New Spring 2014 #3

Abstract violin string.
Abstract violin string.

Kiniro no Chord: Blue Sky, like the gods show, is also loaded with bishies, quite a few more, in fact. And it has a school crammed with people in it as well. Two of them, our heroine Kanade and bishie 1 (best friend variety) Kyoya, are talented young violinists who are off to see bishie 2 (childhood friend who moved away variety), er, Ritsu, perform. Two others (Bishies 3, and 4: outlandish and sinister varieties respectively) also perform, and then there’s an announcement of a nationwide competition to crown the best music club in Japan. The next part gets a little weird.


Ritsu has arranged for Kanade and Kyoya to transfer to his school, and play on his hand-selected orchestra. It’s all done completely behind their backs, but after a night’s sleep, Kanade decides she’ll stay. What about their families, their obligations? What about the rest of the orchestra, who are obviously angry that the two newbies are being put in front of them? I suspect there will be repercussions. Anyway, it’s obviously heavy on the shoujo, and the triangle they’ve already developed reminds me of Chihayafuru, except all three are together. Everyone’s passionate about that competition, or music in general. But in terms of how it treats the subject matter, I don’t think it’s going to be a Nodame Cantabile, and so I think I can skip it.

Just to let you know early on.
Just to let you know early on.

Captain Earth looks like a boy pilot hopping into a mecha and saving the world type of show, but episode one at least is told in such a backhanded way that it didn’t feel like one.

Wow!  Cool!
Wow! Cool!

We get scenes involving a boy named Daichi, hop into flashbacks involving a mysterious but friendly kid named Teppei, visit two veteran mecha fighters who banter with station crew, watch Daichi wonder why he’s fucking up at school and why that weird rainbow on the news fascinates him, visit the grave of his dad, with more flashbacks. Then the mecha fighters are revealed to be bad guys and one is about to attack the earth, and Daichi finds him at the right place at the right time to hop into a mecha of his own to defend it …

Can you tell that people from Star Driver worked on this show?
Can you tell that people from Star Driver work on this show?

It could be confusing, but each little scene feeds the narrative until we have all our basic questions answered. It’s very well done. But after he gets in that robot it becomes more routine. It has the longest mecha-launching-and-arming scene I know of; it takes so long that we have to wait until next week for the actual fight. And I’m afraid that things will settle down into a more routine show. I hope not. They have some good things going. There’s the question of why those guys are attacking the Earth when they’re all normal humans like us. There’s the mystery of Teppei and that girl in a sphere. And Daichi is one of the more appealing boy pilots I’ve seen. A successful episode one, apart from that endless launching sequence.

This series starts with a knee!
This series starts with a knee!

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii has Nike, a princess of some place where it rains everywhere, being sent off to marry the Sun King, no not that one. She’s so eager to get there that she speeds her ship into the harbor and sends her retinue back two days before she’s supposed to show up, and spends them being a hapless country girl in the big city, getting her luggage stolen, etc. And she meets the family at an inn, gets kidnapped by forces unfriendly to the king as well. Quite an eventful couple days.

Nike's formal introduction to the palace.
Nike’s formal introduction to the palace.

I’m not sure about this one. It has some good stuff. Nike is willful and adventurous, a lot of fun to watch. The king, once we get to see him, is this young bishie that doesn’t get me terribly excited after hearing about him. He reunited parts of the world and is treated as some as a monster. But the innkeeper says that he’s done wondrous infrastructure and development work in their town. So is he a dictator who makes the trains run on time? Too bad he looks like that. But I guess that’s where much of the show’s conflict will lie. The show feels a little old-school at times, like with those bumbling crooks, and other times if feels like it’s intended for children.

One more thing: why is Nike the only human we see in the OP? Did they not want to reveal the bishie king yet?

On the way to some sumo wrasslin'!
On the way to some sumo wrasslin’!

In Abarenbou Rikishi!! Matsutarou 1 we see middle-schooler Matsutarou disrupt a class test, assault his teacher, steal candy from a baby, douse some old ladies with water, steal his dad’s bento, hijack a truck (and kidnap the owner), almost run over that baby, steal the truck and kidnap the driver again, kidnap another teacher (he has a crush on her) and try to assault her, crash into a bathhouse, and finally get thrown in jail.


I suppose this is all supposed to show what an unruly kid the main character was before he shapes up, but all it did was turn me off completely. Worse of all was the “Ha ha look at the wacky hijinks our boy gets into!” attitude the show takes toward him, with all the slapstick and silly background music they play. Dropped.

A foot!  (It's stepping up to the line, you see)
A foot! (It’s stepping up to the line, you see)

Haikyuu!! stars Sho as a volleyball-crazed boy who scrounges up a team to compete in the middle school tournament, where they are promptly flattened by a team aiming at the nationals, which should come as no surprise as, apart from Sho, his team barely knows the rules. Yet Sho impresses the main guy on the other side, Kageyama, because Sho can actually play very well, or at least he tries, whereas Kageyama’s team can’t get up the ability to take these scrubs seriously. And guess what? They’re both wind up going to the same high school!


Nothing wrong with episode one if you like this sort of thing. I liked how they mixed in flashbacks of Sho learning to play and love the game with the actual game where his team’s being wiped off the court. Some of the imagery they use is effective, such as the wall of hands that rise in slow motion over the net. Sho is determined but short, and the show lets us see his more human moments of weakness along with his gritted-teeth determination. Kageyama is more of a cold fish, but shows enough grudging admiration for Sho’s efforts in that game that we’ve got a good friend/rival situation. But I’m not really into sports anime, so I’ll give it a miss.

Bounce ... bounce ... bounce ...
Bounce … bounce … bounce …

I might miss Baby Steps too, but I’m not sure. It takes a different approach to the high school sports stories than I’ve seen, and I admit I haven’t seen too many. Marou is an overly-organized honor roll student who even eats his lunches in a precise way, and he decides he needs some exercise. Tennis looks easy, so he visits a club for a free trial, where he discovers school idol Takasaki pounding away. He can’t even get through the warmups without collapsing, but Takasaki (and, earlier, another classmate) asks him if he’s having any fun in his life. By the end of the episode it looks like he’ll give tennis a shot, but I wonder if it’s for the exercise, the idea of fun, or his new-found interest in Takasaki that’s doing it.

It's still warm-ups.
It’s still warm-ups.

They start with a flash-forward, a match Maruo’s having when he’s much better at it, during which, he takes notes. So there’s little mystery about what will happen to him, or how he’ll balance the game with his obsession with note-taking. As for the tennis itself, the points are clear, you can see the flow of the game, though the animation can barely keep up with it. Marou is a little dull, but earnest. Takasaki right now is depicted as a clumsy ray of sunshine, so it’s too early to tell with her. I’m borderline with this one.

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