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  Luck & Logic See the anime, play the card game
Year: 2016
Director: Koichi Chigara
Stars: Kensho Ono, Sumire Uesaka, Ai Kayano, Aimi, Chiaki Omigawa, Fumiko Orikasa, Hozumi Gôda, Inori Minase, Izumi Kitta, Kana Ueda, Kosuke Toriumi, Nao Toyama, Risa Mizuno, Risa Taneda, Ryu Nakatani, Sora Tokui, Suzuku Mimori, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Genre: Animated, Science Fiction, Fantasy, TV Series, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Set in either the far-flung future or an alternate reality Japan (frankly, your guess is as good as mine), Luck & Logic deals with the aftermath of a century long war on Tetra Heaven: a mythical realm with close ties to humanity. Having lost the war monstrous beings called Majin invade Septpia, the human realm, determined to make it their new home. Which prompts a special police agency called ALCA to deploy so-called Logicalists: super-powered teenagers able to bond with all-powerful goddesses from the other world. Hapless civilian Yoshichika Tsurugi (voiced by Kensho Ono) is thrust into the conflict while shopping with his father and sister Shiori (Ai Kayano) when a gigantic Majin comes crashing into the mall. Yoshichika's heroism draws Athena (Sumire Uesaka), a willowy green-haired goddess who immediately identifies him as a powerful new Logicalist with a role to play in the epic battle to come.

There are anime based on manga, novels and computer games. Luck & Logic was created as part of a multi-media strategy in 2016 promoting a trading card game. Presumably not dissimilar from Nineties phenomenon Magic: The Gathering. Hence the anime is dense with arcane lore, rules and esoteric terminology. The screenwriters even work in multiple scenes in which Yoshichika, fellow newbie Yukari Nanahoshi (Aimi) and their young teammates are literally quizzed about various monsters, special moves and superpowers. Unlike, say, Pokemon, Luck & Logic is crippled by a mind-boggling complex high concept premise that is not easy grasp (although one imagines there are probably thirteen year olds out there who could get to grips with it a lot faster than doddering thirty-somethings like me). However the twelve part serial still boasts the typical high standard Japanese production design. Dazzling futuristic cityscapes, wildly creative creature and mecha designs and dynamic action sequences.

It also has a sitcom-like set-up instantly familiar to seasoned anime fans weaned on the likes of Tenchi Muyo (1992), Martian Successor Nadesico (1996) or even the ostensibly more cerebral and respectable Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). Nice guy Yoshichika is thrust into an otherwise all-female environment filled with fan-boy-titillating archetypes (the shy one, the aloof one, the bubbly blonde one) just dying to get to know him better. On top of that he has to - gasp! - share a room with the attractive Athena. While the characters are regrettable stock types the relationships developed throughout the unfolding story bring a level of depth and humanity viewers can cling to without getting lost in the constant bombardment of hardcore game lore. It places a very Japanese emphasis on young people learning to function as a team. Yukari, who in civilian life captained her high school girls' soccer team, devotes her energy to mastering strategy while Chloe (Sora Tokui), the aforementioned bubbly blonde, grapples with a poor grasp of intel, and bespectacled team leader Tamaki (Risa Taneda) deals with being usurped by hotshot Yoshichika. For his part Yoshichika has an instant personality clash Olga (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka), who despite that name is the only other dude on the team and, despite abilities to rival his own, deliberately withholds contributing any help while in pursuit of a mysterious private agenda.

Although the plot goes out of its way to emphasize Yoshichika's innocent, easygoing nature, his inexplicable instant mastery of everything and consistent outshining of the otherwise all-female team, are a little grating. It does not help matters that the script indulges constant knowing asides wherein characters admonish Yoshichika for acting like "a stereotypical lead character." Being self-aware of clichéd character tropes does not excuse indulging in them. Nonetheless while far from groundbreaking, Luck & Logic remains a solid, entertaining mix of hi-tech super science, mythology, sentai and kaiju eiga clichés. Mari Shimazaki's chara designs are appealing and it is always fun to watch super-powered girls in colourful cosplay outfits fighting weird giant monsters.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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