Because I’ve had more time up my sleeve these past few days than anticipated (and because I’m allergic to the cold and am thus spending more time in my room with the heat blasting), I watched several more shows than originally planned. Best go for that toilet break now, this is going to take longer than usual. As always, shows are in order of worst to best and ratings are based on only the first episode of each.
Score: 3/10 (Dropped)
The boy stared emotionlessly out at the world with unseeing eyes. The unceasing rain should have chilled him to the bone, yet he did not feel the cold; he had long grown numb to it, for it did not come close to the coldness in his heart. It was as cold as ice iced ramen, which he ate only to remind himself of who, or rather what, he truly was. He did not deserve warm food. He did not deserve anything. Tilting his head towards the sky, the boy allowed droplets to trickle like tears down his face, from loose stands of golden hair down sharp, pale cheekbones. Around him, he could hear the accusatory whispers of the faceless crowd, though not the words – the roaring of the exposition rain drowned them out. He only wished it would drown out the pain of his soul along with it, wash away the agony of existing in a world which had never wanted him to begin with. [Note: best read while listening to Mozart’s Moonlight Sonata]
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)
I admit that I didn’t even make it through the whole first episode of this. While I don’t think Active Raid committed any grievous sins, the score mostly reflects my utter boredom with this show. The OP is gratingly perky, the technobabble is stupid, the character designs are generic, and the English (What? Excuse me, boss) is so random and pointless it’s not even laughable. Not even the above screencap (objectively the best scene of the show, amirite?) was enough to pique my rapidly flagging interest. Taking a 20-minute nap would have been a better use of my time.
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)
I feel like I’m meant to be entertained by the sheer absurdity of the premise here, but I’m not. No, I don’t think there’s a deeper meaning to this and I don’t think it’s especially funny – I just think it’s anime attempting to be witty and ‘alternative’ by shoving a ludicrous concept in our faces and hoping people will a) read more into it than what’s actually there, and/or b) wildly applaud its originality. I can’t be bothered doing either.
Score: 4/10 (Likely Dropped)
I have questions. Questions such as: Why is everyone on a ship? Is the ship going anywhere in particular? Is it the only place they can survive now that terrible things have happened to the earth? Are we even on earth? Do the characters have any kind of ultimate goal? I’m vaguely curious, but mostly I have no idea what the heck’s going on and what’s worse, I can’t actually bring myself to care all that much. It’s like Norn9 is trying really, really hard to be all Deep and Mysterious but went waaay too far in the process. That said, I might have overlooked this gaping problem were it not for the myriad of others. The cast, for example, is much too big, and since everyone was introduced within the span of about two minutes, I no longer remember anyone’s name. The rather pretty artwork is undermined by the noticeably poor animation, and the dreamily emotive music would’ve been great had I had still been awake enough to appreciate it by that point. Unfortunately, this single standout scene didn’t come until towards the very end of the episode, by which time it was too little, too late. I may give this one more episode to try and prove itself but I’m hardly holding my breath.
Score: 5/10 (Dropped)
This show is nowhere near as skeevy as I thought it’d be, thank god. I mean, it’s still slightly skeevy – this is still an anime romcom aimed primarily at young Japanese males, after all – but the odd shower scene and b00b jiggle aside, it looks to be fairly clean. The bad news is that I honestly don’t think the comedy packs much of a punch; it’s mostly just mildly amusing reaction shots and the occasional witty one-liner. Also, the artwork is about as ugly as it looks on the tin – seriously, those eyes kinda creep me out. But hey, I get that dumb comedy is sometimes all people are looking for in a show, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not my thing, but there are certainly far worse pickings to be had this season.
Score: 5/10 (Likely Dropped)
I’m just here for the endearing Haruta/sensei angle. Not that I think this pairing actually will (or should) become A Thing mind you, because ew, but the idea is played off in an innocent and thankfully completely not-creepy kind of way, so huzzah for a character who’s sexuality isn’t just something to be made fun of or used as yaoi-bait. However, I can also see myself dropping this if it doesn’t work harder to impress me over the next episode or so, because I like almost nothing about HaruChika otherwise. Haruta is an insensitive know-it-all, Chika is immature and has hair that looks like it’d be more at home in a Gundam show, and frankly, P.A.Works has produced a grand total of two TV shows to date that I’ve wholeheartedly liked (those being Angel Beats! and Uchouten Kazoku). Hardly a great track record there.
Welp, this opening episode was a big hot mess. Hey, remember when this show had a manageably-sized cast and you could remember everybody’s names? Or when the majority of jokes did not pertain to everyone’s weird fetishes? Or when the OP was actually good? Yeah, me too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still far too attached to this franchise to drop it now, but sadly my love for Durarara!! is dwindling as we speak.
Prince of Stride: Alternative
I’m not much of a sports anime fan, and the last reverse-harem I liked without reservation was Ouran High School Host Club back in 2006 (crap, was that really a whole decade ago?), but this doesn’t seem half-bad. Yes, I would have preferred an anime about actual parkour rather than one about a fictional sport that mixes parkour with relay, and yes, I can draw so many parallels to Free! that it’s not even funny, but I found myself enjoying this nonetheless. The brisk pacing suits the tone of the show, the humour is light-hearted and delivered well, and MC-chan is not a moeblob. It would have been nice to her actively involved in the sport beyond just speaking into an earpiece, but I suppose this could still come later? Also, bit of a sidenote but it’s good to see Ishizuka Atsuko back in the director’s chair. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care much for No Game No Life and I never even got around to watching either Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or Hanayamata, but it’s always great to see more ladies at the helm.
Nijiiro Days/Rainbow Days
Would you look at that, another anime that’s turning out to be surprisingly decent. I hadn’t expected much out of a 15-minute episode show, but this is… nice. Not mind-blowingly awesome, but nice. The characters seem genuinely cute and likeable, the humour, as with Prince of Stride, is light and bouncy, and the artwork is bright and cheery. Assuming it doesn’t get too bogged down in shoujo cliché, I think Nijiiro Days will be a lovely little addition to my weekly watch-list.
Despite one or two annoyances involving unnecessary technobabble and equally as unnecessary fanservice (look Japan, you do know that excessively training the camera on breasts and ass is still creepy even when the loli is a robot, right?), I’m pretty eager to watch more of this. The main character (an honest-to-god adult!) is immediately likeable, said character is played by one of my all-time favourite Japanese voice actors, and if Dimension W is going to primarily be an action/adventure-style series featuring an unlikely pair of crime-friendly accomplices then I’d be more than okay with that. Add to this the fun and distinctive artwork, the top-notch animation, and the best OP I’ve seen this season and we have ourselves what will hopefully turn out to be a very solid show overall.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
If I’m not as effusive with my praise as many other bloggers are, it’s not because I think Rakugo Shinjuu doesn’t deserve it. Because believe me, it does – I’m a bit of a Showa-era fangirl so I love the setting, the characters are all adults who are either very likeable or very compelling, the voice acting is A-list stuff (I adore Ishida Akira, right up there with Ono Daisuke for me), and the atmosphere is both subtle and sophisticated. In short, this is one classy anime. However (and this is with the greatest of respect to traditional methods of storytelling), I’m not a fan of rakugo. I’m just not. I know what rakugo is, and I’ve even had the opportunity to see some for myself while in Japan, but I can’t pretend enthusiasm for something that I don’t have. Luckily, the restrained drama and extremely character-driven narrative will probably ensure that I don’t get bored… and even if it doesn’t, I can still squee over that glorious setting.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar/Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Aaand we’re backing to the fanservice problems. I suppose this is a bit of a backhanded compliment actually, because even with one of my anime pet peeves, I still had to give Grimgar a pretty good score. For the time being, I will attempt to overlook an overlong conversation about a character’s breast size that goes on right in front of her like she’s quite literally an object, complete with bonus girl-on-girl fondling just to wrap things up, because this was almost the only sour note in an otherwise excellent premiere. First off, that art style oh my gosh YES. I will take more of those backgrounds please – many, many more. I can also very much get behind the down-to-earth, slice-of-life feel of the show, which is greatly helped along by the inclusion of a whole lot of practical little details that make me think the staff actually put some serious thought into making this scenario somewhat realistic. I also like the amnesia twist that adds another layer to the basic plot, and that the exposition is kept fairly minimal but leaves me in no confusion as to what’s going on. In short, and despite all my earlier misgivings, this may well turn out to be one of the best shows of the season for me.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime/Snow White with the Red Hair 2nd Season
… I had a big dopey grin on my face the entire time. If this episode is any indication of what the rest of season two will be like (and if Obi and especially Kiki get
more any character development this time around), then I may have to pronounce it even better than the first. ASDFHJKL BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi/ERASED
Assuming this stays consistent (and I’d like to think it will), Erased will more than likely be the best overall title of the season as far as I’m concerned. The pacing is good so far, the exposition deftly handled, and the characters not only likeable but more importantly interesting. The final third of the episode acted as a really great hook that came totally out of left field while still managing to feel natural in terms of execution – and it’s been a long time since an anime’s surprised me (in a good way) like that. This includes the sudden transition in POV, from Satoru to Satoru’s mother, which should have felt jarring but mostly just left me impressed. She better be revealed as a lawyer or detective or something along those lines, because her thought process would be pretty damn weird if this wasn’t the case, but Erased doesn’t seem like the kind of show that would be dumb enough to overlook such a gaping detail, so I have faith that this will be addressed later on. Other than that, great stuff.
So there you go, a significantly fuller weekly viewing schedule than expected, especially considering I still have three ongoing shows from the fall (Iron-Blooded Orphans, Lupin III, and Osomatsu-san). Fingers crossed I can keep up!
Question of the post: You know the drill – what do you like, what don’t you like, and what were you surprised by, either for better or for worse?