First Impression: Back Arrow

A wall surrounds the island of Ringarindo, but it’s more than a boundary—the structure is seen as a provider and caregiver, and worshiped as a god by the residents of the land’s two kingdoms and unassigned tribal groups. Though the nations have advanced technology, specifically mecha known as Breheight which manifest when a magical ring encircles the wearer’s arm and conforms to his or her “conviction,” they also look to the skies and gifts that fall from them. Known as Rahuko, these large capsules are full of treasure—usually the technological kind—but the newest one to land has two peculiarities: It falls among the country people instead of in the populous kingdoms and rather of an object, the Rahuko holds a person—and this individual claims to come from a place that doesn’t exist. He claims to be from beyond the wall.

Did I forget to mention the naked protagonist in my summary?

So…there’s so much to say. I’ve had Back Arrow circled on my calendar because of the talent involved: director Gorou Taniguchi (Code Geass, Planetes), writer Kazuki Nakashima (TTGL, Kill la Kill, BNA), and everyone’s favorite singer, LiSA. I can’t say I’m necessarily a fan of the men’s work, but one thing is for sure: They are creators of spectacle, and the first episode of Back Arrow is certainly that. Also, much like the opening episodes of some of the aforementioned series (as well as like the female characters coming face to face with this show’s naked protagonist), we don’t know a lot about what’s going on, but we can’t look away. When it comes to this initial episode, that’s a really good thing. The world-building is interesting, with a wall as mysterious as Attack on Titan’s but even more hallowed; a conflict between big, technologically-advanced civilizations and smaller, tribal groups; a kingdom that is based on Chinese ones and a clan based on the old west; mecha units with a really interesting twist with the weaving in of “conviction”; and a hilarious lead character. In fact, the comedy was as good as anything in the episode and add a further layer to all the other creative facets, which have me curious and wondering, will Taniguchi and Nakashima be able to make up for one another’s weaknesses and create something unique and wondrous? I’m not so sure, but they’re going big, and no matter what the ultimate outcome, it’s going to be entertaining.

BACK ARROW can be streamed on Funimation.

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