It hurts, as a big Inazuma Eleven fan who watched the franchise ever since the first season of Inazuma Eleven was still airing, to give such a low rating for an Inazuma Eleven franchise. But... here we are.
I waited until I watched every episode of this to know for sure whether or not I would be certain of my decision, and having watched all 49 episodes I can say this with no regret: I am really disappointed with what Orion has become.
I also make a handful of references to the other installments of Inazuma Eleven in this review to try and emphasize my point.
- All right, so those watching Orion will directly notice several things. Orion takes inspiration from the other Inazuma Eleven seasons, every one of them if you want to analyze every little frame, and this was a nice idea. It would serve as a little bit of an easter egg for the faithful fans who have watched every episode of every season where we could go "Ah, that came from Galaxy, and that one came from the Aliea Academy arc!"... but the execution of everything is horrid, there is no other way to describe it. By trying too hard to reference everything, Orion ends up in this weird space where it cannot stand out from the others. Sure there are only so few plot ideas they could have gone for with what is effectively Inazuma Eleven's eighth arc, but it really feels very weak. Orion also suffers from the same pacing problem that Ares had, but then cranked up to an eleven (more on that in the Enjoyment part of this review). In short, the story tried to focus on one specific plot point but it ended up becoming a rushed mess that, honestly, was quite all over the place.
Art (4/10) - With a new franchise come new techniques and new animation techniques to, well... animate the techniques. The animation of all the new techniques introduced in Orion (and there are a lot of them!) has certainly improved, but none barring one (maybe two) of these were techniques that left me with a spark and in awe.
Orion also does this thing where they have goal celebrations from the characters of the main team, especially in the first half of Orion. I know that there are goal celebrations in the other installments of Inazuma Eleven, but these somehow feel... choppy and kind of awkward. I am not that big of a fan of these if that was not obvious.
Sound (6/10) - The soundtracks of Inazuma Eleven has always been pretty good, and even though I feel like it has gone down with Ares and Orion, they're still pretty decent. I will also admit that I am a pretty big fan of the third ED of Orion and more than its OP, which is something I can't say I am since Maji Bomber all the way back in the original Inazuma Eleven's third season.
Character (2/10) - Oh boy... I could write this whole review just about the characters in Orion, but... let's try and just get to the point. The Inazuma Japan from the original Inazuma Eleven had sixteen members at any given time. The Inazuma Japan from Galaxy had thirteen members at most. Orion's Inazuma Japan starts out with nineteen members right from the first episode, which is a bigger problem than most people might realize. The characters themselves are perfectly fine, that's not the issue. What is the issue is that there is no way for us to bond with any of them as there is no feasible way for Orion to properly showcase any character growth whatsoever (except if you are one of the main characters).
The worst part of all this is that they were doing okay for the first half of Orion, because once it got to the world tournament they ended up ADDING characters to the main team. Sure we also lost some characters along the way, but we ended with a surplus of characters. And that would have been okay if those new additions got the respect they deserved, but the moment that they had their place in the spotlight they were sidelined almost immediately after. And that, to me, is sadder than if they had not been brought on to the team to begin with...
Enjoyment (1/10) - Let's just get this out of the way early: at some point, I ended up watching Orion not because I enjoyed it or because I wanted to know what would happen next, but to find out how they would try and salvage what was left to salvage.
On a very basic level, I could enjoy it when new techniques were shown. But the Inazuma Eleven fan inside of me knows that I was disappointed throughout the entire run of it. And it all can be concluded by one word: pacing. The pacing of Orion is, as much as it hurts me to say this about an Inazuma Eleven installment, horrible. There is almost no scene shown where characters are training their new techniques in the later episodes, making it seem like they "learned the technique out of nowhere" when they use them in the match. There is very minimal interactions going on between the characters to help us understand how their dynamic is with other characters that we do not know of already (I mean, Endou interacted with Kidou, sure, but we have seen Endou interact with Kidou all the time. Show him interacting with someone like Haizaki who he hasn't interacted with before). In addition, there was also very minimal downtime in between each match (downtime which could have been used to show character development or have them train a new technique together or something).
And the matches, ESPECIALLY the latter half of Orion, ends up being the two teams throwing around hissatsus left, right and center. Which, to be fair, I know is what Inazuma Eleven's matches is supposed to be about, but thanks to the lack of training scenes shown it seems like they are pulling those hissatsus out of thin air. I would be okay if that would be for the big final technique or whatever, but it happened almost all the time.
It says a lot about how disappointing this was when I enjoyed the start of Orion (say... the first 19 episodes) more than I did everything that followed. And, yes, I did rewatch the start of Orion again to confirm this.
Overall (3/10) - A really neat story idea all in all with a lot of potential, but with very poor execution and finishing which ended up ruining all of that. After having finished watching Orion, I really wish they just stopped with Inazuma Eleven after Galaxy ended. Maybe my hopes and expectations were too high and/or unrealistic for Orion, but the fact remains that I am disappointed with the final result.
Inazuma Eleven Ares was one of most disappointing series comebacks I've ever seen. The story was incredibly rushed thanks to it's dreadful pacing. The writing was shallow at best, most of the new characters sucked and the visuals were underwhelming .
It had some good moments but those moments didn't save the anime from being painfully disappointing.
Before Inazuma Eleven Ares finished airing OLM announced a squeal for it called Inazuma Eleven Orion. Like with many Inazuma Eleven fans I was super excited for it as I thought Orion would be the tasteful main course that would overshadow its amateur hour starter that was Ares. I thought
this series would be amazing. So, I watch it and I wish I haven't.
I just going to say this right now Inazuma Eleven Orion is not only the worst entry of the series but is also one of the worst animes I have ever watched in a long while. It's like the staff took everything that was wrong with Ares and managed to crank it up to 11.
One of the main problems you will notice right out of the gate is its fan-fiction nature when it comes to it's writing. This was a massive problem in Ares that ultimately plagued it but Orion takes it to the next level to a point where became unbearable. The writing in Orion feels like it was written by a clumsy student who had no creativity and passion. The same student thought it was a brilliant idea to add dark themes and topics on a franchise that rarely had dark themes and topics in it. Ladies and Gentleman that's the plot of Inauma Eleven Orion in a nutshell. It's vapid, boring, hollow, ham-fisted and most importantly tedious to watch.
As for the Orion Foundation plot itself it was hot garbage. Not only it was terribly written it's also incredibly generic. This plot is only interesting if haven't seen an organisation plot in your life. It is the most generic and stock evil organisation plot imaginable and it's not even handled well. This generic written plot was only made worse by the inclusion of politics in the second half.
I wish I was making this up. The show had the nerves to throw in politics in a series that was meant for kids. This wouldn't been a problem if the politics stuff was foreshadowed in Ares but nope it popped out of nowhere just like the rest of the so called plot twists in this show. With the inclusion of politics the tone, pacing even dialogue go to shit as the devolved into this uninspired and badly written political, sports, spy series that contradicts everything that this franchise has stood for since 2008.
It doesn't help that the main villain of the show Irina Girikanan is so one dimensional. She is evil for the sake of being evil. She has no motivation whatsoever other than to use children from various countries to take over the world with her contrived Orion Foundation plan.
Now if you thought the pacing in Ares was bad than guess what the pacing in Orion is somehow even worse. For a long semi-tournament arc we don't see the characters actually train let along bond with each other. Sure the show has some downtime moments but it's not the type of downtime that you expect. It uses its downtime to focus on the Orion Foundation plot instead of developing its characters through training and bonding.
The lack and character bonding really hurts the pacing as well the characterisation because the show would rather focus on it's contrived written Orion Foundation plot which was very rushed instead having a couple of episodes where the characters are just getting along with each other. Inazuma Japan never felt like a actual team. Sure they play in matches with each other, and they attend coach meetings but the majority of the characters in Inazuma Japan have little to no chemistry with each other.
When Endou interacts to Gouenji or Kazemaru it feels natural because they have been good friends and teammates for a long time but when he interacts to any of the new characters it felt so forced and unnatural especially when some of the new characters like Kira, Hazaiki and Hiura never had a single sentence with each other. That's not all because there's hardly any training all of the hissatsu that the characters pull off for the first time felt like asspulls.
The biggest problem with Orion's plot by far is the over-reliance of plot twists. Not only they were heavily abused but the majority of them were just stupid. Don't get me started with the final plot twist that happened in the final 3 episodes.
I won't mention it here due to heavy spoilers but I want you to imagine the worst type of plot twist. The type of plot twist that completely betrays everything that the show previously set up. The type of plot twist that rips off another series plot twists in the different continuity.
That's the final plot twist in Inazuma Eleven Orion in a nutshell. It's so bad, so tasteless it made me want me to slam my head on a wall for half an hour.
Oh the characters aren't much better at all. I even go as far that the characters were way worst than the god awful plot.
Inazuma Japan has over 20 characters yet almost all of them aren't develop for shit. Prime examples include Kira, Gounji, Nishikage, Hiura, Iwato, Mansaku, Norika Sakanoue and Kozoumaru. They don't do anything noteworthy in the plot and they have no character development whatsoever. Heck some of the members are literately there just for memes I wish I was joking...
The OG crew are somehow even worse. All of the character development and personality quirks have been thrown out the window and what you left with are empty shells of characters we grown to love.
Fudou went from being a likeable jerk with a heart of gold to an annoying edgelord who just exist for bench memes.
Hiroto went from being a well written badass to a worthless background character with no personality.
Kazemaru (My favourite OG character) went from being a competitive and loyal friend to Endou to a boring and hollow background character.
The biggest insult of them all was Endou (My second favourite character). Endou went from being a likeable, funny, well written and developed character to a infuriating, overpowered Gary Sue with no personality and development.
The only two OG characters that still had their personality quirks from the original series is Kidou and Goeunji and yet they were victim of the shows plot contrivances where they were shafted in favour of Ichihoshi who is garbage.
Ichihoshi is not a character. He's a husk. A husk that is so contrived and unoriginal . He's backstory is a complete ripoff off of Fubiki with his tragic backstory. He even go as for antagonistic the OG characters by either getting them injured in a match or kicked them out of the team with some evil scheme. All of this happens because Ichihoshi couldn't control himself and he had to take out his frustration towards others.
I honestly cannot for the life of me stand characters that behave like douche-bags just because they love ones have died. I understand losing your loved ones is tragic but there's no reason to take it out on others.
By the time this Fubiki knockoff opens up to the team he becomes a total plot device where the only two things that he does is to be loyal to Asuto and be the tool for the Orion in the second half.
Why Inazuma Eleven Orion why did you have to ruin one of the best written characters in Ares Haizaki. In Ares he had a well written backstory that made him more then just another typical soccer player. He was fighting through the Ares system as a act of revenge due to what happened to his childhood friend Akane. It was an amazing subplot that had a strong payoff.
So what did the writers do to him in Orion? Well you take all of his character development, threw it out the window and turn him into the second coming of Shadow the Edgehog.
The only good character in Orion is Nosaka. I really liked his character development in Orion. He went from being a distance individual who barely interacts to anyone to a badass tactics captain who is able to lead Inazuma Japan as the secondary captain.
Finally we Asuto who is without a question the worst character in the entire show. Not only he was one dimensional as hell but he was also downright infuriating to watch.
He's basically Tenma without the charm and quality that made him a great character in the first place. Sure Tenma did some dumb things throughout the GO saga but he's character development across the series as well his personality and interactions make up his shortcomings. Asuto has none of that. He is just a soulless, annoying, inpet, vapid, and exasperating little dipshit from beginning to end. Let's not forget that he's a total numskull. He aggressively defends Ichihoshi even though everyone in the team is against him due to his nasty actions that he committed to the team. One of those actions almost had a teammate (Endou) killed and yet this asswipe still has the nerves to value him as a teammate.
Get the hell outta here with your contrived bullshit.
The final nail in the coffin for this pathetic excuse of a protagonist is that he has no character development at all. From episode 1 of Ares to episode 49 of Orion he's still the same static character that we all know and hate.
There's bad characterisation and there's not giving a damm and Asuto is down the ladder leading towards the rabbit hole. That's why I cannot stand this dipshit of a character and he's the main reason why I hate Inazuma Eleven Orion so much. If it wasn't for this sack of shit I wouldn't have hated this show so much.
It would still be a massive disappointment due to it's character shafting and terrible plot but I wouldn't have been so mad at it but because of Asuto annoying presence I went from mildly disliking Orion to utterly despising it.
Curse you Asuto you good for nothing dipshit.
So how about the supporting characters? Aren't they any good? No.
They are just as bad as the main team.
The teams that Inazuma Japan face-off have no personality as they were full blown plot devices especially the Perfect Spark and Ole de Samba teams.
Now let's talk about this show technical aspects Let's be real honest with our self's.
This show came out in 2018-2019 and yet the show looks it was made over a decade and a half ago mainly due to the because of the terrible production values. The animation if you can call it animation at times was terrible. It had a lot choppy animation, heavily relayed on stock footage which became jarring fast and match choreography was clunky.
The only decent thing about the visuals is the art and even then it's inconsistent as character models would go off model.
The soundtrack is just as lame as the plot. The old tracks while good lost a lot of charm thanks to how overused they were. As for the new tracks they were absolutely terrible. Not only they don't fit the tone of the show at all but the tracks seem to mindlessly drown in the background with no melody to it.
To Orion's credit the opening themes were catchy and memorable tho I cannot say the same thing for the ending themes as they were dull.
All of these problems tie up to the biggest problem with not only Orion but this alternative timeless as a whole the lack of creativity and passion.
When I first watched Orion I thought the series would go back it's classic routes that we all know and love but just after watching the first quarter of Orion I started to notice that there was a little to no passion towards this series for example almost all of the matches themselves were a void of life and excitement. The production values for the matches didn't help it at all and the matches feel like a vehicle for the shows pathetic and poorly written drama.
What makes it even worse is how hamfisted the plot is. The series tried to tackle serious themes and topics such as child abuse, political control, grief, acceptance but not only they were poorly executed due to poor writing and direction but it also has the nerve to shot out how brilliant and complex it is when it's actually not.
If, you don't know how handle and execute than don't put them in the show. It's makes your series more vapid and dumb than it already is.
Even with my bias love with this franchise I still detest Inazuma Eleven Orion with a burning passion. It's an insufferable garbage fire that completely contradicts everything that's this franchise stood for. It's like this show was done by 25 Inazuma Eleven fanboys who had no communication with one another.
As a result the plot, pacing, themes, dialogue, characters, visuals and music is broken. Not even Nosaka can save this pile of waste.
Orion is not only the worst anime I have seen in 2019 (worst than Fairy Gone, Wise Man's Grandchild Index S3 and Arifureta) but also one of the worst animes I have ever watched from this decade. It's a boring, insulting, unfocused, lifeless, miserable and broken mess of an anime that has no passion and soul.
I feel so betrayed.
I've watched 7 episodes so far, and I have to say that Orion has taken a firm approach with the story and characters that was missing in Ares. I'm reviewing this show as a 20-year old dude who has been watching Inazuma Eleven for 8 years.
The story is much better; there is the usual scary organization behind the scenes that uses middle schoolers to take over the world or something. However, the team's response is finally worthwhile. Kidou gives no shits about the wholesome soccer spirit and actually fights back. Episode 6 in particular was so enjoyable because finally they decided to beat up their
enemies instead of the other way around. It was really funny to see the trope being reversed, and I laughed so hard in that episode
I also really like the progression of power in Orion so far. Goenji is as hype as I wanted, and his plays removed the stale taste from Ares. It's also great that Inazuma Japan is actually evenly matched with the other Asian teams, and they have to rely on beating the other teams' gimmicks rather than just getting powerups through the course of the match. I'm glad that they stopped the whole V2, V3, G2, G3 system and simply use hissatsu tactics, shoots and goalie moves. Endou's power up is great too, and doesn't feel forced. The team already has incredibly strong hissatsus like The Explosion, Perfect Penguins, so they can contend with the Asian teams while still developing even stronger ones that are world-level instead of Asia level.
Art is really good at times and acceptable most of the time. Kinda sad that it sometimes isn't as pretty. Music is awesome and gets me hyped.
Characters look good for now. Ichihoshi definitely will get a character development arc soon, and Kidou as usual is the best character of the series. Kidou, Gouenji, and Endou easily made Orion better than Ares, but so far Endou hasn't had as much impact as Kidou, Haizaki, Hiroto, and Gouenji. I'm looking forward to Nosaka coming back as he was the best character of Ares.
Overall I'm giving it a 9 because the show has broken some old annoying tropes, has paced itself well, and has a solid plot progression.
Story 6/10 :
Again a new system comes as always, but this time it is a bit too much. They included all the old characters and now kicking them out one by one. The FFI was also in the main first season, but this time too awkard.
Art 4/10 :
Well I don't know they are sort of time or money on the animation, but it is just worsening after each episode, definitionely not expected from animes such a shit animation.
Just as Inazuma franchise, 1 or 2 traitors are always there, they aren't developing much, except Endou and Inamori, all have accepted the traitor but just can't
kick him out, and they hit him in Australia, yet he is in perfect condition.
Enjoyment 8/10 :
As I like Inazuma franchise from since I was small, I still enjoy this anime as Endou and Gouenji are there.
Overall 7/10 :
It is somewhat decent series, but animation is worsening, might be worth watching once. If planning to watch one, watch the previous season first.