ANIME REVIEW | Wacky Creationism in "Heaven’s Design Team"
In the beginning, God created the Universe; He felt it was good. He then conjured up land and water; He felt that was also good. The sun and stars followed; again, He was content. Now it was time to bring life to these world. This was where God started having trouble, which is why He went the next-best route: outsourcing!
Based on the manga by Hebi-Zou, Tsuta Suzuki, and Tarako, Heaven’s Design Team focuses on a collective of creative minds. They are tasked to create the animals that will one day roam the globe, with a little input from God (Naoki Tatsuta) as to what He’s looking for. Delivering these tasks is Shimoda (Junya Enoki), a rookie angel who’s still getting used to existing. With a craft team that includes the horse-loving Saturn (Kazuhiko Inoue), the professional eater Jupiter (Yuichiro Umehara), and the flamboyant Venus (Daisuke Kisho), the kinds of animals that will make their earthly presence will go beyond imagination.
These team members often mesh their personalities into what they’re creating. Venus’s way of letting her colors shine helps for her to create the most gorgeous of birds. Mercury (Junichi Suwabe) looks at problems with logic, which results in creatures that are designed with a more logical reason for how they exist in their environment. Jupiter’s love for eating often means that his creations are often tasty. (Yes, cows were his idea.) When it comes to Pluto (Naomi Ozora), her dark side results in cannibalistic and parasitic creatures that’ll give certain people a fright.
The real fun of Heaven’s Design Team comes from how the most zaniest of animal designs evolve into the real creatures that now exist. God’s suggestions are incredibly vague, be it making an animal tall or even going so far as using their bones as weapons. What the crew comes up with first is something that should be sent to straight to Hell. Thankfully, with enough teamwork and peer input, the crew are able to go from an incredibly tall cow to the graceful giraffe.
One of the funniest running gag’s is Saturn’s quest to make unicorns real. Despite his need to have these majestic creatures approved by God, every step in his way is thwarted by harsh reality. From osteoporosis to thinned air, the amount of reasoning behind why such an animal can’t exist in reality is both funny and informative. These problems also show up for many other animals that are up for approval, with these issues chipped away until a creature that actually can live okay on Earth is unveiled.
There’s also an educational aspect to Heaven’s Design Team that adds a bit to entertainment. In-between segments, two characters will talk about the animal that was just created, and how they exist in the world. It brings to mind how Kemono Friends added some educational value between commercials, only with a little more humor. (Jupiter’s need to taste test every animal results in some silly confessions, especially when he’s tried a poisonous animal.)
The cast brings the team to life with a lot of zest. Enoki’s Shimoda has a lot of innocence in his tone, as evident by the fact that he’s still considered an infant age-wise. Kisho’s Venus is a delight, with their portrayal of a transgendered woman brimming with delight without feeling like a bad stereotype. Inoue has a grandfatherly tone as Saturn, with his joy and sadness brimming with a goofy amount of geriatric energy.
Animated by Asahi Production, the visual style of Heaven’s Design Property can be hit-or-miss. On one hand, the creatures that are brought to life look beautiful, with the grotesque ones being filled with on-point detail. However, the designs of the human characters are decent at best. There’s a bit of flatness in how they look, which does add a bit of classic charm to their faces. With that being said, their movements can be a little stiff at times.
Considering that he’s worked on Hellsing Ulitmate and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it’s surprising how average Hayato Matsuo’s score can sound. It’s not bad, but it’s the kind of melodies that leave your brain soon after you hear it. Opening theme “Give It Up?” by 96Neko is a cheery poppy tune, one that will leave you humming its catchy beat for days on end. Performed by the cast, “Designed By Heaven!” starts off very awkwardly, before
Heaven’s Design Team is a funny and creative look on the hows and whys of Earth’s animals. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, but at the same time it does touch on why the mythical creatures wound up staying mythical. With its lively cast and vivid imagination, this anime is worthy of a place in the Garden of Eden. God has spoken: Heaven’s Design Team has been approved!
Final Grade (not an average):