“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. When he got to creating animals, the process got tedious so he… outsourced it!” That’s the unorthodox premise of Tenchi Souzou Design-bu (Heaven's Design Team) and we’re loving it.
Heaven’s Design Team is a strong contender for Comedy of the Winter 2021 season. Educational and entertaining, like Cells At Work or Dr. Stone: Stone Wars, but lighter and fluffier, Heaven’s Design Team has a great cast, wacky humor, and facts about animals. Let’s see what impression the first episodes left on the Honey’s Anime staff!
Heaven’s Design Team is an office comedy at heart, apart from edutainment: designers, especially, will relate. God is a fickle client with vague directions and high demands, and each day at work is a mess because of his whims. Not only that, but designs get approved through an instant “enlightenment” and the proclamation “God Has Spoken!”.
There is of course the running gag with the horse, which was the one-hit-wonder of Tsuchiya or Saturn-san, and Meido’s kowai-kawaii creations. Several designs fail when they get to the engineering stage and this is where some of the funniest moments take place: we learn why Pegasus doesn’t exist or why creating a unicorn is not a good idea.
We just love the cast! Shimoda-kun, a timid young employee, is responsible for the communication between the team and God. Saturn-san is the oldest and most experienced but has an obsession with his famous design, the horse. Every time, he tries to come up with more animals that resemble his original design. Venus or Kanamori is flashy, with a penchant for dramatics - their impeccable style is a guarantee for stylish designs, like the hummingbird. Mizushima or Mercury is utilitarian - only what’s needed is part of his design, so the snake is naturally his masterpiece.
We have to point out that Crunchyroll’s localization choices have confused us - the first episodes use the Japanese names of the characters, while the most recent ones use their translations, the planet names. After a while, we got used to the changes, though.
The Illustrated Guide to Creatures That Really Exist!
This might not be high on your list, but watching anime and learning trivia can be pretty fun! Heaven’s Design Team succeeds in keeping the balance right: each episode has two parts and in between, we get two shorts that present us the final products, the animals featured today. The chibi characters confirm that yes, all the weird attributes of this episode’s animals are true. We don’t know about you, but we were shocked to learn that starfish have their stomach outside their bodies.
Heaven’s Design Team is a fun and upbeat show! We love the failed designs, as we get to see exactly why certain animals can never exist. With several intense anime this season, like The Promised Neverland, Wonder Egg Priority, or Attack on Titan, Heaven’s Design Team is our late-week breather.
Which is your favorite failed animal design? And which animals do you think we are going to see next? Let’s discuss in the comments below. Thank you for reading!