I wasn’t sure whether to start Alice and Zouroku. There are lots of shows I’m looking forward to in this Spring 2017 season and I do comparatively more time to watch them compared to last season, but even so, I wasn’t sure about this.
Suffice to say I took the plunge and found myself with a double length episode one to kick things off and, well, let’s say I’m generally pleased I went for it.
The first part of the episode is all about Sana, a girl known as one of the ‘Alice’s Dream’ who can materialise anything they can imagine. She’s on the run from a facility which is run by a guy who I think is meant to be evil, but doesn’t seem to be doing a particularly good job at it so far. After being given a distraction and some drink (yes, she needs that) by a mysterious ability user similar to herself, she finds herself in inner city Tokyo.
This was the part of the episode that had me questioning my decision to start the show. The problem really comes down to it looking like the start of several other J.C. Staff anime with a Sci-Fi undertone – oh and did I mention they skipped on the production budget? A super power fight, fought by kids, on a dark road by the side of a cliff, watched by some evil people in suits driving black cars, give me a break.
Get all of that out of the way though and we start to head in a better direction. Enter Zouroku, an older chap who works as a florist. This is all set up to be a huge shock of course after his intro places him completing a non-descript order with a Yakuza gang. He soon ends up coming across Sana, who has been given that favourite of all anime tropes, the food lover. We get another opportunity for the superpower element to show its face as Sana and Zouroku are chased by a chain/bow and arrow wielding twin combo from the facility. I’m hoping we don’t have to spend too much time focusing on these two because they seem pretty hollow as characters so far.
Once that all resolves itself, Sana escapes from a police station using her power, only to later reconvene with Zouroku and eat his wallet empty before having a serious talk about blackmail and the issues of little girls with superpowers running around the streets of Tokyo. This is all of course before she is given a place to stay by our fine protagonist and seeing the florists he works in.
Reading that back, it doesn’t actually sound like this show is particularly worth watching. The themes are clichéd, the art is poor and most of the characters are cardboard cut outs.
Notice ‘most’. What makes me want to keep watching this show is the lead male protagonist Zouroku. As if it wasn’t enough focusing on a character who is over the age of 18 (this guy is at least 60), it’s refreshing to find someone who doesn’t take the rubbish this kind of anime throws at him. His matter-of-fact, world weary demeanour is by far the best thing about Alice to Zouroku and is the main reason I’ll be back next Sunday evening for episode 2.
What did you make of the first episode of Alice and Zouroku? Does an older male protagonist interest you or would rather stick with tried and trusted teenagers?