Link Click – Dive into mystery

Chinese Title: Shiguang Dailiren

 

Related: Link Click 2nd Season (TBR)

Similar: Death Parade

Steins;Gate

Id: Invaded

 

Watched in: Chinese

Genre: Contemporary Drama Fantasy Mystery

Length: 11 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Great character animation without generic expressions
  • Engaging short stories
  • “Page turning” pace and plots

Negatives:

  • Vocal audio sounds a little off

(Request an anime for review here.)

Time for my dip into China’s offering of anime for the season (we won’t count the increasing number of Japanese content animated in China). We’ve had some rubbish with The King’s Avatar but we’ve also had greatness with Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. Now I look at something different once again with the contemporary fantasy mystery Link Click.

This short series centres around two young men with different powers that work in tandem to “investigate” photographs. Xiaoshi can enter photos and possess the photographer, travelling to see the past from their perspective. Meanwhile, Guang acts as the “eye in the sky” with his ability to look into a photo and see what occurred in a limited time around its taking. He knows how the scene plays out, guiding Xiaoshi from the present via some form of telepathy. The photo doesn’t need to be of the subject. Time and place matter. Together, they take on cases for clients in need of information or a correction for something in the past. For example, the first case has them entering the life of an assistant to a chief financial officer to acquire evidence of fraud.

There is only one rule: don’t change the past in any appreciable way. However, by becoming their targets, experiencing life from their perspective, they may get more than they bargained for. Xiaoshi feels a subject’s pain most of all. He has to fight against a need to make things right.

I love this premise. It has immediate promises of drama, mystery, tension, and twists. I’m pleased to say that Link Click delivers on all of these promises.

Drama comes from the interesting and varied choice of target characters to inhabit, even when they don’t seem interesting on paper. One case has the guys trying to find the secret ingredient to an amazing noodle recipe. It’s just two ordinary people in business together selling noodles. As we see their relationship deteriorate though, the drama keeps us hooked and wanting to know how this will end. Each victim receives full characterisation in a single episode. Not an easy task. On the other end, there are high drama targets, such as the assistant mentioned previously who is a victim of sexual abuse from her boss, physical abuse from colleagues, and is just all round miserable. Drama escalates in a later case when it cuts close to home for Xiaoshi while possessing some stranger with past regrets. An early concern I had was a lack of connection between the two protagonists and the cases. They would solve a case involving strangers and move on to the next. Thankfully, after a few of these, cases become more personal (even if unintentionally) and the drama grips tighter. This is where Link Click elevates itself. The emotional core is strong.

Mystery, tension, and twists work as a trio thanks to good plotting and the right pacing across several compelling cases. The first few episodes work as standalone short stories, but matters build into longer cases with higher stakes. At that point, I had to go full binge to find out what happens next. Link Click has the perfect hooks of a mystery series. I can’t say much more than that.

If I had to present any negatives, I would say it needs a little more in several areas. Mind you, these have easy fixes and the second season could very well step it up in most regards. The stoic Guang, for instance, is still rather flat for a main character, particularly alongside Xiaoshi who we come to know much better over the course of the season. Maybe it’s because Xiaoshi takes the lion’s share of screen time. I also want more from the antagonists. They aren’t as present as they should be for hero versus villain scenarios. They feel a tad distant. With the introduction of what seems like the first major villain headed into the next season, the battle of wits may have more back and forth. Give me a touch of that Death Note. The audio placement for the voice acting is a little off – something common in Chinese anime, for some reason – though not a major problem.

Link Click is a great anime and an easy binge at 11 episodes with a fast pace that ramps up in the second half as the stakes reach new heights. I look forward to the next season.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: Watch it. Link Click is a gem of the season and well worth a watch.

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

Positive: None

Negative: None

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