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Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren't They? (Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru so Desu yo?) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren't They? is a light novel adaptation (if the title didn't already give that away) that falls firmly into the "this really shouldn't be as much fun as it is" category. A sure sign that I'm losing my marbles, that...

Sakamaki Izayoi, Kudou Asuka, and Kasukabe You all possess skills greater than the average person - skills that have attracted the attention of someone who'd like to make them an offer. "This letter is for those of you with many troubles and extraordinary powers. If you wish to see how far that power of yours will take you, cast aside your family, your friends, you possessions, and come to our 'Little Garden'." It's an offer they prove unable to resist, and on accepting, they're transformed to the aforementioned Little Garden - a world apparently many times the size of our own, where groups of inhabitants - "Guilds" - compete for superiority in the Gift Games. Those'll be Games where the participants make use of their particular Gifts, you see. The particular Guild that's called on the services of our problem children currently has no name, having been stripped of it after losing badly in the Games (by foul means rather than fair), but knowing that the trio are extremely well Gifted, Guild leader Jin - who looks about 12 - and his aide Kurousagi hope they'll be able to bring the Guild back to its former glory. And with the Guild now primarily made up of kids with no Gifts of their own and no real ability to look out for themselves, they can quite legitimately play the "Think of the CHILDREN!" card.

Fortunately, all three quite like the idea of a challenge like this, with Izayoi taking particular interest in the possibility of taking on the Little Garden's Gods if they do well enough in the Games. So let the Games commence...

First impression of this was of a fantasy series with much the feel of Elemental Gelade - the setting is very much Generic Fantasy Land, with a fairly simplistic fighting anime built on the top of it. Not exactly an auspicious start, and I had figured on a few episodes before dropping and quickly forgetting about it. But courtesy of a group of decent characters at the core of it, I found myself getting caught up in the fun of it. Izayoi is very much the lead protagonist, a kid who cares very little for anything or anyone, as long as he gets some fun out of it; he's also stupidly overpowered ("Oh, that Medusa's firing a petrification ray at me? I'll just KICK IT OUT OF THE WAY!"), but that's played more for fun than expecting you to take it seriously. Asuka has a Voice that wouldn't be out of place in Dune, while You has a way with animals that comes in useful (although she's by far the most underused character in the show). Last of the main four is Kurousagi, the bunnygirl noble of Little Garden, whose fur changes from blue to pink when she gets annoyed, and who possesses a magic skirt that Izayoi can't look up, no matter how hard he tries. (Yes, they've made the Magic Skirt canon. That alone impresses me.) Add in a bunch of fringe characters - adorable dragon-girl Sandora, highly-perverted demon lord Shiroyasha, and more besides) and mix with a good sense of fun, and the result manages to be very entertaining, despite being a predictable and derivative as hell.

As well as drawing heavily on standard anime tropes, the series also takes a lot of inspiration from the world of fairy tales (of the Grimm sort, usually), with most of the show's bad guys drawn from one tale or another. There seems to have been a decent amount of research done into the origins of these tales as well, as the series quite cleverly plays with the tales, presenting them no so much in the ways that you'd most commonly hear them, but referring back to the underlying history that they may have been built on. That's the sort of thing you could easily miss, but once you see what's going on it's another string to the show's bow and a little bit of depth that you normally don't get in shows of this ilk.

The end result, while it's never going to be a classic, is surprisingly enjoyable. Yes, there's very little you've seen here before. Yes, it relys on fanservice in its various forms to add a little 'spice' (which I'm fine with). But it's not as simple as it appears on the surface, and its cast of 'good guys' are enjoyable enough to watch in their own right that I was able to overlook its flaws and just go with the flow. It's like candyfloss - great while you're eating it, very quickly forgotten - but if you're okay with spending time watching that sort of series, then this is one of the better examples.

Rating - ***