Being self-aware is often a sign that an anime is knowing what it's doing, but sometimes it might come up as being try-hard instead, and sadly that falls into the case for Re:Creators. That said, this was partly my fault for having too much expectation for it (never learn, do I).
Before diving into the rant part, I'd still gonna point out some positive things I have for this series because at least I had some fun watching it.
What I Like
The best thing about this anime is no doubt the aesthetics aspect which could be summed up in one word: clean. It would be a lie to say I didn't come here for Altair via some random video I found on the Internet 😂. But for real man, her design is just so good, basically ticked most of the boxes that I tend to pay attention to. Of course, the rest of the cast also received similar treatment I'd add, for if they don't possess fancy outfits as Altair did, the fighting animation for most of the characters never failed to deliver the hype (Sirius should come close as 2nd after Altair).
As mentioned above, this producer of this anime was pretty confident in what they were trying to achieve, hence the constant 4th-wall breaking. Though this has some drawbacks such as being repetitive or even downright annoying, I did find some of them pretty engaging to go along, especially the recap episode that actually has some legit purposes rather than stalling time for more ideas and such.
What an evil look. This armor, so many lines. The puffy skirt just gets in the way during action scenes. And this weird rectangular part around the waist. Her hair is too long, it's a pain to animate it. Especially when viewed from the back. She just looks like a light-blue ball of fur. Just like a mutated mop.
If I may speak on behalf of the animation staff, this character was designed just to make their jobs difficult. It makes us question the sanity of the designer.
- Meteora's remark on Altair's design
Lastly, the sound element of Re:Creators is not one to be scoffed at. While the two epic OPs should be more than enough to get me excited, the BGM are so well catered to keep pace with the intensity of the story. Lastly, the seiyuu have also been carefully selected to blend in flawlessly with the characters they're responsible for, which is very nice.
To wrap up this section, it would not be a stretch to say the production value for Re:Creator is as ambitious as its story tried to be.
Admittedly, this anime actually did a pretty good job at the first half by presenting an intriguing world-building filled with meticulously crafted characters and lore and stuff.
I mean the reverse-isekai is one thing but adding a lot of dialogs to further enhance the exposition and solidifying its structure is something you rarely get to see in any kind of fantasy-ish story nowadays.
Unfortunately, things suddenly took a more negative turn as they tried to one-up themselves by bloating out the contents for no particular reason.
What Was Lacking
I'll be frank, initially, this anime gave off the impression of a knock-off version of Fate (mixing a bit of Dies Irae I'd argue but whatever), yet even so, the direction was neat as they tried to explore from one side to another. But everything has a limit, at least in Fate we get a clear fixed number from the start, but here in Re:Creators they probably had no idea what to do with the remaining space of the show so instead of polishing the already-sufficient cast (at least focus on the creator/creation chemistry bruh) they just went out of their way and add more random stuff that literally nobody was asking for and thus making things messy and incohesive (And I honestly don't give two shit about Megane or whatever 😴).
Perhaps they felt the need to even the odds for both sides, seeing as how Altair's allies kept dwindling by the episode, but that was all for naught in all honesty given how ridiculously OP she is rofl. Not to mention how awfully convenient it was that almost everyone just turned against her after talk-no-jutsu, I definitely prefer them not siding her in the first place.
Simply put, one of the main complaints I have for this series is the overflowed pool of characters especially those that came out later as the story approached its finish line, meanwhile, the main cast which had a solid foundation failed to receive the care they truly need. With the exception of Meteora, all of them were basically underdeveloped at the end of the show, some even got sidetracked badly to make way for the cringey secondary cast that came out later, which is quite a shame.
Apart from that, the deal with Altair, the center point of the whole story, felt rather half-assedly done. I mean don't get me wrong I definitely enjoyed her end-game moment with her 'creator' but the path to get there was rather rough to say the very least. Her motive and action at the beginning really piqued my interest and I genuinely came to this anime mostly because of her, but to my disappointment, her character kinda was limited by her own plot, which is also a shame given how much potential she had with the endless supply of "materials".
To elaborate, I feel like Altair's action and motives weren't justified enough given the scale of the story that kept growing exponentially towards the end. Yeah sure, what happened to her 'creator' was definitely depressing but I'm not sure if that alone was enough to make her go to great lengths of breaking the 4th wall and committing universal genocide or such which when looking back might just seem funny. But to me, this isn't the biggest issue, for that should lie with the mistreatment she got for similar reasons stated in the previous section.
Instead of cramming everything into the endgame, they should have at least dedicated one episode somewhere in the middle explaining Altair's past FROM HER POV, not through by someone else's or even worse, their mere speculation which is lame.
Point is, they should have disclosed the thought process behind this whimsical character before she arrived at her ultimate decision of wiping out the universe and such. But nah, instead, all we got was some vague threatening foreshadowing and just Altair chilling in a chair at a variety of occasions.
But yes - at the risk of repeating myself - despite the transgression, her heart-to-heart moment with the creator was really well done as it showcased the truest and innermost side of Altair's character, so probably the one of the two redeeming point for the entirety of the 2nd-half (the other one is Sirius combat scene boi that shit was literal 🔥).
All and all, much to some of my discontent for this anime, I still think it deserves some recognition for the efforts made to create something different than the norm. In a time where anime lists mostly consist of bland, lazy adaptations, original works like Re:Creators will always be there to attempt a revolution, whether the odds are against them or not, and that's why I can't see myself losing hope on this medium just yet.