Seisen Cerebus : Ryuukoku no Fatalitié or simply Cerebus as it’s more commonly known is one of the very few video game adaptations airing this season. This is usually a very poor starting point for an anime since , even when it’s a visual novel ,the two media tells stories and characters in fundamentally very different ways. That don’t often translate into one another very well. Is Cerebus the exception to this rule ? No , not really. It’s very uninspired with poor visuals , a lazy artstyle and even worse story.
Cerebus comes from the studio “ Bridge “ who don’t have an especially inspiring track record , most worrying is their failed project , “ Ichigeki Sacchuu !! Hoihoi san : Legacy “ which besides being a way too long of a title , was cancelled by the Studio having only released a two minute trailer.
The story is that in a very non-descript fantasy land , there are three kingdoms always on the brink of war. The lands used to be terrorized by a legendary soul eating dragon “ Dagon Zot “, When he re-appears ten years later a young swordsman by the name of “ Hiiro “ proclaims that he will kill it and become a true warrior. Accompanied by a group of friends and teachers he sets off on his quest to slay the beast.
The story is very obvious , coming of age , that has been done dozens of times before.And the driving force of slaying a beast is just a much longer and less interesting retell of the “ C.S Lewis’s “ The Jabberwocky” even if it’s an unintentional choice.
The world feels very “ fantasy “ but not in the sense that it revels in all the genre has to offer. But rather that it is just a blank slate with the “sword and magic “ overlay put on it. Honestly this anime would have felt exactly the same if it was Sci-Fi. There is no personality to the world , I don’t want to know it’s lore and the long names are just an obnoxious way of faking depth.
Dialogue is cliched but still stuffy with a sense of self-importance despite having no real plot nor any type of weight to it. Characters cling to one phrase that basically sums up their entire code of morals and then proceed to repeat it for the next 24 minutes. The humour is paper-thin and feels like they pulled it from the bottom of a writing rooms bin. None of the jokes landed , character driven or otherwise.
The story paces about with an incredible speed , with very little in the way of in-between , in between , scenes. Well what’s wrong with having a fast paced story. Nothing , but even the speediest action flick will work like this , after a chase scene/gun fight , there’ll be some time for the characters to sit down and talk or maybe just a tracking shot to show the destruction they’ve caused , something along those lines. Where Cerebus has : a chase, a fight scene, a charged dinner meeting ( which is different from quiet conversation since the tone and suspense will usually be very high ) and then another sword fight in the space of the episode with no breathing room. It’s easy to get burnt out. The filler episodes aren’t better at all suffering from the same problem but not having the pretense of moving the plot along.
The OP and ED are both very lazily put together , group shot , running shot , character slides. Cut and done. With suitably generic music put against it.
The OST is very one toned , every track feels rather epic and loud. Which is fine for the grander side of the show but you don’t need an entire orchestra to play over a light-hearted chase scene.
Sound design is rather cheap and what insulted my ears the most was how one dimensional the everything sounded. In a brief explanation , take how in a movie whenever a character is in a club as soon as they leave the music is muted and the dialogue is made louder and clearer. It gives the sound depth and a sense of space. In Cerebus , no matter how far away from each other, or were they are. Everything constantly sounds the same.
None of the VA’s put any emotion into their lines and they don’t sound like they’re portraying a character just that they’re playing : the cute girl , the mentor , the cute companion.
The artwork is very cluttered , with too much going on for the eye to be able to take it all in. it doesn’t create a sense of awe and size it just makes it unclear where the director wants you to look. There’s also very little in the way of sharpness , everything feels kind of smudged.
There’s a lot of still frames and panning shots which raise suspicions of a tight , most likely foreign export, animation budget. Background characters have really jarring two frame animations that loop over and over. None of the settings have any personality and the lack of scale was actually laughable at times. For example when a character steals a wish granting artifact the villains use it as a way to pin their own greed on the boy and keep their political careers in the clear. And how many people show up to this grand execution ? About 10 and 50 copy pasted soldiers while the villain shouts off of a wooden platform.
The particle effects are very one toned in colour and are also very smudged and not easy on the eyes at all. There’s is no real use of any interesting shots or compositions and no use of lighting and shadows to set the tone or mood. The scenes transition like a powerpoint presentation just blending into one another without pause or breathing space.
Any interesting visual pieces are too clunky to feel impressive and fight scenes have no really sense of choreography and are mostly one directional with one character pushing forward.
Characters and monsters feel like they’re from a cheap 90’s fantasy anime but with no of the enjoyable eccentricity and it doesn’t feel like a conscious choice or as a tribute to the franchise. I suspect it was chosen because it made copy +pasting the soldiers easier. Weapons have a really odd sense of scale and are hilariously tiny in the hands of the characters.
The MC is a walking stereotype and I don’t know who thought of calling him “ Hiiro “ pronounced quite literally “ hero “. His dialogue is insufferable and he loses the small inkling of a chance for a personality he had by episode 4. Side characters are boring props for him to interact with. Villains are far more annoying than threatening and the grand soul eating dragon who terrorizes an entire continent is a massive disappointment , with the weakest roar I’ve ever heard.
Character movements and animations are terrible. Missing so many frames that it’s more like watching a pop-up book than an anime and repeating the little they have over and over. There lip flaps are non-existent from a distance.
This show is really bad , but not enjoyably bad. I don’t understand why the studio chose to make this , surely this can’t help game sales ? I also can’t see why any one would let this studio handle their project. Honestly pulling shows after just one trailer doesn’t inspire my confidence in their artistic ability.
The chances of a second season ? Really low , as I expect that the makers of the game or regretting any investment in this right now.