The Girl In Twilight
Asuka Tsuchimiya and her friends Yu Tounaka, Mia Silverstone, Nana Nanase, and Chloe Morisu have a regular ritual: at the foot of a sacred tree at 4:44 PM, they tune a radio to a certain frequency (albeit one determined randomly by dice), and perform a "mystical chant" (which they usually make up on the spot) on the chance that this ritual will take them to another world, if they ever get it right. The prospects for that happening seem pretty slim, until Chloe finds a clue that leads them to the correct frequency, and they really DO end up in another world- and meet the Asuka of THAT world (who will be referred to as Asuka 2 in this review.) Things are pretty grim in Asuka 2's world- it's about to be swallowed up by something called the Twilight- and she urges these girls to NOT try this again; but the girls, aided and abetted by a mysterious party who's now supplying them with the correct frequencies, continue traveling to the various worlds Asuka 2 is visiting. In each of these worlds, one of our group of girls will have to confront and overcome her own personal issues.
What a mixed bag of a show! It's got tremendous potential in its concept, and its somber opening theme, filled with ominous portent, promises so much. But- and let's deal with the "but" first, the part I personally disliked- the drama it creates is undermined by silly CG-animated magical/mecha girl transformations, and battles, at the end of each story arc. I really DID like the idea of the girls confronting and overcoming their personal hangups; I just wish it could have been done without these ludicrous showdowns at the end of each girl's story. I suppose if I'd been writing this, I would have gone for something like "Japanese schoolgirls meet A Wrinkle In Time”(the book Wrinkle, not the disappointing film versions.)
I should say something about the mechanics of how all this is arranged. Asuka 2 is traveling to various parallel worlds to defeat "Clutters", minions of the King of Twilight who is trying to destroy her own world. For some reason, after their first trip to Asuka 2's own world, access to other worlds requires one of our girls to be a "link"; that particular girl will become her equivalent girl in the parallel world, though her friends retain their separate identities. (So if, say, Nana is the link, she becomes the parallel-world's Nana, and we have just ONE Nana, but TWO sets of her friends- the equivalent girls who were ALREADY there, PLUS our travelers.) The "link" girl becomes the star of the story in her particular world, and that world's particulars always seem suspiciously well-matched to the "link girl's" personal issues. (Perhaps it's not necessarily entirely plot contrivance; maybe the person who's now giving them the frequencies is doing this on purpose? You'll meet that individual, by the way.) The personal drama itself is often surprisingly interesting- if they didn't have those stupid shounen battles at this end, in which each girl turns into an "Equalizer" in a ridiculous costume, a transformation achieved using an obsolete bit of technology to boot, and... OK, OK, I'll stop for a while, and discuss the girls, and what I LIKED here, for now.
Nana is our "boy crazy" girl, who also has a family issue. Her particular issues might be summed up, in the words of The Flintstones' Great Gazoo, as the difference between what she really wants versus what she thinks she wants.
Mia's next. She's got a little trouble with courage, though she wants more than anything to be courageous. I thought her parallel world- a hybrid of the Wild West and our contemporary world- was more awkwardly contrived (and sillier) than some of the others.
Chloe's segment was by far my favorite. Partly it's because Chloe's issue is one I recognize quite well- because it's one I've struggled with myself. Her segment is also a marvelous satire/cautionary tale about the internet (and internet consumerism!), and what it's doing to us. Alas, the mecha/magical girl outfit they finally stick HER with is PARTICULARLY embarrassing. (There's a pun hidden in that statement, by the way.)
Yu's personal issue is with another member of our entourage. For the record, I liked the two "serious" girls here, Yu and Chloe, much better than I liked the others.
And we finally come to Asuka- well, "our" Asuka, AKA Asuka 1. Asuka 1 chides/mocks Asuka 2 for being too "serious", which kind of made me want to chide her right back, with something like: "Hey, but YOUR world is not disappearing!" (Well, not YET, anyway.) To the show's credit, it turns out that Asuka 1 knows she's got some problems with empathy, and it's been eating at her for quite a while, so I couldn't altogether hate her.
Just a couple more observations. First, we know that "killing the messenger" is not an effective way of avoiding bad news, so I'd hardly think that messenger-related measures SHORT of murder would work any better.
Second, it doesn't help the credibility of the menace here that one of that villain's tools to carry out his purpose is...killer snow bunnies. Well, the Girls Bravo anime DID have Killer Teddy Bears, but that sort of nonsense hardly deserves emulation in a "serious" anime; and, honestly, we all know that the most effective way to dispatch killer bunnies is with a crate of Holy Hand Grenades.
If only some way could have been found to shut down the villain(s) in each girl's "world" WITHOUT the ludicrous transformation/battle scenes, I would have found this show pretty special indeed. But the absurd here diminishes the power of the drama. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: The Blu-ray is rated TV-14, apparently for violence, though there's just a little bit of fanservice nudity (bathing scenes) as well.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 Blu-Ray
Review Status: Full (12/12)
The Girl In Twilight © 2018 Dandelion Animation Studio
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