Original Run: October 5, 2014 - April 3, 2016 Number of Episodes: 73 Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Daisuke Ashihara
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for World Trigger. Reader discretion is advised.***
Four years ago, a gate to another dimension opened over Mikado City. From it poured monstrous creatures dubbed Neighbors. This invasion put humanity at risk of extinction. But when all hope seemed lost, an elite squad of warriors appeared and pushed the Neighbors back to where they came.
Those warriors became the foundation of the organization now known as Border, which uses a mysterious and powerful form of energy, Trion, to protect against future attacks. To do this, Border has invested tons of resources into developing Trigger technology.
Since that invasion, agents of Border have become celebrities amongst the populace. Despite this, Osamu Mikumo (voiced by Yuuki Kaji) prefers to keep his status as a Border agent a secret. But then, one day, he meets a most unexpected person, Yuma Kuga (voiced by Tomo Muranaka).
To Osamu’s surprise, Yuma reveals himself to be one of the so-call Neighbors. But unlike the beings that once attacked, Yuma has no hostility towards Earth or Border. On the contrary, Yuma’s father was once one of Border’s top agents. Following his father’s death, Yuma decided to return to his dad’s homeland.
And if Yuma’s arrival was strange, it is nothing compared to what is currently happening. Recently, there has been increased activity from other dimensions, thus putting Border on high alert.
As a Border agent, Osamu will do what he can to see his job done. However, his strength is lacking. Fortunately, Yuma happily agrees to aid Osamu and Border. Due to his years of fighting in other dimensions, Yuma’s power is unlike anything Border has ever seen.
But for the time being, none of that matters. Soon, Osamu and Yuma form an unbreakable friendship, and the two begin a dangerous journey.
When starting any series, there is trepidation. After all, you are about to invest a significant amount of your time, and the only thing you can hope for is the show you are about to watch is worth it.
Now, for a standard anime run (twelve to thirteen episodes), such a feeling is negligible. It is hardly ever a factor for someone like me, who watches no less than two shows a week. If a series happens to be bad, well, that just comes with the territory. It will be over soon, and I can move on.
Even with a twenty-four-ish episode series, it’s not that big a deal. Granted, if a show that long turns out not to be great, you feel it by the end.
Then there are the World Triggers. Sitting at seventy-three episodes, things better be good otherwise, it will be a rough ride. If you would like to see my journey through this show, might I suggest checking out the Anime Hajime Impressions: World Trigger series?
This review is the culmination of that experience, and to make a long story short; I don’t regret sitting through World Trigger. On the contrary, I cannot be more thrilled; with this installment done, I get to watch seasons two and three, the latter of which is airing as of this review going live (November 2021).
Given this series’ length, one might think I would have a lot to say about it. While there are things I want to talk about, I don’t think I would use the term “a lot.”
World Trigger was fairly straightforward, and I mean that as a compliment. This show’s simplicity allowed it the freedom to be incredibly fun and entertaining the whole way through. That is an accomplishment for any series, but one that’s noticeably more impressive once you get past a story’s first three dozen episodes.
And to support this undertaking, World Trigger shored up two key pillars: its story and its characters.
From episode one, if you’re anything like me, you’ll wonder if our characters are ever going to go through one of the Neighbor gates. The answer to that is no, and while that is technically a spoiler, let’s consider what that actually means.
For seventy-three episodes, World Trigger – a high-action, sci-fi anime – stayed, mostly, in a single spot. There was no exploring, no adventuring, no trips into the unknown. Instead, this series pretty much limited itself to the confines of Mikado City and Border HQ. And for the one story-arc that went somewhere different, it was just to another run-of-the-mill town.
By itself, that might sound suffocating. However, in this limited sphere, so much happened. There was always something taking place in World Trigger, be it the large-scale invasion, the B-Rank Wars, protecting Neighbor fugitives, and the multiple incursions of Trion Soldiers. There was hardly a chance for our characters to rest.
Although there was always a larger goal at hand, this series filled each story arc with tons of information and details. Sometimes the weight of that became so much that this show’s pacing slowed to a crawl. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Considering that, the question becomes, story-wise, what was the best thing about World Trigger?
Frankly, I don’t have an easy answer. But if that is a problem, then it is a good problem to have; there is a little bit of everything for your typical sci-fi, action fan.
- Do you want conflicts that will leave you at the edge of your seat? World Trigger has it.
- Do you enjoy gamesmanship and strategy? World Trigger has it.
- Do you like flashy battles and superpowered face-offs? World Trigger has that, too.
But for me, I think I had the most fun with the B-Rank Wars. Watching the Border squads attempting to outmaneuver one another gave this series a quality I like to see – no one character had a monopoly on heroism.
What I mean is, everyone in World Trigger was an asset. Each squad proved formidable and effective; there were no in-name-only badasses. Be it during peacetime training or actual combat, when Border agents fought; they fought to win.
As a result, no one in this show was dead weight, and nowhere was this more apparent than within the Mikumo Squad.
It might sound like a no-brainer, but having a hero party to root isn’t something we should take for granted. Think about it, if the Mikumo Squad had been insufferable, it would have made World Trigger a rather painful watch.
But no; Osamu Mikumo, Yuma Kuga, and Chika Amatori (voiced by Nao Tamura) brought the best out of this series.
For the record, none of the members of the Mikumo Squad were my favorite characters. That distinction goes to Yuuichi Jin (voiced by Yuuichi Nakamura). Still, Osamu, Yuma, and Chika are a solid representation of World Trigger.
Besides, if we were to go over every character in this series, we would be here all day.
To start, Osamu was physically weak. He didn’t have much stamina, he couldn’t win a straight-up fistfight, and it took him a long time to improve his raw combat skills. But what he lacked in brute strength, he made up for with intelligence and cunning. Osamu was a person who naturally thought outside of the box and believed no obstacle was insurmountable.
Osamu also has a knack for attracting powerful allies. His hard work and earnestness won him a ton of friends. Many in Border realized that Osamu had the makings to be a true force. It was always a mistake when people failed to account for his leadership and quick thinking.
Then there was Yuma, who was Osamu’s opposite when it came to combat. He was a veteran of many conflicts; thus, he knew how to fight and how to do so well. As a result, he could often best Border’s top agents and made it look easy. And that is not even taken into account when he employed his legendary Black Trigger, which turned him into an even more formidable opponent.
But despite his immense strength, Yuma was not someone who showed off. Likewise, he wasn’t unbeatable. On the contrary, he lost all the time. And rather than letting that frustrate him, Yuma welcomed a good fight. Failing to win wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Each battle gave him experience and insight.
Finally, there was Chika, who, on the surface, appeared out of her depth. Unlike Osamu and Yuma, she was brand new to this whole fighting concept. But also unlike Osamu and Yuma, her potential was nearly limitless. Her vast amount of Trion Energy turned her into one of Border’s most significant trump cards.
Although there were times when Chika appeared to take on the role of damsel-in-distress, there was a bit more nuance to that. Osamu was protective of her, almost to the point where it became ridiculous. But in a way, it also made sense. Chika was a glass cannon. In a fight, she was good for one, maybe two attacks. Since her Trion Energy was so great, that was often plenty. Except, once she let loose a blast, everyone on the field learned exactly where she was, and if they closed in, there was little Chika could do.
What I am getting at is, there was a lot to consider within World Trigger. This was not a show where physical strength and power won the day. There always needed to be a plan. A pleasant consequence of this was the high amount of personality in this series.
No one in World Trigger could afford to be a one-note character. Everyone had a lot more to them than they initially let on. Throughout this series, the agents of Border transformed the organization from just another run-of-the-mill anime military unit to a crack fighting force capable of defending their home and projecting power to any would-be invaders.
If there was one thing World Trigger did well, it was its commitment to the details. Unfortunately, though that gave this series plenty of charm, it was a double-edged sword.
This section will be quite a bit shorter than the last, but I don’t want that to suggest this series was closer to flawless than it was to being problematic. No, World Trigger was good, but it came with a lot of baggage.
To begin with, this show’s animation has not aged well. This point was particularly noticeable in the early stages of the story, which, again, released seven years before this review went live.
There were moments in this show that looked stiff and cheap. But as this season grew closer to its conclusion, the visuals had improved. And I suppose that would naturally happen after two years worth of episodes.
It does make me wonder how World Triigger seasons two and three will look.
With that said, the animation was nothing compared to this show’s biggest hindrance – its length. This series had no reason to be as long as it was when you get right down to it. A huge reason I am looking forward to the next two installments is how short they will be. By the time World Trigger 3 finishes airing, it and season two combined will only be twenty-four episodes.
Wait, how does that work? How does a show go from a two-year, seventy-three-episode run to two standard length seasons?
Well, based on what World Trigger 1 had, I suspect its successors will cut out a ton of unnecessary information. Oh my god, the number of irrelevant details and repetition in this series was sometimes too much.
Although no one can accuse World Trigger of lacking lore, most of the details it gave us was unabashed episode padding and words for the sake of words.
I lost track of how many times World Trigger went into longwinded explanations over characters’ backstories in the middle of fights. And these weren’t simply five-minute pauses. This show sometimes dedicated entire episodes to information that usually didn’t add anything to what was going on.
It was almost as if this series wanted to do everything in its power not to have any filler episodes. While some of you might think that is a good thing, I would have taken ten straight episodes of filler if it meant we could get through a single fight uninterrupted.
I am glad World Trigger took care to give its characters the attention they needed to become worth remembering; this show was a success in that regard. Plus, I can only assume this will help with seasons two and three. Granted, I will be watching both installments within the next few months following this review, meaning I get to skip the FIVE-YEAR GAP between seasons one and two.
Regardless, World Trigger utterly failed to justify why it was as long as it was. This show is still worth checking out, but god damn, it is one hell of a time commitment.
After finishing episode one, getting to this point felt like it would never come; the episode count was rather overwhelming. And at times, things did slow to a crawl.
But that was the exception, not the rule.
No, more often than not, this series was all kinds of fun. The action was exciting, the characters were interesting, the story was engaging, and where everything left off makes me think the future of this franchise is as bright as can be.
It is not often I get to put a show of this length under my belt, and I am happy to see that it was worth it.
I am thrilled to say World Trigger has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise World Trigger? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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