“An Escape Room You Take Home With You”
Chinese animation has proven that while it still has a way to go to reach the same level of acclaim as Japanese anime, it can produce some quality works such as The King’s Avatar and Link Click. We here at Honey’s Anime now look at every anime season to see if a new Chinese-produced anime is releasing and wouldn’t you know, one has released this Spring 2023 season!
Titled X&Y—though it is easier to look it up via its non-English name Aiyou de Mishi as most searches will result in Pokémon information—this anime took us by surprise using a theme not too often looked at in the world of anime, escape rooms. That’s why after three episodes, we were hooked and couldn’t deny this series has massive potential. Why is it such an entertaining watch? Well, you’ll have to examine our first impression of X&Y for yourself to deduce the reasons!
An Escape Room Unlike Any Other
As we’ve already revealed, the main premise behind X&Y—at least at first glance—is about two unsuspecting coworkers, one being Yan Yuechu, who end up caught in a rainstorm and seek cover by going near a strange building. This building just so happens to be called the XY Chamber and it also is an Escape Room under the ownership of a beautiful girl named Xu Aiyou. The duo decide to try out the escape room and quickly solve puzzles and make their way through the almost ultra-realistic setting but when Yan returns home…things go very astray.
If you ever have been to a real-world escape room we can’t deny there is an otherworldly feel to it. It really is like you’ve stepped into a video game world and are now the protagonist, your goal is to escape by any means. They can be kind of nerve-racking and some are quite difficult but escape rooms are gaining popularity due to their themes and levels of challenge. X&Y kind of takes the escape room to an almost supernatural level when our main man Yan ends up seemingly trapped in his bedroom and has found it changed into an escape room. Is this just a scarily weird dream or is Yan slipping into the bewitching Aiyou is rumored to have?
X&Y is best entered with as little knowledge of the series as possible, which is why we only spoiled a small bit, just for that added level of shock value. Will X&Y become even darker and will real threats await our MC and his allies? We look forward to seeing that and think that will really push this show in a direction either of greatness or mediocrity.
Simple Characters, Interesting Nevertheless
Yan Yuechu kind of gave us a very generic MC impression when we were first introduced to him and that kind of worried us. The one thing we loved about series like Link Click was it had protagonists that felt realistic despite their unnatural abilities. Especially given how “realistic” X&Y tries to be, a generic main man could spell danger for the series. Luckily, mid-way through episode one and almost immediately in the second episode, we realized Yan’s simple nature hides a lot behind it and the same can be said for the others in X&Y.
Each character doesn’t strike over-the-top tones like most anime characters and that gives X&Y’s cast a very unearthly, almost scarily realistic tone. Yan’s coworker is a coward at times during the initial escape room but like most who dabble with something scary and grow used to it, he begins to calm down and adjust only occasionally getting thrown off. That is the kind of design we like to see in anime like this and we can only wonder what secrets lie behind Yan and Xu!
X&Y didn’t hesitate to show you that this is a series about style. From the fun opening—which we absolutely love even if it's instrument heavy—to the almost normal-esque character models, X&Y is really a pretty-looking animation. Episode 2 ends with an eye-opening sequence of puzzles and colors that just make us wonder what other escape room environments will be used going forward and how they will keep our eyes glued to our monitors.
Our One Concern is Worrying
Aiyou de Mishi/X&Y has only one worrying concept for us and that is the story overall. Already several episodes in, we still really don’t know if the story is meant to be taking these characters in a specific direction or if it’s just about an escape room that one can’t escape. X&Y needs to have a good reason for putting our characters in this predicament and if one isn’t revealed—or if it doesn’t match the themes of the show so far—we can see the series falling apart and dooming it for weak reviews from critics…
Just like the proprietor of XY Chamber, X&Y is a bewitching anime that has our interest piqued. Could this be the next great Chinese anime or will it be like a hard escape room, fun but angering? We can’t wait to find out as the series airs and you know we will have more articles about X&Y if we feel a review just won’t be enough!
Are any of you watching Aiyou de Mishi (X&Y)? Tell us in the comments below! For more anime reviews, first impressions, and all things otaku keep stuck to our escape room-like hive here at Honey’s Anime!