World Trigger – Season 3

World Trigger – Season 3

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Osamu 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.

The next season of World Trigger mostly focuses on the Rank Wars, which means more urban warfare tactics and stories. There are a couple of transitional episodes where every tries to get back to normalcy after the attack by the Neighbours. After having the blame thrown onto him, Osamu clears his name after recovering from a week-long coma. But he doesn’t  have too long to heal as the next challenge on the way to becoming an A-rank Border member is around the corner: it’s the B-rank competition.

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Osamu, Yuma and Chika form a three-man cell and must fight against other teams in simulated areas, combining tactics and strength in order to emerge the victors. But the Tamakoma squad have made a name for themselves after their fights against the Neighbours. There are those that want to test their strength, those that see them as a threat and those who just see them as a group that needs to be taken down on their own way to the next rank. Either way, do the three of them have what it takes to meet every challenge that their opponents send their way? And how will they deal with the Border members who have side-effects – a unique talent gifted to them through their Trion powers?

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The pace starts to pick up again in this season as it really started to drag its heels towards the end of the last season. We see lots of edge-of-your-seat battles as Border teams fight to prove themselves worthy of being an A-rank fighter. Most of the episodes have quite intense multi-episode battles, which vary in lots of ways so as not to be repetitive. It’s good to see all these action scenes having smoother animation than the earlier episodes as if makes for some pretty great fight sequences.

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Thankfully, there are less characters this time around and the anime actually gets to take a break and get the opportunity to add some depth and individual drives to the side characters, such as opposing Border teams, which certainly helps to keep you engaged once the Rank Wars kick off. However, some quirks and motivations fall short of actually making the characters convincing – namely Karasuma’s overdone “I’m joking”. There’s also a team member in Nasu squad that is moving and they want to show off how far they can get as a team before then. It’s just still not enough to make me care about most of the characters. Perhaps seeing them actually work as a team rather than being subjected to their personal dramas might be a good change of tack?

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In World Trigger‘s favour, though, it makes a real effort to show the audience that the usual shounen rhetoric of “my spirit/friends gives me the strength to win!” doesn’t apply to actual combat nearly as much as strategy does. Once clever tactic from the opposing team can throw a real spanner into the works. It serves to demonstrate just how much World Trigger values strategic battles over some of it’s other counterparts, which is rather refreshing. I also enjoy the fact that the main trio of characters are really coming into their own: Osamu has become less useless now he knows that his talents stem from strategy; Yuma finds that he has to think quick on his feet to fight against Border members rather than Neighbours and Chika finally understands how she can become the team’s secret weapon with her unusually large well of Trion.

IMG_3534.PNGThis anime has succeeded in freeing itself from the bulk of its cast and I can only hope in future that, for the sake of the pace, they continue to trim the fat. World Trigger follows the manga almost to the letter but, while this is something I enjoy for the most part, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always the best thing to do. Manga has a most relaxed pace and has the luxury of being able to include a large cast of characters. In anime, you can see key elements suffering because of determination to stick rigidly to manga storyline progression. I have seen the kind of action that World Trigger can deliver when it sets its mind to it and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that, if possible.