Wednesday, 10 September 2014


Complete DVD Series overview

What I expected after seeing the poster which featured a bunny girl with cute pink ears was a series filled with over the top, harem fanservice. Evidence supported by the fact that there is only one male and three females with him in the cover art. It is with great pleasure that I report that I have never been more grateful to be proven wrong than with Problem Children are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They (or Problem Children for short).
At the end of my experience with Problem Children, I find it to be an unappreciated jewel amongst anime – especially when I look at Twitter hashtags and general reviews and stuff online. The plot for this piece kicks off within the first five minutes when three teenagers, impossibly confident Sakamaki Izayoi, stern and enigmatic Kudō Asuka, and quiet and friendly Kasukabe Yō all receive strange invitations to a place called “Little Garden”. Now instead of being forced to this bizarre place as per the usual anime tropes (cough * Digimon), all three are seen living rather boring and unexciting lives. This is because all three of them possess different, but unmatched psychic abilities compared to the other inhabitants of their worlds. Because of this, they voluntary elect to embark on this journey in hopes that it will yield a little enjoyment to their lives.

The person who summoned them – Black Rabbit – explains that Little Garden exists solely around games which vary from life-and-death battles to simple things like card games. Miss Rabbit needs their help to save their community who have lost their ‘flag’ – the symbol representing their identity in this world. Without it, they are simply the ‘No-Names’. The trio agrees to help partly because they are all nice people, but mostly because they’re bored and think this task will be an impossibly difficult, utterly dangerous, filled with numerous pitfalls and evils, but also because they don't have anything better to do. 

From the little I have read about Problem Children from others, most call the series ‘broken’ due to the ridiculously powerful protagonists – specifically Izayoi – who’s power seems to be to just kick the crap out of any and everything he encounters without breaking a sweat. To those people, I’ll say that you’re missing the point and not even comically. You're not supposed to take Problem Children seriously. Yes, it may be labelled as an action adventure, but truth be told, it focuses more on the fantasy and comedy side of things. A lot of the things that don’t make sense end up being funny as the series progresses and the trick is not to pay too much attention to that which appears out of place. If you stop to analyze and over think things too much, the series will easily disappoint you. 

This is not Fullmetal Alchemist. You’re not supposed to be glued to the screen for 99% of what happens. Problem Children has an interesting enough storyline. You will be entertained and invested, but it’ll be more along the lines of ‘sit back and relax’ rather than ‘gripping and epic’. Don’t expect character development to be taken up to eleven and don’t expect Little Garden to be a well-explained, detailed environment. That is not going to happen. 

What is going to happen is you’re going to laugh at the antics and the overconfidence these characters secrete. You are going to enjoy watching them curb-stomp the enemies and you’re going to enjoy how humorously cruel and vindictive they can be towards the poor Black Rabbit purely for their own amusement. It’s all part of the charm.
As I mentioned, I expected some sort of harem full of boob jokes and panty shots. Even though the protagonist is a male surrounded by three females, it does not feel like a harem. There are a couple of scenes which stand out, but very very few and most of them directed towards the show’s butt-monkey Black Rabbit, but that’s all. All in fun I should say. I prefer this route as I’m not much of a harem fan.

One thing that really brings this series down is its longevity – or rather, lack thereof. It’s unusually shorter than your normal anime; coming in at a pitiful ten episodes plus one OVA. No reason why they couldn’t throw in two more episodes to fit in with the 12-Episode Anime trope, but thankfully this series leaves open the opportunity for a sequel while at the same time ending on a high note. Another thing would be the opening theme Black † White by Iori Nomizu. It’s not very catchy and not very fun to listen to, but can be forgiven thanks to the insert song used during Izayoi’s battles - Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? (Beauty as the Beast in English) - by Kaori Sadohara. This song just discharges buoyancy and the mood that you can do whatever, an amusing enough nod due to the fact that it’s exactly what Izayoi’s power seems to be.

The voice over artists for this series really outdid themselves. Josh Grelle, who voices Izayoi, avoids the snare of making Izayoi sound like an insufferable jerk. He’s more of entertaining jerk. Even though I just described Izayoi to a ‘t’, Grelle’s rendering makes him sound more like this unbelievable baddass you can’t help but enjoy watching. Jessica Calvello’s Black Rabbit contests Grelle’s performance as showstopper as Calvello just flourishes in bringing Black Rabbit to life which is tongue-in-cheek since she portrays the character as very animated and bouncy (not a boob joke!).

Rating: 8/10 – Perfect if you want to see a group of amusingly overpowered teens let loose in an entertainingly fantastical and game-driven realm.

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