For this last installment we start with Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita, and I hope I figure out what the shortened name is soon … Anyway, we get Azusa, an OL who dies from overwork at age 27, quite a feat, and she’s sent as a witch to a peaceful land where nothing much happens. She raises money from killing slimes and making medicinal things, and lives happily for 300 years. When a curious guild clerk asks to check her stats (the first time since she got there centuries ago) she finds she’s maxed out her level and is now the strongest witch in the land, and now adventurers and a dragon are politely calling to challenge her, and getting their butts kicked by a girl who wants none of this. When a dragon accidentally trashes her house and helps to build her a new one (so far the enemies in this series have all been rather nice) Azusa finds she’s picked up a pupil. But still all she wants is a quiet peaceful life.
The show could go two ways. Either it could be a quiet healing show, or Azusa and Laika will go off and have adventures. I hope it’s the latter because I don’t know how exciting the story be if she hangs out at that nice, dull village all the time. But there are too many gags and violent magic moments in it. I suspect it’s going to get more “serious” but still light, like Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, the closest show I can think of. That’s all right, I guess, but it doesn’t fill me with great joy. On the other hand Azusa is played by Aoi Yuuki, who has a gentler touch in this show than she does in Kumo desu ga, but lets her snarky side out now and then. She is always fun to listen to. That alone is enough for me to keep watching. I just hope something more interesting happens soon.
86 starts with the fightin’ 86 mecha unit being whipped into battle by an asshole commander, who then goes crazy. Cut to Lena Milize, young commander for the happy land of San Magnolia, which sounds like a town in California but is instead a futuristic, prosperous place (except eggs are a luxury), where everyone has light blue hair, and who’s at war with someone. Drones are sent into battle, unmanned, they say, but the truth is that there are “pigs” operating them, and they die. Lena is put in charge of 86 and warned that the previous “Handlers,” who tell the fighters what to do from a distance, have either quit, gone crazy, or killed themselves. Lena, out of curiosity, bravery, or stupidity, offers the commission. We switch to the Pigs doing the fighting, who do NOT have blue hair, well, one of them does, and have chickens so they have eggs, who don’t really care who their leader is because they’ll crack anyway. Oh, and we meet their squad leader, Shin, known as Undertaker, and we see the end of one of their battles, meaning death.
So it’s a situation where a rich nation gets undesirables to fight their wars for them, and the new, idealistic leader who will try to get through to them, while they get through to her. It’s an interesting enough topic, and a rare enough one these days, that I’m intrigued, not only about the unfair position the Pigs are in, but in the war itself. The San Magnolia TV screens toss out propaganda along with the day’s weather, so I’m not sure I can believe that the war will wrap up in a year or so as they say, but inside the military building everyone, sober enough to talk, seem to think the same. As for Lena, what does SHE think? What is she going to do? Hell, what CAN she do? I can’t see her exposing the inhumanity of the situation to the country, but managing to make the 86’s lives better seems too little.
Shadows House is about of shadow figures who have “living dolls,” or normal humans, working for them as servants, playmates, and their human faces. We meet one such girl, named Emilico at the end by Kate, the young shadow figure whom she serves. It’s Kate’s first day or two on the job, and she bumbles around and tries to be helpful to Kate, cleaning up the endless soot, and falling down a lot. Kate is quiet, and though she gets irritated at times by Emilico’s clumsiness (you can see soot rising from her head when she’s bothered), she grows to like her young servant. Next time we’ll meet another shadow/doll pairing.
Every episode won’t be like this, but I nearly stopped watching this one because Emilico is so damn annoying. Her endless cheeriness was okay, but she broke so many things and apologized so often I wished Kate would have sent her to her room to get rid of her for a while. As it is I don’t know if I want to see more anyway unless there’s more of a story involved. However, the questions are interesting. Emilico acts as though she was built to serve Kate and has no other purpose, but she looks and acts fully human. However, she has no memories that she speaks of and can’t read. What’s her story? Where did she, and presumably the other dolls, come from? However, I don’t know if these questions are enough for me to watch various master/servant relations in that dark, sooty mansion for an entire season.
In Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san, we have a high school boy named, er, didn’t get it, as he goes to the school library to study only to find a bunch of obnoxious girls chatting there, which he treats with nervous contempt. They laugh at the manga drawings that fall out of his bag and leave–except for one girl, Nagatoro, who stays behind to tease and bully him a little (She’s on to him–the hero of his manga is a projection of himself), which makes him cry. The next day he goes to the art room and she forces him to draw her, then laughs at his efforts (she’s right; he was afraid to draw her thighs), then she follows him home and his nervous reaction has him fall into the river. She feels slightly bad about this. Expect more of the same next week.
Normally I would find Nagatoro overly obnoxious, but here she’s a breath of fresh air compared to Senpai’s crippling insecurities, which after a time got nearly unwatchable. Obnoxious as she is, I much more enjoyed Nagatoro’s wicked smiles and flirtatious behavior, in fact I liked them enough that I’m actually going to keep watching–for now. If Senpai doesn’t tone down his nervousness soon enough I may give up, but Nagatoro is so much fun to watch that I’ll endure Senpai for now.
Next, it’s SHAFT! NISIO ISIN! SHINBOU! That combination is the only reason I would watch a show like Bishonen Tanteidan, a pretty boy’s detective club. Anyway, we start with a girl named Mayumi who’s watching the stars and about to give up on her dreams, who is interrupted by a weird kid named Manabu, who takes her to meet the aforementioned club. More weird boys, all famous at the posh school they attend, fabulous and a little strange, hear her story about looking for a star and whisk her off to the place where she saw it. And then there’s some talking and we have to wait until the next episode.
But it looks fantastic. The imagery of stars in the night sky are all Shaft needs to put this ahead of the pack visually. And when not showing the sky there’s still plenty for the studio to show off its visual imagination. The brief bit with the hornets was my favorite. But, you know, we expected it to look brilliant. How was the episode otherwise? Um, not bad. They spend a lot of time featuring each of the boys’ quirks, and reciting Mayumi’s internal monologue and external snarking about the boys’ over-prettiness that the “mystery,” if that’s the word, isn’t solved yet. I see two ways it could go: one is that the star was in her heart the entire time, or some other fanciful explanation, which would fit the theme of the show but wouldn’t be satisfying to me at least; the other is that she saw an oddity like a supernova that night, a mundane answer that would NOT fit the theme. I can’t see it going that way. I figure each mystery the team solves will be aesthetically pleasing (actually, that’s one criteria for them taking up a case) but essentially empty. But I could be wrong. So I’ll just watch the pretty images.
Fumetsu no Anata e is the story of an orb that can take on the form of what it touches, so it’s a rock for many years until a wolf dies on it, at which point it continues in that form. He’s the pet of an unnamed boy who dreams of leaving the ruins of his snowy village and travel to where the others are. He makes a great attempt to get there, fails, gets injured, and dies, so the wolf takes that form and moves on. Next week he’ll encounter humans.
The orb/rock/wolf/boy’s only goal is to experience new things, which is good enough to set a story around, I suppose. But if he’s going to go around from village to village doing little stories I’m not terribly interested in it. This first story is told with lots of atmosphere and a bittersweet mood to it. The entire time you have a feeling that the boy will fail to reunite with his family and die, and so it happens, with big swells of orchestral music behind it. That’s not my kind of story, either, not the sadness, but the almost overwrought tragic emotions they stuff into it. As good as this might turn out to be, and it has potential, I’m not sure I want to watch as it does. Or maybe I’m too cynical these days.
In Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy, Sueharu meets a classmate named Kachi on a bridge and tells her he enjoyed her book (she’s a novelist). She is gratified, meanwhile he falls in love, and they sort of become “walk-home-from-school” friends. Then in school he talks with his romantic deadbeat friend Tetsuhiko about his zero chances with Kachi (she’s also a pin-up idol) (and the top student) (and a jerk), and then childhood friend Kuroha comes in to mess with his mind a little and humiliate him more, and we learn that Kachi’s now dating some fabulous young actor named Abe, which crushes Sueharu completely. But later, Kuroha makes a proposition: let’s get revenge on those too-pretty-and-perfect lovebirds! He’s all for it, but part of her plan is for Sueharu and Kuroha to pretend-date. That’ll show them! Oh, and there’s a little surprise at the end about Sueharu’s past.
Sorry if that synopsis didn’t make sense. A lot went on in that first episode, which I enjoyed by the way. Right now the most interesting character is Kuroha. She’s in love with Suiharu, and this pretend-dating business is a way into his heart for her. But she and Sueharu know each other too well. Even the humiliation she inflicted on him early on is brushed aside by a quick “sorry.” He knows the fake-dating is part of her plan to get him, especially since she’s all over him in a later scene, but he doesn’t mind because he somehow trusts her, or maybe it’s because he’s a horny teen and a wimpy one to boot, which leads me to the weak point–Sueharu himself, all nervous overreactions and weakness, though well-voiced by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu. As for that surprise at the end, it’s enough to stir what’s already become a thick pot of plot. Will be interested to see more.
Finally, the show that was mentioned first on the RandomC page but was late to come out, Yakunara Mug Club mo, where Himeno and her dad and grandma move to Tajimi and start a little cafe. Himeno brings a lot of fancy mugs to school to advertise it and immediately catches the eye of genki Mika, and she’s taken to the pottery club after school. We learn that Himeno’s late mother was a pottery master and actually attended the club when she was in high school, setting off a lot of profound memories for Himeno. Naturally she joins, her father being a little hesitant, something about the mother getting sick and dying, but won’t stand in her way. And that’s it, the episode only being 14 minutes long …
Sort of a CGDCT show, but like Yuru Camp, the things they are doing aren’t necessarily cute. The girls we’ve met are all very nice and a little dull right now, but I’m sure we’ll learn more about them later. In other words, nothing great, nothing bad. There was one lovely moment where Himeno, walking home, has a vision of her mom in high school running over to greet her. In fact, I think much of the show will be Himeno learning about her mother and coming to terms with her not being there, and the father will share with that, too. Meanwhile, Tajimi looks like a lovely place to visit, and if the show decides to advertise the town some more I won’t mind. Since it’s so short I should have the time to watch this every week.
So the previews for this season are done. Unfortunately, like last season, I don’t have the time to keep writing. I may write about an episode or two if the mood strikes me, but I’m looking forward to watching shows and not feeling obligated to write about them. So, see you later, whenever that is.