World Trigger Review

I thought I was going to be able to review this several seasons ago, thinking it would be a thirteen episode series, but then the episode total was announced as 50. Then 50 became unknown, and then out of nowhere, it was announced that this show was being taken off the air and the final episode count would be 73. This is a shounen battle anime if I ever saw one, but it didn’t come off as something truly unique. In fact… I was a bit disappointed in it as a whole.

Why?

Well.. lets find out as I finally get to take a look at World Trigger!

Let’s go!

The Story

In World Trigger, there are many worlds in the universe and when these worlds travel close to each other in their orbits, they can hop planets and invade them. Gates would open and alien beings known as Neighbors will enter and start wreaking havoc. Neighbors and humans alike have this resource in them called Trion. From this Trion, weapons were forged which allowed humans to occupy a Trion body in order to fight the Neighbors. You couldn’t die if you were inside a Trion body, but if your Trion supply exhausted, your Trion body would disappear and your real body would be left wide open.

The Trion weapons are known as Triggers and they are distributed to members of an organization called Border. It is Border’s job to protect non-Trion using humans from the invasions these Neighbors carry out. One day, a boy named Kuga Yuma appears and saves another boy named Osamu, who has joined Border but is still a lowly C Rank member. Kuga uses a special trigger known as a Black Trigger and is actually a Neighbor himself, but he has no ill intentions on Earth. In fact, he’s looking for a certain someone who knew his father. That certain someone also works at Border, but being a Neighbor, you could imagine that he can’t exactly walk up to Border, ring the doorbell and ask to come in.

Osamu also has another friend named Chika who was also trying to get into Border in order to become an A Rank agent and qualify for the away missions to other planets in order to search for her lost brother. With the help of Jin, a well-respected and highly skilled A Rank member of the Tamakoma Branch of Border, Kuga was allowed to join Border under the condition that he couldn’t use his Black Trigger in battle. Together, Kuga, Osamu, and Chika formed a team and looked to move up during the Rank Wars in order to become A Rank agents for the away missions, but during the Rank Wars, they are put through the test when the world of Aftokrator invades Earth.

It’s a typical shounen battle anime formula. You have a cell of three people, one strong, one support, and one weak main character looking to get stronger. The Rank Wars can be considered training for all of them in order to get stronger and the first war with the people from Aftokrator serves as a measuring stick to see just how far they’ve come in that training. I will admit that this show doesn’t really give you a “must watch” feeling at the end of every episode and, in some cases, it can be downright boring. The show doesn’t really pick up steam until the first invasion story arc.

It does hook you in the beginning by introducing you to Osamu. He wants to protect everyone, but as a C-Rank Agent, he’s forbidden from using his Trigger without permission. Of course, he does and he gets saved by Kuga who has to hide his identity as a neighbor. This leads to Osamu getting all the credit for a kill on a neighbor he didn’t actually get. Once this initial scenario fades away, though, the show really stagnates as it begins to introduce us, little by little, to different squads and their members. We have B Rank Squads, A Rank Squads, S Rank Squads, the main brass at Border, a different branch of Border and their squads, then there’s the navigators for each squad which coordinate with the squad members, rogue side characters, the members of the Aftokrator armies… just… my GOD. That’s not including the characters introduced during the Fugitive filler arc, which I didn’t even bother watching.

There are so many characters that I am just going to touch upon the major ones and offer up a summary for the others. If I were to touch upon every single character in World Trigger, we’d be here all day!

The Characters

All right… let’s just dive into this

Kuga Yuma

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As stated before, he’s a Neighbor looking for someone at Border and eventually joins. He has a Black Trigger with him that comes with a sentient assistant named Replica. Replica can split and be in multiple places at once, allowing him to assist many people at the same time. Even though as a Border agent Kuga cannot used his Black Trigger, he still boasts confidence that he can defeat anyone with just a normal Border trigger. He enjoys fighting against tough opponents as he gets to learn about his own weaknesses at the same time. He has a natural ability for fighting and it causes a lot of attention to be focused on him.

Kuga’s backstory was also very touching and it reveals a pretty surprising facet about his character. It does venture into spoiler territory, but it’s a really interesting aspect to him. The fact of the matter is, Kuga is, for all intents and purposes, dead. What we see in front of us is, essentially, a Trion body. He wanted to find that certain someone in Border because they are a colleague of his late father and could possibly restore Kuga’s real body. If Kuga’s Trion runs out before that, though… he will cease to exist. It’s kind of like the original run of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers where the Green Ranger was slowly losing his powers, but with a much grimmer outcome should those powers fully exhaust.

Sadly, Kuga was the only real interesting character in this show aside from Jin. Everyone else just felt really REALLY flat.

Osamu Mikumo

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While in the beginning he was all gung ho about wanting to protect everyone, he begins to realize that he is truly weak and wishes to find any way to get stronger so he doesn’t become a burden to his teammates. It’s pretty admirable that a main character recognizes his own weakness and does whatever he can to overcome it, but when it’s the focus of the ENTIRE SHOW, it REALLY gets old fast. I mean, Mikumo isn’t really a bad main character, but after 73 episodes, you’d think he’d show SOME growth, but he truly doesn’t. The only thing that he got better at was discovering he can be a top notch strategist, but when it comes to fighting, he is still almost as bad as he was in the beginning of the show. Sure, he can land a blow here or there, but he has no combat prowess whatsoever.

It wasn’t until the final two episodes where Osamu POSSIBLY found a way to fight better, but we’ll probably have to wait a long time to find out if that’s true. There’s no word at the time of this writing that suggests World Trigger will be coming back, so anime-only watchers will have to turn to the manga, for now, to see the story continue. From his personality, though, you can tell Osamu cares for his teammates and is willing to think of them moreso than himself, but I just wish we could have seen more development so he could stop putting himself down about being so weak all the damn time.

Chika Amatori

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Okay, I don’t know who was in charge of her character design, but she looks like she has brain damage. Seriously, her facial expression is the biggest hurr durr look I’ve seen on a character in quite some time. Despite this, she has an obscenely large amount of Trion. When she decides to be a sniper, she turns those simple bullets into a cannon that can blow away entire buildings. Her only problem is that she can’t bring herself to shoot anyone… even knowing that they are in a Trion Body, can’t feel pain, and won’t die, but yet… she wants to become an A Rank agent so she can join the away squads and search for her brother Rinji.

Her personality is a bit on the timid side.. like she has confidence issues, but aside from being a prime target during the Aftokrator invasion, I can’t really understand why she’s on my screen every single week. She brings no outstanding qualities to the show that make her stand out above and beyond all other characters. I know they took the time to give her some backstory and some development, but I honestly don’t care about any of it at all. It seems like the kind of character that if you were to take her out of the show, the show wouldn’t suffer, but might actually improve. Needless to say, she’s my least favorite character in the show.

Yuuichi Jin

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Here is my favorite character in the show and one that I found quite interesting. Jin is a member of the Tamakoma Branch of Border and is a high ranking agent. Most high ranking agents have a 6th sense known as a Side Effect. Jin’s Side Effect can see short distances into the future, giving him the gift of foresight. Jin was also awarded a Black Trigger from Border named Fujin.. which is a sword whose blade is comprised of bands of green wind which can change shape, size, and striking speed. Jin actually relinquishes his Black Trigger as a trade offer to allow Kuga Yuma to join Border. If you’re also wondering, Kuga has a side effect as well which allows him to tell if people are lying or not.

Jin’s personality is very laid back and relaxed. He takes things seriously, but doesn’t at the same time, if that makes any sense. He’s constantly eating fried rice crackers and just nonchalantly wanders around from place to place gathering information for Border. They only call upon him when they really need him, which happens during the Aftokrator invasion as his Side Effect played an instrumental role in the outcome of that war. Just his overall presence and personality, along with his great fighting ability and gift of foresight make him a truly interesting character.

This is where I’m going to stop as these are the four major characters. Everyone else is, pretty much, a side character that appears off and on throughout the show. A lot of them are really treated like plot devices more than anything and by the time you get introduced to them… they serve their purpose and disappear. They don’t really give you much time to attach yourselves to those characters or even make you care about them. Hell, I don’t even known how people keep their names straight all the time. So how many characters are there, exactly? It can’t be THAT many… I mean, people must just have bad memories right?

Wrong.

There are 103 characters currently introduced in the World Trigger anime… yes…. 103. If you REALLY want to learn about each and every one of them, MyAnimeList has you covered.

http://myanimelist.net/anime/24405/World_Trigger/characters

Art, Animation, and Sound

This is not one of Toei Animation’s finest works. If you thought A-1 did a lousy job with Fairy Tail due to its longevity, then get ready to have Fairy Tail look like a Makoto Shinkai film. The animation in this show is ATROCIOUS. Okay.. so it’s not like there’s major gaps in between still frames, but there are a LOT of still frame scenes with rolling backgrounds. The actual animation during battles is decent at best. Characters just look so jagged as they move through the world that it’s, at times, painful to watch. This must have had the budget of a potato to come off looking like this. Not to mention that the character designs are not really all that unique looking. Kuga looks like he stands out the most, but everyone else from the 100+ side characters to even the main characters, all look like they could blend into a crowd and get lost.

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I’m being rushed by an animation cel!

The background art is also decent, at best. I’ve seen much better backgrounds from a lot worse shows. Usually backgrounds are where even the worst shows excel at, but everything was just so drab and lifeless. Nothing made you stop and stare at the screen in wonder or amazement. It was just a rather boring-looking anime that just decided not to give it the old college try.

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I think I counted 4 animation frames here

Even the soundtrack wasn’t all that stellar. I could only recall two themes from the OST. The first was the theme they used to waste 5-10 minutes of the episode recapping the story each and every week.. and the second was the only theme they decided to re-use throughout the entire show. I don’t know the name of the track, nor do I care, but if you’ve seen this series, you probably, subconsciously, know what song I’m talking about. I never bothered with the opening and ending themes because the openings never opened the show. They would insert the actual opening half way through it or at some random part in the show that doesn’t make any sense.

It made me wonder why I just sat through five minutes of recap, ten minutes of action and then BAM.. Opening. What the hell?

Then like two minutes later you get the half way commercial break title cards.. then they just got lazy and made the opening the actual segue into the commercial break! Like.. who the hell does that? Ugh..

Overall Thoughts

I really wanted to like World Trigger and for the most part.. it’s okay. This show never once made me want to see the next episode, but it was a decent time filler when you needed an anime to watch and had nothing else on tap. For that reason, I would let episodes stockpile up and marathon them just for the sake of killing time. The animation was atrocious, the artwork was uninspiring, and the soundtrack was very lackluster.

Bad pacing and bad usage of the opening throughout the series also hurt this show. I mean, if you want a long running anime series to get into that’s not Naruto, One Piece, or Fairy Tail, I guess World Trigger would suffice, but honestly, I really think you’d be better off watching Naruto, One Piece, or Fairy Tail. I’m not excited at all for the second season, if it ever gets one. I’m contemplating on just passing on it all together, but it appears that I will have plenty of time to sit and think about that one.

I also didn’t like the fact that it came back from a filler arc and two episodes after the filler ended it announced it was getting cancelled. Why even bother coming back from the filler arc then? Just end it there with a To Be Continued statement if your intention is to bring the show back. It really gave a vibe like “HEY WE’RE BACK………. And we’re gone.” Add in the fact that there was a MASSIVE over saturation of characters and this show earns my personal recommendation to skip it, but there are some out there that find stuff like this interesting so to each their own. World Trigger is just not my kind of shounen battle anime.

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Done with World Trigger

  • An average shounen battle anime at best
Overall
2.5
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About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.