Catching up with Re:Creators and Saekano2

April 29, 2017 Leave a comment

It was necessary for the story, dammit.

Three episodes in, Re:Creators hasn’t has bobbled the ball a little, but hasn’t dropped it. If there’s a problem right now it’s that everyone is too busy speculating on why these fictional characters are arriving on our world, or they’re reacting to the “real” experience here, like coffee. Meteora is doing most of the speculating, because of his nature, the way he’s been created, a fact that itself leads to more speculation, and it could go on and on. Most of the talk is okay; it’s honest discussion about important things, and it’s done intelligently. But there is an awful lot of it, and near the end of episode 3 I was coming to hope that Meteora would get tired and fall asleep for a bit.

Or that we’d get another weirdo battle. I’m not really sure why Selesia and magical girl Mamika started battling in episode 2, and I’m even more confused by the outcome–not that Yuya and that horse girl showed up, that was fun. Mamika discovers that her cute heart-shaped weaponry act like bombs here, and draw blood. And then Selesia starts talking about the danger of achieving ideals by force, while it was obvious that Mamika was shocked by the extent and violence of her powers here (and why are only her powers changed?) and probably won’t use them again … well, she did just that, but you might take that as lashing out in a panic. That scene could have been clearer. And while the show has started to bring the creators in, a logical thing to do, the even more logical thing, characters reading ahead to find out what happens next in their own world, is teased in a brief scene, then forgotten: Selesia doesn’t want to know her future. But the threat is there with anyone who’s read the books and blurts out a future event by mistake, and surely other characters will be tempted by it. Still, overall the show is doing a good job with a tricky scenario.

Looks threatening, but …

… Megumi shows up.

When I wrote about Saekano2‘s first episode I thought it strange that they would begin the season that way. Turns out I missed an episode 0 that turned out to be EXACTLY what I expected. Fanservice, commentary on the game their making that was also meta-commentary on the series itself, and more fanservice. Anyway, that out of the way, the show has settled in on its big arc, as Lori and Izumi have a confrontation and veiled-threat scene where Lori’s bigger, more famous team will almost certainly beat out Tomoya’s scrappy bunch, and would have been very serious except for Megumi disarming dramatic moments, not to mention everyone’s awareness that this was all kind of cliche. Now Tomoya has to choose which Utaha ending to use, and that too has profound importance because Tomoya’s decision might affect her future and their relationship. Episode 3 is more or less ridiculous in its setup, but brings us Tomoya’s interesting conclusion: neither ending works. So I think back on what Utaha said she’d do if someone told her that, and hope Tomoya has a helmet on.

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Stumbling to catch up: Sakura Quest and HInako note 2-3

April 23, 2017 2 comments

Sakura Quest has settled into it’s cute slice-of-life routine without a misstep and with much efficiency. All four of the side girls had been introduced by episode two, and at the end of episode 3 they became members of Yoshi’s court. Meanwhile, Yoshi herself has accepted her role of queen, in spite of the daily verbal abuse she gets from Ushimatsu. Nothing we didn’t see coming. What I personally didn’t expect was for Yoshi to come to the conclusion that the town really didn’t need economic stimulus or any sort of change. For a moment I wondered then what the show would do next? If there’s no overall goal to the series, apart from getting Yoshi to love the countryside again, what’s she going to do apart from showing up for events? But it struck me that while the townspeople are fine with things as they are, the town still has a problem with its dwindling population. I don’t know what Yoshi and her team can do about that, but should be fun to see her try.

Note Yua’s look of joy.

I caught up with Renai Boukon, but I have nothing to say about it, apart that the crazy, nearly random atmosphere I liked in episode one might be a bug, not a feature … So it’s on to Hinako Note. Eps 2-3 with this show aren’t filling me with hope, either. I know shows like this need to stop everything for the sake of cuteness from time to time, but episode 2 stretched things too far. They decide to form a theatre club, which we already knew from ep1, and there’s a very long and dull flashback to Hinako’s childhood scarecrow days. I’m already sick of that joke, I hope they retire it soon. Things get a little better in episode 3, where they finally start school, and Kuu (my favorite character right now) manages to cover Hinako’s scarecrow reflex as a joke. Meanwhile, all the girls join another theatre group at the school. How many do they need? But a new character, jealous (over Chiaki) tsundere Yua, tries to outshine Hinako, who stupidly takes it as a kindness. Still, we need a tsundere to liven things up in this show.

New shows Spring 2017 5, the last

April 18, 2017 4 comments

Swirly clouds to open Shuumatsu.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka? Isogashii Desuka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka? … what a title. Anyway, we have a woman talking about how happy she was that someone loved her while we watch a sky battle and people plunging to earth. Cut to a generic fantasy village where everyone’s an animal, except for a girl chasing a cat who falls into the arms of a guy named Willem. Their appearance (fully human) bugs the villagers, so they mosey around while Scarborough Fair plays, and the girl goes away. Then Willem gets a job guarding a storehouse of weapons on one of the floating islands, and guess who’s there? Also there is a sexy troll who wants to eat him but doesn’t because he’s the last of his kind, and some rambunctious little girls. Turns out they’re the weapons he’s supposed to be guarding. Oh, and humanity got wiped out over 500 years ago.

She’s more polite than most trolls.

A very small part of a much longer, epic tale. The part we see here isn’t bad. The main girl is kind of boring, but Willem seems okay, and the little girls are cute without being too annoying. But, in spite of what we get of the backstory, it’s bland, and an obvious adaptation from a literary source, hence the too-long conversations and explanations. Maybe they’ll take care of this as the series moves on, but I’m not betting on it.

Saekano’s return begins with another classic Utaha-Eriri bickering match.

Decided not to watch Fukumenkai Noise because this is going on too long–watch as it becomes the Show of the Decade … and I’ve written plenty about Natsume Yuujinchou already. So next is a show which I will probably follow: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭, which I will call Saekano2 as all sane people will. As we start the new adventures of a dull producer and his adorable harem/creative team, Utaha and Eriri fighting, and someone says “Gee, why are they always fighting?” It’s flashback time. Generally the reason seems to be jealousy over Tomoya, and it’s been festering for a while. But to complicate the issue the show also establishes the profound respect the bickering girls have for each others’ talents.

The fateful first bickering.

Not the way I would start a new season, with a flashback, but it managed to get us up to speed with Eriri and Utaha. We don’t get much of Tomoya, but no great loss there. What I really wanted was more time for my favorite, Megumi, the supposedly bland girl who can destroy the conceits of whoever she’s talking to with a single, seemingly inoffensive line. Oh, another thing we get plenty of is fanservice, that hasn’t changed. Still, I enjoyed season one a good deal so I’m going to keep watching season two.

Lucifer is about to be seen plunging through that sky.

Now it’s Sin – Nanatsu no Taizai, where we watch Lucifer get cast out of Heaven, muttering bitter stuff all the way. She crashes into a cathedral and has a brief chat with a nun in training named Maria, who wears a very short skirt yet turns out to be about the most modest character we see. Then she gets cast down further, into hell, where a girl named Levi feels her up a bit, until Satan shows up and gets her ass kicked. After that it’s a confrontation with the other main Sins, especially Vanity, more fighting, more groping, until Lucifer gets her wings cut off and becomes a full demon. Then she goes up and stabs Maria for some reason.

Yeah, it’s a big mess, an excuse for fanservice, thankfully edited out (but I bet the DVD won’t be). With the way the Sins all behave, they should all represent Lust, apart from Gluttony, who’s too busy eating. The actual Lust is no more lustful than the rest. There’s also Levi’s floating blue dog-toy, whose presence is unexplained but helps with the visual naughty-bit editing. Well, if you like this sort of thing I suppose it’s not bad. It’s bright and colorful, though, apart from a couple of decent action sequences, not much in the animation department. Let’s move on.

Shroudy clouds to begin DanMachi-the spinoff.

Finally, Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria, a spin-off of DanMachi where we follow Aiz around and not Bell. Or rather, for this episode, we follow one of her teammates around, Lefiya, an elf and magician but not a very confident one. You can understand her dilemma. It’s hard to rattle off a long spell when there’s a monster about to rip you to shreds. She gets pep talks from DanMachi veterans such as Aiz and the two Amazon girls and then when their party is attacked by a whole new type of slimy monster she gets another chance–and fails again. Oh, at the end we get a glimpse of Bell and his first embarrassing meeting with Aiz.

Lefiya, worried as usual.

Not going to watch it. The episode was bland and lazy. The monsters’ purple slime is supposed to melt things, but apparently only the things the show wants it to, not things like Gareth’s shield when it’s important to the story. While I liked how it will take time for Lefiya to overcome her difficulties, she isn’t that interesting a character to root for. Tiona and Tione, the Amazon fanservice duo, are more fun to watch, and Aiz is Aiz. Most of DanMachi’s side characters never interested me to begin with. For other fans of the first series, the new story arc, beyond Lefiya, involve Uranus and some nefarious plans, hence the new monsters, and that might be fun to watch. Not for me, though.

Sorry I’m so late finishing this.

New shows Spring 2017 4

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Not sure what that is …

Sekai suru Kado dumped two episodes on us in one week, but I don’t have the time for both at the moment, so I watched episode 0, probably a preview. We meet two government flunkies, first Shun, your average lazy young guy, and then Shindo, who’s a bit weird. Together they are assigned to negotiate a buyout of a plating factory that has seen better days, but Shindo gets interested what they’ve been toying with. Then he brings in a scientist and chats up a few bigwigs, and they create a “supermetal!” Everyone is happy because no one really wanted that general purpose hall they planned to build, anyway. So maybe we’re going to watch a show about real government suits changing lives? Sounds a bit dull. Then this happens.

At this point, a flying cube wasn’t what I expected.

Yep, episode 0 was a precursor to main fun, which starts with the other episode. That cube is fascinating and great to look at, though the CGI they use for everything when it’s around looks fake. As for the story, it looks like ace negotiator Shindo is going to negotiate the best possible outcome for his side and the other (an important point for him, though his reasons are less moral than practical) in outer space, or another dimension, or something. “Why?” is left unanswered for now, and now I suppose I’ll have to watch the next episode of thing thing to find out. It had better be good.

Re:Creators’ rather self-important, movie-like opening.

Re:Creators, after an artistic and confusing opening bit where a girl might jump in front of a train, we don’t know, has Sota, your average high school boy, talking about narrating a story, then has him checking his tablet for his favorite show, but the tablet gets weird on him and suddenly he’s in another world where a girl in a mecha fighting another girl, who has a great rotating sword routine going on. Then he’s back in his home and so is the mecha girl, Selesia, and the other girl shows up and there’s another fight, where another inappropriate character shows up. What’s going on is that Selesia is the heroine of the boy’s favorite show and light novel, and she’s stuck here for the time being, with the third character and god knows how many others.

Selesia discovers she’s fictional.

In other words, fictional characters are finding themselves in our world, which sword girl says is the world of the gods, and these gods, i.e., us, are cruel people who must be stopped. The sword girl is quite amusing in her description of us. It’s an interesting premise, not the first to bring fictional characters to earth to be sure, but one with potential. But if I was sent here, I would find the person who created me and ask them why he/she made my own world such a shitty place. The answer is of course that the creators are trying to tell a good story with conflict. I wonder what the characters will do if they discover some smutty doujin written about them. Interesting premise aside, this show goofs with some of the usual tropes, beautiful girl in a boy’s room, that sort of thing, and that worries me a little. We’ll have to see how it pans out.

Eromanga-sensei starts with a finish.

Eromanga Sensei gives us Izumi, a pen name, a high school boy who’s been writing successful erotic light novels for a while. He has never met his illustrator, “Eromanga sensei,” and is distracted by the shut-in little girl, Sagiri, who’s been living with him for a year, not sure why. He cooks her meals, etc. Well, I’ll give you three guesses as to the identity of the narrator.

She says that a lot. Gets a bit annoying.

It all sounds ecchi, and the show occasionally gives us a little too much of Sagiri body from time to time. But the show itself goes light on the ero stuff and focuses instead on Izumi and Sagiri’s relationship, siblings not by blood, living under the same roof, having a shared interest, but Sagiri is too shy and traumatized by her past to truly open up. When she finally lets Izumi into her room we get a sweet but possibly too long scene where he coaxes a little out of her, and wisely stops when she reaches her limit. If they continue with this path, with a little eromanga silliness mixed in, this could be a nice little series. Not sure I’ll have time for it, though.

Uchouten Kazoku 2 begins with some typically lovely background art.

For me the biggest surprise of the season is the return of Uchouten Kazoku, a wonderful show that did its job three years ago and had absolutely no need for more, yet here it is. As for the story, well, like first season, it kind of spreads over the place and yet remains familiar. Yasaburo continues to look after Akadama-sensei, when Nidaime (I guess) returns to do harm to him. But it’s mixed in with brother Yaichiro wanting to revive his fathers shogi tournament, hunting for something called tsuchinoko, and even Nidaime’s return is complicated by tengu politics. Meanwhile Yasaburo happily walks through it all in his inimitable way, happily talking with both sides of the conflict.

I wasn’t sure I wanted another season, but this episode reminded me just how good the original was, the quick, witty bits that refer to other moments, things like the Hawaii room in a proctology clinic, the furniture falling everywhere (tengu stones), and Yasaburo’s devil-may-care attitude. The only things I missed are Benten, who is mentioned a lot but is on a world tour, and that tanuki girl that they kept hidden through most of season one. Also, I’m also happy to report that the show is still gorgeous to look at, particularly the background art of Kyoto. This season already has a lot of possible winners in it, but I might have to find room for this one.

Some fake european history to start off Zero.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho is euro-style fantasy, set back in the days of witch hunting. After a brief lesson which basically told us that life sucks for witches, we quickly discover that they also suck for beastfallen, half-man half-animal. Plenty of rewards for anyone who can bag either a witch or a beastfallen, and our unnamed beastfallen (so I’ll call him “Beast”) hero is well aware of it. He meets up with a young, cute witch named Zero, and after some bickering and soup-stealing they team up, to watch each other’s back until Zero gets the Book of Thirteen back, else it’s the end of the world, I guess. Also Zero will transform Beast back into a human.

Straightforward show. Both Beast and Zero are types, but not annoyingly so. It helps that Beast is afraid of witches and sorcery. Also, while sorcery is well-known and feared, magic is still pretty new to the world, and Zero gives us few interesting infodumps on the subject, having written the book on it, so to speak. The kid they bring in at the end looks annoying, I hope he’s not a regular. So the show has a decent backstory, an interesting goal, and a couple of decent characters. Decent start. By next week I’ll probably have forgotten it exists.

New shows Spring 2017 3

April 11, 2017 Leave a comment

My desperate catch-up continues …

Tsuki ga Kirei starts with your average town street.

We now have Tsuki ga Kirei, where we meet a boy (Kotarou) and a girl (Akane) as they start their third year of middle school and start noticing each other. He writes stories (lots of literary references to look up), she’s on the track team, and wind up in the same class. We watch as they glance furtively at each other and get nervous a lot, barely comprehending their own why. They both wind up in the same management team for the sports festival and have several nervous interactions, leading up to a moment where Akane, out of decency, has to get a little proactive when he misses a meeting and gets barked at, because she didn’t have his Line number and couldn’t enter him into the group. And so it begins …

Let the embarrassing pauses begin!

This is about the purist adolescent love story I’ve seen. There are no gimmicks. The mood is quiet and filled with cherry blossoms. The lovebirds say very little but sigh and gasp a lot when the object of their uncomprehended desires appears, and there is a LOT of sighing in this episode. The classmates, more typically, are teasing but will probably be supportive once things develop. Kotarou has a buddy at a local bookstore who spots what he’s beginning to think of, while Akane’s friends haven’t figured it out yet. It’s well done, looks great, paced well considering the snails pace of the subject matter–getting these two passive kids together is going to take a lot of time. Love story fans will enjoy this a lot. Not sure I’ll keep watching, but had no problems with this episode.

Clockwork planet begins with a flashback of the world dying.

Clockwork Planet has as its prehistory the world dying, then being rebuilt using gears and clockwork, and everyone is pretty happy with it. Marie, a girl genius on a floating craft, has a super-powered clockwork doll fall out of it (got to get the plot moving somehow). It lands in the home of Naoto, a young boy who wants to fix things and manages to get the doll RyuZU to wake up, insult him, and carry him away before his home is wrecked by something. They have various adventures while Marie and her team forget about her, because the government is going to purge Kyoto, which isn’t fully explained but is very very bad. Meanwhile, Naoto activates RyuZU in an odd way so she’s now his insulting servant.

RyuZU rescuing Naoto before coming on to and and insulting him.

Well, if you like clockworks this is the show for you. I love the premise, rather like those Jay Lake novels, except no one is thinking to rewind the world, at least not yet. On the other hand, the characters and story are awfully cartoonish, which would be all right except for the fanservice and innuendo they toss in, like the finger sucking and getting Marie to put on some clothes. An odd and often disturbing mix. A shame, because the idea of a clockwork planet is very intriguing and I would like to see more.

An appropriate place to start Kabukibu!.

Kabukibu! stars Kurogo, high school first-year who loves kabuki and wants to make a kabuki club. Can’t do, but he can form a group if he wants. His taciturn friend Tonbo finds some people to recruit: Shin, a tone-deaf rock singer, Kaoru, a girl, and Niwa, who has some emotional scars the show will work out, and finally Jin, a guy who already does Kabuki. Basically Kurogo goes from one recruit to the next and keeps getting shot down, but he’s optimistic, and he has an ability to grow back lost teeth.

Tonbo cheers for Kurogo, for some reason.

I would like very much to learn more about Kabuki, but I don’t think I want to do so with this show, considering this straightforward and rather dull first episode. Kurogo has no personality except for a bright optimism and a tendency to lapse into famous kabuki phrases. Tonbo is even worse. As for the kabuki, they do introduce some concepts and history, so you might enjoy that. But the actual kabuki they present wasn’t animated terribly well. You’d think they would devote more time to that. So probably a no-go for me.

Renai Boukon gets right to the story.

Now for Renai Boukon. Average high school boy Seiji gets a visit from a demon and is told if he doesn’t kiss someone by the end of the day, he will die, though it’s not quite like that, and so he finds his crush, Akane, at school, and she turns out to be a yandere and tries to kill him a few times because he’s hanging out with Guri, the demon, who’s actually a cupid angel. So Guri adds her own name to the book and now it’s a love triangle. Then another girl, Yuzu, shows up and, well, Guri isn’t the most responsible of angels. There’s a cat with a human face, too.

The characters of the love square in chibi mode.

The show is loaded with gags which are sometimes related to the story, and sometimes just silly. There’s a cumulative effect going on, so that I got worn down with all the twists and surprises from the plot and all the extra names being added to the book. But I also laughed a lot. I just wonder if the show can keep up this pace for an entire season. Judging by the OP they introduced just about everyone this episode. What are they going to do for the rest of the time? Well, there’s some ways this boy, angel, yandere, and incest-yuri girl can bounce off each other, I’m sure.

Your typical first day of school sakura for Hinako Note.

Hinako Note, an entry in the “Cute girls doing cute things” faction, has Hinako coming to Tokyo to attend a high school and do drama. She cutely gets lost but comes across the address, a used bookstore where another girl, Kuina, is cutely eating paper. In Hinako’s room there’s a girl in a maid costume named Mayu who works in the coffee shop attached to the store (alas, no rabbits) and is cute. Later, to cheer Hinako up they go to a park and act cute, eventually meeting their landlord Hinako, who’s also in their school, and there’s more cute stuff.

Hinako, Mayu, and Kuina being cute.

I mock, but I quite like the CGDCT category, so all this cuteness is not a turn-off for me. However, I’ve seen enough of them to know what I like, and weirdness is near the top. The girls must not just be cute, but eccentric (Is the Order a Rabbit?), or the show’s style should be (HidaSketch). There’s a bit of both those shows in this one, the coffee shop and maid costume, and the bathtub speech at the end, though that might have just been a one-off. It’s not really at the level of either of those shows yet, but some of these shows take a while to ripen. “… Rabbit didn’t really take off until midway through the first season.” Meanwhile, it’s certainly cute enough, so I’ll try to keep watching.

Twin Angel BREAK has sirens going off over an infiltration by a hedgehog.

Twin Angel BREAK could be confused with Renai Boukon in that its main character, Meguri, travels to Tokyo to start high school and meets a lot of cute friends at school who do cute things like eating lunch together and falling down. But there’s also that hedgehog who was running from guards at a top-secret facility, and that slot machine token (the show refers to it as a “medal”) that sinks into her hand. Also the unfriendly quiet girl who doesn’t talk to anyone. These things wind up changing the show into a very basic magical girl series where they have to defeat their first enemy, except that Meguri is actually the second girl of the team. The first one has been fighting for a while and is sick of it.

Meguri (back) begins to realize she’s in a magical girl show.

I didn’t quite see the magical girl stuff happening, but after that performer started sucking the energy out of the audience it became so predictable that I could check off the main points. Bad guy appearance, check. Cute talking animal appears, check.  Token to transform, check. Embarrassing transformation sequence, check. Because of this I really have no desire to watch any more of it. Maybe if they had tossed in a variation or two it would have gotten me more interested, but I doubt it.

New shows Spring 2017 2

April 7, 2017 Leave a comment

I waited a few seconds but the screen remained dark, so I decided to use this image.

Next, in my traditional season falling-behind, we have Roku de Nashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records, your average magic school story, medieval cathedral town style, where we meet two nice magic girls going to school, and a jerk who runs into them, teases them though it’s his fault, fondles one of them, and of course he’s their new teacher! Substitute, of course, though that means nothing to Sistine and her gentler “sister” Rumia and their classmates, who watch appalled as he botches up every class he teaches when he bothers to try at all. He got hired by Professor Celica, the coolest character in the show so far, and she’s so formidable you know she has a reason. Sistine finally challenges him to a duel and clobbers him, end of episode.

A lot not to like here. Glenn, the substitute teacher, is a jerk, perhaps more than usual because he wants to get fired. We have to put up with his behavior through most of the episode, waiting for something to happen that will change our minds about him, but the show doesn’t get around to it, mainly because it dilly-dallies. Each scene is too long, with the buildup to the duel, where all the students gave their opinions beforehand being the worst. The jokes were entirely predictable (Glenn loses the duel, so it becomes two out of three, then three out of five …), we know they’re coming, and we have to wait for them to finish before the plot can move on. Maybe next week we’ll get something more interesting, but I’m almost beyond caring. Oh, one of the two sisters gropes the other, so if you’re into that …

The slim silhouette of Heine, the new tutor.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine is set in some Germanic place in the past and stars Heine, a very young-looking new tutor for the second through fifth princes of whatever Germanic name they give the place. All the previous tutors ran off, so Heine (who early on says he took the job for personal reasons, wonder what those are …) expects the worse. Instead they’re all mixes of goofy male anime cliches, the tsundere, the cold bespectacled one, the scary laconic one, and the goofy one. After meeting them, Heine interviews Leonhard (tsundere) and begins his work of softening the lad up. The other princes get their turn next episode.

Pretty good. I might not watch it, but I did chuckle at it a few times. While the princes are, as I pointed out, regrettable types, Heine the tutor is not. He looks like a young boy but displays an unflappability and calm, and he has a witty internal monologue going for him. He quickly (with the help of a diary Leonhard keeps hidden) sees through Leonhard’s facade of scorn and finds a vulnerability beneath, which, as Leonhard notices, he does not exploit. In other words, he has weapons to win over these boys. Also, the show is often funny. Heine has some good lines, and the show has good timing in the dialogues and knowing just when to drop the characters to chibi form. Again, I don’t know if I want to watch a whole season of this, not really my thing, but I enjoyed this first episode.

One of those shows that tells you what it is.

Sagrada Reset starts wistfully with a high school boy, Kei, getting a in his locker. After a slightly odd talk with his good bro Tomoki about a girl unrelated to the discussion, he goes up to meet the girl at the appointed time and it’s the unrelated girl, Misora, there and not the letter girl (Sumire), while we’re waiting for more information and the two talk about nothing much, the girl says “reset” and it’s suddenly two days earlier. A lot of people in their town have abilities. Kei’s ability is to remember everything, even if Misora resets, so Sumire thought they would be a good team to do, well no one really seems to know. And Misora meets a little girl, Mari, who claims to be fake, and Misora wants to get to the bottom of it.

They WERE talking about something more important, but the conversations meander at times.

Episode one is exhausting. All of the events are very low-key, and all of the characters are capable of producing great abstract thoughts. Recurring words and ideas, in this story arc at least, include fakes (Mari is probably fake, there’s talk of androids, and there was a fable Sumire trots out at one point) righteousness (Sumire claims Kei is, but Kei thinks Misora is, with logic I can’t follow), and the question of how to make choices when all the results lead to sadness. No wonder all three characters are so calm, they’re too busy thinking up metaphors and logical proofs, or simply being sad, for them to waste their time on anything else besides standing some distance away from the others and moving as little as possible. That aside, the show looks interesting. Superpowers but no action, just cautious planning so far. I suspect all of the story arcs will involve little things that hurt individuals. The mood might be a little too serious, but we’ll see if they can lighten it up a little.

A curtain about to go up on Sakura Quest’s charming opening credits.

Sakura Quest, PA Works’ latest, stars Yoshino, a girl about to graduate university but is having a terrible time finding a job in Tokyo. She’s from the sticks and doesn’t want to return there, but accepts a quick job out in Manoyama, or Chupakabura, some fictional name, where she plays the queen of the town. What she didn’t realize is that this job lasts an entire year, so the last ten minutes or so show her running around trying to get a train out of Manoyama, and naturally failing, instead clubbing a chupakabura with her bag. Funny story.

Would-be Tokyoite Yoshino stuck in a tiny village filled with geezers.

Looks to be another slice-0f-life show, and it feels a lot like Hanasaku Iroha, not a bad thing. Not sure about some of the characters, that grumpy geezer Ushimatsu is clearly losing his marbles, yet he’s the boss, or king. The other males are typical for PA Works slice-of-life shows, not outgoing and a little foolish. Yoshino’s going to get some girls to form a posse with, and we meet a couple, all nice, weird, or both, again, PA Works standard issue. Their view of the rural life is a bit condescending at the moment, or maybe we’re supposed to be viewing it through Yoshino’s eyes, but if she grew up in a place like that she ought to know how life goes, and how there aren’t any trains after 9:40. But it’s told well, and I want to see how spunky Yoshino gets along.

Rin’s back.

Busou Shoujo Machiavellanism is all about a school where the girls dominate things and carry weapons, and the boys, in order to prove their subservience, have to put on makeup and act like girls. Then a new student, Fudo, arrives, looking to put his violent past behind him, but he’s confronted by Rin, one of the five blades of the school (yet there is another one seemingly above even them), and they have a prolonged fight where we have time to have every hidden technique they’re using explained to us. I expect he’ll fight the other four girls next time.

And now, Rin’s front.

The hero, Nomura, is annoying in the same way that Glenn above is, but we cut Nomura slack because he didn’t start any fights. It was Rin who challenged him. Otherwise there isn’t much to him apart from some quick, disturbing flashbacks to unpleasant times the show will get to later. The Five Blades might be fun, we don’t really get to know them apart from Rin. The boys at the school acting like flaming transvestites was kind of insulting to both genders. The animation isn’t very good at all. The fight scene got dull with all the explanations, and there was a big infodump in the middle which derailed everything, though I liked how the minion saying it got out of breath when she was finished. But I don’t see anything here worth watching further.

New shows Spring 2017 1

April 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Hooray, I think. It’s time for me to begin my new show reviews for the new season! For those of you that might not be aware, or just don’t care, I tend to follow the shows as they appear on the Random Curiosity Preview page. I will watch just about anything, but not the following: sequels to shows I never watched in the first place, and, er, anything else I don’t want to watch. That will probably include sports shows, male idol shows, and yaoi. I have absolutely nothing against these genres, they’re just not to my taste. Stupidity, as I said last time, is not a deal-breaker. Also, I will introduce each show with the first comprehensible image it gives us, unless it’s all moody and starts with thirty seconds of black ooze or something. So here we go!

First is Boku no Hero Academia 2, but I never watched season 1, so that’s out. That means …

Gin no Guardian starts by telling you who made it.

Gin no Guardian is first out of the gate. We start with some pajama-girl ogling as they talk about how their school rests on a graveyard or something, leading the adored dorm boss student, Riku Rei, to think fondly of the person who protects them all, and who also dominates most of in the OP, Riku Suigin, and his devoted cat, we switch to him in another dimension, trapped, I believe, and guarding a mausoleum against thousands of robed zombie things, mostly by hand. He has to do it every night and doesn’t seem to mind it. Then it’s flashback time to when he was a pool boy who couldn’t swim and nearly drowns, rescued by Rei, he’s told by someone.

I’ll say this for Suigen: he’s got a cool scarf.

My heart sank as I watched the OP. There was nothing new there at all. Things got a little better when we got an idea of the story, i.e, when Rei thought about Rin and then we switch to him. The battle was too ludicrous to think about, all those zombies, and got insipid when we turned to the pool flashback. I don’t really care how Rei and Ruigin met. Will there some day be a show where this sort of thing is NOT considered vital information? Well, I guess they’re trying to sell this as a romance, too. I am a little interested in how Ruigin got stuck in that hell-world, but I’m also afraid it will take too episodes to get there, and the other things didn’t interest me terribly much. Probably this is a no.

Shingeki no Kyojin 2 starts with a book with all sorts of grotesque pictures in it.

Next is Shingeki no Kyojin 2. Will it compare to the first season? Well, it starts, after a pleasant flashback of mayhem, with the unwelcome discovery that there are titans inside the walls, not in the city, but literally inside. While a woman I don’t remember the name of (easy to do in this show) interrogates a pastor who knows about it and isn’t telling. But there’s more bad news, as it turns out titans have broken through Wall Rosa. Flash back to an outpost and some old favorites (Sasha, Conny, well never cared for him myself) as they learn the news and ride off to warn everyone, leaving Miche to distract the big approaching idiots. Then this new one shows up.

No, the question is how come you’re speaking at all.

In other words, this series wants to dump us into a bunch of mysteries as well as the usual gallons of blood and limbs. That’s a good way to work it. The action scenes are great to watch as usual, but week after week of battling doesn’t interest me too much. Now we have to figure out what the talking titan wants, who he’s going to show the battle gear to, and what those titans in the walls are doing there, and why they should be kept out of the sun. As for our core trio, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, we only get one scene with them. Maybe the show will drift away from them a little. It’s got plenty to do otherwise. As for me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch another season of this, but I admit this episode got me interested again.

Granblue Fantasy starts with a porthole looking at some purple things.

Next it’s Granblue Fantasy, the Animation, based on a game I must have seen before. We have Lyria and bigger, stronger Katalina running away on a steampunkish battleship until they run into a bad guy who wants to do more experiments on Lyria, who freaks out, her gem interacts with another one and she’s thrown from the ship in the explosion, which was witnessed by the brave young lad, er, Gran, who finds and rescues her (Katalina shows up too) until the bad guys catch up again and everyone conjures up monsters. Oh, Gran gets killed but Lyria tries to give him her powers, but is interrupted, so now they BOTH have powers, one half each I assume. And time runs out before the monsters can duke it out.

Vyrn, Gran, Lyria, and Katalina on the run.

I don’t game much, so I think I’m getting the deja vu vibes from Lyria, who looks amazingly like Belldandy without the jewel. As for the rest of the art and character designs, I found them attractive in a superficial gaming way. It all looks pretty nice. But the rest of it doesn’t hold up, no, wait, there was one excellent moment when evil knights were running up to our heroes while Katalina was running up to THEM. That was a great moment, but it was about all. The story was full of awkward pauses and moments where both sides just stood there while someone talked or recovered (Pommern interrupting Lyria’s transfer wasn’t bad, though–had to laugh at that). Lyria, Gran, and Katalina aren’t much beyond their fantasy roles, much as I liked Katalina, and the flying pet sidekick Vyrn got annoying quickly. And while I praised most of the art, the Bahahmut at the end looked like a crappily drawn DnD cover from the 1970s. Nope, going to avoid this.

A streetlight on a rainy night, perfect for an escape.

Next is Alice to Zouroku, a double-length episode where we watch Alice, a young girl, who has escaped from a research facility using her super-power, which is to conjure up anything she thinks of, teleportation, mind-reading, etc. She almost gets caught but gets help from another powered person and winds up in Shinjuku, where she meets grumpy old Zouroku, gets chased some more, and winds up staying at his place while he figures out what the hell is going on.

Because it’s a long episode it takes its time. I believe the show was more interested in introducing us to the characters than giving us a ton of action, which is just as well because the CGI clashes with the cute character designs. The scenes with Zouroku take even longer, but it feels more appropriate. Zouroku has to get from being annoyed and scolding the girl (and the sisters who are chasing her) to accepting Sana and deciding to help her and teach her a few things, like manners. The action-adventure plot isn’t terribly new: powered kids who escape abuse in an evil lab, but the slice-of-life side of it might help, if I’m up for a heartwarming geezer-waif story, and I’m not sure I am. I just wonder if the narrative and pacing can sustain both styles.

Tsugumomo hasn’t shown up yet, so …

Frame Arms Girls lets you know what to expect right from the start.

Frame Arms Girls stars …, oh, Ao, high school girl of course living alone who gets a “doll” in the mail. The doll wakes up, introduces herself as Gouran, and starts asking questions to aid her knowledge of the world while Ao underreacts. Ao, you see, doesn’t want to do anything hard, like assemble Gouran’s armored parts, so maybe freaking out over a talking doll takes too much energy for her. Later, two more dolls appear and everyone starts challenging each others to fights. We see one in all it’s CGI badness.

Actually, Ao’s tendency to let things flow helps keep this episode afloat. She just reacts and asks the right questions to move the story along. I’m not sure what the story IS except she’s going to watch the robot girls fight and take notes for the company. Even with more robot girls coming along in future episodes, each of them, I assume, also not wearing pants, I don’t think that’s going to carry the season. Now, if you’re someone who likes assembling models, the show goes into a some detail about doing it right, but I’m not one of those people. And as I said before, the CGI in the battles is pretty awful.