Mayuko gets introduced as an ally for Yuri, but Sniper Mask gets brought in just as quickly as a formidable opponent. He’s treated as a parallel figure to Yuri who also wants to figure out the basics of this world, but he comes at it from a different angle than Yuri and Mayuko’s necessity for survival. Sniper Mask ultimately becomes the most fascinating of High-Rise Invasion’s characters since he exists in this fractured state where he has some level of awareness that allows him to question the rules that govern this realm.
High-Rise Invasion unpacks this larger mystery with three separate series of events between Yuri’s party, Rika’s group, and Sniper Mask’s team. These three narratives all cover different aspects of this universe and it’s an effective strategy that builds real excitement once these disparate objectives get to align and come together. It all helps contribute another layer to how the true goal of this situation may not be to escape and that there’s actually something more appealing to those within the universe.
People will likely come into High-Rise Invasion for the murder and trippy concept, but they’ll leave talking about the friendship between Yuri Honjo and Mayuko Nise. Yuri explodes with joy whenever Mayuko shows her appreciation and they form a sisterly bond that’s truly wonderful, as is Mayuko’s embarrassment every time she opens herself up to Yuri a little more. These two have somehow brought out the best in each other in this twisted world and the growing bond between them is one of the highlights of the series. They’re the new reigning Murder Wives.
No one in the cast feels like a waste, but Yuri and Mayuko grow into especially entertaining protagonists who have a surreal sense of humor and empathy that add a lot to each of them. Mayuko’s romantic love towards sharp blades is a good example of High-Rise Invasion’s wild mix of sensibilities. The dynamic between Yuri and Mayuko is a consistent delight, but High-Rise Invasion develops strong character dynamics across the board and there are multiple pairings of unlikely figures that blossom into endearing friendships by the end of the season. Sniper Mask is often played in juxtaposition to Yuri and his bond with Kuon Shinzaki is also genuinely sweet.
The vocal performances in the English version are also exceptional across the board and add a lot to the characters. Suzi Yeung as Yuri and Jonas Scott as Sniper Mask are the best of the lot, but everyone makes a strong impression. The Mask characters are by nature caricatures and all have generalized names that speak to their weapon of choice like Sniper Mask, Axe Mask, or even Masked Rider Mask. Baseball Mask and Chef Mask are some of the most creative of the lot and are also highly terrifying. High-Rise Invasion at least seems to be aware of how absurd and exaggerated all of this is and is in on the “joke.”