I’ll start off this article by explaining what exactly Mekaku City Actors is because it seems like people are getting confused over what the title means. Mekaku City Actors is part of an extended project called Kagerou Days which has multiple mediums all explaining different aspects of the overall story. There are about three different stories within the Kagerou Days Project.
I encountered Kagerou Days when it debuted as a Vocaloid project. At first you might be thinking “oh no… it’s another BRS…” but you are wrong, oh so wrong with that assumption. First of all, Kagerou Days is rather extensive, and as it continued on, it became quite intricate and well-constructed. And yes, it did start as a Vocaloid project, but it wasn’t so much to highlight our idol Miku and the also debuting Vocaloid at the time, IA (Aria on the Planetes); it was just a way to jump start the series on a good note with an emerging Vocaloid composer (who is now off doing phenomenal Vocaloid work).
So as a collaboration, if you want to call it that, when looking into the lyrics of Kagerou Days you will find that the lyrics explain a story of all the characters. Technically speaking these lyrics are not just catchy rhythms the Vocaloids are just singing; there’s meaning behind it. From the Vocaloid project launch came the light novels which go more into detail about the story (which in my opinion are incredibly well written) and now the on-going manga. There are many timelines of Kagerou Days (I’m saying timelines for the sake of stating that the story has multiple perspectives), but thankfully the anime starts right off at the beginning and plans to go right through the series chronologically. Thank you, Shinbo!
Now to the good stuff! As someone who highly enjoys Kagerou Days, I was excited to see that SHAFT, my personal favorite animation studio, decided to pick up this golden title. With so much material about it already released, it was a matter of time before someone grabbed it, and thankfully it was SHAFT, so I have no fear of them messing it up. After watching the first episode I was so happy to see that they kept to the material as close as they could. I mean, it’s just the first episode, but knowing how SHAFT likes to take artistic spins on things, it was nice to see they kept true to the source.
The animation was stunning. In the Vocaloid MVs you’ll see that the Kagerou Days Project has some significance toward colors, especially for the characters. Without spoiling anything, colors are a huge part of the series, both artistically and plot-related, so don’t think you’re going crazy when you think SHAFT is throwing all these colors at you. I think the studio did a great job keeping the world we were introduced in, and the crazy one we keep getting glimpses into, well situated. The transition between the two settings was great. They also made our protagonist Shintaro, who looks rather boring as hell, remotely interesting thanks to Ene. Shintaro gets tons better in the coming episodes, and our annoying little bug of a virus, Ene, will soon pique your interests too. They did a great job introducing them, and in the scene with the store heist, SHAFT once again mixed their artistic talents by changing the perspective of Shintaro’s situation. To some people it might confuse you as to why it seemed like Shintaro was acid tripping throughout the hostage scene, but it’s really to show Shintaro’s perspective differences.
The music is excellent, and honestly I need the OST right about now. I’m so glad they brought MARiA from GARNiDELiA to do the opening. As a Vocaloid cover artist as well, she did absolute justice to singing Daze: the opening to the series. While it would have been awesome for them to actually sing in the order of the series, the first being Artificial Enemy or Children Record, I understand that they needed the opening to be the song that encompasses all of what Kagerou Days Project is.
I feel like I can go on forever about the series, and I probably can, but regardless I’ll say that this show is going to be my favorite (right next to JoJo probably) for the season, if not the year (if it’s done right). So, please, if you haven’t already given it a shot, do so now!