Mobius is a perfect digital world for the imagined benefit of humanity by μ, a virtual idol program that attained sentience and self-awareness. Only humans who are suffering in the real world and strongly relate to μ's songs are lured into Mobius.
Once they enter, people often forget that the real world exists. Regardless of age or gender, they are turned into students and forced to experience school life over and over, which μ considers "the most radiant time in a person's life."
If this title doesn't ring a bell, I'm honestly not surprised that anyone has ever seen or heard this series before.
My first impression of this series is just like a Persona rip-off (considering that the overall script was actually written by Tadashi Satomi who has worked on the Persona games), only that its popularity was no greater than say the latter, and coming into it, it is something that's quite confusing to deal with at first.
Based off the PS Vita game of the same name, or as is known with its main drive, the Caligula Effect (a real phenomenon) where people have the notion to
want to see and do prohibited things, is key to understanding the whole premise of the show. That's why with the usual good vs. evil teams (Go-Home club vs. Ostinato Musicians), the effect comes into play (although not extensively covered in depth).
To give the whole series a backdrop (which MAL states here is a complete mess, although it's true from the game's view): there exists a virtual world (called Mobius) that people live in to kick reality in the face, but in exchange, they are forced to live in that world for an indefinite period of time. In comes the GOOD Go-Home Club, who has sighted the problem with the VR world and its overseer program, a vocal program called "μ", and wants their way (of the Caligula Effect) to escape from the virtual world and the EVILdoers, the Ostinato Musicians, want to bring an end to them to meet the demands of the vocal program and Mobius for reasons.
To the question of how the anime adaptation is played against the game, I would say it's alright but nothing noteworthy, but one thing to note is of the world-building aspect, it will serve as a progressive build-up. Sometimes the story itself will differ from a snail's crawl to a rabbit's running pacing, all in order to exemplify the world that's encased around the various characters that serve the side that they're on.
The same could be said for the visuals and musicality. The visuals are meant to give an expository view of the virtual world whilst remaining true to the game's designs, and so far it has delivered decently. Music-wise, it's pretty unmemorable but is (objectively) OK for what it is.
To those who are still watching this show, don't give up hope yet, for the Caligula effect basis will compel you to continue watching for its effect upon everyone. For those considering, prepare light-heartedly for the abyss of the reality as it takes you on a ride of getting sense of the virtual world as it is.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think that I just found the most confusing, but also most thematically complex anime of the season so far. And possibly the best, too. I’ll admit that I was looking forward to this one, but I didn’t expect it to be this interesting. At the time of this writing only four episodes have been released, and within those episodes I’ve interpreted four different themes. This is clearly the type of show that can be interpreted in many different ways, and I will be interested to know if anyone else out there has thought of
any other themes that I didn’t while watching this show. Mobius is a perfect digital world for the imagined benefit of humanity by U, a virtual idol program that attained sentience and self-awareness. Only humans who are suffering in the real world and strongly relate to U’s songs are lured into Mobius.
Once they enter, people often forget that the real world exists. Regardless of age or gender, they rae turned into students and forced to experience school life over and over, which U considers “the most radiant time in a person’s life.” the first theme I want to talk about is the theme about life being an illusion, or a simulation. But first, a history lesson. Simulated Reality is the hypothesis that reality could be simulated--for example, by quantum computer simulation--to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality. Most people who believe in this theory state that there was once a human society just like ours eons ago which advanced far beyond where we are at right now, and eventually used their advanced technology to create a simulation for reality.
However, this is where opinions on the theory tend to differ. In terms of how the type of simulation it is, some say they simply simulate their entire history for whatever reason, and others say that they attempt to simulate a better society than what they had. Regardless of which you believe, pretty much all of them agree that things like disability, mental illness, amnesia, and de ja vu, are examples of glitches in the system. Regarding this series, the main plot is about the female character U creating a simulated reality for humanity in the hopes that they’d be happier in this world than in the real world. Stuff like people’s faces being blocked out and people changing completely, such as Mifune Shinoara’s mother going from unhealthily skinny to looking much more healthy, could also be seen as glitches in the system. Interesting note, this is actually what I initially thought that the entire series was going to be about based on the synopsis, but I’m kind of glad that it’s not because the series would be far less interesting if it didn’t potentially possess the other three themes that I’m gonna talk about.
The next to themes are kind of intrinsically connected. Those are themes about being insecure, and themes about appreciating what you have, the former theme naturally segueing into the latter theme. The idea of life being an illusion is probably just what I get out of it. While I don’t doubt that they did put some symbolism in the series for that, but I doubt that it was meant to be about that. However, I do truly feel that these two themes are what the series is meant to be about. The character U sent all of these people to a simulated world, truly believing that they would be happier in this world than in the real world. And while there are some people that oppose this, most people have accepted it. In episode 4 they introduce a female character.
I honestly don’t remember if they named the character, but rest assured, she is memorable, if I don’t remember it then it’s because of my bad memory. She’s a pretty mysterious character at first, but we quickly learn that she has accepted this fake world due to how much she hated her life due to having no friends and believing that nobody cared about her. It’s at this point that I should mention that many of the themes in this show involve interpersonal drama, and if you don’t like that then this series definitely won’t be for you. I normally don’t, but I still really loved the series. Anyways, she has a friend and companion within the world who she believes is her only friend, but when this girl finds out that they’re living in a fake world her friend decides that she doesn’t want to live in this world, and she feels betrayed, lashing out.
This scene quickly ends with with the latter girl announcing how much she values their friendship, and the former girl has to relent. I know I’m probably not explaining it the best, I’m trying to explain, point by point, an entire scene in a show, and I’m not that good at it, but just trust me, the scene is fantastic, it perfectly exemplifies the representation of these two themes, and so far it’s my favorite scene in this show in general. The girl starts being insecure and hating her life, and she ends accepting what she has and perhaps even moving forward to the future. The last theme is really minor so it’ll be really quick. In episode 3 there’s a scene at a tea party. The girls that are hosting the tea party are really chibi and cute at first, but as they eat more they quickly become really fat and obtain much deeper voices.
Mifue Shinohara, the girl whose being treated at the tea party, bursts out, lamenting how much she hates how fat and disgusting that they are, and the main hoster of the tea party, who somehow isn’t fat for some reason, criticizes her for it, calling her vain, ugly, egotistical, and a bunch of other things. It should be mentioned that Mifue isn’t an unlikable character, just flawed. It should be mentioned that before this we have a scene with her mother, who is unhealthily skinny due to wanting to watch her wait. Mifue secretly wants her mother to look more “normal” and when she returns home from school later, she is. Maybe this is just me, but it seems like these scenes have a double meaning. Not judging people based on their appearances, but encouraging people to care about their own appearances and bettering themselves. Okay, I think I’m done here. I am truly impressed with how layered and complex that this series, and I can’t wait to see more of it.
Caligula anime is based on a video game written by Tadashi Satomi who also worked as a writer for Persona 1-2 and a few other games. Needless to say, none of his projects have ever been popular or accepted by critics, so there's not much to expect from him. Now, I have not played the game yet, so anything I say will only be applied to the anime. The game is actually going to be re-released for PS4 in this or next year, so I'll wait for that to happen and I advise everyone to give the game a chance even if you disliked the
anime as much as I did.
Within 5 episodes there was literally nothing to look forward to. The story is basically Persona, but with a few twists: there's a group of villains, everything happens in an artificial world and the main hero seems to be more important than side-characters.
There are some serious pacing and planning problems in this anime. First two episodes try to establish the world and introduce the main characters for a little bit, then they literally have two bottled episodes with side-characters. Having episodes focused on a certain character is fine for an anime with 20+ episodes, but when all you have is 12/13, then you really can't afford such a thing. I mean, it's episode 5 and the story has no skeleton, it just throws in a bit of meat from all directions and expects you to like it.
The opening and ending are very good. In general, visuals are nice, nothing more.
It is probably more of a complain to the game, but I'll still say it - the character design is pretty awful. I get that they were trying to be "realistic" and down-to-Earth avoiding colored hair, but there is a reason why characters in anime often have very different hair styles, hair colors and outfits - that is because it is pretty difficult to make an entirely unique look in anime-style, so you have to play around and tweak ever part of one's body while also keeping it true to the character.
Caligula decides "screw that" and has characters that not only sound awfully similar, but look almost identical.
No one is going to accept and like your anime if you can't make your characters distinguishable enough. Similar looking people are okay in live action movies and tv shows, but they are not in anything drawn. It's a rule that you can't walk away from. If you know anything about writing, then I don't have to tell you that all these tiny little details are very important: a main character's name can't start with the same letter as main villain's, similar looking characters must have different behavior and if one of them is similar - then you just have to establish them both in the same time using various tricks. Same thing goes for colored hair in anime. Even if you want to keep it with this greyish style, there's always blonde and white for your disposal.
Caligula seems to be written by someone who truly needs to finish a school for writers.
Most characters are voiced nicely, but a lot of them have very similar or even annoying voices - not something I can accept.
Sound effects are good.
Music is great, but they are over-using it to the point of killing the scenes. Having good music is awesome, but if you put too much of it in every "emotional" moment, the effect of music breaks. Music must be added very carefully and even the most amazing songs will not have any impact if music placement is done wrong. For the most part, this anime does it wrong and ends up looking like a video clip and not a compelling story project.
Too many characters and too little time or care.
Caligula is a 25-30 hour game. The anime-adaptation has only 4 hours. Even if they divided the story in two parts and saved some good chunk for the second season (I doubt it), it's still not enough time to cover everything. Every episode introduces a new villain and all of them are as forgettable as they can be, they do nothing and have 0 personalities and when you think "well, that's too much characters", the anime introduces a few more without establishing even the main hero!
Mentioning the main hero... "good guys" aren't that interesting or unique. Most of them are annoying or selfish, what happens when you make an anime about a bunch of annoying people? The anime turns out bad.
Also often I felt like everything happened with the power of a string and the writers did not care about their characters. "Okay, now we need to tell this story, so character A is going to be in a spot B". This kind of attitude and treatment of characters is not something I will ever accept.
I liked the first two episodes. The story moved for a little bit and the anime tried to establish its world and characters. It wasn't great but just okay. Then they said "okay, we're done with the characters and world, enjoy" and started focusing on some random folks.
Needless to say, I did not enjoy this anime. Apart from music, there is nothing worth looking for. Just a bad-average show that may pick some viewers because of its pretentious orientation on psychology, good music and fem-power villain.
Do not watch this anime if you are interested in the universe of Caligula. Just wait for the PS4 remake or if you're eager, buy the game on PS Vita (the system can be found for 100$ and it has a lot of great games). This adaptation is simply poorly produced and it exists only to promote the remake of the game and to cash-in on Persona's success. And if you don't play games (I hope you do), just wait for the original soundtrack CD with all the songs.
Maybe I'm failing to understand what's the point behind this anime, in three episodes there's no character development whatsoever except from stupid gags trying to make something funny when two seconds before the atmosphere was dark and "mysterious", between quotation marks cause I don't sense the mistery, neither anything that makes me want to see where this goes.
All in all, I sense something like "we failed to make this serious so instead we'll give you this fat guy who pretends to be a cute loli and hope that makes the series good enough for you".
The music is quite nice, and the animation is not... that
bad, but I don't think this is worth watching.