High-Rise Invasion: A Strange World of Kill or Be Killed – Netflix Review

A young girl wakes up in the opposite of wonderland.

SUMMARY 

Yuri Honjo (Haruka Shiraishi/Suzie Yeung) is a high school girl who finds herself suddenly in an alternate world populated by a number of skyscrapers which are connected by suspension bridges. She manages to call her brother, Rika (Junya Enoki/Zeno Robinson), who reveals that he is also trapped in this world. It turns out that the high-rises are populated by mask-wearing people who are compelled to try and drive other humans to suicide. Among them is the Sniper Mask (Yūichirō Umehara/Jonah Scott), a stylish killer with, as the name implies, a sniper rifle. Yuri manages to find a knife-wielding girl named Mayuko Nise (Shiki Aoki/Jennie Kwan) whom she befriends. Eventually, they find other humans, including a woman named Kuon Shinzaki (Akira Sekine/Stephanie Sheh) who is immune from the attacks of the masks. Yuri has to find out the truth behind this world and find a way out.

She’s not having a good time.

END SUMMARY

I’m sure there’s an actual term for this kind of show, but I don’t know it. It’s the genre where a group of people spontaneously are pulled into another world that is almost identical to the regular one and forced to play a game that is, in reality, part of a much bigger plot. The most famous example is probably GANTZ, although I’m sure that’s not the oldest one. The show Alice in Borderland is another one that has recently been on Netflix. The genre tends to be at its best when it focuses more on the characters and the worldbuilding than on the particular game that the participants are forced to play. This show does a good job of focusing mostly on the feelings and the relationships between the characters rather than just on delivering action sequences. Because of that, when you actually do get an action sequence, it’s more impactful. 

They can also come out of nowhere, because sniper.

That’s not to say that the worldbuilding isn’t solid. Even though this season only takes us about 12 episodes in, there are a lot of hints about what is really going on and it is clearly much larger than it seems. It seems to be building up to a more metaphysical second season, but not in a way that invalidates our characters’ actions during the past.

Also, perhaps more hammer.

Overall, pretty solid show. Just be aware that it’s pretty gory and a little rapey at times.

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Cautious Hero: Somehow This Was Kinda Fun – Hulu Review

A story of a pathologically cautious protagonist in a fantasy story. 

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Out there in the multiverse are a pantheon of gods who pride themselves on empowering champions to save various worlds. Ristarte (Aki Toyosaki/Jamie Marchi) is the goddess of healing and is tasked to save a planet that has the highest-rank of dangerousness. Knowing that no ordinary champion will be able to defeat the evil there, she searches for candidates and finds a man named Seiya Ryuguin (Yūichirō Umehara/Anthony Bowling) who has naturally superior abilities. When she brings him in, however, she discovers that Seiya is incredibly paranoid and pathologically cautious. He refuses to engage in any fight unless he is absolutely sure of victory. Even when facing low-level opponents or easy situations, he cannot stop himself from overreacting. Eventually, the pair are joined by warrior Mash (Kengo Kawanishi/Chris Thurman) and mage Elulu (Aoi Koga/Sarah Wiedenheft). However, it turns out that the world they’re on is dangerous enough that Seiya might be the only one cautious enough to save it.

Yes, he’s a very generic protagonist in appearance.

END SUMMARY

I literally picked this because the full title, “Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious,” was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in awhile. I share a Hulu account and I don’t know exactly whose views led to this being suggested, but I’ve never been so pleasantly surprised. This series is another version of taking a typical trope-filled premise and turning it on its head. In this case, Seiya is literally summoned from Japan to a fantasy realm which is deliberately modeled after various RPG games, to the point where everyone has “Stats screens.” Despite that, he shows no interest in actually playing the game. He doesn’t even want to leave the opening area until he is “sufficiently leveled,” basically treating the actual mission like a gamer who won’t move the story forward until they can one-shot every enemy. The humor mostly comes from how much this drives the other characters insane. After all, they’re mostly denied the ability to play their traditional supporting roles by having a protagonist that ends the fights immediately. 

And also from his ridiculously paranoid antics.

The other thing about the show that tends to make it worthwhile is that as much as everyone complains about Seiya’s behavior, a lot of the time he ends up being completely justified. It turns out that most of the villains in the series are particularly genre-savvy, which means they consistently try to disrupt the usual cycle of how the game works. To counter that, Seiya frequently looks to Ristarte’s fellow gods and goddesses for training. The gods’ domain in this series is interesting in its own right, as the deities are just as flawed, if not more so, than the humans. 

They’re mostly super horny, which makes me think they’re Greco-Roman.

The series is only twelve episodes long, which keeps the premise from running too thin. It also contains a decent number of late-series reveals that justify some of the more unusual aspects of the show. It’s a short and self-contained story that actually ends up having some genuinely moving moments, so it’s not hard to get through.

Plus it has a bunch of typical monsters.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent show if you like goofy anime. Or just goofy titles. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.