What if peoples’ wishes started coming true? A loaded question. People often say that wishes can come true… but what if it was really the case – and not just for one person, but for a great many? What would happen when those wishes were in conflict, what would happen if someone’s wish was too much for them to handle?
That’s where Big Order picks up. The world has just undergone a calamitous disaster as an innocent child’s wish to dominate the world to make sure their family stays together goes wrong… millions are dead, cities have been destroyed, and the world is struggling to recover from this. Nobody’s quite sure how it came to pass, save that an ‘Order’, a person who has been granted a power based off of their deepest wish, is behind it and is still alive, as far as anyone can tell.
Since nobody knows who caused this disaster, Orders are hated on principle and anyone who shows signs of such power is ostracized unless they’re in a position of power. Our protagonist, Hoshimiya Eiji, is an Order – an Order who has been keeping this fact a secret for a decade now so that he and his terminally ill sister Sena can live out the rest of her life in peace. Unfortunately, that is not meant to be, as a political group known as the ‘Group of 10’ wants to use him as a catalyst to take over Japan, for his power is the ability to completely control anyone within an area he has claimed as his own. To do this, they’ve not only outed him as an Order but also told the world that he was responsible for the Great Destruction so that he’ll have nowhere to turn but them… and to help secure his co-operation, they’ve promised to find a cure for his sister if he helps.
Even though the characters have moments where you just have to shake your head, overall they do a good job of maintaining an interesting atmosphere and progression. They aren’t spectacular, but they’re workable. For the most part, the characters aren’t entirely stereotypical, but they’re also pretty dry. Notable standouts are Eiji’s sister, who starts out fairly boring but becomes a great character during the middle section of the series (but sadly peters out towards the end), and Kurenai Rin, whose moral dilemma mixes with a bit of coercion to create a very intriguing character.
The plot itself is very interesting overall, especially as you start getting into the middle of he show. There is a huge flaw though, they keep one huge plot point a secret until literally the latter half of the second last episode, which changes the overall story in a huge way. It felt a bit like they’d intended a longer season, but production got cut short. That being said, it is still entertaining and quite an interesting premise.
The show’s action is strange. There’s not a whole lot of fighting, and most of what there is turns out to be quite tame. When the different Orders’ abilities interact, it creates some interesting dynamics that most often turn out to be non-factors. But occasionally they go all out on the action, and in those moments you begin to wish they’d been more willing to play that card.
The show’s visuals are very unique. They’re not always pretty, but they certainly are distinctive. And, for a show that’s supposed to be occasionally gruesome and often gritty, creating an interesting visual profile is more important than ‘pretty’. The show’s soundtrack does a relatively good job of maintaining the right mood and atmosphere without ever feeling too out of place.
Overall, Big Order is an anime with a great premise and a lot of potential. The characters aren’t the best, with a few exceptions, but the show really begins to live up to that potential during the middle half of the series thanks to a few standout characters and a great story. It is unfortunate that its creators seemed unwilling to really commit to the action for most of the series, and doubly so that they seem to have cut it short, leaving the ending feeling a bit awkward and rushed. That being said, I do think the good outweighs the bad enough to make Big Order worth your time.