The Fall 2021 Preview Guide
World Trigger Season 3

How would you rate episode 1 of
World Trigger (TV 4) ?

What is this?

Osamu, Yuma, and Chika have managed to pull their team back into contention after Tamakoma-2's loss in the Rank Wars. What's more, they've got a new secret weapon in Hyuse, who's finally agreed to join their squad for a chance to join Border's upcoming Away Mission. But things won't be easy for the new four-man cell; they're up for a rematch against two squads that soundly beat them last time, and in dire need of points if they have any chance of getting a coveted spot among Border's most important and dangerous mission. With only two matches left, they'll have to pull out every trick they can to make it.

World Trigger is based on Daisuke Ashihara's manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Nicholas Dupree

And we're back to the races with World Trigger, everyone! After six months away it's time to get back into the high-flying sci-fi action only this series can bring. Marvel, as Tamakoma Branch casually welcomes home a couple of agents who were out of town. Thrill, as Chika and Yuma get a car ride from Reiji to a study party with some of their friends. Piss yourselves in excitement as Osamu moves into the spare room at Border to cut down on his commute!

Yeah, so this is a decidedly far cry from the complicated, action-packed invasion that opened up the previous cour. I'd say it's a consequence of this episode technically being a leftover from last season, as a scheduling mishap meant the finale of season 2 had to be shuffled over to open this new cour, except this would have also made for a pretty unexciting finale. And I say that as somebody who generally enjoys when World Trigger is in Boardroom Meeting Mode and just having characters talk about important stuff in office rooms. But this is very much place-setting, as we watch Hyuse tinker with his set of newly-administered Triggers, welcome some previously unseen members of Tamakoma Branch, and then spend a good 5 minutes re-establishing the point spread for the upcoming Rank Wars matches. It's setup, with nothing to actually keep your attention.

The one exception comes late into the episode, as Osamu is moving into his new room at the office and finds a picture of the original members of Border – a memento left behind by the room's previous occupant, Commander Kido. World Trigger has never been huge on worldbuilding – Border just kind of exists as a monolith from the opening minutes – but here we get a look at the people who actually started this whole shebang in a modest single building with just 19 members. Another aspect that isn't brought up much is that, before the Bailout system was perfected, battles against Neighbor invasions left just as many dead as any regular war, and learning that half of the original Border founders died to start off this story helps lend some much-needed weight to our heroes' much-extended quest for the away mission.

As does Yuri's musing on how Kido's approach changed in response, turning Border from an ambassadorship for the Neighborhood into a fully defensive military establishment. It's a pointed statement, left half-unsaid, that giving humanity a singular enemy helped drive up recruitment and support for Border more quickly than wanting to ally with particular alien nations. It was ultimately easier for people to understand and internalize a singular invading force needing to be repelled than it was to conceptualize a complex network of independent nations, all with their own goals and worries. I would never characterize this show as cynical, but it has a decidedly low opinion on how to efficiently swing public opinion, and if nothing else it's an intriguing detail of Border's history in the context of Osamu's squad being 50% Neighbors.

Unfortunately that's the only real bit of interest in this episode, the rest of which is just too slight to make for compelling television for anyone who isn't so dedicated to this show they'd watch Osamu quietly read the phone book for 25 minutes. I'm familiar with the manga so I know there's good stuff coming this season, but this is definitely not going to win over anime-onlies or new viewers.

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