Prima Doll – The Outerhaven
Androids, dolls, artificial intelligence … whatever you want to get to grips with, because it’s still my second most beloved genre in sci-fi right behind time travel. That was the only reason I absolutely LOVED the game Detroit: Become Human. Here, i Prima doll, we have android dolls that were once used in war as weapons that could disrupt and shut down weapons. Now, after the war, they are reprogrammed to adapt to everyday life. Can this offer within one of my favorite genres provide a high level of entertainment?
Synopsis of the first episode
The first episode centers around an android named Haizakura and a human girl named Chiyo. Haizakura recently woke up after being reset and finds herself walking up to a cafe where she meets Nagi Touma, the boy who was responsible for resetting her.
Nagi wants her to work in his cafe and lets the other androids there try to train her, but … Haizakura is pretty useless. She can not cook, she can not pour tea, she can not even present a menu properly. So, they assign her the one task that everyone should be good at … remedial work … aka … cleaning. While cleaning, she meets Chiyo who has fond memories of an android who saved her earlier named Yuugiri. Chiyo presents a picture of her to Haizakura, and it turns out to be the android in the basement of the cafe that is broken and will no longer turn on.
Here we discover the power of Haizakura. When she sings a certain song, her eyes glow and she can send a kind of hacking signal into other machines. She does this without knowing it with Yuugiri and she wakes up. Although Chiyo is overjoyed to see her longtime friend back, Yuugiri still cannot remember anything from her past. She’s on borrowed time since Haizakura’s power only lasts so long. Our first episode ends when Yuugiri says goodbye and is locked back in the basement after turning off … which is just before Mysterious Female Military Person A arrives to add a bit of a cliffhanger to the end.
MAY BE – I knew when I went in that this was not going to be a dramatic match like in Detroit: Become Humanor even other anime-like ones Plastic Memories, Vivy: Flourite Eyes Songor Violet Evergarden. I knew this was going to be a more heartfelt piece of life show, but I have to say … this first episode felt more like a last episode than anything else.
It took some time to set up the premises for where you got the idea that these are discarded war androids trying to find their place in society, but the whole “find your place” aspect was really just left to interpretation. We literally jumped from the setup into Haizakura and woke up in a cafe with our only nod to what happened is Nagi who told her she had been restarted. I guess that’s enough, but I wish I had a slightly better setup than that.
The rest of the episode felt like something you would expect from a second episode after everything was established. Then they put together a short story between Yugiri and Chiyo with lots of forced emotions. I felt nothing when Yuugiri had to go to sleep again because it was about 15 minutes of content here to try to get you connected to these characters. Not only that, but Chiyo’s voice felt like a nail on a blackboard for me, so even though this little story played out throughout this show and this was the actual ending, I would probably feel joy over Chiyo’s pain of losing Yuugiri again because I just hate the way she sounds.
Even the sad music that was played was not enough to make me feel anything because it was such a hasty story and served as an absolutely pathetic method of introducing a viewer to a whole new series. Adding the random female military character at the end was meant to make the viewer go “Oh, the military is here to stick to their previous weapons! What’s going to happen in the next episode” except it didn’t. For me was it like “ok… new character. Is that the hook? Ugh.”
Overall, this is not how I would use my first episode when I was trying to tell an original story. Since Prima Doll has no source, it’s open season for what you can do with this, but if this is the best they have, this could be a show I end up dropping. I want to give it a try in the hope that things pick up a bit. I hope to see a little more struggle as Haizakura adapts to civilian life, and I do not mean in the comic way portrayed in this first episode. I do not expect a full-fledged drama here, since I know this show is meant to be easy, but it can do better than this, and I hold on to the hope that it can.