From the basic setup, Sukitte li na yo seems to be another high school romance story, but in terms of execution it’s clearly different.
We have Mei, the friendless high school girl. We got Yamato, the most popular boy in school, and his joking, pervy sidekick. We also also have some spiteful schoolgirls. We have the meet-cute scene, more violent than most. But it’s told differently. It starts with Mei having a dream about an early betrayal in her life, doing her morning things in a mopey way, and a moment at the train station that looks like it came from an arty movie. Not the normal way to start a high school romance story, though it settles in when she reaches in school and we have the usual loner scenes, with an extra of girls laughing at her. And her patiently walking through it.
Which makes her lashing out a bit of a surprise. What’s an even bigger surprise is that Yamato, the innocent recipient of her kick, decides then and there that he likes her. She’s “interesting.” He tries to befriend her but she rebuffs him every time, but doesn’t throw away the phone number he gave her. Then there comes a point where she’s holed up in a convenience store hiding from a stalker and has no one else to call. Alas, the stalker bit was contrived to begin with, and Yamato’s technique of rescuing her, er, certainly enhances the story, but how many forced kisses have we seen this season already?
Oh, well. As I said, the story’s telling used a lot of visual techniques and felt fresh, (my favorite being the shots of Mei’s feet, and Yamato’s as he follows her, until they’re in the same frame) though I got the impression they were new at this and some scenes just faded out as if they weren’t sure where to go next. Some, not all. It also has an interesting heroine. Mei doesn’t want friends because they always betray her. We get just enough scenes to realize that her father is gone, another “betrayal.” But when she has to reach out for help from a relative stranger he instantly responds. This is not only about Mei getting a boy, it’s about her learning to trust. A very promising start.
Code:Breaker brings us Sakurakouji, aikido expert and class beauty who sees some people burned up in a park as her train passed by. Whaddaya know, the culprit just happens to transfer into her class the very next day! She follows him around and we get the usual high school hijinks as everyone thinks she’s got a crush on him. Naturally, he comes off as a nice bishie boy, and when they meet accidentally later she begins to think he’s not so evil after all, meanwhile, he’s getting interesting phone calls and planning to kill her. Naturally we get a scene where bad guys surround her and beat her up a little and he has to rescue her. Than he starts to kill her, but since the credits roll and she’s obviously meant to be a main character I’m not too worried. Probably one of the other bishies they occasionally show (all posing in various locations, the way they do) will save her bacon, or save her from being turned into bacon. I might watch next week to see how she avoids death, but otherwise this show looks absolutely routine. Besides, I hate smirking bishies, and this show’s got loads of them.
Ixion Saga DT is ANOTHER story where a game player from our world gets whisked to the world of his game. That makes two this season, three if you count the ongoing SAO. But unlike those two shows, Ixion goes for the laughs. Kon, the game player, chats up a girl in the game who promises to meet him soon, and next thing you know he’s just landed on top of a villain in a fantasy world, still in his desk chair, Dorothy-style. And he’s rescued a two warriors who’s escorting a diminutive, sarcastic princess named, er, let’s call her Piria. Part of the fun here is that this isn’t the game he was playing. It’s some other generic fantasy world where everyone has names like Steel Sanglain or, my favorite, Lord Jugglaburk. And while Kon isn’t a bad gamer, he has no idea how to actually use a sword. Episode one has him join Steel, the crossdressing Mariondel and the princess while making fun of fantasy games in general. I don’t know how much mileage the show has but I had a good time with episode one.
Magi 1 … It’s refreshing to see a fantasy story set in Arabian Nights territory for a change, even if it’s as generic in its way as any other. We got a poor servant named Alibaba who works to make money to “clear” one of the mysterious dungeons that have appeared over the years. But he has a cruel boss and hasn’t quite got the gumption to strike out on his own. He meets a child named Aladdin (told you it was generic) who has a djinn in his flute, who has the same goal. And there’s a slave girl Aladdin frees and that causes no end of trouble. Episode one is all about Alibaba getting his gumption back and Aladdin revealing his true powers with some good action scenes. The slave girl will hook up with them later, I guess. She didn’t do much here but get rescued and recaptured and stand around watching. Not bad, but it’s just replacing western fantasy stereotypes with Arabic one. I’ll pass.
Teekyuu 1 is two minutes long, thirty seconds of that is the OP. So if you’re going to do a comedy the jokes better come fast, I guess. That’s what happens in this episode. Yuri is teaching Kanae how to hit a tennis ball. The gags whiz by and boomph, it’s over. I had to watch it twice to catch them all. The other problem is you don’t get a chance to laugh even if the jokes ARE funny, so frankly I couldn’t tell if the show’s any good or not. Well, it’s only two minutes.