Jun FukuyamaYuichiro UmeharaNobuo TobitaTakuma Terashima
Ayaka: A Story of Bonds and Wounds
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2023
Director: Nobuyoshi Nagayama
Writer: Rei Rairaku
Actor: Gakuto Kajiwara, Jun Fukuyama, Kana Hanazawa, Kenjiro Tsuda, Kosuke Toriumi, Nobuo Tobita, Saori Hayami, Takuma Terashima, Yuichiro Umehara, Yuki Sakakihara, Yuto Uemura
Keywords: anime, fantasy, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=26496
Website category: Anime 2023
Review date: 6 March 2024
aya ka
It's boring. It's a generic, unobjectionable shounen-ish anime that's in principle no different from all the others... but it's boring. I didn't care. It feels like someone tried to feed anime through a sausage machine without adding any secret sauce, i.e. it forgot to be mad, funny or interesting.
I'll give a summary. A dull boy (Yukito Yanagi) who's trying to avoid human contact is summoned back to the island where he was born, after spending the last ten years living with foster parents. There, he discovers that his job will be to FIGHT MONSTERS! ...sometimes. When the screenwriters remember to bother. Furthermore, these are arbitrary rent-a-monsters, without sentience or any reason to exist. They pop up to provide fight scenes, basically.
The rest of the cast are people like him. They don't actually want anything. The story's going nowhere. No one has anything to do, or anything to say. There's a bit of a mystery about why dad died and had him sent away to civilisation, but hey. Almost all the cast is male, with the only exceptions being Yukito's landlady (not a very important character) and a purple-haired girl who doesn't really show emotions either. The only character with any life is a cheerful layabout called Jingi, who gambles, drinks like a fish and has been given responsibility over Yukito. Obviously.
Good things... well, the show has two of my favourite Japanese voice stars. They've got Mr Cool (aka. Kenjiro Tsuda) playing Yukito's late dad in the ten-years-ago flashbacks, while the theme song is by "angela". Yamashita Atsuko can sing in at least three amazing voices, all completely different, although this isn't her best showcase. Their other theme songs include Aho Girl (the theme song's better than the show), Coppelion, Corpse Princess, Knights of Sidonia (a particularly good one), My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Seitokai Yakuindomo, Stellvia, Valvrave the Liberator and the entire Fafner in the Azure franchise. You could do worse than to listen to those.
Apart from those two voices, though, I don't see the point in this show. Yukito comes out of his shell, becomes more emotionally open and learns about his hidden magic powers (which are admittedly cool in the finale), but that's not enough to carry the show. It's static. The island's not going anywhere. The monsters don't matter. Pretty boys talk to each other abrasively. Jingi's lively, but a dick. Everyone else is walking wallpaper. Might it work better for a female audience than a male one? (Tomoko prefers shows with lots of pretty men, while I'm the opposite.)
Frankly, though, I find it hard to imagine anyone finding this show compelling.