What They Say:
Solar calendar year 2020: grotesque organisms called Others have begun eating people. To take down this new enemy, the Other Suppression Force is formed. Saved by this elite team as a child, psychokinetic Yuito withstands the training to enlist. On the other hand, prodigy Kasane was scouted for her abilities. But Kasane’s dreams tell her strange things, dragging the two into an unavoidable fate.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bandai’s big multimedia project this summer takes form in Scarlet Nexus, which has a game release out at the same time and a few big push areas for it. The anime side of it has Hiroyuki Nishimura directing it and working from Yoichi Kato and Toshizo Nemoto on the script side. I was also pleased to see Yuji Oto on board for the character designs with Nishimura involved as well. It’s a solidly put together Sunrise production that has all the right ingredients to it for something that will be big, fun, and splashy to sink your teeth into during the hot months.
With 2020 being a bad year for the world, it’ll be interesting to see if it becomes a focal point in storytelling for other bad things. Here, we discover that in 2020, disturbing creatures known as Others showed themselves in our world where they would devour people. It’s a familiar basis for many games and this as a multimedia project works it competently enough. To face this new enemy, we get a thing called the Other Suppression Force that finds natural talents that can work within it to go against the creatures when they appear. Those that join tend to have a little bit of celebrity about them because of what they’re capable of and we see that early on with sixteen-year-old Yuito, who because of family connections is a new member that gets extra criticism because of his supposed low-powered abilities. True or not, he’s managed his way through the program after a lot of hardship and is well-supported by his friend Nagi, who is your typical talented but outgoing type.
To provide contrast to these two, we’re introduced to the powerful Randall family and the twin-but-not-identical sisters, Naomi and Kasane who are part of the same graduating class. Both have a particular kind of interest in Yuito without quite realizing it at first, but it’s Kawsane as the more powerful one that we really pay attention to, especially as she has the same crimson eyes as Yuito that stand out. There’s not a deep movement in terms of how these characters know each other here yet, but the basics are laid down and there are no real surprises. It’s just a matter in the opening episode wondering of all the characters introduced, which ones if any will die and what level of stakes there are in events because of it.
The show leans on its gaming side a bit in how we meet Seto Platoon that the two guys are a part of, along with Yuito’s childhood friend Hanagi and a few others that we meet. The design works in that they can share their psionic powers together and we get the holographic data pad that appears before them that lets them interact in this way. It’s a little goofy in-show but you can see how it would function in-game. With an in-city incursion happening during their meeting, it lets them all get some first-hand experience fighting the disturbing creatures and suiting up fully, which has its own positive in the aesthetics department. Plus, the arrival of another platoon where Kasane is operating out of shows up so we get to see more variety to the power set and a moment where the newbies get to stand up and do their part, even if it’s against orders.
Competently executed and with some solid style to it, Scarlet Nexus is still at the end of the day an anime component of a big new video game push. It’s certainly not bad and has room to go pretty dark along the way, but we get a fairly standard set of introductions here with the characters, the mysterious deadly and disturbing looking opponents, and a hint at some histories that are being obscured that will impact events as they unfold. The structure is standard but the aesthetics and trappings provide for some neat moments. Since it’s trying to do the usual too much for an opening episode approach, it doesn’t give some of the cast enough time to establish themselves. I do think that after a couple of episodes and a chance to do so, both Yuito and Kasane will have the real potential to make this a series worth watching if they’ve invested enough in their stories to have something to develop.
Streamed By: Funimation