Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Heaven’s Design Team

Original Run: January 7, 2021 - March 25, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Tsuta Suzuki, Hebizou,
and Tarako

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Heaven’s Design Team. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

God created the heavens, the Earth, and the animals to walk upon the land. However, with so many creatures to create and name, God lost interest and decided to outsource the task to a dedicated design team.

Although God is the one giving instructions, which are often vague and not at all helpful, it is the job of heaven’s design team to bring an idea to life.

Not only must the team keep appearances in mind, but they also need to account for how an animal eats, survives, reproduces, and gets around. Therefore, some projects are much more straightforward than others. And while their work usually goes unappreciated, these designers love what they do, and they get the ultimate thrill when their creation finally comes to life.

Heaven's Design Team

Series Positives

This will be a short, in-and-out type of review. Heaven’s Design Team wasn’t anything profound; it wasn’t complex, nor was it groundbreaking. It was pretty straightforward. Fortunately, that simplicity was what made this show fun. 

Although it didn’t reach the same memorability level, Heaven’s Design Team did for zoology what Cells at Work did for anatomy. This series presented the study of animals – how they live, what they eat, and how they survive in the wild – in a way that was both charming and easy to understand. And though I probably don’t need to say this, here it goes anyway:

I am not a zoologist. Therefore, I cannot speak for the accuracy of Heaven’s Design Team’s depiction of facts and information. Either way, I highly recommend not replacing a proper, professional academic setting with an anime made for entertainment purposes.

Heaven's Design Team

With all that said, let me add one more point.

Heaven’s Design Team focused more on how modern-day animals behave and function. The idea of evolution was briefly touched upon, but evolutionary biology was not the basis for this show. Instead, this series played closer to the concept of a single, almighty creator populating the Earth with all its birds and beasts. However, this “God” was not depicted as all-knowing or all-loving.

In a move I suspect might irritate a more devout audience, but one I (a person who is not religious) found to be funny, Heaven’s Design Team’s “God” was a lazy, pushy, and exceedingly tricky client. The type of client many of my artist friends have ranted about to me. The kind of client that gives only the vaguest picture of what they want and then complains when the artist subsequently fails to read their mind.

This characterization served two purposes.

Heaven's Design Team

First, you instantly feel an attachment to the titular design team. And if you don’t, at least, sympathize with their plight, then I’m willing to bet what type of client you would be.

Second, it made for an interesting guessing game.

When someone on the design team received a new assignment, the client would give a request like “something grotesque, but also cute.” After a quick anxiety attack – because what does a request like that even mean – the respective designer puts together their first draft.

And let me tell you, with many of these first drafts, it was almost impossible to tell what the final animal would look like. Nevertheless, for me, I got a real kick out of trying to figure out what the creature was supposed to be before it was ultimately revealed.

Heaven's Design Team

As a consequence of this show’s premise, Heaven’s Design Team didn’t have a story. Most episodes could be watched in any order. There was some continuity, but overall, there was no end goal our characters were trying to achieve.

Then again, filling the Earth with animals might be considered an ultimate goal. But if that’s it, then this series could go on for a long time.

Instead, Heaven’s Design Team relied on a mix between scientific accuracy and the eccentric personalities of its characters. And it is that second point which will make or break this show for you.

Heaven's Design Team

Again, this series doesn’t have much of a selling point. It occupies its small corner of the anime market as other, louder shows overshadow it. This one merely tries to exist as a reprieve from the hustle and bustle. To that end, I would call Heaven’s Design Team a huge success.

While I doubt I will remember the individual quirks and personalities of the design team, I don’t really need to. The fact that this series was – let’s call it – a pleasant introduction to basic animal biology was the only thing it needed to establish. And this show did that wonderfully.

I will not pretend to need a second season to Heaven’s Design Team; one was enough. Still, if a continuation ever did come, you won’t hear me complaining either. On the contrary, I’ll be anticipating another round with this wonderfully entertaining show.

Heaven's Design Team

Series Negatives

This review is already barebones as it is, mainly because that was what this show was.

Heaven’s Design Team wasn’t flashy; it didn’t have anything worth getting excited about. It had a single job – be fun. To that extent, this series achieved what it set out to do.

If you want something groundbreaking, then, frankly, you’re looking in the wrong spot.

Heaven's Design Team

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the most significant thing going against Heaven’s Design Team was its nothingness. There was no plot, no character growth, no climatic obstacle to overcome. This show didn’t lead you anywhere, and there was no place it had any real interest in going.

On a technical level, this series was the definition of mediocre. The animation wasn’t broken, but it also wasn’t anything beautiful. Settings weren’t special; there wasn’t much detail to any of the places the characters visited.

This show defaulted to typical slice-of-narrative beats when everyone wasn’t designing animals, nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times before.

However, I’m sure you already see how overly harsh I’m being by simply stating the obvious.

Heaven's Design Team

I enjoyed Heaven’s Design Team; I enjoyed it quite a bit. That notwithstanding, when award season comes around, will I remember this show long enough to put it into consideration? I highly doubt it. That doesn’t change how, while it was happening, I had fun with this series.

If you go in expecting too much, you’ll surely be disappointed. And yet, I don’t see how or why anyone would do that.

Prove me wrong in the comments, but had you even heard of this show before seeing it highlighted on this site? If I am right about that, then you should already know what you’re getting into with Heaven’s Design Team.

Heaven's Design Team

Final Thoughts

For a show that I enjoyed, I don’t want to make it sound as if I’m sweeping it under the rug. So please don’t dismiss this series.

Although it wasn’t anything special, it was fun.

The characters were amusing, the situations were charming, and the overall feel of this series was relaxing.

As such, I am happy to give Heaven’s Design Team a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Heaven’s Design Team? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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