We start with Suzakinishi-the Animation, which is completely different from RC’s description.
We meet two mysterious transfer students, er, call them Asuka (the normal one) and Ayappe (the idiot) introducing themselves to their new classmates, who we don’t see. Then it’s PE class and Asuka thinks a scout is watching, so she plays her hardest and crushes poor Asuka, only the scout in the trees is actually a flasher. Then a bad scene with the unconcerned principal, and poof it’s over. If the sub I got can be believed.
Just as well. Nothing much to this, and as I said, it has nothing so far to do with premise of two seiyuus talking about stuff. But it’s only five minutes. Moving on …
Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan has an okay start and then falls into deep mediocrity.
At the start we see hordes of nasty robot bugs and a handful of people flying magic things trying to hold them off. The bug stuff looked pretty good, though the battle was routine, but it suggested that the series might be pretty good. Then, presumably later, we get introductions to the incompetent girls of the worst Sky Wizard training class at the floating school of Mystogan, via reports to the principals. This was vaguely amusing, the self-proclaimed “goddess” Rico being the best. Then we follow their new instructor around as he accidentally runs into his future students one by one, giving them all a chance to call him a pervert. Later still he introduces himself as their new instructor.
As I said, the start wasn’t bad, and even the introductions had some good moments (and I should mention the striking view of the bug-infested earth to the sky city–nice), but everything after that was a waste. The guy, Kanata, shows absolutely no surprise at anything, the girls are types, and the conversations have a lazy, half-assed attitude to them that makes me think the writers don’t really care, either that or they had to pad out the limp, plodding flow of the episode. Everyone calls Kanata a “traitor,” which isn’t explained, and suggests something interesting, but they’ll clear it up soon enough. But I won’t be around to find out.
Judging by how much Umaru shows up in ads and manga volumes these days, Himouto! Umaru-chan seems to be pretty popular. Since all I knew was the premise I was looking forward to finding out more about it, but the first episode is yet another victim of first-episode syndrome.
If you don’t know, Umaru is a perfect schoolgirl outside the apartment, smart, beautiful, athletic, kind, etc, but when she’s home with or without her older brother, she turns into this cute blob of greed and gluttony. Apparently she has slowly shifted into it ever since moving in. And she does look cute in her slovenly form. Anyway, we see her come home and transform into whatever she is, and then there’s a lot of interaction with her brother, who pays the bills, etc, and is her ineffective straight man.
The trouble is that Umaru is too much of a brat, and her brother is too much of a wuss to put his foot down, and even when he tries he’s no match for her crying and tantrums. This gets wearying very soon as we see her get her way every single time. Now, the other big problem is that there aren’t enough characters right now. When we get some more to help dilute the Umaru/brother (didn’t get his name) combo, the series could well improve. And they did indeed introduce some classmates but so far they haven’t had much to do but display their types. But that’s normal for a first episode. You can’t do everything at once, but I think they could have spared us some of the one-sided sibling dueling and brought them in sooner. This one’s on probation.
The trouble with reading about a series like Gakkou Gurashi! beforehand is that the deceptive episode one isn’t so deceptive anymore. We’re just waiting for the bad side to appear. It didn’t help that a coworker saw it and told me “You should watch! The main part cute girls but the ending … shock!”
Still, going in, I was surprised by the cute-girl atmosphere. We watch the idiotic Yuki prepare for school, while already in school, go to class … and then chase that damn cute dog for much of the episode, giving us a chance to see the other girls at work. The dog business got on my nerves after a while, but at the same time we start to get the sense that something is wrong. Why is there a School Living Club? Why can’t Yuki go home? Why don’t they go out at least, to, you know, go to a cake shop or some other cute girl activity? What’s with the weird food they DO eat? Why won’t they show us anything but the floor and the sky?
And when reality finally sets in, yet another zombie apocalypse, it comes with a sadness because it’s obvious that Yuki’s lost her mind, and the other girls, those that actually exist, are gently playing along with her fantasies in case she can get her act together. I could argue that Yuki simply made a choice between one ridiculous genre and another (cute girls doing cute things vs. zombies), but that’s not the show’s point, though it would be sort of cool if it was. Apart from the sadness of Yuki’s situation, the show didn’t have much opportunity to display what it’s really about this week, mainly because of that dog, but we’ll get a better view next time.
Another thing about Gakkou Gurashi is that I watched the first episode of Danchigai waiting for zombies to show up. Basically we have a household with absent parents and a bunch of girls who dote on the lone boy, Haruki, and make his life adorably miserable. There’s the scary older sister, a tsundere sister about Haruki’s age, and two small, cute ones.
It’s only three minutes, so we don’t get much of ep1 except everyone waking up and preparing for school and jumping all over Haruki for little reason. I dunno. Cute enough. Only three minutes …
And now the delayed first episode of God Eater, where a new type of, er, organic energy I guess, turns into monsters and mankind is embattled, but certain select people are transformed into weapons (using the same nasty cells) called god eaters. We follow Renka, a recruit and a “New-Type,” trains and shows exceptional ability but keeps getting killed in simulations because he insists on rescuing people. When the Aragami (the monsters) flank the city he grabs his magic sword and goes out (all that technology and they can’t stop him) and nearly gets killed, but his weapon transforms, so everyone is amazed.
Well, it looks very good and it tries to be stylish (though the constant SLAM! SHOOK! SPLUNK! noises of huge doors opening, lights going on, etc., got on my nerves quickly). The bad news is that the script is so disjointed in what it tries to do that we get random bits of this and that, with awkward pauses and shifts to something else. Things improve a bit during the fighting, but there it’s usually one god eater killing a monster only to be surprised by another and rescued by another god eater. Shows like this are hit-or-miss for me anyway, so the bad script sinks it for me.
Finally, Prison School, where five guys wind up in a high school full of girls, most of them standoffish and suspicious of these boys at the former all-girls academy. It isn’t long before their thoughts turn to peeping, and the fun begins. Look out for those crows, boys.
I’m gathering there’s going to be a lot of scenes like the ones in episode one, where the girls beat on the boys and they either like it or they don’t. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much. I actually skipped through some of the setup for the peeping scene and it turns out I didn’t miss much. I also skipped through much of the abuse, and apart from discovering the masochistic tendencies in the boys (except for Kyoshi, the supposedly normal one) I was right about that, too. I gather we’re only supposed to root for Kyoshi, as the others are set up as repulsive, but I frankly didn’t see any reason why I should. Maybe they figured that there should be some sort of main character. I think I’ll pass on this one.
I think that’s it. I’m going to fall over dead now.