The Reflection: A Hit, A Miss, or Somewhere In-Between?

Introduction

Now that three episodes of The Reflection are out, it is time to sit down with this slightly-controversial anime and see what all the fuss is about. Now we call it slightly controversial because the art style is very different from what we are accustomed to, and we do cringe slightly at the phrase “Japanese cartoon”. However, it is best to give it a try because the legendary Stan Lee had a massive hand in making this, and superheroes as a theme are now back in vogue due to the explosive success of Boku no Hero Academia. So at least, we have to take a look at three episodes of this series and see what it does. Let’s go!

Story

Three years ago, everything seemed normal on the Earth. Then, a wave broke out across the sky. This killed many, many people, however some who survived were transformed by this phenomenon and turned into The Reflected. Gaining supernatural powers or being altered physically, these beings now have two paths to walk: one of evil or one of good. At a ceremony remembering those who have lost their lives, a group of Reflected strike, and begin to attack. A flying, robotic superhero simply known as I-GUY fights them off before shooting off into the horizon. At the same time, another hero known as X-on, fights too. When he meets Eleanor, who is a Reflected herself and wants to find out more about X-on. They journey together.

Expectations

The PVs are all I have seen before I wrote this. Ergh. Well the art is not bad. I can firmly say that. It feels like a blend of anime and cartoon animation styles, so it can’t be bad. Plus, I feel like superhero fans will eat this up. I can already tell though that there are going to be two camps of fans: one camp who is salty and bitter and compares this to Boku no Hero Academia, and the other camp is fans who enjoy the show for what it is. Like I said in the intro, superhero anime is popular again thanks to bokuaca, so this should be able to ride the wave of success. As for what story it will actually tell, who knows.

What’s Happened So Far (Episodes 1-3)

Episode 1

The episode opens with people remembering what happened three years ago and setting lanterns on the river. This looks a looooooot like the game Viewtiful Joe. Three girls see something develop on their phone and explain it is America! We then cut to the fight with I-GUY fighting a baddie. Make that two baddies. They crash into a building. I-GUY saves her but is beat up by a baddie before being thrown outside. This scene is SUPER MURIKKA. There are flags everywhere. We then see Eleanor creeping on X-ON and a baddie fighting. The news is filming and gets meta for a second saying that it looks like a comic book. I-GUY ends up fighting them off and running away. Then we jump back to X-on and then mysterious baddie. Eleanor interferes and then it looks like X-on is going to die. However, we see him use his powers and break free! Eleanor takes a bunch of shots of X-on and then there is awkward silence. A flaming Reflected watches before running away. The government shows up and they arrest the skull baddie. Back to I-GUY fighting again, we see him beating this vulture like creature. The government lady is revealed to be above the FBI and I-GUY is interviewed. He then says he is leaving NYC because he likes LA better. Sky Show the song plays again. Eleanor is following X-on and then the baddies escape with the help of queen baddie Steel Ruler. Eleanor goes home to watch the news and we learn about The Reflection itself. The world was struck by a strange light and no one seems to know what it was or why it has hit. Then we hear that people are starting to have side effects. Aka the Reflected. X-on then reveals himself to Eleanor and it ends.

Episode 2

Opens with us checking out yet another scene showing places around the world affected by the Wave when it first occurred. There is a speech in times square from someone who looks like the president talking about never forgetting the tragedy of what happened when that flame lady is back exclaiming that the Reflected were forgotten and takes the stage. She proclaims that the Reflected have been forgotten and they are here to make humanity remember. I-GUY comes back again though to fight her and her comrades, and Sky Show plays yet again. We get to see more Reflected powers this episode as we watch X-on being to fight someone who can make random parts of his body bigger to fight. Stan Lee himself looks like maybe he is in cahoots with the flame lady. The fight is over and we are in Eleanor’s apartment watching her show X-on her photos. We learn for the first time that Eleanor has powers as well. She reveals that X-on is her hero and she wants to be his disciple to learn more about herself and him. Of course, he refuses and leaves. A few moments later, we learn that I-GUY is actually just the Iron Man of this series and is supported by a team. Scene change and Sky Show plays again. This could be a flashback though as we now see it with the team talking to him and giving him advice. We then get a flashback to Ian, the pilot and his story, the washed-up singer of Sky Show. He got his, got powers, and is now working with this team to make I-GUY. Apparently, if you inhaled the smoke from the incident, you would have more of a disposition towards crime. Back to the high school girls, who speak in Osaka/Countryside accents and are adorable, they too must have powers because they have made a team name.

Episode 3

X-on is watching Eleanor as she is hacking into the footage from the event. They are looking for someone named Wraith. As Eleanor is researching, she falls asleep. Someone sets fire to her building and she wakes up and jumps out the window. She basically forces herself onto him and he agrees to take her to Dayton. The school girls are being interviewed and it seems that the government is checking up on the Reflected with powers. The event is explained again. There were two phenomena. One was being hit by light and the other was being covered in the smoke. If people were hit by the light then they gained powers and that was it. If they were covered by the smoke, then they gained powers and their outward appearances changed as well. Eleanor almost hits a little girl in a wheelchair. She takes her to the hospital but she is safe. The dad flips but the girl assures her father that she is fine and invites Eleanor to dinner. X-on confronts some woman who controls metal. He barely escapes. Back to the girl’s place, the father explains how the girl was a hostage during the Reflection incident. After going out, they come back and see Lisa and her father’s home attacked. The metal lady and some chubby guy have Lisa and her father and reveal that she has powers and they want Lisa. They try to force Lisa to remember, but chubby guy, Putrid, reveals that he has a grinder inside him and threatens to grind her up when X-on and Eleanor arrive. Her powers manifest themselves in the toy that she used to have as a child and it gives her the power to beat up Putrid. She can now fly too. So, she is just as free as she wants to be. Lisa runs away to protect her father and we see that metal lady and Putrid are still watching her.

Expectations & Impressions After Episode 3

If I hear Sky Show again, I will go insane. It’s like this is the only song that the series has. I get that it is part of the backstory for I-GUY, but for goodness sake, please get more music. The art is a lot of what I expected it to be. It was very much like… western animation and yet different at the same time. I have to say I rather like it. The flow of time does need a little work as it tends to jump around and you can get lost if you are not watching carefully as, to its benefit, it transitions them effortlessly. You have to respect that. Either I missed it, or metal lady does not have a name. Putrid did make me laugh. I know that this is being dubbed if it is not already, so it does kind of surprise me that Engrish was used. I guess Stan Lee did not mind. I know he likes cameos and he is what seems to be the brains behind the operations for the villains. Pretty cool as he seems to be like Professor-X. Also the ED is a total banger and I would get that song ASAP.

Keep Watching or Drop?

To be honest, I am not sure. I don’t want to call this some amazing anime, but at the same time, it is not terrible. The plusses going for it are the art styles, the powers, and the backstory. However, the flow of time, Sky Show, and the like… non-introductions are going to turn off people who are not hardcore Stan Lee fans. Does it have potential? Yes. Is it there yet? No. I will give this one more episode to see if I can get into it further. Watching episode three really helped make it more interesting as we know that Lisa’s story is not done yet and there is probably a connection to the main story. Here is to hoping that it steps it up more from here on out. Are you watching The Reflection? Let us know below!


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