Summer 2022 1

Hello and welcome to the new season, Summer 2022, when there’s nothing to do since it’s 36 degrees outside but sit at home and watch shows, well, there’s only one out that I wanted to see so far, but let’s get this started with the first of the preview posts. As usual, I will watch only a fraction of the shows out there since I don’t have time to watch them all. I rarely watch sports anime, or horror (not that the two are related, though there’s a thought …), but anything else is possible if I’m in the mood. This season there’s only one guaranteed keeper, and you probably can guess what that is. Also, I present a screenshot of each show’s first moments, for no reason at all. So first:

Kami Kazul Idol tells us what it is.

Kami Kazu Idol features the boy-idol duo “Zings,” featuring your usual boyish, genki idol type Yoshino, and his almost complete deadbeat partner Niyodo, who only took the job because he wanted to capitalize on his looks and has no actual interest in idols, performing, rehearsing, or interacting with fans. After another dreadful concert where he forgot most of his lines, he’s sitting backstage, not giving a shit, when Asahi, girl-idol is seen sitting beside him, sighing. Turns out she’s dead, and that she was on the verge of a big idol to boot. What’s more, she can take over Niyodo’s body and be the genki idol type he should be. Hey, a chance for this fan-starved girl to live in the limelight again, and a chance for Niyodo to make cash without trying! It’s a deal! And their first Zing’s show together is a huge hit!

It’s refreshing to see an idol figure being so listless, and I’d say he works well with the passionate Asahi except the gags and timing between don’t really work, well, this is a first episode, so we let it slide. Partly it’s because Niyodo shows almost no surprise at this idol ghost girl floating around him, like it’s the third time this week. To be fair, Asahi has the same reaction to his reaction, so the show at least recognizes the situation, but it makes you wonder what in the world DOES interest Niyodo. We get no clue in this episode. As for his partner Yoshino, he’s there now to be supportive and react to Niyodo’s blase attitude. On the good side, Hitomi, their manager, can get nicely scary, and Niyodo, even without Asahi’s help, has three fangirls who we follow for a bit. They’re shocked at the transformed Niyodo and speculate about it in a post ED bit, but that scene too felt mistimed and off, fading into a clumsy nothing. The show has some kinks to work out all over. Worst is the CGI’d dance routines with an art style that seems to come from another series altogether. In short, in spite of a promising idea, nothing quite clicked, and I don’t know they can fix it well enough.

I assume that’s a place where they do manzai routines.

The next show has much faster and more precise timing, and it has to because it’s about Manzai Comedy. Teppen!!!!etc has a batch of cute girl comedy trios living in the same dorm while they prepare for a big contest, overseen by the building manager, the bald, muscular, and long-suffering Seiji. Seiji goes from room to room to clean out the girls’ ACs and in doing so meet the girls and we see what style of comedy they’re into–the intros are basically comedy skits. The main trio, “Young Wai-wai,” are introduced first as they wonder what to do after they broke a bodybuilding trophy that was Seiji’s favorite. They have no real gimmick, but the others include an Ibaraki trio, a posh trio, and a UFO-nut trio … and others. And stuff happens. Oh, and each trio in turn has to perform for a local audience, and if they don’t like it, those girls are expelled. No pressure.

Just a small selection of the many girls we meet this episode.

Fitting for a manzai comedy, it’s fast and crazy. The opening setup of visiting each room was simple but effective, and you began to wonder that the next set of weird girls will bring us. If I keep watching I’m going to have a problem: I know the basic idea of Manzai comedy, but nothing about its history and culture, and indeed there were jokes that flew right by me, like the origin of the dorm name “Takako-so.” I could tell only that there was a joke there based on the girls’ reaction to it. I also didn’t get the Ibaraki jokes except that the girls had some sort of inferiority complex, and there is natto involved. The other problem is that it might be TOO high energy (and I enjoyed Teekyuu, though those episodes were only two minutes long), and there are so many performers literally joking around that I got confused easily, and tired. However, you’ll notice that all my complaints have nothing to do with the quality of the show, which is promising if you have an interest in this sort of thing.

Unfortunately, Chisato won’t have time to enjoy that coffee.

Lycoris Recoil starts with a a montage of peaceful modern Tokyo life, and a bent-up Skytree to suggest it’s not always as peaceful. It’s peaceful now partly because there are Lycoris patrolling, basically cute girls who take care of any nasty situation by shooting the bad guys and quickly disposing of their remains. We follow one girl, Chisato, for a bit, but the story quickly turns to an illegal arms deal with a hostage situation, where another Lycoris, Takina, decides the best answer is to shoot everybody, except the hostage. For this she is “reassigned” to a little cafe where she meets the bubbly Chisato, and starts her new duties, basically dealing with local crime, visiting orphanages, yakuza headquarters (where she and Chisato are welcome) and then get a friendly assignment from a local cop to watch a girl who’s being stalked. Turns out she’s not being stalked for the usual reasons and it all relates to that arms deal, where a thousand guns went missing. Meanwhile higher-ups talk with hackers, and we get the idea that there’s more going on. Oh, and there’s a lot of coffee going on.

Hi there!

The basic metaphor is clear and stated by Chisato: when something is broken what does it become? Is it worse, or different? And there’s the wrecked Skytree to remind us. Takina may not be “broken,” but it’s clear that she will become a different person than the cold-hearted killer she is now, helped by Chisato’s example of using non-lethal bullets on bad guys. Chisato is a lot of fun; she’s genki and fun-loving, but also shrewd. Her visual characterizations and seiyuu Anzai Chika’s voice work help her maintain the balance. Takina isn’t allowed to show as much emotion, so she’s less fun. I also liked how, apart from the opening voice-over, everything we need to know comes from casual conversation or asides. We wouldn’t have learned that Lycoris are young orphan girls rescued and trained by the government if it wasn’t mentioned in passing by the drunken cafe boss Mizuki. It’s paced well, though often quick and jarring, and the actions scenes are presented dramatically. Good first episode. Looking forward to more.

Engage Kiss starts with a nice view.

Engage Kiss stars, I think Shu, a deadbeat who quit his job at some company, to the joy/annoyance of former lover Ayano, who’s the CEO’s daughter. He is penniless and depends on Ayano and Kisara, a high school girl who’s in love with him to survive, until he gets to bid on a big job, which he gets. So he, Ayano, and some backup, go into a casino where a demon has appeared. They’re having trouble with it until Kisara shows up, but can’t fight effectively until she and Shu make out a little. Then as a proof of her love he gives her his spare apartment key (though she can walk through walls), and then she gets REALLY fired up, and they polish off the demon with major damage, which will be taken out of his reward.

Kisara and Shu.

Yeah, it’s inane. In spite of my description the episode isn’t as ecchi as you might think, but the situation, the powering up, lends itself to some, er, moments. On the other hand the action scenes are fun to watch, and there’s an entertaining bit where Ayano and Kisara, while trying to subdue the demon, start fighting each other out of jealousy. The biggest problem is Shu. He might have some superpower that enables the fighters to fight, but other than that he’s basically a deadbeat. So he goes around apologizing for making the girls pay for everything, promising to pay them back (you know he won’t), looking embarrassed at Kisara’s advances (what does she see in him?), and making side comments. Kisara is a dull, love-struck girl until she gets to fighting, and she’s magnificent at that. Ayano has potential as the former lover and CEO’s daughter trying to be professional in spite of Shu and Kisara making out. Kind of a confusing episode, story-wise. Not really bad, but I wonder where they’re going to take this?

The eye of the giant, or something. Yurei Deco starts with an old legend, you see.

Yurei Deco takes place on Tom Sawyer Island, a happy place where reality is overlaid with virtual images of your choice, and where transactions are made using a monetary unit called “Love.” The more love you get, the happier you are. Bored teen Berry sits in a virtual class, goofing off until her link, or whatever, goes a little wonkers and she’s sent to an ophthalmologist. She never gets there because she finds a weird origami flower which allows her to see (via some sort of data link) a scamming boy she assumes is Phantom Zero, a mysterious figure who wreaks havoc by stealing everyone’s love and is possibly a myth. She chases him around for a while, and eventually they wind up in some other virtual place running from things, and maybe meeting the real Zero.

Berry confronts who she believes to be Phantom Zero.

Very stylish, and concept isn’t bad either. “Zero is a lie, and everything that isn’t zero is reality,” a phrase used over and over, suggest that Berry and whoever the kid is she’s following, are just bored with the present, happy, dull world, and wish for something not in their world, i.e., zero. Indeed, it’s suggested by adults that Phantom Zero is simply a ruse to keep the kids interested while they’re at that troublesome teen age. But we see that there are things around that the adults can’t see and that that boy and Berry can (Berry’s glitchy eye might be a reason), perhaps people looking to upset this happy but dull and possibly empty Tom Sawyer lifestyle. I dunno, there’s a lot of artifice in that world, but there are also parents raising kids and other people doing normal things. Anyway, the world is bright and colorful, the virtual interface characters remind me of Kaiba, but the kids race around using invented, twitchy-glitchy slang and doing impossible jumps and laughing, and it somehow feels like another show where the adult creators are trying to be “cool.” I suspect the story is going to get more confusing as well, as they pile on more colorful metaphors and slang to make a comment on our world. We’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Summer 2022 1

  1. Lycoris Recoil is posed to be either very good, or to turn into complete crap… Delicious anticipation for the second episode.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s