An elementary school is going up in flames. Some teenaged boys come to blows about whether or not to go in search of a friend who has run in to save a kid. The kid is saved, but not the friend, and meanwhile the friendship between the boys is destroyed. Flash forward a year, and it’s time for the first anniversary memorial service. The boys reunite and are not happy to see each other. They go their separate ways. But as fate and hungry stomachs would have it, they inadvertently reunite a second time at another friend’s okonomiyaki joint. They still aren’t happy about it. Then they all get a phone call at exactly the same moment from their dead friend, and don’t let on to one another, going their separate ways once again in order to take the call(s), which activates some kind of brain hacking thing through their ear canals and makes their eyes light up with a triangular pattern. They each see a vision of the trolley dilemma, you know, the one from Fate/Zero, where you have to choose between maybe killing a bunch of people in order to definitely save one, or definitely killing one in order to maybe save a bunch more. Only it’s about a self-driving train that the one guy’s father has been pushing like nobody’s business to boost his ratings in the political polls, and the person who will definitely die is their friend from the okonomayaki place and her puppy Daisy, who is the only character whose name is worth remembering. And then it starts to happen in real life, and the boys, who have been reunited Yet. Again. (I’m not joking) and are now stuck in a traffic jam, have to decide what to do. And so of course they decide to run atop all the other cars’ roofs and hoods because that’s what you do when you need to inject a sense of action into a traffic jam scene. As they run, each boy in turn says the exact same line, “My body feels so light”, in order for us to realize that there’s something super-freaky going on. Hacker Boy is better at hacking than ever before. Parkour Boy can now leap entire buildings. And Mr. Politician’s son can, well, whisper sweet nothings in his father’s ear to convince him to try to stop the train? Or rather, not stop it? I’m not sure, we don’t hear the dialogue. Anyhow, his super-power is being politiciany. After some more ridiculousness, Parkour Boy manages to save Okonomiyaki Friend and Daisy, and scampers off into the sunset. Scene. But no, it continues! The boys all meet up one last time at Dead Friend’s grave and fight yet again about how much they don’t like each other. And there’s a big reveal: Dead Friend was Politician Boy’s sister as well as Parkour Boy’s Love Interest! And now she might be an AI that can tap into the crime prediction AI system that exists in this world. And trust me, I left a lot of stuff out.
Phew! Don’t watch this one, folks. It’s so painfully boring! It’s a double-episode that would have been so much better off as a single episode or even a short—a good, thorough edit at draft stage is what it needs. Desperately. As it stands, it is all over the place and doesn’t really do, say or show anything of any substance while it runs about madly like a chicken with its head cut off. This is such a disappointment, because the core idea of heroes whose ability is simply an enhancement of the skills they’ve already developed throughout their lives is pretty cool. But the world-building is so complicated and derivative, and goes in so many different directions at the same time (a bit of Psycho Pass, a dash of Rumble Garanndoll, throw in some trauma and friends to enemies to frenemies, and then also graffiti artist subculture—one of the themes I skipped in the recap—and of course hacktivism and actual protests and activism too, and all the unrequited love interests falling over one another, and Parkour Boy’s strange 12-year-old mother who’s there, I don’t know, for the lolicon crowd?) that it has no sense of direction whatsoever. Trees, meet forest. Please. But the real killing blow is the mediocrity of the animation. Such a disappointment, especially coming from CloverWorks. But perhaps not so surprising considering that they are releasing three series this season and have a pretty poor reputation from last Winter season in terms of working conditions and quality consistency. Anyhow, don’t do it folks. Don’t lose 45 minutes of your life to this hot mess. Unless you want to watch a literal train wreck.