New Summer 2015 #3

PA Works is one of my favorite studios.  Their shows look great, with great direction, and their attention to detail is one of the best around.  But they often get meandering, slightly self-indulgent material to work with and they had fallen into a rut, until, well, you know.  So now we see their latest: Charlotte.  Going in I wondered if it was going to be another Shirobako, or a Glasslip?  I still haven’t decided.

Charlotte's opening shot doesn't suggest anything.
Charlotte’s opening shot doesn’t suggest anything.

Otosaka discovers he has the ability to take enter the body of another person for five seconds.  Being an asshole, he abuses this to get petty revenge and cheat at tests, winding up in the best high school he can, and then begins to manipulate the school’s idol.  Basically, the show casts him as completely unlikable.  So it’s satisfying that there are people on to him.
This was all setup, to establish the hero being a jerk and get him transferred to a school full of other powered kids.  Along the way we also meet his happy little sister, about the only person he’s earnestly nice to, and two of his future classmates.  It’s too early to tell yet.  I don’t think it’s going to a wasted effort like Glasslip, but I also don’t think it’ll match the joy that Shirobako brought.  It does feel a little different from their other shows, more straight-up comedy, less character-driven and introspective, but that last quality sank some other PA Works shows before, so maybe this is a good thing.

Ah, Wagnaria.  Let's stop here.  You can always depend on good service.
Ah, Wagnaria. Let’s stop here. You can always depend on good service.

Awhile back I put on an old episode of Working!! because I wanted to see something in the OP … and would up watching the whole damn episode.  I had forgotten just how good a Working!! episode could be, how good the ensemble was.  So I’m delighted to see a third season appear.  What’s more, they bring the cute little girl back!  And Kyouko didn’t eat her!

Hi Popura!  Good to see you again!  Hows ya been?
Hi Popura! Great to see you again! How ya been?

Unfortunately, enough time has passed that they had to reintroduce everyone again and so the episode didn’t really flow as well as it could.  We had to learn all over again that Souta loves cute little things, Popura is a cute little thing, Inami is afraid of men (though she didn’t punch anyone this week), Kyouko likes to eat, etc etc.  But it had its moments.  The best bit was Souma and Yachiyo sealing Otoo’s long-missing wife in the break room.  Sigh, poor Otoo.  Well, I have confidence that the series will find its excellent comic stride again.

Opening the book on an old tale that the show will tell again anyway.
Opening the book on an old tale that the show will tell again anyway.

Rokka no Yuusha takes us to an Aztec-style fantasy world where they’re holding a contest to see who the six heroes or champions or whatever are, so they can go off and fight demons, who are about due to show up after 300 years.  A guy named Adlet crashes the semifinals, uses trickery to beat the contestants, and is promptly thrown in jail.  He’s chatted up by a maid (obviously the local princess, and probably one of the other six heroes) who repeats a very long, repetitive tale that Adlet already knows (and that we’ve already inferred).  Later there’s some cosmic things going on, a tattoo appears on his hand, and they he and the princess are off to find the other heroes and fight demons!
I’m on the fence.  Some of it looks great, and they use some nice animation (the swirling duel early on) and effects (days and nights passing in Adlet’s prison pit).  The story is the usual select the heroes and go fight the bad guys thing right now, but that’s all right.  Adlet is annoying.  He keeps claiming over and over that he’s the strongest man in the world but he doesn’t do anything to prove it.  The demon infodump was ridiculously long.  Apparently this was originally a light novel and they seem to be following it closely.  But it’s a first episode, I’ll cut it some slack and see if I want to watch another episode later.

It took me a moment, but that's salmon grilling.
It took me a moment, but that’s salmon grilling.

Next we have a short one: Wakako-Zake.  In the first episode two men walk into a bar (not a setup for a joke) and encounter Wakako eating fried salmon with sake.  She obviously enjoys it, so one of the men orders the same, only with rice.  Wakako’s mood sours and she leaves, pondering the world she lives in … and that’s it.

And that's it for this week!
And that’s it for this week!

They were just getting started!  I was ready to watch Wakako try a different restaurant and eat some more, or at least ponder the world some more …  That’s the only problem I have with the show.  It’s way too short to get any momentum going.  On the other hand, we can always use another show about food, and people eating food.  Not hard to fit into my schedule, either.  Don’t know if I’ll write about it, though.  Damn, now I want some salmon skin …

It's going to fade in to a water droplet in a few seconds.
It’s going to fade in to a water droplet in a few seconds.

Akagami no Shirayukihime, a mashup of fairy tales, stars Shirayuki, a herbalist whose bright red hair attracts the attention of the local decadent prince.  He orders her to be his concubine.  She runs off and meets some fun young people in the next kingdom, including Zen.  They hit it off more or less immediately and are soon tossing red metaphors around, especially the string of fate.  But that prince sends some poison apples (also red) over, which Zen eats, leading to attempted blackmail and the discovery that Zen is the prince of THAT country, only not decadent.  Then we get more metaphors, this time about poison.

A fairy tale love story, maybe.  We got mirror-mirror, those poisoned apples, and certainly more down the road.  But Shirayuki is no princess that we know of, just a practical herbalist.  Zen’s a tad annoying but his heart’s in the right place.  I’m not sure where it’s going but the ED has Shirayuki both doing herbalist stuff in the palace and dancing in a gown with Zen.  I’m not sure I’ll watch it.  Nothing really wrong here, just opening episode clumsiness.  I am interested to see how Shirayuki chooses to live, considering she’s been displaced and is living in that new kingdom by the grace of Prince Zen.  Also, will she be happy to be stuck in that palace when the show makes it clear that she loves nature?  Another “we’ll see.”

Outside a high school.
Outside a high school.

Finally, Jitsu wa Watashi wa, where a high school boy named Asahi has gotten his gumption together and gone to confess to the alluring, green-haired Youko.  We don’t see what happens but there’s a lot of screaming.  After the OP we flash back and learn over and over that Asahi can neither keep a secret or tell a lie.  Well, he can, but his face is so obvious that no one is fooled.  Even his crush on Youko is an open book.  So he decides to confess, discovers she’s a vampire, and so now has to keep a really big secret when he’s incapable of keeping any.  And there are other characters snooping around.  They’re not malicious, they’re just snoops.


Like seemingly every other show in this installment, I’m not sure.  Again, it was all basic setup and we didn’t get many ideas on how the story’s going to roll.  Is it going to be a wacky, Liar-Liar type of thing, or more subdued.  The episode was pretty low energy for a high school romcom, but again, first episode problems.  It’s not worked out well, either.  Asahi didn’t confess to Youko, so he’s actually keeping two secrets now …  As far as the characters, I’m not taken by either him or Youko, though Asahi’s friends, teasing yet supportive, might be fun to watch.  The snoops, one a class rep, the other on the student newspaper, are the most promising characters in the batch.

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