A.I.C.O. Incarnation (2018)
Netflix has allowed me access to a few newer shows in a timeframe that’s about 50% faster than my usual average of something like “2 years after a series even hits DVD” – and so this time around it’s nice to only be about 1 year (give or take) behind everyone else 😀
And thus, I’ve now also seen A.I.C.O and a few others on the platform and they’ve each been typically high quality in terms of animation (and this one by Bones is no exception there) but the series didn’t blow me away.
Nor did I feel it was ‘bad’ at all. There were a few elements that maybe didn’t match the level of the animation for me, but the show was still compelling and even tense, at times. (They even split the fan service kinda evenly across the male and female characters).
Where A.I.C.O. Incarnation drops a little for me is the lead character Aiko’s passivity – to some extent, she’s kept in the dark for a lot of the series (so the audience can be placed in a similar position of course) and though she’s generally cheerful and at times full of resolve, it was a shame she didn’t get to take control much.
There were a few times where I imagine the manga did a better job of introducing some of the supporting cast and world-building, and perhaps there was also missed opportunity to go a little further into the central conflict of personhood.
On the other hand, aside from the great animation, Aiko herself has a design that seems usually reserved for antagonists/creatures, with her red eyes and dark hair, which was an interesting tweak I thought. The other stand out for me was the Beetle, which is pretty ace – the design of most of the vehicles has a really flexible sorta structure actually, which is a nice bit of attention to detail re: the kind of terrain the characters must traverse in order to save Japan from the encroaching ‘matter’ that threatens them all.
In the end I thought A.I.C.O had a great mix of moe elements, action sequences and twists but also character/weapon/vehicle design, so it’s a good near-future sci-fi if that’s your kinda show.
(Director Kazuya Murata has been involved (in one way or another) in a fair few great projects over the years, from Ocean Waves, Beserk, Eureka Seven, FMA (2011), Porco Rosso, Gunsmith Cats, Xam’d and even Shemnu II for the Dreamcast :D)