“Upon witnessing a man’s head cracked open with an axe, 16-year-old Yuri Honjou trembles in fear and confusion as she flees from the masked assailant, only to find out she’s trapped in an abandoned building where every door is mysteriously locked. Desperately searching for a way out, Yuri runs to the rooftop, but a world with no signs of life stands before her, surrounded by high-rise buildings. Though filled with despair, once she learns that her brother is also in this strange place, Yuri is determined to find him and escape.
However, she soon finds that there are more masked murderers in the area, anxious to terrorize their newfound victims and satiate their sickest desires, leaving Yuri to question if they will be able to make it out alive.”
This is the first anime that I’ve watched in a while that I was feeling very mixed on as I was watching it. On one hand, it has a very cool premise and a strong first episode. There are some neat characters in here. The main cast is okay-ish too. I got some real enjoyment out of this show at some points. But from episode 2 until the ending I noticed something. I was barely paying attention to this show at all when I was watching it. Every time I’d cue an episode it would just end up being background noise to me browsing Reddit and other social media. Now after finishing the series, I can finally put my finger on why that is. Everything about this show is very bland and shallow.
The first episode is by far and away from the strongest. I love how it drops us into this bizarre setting with our main character Yuri. We are introduced to this world and its dynamics as she is. So it was very much to my surprise that they skip all the bs that comes with shows like this. Yuri goes through the whole emotional spectrum and character development that would take most characters at least a few episodes to go through. It all happens in this episode, in like a few minutes. And that’s that. At first, I thought I liked that sort of subversion, but I think that’s what ultimately made me so disinterested in the rest of the show.
To me, Yuri was by far the strongest character in the show. But she’s completely one note from episode 2 onward. Outside of that, the story is just generic. The setting, while admittedly being unique, lends itself to sort of a major plot hole. One of the biggest dangers of this battle royal is the fact that it takes place on top of tall buildings. So that begs the question, why don’t they just uh maybe go to a lower level of a building or just to ground? That wouldn’t solve all their problems and might create some, but it eliminates a major hazard. At first, I thought maybe it’s just against the rules or something. But then in the last episode, there’s a scene during an inner monologue from one of the characters that show a group of people and masks on the ground. The story turning out to be this whole thing about finding a new god and people being closer to god, etc, etc. It all felt like a bad version of Future Diary
The characters in the show were okay. Despite what I said about Yuri, she was serviceable. Everyone else felt very one-note. This show had a habit of randomly introducing a group of characters then killing them off asap. I never cared about anyone outside of Yuri and Mayuko. Speaking of Mayuko. It’s sad to see that her character devolved into the earliest version of Sakura. I mean it seemed like all she cared about was Yuri. Sniper mask had this whole mystery around him and his identity. Not only could I have cared less BUT it also didn’t have a satisfying payoff. I had no expectations and I was still let down. Kuon simps over Sniper Mask aaaand that’s about it. Oh, wait actually she has the most powerful ability in the show and she’s somehow the one closest to god! And I couldn’t care less. I will say I was interested in some of the masks and their backstory. Seeing how they aren’t doing this under their own free will and they have no memories. So when some of them start to regain a part of their former self, it was interesting.
I think I can suffer through all of the above and still come out enjoying a show if it had great animation and some cool action scenes. While this show does look good and I like the art style and character designs (thicc thighs save lives). When it’s not a scene of them talking, or a panty shot, the animation suffers. All of the action scenes are comprised of slo-mo shots and still images. And the blood looks so bad. For a show that’s as gory as this one is. You gotta get the blood right! Back to the panty shots though. I couldn’t believe this wasn’t some sort of softcore hentai at some points. It’s actually hilarious how out of their way the show went to include multiple panty shots and fan service scenes every single episode. The voice acting is pretty good. I watched the dub and I thoroughly enjoyed all the voice actors’ performances. The intro is also really good and this show overall has a solid ost.
I had some mixed feelings about this show coming out of it. But I think I can now firmly say that this show sucked. But honestly, I didn’t expect it to be something great or just some absolute masterpiece. I came in with tempered expectations. I expected a cool turn your brain off battle royal and with some cool fights. Without the cool fights, this show is severely lacking. With nothing else to make up for lacking animation. High-Rise Invasion just isn’t good. It’s not completely horrible, but it definitely isn’t good.
High-Rise Invasion: 3/10