Series Recommendation: S-CRY-ED

Shōgeki no First Bullet!

Are you (not) sick of the Hisashi Hirai faces? Do you want to hear Souichiro Hoshi voicing a super aggressive character that isn’t a wuss like Kira? Do you want to hear Hikaru Midorikawa as an angsty teen with a serious sense of justice? We’ve got just the thing for you – an anime filled with hot-blood battles and insane social drama with the usual unresolved plothole. Welcome to S-CRY-Ed!

S-CRY-Ed is an anime released in 2001 – just on the start of a new millennia. A 26-episode series about severe discrimination, poverty and the “lower class” rising up to seize their freedom surely was all the craze. S-CRY-Ed features a continent that was enveloped in a strange phenomenon 22 years ago, which caused certain people to develop supernatural abilities known as Alter. In the “Lost Ground” – where the incident happened, a young boy named Kazama live as a mercenary using his power to provide for his sister. However, lawless Alter users are considered criminals and hunted down by HOLY – an enforcer organization that also employs Alter users. Among the HOLY members is Ryuho, and between Kazama and him, a fierce rivalry spark that leads to the conflict that may change the world.

+ Plot: We got introduced to the Lost Ground phenomenon – which caused people to develop strange abilities that can be comparable to X-Men. To be fair, a blinding flash of light that reach the heavens and “alter” people’s body is a bit on the nose for Japan. Even more, the social disorder and classification really hammer in a world where the sufferers of the incident are devastated and can only manage to live day-by-day. When you really consider it, the world of S-CRY-Ed carries a heavy message about humanity as a whole.

Story-wise, Kazama is definitely your typical hot-blooded protagonist. He’s reckless, will accept all kinds of dangerous jobs just to get some money. He lives by his code and talk with his fists, and will mow down anyone standing between him and his sister. A rough male accompanied with a gentle young girl isn’t uncommon in anime – adding a carefree and easy-going sidekick and you get yourself the trifecta of shounen. Ryuho is also another example of a textbook character with a heavy-past.

However, what makes S-cry-ed interesting is the clash of two major character archetypes – Kazama and Ryuho. Their intricate relationship that seems pretty simple (since all they do is punch each other really hard) is elevated thanks to the cast that support them. Their emotional development are triggered by certain events caused by the characters that they cared about. Furthermore, some side characters really leave a strong impression due to their unique personality.

+ Animation: Being early 2000s, S-Cry-Ed animation is just average outside of combat. Thankfully, the fighting scenes are not bad at all. The movement of the characters are quite exaggerated (sorta give it a chuuni feel). Hirai’s character design give them quite long limbs, although not CLAMP tier, but still allowing them to swing their arms and legs about in very extravagant fashion. There are some reused animation here and there but for a 26-episode series (and also it’s Sunrise), it was to be expected. Thought the recycling isn’t nowhere near as bad as Gundam Wing for example. Some of the special effects such as explosives and thunder, etc… are also at acceptable level.

+ Alter Design: The main “weapon”in the series are called Alter – most of the time Alters manifest as a physical entity and the users can use them to fight. Our main Alters are Kazama’s mechanical arm and Ryuho’s Zetsuei – who is a literal combat cyborg/android. Kazama’s Alter are has a beastly yet mechanical feel to it, and he also has a sorta of accelerator on his back, which makes him looks like he’s from B’t X donning a Messiah Fist. While Zetsuei looks like a mechanical doll wearing a special restriction clothes for prisoner, with its arms tied to its body. The contrast between the two Alters are also quite interesting, while Kazama’s is red, explosive and wild and in-your-face, Ryuho is restrictived, precise and range-focused. It also reflect the two’s view of life, which is basically the cause of conflict for the series.

+ Music: The track of this series fit the tone of the series very well. the first OP “Reckless Fire” is a true JRock song that will definitely get you hyped for some beatdown. The hoarse voice of the singer actually make it more powerful, like he’s screaming at the top of his lung. Even the Ending – while not as energetic – but also very powerful and emotional. While Reckless Fire embodies Kazama, Drastic my Soul does feel like it’s made for Ryuho. Mikio Sakai is a really really good singer.

+ Conclusion: Overall, S-Cry-Ed is a series with slightly-above-average animation with great music and great story. The characters is quite relatable if you take into the context of the settings. And of course, we always love a protag who speak true with his fist. A burning heart of gold that isn’t faded by cheap tricks and petty schemes. The characters is definitely S-Cry-Ed’s strongest point. I do recommend watching this series if you’re tired of wussy protags that can’t blast their way through without some pep-talk.

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