Problem with Mutants Is the Problem with Anime

So I was watching The Unlimited — Hyoubu Kyousuke as it slowly turns into this psychological study of the backstory of Hyoubu Kyousuke, the namesake character at the center of the story. We see how there’s all this ZKC trapping to the show and for the most part that is the fun and game part of ZKC and Hyoubu Kyousuke. It also turns from this internationally-wanted terrorist group slash Psi-user humanitarian effort into this made-and-born-in-Japan episode about where a human experiment project (in the form more like the X-Men) come about.

What I’m trying to say is that as the show progresses, it gets increasingly Japan-centric both in terms of the setting but also in terms of the characters. I guess it can’t be helped that ZKC is mostly a Japan-based thing so the characters and their organizations and the underlying government ploys are tied to that geography. It cannot be helped that Kyousuke is this foreign-born (from Manchuria in the 1930s) Japanese in the first place. Just as it cannot be helped that anime is really a made-for-Japan sort of thing.

I don’t really think it is particularly problematic, but it’s interesting to point out how over the course of the series, the age of the characters appearing and having lines slowly decreases on average. At first it’s basically Kyousuke, Andy, and the guys and girls who are in the tough business of whatever international-spy-intrigue things. Then it gets the Japanese kids involved, like the ZKC themselves. Then the little girl character Yugiri gets a lot of screen time. Then now we go back to the past when Kyousuke is just a wee lad.

I’m not sure what to make of it, I just want to know how did my bro-tastic, superpower-intrigue genre anime turn into this.

Episode 7, Hyoubu Kyousuke

You know, if the War on Pants came AFTER this show, I might be more receptive to it. At this point, however, I’m just hoping the ending to this doesn’t suck. Which is probably a futile thing to wish for, given how it is sort of a prequel-slash-spinoff. Just like how Hyoubu Kyousuke is probably struggling with some deadly condition, in which every time he goes “Unlimited” it robs some of his life, maybe this anime is also the slow decaying mess that slowly loses part of what it’s good for with every passing episode. I don’t know.

3 Responses to “Problem with Mutants Is the Problem with Anime”

  • NegativeZero

    I ended up going back and watching all of ZKC when I realized I was enjoying this, and I’m glad I did as I think it’s increased my overall enjoyment of it. I think the backstory part is basically for people who didn’t see the original show, because none of it comes as a surprise so far if you have.

    I’m not sure exactly why you’ve decided it’s suddenly gotten worse aside from the way that going into the backstory killed the momentum that was building up a bit, but it’s pretty important plot stuff if you didn’t see ZKC. Is your problem with it that it’s set primarily in Japan?

    • omo

      I don’t mind the backstory. My complaints has more to do with what the story is. Or in this case, what the backstory is probably going to entail.

  • vjott

    A lot of anime is set in Japan just like a lot of Hollywood films and American TV series are set in America. Is it that surprising? No. Does that mean that the series/movie is only for that audience? No. Does it mean that there will be certain cultural idiosyncrasies and standard media tropes? Yes, it does. You’re watching a Japanese animated feature, it’s quite odd to be disconcerted by the fact that a lot of events are centred in Japan.
    That said, there are Anime that are not set in Japan (2 of the “Big Three” shonen) just as there are some American shows that are not set in America. I personally groan whenever I see an alien film where the aliens “just so happened” to land in an American state or other shows where the fate of the world will be decided by American teenagers. At the same time, I realise that those things are unavoidable traits of American films/tv series/cartoons.

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