ワールドトリガー 第1話 「異世界からの来訪者」
World Trigger #01. 「Visitor from the Other World」
Source Material: Manga series by Ashihara Daisuke (葦原 大介)
Studio(s): Toei Animation
Director(s): Hongo Mitsuru (本郷 みつる)
Script: Yoshino Hiroyuki (吉野 弘幸)
Music: Kawai Kenji (川井 憲次)
World Trigger is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ashihara Daisuke currently serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since February 2013. As of September, seven tankobon volumes published by Shueisha have been released.
Home to 280,000 people, Mikado City was at the capital of an inter-dimensional invasion of creatures known as Neighbors. Nearly at the brink of destruction, the city was saved at the last second by a mysterious league of specialists trained to combat Neighbors and their advanced technology. What came to be known as the Border Defense Agency persisted into the modern day, four years later, protecting the citizens of Mikado City from further Neighbor invasions. Kuga Yuuma is a transfer student to Mikumo Osamu’s school and immediately makes a name for himself by showing up to class half an hour late and openly confronting the class bullies. Mikumo resolves on monitoring Kuga in order to discern if he is a member of Border or not. While the two are walking home together after school, they are ambushed by the group of bullies and outnumbered. Mikumo stands up against the bullies for Kuga’s sake but ends up being left alone by the callous Kuga, who stands besides Mikumo care-freely and watches him being pummeled. The bullies eventually switch their aggression towards Kuga but are overpowered by him and right-after interrupted by a Neighbor appearance. Mikumo saves one of the bullies from the attacking Neighbor, thereby revealing his status as a member of Border, but is ultimately powerless against the Neighbor’s full po wer. Kuga, truly curious in Mikumo’s behavior of saving the bullies who had just beat him up instead of running for his own life saves Mikumo by using his own Trigger ability against the Neighbor and quickly defeating it. In the aftermath of the battle, Kuga reveals to Mikumo that although he possesses a Trigger ability, he is not a member of Border, but a Neighbor from beyond the gate.
I’ve been eagerly waiting to see whether World Trigger would to end up on the Kyousougiga end of the modern Toei Animation‘s spectrum or the One Piece (what the anime series is today at least) and Toriko end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to write it off as one amongst the latter group (boy, is that trademark Toei Animation intro with the insufferable sound bite getting to me), though it’s not too surprising considering it is a Weekly Shonen Jump publication and that is the general route for such popular series that don’t have much to prove beyond the hand-crafted manuscript. As far as shounen series go, World Trigger couldn’t start out any more formulaic. In fact, if I compare it to literally the last new Weekly Shonen Jump series I read (and reviewed), the plot points line up unbelievably, yet believably at the same time… well. The protagonist life-changingly influenced by a figure who saved his life in the past. The metropolis with a tumultuous history that shows signs of re-emerging. The mysterious outsider befriended. The organization that ensures the general public’s safety. A climactic occurrence with a resounding display of power from a particular party that triggers the protagonist’s role in upcoming events. And the newly befriended figure revealed to be something not quite of the known species or world. Structurally, it’s like clockwork, but the presentation itself feels nowhere near as fluid and smooth, but rather, vapid. Upon first impression, World Trigger‘s strongest suit is probably its humor, but even then, it’s definitely not a laugh-out-loud kind of comedic evocation. Some moments, like the archetypal bullies making a complete paradigm shift from threatening the protagonist to somewhat swooning over his mature reactions are fun but much too light-hearted to be any kind of driving force for the show atmospherically. While I have heard a few good things about the series, narrative-wise, I have to remain unenthusiastic until I see the luster on the screen myself. I already have to be reserved with a show every time I ever see the credits involving Toei Animation as the main production studio, and I think the nail is driven further into the coffin because I am simply apathetic towards World Trigger‘s art style. With the exception of the computer-generated renderings of the Neighbors, Toei actually does good job in making World Trigger‘s on-screen presentation better than its manga counterpart with the inclusion of color and movement; but it just still doesn’t fly with me in the long run. With all said and reviewed, there’s a lot to be desired from World Trigger, so I am earnestly hoping for any sign of improvement in the coming weeks. If there’s any lesson learned in recent anime adaptation times, shounen series have the full-on potential to be the best of the best, but they can also easily fall off as the most generic of any given bunch of series.