The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made
Episodes 1-3

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 1 of
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made ?

How would you rate episode 3 of
The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made ?

Before we get any further along this fun little adventure of ours, I would just like to remind all of you that you asked for this. We tried to warn you. “The Fruit of Evolution is total trash!” we said. “For the love of God, don't waste your time on this dreck!” we cried. “This show is where comedy goes to die a slow, humiliating death,” we whispered, still shaking from all that we'd seen, “like if someone found that poor dog from Marley and Me and ripped a giant fart in its face right before it got put down!” I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's basically the gist of what we all wrote, if my memory serves me right.

Yet, here we are. All of us now living in a world where The Fruit of Evolution somehow got enough votes to warrant weekly coverage of the show, and with me being the lucky son of a gun to get the job done. I can only think of two possible scenarios that could lead to such an outcome: The first is that, somehow, this show has enough of a fan-base that folks turned out to unironically request reviews for a show they liked, so the discourse could thrive and the fandom could grow. If that is the case, then I am truly sorry for what the next nine weeks or so are likely to become, if these first three episodes are any indication. It isn't too late. You don't have to read a word of what comes next. Go on, and live in blissful ignorance. There's no shame in simply enjoying a thing, even if you don't get the validation of some guy on the internet who uses too many words to explain his opinions about cartoons to people.

The other possibility, the more sinister possibility, is that y'all voted this show in because you wanted another EX-ARM. You wanted to see a plainly terrible work of anti-art get taken down a peg or two, and maybe get some yuks in while you're at it. Well, I'm afraid you might end up disappointed. A big part of what made it so fun to follow the excellent reviews of my fellow critic Nicholas Dupree was how he was forced to find some way to creatively and entertainingly reckon with an anime that consistently weaponized hitherto unknown and unattainable methods of sucking ass. EX-ARM was a once-in-a-lifetime achievement in failure, that perfect concoction of arrogance and incompetence that demands to be witnessed and chronicled.

The Fruit of Evolution isn't that bad. Is it terrible? Yes. Is it, in fact, borderline unwatchable for most of its run? Absolutely. Is it the multi-media equivalent of being forced to dig through a filthy crawlspace to root out a supremely foul-smelling rodent infestation? Without a doubt. The difference here is that EX-ARM maintained such a consistent level of shittiness that it circled back around to being an impressive accomplishment, in its own way. There is nothing—and I do mean absolutely nothing impressive about The Fruit of Evolution. It may just be one of the most pathetic anime I've ever seen in my life.

Actually, I take that back. There is precisely one impressive thing that The Fruit of Evolution manages to squeak out within the interminable hour of its first three episodes. Keep in mind, we're grading on a huge curve here, so I don't want anyone confusing my use of the word “impressive” with “enjoyable” or “good” or even "moderately acceptable by anything but the most garbage standards”. Still, credit where it is due: The Fruit of Evolution managed to make me laugh exactly once.

After the show's second episode spent its entire goddamn runtime playing up the hacky sitcom “jokes” between our hero Seiichi and his would-be gorilla wife Saria, I was convinced that it wouldn't even have to guts to pay off its stupid, stupid joke. After all, the first episode tells us exactly where this is all heading: Somehow or another this giant pink gorilla is going to end up “evolving” into a big-boobied anime waifu for Seiichi to lust after. Yet, imagine the wild, insane laughter that came hiccupping out of my mouth when The Fruit of Evolution actually had Seiichi confess his love for Saria and make out with her dying face when she's still a giant pink gorilla monster. Most anime are too cowardly to let their romantic leads ever kiss, and that's when they're both humans! I've definitely never seen anything like Seiichi and Saria's cross-species spit-swapping session before, so…kudos to The Fruit of Evolution, I guess.

There. I said the nice thing. Now, unfortunately, I have to bring us all down from that happy little cloud to remind you all that these first three episodes were absolutely godawful. This show is horribly animated and incompetently directed, to the point where basic editing and storyboarding mistakes are easy to spot across every episode. The 180-degree rule is broken in dialogue scenes between Seiichi and Saria that are set in a completely empty and open field, yet you still somehow end up confused as to which character is speaking to whom. Characters go off-model in reused shots of the same still image, which I didn't even know was possible. There is no sense of time or space to speak of, so it is incredibly difficult to follow the basic, geographic action of any given scene.

None of this is helped by the fact that the show is dedicated to killing the very concept of comedy on sight, whenever it can, in the most heinous methods available. An entire episode is devoted to stupid puns and tired “jokes” about gender stereotypes and implied bestiality. Another episode wastes fully half of its twenty minutes on an extended gag about how a town's local Heroes Guild is staffed entirely by caricatures of kinky sex fiends. Why is this the joke? I have no clue. What purpose do any of the characters' stupid fetishes serve? Nothing! Then, every now and again, The Fruit of Evolution has the gall to try and take its characters and story seriously, which is maybe even worse than the horrible comedy. In Episode 3, a girl named Artoria gets this whole sob-story flashback sequence that goes on for way too long, and ultimately only exists to remind us of how strong Seiichi is now, and that this Artoria girl is also going to fall in love with the guy. It's enough to give you hives.

Speaking of which, Seiichi is voiced by Hiro Shimono, who was already on my shit-list for making Zenitsu from Demon Slayer a thing, and you know what? Seiichi is just Zenitsu, except if Zenitsu was promoted to be the main character of a hatefully unfunny cartoon that looked like it was made on a budget of pocket-change and desperate favors. Don't even get me started on how the show wastes the potential of its own lame setups, either; I still cannot believe that we went through all of that trouble to turn Saria into a conventionally attractive anime wife, and the show isn't going to make a single joke about how this super-hot lady should be acting like a wild animal? George of the Jungle made an entire franchise out of this one bit, for God's sake, and we can't get a single halfway decent background gag where Saria surreptitiously steals a cart full of bananas, or something? Give me a break!

Again, I remind you: You all asked for this, so don't come crying to me or my editors when I'm still here, screaming at anyone who still doesn't understand why The Fruit of Evolution will probably still suck nine weeks from now. In fact, I damn well expect you all to finish what you started along with me. Nobody gets out of this clean. I expect every last one of you to report to the comments section with ready-made analyses of everything this anime did to you, all of the ways it robbed you of joy and feeling. Your first assignment: How did the gorilla makeout scene make you feel, and what societally taboo feelings did it awaken inside of you? This is all going on your permanent records, by the way. We're on a sinking ship made of tissue paper and crushed dreams, my friends, and if the S.S. Gorilla Fucker is going down, I'm taking every last one of you with me.

Rating:

The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.


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