Finally, the last installment! And we start with something I probably would have ignored if I had known: Urawa no Usagi-chan, about a high schooler named Usagi who, er, likes to have good days and walks to school, where she’s met and teased by her good friends Minami and Tokiwa, I think. And that’s it, since it’s only three minutes long.
I understand this show is an ad campaign for a city, and judging from the opening episode I gather they want you to think Urawa city is very pretty and dull, and it’s run by inept animators. At one point two people offscreen call out to Usagi, but since two unrelated girls who were actually on-screen are moving their mouths in unison, I assumed it was THEM talking, so why weren’t they looking at Usagi? It gave me a bit of a disconnect. The animation looks very clumsy, and it’s a shame, because there’s some lovely watercolor background art. Really the only good thing in the show. The pacing felt off and the dialogue was incredibly boring. Let’s move on to a show with some production values.
Ah, Nisekoi returns! The harem series that may never commit to a girl, saved by SHAFT’s visual oddities and a good cast. Episode one decides it’s best to reintroduce the characters and put them through their paces, then giving us a substantial plot development (Raku has his locket back) and stringing us along for a few minutes before we learn that it’s still broken, typical Nisekoi behavior. The second half has Chitoge trying to change her look to get Raku to notice her. You can imagine how that turned out.
If I was watching for the first time I might not get to episode two. Meeting everyone again is the usual strategy for second seasons, and that part wasn’t bad. But that second half was maybe the weakest sequence of either season. Touyama Nao’s voice work salvages it from being entirely hopeless, but she can’t carry the scenes alone with the material she has. As for the locket still being broken, I think the creators raising expectations only to dash them is meant to be part of the comedy. Maybe the only way to watch this series is to know it’s going to tease-tease-tease but never do anything.
Then, another season two show, and I’ve been looking forward to this one. Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen-eki starts with Nagate showing the rookies his simulator skills, but then gets really creepy as Kunato and Mozuku investigate Ochiai’s old lab and get infected by gauna samples, which are really Ochiai’s mind, or something. Whatever it is, it’s chilling to watch. They then, infect poor Numi and gain access to the placenta. Whatever Ochiai’s up to, he does seem to have Sidonia’s welfare in mind; as Kunato he speeds weapons to the Pilots, and later, during another thrilling attack scene, we find out what he did with that cute gauna placenta …
Oh yeah! Now I remember why I liked the first series so much. This episode was creepy, cute, exciting, and shocking in turns. The battle looked as good as last season’s, the soundtrack remains thrilling yet alien, and the gauna are still some of the creepiest alien monsters I’ve ever seen in SF. And Izana got to pout. Not much more to say, well, they still haven’t got the CG working right, but the rest of it is so good that like last season I don’t care. Excellent start.
Yamada-san and the Seven Witches stars Ryu, high school delinquent, who, while falling down the stairs with the club’s honor student Shiraisi, that they’ve switched bodies. There follows some of the usual switched-bodies business you seen in anime, and then there’s the attempts to bring themselves back to normal, and discovering that it wasn’t falling down the stairs that did it, but the inadvertent kiss that happened during. Wish they could have realized that before they threw themselves down the stairs a few times. Not only that, a newcomer, Miyamura, does some, er, experiments and we learn Ryu can swich with anybody. And so the fun, I guess, really begins.
The first scene was excruciating, but after that it improved. We find out Shiraisi’s being bullied, and Ryu, in her body, isn’t going to tolerate that. The two mismatched people find they can help each other out. And there’s obviously more to the mystery, since we’ve only met one of the witches so far (assuming that Shiraisi isn’t one). It’s got opening episode bugs in it, like it hasn’t really got a feel for how it’s going to present itself, but it turns out not as bad as those first few scenes. This one’s a maybe.
… And that seems to be it. There are a couple shows that haven’t arrived yet, but they don’t look like things I would follow. I can’t say I’m thrilled by the offerings this season. Of the new (not season 2) shows, Kekkai Sensen had the best opening. Others looked just okay. It’s not fair to pass judgment on shows after one episode, unless that episode is terrible, and I’m sure I will decide to drop something which will then turn out really good, but that can’t be helped. Now I have to figure out which ones I’ll keep watching, watch too many, fall behind, and drop some of them. The usual.