Initial Results: High Card

Vivian Scheibelein
4 min readMar 1, 2023

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Oh wow, I’ve gotten super behind on seasonal (per the usual) and now it is almost time for spring shows. I guess I better check out some of the new stuff before its too la-

oh, ok. Well, so much for that.

Kidding, kidding (kind of). A friend of mine asked me about High Card over the weekend and, not having anything better to do, decided to watch it and get back to them about it. Well, after giving the show a solid three episodes I can confidently say that…uh, its ok ig.

For those who are unaware, High Card is an action focused series which follows Finn Oldman, a high-school age kid who, after finding out about the potential shut-down of his former orphanage, looks for a way to help them out. Snooping around a casino leads him to the discovery of X-playing cards, 52 cards that grant people powers when used, and the various factions looking to collect them.

One such organization, High Card, disguises itself as a car dealership by day while simultaneously collected the X-playing cards for the royal government. The group recruits Finn and he agrees in order to help paying to save the orphanage.

Is it just me, or has this show been done already? No, I don’t mean to say this is a remake or anything, but it kinda feels like High Card represents that same not-an-isekai but “insert action series here” type of story that feels present in basically every season. Some of you, if you have a separate brain space for obscure seasonal shows, might remember Code Breaker from back in 2012. It was one of those series I consumed when I first got into anime and basically watched anything I came across.

At the end of the day, Code Breaker was not bad by anime means, but it also was not particularly good either, and that is the impression I get from watching High Card. It felt like Studio Hibari and the writers who worked on it were trying to create an action series without much thought about the story itself. Maybe that is a bit harsh for three episodes, but it is a feeling I cannot help but come back to.

Still, that is not to say there are not good things worth mentioning. The idea of Finn coming from nothing and entering a more high class society is certainly an interesting angle. That is, assuming they do something with it beyond surfaces level details, though Leo’s character makes it seem like that is going to be more or less unavoidable.

The series’ aesthetic is also fairly unique. The main characters are generally wearing suits, and since the cards turn into gloves when their powers activate, it gives a sense of completeness to their looks. A sort of suave energy, if you will. Like…government butlers. Yeah, that kind of makes sense.

The neon-esque color palette in a lot of the setting and character designs, including the literal casino they go to in the first episode, feel very Vegas. That, in contrast with the suits and playing cards, further distinguish between the have and have not energy in a lot of the interactions between the characters.

I cannot say anyone outside of Finn or Leo have cemented themselves as particularly memorable, but again, three episodes might not be the fairest way to judge that. The opening credits do seem to imply so fairly interesting storylines in later episodes, especially with the secretary who seems to have a fairly wild side to her.

Ultimately, High Card has left me really unsure. Nothing about it on the surface seems particularly special, but a lot of what is hinted to come next might just make it worth continuing. My plan for now is to give it another few episodes and re-evaluate. Until then, my opinion is kind of up in the air.

Are you caught up on High Card? How do you feel about the show? Let me know (without spoilers) down in the comments.

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As always, special thanks to Jenn for the support on Patreon.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Originally published at http://animatedobservations.com on March 1, 2023.

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Vivian Scheibelein

24. They/Them. Writer, blogger, creative. Trying my best.