Review: s-Cry-ed (2001)

Directed by:

Distributed in Australia by:

An inexplicable disaster, a rebellious teenager with super-human powers and a government agency showing totalitarian tendencies are the mainstays of Japanese manga and anime. As are acronyms which s-CRY-ed launches into early on to soften up the viewer. A government agency HOLD and its Alter User arm, HOLY, seek to capture and recruit Native Alter Users. So it’s not long before teen rebel Kazuma comes into conflict with HOLY.

It’s hard to get excited about s-CRY-ed. It trots out all the usual characters and conflicts with all the enthusiasm of an animatronic show at Disneyland. The plots are predictable and even one or two word summaries of them would give them away. The introduction of cold and emotionless HOLY Alter User, Ryuho produces the expected subplot when he reunites with an unlikely childhood friend. And here’s a tip: if you’re going to give a government body an acronym like HOLD, people are going to expect a covert agenda…

The animation is very basic which almost gives the series a unique style but often crosses the line into blandness. Character designs are eighties futurism with plenty of shoulder pads, pink wraparound sunglasses and lightning bolts. Kazuma fares a lot better than the HOLD crew. He scores a leather jacket with spiky bits while HOLY members are humiliated in lavender uniforms that owe more to American high school marching bands than special operations.

There are some nice action set pieces and cool transformations as Kazuma comes up against various HOLY Alter Users. However, the result often feels like a foregone conclusion.

If it’s traditional action oriented anime you’re after s-CRY-ed may fit the bill. On the evidence of the five episodes of volume one, don’t expect to be blown away. Because all you’re going to get is a gentle shove.

6 Special Moves out of 10.
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