A lot of people dissed this show before it began, citing a lack of originality. I didn’t see it that way, although by the end of the first two episodes, I did see their point; it was a bizarre pastiche of the Matrix, Terminator, Evil Dead II, and B-grade horror flicks in general. But I liked the primary female, Maya. She really is tsundere for the occult. She hates it and denies its existence, but she’s an expert in it. Maya is capable, but she’s in over her head and she knows it.
She’s also wearing the same white dress through the whole show, despite getting green ichor all over it in the first episode. Damn, that Japanese bleach is good!
The primary male, unfortunately, is the major failure point of the show — but far from the only one. I thought we had a cocky braggart who was also finding himself over his head. You know the story; the trope is that they’re the Cocky Arrogant Hero; over-confident in the extreme, and you, as the viewer, just can’t wait for him to get his comeuppance. Once the CAH gets the stuffing beaten out of him, he loses confidence, mopes around, and all appears lost. At the last minute, he gets his mojo back, or maybe really starts trying for the first time. He ends up saving the day with some real bad-assery, maybe a CMoA or two, because he’s a Big Damn Hero. It turns out he really is as good as he thinks he is. All is well, and he smooches the love interest before the final curtain.
That isn’t what is happening here.
After the first two excellent episodes, the show got handed to a different director and writer for some reason. Maybe it was just for an episode or two, but that was enough, because they reversed all the good things from the beginning. Let me point out something Very Damn Important:
You can have a lead male who is stupid, but succeeds anyway.
You can have a lead male who is a liar, but make the audience like him.
You can have a lead male who is a coward, but still saves the day.
What you absolutely cannot do is have a cowardly stupid liar as the lead male. Is Abe really Bunmei the spoon-bending boy, or not? Is he a crack secret agent sent from the future to stop the world from ending, or is he a pathetic con artist? The writers can’t seem to decide.
Abe talks to himself like he is Bunmei, and even tries to make contact with his old family. Yet he turns around and says to Maya that he lied. He needs her help to save the world so he goes and destroys what little trust she had in him? He lies to the girl he likes about rescuing a missing student. Abe confesses to lying to Maya about how he came to be sent back to 1999: he’s not the cocksure, arrogant, highly trained secret agent we saw in the second episode, that was just his version of the story. In reality, he’s just a sniveling loser that was pulled out of refugee camp to become the sixth agent sent back in time.
And not only is he an idiot, the primary villain, who is vice principal of the school, also has an attack of the stupids, falls in insta-love with him because he complemented her hair, and starts writing bad love poetry. On screen.
No, I’m not making that up.
Stupid Missed Clue #1: The world’s going to end soon. Abe/Bunmei has a cell phone which shows what a person or object will look like in 2012. It’s to find the item or person that is central to the world’s end, so he constantly takes pictures of everything. When the vice principle declares her love for him and starts aggressively trying to kiss him, he snaps a picture: He sees her, alive with two kids; he’s a corpse in the background. He wasn’t in the camera’s view when he took the picture, so why is it showing him? BIG FREAKING CLUE.
Stupid Missed Clues #2 and #3 The cute young thing at the curry shop takes an interest him, but even when they date, he does not snap a picture of her. Why? He snapped one the instant the vice principal tried to kiss him. This chick is much more photogenic. Also… she works in a curry shop and owns an expensive sports car? (Jag or Porsche, I forget which). Searching for missing people, she leads him into a shrine and they “accidentally” find a maze of caves, then get separated because he’s a big chicken and panicked. She finds her way out without a problem; he nearly dies from Mothra, Jr. — during which time he panics again, this time abandoning Maya to what should be certain death. And once he runs into (not finds, because he wasn’t looking) the curry girl (I just don’t care enough to go look up her name), he spins a bunch of lies to make himself look the hero. Oh, and how is he so clean when he was covered in moth shit just a few minutes ago? Sunlight is apparently as good as Japanese bleach.
Finally, why did the vice principal order all the tunnels blown up, and why does no one go “hey, those tunnels we barely escaped from just blew up… WTF?”
Everyone’s just full on stupid at this point, and I’m outta here.