Apr 28, 2019
Krunchyman (All reviews)
Black hair.
German attire from circa 1935
“Niggard.” — Inyou

I did nazi that coming.

Ever since the days of Lewis and Clark traveling towards the Pacific ocean to partake in as much Native pungtang as they could handle, exploration has been a human fascination. Anime being no exception. Shows like Hunter x Hunter, Made in Abyss, and The Twelve Kingdoms demonstrate the appeal of an adventure in uncharted territories. The latest iteration of this theme, Gunjou no Magmel (Magmel of the Sea Blue), treads a similar path to its forerunners, albeit in a less ambitious, banal fashion. But why does Gunjou no Magmel underachieve?

Each episode begins with a new character seeking the aid of an “angler” — a search and rescue specialist in Magmel. Inyou, an aforementioned “angler,” possess a wealth of knowledge concerning the cryptic continent, and impressive magical abilities to boot. However, as opposed to traversing the expansive landscape it conceived for itself, significant portions of Gunjou no Magmel are dedicated toward emotional anguish. This is expected of an environment with immensely powerful creatures. But with the allocation of one episode per individual, the ‘poignant’ stories never blossom as intended. Simply put, the rapid pace hinders the emotional impact it attempted to deliver.

Furthermore, the juxtaposition between the high octane action and methodical somberness did not meld well. Full Metal Alchemist pulled off this tenuous dynamic, but had the benefit of 51 episodes to coax the optimal engagement from the viewer. Unfortunately for Gunjou no Magmel, with only thirteen episodes to work with, the characters fly by without impacting the viewer. As for the two recurring characters, Inyou and Zero, they are archetypal ‘stand-ins’ that yield nothing of consequence. Inyou is an invincible anti-hero who acts supremely confident and spouts useless platitudes to feign intelligence. And Zero is a girl who feels inadequate because her bust is….well, inadequate. Also, they both enjoy pudding. Yet when food preferences serve as characterization, then the writing staff needs to reconsider their priorities.

The action sequences are devoid of tension, along with energy. The Godzilla-like monster in episode two moved at a snail’s pace. Sure, he tossed boulders like baseballs. But the climatic battle did not live up to the expectations. As was the case with the other battles, thus far. Zapping the only potential Gujou no Magmel had at delighting the viewer.