Japanese Title: Re:Creators
Watched in: Japanese
Length: 22 episodes
- Cool concept.
- The music.
- Untold wasted potential.
- Pointless action scenes.
- No sense of urgency.
- The fictional characters don’t act like they come from fiction.
- Background protagonist.
- Not thought out enough in pre-production.
Never has there been such a difference between my interest of the premise in an anime versus the struggle it took to finish the series. Re:Creators may make the number one spot of my most disappointing anime list.
Aspiring light novel author Sota finds himself taken into the anime he’s watching, only to jump back out moments later with that anime’s fiery protagonist, Selesia Upitiria, by his side. He soon realises that other fictional characters – nine in total – have stepped off screen and page, some with ill intent and all with questions about their worlds and ours. The conflict of their stories has not left them whole. Altair, the woman in military regalia, seems to know too much of the real world for an anime character.
How did they take such a fantastic premise and do nothing of worth with it? Well, strap in. My heart breaks to do this.
It quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong with the fictional characters – not their conflicts, but their design and personalities. They each adjust to the real world in one scene flat. Selesia can immediately drive a car better than any stunt drive. The magical girl’s scene has here thinking that damage isn’t permanent, like in her shoujo anime, which is a good scene, but that’s all she receives. What’s the point of a fish out of water scenario when you don’t use it? If I showed you the episode after a character’s introduction, you wouldn’t guess that they aren’t from our world. Look at it in reverse, when a character goes from our world to one of fantasy, like Youko in The Twelve Kingdoms, and the obvious need for an adjustment period. Even GATE executed this better. Re:Creators’ characters are closer to cosplayers than to characters of fantasy and science fiction, which is ironic because that’s what everyone assumes they are when seen in public.
The next problem with these characters is the total lack of effort that went into making a connection with the audience. I could not care if they lived or died. Re:Creators doesn’t take the time to establish them and make us connect. They pop into the world, fight, chat about the fight, fight some more, meet their makers, fight, chat about the fight, and some meet their makers for the last time. Of the 22 episodes, about 10 minutes went towards character development.
You have two options to fix this: either you spend time in the fictional worlds first as the characters follow their ‘anime’ story or you put extra effort to show us who they are in the real world story. Ideally, do both. The time Sota has in Selesia’s world is one scene. And that’s all we see of the fictional worlds. Yep, that’s it.
It isn’t necessary – or advised – to give every character time in their respective worlds. Start with the important ones, Selesia at minimum, and unveil the rest as you go, holding back the villain worlds as part of their mystery. In the meantime, develop them in the real world – start with the fish out of water problem above. Character growth occurs in the face of adversity. Therefore, you would imagine that the adversity of being in a strange land and realising that your life, your entire existence is scripted would push you to grow. Why not use this opportunity?
Furthermore, this lack of individual stories makes them feel too similar, as though they don’t come from nine different anime but from the same anime, one called Re:Creators. Imagine if Van from Escaflowne, Light from Death Note, Sakura from Cardcaptors, Saber from Fate/Zero, Kira from Gundam SEED, Johan from Monster, and Byakuya from Bleach came together in a massive crossover series. Would they for even a moment feel as if they come from the same anime? The writer for Re:Creators should have created his characters with the mentality that he was making nine different anime, independent of one another, and then brought them together regardless of how unlikely a mecha pilot would meet a mage – the more different, the better.
As for the real world characters, they aren’t any better. Sota is a blank slate. He only exists because the writer felt a need to have a real world protagonist. A Creator would have been a better choice – Creator is the name for the author of a fictional character. Creators suffer the same problem as their creations. They adjust to their characters come to life in a single scene. Forget a character of your creation – if any character you loved came to life, wouldn’t you be full of questions and excitement?
The only interesting moments are when Creator and character go head to head. The knight Alicetaria, for example, cannot believe her Creator wrote her dark fantasy world full of pain and suffering for mere entertainment. Seen from her perspective, he’s a sadistic, cruel man. For others, such as the mecha pilot, it adds comedy. His Creator has trouble convincing him to do things because he’s a prat, just as written. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t go far enough with any of these.
If not growth and conflict, what fills Re:Creators’ screen time? Pointless action. You could count on one hand the number of meaningful or engaging action sequences. Again, think about this: you have nine powerful characters come together for a massive crossover series and the action. is. boring!
Most engaging action-related content happens prior when rewriting a character to have new powers. The Creator can’t simply write that Selesia is now immortal – the public wouldn’t have any of it! Fans must embrace a believable evolution to the character for it to take effect. I like this mechanic. Not used enough, I’m afraid. More meta mechanics would help too. I’m a broken record at this point, but yet again, Re:Creators doesn’t take advantage of its premise.
There is a k-drama called W – Two Worlds about a woman who finds herself dragged into her father’s manhwa when the hero faces death. The series is full of meta mechanics. She can only return to the real world when ‘To be continued’ physically appears in the air, marking the end of the volume on a juicy cliffhanger. The passage of time is also off, which emulates cutting from one scene to the next between panels. I don’t want to give away anymore as you must watch W, but my point is that Re:Creators is surface deep.
Re:Creators did not receive the effort required for such a concept. The creator only went halfway, delivering a halfway anime. Remember, this isn’t adapted from manga – this is an original anime unbound from prior canon. They could have done anything they wanted. Another creator could use the same concept and craft something truly great.
Art – Medium
Re:Creators’ art meets the modern industry standard and the CG works, though I am disappointed with the character designs. Why do all the characters look created by the same artist when they’re supposed to come from several artists?
Sound – Medium
The acting is average with no room to flex. I like the music, first title song in particular, which I have listened to a dozen times this past week.
Story – Low
Fictional characters come out of their worlds and into modern Japan as some among them cause havoc our world and their creators. A lack of thought and planning turned the great potential of Re:Creators into a bore.
Overall Quality – Low
Recommendation: Skip it. This is a Very Low in terms of potential vs. actual. I hope to recommend the same idea executed better in the future. Re:Creators is the Great Disappointment.
Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)