'Divergence Eve': Constant Confusion Wrapped in a Blanket of Befuddlement
“Taking place in the 24th century, intergalactic space travel has become a reality. One of the first outposts in the far reaches of space is the Watcher’s Nest – an inflation hole drive portal – which has recently come under attack by a mysterious force known simply as the GHOUL… A group of young female cadets assigned to the portal are unexpectedly thrown into a hornet’s nest of trouble as they finalize their training to become elite pilots in the Seraphim Squadron.” If the show was half as easy to follow as that description, then it wouldn’t have been so much of a pain to watch.
Reading up on the show a bit before sitting down to review this ultra-early screener copy of the upcoming Divergence Eve: Welcome to Watcher’s Nest (Vol. 1), I found out that the show works backwards from whence it ended. This means that you see the end before the beginning; before I totally freaked, however, I read the press release accompanying the disc. “Don’t panic as you watch these episodes,” it reads “as they are not out of order. Divergence Eve plays its story in a non-linear fashion…” Well that’s just great.
I sat down to watch a show that just ended before it began, that had characters with already established relationships and objects, words and creatures that we wouldn’t learn about until episodes further down the line. The whole time I sat there I watched things fly across the screen and wondered just what the hell was going on. Perhaps I needed more than the two episodes this screener copy gave me, but what I did see left me thoroughly lost, giving me a sour taste in my mouth about the whole thing. And the end credits that were on it didn’t seem to have jack diddly to do with the show; summer driving with a boyfriend and partial nudity all over the place doesn’t really have much to do with battles in space.
We open in an episode where we see the women of the show battling a GHOUL. These tough guys exist in-between dimensions and attempt to climb through the portals when humans are jumping from one end of the galaxy to the next. The only defense humans have against them are E.X.O Squad-like (I can’t be the only one who remembers that show) crafts. The GHOULs possess an energy-like ball that they use to destroy and virtually tear apart human craft and clothing (apparently it stops there though, which makes less sense than the show). They also seem to have the ability to be able to transform others into duplicates of themselves.
On top of not understanding the story, I had a hard time understanding what exactly goes on in these exoskeleton suits the women wear to combat the GHOULs. At one point, one of the women gets the craft, her suit and her entire body “destroyed”… only her face was robotic underneath. Either she wasn’t human to begin with, or they were “jacked in,” similar to the world in Matrix, I presume. It was hard to decipher much from two episodes, although if these are supposed to suck you into the series, they aren’t doing too good of a job.
Animation was fine on the show, no real complaints. The CGI, however, was Toonami-level. Toonami isn’t a bad level if you keep it by itself. Unfortunately this show mixes it with regular animation, creating a jarring sensation when you go from full-on CGI backgrounds and vehicles back to regular animation. It didn’t flow well and the battles with the GHOULs were extremely cheesy looking and felt as stiff as the first season of Max Steel.
Next up on list of complaints was the pointless nudity. I’m not a fan of “nudity for nudity’s sake” and that’s what it seems like went on here. As previously mentioned, GHOULs tear through everything, but in the second episode, one of the female characters was attacked by a GHOUL and her suit stripped away, leaving her completely naked. If a GHOUL can tear through a simple suit or even a space ship hull, how can it not just shred human flesh down as well? Perhaps it doesn’t matter and this is just their way of snaring viewers in; fast action, massive bust lines and mindless nudity. It works for some I guess, but I need a lot less nudity and a lot more story and understanding of what’s going on.
There also seems to be a lot more going on in this than what the rating on the back suggest; TV-14 (V) for excessive nudity, violence and swearing? I can’t see this airing on Adult Swim in its current form with that kind of rating, so I’m not totally sure where it gets off with advertising it as such. To be fair there is a “contains mature situations” warning on the back, albeit in small print.
Video quality was good; presented in anamorphic widescreen, it was perhaps one of the cleanest transfers I’d ever seen. No visible compression, interlacing or artifacts were present. Audio was clear, aside from when it threw the audio to other channels; my computer has a stereo set-up and the Dolby 5.1 track seemed to fade in and out in places. Since this is an advanced copy, it’s very possible that it will have been fixed, as the copy didn’t have the Japanese track either.
Special features—again, non-existent on the screener. Production sketches, original Japanese promotional spots, Divergence Eve Mini-Manga, Commentary, Clean Opening and Closing Animation and ADV Previews are set to appear.
I can’t say I recommend the release and I also can’t say I’ve watched the full release. The episodes that I did see will be the same as what’s on the release itself, however and I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone I know, Anime-fan or not.