World Trigger – Season 2

World Trigger – Season 2

IMG_2457.PNGOsamu Mikumo is a member of Border, a government organisation designed to protect Mikado City from a species of alien invaders from another worlds called Neighbours. Members of Border are able to wield a power called Triggers which they use to re-establish order within the city. One day, a mysterious young man by the name of Yuma Kuga appears before Osamu, introducing himself as a humanoid Neighbour with similar powers to Border members. Though they are meant to be natural enemies, working with Yuma makes Osamu think that there may be more to Neighbours than initially thought.

We join World Trigger for a second series, and the Neighbour invasion is in full force. There are battle tactics and fight scenes aplenty, but there is something a little lacking this season from the joys of the first season: the fact that there are now too many characters to keep track of. It’s an obstacle that started off in the manga but had succeeded in bleeding over into the anime – where time constraints are a lot more important.

These personality pile-ups start early, around the second episode, where the humanoid Neighbors head out to battle the higher ranked agents, with Kazama’s squad fighting against one named Enedora. Kazama’s rather interesting for what’s been seen of him, but his teammates have just been in the background and appear rather superfluous. Kikuchihara gets some screen time and exploration, but given the fact that he has just appeared out of nowhere it’s a little jarring. All the more so when despite that focus, the Kazama squad doesn’t even actually defeat Enedora and end up having to retreat when Kazama gets taken out.

Since then there have been a variety of fight scenes as Border goes toe-to-toe with the humanoid Neighbours. For the most part, this season is very action heavy as it starts early to get through as many battles as humanly possible, jumping in between characters up until the final denouement.

This way of storytelling lends itself to one of World Trigger‘s strengths. As a typical shounen anime, it sets itself apart by showcasing shooter video game-like tactics rather than simple displays of raw strength or abilities. The constant back-and-forth and team strategies mean that every battle is different, and we see ways in which a lack of ability can be compensated by a terrain advantage, or focusing on one enemy at a time. The Border agents also make use of their superior numbers, as sides would tend to do when fighting a realistic battle. It’s refreshing to see this rather than the usual one-on-one battles that usually characterise this type of anime.

I’m pleased to see that Toei’s animation and choreography has improved noticeably since the first season, which I found to be rather lacking and cheap. While things are still not great (the lip-synching done by the characters in the opening scene makes me physically uncomfortable, followed by the rather unnecessary recaps that worryingly border on Bleach length to make up time, and the post-show sequences are literally made up of paper dolls of the characters. Is this meant to be cute? If so, it completely fails) and the character designs are still a little inconsistent, the directions of the battle scenes and the fast switching of camera angles really contribute to the urban warfare feel of Mikado City.

You can tell that someone is really trying with the visuals (the Neighbour’s powers and attacks are particularly interesting), but we still see the occasional cut corner during the action scenes and off-model characters are easier to spot now that there are so many supporting characters. However, it’s not bad enough to ruin the speed and the tension of the scenes anymore and everything if very fluid. However, this might be because of the amount of still animation sequences that are still being sneaked in – there was one scene of Osamu lying wounded and motionless on the floor that must have lasted over five seconds.

World Trigger has definitely become more consistent, more exciting and more ambitious, though its incredibly large cast is starting to weigh it down. It’s frustrating to watch a battle with characters you hardly know as its difficult to get invested. In fact, it sometimes makes me lose interest altogether and wonder when I’m going to see that characters I actually remember again. Thankfully, as the battles progressed, we eventually had our main cast of characters back in the main block of screen time. This one definitely has most of the markings of a good anime, if only the animation didn’t keep ruining the experience for me.