Winter 2017 shows 4

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Savannah.

First we have Kemono Friends, well, actually, we don’t, because the whole thing was so inept I could barely watch ten minutes of it. A dull, plodding episode where a serval-girl leads a lost girl-girl to the exit of the Savannah, with some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a long time. Next show, please …

Blue skies to open a show about Italian food.
Blue skies to open a show about Italian food.

Then a short–not as many shorts these days it seems–called Place–Watashi no Italian, about a girl named Morina who wants to get a part-time job over the summer break, and look, there just happens to be a help wanted sign on her way home. At the Italian restaurant she is first scolded by a kid for not knowing Italian, then hired by an adult named Ruri. She tastes some of the former’s food and likes it.

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If this show is going to be about Italian food and not so much about the characters, I’ll keep watching. Well, I shouldn’t say that. We only meet a couple of characters this week. The introduction of more might liven things up.

Whenever I see this disclaimer, I get suspicious about the quality of the show.
Whenever I see this disclaimer, I get suspicious about the quality of the show.

Next it’s Chaos;Child, by the people who brought us Chaos;Head (bad), Steins;Gate (great), and Robotics;Notes (right in the middle). C;C gets on my nerves immediately by being a 48-minute episode, meaning I have to put off the shows following it. Shows with long opening episodes seem to want to impress us, but never justify the length. But I try to watch with an open mind. The first half is mainly flashback to C;H, except with maybe a more unfortunate ending, I don’t remember it too well. But I do remember that the kid worked out of a container on the roof, he got visited by weird girls a lot, and that guy in the wheelchair, there were lots of grisly murders, and the boy had to wear those ugly school pants all the time. Anyway, it led to a dark, violent ending in Shibuya that I don’t remember.

Well, yeah, that's certainly a possible cause of death.
Well, that’s certainly possible.

The second half is six years later and instead of a shut-in we got the more socialized Takuru, investigating a new series of murders that parallel the old ones, though realizes it except the girl Onoe. Once Takuru gets the message he and Onoe happily go to Shibuya to look for the next one–and find it. OR rather, Onoe finds it. She also managed to hide the vid file Takuru took from the police. She’s way too savvy for such an airhead. Anyway, there was a blond girl at the murder scene called Hinae, who just happens to go to Takuru’s school. At which point I threw up my hands. I might watch episode if the buzz is good about this one, but right now it’s just a series of things we’ve seen in other shows. Murders, cute girls, mysterious images of some fat guy, like the Stand-alone complex images. Okay, maybe I’m still pissed that episode one was so long, so maybe I’ll try another episode next week.

A forest in the mountains where a huge dragon is about to appear.
A forest in the mountains where a huge dragon is about to appear.

Next is decent palate cleanser: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, where a programmer lady named Kobayashi steps out of her apartment one morning to find a huge dragon waiting for her. Something about a drunken promise the night before about letting the dragon, who transforms into a cute, big-boobed humanoid maid girl (named Tohru) stay with her. There follows a fish out of water episode one, and I don’t like those, but at least they jump from one embarrassing moment to the next quickly. Things perk up a bit when Kobayashi goes drinking with a work buddy and Tohru tags along, but like most slapstick comedies like this one, we’ll have to wait for more characters to show up before passing judgment.

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And when she says HER roasted tail, she means it.

It doesn’t look like your average Kyoto Animation show, mainly because of the simpler, sketchy art and character designs. Combine that with Kobayashi’s seiyuu (Tamura Mutsumi) and I was actually reminded of Kill Me Baby. Seriously. But we see KyoAni in the quick camera jumps, used nicely for reaction shots here, and their work with the dragon in flight. Still, it looks like a modest show for the most technically accomplished TV animation studio around. It will be interesting to see what they do with the material, which, frankly, didn’t impress me much.

Apparently, to watch KonoSuba you have to log in.
Apparently, to watch KonoSuba 2 you have to log in.

… Fallen behind again. Sorry. Next is Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2, the only sequel I’ll be watching this season. It doesn’t waste any time. Kazuma has been thrown in jail for hanging out with the Demon King’s army, or at least one of them (Wiz). A couple silly attempts to rescue him and a humiliating interrogation scene later and it’s time for the trial, which serves to reintroduce us to some of the side characters and previous victims. At the end they’re more or less where they started the series, but at least the kingdom didn’t confiscate their house as well, only their belongings.

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A strong start. The arrest scene quickly reminded me why I liked this show so much in the first place. Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness rush to defend Kazuma and only make it worse, sentences overlapping, while Kazuma adds snarky comments and mimics their “gahs” and other grunts. This batch of seiyuu make a great team, and starting the episode with them at full throttle was a good decision. It slows down a little after that. The rescue attempts were salvaged by Aqua’s bumbling. The interrogation was pretty good. I still don’t why the true/false bell didn’t go off again at the end, but I don’t watch this show expecting it to make much sense. Looking forward to another batch of misadventures.

Knowing this is important, because we flash back before long.
Knowing this is important, because we flash back before long.

The last show I intend to try is Kuzu no Honkai, or Scum’s Wish, where we meet Hana, a high school with a crush on onii-san, actually a close friend of the family who is her homeroom teacher! Lucky Hana! But she spends the entire episode moping because onii-san has a crush on Minagawa sensei. To further complicate matters, Minagawa is the crush-object for Hana’s classmate Mugi, friend of his family, same deal. So the two kids spend a lot of time moping together, even attempting sex (until interrupted by onii-san’s text), and finally deciding they’ll pretend to be a couple while they pursue their individual, absolutely hopeless crushes.

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Mugi is the guy kissing her.

It’s heavy on atmosphere, shoujo visual bits like close-ups in frames and the like. Also heavy on melancholy and grumpiness. Hana says early on that unrequited love isn’t nearly as wonderful as stories would have it, and she’s absolutely right. Incisive comments like that helped me warm up to a character that can be hard to like, a mopey, occasionally unpleasant adolescent girl. Well, having it all told by her point of view helps, too. Mugi, the boy, isn’t much better. Two kids having no fun in life, and it produced the unhappiest sex scene I can remember, both people pretending their partner is their true object of desire. On the other hand, it’s all very well done, with nice understated art and music, and it has made me curious as to where the show can take these two kids with their doomed crushes.

That does it for this season’s new shows. Next I will decide what to keep watching, and go back to writing about them here.

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