First Impressions: Level E

(Based on two episodes)

Summary: Tsutsui Yukitaka is a freshman who has finally convinced his parents that he is ready to live on his own. When he arrives at his new apartment, he is surprised to find that someone has arrived before him; a young man who claims that he is an alien and that he is suffering from amnesia.

Review: The soul of Level E lies in the interaction between Yukitaka and the Prince. Yukitaka’s constant surprise at the Alien’s behavior and the aliens deadpan humor create a strong relationship that seems to be forming the core of a rather complex comedy. However, complexity is starting to feel like it may hurt the overall narrative.

The humor of the first two episodes mostly comes from the protagonist trying to co-exist with this weird roommate he didn’t expect to receive. It doesn’t help that the alien is constantly playing tricks and teasing Yukitaka to the point where even the audience isn’t quite sure what is real and what is a clever lie. The punch line to those long, complex interactions are creative and well worth being strung along by the sarcastic extraterrestrial.

The introduction of Miho, Yukitaka’s neighbor and daughter of an important alien researcher, shows that the character friction is not just an accident. Yoshihiro Togashi is obviously a skilled character writer, some of the subtle development of Miho appearing unique and powerful. She is a strong female character for subtle reasons, being calm when the crashed UFO explodes near her father, and at points some ridiculous elements that I never expected to see in a female character such as disassembling a phone to look for bugs and taking notes on who was watching the Prince as they left the apartment.

Another layer of humor comes from the chaos caused by the Prince being on the planet. He sows conflict wherever he goes, it seems, even if it will lead his race into conflict with the many alien races living on Earth in secret. The show is building into a larger narrative about conflict between the many races living on earth in secret with this single alien sitting in the eye of the storm. This is where I see some problems. The show has just started to introduce some of these races and it is already distracting from the relationship between Yukitaka and the Prince. If the series entire focus shifts to the races as a whole and even war, it’ll be an entirely different show than what we’ve experienced in these first two episodes.

Verdict: I have faith in the writers to turn even something as dire as war between two alien races on Earth into a joke was a singular punch line. The gags they’ve done so far have been fantastic each one more bold than the last. If they are able to maintain that momentum the show is going to be spectacular, if they start to fumble under the weight of their own complex jokes then the show might become massive disaster.

(Summary from animenewsnetwork.com)

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