After the Reflection, some of the people in all parts of the world are discovered with super powers. Some become heroes, and others villains. How did the Reflection happen? What was the cause of it? With many unsolved mysteries, the world is led into turmoil.
Its finally over, the most controversial anime of the year. That being said, its a highly flawed show with some redeeming factors that put it just above average, but its not a must watch or anything.
Story: The pacing is all over the place, sometimes it moves too fast, other times too slow. I still don't understand the villain's plot and the show seems to end with most of the loose ends tied up, but springs a cliffhanger ending so out of nowhere it would give Madoka Magica Rebellion a run for its money on abruptness.
Characters: One of the most redeeming parts of the show.
X-on, I-guy, Lisa, and Eleanor are all fairly likable with distinct traits but just enough to make them stand out from their counterparts in other mediums. The villains however are pretty generic.
Art: The art looks pretty good in still shots, but looks absolutely awful in animation, some of the worst I've seen in a long time. The fight scenes are a bit better, but lack speed and impact when blows are landed. All the characters lack flow in their movements and feel really stiff. Every once in a while the animation switch flips and the animation is good for a few seconds, but it never lasts. The character designs however are top notch and I would love to seem them brought to life with better animation.
Sound: The voice acting is good, nothing remarkable. and the soundtrack has some memorable tracks, mainly the OP, Sky Show, and the theme of the Reflection event.
Conclusion: The potential this show had was immense. I'm not sure if the problems were because of troubled development or just apathy from DEEN. I want this show to get a second season because buried under the garbage there are some good things about this show. But considering the reception this show got, we probably won't get one. There are some more complaints I have about the show, but those would dive into spoiler territory.
Give the show an episode or two, and if you don't like I can't really blame you.
Stan Lee’s latest miss-fire The Reflection holds a mirror to the superhero genre's most cynical issues. Written like a museum, it catalogs the genre's most overused tropes, clichés, and stereotypes throughout its painfully long 12 episodes.
It makes no effort at all to convince you that you’re not watching a cheap X-Men knockoff; you won’t forget it either because The Reflection continuously draws from Stan Lee’s many worn out stories and evokes a Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic. The aesthetic is bland at times painful on the eyes; even though it was released this year it is easily worse than every superhero cartoon released in the
past 50 years.
No scene felt quite “right” in The Reflection. Whether it slacks in a certain area or all of them at once I never could bring myself to enjoy it, unless you count laughing at it ironically.
The story follows people who were impacted by the reflection, a world-wide event that caused a fraction of the population to get superpowers. I don't know how else to explain the reflection other than it's just a plot convenience to get the ball rolling. People who were affected by the reflection are persecuted by normal society (like X-Men); they struggle against picking which side to fight for, government or the group of reflected people. The main characters live in New York which leads to some nauseating air-borne action scenes in Times Square that could have been really nostalgic in the hands of a more capable studio.
Somehow the show feels slow and boring but the story moves far too fast. It suffers from horrible pacing issues. There is practically no rhythm to the sequence of events. Supporting characters pop in and out of the story giving them little time to develop before being tossed aside. After a few wild shifts in the story, I stopped being able to care about what was happening because it all just seemed like a contrivance for the sake of action, which is one of the biggest issues I've seen in superhero movies like The Avengers and the latest X-Men prequel.
The show is heavily plot-driven and that plot is a mess and in no way interesting. I'm sure it's the kind of story that will keep some fans of the genre watching; it's dynamic and each episode ends on a cliffhanger. Believe it or not, but my favorite part of the show was the ending of every episode. Not just because I was glad for it to be over, but the cliffhanger alluded to a more interesting episode (which was never the case).
The story is incredibly contrived for the sake of a constantly moving plot, it's also totally predictable from the moment you understand what's the plot is all about, also the twists never feel deserved. Very little is explained about the setting and the show expects you to use prior knowledge of the genre to understand what is happening.
Characters are not the most problematic part of this show but that's due to their reliance on tropes and stereotypes.
The four leads that fill the majority of the screentime are Eleanor, Lisa, X-On, and I-Guy. Eleanor is a journalist turned vigilante when she gets her teleporting ability, she has a desire to protect people in danger because she is the hero and has a generic backstory that motivates her to protect others. Lisa is a wheelchair-bound young lady who can transform her chair into a mech, she has a dark backstory about how she lost the ability to use her legs. None of Lisa's characterization comes across as insightful, the most we get for development is that she is a fan of jazz wow! It really is a shame considering the how the reflection gave her more mobility but the show fails to comment on this. Lisa's character makes it clear just how much the show missed the opportunity of saying anything meaningful about the reflection, instead, it merely says look at these cool superpowers!
X-On and I-Guy are the more staple heroes, both of them are featured prominently due to how much inspiration they take from Spiderman and Batman respectively. X-On is a good guy who has dubious methods of getting the job done, taking a painful amount of inspiration from heroes like Wolverine and Batman. I-Guy is conflicted between his public image and his secret identity, beyond simply mentioning this characteristic the show doesn't follow through with his arc. The lack of conclusion for any of the character arcs could be due to the lack of a definitive conclusion episode because, like all Stan Lee products, the ending is just a teaser for another season (which will probably never happen).
All four of the leads are duds because of how predictable their dialogue and how bland their backstories are; either their motives appear a bit cloudy or they are as pure as freshly fallen snow, no part of their individual character development matters in any way by the end.
The Eleanor herself isn’t involving in the slightest, but throughout the show, she impacts the her adversaries and supporting characters. An example of this potentially solid character writing is when Eleanor confronts the villain Steel Ruler. She talks to her and we find out her dark backstory that, while slightly unoriginal, was very present in her character’s design and personality. She relates to Eleanor because they both were abandoned, and this is even revisited as a prominent theme in a later episode which I thought made for the best writing in the entire show.
The only interesting part of the cast is the villains, while they aren't original, some of them have complete arcs which gives you something to root for when trudging through this drek.
The visuals are shockingly bland for a superhero show. Sometimes for minutes at a time you have only 3 colors to look at with very little detail, there were times I could hardly understand what I was actually looking at. It’s also at times painful on the eyes, it feels like someone removed every other frame in post-production leaving the action janky and nauseating. The only reprieve I got from the awful action was the CGI, which was by no means good, it just wasn’t as bad as the 2d art.
The Reflection may not have had jankiness issues if the episodes were 50% faster at only 10 minutes long instead of 22, but alas it seems as though the director had very little understanding of the woes he ensued upon this show before releasing it.
I think that Studio Deen was aiming for a comic book aesthetic, but due to a clearly strained budget, the result was lackluster at best.
Some of the superpowers are well conveyed like the Eleanor's teleporting because it isn’t affected by the lack of frames and Lisa's mech thing which is CGI and is animated separately to everything else.
I'm not sure if it's worth mentioning but the opening is incredibly simple, it’s just a few colors devoid of any detail, I don’t doubt it’s the plainest one I've seen all year.
As for a musical score, if you’ve seen a Marvel movie you may expect a generic soundtarck from this, but The Reflection has a surprisingly solid soundtrack. The most memorable song is “Skyshow” that plays whenever the flying hero, I-Guy, is onscreen, but it is always overlaid with an obnoxious echo making it hard to appreciate any part of the song. “Skyshow” is a good song and I think it’s worth listening to separate to this disaster because the show butchers it by playing it over and over until it loses any magic it’s singer gave to it; just another awful decision that destroyed any chance “The Reflection” had at succeeding.
Stan Lee voices a villain in the English dub, but he and everyone else in the dub have flat voice acting, and on top of that the sound quality is appalling. I don't know if it was just an awful script or if the actors didn't get enough direction, but the end result of the dub is downright painful on the ears, which is disappointing considering Stan Lee is the show’s main selling point.
As a side note, the show flips to Japan from time to time to follow an idol group by the name of Ninth Wonder, they add nothing to the show and only exist as a blatant advertisement for the group 9nine. They performed the song in the ending credits which is, in my opinion, pretty decent J-POP.
There were times when I felt moderate endearment to the characters and their turmoil, but the myriad of issues that plague this show got in the way far too often and prevented me from rooting for them. Idiotic characters contrasted with a serious and overwrought tone makes me believe that no one in the production of The Reflection cared about the outcome, no matter how embarrassingly awful it would be. Watching the cast struggle to overcome adversity wasn't engaging in the slightest, because of how half-hearted the effort to connect them to a poignant theme was.
Xenophobia is a prominent theme in just about every piece superhero media, therefore it’s in The Reflection. It’s not executed with any delicacy, instead, it’s whimsically slopped onto the script for the purpose of evoking modern day prejudices; it in no way comments on its themes, it just reminds us they exist.
Final Score 32/100
Dead on arrival, done to death, and in no way original, The Reflection is a low point in Stan Lee’s career that is best left forgotten.
Its only reason for existing seems to be to callback to Saturday morning superhero cartoons, with a bit of a Japanese twist. If you've experienced any form of superhero media before then watching this will cause your eyes to roll right out of their sockets because The Reflection has nothing new to offer whatsoever.
The feeling of "Saving Anime" was a thing when people knew that Stan Lee were going to lead an Anime. Apparently Stan Lee did lead another anime before with the name of "Hero man" or something like that. Someone told me that it was a good watch, I haven't checked it yet, so I can't really say much about it.
So, unless you live under a rock or you don't like the universe of Marvel, you will probably have heard of him and will probably guess that this anime is about super heroes... but is it that good? did Stan Lee save anime? or is The
Reflection another anime meant to live within oblivion?
TL;DR: Interesting concept, interesting animation style, bad execution, lazy animation, clusterfuck of Stan Lee's favorite heroes on a meaningless and underwhelming story goes wrong on many levels
On super heroes movies, Earth (specially the USA) is the favorite place for many random things to happen: be it huge robots vs more huge robots, aliens, human race destroying themselves, biological weapons, etc... Now, fuse almost everything that could happen on a Hollywood movie and lets add it to an anime, what do you get there? That's right: a huge mess that goes by the name "The Reflection"
The story goes around an event called "The Reflection", an event that happened a while ago. Its never really explained why such an event happened, and why was the earth affected by it, I've probably missed some "important" details while I was trying to get something from what was being shown at the moment. Leaving that aside, "The Reflection" event consists on a "laser and smoke" kind of rain that stroke down in earth, causing people to awaken inner abilities. Those that were affected by lasers are different from those that inhaled the smoke, yet, those affected by both things are now called "Reflected" and they have abilities on them, so they are pretty much the same, even if the anime tells you otherwise.
That's pretty much what I can tell about the story, because aside of that, nothing worth of your time is actually happening, the last episode of this anime just proves that Stan Lee failed to create a story: He basically took every single super hero he has created and took their abilities just to show them off, making a clusterfuck of colors in the progress. In the end there isn't anything meaningful on the story, because... there isn't any to begin with. 2/10
The animation style of this anime is pretty smooth, people told me several times that the animation style is meant to resemble old cartoons, it is very colorful and startling. One of the things that went wrong, is that the animation is very lazy, there are many fights on this anime that could have saved it from misery, but the lack of fps, lack of physics and lack of impact ruined most of fights. There's also the lack of details animation wise, you can see several still shots that aren't really necessary, for example... Singing without having a mouth, several shots without eyes or mouth, and several shots without a face, now I understand if the scene is pretty far away from the camera, or the faces without eyes are resembling certain feeling from characters, for example, being mad or sad, but that's not the case here, it just happens. 5/10
Sound department is also meaningless, "Sky show" song is spammed through almost the entire anime, an atrocious theme song for an asshole character. There are other soundtracks used on this anime that are quite good, sadly they aren't used that much. The voice acting is also lazy. 5/10
The characters on this anime are completely meaningless and annoying. For example "I-guy", he is an obnoxious character that only cares about being popular and "heroic", he interferes with pretty much everything, his sole existence is meant to screw everything that the "good" side is trying to do (and later on, he transforms into a pseudo batman copy with the ability to shoot lazors from his head) Honestly I could have give a 10 to the characters just because X-on delivered a punch to I-guy's ugly face for being completely retarded. Talking about X-on, he is the most mysterious character that remained mysterious towards the end, he can copy the abilities of the Reflected. About him, the only thing we got from him were little flashbacks from his past, he just happens to be there to fight against Wraith's evil forces and no one knows why (Wraith has to be the most ludicrous villain I have ever seen) there isn't any other character out there that means something, they just happen to be there, there is no back story, no motivation, almost nothing, I haven't seen a such a cast of meaningless characters since Mayoiga which had like 30 characters and only 4 of them were actually relevant to the story. 2/10
If we talk about enjoyment, I will state again how much I liked that X-on delivered a falcon punch on I-guy's face, that was probably the best moment this anime had. 4/10
The premise of The Reflection immediately reminded me of the American superhero show "Heroes." Both have a similar premise: after some kind of event, people all over the world emerge with super powers. However, it took Heroes two seasons and a strike before it started being bad. The Reflection is bad right from the get go and continues to plummet in quality until it ends.
Like previously stated, the premise of The Reflection is that several years ago, some kind of explosion appeared in the sky and was seen all over the world. Some people were hurt by it and the ones who survived are known
as the Reflected. The Reflected soon realized that the Reflection gave them super powers. The story follows a young woman, Eleanor, and the mysterious hero X-On, as they follow a case of Reflected who are disappearing. They soon find a sinister plot that threatens the world and it's up to them to save the day.
The story premise I wrote above sounds horribly cliche, right? That's because it is. The Reflection's story severely lacks creativity and the story hurts from it. In addition, the pacing is atrocious. Most of the episodes feel like they take an eternity to finish. At the same time, you'll feel like nothing happened in the episode.
The show ends with a cliffhanger that I won't mention in the unlikely event that you'll watch this show to completion like I did, but the show is really banking on a second season for that cliffhanger to mean anything. I highly doubt that this show will receive a second season, so it just wasted a perfectly good ending on nothing. Thanks a lot.
Overall, I found the main plot of the Reflection to be really lacking and generally uninteresting.
The art is the main reason I started watching this show. When you watch this show, there are times where it feels like this is a graphic novel come to life. I enjoy the art style a lot and is one of the few good things this show has to offer. However, style can only do so much for animation. The actual animation of The Reflection is serviceable at best and at worst, you'll notice some horribly low resolution backgrounds. Another negative of the animation is the CG in this show. Yes, The Reflection has CG and it does not look good in the slightest. At best, it looks okay but when it's bad, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
The soundtrack to The Reflection is your generic superhero music. I mean, it works but you won't remember it all that much. There's only one song that sticks out in this show and that's I-Guy's main theme song, Sky Show. This theme was upbeat and fun initially and I quite liked it. However, as the show progressed, its charm quickly wore off on me.
Outside of the main show soundtrack are its opening and ending. I loathe the opening to this show because of how goddamn generic it is. Ignoring the horribly generic heroic music that plays in the opening, the opening itself is barely animated. It's just a bunch of letters on bright backgrounds. It's like the producers figured that it'd be a good idea to put in minimalist wallpapers as the opening in a desperate attempt to save money or something. On top of the opening being boring, both visually and musically, it lasts a minute and a half. I started skipping the opening by the second episode.
The ending is an ad for some J-pop group. It has nothing to do with the main themes of the show at all, nothing to do with superheroes or the characters or anything. It's blatant promotional material and I despise it because it doesn't even pretend to be part of this show.
Every character in this show is boring. There's really nothing special about any of them. The only character that maybe has an inkling of something interesting going on is X-On and even then, that's just because he's supposed to be "mysterious." As in, the show tells you almost nothing about him and it hopes you might like him as he is.
I didn't like him all that much.
At the time I started watching this show, it had a score of around 4.50, meaning that it was the lowest rated show of the summer anime season. My curiosity got the better of me and I figured it wouldn't hurt to watch it. I figured it couldn't possibly be that bad. After finishing it, I can say that isn't all that bad. There are certainly worse shows out there. However, you can only make your own fun for so long, like I did with The Reflection. This show is so slow and so horribly boring at parts, it's near impossible to have any kind of fun. That isn't to say I didn't succeed in making my own fun.
Near the end of the show, the major plot twist/reveal is shown and I laughed my ass off at it because of how nonsensical it was. It came out of nowhere and made absolutely no sense when you think about it for more than five seconds. Despite how dumb this plot twist was, it was one of the few times this show entertained me. Not because of good writing; it was actually the opposite. The bad writing and overused cliches this show has gave me something to work with, but at the end of it all, it's still terrible to watch and hard to enjoy.
Was The Reflection the worst show I have ever seen? Of course not, there are worse shows out there. Was it the most boring anime I've seen this season? Easily yes. The only thing this show has to offer anyone is its unique art style. If The Reflection wanted you to feel like you were watching a graphic novel in motion, then it succeeded at that. However, that was probably its only major success as every other facet of this show is either mediocre at its high points and terrible at every other point it has.
I would not recommend anyone watch The Reflection. It's unoriginal, cliche and boring. And unlike Heroes, The Reflection does not have a writers' strike to blame for its poor quality.