Infinite Ryvius – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Mugen no Ryvius

 

Similar: Bokurano

Planetes

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Science Fiction Drama

Length: 26 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Good premise.

Negatives:

  • Weak characters spout rubbish dialogue.
  • Soft conflict.
  • Lacks understanding of human nature.
  • Terrible editing, low frame rate, and flat art.

Infinite Ryvius is anime’s attempt at adapting Lord of the Flies, except instead of kids trapped on an island, this is kids trapped in a space vessel. It isn’t easy to write a story that delves deep into human nature when pushed to desperation, even when you have another story to reference. Capturing human nature is a difficult balance. Go too brutal, and you lose the good in humanity; go too soft, and you show no understanding of the darkness within every human. Infinite Ryvius went with the latter.

Through tragic circumstance, all the adults aboard the space academy die, leaving the students to fend for themselves until rescue. These stations are critical in protecting Earth from periodical waves of solar energy. Already the catalyst is a shaky one. I find it hard to believe that all adults would put themselves at risk on a suicide mission. Furthermore, trained professionals would be prepared for plasma storms in space. However, let’s say the setup is rubbish, the writer couldn’t construct a plausible catalyst, but once we move onto the core of the story that shouldn’t matter. Well, the core suffers from the same lack of thought as the catalyst.

First, the characters, of which there are too many in this bloated cast and none memorable for good reasons. We have the optimistic guy, the brooder, the bad boy gang leader, the bubbly girl, the bossy girl, the hot, stuck up one, and so on. Your typical Sunrise Production cast, in short. The early conflict is frontloaded with a reliance on backstory, but since we don’t know said backstory and they give us nothing to work with, early character conflict is confusing. They also keep showing us this mysterious girl in pink. Vague, obscure, none of it means anything, so it’s a waste of time – tries to be artsy and mysterious. Utter failure. It is particularly egregious because of how many of these moments they cram into the start, owning to the oversized cast.

I want to focus on the optimist, Koji and his brother, Yuuki. Koji is so bland I had to look up his name, despite having just finished the show. His brother Yuuki, on the other hand, tries far too hard at being cool. The sibling rivalry is lame – fake conflict, as they force Yuuki to be angry with Koji all the time; however, the reasoning lacks believability and it never stops. He goes on and on about how angry he is to the point where I wished someone would shoot him in the mouth.

When the tragedy strikes, the upper students take control of the station, but many aren’t pleased with how they run the ship. Blue and his gang make their way onto the bridge and take over…sort of. Really, it’s more as if they join the upper students. This was the point where I lost all hope for Infinite Ryvius. All conflict is fraudulent. The sibling rivalry amounts to nothing, the bridge takeover amounts to nothing (Blue does jack-all), and the saboteurs amount to nothing. In fact, outside of the catalyst, few people die in this supposed pressure cooker of conflict. When the food stores begin to deplete and many aren’t pulling their weight, the bridge instates a totalitarian regime. Work for points to spend on food and other amenities.

Now the time is ripe for conflict and brutality, surely! But no, the greatest abuse of power is an upper student taking a few extra chocolate bars. Just as Yuuki keeps repeating how angry he is, lower students keep repeating how angry they are at all the manual labour they have to do compared to the uppers, yet they do nothing notable. There’s a lot of talking about anger instead of action for anger. These characters are too childish and too stupid to have reached their positions on the front line.

The dialogue is empty, void of personality. I never got a sense of who these people were from how they spoke, just what they are supposed to be according to the writer. And that’s the problem at heart. We are supposed to see matters one way, but the weak characterisation doesn’t sell us on the author’s intent.

When I first watched Infinite Ryvius many years ago, I remember enjoying it. However, having since evolved my taste and learnt more on human nature, I find this anime a lazy effort in character study.

Art – Low

Gundam SEED art style of button noses and baby faces, except without any detail or lighting. And a low frame rate. And terrible editing – cut to random character. Were they even in the scene?

Sound – Low

Whichever language you pick, it won’t save the awful dialogue. The music sounds like the Casio kids got together with the battle rappers on the pre-school playground.

Story – Low

Lord of the Flies this is not. A study of human nature was needed before writing a story on human nature.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: Don’t bother. Infinite Ryvius doesn’t present anything memorable to be worth your while.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)

 

Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative:

Awful DialogueHollow World BuildingInduces StupidityRubbish Major CharactersShallowUgly Artistic DesignUseless Side Cast

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