Kazuto Iizuka is even more average than the usual average anime teen, but even his life is afforded a little bit of excitement when he discovers that his schoolmate Narue Nanase wasn’t lying when she claimed she was from outer space! When Kazuto proves happy to accept Narue for who she is, a relationship quickly develops between them- but when you’ve got an alien for a girlfriend, it would be wise to expect a few unexpected incidents along the way.
As is probably apparent by now, every so often, I like to watch series not so much because I expect them to be good, but because I want the distraction of some light entertainment. That was the idea behind watching World of Narue, but it was one that quickly gave way to disappointment as I quickly realised just how poor a choice I had made.
Before I go any further, I have to admit that this was the one time when I actually watched the English dub of a series- not because I wanted to, but because the low budget UK release of the series was not even given the respite that the Japanese audio may have offered. Instead, I was stuck with the rather uninspiring and often grating dub for twelve episodes, a situation that quite possibly made the series seem even worse than it would have otherwise done.
With that in mind, I was not in the best of positions to appreciate whatever merits World of Narue might have had to offer, and in short order it became clear that it didn’t really offer any whatsoever. Anyone who’s ever watched a series about junior high or high school life will no doubt be familiar with the obligatory beach, pool, hot springs and festival episodes- standard staples of anime that you enjoy less and less the more you see of them, but nonetheless endure as a necessary evil. Unfortunately, World of Narue is disconcertingly like watching a marathon of such episodes, each one more shallow, predictable and wholly unoriginal than the last. Even the sci-fi elements cannot save the series, covering as they do such painfully dull storylines as incredibly ugly recurring space terrorists who want Narue to leave Earth, or an alien android assigned to disrupt Narue’s life by altering peoples’ memories. In short, be it school story or sci-fi, everything we see in World of Narue has been done before, and it wasn’t good enough then to justify trotting out again.
As to be expected from such a series, the cast is hardly original either- there’s the utterly average male lead, the slightly naïve alien girl, the bratty sister, the best friend and so forth. Even the novelties of having the main couple get together at the beginning of the series instead of angsting throughout, or the effects of time dilation meaning that Narue’s older sister is biologically younger than her do not have any long term effect on elevating the cast out of their standard and overused roles.
As if to complement such basic content, World of Narue is equally basic in the visual department, with generally simplistic animation, and a range character designs that balances everything aesthetically pleasing with something equally ugly. Although fanservice isn’t really a major focus here, the animators seem to have felt compelled to put in the occasional unnecessary panty shot here and there, perhaps in a doomed attempt to increase the appeal of the series.
A low budget release of a low budget series, World of Narue will inevitably fall flat for all but the most generous and forgiving of tastes. Under better circumstances, it could have been a charming tale of romance with some otherworldly elements mixed in, but as it stands it’s just an utterly standard tale that redefines the meaning of the word generic.