New Fall 2021 #1

Hello again and welcome to the shows in the Fall season I might actually watch to the end! That said, to start with there are a LOT of shows that I don’t want to watch, or are continuations of series I dropped or never watched in the first place. I’m a little sorry I dropped 86 as I heard it turned out pretty good and would have liked to watch the new season, but catching up is too much of a hassle. So the first show I want to watch (based as usual on the Random Curiosity preview page) is …

Bright sky to start Isekai Shokudou 2.

Isekai Shokudou 2, a second season to a series that was frankly nothing to write home about, but had its charms. In episode 1 a mercenary or bounty-hunter or whatever named Hilda kills a bunch of goblins and as she looks through their amp for treasure encounters a door. There Aletta serves her cheesecake and black tea, and, yes, she loves it. Does anyone NOT like the food in this place? In the second part, Aletta brings home some food and uses it to give Sarah some strength. It’s all cute and happy, and nothing more, apart from making me hungry, and I just ate …

Well, at least she’s giving thanks.

I really don’t have anything to say about this one. You know what to expect. They even keep the happy-comfy music. The stories were a bit more low-key than usual apart from the goblins, certainly more than the first episode last season, when two of the diners almost get into a fight about which type of rice is better until the Master tells them to shut up. I suppose it’s good that nothing much has changed. I just have to remember to watch this before I eat …

More sky for Mutaking, but we get meteors.

I wasn’t sure about Mutaking the Dancing Hero, but on a whim I decided to watch it. It starts with a couple looking over a city while Plastic Love plays from the car radio (has anyone NOT heard this song yet?), and then a monster turns them into black goo. Cut to young Mutaki, moving to Neo-San Francisco, apparently in the 80s, to live with his grandma. First day in town he bumps into people and has various adventures, including dancing an old lady away from a speeding trolley. He goes to a diner and falls in love with Aria the waitress, who tells him about a big festival that night, starring “Aurora.” We also learn that the billionaire entrepreneur named Theo, like an evil Steve Jobs, which may be redundant, wants to take over the world with his gadgets. At the festival Aurora’s performance turns everyone into black goo, but a DJ named DJ, aka, DJ, who had bugged Mutaki before, transforms the lad into a rollerskate dance machine, and he defeats the evil slime thing. So Mutaki has an interesting first day in Neo-San Francisco.

DJ aka DJ calls out Mutaki.
Mutaki’s awesome dance.

Heh. This show is definitely old-school, not just the neony 1980s vibe, but the pacing and the characters. Which isn’t to say it’s bad. In fact it’s sort of a trip at times, especially moments like Aurora’s performance and the cheesy song Mutaki rollerskates to, like an old Kamen Rider anthem or something. The story is pretty old too, young kid moving to a new place and discovering his latent power to overthrow evil forces with the help of interesting allies, but they toss a lot of throwback stuff in to keep it fun. Also, I like the nostalgic feel of the whole thing. I wasn’t planning to watch more than episode one, but I might give #2 a go.

Lights flickering in a scary manner.

Next it’s Mieruko-chan, which starts with a scary scene with a ghoul coming out of a fridge which turns out to be a reenactment for a ghost show. Attention then turns to Miko, ordinary high school girl, preparing for the day with vaguely eerie things going on about her that she doesn’t notice. We meet her genki friend Hana and watch as more eerie things occur at school that is beginning to attract her attention. Waiting for the bus her phone freaks out and then the ghosts get tired of being vague and come right out. Apparently this has been going on for a while, and is getting worse. They’re getting harder and harder to ignore …

Yes, Miko can see it. She’s trying to ignore it. And yes, she’s scared shitless.

What confuses me is that this show is billed as a horror-comedy, but it’s not funny in the least. I don’t mean that the jokes fall flat, but that there aren’t any. Instead it’s scenes of disturbing things that slowly get more intense until you’re almost too scared to look at the screen, i.e, typical horror stuff. The only levity we get is from Hana’s gluttony. Okay then, straight up horror, but happy to say so far no blood and gore, just freaky ghouls trying to bug Miko. On that end, the show worked well. The early disturbing bits early on built up nicely so that I was beginning to react to things in my room, which is what horror shows are supposed to do, I guess; I never watch them. But I did like this episode and the spell it cast. I just wish it wasn’t so concerned at times with Miko’s body parts. The attention they paid to Miko’s butt suggested that these ghouls are a metaphor for male sexual predators trying to pick up young girls. Probably just me.

Next is a Tesla rebutal line.

Next we got Tesla Note, which starts in Oslo, where a high-speed train comes out of the sky, crashes and there’s much destruction. Prelude accomplished, we switch to Hida in Gifu, where a girl named Botan comes home from school, is attached by some goons, and beats them up. Turns out it’s a test, and it’s time for her to embark on her mission to save the world with her ninja skills. This leads her, a jerk teammate named Kuruma, and a couple others, back to Oslo to check the wreckage for Tesla Fragments, crystals once distributed around the world by her grandfather and ninja mentor, why they don’t tell us. Anyway, one is obviously acting up and warping vehicles into trees and whatnot. They have one adventure and bicker a lot. Teammate bonding stuff.

I liked this bit. Maybe CGI is getting better.

Oh, the CGI almost hurts. That said, maybe it’s getting a little better. Characters bob around unnaturally as usual, but the scenes where Botan and Kuruma argue are rescued by adding more typical anime-like faces. Far from perfect, but maybe a step forward. The story is happily nuts. The whole Tesla thing allows all sorts of crazy technology, and you get things like trains not being where they belong drawing no media attention. I mean, it’s right into the middle of the city. And no one bats an eye when a truck shows up–everyone seems fine with it at that point, apart from nearly killing a nice elderly couple who barely notice. I dunno, I’ve never been to Oslo, maybe weird things are the norm there. In other words, you can take the blistering CGI and the plot holes and treat it as part of the fun, or you can move on to more normal things. I’m not sure yet, which usually means “no.”

(not seen yet) Laika, sorry, Ramy, orbiting the earth and dying.

So let’s return to a normal type of anime show–Tsuki to Laika to Nesferatu, where an alternate world has the UZSR (USSR) ready to conquer space by sending up a human, only if the mission fails and the cosmonaut dies it would be embarrassing, so they decide to send up a vampire first. See? I told you it would be normal. Anyway, would-be cosmonaut Lev Leps (heh), who screwed up earlier and has zero chance of passing the test, is sent to assist the training of a vampire woman named Irina. So the first episode is about Lev and Irina meeting and getting to know each other, with the issue that Irina, being a vampire (though apart from the ears and fangs, and the sunlight problem, seem quite human. They even eat food) is not treated as human, but rather as a “subject,” thus expendable. Irina thus mistrusts everyone. Meanwhile, Lev tries to break through her defenses, probably because he’s already fallen for her.

Anya, Lev, and Irina meet. No one seems terribly happy about it.

The vampire bit seems almost superfluous. The interest to me is in the Soviet space program in the early days. Much is made of Maly (Laika) the dog and how she had died long before the end of her mission, another “subject.” There are lots of shots of old Soviet spacecraft, and we’ll get more of cosmonaut training next episode. Doing the series from the perspective of the Soviets is quite refreshing. As for the story itself–it makes no effort to hide that this will be a love story, but how it will work out is anyone’s guess. There’s the friction between humans and vampires that Lev has already begun to resent, some conflict to make hay out of. And I’m curious about the vampires on this show. A good, low-key start to what could be an interesting series.

Ronaldo the vampire slayer approaches the lair of his adversary, the great Draluc …

Finally for this installment it’s another vampire show, Kyuuketsuki Sugu Shinu, where legendary vampire hunter Ronaldo goes to rescue a boy from the clutches of Draluc, legendary vampire. Only Draluc is a complete wimp, and the boy was only at the castle to play games, Draluc having a nice set of consoles and handhelds. They chase the boy around for half the episode while I began to lose my interest. In the end the castle burns down and Draluc moves into Ronaldo’s office. They intervene in a convenience store crisis and soon, thanks to two reporters, it becomes news that Ronaldo the legendary vampire hunter has teamed up with a vampire …

… who really isn’t all that.

This is straight-up slapstick gag material, and some of it works. Often it didn’t. The story with the boy went on too long and the shouting of gags made me consider turning it off. It calmed down some in the second story with Ronaldo and Draluc working somewhat as a team to talk down a boy who had been bitten by a weak vampire (apparently if you go to a hospital and get a shot it’ll clear up overnight). Draluc is well-voiced by Fukuyama Jun, and there’s a lot of fun in his antics when he’s not turning to dust, which is constantly. I find myself wanting to see these two guys as a team, but I don’t know if I can handle all the slapstick and gags.

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