Winter 2019 4

kaguyasamabeg
An abstract start to Kaguya-sama.

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen, now in the lead with the longest title of the new season, stars Kaguya, daughter in a rich, powerful family, and Miyuki, a genius commoner and student council president. Kaguya is the vice president. They discover they each have feelings for the other, but neither will stoop so low as to actually confess, as that would show weakness and give the other person the position of power. So they scheme and scheme for ways to get the other one to admit their love. First it’s two tickets received by their cheerful and relatively clueless secretary, Chika. Can they even ask the other on a date? Then Kagura receives a love letter and uses it as a tool to get Miyuki to react, and then it’s a bento battle. All with a gonzo narrator going on in the background, and lots of dramatic visual effects.

kaguyasama1-1This could be fun. Both characters are world-class schemers; Kagura often uses her high breeding as a weapon, while Miyuki relies on his common stock (his bento has octopus shaped weenies, which she has never seen in real life). Chika finds the perfect moments to mess their strategies up with guileless comments and offers, introducing “chaos theory” into their highly logical verbal battles. It’s kind of like if Tsurezure Children focused on a single couple and added a dramatic narrator. On the bad side, the narrator sometimes gets too dramatic and adds commentary when it’s not needed. I don’t mind his being there but I wish he’d tone it down a bit. Also, right now it feels claustrophobic, those three kids stuck in that room. If the show can expand a little, add a couple more side characters, and keep the situations and strategies fresh, this could be a good show.

kotobukibeg
A table, upon which cards will be tossed.

To start Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai we have what looks like a wild west saloon, except in this one it’s fighter pilots, guys at one table, our heroines in another, the former playing cards and drinking, the latter eating pancakes and stuff, like two different shows in one, plus the saloon. After one guy tries to hit on a couple girls we get a scramble, and all the planes are up in the air to protect a supply zeppelin from air pirates. This takes up almost the entire episode, starting from watching Kyrie getting her plane started, throwing switches, so we almost can understand how it’s done. The fight itself is well-done, with genuine threat (since a couple of the cocky guy pilots get shot down early), and later Kyrie runs into some trouble. But since it’s episode one none of the girls gets shot down. As for the guys, who cares?

kotobuki1-1
Er, behind you …

Obviously the show is intended first to show off vintage warplanes, both on the ground and in action. Nothing wrong with that, and the dogfight scenes are vivid–I especially liked the noises they used, the engines fighting for altitude, the winds, the sounds of bullets hitting metal. As for the characters, it’s too soon to tell. The other point of the show is of course the cute girls, but apart from Kyrie we don’t learn much this time. Kyrie prays at a grave, and notices an insignia on an air pirate’s plane which gets her livid, so there’s obviously a past to explore. This past, and the current situation, seems like a hodgepodge of 19th and 20th century history and is clearly only intended as backdrop for the planes and cute girls. This is a show I can take or leave, but it’s done well enough I’m inclined to keep it right now.

endrobeg
A moody location for Endro~!, suitable for a boss battle.

Endro~! starts with four cute girls facing off against the demon lord, and with a little difficulty, defeating him. The end. Except we next turn to Yusha (hero class) getting woken up by Seira (priestess, I think) so they and two other girls can go to adventurer school. Their teacher announces he’s leaving and they will be now be taught by Mao, a demon. Everyone is more or less okay with this, because she’s so cute. For their first practicum the class has to go into some ruins and find an artifact or two. Very easy, except that Mao is actually that demon lord returned to earth, one year in the past, so that the big battle hasn’t happened yet, and she’s going to make sure that Yusha and the other three will get expelled and never fulfill their destiny. The practicum is booby-trapped. Of course, episode one doesn’t end the way Mao hopes.

endro1-1Early on I thought for sure this was going to be a setup for a darker series. Yusha’s lines about making everyone smile, and eating cake, seemed too obvious. But it looks like this show is exactly what it shows–a cute, goofy show with little adventures and plenty of time for that cake. Episode one does the job nicely, if predictably. I’m happy to say that the girls, facing danger, don’t panic too much but instead draw their weapons and get ready for battle. That saves us some dull moments while we wait for the panic to subside so the story can get moving again. We still have to get used to the girls, but there’s nothing really wrong with any of them, cheerful or gloomy according to their types. And there are some funny bits, like Mei the mage using her fortune card to tell them their fates and discovering that it will rain tomorrow. Not a world-changing show, but could be fun.

endro1-2
Fai is certainly having fun.

… and that’s it? I didn’t cover a lot of shows this time. There are a number of sequels I won’t watch of course, and I’m not covering one or two of the big ones, maybe because the older I get the less I want dark, depressing shows on my menu.

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