Winter 2017 Anime Preview: Spiritpact

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Spiritpact, like many Haoliners Animation League anime productions before it, has some of the foundations of a show that could be interesting, but skips the important parts that would make its viewers care.

Keika You is a poor, bumbling computer repairman who lost his parents when he was a child. His ancestors were renowned exorcists, but whatever spiritual power that remains in Keika is just enough to make some extra money as a fortune teller.

While hunting for PC parts in the middle of the night at a city landfill, he runs into a bonafide exorcist named Ki Tanmoku who is duelling the evil spirit of a serial killer. as Ki and the spirit’s fight moves away, Keika heads for home but is nonchalantly killed by a runaway cargo truck.

Keika’s ghost wakes in the hospital next to his corpse and Ki, who’s come to convince him to form a pact so they can fight evil spirits together. The connection being that Keika’s unusual ability to see the evil spirit earlier didn’t go unnoticed by Ki.

jan-08-2017-00-26-18The story moves so fast that we’re never really given an opportunity to get to know these characters. This would be passable if the action sequences were worthy of note, but Ki stiffly swatting away waves of evil spirt energy hurled at him by the serial killer’s ghost didn’t do it for me. Instead we’re left to care about the lazy fortune teller Keika before his death, and the jokingly indifferent, reincarnation-seeking Keika as a spirit. Ki’s solemn straight man act helps keep Keika’s never ending comic relief attempts from being unbearable, but when Spiritpact’s world doesn’t have any meaningful tension needing of relief, the entire schtick falls apart.

Without meaningful tension, Spiritpact’s comic relief flops

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Other than Keika’s death, the equilibrium of Spiritpact never significantly shifts. Whatever threat the serial killer’s ghost poses to the world isn’t conveyed in the slightest. Ki wants to use Keika’s spiritual affinity as a tool to help purify evil spirits, rather than just putting his soul to rest or exorcising him if he become an evil spirit after hanging around the human realm for seven days. But Keika is hesitant, not wanting to become someone else’s tool for an eternity. Both their motivations are clear, but they’re not very deep or interesting in the context of their surroundings.

Once, Ki and Keika eventually seal the pact and exorcise the serial killer, the episodes parting hook is that the pair is going to meet a beautiful woman at the airport. It feels as insignificant as every other aspect of Spiritpact, and completely unworthy of your time or attention. This premiere’s exposition wasn’t deep enough to earn my investment, and nowhere near funny enough for me to give it a pass.

Spiritpact is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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