I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this set up before; you’ve got a ragtag gang of anti-villains, who are more like caricatures of the typical super villains you find in childrens programming, and they want to “conquer the world.” Yeah, World Conquest Zvezda Plot is a pretty silly show. There’s some level of seriousness and maturity which keeps it all together, but especially with episode 2 there’s also a predominate wackiness to it all. It features kaiju which are made up of cute neon-color blobs; a giant evil headquarters in the middle of a suburbs, which none of the locale seem to notice, and a cute loli running the whole gig. Overall I’m finding it quite an enjoyable watch so far, but I’m curious with how it’s going to deal with the themes that it presents.
Comedy is usually a necessity for this sort of set up. Firstly, the characters are anti-villains. One problem that often crops up with this genre is that the writers want their characters to be “evil,” but they also want they’re characters to be likable, and it’s difficult to make a character both evil and likable at the same time. The Zvezda gang for instance don’t really seem like bad people. They pledge allegiance to a loli after all, and see “We call it family when we eat rice from the same pot” as an inspiring quote worthy of a truly great leader. They seem like nice, fun characters to be around. They may dress like super villains, a couple of them even vaguely resemble a communist and a nazi, but they don’t seem evil. Hell, one of the characters is even known for incinerating children, but the most evil thing we see her do is cook up some awful food.
The other reason why this usually necessitates comedy is the idealism inherit with the goal of conquering the world in the first place. As future-Odin explains in the beginning, conquering the world is just a fantasy; many powerful empires have tried to do so, and many have failed. In order to bring seven billion humans under your control, you need a lot of power. You need to be able to overcome the might and power of every country, and then somehow keep it all together with your new society. Zvezda might have the power to actually do all that, and if the opening scene with Odin isn’t just a troll they do end up succeeding, but it would still take a lot of effort. They’d also probably have to start killing people eventually and starting wars, and I don’t know if this show wants to make a loli into a mass murderer.
And even besides all that, there isn’t much point to conquering the world to begin with. You either want to do it for the sake of doing it and living a life of luxury, or you want to replace the current social structure with something “better.” If you’re doing it for power’s sake, then it’s pretty much meaningless after you succeed. What exactly are you going to do with your immense power after you have the entire human population kneeling before you? Gloat about how great you are as you have your slaves build a giant statue of you? Unless you’re incredibly narcissistic and sadistic, that sort of thing would probably get old fast. It’d also only be a matter of time before there’s a rebellion or a coup d’état and your society collapses from within, lest you employ nightmarishly Orwellian means to oppress the people. And if you just want luxury, then you can presumably attain that with whatever power you have, without conquering the whole world in the process.
But hey, this Zvezda organization seem more respectable than that, so presumably there’s more to they’re vision of the New World than just conquering the world the sake of it. If they want to reform society however, than there’s probably better ways to do it than conquering the world and forcing people to comply to your new system. The human population is huge, and running it is pretty complicated. That, at least partially, is why the world is divided up into different countries, and why each country in turn has it’s own system of smaller governments within it. So even if you conquered the world for the sake of making everyone comply to one single system, it’d still be rather difficult for just one government alone to control everything and make the world a better place. Perhaps Zvezda realizes this and just wants to do whatever they can to make it better, even if they’re new society isn’t ideal by any means. But even then, forcing the entire human population to comply to a new system is still rife with complications; it’s not as easy punching tanks with a giant hand and getting “conquered” stamped onto their face.
And so that’s why this sort of setting usually depends on comedy. It’s really difficult to conquer the world, and perhaps even more difficult to keep the world under your control after conquering it. At this point though it’s not quite clear just how much of a comedy World Conquest really is, and how seriously it’ll end up taking itself; so really this show could go anywhere from here, and I’m sure there’s plenty of ways they could explore its themes in a meaningful and not utterly laughable way—and that’s regardless of how light-hearted it ends up being.
Maybe it’ll end with Kate conquering the world and realizing all the flaws that I pointed out with her ambition, and how it’s such a meaningless goal to begin with. At least part of her society was in ruins, after all. And it seemed like Odin may not have been a part of Zvezda anymore, but still shows loyalty to them—implying that Zvezda itself may have fallen. But we also see a completely intact city nearby too; which means either only part of Zvezda’s society is in ruins and Odin was just on his own, or an altogether new society got built over the ruins of Zvezda. Who knows?
Also, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I found out this is the leading anime in pre-order sales for the season. Not that pre-order sales mean much to begin with, but it’s funny that of all the shows airing right now, it’s the one about an evil organization lead by a loli.
This concept is pretty much Nippon Ichi Studios’ go to concept for most of their produced titles: The initially funny then serious (with the humor still somewhat intact) stories about “bad guys that aren’t so bad that end up becoming unintentional heroes”. Also, you do know lolis are supreme deities in the anime universe so this show being the top pre-order in Japan is unsurprising.
Like you I am curious how the show will handle its serious themes as I am also enjoying it so far.
A loli anime getting this much hype is indeed unsurprising, but still hilarious to me nonetheless.
Huh, and I guess Disgaea did already do this concept. (I haven’t played much other NIS games though.)
Yes. It never ceases to amuse me how much Japanese otaku fawn over lolis.
Besides the weird costumes and Natasha clearly being an attempt at getting “Utsutsu” appeal (Though she’s nowhere near as sexy as Utsutsu), the second reason I was intrigued by the show is because it reminded me of Disgaea and other NIS games.