Of the 45 new anime this season, there are more than a few I am dying to watch. But my undying love of Steins;Gate sets one show above all the other: Chaos;Child.
Chaos;Child is adapted from the game of the same name (which I have played to completion). Like Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate, Steins;Gate 0, and Robotics;Notes, it is part of creator Chiyomaru Shikura’s Science Adventure series.
As you probably deduced from the “Chaos” in the title, Chaos;Child is deeply connected to Chaos;Head–though I’d be loath to call it a “direct” sequel. While the overall villain is the same (as it is in all Science Adventure titles), what connects the two series is more the gruesome thematic tone and the nature of mental powers than the story and characters.
Chronologically, it is set six years after Chaos;Head (five after Steins;Gate) and follows Takuru, the president of his high school’s newspaper club. Dying for an exclusive to make him into a real, respected journalist, he begins investigating a series of especially gruesome murders that seem to have some connection to Chaos;Head’s New Generation Madness serial killings.
Soon Takuru finds himself not only deeply involved with the killings, but also with a world where mental powers exist and a shadowy organization seeks to use them to dominate humanity. And then there’s his problem of tuning out the world and instead seeing his own fantastical delusions–delusions that range from the super happy to the painfully dark.
Aside from the excellently realized murder mystery, what makes Chaos;Child really stand out is the cast of characters–especially the two main women in Takuru’s life. The first is Serika, his inseparable childhood friend while the second is Nono, his foster sister. Serika is a free spirit, always down for whatever mischief Takuru has planned. Nono, on the other hand, is calm and responsible, wishing for nothing more than for Takuru to grow up. Thus, the two of them act as the devil and angel on his shoulder respectively.
The other characters include Shinji, the over excited comic relief friend; Hana, a girl who never talks and uses the newspaper club’s computer to play her favorite MMORPG; Uki, a girl who knows nothing of modern technology; and Ninae, a popular girl at school who isn’t as kind as she seems on the surface.
And then there’s Mio, a paranormal investigator of sorts sent by the characters of Steins;Gate to help solve the murders and reveal their possible connection with something greater.
As a game, Chaos;Child is massive: It took me seventy hours to reach the true end. It it also a game with massively branching routes used to explore each of the characters’ personalities and backstories. Beyond anything else, I am captivated by the idea of turning such a divergent story into one single narrative–namely if and how it can be done.
And if nothing else this season, I’ll get to find out.
Chaos;Child will begin simulcast with English subtitles on Crunchyroll starting on January 11, 2017.