First Impression: Paradox Live THE ANIMATION

What if today’s rappers had the technology to create illusions and hallucinations to accompany their songs? That is the question explored in Paradox Live THE ANIMATION, where the use of “phantometal” allows performers to do just that! Allen, Anne, and Hajun are high schoolers who make up the leading rap group BAE. After another successful night performing at a club, they are surprised to receive an invitation to CLUB Paradox, a place known for launching phantom rappers to worldwide fame, but which has been “off-grid” for the past ten years. They decide to accept the invitation despite how sketchy everything seems. Will BAE have what it takes to win the grand prize of ten million yen and become the hottest phantom rap group?

Well, this boys’ idol anime is not what I was expecting! The first thing I thought of within the opening minutes was Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (but without the gruesome violence and eroticism) meets Ya Boy Kongming, where the cast are edgy punk rappers. Not a bad mashup! But the thing that won me over entirely is that several of my all-time favorite VAs are among the phantom rappers! To say that I was squealing when I found out that Ayumu Murase and Ryouta Takeuchi, the voices of Hinata and Ushijima from Haikyuu!!, as well as Natsuki Hanae (Tanjiro from Demon Slayer) are all rappers in this series, is an understatement! While I enjoyed this first episode and the rapping with the use of illusions, I am very much here to hear some of my favorite characters rap in this anime. The animation itself is good and I am also very interested in all the rap groups introduced, but the voice actors have me already anticipating next week’s episode! Beyond the voice acting, I will mention that the concept of phantometal and how it directly affects a person’s DNA is also extremely interesting. I am very curious about whether it affects any of the users, and if it does, how exactly it affects them, because it appears that all the rappers use phantometal to enhance their performances. Overall, I have no idea if I can recommend this because of my own bias (my deep love of Haikyu!!), but I will be tuning in to see what unfolds next for BAE, especially after that alarming cliffhanger at the end!

Paradox Live THE ANIMATION is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Laura A. Grace

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