Parent reviews for A.I.C.O. Incarnation

Common Sense says

Fast-paced anime series hobbled by weak lead character.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews
Parent Written byMatthew B. March 30, 2018

A pretty non-standard anime that asks tough questions

I'm writing this review as a young father with one son. I was a huge fan of anime growing up and still am to this day. I chose to speak up here because the official, staff-written review, is way off base in a couple areas.

The first being: positive messages. Throughout the first few episodes, the main conflict for our young, and might I add, female lead, is having to face a horrendous and ultimately life-changing reality. Thus, she starts off as aweak character, unsure of herslf and what she wants. But as she progresses towards the end of the season, she gets stronger and stronger, not physically, mind you, but mentally. She becomes willing to make the tough calls, strengthens her resolve and keeps good on her promises to both her family and her team. The positive message throughout the series is: the right thing isn't always the easy thing, but you'll be all the better fro doing it anyway. Her story arc is a "coming-of-age" tale, and it's told pretty realistically.

Secondly, the absence of good role models. Aiko is a good role model, as I just explained, and so is her male counterpart Kanzaki. He finds a way to stop the Malignant Matter and since he alone can stop the horrors it will wreak upon the world, he puts everything on the line for the greater good. No spoilers, but his final arc in the last couple of episodes really is the icing on a very noble cake.

Lastly, my contention with the violence rating should be justified, since there is little to no person-to person violence. The matter is a blob. Just... a bunch of gross matter in a pile. There is one human standoff, and some of the deaths of a few characters and extras at the hands of the Matter is somewhat disturbing. I'll say that at a minimum.

Really, if there's any reason that a kid shouldn't watch this show, it's because of the Matter itself. Some of the characters interactions with it, especially towards the end (again, no spoilers), are a little disturbing, offputting, and made me, a grown man, uncomfortable.

All in all, it breaks a few anime troipes and cliches, and should be applauded for that. I have no problem recommending this as a-okay for kids 13+, granted that the parent(s) has/have taught thier kids the difference between fiction and reality and are sure their kids are mature enough to handle some tough life questions.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byNojEsco October 8, 2019

Hope in a Hopeless world, in an oddball if effective story

AICO Incarnation unfortunately has a series of central problems working against it, and these are not small things. The first is the biggest, in that the situation 1/3 of the way through the Series is SO hopeless that one wonders if it is worth trying at all. The amount of danger that the heroes are in is constantly fluctuating in odd ways, going from impossible and overwhelming odds to 'Situation under control' in seconds, often times the characters not even taking things seriously! And lastly, there are human antagonists whom are working to prevent the undoing of the apacalypse, but their reasons are not convincing or compelling. Now, if you can look past that, it does tell an overall entertaining adventure story with likeable, if thin, characters, with solid artwork and good scene-to-scene momentum, but I could not shake the feeling that this was an 8-episode series stretched out unnecessarily to 12. Semi-recommended, and okay for teenagers, as the violence/gore is largely abstract and there's no Fanservice.
Parent Written byJenai R. May 22, 2018

A solid sci-fi that tackles big questions about humanity, honesty, and self-sacrifice

A.I.C.O. is a very interesting short sci-fi series which follows Aiko, a high school girl, and her various protectors as they attempt to break through a dangerous area to reach a research facility in hopes of reversing the 'Burst' - a bio-matter disaster that has overtaken part of Japan, killed many people, and threatens the world.

Contrary to the staff review, Aiko is not a weak character and towards the end must make some very difficult choices. Her role on the team is passive (as her #1 priority is to reach the end-point alive - if she dies, the mission fails) but she herself is not comfortable with this as she wants to help. She finds where she can contribute to the team both to give a morale boost and to protect the others, without resorting to the common trope of trying to do things on her own or refusing protection and just making things worse. The series points out on several occasions that 'strength' is not measured by how many lumps of malignant matter one can kill, but has more to do with character, goals, and watching the back of your teammates rather than trying to show off your own skills.

The other main character, Kazaki, also has an interesting arc as he starts as a basic aloof military boy trope (e.g. Heero from Gundam Wing, Sousuke from Full Metal Panic) but turns out to be far more complex with warring motives and feelings of his own.

Overall the series is intriguing and would be good for many discussions on life, humanity, purpose, science, etc. The downside is the plot is a bit overly complicated so this is not a good 'intro' to sci-fi - you have to be able to connect dots to follow it, and the cast is a bit overly bloated. Even minor side characters are well developed with motivations and backstories which avoids stock tropes but can leave the feeling that one is missing some unexpressed history. Some sci-fi elements repeat several times (the matter has mutated! It's a new form! The matter is recovering faster than normal! etc.) however there are at least stated reasons for the sudden new forms/mutations/activity that are eventually explained.
(Also, the English Dub on Netflix for this is really stilted.)

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models