Winter Anime Wrap Up: You Need to Watch Heaven’s Design Team
Have you been desperate for a rush of endorphins to lift your zombie brain out of its quarantine haze? Perchance you’ve been craving a sprinkling of some good ole’ wonky Japanese humor to break up your monotonous life? Or maybe you are a disgruntled employee in need of reprieve from dealing with the all-too-vague demands of your stress inducing higher-ups? Or perhaps you are a wildlife enthusiast who loves looking at cute cuddly animals…as well as slimy ones… and scaly ones…and even downright creepy ones?
Listen, if any of the aforementioned qualities even slightly applies to you (honestly, even if they’re completely irrelevant it doesn’t matter ) you need to watch Heaven’s Design Team. Oh, goodness, for the the love of Kami-sama and all things holy, please do yourself a favor and watch this lovely show if you haven’t already!
To give you all a little background, the anime is based on a manga of the same name written by Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki and illustrated by Tarako.
The story’s premise revolves around a team of ethereal creatives known as Heaven’s Design Team. God, too tired from building an entire world by himself to make its inhabitants, outsources the design of the animal kingdom to an eclectic group of designers. Shimoda, the angel assigned to oversee the designers’ enterprises (and our designated audience surrogate), relays God’s often vague yet specific descriptions to the designers. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue as Shimoda attempts to help (though more often than not, he just ends up standing by dumbstruck) as the designers scramble to actualize a functional design that meets God’s outlandish descriptions.
Last night, high on the laughters from watching this season’s finale, I compiled a shortlist of all the fantastic reasons why you need to start watching this show — right now:
9. Easy-breezy Episodic Episodes
You know how sometimes you just need the kind of show where the plots are by and large wrapped up within the span of one episode? The storylines of Heaven’s Design Team are what one could call “inconsequential” — the conflicts of the story do not carry over into multiple episode encompassing arcs, nor do they have long enduring consequences on the characters’ psyche. Instead, they are pretty easily resolved despite how complex they seem to be initially. Seriously, the tension is borderline nonexistent that it’s almost farcical… which is exactly what makes this show so fantastic!! We all need a feel good piece once in a while, and oh, does Heaven’s Design Team deliver! You’re able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wild antics and even wilder ideas of the designers scrambling to fulfill one order after another.
8. The art style and animation
Wow, wow, WOW! The animation in this show can be summarized simply by three words: bold, bright, and beautiful. The characters are drawn in a style of lineart that’s noticeably thicker than your typical anime, giving them a distinctive, more cartoon-like quality that just pops right off the screen! Coupled with the heavenly (pun entirely intended)backgrounds and vibrant color schemes, you get this gorgeous amalgamation of images that one would expect to cause sensory overload. But actually? It’s really soothing — like taking a hypnotic stroll through a candy store.
7. Charming Cast of Characters
So the reason why this show is so adorably funny? It’s not only due to the humor and the animation style. The cast is quirky and charming — and what a diverse bunch they are! The characters all have their own quirky traits that make them distinctive from one other, whilst also complementing each other when put into a group. And seriously, watching these characters collaborate and compete with their designs is what makes this show so fun to watch! There is no dynamic duo situation; you end up enjoying the unique interactions and rapport between all the different character combinations.
This show already subverts gender expectations by creating a well-balanced, gender-norm defying cast, but it goes the extra step in including a transgender character. One of the designers, Venus-chan, happens to be a trans-woman. The show never goes out of its way to outright state it, as it is incidental to the show, but it does highlight it through the clothes she wears and the pronouns with which the other characters address her. It’s just… lovely that there is this open, unquestioned acceptance of her identity. There is never a moment of othering when it feels as if it needs to be justified or explained ad infinitum; her gender expression doesn’t define her character. Honestly, I feel like I’m doing the show a disservice here by even mentioning this tidbit, but it’s truly a wonderful thing to watch a character simply exist as they are.
5. Productive Edutainment!
If you ever needed justification for watching anime, here is one! There’s hardly ever a moment you’re not learning something new from this show. The designers dive deep into the biology of real life animals, providing detailed explanations of why they are structured the way they are, illustrating how certain traits benefit their survival and how other traits impede it. They also break down the illogicality of mythological creatures like unicorns and dragons…with SCIENCE! Oh and in addition, all of this information gets presented in a demonstration of the designing process, featuring concepts such as prototyping and testing!
4. The animals UwU…But also…the animals o_0 :
By God, is the drawn otter freaking ADORABLE. Yes, there is a river otter. If that isn’t enticing enough, I don’t know what else will be. Also, animals are freaky, dude. Just freaky. I definitely can’t look at some of them the same way again…like, did you know there is an animal that eats its own poop???
3. Warm and Funny
This show just makes you feel happy, dude. What’s so interesting is that the comedy is simultaneously straightforward and easy to understand but also mind boggling with the downright weirdness of scenarios characters find themselves in. Usually, the weirdness stems from seeing God’s inconceivably strange descriptions come to fruition… life is weird, y’all…
2. Catchy opening:
For all you J-pop fans out there, this one is for you. Why is this so high on the list of reasons, you ask? “It’s just a song,” you say? No, no; it’s not just a song. Seriously, the opening to this show is the peppiest, the cutest, the most adorable opening song out there! I actually think its humanly impossible to resist smiling like an idiot when listening to this song. For anyone out there who is looking for new music to improve their mood, this is the one (and therefore this show is alsothe one because if you end up liking the opening, then you’re gonna have to watch the rest of the episode to get to the adorable ending)!
…P.S. I also recommend this as a less annoying alarm clock.
1. Comedic Slice of Life Escapism:
I think this is the most obvious reason for watching this show, and it basically encompasses all of the aforementioned points.
Look, in such wild and crazy times as we are in now, we’re all in need of some good old binge watching and escapism from our boring two bedroom apartment. Whether it be the bright colors, the zany humor, or the adorable animals, I guarantee there is something in this show that’ll bring you joy. Either that, or the low stakes will relax you into a meditative mood right before bed.
Oh, and also, Heaven’s Design Team features vacationing to the Galapagos islands, so at the very least, look at this as an opportunity for you to travel vicariously. 😉
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T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.