- Alt. Name
- Tenkuu Shinpan
- Release Date
- Winter 2021
- No. of Episodes
- Source Material
High-Rise Invasion is a 2021 High-Stakes Action anime series from Japanese animation studio Zero-G, which has created some exciting series in the past. Though the studio has created arguably some decent series, their highest-rated anime series, according to fans, is Grand Blue and My Roommate is a Cat. Any studio can make a good series if they find their target audience in time. However, when it comes to anime being either produced or licensed by a sole company, that’s when things should start peaking one’s interest, especially when it comes to the almighty streaming service of Netflix.
When it comes to the story, the potential viewer must first understand something; no writing amount can give this series enough credit for a narrative that’s neither good nor bad. Upon witnessing a man’s head being cracked open with an ax, 16-year-old Yuri Honjo trembles in fear and confusion as she flees from the masked assailant. She quickly finds herself trapped in a strange, abandoned building where every door is mysteriously locked. Desperately searching for a way out, Yuri runs to the rooftop but finds out she is in a strange world. A world with no signs of life that stands before her, surrounded by high-rise buildings. Though filled with despair, once she learns that her brother is somehow also in this strange place, Yuri is determined to find him and escape.
However, she soon finds more than one masked murderers in the area, anxious to terrorize their newfound victims and satiate their sickest desires. Leaving Yuri speechless and questioning if they will be able to make it out alive. In this newfound world, where everything seems to be cat and mouse, can she survive long enough to reach her brother and be able to go home? Or will they die at the hands of these masked vigilantes hellbent on killing whomever they want? In a world that brings our worst nightmares to reality, the quote rings true; “every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
High-Rise Invasion’s plot is excellent compared to other series within the high-stakes, survival anime series. A series from a studio that hasn’t created many productions, whether good or bad, is a terrific sign for this studio. Each character had an interesting plot that felt they were there within the story for a reason instead of just being placed, and somehow, they fit. Perhaps this is mainly due to the series’s source material had already completed high-Rise Invasion (Tenkū Shinpan) by the time the anime adaptation had premiered.
Another positive aspect of this narrative was that the individual genre elements were not overly using the features they applied; action, survival, mystery, and horror. This was very pleasing as most series that lack in the story or a different area will overcompensate this for their loss. This series seemed to use each element within a proper border from the very beginning and more or less stayed true to its form, which is an area that even the best series can sometimes mess up doing.
When it comes to negatives within this series’ story, one became apparent after the second viewing. It lacks any accurate first impression, which unfortunately doesn’t soften its blow from the first viewing. The first episode is not the best for any anime series, but that’s the problem, if someone isn’t at the very least interested by the tiniest bit to watch beyond that episode, then they’ve already failed. Any potential audience can easily find the terrible generics of the story in any similar series. Still, they don’t offer anything to the viewer outside of bloody imagery, which is more or less a copout.
The storyline is set in a weird order outside of the terrible first impression and borderline cookie-cutter high-stakes story. The plot itself is decent, but when certain elements drop, the series of events that occur seem to either go into a flashback to make up for lack of storytelling, or they don’t mention it at all. Any adaptation within any part of the entertainment industry would be appalled by this weak tactic, significantly when one adds all the other negative aspects of the story.
While the story may be somewhat basic, the art style is rather enjoyable. The characters look sleek and stylish. Though the characters do look a bit generic compared to other series within the genre, that shouldn’t be a negative in this case. The best portion of the art style is that it has a great combination of warm and cheery colors mixed with dark and gloomy. Perhaps the only negative that this series’ art style had going against was that when some of the characters moved in certain areas, the designs were a little off-putting.
Though it comes to the quality of the animation production, this series can easily pass any potential expectations. The music throughout the series is splendid, and even the opening sequence was magnificently created. The opening is beautifully memorable with the science fiction meets survival game type esthetic, paired wonderfully with EMPIRE’s song “HON-NO.” The sequence showcases an excellent understanding of the series without giving away too many details. While this is usually a moot point, considering that this studio has yet to create a hugely popular anime series and somehow made a pleasing opening is relatively positive.
However, unlike the opening, the ending theme is more or less off the mark. While the animation sequence is very pleasing, the song choice was rather unfitting. The song “My Name is Blue” was performed by Have a Nice Day! Though the music itself wasn’t terrible, and the ending animation sequence’s stylization was neither awful as well, they both didn’t complement each other. Both of these aspects alone work exceptionally well as stand-alone pieces but combined, and they don’t do the series justice. Whether the series should have gone for a slower song like Your Turn to Kill or something else is rather strange, but overall, the ending sequence perhaps just missed the mark slightly from what they were hoping to have achieved.
When one thinks about High-Rise Invasions characters, one is slightly amiss due to the genericness or simply poor execution of creating these characters. Yuri Honjo is the main female protagonist, suddenly transported into a strange world filled with high-rise buildings. She and the others who have become trapped in this strange world are being chased by killers who are donning mysterious white masks. She is strong in her will and doesn’t back down easily from any fight. Her most exciting characteristic is that she refuses to kill any human within this world.
However, Mayuko Nise is the polar opposite regarding character; she is sometimes the odd one of the bunch due to her massive, yet strange, “friendship” with Yuri. She is less like a saint than her friend and more like a ruthless killer in this new world. She has had to adapt quickly and thus trusts no one. However, after being saved by Yuri, she finds herself devoted to helping her at any cost.
Kuon Shinzaki is what this world calls a “God Candidate.” She’s sometimes referred to as a delicate and innocent little girl, but she can beat anyone with a push of a button in reality. Overall her character is not very fleshed out, which is a shame considering that she had such high potential.
The last of the main characters is named Sniper Mask, but he also goes by Mr. Sniper. He was incipiently a killer who was supposed to kill the people, but since his mask is now defective, he can have free will once again. His character arc is rather exciting and can potentially be a fan favorite, but unfortunately, this series focuses more on the action than the characters.
Other anime series have done better jobs at creating an entertaining adaptation but have failed at either storytelling or have made brilliant adaptations. However, High-Rise Invasion doesn’t fit into any of these categories. At the same time, the series did have a decent number of hiccups throughout the series. Overall, it was rather enjoyable but not perfect by any means. If this series happens to be a one-and-done anime, then the ending is a terrible aspect and makes this rather pointless to some extent.
Though this series did have its problems, these problems are not exclusive to this sole series. These problems are more of the genre itself, and if one decides to watch this series, then be aware of the issues beforehand. If a viewer is unwilling to watch something with more action and less story, this series is not for them. High-Rise Invasion seemed to miss the mark that it could have had, but at this point, there are so many similar series that does it better.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.