D-Frag (Anime Review)
Would you like your slice-of-life story to be a bit more off beat with some occasionally schizophrenic characters? If so, then D-Frag is the perfect show for you. The show focuses on Kenji Kazama who desires to become the head delinquent of the top gang in school, the Kazama Party, with two of his close friends as his first recruits. While the three spend the day trying to figure out how to leave an impression on the school, and make their way to being the most feared students in the school, the school’s Game Creation Club is trying to figure out how to get a new member, so that they can stay operational. Roka Shibasaki, the president of the Game Creation Club, figures that the best way to lure new members to their club is to use her fire elemental powers, a box of matches, to create a pyrotechnic illusion, setting off a bunch of fireworks in a trashcan. When Roka’s plan creates a small fire Kenji instinctively runs in the room with a fire extinguisher to stop the fire before it became worse. Unfortunately, the other two members of the Kazama Party were incapacitated and Kenji was left to confront the other members of the Game Creation Club on his own. Sakura Mizukami the water elemental, uses a water bottle and other water-like items, Minami Osawa the faculty advisor, who regularly sleeps through just about everything including class, and lightning elemental, because she uses a stun gun, and Chitose Karasuyama the earth elemental, due to her love of building things in the sandbox, are the other members.
Kenji is quickly struck by Chitose’s Earth Punch, a punch to the face while there is dirt on her hands, and while on the ground he finds that they are trying to erase the memories of Kenji and his friends. Soon, Roka remembers Kenji as the nice guy who helped her pick up a bunch of Game Creation Club flyers she had dropped earlier that day, and informs Kenji that he has been selected to join. In fear of being hurt more, and after being saved by the girls from accidentally jumping out of the third floor window, Kenji joins the Game Creation Club.
What was just described is the short, and less crazy, version of the first half of the initial episode of D-Frag. While at first the shows seems that it is going to be a very out there oddball comedy, it quickly becomes one where the personalities of the characters show through in their imagination. Even though the club is known as the Game Creation Club, a name that becomes slightly modified due to the addition of a word, the girls all actively admit that they don’t know how to make formal games. Instead, they are good at creating ways to have fun. Sometimes to have fun a ‘game castle’ needs to be created, modified rock paper scissors needs to be played, or a ridiculous scenario driven board game needs to be created. The oddball style comedy comes into the story regularly, as a way to explain how each character sees the current situation. This way of looking at things will remind the viewer that sometimes even the most boring situations can be made fun, by just changing one’s perspective or through allowing a healthy imagination to take control for a moment. In this world creativity is king.
D-Frag is an anime that I would highly recommend for the mid-teen and above audiences. While there are sexual innuendos, jokes, and frustrations that may not be appropriate for younger groups, it would seem that the dialogue and story content would not be very interesting to these groups. It is important to remember that this anime is based on a seinen manga, which is often written for older audiences in mind, and therefore many of the jokes and references may go over the heads of the younger audiences. While the high point of this show is the writing, as the comedy is excellently done for the intended audience of gamers and anime fans, there are moments in the soundtrack that really bring another level to the story. Whether the background music is one that is reminiscent of a classic anime, such as Fist of the North Star, or chiptune sound effects and music are being used to emphasize the introduction of a game type situation, the music seems to add an extra element that makes the comedic moments feel natural, even in the most absurd of situations. If you are looking for a new short comedy anime series, or an oddball slice of life story, this will be one that you should see soon.