As the spring season enters its final stretch, RE:CREATORS is only just starting to pick up.

For those unfamiliar, the basic premise looks at what would happen if characters from popular anime, manga, and video games appeared in Tokyo. Genres range from magical girl to horror-mystery, but ultimately, each series featured in-show revolves around some sort of conflict. As the characters appear in and explore the world of their “gods,” various interactions and mishaps occur. Eventually, the plot takes a more dramatic turn. Characters clash over who’s doing the right thing, and what the right thing even is in their unique situations. Everyone has a different idea based on the world they came from.

On top of all that, it turns out the real world might be on the brink of destruction. With the real world’s end, it stands to reason that all of their fictional worlds will cease to exist. Thus, each character must decide what part they wish to play in either saving these worlds or awaiting their ruin.

As the first half of RE:CREATORS comes to a close, the action is sparking, sides are forming, and interactions continue to get juicier. Let’s review our cast of characters, where they stand in the greater conflict, and why. Basically, what does saving the world and doing the right thing mean to them, and how do that reflect the stories they were written for? I’ve divided the characters, or creations, into three factions: the ones willing to protect the real world are on the “good” side, the ones acting to quicken its destruction are on the “bad”, and the ones who continue marching to their own beat are “neutral.”

Major spoilers ahead for RE:CREATORS up to and including “We know exactly how you think and how you’re fighting!”

READ: Need more to watch this season? Try AKASHIC RECORDS!

The Mostly Good

Selesia in her original world

First up is Selesia Upitiria. She’s the protagonist of Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier, a fantasy/sci-fi light novel and anime. As the heroine of her world, Selesia’s most notable quality is her adaptability. She can easily accept any situation that comes her way and understands when to fight and when to listen.

Selesia has a sense of maturity and patience not seen in the other heroines that appear in the real world. This is a direct result of the story her “god” created, which we see glimpses of in-show. Vogelchevalier is adult enough to show that actions have consequences and battles aren’t just for fun. But at the same time, its bright color palette and vast scenery reveal a world still full of warmth and hope. As someone created for such a world, Selesia embraces those positive qualities and understands the responsibility of protecting them. That responsibility ends up sticking with her even when she’s transported to Tokyo. Thus, Selesia intends to save her world by defending the real one.

The Aimless Good

Next is Meteora Österreich, a librarian from the fantasy RPG Avalken of Reminisce. Her role in her story is to provide exposition for the player. As a non-playable character written to offer information, it makes sense that Meteora approaches things logically and peacefully. Her original goal upon materializing was simply to learn more about the real world and her creator. Depending on what she found out, she would either protect the real world, or watch its destruction.

Meteora wasn’t written as the hero of her story, and so she initially feels no obligation to save any world. This changes when she learns that her “god” has died, and she’s left to play her own game to understand who he was. Once she discovers the passion and care he put into developing her world, Meteora finally decides to protect his. For the real world to have produced someone capable of making a game as genuinely beautiful as hers, she believes it must be worth saving. Meteora’s logic mixes with her pride and fondness for her creator and, for the first time, she steps into a hero’s shoes.

The Reluctant Good

Finally, there’s Rui Kanoya. He’s a pilot from the mecha anime Infinite Divine Machine Mono Magia. Rui is a teenage soldier who fights to save his world more out of obligation than anything. It’s implied that he wasn’t given much of a choice on the matter, to begin with.

Naturally, this makes Rui resistant to the idea of having to fight again, especially when he’d just left his original war. However, at the core of his character description, he’s a child. And like any child, he easily gets caught up in the moment. When he hears Selesia and Meteora promising to protect the real world, he quickly chimes in with agreement. Much like his original role, Rui isn’t trying to save the world because he thinks it’s necessarily the right thing. For him, it just kind of happened. Even so, regardless of reasoning, he is heroic at heart. He and his giant robot have swooped in to save the day more than once, even against orders, simply out of his desire to save his allies.

CLICK: Speaking of heroes, take a look at our analysis on Uraraka’s role in MY HERO ACADEMIA!

The Arguably Bad

Screenshot, RE:CREATORS, Episode 9
Alicetaria in her original world

The most actively destructive creation is Alicetaria February. She’s the heroine of the fantasy epic Alicetaria of the Scarlet. As commander of her own army, Alicetaria is hardened to bloodshed and death.

Alicetaria loves her world fiercely and will stop at nothing to protect it. For her, this often translates to attacking, rather than listening to, anyone who stands opposite to her. Like Selesia, her character relates to the environment she comes from. Bleak colors and desolate landscapes fill the entirety of Alicetaria’s world.

In her world, even if the monster is defeated, the villages are still gone and the people are still dead. It makes sense that such a grim universe would center on someone who believes fighting is the only way to solve things. Even when her truth becomes muddled and she begins questioning her own goals, all she can think to do is seek battle. Unfortunately, this one-track mindset makes her easy to deceive and manipulate. The creation discussed next is someone who often takes advantage of that. As a result, Alicetaria unknowingly ends up on the path towards destroying the world she was created to save.

The Incredibly Bad

By far the most chaotic creation is Magane Chikujoin. She’s both a high-school girl and the antagonist of the horror-mystery light novel Record of the Night Window Demon. Her powers rely on lies and deception, and she wreaks havoc for no reason other than her own entertainment.

As the villain of a horror novel, Magane exists to spread negativity and chaos. And in the real world, without her story’s protagonist to keep her in check, she really lets loose. In fact, that’s most of her motivation for setting up conflict and kicking back to watch the fallout. Without the boundaries of her world, Magane is free to kill and manipulate as much as she wants. Sure, such actions turn out to actually speed up the real world’s destruction, but that doesn’t worry her. She just wants to have as much fun as she can before it happens.

SEE: Love villains? Have you heard of this DRAGON BALL Z villain’s appearance in a new 4D attraction?

The Kind-Of Neutral

Screenshot, RE:CREATORS, Episode 2
“That’s odd… usually there’s no blood.”  – Mamika

Mamika Kirameki is the protagonist of the magical girl anime, Magical Slayer Mamika. Bright-eyed and optimistic, Mamika hates conflict and wishes for everyone to get along. Sadly, that kind of idealism doesn’t quite work out for her in the real world. The most important thing to remember is that she originates from a children’s show.

In a children’s show, things must remain simple, so often it boils down to “beat someone up until they admit you’re right.” Such is the approach Mamika attempts to take when she first materializes. But children’s shows also censor out blood and destruction. When Mamika sees the real consequences of battle, she begins to question what she knows and who she truly is. Saving the world suddenly isn’t as straightforward as she’d thought. Still, in the end, Mamika decides that her hope and belief in the good of people hold true no matter what. The result is Mamika drifting between the “good” and “bad” factions, sometimes fighting and helping both of them at once. Tragically, this leads to her untimely death as she tries to protect her friends and her values.

The Totally Neutral

Finally, Yūya Mirokuji is the main antagonist of the fighting manga Lockout Ward Underground —Dark Night—. His mannerisms are rough, but he’s also surprisingly observant. His role as the antagonist of his story contrasts nicely with Magane’s and how they play their roles in the real world.

Magane finds that, without her story’s protagonist, she can continue her evil deeds without restraint. Yūya, on the other hand, doesn’t have a reason to be destructive without his protagonist to actively oppose. Written as a gangster leader, Yūya simply doesn’t have much without his gang or his rival. Furthermore, he understands almost immediately that his creator is just a normal human, rather than a god. Thus, he takes the opportunity to embrace his newfound independence and freedom. For much of the show’s first half, Yūya acts on his own and is unconcerned with anything else, including saving the world.

Eventually, he does end up joining the team to protect the real world. However, he insists that his only reason for doing so is to fight Blitz Tokar of the “bad” faction for his personal enjoyment. Despite this, recent developments show an extreme protectiveness for his allies, and a willingness to take on enemies other than Blitz. Yūya’s neutral mindset seems likely to change and the show’s next half might show him firmly taking a stance for the sake of the world.

READ: Manga isn’t the only kind of comic in Asia. Check out Korean manhwa!

Things to Note for RE:CREATORS

Image: http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2016/12/29-1/recreators-visual-and-preview-look-ahead-to-black-lagoon-creators-spring-anime
A promotional visual featuring the creations

Speaking of Blitz, there will, unfortunately, be no analysis of his character and motivations. His lack of screen time and characterization as of Episode 10 doesn’t leave me much to go on. Hopefully, as the series enters its second half, we will see more of him and his original world.

Also, be sure to keep in mind that characters are fluid and morals are gray. The sections I placed each character in are hazy at best, and loyalties and goals are always changing. In the end, this is just an analysis on why each one might think and act the way they do. As RE:CREATORS continues into the summer, more characters will likely begin to subvert their given descriptions. But perhaps, at their core, the worlds they came from will always dictate how they are, at least a little.

With that said, the show has demonstrated a great talent for character writing and storytelling this past season. The series portrays the creations with just the right amount of genre-awareness while still challenging them to break out of their original roles. Can the creations ever truly be more than the stories they were written for? Would they even want to be, if it meant turning their backs on their original worlds once and for all? In Mamika’s case, her answer led to a fatal battle. For the others, we’ll just have to wait and see. RE:CREATORS has been a surprisingly thoughtful and character-driven show so far. Hopefully, it will continue to keep up the pace.

CLICK: If you like complex characters, try out MISS KOBAYASHI’S DRAGON MAID!

 

All in-show images screenshotted from Anime Strike.

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