Now that it has a nice solid dozen episodes under its belt, it’s a little easier to take in the World Trigger anime and see how things are going. After spending some quality time with the show, it’s fair to say Toei Animation’s adaptation of Daisuke Ashihara’s Shonen Jump manga is a mixed bag. The story and characters are mostly solid, but the presentation ranges from decent to dull and can snap back and forth at a moment’s notice. After just a few episodes aired I recommended sticking to the manga, and while that hasn’t changed, I still find myself coming back week after week and don’t plan on dropping the anime any time soon.
For those who haven’t given either version of World Trigger a shot, the story follows Osamu Mikumo, a low-rank member of a group known as Border, responsible for protecting humanity from invading creatures called Neighbors. For the most part Neighbor invasions have been neatly cordoned off into their own off-limits areas from which they can be more easily eliminated without risk of civilian casualty, but there’s still a great threat and an even greater mystery lies in their recurring presence.
While Osamu is relatively unskilled in combat, things pick up for him when he meets Yuma Kuga, a young white-haired kid kid who has his own secret: He’s a Neighbor. Rather than attempting to join the city-stomping monsters in the gleeful destruction of humanity, however, Yuma has his own reasons for crossing over into our plane, and for the moment is content with helping Osamu fight while keeping his own identity secret from Border. More recent episodes dash those attempts, forcing Osamu and Yuma to come clean and work toward forming their own team within Border. That’s more or less where we are now without spoiling anything major.
World Trigger is at its best when dealing with the issue of Yuma and his existence as a Neighbor, or just straight up dealing with the Neighbors themselves. Not that the monster-fighting action is terribly thrilling, but it’s much more entertaining than sitting through explanations of the inner workings of Border. One of the low points of the series thus far was episode 9, the majority of which takes place during a meeting between Osamu and Border’s higher-ups. Prepare for a non-stop thrill ride of medium shots and close-ups as a bunch of borderline motionless talking heads debate whether or not Osamu should be reprimanded for keeping Yuma a secret from the rest of Border.
Beyond a few slow sections, the other main issue with World Trigger is that it’s stylistically drab. Those who are already reading the manga on a regular basis have little reason to watch this Mitsuru Hongo (Outlaw Star, Deltora Quest) directed adaptation, especially when the black-and-white pages are often more exciting than any full-color, animated moment of the TV show. Those who do go the anime route will at least be happy to see the show picking up some more as we learn the secret past of Yuma and the real reason he came over to our world. Now that we’re entering a new phase of the story it should be interesting to see if the show continues to improve. If not, well, it’s back to the pages of Shonen Jump!
I still hate that stupid face Yuma makes…
Available: Now (Crunchyroll)
© Daisuke Ashihara/Shueisha, Toei Animation