Squeezing this in just before Mecha March.
I have professed I’m not the biggest fan of mech anime. However, in the past few years, I’ve been paying attention to them more. Partially, that is the fault of a certain mech-loving anime club media manager, but because the seasonal circuit makes you sit up and pay attention to a lot more than normal to things.
Why has Back Arrow caught my attention in particular, though, in a season with Bungou Stray Dogs Wan! in it?…That’s what I have to think about, so let me jot down my thoughts as I go…
I got baited, but there’s more to it than that.
In order for me to watch a mech anime, as you can see in the post linked just under the cut, you need to bait me with something. In Back Arrow‘s case, it was Shu Bi. I mean, he has a bunch of traits that show up in the husbando post – how could I not like him?
Back Arrow himself isn’t too bad on the eyes – I remember noting he’s kind of like Takuto (Star Driver, also known as the Galactic Pretty Boy) in that not only does he have that stripe in his hair and he pilots a mech by standing in the middle of it, he’s one of those overenthusiastic guys for seemingly no reason. Of course, the fact the series pokes fun at the whole “pretty boy farm” concept with all the sparkling guys shows exactly how self-aware this series is, too. (Although…why is there a guy called “Bruh”?
Sometimes, it’s best to not think about things like that.)
Top that all off with the fact there’s the Pretty Boy Detective Club next season and that really just ups this from “silly” to “awesomely stupid”.
(…I mean that affectionately.)
It doesn’t take itself too seriously.
On that note, the fact Back Arrow won me over despite having an entire first episode dedicated to the protagonist toting around a pair of underwear is quite the feat. It’s notable because I dropped Marginal #4 over a plotline about one of the guys in that anime losing his lucky underwear and having to find it.
Although it bothers to explain how Granedger floats (metal under the earth’s surface) and how its mechs work (conviction and Bind Warpers), the anime otherwise doesn’t really bother to take itself rather seriously, instead throwing out a bunch of ideas with glee and yet reining them in enough that they still make sense…so you get things like Shu Bi wearing robes that inflate like a beach ball, despite the fact they don’t look like they could do such a thing.
The big wide world and the people in it
Lingalind is a big ol’ place with a bunch of real life historical parallels and with that, it has a lot of space to explore, both inside and (potentially) outside the wall. There’s this one shot of a flying monster the anime uses as a cutscene and that’s already enough to pique your attention as to how Lingalind and the world we know differ.
People naturally gravitate around resources and people of power, but how they gather is diverse, from small villages to Chinese-style cities. Not to mention Briheights, the mechs of this series, are powered by conviction, meaning you can cross characterisation with worldbuilding.
This is one of those times I’m actually quite thankful for the longer episode count given to some mecha anime – Back Arrow has already (as of the time of writing) been confirmed as a 2 cour anime, meaning we can spend adequate time covering all the bases in this regard.
…It all comes back to Shu Bi, in the end.
Even after episode 6 of 24, there’s a lot of characterisation left to cover. The titular protagonist doesn’t remember everything about himself, for one thing, so someone else has to do the heavy lifting and in a lot of cases, that’s the guy we started with – Shu Bi.
Not only does Shu Bi know more than most about the world with his training as the Head Diviner and his strategies, his wildcard status makes him unpredictable while his old ties develop Kai, Ren and the other characters in Rekka.
Somehow, this ended up being a Shu Bi appreciation post…(haha, I’m so predictable…)
So, there are others out there enjoying this anime as much as I am…right…?