Servant x Service takes after Working!, no surprise since the original manga is by the same guy. And so I expect it will play out like that show, being a not bad show which is undone by one character ruining all the scenes by punching people … well, maybe not exactly like that. What I mean to say is that Working! took time,er, working out the kinks before it became thoroughly enjoyable series. The trouble is, that happened in season two. All we can do is hope it won’t take so long this time. The first episode is spent introducing the characters, all rookies at the welfare office, and displaying their quirks. Yamagami, she of the impossible first name, who entered the civil service for revenge, is our hero. She’s not bad. But her new coworker Hasabe is annoying as hell. The other one, Miyoshi, is a cipher. There are some nice little bits, but it definitely feels like a first episode. Give it time to settle. One more thing. They gave away the plot (such as it is) right in this episode, when Hasabe said he’s a third-generation civil servant. Not that we’re going to watch this show for plot …
Kiniro Mosaic is the cutest show I’ve seen so far. We’ve got cut little Shinobou who goes off to homestay somewhere in England, looking like Yune from Ikoku Meiro no Croisee except she’s not an indentured servant. She meets shy little Alice and after some nervousness they get along great. This takes up most of the episode, your average idealized England, old buildings, only white people. Even her breadspread is decorated with lions and union jacks. Then she goes home and we jump ahead to find Alice coming to stay with Shinobou, and so the story will continue, if we get a story. It looks more like a slice-of-life thing. I apprecate how the show avoids fish out of water scenes for the most part. They encounter a new thing, they accept it, and move on. But it’s awfully bland, like a Disney version, with a dull orchestral background. Not sure I will keep watching or not.
From the cutest to the outright weirdest. Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou 1 keeps us off balance for the entire episode.
We follow a young fortune teller named Akari, as she does her job, goes to school, stays with her nice aunt and uncle, while the usual supernatural threatening things begin to peek around the corners and someone mutters something about the wheel of fortune turning again, something to do with the anniversary of her mother Hinata’s death a couple years ago. There’s also a cousin(?) named Fuyuma, who’s become a little jealous about Akari’s splendid and possibly hereditary fortune-telling abilities. The more bitter she gets, the more the bizarre special effects get, until some creature attacks Akari in the night.
Up to now the show had been pretty cute, but now we start getting Higurashi-level violence, matched only by the sheer inexplicability of what happens next. Did Fuyuna simply cease to exist? What happened to her after that night? She’s completely forgotten. After that we get another attack which is more comprensible (because we’ve seen some of the images before and can put them together now) but no less weird. But, apart from Fuyuna, everthing that happened, when I think about it, isn’t all that strange for an anime series. But then it hit me. This is a magical girl show where no one bothers to tell you anything. The magical girls show up but they don’t announce themselves or shout slogans, they just do their job. And it’s not just the magical girls. We get some talk, sure, but it’s roundabout, and the most important things are left for us to guess. And it works. I enjoyed having to put the pieces together myself. This lack of surprisingly needless explanation, the fact that there are some other mysteries lurking about, and the fact that the show looks very good, means I’m definitely keeping an eye on this series.