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Anime Review: Jinki Extend
Ah, “Jinki : Extend”, a series that had so much potential, it really did. It was released in America by ADV Films and is a mecha anime with a predominantly female cast. It is 13 episodes long with both a dubbed and subbed version. The series that starts off with so much mystery and merriment. We find the main character, Aoba, who loves to build plastic models of robots, kidnapped and brought into a mysterious world where her beloved robots actually exist. Through a series of accidental blunders, Aoba shows herself to be a capable pilot for the robots called Jinkis and takes over as one of the main pilots after one becomes injured in battle.
For about the first five episodes, the story continues on with Aoba and her training and is a pretty run-of-the-mill mecha anime. Although the storyline wasn't exactly strong, it was still enjoyable to watch but then the show takes a turn for the worst. Previously there would be short scenes with a cast of different characters from the main storyline and as a viewer you could not exactly tell how they were related. One could guess that these scenes take place either in the past or future and were simply tools for foreshadowing. However, that was not the case, as of episode 7 onwards the anime completely switches away from Aoba and focuses on this different group of people whom you have never really gotten to know outside of a couple characters. With no explanation whatsoever, the viewer is forced into a confusing new plot line which leaves them asking why?
Not only does it not explain why they are suddenly back in Japan, it doesn't even expand on the new casts members back stories which makes you care even less about them. It is not until episode 10 does the series become clear again with the reintroduction of Aoba and finally an explanation of exactly what was going on. You could say they were trying to be a bit different with this series, with the breaking of a chronological order, but it did not work at all. It leaves the viewer far too confused for no real good reason. They would have been better off having this anime flow in a linear path which would not only clear up the confusion but also lead to greater character development.
The animation quality to this series isn't that bad and is fairly average across the board. The mech design reminds me a little bit of “Code Geass” but most robots in series like this look fairly similar. One thing that really stuck out to me was the eye design. I found myself looking at characters eyes just thinking they were weird. Here is an example:
A circle within a circle within a circle. Pretty much Inception eyes. I can't say that this is exactly a good or bad thing, it just stood out to me as I watched.
Here is the opening to the series to get a good idea on how the animation is:
There have been many anime I watch that can get me pretty excited. From seeing the hero have an epic battle or perhaps a love story coming to fruition, it can give you unexplainable feelings of satisfaction. This series had no such effects on me and was actually hard for me to watch halfway through it. It was nothing but a haze of unexplained plot points. So I decided I had to figure out why the anime is such a mess and the answer lies within the manga.
Like many manga series, the magazine “Jinki” was running in was ending but the series was popular enough to be picked up by a different magazine. Most of the time when this happens, the creator will simply rename the series but will directly continue on with the story. However, the creator of “Jinki” decided to start over with a new story line and named the series “Jinki Extend”. When it came to the anime, they decided to combine both of the manga series which resulted in this absolute train wreck of a story. The only people who might get something out of this anime are readers of the manga but that is far from acceptable. To create an anime which can't be followed on its own is just a bad idea in general and will almost always result in pleasing no one.
Despite all the criticism I have of this anime, I still liked the character of Aoba and she is just about the only reason I kept watching. She is a strong character who has a bunch of flaws but you'll always find yourself rooting for her. It is a small saving grace to the series which enables the viewer to still get some pleasure form watching it but at the end of the day I really can't recommend this at all.