Link Click: Revolutionising Time Travel

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| August 20, 2023

Time travel stories can be hit or miss for me. When time travel is haphazardly thrown into a story and creates plot holes or paradoxes, they lose me immediately. I thought I would never get invested in one of these stories, but then I stumbled upon something one day: Link Click.

This animated series from China (also known as donghua) surprised me and many others by being one of the best original series to air in 2021. What’s even more surprising is how the main plot of this series revolves around time travel that makes sense. This unique take on a time travel show has an intriguing story, relatable characters, and drop-dead gorgeous animation that will keep you invested from start to finish.

Let’s get this party started. (LAN Studio)

Link Click is the story of Cheng Xiaoshi (voiced by the amazing Alejandro Saab) and Lu Guang (voiced by the excellent Zeno Robinson). The two run the Time Photo Studio with the help of their landlady and friend, Qiao Ling (voiced by the impeccable Suzie Yeung). Cheng and Lu can use their special abilities to travel back in time through photos to help people in need.

Each time they dive back in time, the pair have 12 hours to help their client and get out while leaving the past untouched. The trio works together to help people find peace with their past and solve mysteries along the way. As the series progresses, a murder mystery slowly takes center stage, forcing Cheng and Lu to take on an enemy with similar powers.

If you’re like me and hate time travel in shows/movies, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with Link Click. Because they can’t travel on a whim and need a photo to do anything, it provides proper limits on what they can and can’t do. The series also uses the photo time traveling premise in an interesting way by telling various stories thanks to the different perspectives.

One episode might involve corporate espionage, and another might include someone saying goodbye to their family. One episode even follows a love story spanning decades (the man was very stubborn). This variety lures you into a false sense of security that everything is fine. But those final few episodes of season one and everything in season two so far have got me hooked on this unsolved murder mystery. It also helps that the characters are just so damn enjoyable to watch.

I’m certain he’s helping the murderer. He looks shifty. (LAN Studio)

Like many great series, the characters of Link Click are the stars of the show. Cheng’s easy-going vibe and Lu’s serious demeanor create engaging, funny, and tense scenarios. Cheng can possess people through photographs (essentially time travel). He possesses the person who took the photo right when they took it. But time travel is tricky because you want to avoid creating paradoxes, and that’s where Lu comes in. Lu can scan through time after a photo is taken.

This is limited to 12 hours, but he can find out everything that happened in those 12 hours. While Cheng dives back in time to possess someone, Lu guides him through and ensures he doesn’t mess anything up (which he would never do).

It’s not just the Cheng and Lu show; the other characters are just as fun to watch. Qiao Ling is an entertaining landlady and friend to the main duo. She’s unaware of the boys’ powers but trusts them to complete jobs for clients needing help. It’s also always funny watching Qiao and Cheng act like bickering siblings with Lu in the background. Link Click also has a varied cast of side characters, thanks to the possessing aspect of the series.

Each episode features new characters that are entertaining in their own right. My favourite was the martial arts student trying to marry the love of his life but kept getting beaten up by her Dad. We only get hints at the main villain throughout season one, but those hints left me on the edge of my seat for every episode. Season two expands on this mass murderer even more while providing more beautiful animation.

Friends? Nah, unofficial siblings. (LAN Studio)

Link Click was the first animated series from China that I checked out. I was cautiously optimistic, expecting it to be average-looking at best, but I was dead wrong. LAN Studio has done a fantastic job, and Link Click blows most seasonal anime out of the water with its stunning and unique animation. The opening, in particular, is one of the best-animated sequences I’ve seen. The fight scenes look like they were ripped straight out of a movie and left my jaw on the floor.

The soundtrack also surprised me, getting me even more invested in each scene. I’ve already mentioned the animation in the opening, but the song is just as amazing and has yet to leave my gym playlist. The ending is also excellent, and I’ll always get a sense of dread when I hear those first few notes because it always starts when the episode ends on a bloody cliffhanger.

Why can’t they just stay happy. (LAN Studio)

With the first season being mostly self-contained stories, you would think there wouldn’t be any room for a cliffhanger ending to an episode. But that’s where you’d be wrong because Link Click has caused me so much stress after the episodes end that I think I need to see a therapist. The episodes will end as something new is revealed or is about to happen.

The first episode does this the best because you think everything is fine and dandy, but then that song kicks in, and a feeling of dread comes over you as you realize what’s going on. This is the best part of Link Click, and you’ll be quickly loading up the next episode to see how everything is resolved. That is until you catch up to season two, and then you have to wait for it weekly like the rest of us.

Pose for the camera. (LAN Studio)

Link Click was a surprise addition to my top favourite anime list. What initially started as curiosity and thinking the opening was a bop turned into a rabbit hole of time travel, mystery, and murder. If you’re a fan of mystery stories, time travel, or just like seeing some fun shenanigans, watch Link Click. Just be warned, you will probably have small anxiety attacks because of those GOD DAMN CLIFFHANGERS. Season one is available in sub and dub on Funimation/Crunchyroll, with Season two airing right now!

Have you seen Link Click? What did you think? What was your favourite episode? Let us know in the comments where we can try and piece together this murder mystery.

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