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TV Review- High Rise Invasion (2021)- Battle Banal

Japan is no slouch in the horror department. Some of the darkest tales of all time have originated from the land of the rising sun, including Ringu, The Grudge and the entire bibliography of Junji Ito. One recent work has been of High Rise Invasion, a popular horror-action manga written by Tsuina Muira and illustrated by Takahiro Oba, which had an anime adaptation released by Netflix earlier this year.

In the vein of the equally mind-bending Cube movies and the similar though live-action counterpart Alice in Borderland, the series centers around schoolgirl Yuri Honjo, who awakens in a mysterious cityscape dimension connected by various suspension bridges, where she and other survivors find themselves hunted by eclectic masked individuals, who are intent on killing them. But Yuri refuses to die, driven by the desire to reunite with her beloved brother, Rika, who she believes is still alive in this deadly world. She is forced to confront her darker instincts in order to survive and learns more about the Darwinist purpose of the mysterious, deadly game they’re entailed in, to create godlike individuals.

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High Rise Invasion
suffers from a lot of common anime cliches. It has its cheesecake and eats it, with a disconcertingly high number of panty-shots, numerous instances of clothing destruction and voyeuristic close-ups of its young female leads. It adds a sleaziness to the general viewing that rivals the objectification of women in western horror, distracting from the enigma that the plot tries to create, bordering on ecchi. However, this is counterbalanced by two genuinely sweet relationships between the main leads: plucky Yuri and grizzled fellow survivor Mayuko, and an unlikelier one between flighty Kuon and the charismatic killer known only as ‘Sniper Mask’, who upon release has become the breakout star and internet darling. It offers some creative adversaries whose murderous modus operandi is based on their unique talents, such as the aforementioned Sniper, along with the more creative Swimmer Mask and Volleyball Mask who deliver some genuinely brutal kills. As the series progresses, it pulls a few surprising twists, though it fails to elevate the series on a narrative basis.

Overall, High Rise Invasion offers a bloody diversion for those with time to kill. Though it fails to fulfil an intriguing premise, its seamless blend of fanservice and hyper-violence will undoubtedly ensure it a second season.

Rating: 5/10.


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