Tell me if you've heard this one before: A teenager from our world is magically transported to a fantasy world where he/she is the key to saving the kingdom -- or perhaps the entire world. Of course you have. Ixion Saga DT is an anime built around this most common of themes, seeking to deconstruct it piece by piece in the most hilarious way possible.
It is, quite simply, one of the funniest anime I have ever seen -- and it's only half done. [*Note: Minor spoilers ahead.]
Good -- A Genre Savvy Main Character
The main character of Ixion Saga DT is Kon, a hardcore otaku gamer/manga/anime/porn fan. He has no job and no life outside of his room. After agreeing to help a cute girl in the MMO he is playing, he is transported to a fantasy world where he defeats one of the villains Dorothy-style by landing on him.
Unlike most protagonists of his type, Kon is quite genre savvy. He has seen many an anime before, thus when the main antagonist begins charging up his ultimate attack, Kon has absolutely no issue walking up to the guy and kicking him right in the balls with his steel-toed boot.
Of course, much of the humour in Ixion Saga DT comes from when Kon's genre-savvy tendencies steer him completely in the wrong direction and things are not at all like what watching anime/gaming has prepared him for.
Good -- A Total Deconstruction Of The Fantasy Anime Genre
Like any fantasy anime, Kon quickly finds a party to travel with and, on the surface, they couldn't look more generic. There's the moe girl who looks like she is 10, the hulking knight, and the beautiful maid/obvious love interest. Of course, as this is a deconstruction of a typical fantasy story, nothing is what it seems. The moe girl doesn't just look like a kid, she actually is one (eight years old to be exact). The hulking knight is actually a college graduate (and is proficient in architecture and engineering). And the beautiful maid/obvious love interest is a transsexual (something that bothers no one but the main character).
The story itself follows the same pattern with the characters encountering one cliché fantasy experience after another and none of them working out in the way you would expect. Or, to put it another way: stuff happens, hilarity ensues.
Mixed -- Aiming For The Lowest Common Denominator
While quite funny, most of the humour is quite low-brow. Much of the humour is based on word puns, sexual innuendos, odd sexual preferences, and, the classic, people getting hit in the balls.
Perhaps the best example of the humour in Ixion Saga DT is in the title itself. While DT ostensibly stands for "dimension transfer," it really stands for "doutei," the pejorative slang term for virgin. So after declaring to the villains that he is 'DT' but that doesn't mean he will be defeated, they all assume that it is his name. Thus, whenever they talk to him or about him, they are calling him a virgin again and again without realising it.
My personal favourite joke is an entire episode that revolves around Kon "going super saiyan" and gaining a yellow glow that refuses to go away. The group must then deal with the myriad of problems, both mundane and dangerous, that such a condition would cause.
But if there is one problem with the humour of Ixion Saga DT it is that sometimes it...
Bad -- Focuses Too Long On One Joke
In one episode, Kon has a boner that won't go away. In another, he loses his mind and starts playing imaginary video games on a PlayStation controller he carved out of wood. Both are funny in the short term, but after 10 minutes of the same joke repeated over and over, it can get more than a little annoying. Luckily, the humour keeps changing more often than not.
Ixion Saga DT is a lot of fun. More than that, it is incredibly funny. I have seen a lot of comedy anime -- and even a lot of comedy fantasy anime -- but I have never found myself laughing so much or so often as when I was watching this anime. If you like low-brow comedy or love the idea of the deconstruction of anime cliches, then Ixion Saga DT is well worth your watch.
But will it continue to be as funny in its later half? Check back with Kotaku East in a couple of months for the review of the second half of Ixion Saga DT.
Ixion Saga DT airs every Monday at 1:05am on TV Tokyo in Japan.