Oh hey Mytho from Princess Tutu, didn’t expect to see you here.

Mikado city just happens to be the location where a dimensional gate opened, allowing a bunch of CGI monsters called…wait for it…’Neighbors’ to come in and wreak havoc. Although ordinary military weapons couldn’t damage the Neighbors they were no match for Teenagers With Scifi Weapons. It has been four years since said teenagers created a special defence force called Border to defend against any other Neighbors that come through, and life has since returned to normal – only the occasional disturbance is just an ordinary part of daily life that is quickly taken care of by those at Border.

Osamu Mikado is a glasses-wearing, stoic young man who doesn’t seem to have any friends, and one day a peculiar (and short) white-haired boy named Yuuma transfers into his class. Yuuma doesn’t seem to understand a lot of things about Japan, which quickly gets him in trouble with the class thugs who then want to get back at him for humiliating them in class. Worried about Yuuma’s safety, Mikado tags along when they lead him to an abandoned lot to beat him up, getting beat up in the process. All the beating up is interrupted by the appearance of a Neighbor – and to each other’s surprise both Mikado and Yuuma possess a ‘Trigger’, the special scifi power that only those at Border should have.

However, Yuuma isn’t from Border, and isn’t even from earth…it turns out he’s actually a kind of ‘Neighbor’ as well.

Nice scifi outfit, nerd.

Well that was disappointing. World Trigger was one of the new shows I had a lot of interest in – I hadn’t read the original Jump manga which seems to be doing quite well, but I really liked what I saw of the character designs. The thing is, it’s not exactly World Trigger’s fault that this was so bad, it’s simply just a really bad adaptation. My expectations sank a lot as soon as the Toei Animation logo came up, but damn this animation was simply appalling.

I know it’s hard to be impressed after having just watched ufotable’s spectacular-looking new Fate/Stay Night anime and all but there’s really no excuses for such a bad-looking first episode. Toei are renowned for animating on-the-cheap and there’s all the tell-tale signs of it – characters going off-model and staying still as long as possible, really bad and choppy movement in general, the fact that flapping mouths are often the only thing that moves on the entire character… Then there’s the fact that everyone seems to have this constant, dead-eyed gaze like they’re not really looking at anything in particular. None of these characters felt like they were…well, characters. It’s hard to tell from the caps I took (and it was actually kind of difficult for me to choose at least 3 decent-looking parts) but everything is so stiff and cheap-looking that I can only imagine how bad it’s going to get in future episodes if this is only the first one.  The general animation direction is incredibly awkward too – there’s weird pauses in parts where there shouldn’t be and the timing just seems totally off.

The thing is, I really think this could have been a good show. The story is kind of dumb and cliche and I really don’t like the exposition-dump beginning but the characters were actually pretty likeable and in the right hands it could have been an entirely watchable scifi anime. All I could think while watching it is how much better it would be if it were done by pretty much any other studio. Even Studio Deen would have done a better job than this. It was actually kind of like watching a really bad school play version of a broadway musical – the story and characters may be the same, but its acted out by a bunch of kids in shitty cardboard costumes and no one would ever prefer it.

On the plus side, the promise of something decent underneath this awful adaptation actually did make me want to read the manga and see if it really is better. Seeing as the manga hasn’t actually been running for that long and Toei specialize in badly-animated never-ending kids shows, I imagine its going to depart from the manga’s version of events eventually anyway, so there’s pretty much no reason to watch this one at all. A real shame.

He’s just…he’s just so tiny.

Out of 5,