Set in the year 2100 where the world is tied together by a computer network. The children of the world become Web Divers, adapting their consciousnesses into data, and love to play together in the cyber park called Magical Gate. However, a mysterious computer virus appears beginning to destroy Magical Gate from the inside out. In cyberspace, programs called Web Knights have been created to protect the children. But, the computer virus has turned all the Web Knights against the children. The only Web Knight to escape the "brainwashing" is Gladion. Gladion seeks the help of Kaito Yuki, a Web Diver who is in the fourth grade.
Repetitive anime which falls flat in the "big" climax.
To be honest, I watched this series only because I was doing it for a friend of mine, who was really fond of this anime and I just wanted to understand why. And actually starting with the first episode I didn't know what to make of it.
The story is actually very basic, even for anime standards. It's the typical good vs evil story in which a lot of good characters being manipulated become evil and had to be rescued. OK, so much for that. Starting the first episode, you get a feeling of a formula, which is
being kept throughout all the 52 episodes. Every now and then you get an episode which tries something new and yet it falls back into the same formula. Our heroes usually encounter some dilemma which is tied to the evil doing of one of the manipulated web knights. Our heroes have to web dive and face the web knight or whatever evil entity they have to encounter and destroy it. This is of course a formula which is present in a lot of anime of that sort. Yet it brings nothing new, nothing fresh. Of course it's very creative to see how those web knights influence diver land and yet it's just for the time until they go back to magical gate. The ending falls very flat. The repetitiveness reaches a ludricrous level. It was just painful because the ending drags awfully which makes it really hard to watch to many episodes in quick succession. It was just boring.
The artwork is quite minimal. The settings in the real world are actually quite nice but as soon as you go to magical gate it's just uninventive and boring. The greatest problem with it is the CGI they used for these purposes. The fights don't look very impressive. At the time the anime was made you could already produce impressiv CG but they used it in a way that probably even a forth grader could have done it. Some of this scenery reminds me of a dreadful film called "Food Fight". If you don't know what I mean, try to watch it, the essence being try. They could have at least make the backrounds a little more colourful or diverse. But it looks more like sombody puked on the screen and they tried to animate around it. And I know, it's a money issue here, but they animated the openings without using obvious CGI. Why couldn't they at least represent it a little bit in the episodes, I'm not asking much, but to see the climax of the episode done with such a lack of care, for me this is just incomprehensible. But as I said, whenever we're not in magical gate, the artwork is fine. It's not much but decent.
The characters are also quite basic. But what did you expect. All I'm talking about is a very average story, so it would be quite absurd to have more than standard cliché characters. The lead Kento is generally nice, has the heart in the right place and has above all a clear motivation. This is already quite extraordinary, because he wants to save his brother and starts his journey with purpose instead of just being tossed into the situation and having to deal with what's coming. He is also not the clichéed character who is either the perfect omnipotent overhuman nor the doofus who just runs staight ahead into danger but through bravery and dumb luck is victorious in the end. He is, well, normal in some sense which makes him stand out a little. The rest of the characters on the other hand... hm... were there other characters, at least among the humans? OK that's very harsh, but whatever is left of side characters there is not much to talk about. Most of the series they were expendable. There are a few that actually happen to appear more frequently like Aoi. She is, well the girl, but with hacking abilities, so that's, um... well, that's kind of that. And even this trait is being forgotten throughout the series. Then we have the rival, who is also quite... just that, the rival. Not very outstanding, not very interesting, next. Of course we have his french friend Jean-Jacques. And to be honest, I see hints of a bromance here and there, just slightly, but it's definately there. We just don't spend enough time with them to explore it, so it's just vague, quite like the character. Traits, well, does he have any, and a personality? I'm not sure if anyone has a distinct personality of his own except for the main charakter. The other characters have kind of the task to give exposition and/ or moral support. But you don't really know anything about them. You have a huge line up of supporting roles and none of them is explored, none. Talk about a missed opportunity. The web knights are also pretty basic. They have no personality. The design of some of them is pretty cool. An especially cool point of them is, that they are vehicles to be turned into giant fighting robots. But the obvious CG is also quite distracting here. The bad guys, well, they are even more basic, they are evil. Why?. Just because! OK, the overturned web knights have an explanation of just being evil. They are being manipulated. But the buildup of the main antagonist Deleteloss is so huge (for this series standard) that I expected more. There is not much rhyme or reason. It's just a standard out of the ordinary boring antagonist.
The music is actually one of the high points of this anime. It has nothing that sticks very much but the tunes have a nice beat to them. They are nice to listen to, even though they don't really represent the suspense and the overall feeling, this series is trying to convey.
To sum it all up: I watched this anime even though it was draging very much. I couldn't do binge watching with this anime but yet I could watch it. So if you like average repetitive stories with just a minimal amount of care in producing, writing and animating it, this is your anime. If you're looking for a little more effort and diversity, you should probably skip this one.
For the general impression, I suggest first reading the review by DerOkashi.
And now I will try to explain, why there are people like me, who like anime like Webdiver.
As you read, Webdiver has a simple, generic and repetetiv story. I had no problem with that, because I love the setting. It reminds me of an old childrens book I own, "citties of tomorrow", where different assumption on future events are described, especially on how living will be, but also eg. the moon base to be build around the year 2000...
Another reason for me to like the story are the charakters. Most of them having importance
for one episode and then just being nice ornaments of the background, there is a handful of interesting main charakters of which everyone has an interesting (but simple) personallity.
A point important for me: The parents of some of the main charakters play a role!
These interactions between charakters in the city of "Diverland" are the best parts of the series. Unfortunately these moments only make one sixth of the whole story, which mostly plays in "Magical Gate" (the digital world).
Magical Gate brings us to the artstyle. While Diverland, the real world, is well conceived, while the charakters are decently animated and designed, the mechas and the place they are in is really cheap 3D-dejection. There is actually one thing that looks good: The evil creatures of the second story arc. Their design is very creative!
But for me, I had to find out: It does not bother me at all. There are moments, I think "Oh Mein Gott, sieht das Kacke aus!" (Oh, my god, this looks crap!)... and these moments can get long; remember, this is a very typical mecha show, which means: Mecha Transformations!... Back and forth and with different variants and everything you would expect! This show is still mostly made to sell a variety of merchandise products produced by takara.
And now: When I sit there, looking at crappy animations of crappy 3D graphics for the 10000th time, you might ask the popular question: "Why?"
And I would not listen, absolutely absorbed by the music.
For this show of 52 episode, there exist each two opening and ending songs, aditionally some insert songs. Of these songs, four are under my absolute favourites of anime music and only one is really bad. The background music is not high quality, but I personally like it really much.
This piece of post 90's "primary-school-children-are-our-only-hope-to-rescue-the-world + mecha" series is one of the latest of its kind and suffers under a low budget and general lack of interest.
However, it was able to find its fans and has some interesting concepts.
Those who had fun with similar shows like erudoran-series, might want to give this a try. All those who dont know the genre, but wanting to explore it, should start with something else.
I express my gratitude to the members of Subdiver, having translated this show into english, korean and indonesian.