When it comes to the medium of Japanese animation, it’s often difficult to recommend even the most lauded of shows to those not already interested in the genre. Indeed, it is almost as if a kind of social miasma has clouded the medium, an aura created by the social stigmas spawned from eccentric fans, and more often than not, a reliance on the same old quirks and tropes to drive the predictable plots forward.
These are harsh words, especially coming from an anime fan such as myself, but it’s the unfortunate truth of the matter when it comes to perception of the medium. Moreover, the most popular and readily visible examples of the medium are often the worst offenders, with the more “risky” shows, the ones that break the boundaries of the status quo, very rarely seeing a widespread following or release outside of Japan.
Fortunately, however, not only has one such exception to the rule surfaced, but it also comes packaged with a premise that can capture the hearts and minds of almost anyone that would consider themselves to be a creator.
But what does it mean to be a creator?
Well, the answer to that question is part of what fuels this enthralling tale, and the very thing that makes the human race so special. Human beings are the only species with the ability to tell stories, to paint pictures and as a result, create worlds. Whether it be through pen and paper or paint and canvas, thousands of worlds are created with every passing second, thanks to the miraculous nature of the human mind.
Now, that’s nice and all, but what if doing such things actually created entire universes, running parallel to our own? One for every short story, every television show, every single tale that gained popularity? To take it a step forward, what would those same characters think about their creators if the two worlds were to ever collide? Would humanity as we know it be revered as gods, hated as sociopaths or feared for their potential power?
These are the questions that “Re:Creators” poses, and it’s for this reason that the series, only on Episode 9 at the time of this writing, has taken the anime fandom by storm. Furthermore, it is for this reason that this particular show has the ability to appeal to an audience that spans far beyond the usual demographic of anime fans. The protagonist of the series, Sōta Mizushino, serves as a perfect representation of what is likely to be the majority of creative types, and whether or not he is likable, many viewers will at least be able to emphasize with his struggles.
A nerdy, teenage boy that is a massive fan of tales and worlds existing in various forms, Sōta happens to prefer anime, video games and manga. However, he is much more than a passive fan of such stories, as he has created many of his own, but, due to a lack of confidence in his own abilities, he has doomed the majority of them to the confines of his notebooks. For a time, it seemed as though nothing would change in this boy’s life, and that his work would never see the light of day.
All that changes, though, when the boy finds himself on the frontline of the chaos brought about by all of his favorite created worlds suddenly clashing with his reality. From demon-warriors to magical girls, characters from countless worlds quickly find themselves being ripped from their own dimensions and placed into the “world of the gods.”
Unfortunately for Sōta, this is no mere accident.
The characters are being taken to his reality for a reason, ripped from the confines of their worlds by a mysterious, immensely powerful figure with dark intentions. A rebellion against the gods, or perhaps something more sinister?
That’s for the viewer to find out, but as mentioned, the background setup of some sort of greater evil versus the forces of evil is only a small component of what the show has to offer, as it turns the conventions of a tired formula upside down.
What would happen if a character from a world geared toward children, such as something like “Sailor Moon,” with no blood or serious repercussions, and where good always triumphs over evil, were to come face to face with a character from a world that knows nothing but bloodshed and ruin? What if powers and abilities were to transfer into our world, but with unforeseen consequences? After all, just think about how gruesome something like a superhero’s laser beams could turn out in our reality. Some characters, and more importantly, the world at large, would be in for a very rude awakening.
As a result of the series’ premise, the potential dynamics between characters is absolutely endless, and that alone should at warrant the twenty-odd minutes it would take to check out the first episode. Couple that with superb animation, an amazing soundtrack and a premise that is fully utilized by actually answering the many questions that such a scenario raises, and it’s clear that anyone with the slightest interest in any of the aforementioned details would be well served giving this show the attention that it deserves.
What could perhaps be the greatest downside, and the potential downfall of this series in the West, is the unfortunate reality of Amazon exclusivity. Amazon’s streaming services are currently the only legal way to view this show in the United States, and while this is a smart business decision for Amazon, it is a tragic aspect of capitalism at work when it comes to the average person hoping to catch this show on Crunchyroll.
Still, no matter what you need to do in order to view it, if any of this has sparked even a passing interest, it will be well worth it in the end.