World Trigger – Season 4

World Trigger – Season 4

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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.

In this season, titled the ‘Fugitive arc’, unknown trion solidiers begin to attack border. As Osamu and Yuma get involved in the fracas, they discover a human Neighbour refugee named Xeno, originally from Elgates. He wants them to harbour a young woman, Lilith, and himself as they try and seek shelter in their world. To ensure his demands are met, Xeno takes Chika’s trion powers hostage. Having no other alternative than to oblige, they offer shelter to the prickly Xeno and smiling Lilith.

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Meanwhile, the assassin Giev continues to create havoc with his new and more powerful trion soldiers. Lilith becomes good friends with Osamu, Yuma and Chika and Xeno is softened to see his friend relaxed and smiling. During a direct attack by Giev and his soldiers, Osamu and Xeno are separated from the group and are trapped together. Grudgingly, Xeno comes to respect Osamu and the rest of his team, who he was treating like disposable tools up until now. To demonstrate his new-found trust, he releases Chika and her trion from the bind he originally put her in. Lilith is delighted that Xeno seems to be adjusting to this strange new land, but we see that there is more to her than initially meets the eye.

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When Giev locates Osamu’s group and targets Lilith, who up until now was being protected dutifully by Xeno, Lilith’s body seemingly reached its limit and begins to change, revealing her secret – that she is a humanoid trion warrior named the ‘Goddess of Destruction’ – and she uses her newly-uncovered power to protect herself and her new friends from threat.

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This new season of World Trigger is not adapted from the manga. The Fugitive arc is the first season to be strictly anime-only… but does this mean that this season is filler? When I think of the dreaded term, I think of those horrifying Bleach arcs that are just tedious, confusing and don’t contribute anything of worth to plot or character. From what I can see, this season is actually doing a lot to pick up the slack in the previous manga-specific arcs. Firstly, there’s a lot less characters to keep track of. We have the usual Tamakoma-2 guys and a few supporting characters that jump in when the action is getting particularly hard core, but things always revert back to Osamu, Yuma and Chika and how they interact with the focal characters for this arc: Xeno and Lilith. I feel like I can finally keep track of the names of all the characters I am watching and it’s a real relief.

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This arc also means that we get to learn a bit more about when it means to be a Neighbour and that the term is actually quite diverse. It adds another facet to a term that, up until now, just meant ‘invaders from another plane of existence’. Yuma being the exception, I always felt that it was a bit ‘us and them’ when it came to Border and Neighbours, so it’s good to see Xeno and Lilith adding another layer here.

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Having said that, it feels that the more ingrained maladies that World Trigger tends to suffer from are still running deep. The pace is still too slow! We see a lot of Lilith and Xeno trying to adjust to their new lives as fugitives and plenty of attacks from Giev – but to what end? When makes it seem longer is that these things seem to happen in blocks. First we have a few episodes where nothing really matters and everything is just centred around Xeno struggling to co-operate with Osamu and Yuma. Whilst I found this entertaining, I wished there was more going on to break it up. Instead we see Giev brooding quietly for these episodes before making his series of attacks – which don’t seem to do anything other than give a good excuse for some good action and trion attacks. These isolated incidents don’t seem to be contributing much to the bigger picture, which arrives eventually but by the time it does there doesn’t seem to be enough time for suitable exposition of the scene. It’s frustrating.

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What I’m looking for in World Trigger in future is more cohesion. I’ve been watching it long enough that I’m invested in the characters and the animation and fighting techniques impress me. Is it too much to ask to get an even mix of these two great things? Can’t we lattice them together in a way that doesn’t make me feel like watching this anime is like taking a tortoise for a walk? Come on, Toei, you have the reigns now – let’s pick things up a bit.