Winter 2017 First Impressions: elDLIVE – Episode 01 Review

Middle school student Chuta Kokonose has a voice in his head that he can’t help but be dragged into conversation with.  This earns him the derision of his peers and makes it hard for him to make friends.  Not only that, one day at school Misuzu, the girl he has a crush on, overhears him and calls him a pervert.  One afternoon, after Chuta goes home to the bakery he lives in with his aunt, he finds himself spirited away to a spaceship where he is asked to join the Space Police.  During the Space Police entrance exam he learns that the voice in his head is actually an alien called the Monitalien, and that they are able to synchronise together!  But why did the Monitalien choose him?

It is clear from this episode that elDLIVE is an anime aimed at a younger audience.  It has a distinctly Saturday Morning Cartoon feel, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but because of that the show had a hard time capturing my interest.  I’ll readily admit that during the second half of the episode I kind of wished I was just rewatching Space Dandy instead.

One thing that struck me when watching this was that a lot of the dialogue was clunky.  I can’t say for sure whether this was due to the original script or the official translations being a bit too literal, but lines like “Nothing less from the demon of home ec trained in the art of doing chores!” would never come out of a real person’s mouth.  Maybe all of Chuta’s classmates are actually secret aliens who have been monitoring him for the Space Police and hadn’t had a lot of time to brush up on their language skills, and this is supposed to be the big tip off.  There’s also a lot of technobabble during some of the scenes on the spaceship that had my eyes glazing over.  Handpicked by the Mothers Computer, you say?  Incredible…

The animation is fine – nothing to write home about, but it does the job for this kind of show.  One thing I noticed in the second half of the episode was how shiny everybody’s clothes are – everything on screen seems to have a sheen to it.  But maybe this was intentional; they could just love wearing vinyl bodysuits in space for all I know.

There was one thing that impressed me, and that was the work put into the alien designs.  They didn’t skimp out here – there’s a lot of cool looking aliens in the background of the spaceship interior shots and you can tell somebody had fun designing them.  My personal favourites were the crescent moon alien (who also wore a moon-shaped space helmet that encompassed his entire body) and some tiny triangular aliens with puppy faces that hovered around together on a big frisbee.  If anything would get me to watch another episode of elDLIVE, it’s the cool aliens.

But ultimately, I’m not going to watch another episode.  elDLIVE was inoffensive, but it was also bland and is clearly intended for a younger target audience.  If you absolutely love space adventures then maybe give it a try, but otherwise you can feel pretty comfortable skipping this one.

4/10

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