This was bad.

And it shouldn’t have been. There was a lot of potential in the setup of many parts of this production. Between the characters, the setup of the storyline both at the beginning and overall, and some really nice artwork moments, this show had everything going for it.

The writers and producers dropped the ball big time with this one. With all that going for it mentioned above, this anime became an exhausting and laughable disaster. The story ended up an incomprehensible mess, everything that was exciting about the artwork disappeared as the show progressed, and the characters amounted to nothing in the end. And the dialogue…this is why there exists such a thing as a booby prize.

I hope there won’t be a second season of this show. It probably didn’t market very well in the end, and the story is not at a point where a second season makes sense. But that’s usually the kind of anime that gets a second season, isn’t it? So I’m sure I’ll be frustrated by that. If that does turn out to be the case, I hope the producers do a better job than this. Because this was bad.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 3

Seista.

Yes! We saw her do her thing in episode 1 and then say her famous line about her sidekick’s hard drive in episode 2, and many of us fell in love. The white hair, the jewel-like eyes, the calm demeanor, the superior intelligence…we had found us a new girl! And to top it all off, she touched our emotions every time it occurred to us: she was already dead.

But if there’s a common theme with the misses in this show, it’s that a great setup does nothing if you don’t follow through on it. Siesta is set up with all these positives, and above all the fundamental element in the story that somewhere in all of this she was already dead or was going to be dead, and it all seemed like it was going to be great. Then it wasn’t. It ended up being a disaster that I’d sooner laugh at than cry over. That’s a big miss by the writers and producers. That’s bad.

Sieista is supposed to have that fascinating detective’s sense, always thinking a little ahead of the bad guy, or even everyone around her. Initially, this was nicely done. Not every great detective character is based on a Sherlock Holmes character type, but that’s definitely the vibe I got here. She could expound on things about characters that sometimes they didn’t even know about themselves, see through sequences of events that hadn’t happened yet but seemed very plausible, and she possessed an indomitable confidence in herself and her actions. It was nicely done.

Then most of this disappeared. Much of it got buried in just the general ugliness of this show. But also a lot of it disappeared into the uncertainty of the timeline, something I’ll make more note of in the Story section. This is inextricably tied into her character, given the title of the show, but the way it’s handled ends up being a complete negative instead of enhancing her character.

And what was with this scene?

Related to this is her connection to Nagisa Natsunagi, the tsundere nut that receives Seista’s heart via a transplant. I have little positive to say about this character. Let me sidetrack into my tsundere peeves for a moment. I like Rin Tohsaka from Fate/Stay Night, one of the most stereotypical and recognizable tsunderes in all anime. I like her because I get it: she’s supposed to be that over-the-top tsundere. And her character does the reiteration thing with the goddess Ishtar, who is magnificent, a true goddess, thus enhancing the status of the original Rin. But that aside. Typical character types can work, but writers have to be careful. And they were not with Nagisa. She’s annoying, never straightforward, does the typical tsundere lashing out verbally and physically, and somehow she’s supposed to be the reincarnation of Siesta or something? I get it that they two are supposed to be opposites (the writers make this too overt) but even that’s not handled well. Nagisa is a very central character, but she’s also extraordinarily forgettable. It was bad.

The “main” character is Kimihiko Kimizuka. Yes this is supposed to be a play on words with “kimi,” and the writers make this overtly obvious at a few points. But I don’t get why we should find that interesting. Often I’m intrigued by this kind of word play, but like much else in this show, it got lost in the train wreck. Oh my gawd, his dialogue. At least Seista’s dialogue was kind of interesting. But Kimizuka’s ordinariness amidst his attempts at witty dialogue with Siesta compared very badly. At least Seista was the detective, and we expected her to say some things we wouldn’t necessarily understand. Kimizuka’s dialogue was boring. When it wasn’t typical, it was predictable. When it wasn’t predictable, it was nonsensical. When it wasn’t nonsensical, it was overdramatic. When it wasn’t overdramatic, it was flowery for no reason. It was tiresome listening to him (or reading the subs, as it were). Whatever role he played in this show, it was entirely overshadowed by his terrible dialogue. 

The rest of the characters only added confusion. For one thing, and tying back into the dialogue issues in this show again, the main characters would constantly refer back to these side characters when they weren’t present. I had no idea who they were talking about most of the time. And it didn’t matter if they were allies or enemies. Actually, many people who were initially allies became antagonists, often then reverting to allies, as if it wasn’t confusing enough already. And Siesta knew it all along. It was bad.

I could go on and on like this about the characters, but you get that idea, and I have more topics to beat up this show over. The setups were often good. The initial character the viewer meets seemed intriguing. Then they disappeared, got lost in the shuffle, didn’t become what they could have otherwise, and became extremely forgettable. Or, if they were memorable, it’s for how poor quality they were as characters. I was very disappointed.

Artwork

Rating: 7

I would rate this artwork higher, but there’s a little matter of the monsters in this show.

We’ll come back to that. Because if it wasn’t for the bad taste the monsters’ designs leave in my memory, I would’ve thought very well of the artwork. The drawing is beautiful, as is the coloring. It’s very bright, very clear and clean. The word that came to mind was “airy,” like there’s was a lightness about the artwork that was difficult to describe. I liked it a lot.

Siesta’s design was exquisite. Such beautiful blue-green eyes and shining silver hair! I tell you, I immediately began to imagine the potential, exciting possibilities of this story when I first saw her. She looked like she could really already be dead. It was exhilarating! There was so much mystery in her appearance given the title. And on top of that, she was amazingly pretty! If I had to make an objection, it’s how little-girl-like she looks. I don’t care for her character type generally, but that doesn’t have a lot to do with the artwork. She looks great for what she’s supposed to be, a very nice highlight in this otherwise frustrating anime.

The other girls are similarly pretty, but not quite to the level of Siesta. They have really glassy eyes and very light hair, light as in weight. I always like red eyes, and while they look great on Nagisa, I don’t quite understand the choice of color. Red eyes usually have some significance, and I’m not sure they’re supposed to on Nagisa. Another of the girls has the two different color eyes, though I’m not clear on the reason either. Like many other things in this anime, a lot is left unexplained and very unclear, regardless of its quality.

Everything is very bright, like there’s an unusual amount of light in every scene. I thought this was an interesting idea, given we weren’t sure about whether Siesta was alive or what was going on with that for a while. There was a mysterious supernatural feel about this brightness. Like many other things, it didn’t amount to anything, but I still liked how it looked. 

Tasmanian Devil. Keep reading.

The first episode had really good animation. I don’t know enough about animation techniques to comment on it in detail, but audiences remarked how excellent the first episode looked. Or at least when compared with the rest of the show, which wasn’t anywhere near the same quality. I do not know why the producers decided to splurge on animation for one episode then not even try on the rest. Again, a nice initial setup turns into nothing. I was disappointed.

Then there’s the monsters. Monsters? I laughed all the way through the final monster fight on the ship. this Godzilla dinosaur iguana chameleon thing constantly growing and screeching like the Tasmanian Devil. It was almost comedic. I thought it was intentional. I’d never heard such a hilarious sound as that monster roar. But I stray from the visual monster. It kept getting bigger. They’d “kill” it amidst Jojo-level amounts of conversation, then it’d come back to life bigger and funnier than before! Then they’d land blows on it that would do absolutely nothing, only to strike mortal blows in ridiculous ways that weren’t really any different than the other strikes. The thing would be invulnerable until suddenly the critical strike would land, and it was ordinarily weak. It was laughable.

The other monsters were similar, but not as laughable. I’m over the whole monster body part attached to a human body thing. It was interesting enough in the beginning of Tokyo Ghoul and in Parasyte and as the central feature of Elfen Lied. But it’s gotten old, and doesn’t do anything for this show.

In the end, I mostly just laughed at the artwork. Sure Siesta was attractive and the art had its strong points, but its ordinary points left me underwhelmed and the monster thing was a devastating blow. A show that should have been mystery and sadness made me laugh at how ridiculous it looked. That’s a big miss. This was bad.

Story

Rating: 2

Does Siesta plan it all out from the beginning? Is she really dead? In what manner is she “alive?” Did she “die?” What role does Kimizuka play in all this? Is Hel dead? Is Hel Siesta? 

What actually happens in this story?

It’s very confusing. Basically, I believe, Siesta is the genius detective fighting the uber-evil organization called SPES. She enlists the help of Kimizuka as her “sidekick” during a hijacking on an airplane, who then accompanies her for three years until she “dies.” The story picks up there in the aftermath, occasionally flashing back to the past where we see the genius detective and her various companions at work. Beyond that, I’m very confused.

During the course of this show, I came to a profound realization. The authors left themselves a very difficult task with this story. Why? Because the main character is dead. Think about that. The main character is “already” dead. So you build up this key main character, and put lots of design effort into her, but she doesn’t appear for much of the show, and for the simple reason that she’s already dead.

So the authors are forced into a couple of options. The first is to use flashbacks. And flashbacks are like hot spices: they can be really nice but must be limited in quantity, lest the consumer lose his or her mind. And in this anime, the flashbacks are on the hot and spicy side. The result is a lot of confusion. The second option is to make that now deceased main character somehow still active in the ongoing plot. I’ll give the writers credit here, because the did try, bless their hearts. One way they tried was by creating this newly reincarnated Siesta via the heart transplant into Nagisa. The other way was by the specter of Siesta’s planning hanging over the entire show. There’s a small chance that she really did plan all this out as it unfolds, exhibiting her genius and her courage, foreseeing even her own death and allowing it to play an important role in the events surrounding the defeat of SPES.

The encounter in the sky.

But try was all the authors did. Succeed they did not. For one thing: a heart transplant causing Siesta to “live on?” There’s so many problems with this. Hel, the “antagonist,” removes her heart to make it his own. Oh yeah, he takes people’s organs and replaces his own with them. Yeah. And even though he’s done this with a lot of other people, somehow Siesta’s heart takes over his consciousness. 

Wait Hawk, stop. Hel takes Siesta’s heart? Yep, right there on the battlefield. No surgeons, no blood, no magic, just reaches in and grabs it and puts it in his own chest. Then it overwhelms his consciousness and he somehow becomes Siesta? What?? So is Siesta really dead or living inside another person? Why didn’t he take her brain? That’s the thing that should be the desirable part of Siesta, right? Perhaps there’s something to that choice, but it’s not apparent. It’s all completely ridiculous and totally confusing!

Then there’s the matter of Siesta planning all this out. While that speaks very well of her in a number of ways, it’s not believable. Fantasy and supernatural and sci-fi and all that are fine. Planning short sequences of events is believable, and we get some of that in this show. Anticipating a sequence of events, people, decisions, and coincidences over a period of several years is too far fetched. And again, if she’s that smart, why doesn’t Hel take her brain? I’m stuck on this heart thing, but it’s central to Siesta’s status as either living or dead. And it’s mishandled so badly I barely know where to start talking about it.

Either way, it’s a disaster. It’s unbelievable, even for fantasy. And it’s extremely hard to follow while watching. It feels like everything just happens out of convenience. Which probably is the case, and I fault the writers for that. Everything happens perfectly in the end, and the writers say “Siesta planned it all.” Really? That’s a copout. It’s bad.

I could go on about other plot elements in the story and how they add further confusion, like Kimizuka’s character trait of “attracting trouble.” Stuff like that plays no role ultimately best I can tell. The episodes with Alicia and not knowing whether she’s Hel or not, or even whether Siesta is Hel, all of it is supposed to add mystery, which it does, but the problem is it remains a mystery to this day. The writers tried to explain it but it was lost on most audiences. That’s not how mysteries are supposed to work in stories! We need the resolution, otherwise the mystery is just an open-ended plot device, and it looks like crappy story writing instead of a creative mystery. Which I wonder if actually is the case.

It’s bad.

Overall: 2

I mentioned the dialogue a few times here. It’s atrocious. It’s laughable at some points. Kimizuka and Siesta kind of banter back and forth, but it really doesn’t work. She’s witty enough, but his comebacks are overdone, as I mentioned above. But beyond that, the rest of the dialogue is so overdramatic and boring it’ll make you wince. And it was forgettable. We’ve all heard jokes that are so bad they’re good, but this isn’t even like that. It’s so bad you can’t even remember it, apart from the “ugh” feeling you get when you recall watching this show. I didn’t mention anything about the VAs here either, and that’s partly because of this. The greatest actors in the world couldn’t have made this script interesting.

Is the fact that Siesta is dead and that Kimizuka’s forgotten a lot about his past (convenient though it be) and the possibility that he has had some feelings for Siesta somewhat heartfelt? It is, but it’s overshadowed by all the blah in this show. If this show had focused entirely on this emotional aspect, it might’ve been a big success. Imagine, a mystery story with sympathetic individual characters, where at the very end only do we find out that Kimizuka really was in love with Siesta, and she with him, and much of their interaction wasn’t because Siesta picked him out as part of her plan, but as the destined fate of two tragic lovers. It would’ve been a little confusing to audiences, but it would have melted our hearts too. Instead we got confusion anyway and if we felt any emotion, it was mirth. 

My final verdict: this show is a train wreck. Good origins do not make quality final product by themselves. A lot went into setting up characters, situations, storylines, etc., in this show, but none of it panned out into anything interesting. It became a twisted mess with no focus, no feeling, no story. If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, it would be titled “The Humorous Mystery of the Dead but Not Dead Teenage Detective.” 

It was bad.

Am I already dead? I don’t know, you tell us.

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