Me, watching Big Order.
So, the short version is – wow, Big Order is one of the worst anime I’ve seen in a while. Last spring’s fantastically terrible Vampire Holmes is a worse show, but it’s also a short that was made by a single person, so they aren’t totally comparable. Bizarrely, their primary issues are completely opposite of one another: Vampire Holmes was much, much too longer versus it’s story, while Big Order was much, much too short versus it’s story.
Big Order has a lot of issues, but its really the runtime thing that deep-sixes it. Nine volumes, plus a couple of uncollected chapters, are squashed and hacked down to ten episodes. This isn’t done in a fashion which aids cohesion, either – scenes cut off without warning, and episodes open with characters in totally different places doing completely different things, letting the viewer scramble to figure out what the hell is going on. Character development is a tricky thing to work out in this approach, as it isn’t clear if one-eighties in behavior are due to us missing out on excised connective material or if the fault lies with the original manga. Perhaps some of both? Who knows? Who cares?
There are other things I could carp about, like the fact that it’s the umpteenth iteration of dude-motivated-by-tragic-imouto. Isn’t it funny how things we are intrigued by the first few times become borderline unbearable by the two-hundredth time? I’ve historically been a-okay with incest in my anime, but by now I’m so bored with it, especially as, like in Big Order, there’s never any consideration or exploration of the ways in which this would impact people’s lives. No, watching a guy toss everything away to save the imouto he ends up having sex with does not constitute either of those! I suppose in the post-apocalyptic world of Big Order, everything is so screwed up that no one can manage to give a shit when a guy is fucking his fourteen year old sister, but that doesn’t mean I find it the least bit compelling or excusable.
Big Order also suffers from a fairly terminal case of stupidity. This might not be so noticeable if it didn’t have the deep storytelling problems aforementioned, but given those, this just makes it all that much worse.
One thing I will say – if you saw this, agree with me about it’s crappiness, and you haven’t seen or read Future Diary, I would implore you to not assume that Future Diary is unworthy of your time. Future Diary is a fairly perfect B-movie-type story; a bit silly, given to a lot of over-the-top dramatic flair, very violent, and with a very tightly-written story. If you’re thinking of trying Big Order, watch that instead.
Ultimately, as seems to be often the case with extremely terrible anime (but NOT Victory Gundam – I still get pissed off when I think of that pile of flaming garbage), I’m not upset that I watched it, nor am I angry with the show. Each week I started the episode in a state of bemusement, curious to see what crap it would toss out that episode, wondering if it’d top it’s previous, um, “highs”. I’m still pretty bemused over the entire thing. I don’t regret watching it at all, although I think it was genuinely awful, and I would advise others to skip it. If you want to see an example of a thorough failure of an anime, after all, Vampire Holmes totally fits that bill and has three-minute long episodes.
So, there you have it – don’t watch Big Order. Watch Future Diary or Vampire Holmes instead. And you know what? If you want a violent and heavily fanservice-y ten episode anime series, go watch Triage X! The pacing is pretty rapid on it, but it’s a better example of how to slice a nine-volume manga down to ten episodes without resulting in an incoherent mess.