How About a Derivative Version Then?
As you may recall, I’ve been going through Netflix shows recently. Last time I took a look at B: The Beginning and how I found it to be pretty similar to Psycho-Pass. My primary complaint toward B was that it didn’t focus enough on the cop/mystery side of thing and eventually went too deep into its supernatural elements. While Hero Mask has some science fiction stuff going on, it sticks pretty hard to a Western cop procedural. The question is, did it work?
I’m not even going to try and keep you waiting for an answer. No, it doesn’t. Hero Mask is easily the worst Netflix anime I’ve watched. Let me break down what was wrong with it so I can save you from wasting your time with this one.
The setup is ok. Reckless cop, James Blood (yes, that’s his name…) must work alongside prosecutor Sarah… something. She’s apparently so unimportant MAL doesn’t even have her listed as a character despite being the main female lead. Anyway, their mutual friend Monica dies under suspicious circumstances, thus launching them into a crazy conspiracy involving strange masks.
You are promised action, intrigue, and excitement! While I can’t say you don’t get any action, I can’t really say you get the rest. The mystery is so obvious right from the start and a lot of the way things play out just don’t make logical sense.
Example, the cops know that somebody has been the target of multiple assassination attempts and need to escort him from the building. They take him right out the front door, take zero precautions, and then are shocked when he gets shot. It’s beyond stupid.
The setting is also weird as well. They have these magic contact lenses that let you do some Psycho-Pass like stuff and these “tracking bullets” but otherwise it is like the early 90’s. It’s like they wanted all of these set pieces and basic ideas floating around that would maximize drama or action but ignored any logic.
Something else that was awful with Hero Mask was its directing. There are multiple action sequences that, while you can follow what is happening, the shots don’t make a lot of sense. They are too quick, jumble the action, and just make things difficult to follow. Like I said, you can recognize the car cash as a car crash and generally what happened, but the specifics of that scene in particular are awful to watch.
Hey! So after rewatching this scene and putting in the video for the review, I remembered something else that needed to be included. Did you notice the finger tapping the motorcycle guy did? Well that’s a trademark bad guy thing in this show… or it would be if they didn’t give that quirk to nearly half the cast. It was so bizarre. There were several times where Hero Mask wanted you to visually associate something with another, like spilled coffee equally spilled blood, but it was so inconsistent about the usage it became meaningless. Hope you enjoyed this extra paragraph spawned from that clip. Anyway, back to what I originally wrote.
Furthering my issues with this anime is the fact that it is constantly bringing in random new characters whenever the plot demands it. This makes some aspects of the plot feel pretty cheap because it just pulls out some random “very important” thing and acts like you should have just known the whole time about it. It makes the whole mystery pointless even when you disregard the fact that there really is no mystery in the first place.
The most egregious example of a surprise relevant character can be seen in the final episode of the show. They give this random cop this tragic backstory when you have spent 0 time with the guy. You’ve seen him here-and-there but that’s it. When his wife dies, I just didn’t care. She needed to be brought up though so he could take revenge on the villain last-minute. It was dumb.
If I had to boil things down for Hero Mask it takes the formula of a crime show like NCIS but takes out all of the character interaction during downtime only to focus on action sequences and random “plot twits” that don’t really add anything.
I’d call the experience of Hero Mask frustrating. I don’t even really get the title. The mask part has to do with the thrown in sci-fi element (relevant for like 6 of the 15 episodes tops) but James is far from some hero. I kind of expected something more like Tiger & Bunny but it wasn’t even close.
Finally, the piece de resistance in all this is that the conclusion of the show doesn’t even exist. Sarah gets to deal with her stuff but nothing else feels even remotely satisfying. They make it worse by baiting a season two by implying that everything isn’t even close to being over by introducing even MORE characters last-minute. Why? It could have been wrapped up, albeit not well, but there was a conclusion opportunity here.
There was one point of praise in all of this. Hero Mask managed to pull off one arc. A character who was introduced as a bad guy teams up with the cops and you get to learn about him. I think they even gave him two full episodes before killing him off. It was a very manipulative arc, but it was the only time I felt it was telling any kind of compelling story.
This is the official trailer? Wow…. that was RIVETING!
I think this has gone on long enough. Just don’t bother with this, it wasn’t even worth it for making fun. It’s true that you could do a lot worse than Hero Mask, but at the same time, there are a lot of better shows on Netflix that are more deserving. At least the next show I watch on here can only do better… I hope at least.
Did you watch Hero Mask? What are your thoughts? Did you find it to be an even further derivative of B and Psycho-Pass? Let me hear your thoughts below. Consider a donation to tell me you like my writings by utilizing my donation button. Thanks once again for reading, and as always, have yourself a great day!