Disclaimer, the following review will contain Spoilers for the anime Punch Line. It’s kind of hard not to talk about it without spoilers given how the show is set up.
Three months ago after I watched the first episode of Punch Line I was as confused as a bunch of my friends. I’ve had our share of crazy “Japan being Japan” in the past, and have usually enjoyed it, but some of anime’s eccentricities do some times throw me for a loop.
So, like a lot of shows that interest me, I look up more information about them. “What’s the source material?” “Who wrote/directed this and what have they done before?” “What studio?” These questions led me to one name: Kotaro Uchikoshi. While I’m not as familar with his works as I feel I should be, a half-completed copy of 999 sitting in my pile of DS games I need to finish and all, but his reputation precedes him:
- Ever 17 is considered by a lot of people to be one of the best Visual Novels ever.
- He worked with Naotaka Hayashi, the author of Steins;Gate whose anime is my #1 anime, on a few Visual Novels.
- He was brought on to write one of the Steins;Gate Spin-off VNs himself.
- And he wrote Pepsiman. Look that one up. Trust me.
So when I saw his name, I said to my equally confused friends: “I’m telling you this right now. We may have Anime of the Season on our hands. Maybe even Anime of the Year.” While 2015 still has two seasons and One Punch left to give, I can say that my prediction came true for this season.
Punch Line is hard to describe. It’s ecchi, but with a tone where the fanservice is something to not be looked at. It’s about Time Travel, but the twist with it is about having to avoid time travel.
We focus on Yuuta Iridasu who, after tackling a bus hijacker out of the bus into a river after gaining superpowers from seeing a woman’s panties wakes up, only to see another girl’s panties and pass out from an explosive nosebleed before getting hit by a beam of light.
From there, we follow his spirit trying to find a way to repossess his body as we learn about the lives of the women that live in the same building as him.
- Rabura Chichibu – A self-disbelieving Exorcist.
- Ito Hikiotani – A game playing NEET.
- Mikatan Narugino – An idol who secretly fights crime as the magical girl “Strange Juice.”
- Meika Daihatsu – Actually is a robot the whole time.
Over the course of a week and a half as a ghost, he finds out that the world is going to end if he sees panties too often as he’ll pass out and a meteor will hit earth, wiping out humanity. He learns other things that are mostly foreshadowing for later, saves some of the girl’s lives, and levels up his Spirit Power, all of which is revealed to be to prepare him to go back in time and possess his body as that is what happened before.
The whole process creates an interesting Time Loop where every loop is like the first, making it hard to implement iterative change, as noted by the claim that this has happened over 6 billion times already. He now has that week and a half to figure out how to stop the Meteor from hitting earth.
It’s then that I started to find out more about the goings on behind this anime, which only peak my interest more. Punch Line is a joint production between Kotaro Uchikoshi and MAGES, the game subsection of 5pb., the company that makes the Science Adventure Series that Steins;Gate is a part of. That’s because that Punch Line is also a game that they are making, and this anime may actually be the Prologue to that game. Or just another Route. Or something else entirely. After watching the ending it could go either way.
I won’t go in to the detail of the ending, as if you’re interested enough in what I said you should just watch it, but I felt satisfied. I’d feel good if this was all we got, but the idea that this is only the beginning excites me. I feel like that may be the Punch Line of Punch Line. We finally got to the ending, a Supremely Happy and Peaceful Future for Everyone, but not really. There’s another future out there that may shine even brighter, so it’s worth trying for. I hope that some day I can read the rest of this story, but until then the fun as just begun.