yuma acquired a Trigger but Triggers aren’t hard to come by where Yuma comes from. He’s a neighbor himself
In Summary: So has the World Trigger anime lived up to it’s expectations and show promise as the next big thing for JUMP? Yes and no. The first episode delivers on a pretty solid adaptation of the first chapter of the manga, establishing the setting and the dynamic between the two leads fairly well. It also has some neat directional choices, and some pretty good music. Sadly the budget is where the show is frankly lacking and while there are some good animation sequences there are moments where the art is horrendously off-model and it drags things down a bit. Hopefully Toei can do a better job at balancing the budget as the show continues
Streamed By: Crunchyroll