Is it ethical to clone a human being? Would anythingor anyonehave to be sacrificed? How far should one go to save a life? A.I.C.O. Incarnation asks these questions in the aftermath of a biological experiment gone horribly wrong. The year is 2035. A team of scientists inadvertently create a massive and lethal organism that has infested a region of Japan. To gain a better understanding of this Matter as its called specialop diver teams are sent into quarantined areas usually at the behest of a secretive client to investigate and retrieve samples. The main characters are 15year old Aiko Tachibana a charming high school student and Yuya Kanzaki a diver with a mysterious past. Yuya who looks slightly older than Aiko has a laserlike focus on what he feels must be done to remedy the current situation. His aloofness and knowledge often arouse suspicion from those around him. Conversely Aikos life hasnt been as mission oriented. Still recovering from the events that took the lives of her parents and younger brother shes bound to a wheelchair as shes rehabilitated at a hospital near her school. In the face of these tragedies Aiko has maintained her humanity. One of the several notable supporting characters in this world is Dr. Kysuke Isazu voiced by the legendary Takehito Koyasu of JoJos Bizarre Adventure fame he played Dio in the 2012 adaptation. Dr. Isazu is the head of the hospital that oversees Aikos rehabilitation. His own daughter Yuzuha is in a coma. Finding a cure for her is always in the back of his mind. A revelation sets Aiko and Yuya on a dangerous mission deep into the Matter. Theyre accompanied by a team of divers: scientist Haruka Seri rambunctious and agile Kaede Misawa electrician Kazuki Minase stern exmilitary fighter Yoshihiko Sagami mechanic Maho Shiraishi and their leader Daisuke Shinoyama. Personally I really liked Maho. She was an anchor for the team and instrumental in helping Aiko adapt to her new role. My least favorite was Kazuki. He wasnt unbearably annoying but his interest in Aiko added extra tension to an already tense situation. Exchanges between the characters were often steeped in jargon. Im not a scientist so I cant verify the accuracy of all the exposition. Regardless I chose not to worry too much about it. Scientific accuracy only truly matters in real life. In a story it doesnt hurt to take some libertiesas long as they arent too obvious or distractingto enhance the intrigue. Would it be possible with technology 20years from now to create a rampant biomass thats impervious to most forms of attack? Who knows. But is it cool to see one in an anime? Hell yeah Visually the diver suits were an immediate standout. Instead of taking the easier route with 3D graphics the suits were hand drawn with a real sense of weight that you felt as they zipped through the hallways in the opening scenes. And when there was 3D the shading and frame rate closely matched the 2D. The creators didnt overlook the small details and were sticklers about consistencyeven if it caused some panchira. Such shots however avoided excess and were always the natural consequence of physics which for me is preferred over magic skirts that unnaturally defy gravity and shape shift. In short the animation makes few compromises. Everything looks great and moves as youd expect it to. Netflix mustve given BONES/Project A.I.C.O. a generous budget. I briefly listened to the English dub track to hear how it sounded. Unfortunately but perhaps unsurprisingly the male actors were uninspiring and the female actors sounded like adult women trying to imitate the tone of young girls. If you struggle with keeping up with info dumps which are abundant in this show Id recommend the dub. Otherwise in my humble opinion in this case the sub is better. A.I.C.O. reminded me of the liveaction movie Annihilation 2018. It raised stimulating ideas as it took us through menacing environments populated by peculiar forms. The director Kazuya Murata Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet did well in bringing so many piecesmaybe too manytogether into an engaging story with an impactful ending. Some people will surely disagree about the ending preferring something happier or something more tragic but I felt that an appropriate and satisfying balance was found. The story wasnt necessarily groundbreaking and it was occasionally difficult to follow but it certainly wasnt dull and at times it was quite brilliant.
75 /100
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