A few months ago during the height of the lock-down, I finally listened to a buddy of mine and watched the anime Mirai Nikki. By the time it was all finished I found myself of two minds of the show, thinking that its concepts were interesting, but the show felt rushed. In a way, it was very much the rough draft of a better, tighter told story. I have only found that conclusion to have hardened in recent months, especially after the anime we are discussing today. Join me after the cut as we dive into the anime series Gleipnir
After thirteen episodes, I can only best describe Gleipnir as a better version of Mirai Nikki. It’s story is better told, it’s characters are more developed, and it’s world and atmosphere has enough space to actually let the characters breathe. That last part is actually really important. Unlike in Mirai Nikki’s case where everything seemed to be rushing at a break-neck speed, with characters jumping in and out of focus so much, Gleipnir is more straightforward and precise, even if it at times it feels a bit weak. The story is very much like Mirai Nikki. We follow Shuichi Kagaya, a docile and calm high school boy as is suddenly thrown into a life or death game involving people with strange powers, a magical vending machine, an alien and some strange coins. Gifted with the ability to transform into a wolf like mascot, Shuichi ends up saving and teams up with the crass and seductive Claire Aoki as they carve a bloody beaten path to uncovering the truth, as well as the fate of Claire’s sister.
I wasn’t lying when I said that Gleipnir has a lot of similarities with Future Diary. Again we have the life and death game, again we have magical powers, and again we have characters fighting to the death. Yet like I said, everything is much slower and more methodical. Instead of Yuno and her yandere insanity, we have Claire who is more calculating and cautious, coupled with Shuichi’s more hesitant nature. This show is very much a slow burn at times, where episodes can involve just people talking, and more questions come up than are answered. If anything, I would claim that sometimes Gleipnir is almost too passive, and there are times when I wish the story would get moving, because the mysteries surrounding the world and characters are deeply intriguing.
Yet it also improves much on what Mirai Nikki tried and Shuichi is one of the main examples. His coming to terms with the situation and ‘manning up’ far more sooner than his counterpart gives the series a forward momentum that was lacking from Future Diary. Furthermore Gleipnir doesn’t skimp out on the action when it comes up, with some excellent fight scenes that brutal, short and cruel. Doubly so for the sexuality. While there are no nipples to be seen (something I’m sure the Blu-rays will change) there is plenty of skin, ass and breast to enjoy, especially from Claire.
Claire herself almost makes the show. A character dripping with sass, attitude, sexuality and confidence. Even from strut of a walk in the opening this is a character who is always in control and Gleipnir never lets up. She is the heart and sole of the story, and her relationship with Shuichi is one of pining, or disdain. You can see slowly that both of them warm up greatly to each other. Anime has had it’s fair share of amazing female character, and while Claire won’t win any awards, there is just something about this character that just pulls you in. She’s honestly one of the best female characters on the docket in 2020 so far.
Gleipnir is, as I’ve said in this shallow dive, a better version of Mirai Nikki. While it may not be as a high octane, as adrenaline pumping, or as raw as it’s predecessor. It is also a story that feels more tightly told, better structured and with characters that will age far better. I really enjoyed this anime, and like with My Next Life as Villainess, it absolutely benefited from the heavy-hitters sitting out the season. I don’t know if this is a series that will continue, but if someone ever asks me if there are other shows like Mirai Nikki, then Gleipnir is absolutely the first thing on the list.