Chaos;Head is based on a Japanese visual novel. Takumi Nishijo is a reclusive otaku who lives for 2D girls. He is essentially a hikkikomori that suffers from intense delusions. The delusions begin to crack his psyche when he imagines himself as the person behind a series of murders. Labeled New Generation Madness by the media, the murders are grotesque. Takumi is shown images of the murders by a person call Shogun (or the General) in a chat room. Takumi’s life begins to spiral out of control when he stumbles across a real New Gen murder scene and a mysterious pink haired girl.
In typical visual novel fashion, Takumi is surrounded by females. Only these girls have the strange ability to create weapons called Di-Swords. These blades are transparent until they are “real booted.” Only people with the ability to summon their own blades are able to see the sword in their transparent state. Of course, Takumi has this ability. He is the hero after all. Chaos; Head tries to paint a mystery, but you can quickly tease out what is going on. I had most of the mystery worked out before the anime did the big reveal.
What makes the anime interesting is the Takumi’ decent into madness . It does a good job portraying his increasing insanity and doubts. Although, as a character, Takumi annoyed me. He had no real fight or flight response. Situations where he just shuts down and grovels would have most people running. When people are frozen by fright, they don’t move. Above all, they don’t grovel and yammer. Of course, this plays into his lack of social abilities.
This 12 episode series only has enough time to sketch the supporting cast. The characters are mostly flat stereotypes. Sena Aoi is the strong willed black haired fighting female with a father issue. Kozue Orihara is the bubbly, bumbling ditz. Ayase Kishimoto is the eccentric spiritual character. Rimi Sakihata poses as the childhood friend with a secret. Yawn. Out of the crew, I found Ayase the most interesting. She is a singer for an indie rock band and acts as Takumi’s guide for a period of time.
Because I enjoy characters, Chaos;Head left me feeling unsatisfied. The sketchiness of the characters and reliance on stereotypes left a lot to be desired. Hikkikomori characters are quickly becoming a stereotype as well. At least Madhouse did a decent job on the animation. It isn’t spectacular, but the animation is solid.
So how do I rate Chaos;Head? It held my attention long enough to finish. It had some interesting elements to it. Namely, the insanity of Takumi was interesting. Although Welcome to the NHK handles hikkikomori style madness better. The pseudo-science of the series left me cold. It tried too hard to sound scientific for themes that would be best left unexplained. The oft-mentioned “dead spot” in the brain struck me as trying too hard. The anime also suffers from pacing problems. Takumi rises from gibbering, pathetic personality to a super-hero far too quickly- single episode quickly.
Chaos;Head is pretty much another anime junk food series. It tastes okay but leaves you unsatisfied.