Winter 2018 #3

Mitsuboshi begins with a girl running to headquarters to report a panda cat.

To begin our third installment we have Mitsuboshi Colors, where we meet three cute girls, Yui (the nice one), Kotoha (the quiet, smart one who says disturbing things), and Sacchan, the genki one with a poop fetish. They do adorable things like run around Ueno park trying to keep their city safe for the people, and animals, and in doing so get into numerous minor scrapes and surprisingly succeed in just about everything they do, especially exasperating and assaulting the long-suffering police guard, Saitou, who sort of looks after them. Also around is Pops, who has a store of cool weird stuff.

I can’t say it did much for me. First of all, it’s the premise. I can’t believe those girls would be allowed to run amok in one of the biggest tourist areas in Tokyo, and have a hideout there to boot. But even accepting that, I found very little of what they did entertaining, bothersome would be a better word. I have much more sympathy for Saitou the guard than any of the girls, and the fact that he puts up with their antics nominates him up for sainthood. “Pops,” as the translation called him, the store owner, has some good points, both encouraging and messing with the girls a little. On the other hand, you could say that both he and Pops are doing what little they can to keep an eye on the girls, but in the end, I want to see more side characters if I’m going to keep watching this.

A generic anime sky to open Gakuen Babysitters.

Gakuen Babysitters is about Ryuichi, middleschooler, and Kotaro, is very young brother, who enter a new school together after their parents die in a plane crash. The headmaster is this old bag whose motive for letting the kids into the school was to have Ryuichi run the school daycare center, which is fine with Ryuichi. Naturally, the kids are all unbearably cute and run roughshod over poor Ryuichi, with plenty of heartwarming moments. Even the old bag headmaster shows a softer side–actually I’m a little disappointed about that.

Meet the kids.

So it’s Hanamaru Kindergarten with personal tragedy mixed in. Also some possibly inappropriate parenting behavior when Hayato, another middle schooler, hits one of the kids (it’s his younger brother, but still …). I hope they follow up on that. The big theme, at least for the first episode, and which is stated perhaps too clearly, is that no one is truly alone, and while you think you can handle crises by yourself it’s okay to lean on other people, which is something both Ryuichi and 2 year-old Kotaro both need to learn to do. The kid won’t even let on he’s got a fever for fear of troubling his big brother. Overall it’s a happy, mostly positive world with cute kids. Kirin is probably my favorite right now. If they can keep the maudlin parts to a minimum and not beat us on the head with the week’s theme this show might be a lot of fun to watch.

Juri goes home after another failed interview.

Let’s see … Zoku Touken Ranbnu -Hanamaru- … not interested in the franchise, so next it’s Kokkoku, where a young woman named Juri returns to a screwed-up family after failing yet another job interview. A NEET brother, fired father, single-mom sister, only ojiisan and the kid Makoto are worth much. For some weird reason some thugs decide to kidnap Makoto as the brother walks him home, and before we can figure out why anyone would want to try this, the grandfather is having everyone touch a stone and dripping blood into it. And time stops. But before they can haul the captives out of the kidnappers’ lair, additional thugs who CAN move show up and start beating the good guys up, ojiisan starts teleporting–badly, some bored-looking guys also show up to watch and mutter stuff, and finally a big monster who is about to kill one of the bad guys, and they run out of time.

You aren’t supposed to teleport UP, you know. You’ll just come back down.

Stylistically it’s the best-looking show so far this season–while the character designs aren’t anything great the background and weirdo effects are great to look at, that goes especially for the OP. The story is full of surprise moments–I hadn’t counted on more thugs showing up–and there’s a good, naturalistic feel to Juri’s family that made me feel like this would be a gritty slice-of-life story rather than a horror-fantasy, had it not been for an opening bit. But I don’t know if the story is going to live up to the good job they did setting up the family, but future episodes will tell. However, I don’t much like the unpleasant tone of the whole thing. Everyone aside from Juri and the boy Makoto is unpleasant and screwed up. But again, so far I haven’t seen anything like this episode this season. Dunno.

Ryuuou begins with a big Ryuou.

Next it’s Ryuuou no Oshigoto where we meet Yaichi, Japan’s newest shougi champion, and the youngest. Now two months later, he is trying to overcome both the backlash and the slump he’s been in since his grueling, health-threatening final where a nice little girl helped him out by bringing him water. And guess who shows up at his apartment? It seems he sort of agreed to make the girl, Ai, a disciple. Turns out she’s a prodigy, and she’s adorable, and has a girly crush on Yaichi. The rest of it is all fluff and shougi shop talk, and sadistic “sisters” showing up right when there’s a naked elementary school girl running around the apartment.

Apart from that last bit I found myself enjoying this show quite a bit. Mind you, there’s absolutely nothing new to it, but there’s a warmth and good humor to everything. And while the Yaichi/Ai relationship borders on creepy (Yaichi isn’t the type to take advantage, but Ai has a twisted, jealous side), I had fun watching Ai square off against the scary Ginko, and her ridiculous exchange of threats with another player–you could tell they were both having fun. Yaichi is kind of a bore, but since he is a champion he’s shown he has some inner strength. I might watch another episode.

Takagi-san begins with nishikata plotting.

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is about a middle school boy named Nishikata, whose one goal in life is to “get” Takagi, the cute girl who sits next to him in the back of the classroom. He comes up with all these schemes–pop-ups in pencil boxes, erasers with secrets, weird faces, only to discover that she’s miles ahead and the joke is on him. And naturally, there’s the implication that they actually LIKE each other and, being middle-schoolers, this is how they act it out. Right now, that’s about it.

Nishikata is still plotting. Takagi seems amused.

On its own there’s not much to it. We get the idea the moment Takagi asks Nishikata to open her pencil case, and nothing much changes after that. It’s also slowly-paced, full of Nishikata lines like “hehe, this time I’ll get her for sure!” that aren’t needed, especially when we see how it will turn out. There’s a little fun to be had with HOW Takagi nails him–the eraser bit was clever. But it all gets repetitive and you begin to wonder why Nishikata is trying so hard and why Takagi is being so cruel to him. However, I’ve tried to read some of the manga, and the stories in there are longer form, not in the classroom, and the point was NOT Nishikata trying to get Takagi (I believe it had something to do with Takagi playing matchmaker for two other friends), so it’s possible they’ll break the routine.

I had trouble looking for Ashita wa Doyoubi until I realized I had already watched it. It was those three girls at the end of Takagi-san. Two shows in one! Alas, they did very little for me; their best bits came in the Takagi section with their stunned reactions to the teacher punishing Nishikata.

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