Level E (Comedy Anime Review)
We are not alone on earth. This statement is one that drives many of the great science fiction stories throughout pop culture involving extraterrestrials. Sometimes these visitors are friendly, just looking for friends and curious about the way human beings interact, but others are hostile, looking to conquer, dominate, or destroy everything on earth. It’s rare to find a story where the alien is neither friendly nor evil, but instead just wants to play a good joke on someone, the way a mischievous young teenager would. In Level E, a mysterious visitor crash lands on Earth and finds his way into the fourth floor apartment of a young baseball player who is beginning high school, who has yet to move into his new place. The alien claims to be suffering from amnesia, but is a prince with a great intellect. Instead of using this great intellect to make his planet a better place he instead, “uses it to intimidate and mock his subjects, making their lives utterly miserable.” Because of this he is known as Prince Baka. These things are revealed when the three that were sent to travel with him to a major intergalactic conference, coming looking for the mischievous prince.
This series is a mix of moments involving hostile aliens with various background and humans, whom the prince has engaged in various ways to achieve his personal goals while having some fun in the meantime. The show has a comedic overtone, but it is only after the moments of fear and terror caused in some way by Prince Baka. Overall, the story revolves around the antics and problems Prince Baka causes on earth, and while it starts with the aforementioned young baseball player he soon moves on to other targets. Things are not always as they seem, is a constant in this story, but the way in which it is presented is an interesting take on the alien story as a whole.
The thirteen episodes form an interesting set of mini-stories, with each set being three episodes or less, that creates a very interesting world in which the story is set. One thing that makes this standout is that the art style changes with the story structure and themes. This can be seen most noticeably in the difference between episodes three and four. The former has a clean look that most people associate with popular anime, but the later has the dark tones, rough lines, and shadowing of a horror anime. A particularly interesting set of episodes are those involving the Color Rangers, a group of children that Prince Baka has decided to force into being his Super Sentai/Power Rangers ripoff, all in an attempt to make a TV show.
Level E’s music is also a high point. The music is very well done to fit in with the type of story being shown in each arc, and is a subtle, but important, part of each episode. There is a lot of comedy, but the most character development found in this anime is of Prince Baka through his actions. This is the main downside to the show as it may leave some wanting more. Some of the content and jokes may be a bit difficult for younger viewers to understand, but if you are looking for an anime that can be enjoyed in quick story arcs, where the overall series has a little bit of everything, Level E is defiantly one to seek out.