Endride is an original animation that has been announced to run for two cours. A choice that still eludes me. It’s a very standard shounen , with all the worst of that genre highlighted. The studio “ Brain’s Base “ has produced some really high quality stuff , “ Baccano!” “, “ Tonari no Kaibutsu kun” but also some much weaker projects so I expect that this was a project put on the B-team’s schedule. Which would be a strange way to handle an original project especially since the studio mainly makes manga and LN adaptations.
“Shun Asanaga is a 15-year-old junior high school student with an optimistic and bright personality. One day, he finds a mysterious crystal in the office of his father, who is a scientist and businessman. When Shun touches it, the world becomes distorted, and he is sent into the world of Endra. Emilio, a prince of the kingdom of Endra, is nearing his 16th birthday and despises the reigning king, Delzain. Since Emilio is now at the age when he can inherit the throne, he takes up a weapon and attempts revenge. However, because Emilio is too weak, he is captured by Delzain and put in prison. When Emilio is in grief, the wall of his cell becomes distorted and Shun appears from there with two goals: return to his own world, and complete Emilio’s revenge. What future lies ahead for the two boys trying to survive in Endra, yet raised in two different worlds?”
The story is very bland , for an original project especially. It works off of a very simple “ fish out od water template “ which in itself isn’t a terrible starting point. But Endride offers nothing of it’s own to flesh out that skeleton and give the show any personality of it’s own.
The OP and ED both suffering from being completely forgettable and so bland that I could cut and paste them into literally any other show and have them fit right in. Since the show has no real substance of it’s own to other up I guess it’s not surprising that the OP doesn’t fit the tone or reflect on the contents/characters. Though still , I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I saw in the first 3 minutes, character shots of : the MC, his rival , a cute girl and an even cuter mascot. A trope so old and over-used it has slowly faded away in shame after Sword art online briefly brought it back.
The soundtrack holds no weight and I’ll doubt anyone will be rushing to buy it anytime soon.
The story is split between two worlds, the overworld (ruled by humans ) and the underworld ( also ruled by humans but with magical gems). Both are incredibly unappealing and while the overworld looks like re-used B footage from another project the underworld at least bothers to make an effort. The flipped colour palette does a decent job of a projecting an alien and unwelcoming feeling but that’s completely wasted since we don’t have any attachment to the overworld. Think about this , that feeling you get when you’re playing a dungeon crawler and after hours deep underground you finally resurface and feel home and safe ? That feeling is completely absent in Endride. No it isn’t a dungeon crawler per say , but the feeling of having a safe haven is a very important device in any story split between two worlds. Fantasy or otherwise.
Settings and backgrounds are very unambitious and I can’t tell you how dull it is when we get to watch characters argue with a blank grey rock as the backdrop. I don’t know exactly what department this falls under , but something that really grated on me was how the shadows and lighting , even in the underworld which is 90% shadow , doesn’t affect characters. So it looks painfully like everything is on two different layers.
Choreography reminds me of playing WOW , characters stand two metres away and wail against one and another , with little to no movement. The particles effects and transitions are badly done and just add a third layer to the mix that looks really out of place.
One way to entertain yourself with this show is too be on the look-out for animation mistakes when watching. In the very first episode we see our main character squaring off against a soldier. The soldier is quite clearly a good few feet away. But in the blink of an eye he’s face to face with the MC. You can also take note of the many cheap camera and visual tricks Endride uses to cover up the poor animation.
Characters have that gross modern-anime gloss to them. They shine and sparkle like plastic for no reason besides to fuel the inevitable yaoi fan-fics.Clothing and weaponry feeling a bit too “ fantasy anime “ in my opinion , like the artists just googled “ Final Fantasty “ , copied what they saw and added whatever the hell they felt like. It’s just too flashy to be taken seriously and not flashy enough or flashy with enough direction to feel like a deliberate choice.
The second issue I have with how the show misuses the fish out of water template is that the MC is completely impossible to relate to. See, a show that takes its plot to a world where magic exists and swords appear in mid-air if you wish them to , is that you need to have a character looking in at this from the inside ( or have an incredibly well developed world ) who the audience can follow along and learn about the world with. I literally can’t think of a single person who could like this guy. His main hobby is….rocks. It’s set up quite early on , that every day before/after school he goes to a local gem shop to stare and touch rocks. No problems with that, if he was a side character, or at the least had any real character outside that, which he does not. The most laughable example of this is in the first episode where he’s told to think of something that’ll relax him. Keep in mind this was after a tense fight scene. And he thinks of…” Green Quartz”. Because who wouldn’t.
The side characters can broadly be defined by watching SAO and applying what’s there to what’s here.
My last and seemingly minute complaint is the eye catches. Good god , they are horrendous. Shots of characters against plain uni-colour backgrounds that most of the time don’t even fit the screen and are just cut off by black bars.
If you like this studio and the other stuff they’ve made thus far then I’m going to be the one to disappoint by saying that this can be irrevocably thrown into the , “ Generic fantasy anime “ pile. I don’t have a single solid basis to recommend this on and I have no idea why the second cour was green-light. I just hope that we aren’t cursed with a second season.