The unassuming main male protagonist, right before his life turned to hell.
The main reason why I chose to watch Chaos;HEAd for today’s review is mainly because I want to watch its spiritual successor Steins;Gate in the near future. Just like Michiko to Hatchin, this is a 2008 title, therefore it will not wrest this blog’s ‘Anime of the Year 2008’ title away from One Outs. In fact, Michiko to Hatchin is better than this anime, for reasons that you will find out. And that’s a shame, because this anime has so much unfulfilled potential.
Please spare a thought for our main protagonist who are being monitored around the clock by a pink-haired serial murderer just because he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The tranquil life of our reclusive main male protagonist, living his hikkikomori dream in a shipping container at Shibuya’s rooftop, shatters when he inadvertently become a witness to one of the serial murders cases that is happening in his district. Because of that incident, crazy delusional sword-toting beautiful ladies suddenly appears out of nowhere and starts chasing after him! A certain pink-haired one in particular, seems obsessed at ‘erasing’ him off the surface of the planet, therefore he has to live in constant fear, anxiety and paranoia, around the clock without any place to hide.
Surprisingly for its genre type, this anime is a character-driven title, with the main male protagonist at the center of all things. By far the best character in this anime, the single best aspect of this anime is watching his delusions become stronger as time passes. I think he is like that because he watched too many anime. One thing I like about him is that he is surprisingly perceptive, a rare trait for a main male protagonist in a harem title. The main male protagonist is the single bright spark this anime has, because the rest of the character roster and the anime’s elements are nowhere as interesting as him.
Personally, I think she was introduced into the anime just to make up the numbers, do you agree?
Somewhat related to what I said above, character developments for characters in this anime is pretty much non-existent, apart from the main male protagonist of course. The only girl of the harem that is just a tiny little bit interesting is the bespectacled one that has streaks of yandere tendencies. Unfortunately for this anime, she has little airtime after the first few episodes. The aforementioned pink-haired girl, whilst important to the storyline, did not have the same impact as the yandere girl. Personally, I think even the main male protagonist’s little sister is a little bit better than her. Ditto for the short-haired girl too, but the other two characters, especially the one that has speech impediment problems (see the screenshot above), seems to be there just to make up the numbers (the magic number is 7).
This is the problem inherent in an anime title with low episode count, yet having big amount characters with the writer trying to put some kind of story behind each of them. I found out that this anime is a visual novel adaptation. If I were the writer, I will make the magic number as 5, then cut off a couple of characters entirely from this anime and concentrate with the rest. This anime is a very good candidate for a adaptation with improvised storyline, unlike many other titles out there that has one.
Speaking about the storyline itself, this anime really missed a golden opportunity to become a masterpiece. This anime starts strongly, and after 4 episodes or so, I started to think that I am watching another Another (pun definitely not intended); an indication of how good the mystery elements this anime has. But around episode 7 or so, it seems that the author started to channel the main male protagonist himself, throws out the mystery elements from the storyline and replaced it with some conspiracy-themed plots instead. The quality of the storyline collapsed dramatically after that point, culminating in one of the worst endings I have ever seen since Princess Lover. Watching the cliché-laden final two episodes is truly torturous; in fact, I think Princess Lover’s ending is a little bit better than what you can see in this anime. I think if the anime starts right way with the conspiracy stuff (like having the true nature of the antagonist revealed earlier), this anime would not have done this badly story-wise.
The pacing of the storyline is spot-on at first, but increased slightly in the last 4 episodes or so. It is obvious that being overloaded with too many characters isn’t good for this anime’s storyline. For what it’s worth, the flow of the storyline is good though, even in the bad parts. There are several scene transition problems though, an example would be the ‘encounter’ at the start of episode 4 that is not bridged properly with a related scene in episode 3.
Life is hard for our main protagonist because he has to deal with insane asylum escapees like the character above.
The character designs in this anime is average, and definitely unoriginal. Only the character design of the main male protagonist is decent, with its’ realism that matched his hikkikomori status. Black hair is rare in this anime that takes place in modern Tokyo, with only one of the girls (one of the worst ones) having one.
Just like the character design, voice acting in this anime is pretty much normal in quality. There are no bad gigs here in particular, but there are no great ones either. For all of the main male protagonist’s greatness character-wise, his voice acting does not really stand out from the rest.
The OST of this anime is good, but the same cannot be said for the OP/ED themes.
This anime uses the blurry animation technique last seen in Daily Lives of High School Boys, therefore one point will be deducted from this anime’s final evaluation. Other than that, the animation quality in this anime is actually good, better than the ones in the aforementioned Daily Lives of High School Boys and also Michiko to Hatchin. Choreography of action scenes is mostly average though, unlike Michiko to Hatchin. The directing is not the best; the problems in presentation I mentioned earlier are some of the mistakes he has made.
4 out of 10. Same score as Princess Lover is. I’ll decide when to watch Steins;Gate by the time my next review is posted. I already have the HDTV rip in my queue, and if I decide to watch that version, Steins;Gate will be the title I will watch after my next review comes up. If I want to wait for the Blu-ray version just like I decided to do with Mirai Nikki, then the wait would be indefinite. One thing for sure is, I hope Steins;Gate to be considerably much better than this anime.
What he said is completely on the mark, but what he forgets is that he is in an anime series, not in real-life.