Anime Review: S-Cry-ed

I’d had my eye in this anime for quite some time. When I was finally able to purchase the boxed set of the complete series and watch it, I was blown away. This is one of the most exciting and original anime I’ve ever seen.

Tokyo, and part of the surrounding Kanto plain, is ripped away from the mainland by a catastrophic earthquake. Eventually this area becomes known as the Lost Ground. So powerful were the natural forces that caused this disaster that a rift was opened in the fabric of our world and the energy of another world bled through. Within a generation children are born who begin to exhibit strange abilities. These abilities are dubbed Alter Power, and those who wield are called Alter Users. These individuals can reorder the structure of matter on a fundamental level, shaping it into other forms to suit their needs. These forms are the physical embodiment of their powers and are unique to each User. The anime S-Cry-ed takes you from thrilling highs in action to unique storytelling with epic dialogues.

The desolate and dangerous Lost Ground serves as a backdrop for a fascinating character study. Kazuma is a young Alter User who does odd-jobs, some of them of a questionable nature, to make money to take care of an orphaned girl named Kanami. Ordinarily, Kazuma is hot-headed , boastful and reckless but when it comes to her he is kind-hearted, revealing a protective, nurturing side. Still, all he wants is to live in peace and be left alone. He does not want to answer to anyone.

But the Mainland government agency HOLD doesn’t see fit to let Kazuma, or any other Alter User, live in peace. HOLD is acting on orders to detain and interrogate any Users they find with the aim of bringing down the rate of crimes committed using Alter Power. HOLD’s special unit HOLY is dispatched into the Lost Ground to declare martial law. HOLY is, itself, made up of Alter Users who were taken from the Lost Ground by force and conditioned to obey HOLD.

One of the most powerful members is Ryuho, a serious young man from a wealthy mainland family who voluntarily joined HOLY for personal reasons. Ryuho is a true believer, convinced that peace can only be attained through adherence to rules and rigid ideology. Secretly, though, Ryuho is also driven by the need to take revenge on a strange, immensely powerful being who crossed over from the other world years ago, when Ryuho was a little boy, and killed his mother as it blasted its way through the city. This being is still present, living deep within the wilderness at the heart of the Lost Ground.

Of course, when HOLY comes upon head-strong Kazuma and tries to detain him, he picks a fight with them and is subsequently taken down by Ryuho. He is taken, along with several other captured Alter Users, back to HOLD headquarters where he is interrogated and endures a battery of tests to determine the extent and level of his Alter Power. Kazuma manages to escape and, in the process, declares vendetta against Ryuho, who makes the same promise to him.

Kazuma and Ryuho clash repeatedly throughout the series as Kazuma fights off the legion of HOLY Alter Users sent to recapture him. Again, Kazuma displays his caring, protective qualities when he defends the human inhabitants of the Lost Ground from HOLY’s intrusions. The series focuses largely on the complex relationship that emerges between Kazuma and Ryuho as they battle each other. They are polar opposites, each unable to understand the other’s point of view, each viewing the other as a threat to their very way of life.

But there are those on the mainland who have plans for the Lost Ground and Kazuma and Ryuho must eventually unite to save human and Alter User alike from the machinations of Kyoji Mujo, a ruthless and extremely powerful Alter User who wants to open a new rift to the other world.

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