Review/discussion about: Triage X
When I was in the third grade, I came down with something pretty awful. My eyes burned, head ached, and I was sweating profusely. Plus, I had this terrible cough. I’ll never forget the x-ray I saw that day, with the huge blotch over my lung. The diagnosis came back pneumonia. Now, as a youngling, I had pretty much no idea the gravity of the situation I was in. All I knew was that I had to take this gross liquid because the pill was ginormous. I missed Halloween, too, which was completely unfair. Luckily (as me typing this should be evidence enough) I made it through this ordeal, and I owe it all to the medicine and care I received from both the doctors and my family. Triage X is “similar” in that “doctors” aim to eliminate “sickness,” but this anime is itself a disease in every sense of the word.
Triage follows Arashi Mikami, a boy whose body is half him and half the friend he saved during a deadly explosion. He, Mikoto Kiba, and many others make up a group of people who aim to excise the “lesions” of society to make the world a better place, one visit at a time.
Anime is no stranger to “fan-service.” For those unfamiliar with the term, fan-service is (contextually) when an anime includes scenes or segments for the purpose of pleasing the audience. Normally, the vast majority of fan-service is of the sexual variety, as is the case here with Triage. A misconception that people often have is that all fan-service is automatically bad. Fan-service can be good or bad in the same sense that the narrative, characters, or any other facet of a show can be good or bad. What truly matters is the execution of it. In Triage’s case, the fan-service fails to deliver. It isn’t used as part of the plot, it doesn’t exist to accentuate a particular character or idea, and it certainly doesn’t come off as tasteful. Instead, the fan-service employed by Triage is overtly forceful, and so blatant that its only purpose is to distract the audience from the rest of the show. Furthermore, the fan-service is wholly lazy; it mostly boils down to a low shot of some woman’s panties or having the camera focus on her chest. There are other methods used – bathing scenes, clothes that are a bit too revealing, etc. – all of which aren’t appealing and instead feel tiresome after witnessing them for the umpteenth time in the same episode, let alone across the full series.
What does lie behind the half-naked women and medically-concerning-sized breasts? It’s hard to say, really, because Triage itself doesn’t know. While the opening synopsis said that the show “followed” Arashi, this only occurs for maybe the first episode or so. Afterwards, the show flits between random plot lines in order to bring about some semblance of worth to the characters doing the doctoring. This would be at least acceptable – focusing on one character’s arc at a time – but there exist two problems that persist between each.
The first is the inconsistency in the cast. When the show sets its sights on another plot line, it seemingly forgets about many of the other characters. Think of it like tunnel vision; the anime runs with the idea it has for a particular arc without taking into account the characters around it. This includes both the mains and the sides. Many side characters exist for the express purpose of being dealt with in the arc they appear, sometimes within the first few minutes. The second is the isolation of the events themselves. Each arc does have actual happenings, despite everything that it does. But none of what goes down in one sequence seems to transpose to another. What this causes is a degree of incoherency that prevents the show from maintaining any kind of meaning. The group takes care of one problem in one place, with another popping up someplace else, without any of the separate instances having relevancy to developments made later.
This is excruciatingly true when it comes to the ending, which is perhaps one of the worst in anime to date. There is (at first) seemingly zero continuation from the previous events, with the resulting fan-service – now the unabashed focal point – being more confusing than arousing. There is some attempt made to explain how they got to this point, but it becomes lost among the “ghost stories,” some paradoxical talk involving certainty and uncertainty, and, once again, an irrelevant plot point. Yet, the icing on the cake is the final two minutes or so. It’s literally just Arashi walking down an expressway before cutting to black. When you look back at everything that it did, the finale is an ironically poignant way to define this tale: a whole lot of nothing.
There is little to note when it comes to Triage’s overall art direction. The locations visited are typical for a city – a nearby dock with accompanying freighter, a television producing skyscraper, and a local school dot the landscape. It serves its purpose as being an area for the characters to interact in without doing much else. The show also decides to make use of CG for many of its motorcycle portions involving Arashi and Mikoto, but they always look too stiff and unnatural, coming off as displeasing to the eye. Censorship is also rampant, which heavily goes against the anime’s ideals.
The anime makes a “big” decision by having the majority of its female cast be equipped with breasts that are quite huge. There is a line, though, where the size of the boobs transitions away from believability and into comicality. This anime moves beyond this line, where the girls lose their provocativeness because of the absurd designs they are given. Oriha is attributed with an interesting look by having her a bit more squat and bigger in terms of size when compared to most female anime designs, but the diversity ends there.
Actual animation just barely manages to be average. The show does make the most of smaller details such as hair and cloth shuffling. There are also a lot of explosions, gun firing, fist throwing, samurai sword swinging, and other crazy action sequences. Nothing is too elaborate, but the show tries to do what it can. There is a lot of sitting with minimal facial expressions on top of this, but the anime alleviates this negative to an extent by providing a lot of motion for the breasts it always brings to the forefront.
The cast of Triage is, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely mediocre. Important side characters such as Masamune (the lead doctor) and Isoroku (the lead detective) don’t receive nearly enough attention despite having a place in the plot. Some side members don’t even receive any sort of characterization due to only having literal brief glimpses of their person. Most prominently is Kaname, who seems to be the leader of the terrorist organization the group is fighting, but outside her laidback behavior, nothing else is known about her.
Certain main characters like Miki and Mikoto are only known for their tiger-tooth and way-too-late romantic feelings for Arashi, respectively. Speaking of Arashi, he, too, succumbs to the anime’s inability to explore almost its entire cast. For him, there is talk about discovering his inner “self,” considering the situation he’s in mentally and the issue he experienced as a child. It’s all very strange, though, because it never seems as if he has a problem with anything he deals with. He doesn’t undergo turmoil, even when his subconscious – taking on a form resembling his friend – always warns or questions his motives. But Arashi never falters, going through with whatever he does, having some sort of epiphany about himself rather than learning from the dilemmas in front and around him. It also doesn’t help that, despite being the star of the show, he garners some of the least overall time on-screen, making it inherently difficult to work with his character development in the first place.
The only character that manages to do anything remotely worthwhile is Sayo, the blue-haired fighter. For the majority of the season, there isn’t much known about her besides the massive strength she wields and the mask she normally wears while brawling. However, following an incident against people similar to her, she “awakens” to her past, remembering the tribulations she had to conquer as a child to get to the point in her life she finds herself in. This doesn’t occur without her first going berserk; these traumatic memories resurface hard and fast, causing her to essentially lose herself once more. It isn’t until Arashi, whose problems mirror that of Sayo, comes to her rescue. Her character development is meant to exemplify the notion that the pasts we have are not something that should control us. Instead, we should embrace who were then because it helped to shape who we are now. She even attempts to instill her newfound insight onto the same people who led her down this path of enlightenment, signifying the change in her person. Sayo proves that Triage can, in some fashion, produce a character that isn’t fully forgetful.
The opening theme tries really hard to be cool, but it succeeds in only reaching this descriptor halfway. The first portion of the track is a lot of guitar without much substance, but the latter portion, with the dual vocals, does manage to have that “good guys versus the world” vibe to it. The ending theme, on the other hand, remains rather lame from start to finish. The instruments and beat sound an awful lot like the opening theme, but here, the track comes off a bit more hopeful and subsequently loses that cool edge it was undoubtedly aiming for.
As for the remainder of the soundtrack, it doesn’t have the strength to stand on its own. Many of the pieces take on a techno or rock-n-roll composition to coincide with the action taking place, and there is the occasional piano melody to round out those “touching” moments. But they aren’t nearly as impactful as they should be. Like the art style, the OST exists as background filler and nothing more.
Voice acting is somewhere around average, with no notable performances to be had.
This is a weird one for me, because I’m actually a fan of all anime, “ecchi” material included. But having the fan-service as forward as it was didn’t make me happy to see in the slightest. Rather, I would always question why it was being done in the first place. There are a lot of breasts and underwear to stare at throughout the entirety of this one, so my own personal questioning was happening a lot. Some characters could be cute at times, such as Mikoto or Arashi’s class friend Hinako, but they weren’t endearing enough to be too likable and not fun enough to get a laugh out of me. Even Oriha’s idol singing, which was designed to bring about happy times, did nothing for me.
There were a few scenes throughout the experience that were so ridiculous, though, that I did manage to smile. Chikage’s whole storyline was poorly handled to the point of hilarity and Kyouji, the over-the-top evil son of the gang leader, could not be taken seriously at all. That was somewhat the point of his behavior – he’s one of those “dumb” bad guys. He would fondle women, drug them, and force them to do his bidding; a real scumbag you love to hate. Sadly, he never got his just desserts because the anime didn’t complete his (the main) plotline. Which, at this point, should be expected from the show’s overall ineptitude.
Triage X never wavers from its abysmal story, unappealing character designs, and boring sound-work. It can’t even do fan-service right, despite leaning on it for the whole series. Comparing what I went through back then to this one, I’d choose the pneumonia.
Story: Terrible, poorly executed fan-service, inconsistent and incoherent plot, with one of the worst endings in anime
Animation: Bad, boring art style, bad character designs, average actual animation
Characters: Bad, nearly the entire cast is handled poorly with the exception of Sayo
Sound: Bad, okay OP, bad ED, bad soundtrack, average VA work
Enjoyment: Bad, nothing sexy or attractive about the show, with some minor laughs caused by the absurdity of it all
Final Score: 2/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3