2021 Spring 2

The slime spinoff starts with a window, presumably about to be opened.

First we have Tensura Nikki – Tensei Shitara Slime datta ken. Basically it’s Rimuru and his friends living day-to-day. Rimura walks or bounces around town checking out how people are doing and how construction is going. It’s all little experiences. Benimaru talking about how Shuna has changed (into more of a mom), the old swordsman (forget his name) taking up bonsai, Ranga showing off his cool new power, the new admin building is built, etc. Little scenes and gags is all we get. My favorite was Gobta and others taking how about how delicious slimes are on a hot summer day, maybe a joke but Rimuru gets a little freaked.

Beautiful day isn’t it, Rimuru?

I doubt that newcomers will care for this much, but for us who have watched the two seasons before it’s a nice change from the dark stuff. Nothing really bad happens. The only problem Rimuru faces is that he’s a little embarrassed to be praised so much and wishes they would ease up. “Such a nice problem to have!” responds Treyni, being a bartender for some reason. The show always had a light, optimistic feel to it, and it’s one of the reasons I think that the series became so popular. I have confidence that they can create a whole season of the light stuff and still make me smile, which I did in episode one.

Some lavender to start Seijo no Maryoku.

Another isekai world in Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu. This time an office lady named Sei goes home from work and steps into a magic thingy in her apartment, and off she goes! Alongside another woman. Congratulations! They’re saints set to protect the world of Salutania from the monsters that attack when the miasma gets too intense. For reasons the show doesn’t make clear, the other woman is proclaimed the saint (there’s only supposed to be one at the summoning) and Sei gets bored at the palace with nothing to do, until a walk takes her to a botanical potion research institute. She’s always been interested in this type of stuff, and once she gets some magic in her, her potions are 1.5 more potent than the usual ones. She continues being a prodigy for a few months until they’re rushed to bring potions to some wounded soldiers, and her abilities are no longer such a secret.

Not sure where this is going. Well, Sei is going to learn more, get more fabulous, and possibly get that wounded captain as a boyfriend. But this is hardly an adventure story with battles. We only see the aftermath of those, the healing part. The story is told serenely apart from the jumps into the future, with restful ballads playing in the background. Probably it will take as much time for Sei’s development as it will with any story it might dish out, or rather, Sei’s progression, her becoming accustomed to this world and finding connections, IS the story. Not that other shows are disinterested in their characters, but here it might get more focus. Sei is a question mark. After being summoned, her first reaction is “get me outta here!” I wanted to cheer at that. Alas, she settles into the new world quickly after, and has become a dutiful, diligent potion-maker full of politeness. I hope she keeps some of that gumption she had at the start.

Full dive starts with a track and field flashback.

Kyuukyoku Shinka shita Full Dive RPG ga Genjitsu yori mo Kusoge Dattara, or Full Dive, has Hiro, a boring kid in a monotonous life, who is conned into buying a super-realistic VR game by a clerk with big boobs named Reona. He reluctantly tries the game, is delighted at its realism, until he is punched by best friend (in the game) Martin when he asks about leaving the city. Things get even worse as he accidentally kills Martin, which sets the sister Alicia into a murderous rage, and soon Hiro’s on the run with the title “Best Friend Killer.” Not the way he expected or wanted the game to start. Even Reona, as a helper fairy avatar, is appalled. So Hiro’s bad day gets even worse.

More running, but now Hiro’s running for his life.

Yeah, I dunno. Are we going to watch endless episodes of Hiro screwing up and very slowly gain skill points and powers? How much punishment is Hiro going to take? I guess it’ll depend on how funny it is. The first episode wasn’t terribly so, but on the other hand they had to give us scenes of Hiro’s mundane and unpleasant real world life, so it might get better. It might also be fun to see how the show plays with standard game tropes. Alicia and Martin are your average friend NPCs who are introduced first to show you around the place, so a game where you can actually kill one of them suggest all sorts of mayhem could be induced. Hiro comes off as dull, but his inner thoughts have a snark to them that will help. I only hope they don’t keep harping on Hiro’s tragic track and field incident two years ago. Who cares? …This is another one where I’ll see how I feel next week.

A sleepy town’s station.

Next up is Super Cub, which starts quietly, a sleepy town and Claire de Lune, until our hero Koguma wakes up. Then it’s no music as she goes through her quiet morning breakfast and bento prep, then an exhausting bike ride to school, where she has no friends (no parents either–the episode is called “The Girl with Nothing”). On her exhausting ride home a scooter passes her and on a whim she visits a motorcycle shop, where everything is too expensive (no money either) except for a used Super Cub that, well, three people died. In the first bit of gumption Koguma has shown, she buys it, gets a license, and off she goes, smiling for once. More fancies take her and she goes to a combini at night (Claire de Lune returns) … and runs out of gas. She’s such a serious, sensible girl that I had a hard time believing she’d forget about something like that. But it turns out all right. I guess next week we’ll meet other scooter girls.

Naturally the wind stirs a little when she first gets on her bike.

It’s so quiet and peaceful. Almost too much. I mean, the mood is set beautifully, as is Koguma’s behavior, bland and unsmiling at the beginning but melting into smiles when she looks at her bike by the end, the only thing in her life, but I began to tire of watching her otherwise dull routine. However, like many first episodes, this one wants to introduce us to its world first, then start developing. The friends will be important. Koguma’s little transformation is sweet, but she’s not a strong enough character to carry the series. It’s going to depend on the other regulars’ personalities and how Koguma reacts to them to make it work. Episode one was a good episode, beautiful to look at too, good enough for me to be patient, and I have a feeling the show is going to demand a little patience.

Isekai Maou 2 starts appropriately enough with a bare thigh.

Well well, look who’s back: Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu, where we see a holy girl menaced by a paladin, with a tentacle-thing tearing off her clothes, naturally. Fortunately, Diablo happens to be floating by and rescues her. Before half the episode has passed he’s got a new girl for his harem. Good start, Diablo! Anyway, the girl, Lunachima, is actually a high priest who’s been targeted by corrupt paladins. Diablo, Rem, and Shera agree to escort her to, er, didn’t write it down and it doesn’t matter, a place where she will tell the head Paladin about the danger. Diablo is hesitant to pick a fight with the church, but he can’t resist cute girls and his dungeon’s nearby, so …

Diablo, of course, is unaware of where his hand is.

We all know what to expect from this series, Diablo trying to live up to his demon lord persona, cute girls alternately fawning over him or bickering with each other, and lots of fanservice. Oh, and some laughs. Sadly, we don’t get a lot of them this episode, in fact, the whole thing seemed a little off. The timing and pacing weren’t as good as they should be. It’s been awhile, maybe the first season was like this too, but I remember enjoying it more. Or the show has to get the story arc started and shake off some rust. Anyway, the episode was pretty much what I expected.

Blue Reflection Ray starts with … pink.

All right, enough with girls treated as sex objects and back to girls being quiet and troubled. Any thought I had that Blue Reflection Ray was going to be a quiet yuri show was dashed in the first scene, where we had magical girls fighting and one of them giving up. We switch to a girls school and new transfer student Ruka, who has trouble making friends or making connections. Her belief is that feelings can’t be shared, well, she certainly keeps HERS shut away. After meeting and failing to connect with a red-haired girl twice, certain rings start to glow, and Ruka bumps into a young woman who drops hers, so Ruka picks it up and things get weird briefly, weirder even then Ruka’s new roommate, Hiori, who had gone missing and returned through the dorm window. Meanwhile, the red-haired girl is being stalked by two other girls who obviously have something nefarious on their mind. Reika and the young woman interfere and become magical girls or a sort, while Ruka watches and wonders what the hell’s going on. Actually, Reika is surprised too …

Hiori and Ruka find themselves in the LEAP RANGE!

The idea is that Ruka thinks we can’t share our feelings while Hiori says at least we can try to, and so I guess the show will be about Ruka opening up and trying to share hers, with lots of magical girl battling along the way. I’m simplifying this a little. All sorts of things are going on, troubled kids with unhappy home lives, growing and developing, accepting their situations and trying to make it better for themselves and for others. It reminds me of Wonder Egg Priority, but with a simpler, almost old-fashioned character style (at least when the psychedelic “leap range” world isn’t around–clearly the show wanted to make a distinction between the real world and the ones where the kids battle). It will take some getting used to. It’s all a very interesting start, but I wonder if the show is going to sink into weirdness like WEP did. I’ll give it a couple of episodes to find out.

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