Anime Studio Challenge: 1st PLACE's Mekakucity Actors (Spoiler-free Review)

Another studio / producer with only a single entry. Seeing as I know that Mekakucity was done by studio Shaft, 1st PLACE must be a producer. One of many from the looks of it. Once again it makes me think that sometimes a “producer” is created for a single anime. Or perhaps, it’s a mistake on MAL, I don’t know for sure.

Maybe I’ll learn more about this stuff as we go.
I ended up getting another rewatch here, with Mekakucity Actors.

An anime I’ve held some strong opinions on in the past, and the anime that brought us the beautiful seagull I use as a favicon for this blog!
We’ve come full circle!

Welcome back, old friend.

Synopsis

Mekakucity Actors is about a group of teenagers that experience the supernatural. More specifically, they somehow have gained supernatural abilities themselves. There’s some mystery behind the powers, and some other goings’ on surrounding the cast.

Vague, I Know.

It’s hard to really write about what Mekakucity Actors is all about without blatant spoilers, and the reason for this is that the premise itself is very vague in the early stages of the anime. In fact, the story behind the supernatural events that occur in this anime is tied to lore that we learn later on in the story.

In a way, this initial vagueness is what really drew me into Mekakucity Actors.

Take the first episode for example. We get to meet shut-in NEET Shintarou Kisaragi and his cybernetic female companion Ene-chan who exists in his electronic devices. And then he spills his drink on his keyboard, and stores are closed for the holidays – except one at the mall. So Shintarou has to find the courage to go out and get a keyboard, with Ene-chan tagging along on his phone, and he gets caught up in a robbery at the mall.

That’s the first episode, and it really has nothing to do with powers, but it’s interesting, and things get exciting! However, then in the second episode, we follow another character and her story.. which eventually ends up leading us all the way to that robbery at the mall.

We learn bits and pieces along the way, and so our idea of what’s going on slowly expands beyond just “this all seems interesting”.

However, then unfortunate something happens…

Change of Pace

After some exciting initial episodes, the anime then dumps everything on us at once, in the span of a few episodes. We go from slowly learning more about what’s going on, to learning EVERYTHING almost at once. The pacing hits the gas and doesn’t let up until the anime is over. Things quickly change from a comfortable pace to episodes where there’s simply too much information with little-to-no buildup.

In my opinion, this is Mekakucity Actors’ greatest flaw. And it’s something that many, many anime do. It tried to cram too much into 12 episodes. The fact is, Mekakucity Actors really needed more episodes to properly space things out. We go from not really knowing anything to knowing everything in way too short of a time span, and it’s not satisfying at all.

It’s really unfortunate because the first half of this anime is amazing.
Even rewatching this, and knowing what was going to inevitable happen in regards to the pacing, I still loved the first half.

I just hate when this happens, when an anime that had the potential to be up alongside great anime like Bakemonogatari and Baccano! falls apart due to a rushed story.

Speaking of, Bakemonogatari actually aired it’s final episodes (as it’s 15 episodes instead of the usual 12) online. And look at how big the Monogatari Series is now! Even an extra 2 or 3 episodes would have been a huge boon for Mekakucity Actors.

Characters

I will make a distinction here between the characters and the story, because while the story was rushed in the end, the characters themselves are all really cool. Each has an interesting personality, and I feel like had this anime been properly paced throughout, the cast had the potential to be very memorable and likeable.

Unfortunately, I feel like the only character that anyone will really remember from Mekakucity Actors is Ene-chan because of how cool of a character she is. She’s loud and annoying, but she’s also super cute and a cyber-girl, existing in electronic devices. I really liked her personality and would have liked to see more of her, as well as the rest of the cast.

That’s the problem with this situation though. Just as the story suffered from a rushed pace, the character development did also, and so we miss out on getting to know some of the characters.

Colours / Art

This is studio Shaft we’re talking about here, so it’s only natural that the visuals are abstract, unique, and awesome. Perhaps Shaft’s style isn’t for everyone, but I personally love it. The minimalist backgrounds, the vibrant colours and shifts in colours across scenes, the head tilts… It’s all great.

While we don’t really get enough of the story / characters to reach this point, each character sort of has a colour associated with them. The OP sort of conveys this, and considering the large cast it’s a cool concept to use colours to represent the characters, but once again unfortunately that development was thrown out the window when they decided to cram everything into 12 episodes.

Rating

I’ve said it over and over, and I’ll keep saying it.
This anime had the potential to be seriously good.

But instead, Mekakucity Actors gets a 7.5 / 10 from me.
I still think it’s a good anime, but I can’t help but feel so disappointed with how the anime ends up after such an amazing first half.

In my opinion, Mekakucity Actors is the most blatant example of an anime that tried to do too much in 12 episodes. And this is because it starts out so good, and the pacing is perfect – but then it just goes off the rails and dumps the story on us in the final episodes.

Unfortunate.
But at least we still got Ene-chan from it!

That does it for 1st PLACE’s Mekakucity Actors.
Of course just like with other anime I review, there are many studios / producers on each anime so the credit really belongs to more companies than just 1st PLACE, but they’ve got credit on MAL, so I’ll give them some credit here, whoever they are / were.

We’ll see what’s next for the studio challenge!

Until then,
Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “Anime Studio Challenge: 1st PLACE's Mekakucity Actors (Spoiler-free Review)

  1. Pingback: The Jon’s Creator Showcase: May 2020 (Self-Indulgence at Home) – ThatRandomEditor's Anime Blog

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