New Summer 2015 #4

The first season of Non Non Biyori was a mixed bag.  When they used the pastoral setting and its slow rhythms the show was exceptional and gave us things we don’t normally see in anime.  When they tried to use gag stories that you’d find in any other school comedy it usually fell flat.  But even then, there was always Renge.  Which is to say I was both happy and worried about the new season.

A nice sky to begin Non Non Biyori's new season.
A nice sky to begin Non Non Biyori’s new season.

The first episode, at least, is great stuff.  We flash back to just before the first day of school, when Natsumi enters middle school and Renge enters first grade, not that it matters since they’re all in the same classroom, but whatever.  Renge is excited, of course, especially because she has a shiny red backpack now, and a bus pass.  Natsumi is happy to have someone younger than her in the classroom.  Renge practices going to school, marking a trail as she goes, they have the opening ceremony and sing the school song.

HI girls!  Nice to see you again!
HI girls! Nice to see you again!

No other show would take as long to sing that song as Non Non Biyori does, both verses, and I don’t mind a bit.  The show displays a lot of nature and a little civilization as they do.  In fact, the episode takes plenty of time watching a lot of little things, people walking down a path, lots of greenery.  It’s what the show is best at and it’s the best way possible to begin the new season.  And there was plenty of Renge.  The show displayed ALL its strengths this episode.  Except we didn’t get a nyanpasu.

Renge receives her recorder, and the earth trembles.
Renge receives her recorder, and the earth trembles.

 

Sore ga Seiyuu begins with a shot of the show they're dubbing.
Sore ga Seiyuu begins with a shot of the show they’re dubbing.

I’ve been following the online manga for Sore ga Seiyuu! for about a year now.  It’s an amusing and informative look at the seiyuu world, but it’s something I couldn’t imagine as an actual series.  But here it is anyway; I’m still not sure it’s going to work.

Futaba and Ringo, sorry, Ichigo, on their first day.
Futaba and Ringo, sorry, Ichigo, on their first day.

We follow newbie Futaba in her first job, playing a little mascot character for a mecha series.  We not only deal with her nervous, mistake-ridden first day on the job, but we get little lectures about the procedure from her stuffed, er, dog, a trick obviously stolen from Shirobako.  I assume they want us to make the connection, because otherwise it just feels like a blatant rip-off.  The episode wasn’t terribly fun to watch but that was partly because I was afraid she would screw up, and she does.  The rest of the characters, her coworkers, are indifferent, supportive, and jerks in turns.  The humor sometimes works, and sometimes you don’t know where the show is going.  I think this would work better as a ten-minute weekly short than a full episode, but I’m curious to see if they can get the kinks out.

A typical suburban anime house.
A typical suburban anime house.

My schedule’s getting tighter, a lot of work, so the posts will come slower for a couple weeks.  It also means that when I get home I’m much more tired, not up for Overlord, the next show.  I thought instead I’d choose something lighter, like Monster Musume no tru Nichijou.  Oh god …

All you need to know about this series.
All you need to know about this series.

I know it’s the first episode, there are other cute monster girls they have to introduce, but I can barely handle the one.  Kimihito, our male lead, becomes an accidental homestay host for Miia, a big sexy snake girl who’s crazy about him and wants to hug and squeeze him all the time, and you know how snakes can squeeze.  How he got out of the episode with just some bruises and a dislocated shoulder I don’t know.  They go through some of the usual things you find in these shows, like lingerie shops and a love hotel (to escape over-curious passers-by).  There’s a point that Kimihito isn’t allowed to hurt or even deflower Miia as part of the new laws, but he doesn’t want to anyway, except that the upper half of her is beautiful, etc.  That’s not enough to keep me watching, neither are other monster girls who will show up to fill his harem.

Tokyo street at night.
Tokyo street at night.

Now the next night and I’m even more tired, so I thought I would watch Million Doll, so I could dispose of it quickly, but it through a curveball at me.
milliondoll1-1
Not that it’s terribly good, but it’s more cynical than I thought.  We watch some idols at work, some more established than others, but we spend more time with the so-called fans, particularly Suuko, a girl who usually stays at home during idol shows and watches on her computer, and a guy named Ryuu who jumps on one idol bandwagon but hops off the moment he senses a change in popularity.  Until one idol is particularly nice to him at a handshake event.  Suuko hates Ryuu’s type, Ryuu doesn’t know who Suuko is.  This show has the opportunity to explore areas of the Idol fan-world we haven’t seen before.  An episode is only eight minutes, so I don’t know how much they can pack in, but I’ll keep watching now just for the novelty.

I put off Overlord because I wanted sillier fare the last two days, but today I watched it, and it falls into the biggest stack of new show categories: “Okay, I guess, don’t really care either way” which probably means I won’t watch it.

Overlord starts with a little background.
Overlord starts with a little background.

We got a skeletal evil overlord named Momonga in a big online game, sad because it’s the last days and the servers are getting their plugs pulled soon.  He chats with one last buddy who’s off to RL, and in spite of his evil overlord appearance is voice is lighter and he’s pretty friendly, and there are the smiley faces.  That was a nice disconnect there.  Anyway, as you might be able to guess, time runs out for the servers but he’s still there.  He can’t access the console, but his minions are now solid and real, including the sexy Albedo.  And there’s no way for him to log out now.

overlord1-1
So at first he has to figure out what’s going on, then what he’ll do next, and as he does his light internal voice gives way to the traditionally evil-sounding bass.  What he decides we don’t know yet, though there’s probably plenty of online sources if you’re interested.  It looks like a darker Log Horizon, and maybe more serious, meaning less fun.  Momonga will probably have to struggle between altruism and EVIL.  But though I had fun watching him figuring out how things work in this “real” world, I don’t really care too much him, maybe because his appearance doesn’t allow him to show any emotion.  I also don’t really care about the new setting.  Maybe if you’re into this sort of game you might like it more.  As for me … nah.  Have fun.

I guess fans of this show need to be reminded of what they're watching.
I guess fans of this show need to be reminded of what they’re watching.

Finally, Bikini Warriors, a show you know can’t be bad because look at the title!

bikiniwar1-1
Well, it tries as hard as it can to be bad, as our four heroines wearing next to nothing go against monsters and decide they need better bikinis, er, armor.  They get some, which are as revealing as the first batch, and it seems to work.  Meanwhile I wondered how I was going to get through a half hour of this, only to discover that it’s only four minutes long.  Which seemed like a half hour anyway.

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