A mostly episodic series with childish cartoonish artstyle to depict often violent and occasionally sexual scenes for shock effect. Acts of random cruelty are often displayed as misery porn. The childish artstyle is often taken as a sign of maturity and depth.
Even though there is an overarching plot many of the episodes, and there are only twelve of them, are spent on side-stories with side characters we will never see again.
The stories are too allegorical and come off as preachy morality plays. The characters that matter to the plot don’t get enough screen time since the series is episodic and the side-characters are caricatures of ideologies(or misery-porn fodder).
The protagonist is “the chosen one” and there is a prophesy about him. This instantly makes the protagonist less interesting. Just to make him even less interesting for a large duration of the anime the protagonist is suffering from amnesia and is just reacting to what those around him do (mainly by running away). Furthermore thanks to his amnesia he seems totally indifferent to the cruelty around him making him morally unrelateable.
The setting while explained (basically the entire universe is centred around the protagonist and no it’s not played for laughs like in Haruhi) is not properly defined. We are only shown a few planets, each of them usually a hellish nightmare in its own way. And in each the author tries to make some vague sentimental point too fast that usually reeks of emotional manipulation and is so satirical that it builds a strawman of the thing it criticizes thus making it harder to take seriously. For example in one episode it is criticizing the fashion industry we are shown a planet in which anyone can get any body they want and an amnesiac robot cat who is a famous fashion designer purposefully creates distorted bodies to get the point across that people should live in their own inferior natural bodies when they can get better ones… because? Reasons that we are never shown + dystopia= deep social commentary for why we should have no standards… Oh so now that’s a strawman? God forbid Kaiba showed a counterargument instead of sob stories about characters we only see in one episode.
Plot points are just added tactlessly one after the other and the premise shifts with them without being properly explored. For example the initial premise is that of world of rich people living above amnesia inducing clouds and below a world of poor people whose bodies are stolen so that the rich can live longer by moving their memories into poor people’s bodies but then the next thing you know the amnesiac protagonist is on a space ship, and then there is this planet in which apparently rich people can get designer made bodies. And then La Resitance pops into existence out of nowhere and puts forth a plot to kill the prince who is plot twist a clone, and then plot twist La Resistance is actually run by other imperfect clones of the prince.
The characters have realistic and selfish motivations but the cynicism gets boring fast. It’s like I have no reason to root for any character and I was not emotionally invested in any of the fates of the characters: Oh look one selfish character kills another selfish character… boring. Idealistic characters can be annoying too but when all the characters are just selfish and not particularly interesting in any other way (none of the characters are clever in this anime for example, they are just cruel).
The romance was… unconvincing. It was just a plot device so that when our protagonist is about to give in to his monstrosity and destroy the world/universe he remembers of the pussy he won’t get if he does that.
I give this anime 3 out of 10. The art style neither detracts nor adds anything to the story other than perhaps distracting the viewer from seeing that there isn’t that much by making them think “Oh look a mature show with character designs and backgrounds aimed at children.”
Recommendations: Kino no Tabi (anime): The same episodic social commentary show with normal art-style is the same indistinct anime style that won’t detract you from the substance or lack thereof of the points being made. There aren’t that many episodes and there isn’t an overarching plot which is ignored in favour of short stories. It is just short stories; even if there are many sob stories and each city Kino visits is a festering shitfest but at the very least a counterargument is occasionally shown.
Galaxy Express 999: The same episodic social commentary in space but the characters are not morally grey at all, although you will still get the same ‘people are agency-less victims of circumstance please fill pity for them message.’ Likewise each planet they visit is a hell in its own way. At least there is a goal at the end (although the series is needlessly stretched unlike Kaiba which is too short but even Kaiba wouldn’t have been any better if it kept on churning episodic episodes with no end in sight). The dark nostlagic atmosphere is pretty good in GE999 and so is the music- it really helps the mood although it gets tiresome and hollow after you have heard it enough times. I mean after you have seen so many tragic things happening to so many nameless characters each episode and the same music always plays it sort of becomes a joke. Also Maetel is hot erhm I mean the artstyle is not bad.
P.S. I just don’t see what @thatanimesnob sees in this series.