It’s a rare day I can’t instantly think of comparisons for a show, but Evil or Live is the type which not only is an exception but may set a precedent.
Internet addiction. This has become such a huge problem in the area that there are now about 1000 kids at the Elite Reeducation Academy. A place where it gets beat into you that obedience is not optional. Which, upon kidnap and entry, throws off those who are signed up for the academy. Such as our lead Hibiki whose mom signed him up for the program until he is 18.
Luckily for him, despite the Headmistress Jean, and Head Instructor Shian being abusive, I’m talking fist to face abusive, there is Shin. A person who, for reasons not yet explained, takes Hibiki under his wing and maybe the person who helps him survive this school. Maybe even learn something.
There Is Not Much To Compare It To
As of this posting, there are 155 series premieres posted and about 650 movies covered. Despite such a large number, nothing clicks in terms of what to compare this to. While there is violence, the kids aren’t necessarily fighting each other. It is the adults, and some upperclassmen, who are whooping the younger kids asses to get them in line. Also, no one committed a crime here. At worse, these kids might be NEETs but that’s it. Otherwise, we are told by Hibiki that this girl he knew in middle school was an honor’s student. So, really, outside of having an internet addiction, there is no real punishable thing here.
Well, Hibiki is a bit of a perv and grabs Shin’s chest when he thinks Shin might be a girl. So there is that.
The Possibility These Kids May Actually Get Whipped Into Shape
Okay, I got a possible comparison. There is this documentary called Rock and a Hard Place which came out on HBO earlier this year. Now, what we basically see is a military school for at-risk youth where there are Major Payne styled drill sergeants and what have you. They don’t lay a hand on the kids, but they do break them down to build them up.
What I’m hoping out of Evil or Live is that we aren’t just going to get psychotic adults beating children within an inch of death. I hope, in the long run, the goals of the Academy are actually realized. Albeit through a more brutal way than what may make most comfortable, but that maybe they actually do mold independent adults. That is, rather than the abuse turning them all into psychopaths.
On The Fence
Do You Really Want To Invest in Hibiki?
Not all leads of shows are likable. Hibiki especially. He is addicted to the internet, has a smart mouth, is perverted, and is also a bit of a coward. To the point, he threatens to kill himself. Which, I gotta admit, does make it hard to say, “That’s is the kind of guy I want to watch grow over 12+ episodes.” And even when you add Shin to the mix, I can’t say, without pause, that he can balance Hibiki out.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
I think I spoke too soon since I can come up with more examples now. One being Cross Ange, in which, yeah magic was part of the show, but when it came to brutalizing kids, including sexual assault, it was there. But, refocusing on Evil or Live, I really do believe it may lean more toward a Rock and a Hard Place type of story. For there is just something about the idea of this snot-nosed kid growing up, through abuse and adversity, that seems like the path this may go.
Leading to why I’m marking this positive. While, in the long run, I can pick up some productions to compare Evil or Live to, they are few and far between. Also, in terms of anime, there is just something here I don’t think we really get to see. That is, a fantasy without magic, noting a social issue dealt with extreme measures. Of which, could actually change the lead character’s life in a positive way. I wouldn’t bet on it, but I am going to keep the faith and hope. For it is one thing to watch a character go from fish out of water to one of the greatest heroes around. However, to watch a boy become a man? While that, by no means, is a new thing, there is something about Evil or Live that is fresh enough that at least the premiere is worth checking out. As well as a few episodes thereafter to know which direction this show may take.