Scarlet Nexus ended up being one of my favorite JRPG experiences in 2021. Its got a vibrant world. The characters ooze style. The story had me invested from the very start. Because the game was designed with two sides of the story, it can feel a little overwhelming. Don’t fret! If this is too much for you, I would suggest taking the Scarlet Nexus anime adaptation for a spin.
In a future where Earth is plagued by monsters known as Others, an elite organization called the Other Suppression Force works hard to make the cities safe. They are tasked with patrolling and destroying any Others that descend from the Extinction Belt. In the game, players choose either Kasane or Yuito’s side of the story. Both are new recruits that come from powerful families. Kasane is the adopted daughter of the Randall family and joined the OSF with her sister Naomi. The Sumeragi family controls the OSF and Yuito’s father currently runs the organization.
When state secrets are uncovered, our protagonists venture off on two separate paths. I chose Kasane’s route first when I played Scarlet Nexus. Something about her story was more compelling. Perhaps it was the whole adoption angle and that gut feeling there was more to her than meets the eye. And while I plan to finish Yuito’s side of the story, I just haven’t found the time to do so just yet. Which makes this anime adaptation such a blessing. Witnessing the core story in order as it unfolds instead of playing one half of the tale and then making connections with a second playthrough might be more inviting to some.
Japanese RPGs long held a tradition of featuring frequent anime cutscenes. Playing Scarlet Nexus we didn’t see too much of this, and when we did the scenes were actually a little jarring. The shift from the lush and vibrant cyberpunk inspired palate to the more subdued and grey-tinged was a negative for me. Unfortunately the anime sticks with this muted aesthetic. This undercuts the beauty of the Others; for example, the brilliance of Vase Paws’ plumage is lost and lessens the impact of seeing them dance their way toward our officers. Pops of colour do exist. There’s the hazy red when SAS gear is triggered or certain attacks like Kasane’s knives whipping around the screen with their trademark purple glow.
The anime is not a beat-for-beat adaptation of the video game. Certain battles don’t occur here, nor do bonding events. In exchange we see some events under a slightly different microscope or in a new environment. Playing the game still ranks as my preferred way to follow Kasane and Yuito’s adventure, but this is still a great way to appreciate Scarlet Nexus‘ overall storytelling and world-building.
The Scarlet Nexus anime is currently airing on Funimation, with new episodes releasing on Fridays. The series is available in Japanese with subtitles, and English dubs are in the process of being added.