LynnTomoyo KurosawaNao ToyamaMarina Inoue
The Girl in Twilight
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2018: G
Also known as: Akanesasu Shoujo
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Yuuichi Abe, Jin Tamamura
Writer: Shogo Yasukawa
Actor: Ami Koshimizu, Lynn, Marina Inoue, Miki Ito, Nao Toyama, Tomoyo Kurosawa
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 8 January 2020
Akanesasu Shojo
It's a parallel universe story. Five schoolgirls in the Radio Research Society are having fun playing in the woods and pretending to travel to other dimensions. One day, this works. Soon, our heroines are meeting different versions of themselves, fighting Clutters and trying to stop Twilight from eating worlds. They don't always succeed.
It's a moderately interesting show, but perhaps not strong enough to make you keep the episodes afterwards. It's quite episodic, with these different worlds, but at the same time there's also a greater story of Clutters, world-eating, character development and our heroines working out what's holding them back as people. Some big pieces of the puzzle never get sorted out, but then again I presume they're not meant to be. That's life. Sometimes bad stuff doesn't get fixed. Not everything is just set-up for an emotional realisation in ep.12.
Incidentally, the universe-hopping always needs a link. One of the girls will merge with her alt-universe self and assume her place in this new world, after which everyone else will arrive in the usual way and have to avoid meeting their doubles. (The multiverse won't short-circuit or anything if they do, but they might get caught up in all kinds of nonsense.) Our heroines generally act on their own beliefs and assumptions, even if locally inappropriate, and there was a point where I started wondering if they might be wrecking the lives of their own alt-universe equivalents. X might be willing to break the law and offend everyone to avoid doing Y, but what about alt-X who's actually from that world and will have to keep living there after X is gone? Fortunately, though, it generally turns out that there's a Clutter behind it. Stopping the world from being eaten outweighs cultural sensitivity.
It's all about the core cast, though. The worlds are exploring their oddities and desires. We have:
1. ASUKA (main protagonist, red hair ribbon) = the group's leader, since she's so cheerful, loud and enthusiastic that everyone else is just trying to keep up with her. She's happy and positive about everything. Her brother disappeared ten years ago and was never found. She gets the most alternate versions of herself, e.g. "Seriousuka" (as Asuka calls her). Seriousuka never smiles and is trying to save her world.
2. YUU (glasses) = the serious bookworm who's always top of the class. Her alternate versions will include Sexy Yuu. They don't get on.
3. MIA (silver-haired, feminine, delicate-looking) = secretly likes cowboy movies and idolises tough heroes. Her focus story is a two-parter in a Wild West version of Japan with cowboys, horses, wagons... and, um, motorbikes. In this reality, the legal system is cobblers and appearing before a judge for any reason means a duel to the death. (Furthermore, these are televised.) Land ownership dispute? If you live, your case has been upheld!
4. NANA (long toffee-coloured hair) = a "gyaru". LIKES: fashion, hot boys, maintaining her image, talking like a delinquent, anything that looks like a laugh. DISLIKES: being polite, her stepfather. Her focus story is a version of Japan where it's illegal to be unmarried after your seventeenth birthday. Nana's reactions to this are funny. Good grief, that girl's shallow (although she grows).
5. CHLOE (blue-grey bobbed hair) = used to live in France and still isn't particularly comfortable with the more collectivist culture of Japan. She'll tag along with the others, but she mostly just likes being alone. Her parallel world was, for me, the most interesting. It's a big metaphor for the internet, with an utopian ocean society where everyone lives alone on their own personal island. You can order anything online and it'll get delivered by drone. Just get out your mobile phone. You need your mobile phone. Everything comes from your mobile phone. You're an unresponsive idiot because of your mobile phone.
The only thing you can't do, ironically, is send emails. Instead, you write a letter, give it to a drone and then trust this unresponsive, secretive machine when it says it'll deliver it as per your user agreement.
I enjoyed Chloe's world. It's the kind of brazen, over-explicit metaphor made real that would break almost any other genre, but is great in SF.
This show sank almost without trace in both Japan and the West, but it has a cult following. I quite liked it, but it's side-stepping the obvious dramatic choices. It doesn't have a villain and it's not building up to a fight with a Big Bad. There's certainly a storyline and apocalyptic things will happen, but the most important journeys are internal. It's about character realisations. We choose our actions. This creates the world. The ending's not doing everything you'd expect of it and it's leaving some shoes undropped, but it's quite an interesting show.