Winter 2022 1

Looking over the previews at Random Curiosity, where I get most of my information, I didn’t see a single show I was excited about. I’m going to do the new season previews as usual, but I’m considering not writing about this season after that. Maybe something I watch will astound me, but I’m not confident. Anyway, as usual I will start with the first clear image from the first episode and go on from there. I don’t do sequels if I didn’t watch the show before, and I’m not crazy about sports or too much blood. Stupidity and fanservice is okay if the show is fun. Here we go …

This moment looks exciting, but …

First, it’s Hakozume-Kouban Toshi no Gyakushuu, where a young police rookie named Kawai hates her job, the stress and abuse, and is close to quitting, when an ace cop, Sgt. Fuji is transferred to her box. Fuji was demoted for bullying a subordinate. Yay! Just what Kawai needs! They go out on patrol and Fuji immediately catches a burglar, who seems more charmed by the cute lady cops to get too angry. Then there’s handing out speeding tickets, a few backstories, and a safety lecture for schoolkids, and finally a visit by Kawai’s drunken father. All the while stereotypes about cops, and questions about their necessity are tossed around and the girls get a lot of abuse.

Fuji and Kawaii.

The episode feels … mundane, a sequence of events. The two cops are understated, even when Fuji starts muttering epithets under her breath when she thinks no one is listening. Okay, it’s a slice of life show, not a broad comedy, but still it feels like everything important is happening under the surface. Kawai and Fuji are interesting characters. Kawai just wants a steady income but wonders if the stress is worth it. Fuji is a model cop with an undercurrent of anger that I’d like to see more of. There’s promise in both of them, but if the show is going to stick to second gear the entire time I’m not sure I want to watch more. It’s not a bad show by any means, though the animation isn’t all that good and the art is average. I’ll decide next week.

A nice starry sky to start Leadale.

Leadale no Daichi nite is an isekai series of the warm, cuddly variety. We have Cayna, a high elf, waking up in the world she used to play as a game when she was an invalid. Apparently there was a power outage and her life support shut down. Like most isekai characters, she takes about five seconds to get used to the fact that she’s dead and resurrected in the game. She meets nice people in the inn and figures she ought to check out her high tower, though it’s supposed to be a scary place where an evil witch lives. Since she is herself that witch, she isn’t too worried. She visits the tower, wonders if there are other players still around, though it’s 200 years later in the game. And she rescues a guy from a horned bear.

Like all good isekai heroes, it takes Cayna very little time to adjust to her new surroundings.

Speaking of bears, the closest thing I can think of to this series is Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, though this show might get a little darker. Her new goals are interesting, to hook up with her adopted children, if they’re still around, and to see if there are any other players still playing. So this series is going to be about relationships with less fighting demon lords, though the opening credits suggest she will meet one or two. Cayna is pretty dull at the moment, but she’s still trying to figure things out, like what the hell happened in the past 200 years since she was involved in the game. But how consistent is this show going to be? She learns early on that the village she’s in has hit hard times and the inn doesn’t get many customers, but in the evening it’s packed with people … Not a great start, not terrible, but … I dunno.

Cam footage of someone about to get run over.

Tokyo 24-ku starts with a double-episode where we get some philosophy from a strange, clumsy woman and then jump to a fire at a school and three teens, Shu, Koki, and Akagi, wondering what to do. Finally Shu decides to rush into the flames to save two people. He manages to save only one, not from lack of trying, so gives up on his goal of being a hero. Jump a year ahead and the three are reunited at a memorial service. Later all three get a simultaneous phone call from Asumi, the woman Shu could not save, and a vision of friend Sakuragi getting hit by a shinkansen. They are somehow compelled to stop this from happening and find themselves with super-powers of different sorts. There follows a lot of running around, computer hacking, and bugs placed on people. And in the end they manage to save Sakuragi. But what was that phone call? Is Asumi actually dead?

Don’t answer that call … too late!

The title refers to a ward in Tokyo bay on a man-made island. That much is clear. The rest is confusing because of the storytelling. There’s a lot of banter that helps establish character but muddles up the story. Plus, a lot of characters are introduced and it’s often hard to keep track. The race to save Sakuragi never really takes off, in spite of the stylish visuals (this show wants very bad to be stylish and often fails). The narratives are too disjointed. However, we get a nice combo of protagonists, heroic but befuddled Shu, anarchist street artist and hacker Akagi, and straight-laced political wannabe Koki, who are completely different in personality and politics, but they’re old friends and overlook each others’ failings. The backdrop, that of a ward that has a seedy underbelly and corporate bigwigs who promote pre-crime detection techniques to counter that, shows promise. And there’s the question of who this Asumi is that hacked into the three boys’ brains. So there’s plenty of potential here, but also a big mess. The show will have to display better focus if it’s to be a success.

Reito (feet on the right) going to get frozen.

Skipping a few, I somehow decided to watch Shuumatsu no Harem, taking place in the near future, where a med student named Reito contracts “cellular sclerosis” and decides to get frozen for the five years it’ll take to develop a cure. Before that, his childhood friend Erisa agrees to wait for him. Skip 5 years, and his disease has been cured, but almost all of the men in the world are dead, and Reito and a couple others are the last chance to breed with all the women and save humanity. Artificial insemination doesn’t work, it seems … So go impregnate all the women, Reito, for the sake of humanity! But no, Reito is a pure boy and wants only one girl, Erisa. That would be fine to the new government (United Women) but Erisa has gone missing … So I guess the new government will throw girls at him while he searches for the one he wants. How romantic. Reito’s main assistant has already made an attempt.

Guess where the first offer comes from.

So why watch this? The “only man left alive” story isn’t new, and besides, the ED shows a couple of other men we’ll meet later, including “Number One,” who awoke before Reito. It could be a look at a male-dominated society that now must be run by women. That would be interesting, but beyond the scope of an anime series, I think. No, the reason is that we want to see beautiful, scantily-clad women throw themselves at Reito, and there are worse concepts for an anime show, though I can’t think of any at the moment. The trouble is that Reiko is trying to be pure of heart and will reject them all. And I suspect the show will explore the concept of love and desire while we ogle the blacked-out body parts. I suppose that’s an interesting point: should Reito remain true to his love or try to save humanity? Yeah, maybe, but really we’re waiting for the near-naked girls. If we watch, that is, and I don’t think I will. The episode was inept and full of dull, repetitive scenes. I don’t have any hopes it will get better.

A sunny seaside sky, complete with gulls, to start Slow Loop.

Slow Loop starts with Hiyori, a young girl who’s father died three years ago from a “popular disease,” so says the translation. So she sadly fishes without her father. Then a genki idiot girl Koharu comes up, almost takes a dip in freezing water, and takes an interest in fishing. Cute fishing scenes follow. Turns out Hiyori’s mom is remarrying, and so is Koharu’s dad, and guess what! Koharu and her dad move in, and there’s a bit of stress for Hiyori as Koharu takes her dad’s former study as her bedroom, etc, but it turns out Koharu is an excellent cook, and can actually make delicious meals with the unused fish in Hiyori’s freezer. This might be the start of a beautiful friendship, or step-sistership.

First meeting.

So it’s a “cute girls going fishing and maybe cooking” slice of life. Normally I’d rate such a show by how cute it was or how well the gags work, but here we have an added layer of two families broken and reformed together. The show does not try to hide the sadness that Hiyori’s going through, or the stress of living in a new family. Everything is tinged with her anxiety. She doesn’t act out of frustration but you can see how reluctant she is. “At least the sea never changes,” she says. She reacts to the silly Koharu with some surprise and embarrassment, but also with interest. No one her age she’s met has been so interested in fishing before … Too soon to tell with Koharu. We learn that she’s silly early on, but she happily takes on the responsibilities of cooking in the household and has moments of introspection toward Hiyori. All we know about her past is that she had bad asthma as a child and so is unfamiliar with the outdoors. She lost a parent too, but we don’t learn her story or see through her facade this week. The goofy bits and the underlying sadness worked together more smoothly than I had expected, in fact, episode 1 altogether was a pleasant surprise.

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