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 Post subject: Spiral
PostPosted: April 24th, 2012, 8:27 am 
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I watched it on Sunday, with a friend who chose it because neither of us had seen it before and she liked what she found about it on ANN - well then.

In the prologue, Junior High sophomore Narumi Ayumu receives a call from his older brother Kiyotaka who works for the police, in which said brother announces that he is about to investigate a group of people called the Blade Children - and thereafter disappears, leaving behind his brother and his wife Madoka, who's also in the police force.
Two years later a girl Sayoko barely survives a fall from the school's roof level, which leads Ayumu onto a path that links him to the Blade Children, hoping to eventually find his older brother.

That's about as much as you find in any non-spoiler review (or rather teaser). Let's go a little further.
As it soon turns out, the series starts with attempted murder and we find out that Kiyotaka was a master at anything he touched - a piano player in his teens, a detective in his twenties. Ayumu is different than his brother, but also very similar and has a minority complex because of that. But Ayumu enters our field of view by solving crimes with keen logic - I find his argumentation pointing out the culprit faulty, but be it as it may: You watch the first few episodes and you get the feeling this was a detective series. Not so.

The detective concept is soon dropped when the Blade Children enter the stage. The alien archetype among them, a British piano ace named Eyes Rutherford (a name that sounds like serious brain burn which only a Japanese can come up with), is convinced that Ayumu is the key to saving them and initiates a number of tests to verify Ayumu's capabilities, all of which are potentially deadly - if he's not the saviour he might as well die, so to speak.

After Ayumu has taken the tests and more or less convinced the Blade Children, the so-called Hunters appear. They are a group of people who are out to exterminate the Blade Children.
And then reason fades away.
First of all it's not just the Blade Children who like to play deadly games. The oh-so-evil Hunters are gamers as well, which is to say instead of just killing them off they lure them into elaborated and well-planned traps out of which there is of course a chance of escape.
The second and major point is that it is never said WHY the Blade Children possibly are so special. What do we learn about them? Well, they miss a rib and they have slitted eyes much like cats. That seems to be it. Quoting little Dexter: "No physical mutations, no enhanced abilities, no nothing." As I said, one of them is a gifted piano player, Ryôko (the tomboy archetype) is a gifted athlete. But there's nothing supernatural about them.

Last but not least the character's abilities fluctuate depending on the author's needs for suspense, like Ryôko gets caught despite her well-honed reflexes, and Rio, the highly intelligent child archetype, makes decisions and deductions that put her intelligence to shame.
Generally, after the characters were introduced and their intelligence supposedly established in the mind of the viewer it all goes to waste and the coming "tests" are more like dexterity checks.

Content-wise it's all a little frustrating and feels much like fan-service for the fans of the manga.
At least I am happy with the technical aspects, like character design and animation, and the Japanese dub of course. The show has Mitsuishi Kotono as Madoka and Horie Yui as Rio, who, along with their lesser known colleagues, did a very good job.

Alas, what can I eventually say about it? Watch it, it's worth it, but save your money and your shelf space for something better.


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