English Dub Season Review: 7 Seeds Season One

7 Seeds is not a feel-good anime.

Unless, of course, you have a different idea of what constitutes a “feel-good anime.” Based off of Yumi Tamura’s eponymous manga series, 7 Seeds, in terms of analogies, is the brilliant honor student who became completely burned out by high school; it had the potential to be a promising series, only to squander its potential partway through its existence.

7 Seeds is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth an indefinite amount of years following the mass extinction of humanity at the hands of a meteor. Unbeknownst to the general populace, however, a secret project was undertaken by various governments throughout the world to keep civilization alive following their impending doom. This project, known as the 7 Seeds Project, cryonically-preserved unknowing individuals until the conditions on Earth were ripe for them to awaken. 7 Seeds focuses on the project undertaken in Japan and the lives of those selected to participate in it.

There are five teams scattered throughout the country: Team Autumn, Team Winter, Team Spring, and Teams Summer A and B. The anime largely focuses on Team Summer B and Team Spring as they cope with their new predicament and try their best to survive in a now primeval world. From the perspective of these teams, viewers are thrust into an unforgiving landscape where cooperation is crucial to survival.

The characters are part of the reason why the series has the emotional impact that it has. While a good chunk of the cast is comprised of imperious survivalists, there are a handful of level-headed individuals who are trying to make the best out of a gritty situation with their empathy intact. Yet even the coldest and most ruthless characters are sympathetic whenever they have their tender moments. It’s a refreshing testament to the diversity found between individual personalities in real life. What sticks out to me the most, however, is the wide range of emotions each character displays. It really helps solidify their value as individual beings, a theme that is tested throughout the season.

Underlying themes are the lifeblood of this anime. The idea of the collective versus the individual is one of those fundamental themes and is likely not a coincidence given that Japan is a predominately collective society. For many of the characters, there is only one goal: to ensure the continuation of the human race. Even if it means someone has to die for others to thrive. Idealism versus cynicism is another theme that’s routinely played with throughout the series as there are characters who perceive their new world in terms of self-interest while others are more willing to trust and get along with fellow survivors. It’s a powerful message to convey and one that speaks volumes about the true nature of man once they are stripped of their privilege. There’s at least one poignant scene per episode, one that’ll either rip your heart out or undoubtedly damper your mood. Probably unsurprising since 7 Seeds is a survival anime, but the depth of the characters and the aforementioned themes at play make the impact of these scenes all the more memorable.

All this said, 7 Seeds isn’t perfect. One of the main reservations I have about the series pertains to its massive cast. There are a lot of characters in this season, and it’s easy to forget who each character is. (I had to keep Wikipedia’s List of 7 Seeds characters page on standby in another tab while I watched the series.) This is particularly problematic when entire teams are introduced in a single scene or episode. Not only that but aside from the protagonists, the relevance of certain characters fluctuates immensely throughout the season. Some characters, even those who were heavily focused on during the first half of the season become irrelevant or go completely unmentioned by the end of the season.

To be honest, I had higher expectations for the animation. While the animation is by no means awful, it feels a bit bland, especially since much of the series’ world is comprised of unperturbed nature. There were plenty of opportunities to add more detail to some of the backgrounds and create some absolutely breathtaking scenery, but that wasn’t the case. I also find some fault with the character designs as it does sometimes feel like individual characters belong in different anime series. Sure, the character designs are memorable, but I feel like I’m watching a bizarre crossover at varying points throughout the series.

The season’s conclusion, however, is by far the most infuriating part of this anime. I blame the odd pacing of the second half of the season for this. While the first half of the season is coherent and piques viewers’ desire to click “the next episode” button on their screen, the second half of the season is a complete trainwreck that raises more questions than it answers. While there’s the definite possibility that the series will be picked up for another season, the ending of the first season was alarmingly abrupt as nuances and details are suddenly introduced into the narrative. All in all, it feels like a middle finger to the viewers, who invested a good amount of time into the season only to be brutally betrayed and left in an indefinite state of suspense.

Just a caveat for those who are interested in watching 7 Seeds, there is a depiction of sexual assault that occurs in episode eleven of the season, so if viewers are triggered by such content, I would advise them to watch the scene with caution and skip it entirely if necessary. Thankfully, it doesn’t occur spontaneously and viewers can anticipate the scene without necessarily watching it.

In sum, watch 7 Seeds for its character development and themes. Don’t watch it if you want to be heavily disappointed by a promising plot that fails to deliver on its expectations.

Score
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7.0/10