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Well, that was dark.

Usually in fantasy anime, the hero is an ordinary boy who finds something wrong with the world and embarks on an adventure to banish that evil from the world. Once he finally reaches the final boss, he stops him from destroying the world.

Apparently Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari (lit. The Light of Haecceitas) didn’t get this memo, because in the first five minutes of the first episode, the evil king obtains half of the artifact that can destroy the world, beats the ever living crap out of our noble hero, and throws the land into chaos.

Chain Chronicle is a three-part film series that will be broken down into twelve episodes in order to be broadcast on television beginning this January. The first of these twelve episodes was pre-screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival as part of the TIFF Ani!! event–with Masashi Kudō, the director of the film, Daiki Yamashita (the voice of Aram, a new character not featured in the Sega smartphone game the anime is based on), and Akira Ishida, the voice of protagonist Yūri as guests.

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From right to left: Masashi Kudō (director), Akira Ishida (Yuri), Daiki Yamashita (Aram)

Chain Chronicle begins in such a grand fashion, with the forces of different clans, cultures, and races all coming together under the leadership of previously mentioned protagonist Yūri, a young man who leads a volunteer army. When Yūri is defeated in his fight against the evil king and his fairy companion is extinguished by said evil king in quite a gruesome fashion, there isn’t any clichéd second chance. That’s it. All the armies start going home, resigned to the fact that they lost and the evil king has won.

As we see our heroes finally go back through the land, it’s easy to see the effects that their loss has caused–crops are dying, food is scarce, animals are dying and rotting, and a dark, strange mist is enveloping towns and summoning dangerous monsters. Instead of respecting the heroes for their valiant efforts, citizens of the world instead despise Yūri and his allies for not completing their task. Even worse, Yūri has lost hope and is distraught by his failure to defeat the evil king, despite having the power of light to banish the darkness.

In this dark situation, it seems as if only original character Aram–a youth with the ability to absorb mana from others in order to power himself up–has the vigor to get Yūri moving again. In contrast to the gentle Yūri, Aram is an extremely positive and energetic young man. With the kind but brooding Yūri being in the state he is, Aram might be exactly what Yūri needs to get off of the ground and attempt to defeat the evil king once more. We’ll just have to see what role the scamp will play when the anime’s first film premieres on December 3. But without a doubt, Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari begins its hero’s tale in a very depressing way.

The Chain Chronicle app was available in the West until this past February, when Sega shut down service for the game. It is still available to play in Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan.

Copyright ©2016 TIFF

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