Winter 2017 First Impressions: Spiritpact – Episode 01 Review

Once upon a time, You Keika’s ancestors were known as a dynasty of powerful, influential spirit mediums.  These days their last surviving heir spends his days telling women insulting fortunes on the street and his nights scavenging in a dump for computer parts.  On one of his dumpster diving escapades You encounters an exorcist by the name of Tanmoku Ki (who he’s convinced is a Korean movie star) in the midst of banishing an evil spirit.  Things escalate from here until Keika gets hit by a truck – killing him instantly. If only that was it.  Luckily for him (and unluckily for us), he’s able to remain in our world as a fourteen year old ghost for another week.  If he wants to stay longer he has to become Tanmoku’s “spirit shadow”.  It’s either that or become twisted into an evil spirit and exorcised.

I’m just gonna come right out and say it – this is easily the worst premiere I’ve watched this season.  There was not a single redeeming quality.  I wouldn’t watch another episode if you paid me.

Where to begin?  Perhaps the most grating thing about the whole experience were the characters. More specifically, You Keika.  This guy is one rude, obnoxious little douche – not what you really want out of a protagonist!  He begins the episode by saying horrible things to women on the street who are just trying to pay him for a service that he’s offering to provide (his fortunetelling), then transitions into whiny disbelief during the scene where Tanmoku fights the evil spirit.  For real, in that episode he is even more dense than Miss “I Don’t Know What Pedals Are” from Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club.  I didn’t know that was humanly possible.  From the moment he wakes up as a ghost he spends the whole time manically screeching about one thing or another.  I cannot fathom how Tanmoku met this guy and thought, “Yeah, here’s a guy I want to tether my soul to for the rest of eternity,” let alone for more than five minutes.

Maybe it’s because Tanmoku has absolutely no personality.  He’s just there to move the plot along, which is weird considering he’s the deuteragonist and, judging by the genre, the love interest.  I know I can’t wait to watch 12 episodes of a ghost and a brick wall trying to sort out their complicated romantic feelings for each other – which they probably can’t consummate, by the way, since Keika phases through everything he touches.

Everything about the visuals in Spiritpact is unappealing.  The colours are bland, the animation is incredibly lacklustre, and the character designs make even the protagonists look like background characters in a different anime.  In fight scenes there’s some intense slowdown coupled with limited in between frames so everything looks jerky, unless they just cut away completely and have one of the characters (usually Keika) yell about what just happened.

The voice acting was hilarious to me.  Tanmoku sounds like the average bland, stoic “seme” type you’d find in a shounen-ai.  Keika has the most irritating, whiny voice even when he’s not actually whining (which is rare!) and has very little emotional inflection apart from that base whininess.  My personal favourite bit of voicework in this episode was provided by the evil spirit girl they fought: there’s basically no emotional inflection here either, just this girl speaking faster and faster as if the actress was so desperate to pick up her paycheck and get out of the recording studio that she was rushing through her lines as quickly as she could.  They then stuck all the audio for her through a filter to make her sound evil and menacing and they probably hoped it would hide the fact that she didn’t attempt to emote in the process.  It didn’t work.

Let’s be real here – watching Spiritpact was about as entertaining as going to the dentist and getting all my teeth removed without anaesthetic.  In a way, it’s quite awe-inspiring how bad it was.  However, it’s not an experience that I’d like to repeat, and I suggest that you steer clear of it as well.  Don’t watch this.  Love yourself.

1/10

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