New Spring 2022 4

A lovely day for a Kamen Rider style battle.

Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de starts with Fudo and Desumi sitting amidst sakura blossoms and chirping birds. Aww, she baked him cookies! And Fudo dares to ask her if they could hold hands. She’s reluctant, but … Then Fudou’s teammate comes in, and the lovebirds pretend to battle. Turns out they’re on opposite sides of a Kamen Rider type of situation. We’re told the whole story, which isn’t much. In a real battle, Fudo confronts and fights Desumi, who, like all evil organization members, is forced to flee, but Fudo is smitten. He later calls her out, she thinks for a battle, but in reality to confess to her. Blushing, she agrees, but of course, no one must know about this! We also meet the other members of Gelato 5, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Pink, who I assume all have backstories. We don’t see any more of the evil Gecko team this episode.

Gelato Red declares his love to his arch enemy.

I like the couple; Fudo is an intense bodybuilder type while Desumi, dressed in dominatrix gear, actually likes girly things and has a cute cat. I wonder how she wound up in an evil organization. Maybe she saw a want ad … I’m not sure if the other Gelato characters will be as interesting. It’s fun, but I don’t know how far they can carry the premise. Will every week be just another silly battle and a near exposure of their forbidden love? Will there be a longer story arc, that is, apart from their romance?

SpyxFamily’s world is a mix of old and new.

A lot of people have been waiting for Spy x Family, and I can see why. After an assassination that doesn’t tell us much, we meet “Twilight,” a master spy who gets away with securing some pictures of a public servant without his toupee, which somehow is important to preserving the balance between Ostania and Westalis. He gets info on his next mission, which is to get close to some government guy who only goes in public for his son’s private school events. In other words, Twilight needs a kid to enroll in that school. He quickly finds one, not knowing that the adorable little tyke Anya is a telepath who can read his thoughts, though she doesn’t always understand them. There follows various reluctant kid/parent bonding bits, Anya sort of aware that he plans to abandon her after the mission. Then she accidentally gives away his location and gets abducted. Twilight’s latent paternal instincts kick in …

The master spy has taken on more than he bargained for.

The show has a dryness of a more serious show that is deliberately undercut by Anya’s cute, unpredictable behavior. On the whole, it feels somewhat like a grittier ACCA-13, more violent but, like with the toupee, a similar witty touch. I’m curious about what will happen when Twilight picks up a fake wife to go along with his fake kid, which happens next week. How are they going to balance the missions along with domestic issues concerning a family that isn’t (for now)? Let’s see, apparently the new wife will be an assassin who wants to stay undercover. She and Twilight may not reveal their identities, but Anya will know, even if she doesn’t understand, and that will add to the fun. I expect a lot of misunderstandings throughout the season, not to mention a lot of questions on how to raise a child.

Kunoichi starts with a ninja-style moon.

We got a bunch of girl-ninjas in training for Kunoichi Tsubaki no Mune no Uchi. They live deep in the forest and their most important rule is to avoid men at all costs. Naturally this leads to a lot of speculation about what men are actually like, but since the girls are mostly too young, it comes off as schoolyard stuff. “Men are stinky! They’re stupid! etc.” But Tsubaki, the leader of Team Dog, is a little older, and her hormones have kicked in. She’s in charge of two girls, Sazanka and Asagao, who run off one night to find men and beat them up, or something. She has to track them down, and along the way, they encounter a man, well, they hear a voice. Back at the camp it becomes clear that Tsubaki loses her focus when she thinks she hears the word “otoko.” This goes on for a while, with girlish and ninja gags along the way.

(gasp!) A man!

Like Koi wa Sekai, I wonder if there’s going to be a longer story arc, or is it going to be the same every episode, ninja stuff, wondering about men, hormones … That all was mildly entertaining, though the silly antics, especially from Sazanka and Asagao got tiresome after a while. I also wonder why the stern head teacher isn’t aware or puberty and maybe has a little talk with Tsubaki. Right now the poor girl thinks she’s all alone with these new feelings and can’t open up at all about them. Right now it all looks like a static situation, and the show doesn’t have enough right now to make that entertaining.

Hey, it’s Fuji-san!

Kawaii Dake ja Nai Shikimori-san stars Izumi, a dull but nice boy in high school, and Shikimori, his incredibly beautiful and sweet girlfriend, who in their first scene, is sparkling. Izumi has a terrible thing for bad luck–anything can happen to him at any time. Shikimori is amazingly talented at stopping the errant baseball or the flying eraser, before they do Izumi damage, and is fine with it. Izumi is not, and fears that his bad luck will finally drive her away. When he mentions this, Shikimori changes from all sweetness to a cool, stern look–her other side. And so off they go on their daily routine, first day of the new term, bowling afterwards with their friends, etc. Followed by a funny ED sequence that looks like a game.

Which do you prefer: this (sparkle sparkle) …
… or this?
I think Izumi likes both sides.

When I read about this I figured that Shikmori’s intense side would be more psychopathic, but she’s no yandere. It’s more like she has her sweet, cute side and a cold, determined one that others describe as “Cool!” The big question is why is she so into Izumi, who’s a nice boy but has nothing else going for him? Their classmates (all nice–this is a nice show) wonder the same thing. Maybe she has a protective side to her. It’s too soon to tell. The episode moves happily along from one scene to the next with nothing more than overheard conversations and accidents happening or not (if Shikimori’s around) to Izumi. In the bowling scene, Shikimori is advised to play badly to look cute in front of Izumi, but in the end rolls a 300. Cool! Her intense glare, seen rarely, is magnificent–I like this side of her better; her cute side is a bit generic. Side character Nekozaki has a wild edge I really like. Inuzuka is your average best-bud type there partly to prove that Izumi has friends. And there’s cute little Hachimitsu who speaks in one-word phrases and I’d like to learn more about. I doubt there will much of a longer story here, but who cares? It’s a good cast and a good start for a series.

Your average fantasy world map to start Kono Healer.

In Kono Healer, Mendokusai we meet Alvin, a fantasy warrior who challenges a bear with a horn and promptly starts to lose. Up walks Carla, a dark-elf healer, who for no reason wants him to grovel for help, this ticks off Alvin and the two are quickly squabbling, Carla asking one embarrassing thing after another while Alvin plays straight man and the bear, who turns out to be quite nice, tries to mediate. It turns into a debate with lectures, and then Alvin is injured. The bear (we’ll call her “Mostly,” for mostly-bear) takes them to her cottage and Carla heals him, with many apologies for Alvin’s ruined face (it looks the same as before). Oh, and Carla accidentally placed a curse on him. If he gets farther than 300 meters from her he will die, tee-hee! So Alvin’s stuck with her and her strange insults and weird comments.

Not much to say about this, but it’s clear that part of the show will revolve around new monsters, Carla’s wish that they should all get along, so that the monsters turn out to be less monstrous. Or something. Not sure I like the first episode. Carla, in spite of her healing skills, is an idiot, or at least has no ability to read intentions behind statements but takes them literally, and Alvin’s job is going to be to react to whatever weird thing she says next. The chemistry is not all that fun. It might help if we saw Alvin’s face and gauge his reactions, but it’s clear that the show wants to keep it hidden. Not sure why. It’s not a terrible start; I liked what they did with the bear, and seeing the other side of other monsters and adventurers might be fun. I’ll decide next week …

Summer Time Render begins underwater.

Finally for the previews we get Summer Time Render, with a strange episode 1. A young man named Shinpei on a boat to the small island community where he grew up, has a dream where a girl he knew tells him to look for her–and wakes up in the chest of a woman on the seat across from him) to attend the funeral of Ushio (the girl in the dream), whose family took him in when his parents died. Seems she drowned while saving a young girl, Shiori (staring saucer-eyed at the funeral), but they found marks on Ushio’s neck when they recovered the body, so maybe she was murdered. How you get strangled to death while rescuing a drowning girl makes no sense to Shinpei, or to me. The next day Shiori’s family has gone missing–they ran away. Mio, Ushio’s little sister, says that Shiori saw a double of herself a couple of days ago, and that she and Ushio had seen a double of Ushio the other day. “If you see your lookalike, you’re gonna die,” says an eccentric old hunter. It’s an old island legend. So Shin and Mio visit a shrine that will cleanse them, only there’s a rustle in the bushes, gunshots, hey, there’s another Mio, and she’s got a gun, and at the end everyone we’ve met so far gets killed … only Shin wakes up–in the chest of the woman on the boat. Is that enough mystery for you?

Mio and Shin encounter an old geezer with a tale to tell.

It’s a good first episode that has me wanting to unravel this mystery. What happened to Ushio, what about the doppelgangers, who is that woman on the boat (who was one of the fatalities at the end), why the drunk guy in the diner knows about the dream, and what makes Tetsu the cop so suspicious? And other things I can’t remember. I’m also happy that we’re not just getting another Anohana, with endless sobbing; there are some tears but c’mon, it’s a funeral and Mio is seriously messed up right now. This is more of a supernatural murder mystery. What I’m afraid of is that we’re getting a groundhog day story–every time, Shin will get closer to the truth, only to die and wake up in that woman’s chest. If that happens I’m going to drop it quickly. If it doesn’t I’m happy to see more.

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