Her bat impression is spot-on
|Considering that I was attached to Mirai Nikki enough to cosplay as Yuno last year, you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little fixated on comparing Big Order to Mirai Nikki. I promise to make more than a half-hearted (maybe three-quarter-hearted?) attempt to stop pointing out all the similarities between the two next week.|
And you thought your Monday was going poorly
I usually prefer blogging about the psychological aspects of characters and situations themselves instead of a more technical review of the direction, tone, and quality of the show. Big Order is a bit of an exception because it sometimes feels like a raggedy patchwork quilt of different shows and this confusing change of pace is something I want to address. Considering this is only the second episode and many of you may be deciding whether or not to drop this, it’s important to know what the show is aiming for and whether or not that is particularly something that will be worth investing time in.
To me, I see Big Order as having 3 different tones: Edgy Grimdark, Comedy, and Shounen Battle. Instead of seamlessly integrating them all into one cohesive show (as many shows can manage a multitude of genres without tripping up), Big Order feels like it is strictly separating these things so only one is present in any given moment.
So Tone 1 is the iffy grimdark stuff. That’s torture scenes, gratuitous blood, and overall just throwing in edgy shit for the sake of it and taking it all with stone-faced seriousness. Sena reading a complex tome by Nietzsche when she was a kid is an example of that serious tone reversing and just becoming unintentionally hilarious. I’m not a big fan of the edgy stuff being so-bad-it’s-good unless the whole show is committed to being bad (i.e. Mayoiga), whereas Big Order has the potential to be more than that. When I have actual expectations, I get disappointed. I can’t say I was impressed with Eiji fulfilling some power fantasies. I mean, we start off with some mild torture porn, as Eiji’s kinky, bondage-themed Order shoves phallic objects into Rin while she moans suggestively. It’s not exactly subtle! I also found myself cringing at how quickly Eiji went from being terrified at Rin to reacting purely on a rush of male hormones and asking his would-be murderer to marry him. I know guys his age are thirsty, but there should be limits to desperation!
It doesn’t get much better as Rin basically ends up being his slave and it’s sort of framed that Rin’s only reason to live now is for Eiji, and her eventual marriage to him (come on, you know she’s gonna fall for him). This is pretty much the usual short end of the stick girls get in anime as they end up being bound to a hapless guy in some way or another. Mirai Nikki was interesting because it reversed the roles and had Yukiteru, the dude, as the one being forcefully paired up with a homicidal maniac. That role reversal pointed out how terrifying it is for girls to be treated as objects one can possess by taking it to the extreme with a completely yandere girlfriend. The final message there is that anyway you slice it, boy or girl or what-have-you, being stuck with a dominating significant other against your will is torture… Big Order almost feels like a step back from that as it just goes ahead and has the same sleazy relationship where Rin has to do whatever demeaning thing Eiji says. It doesn’t make a statement because it’s the same thing we always see happening to girls.
Thankfully, however, my concerns about it getting too serious with watching Rin writhe in pain as Eiji penetrates her were relieved a bit as the episode went on. From there, we moved to what was Tone 2: SILLY SHENANIGANS! I’m not sure if it was intentional to take the edge off of how twisted the previous scene was, but it sure as hell was a smart move. Big Order works surprisingly well as a self-aware comedy – much better so than Mirai Nikki thus far. Rin constantly offing herself and reviving while trying to kill Eiji was an unexpected turn of events that kept me smiling all the way through. The concept of Orders makes for some interesting comedic set-ups – such as Rin’s Revival Fire being used as an impromptu flashlight. Also, Rin grabbing Eiji’s balls and almost crushing them with a wet “scrunch” sound was wonderfully hilarious. I appreciate those little attempts to give Rin agency. Unfortunately, her reasoning for keeping Eiji alive so she can kill him herself is very flimsy and seems more like a poorly thought-out excuse to get two enemies to work together.
I don’t even think I want to know what the wood plank’s wish was for.
Finally, we have Tone 3: Shounen Battle Extravanganza. This is where all the superpowers come in, as well as an entire league of villains who are all introduced at once (and also forgotten all at once). It’s very standard fare, but Big Order pulls it off well enough to be a decent show amongst all its shounen competitors.
After going through all that, I do realize it’s highly possible that this episode was a bit of an anomaly and future episodes will blend these three aspects together more smoothly. It’s hard to tell at this point, but regardless, I found this particular episode to be a really strange, compartmentalized experience. I still enjoyed it though. It was only some ridiculous moments at the beginning that had me groaning, but after that it was all good. Big Order is clearly still a show that is rough around the edges and slow to get started. Despite this, it’s maintaining a charming (albeit fragmented) personality throughout. By episode 3 or 4, it should be more clear exactly which direction this show wants to go in…although I have a feeling the answer to that is “ALL OF THEM!”.
“God is dead, onii-chan”