The trope of characters being purposely overpowered can get exhausting and I’m convinced that overpowered characters never tell an interesting story.

The initial “Alice in Wonderland” tone combined with interesting exposition explained a world called “Little Garden” in great depth. I thought Problem Children was going to excel in just ten episodes. I had pretty high expectations and I thought I was going to get an exceptional anime.

I was wondering will these three characters that have nothing in common, work together, and overcome their differences. I knew that their powers alone were formidable, but if they combined their efforts anything was possible.

Well, not only was I disappointed, but my expectations crumbled. I found that Problem Children suffered from rushed plotlines that were scattered onto the canvas. When they came together it felt like not every character got enough justice.

Izayoi is a problem everyone else not so much…


For you taking on a Water God was the most crowning achievement of your life, but for Izayoi it was just Tuesday…

I’ll start with Izayoi since his “gift” is unknown and therefore as a result he’s the most overpowered character in Problem Children. His sole motivation is having fun and he’s an arrogant punk kid who needs to get knocked down a few pegs. Izayoi was barely challenged in the course of ten episodes and never mind working together with Asuka and Kasukabe… he pretty much handled the brunt of the action in Problem Children. Sure, they worked together for the grand finale, but his two allies looked terrible since they were not on his level.

Asuka

I have powers too!

Give me some more Asuka please. Seriously, by far she had the most conflict to deal with. The “gift” of authority allowed her to command others with her words. Before entering Little Garden she was tired of getting anything she wanted and her life of privilege was hollow. Her powers were a curse, because no one ever challenged her authority. Keep in mind her moments felt rushed and it frustrated the hell out of me. The most frustrating thing was when she was in the face of the giant fighting robot called “Dean” and her goal was to gain control of the robot.

This was supposed to be the true test of her powers and she was going to gain a huge confidence boost.

Sure enough, we never see how many attempts it took to control “Dean” or what she said. How much did she struggle? We were robbed of her accomplishment. You would think Problem Children would know the significance of this moment as Asuka wanted to understand and help others. Instead, we go ahead to her saving her allies and she was using “Dean” like a pro, but it’s a shame to see her not get that moment of triumph.

Trust me a lot of things happen off camera in Problem Children and it was well worth seeing.

Kasukabe

If you ride a Griffon you should be the coolest person ever… Too bad this is the highest point for Kasukabe.

I respect Kasukabe for wanting to make friends. Her “gift” allows her to be able to talk to animals and use the power of animals. Sadly, Kasukabe was always getting beat throughout Problem Children. The whole tournament she entered was a waste of time since she ended up forfeiting the final match.

She really did not accomplish much other than being able to ride the Griffon and I’ll let her have that. I would have loved to see her do more, but remember we have to get plenty of Izayoi and his broken unexplained non-sense.

Asuka and Kasukabe are much more interesting characters with genuine back stories, but Problem Children wanted us to focus on the least interesting character… The one who can do anything he wants when he wants… Ugh.

Kasukabe’s “gift” was actually in the form of a pendant around her neck and she was able to overcome her illness before entering the world of the Little Garden.

Oh Yes! Black Rabbit!


I’d much rather listen to what Black Rabbit has to say.


How cute! But, seriously Black Rabbit is probably the only reason I kept watching.

Black Rabbit has all the powers you’d imagine a rabbit would have plus an awesome spear that can control lightning. With her enhanced speed and hearing she’s probably the closest to Izayoi’s level. All you need is Izayoi let’s make that clear, but I just loved Black Rabbit.

Black Rabbit can send you to the moon; do I need to say more?

I love that even though she’s our fan-service character she can really hold her own. Don’t underestimate her just because she’s cute and she played a vital role. Without her none of the “Gift Games” can take place and she’s a lot smarter than she lets on. She summoned our three heroes in order to have them join the “No Name” community.

In a world where games decide your status and you can pretty much bet anything, communities are fighting to see who shall reign supreme. Of course Demon Lords have found a way to be unbeatable and they are conquering communities left and right. She represents the “No Name” community with pride and I have to admit her loyalty goes without question. She could have left the “No Name” community that was reduced to a wasteland and served as home for children.

But, she stood and recruited the Problem Children for the greater good. She has to do her best to keep them in line and she puts up with a lot of crap.

Black Rabbit you’re the real MVP.

The character designs are vibrant and the animation always turns it up a notch. Like I said, Little Garden was a great world and it was explained very thoroughly. I wanted this anime to be very good.

Sadly, the storytelling is scattered and Izayoi was too overpowered. Some of the best moments felt unfulfilling. What makes matters worse a lot of important things happen off screen and they have to pull out all the stops to make sure they explain everything. I get it, the ten episode limit, but that means we have to settle on startup villains to cap off the season.

The villains were boring and they were a trio of anime stereotypes. The trio consists of a small evil loli, a sexy seductress, and the gruff elf warrior. They really failed and I did not care for them.

Sure, they were cleverly infused with the whole myth of the Pied Piper of Hamelin and I praise Problem Children for incorporating legendary tales into their villains and other characters. However, the villains themselves were bland. In other words, the villains did not live up to the legends they were representing.

For example, The Evil Loli was the representation of The Plague. But, you see if she was a reoccurring character then I would have been impressed. Since the “Black Death” seemed like an inescapable fate that loomed everywhere. The character would have been better if she loomed everywhere.

Final Verdict

Like No Game No Life, Problem Children failed to establish anything really meaningful. But, I’ll admit they did get me hyped at the end when the letter comes down since I’m guessing that’s an invitation to face the Demon Lords. I see potential in Problem Children, but the character development needed to be better. Izayoi was solely defined by his powers and he comes across as a flat character.

The idea of me wanting them to all work together and collectively overcome their differences was not prevalent at all. Instead, we get the trope of one overpowered character that solves everything because he can. The sun rises and sets on this character while everyone else cannot seem to reach his greatness. It’s not a good story or rather this sells Problem Children short. Ten episodes felt like a sloppy start to something that has real entertainment value and it can be more than just a “Spot” generator.

(The pro-wrestling term “Spot” means a planned action or set of actions during a match that is meant to get the crowd excited. I’m saying Problem Children managed to only generate moments or “Spots” of excitement, but the overall value of the anime was inadequate)

Grade: 3/10 (Inadequate)

Positives
Fully Detailed Animation

Asuka, Black Rabbit, and Kasukabe are major standouts

Infusion of The Pied Piper of Hamelin myth

Negatives
Izayoi is too broken and hogs all the spotlight

Rushed Plotlines that feel scattered

Startup villains are bland

Most characters are way behind Izayoi

Ten Episodes of Wasted Potential… Where’s Season 2?

I will be back with more since I’m still working on other stuff and I plan on doing a First Impression of Michiko & Hatchin.

Until next time… Enjoy the intro to Problem Children.

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