2022 has undoubtedly been an incredible year for the anime community. With heavy-hitting blockbuster series like Spy x Family, the return of Attack on Titan, and Studio Trigger’s brand-new series, Cyberpunk Edgerunners dominating the internet, 2022 has offered more than enough for anime fan’s to sink their teeth into.
Continuing this momentum, the end of October marks the release of Yostar’s Arknights: Prelude to Dawn, an anime adaptation of the popular mobile tower defense game, Arknights. The source material’s intriguing sci-fi dystopia, coupled with its signature art style and unique character designs gives the series potential to be one of the best sci-fi anime to date.
A Unique, Mystifying Dystopia
Arknights, originally created by the Chinese developer Hypergryph, is an incredibly unique gacha-style tower defense game. Set on the futuristic planet Terra, Arknights boasts a large cast of playable characters that all seem to inhibit kemonomimi traits — characteristics of animals or other mythological races. The world of Terra has been ravaged by an infection caused by natural disasters. While the infection is highly contagious and deadly, it also grants the afflicted with the ability to use “Arts” — the name of Arknights‘ magic system.
The anime adaptation of the game, Prelude to Dawn, will be adapting the “Main Theme”, or main story campaign, specifically the Act 0: Hour of Awakening arc. This story arc largely focuses on introducing important characters, the landscape of the city Chernobog, as well as exploring the conflict between the Reunion and Rhodes Island groups.
A Shockingly Poignant Sci-Fi Story
Arknights: Prelude to Dawn could very easily become one of the next big sci-fi anime this year, thanks to its unique exploration of the conflict within the world of Terra. Largely focusing on Rhodes Island Pharmaceuticals Inc. (R.I.), a group made up almost exclusively by those known as the “Infected”, Arknights has a heavy focus on showcasing a paramilitary organization struggling in an ongoing fight to assist other infected, even if that occasionally means using force.
On the other side, the main antagonistic force in Arknights, known as the Reunion, are an alarmingly similar group of infected who have suffered severe prosecution for their afflictions. Because of this, Reunion has formed a militant force looking to end all forms of oppression and discrimination within Terran society.
The conflict between these two groups is gripping, as the moral ambiguity between the two groups is shockingly well-written considering Arknights looks like the average gacha game at first glance. Underneath the operator drop rates, however, is an incredibly powerful story about discrimination within marginalized societies and how two groups that should be fighting towards the same goal will ultimately battle each other instead.
The Next Big Anime Of 2022
For any fans of September’s Cyberpunk Edgerunners, or even fans of other uncomfortably poignant sci-fi anime like Ergo Proxy will likely find themselves enthralled by just how deep Arknights‘ commentary is capable of going. With plenty of action and a thoroughly developed magic system to go with it, Prelude to Dawn has the potential to captivate anime fans this October.
In addition to its all to timely story, Arknights boasts a healthy cast of characters, all with distinct visual flair and a flashy techwear aesthetic that easily stands out against other anime airing this year. While the anime has yet to air, and the game still seems to be relatively niche in the west, Arknights: Prelude to Dawn is guaranteed to be a massive hit for fans of dystopian anime, or for those who love a heavy-hitting blockbuster.