It’s sort of difficult to start writing about this show, because the first episode was such a cold opening. In retrospect, it should be easy to figure out who the main characters are based on the OP sequence and the first scenes, but I expected, as I do with many anime, that everything would be explained to me, so I was confused for the first half of the episode. The storytelling in general was very “show, don’t tell”, which I appreciated. That said, the first episode basically only covered the synopsis, so I didn’t really learn anything I didn’t already know. Beside actually getting to see the characters, of course. There’s definite potential there. There’s moral ambiguity surrounding the main characters, Nic and Worick, due to their profession(they’re mercenaries, basically). This could either lead to complex characterisation or some very “edgy” stuff, I hope for the former. The other character who may be a main character, Alex, is probably the most interesting of all, though she sadly did not get to act like a character in the first episode. She was just used to define all of the other characters(the guy who hurt her is a bad guy, the guy who was nice to her is a good guy, etc.) So yeah, I hope the main duo get to struggle with morality, and I hope Alex gets to be a human instead of a character-definer.
Audiovisually, the show was very enjoyable. Studio Manglobe and associated staff(the director, Shukou Murase, also directed Ergo Proxy and worked on other Manglobe shows) always bring with them a certain quality in terms of art and animation, and I don’t just mean that sarcastically. I fully expect the visual quality to drop significantly later on, but this first episode looked really nice in a way that I don’t get to see very often(Madhouse did something similar with Death Parade). The voice acting was mostly great, it’s nice to hear a cast full of adults for once, though the fact that the story revolves around gangsters means that many characters have that stereotypical “gangster/delinquent voice”, which I strongly dislike. The soundtrack by Tsutchie, who worked on the Cowboy Bebop recap episode and Samurai Champloo, is funky but elegant and classy. It doesn’t get in the way, but I definitely want to hear more of it.
Verdict: Not mind-blowing, but not bad at all. Maybe even good.