Now this is a show that I am surprised hasn’t got more traction. After all the shit that was stirred over the opening episodes of both Goblin Slayer and Shield Hero, the fact that this show has gotten halfway through it’s run time and there hasn’t been a PEEP from the usual players is something else. I mean some of the shit that happens in these first thirteen episodes is quite shocking.
Anyway, let’s talk about the second best anime of the season: YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of the World.
You may be mistaken in thinking that YU-NO is just another run of the mill harem anime, or one of the dime a dozen shows that come up every season. However it is anything but. YU-NO isn’t just an adaptation of a visual novel. It is an adaptation of THE visual novel. This was the piece of work that pioneered revolutionary new techniques in the genre with its branching story lines and alternative choices, and whose influence has touched every corner of its art form. It is considered as one of the most beloved narrative stories in Japan and it has been name-dropped by the creators of both Steins:Gate, and Fate Stay Night as a direct influence on their respective works, both of which would go on to completely dominate the industry. If you have ever read or watched a visual novel, then it was probably in some way influenced by YU-NO.
And it shows, because this anime has been one of the most enthralling and interesting stories I’ve seen this year.
As a product of its time, YU-NO story is relatively basic. We follow lead character Takuya Arima as he comes across a magical device that allows him to jump between parallel timelines, each one slightly different than the last. Along the way he comes across a sinister and strange conspiracy involving several of the women in his life, whether they are old lovers, childhood friends, mysterious new transfer students, or even his hot-step mom. Twists and turns are abound as Takuya has to solve and re-solve problems by jumping again and again into different version of his life, and all the while there is the greater mystery involving nearby sacred island, and magical orbs that seem to hint at alternative world.
Thirteen episodes into a 26 episode series, YU-NO is only now starting to really peel back the layers of it’s world, but the ride so far has been absolutely shocking, with each of the female leads stories full of some really interesting and shocking stuff. In just this first cour we have been hit with things like suicide, teenage prostitution, government corruption, teacher-student relationships, blackmail, the biggest cuck on the planet, and murder upon murder. Each time I think that I have the story figured out, it takes a sharp left turn and throws me a curve-ball. This is especially true in the first “Ayumi’ arc which I am still shocked more people haven’t been talking about.
I’ll be honest, it is hard to talk about this show without going into all the things that happens, but that will spoil what has been a series of great reveals and plots that just hook you in. All I will say is this: If you dismissed this show because you were put off by the “harem looking premise” then please, give it another look. YU-NO: A Girl who Chants Love at the Bound of this World is a fucking great show, and has sunk its teeth so deep into me, I don’t think it’s going to let go until we come to the conclusion. Will it stick the landing? Who knows, but I am on this train till the very end. Yes it is a very much a product of the 90s, but this is a piece of anime and visual novel history, and I think people should give it a proper look before dismissing it out of hand. Don’t sleep on this one guys, it’s the real deal.