TL;DR – This is an interesting premise and it is playing with some interesting themes, even if it doesn’t quite always come together.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
In recent years Netflix has been starting to make a big push into the anime arena possible as a way of holding off some of its competitors. Well in the same week that Neon Genesis Evangelion finally made its way on to the streaming service we get an adaptation of one of the most famous manga series 7Seeds. Well, you have animation, set in a post-apocalyptic world, and add a growing mystery, well count me in.
So to set the scene, one day Natsu Iwashimizu (Nao Tōyama) wakes up in the middle of the ocean on a sinking ship. The last thing she remembers is having a big dinner of all her favourite things and then she wakes up all alone. But before she has a chance to process what is going on Mozu (Kazuhiko Inoue) is screaming for her to get into a life raft. The two of them, along with Arashi (Jun Fukuyama) and Semimaru (Katsuyuki Konishi) find themselves on an abandoned island filled with odd creatures and plants. Is there anyone coming to help them? Where are they? Is there anyone left? Well, the answer to that is a large no because a cataclysm has happened. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
first thing I found really interesting with the show is that it is very clearly
written in the Shōjo style of manga/anime, which is a show that is aimed mostly
at girls or young women. Indeed of the handful of main characters, the ones
with the most growth or narrative weight are mostly the female characters like
Natsu and Hana (Yōko Hikasa). This is at times really good because it is good
to see a post-apocalyptic show delve into these issues like survival, standing
up for yourself, even rape. However, it does undercut that somewhat by framing
a lot of the discussions through the lens of men trying to dominate everything.
For example, in the first episode, the 18-year old Seminaru is shown sexually
harassing two of the women and it is almost brushed off as just being a character
trait. All of which sets up a really unhealthy relationship dynamic between him
and Natsu that by the end of Part 1 is still deeply problematic. Or the one
character that could not go on so danced herself to death in the cold, there
are a couple of examples like this. Part of this can be excused due to the
setting prompting extreme behaviour, but when women are the main focus of the
violence in a show directed at young girls and there is no framework that they
are building to, well it gets trying at times.
When it comes to the setting itself, what we get is a really interesting scenario. With governments storing people away in cryo-chambers to be the last resort with an oncoming meteor strike. So when they wake up, the world and for them, Japan is very different. The environment is still recovering, with some species have become giant, some have dramatically evolved, and some whole population niches are still yet to be filled. To add to this, the world has changes geographically, with increased sea levels, large chunks missing out of the territory, new mountains, and old volcanoes gone via eruption. This created a dangerous and unpredictable world that can and will kill at a moment’s notice.
is even before we get to the worldbuilding we get as the show pads out the
world just before the impact. Government conspiracies, unethical scientists,
the folly of man, wholesale mass-murder, and more. There are whole episodes
dedicated to flashback storytelling to explore the world in more detail. We see
underhanded Takashi (Show Hayami) who seems to have had a hand in many of the
different post-collapse projects, and also seems to be a very not nice person.
With torture, medical experiments, and mass-murder being all part of his repertory.
There are more dangerous aspects to the Seven Seeds project that have been
hinted about but we don’t get to see in Part 1.
One of the strengths, and also the weaknesses of the series is its characters, and there is a whole lot to keep track of. We have the Spring Team, the Autumn/Fall Team, Winter Team, Summer A, and Summer B Teams. All with at least seven members, well all bar one of them, then add on the multiple flashback characters and well you have a lot of moving parts that you have to follow. I watched this in one evening and even without time making it an issue, I found keeping track of everyone one and everything to be more of a struggle than I thought it would be. I think part of this is that the show does not do a good job of cutting between the different teams in organic ways, more just jumping across and going ‘oh we are looking at them now’. To add to this, some of the more character-centric episodes are of flashbacks rather than the current story. This happens right at the end of the season, so just as you are running into the season finale you have to recalibrate and work out where you left off. This is not helped by the show not doing enough to visually distinguish all the different characters from each other. It does in some places, but not in others.
In the end, do we recommend 7Seeds? Well … sort of. Look this is at times a really strong show, the animation is sound, the setting is good, and there is a good mystery at hand. Add to this combining animation with the post-apocalyptic is always a good idea. However, there are just too many characters to try and follow, and the show does not do a good job of helping you with that. To add to this, many of those characters are really repugnant and it can be difficult to sit through at times. However, the setting is so good and that tweak at the mystery in the final episode still has me interested to see where they go in Part 2.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you seen 7Seeds yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of 7Seeds
Directed by –Yukio Takahashi
Written by – Touko Machida
Based On – 7SEEDS created by Yumi Tamura
Production/Distribution Companies – Gonzo &Netflix
Starring – Nao Tōyama, Jun Fukuyama, Katsuyuki Konishi, Kana Asumi, Akira Ishida, Aoi Yūki, Kazuhiko Inoue, Yōko Sōmi, Yōko Hikasa, Ryōtarō Okiayu, Shizuka Itō, Hirofumi Nojima, Ryō Hirohashi, Mamiko Noto, Eri Kitamura, Hisao Egawa, Nozomu Sasaki, Kenji Nojima, Houko Kuwashima, Kenta Miyake, Mayumi Asano, Takanori Hoshino, Ai Kakuma, Kaito Ishikawa, Mikako Komatsu, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Kenjiro Tsuda, Kenshō Ono, Haruka Chisuga, Takahiro Sakurai, Yū Shimamura, Takuya Satō, Takuma Terashima, Junko Minagawa, Masashi Sugawara, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Minako Kotobuki & Show Hayami
Episodes Covered – Spring Begins, Insects Awaken, Light Show, Autumn Begins, Heavy Snow, Grain Rain, Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice, Lesser Heat, Cold Dew, Greater Heat & End of Heat