Futakoi was ok, but it seemed that the fans were not quite impressed with the first series. After all, Futakoi is a huge franchise of Dengeki G’s, composed of magazine features, albums, merchandise, and games. Having loved the CG illustrations of Futakoi, they seem to be disappointed with the bland look of the first series. Now, Futakoi Alternative, the second anime series based on the franchise, aims to make disappointed fans believe in the power of the anime medium again. Are they successful?
Futakoi Alternative started off EXPLOSIVE! True to the concept of Alternative, the 6 twins of Futakoi now hold a powerful arsenal of military apparel in the opening sequence. How about that? These are moe~ girls with guns and firepower! Episode 1 was equally powerful, as it pits now featured twins Souju and Sara with this guy named Rentarou in a whole lot of action-packed mess. Really, it was a fast-paced, kick-aaa episode, with high-class animation quality no less. For fans, it is a dream come true already. But the greatness never stops there. While not as action-packed as the first and last few episodes, the middle episodes feature yet another Alternative, dramedy.
The episodes fully describe these three characters, from the main viewpoint of Rentarou. The main theme of this series is “the three of us”, in which Rentarou, Sara and Souju face trials of everyday life as being the three of them, together. Sometimes funny, sometimes filled with sadness, they continually try to survive their everydays. The character development of these three are SO detailed, you might think Gainax helped ufotable in making this anime. Also, Futakoi Alternative seems to hit on anything anime culture had in store, including its own and some popular anime. Even Onsokumaru (some yellow ball character in ufotable’s 2×2 Shinobuden) is there in cameos. And as I mentioned, the numerous Gainax references that seem too good to be true (even a Human Instrumentality Project parody was part of the plot).
This anime also has an incredibly interesting slew of new characters aside from our Futakoi girls. The whole town is filled with interesting people. The craziest policeman in an anime, as well as a generic fat sidekick, then a baker girl, a biker sidekick of Rentarou, a seemingly yakuza leader with a metal arm, and his gang of thugs really colorize this weird but peaceful town of Nikotama. Even a polar bear appears sometimes, and of course the main enemy which is the squid. Wait, are we missing the twins yet? Kira/Yura and Lulu/Lala are the twins with secondary focus in this anime, while Kaoruko/Sumireko, Ai/Mai, and Ui/Koi were seen only in a few. While they have short appearances, theirs are quite meaningful in a variety of levels.
As episodes unfold, “the three of them” are starting to break up because something big is going to happen after Sara and Souju’s 16th birthday. This results in high levels of drama, where the three try to define what really is their relationship to each other. Rentarou, being the immature poor guy who only lived in the shadows of his legendary father, struggling through the everydays with the twins, is often in this monologue. This in effect develops him greatly as a character. This kind of character development is so detailed it’s rare, more so considering he is a male character. Normally we loathe all those dorky male leads in bishoujo animes right? Well well well, this time there’s something to like in this particular one at least.
Having action, comedy and drama in one package requires lots of creative styles, and Futakoi Alternative did not disappoint. From the consistent animation, each variety of music, and creative direction. Futakoi Alternative reeks of quality. Never thought something so “alternative” could be so good, and considering the cross-genre boundaries broken by this anime, I’ll be excited to think that anime shows may be getting more innovative these days. We need more anime like this.