Love is in all places on the earth of Yurei Deco, the newest anime from celebrated Japanese animation studio Science Saru — or no less than that’s what the thought police would have you ever imagine. “Love is approval. Love is worth,” an aged instructor tells a web-based classroom of animal-like avatars at the start of the sequence. “And so, with love approximated as a rating, it serves as a forex required for public companies.” On this world, “love” is just not a lot a sense as it’s a means to reward or punish those that uphold or oppose the authority of the state.
Directed by Tomohisa Shimoyama (Tremendous Shiro) and based mostly on a narrative conceived by former Science Saru president Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby, Preserve Your Palms Off Eizouken!) and screenwriter Dai Sato (Eureka Seven, Cowboy Bebop), Yurei Deco is a sci-fi coming-of-age thriller loosely impressed by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The sequence follows Berry, a mischievous however common woman residing within the utopian “knowledge metropolis” of Tom Sawyer Island, a “benevolent” surveillance state the place actuality and our on-line world intersect.
After enjoying hooky from class, Berry unexpectedly crosses paths with Hack, a proficient hacker and routine prankster who lives between the margins of Tom Sawyer’s society as a “yurei” (aka undocumented citizen). After Hack is captured by the island’s police power and falsely implicated as a nefarious hacker recognized solely as Phantom Zero, Berry groups up with Hack’s fellow yurei Finn to assist Hack escape whereas uncovering the darkish reality behind Tom Sawyer’s supposedly “excellent” world.
Dai Sato is not any stranger to dystopian premises filled with allegory-laden imagery — see his work on 2006’s Ergo Proxy. What’s going to instantly leap out at any viewer — and the place Yurei Deco differs most dramatically from Ergo — is its visible design. The world of Tom Sawyer Island is a wierd and bewildering one, the place garish augmented actuality billboards disguise dilapidated concrete buildings with scrupulous precision and flesh-and-blood people reside alongside subservient robotic companions. The residents of Tom Sawyer are required to undertake “Decos,” visible knowledge units that are both worn as visors or surgically implanted into their eyes by the age of 4, which flood their imaginative and prescient with a wash of euphoric colours and pictures which are solely bought with “love” whereas stern-faced “content material moderators” delete any sights or sensations which may trigger them unease or misery.
Akira Honma’s character designs really feel paying homage to Naoyuki Asano’s work on Preserve Your Palms Off Eizouken! with their clear and simplified outlines, strong shade palettes, and exaggerated expressions. There’s a variety of incredible designs on this sequence, from Jimi Hendrix lookalikes to pill-shaped robots to large anthropomorphic cats in enterprise fits. Past these eccentricities, many of the personalities of the solid come throughout as skinny in the meanwhile — although this doesn’t preclude the opportunity of their characterizations turning into extra fleshed out because the sequence progresses.
The concept of “love” being abstracted and commodified right into a instrument of oppression is a provocative and promising one. And the potential for the story to rise above “we reside in a society” sophistry to inform an entertaining story about rising up in a world of data overload is obvious from the beginning. If it’s in a position to observe by on the potential (past the primary three episodes, which Crunchyroll supplied to Polygon forward of the premiere), and stick the touchdown, Yurei Deco seems to be prefer it could possibly be a strong contender for certainly one of this season’s finest anime. And even when it doesn’t, there’s nonetheless loads to like.
Yurei Deco streams Sundays on Crunchyroll.