Sion lives comfortably in one of the large city-states that have been left since the last large war nearly wiped out humanity. He is an elite student, who is on the fast track to become one of the leaders of tomorrow. But then on the evening of his twelfth birthday, he helps a wounded fugitive, Nezumi. This means his priviledges are revoked and he has to take a menial job looking after a park. The circumstances of his demotion are never revealed to his friend Safu, who is still in the gifted school and even manages to gain a scholarship for studying in another city!
And then mysterious deaths start to occur: people suddenly and rapidly age, and when they die, a wasp emerges from their necks. When a man in the park dies of this, and Shion's co-worker succumbs to the parasitic wasp, Shion is taken in by the internal security forces. Nezumi saves him from being deported to who-knows-where, and together they escape the city. Shion settles in the slums, together with Nezumi.
Nezumi wants to actively destroy the city, but Shion vows to find a way to make the city more humane and for the people in the slums to peacefully co-exist with the city. And then he narrowly escapes death-by-wasp, and he has to find a way to make a living in the slums. Nezumi helps him, but never misses an opportunity to point out that Shion is soft and unsuited for the harsh life in the slums.
And then Safu returns from her studies abroad, gets deported to the containment facility, the city attacks the slums and our heroes infiltrate the holding facility to rescue Safu. And then the city walls come tumbling down and the corruption of the city is exposed for everyone to see -- that is, everyone who didn't die of the parasitic wasps.
The series clearly doesn't know what it wants to be. It's only 11 episodes, and there is a lot of story to tell, but most episodes are just Shion trying to be gentle and Nezumi mouthing him off for that. The actions of the city shock troops are pretty shocking (parallels with the nazi death camps can be easily drawn), but those also feel like an afterthought. In fact, if you only see the first and last three episodes, you get the whole story without the unnecessary fluff. And while the slums are supposed to be a dangerous place, it seems more like a normal, if somewhat poor, village.
Thematically, it reminded us of Ergo Proxy, but it lacks the narrative thrust of that series. Visually, the series is pretty nice, but that doesn't save it either.
- Interesting premise.
- Bad, bad plotting.
All in all, it was a bit of a chore to get through this one. I'll give it a 6 for trying.