I “Quickly” Looked at Back Arrow

On one random night, Meow meow (that is how I address my girlfriend) decided to follow her friend’s recommendation and started watching the show. I simply blindly followed her in doing so. With Railgun T being the last show I had finished, maybe you can tell me how many seasons of anime I’ve missed out on. I would not count Super Cub since I had only seen two episodes of it and later had decided to do some real traveling because… well… I could!

*shamelessly advertises travel vidoes*
No. You should seriously at least watch them once because I don’t think you will ever see tourist-free Thailand again.


No longer seasoned, but not a novice either

I have written posts within the years 2016-17 through the perspective of someone who was undoubtedly an anime enthusiast. The thing with enthusiasm is that you really do not know what it is until you already become one of some sort. Some can naturally go through the phase, some others are forced into and out of it, yet the only thing that matters is having been there and done that.

Holy crap look at the time that flew by. There are some noticeable change of habits when you leave the enthusiast title behind. Let me go through some of them now.

  1. I stopped reviewing anime based on a Rubric.

While I had never given scores in numbers for any of my reviews, they have all definitely been through some sort of scoring criteria and subjective performance were rated from “appalling” to “watch it before you die”.
Reviewing with a standard is never a bad thing, but I do think I have already used the word in the previous sentence so here it is again:

Subjective

It all came down to that. Not a big deal at all but if you ever have pride as an anime fan then I am sure you want to at least be knowledgeable enough to talk a a point or two regarding shows you watched with someone out there.

2. I stopped looking into upcoming anime shows (future seasons)

I definitely sensed this one. Having gone from checking MAL for next season’s shows and instead just checking on currently airing shows in the middle of the ongoing season, it is a clear sign of not keeping up with the Kard-

-trend.

3. More importantly I have stopped looking for synopsis and reviews prior to watching said show.

Truth be told, when I had written my anime reviews, less than a quarter was my feeling those posts would be useful for those who looked forward to watch shows I talked about. For me, my reviews were definitely more cases of posts you should read once you finish watching the show so you can come agree/disagree with me to your heart’s content.

The experience of going in blind and cold is one that you will not remember well but at the very least never forget.

Are are many more less noticeable change of habits as one transition out of the enthusiast phase, please add anything that you can relate or is unique to you in the comments because surely I am not the only person to ever experience this. Do it fam, Dom begs you!!!


The deal with Back Arrow

It had a big and wild start, cool and funny mecha fights. Sometimes came horny scream from that girl in a mecha with rope-thing and I had to tell Meow meow to immediately dial down the volume because face it, it sounded accidentally close to hentai. Have I told you that we started watching around near midnight?
Yeah, the neighbors in my apartment would have surely thought that sound was not coming from anime.

Halfway through the batch and I had started to realize something was amiss. When the three points I had mentioned in the paragraph above were deeply considered, Back Arrow had slowly became a lackluster entertainment, even through the mind and eyes of a non-enthusiast.

Eventually it became inevitable that I would temporarily reach for my mental Rubric. I started doing some quick analysis on why my eyes have not been glued to the show and more importantly why Meow meow has been watching the show on 1.5 (sometimes even 2) times speed from the first episode… =.=’

I was more than ready to eat dust when I had told her my rule of thumb to watching anything:
“If you have to watch it on anything besides the normal speed, it is not good enough.”

Needless to say, a lot of things went flying past my head in the process of having watched a show above the normal speed, but not remembering any of the characters’ names must have been the one that got me scratching my head the most. I was almost finished and there were at the time still some things I did not know, like why was the girl who looked most likely to be the heroine ended up being just a ship-mover bot?
Was she going to strip and be strapped onto the flying-base-thing throughout the entire series?
Well, since I’d actually finished the show (hence writing a post about it), I kind of got the answer already, sigh.

Even on faster speed, I still thought that the action scenes were outdone by the sheer amount of dialogue – not in quality unfortunately. And speaking of dialogue, Meow meow told me that she also watched this show to hear “famous people”. I was sure she meant seiyuu since normies like her treat celebrities the same way they treat another human being. I guess that was a good enough reason to be watching something since I have been living my life the same way when I used to really watch certain anime shows featuring Kana Hanazawa.

I can really say that the first takeaway here is watching a show above its normal speed can butcher quality, from good to bad and from already bad to worse, etc.
What the speed could not butcher was the opening/ending theme. Hands down the best thing about the show, absolutely uncontestable. All four of them just perfectly helped visualize what kind of fun, retro anime Back Arrow could have been.


And that is the next important part I want to talk about – the part where this show could have been fun and retro feeling. I did not just ask Meow meow to slow down the speed to 1x but also told her that the entire thing reminded me of the infamous Trigger, a studio known for pumping out endless amount of creative mecha series to date. It got to the point of a 5 second argument so I had to do what I do best – research.

She turned out half right – this show was not done by Trigger, at least in the name. But Trigger by the people, specifically meaning some people from that studio came to make this show (as a side project?). The studio responsible for Back Arrow is VOLN, acronym for visit old learn new. Is that just too good to be coincidence?!
I mean visiting old Trigger shows like Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill then adopting new animation techniques, which I personally do not think is of better quality in the case of Back Arrow but is highly efficient for today’s standard?

No no no. I got ahead of my wonders. VOLN is formed by an ex-Madhouse employee, but that is just the studio and not the people involved in the anime project. A quick look-up led me to Kazuki Nakashima. He wrote scripts for both Kill la Kill and Gurren Lagann. His presence and involvement in Back Arrow is unmistakable even by my casual instincts.

And so, the show definitely felt like something studio Trigger would pump out. It was somewhat exciting even when there were a lot of dialogues. The show also gave out restless feeling as if shits keep coming after another. The plot train’s got no brakes so I had no breaks, though I would argue that me not having had breaks was mostly due to Meow meow constantly pressing the next episode button – she was the one controlling the cinema and not me.

Still on the settings and story – I repeat. A lackluster entertainment.
Emphasis on the lackluster part, I really do think Back Arrow does very little to add new elements into the anime medium and its already large pool of creative aspirations offered to both creators and watchers alike. If the show had intended to recycle what made classic Trigger shows amazing then I guess it had failed amazingly.
This is my opinion after having gone back to read the synopsis because when having watched the show in abnormal speed, setting and story are the two main things I missed besides the characters’ names.

…who?

No context was needed to know where this show was headed. Though a little surprised, Back Arrow had gone and given me some serious manservice in the first few episodes and continued to meet my expectations for fanservice in later episodes, especially the 8th. Wooooo!
Come on now, even I would have been pissed if some executives were to tell me that I would be wasting those saucy character designs and art lines!

Even if I am to rewatch the show on normal speed, I do not think that I will be any more invested in the characters than I had previously been after the first watch. They are paper-thin stereotypes at best. No words.

Just take a good look at the case of the dude who obviously looks and acts like Zhuge Liang… at this point you can call it a Chinese mecha Warring Kingdoms show.

…not to watch this show, though.

That leaves one last thing that I have not shit on besides opening and ending themes – the animation.

They are more than fine. I really love the character designs and even more so for the mecha designs. I like what funny things they can do to that female mecha with rope-like ability, almost having thought that the show intended comedic action approach. For the sake of her character because I quite like her mecha presence in the show, I’ma go look up her name real quick.

It’s Ariel. Yeah. I liked when she is not functioning as a human.

The lines are solid and smooth and because I was put through the show at 1.5-2x speed, the CGI animation looked damn fine and sometimes even hilarious (mainly Ariel getting her ass kicked).

Both Meow meow and I agreed on the one thing after having finished the show and that was how all of this talent could have gone to Ex-Arm, a show with stronger potential.


I secretly wish this level of art and animation should be the standard for 2021 if an anime show is not going to be unique in any way. This makes me regret not having watched Odd Taxi, really. But then I was put through this on a random night so forget having the time to follow overrated trends and diving deep to look for underdogs.

Call it a review if you must. To me however, this has been one of a few ways I can (verbally?) share my thoughts on the experience on two of many nights in my life.
Yes. It took us two nights to finish 24 episodes.

I could not imagine having to wait week after week for new episodes of this show to catch up. It would have been like trying to chase a ball downhill – obviously dumb but undoubtedly fun.

2 thoughts on “I “Quickly” Looked at Back Arrow

    1. Oh my. Thank you for having a read through such a messy reaction of mine!
      It was indeed a wild ride so a way to describe the experience could not have been less wild than that.

      Back Arrow definitely did me as happy as before having watched it so that alone is already a good sign. There were no criminally bad parts of the show, but just about everything in exception of opening and ending themes…
      I think both you and I know that there is a LOT of room for improvement here.

      Liked by 1 person

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