Inori MinaseYui OguraAina SuzukiAya Uchida
Z/X Code reunion
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Yoshifumi Sueda
Writer: Tatsuhiko Urahata
Actor: Aina Suzuki, Aya Uchida, Inori Minase, Maria Naganawa, Megumi Yamaguchi, Mio Hoshitani, Miyu Tomita, Momoko Soyama, Nana Harumura, Yui Ogura, Yusuke Shirai
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22388
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 17 April 2020
ZX Code reunion
That was surprisingly bad. I'd quite enjoyed ep.1, but my interest went downhill. It's a lot worse than Z/X Ignition in 2014, which itself wasn't greeted with great enthusiasm (although I liked it).
There are two shows here.
The first is eps.1-9, which is an increasingly thin, dull anime set at Magical School with very little in the way of stakes or meaningful character involvement.
The second is eps.10-12, which save the world and have a genuinely interesting revelation. However ep.11 is also thick with stupid cliches.
The world is sort of approximately Z/X. That's the first problem. Z/X is a collective card game franchise, so this anime is just a spin-off of that, not a sequel to Ignition. If you're expecting continuity, forget it. There's been a reset. The characters are the same, but no one in either series remembers anything in the other. Ep.10 actually fixes this in a surprising way, but with dark implications for Ignition.
Then we have the genre shift. Ignition had a near-apocalypse, amazing magical warriors and five warring dimensions. This series, in contrast, has schoolgirls. At school. The world's under attack by aliens... and so our heroines have to go to Save The World Girls' School. All male characters have been removed. Normally, I'm happy to watch shows full of girls, but here the results are less interesting. The weird romantic/sexual tensions were one of the more interesting things about Ignition and removing (most of) that has made the show duller and flatter.
We don't even have five warring dimensions. They've signed a peace treaty and they make no meaningful difference to the show. Instead, we have faceless, personality-free alien attacks from space.
EPISODES 1-9
Nothing interesting happens. The girls go jogging, have mock training battles (i.e that mean nothing) and in some cases achieve Overboost. Everyone has a Z/X partner that gives them superpowers, but achieving Overboost gives you better superpowers! Unfortunately, whether or not you have Overboost is arbitrary and just given to you by the scriptwriters when they're feeling bored. There are some focus episodes for individual girls, but ultimately the dramatic format is too thin to let anyone be memorable. It's school. They organise leaving parties for each other and (in ep.6) fail to realise that running away might have negative consequences.
The one character who stands out is E-team's demon coach, because her actions affect other characters. (Negatively.) After that, I vaguely liked the main duo of Azumi and Rigel. They blend into the background, because everyone does, but they're nice and they care about each other.
Our heroines, E-team, are of course the weakest. (Mostly due to their teamwork.) If they get E-ranked for two years in succession, they'll get expelled. (Yeah, that's so sensible when aliens are trying to destroy the world and you need all the superhumans you can get.)
Oh, and Demon Coach's non-stop physical training leaves the girls too exhausted to do anything but sleep in class. They're at school. I was mildly offended that no one ever had a problem with this.
Good grief, the mock battles were boring.
EPISODES 10-12
We learn the true nature of the enemy, the multiverse and a weird cycle. That was actually good and I woke up. There's a moon-eating polyp, while a magical talking dog becomes mildly sinister.
Then, alas, comes ep.11.
The girls are sent into orbit to fight the polyp, but then Bad Things Happen. Their numbers are reduced, while command base's teleporter gets trashed and it becomes impossible to send reinforcements. E-team are the only people between the world and total annihilation.
Unfortunately, their superiors become idiots for the sake of recycled cliches.
"Ira, order the other members of E-team to return immediately." (They're your only warriors left in orbit. They're the only people who can stop the Earth from being destroyed.)
"I'm going to teleport you back to Earth." (Hang on, didn't the teleporter just get blasted?)
"Without a full five-member team, there's nothing you can do." (Why, of course. It's like the way Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash are as helpless as kittens if Aquaman leaves the Justice League.)
"At this rate, the E-team is going to be wiped out too! They could die out there!" (But at least they'll have a chance, as opposed to the 100% guaranteed death sentence for them and all creation that would have ensued from summoning them back to Earth. They also have a potentially useful emotional link with the superweapon.)
Will the Earth be destroyed? What do you think? It all ends up being a bit silly, but the Azumi-Rigel relationship is still okay. (I wouldn't go so far as to say "good", but at least it's trying to be character-based. Most of the show is genre-driven instead. Too much of it is a mish-mash of generic scenes you've seen many times elsewhere, usually done better.)
In short, this show is both bad and sort of okay. The script is half-hearted and empty, but it's not unwatchable. It's a bland Girls At Magical School series. It's not aiming high enough to fail. It is what it is. However I'd recommend against comparing it with something even halfway good. Retrospectively, it killed my interest in Z/X Ignition.