This time we start with Kyoto Animation’s return to TV, Kobayashi-san chi no Maidragon S. The show eases us in with a simple story of Tohru going to attack a new, nearby maid cafe and winds up working there as head chef. Her magic abilities help make the omelets extra tasty. And even with this modest story we can see KyoAni hasn’t lost any of the things that made them famous: attention to detail, tight directing, glorious animation, with some fanservice mixed in. But then the show gets relatively darker as a new dragon, Ilulu, appears to tear up the city because she’s like that. It takes all of Tohru’s might, plus some help from Elma, bribed with sweets, to defeat her. She returns to get to the bottom of why Kobayashi and Tohru are living together, and Kobayashi gets a surprise at the end which we can’t see but can guess at …
It’s all good, even in the more serious moments. I have two thoughts: first, I wish they would tone down the boobs a bit, but that’s not going to happen. Second, it seemed almost a little too manic, like the show was nervous and wanted to show off what it could do all at once. There are so many quick shots and gags that I had to rewind a few times. On the other hand, I also rewound because what I had seen was so much fun I wanted to see it again, so I’m not terribly worried that this season will be much different than the first. I think, after the tragedy, this was a good choice for KyoAni’s return. It’s the kind of show they do best: fun and silly, but so well executed and animated that all you can do is sit back, laugh, and enjoy the warm vibes. Welcome back, KyoAni! We missed you!
Cheat Kusushi no Slow Life: Isekai ni Tsukurou Drugstore is another isekai show, about a salaryman (Reiji) who is now a pharmacist in the usual fantasy world, with a cute little werewolf girl (Noela) and a cute ghost girl (Mina) assisting in his shop. First, he agrees to let a grocery store owner sell his energy drink at his store, because the man helped Reiji in the past. Then a longer sequence with a Zeral and his overly-jealous to the point of violent girlfriend Feris, and could Reiji give her a potion to calm her down, please? He winds up giving her Landenflower tea, not magical, but helps give you a good night’s sleep, which is all Feris really needed, and finally there’s a demand for botanical deodorant. And everyone is happy.
I know what you’re thinking, but I did like how they dispensed with the whole background bit as tossed-aside one-liners. Reiji and his shop are by now well-established and you know the backstory anyway, let’s move on. We’re not going to get any big stories at all, in fact, but if you like a bit of apothecary stuff, cute wolf-girls jumping around and a generally happy atmosphere, there’s nothing wrong with this show. Oh, I did enjoy Reiji’s occasional fits of temper and snark when someone’s acting stupid: “Zeral, she’s your girlfriend, YOU deal with her!” It livened up the happy flatness of the show a little. However, I suspect that they just wanted to establish the situation this episode and we might get an origin story next week. I hope not, but since I’m not sure I want to see any more I suppose it doesn’t matter …
PA Works’s latest show is Shiroi Suna no Aquatrope, where we follow two girls, Kukuru, a spunky native of Okinawa who works in an aquarium, and Fuuka, who is giving up on her idol career struggles and is heading home, but, on a whim, takes a plane to Okinawa instead. We watch as the girls do nothing much, Kukuru taking makeup classes and fretting over the aquarium’s financial woes, Fuuka wandering around, getting weird advice from a fortune teller and being part of an odd ritual while she sleeps on the beach. She visits the aquarium, feeling a failure and a quitter, and has a weird cosmic fish experience, which Kukuru somehow senses. Hey, guess what? The aquarium’s hiring!
The first episode takes its sweet time setting up the situation, which we already guessed at anyway, but it’s balanced by the lovely art. This is PA Works after all. The fish, graceful and colorful, especially stand out. It will be a pleasure to look at even if the story doesn’t pan out. Again, this is PA Works, and they’re doing one of their quiet slice-of-life show, so we don’t know what we’ll get; Hanasaku Iroha or Glasslip. The two main characters are typical for this kind of series, the slightly genki girl with a connection to cosmic forces, apparently, and the quiet one trying to find herself. Too soon to tell with them. The side characters seem decent enough, though that little girl wandering around being weird is a bit much. Too soon to tell.
Meikyuu Black Company stars Kinji, who, through some shrewd real estate dealings, winds up happy as a NEET in a penthouse. Then he’s sucked into a vortex into yet another isekai and winds up working in a “demonite” mine with various monster grunts. Determined to win, he finds a portal and finds a portal to an underground location with plenty of demonite. He befriends a lizard named Wanibe, they’re both almost eaten by a giant monster named Rim whose other form is a cute loli, they strike a deal and soon it looks like he’s going to ride high again, after he turns into the type of cruel boss he tried to escape from …
Nothing really wrong with it. I can’t say I like any of the characters, no, scratch that, I like Rim, but this show looks to be a satire about bosses and laborers and not a character study. Kinji, even when ruthless, is kind of fun to watch if only he’d shut up about his ambitions and his opinions about the people around him, not to mention his gloating. But I wonder if the show is actually going to go anywhere. Is it going to be a “scheme of the week” thing with Kinji always getting comeuppance, or is he going to succeed and slowly climb up the corporate ladder again? I’m also a little curious about this world he’s in and why he got sucked into it. Is the entire planet like that? I’m not sure the show is interested in answering that.
100-Man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore Tatte iru is back, and everyone is pretty much the same as before, but we start with the new kid, Keita’s story, single mother, blackmailed into a murder plot, which Yuusuke spoils and helps him escape. I barely remember that. But now he’s one of the gang, and pretty annoying, too. More interesting is that, while only a week has passed for them, the world they visit has advanced fifteen, and tough, crazy Kahvel is now a mother with two kids, and no blood-lust at all. This is played to a little comic effect, but also to display her strength turning from violence to raising children. It ends with a sweet scene where Kahvel confesses her old love for Yuusuke and Yuusuke wondering how he can grow as strong as her. Kisue also has a nice reunion with a man she rescued as a boy. Too much sentiment, so it’s off on the quest, where they have to dispatch some orcs and deliver a buffalo.
There was always a darkness behind the often Konosubaesque scenes. The main team is more experienced, has seen too much, and is surprised by less. I guess Keita will pick up the slack on that. Oh, there are moments, Yuka’s otaku behavior, the half-headed god, etc, but I think this new season might lean more to the serious. I don’t know if this is a good thing; I rather liked the silly moments. But the overall story and the mysteries are still strong enough that I want to keep watching. Hopefully Keita will settle down.
There are other shows that are coming out later, but I’m going to finish the previews now. Last is Megami-ryou no Ryoubo-kun, where a middle-schooler named Koushi, homeless and starving, is picked up by a sexy girl named Mineru and taken back to her woman’s dorm, where he meets Kiriya, Frey, and Serene, all naked. They decide to let Koushi be their new dorm mother, and continue their lives walking around in various states of undress, to the shock of Koushi and to Atena, a woman who has trouble with men and refuses to let him stay there, until guilt sets in. In the second story, Mineru the scientist has an experiment go awry and so she and Frey have to go outside–in various states of undress. Atena tries to clamp down on the morals there and there is yet more undressing.
I don’t need to add anything more, I think. This could be a sort of a lighthearted happy domestic comedy but the nudity and shota elements tend to bury it. The girls are all basic personality types, inviting you to choose your favorite. Interestingly, the one girl who Koushi (and us) haven’t seen naked yet is Atena, so there could be a kind of romance there. And there are bits in the OP that suggest a girl more Koushi’s age will enter the story. But really, the selling point of the show is the nudity, so if you’re fine with that, enjoy.