New Shows: Spring 2015 #2

While waiting for the Yuki Nagato premiere to show up, I spent five minutes on Vampire Holmes.

The first shot doesn't show Holmes's head, and considering the character designs, it's a good thing.
The first shot doesn’t show Holmes’s head, and considering the character designs, a good thing.

Holmes here is a detective who only solves cases when he needs money, and the one he chooses this week has him chasing a hound.  We see it from the perspective of his backup, Hudson, who spends most of his time being the straight man.  One or two decent jokes, and some of the worst art and animation I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen animated gifs drawn by middleschoolers on photoshop that look better than this.  One more episode to see if the humor gets any better.

A nice purple sky before we pan down to the school.
A nice purple sky before we pan down to the school.

Next, the Disappearance of Yuki Nagato, a spinoff of you-know-what where there isn’t a god at the high school, and in fact no one has any powers at all.  It’s basically a shy Yuki trying to get the attention of Kyon, with the cheerfully meddling help of her good friend Asakura(!).  In ep1, Yuki wants to have a Christmas party in the literature club room, so she, Kyon, and Asakura(!) go to find a turkey and whatnot.  Tsuruya and Mikaru show up and playfully disrupt things for reasons the show doesn’t really make clear.  Just a sweet romantic comedy, with a cute but boring heroine, except it has Haruhi undertones all through it.

It can’t be helped, just seeing the characters begs for it, and the creators play it up.  Yuki and Asakura being friends is weird enough, but Asakura hums the Haruhi song at one point.  Kyon still has a thing for Mikaru.  Haruhi actually passes by at one point and there’s a weird moment of recognition.  Kyon has a line about a belly fetish and Yuki doesn’t understand.  Yuki holds up a sign while Mikaru calls out, etc.  But is the new concept going to be interesting without the in-jokes?  I’m not sure.  I liked Yuki as a monotoned alien interface with cool powers.  I haven’t warmed to this new one yet.  At least the episode gave Kyon some interior monologues, good idea there.  That was one of the original series’ many strengths, and it’s for the better if we have more of him plus something more for him to snark at.  Well, we’ll see.

A suburb at night before Kagami shouts something.
A suburb at night before Kagami shouts something.

Denpa Kyoushi stars genius slacker Kagami, who’s forced by his abusive sister to go out and work as a temporary physics teacher at his old high school.  Quickly he is embroiled in the life of Minako, who’s being bullied by former friends because she won’t hang out with them anymore, because they’re delinquents and rather nasty.  So he turns the tables on the nasty girls and inspires Minako to keep pursuing her goals of being a seiyuu (actually, he’s against that for silly reasons) and a hero.

I hear you man.
I hear you man.

So it’s basically a “maverick teacher comes to teach and turns the students around” story.  Not crazy about those.  What’s more, using his nerd abilities to mock-punish the nasty girls was predictable and not terribly effective.  Once they had dried their eyes, the students could go to authorities and give him all sorts of trouble.  Kagami wasn’t terribly fun to watch, apart from his idea of using an online game to suss out the social dynamics of his new class, which I liked.  I assume he went back to teaching physics after that.  And there was nothing particularly funny about any of it.  Maybe it will turn out to be a good show, but even so, I grow weary of school politics shows pretty quickly, so I’m going to pass.

Right before the vampires show up.
Right before the vampires show up.

Owari no Seraph starts with the usual city at night sequence where everyone falls over dead, cars and planes (no autopilot I guess) crashing, etc, and then the vampires march in and round up the children.  A few years later and we have Yuichiro and Mikaela, who were friends at an orphanage before and are now, but a depressing, blood-siphoning type.  Mikaela has curried favor with a vampire count who likes his blood and, the show hints) other things, who has stolen a gun and a map out of the place.  Hey, Yuu!  Let’s go!  Round up our fellow orphanage family members!  Yay!

Yuuichiro and the kids showing great stealth while they escape.
Yuuichiro and the kids showing great stealth while they escape.

It’s telegraphed hard, so it’s not much fun to watch.  A bunch of kids walking into a trap so the count can get his bloody jollies driving them to despair before killing them.  I almost turned off the series right there, but instead watched the inevitable, the Mikaela’s final, obvious line, and Yuuichiro’s escape, to the outside world where it’s suddenly snowing and humans are waiting, because it’s a prophecy, you see … Okay, first, it looks really good, and while I don’t care for the character designs the art and animation is quite nice.  And I haven’t found a dark series this season, yet, though I can live without one.  But the first episode works so hard at pushing our emotional buttons in predictable places I wonder if the show has anything else it wants to show us, not to mention the pompous, movie-like closing credits.  Maybe I’ll try another episode, but I’m not expecting much besides pretty art.


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