This second installment is off to a good start with Spy x Family‘s return. We got two things going on, first, a plot to assassinate a visiting diplomat by some student terrorists from the now-gone country of Ostania, by strapping bombs on some highly-trained dogs, and more important, Anya’s gift for getting a star, a nice doggie. You can probably see where this is going. Anya makes a mental connection with one of the terrorists’ dogs, I’ll call him “Borf,” because that’s the noise he makes. She follows him to the terrorist lair and gets captured. Borf helps her escape but they’re cornered until Yor shows up, well, you know what Yor is capable of.
It’s so nice to have a well-done, entertaining show. Last season I got a little tired of all the school stuff Anya went through, but there’s none of that in this episode. Instead it’s the usual slick mix of intrigue and comedy, and Borf fits in perfectly with his prognostication abilities. Great fun, oh, and the OP and ED are a joy to watch. I’ll leave it at that.
Next it’s Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei, where we follow a young girl named Sarasa, orphaned at an early age, as she grows up, diligently studying to become a certified alchemist. Through school she goes, tutored by the nice master alchemist Ophelia, making a high-level potion for her final practicum instead of an intermediate one because the botched the ingredients … and she passes. Ophelia recommends she sets up a shop in the middle of nowhere, and there’s much discussion about cheap ingredients vs. low sales (the show is as fixated on finances as much as alchemy), but she takes it … and finds it a dump in the middle of nowhere.
Not bad. It looks to be a show about a girl who never made friends (too devoted to studies) now making some. And there will be much made of the pastoral, bucolic life she’s never led before. Since episode 1 was all setup we don’t know how effective the show is about either thing. I hope they keep the practical, financial side of things going–that alone set it apart from similar shows. Right now we don’t know enough, but it was a decent enough start, and I may want to stick around and see how Sarasa copes.
In Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!, we meet Nishino, a beautiful high school girl, good at all she does, doing acting jobs, rich parents, the idol of the school, etc, and then the one boy in class she hates, Kageno, a quiet boy who can’t get her name straight and who carries a big bag of heavy metallic objects around. One night she’s abducted and before the goons can do anything nasty to her, in pops, “Stylish Ruffian Slayer” or another nickname he picked up by beating up biker gangs. He beats up the thugs and vanishes. Of course it’s Kageno. So now that that’s all set up and we’re wondering if Kageno is going to keep protecting Nishino or what, he’s hit by, as they say, truck-kun, and dies. And we head off somewhere else, well, I won’t say more.
Okay, some misdirection to start the series, and a complete mystery as to where it’s going, though we have an idea or two. What gets me are the late scenes, with different locations and situations, which suggest that we’re going to jump around a lot. And since the show has refused to tell us anything we need to know, I’m going to leave it there, only to hope that the later episodes won’t be as dark and bloody as this episode was. I’m intrigued but until I see more I can’t make any opinions …
Next, Do it Yourself!, a near future story where we get a lovely town with drones flying overhead and a prestigious girls school YuVoc, which surrounds the considerably more seedy Gatagata girls high school. We meet two girls, Purin (Miku really), who gets into YuVoc while her friend Serufu (Yua) is stuck in Gatagata, not that Serufu minds. We watch as she dreamily makes her way to school and crashes her bike (she’s quite the klutz), which is fixed by the passing Tasaku. Later Serufu goes to thank her and finds her in a shed, making a shelf. She invites Serufu to drill in a bit, which leads to disaster. Meanwhile, she feels that Purin, at the new school is drifting away, so she decides to build a bench. Back to Yasaku’s shed, where she learns her club will be disbanded unless she gets more members. So a season of building hijinks begins, the “Do it yourself” club with its newest member, Yua Serufu. Get it?!
Part of me enjoys the light, dreamy art style and the idea that we should build our own things more often, and part of me dreads the idea of dreamy, absent-minded Serufu getting near power tools. I expect a lot of disasters early on. But they set up a lot of things nicely. I liked the relationship between Serufu and Purin. The latter adores Serufu, her childhood friend and is adorably tsundere about it. She misses Serufu as much as Serufu misses her, and I hope they bring Purin into the club, though technically she’s in another school, and doesn’t show up in the ED sequence of girls building things though one of her new classmates is seen. And while Serufu might be too dreamy at times (it often dragged the episode down), I enjoyed the scenes with her mother and three pets (dog, cat, pig). The lazy pace worries me the most. I hope they can pick things up now that they’ve set up the story. If they can this might be a lovely and practical series. Besides everyone should build more things.
Futoku no Guild stars Kikuru, a talented fighter who’s devoted his life to getting stronger and defeating monsters, and at age 20 he’s getting tired of it and wants to chase girls at a university, but there would be a drop in the town’s security if he retires, so he’s asked to train some apprentices. First, Hitamuki, a buxom martial-artist wolf-girl, whom he takes out to patrol and is ravished by some low-level slimes until Kikuru bails her out. Then Maidena, a grumpy healer kid, who keeps calling Kikuru “Hentai,” and who’s only use is to heal Hitamuka’s fingers after she gets ravished by slimes again, while Kikuru does a lot of sighing and head-slapping. Looks like Kikuru is a long way from retirement.
“Hentai” is the word. The teaser alone has enough for most series, and the basic idea is that we watch girls scream and moan while slimes crawl into their bodices and into their pants, at least in episode one, and at least to Hitamuki. The show leaves Maidena alone for now, good thing too, because she’s only fifteen. She basically stands around and looks embarrassed while the slimes go after Hitamuki. Kikuru, I suppose, is going to learn to be a team player and how to treat women, but at the moment he’s stuck as a straight man. Next episode we’ll meet more girls, probably just as incompetent (to be fair, Maidena is a skilled healer), and in various states of undress. I’m not above saying I’d continue watching if the jokes were good, but while Kikuru does show promise as a straight man, there wasn’t much there in episode one.