For reasons I’ve forgotten I watch episode one of the season’s new anime shows, except for sequels of shows I never watched, or disliked, shows that don’t interest me, or ones I can’t find. Because of my schedule these days the reports might be more sporadic than usual. I follow the order given by Random Curiosity’s preview page, and according to them the first show will be, not including Diabolik Lovers More, Blood (that goes under “sequels of shows I never watched”), Lupin the Third … but I can’t find it yet. So what the hell, I’ll do Lance n’ Masques. Note: to start every review I like to include an image from the first couple of seconds of each show.
Lance n’Masques starts off with a cute little girl exercising in a park somewhere until she makes a rock climbing mistake and begins to plummet to almost certain death. Fortunately, a despondent looking guy with a growling stomach and a lance hears her cries and rescues her, makes a romantic speech, kisses her hand, etc. The girl, Makio, is entranced. We then see that this poor lad, named Yotaro, doesn’t always have the same success with his rescued maidens. What’s more, he’s a heroic knight (part of an organization) but his even more heroic knight father doesn’t even make the ceremony. Anyway, Makio takes Yotaro to her mansion home, feeds him, etc. And so we get the basic premise: he will be the girl’s knight, more or less.
It took a while before I could figure out where this show was going, it was so clever with cutting to other scenes (some princess types, maids, and a girl horse are looking for him), but it settles down to be a sort of “Yotaro the combat knight” setup, except the girl is only six and not tsundere, and there are darker overtones concerning the father. Not sure I want to keep watching, but it looks nice and the characters are cute. The mysterious father is compelling, as is the whole Knights of the World organization. So I’ll probably watch another episode to get some background.
I’ve heard of Black Jack and read a little of the manga, but not enough to make an opinion of it. All I have to to on is its legendary status. When I mentioned Young Black Jack to someone, she wanted to know if he had his scars yet. Yes, so one of the most interesting things about him is still unexplained. What we get instead is medical student Hazawa, dedicated to his work even while the 1968 student rioting is going on all around him. He’s dragged to help with an accident and decides to reattach the limbs of a young boy, even though he’s never operated before. There follows a tense OR scene in some back-alley clinic and the boy’s father cheating him out of his pay; apparently this show’s going to be full of moral issues.
Don’t know if I want that. I wasn’t crazy about the first episode, either. The moment we saw the boy’s bike get stuck on the railroad tracks we knew what would happen for the rest of the episode. The “Please, save him!” and “I can save him!” business went on for too long. The surgery scene was better, though it was repetitive with the Maiko the possible love interest talking about how fast and good he was over and over. On the good side, the 1968 riots setting had my interest, and I didn’t expect BJ get cheated at the end, though, if he’s going to growl about the father bartering his son’s life for money, BJ ought to remember that it was he himself that set the exorbitant fee to save the limbs in the first place. Also, the characters were an odd mix of modern people with Tezuka’s more cartoonish drawings. The art also jumped from modern and stylish to old-fashioned … Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but it adds up to a show I don’t really want to watch.
Hackadoll is our first short of the season. We meet three incompetent AIs (the genki leader, the sexpot, and the slovenly little underachiever), the least distinguished of long list of them, who are sent down to “advance” some poor woman foolish enough to install the app. The unnamed girl is subjected to a “component analysis” that requires torturing lights and the AIs going through her stuff and humiliating her in various ways, until, I assume, she kicks them out.
Well, it’s only 7.5 minutes. Also, it’s done by Trigger, so there’s a craziness at work here that other studios couldn’t provide. Apparently it’s been created to promote a genuine app, and I admit I’m a little tempted to try it now just to see if it’s as strange as the girls are. As for the show, I don’t know yet.
Then I watched another short, Kagewani, where a professor named Banba Sousuke goes off in search of nasty things and ignores his lectures, though we barely see him at all in this episode. Instead we watch six or so minutes of three guys faking a Youtube video get chased and mauled by a real monster. Sousuke shows up at the end, fingering a mark on his face and grimacing as he reaches for the victims’ camera.
The biggest impression of the show is its weird style. The characters look like cutouts placed on a background, and most of the time if they, say, move their heads, it’s shwoop all in one movement. That takes some getting used to. But the artwork is blurry but rich and sets the appropriate mood. The chasing around got tiresome after a while, though; I kept waiting for the prof to show up. So it’s looks like a routine monster hunter story told stylishly but with little budget, and each episode is barely long enough to generate any sort of terror. … Maybe.
To finish this installment I found a show that’s NOT on RC’s preview site: Itoshi no Muco. Muco is a dog and we spend a lot of time watching her amuse herself by chasing her tail, admiring her shiny nose, and especially pulling strings on towels, rather too much of the latter, actually. Her owner is a glass blower named Komatsu who is both bewildered and amused by Muco’s antics. They’re later joined by Komatsu’s buddy Ushicou, for more low-key antics. And the whole thing clocks in at 12.5 minutes, most of it towel string-pulling.
That aside, it’s not bad. Muco is a cute happy dog, and the show is not played up for slapstick. Since her master is a glass blower I expected broken vases everywhere, but Muco knows enough to stay away. And while Muco’s the star, the show manages to spend enough time with the humans that we learn enough to make me interested. Komatsu seems naive at running a business, and Ushicou seems unsavory but not a bad sort. A passable 12.5 minutes. Don’t know if I’ll write about it every week …