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Impressions: Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren't they? Episodes 1-3


It would have been fantastic if Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren't they? (Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sō Desu yo?) were another of the three-minute series this season. The sad news is that there is no irony betwixt the show’s lengthy title and average run time. The good news is that Mondaiji keeps a goodly pace and humor about itself while introducing viewers to and taking them through this parallel world arena (the Little Garden), wherein those “with many troubles and extraordinary powers” cast aside the family, friends, and possessions of their own worlds in order to develop their uniquely inherent capabilities whilst competing in communities to win the Gift Games.

What I like about the setup in particular is that it’s made clear by the second episode that each of the three human protagonists are drawn to the Little Garden from parallel worlds, with specific mention to the possibility of distinct timelines and histories. I’d like to think the differences in backgrounds will create tension between the three main protagonists as they take on this new world together, but I’m not holding my breath. As of episode 3, the differences apparent between characters come down to personality and motivation, and those could have just as easily been bred on the same world. At the very least, the show does try to show its world’s imported diversity. 

Most panning shots of gathered crowds feature a bevy of elven-, cat-, dog-, fox-, and bear-eared inhabitants. The populous is, after all, comprised of any and all of those who receive a specific piece of air mail (a letter that literally falls from the sky), regardless of species or creed, and accept the invitation. However, the furry faces more often than not seem to be drawn to cater to fetishism and fan service, particularly regarding one of the main characters, Kuro Usagi (Black Rabbit), a buxom bunny girl with mood hair (you heard me) and real ears.

Bawdy jokes abound, but the show has a few things going for it above the nominal fanservice-fest. First off, these first few crucial episodes know how to balance its world building with humor. Delivered piecemeal, the explanation of the drives and history of the Little Garden is interposed between action and comedy. The interjection of humor is paced rather perfectly, if only abruptly, as to not wear out its welcome. The humor does, after all, have a knack for offending by bending towards the randomly inappropriate, a shame given how well the ribbing between characters comes off.

Also unexpected is what the show uses its protagonists for within the Little Garden regarding political spin, role division, and effects stemming from personal motivations. These are not so much subtleties as they are layers that helps distinguish and round out the main characters while setting up potential conflict. I also like the concept and rules of and wages of the Gift Games, where players can bet abstracts such as pride, concrete items, or life itself. More impressive is that, in what seems to be a monster-of-the-week premise's wet dream, the games are made out to be a means toward ends that can sustain communities independently of future participation. I think it'll be interesting to see what Mondaiji dares to do with that.

Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren't they? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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