Ten years ago it was nearly the end of the world, as half the earth's population perished in a disaster. And it was all Eiji's fault.
A being known only as Daisy begins selecting certain people labeled as "orders", and makes their desires a reality. Eiji has hidden his powers since then, but is eventually cornered by a group of ten. They blackmail him, by holding his sister hostage and threatening to reveal his secret. Why did they target Eiji? Because his wish was to take over the world.
Big Order is an overly ambitious anime, which sets the bar at a very lofty height, then doesn't get anywhere near that goal. The manga is ongoing, so I suspect this may be due to the way the anime was pushed out to cash in on the story. It's an unholy mess of an adolescent male fantasy, but taken in small chunks doesn't look too bad. How it comes together is where it goes very wrong, particularly in the ending.
In countless other shows, individuals have various super powers, typically conservative in nature to avoid plot holes and logic pitfalls when too much is doled out to any character. Big Order on the other hand, gives many if not most individuals an incredible amount of power, which is gutsy. It then falls into the many juxtapositions you'd expect. Added to this mess are "trump card" abilities, which you never learn about until revealed for a convenient plot shift. When multiple powers paradoxically conflict in how they work, Big Order paints over the problem with lame excuses. The super power thing is made up as it goes, completely negating it as a feature.
Super powers could still work to spice up a good story, however Big Order doesn't get that right either. The groundwork is laid for an epic journey in how Eiji takes over Japan, and perhaps even the world. The first steps are taken in about 5 episodes, but then after skips nearly all the middle steps, like reading the first two and last two chapters in a huge novel. Considering how poorly the story plays out (especially at the end), that might be a blessing.
Despite the many other failings of Big Order, the characters make a decent showing. Eiji fairs well as the protagonist, even if his sister obsession becomes tiresome as the show progresses. Characters have intriguing powers, and good stories backing them (what little is told anyway). My favorite among them being Rin, who doesn't seem necessary for the story, but was an addition I really liked. Eiji foils her attempt to assassinate him, however due to her immortality, she remains a threat. His solution is to bind her to stay with him (where she remains under his domain and thus control), while disallowing her from harming him. This doesn't change her heart however, and she remains bent on revenge although nonchalant about her situation. It's an awesome chemistry, as Rin is kinda psycho, may have a crush on Eiji, but remains determined to kill him. That was enough to kind of carry the show for me actually. The villains, unfortunately don't have much going for them, probably because Big Order doesn't have enough time to properly set them up.
I didn't hate the ending of Big Order because my expectations were low by the time I got there, but it's a disaster (explanation in spoiler). It may be watchable if you can overlook many faults and just want a "anime stuff happens" kind of show, but honestly that's a damn low bar for picking this up. It has a few interesting points, but the very poor implementation makes it too weak to recommend.
[+] That ending... (HUUGE spoilers)
What would happen if everyone's wish were granted? For the showdown, Eiji is presented with this paradox, which could resolve by a new universe created for each wish. Eiji rejects this idea because he considers them "fake" worlds, even after it's explained they're real. He's determined to live in this crap world we call reality. So I'm like, uhh okay.
Eiji saves the world, thus essentially granting his wish, however this is exactly what he'd argued against before; everyone gets a happy ending with his wish fulfilled. Aside from being hypocritical, it again reveals the the anime is never as clever as it wants to be. Unable to understand what it did with the ending is only the icing on the cake. On the other hand it's possible this anime did something brilliant. What if Eiji failed to save the world, and never realized it - because from his perspective, his wish started before he could stop Armageddon. I doubt that's what was intended, but an interesting thought.
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reviewed by archen in 2016