So after seeing it all over my Twitter feed I decided to watch Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle. In this anime the world is divided into two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Black and the Kingdom of White. In order to maintain balance both kingdoms have to exist; however, the Kingdom of Black has waged war with the Kingdom of White. While all of this is going on a boy in the Kingdom of Black witnesses his entire village get destroyed by monsters leaving him as the sole survivor. A mentor like character appears and helps to motivate this nameless boy to seek the title of King of Black in order to become a king focused on protecting its people rather than waging war.
The story being this show is actually really interesting. You have two very different civilizations and the show makes it very obvious how well the two kingdoms would prosper if they would put their two unique perspectives together. However, due to the will of the King of Black the citizens of Black are forced to partake in a war many of them want no part of. The show does a great job at making each Kingdom unique so it’s clear that they have very few things in common. The problem with the story though is its pacing. It’s at times just really awkward and hard to get really involved with the story of the nameless boy. In the span of the first episode the boy losses his village, finds a mentor, a goal and is prepared to go about obtaining that goal. It all happens so far that it was hard for me to really feel any sympathy for the boy’s loss because it wasn’t really established how attached he was to his village, or any belief that the boy had any motivation for his goal because he obtained this desire in the span of a few minutes. It’s problems like this that really make it hard to watch him through the season because it’s all focused on his goal to become the King of Black but since all the character development needed to show his conviction for this goal was rushed it’s really hard to rally behind him. These pacing issues get less apparent after episode four but by then a third of the season is done and the show failed miserably to give me any real desire to see this character succeed. It also doesn’t help that he has so few lines that it’s really difficult to tell what kind of person the main character is. He rarely says anything and when he does it’s only a handful of words and none of them express any conviction out of this character. I honestly don’t even think it has anything to do with the actor as it’s really hard to make a convincing character when he says about five or six words by the time most of the episode is done. So overall the main character from the Kingdom of Black has major pacing problems with his character development and shows little to no personality the whole show.
Now we have a very different story behind the main character from the Kingdom of Light. She has a ton of dialogue and is able to express a wide range of emotions. This character is the Queen of the Kingdom of Light and her goal is to protect her people. The show perfectly sets up her goals, her struggles and her motivation to overcome any obstacle that is in her way. In fact all of my favorite scenes from this show are ones focused on the Kingdom of Light because it is consistently done well throughout the entire season. You can really feel them struggle to deal with the onslaught of the Kingdom of Black and the desperation the Queen is going through as she tries to find a path that leads to keeping everyone safe.
Now the interesting part is when the two main characters get together. It’s quickly clear that their is a spark between the two but they honestly rarely ever get time together to foster any kind of bond with each other. Which is fine because the romance between them doesn’t actually go anywhere this season so I really enjoyed how it was a bit of a slow burner because I enjoy anime romances that take time to build. These romances just make sense to me because you see an ton of interaction between the characters which lead up to that point. So overall I was rather pleased with how the development of the bond between these two characters were handled.
One of the highlights of the season as a whole was how well the banter was done. The lines between the characters, even at times the nameless boy, were really good and made for enjoyable scenes to watch. The side characters were all well developed with unique personalities and the story actually has a lot of positive notes. When members of the two Kingdoms meet the show perfectly creates a feeling of tension that doesn’t quite leave no matter how calm the scenes are and when that tension comes to a boil I found it really rewarding and loved how well that was set up. Seeing most of these characters react to all the rapid changes from the relaxing to the combative moments of the story made me happy as there was a lot of varying emotions from both sides that further showed the differences of these two nations. What this story does perfectly is set up that these two countries are fundamentally different in almost every aspect but bringing the differences together would create something new and wonderful. I greatly enjoyed how well that was set up now if only they did a good job with the nameless boy from the Kingdom of Black’s character development.
Overall Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle is a decent show with some excellent characters, great dialogue and fun fight scenes. However, it’s really hard to get the full effect of this story because everything regarding the Kingdom of Black was rushed to the point where it’s hard to get behind the main character from that Kingdom. It’s honestly a bit awkward to watch at times because knowing that his goal will inherently solve all of the Kingdom of White’s problems it also becomes a goal for the Queen of White. What makes this awkward is that I get behind the nameless boy’s goal more by watching the Queen of White get behind it rather than during all the scenes where the nameless boy mentions it. So while it’s a good show and I’m legit curious as to where the story will go, the pacing left me with a lack of motivation that may just keep me from tuning in for season 2.