Netflix recently dropped the entire first season of the new Studio BONES series, A.I.C.O. Incarnation as part of their previously announced slate of “30 new anime series‘” announced last year. The following are my impressions of episode 1.
This series comes from director Kazuya Murata, director of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, storyboard artist on Denno Coil, frequent dabbler in Studio Ghibli productions (Ocean Waves, Only Yesterday, Porco Rosso), and various Pokémon iterations.
A lot of the primary staff were also behind 2013’s Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, including the character designer and musical composer.
After a strange opening scene of futuristic soldiers attempting to steal something whilst being chased by a large goo monster, the series introduces Aiko Tachibana, an orphaned girl confined to a wheelchair, who keeps having mysterious dreams. She lives a heavily monitored life at a hospital/school complex where she enjoys normal days with her friends interspersed with physical therapy and medical treatments.
Her days seems normal until she has a mysterious encounter with a stoic transfer student, Yuuya Kanzaki, whose appearance seems to render her handicap null as he whisks her away into strange and dangerous situations where she learns some terrifying truths about herself.
Initially, my gut reaction was, “Awesome! An anime about a main character who is wheelchair bound! Wouldn’t that be excellent and interesting?” Sadly, it doesn’t look like her wheelchair confinement was anything more than a a piece of fleeting set up. A missed opportunity if you ask me, but I digress.
The episode treads similar themes that we’ve seen in anime before yet I always concede that its never the what that matters but the how. So far, the how has yet to manifest in any interesting way, but Studio BONES is not known for making so-so productions (lookin’ at you FMA, Space Dandy, and My Hero). If anything, I’m a little worried that this series will be middling at best considering there are no giant talents attached to it, and I’ve already seen some visual gaffs (flickering background layers most notably).
I’m not sure if I’ll keep watching this series, as it mostly produced a yawn from me. It is funny to note that I felt a touch of nostalgia hearing the english voice actors deliver Japanese honorifics in such a hilariously bad way. It made me think of some of those old ADV and Geneon dubs. I thought we were past trying to make that work! It’s not gonna work!
Anyway, if you want to check this show out, it’s on Netflix. All of it. Right now! Somebody let me know if it gets good!