High-Rise Invasion Bends FAR Too Many of Its Own Rules

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of High-Rise Invasion, now streaming on Netflix.

Netflix's High-Rise Invasion is a very unique world wherein humans have to avoid being driven to suicide by people wearing masks, aka "Angels." However, that's not all that's weird about this abnormal skyscraper city. Alliances are formed once people like Yuri and Co. realize there are mysterious Architects behind the realm, manipulating them all.

Navigating this treacherous landscape requires following the laws of the land. But, as the 12 episodes comprising Season 1 unfold, the series bends far too many of these established rules, which is frustrating for viewers.

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In High-Rise Invasion, masks follow the commands of the Architects, and once they're placed on people, these wearers are programmed to do what the operators want. However, Mayuko, one of Yuri's allies, quickly discovers a chef wearing a mask who somehow has free will. He admits he still has the Angel's powers but with this apparently defective mask, he gets to choose what to do -- which involves assaulting women due to some perverse fetish. But it's never explained how his mask became defective (if that's even the case) or where it came from.

When Sniper's mask gets chipped in a battle with Mayuko, he also regains sentience and joins her and Yuri. However, the show never addresses how his broken mask creates this mental freedom. After all, many other Angels are on the receiving end of beatings that are much worse than his, so they should be freed too when theirs are similarly chipped or damaged. Sadly, it's as if the series is conveniently picking masks to give sentience to.

In addition, there are people like Aohara, the doctor, as well as Rikuya, who have the power to mentally lock into the minds of masks and control them. It's initially said that they can control one, as seen with the sword-wielding Ein in Aohara's camp, but as the episodes roll on, they, as well as the sinister Aiwara, are able to control a bunch of them. No explanation is given at all for this rule being bent. It doesn't paint a cohesive picture of how humans and masks co-exist in this world.

The rules are once more broken when Kusakabe hears Uzuki, her son, screaming out for help with Sniper. This breaks her out of Aiwara's programming but it shouldn't be possible as he totally brainwashed her, so much so, she's not only seen the kid but she's also tried to kill his crew in the past. While an emotive turn, it doesn't match up with the foundation laid down.

Worst of all, the way Yuri is given a mask by the Dealer Angel -- and the powers she then gets -- alters the rules in a big way. She can dive into Mayuko's mind to ensure Mayuko's dark side is erased, yet somehow, Yuri's own dark side doesn't emerge in her mask. This emergence is supposed to occur when humans don masks to become pseudo-Angels, but yet again, this rule is scrubbed for the sake of the plot: in this case, making Yuri the ultimate heroine. Things like this make it hard to connect with characters because, at any point, they stumble across deus ex machinas and level up all of a sudden. It's a type of 'magic' that breaks a world with supposedly firm rules and algorithms.

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