Sakura Quest has settled into it’s cute slice-of-life routine without a misstep and with much efficiency. All four of the side girls had been introduced by episode two, and at the end of episode 3 they became members of Yoshi’s court. Meanwhile, Yoshi herself has accepted her role of queen, in spite of the daily verbal abuse she gets from Ushimatsu. Nothing we didn’t see coming. What I personally didn’t expect was for Yoshi to come to the conclusion that the town really didn’t need economic stimulus or any sort of change. For a moment I wondered then what the show would do next? If there’s no overall goal to the series, apart from getting Yoshi to love the countryside again, what’s she going to do apart from showing up for events? But it struck me that while the townspeople are fine with things as they are, the town still has a problem with its dwindling population. I don’t know what Yoshi and her team can do about that, but should be fun to see her try.
I caught up with Renai Boukon, but I have nothing to say about it, apart that the crazy, nearly random atmosphere I liked in episode one might be a bug, not a feature … So it’s on to Hinako Note. Eps 2-3 with this show aren’t filling me with hope, either. I know shows like this need to stop everything for the sake of cuteness from time to time, but episode 2 stretched things too far. They decide to form a theatre club, which we already knew from ep1, and there’s a very long and dull flashback to Hinako’s childhood scarecrow days. I’m already sick of that joke, I hope they retire it soon. Things get a little better in episode 3, where they finally start school, and Kuu (my favorite character right now) manages to cover Hinako’s scarecrow reflex as a joke. Meanwhile, all the girls join another theatre group at the school. How many do they need? But a new character, jealous (over Chiaki) tsundere Yua, tries to outshine Hinako, who stupidly takes it as a kindness. Still, we need a tsundere to liven things up in this show.
My desperate catch-up continues …
We now have Tsuki ga Kirei, where we meet a boy (Kotarou) and a girl (Akane) as they start their third year of middle school and start noticing each other. He writes stories (lots of literary references to look up), she’s on the track team, and wind up in the same class. We watch as they glance furtively at each other and get nervous a lot, barely comprehending their own why. They both wind up in the same management team for the sports festival and have several nervous interactions, leading up to a moment where Akane, out of decency, has to get a little proactive when he misses a meeting and gets barked at, because she didn’t have his Line number and couldn’t enter him into the group. And so it begins …
This is about the purist adolescent love story I’ve seen. There are no gimmicks. The mood is quiet and filled with cherry blossoms. The lovebirds say very little but sigh and gasp a lot when the object of their uncomprehended desires appears, and there is a LOT of sighing in this episode. The classmates, more typically, are teasing but will probably be supportive once things develop. Kotarou has a buddy at a local bookstore who spots what he’s beginning to think of, while Akane’s friends haven’t figured it out yet. It’s well done, looks great, paced well considering the snails pace of the subject matter–getting these two passive kids together is going to take a lot of time. Love story fans will enjoy this a lot. Not sure I’ll keep watching, but had no problems with this episode.
Clockwork Planet has as its prehistory the world dying, then being rebuilt using gears and clockwork, and everyone is pretty happy with it. Marie, a girl genius on a floating craft, has a super-powered clockwork doll fall out of it (got to get the plot moving somehow). It lands in the home of Naoto, a young boy who wants to fix things and manages to get the doll RyuZU to wake up, insult him, and carry him away before his home is wrecked by something. They have various adventures while Marie and her team forget about her, because the government is going to purge Kyoto, which isn’t fully explained but is very very bad. Meanwhile, Naoto activates RyuZU in an odd way so she’s now his insulting servant.
Well, if you like clockworks this is the show for you. I love the premise, rather like those Jay Lake novels, except no one is thinking to rewind the world, at least not yet. On the other hand, the characters and story are awfully cartoonish, which would be all right except for the fanservice and innuendo they toss in, like the finger sucking and getting Marie to put on some clothes. An odd and often disturbing mix. A shame, because the idea of a clockwork planet is very intriguing and I would like to see more.
Kabukibu! stars Kurogo, high school first-year who loves kabuki and wants to make a kabuki club. Can’t do, but he can form a group if he wants. His taciturn friend Tonbo finds some people to recruit: Shin, a tone-deaf rock singer, Kaoru, a girl, and Niwa, who has some emotional scars the show will work out, and finally Jin, a guy who already does Kabuki. Basically Kurogo goes from one recruit to the next and keeps getting shot down, but he’s optimistic, and he has an ability to grow back lost teeth.
I would like very much to learn more about Kabuki, but I don’t think I want to do so with this show, considering this straightforward and rather dull first episode. Kurogo has no personality except for a bright optimism and a tendency to lapse into famous kabuki phrases. Tonbo is even worse. As for the kabuki, they do introduce some concepts and history, so you might enjoy that. But the actual kabuki they present wasn’t animated terribly well. You’d think they would devote more time to that. So probably a no-go for me.
Now for Renai Boukon. Average high school boy Seiji gets a visit from a demon and is told if he doesn’t kiss someone by the end of the day, he will die, though it’s not quite like that, and so he finds his crush, Akane, at school, and she turns out to be a yandere and tries to kill him a few times because he’s hanging out with Guri, the demon, who’s actually a cupid angel. So Guri adds her own name to the book and now it’s a love triangle. Then another girl, Yuzu, shows up and, well, Guri isn’t the most responsible of angels. There’s a cat with a human face, too.
The show is loaded with gags which are sometimes related to the story, and sometimes just silly. There’s a cumulative effect going on, so that I got worn down with all the twists and surprises from the plot and all the extra names being added to the book. But I also laughed a lot. I just wonder if the show can keep up this pace for an entire season. Judging by the OP they introduced just about everyone this episode. What are they going to do for the rest of the time? Well, there’s some ways this boy, angel, yandere, and incest-yuri girl can bounce off each other, I’m sure.
Hinako Note, an entry in the “Cute girls doing cute things” faction, has Hinako coming to Tokyo to attend a high school and do drama. She cutely gets lost but comes across the address, a used bookstore where another girl, Kuina, is cutely eating paper. In Hinako’s room there’s a girl in a maid costume named Mayu who works in the coffee shop attached to the store (alas, no rabbits) and is cute. Later, to cheer Hinako up they go to a park and act cute, eventually meeting their landlord Hinako, who’s also in their school, and there’s more cute stuff.
I mock, but I quite like the CGDCT category, so all this cuteness is not a turn-off for me. However, I’ve seen enough of them to know what I like, and weirdness is near the top. The girls must not just be cute, but eccentric (Is the Order a Rabbit?), or the show’s style should be (HidaSketch). There’s a bit of both those shows in this one, the coffee shop and maid costume, and the bathtub speech at the end, though that might have just been a one-off. It’s not really at the level of either of those shows yet, but some of these shows take a while to ripen. “… Rabbit didn’t really take off until midway through the first season.” Meanwhile, it’s certainly cute enough, so I’ll try to keep watching.
Twin Angel BREAK could be confused with Renai Boukon in that its main character, Meguri, travels to Tokyo to start high school and meets a lot of cute friends at school who do cute things like eating lunch together and falling down. But there’s also that hedgehog who was running from guards at a top-secret facility, and that slot machine token (the show refers to it as a “medal”) that sinks into her hand. Also the unfriendly quiet girl who doesn’t talk to anyone. These things wind up changing the show into a very basic magical girl series where they have to defeat their first enemy, except that Meguri is actually the second girl of the team. The first one has been fighting for a while and is sick of it.
I didn’t quite see the magical girl stuff happening, but after that performer started sucking the energy out of the audience it became so predictable that I could check off the main points. Bad guy appearance, check. Cute talking animal appears, check. Token to transform, check. Embarrassing transformation sequence, check. Because of this I really have no desire to watch any more of it. Maybe if they had tossed in a variation or two it would have gotten me more interested, but I doubt it.