Twenty-one year old Futaba Rentarou has always been a bit of a loafer without much purpose in life, but now he has something to keep him occupied- namely the detective agency his father created. Together with high school students Sara and Soujyu Shirogane, Rentarou whiles his days away taking whatever cases come his way. From defending against a giant squid to dealing with the Yakuza, chances are Rentarou will be at the centre of the action…
A far cry from the original Futakoi, Futakoi Alternative is a series so different from the norm that it almost defies explanation; hardly the best position from which to attempt a review, but I’ve left it so long already that I have no choice but to try now. The quirky atmosphere of the series gives it an almost surreal quality, to the extent that it almost feels as if it is offering a glimpse into a dream world where the story flows as it will without the need for rules, restraints, or common sense. Whilst this could certainly be labelled it a weakness, it is equally what makes the series so curiously appearing.
There aren’t many series that can skilfully juggle the poignantly dramatic and the utterly insane, but perhaps surprisingly, FA is one of the select few. To attempt to describe the plot would only result in a spoiler-filled mess, but where else could a storyline about a rampaging humanoid squid appear beside a quieter human drama without any detriment to either storyline? How many other ‘crazy’ type series can genuinely draw you into the world of the characters and make you care about their fates?
Although it is a very different series from its predecessor, Futakoi and Alternative share one thing in common- both feature the same six sets of twins, each with a similar personality to their first incarnations. Satisfyingly enough, the twins with the least screen time in Futakoi are brought to the fore in Alternative; this may not be quite the same universe as the one that housed the original, but it is still interesting to see lesser used Futakoi characters gain their time in the spotlight one way or another.
Visually, FA is a slick and well animated series; character designs have evolved from their Futakoi forms into something a little more aesthetically pleasing. Action scenes are fast, explosive, and well executed, particularly in the closing episodes.
A unique combination of drama, action and sheer craziness, Futakoi Alternative simply has to be seen to be believed. If you can keep an open mind and let yourself be taken along for the ride, it will prove to an eminently satisfying experience.