Spring 2020 2

Wake up, Gal, time to get this weird show going.

We start this installment with Gal no Kyouryuu, about a gal who brings a dinosaur home with her one night and their adventures living together. The dinosaur doesn’t speak but makes facial expressions. In one scene they go out and we learn that Dino is scared of cats, though they love him. There are some stop-motions, and then the show more or less repeats itself in live action with a man rather than a gal, then he collapses with a stomachache and we’ll probably never know what happened.

galanddino1-1Apparently this is done by Aoki Jun of Pop Team Epic fame, which explains a lot. There are tons of little sketches with all sorts of effects, stop motion, live action, strange timer moments and even a puzzle. I am one of the few people out there who didn’t care for PTE, so maybe that’s why in spite of all the weirdness thrown at me, overall I was bored. It’s so damn slow, seconds pass between one sentence and Dino’s reaction. The waiting for the ramen 3-minutes actually took 3 minutes, where almost nothing happens. I was annoyed when they started over with live action, but also pleased because I thought I could skip ahead and get it over with, but then they deviate from the original story and I had to keep watching. Some of you will no doubt get a kick out of all of this, so don’t listen to me and enjoy! But I’m going to pass.

A dingy apartment building in winter sets the proper mood for Yesterday wo Utatte.

In Yesterday wo Utatte we meet a slacker named Rikuo who works part time in a convenience store and feels like a failure since all his college friends have moved into new lives. One day he meets a weird girl named Haru, who has a pet crow. Then he learns that his old crush Shinako has moved back to town after a transfer. Rikuo mopes around and keeps meeting these two girls by sheer chance. After lots of meaningful talks he finally confesses to Shinako and is kindly shot down. … And that’s about it. Oh, Shinako used to be Haru’s high school teacher until she dropped out.

yestedayutatte1-1So it’s three people who are messed up in their own way making a love triangle, I guess. Well, Shinako appears relatively normal, but you have to wonder why she transferred out after only one year. No doubt the show will work through all their issues, or at least get a better grip of them, as the show continues. The question is do I want to watch the process. All of the characters feel real and unexaggerated, but there’s a lot of intelligent comments, analyses of each other that feel too articulate, especially from the young Haru, things that would not be normally spoken, but thought like in a novel. I guess it’s okay. The mood is dark, it’s winter, and cold outside. Just the thing for self-overanalization and loathing, especially for Rikuo. I might watch another episode to see what happens.

More water (back to green this time) to begin Hamefura.

Next, yet another isekai show, Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta…, or Hamefura, where a bratty 8 year-old girl named Catarina, in a noble family, gets a blow on the head and realizes she’s really an otaku from our time, and she’s in a game, one where she’s a villain, and so will wind up exiled or killed. Now she must grow up plotting how to change her fate. She’s already engaged to a very young Geodo, who she knows is really “black-hearted.” She can’t change that. So she starts by making a garden (to get in touch with her magical side) and training with weapons. She meets a shy boy named Keith, whom she bullied in the game, so she’s nice to him instead. Still, thanks to an accident it seems like things won’t change that much, so she takes more extreme measures.

hamefura1-1This season alone we already have one isekai show where the hero awakens as a child, but unlike Hachi-nan, Hamefura is fun to watch. For one thing, it has a lot more energy, maybe thanks to the irrepressible (if occasionally shrieking) Catarina. I enjoyed watching her go against her former rich, spoiled princess persona by digging in the dirt and being nice to people, shocking her caretakers. Also, I despise fiction where the characters are fated to do this or that, to their own detriment, and I love shows, like the great Princess Tutu, where the characters rebel against their fates. So when Keith shuts himself in his room, like in the game, and Catarina, out of her desire to both change her fate and a genuine like for the boy, responds by busting down the door with an ax, I feel a sense of triumph. Good first episode. I don’t know if I’ll keep it, but if Catarina keeps busting down doors and going against the stupid game’s flow, there’s a good chance I will.

… and back to the sky for Sachou.

Shachou, Battle no Jikan Desu! stars Minato, a slacker boy in a world where there are lots of gates leading to dungeons leading to loot and glory. Small adventurer business pop up to take advantage of this. Minato’s father was the president of one such company, but he vanished, and Minato’s childhood friend Yutoria tries to talk Minato into assuming the role of president, though he’s never done a dungeon before. His four employees are the usual assortment of cute people with adventurer roles–adventurer, healer, etc, and they are understandably dubious about him. They take a test to see if he is worthy, meet some danger, and Minato shows he might have a nose for adventuring, and business.

The staff seem unimpressed with Minato so far.

It’s like a hundred shows before it, with a business angle tossed in. The first episode is the usual, introducing the characters, a little crisis, surprising results, etc. Normally I would toss it aside, but for some reason it appealed to me. It’s not the business aspect, stamping the defeated monsters with a hanko, the tank talking about worker’s comp, etc. It’s certainly not the story itself. The art and animation are just average for this kind of show. Maybe it’s the cuteness of the whole thing. I have a feeling I’ll watch a couple more episodes until I get tired of it.

Echo the boy is seeing something incredible.

Listeners starts with a boy named Echo, looking for reusable parts in a gigantic junkyard which is the city Liverchester’s only means of income. Seeing a old amp tube he falls into a crevasse and finds a sleeping girl there with a jack on her back. Turns out she’s a “player,” and she can pilot a mecha type called an “equipment” to fight the “Earless,” not that there’s been any earless around this rubble heap for years. But she’s lost her memory. Echo is a tinkerer and has built an amp she can maybe use for her to use, but he has no dreams of his own. Disgusted, she decides to leave town but earless show up, Echo has a change of heart, and soon it’s rock and roll monster bustin’ time!

listeners1-1I will admit to have gotten a surge of adrenaline when the crisis starts, but the buildup wasn’t particularly interesting. Mostly world-building, talk about the passion of youth and how Echo doesn’t have it, and how boring life is, though I liked the tinkerer stuff when Echo’s passions overcome his complacency. And once things get exciting the battle wasn’t that much fun, just the mecha punching things, well, it was fun to watch Mu’s look of joy as she fights. Still, do the legitimate thrill-moments outweigh the convoluted setup and unexciting story and direction? I dunno.

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