Unironically, One of The Best Netflix Anime
I saw High-Rise Invasion on the Winter 2021 lineup, and seeing it was a Netflix title, figured I wouldn’t be watching this one until June at the earliest. Color me surprised that it only recently dropped, dub and all, just a few days ago at the time of this writing. I knew instantly when I saw it on the list for shows this season that I was going to watch this anime, and as you can probably already guess, I’m really glad I didn’t pass this one over. In a season where there is just so much to watch, I hope you won’t overlook High-Rise Invasion.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. When you watch the OP below and see anything from this show, it hardly seems like it’s going to be “good”. However, readers will know I love me some schlock, and that’s the kind of vibe I was getting here. A bit of Btooom! with an even more exaggerated premise (and hopefully less horny). I mean, how could you not want to check out a show about people being magically transported to a world consisting only of high-rises where they are forced to participate in a death game while being chased by masked people? It’s so stupid that it just might work, and spoilers, it really does.
High-Rise Invasion knows exactly what kind of show it is and isn’t afraid to lean into it, consequences be damned. Director Masahiro Takata, who’s only real prominent work before this was Bananya of all things, seems to be a mismatch at first glance as he’s predominately done slice of life works. Studio Zero-G appears to follow suit with fanservice slice of life. However, there are some non-SOL titles in the library, and wouldn’t you know, Takata was involved with some of them. It seems they knew he’d be good for this anime and it was a great call.
While the panty shots are a bit overdone, the fanservice in this show didn’t feel intrusive. I’m not a fan of that sort of thing, so you know that’s a point of praise. What’s more, half the time these kinds of scenes are just plain ridiculous, one character even remarking she could, “recognize those panties anywhere” when referring to the main character’s stock-standard white panties. It was so good, they used it twice. In case you can’t tell, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously.
For High-Rise Invasion this really works in the show’s favor. The ketchup blood, stilted dialog, and just straight up bizarre presentation blends well with a world that really doesn’t make much sense to begin with. These probably sound like negatives in isolation but in motion the show works. It’s like watching a summer blockbuster, but in this anime’s case, it remains compelling with each passing episode. The show never stops moving forward, and while the pace can feel somewhat fast at times, dropping a plot point as it pivots into its next, it was never confusing or hard to follow. If anything, it made the show more interesting.
Character designs are spot on too. The normal people are all distinct, but the masks are really where the show shines. Remember the mask guy in Black Bullet? Take that and amp it up to eleven. Sniper mask just oozes cool, and the other masks range from outright ridiculous to visually pleasing. When movement is applied, things are easy to follow and generally good looking. I have no real complaints.
The Black Bullet Mask Guy
All this said, look, the show isn’t perfect. If you are expecting a master class anime, this isn’t it, but if you want to have some genuine fun, you can’t do a lot better this season. What started as a one episode check, turned into a marathon for me. Even with the show teasing another season and stopping where it did, I was satisfied with the experience, which is a rarity for me. Would I watch more? Absolutely!
If you have been following my site for awhile you may be familiar with my looks at Netflix anime. I’ve watched a lot of them! Most of them are trash, one of the worst shows I’ve ever watched (Hero Mask) comes curtesy of Netflix after all. Is High-Rise Invasion the best show on the platform? Absolutely not. Is it one of the best “original” shows they’ve put out though; undeniably yes. The anime community sometimes focuses too hard on praising shows that have these deeper meanings, tons of sakuga, or come from a high-profile industry mind (be it original or otherwise). While those shows deserve their turn like any other, it’s good to recognize when something is just plain fun. High-Rise Invasion doesn’t need much more than that, and for that reason I find it easy to recommend.
Of course, I’d love to know what you thought of High-Rise Invasion. Did you like it, want more? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you enjoy the work I’m doing here please consider becoming a Patron or making a one-time donation via the buttons below. Thanks for reading and see you again for the next one!