Three episodes in, Re:Creators hasn’t has bobbled the ball a little, but hasn’t dropped it. If there’s a problem right now it’s that everyone is too busy speculating on why these fictional characters are arriving on our world, or they’re reacting to the “real” experience here, like coffee. Meteora is doing most of the speculating, because of his nature, the way he’s been created, a fact that itself leads to more speculation, and it could go on and on. Most of the talk is okay; it’s honest discussion about important things, and it’s done intelligently. But there is an awful lot of it, and near the end of episode 3 I was coming to hope that Meteora would get tired and fall asleep for a bit.
Or that we’d get another weirdo battle. I’m not really sure why Selesia and magical girl Mamika started battling in episode 2, and I’m even more confused by the outcome–not that Yuya and that horse girl showed up, that was fun. Mamika discovers that her cute heart-shaped weaponry act like bombs here, and draw blood. And then Selesia starts talking about the danger of achieving ideals by force, while it was obvious that Mamika was shocked by the extent and violence of her powers here (and why are only her powers changed?) and probably won’t use them again … well, she did just that, but you might take that as lashing out in a panic. That scene could have been clearer. And while the show has started to bring the creators in, a logical thing to do, the even more logical thing, characters reading ahead to find out what happens next in their own world, is teased in a brief scene, then forgotten: Selesia doesn’t want to know her future. But the threat is there with anyone who’s read the books and blurts out a future event by mistake, and surely other characters will be tempted by it. Still, overall the show is doing a good job with a tricky scenario.
When I wrote about Saekano2‘s first episode I thought it strange that they would begin the season that way. Turns out I missed an episode 0 that turned out to be EXACTLY what I expected. Fanservice, commentary on the game their making that was also meta-commentary on the series itself, and more fanservice. Anyway, that out of the way, the show has settled in on its big arc, as Lori and Izumi have a confrontation and veiled-threat scene where Lori’s bigger, more famous team will almost certainly beat out Tomoya’s scrappy bunch, and would have been very serious except for Megumi disarming dramatic moments, not to mention everyone’s awareness that this was all kind of cliche. Now Tomoya has to choose which Utaha ending to use, and that too has profound importance because Tomoya’s decision might affect her future and their relationship. Episode 3 is more or less ridiculous in its setup, but brings us Tomoya’s interesting conclusion: neither ending works. So I think back on what Utaha said she’d do if someone told her that, and hope Tomoya has a helmet on.
Sekai suru Kado dumped two episodes on us in one week, but I don’t have the time for both at the moment, so I watched episode 0, probably a preview. We meet two government flunkies, first Shun, your average lazy young guy, and then Shindo, who’s a bit weird. Together they are assigned to negotiate a buyout of a plating factory that has seen better days, but Shindo gets interested what they’ve been toying with. Then he brings in a scientist and chats up a few bigwigs, and they create a “supermetal!” Everyone is happy because no one really wanted that general purpose hall they planned to build, anyway. So maybe we’re going to watch a show about real government suits changing lives? Sounds a bit dull. Then this happens.
Yep, episode 0 was a precursor to main fun, which starts with the other episode. That cube is fascinating and great to look at, though the CGI they use for everything when it’s around looks fake. As for the story, it looks like ace negotiator Shindo is going to negotiate the best possible outcome for his side and the other (an important point for him, though his reasons are less moral than practical) in outer space, or another dimension, or something. “Why?” is left unanswered for now, and now I suppose I’ll have to watch the next episode of thing thing to find out. It had better be good.
Re:Creators, after an artistic and confusing opening bit where a girl might jump in front of a train, we don’t know, has Sota, your average high school boy, talking about narrating a story, then has him checking his tablet for his favorite show, but the tablet gets weird on him and suddenly he’s in another world where a girl in a mecha fighting another girl, who has a great rotating sword routine going on. Then he’s back in his home and so is the mecha girl, Selesia, and the other girl shows up and there’s another fight, where another inappropriate character shows up. What’s going on is that Selesia is the heroine of the boy’s favorite show and light novel, and she’s stuck here for the time being, with the third character and god knows how many others.
In other words, fictional characters are finding themselves in our world, which sword girl says is the world of the gods, and these gods, i.e., us, are cruel people who must be stopped. The sword girl is quite amusing in her description of us. It’s an interesting premise, not the first to bring fictional characters to earth to be sure, but one with potential. But if I was sent here, I would find the person who created me and ask them why he/she made my own world such a shitty place. The answer is of course that the creators are trying to tell a good story with conflict. I wonder what the characters will do if they discover some smutty doujin written about them. Interesting premise aside, this show goofs with some of the usual tropes, beautiful girl in a boy’s room, that sort of thing, and that worries me a little. We’ll have to see how it pans out.
Eromanga Sensei gives us Izumi, a pen name, a high school boy who’s been writing successful erotic light novels for a while. He has never met his illustrator, “Eromanga sensei,” and is distracted by the shut-in little girl, Sagiri, who’s been living with him for a year, not sure why. He cooks her meals, etc. Well, I’ll give you three guesses as to the identity of the narrator.
It all sounds ecchi, and the show occasionally gives us a little too much of Sagiri body from time to time. But the show itself goes light on the ero stuff and focuses instead on Izumi and Sagiri’s relationship, siblings not by blood, living under the same roof, having a shared interest, but Sagiri is too shy and traumatized by her past to truly open up. When she finally lets Izumi into her room we get a sweet but possibly too long scene where he coaxes a little out of her, and wisely stops when she reaches her limit. If they continue with this path, with a little eromanga silliness mixed in, this could be a nice little series. Not sure I’ll have time for it, though.
For me the biggest surprise of the season is the return of Uchouten Kazoku, a wonderful show that did its job three years ago and had absolutely no need for more, yet here it is. As for the story, well, like first season, it kind of spreads over the place and yet remains familiar. Yasaburo continues to look after Akadama-sensei, when Nidaime (I guess) returns to do harm to him. But it’s mixed in with brother Yaichiro wanting to revive his fathers shogi tournament, hunting for something called tsuchinoko, and even Nidaime’s return is complicated by tengu politics. Meanwhile Yasaburo happily walks through it all in his inimitable way, happily talking with both sides of the conflict.
I wasn’t sure I wanted another season, but this episode reminded me just how good the original was, the quick, witty bits that refer to other moments, things like the Hawaii room in a proctology clinic, the furniture falling everywhere (tengu stones), and Yasaburo’s devil-may-care attitude. The only things I missed are Benten, who is mentioned a lot but is on a world tour, and that tanuki girl that they kept hidden through most of season one. Also, I’m also happy to report that the show is still gorgeous to look at, particularly the background art of Kyoto. This season already has a lot of possible winners in it, but I might have to find room for this one.
Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho is euro-style fantasy, set back in the days of witch hunting. After a brief lesson which basically told us that life sucks for witches, we quickly discover that they also suck for beastfallen, half-man half-animal. Plenty of rewards for anyone who can bag either a witch or a beastfallen, and our unnamed beastfallen (so I’ll call him “Beast”) hero is well aware of it. He meets up with a young, cute witch named Zero, and after some bickering and soup-stealing they team up, to watch each other’s back until Zero gets the Book of Thirteen back, else it’s the end of the world, I guess. Also Zero will transform Beast back into a human.
Straightforward show. Both Beast and Zero are types, but not annoyingly so. It helps that Beast is afraid of witches and sorcery. Also, while sorcery is well-known and feared, magic is still pretty new to the world, and Zero gives us few interesting infodumps on the subject, having written the book on it, so to speak. The kid they bring in at the end looks annoying, I hope he’s not a regular. So the show has a decent backstory, an interesting goal, and a couple of decent characters. Decent start. By next week I’ll probably have forgotten it exists.