Whoah, I’m almost a week behind!
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai starts with an eye-catching scene of the young Kakei reading and a man approaching him to talk about a book with all the world’s wisdom in a magic library, that Kakei can go there if he’s good and pure of heart, etc etc, and oh, here’s a ticket to the place. It’s done with an art style you don’t see in most anime, very nice, almost dreamy to look at, so it’s a shame when we flash-forward and get a lot of high school girls with big boobs and short skirts, you know, the usual. The high school Kakei gets premonitions, and one he has today leads to a misunderstanding involving molestation, and the usual comic fallout.
In the end, the gropee, Tsugumi gets him to join her “happy club” or something, and other people are dragged in as well. I was less interested in that than I was in the fact that their high school has 50,000 students, more than most large universities in America. In fact, it would be fun if they explored the school some more, but the show is probably going to ignore that and focus on these rather dull characters while we all wait to figure out who this “shepherd” character is who keeps texting Kakei. Dunno. I’ll think about watching more. Overall it looks pretty harmless.
Parasyte has been available in the west for years, possibly even out of print now. I haven’t read it but I remember seeing two iconic images, one of a woman and a man with a carnivorous flowerhead, facing each other, and the subsequent image of, well, if you’ve seen episode one you already know. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (which, from now on I’ll call Parasyte, like everyone else). Now that I’ve seen episode one I haven’t changed my mind, but I’m a little more reluctant to drop it.
First, they took care of those iconic images right away, though there’s plenty of gore to come. Second, since the manga is about 25 years old, the character designs different from what we get nowadays, though they’ve updated everything else, like the flatscreens and smartphones. Third, it’s quite often funny. The alien in poor Shinichi’s hand speaks in a funny alien voice and can change into the most amusing shapes. If this situation wasn’t a matter of life or death for both of them, I’d say they make a pretty good comedy team. And that’s where I see the charm of it. After all, those two iconic images, put in sequence, are funny as hell. But just not for my tastes, probably.
Shirobako starts with a handful of plucky high school animation club girls putting together a piece for the festival. Just when I think I’ve got a grip on things, they’ve graduated and we follow one of the girls, Oi, as she works as a gopher for Musashino animation (Ema, one of the others, works for them too, so it looks like we’ll be following all the girls around eventually). Their first big show, Exodus, is production, and there’s a crisis as something isn’t drawn, or something, and that might delay the dubbing, or this or that, anyway, there’s a domino effect with future episodes falling behind.
It’s partly fascinating if you like “behind the scenes” shows, and partly bewildering. We’re dumped right into the action and unless you know something about the animation process you’ll wind up like me, wondering what part of the process fits into what. Not only that, but the staff of Musashino are quickly introduced with names and titles on the screen (I hate that) as the events fly by, no time to take in what they do or what their professional relationships are. It’ll take a few episodes to get it sorted out, which I’m willing to do, because I like behind the scenes shows and, for all the stress, this is a cheerful one. I liked the drift racing maneuvers as Oi rushes from one office to another, and all the donuts. Donuts are always good.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso looks to be a high school romance between a frustrated pianist named Kousei and free-spirited Kaori, a practicing violinist, though right now the two aren’t particularly fond of one another, thanks to one of those “pervert!” moments anime is so fond of giving us. Kousei was forced at an early age to practice and practice by his infirm, abusive mother, and after she died his interest and ability froze up, as well it might when he finally doesn’t have to do something he gets hit over not doing. He’s supposed to be supporting cast on a date where his ladykiller buddy Watari is to meet Kaori, and stuff happens.
It looks great, almost too pretty, maybe to accentuate the monotone vs colorful way of viewing the world that the show constantly states through the characters. It’s got some well-timed laughs as well. The theme where the free-spirited musical girl awakens the hopes and dreams of a dull boy doesn’t really interest me, since it’s already been done. I loved, however, that Kaori right now has the hots for Watari, who’s not only a musician, but an athlete to boot (and Tsubaki, the best friend girl, plays baseball–a little too passionately). Overall it’s very well done; hopefully the trite plot can be overcome by the solid execution they showed in the first episode.
I really should drop Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu now, but I can’t resist. We have a boy named Souji entering high school, like everyone in the world in anime, except Souji is obsessed with twintails. He and his pal Aika (put in the show probably to show that Souji isn’t a total creep and pervert) encounter a weirdo named … let me look at my notes … Thuearle, who comes on to him in a shamelessly earnest way and sticks a bracelet on him. Next thing you know there are lizard aliens invading, snatching up girls and stealing their “twintail attribute.” A shocked and indignant Souji then transforms into a fighting, armored, twintail girl.
If you strip away the situation it’s another story about an ordinary person encountering evil and the means to fight it, and it’s not terribly good. It’s livened up a little by the changing genders, but they used that gag already (however, I like how he gets to name his female self and is encouraged to “make a stylish entrance”). The funniest thing in the show is the obsession with twintails. Souji seems like a decent enough person except for that. It’s more like a spiritual passion than a fetish. The fact that the aliens are also so obsessed means we get a lot of “No, not the twintails!” lines, which will probably fall flat in another episode or two. But the whole thing is so silly that I’ll keep watching for now to see if they can keep it fresh.