After trying the waiting game with Fate/Apocrypha and Kakegurui last season (and failing), I decided to just watch a fansub of Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau. Netflix’s policy to wait for an anime to finish is simply not worth honoring.
Anyway, this was a pretty solid premiere. Admittedly, I did read and enjoyed the first five chapters of the manga before watching this anime but even without the exposure, I really can’t deny that this is already shaping up to be a pretty distinctive fantasy anime. The show definitely looks great visually at least. I think J.C. Staff is a pretty good studio in general but they really outdone themselves this time. I really love how the backgrounds look like illustrations from a fantasy novel.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau takes place in an endless ocean of sand with the main character, Chakuro, serving as an archivist for a society occupying a giant sandship called the Mud Whale. Chakuro is also a Marked, a person who can use some sort of telepathic power called Thymia at the cost of living a short lifespan of roughly 30 years. We see a lot of how this society functions in one episode from the clandestine Council of Elders (who are all “unmarked”) to the imprisoned delinquents known as the Bowel Moles to how scavengers look for resources on floating islands called “Driftlands”. Quite a lot is going on in this world and while I’m not sure how all these dots connect, I really can’t deny that this setting is on track to being fully realized. The only nitpick I have with this set-up is that a lot of the information conveyed to you is through a narration provided by Chakuro. It sort of works contextually since it is Chakuro vocalizing what is he writing for the archives but it does get a bit tiresome. I hope the narration isn’t a recurring aspect of the show.
Where the story seems to get the ball rolling is when Chakuro encounters a mysterious girl named Lykos while exploring a Driftland. Lykos’s very existence causes quite a stir on the Mud Whale since apparently, no one has ever encountered a person from outside the sand ship. It certainly grabs the attention of Ouni, a powerful Bowel Mole who busts Lykos out of an interrogation and takes her and Chakuro on an adventure. I find Lykos herself to be a peculiar character. Despite her situation, she acts emotionless for the most part and does appear to be a bit too combat ready. Her first encounter with Chakuro does, however, suggest otherwise; smiling upon seeing another human being while shedding tears that she has to (perhaps reluctantly) kill him. I also find her emotionless state a contrast to how the people on the Mud Whale regard emotion. These people clearly care a lot about human life and happiness but for some reason, I find their tradition of clasping their hands together to repress any sad or upsetting thoughts a bit odd.
I’m really interested to see where all of this goes; there is a lot going on but it’s just nice to see another distinctive fantasy anime, especially right after Made in Abyss ended last month. At the very least, I’ll watch up to where I left off in the manga (which will probably be at about three to four episodes) and hopefully, this show can convince me to stay for the full cour.