Regalia – the Three Sacred Stars has a giant mecha battle at the start where it looks like a lot of people got blowed up, or just vanished, hard to tell, and then we presumably flash-forward to the happy, pseudo-European empire of Enastoria, where we meet little Rena and her little sister Yui, though the latter is much taller and apparently more mature than the former. They agree to meet at a cafe later, but then Rena meets an old nemesis or something, and then this asshole comes out, transforms into a mecha, and announces they’re going to have a fight. Rena reluctantly quotes a lot of Latin, transforms, and is losing the fight until Yui shows up, and they both girls are in the cockpit and they win.
They drop little hints and clues as to what’s going on as they go, but it doesn’t work here any better than it did for Xechs. On the other hand, the episode leans heavily on the bond between the girls, and with this as a spine the episode is more interesting to watch, so we don’t care about the admission that Rena isn’t really human, Yui’s the empress, or what that delicious-looking bacony thing Yui prepared for breakfast was. Maybe I got so hungry looking at that I didn’t pay enough attention to the show. The battles looked okay, a little jerky, but the rest of it dragged as much as Kurimomo or Momokuri did. First episode clumsiness, maybe, and I’ve seen worse starts, but it’s not enough to keep me watching.
Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! stars Mizuki, a member of her school’s art club, along with Subaru, her crush, and deadbeat president, er, didn’t get thename. Subaru is extremely talented but all he wants to do is draw is his potential 2-D waifu. Most of the gags revolve around that, or Mizuki’s endless furious reactions to that, or her panties which she accidentally showed when posing for him, or the deadbeat president taking pictures of them, etc. When she actually paints or draws, Mizuki paints only apples, it seems.
This is another show with first-episode syndrome. They introduce only the core characters, and there isn’t enough in their characterizations yet to give us more than basic quicks. Thus, the constant gag, that of Subaru looking like he’s going to say something romantic or profound only to have him say an otaku line, got old quickly, and it actually ruined what was a genuinely sweet moment late on, when Mizuki was going to confess her feelings but winds up just crying instead. The president taking a photo of Mizuki’s panties was also a problem. Why is she even in that club? Well, she says most of the other members have quit. I wonder if they did so because of sexual harrassment? Well, next week they’ll bring in more characters. Maybe it will improve.
In Amanchu! we meet Futaba, on her scooter, as she stops to take in the sea and strike melancholy poses. Then it’s overly perky Hikari, who is off to scuba dive and whose face turns muppet-like when she gets happy about something, which is most of the time. The next day they meet at their new high school, Hikari more or less overwhelming shy Futaba, asking her thinks like what textbook smells the best. It’s clear that they’re smitten with each other, though Futaba might deny it at the moment.
A good start. It’s done by Amano Kozue, so there’s something Aria-like in its delivery. It loves to take its time, stop and smell the roses, enjoying every passing thing, etc. Every season needs a show like this so I’m glad of it. It’s also gentle with the characters. In the wrong hands Futaba could come off as cold and aloof, but they make it clear that she’s just shy and lonely, missing her middle-school friends and a little intimidated by her future. Hikari is a little TOO nutty for me; I actually liked her the most when she wasn’t in muppet-mode, but it wasn’t a major distraction. Now that Flying Witch is done with it’s good to have an equally quiet, restful replacement.
Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin, or Aldermin of the Sky, looks to be a long story about two countries at war. On the Empire’s side, a bunch of young folks board a ship to take them to a big military exam. Our hero is the lazy and sarcastic commoner Ikta, with Yatori, from a famous military family. We learn about the others as they enter the cabin and introduce themselves. Then another one comes in and everyone introduces themselves again. This goes on for a while. It’s made bearable by how the people react, and by Ikta’s silly behavior. Oh, everyone has a little sprite with them, but they basically stay out of the situation unless they’re needed, thank heavens. Then there’s a shipwreck and our heroes find themselves caught behind enemy lines along with a princess.
Well, a clumsy opening to what wants to be an epic fantasy/adventure series. On the other hand, it all made me curious about what’s going to happen next. That’s a good sign. None of the characters interest me much, but I’m curious about how Ikta’s going to make the journey to become one of his country’s best generals. He shows flashes of strategic brilliance when he’s not lazing around. Not crazy about the character designs or the art in general; it looks too crude. It’s also nice that none of these characters so far aren’t showing much in the way of petty jealousy or other childish behavior, apart from the very young princess, and that’s written off as “acting her age.” So some good and bad. I’ll wait until next week and see if I still want to find out what’s going on, and make my decision then.
Next, after deciding I didn’t want to follow a gritty tale of American prohibition gangsters, I watched Time Travel Shoujo, the only similarity to 91days being that it partly takes place in the past. We meet Mari, ditzy daughter of a scientist and a patissiere, who … well, it’s hard to explain. She winds up in England, year 1600 talking with William Gilbert. There’s a time-travel book, you see, and she has a weird pendant her missing father gave her …
Mixed up in all this is a boy who gets hit by a ball and goes into cariac arrest and is revived with an AED (electricity is a running theme in this series, apparently), and Mari’s friend Waka who’s all tsundere about the boy and wants to bake him a cake, and Waka’s smart med school brother, who goes into Mari’s dad’s old lab to investigate Mari going poof and vanishing and thus sets some sinister people to work … It’s a mess, but it could be worse. This is meant to be an educational show, going into the past to meet scientists, and so could be deadly dull; making it into an adventure series isn’t such a bad idea. We’ll see how all these different storylines unravel eventually. And I approve of a show that promotes rational thinking. I just hope it will all make sense.
Hitori no Shita: the Outcast starts with a drunk stumbling into a graveyard in the middle of the forest, and then everything goes crazy. Interestingly, he doesn’t get killed himself, but calls the cops who find a grave opened the the rest a mess. Then a woman named Baobao, the long-lost granddaughter of the missing corpse shows up, and later Chulan the grandson. He visits the grave at night, finds Baobao digging something, then she tries to kill him in the most ridiculous buried alive scene ever, I mean, the grave is only three feet deep and he could easily leap out the other side if he wasn’t so busy screaming. Then zombies (natch) show up, then it gets a little weird.
Okay, the Zhang family has a lot of interesting secrets, and Chulan might have a few himself, though I got so tired of him complaining that I don’t care much. Baobao is much more interesting in that she is both an excellent zombie-killer and a simpleton. And she’s going to follow Chulan around for a while even though he’s back at college. The whole episode felt weird, maybe because the source material is Chinese–it doesn’t follow the standard anime mode. That’s not to say it’s better or worse. It’s refreshing to see, but there are some problems. I think the script could be tightened up. It feels messy. However, it looks pretty good, but there are a lot of night scenes. Mixed bag. Probably not.