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Anime NYC 2021
Love of Kill Premiere

by MrAJCosplay/Cartoon Cipher,

Of all the premieres that I had the pleasure of attending this weekend at Anime NYC, Love of Kill seemed to be one of the more unique, comparatively speaking. Before the episode even aired, Crunchyroll showed a quick pre-recorded video of voice actors Saori Ōnishi and Hiro Shimono talking a little bit about the characters that they play. While it wasn't long, it's clear that the two were enthusiastic about the project that they were working on and seemed to have a lot of fun recording a lot of the intense scenes that take place within the series. Though my favorite part of the video is where Onishi really leans into just how shady the character he plays is; after watching the episode proper, it even feels like he was downplaying it.

Love of Kill is an interesting show that seemingly tries to blend a variety of different genres together within its first episode. The story takes place in a society where hitmen and bounty hunters are a lot more common; being hired by major corporations in order to take out individuals behind the scenes. Of this vast network, we are introduced to Chateau and Son Ryang-ha, two assassins from different companies who get into a bit of an altercation where the more experienced latter quickly takes down the less experienced former. However, Ryang-ha ends up falling in love with Chateau, much to her and the audience's confusion. From there the show kind of shifts from a dark action series to an almost playfully creepy romance with Ryang-ha doing everything in his very uncomfortable repertoire to try to woo Chateau for a simple date...leaving her to respond like any sane person would.

I appreciate the fact that the episode makes it very clear that what he's doing isn't cool but it also rides that line of not really being able to stop him. Ryang-ha walks around with a look in his eye that kind of screams “I can kill you with a thought and you should appreciate how much I'm holding back”. It's definitely an uncomfortable premise, but the room I was in Sunday morning didn't seem to give an impression of offputtedness. If anything, the crowd seemed fairly on the level of the comedy that the show was playing with, as you could hear a few genuine chuckles during scenes where the slapstick and dialogue got particularly cartoony. I will admit those scenes do clash a bit with the more dark and serious implications of some character actions. One minute Ryang-ha is intimidating a prostitute that just tried to get him killed and then the next minute we're comedically decorating a Christmas tree in an office. All the while Chateau barely says more than a handful of lines throughout the entire episode and while her general reactions to everything were pretty understandable, I don't really have that much of a read on her character. Thankfully the episode ends with a flashback teaser to something revolving around her past, which leads me to believe that this overall premise might just be an excuse to bring these two characters together so that the more intricate story involving past circumstances can take shape. I'm cautious but I think I'll keep my eye out for this one when it comes out this January.

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