Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere 01: Training Exercises

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A perfect comedy-action hybrid to make a show like IS: Infinite Stratos seem like child’s play. I went in expecting to have lots of character and environmental exposition. I came out after twenty-four minutes with my eyes dried out from rarely blinking so as to not miss the action sequences, and my face hurting from laughing so much. There’s no denying the amusement of a dozen or so powerful students trying to land attach points on their teacher, only to fail miserably each time.

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Everyone we know at this point either travels aboard a giant self-sustaining air ship, or has already sought the place mentioned in the end of the episode as being one of the last habitable refuges on the earth. Apparently, something happened long ago and nearly the entire planet was destroyed. Now, these floating cities attempt to come to terms with one another and rebuild their history ever since the mass destruction happened at surface-level. But because of the ever-drifting nature of these ‘states’, some of the more powerful ones like Musashi are attempting to recreate history from scratch and to the most accurate detail as possible. Authenticity? Apparently, the students in this show will grow up to be diplomats between these cities and spread the history that humanity has lost.

I think.

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I stepped away for a few days to come back to this show, only to find that I still can’t piece that much of a coherent story together. After all, more than three-quarters of Horizon’s debut episode was spent showing off many of the students’ awesome skills. But with all of the fluid animation, upbeat music, and a world that reminds me too much of Final Fantasy XIII (in a good way), I can forgive having almost no clear direction with the story so far. After all, some of my favorite voice actors and actresses are appearing in this show (Jun Fukuyama, Minori Chihara, Mai Nakahara, Chiwa Saito, Ami Koshimizu, Daisuke Ono, Miyuki Sawashiro, to name a few), so it’s hard not to pass this one up.

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Of course, the title character will be the main focus for the series, and I rather like how we learn almost nothing about her other than that she actually might just be a proxy for the real Horizon that passed away a decade ago. What’s the big deal to her? Why is she linked to this mysterious Horizon? Why do the silent but cute characters always get placed in bakeries that no one ever goes to visit, even in the mornings? If this were a more lighthearted harem, I’m sure the place would be swarming with guys just to buy her bread.

Next week: more character introductions! And it looks like Sawashiro-san’s character gets taken in by Horizon-proxy while Toori figures out how to confess whatever it is he’s trying to confess to her. Remorse? Guilt? Love? He sure won’t get very far with that eroge in his hands after he interrupted the last stages of the training exercise with it.

First Impression Rating: 8/10. Uneven story-action ratio, but forgiven for being so well animated.
Likelihood to Blog: 10/10. Superb animation, engaging music, talented seiyuu, and my curiosity for a play on the fate of the world and its history has me hooked this season.

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