The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Chaos;Head

Title: Chaos;Head
Genre: Drama
Company: Madhouse
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 9 Oct 2008 – 25 Dec 2008

Synopsis: Nishijo Takumi is a reclusive young man who has no interest in real people and occupies most of his time on his computer. During an online chat, a mysterious individual with the moniker “Shogun” sends Takumi a series of graphic pictures depicting a dead man nailed onto a wall by stakes. The next day, Takumi witnesses the exact scene depicted by the pictures he received the other day except there is a pink haired girl covered in blood, eerily standing next to the corpse. In horror, Takumi runs away, but he is unable to escape the web of conspiracies and delusions the he has entered.

The Highlights
Animation: Mediocre with numerous inconsistencies.
Music: Solid intro; decent background music; campy ending.
Characters: Interesting protagonist flanked by one-dimensional clich├ęs.

Paranoia in the hands of a creator who has acute knowledge and respect for the inner clockwork of the human mind can lead to a genuinely neurotic experience that engages the viewer’s mind, forcing it out of the comforts of rationalization, stalking it minute by minute, then suddenly beating it down until it explodes. Paranoia in the hands of a creator who has no respect for the mind’s intricacies – or in Chaos;Head‘s case, a person trying to cash-in on the recent explosion of the visual novel medium – is at best a flash in a pan that may create some pyrotechnics early on, but is reduced to scraping up the burnt remains of the initial flair for the remainder of the run.

Chaos;Head is a visual novel inspired series about the delusions of NEET-otaku Takumi as he uncovers the conspiracy of a series of mysterious murders and meets a variety of hot girls along the way. Given such an inane premise, the only reason to watch this show is its thick atmosphere largely created by Takumi’s delusions. Takumi is a hardcore, anti-social nut who will probably put on the white strait-jacket himself just to get away from the overwhelming pressure of the judgments of others. He spends his time watching anime, playing online video games, and (literally) conversing with his imaginary wife who serves as his personal cheerleader. Perhaps its the voyeur in me, but Takumi’s paranoia is downright fascinating, and his perspective makes the whole experience feel far more unique.

Though the protagonist is interesting, absolutely nothing else about Chaos;Head is quite as interesting. With few exceptions, all the girls of Chaos;Head are one dimensional, visual novel tropes with back-stories so overused that it pained me to even watch their flashbacks. I have come to the opinion that the only reason Takumi can interact with these individuals is because they remind him of all the girls he usually meets in his ren’ai games.

As for the story, the show starts out as a mystery-thriller, but a few episodes in, it decides to be a shounen action series with Takumi having a personal army of chicks with magical swords who fights an evil man who claims his actions are for the greater good of humanity. While ambitious story-lines are commendable, the show should have stuck to its murder-mystery roots instead of expanding to a convoluted doomsday scenario driven by “scientific” babble.

Chaos;Head probably could have been a better series if it had more time to lay down its ideas and let some of its concepts sink in, but the greater part of me tells me that this would have only dragged out the pain. Unless you absolutely need cute, ren’ai girls with your paranoia driven thriller, stay far away from this series.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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