18if [Review]

“One day, Haruto wakes up on a round bed in a strange room, with the only familiar things around being his smartphone and headphones. After encountering a strange girl in white named Lily who claims to be his sister and a man who looks like a cat, Haruto learns that he is in a dream belonging to Yuko, a girl stricken with Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. Yuko is the Witch of Thunder, an all-powerful woman who makes the dream world bow before her to ensure she’s known the strongest, the best, and the most fun person around. Haruto’s sister tells him that he must wake Yuko up by killing her in the dream in order to break the “spell” she’s under, but Haruto’s got some other ideas about what might be keeping Yuko asleep.” -ANN

18if is part of a larger media project called “The Art of 18”, which involves many artists in various fields creating art centered around the world of 18if. It also includes three mobile games and a VR experience. With that in mind, 18if was made under the concept of “dreams”. Which in itself is already a fairly ambitious theme because a dream is a difficult thing to fully understand. Dreams don’t necessarily make sense and 18if adopts that logic to its storyline. As you watch the show, each episode that you see looks and feels as if it was directed and created by a different director and studio. Going back to the idea of dreams, each dream is different like sometimes its a nice and pleasant dream but other times it could be a nightmare. The same thing with continuation, if you wake up from a dream and then you try to go back to sleep you may see the same characters but it’s a different setting and story.
Artwork & Animation:
As mentioned above, it seemed like each episode was created by a different studio and that means with each episodes there’s a unique art style that goes along with it. All of the styles are unique and interesting in their own way but some of them fell short in quality.
This was the most frustrating thing about the show, the characters. While the concept of dreams is understood and each episode has its own art style, the character was also changed with each episode. Each episode the characters had different tones or even different back stories which then require you, as the audience, to readjust to this new character only to have it change again in the next episode. Having a more consistent character that moves through the episodes would’ve made for a much more interesting show as we would be able to see the characters grow and develop with each episode.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
The actual soundtrack for 18if isn’t all that interesting, but what is interesting are the ending songs. Each episode features a song that’s centered around the episode that it appears on. This list of songs includes a few tracks by TeddyLoid (Music producer for me! me! me!).
18if is definitely one of the more interesting and thought-provoking anime that I’ve seen. I enjoyed the abstract stories. The concept of dreams and the new ways of animating to tell a story were intriguing to see. While I did like the ambitious concept of dreams, the show could’ve been a lot better.
Overall: Score 6
Created from the idea of dreams, 18if is a fragmented yet interesting story that will have you wondering what type of dream world you’ll be visiting next. While a lack of consistent character personalities hinders the continuation of the story, the artworks and songs will have you coming back for more.
Best Girl: Kayo Sugisaki
While 18if had a lot of interesting art styles and storylines, Kayo’s was the most put together. Her arc is an emotional ride and it was hard not to tear up at the end.

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