World Trigger: Episode 1 – “Visitor from the Other World”

World Trigger is an anime series based on a manga by Daisuke Ashihara. The anime is produced by Toei Animation, and is directed by Mitsuru Hongo. As of this writing, no one holds the North American distribution license for World Trigger.

The series is set in Mikado City, where a “gate” to a different world opens one day and monsters known as Neighbors start appearing from it. Earth’s weapons don’t work against these monsters, but a mysterious group appears and starts fighting against the Neighbors. The group, known as the Border defense agency, creates a defense system against the Neighbors that emerge from the gates.

The story is set four-and-a-half years after the appearance of the gate. We meet Osamu Mikumo, a 15-year-old boy who was saved from a Neighbor and has now gone on to become a Border agent. A transfer student named Yuma Kuga joins his class, and Osamu starts suspecting there’s something strange about him with the way he acts. The audience got to see Yuma on his way to school, and it was obvious to the viewer that Yuma’s not normal. Of course, the title of the episode helped to give away the truth about Yuma as well. Since I already know the truth about Yuma from having exposure to the World Trigger manga, I already knew why he didn’t appear to be normal.

Yuma manages to anger one of the class bullies, and he and Osamu are approached by the bully and his friends after school and are taken to a Border-restricted area. As soon as it was revealed where this location was, I could predict the major event that would be taking place here. Osamu finds himself being beat up by the bullies, and Yuma surprises everyone when he can repel them effortlessly. A Neighbor suddenly shows up at that location, and Osamu tries to take it on with his Trigger. However, Osamu’s too weak to do much. Yuma reveals that he also has a Trigger and takes down the Neighbor with ease. But Osamu gets the biggest shock right at the end of the episode when Yuma reveals that he’s a Neighbor.

I have to admit that I found this episode to be a bit on the slow and boring side. Yes, I know that the world, characters, and concepts needed to be established in this episode, but it was done in a way that felt rather dry and boring. Hopefully the tone and pacing of the storytelling will improve as the series progresses.

Unfortunately, what stood out to me the most in this episode was the animation… and I don’t mean this in a good way. The very first scene and the opening credits looked decent, but then it became obvious that corners were being cut for the animation. After the opening, there’s a roughly two-minute long exposition scene to establish the arrival of the Neighbors and the Border defense group. Instead of actually animating scenes to go with the voice over, still drawings were used with camera pans and shaky cameras in order to give the impression of movement. And when the story jumps ahead in time, the animation that’s used for the remainder of the episode lacks in detail and sometimes characters look rather flat. I don’t know if this was due to budget or time or what, but the animation for World Trigger isn’t as strong as it could have been.

The main thing that’s going to keep me watching World Trigger right now is the fact that I’m trying to use the anime as a way to fill in gaps I have from the manga, since I only started reading World Trigger in Weekly Shonen Jump about six months ago. I’m really hoping that the anime will help me better understand the characters and what’s going on in the manga chapters I’ve been reading.

Additional posts about World Trigger:

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