Conception, a Fall/Autumn 2018 anime… that’s fallen below standard in just about every way. Now, for the purposes of this post, I partook in what I can only describe as a good hour and a half of self-flagellation – why? Because this is what it takes, and I though Conception’s reception might be the product of Internet Bandwagon Syndrome, but no, they were all right. It’s amongst the piles of shit anime that gets thrown at us every season. Anyway, without the bad, there’s no way to acknowledge the good. So, irrespective of a studio actually making a good show, it’s a win win for us… maybe…
The Point of Conception?
At the beginning of the season, I thought Conception was naturally going to be about, well… conceiving a baby in the traditional sense. Yes… sex, coitus, a shag, a bang – whatever you want to call it. I thought it was going to be the Lord of All Ecchi Shows. I was completely wrong in every regard. Because Conception isn’t any of that. It’s a hot steaming mess, that is never hot nor steamy. I hazard to say it is completely pointless. But, then we get into the semantic notion of what has worth, and what doesn’t, and that goes to dark, dark places.
I find the whole conceit confusing in the first instance… who wants a story like this? Yet another Isekai, and… I don’t hate all Isekai; just this season, Slime-san is rocking his little slimy body away. It’s Isekai done poorly that I’m most tired of, shows like In Another World With My Smartphone. Because they require so little effort to do bad, and so much creativity to do well. And that’s why we see more and more of them, because they’re easy, because they don’t need the same level of narrative direction – especially if they’re adaptions (Conception being adapted from an original PSP game).
The Maidens’ Names
- Childhood ‘friendzone’ Maiden – MAHIRO
- Wants fuck her Brother’s lookalike, Nurse Maiden – REONE
- Kuudere bread-runner Maiden – RUKA
- Little sister White Walker Maiden? – YUZUHA
- ‘Tomboy’ Maiden – TARUA
- Dance your cock off Maiden – FARUN
- Religious dominatrix Maiden – ARIE
- Tsundere ‘Let me gaze at your crystal’ Maiden – LIRIS and LIRIE
- ‘I’ll teach you’ Academic Maiden – MIREI
- Shy animal lover Maiden – SUE
- Small...too small baker Maiden – COLLETE
- Rich arsehole Stockholm Syndrome Maiden – FEMIRUNA
An extensive list of all the available Maidens!
Surely It’s Not That Bad?
Conception… well, these ‘Star Children’ are needed to get rid of some form of ambiguous impurities in a… different world? And, that’s pretty much the story, all of it. But that alone doesn’t make it awful, what does is the complete lack of everything else. There are twelve characters, each representing a star constellation. Some shows spend an entire cour developing a single character, to this extent Conception doesn’t even try. Not that it ever wants to be one of those shows, however It’s disjointed, there’s no cohesive, overarching narrative to which we can get engrossed within. Instead, we’re offered snapshots of characters who never feel a thing – in turn, we feel nothing too. And if this is the case, what’s the point? If it imparts nothing on us, why should it exist?
There are moments so lacking in animation, I thought my stream had frozen, talking without any hint of movement. And then there’s the bear/racoon creature, which seemingly speaks without the ability to move its mouth, preferring to hold it open like a rabid dog spewing a babble of cringy nonsense. None of it bodes well for immersing anyone into the scene, nevermind the wider world. Otherwise, the art looks pretty standard. Rarely offensively terrible, but never anything to feel remotely pleased about. This contributes to the characters’ sense of lifelessness; empty and detached archetypes we’ve seen many times before, only… inside a story that is barely a story. I mean, there’s a scene where the fucking bear actually narrates what has happened, rather than actually bothering to animate and script it. Am I listening to an audio book?
Though, most of the time, Conception is simply an odd show. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Everything seems out-of-place, like the feeling of deja vu, except over and over again – every moment barely distinguishable from the next. None of it makes any sense. There’s no effort gone into properly connecting scenes, and most of the events go entirely unexplained – as if we live in the same world, and inherently understand. One moment the main character is fighting a strange-looking Hook Monster, the next he’s carrying what appear to be Russian dolls (but were Star Children?) out of a cave made of satellite dishes… So the Children literally can’t die either… Again, then… what’s the point?
It’s not fine. None of it is fine.
Conception is an ecchi show, where the entire narrative is built around ‘making’ children, and yet the characters never actually have sex. Why? I know… I know, then make the characters older, make the show into something more debauched and adult – maybe then it would actually mean something, maybe then there would be something at stake. Instead it just barely touches the line of raunchy. Go one way or the other! Otherwise you end up with Conception… A show which doesn’t know what it is.
It’s a shame, because the studio, Gonzo have quite literally produced my favourite anime, Welcome to the N.H.K. Not to mention a sleuth of other shows with cult followings. Conception? It almost feel like satire in the worst way possible. Conception simply doesn’t conceive of anything. The show’s fucked, man.
Is this the worst anime ever made? What is?
Thanks for reading!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)