All right, finally caught up with all my spring season shows, so it’s first-impression/three-episode-test time. I’ve decided to try splitting these impressions up this time rather than lumping them all into one post. Hopefully that should make them easier for me to write and for you to read.
First up is Crime Edge.
Crime Edge was directed by the guy who did the Fate/Stay Night anime, and it really shows. The show reminds me a lot of Fate/Stay Night, though perhaps not quite as bad. The premise is similar enough – give a bunch of people a partner and historically significant superweapon, and throw them into a fight to the death for a prize that can reward them with what they most desire. It also shares some of the director’s favorite directorial quirks, like the need to throw obnoxious gradients and filters over every scene, either for dramatic effect or because he thinks it’s a suitable replacement for lighting. But perhaps the biggest lingering reminder of F/SN is that refusal to portray itself as anything but a SERIOUS DRAMA about SERIOUS CHARACTERS doing SERIOUS THINGS for SERIOUS REASONS. It’s all played completely straight, and despite a distinct oddness to its premise, the unrelenting seriousness in both its presentation and its writing quashes any attempts to capitalize on that oddity to make something creative and special out of it.
Well, perhaps “unrelenting” is a bit unfair. There have been a few moments that something interesting has been allowed to shine through. What’s stood out the most so far has been the bizarre undercurrents tying sexual tension to the roleplaying of murderers in the Author/Instead relationship, as the injection and hair-cutting scenes bring to mind the idea of “la petite mort” – a French euphemism for orgasm that literally translates to “the little death.” These scenes have managed to snag my attention just enough to get me curious, but not enough to make up for my lack of interest in the Hairy Grail War or the characters themselves – the lead pair are your typical anime nice-guy and cute-girl, and while some of the side characters seem to want to be the kind of crazy you’d see in a show like Future Diary, Crime Edge’s serious-business approach holds them back.
In all, while Crime Edge is certainly strange, it’s also not particularly interesting. You’d probably enjoy it if you liked the Fate/Stay Night anime, or if you’re willing to stick it out to see if that strangeness ultimately amounts to anything. I’m still on the fence about whether or not that’s worth it. I think I may give it a little more time, but I’m not going to put too much faith into it.