World Destruction (a.k.a Sands of Destruction)
The biggest problem with adapting a game is that all too often the reason for doing it has come from the marketing department rather than any desire to truly retell the game’s story. Because of this, no effort is made to improve on the source material, and the whole thing becomes nothing more than a glorified advertisement for a game that probably isn’t selling as well as the producers had hoped.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that the original storyline is normally standard RPG fare, the kind of generic sword and sorcery tale that seems all too common in the games market and normally involves saving the world from “the ultimate evil” – which usually involves running around in circles while you try to pick a fight, levelling up, exploring the “world”, levelling up, going into the homes of total strangers and stealing their possessions and money, more levelling up, etc, etc, etc. It’s pretty obvious that the people who dream up the various plots and story lines for these games aren’t really pushing the boundaries of imagination.
Unfortunately, the same is generally true for their anime adaptations, and World Destruction is just another example of a generic RPG spawning a generic fantasy anime. The only difference is that this time the anime was released before the game.
The story is set in a world where humans are ostensibly slaves serving the various races of beast men known as Ferals, and follows the adventures of Kyrie Illunis, who somehow winds up travelling with the notorious human Morte Ahserah, the leader of the “World Destruction Committee”, a group whose sole purpose is to destroy the world.
Doesn’t sound too generic does it? Well, aside from the obvious comparison to Planet of the Apes, the idea of humans rebelling against their non-human masters isn’t a new one. The problem though, is that World Destruction tries to be unique by throwing in the idea that the only way to save the world is to destroy it. Unfortunately this doesn’t really work as, aside from the obvious “World Salvation Committee” getting the way (seriously, who thought up these names), the plot itself relies on generic methods and devices to move the story forward.
The simple fact is that while the pacing and flow may not be that bad, the reliance on storyline stereotype is pretty obvious from the outset. That’s not to say that the story is bad though, but aside from the whole “destroy the world” aspect, most of the plot has been done before (in one form or another), and done better.
Now given that this is a show by Production I.G. one could fairly expect some decent animation and visuals, and for the most part the series delivers. The only problem is that because this is a game adaptation/advertisement, the design of, well, pretty much everything, was already done beforehand. Because of this, there is very little scope for any advancement in the visuals as the last thing Sega wanted was for the anime to look better than the game it was supposed to sell.
That said, the animation is pretty good throughout the series, and there are some nice visual effects used in various scenes. The character design leaves a lot to be desired though, in particular because Sega made no effort to step away from the altar of genericism when making the game.
World Destruction has a pretty solid cast, but like so many other game adaptations, this does not automatically equate to great acting. Once again the issue lies with the plot itself, in particular the fact that the game is constructed in a particular manner, and thus the character interactions are already defined in a certain way. The anime manages to flesh out various points, however there is nowhere near enough depth in the story to bring out the best in the seiyuu.
The acting isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.
As far as the music goes, it’s pretty standard fare throughout the series. The thematic music is decent, however the overall effect on the atmosphere of a given scene can sometimes be disjointed. This is also reflected in both the OP, “Zero” by AAA, and the ED, “Kaze no Kioku: To the End of the World” by Aimmy. The former is a strange blend of dance music that doesn’t really suit the style of the show, while the latter is a “bittersweet” ballad.
To be perfectly frank, the music is just a little bit overdone, and a bit too ostentatious for my liking.
It should be pretty obvious by now that World Destruction is pretty generic in its approach to fantasy, and this is reflected in the characters as well. The two leads are decent enough, however the show, like the game, doesn’t really develop the characters as much as one would like. Granted there are efforts made to allow some growth, but in the end the generic characterization and the number of episodes precludes any substantial development.
Now, one would think after all of those points that I didn’t enjoy World Destruction, however I found the show to be watchable, and at times enjoyable. The problem is that there is a very disjointed feel to the series, and the generic nature of the show doesn’t really help as it only makes the flaws more obvious.
The main issue though, is that this show is nothing more than one of many adaptations that are nothing more than an attempt to make more money, and because of this there is no effort to make the anime more enjoyable for the viewer. While there are some interesting ideas used in the series, essentially this is nothing more than another good versus evil story, and not the best one out there by any measure.
Still, if all you’re after is no-brain entertainment, then you could do worse.