Viper’s Creed is an action anime from the winter 2009 anime season. Despite the age it is one of the titles from that year that did not age poorly. I have a hunch it was related to Shinji Aramaki being in the same neighborhood but we don’t need to take his resume’s word for it. First episode reeled me in every time. I could not ignore this. Opening to epilogue, I had a fun time and was sad to see it end for the reason you’re sad when you finish a really good sandwich and realize there’s no more sandwich. This was a series that did rule of cool as a core function of the series and did it right. I liked this series in 2009 and recently re-watching it with friends I found myself able to enjoy it despite the age.
There’s not much to the plot, and world building is kept to a minimum, perhaps to prevent complications that raise more questions than answers. Rising water levels lead to a lack of real estate and war follows shortly after. Experiments gone wrong made a mess of the sky and the oceans to the point that boats and airplanes are not viable modes of travel and so mega-structure highways are the only available option. Combine those two and eventually war leads to autonomous drones that were deployed and which still operate even after the war’s end, presenting a threat to the cities remaining. One in particular, Daiva City. The name practically rolls off the tongue like ‘diversity’ and fitting given the city seems to be a potluck mix of natives and the foreigners that came in with privatized corporations with the contractually obligated goal of protecting the city from the mecha drones that wander the roadways looking for their pre-programed targets. And that’s where the Viper unit comes in, mercenaries hired to combat said menace in high-tech motorbikes that transform into bipedal, humanoid mecha. Rule of cool. The plot does have weak points, but is ultimately meant to provide the means to go from A to B instead of telling the audience that things happen because reasons. I’ll give the series credit for the ending and epilogue. I was left wanting another season, but at the same time reminding myself that it wouldn’t happen because this series was all she wrote. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, because it wasn’t bad.
Visuals in the series haven’t aged too badly, but the CG sequences have moments of hiccups. Some of those hiccups won’t be caught unless you’re looking for them. That said, most of the art direction seemed to at most times, aim for that “does it look cool” aesthetic. Motorcycle transformation sequences? Check? Said motorbikes traveling down highways at high spends in formation? Squad goals, check. Sniper mech? Big bad ass boss mech? Fit-body female character? Sometimes brilliant muscle-head? Check. Repeating myself here, I’d found myself enjoying the show enough to suggest it and watch it with friends. Someone I watched it with recently didn’t realize what year it came from, and enjoyed the visuals -and the everything else for that matter- unaware of when it came out. I wouldn’t say this was perfect in the visuals department but it really held up over time. I think that says something about where CG in anime is right now.
The soundtrack was additive to the experience of watching the show. I enjoyed the end song almost as much as I enjoyed the opening. That part about the music being additive? Especially in that intro, which held some wow factor. Yes, the music was good if not fitting. I liked it. It was something done well. And that says a lot given some of the background music sounds like it was pulled from a tracker. It won’t be the reason you watch this, but it won’t be a reason to give it a bad score.
It’s hard to talk about the plot without giving away too much. But I will say most of it was wrapped up nicely, the rest may have been left for a potential sequel that we’ll likely not see but I don’t mind because most sequels seldom to live up to their hype. Characters were interesting, with some having word play to their names and that’s a good thing if you enjoy a good pun. The best way I can describe this series in general? A gem, maybe a gem with a flaw or two, but a gem no less. It wasn’t noticed by most people when it was fresh largely because of another anime that came out at the same time with a similar aspect to it. A shame maybe, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the series. I had a fun ride back through this short, twelve episode series. Yes there was room for improvement, but when it came out I’d have likely given this an eight or a nine. Now I’m giving it a six though it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility if that score went up in the future. Seriously, give Viper’s Creed a watch, even if it’s only the first episode. You won’t regret it.