Steampunk England with magic and automatons? I’m interested. It’s too bad that the execution didn’t blow me away.
First off, this ep starts off with a bang as a train gets out of control and prepares to crash. Our main lead Raishin and his trusty doll Yaya manage to stop it while on their way to being transferred to the Royal Academy. Raishin is unfortunately ranked 1235th out of 1236 students. Nevertheless, he’s determined to make his way to the top 100, battling anyone who gets in his way.
Despite the lack of world-building thus far, it’s definitely got an interesting set-up for the school. Instead of grading, each student is assigned a rank based on their potential as a puppet user. Everyone has their own automaton with unique abilities, ranging from elemental attacks to physical strength. As such, a lower ranked student can easily bring up his rank if he defeats more opponents. It’s a basic tournament background including mechanical dolls, but it’s straightforward enough to get us prepared for what’s to come. How it’s presented, however, is where the problems start to show.
If you read my post on Coppelion, you’ll notice that I constantly raved about the show-more and tell-less approach. Unfortunately, this show does the exact opposite. Every single time exposition is introduced, they sum it up through derivative lectures that don’t even seem to try sounding engaging. Another problem is that when it does come to showing off, it’s not that pretty to look at. Sure the train scene was fast-paced, but the battles depend alot on bad CG, and the art looks a bit cheap.
It doesn’t help that the characters are, for the most part, pretty stale right now. Raishin seems to only be interested in revenge and getting stronger, along with calming down Yaya. Blue Charlotte seems to be just another tsundere, and other than her wise puppet Sigmund, no other characters are introduced aside from the mask-wearing man Raishin recognizes from his past.
However, I would like to highlight the best part of this series so far, which is Yaya herself. Despite being an automaton, Yaya is far from the lifeless doll she’s described as. She’s upbeat, emotional, and the most lively out of all the characters as of now. Despite Raishin’s distant personality, she constantly shows him affection and loyalty, and seeing these two together really helped liven up the mood.
On top of that, she’s not useless when it comes to battles; I mean how many times do you see a little girl stop a speeding train? She could easily become a moeblob, but I do see the potential. Plus, her boldness in trying to get into Raishin’s pants is rather amusing. She’s not even teasing; she is searching for anyway for them to do the dirty.
I like a good tournament story as much as the next person, and while the presentation doesn’t seem that impressive even in the fights, the train scene in the beginning was well-done. I’m liking Yaya and the possibilities of this world, but the rest seems to be kind of a letdown. Hopefully it picks up the pace in ep 2.