Fall 2020 2

That’s a wall.

Now we have Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls, one of those shows where the hero, Konomi in this case, enters high school and wonders what club to join, until she happens to be instantly enthralled by something and joins immediately (another variation is when a character is forced to join a club and learns to love it). Obviously from the title, it’s wall-climbing. She is told off by the hardcore first-year Jun for touching the wall without permission, then lets her try the wall a few times. Naturally, Konomi’s a natural, which pisses off Jun, and before you know it she is challenging Konomi to a duel–loser can’t join the club. So with upperclassmen Sayo and Nono watching we see how Konomi’s former love for puzzle games helps her find the right route, and loses by a split-second, though Jun’s impressed enough to waive the “you can’t join” rule.

A natural!

Nothing new here, really. Through the season Konomi’s going to climb to the top, so to speak. I do like the separate mindsets she and Jun have, though. Jun refuses to treat this as a game–it’s a competition, while Konomi treats the whole thing as a challenge to be overcome. I personally like Konomi’s approach better for this sort of activity; it’s healthier mentally and emotionally than to treat your fellow climber as something to defeat. Well, maybe Jun will lighten up as the season goes on. The show drops infobits on us as the girls climb about maneuvers and strategies and doesn’t slow down the action while doing so, so that’s good. Climbing doesn’t involve wild action, so the animation doesn’t need to be spectacular, which it isn’t, but it’s good enough. Finally, we get little teasing bits of fanservice here and there, but fortunately they don’t come too often. The story comes first. But in the end it looks like an average sports anime with little new. If you like sports anime, or climbing, you might enjoy this one. I will probably pass on it.

There’s an island down there.

It’s hard to talk about Munou no Nana without spoilers, but I’ll try. We got a kid named Nanao in a school for talented kids who being trained to fight the “Enemies of Mankind,” (in the most rundown high school for gifted kids I’ve ever seen), except he’s got no powers, he says. He also has father issues and is bullied a lot. Then a transfer student, Nana, enters and she can read minds! She gives him pep talks about his wanting to be a leader, things happen, his hidden power is revealed, everything is cool, and then, well, you’re probably seen the episode already.

The show seems innocent enough.

I’m more confused than anything. The story is played straight up, a bit dull for that, but anyway. There is nothing to suggest that the kids on that island school aren’t at least sincere. But then we get the surprise ending and the idea that the school is a training ground for humanity’s enemies. Well, let’s go along with that. That means that grumpy Nana is the show’s heroine, and she’s no fun to watch in grumpy mode. And that other grumpy transfer, er, Kyoya, is even worse. The rest of the kids are all idiots. Well, I probably wouldn’t have watched past episode one anyway.

Kami-tachi begins with a shooting star for some reason.

Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko has an 11 year-old boy named Ryoma living in a fantasyland forest where he lives a happy solo life with his minion slimes. One day he encounters some armed men, one of them badly wounded, and he gives him medicine and lets them rest in his secret dwelling, while the other men wonder just who is this kid who is adept at all sorts of magic. They leave, we get the backstory about he being killed in our world–even the head god agrees it’s a cliche–and he is sent to the magic world because it’s running low on magic and he’s got some. It ends with the soldiers coming back to say hello, and they’ve got a little girl with them.

Day one.

At least even the show acknowledges it’s nothing new, but how about the execution? Too early to tell. Episode one was full of exposition so it didn’t move very quickly, but I get the sense from the OP that this show doesn’t intend to do so anyway. It appears to be a slice of life with an isekai backdrop, which might be all right. It also appears to be a story of maturing in a good way. The Ryoma on earth was a beaten-down salaryman who had an abusive father and never seemed to have a happy moment. Now he has a second chance to grow up with plenty of love and support, and no monsters to fight or quests to undertake–the gods were clear on that. You can see why he might want to spend the first three years in a forest. Assuming that the timing picks up a little I might like to see where his new friends, and the cute little girl, take him. Oh, and also the catgirls they tease us with in the ED.

Your usual fantasy world panorama to start Maou-jou.

In Maou-jou de Oyasumi we have the overly happy land of Goodereste, which is suddenly beset by demons, whose lord abducts the little princess Syalis and takes her to his demon castle. Turns out this is not so bad for Syalis. They treat her well. But her bedding is substandard and she can’t get a good night’s sleep. So she sneaks around getting things to make pillows, stuffing, sheets, etc, to help her rest, at the expense of the rather incompetant servants of the Demon Lord, who’s not exactly formidable himself.

I have no idea how they’re going to make a full series out of this. In this episode alone she accomplishes everything in the first episode. Well, it was enjoyable enough. Syalis is a balance between little princess (of the laconic variety) and steely-eyed mayhem-maker when she sees a servant’s cape she thinks might make a nice sheet. And she’s quite resourceful–using a demon’s horns to sand the side of a bed (while the demon was still wearing them), bashing apart an irreplaceable wind shield because she wants the magic wind-stone embedded in it (for cushioning). She also doesn’t care what demon servant she offs to get what she wants. Even the cute Teddy-demons are fair game, though they turn out to be more useful for their set of keys. As for the heroic prince off to rescue her, she can’t even remember his name. In short, Syalis has a mind of her own, and a willfulness to go with it, and she’s a captive in a castle of demons who don’t know how to deal with her. I agree with the demon lord who wonders if maybe he should have abducted a different princess. Again, I have no idea how they’re going to stretch this over a season, but episode 1 was enjoyable.

Seriously, how many fantasy world settings are we getting this season?

In Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear we are in another western fantasyland, where a sobbing boy reports to the adventurers guild that a black viper is terrorizing his village. Trouble is all the really qualified adventurers are out on quests at the moment, so a girl in a bear suit, Yuna, cheerfully volunteers to have a look. No one in the guild or the village really take her seriously, but off she goes with the boy, and she finds the gigantic snake and, after trying out a few tricks, manages to kill it. Everyone likes Bear Girl now! Oh, and every now and then we see Yuna in our world, your average super-talented gamer with VR specs.

This can’t just be the adventures of someone playing a game, can it? … No, reading preview pages it seems she will be sucked in to live in that world, which is just as well. So will it be any good? Hard to say since nothing much has happened yet. Yuna comes off as nice but a little jaded about the game she’s playing. Will she act that way when she discovers she can’t log out? I sort of hope so. I liked her unflappability both while fighting monsters and reacting to people saying “You’re in a bear suit! You can’t be serious!” Though I should say the seiyuu’s voice was a little flat. I guess we’ll see next week when something happens for real, or not real, or whatever.

Kimisen starts with an infodump. Not a good sign.

Kimi to Boku no Saigo no Senjou, Arui wa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen! has two neighboring countries at war, one filled with witches and the other with, er, magical people. To start we see our hero Iska sneaking into a prison and freeing a witch for no reason. He’s jailed for it but released because he and his squad are to take down the “Ice Calamity Witch,” who’s been doing damage along the front. Off go Iska and his eccentric trio of subordinates, giving us infodumps along the way. They are waylaid by some witches, sorry, Astral Mages they’re called now, but beat them off, forcing Alice, the Calamity herself, to show up. They duke it out while talking about how they want to end this endless war and bring piece, and then in a weird moment, Alice’s rock breaks, she falls, and …

She breaks off the attack, only to encounter Iska later, at an opera. Apparently, though they’re at war, they still manage to indulge in art together, I guess. What’s more, it was an opera about forbidden love between two enemies. So what we’ve got here is a love story where the lovers are on opposite sides of the battlefield. What’s more, they share the same goal–end this stupid war. My answer would be more opera, but of course both lovers will be working to work against the war’s momentum and reunite with the other. It might be good to watch, too. The setup to the confrontation, meeting the subordinates, the battles, all worked pretty well apart from the over-explaining. I’m hoping we get some good battles and intrigue, along with our star-crossed lovers, of course.

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