“Harry Potter, with more lesbians.”
There’s something to be said for not laying everything out on the line for your audience from the get-go, and only gradually revealing pertinent information. But do it too often, or for too long, and you run a significant risk of driving them away in bafflement. Such is probably the case here: for rather too long, it’s clear that the characters know a great deal more about what’s going on than the audience. The central character is Rin (Noto), a private investigator who, we soon discover, is immortal. We find this out because she keeps coming back after getting killed by Laura (Ohara), an assassin employed by the mysterious “Apos,” who thinks he/she is a god, and is intent on proving it. Turns out, this immortality is the result of Rin ingesting a spore from a tree known as Yggdrasil – yep, that’s ancient Norse. In Japan – which normal people can’t see. If a woman is infected, she becomes immortal. If a man does, he turns into an “angel”, a monster that hunts and eats the immortals, who have an irresistible urge to have sex with the angels.
There’s more. A lot more, spanning a century or so. Probably too much more than should be crammed in to six 45-minute episodes, but as I noted with AHS: Coven, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s fairly clear where it’s all going to end: a battle between Rin and He-who-must-not-be-named, Apos. Before we get there, however, there’s a lot of sex, much of it of the girl on girl variety, though with a significant quantity of BDSM as well, befitting is apparent origins on a Japanese version of Skinemax. That certainly makes this unsuitable for minors: some is necessary to the plot, but a lot of it feels more like fan service – a bit of a shame, because it needlessly devalues what’s a fairly intriguing concept, containing a good deal of imagination. Rin’s daily business, such as finding lost cats, always seems to end up dragging her into much more complex affairs, linked either to Apos or some big corporation.
Some of these are well done and are capable of standing alone, such as the third episode, which covers biological weapons and human testing, still something of a taboo subject in Japan (Don’t mention Unit 731. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it). However, the closer we get to the big bad, the more confusing and less interesting things become. One review put it beautifully: “It feels like you’re just watching the characters explain what the hell is going on, while raping and eating each other.” I think the creators are trying to up the ante, but there’s little or no emotional wallop to the sexual sadism, with the result that it becomes kinda dull. However, it does also play to anime’s strengths, in that whatever the mind conceive, can be depicted. If you don’t get a frisson when the angel wings start sprouting, you’re a more phlegmatic individual than I. Overall, it’s worth a look, though you may want to track down the episode synopses first, and use them as a cheat-sheet.
Dir: Shigeru Ueda
Star (voice): Mamiko Noto, Rie Kugimiya, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Sayaka Ohara
[Random amusement: while looking for pics, I did a Google Search for images with “mnemosyne anime”. One of these things is not like the other. #AmyPondWTF?]