Image Credit: rokunasi hitonasi from Pixiv
Also known as “Back Pains: The Anime”.
I honestly think this series is underrated, at least in the English blogosphere, where I’ve heard it being called utter garbage more often than not. I jumped into the anime with very low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised.
While the series started off rough with the first three episodes and gave me the impression that it was going to another over-the-top strange anime with big-breasted characters (fanservice, fanservice, and more fanservice), when the series started to get down to business with an actual conflict, I was treated to an anime that had pretty good pacing (for a thirteen episode anime, per season) and a world that built itself up to have a lot of potential.
Usually with these twelve to fourteen-episode light novel adaptations, despite being given a very limited amount of episodes, they decide to screw around with fillers and end off at a very unsatisfying note. Because of this, I appreciated the fact that every episode of Horizon had some sort of plot advancement without spending five episodes screwing around with beach episodes and the like. And when the first season ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, Sunrise took it upon themselves to reassure us that there would be a second season. For example, I hated how Mayo Chiki! ended off with an episode centered around ship teasing the main protagonist and a VERY minor character right after an episode that could have been an appropriate way to end off the first season (major points with main girl, Subaru!), without giving any indication as to whether or not there’s ever going to *be* a second season. That’s the kind of thing that pisses me off the most.
I just witnessed a maid vs. mecha battle… AND THE MAID WON
There’s one negative aspect that will surely scare people from watching Horizon though – that is, despite the world clearly being thought-out and planned, the anime version doesn’t do a very good job of explaining it to the viewer. I like it how it forces the viewers to immerse themselves into the plot in order to slowly understand facets about the world and whatnot, but it’s a detriment to getting into it – no one knows what the hell everyone is talking about whenever they refer to specific events and terminology. Certainly not a very good first impression. If you try, many plot elements and terms start to become easy enough to grasp, but taking a break from the show will cause you to have memory lapses of them when you come back. It’s a good sign that the writer tried to put his all into building a proper fantasy world, but it’s also a sign that the writer was being overly ambitious. One thing to note is that it’s much more easier to get into if you’re one for real life historical references – because it has really clever ones.
Many of the strange things in Horizon actually seem to be… completely made valid and justified by how the world is built, like the artificial maid vs. mecha battle. Still, I will never take a battle between a friggin’ MERCHANT and a BASEBALL PLAYER seriously. Nor will I take a fighter playing baseball with HIS FISTS seriously. Ever. The concepts are still ridiculous when said out-loud even if it actually makes sense when you watch the anime.
She can make a nest out of that hair
As much as I ended up loving the anime, I will always hate a lot of the female character designs. Tits as big as a person’s head will never be a pleasing thing to look at. I don’t care how much you love boobs (
oppai piggu go homu), it still looks downright abnormal. Not as bad as High School of the Dead, though, but still.
(I loved Neito’s hair, though. Looks cozy. Room for two?)
Despite the flaws, it’s easy to get invested in the show as a marathon. I’ll say Horizon is one of the few not-so-Mobile Suit Gundam shows that does political intrigue correctly. There’s one episode where it just centered around a debate, and it was one helluva good episode. And I’m usually one that gets bored of political intrigue in fiction, so Horizon certainly accomplished something there.
There’s a giant cast of characters that surpasses One Piece‘s Straw Hat nakama, and naturally within only a handful of available episodes, not all of them get as much focus as I would have liked. But Horizon hasn’t even had a third season yet and it’s adapted from a TWELVE VOLUME light novel series. Unlike the idiots that rail on Haruhi’s story for being inconclusive despite them only adapting only a handful of stories out of an ONGOING light novel series, I’ll give Horizon the benefit of the doubt here (though I highly doubt that “Mr. Indian Guy with Giant Bowl of Curry I’M DEFINITELY NOT A RACIST STEREOTYPE” will get any sort of development whatsoever).
THIRD SEASON PLEASE
From what was given to me in the first two seasons, I’m looking forward to Sunrise continuing the series one day.