CGI in anime is a mixed bag among fans at the best of times, with many viewers outright despising it in the medium. This stems from how poorly implemented it typically is, as it's often lazily placed into 2D shows and looks especially jarring in comparison. This isn't helped by how infamously bad the CGI is in shows such as EX-Arm and Berserk.
A new CGI series, however, could finally turn a corner on how CGI is viewed among the anime fandom. Night Head 2041 is a remake of an older series -- and it's not only a really good show in its own right, but also one that has equally as laudable CGI. Here's what makes the show so good and how it could be the CGI anime that fans have been waiting for.
What Is Night Head 2041 About?
Night Head 2041 is a remake of the 2000s anime Night Head Genesis, which itself was an anime reboot of a live-action Japanese show from the 90s. It's set in a futuristic cyberpunk world wherein any sort of religion or validation of the supernatural has been heavily suppressed into obscurity and expressly forbidden by the government. This occurs after World War III, which dramatically reduced the world's population.
The protagonists are the Kirihara brothers, who were born with powerful psychic abilities. The two escape from their holding facility, which had hoped to contain them and keep knowledge of their psychic powers hidden from the public. Forced to go on the run, the brothers fend off danger from those who would hunt them in a strange and unusual new world.
What Makes Night Head 2041 So Good
Initially, those who have so far ventured to watch Night Head 2041 have commented on how, strangely enough, the CGI is actually very good. This makes sense given that the studio producing the series was also behind the well-done CGI Dragon Quest movie. While some have compared Night Head 2041 to shows like Knights of Sidonia or Ajin, the CGI is actually far superior to theirs. As decent as their CGI could be, it still had many of the same problems that anime fans have with CGI in anime in general; in contrast, this show's aesthetic is much closer to Violet Evergarden's animation. This is because Night Head's CGI is much crisper and more organic-looking, lacking the stiff nature of the computer-generated animation in plenty of other titles. Perhaps the most standout element of this CGI is in how the psychics use their powers, which always looks both amazing and incredibly creative.
The actual story itself, however, is likewise compelling, with its dark and gritty tone fitting perfectly with the cyberpunk atmosphere. The pacing of the story also supplies enough intrigue to keep things going while making sure to actually answer questions as it progresses.
The aforementioned tone involving an oppressive government and complex conspiracies is not only somewhat timely but also stands out quite a bit in contrast to its contemporaries. Numerous other anime this season are manga adaptations, with the majority of these shows having a much brighter, lighter and more optimistic tone and palette. The psychic mysteries of Night Head 2041, however, feel closer to the cyberpunk anime and OVAs of the 80s and '90s, eschewing cutesy aesthetics and waifus for more hardened storytelling. This, along with its CGI, may be why the show is currently flying largely under the radar. Hopefully though, its successes so far in the first half of its season will inspire more viewers to give the series the chance it deserves.