Saturday, May 23, 2015

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Review


Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere was a show that stood out for me when I first saw it on Amazon. The show looked colorful and interesting, but it wasn't in my top priorities to finish a year ago. After watching the first episode, I left this show in the dust.

But then a year later, a friend of mine got this as an interlibrary loan. And since he knew I've been wanting to see this show for a while, he asked me to watch it with him. And since I can never refuse an anime watching session with him, I said yes. So, how was it?

I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but for what it was, I still find most aspects highly enjoyable. Sure, the story was a bit cluttered, and there were some issues with its character cast, but I found the comedy and final episodes to be great. And despite the show's problems, I still am excited to watch the second season.

Let's begin with the show's story:

Story

The main background of this story is all dumped at the end of the 1st episode, which isn't the most flattering event that could happen in an anime's storytelling. But anyways, moving on. 

In our near future, humans abandoned Earth due to its mass devastation, and set off for a home in space. However, since we are able to travel to space, we decide to go back to Earth, which is completely inhabitable except for Japan. In order to hold all of the human population, Japan was divided into pocket dimensions. Until humans could find a way to travel up to space, it was time to reenact events in human history! 

Eventually, the pocket dimensions invaded Japan and conquered it, forcing the original inhabitants of the country out. It is 1648 in the Testament Era, and all of the past inhabitants of Japan live on the ship Musashi, while being watched by the Testament Union, our baddies of the show, and who control the reenactment of history. However, due to the Union not revealing what will happen after this year, wars and rumors of an apocalypse have been spreading. Along with this, and reasons related to an automated doll, Tori Aoi, the head of Musashi Ariadust Academy's Supreme Federation, as well as being the head of the student council, decides to lead his classmates in victory in order to regain their lost homeland.

So overall, the story for this anime is very cluttered. Unlike other anime I've seen, this anime doesn't do as good of a job of mixing the more serious events of the story, because it can get extremely confusing at times. It doesn't help that the events in this anime take place within 2 days, which at some times feels a little unrealistic and a bit too quick.


At some times, the episodes can get a bit boring, and that includes the exposition. However, there are a lot of moments that kept me interested, such as a debate between 2 characters, and some background history. Most of the time, however, the story is this show's main downfall. Some exposition is disregarded, and the anime can get a bit messy with all the elements it contains. 

The conclusion in the last few minutes of this season ends on a bad note, as we're currently in the middle of an invasion that will continue next season. Viewers who are only planning to watch this season, be aware of that, as this conclusion isn't necessarily complete.

Character time now:


Characters

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere has a large character cast. This is mostly made up of classmates from the Academy, and other various side characters. However, it feels that some of the more uninteresting classmates can be shoved into the corner, which is fine. But some of the more interesting ones aren't given that much development as I would have liked. But there are the main characters, plus a duo that I liked the most from the show, so we must talk about them:

Let's start off with one of my favorite characters from the show, Tori:



Tori Aoi is the head of Musashi Ariadust Academy's Supreme Federation, and is also the president of the student council as mentioned before hand. He is quite cheerful all of the time that he appears on screen, despite a few moments in his childhood and in Episode 5. Beyond that though, he is literally a ball full of sunshine. The only time that he has ever cried was when his childhood friend Horizon died, 

Besides being happy 24/7, he's also perverted. He will always have some sort of chance to try and grope a girl's breasts at least 2 times in the series, and often plays eroge when he's alone. His perverted streak doesn't always stay though, and it will be lost when he gets serious, especially about the one he loves. He is given the nickname Impossible, however he actually does have a pretty useful power. His power helps get access to energy reserves, and he is able to pass the power he gains from those to others. However, he must not get sad when he uses this though, because he will die. He is also quite skilled in debating.

Though Tori's perverted streak will get perhaps annoying in some viewers' eyes, I wasn't annoyed with it at all. In fact, I'm excited for his recurring gag in Season 2, where he shows up in most situations naked. He's quite funny, charming, a great main character, and he put me in a good mood. I really liked his dedication to Horizon, and how he wants to save her when she gets captured. I just really don't have any negatives to say about him.

Horizon's turn:



Otherwise know as P-01s, she is an android who is employed at the bakery Blue Thunder, a place very popular among the Musashi students. After randomly appearing a year prior to the events in the story, the owner of the establishment took her in. She is also the reason why Tori has come back into the bakery more often, as she resembles Horizon, his childhood friend and love interest who died in a carriage accident 10 years prior.

In episode 5, where info-dumps reign supreme, not only does the Lord of Mikawa confirm the audience's suspicions of the android actually being Horizon, she also has the mysterious 9th Armor of Deadly Sins inside of her, that being of envy. After being captured by the Testament Union, she is sentenced for execution, and the Pope President resides all blame on the destruction of Mikawa after the city implodes. It is now the Academy's mission to rescue Horizon from the Testament Union, but how will they do this? You'll find out for yourself,

Horizon is a very interesting character, even by android standards. Most people expect these characters to be dead, talk in a robotic fashion, and just...well, fit the stereotype. But she doesn't really. She does have a few twists in her character to make her interesting, and her personality can work in her favor at most times. Her character twists I liked, even though they were revealed at the drop of a hat, but at least I managed to hold on to them as I would reminders.

Masazumi's next:



Masazumi is the Academy's vice president, who is very serious, quite skilled in debate, and aspires to be a politician. She did have a major event go down in her past though. In order for her to continue in the line of her family name, she went under gender reassignment surgery, but had to stop due to certain circumstances. She has no breasts because of this, and normally wears the male school uniform. However, at the end of the season, has now switched into the female uniform. 

Her actual identity is unknown to the majority of the public, as they are unaware of the unfinished surgery. However, it is revealed in Episode 8 during a debate with the Pope President. Tori is interested in proving it, so he pulls down her pants to prove it. And thus, her actual gender is revealed! Yeah, it is a little weird, but at least it was the most effective way!

Masazumi is an interesting character. Not only is she the first character that we see interact with Horizon, but she seems to be well-mannered and confident. Sometimes, her confidence falters a bit, but she still knows some characters' weak points, and is just a nice character to see on screen.

Honorable mention time! I would like to talk about Margot and Malga:



Margot and Malga are both Special Duty officers. Besides being witches with magical powers and what not, they are also lesbians, which makes them in open rebellion against the church. Though they are a part of the side character group that doesn't talk as much, or is developed upon, they get their moment in Episode 10. In the fight against the Testament Union, they defeat a God of War. Here, we get a little backstory into thier pasts, how Musashi has made them feel welcome, and a kiss.

You can watch it from this link:



Other characters include other classmates of the Academy, highlights being Tori's older sister, the student council secretary, a knight, and a blind girl who's SUPER ADORABLE AND ALL OF MY CUTENESS POINTS GO TO HER! We have their teacher, a automaton, Blue Thunder's owner, the Lord of Mikawa, fighters from Tres Espana (anti-heroes), our K. P. A. Italia/Testament Union baddies, and some other characters that don't really make their impact on the plot.


Animation

The animation for this series was produced by Sunrise, who are also known for their contributions to the Gundam franchise, as well as working on Code Geass and Cowboy Bebop.

Overall, the animation for this series isn't anything amazing. It does look nice at most moments, but I'm not sure it has a lot of drive and intrigue that I see in most shows. The most polished animation comes in during the fight scenes, and scenes where there is a lot of action. For example:



There are some pretty hair and character designs though. I wouldn't say they're as good as Code Geass per say, but it's still nice enough.

Sound


The score for this anime was composed by Tatsuya Kato, who is also know for his efforts to Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Future Diary, and Medaka Box.

One word to describe the score is similar to the story: all over the place. But that's not a bad thing with a show that has this many elements rolled into one. I do wish it wasn't as jam-packed as it was, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. Whether it's light, moving, electronic inspired, or battle music, this show has it all!

Some of my favorite pieces from this show include:






Now onto audio wise. I personally prefer Japanese for this show, since Sentai dubs can never be trusted. And while Horizon isn't as bad as some of their other dubs, it still is pretty average at best. The main problem is the script, and how it's an almost direct copy of the subtitles. There are mouth flap issues. The original Japanese is much more tolerable, and the voices are way stronger. I also watched it full in this too, like many other shows Sentai releases here dubbed in the US, so trust me on this one.

Highlights in the original Japanese include Jun Fukuyama, Minori Chihara, Miyuki Sawashiro, Yu Kobayashi, Mutsumi Tamura, Kaori Nazuka, Daisuke Ono, Nao Toyama, Marina Inoue, Chiwa Saito, Kei Shindo, Ami Koshimizu, Aoi Yuki, Minoru Shirashi, Ryoko Shirashi, Eiji Miyashita, Sho Hayami, and Tomokazu Suigta.

Verdict


Even though this show was a bit messy at parts, and the characters could have been a bit stronger, this series still is pretty good. I wouldn't say it's great, but I find it to be alright for people who are looking for some entertainment.

If you want a story with a consistent story, you might want to look elsewhere. But beyond that, this was a nice season, and I am looking forward to the next.

Score: 8/10

Positives:

Interesting story.

Great main characters.

Some nice comedy moments.

Good animation.

Score, though jumbled, is still pretty.

Negatives:

Story gets messy.

Not all characters are developed.

Leaves off on a weird note.

Pacing of episodes take 2 days, which may throw some people off.

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