Humans have designed countless worlds—each one born from the unique imagination of its creator. Souta Mizushino is a high school student who aspires to be such a creator by writing and illustrating his own light novel. One day, while watching anime for inspiration, he is briefly transported into a fierce fight scene. When he returns to the real world, he realizes something is amiss: the anime's headstrong heroine, Selesia Yupitilia, has somehow returned with him.
Before long, other fictional characters appear in the world, carrying the hopes and scars of their home. A princely knight, a magical girl, a ruthless brawler, and many others now crowd the streets of Japan. However, the most mysterious one is a woman in full military regalia, dubbed "Gunpuku no Himegimi," who knows far more than she should about the creators' world. Despite this, no one knows her true name or the world she is from.
Meanwhile, Souta and Selesia work together with Meteora Österreich, a calm and composed librarian NPC, to uncover the meaning behind these unnatural events. With powerful forces at play, the once clear line between reality and imagination continues to blur, leading to a fateful meeting between creators and those they created.
Re:Creators the definition of CREATIVITY! Everything about this anime is unique and special especially the recap episode. From mecha to magic girl, any types of the character that you could ask for will be appear in this anime.
PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THE RECAP EPISODE!
Just when "Isekai" trend is everywhere, this anime use the concept of reverse Isekai where the character from the fantasy world coming out to join the real world instead of the protagonist blend into some parallel world.
The animation is not the best but is good enough in the year of 2017. Nothing outstanding but you will realize that the
working team is giving out their all into the art after you watched the recap episode.
Sound: 10/10 - STRONGLY RECOMMEND!!!
One word - Epic! Both opening theme song are awesome but the first one is better. Moreover, several soundtrack could just simply become one of the best OST in 2017 like AL:Lu, brave the oceans, layers, here i am and god of ink. Hiroyuki Sawano, you are a legend!
Character: 10/10 - AWESOME!!!
This anime got every types of character and its actually insane! What is your favorite type of anime? Mecha like Gundam? Female knight like Saber in fate series? Magic girl like Madoka Magica? RomCom like Toradora? or even wizard, princess, yakuza, gunner, delinquent, psychotic murderer, military, tragedy. Yes, you read it right. Every single one of it will be appearing inside this anime.
Me? Of course, I am extremely enjoying this series. In my personal opinion, this is the best anime that I had ever watched. Outstanding in the music and the idea of fitting every single possible types of character into one anime. The ending is kind of like a little bit unexpected but it also stick with the anime's concept which is being unique and special.
They do not copy. They are not lazy. The soundtrack is awesome. The character design is marvelous. The story is special. This anime is really unique. For example, the way they had done their recap episode is not like the other anime where the working team just cut and edit the past scene. Re:Creators's recap episode is one of the protagonist recap the past scene for us with the mixture of the protagonist's point of view and the working team took the opportunity to criticize the negative opinion toward the current anime industry in Japan and complaining their current workload to the studio. In my opinion, I think I just witness the birth of the most OP character ever, ALTAIR!
Doubt my review? Why not give the first episode a try?
* Sorry for my poor grammar, do drop me a message if you found any grammar mistake that I had made.
Oh boy, Re:Creators. It’s a modern example of how a show that could have been a big hit of the year that ultimately translated into a messy series that self-destructed. It’s not just a flop but serves as a metaphor for how original series struggles to keep ideas effective. Don’t get me wrong. The series’ premise about story worlds clashing with sci-fi and fantasy elements sounds very intriguing. Yet somehow, it found many ways to ultimately make this look like an attempt at easy crash grab for the unexpected.
At first glance, this series sounds really interesting. As an original anime, the creators seems to have
decided to take a risk and mix many genres together. Fantasy, sci-fi, magic, isekai, and even mecha are just a few among these. However, what really caught my attention for this series is the fictional worlds and their characters. Every world has its own unique story as well. Not to mention, these stories has its creators and the characters they created. While all this really sets up the show as a mesmerizing story, I can’t help but find this series to be a flop in the most disappointing ways possible.
The first few episodes of the show wastes little time to introduce the main characters. That’s good news since the cast seems to feature a unique set with characters of all different types. Magical girl, mecha pilot, princely knight, supernatural NPCs, anti-heroes, you name it. The most normal character among them is a young man named Souta Mizushino. He is inspired to become a light novel author but somehow manages to get caught into fierce fight one day. Souta gets involved in the conflict with the clash of fictional worlds, creators, and the characters. From the start, I can honestly say that the show actually has a mystique that kept me interested. Many questions pop up and it makes me wonder how this anime plans to resolve them. The characters also brings the attention of their purpose and why they are there in the first place.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say these characters are creatively presented. For instance, there’s Selestia Upitiria, the main protagonist of ‘Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier’ (light novel adaptation of the same name). She stands out more as generic sword fighter with skills to operate a mecha. We don’t find out much about her until later in the show but from the surface, she’s saturated with generic characteristics. Then, there’s Meteora, an intelligent NPC with a dry sense of humor. I honestly can’t remember the last time I ever laughed at her character just because of how diehard this show attempts to make her entertaining. On the other hand, the show has other characters such as anti-hero Yuuya, the noble knight Alicetaria, mecha pilot Rui Kanoya, magical girl Mamika, and former bounty hunter Blitz Talker. These characters all have their own stories although among them, Blitz is probably the only one that I found truly interesting. That’s because the motives of these characters really feel flat and uninspiring. I mean, a noble knight trying to get revenge for a fallen friend. I’m sure you’ve heard that somewhere before. Still, there are two characters that kept me interested throughout the show. Those are Magane Chikujouin and the Military Uniform Princess. Why do these two intrigues me the most? It’s because both of them make their own luck and destiny. Magane is a highly unpredictable character with a devious personality. She is very sarcastic with a dangerous ability. What sets her apart is that she is on her own side throughout the show and seems to play along the story like a game. Meanwhile, the Military Uniform Princess is by no shadow of a doubt the most mysterious character in the show. Her motives from the start is very unclear and most of her dialogues spoken in this show seems to have some sort of hidden message. She also seems to have some sort of connection with Souta but that remains a mystery throughout a decent amount of this show. So perhaps in many ways, these two characters create spectacles as viewers try to anticipate their role from the story.
At its core, the creators and created play the main role although I can’t really say that I’m impressed by the character relationships. They just seem all over the place and almost none of them really feel special. The show attempts to make us feel something for the characters whether it’s their personalities or motives. Yet as I watched more and more of this show, I can’t really say that any of them are particularly memorable. At times, I thought this show was trying to make us sympathize with the characters. However, I really felt nothing for the characters. Even Selestia, one of the main female protagonists didn’t stand out as the show didn’t develop her enough as a character. She just seems to be there to play her role as a female fighter. The main male protagonist, Souta is far from interesting from any angle. The only time he ever drew my attention was during his interactions with Magane and it’s when she’s the one doing the talking.
On the other hand, the story shows some promise as it ties together the characters and their roles. The background story of Souta is perhaps one of the more interesting and also most important part of this series. As a very talky show with heavy exposition, each episode does build more and more of the story together to avoid loose ends. When you mix so many genres together all at the same time, it can be quite difficult to tie everything together. Yet, somehow this show does manage to achieve such a feat when its storytelling manages to be convincing despite being predictable. That’s of course speaking from the first half of the show. From the latter half, I can’t really say the story is impressive. It bobbles down to exploring events from previous relationships and how that influences character motivations in the present. Certain new characters introduced in the latter half really feel out of place like as if they are just there to make the story flow more. However, it really felt unnecessary and just make the series longer than it should’ve been.
You’re probably thinking: “Oh but you can enjoy this show if you don’t take everything so seriously and accept the story more openly!” That would be the case if the comedy of the show didn’t come out as so dry. The jokes in this show often feel forced and mixed with a dry sense of humor. Meteora is probably the guiltiest of this as her character personality demonstrates this throughout the show. There are also occasional adult humor-like jokes thrown in at random and otaku references that just comes out as flat. On the other hand, the action and choreography is well made. When making original anime, Troyca seems to pour a decent amount of effort to make their work look like an action flick.
Well, I guess I’ll admit it. Re:Creators’ animation quality as a whole looks solid on multiple fronts. From the battle choreography to character designs, everything seems to fall in place in order. The characters from the fictional worlds look creatively unique that suits with their role. Even the mecha designs has its dynamic features that avoids CGI pitfalls. The most innovative design that had my eyes glued to the screen is no doubt the Military Uniform Princess. I’ve rarely seen a character with such a look and that really took my attention. Unfortunately, the other fictional worlds didn’t get too much spotlight as we only see glimpse of them. The majority of the show takes place on Earth and we all know how dull that is. Nonetheless, Re:Creators succeeds at crafting its visual elements through its character designs, action sequences, and world fiction.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in recent years, then it’s obvious that the soundtrack of the show is created by the modern talent of Sawano Hiroyuki. The OST is stellar with its dramatic choreography and precisely timed. The OP & ED theme songs are very catchy with hidden messages. Character voice mannerisms are also memorable in particular with Military Uniform Princess, Magane, and Meteora.
In the end, Re:Creators is a mediocre a show that tried far too hard to make itself look cool. By mixing a variety of genres, I expected a show to capitalize on them. Instead, what I got is a show that relied far too much on its characters to do the storytelling. And that ended up being a risk taken with little reward. In many ways, this show can be recommendable to people if you’re looking for some fun action and typical fictional story. Just be aware that it’s also very talky with exposition. The comedy is very mixed depending on perspective. For me, Re:Creators wore itself out almost like a meme.
I believe I mentioned this before, but I find it consistently harder to write in praise of an anime than to bash it, to the point that the only manner in which I could be satisfied on doing so, would be to break down each episode while highlighting why I believe certain scenes or bits of dialogue are so great and important to the big picture. As you can imagine, the highest I value something, the harder it feels to explain, so let it be known right from the start: I do see Re:Creators in VERY high regard!
Story and Characters
To begin to understand why the
show works so well, the first good hint would be the original writer, Rei Hiroe, who wrote the story that led to the anime. For those unfortunate enough to not know who Hiroe is, he’s the author of the Black Lagoon manga and the responsible for the dynamic between Rock and Revy, two of the finest characters crafted in the media. In Black Lagoon, he demonstrated his strength at crafting witty and meaningful character studies, while in Re:C he displays, with some aid from Ei Aoki (director of Fate/Zero), his efficiency at developing cohesive, effective and strong plot.
Some comparisons I’ve seen be made about the nature of Re:C in regards to other anime vary from a knock-off of Fate/Zero’s concept, for those who see the combination of colorful fighters of multiple origins as somehow related to F/Z and nothing else, to a shallow piece of propaganda fellating the Japanese government and military, in the same fashion as GATE, for people who are too obtuse to notice the obvious differences and like to make asinine comparisons (you know who you are!). The closest I’ve seen to actually hit the mark was to Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, since both works are commentaries on the media they’re a part of. This comparison doesn’t adequately prepare you to get into Re:C, but it is a better assessment of the nature of the show. While Haruhi is purely a dissection (or you might even say a “deconstruction”, if you can believe it) of the tropes that are to this day prevalent in anime, that made itself brilliant by twisting the role of the protagonist and titular character, along with the ones that personify those tropes, Re:C is a commentary on our relationship with fiction, both from the perspective of the creators as well as the audience, and it makes itself brilliant by making what would be natural parts of that relation into integral, tangible elements of the plot. I’ll discuss the perspective a bit more when we get to the characters, but for now let’s talk about the strength of the narrative
Besides characters, which I consider to be the most important thing in a story, something I also find of great importance when analyzing is how well structured is the narrative. That takes into consideration things like pacing, as in the rate in which the story progresses or new information is introduced, the role different characters play and how meaningful they are on that role and, specially, when things happen for a reason. Re:Creators shines in that regard, among other reasons, because it wastes almost no time. Every episode in this show is there for a reason (yes, even the hot-spring episode) and nearly EVERY scene has something to help bring out new information, develop the numerous figures of the cast or reinforce what is already known, character and narrative-wise, through a new method or situation. Want an example? The events of episodes 9 and 10, for once, might seem to have no effect in the rest of the plot, at first glance, but looking closely you might notice that they made for the perfect set-up for the main characters to confirm a plot point that would prove itself vital for their future plans, as well as kick into motion Aliceteria’s character-arc. Take this episode out of the equation and you’ll have that plan turn into a complete ass-pull and have Aliceteria’s change of heart be completely unwarranted.
If you are reading this review, I’d assume you already know the premise of Re:C, so I’ll not waste much time explaining it. So, a feeble mind would predict the main villains of a story with such premise to be those who were already villains in their original stories, but this is one of the instances where this anime subverts expectations in the best way: the real villain of the story is a character that originally had no purpose, while the one who was originally a villain turns into a wild card. The series tackles motivations and work ethics of the different artists, ranging from those who do that simply to make a living to those who see on the act of crafting a story as their way of expressing themselves in the way that is the most fulfilling. That said, let’s talk about the characters, starting with the main antagonist
Altair, or the Princess in Military Uniform, was an original character, created based on one of a preexisting fictional game called Eternal Wars Megalosphere and is noted from the beginning to be connected to Souta, one of the main characters, and Setsuna, a former friend of Souta who, and I don’t think I’m spoiling much about the first minute of the show, committed suicide a few months earlier. Do you want another example of how finelly crafted is the structure in this anime? Since not much is shown from Setsuna’s perspective prior to her suicide, some viewers might get frustrated at first, feeling that they missed on something important, but that turns out to be a necessary decision, given what we see from her on episode 21, in which her avatar plays a decisive role in the conclusion. This decision is a great factor into making the experience of this episode as meaningful and effective as it is, besides the excellent writing, of course. Altair was a character created without a set purpose, carrying only the emotions of her creator, to whom she feels a strong connection with. Therefore, she takes upon herself the task of avenging her creator, who she feels was wronged by the world. That lack of a reason to exist, coupled with the angst carried by the one she held the dearest led her to see the real world as a cruel story, and what better way to enact her revenge than by causing the world to implode on itself?
Mizushino Souta, a highschool-age student, is part of the main cast, but regards himself and is treated by the narrative more as a narrator-type figure. He’s an aspiring illustrator who’s a bit shy about his art and holds a guilt complex in regards to Setsuna’s death, who he believes to have betrayed. He considers himself partially culpable for her suicide, for not coming to her aid when it was needed, and that feeling of guilt is what motivates him to take action during the second half of the story. The conclusion to his is arc is not one of overcoming the guilt, but of learning to shoulder the pain of his mistake and making something positive out of it, through his creations. Episode 21 (seriously, folks, it’s a very important episode) is where that is displayed at full force and he ultimately comes to peace with Setsuna. Souta also provides insight about the perspective of people who enjoy and avidly consume fiction, like on his argument with Aliceteria, where he tells her how characters like her are loved because they motivate people with an ideal, a model of how to act, to be honest and never let themselves be brought down by hardship. He also comments later how the passion for anime, manga and other media gives the viewer the opportunity to see the world through someone else’s perspective
Starting the hoster of creations with the heroes, we have Selesia, a character from the light novel and anime series Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier, an Escaflowne looking, magitech inspired Mecha that I like imagining to be set in phantasy 1920s. In her world, she was the partner of the main male lead, Charon, fighting against the forces of the Avalon Brigade, which gave her a resolute, quick to action personality, but still calm when among friends. In an interaction with Souta, she advises him to take his time and not try to rush his artistic development, because that way he would be able to grow appropriately along with his work. That interaction reflects the experience she had fighting in her universe, experience that also makes for amusing banter between her and her creator, Takashi Matsubara. Initially, she complains to him about why he didn’t make her stronger, not understanding his perspective as the writer. Their relation eventually becomes mildly like father and daughter, and Matsubara comes to be protective of her, cherishing her as his creation. He comments, during a conversation, how writing is his way of telling the world that he has been there, of leaving a mark on other people. He comes off as an experienced writer, who understands what he can and cannot do in order to keep the audience invested on his work.
Next in the roster is Meteora, also known as Best Girl, originally a NPC from the RPG game AVALKEN of Reminisce, where she takes the role of a powerful mage and the responsible for the library at the End of the World, right before the final boss. This is a very important detail about her, because it influences the way Meteora relates to the real world and other creations, as well as fiction. She states early on that her world is deeply detailed and fleshed out, having even fiction of its own, therefore she has better appreciation and understanding than other creations have about art, its mechanics and the influence it has over people. Interestingly, in one of the early episodes, she and Selesia contemplate a graffiti, and while Selesia has an amazed look on her face, Meteora displays a colder, more analytical expression, denoting the difference in impact for both of them. Lacking social interaction but being remarkably intelligent, she doesn’t have an easy time expressing her emotions properly, which she tries to mitigate by pulling off horrible puns. We see more of that restrained playful soul in episode 13, the greatest recap episode in the history of anime. A nice, detail about her character is how initially her speech is notoriously long-winded, but over time it’s possible to notice it becoming less prolix and more personable. Her knowledge of fiction allows her to read effectively into other characters and she quickly learns to understand what goes through the heart and mind of people from the real world, making her the one to give Souta the emotional support he needs to come clean about his mistakes and deal with the guilt that torments him. She is definitely the one the boy feels to most confortable to talk to, and their friendly chemistry persists throughout the series.
Hell, I ship them!
Since she becomes the brain of the group, fact amusingly displayed when nobody knows what to do and quickly turn to look at her, Meteora also develops a professional friendship with Kikuchihara, the government official responsible for dealing with the situation of the fictional characters. Both recognize and grow to respect each other as the one from both groups who knows best how to deal with the situation
Mirokuji Yuuya is every anti-hero/rival voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto: impetuous, self-reliant, prideful, hedonistic and occasionally clever. Funny enough, his rival from his original story, Sho, is himself voiced by Okamoto, which might be the most amazingly subtle reference ever. Both come from Yatoji Ryou’s manga Lockout Ward Underground: Dark Night, with Yuuya being laid-back and uninterested in doing what others tell him, hanging out with the heroes simply for the fun of fighting the villains, while Sho is obsessed with killing Yuuya, whom he believes to be his sister and best friend’s killer. Perhaps mirroring Yuuya’s personality, Yatoji is arrogant and a bit difficult to deal with, but softens up fast due to their dire situation. He and Matsubara worked together in the past and don’t go very well with each other, but it’s hinted that Matsubara appreciates Yatoji’s work and still worries about him being able to continue, as shown when Yuuya decides to beat up his own creator.
By now we had the light novel female warrior lead, the RPG kuudere, the adolescent power phantasy and fujoshi bait, it’s time for our Gundam boy. Yes, Kanoya is the “Gundam” representative; he went looking for some young poon-tang on his first week in the real world, so he cannot possibly be the Shinji look-alike. His author, Nakanogane-san, wrote him to be someone who gets easily defensive, but also quite heated-up in battle, but as soon as he comes to the real world, the kid decides he doesn’t want to fight anymore. What? Did you expect the Gundam kid to not have his “get in the robot” moment? Silly you!
Kanoya’s small but charming character arc involves him realizing that the obligations he shoulders in his original world are not arbitrary, but something that only he as the protagonist can fulfill, which gives the kid newfound sense of responsibility. His conversation with Souta in episode 11, while superficially seeming like just a fine motivational moment, also highlights an important part of creating effective stories: that characters need to have a purpose to guide their development and actions, creating a sound narrative. Nakanogane-san doesn’t have trouble finding his place, though. The creators here don’t just sit around while their characters fight to save the world: they take initiative on putting together the pieces of Altair’s past and goals to find the best course of action.
Lastly, there’s Hikayu, the visual novel heroin created by Nishio Ohnishi (har har!), who’s a pervert. A good-hearted one, don’t be too harsh on the guy, he means well. Since her game of origin was primarily an eroge, Hykayu is disheartened to learn how exposed she’s to the world, which makes for some of the best comedic moments on the show, like when she does her badass entry during the heat of the combat, shouts her passionate entry lines, while feverishly blushing in shame of her outfit. Surprisingly, or maybe not, her game is not exclusively made of fap material and contains emotional moments that she carries over to her experience in the real world. Could this be a tangential commentary about the tastes of the stereotypically perverted otaku, who can accept a story having blatant smut as well as heartstring-pulling narrative? Perhaps a jab at how we feel the need to justify liking questionable material with the argument that it has a serious and emotionally gripping story? Who knows, but it does add more substance and weight to the notion that the writers and staff do know the ins, outs and running trends of the media they are representing in the anime, instead of simply crafting half-assed references.
Chikujouin Magane (creator not important) is the one creation to have been a villain in her story, but like Yuuya, prefers to act by herself and have fun with people’s suffering. She takes quite the liking or the real world and for Souta’s emotional struggle, taking him and the creations as her main source of enjoyment for the first half of the show. She doesn’t seem to like Meteora very much, though, since the girl doesn’t fall easily for Magane’s mind tricks.
On Altair’s side, the first ones to appear are Aliceteria, the idealistic knight, and Mamika, the unlucky Magical Girl.
Mamika comes from a show for kids, where the morality is black & white, villains are recognizable at first glance, good people who don’t immediately side with the heroin just need to be beaten into agreement and violence is bloodless, so for her it’s a shock to learn that in this new reality her powers might inflict serious harm on people. Kind-hearted and naïve, she doesn’t so much change her nature as the series goes on, but instead learns about the complexities of the new world and takes different methods to bring end to conflict. Aliceteria, in the other hand, comes from an equally black & white reality, but one severely more violent, bloody and harsh than that of Mamika. Aliceteria is stubbornly idealistic, to a point where the anime makes it clear she fooled herself into believing the real world is really a home of sadistic, cynical gods, who created her reality just to amuse themselves with the suffering of the people in it, so it’s her duty to force her god, Takarada-san, to fix her world and free it from evil. Takarada himself looks like a young, emergent author who still hasn’t mastered the creation of layered and complex characters, relying on the archetypical noble hero to focus his work on. It’s partially through Souta’s intervention and passionate speech about why figures like Aliceteria are beloved on his world that she begins to realize how disconnected she is from the true motivations of her fans.
Mamika and Aliceteria form a strong bond in their short time together, despite the difference in mentality. For once, when going to recruit a new creation, Mamika hopes it’s a good person, while Alice hopes it’s someone trustworthy and strong (to their dismay it’s neither), and it’s the similarity in values, despite the difference in priority, coupled with the courage and backbone that warms the knight to the young magical girl.
These two characters, among others, help put into perspective one of the brilliant ideas applied on Re:Creators: the anime purposefully built one-dimensional characters into the narrative because in context they come from stories that aren’t as well fleshed out or detailed. Selesia and Meteora, were created by authors who intricately crafted their personalities, worldviews or universe, so when they come to the real world they act more human, but also can better understand the morality of their creators, while Mamika and Alice were shallow characters, created to be good and righteous, but lacking understanding of complex notions of right and wrong, so they become easy prey for a villain who can spout ideas that sound good and presents easy solutions to their problem. That shallowness is not the final state for them either, but a jumping point from where they develop into layered and intelligent individuals capable of understanding the new reality and taking the best decisions based on their own morals.
Lastly, because going further would be spoiler, there’s Blitz Talker, the hard-boiled supporting character from the manga Code-Babylon, written and drawn by Suruga Shunma. Blitz clearly knows of Altair’s true intentions from the beginning, but stays with her because of his desire to protect her, whom he sees as weaker than she lets transpire. Suruga is an intriguing character because she keeps a low profile most of the time, not showing much of her personality and mindset. Most of the time she comes off as an aloof workaholic, constantly drawing, barely taking her eyes off the paper, only to look woefully uninterested when she did, but in her confrontation with her Blitz, she delivers plenty of substance. She makes for a great parallel to Setsuna. The girl had a sudden boost in notoriety, but didn’t have the time to grow up and learn to deal with the hate that comes with the spotlight and that negativity was too much for her young mind to deal with. Suruga, on the other hand, had to struggle with competition and criticism, suffered with the negativity, finally reaching enough success to be able to sustain herself with her art. Many viewers might think her outlook on fiction or her creative process is cynical, but it’s better to describe it as pragmatic and she shows to genuinely love and take pride on her work.
On episode 03 the anime introduces the concept around which the entire plot revolves: audience acceptance. They first note that the characters to appear in the real world tend to be those who had the largest impact among the public, so after Matsubara fails to alter the description of Selesia, it becomes obvious that the creators can’t simply change their characters as they go along. They soon began to theorize that what can really affect their status is if they manage to get enough of the general public to empathize with the changes made to them, idea that is solidly proven in the events of episode 10. It’s based on that concept that the heroes elaborate their plan to defeat Altair, by crafting a story that would be able to gather acceptance from the public to the point where they are able to bait and trap Altair on the Bird Cage, a scenario located within the real and fictional words, where they’d be able to defeat her for good, with the approval of the public. Fun fact: Bird Cage is a reference to Altair’s name coming from the Arab word for bird.
Looking at the contextual level it’s not hard to see that the idea of acceptance is a method of commenting on the common fictional elements that have the most success with the public on our own universe, as well as the difficulties faced by writers of popular works, who need to keep constantly in mind what the audience wants from them. Fiction is manipulation by nature, it’s designed to engage the audience in an illusion where the artist pulls the necessary strings to make us feel or think a certain way in relation to what happens to the characters. Bad fiction happens when the illusion is not convincing enough or when the trick is so poorly conveyed that we can see the strings in the background, and no character in Re:C exposes that better than Altair herself in the last few episodes. Not only are her powers the ability to manipulate the fabric of fiction (reason why she can’t simply nuke the world into oblivion), but her speech is constantly centered on the idea of what exactly pleases the audience and gets their acceptance. Her originally neutral condition also contributes to that concept: Altair is a character without cannon beyond the original powers given to her by her creator, so there’s little restraint for other artists to invent new abilities for her, as those new powers can just as easily get approval from the wider audience, contributing to her continuous growth in power and number of tricks up her sleeve. Part of me wonders if this is not a paradoxical trick the writer crafts with the audience. As the viewer, we are conditioned to expect the main villain to not go down until the very last moment, and only against a worthy hero that can pull off the strongest emotional reaction from the audience, therefore, the writers are fooling us into expecting Altair to pull off something new to aid her in battle, knowing that the nature of her powers allows for that.
Across the multitude of designs presented the anime displays excellence in keeping verisimilitude and coherence. In fact, that might be the most valuable quality of the work’s presentation, beyond the technical aspects, which are not shabby by any means: the directing is excellent, packed with clever transitions and enthralling shot composition (special shout out to that one camera movement in episode 06 that tells us with no effort that Magane just gets it).
Every element of character design was conceived in a way that the experienced anime fan could safely note what they make reference to: Selesia and Charon dress in the angular and colorful style that has become a trend among light novel characters, clearly made to please cosplayers instead of having practical combat utility; Meteora sports the distinguishable attire of an RPG mage from works like the Tales franchise, cuz the design is clearly too confortable to be Final Fantasy; Kanoya uses the slick, futuristic uniform of robot pilots across the Mecha genre. All of this is important because it says something about the characters, not only from what kind of story they come from, but also their personalities. Even when in civilian outfits, the choice of clothing tells something about them: Meteora dresses with cute and childlike attire, because she’s a petit woman and is tired of constantly using a thick uniform, while Selesia’s adorably modest choices help flesh out her personality as reserved, possibly chaste.
The same care extends to all the fictional websites, products that appear on the show as well as the different magic symbols used by the characters. The designers commented in interviews how there was an entire creative process behind the elaboration of the multiple logos, focused on creating an internally consistent scenario. There’s no “Gaagle” search engine or “PZP” console in this story, all the fictional products, social medias or websites presented here were designed to look and sound believable to the extent that one could easily think that Mauchly, Piclive or Songbird are a real thing, or that SONY might actually create a console called Play Portal, which I imagine would be a portable with meager first and third-party support.
The sound department continues the effort in verisimilitude by featuring performances consistent with the universe and genre each character comes from. I’ve already mentioned Nobuhiko Okamoto previously, brilliantly cast as Sho, not just because of the irony but also because he’s can skillfully express Sho’s devoted and naïve mannerisms. Other clever choices are Suzumura Kenichi as Yuuya, fitting since this voice actor has experience with characters who speak in mischievous tone, and Minase Inoue, as Meteora, who previously worked as Rem in Re:Zero and is capable of pulling off a character who speaks stoically without falling into blandness. Now, voice actors are a fun subject and all, but that’s not even the most exciting aspect of how Re:Creators sounds. That would be Sawano Hiroyuki’s amazing soundtrack, tailor made for this anime. Permeated with intense electronic beat and bombastic energy, these songs are never misplaced; the same track can mark the intensity of action sequences but also play to great effect in comedic beats, adding more points to the directorial work. Just look at Selesia trying her new power or Hikayu doing her badass entry and you’ll know what I mean. The lyrics, off course, in songs like Here I Am (Mamika’s theme), God of ink, Layers, Brave the Ocean and World Etude are perfect mirrors for the characters inner thoughts and their goals.
I first thought about talking about this in the story breakdown, but I decided to leave it for this section, as it is the main reason Meteora became my favorite character in the show and why I began to see this anime with higher appreciation. In episode 04, after learning about the passing of her creator, Meteora decides to play her game on its entirety. Later, she confesses her main grievance from when she came to the real world and talked about her experience with her own game: it was fun, and that’s all that matters, because all she needed was to known if her creator loved her world the same way she did. This moment was particularly relatable to me because it reminds me of a book I’ve read long ago, The Hour of the Star, where the narrator talks about the protagonist of his story, and about how he loved her. Later is that I came to realize that such love was not a traditional sentiment, but the love of the artist for his creation. Meteora’s confession displays the inverse route, from creation to the artist, but to me it emulates the sentiment of the audience, the feeling of experiencing a work that had love put into it, where the people involved were truly invested in created something that would resonate with the player, the reader or the viewer.
Re:Creators is an anime I never knew I wanted, but now that I have it I wonder if there’ll ever be something else like it. The way multiple aspects of artistic creation are talked about and analyzed, the portrayal of the audience and Souta’s mindset as a passionate consumer were all relatable and the show frequently would surprise me by doing something I already expected, but in a way that I did not imagine. Rei Hiroe’s writing tends to do that.
I sure hope there’s more originated from it, off course. The many works mentioned in the story might as well spawn new franchises in the future, now that they had the perfect introduction. I sure would love to see what they could make out of Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier, since those who saw Re:C already know of some spoilers for it, or how they could conceive Mamika’s anime; perhaps as something initially childish-looking that progressively gets more serious and multifaceted. I know Mecha is in life-support nowadays, but it would be nice to see Infinite Divine Machine Mono Magia get its own anime too. The possibilities are not endless, but they sure are plentiful and can be fruitful as long as those works continue to have comparable quality of writing, directing and care put into them as much as it was put in Re:Creators.
Re: Creators is an awful but in the same time a unique series in a sense that it directly tells the viewers the reasons for its existence: the fact that hundreds of thousands of people can spend their time on and, most importantly, breathlessly enjoy and pay money for an ugly badly-written constantly fourth-wall breaking horribly directed nobody-on-the-staff-list-ever-cared pissing-on-the-other-shows pack of completely unrelated action scenes.
When making an anime from some source material (manga/light novel), writers usually have trouble packing all the events in a video format. This is one of the reasons why so much shows are filled with exposition, scenes of characters thinking and
other "better off reading it" elements. But for these types of shows, this is mostly forgivable. However, if an anime-original content is also a bunch of "characters talking and narrating, doing essentially nothing for a few episodes straight" it should probably be noted that writers never even cared. The calamity of nothingness is especially noticeable in the beginning of the second part of the show; these episodes are just characters talking around without any emotion.
But even such a show can be, at some level, enjoyable. Not the case with this one. The moment you realize the true depth of never-even-cared storywriting is somewhere at the end of the series. The interactions happening among the characters become to be much like this: "Your plan failed! Ahahaha!" or "I'll definitely bring you down!" or "You've been deceived. I am the good guy" - "Oh, ok". And the problem is not the content of the phrases. The problem is that the characters' interactions are narrowed down to this. And, as a result, the composition of the show essentially becomes an emotionless logbook of who did what.
To be fair, the first half of the show looks a bit decent. Disregarding the fact that the first half of the second episode is already a pile of shameless exposition the things happening generally raise a certain level of emotion and tend to follow some logic. That is probably the reason why a certain someone declared this to be a "classic anime in the making". And I should probably mention that a lot of people like the music. I generally enjoyed it. However, in my opinion it is really generic to the point where I can swear I've heard ED 2 (especially 0:09-0:22) somewhere before. But I'm no expert in music so I'll leave it at that.
It should be noted the show is not redeemed by these few good things I've just mentioned. To add to the point, this show also contains the usual trope that half of bad stuff wouldn't have happened if the characters just kept doing something very simple. Which they obviously don't do cause logic means no plot.
Overall, Re: Creators is an overhyped quick cash grab made by people who never cared.
[ADD: This review is no longer endorsed by its author. I wrote it in a bad and heavy emotions-induced state of mind: I still think Re:Creators is not worth watching, but the writing style got hurt and I skipped the majority of the intermediate logical points. Apologies for that. I might write a cleaner review later. I'll leave this here as something to which people can agree to]