We all have wondered at some point what if anime characters could come to our reality. How would they react if they ever came, and would they get even get along? How would that clash with our logic since they would have superpowers that are only a fantasy to us? How would different characters from different genres interact with each other? Will their power system work against each other in this world? How would they feel to meet their author and how would their author feel to see their creations come to life? The anime original show Re:CREATORS tackles this concept and takes us on a hell of a ride.
About this show
Re:CREATORS is an anime produced by Troyca in 2017 and the story written by Rei Hiroe (author of Black Lagoon) and Ei Aoki. It’s a show where fictional characters from anime, games, manga, novels, etc. come to life and come to the realization that they are nothing but mere entertainment, and their lives have been a simulation.
It starts when a highschooler comes home and watches anime that is currently airing until suddenly he gets sucked inside the anime. He finds himself in the scene that was happening in the anime but sees an unknown character who isn’t meant to be there fighting with Selesia Upitiria, a main character of that anime. The main character, Sota Mizushino gets caught up in that and suddenly gets out of the anime, but Selesia also comes back with him. Confused and lost, Selesia draws her sword to Sota’s neck and then the mysterious character shows up in this world as well. They try to run from her as she overpowered Selesia. After a struggle, they get interrupted by another character who is from a well-known RPG game. The mysterious character then leaves, and her purpose remains unknown. Soon later, more characters show up, creating an all-in-one multiverse battle royal. Characters from magical girl show, medieval fantasy, mecha robot anime, Sci-Fi, shounen battle, etc. But the core theme is how they can fathom the fact that they are nothing but the imaginations of some ordinary people.
The Core Theme
The idea of that we are in a simulation and our whole life is only the whims and desires of someone else is hard to take in and accept. We’ve seen something like this in the movie “The Truman Show” where the main character’s entire life has been a TV show that’s running from the moment he was born. When he realizes the facade put up before him and binding him in this prison, he tries to escape even by risking his life and eventually, he manages to. But just before that, he got to talk with the one who runs the show, a god of some sort for him who tries to convince Truman to stay and that he is a star that millions of people look up to. But Truman refuses and leaves with a smile to see the real world no matter how harsh it might get.
Now back to Re:CREATORS, fictional characters find themselves in the real world and are baffled at first. Some think logically, try to uncover why & how they were brought here and what are the intentions of the mysterious character. Some of them even get to meet their authors who are in a way gods to them. And some hold a grudge against them because they are the reason why their life is so full of misery. But some start to feel a parent-child bond towards their creator. Some felt sad when they learned that their author had passed away. The mysterious character whose origin is unknown does have some sort of grudge against this world and wants to through it into chaos. Since fictional characters have different logic and aspects like the use of magic and technology that doesn’t exist in this world, it upsets the balance in the natural order. So, some of them take her side in exacting their revenge. Then, there’s the magical girl, Mamika, who had the hardest time. Logics and rules don’t work the same, people don’t get along very well, and the destructions left after the battle don’t disappear at the end. There are consequences that you feel responsible for. But she tries her best for everyone’s sake.
Even so, things aren’t all negative. The characters get to experience things that they never have. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch—everything feels different. Food tastes more delicious, tiredness feels more exhausting, and many more. Most importantly, they get to meet their creators for better or worse. Like, how often do you even get to meet your own creator?! Though they are not very elegant like the stories they wrote. They are just regular humans and have flaws. Some have weird tastes and ideas. Some are just plain perverts. Besides, their stories aren’t just entertainment or industry business. They inspired so many people to get out of depression and lift their spirits. Just like in our world, people take life lessons from stories like Berserk and God of War. The characters themselves get to be better as well by overcoming trials and obstacles in life. Just like in our world, we face so many issues that we even blame our God, and whine about “why me”, when we don’t try to see the big picture and how far we’ve made it in life. Bad events that happen in our lives make us stronger. Events that seem like accidents have a greater purpose and we learn to value our lives. Everything minor or major has an influence on us and has a purpose. We just have to carry on with our lives and do our best.
All in One
Aside from the philosophical standpoint, this show is pretty fun to watch. Different characters from different genres clash together in a team death match format. Magic vs mecha, guns vs swords, fantasy vs sci-fi, it’s just pure awesomeness. Some characters have broken abilities, some have limitations and some just go with th power of friendship. With good animation and Sawano Hiroyuki’s OST, the fights are fun to watch. The authors get together, discuss different aspects, and write up a cross-over story to conclude this madness. Since they are ones who can re-write and change anything about their characters. This concept also have the potential to be a good video game. There’re so many more things that are hard to put into words. Aspects such as fan reactions, social media, and cancel culture, all things in one.
The Elephant in the Room
The overall premise is well and easy to follow. But what ruins the experience is the excessive exposition dump. Meteora, the character from the RPG game, tries to uncover how things work, how they are brought to the real world and how can they go back. There are like 5-6 episodes straight that are just talking and talking. The fun parts are when there’re interactions between new characters, location changes, or when they are doing something. But most of the time, they are just sitting in one place and never shutting up. Things don’t have to be that convoluted. If there is an exposition needed, then mix it up with some action or put stakes on top of it to make them interesting to follow. A good example of it is Made in Abyss. We are given explanations of how things work but they feel like a story rather than plain exposition and part of the adventure. I dropped the show because of this halfway. It felt infuriating. What will I even do with all the fictional information?! It doesn’t even end there. They injected more talking during fight scenes, making them sluggish and boring. On top, there’s the cringy Sawano drop that doesn’t match the scene that well. It’s the same OST when fights start and started to feel oversaturated. Then there’s a character whose power is TALKING!!! It just couldn’t get any worse. She would be the most annoying character. She’s smug, manipulating, and causes confusion that becomes the cause of pointless destruction. These are all just my gripe on this show.
Re:CREATORS is a unique show with a concept that is pretty hard to grasp. There are almost no other shows like this that explore the concept through and through. Sure it has some moments that can be a drag but it’s worth it because of what it has to offer. We’ve seen people go inside a fantasy world and vice-versa, But we’ve never seen fictional characters jump out into reality until Re:CREATORS.
Thank you for reading. I hope y’all stay well and stay tuned for more.