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The Spring 2023 Anime Preview Guide

How would you rate episode 1 of
Community score: 2.2

What is this?


An immersive field of digital art known as "perception art" was developed only a decade ago. Kazuya Yamanashi is the son of a couple considered one of the founders of perception art, while Jun Tsuzuki is his friend. Both are childhood friends with Kyo Takise, who has influential art parents and is also a grader.

OPUS.COLORS is an original anime and streams on Crunchyroll on Thursdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

OPUS.COLORS has a cool little idea at its core—that the next big art movement will be AR/VR digital art. More than just visual representations, this art will be able to directly interact with all your senses, basically making the surreal into the real. It makes sense that new art schools would be required to teach this new form of art and that you'd need a producer-style support job to help manage the more interactive experience.

While the show mentions riots as part of Kazuya's tragic backstory, it's framed as people rejecting this new form of art simply because its new. But when you think about it, “Perception Art” literally hijacks your five senses. If someone were particularly malicious, they could force you to taste or smell vile things—or make you feel like you were being touched (in the worst possible case). The show even (inadvertently) shows the downside of “Perception Art” early on—I mean, who would want to suddenly be trapped in a crappy music video without your consent as you're walking to school? If this show were about the ethical ramifications of Perception Art, we might have an interesting thought experiment on our hands. However, that doesn't seem to be the case here.

Instead, we have a contrived school drama about old friends being reunited—only that one of them seems to hate the other two for some mysterious reason. Worse yet, the school system is unbelievably illogical and only exists to add extra conflict to the story. In a world where artists and producers need to work closely together to make successful Perception Art, why in the world would you make a school that not only separates the two into separate campuses but also promotes hatred of each other? Unless the big reveal of this series is that Kyou's father has set up the school this way as part of a secret plant to destroy Perception Art as a medium, this makes no sense whatsoever.

While not absolutely terrible, the contrived shlock around the sci-fi concept and the cheap-looking animation make it hard to recommend this show to anyone—not even those who love their subtext-filled stories about pretty boys.

Nicholas Dupree

It's insane that, despite sitting through a premiere absolutely drowning in exposition about its world and premise, there is so much about this show that does not make sense to me. You'd think “attractive boys make Augmented/Virtual Reality art” would be a pretty simple premise to handle. Yet somehow this show managed to muck that up with baffling worldbuilding, all constructed around a profoundly uninteresting and poorly executed personal drama.

Let's start with the worldbuilding, which lost me around the time we got a lengthy monologue explaining how it took a decade for the world to “accept” the central “perception art.” Sure, right here, in the real world, artists are experimenting with the exact kind of tech featured here. Yet somehow, we're supposed to buy that there was so much opposition to fancy holograms that there were violent protests against it, one of which led to our main character's family dying in an accident as they fled from an angry mob. Oh, but now that's all sorted out, so there's a whole prestigious academy for Perception Art, where students train as artists or producers, but also the artists and producers never have classes together, and there's an unspoken caste system where the producers hate the artists; even though both sides are supposed to collaborate on projects in school and the rest of the world. Sure, we gotta have drama somewhere, I guess.

If that sounds like nitpicking, it's only because the emotional beats of this plot are so sterile they barely register. Our red-haired hero had a tragic falling out with his blue-haired friend, but now they're at school together and tasked to make a big project. Can they get over their nebulous differences? Do you care? Does anyone, including the people making this, care? It's such a dramatic nothingburger to hinge your story on, and combined with flat art and generic character designs, it means there's not a single memorable part of this premiere outside of its nonsensical setup. That goes especially for the central “Perception Art,” which never gets more impressive than an indie music video you could have seen on YouTube a decade ago.

It's just a total flop of a premiere. Bland production, dull color palette, and a premise that makes less sense the more you think about it, all in service of a paper-thin story.

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