The second part of my anime taste testing and wow, this season is way more decent than I thought it’d be. I’m still dropping things left, right and centre of course, but only so I have time to bask in all the good stuff coming my way. This particular post covers the premiers for Flip Flappers, Watashi ga Motete Dosunda, ClassicaLoid, 3-gatsu no Lion, Occultic;Nine, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari, and Ajin season two. For every other premiere I watched, see this post.
Score: 3/10 (Dropped)
I know a steaming hot mess when I see one. This show seems to be under the impression that breakneck speed delivery will somehow make the show more palatable; that it’s ‘wacky’ characters with their ‘quirky’ dialogue will be seen as cool and trendy if only the pacing is fast enough. As a result, I found it genuinely hard to keep up with who was saying what and why, and still the ending could not come soon enough. I can’t even remember anything about the plot, assuming we got one, though I do at least remember the hi-larious jokes about boobs. It’s funny because that one chick has huge knockers. Otherwise, just about the only compliment I can give Occultic Semicolon Nine is about the background artwork, which is highly detailed and intricately coloured – though unfortunately even that counts against the series, since it really only adds to the sense of rambling and pointless confusion. I guess at least the voice actors are giving it their all? Sure hope they’re getting paid well because the writing is horrendous.
Watashi ga Motete Dousunda/Kiss Him, Not Me
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)
I’ve watched plenty of shows with dodgy premises over the years. Some of them were every bit as awful as they sounded on paper, others were shockingly decent despite their potential for terribad. This falls somewhere between the two in that it’s watchable (just), but still a far cry from being good. The synopsis deserves some serious side-eye, no question about it, but the real problem here lies in the execution. It’s possible to make almost any premise, no matter how shallow or offensive on the surface, entertaining if presented in just the right way, but Watashi ga Motete Dousunda doesn’t push itself anywhere near hard enough for that. While I can clearly see that it’s intended to be a tongue-in-cheek comedy, all I’m really getting is yet one more cliché-ridden shoujo story with dull stock characters and entirely average production values to top them off. It might have made for a good parody if there was any heart or flair to it – Ouran High School Host Club did – but fujoshi themes aside, this is unfortunately closer to The Wallflower.
At least a few viewers out there will think this is one of the funniest and most original anime ever created. Just not this particular viewer. I’ll say this for ClassicaLoid, it commits to absolutely everything 110%, and it’s that kind of energy which makes such a gimmicky premise work in the first place. However, it’s also all too easy to see how people could think the entire series is too… well, gimmicky, to truly be enjoyable. Yes, the show is bold and colourful and it knows it’s idiotic, the latter of which certainly helps, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good. I also think the story would be way more interesting without Kanae and Sousuke, our two resident ‘normal’ characters. They add nothing much of value and just naturally fade into the background in comparison to the classicaloids anyway. And think about it: an anime with just Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc. having to co-exist and get by in modern-day Japan? It’d be the composer version of Saint Oniisan, kept fresh by the promise of an actual antagonist and still purposefully over-the-top. As it stands though, I’m unsure about this ones potential.
Huh. This is weird. Good, but weird. Actually, its weirdness is what makes it good, otherwise the show wouldn’t have warranted my attention in the first place. It’s less magical-girl and more like some kind of surrealist dreamscape exploration a la Alice in Wonderland, even though the events are actually taking place in reality. Flip Flappers also has a highly distinctive art style going on which very much suits the bizarre but beautifully understated direction, and the combination of these two things demands the viewer sit up and take notice. On the downside, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. We could’ve skipped the robot almost-but-not-quite groping scene, surely, and the consistent suggestions of yuri-baiting? To say nothing of Papika’s weird outfit which, you guessed it, gets ripped up some and leaves her with even less covering her body. Credit where credit is due, I don’t think the camera was getting creepy to the point of actual sleaziness, but the constant little reminders that it very well might have at any moment kept jarring me out of the otherwise lovely storytelling.
Ajin 2nd Season
This picks up right where the first season finished off, so if you haven’t seen that then season two will make zero sense; a meandering episodic show this is absolutely not. I really do recommend anyone interested in supernatural/sci-fi horror anime give Ajin a try though – it’s for the most part pretty well-written, much of the cast (particularly its antagonists) is genuinely interesting, and the CG is perfectly watchable. C’mon guys, you know you regularly watch anime that’s uglier than this. If on the other hand you weren’t being snobbish and purposefully avoiding season one for that sole so far reason, the sequel seems just as enjoyable, wasting no time and jumping right back in on the action – though there’s a brief recap at the start of the episode to serve as a handy reminder of what went down previously. My only complaint about this season is that the OP and ED, while still very visually stylish, don’t have anywhere near as good musical choices. I happen to like both angela and fripSide, but whoever thought that song was the right fit for Ajin was an idiot.
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari/Poco’s Udon World
If the likes of Usagi Drop and Amaama to Inazuma were to your taste, this show probably will be too. It also has me written all over it. I mean, why would I not want to watch a show about the reluctant owner of an udon restaurant in rural Japan and his accidentally-adoptive tanuki child? The fantastical element definitely adds its own twist to the adult-looking-after-adorable-child plot, and while I’m not suggesting that Udon no Kuni is anywhere near as gorgeously subtle or emotionally compelling as Usagi Drop (and is also not a cooking show, in case you were wondering), it has that same general vibe about it – warm, gentle, and heavy on the slice-of-life angle. The colouration of the character designs even seems highly reminiscent of Usagi Drop, come to think of it, although that could just be me projecting. Either way, Udon no Kuni is plenty cute and it knows it. I’m also wildly excited to finally be getting an anime set on Shikoku. That seems ridiculously late in coming but hey, better late than never.
3-gatsu no Lion/March Comes in like a Lion
Wait, a Shaft anime I actually like? Quick, someone fetch my smelling salts and the fainting couch! I haven’t enjoyed a thing from them since Madoka Magica, so the fact that I have such an overwhelmingly positive response to most of 3-gatsu no Lion comes as a very pleasant surprise. Granted, that probably has far more to do with the source material than the studio adapting it, but the fact remains I like what I see. The premise has a ton of potential, the warm, familial touches of comedy keeps the drama from becoming overbearing, and the background art is a delight. Actually, the cinematography deserves a mention all on its own, because there are some truly breathtaking shots and fantastic camerawork going on here that negates any need for exposition, in much the same way as this season’s Yuri!!! On Ice does. Out of the two shows I know which one I’m more fired up for, but that I’m comparing them at all is a huge compliment to 3-gatsu no Lion. I’m ecstatic to be getting not one but two exceptionally well-crafted and heartfelt dramas this season.
Question of the post: Now that all the premieres are done airing (and some shows on their second episode), which have left the very best and worst first impressions on you this season?
Note: I’ll also be trying out Fune wo Amu/The Great Passage, but that’s not scheduled to air until the 14th and I’ll probably be too busy this weekend to do a write-up. Rest assured it’ll make an appearance on my mid-season impression post in a few weeks, regardless of whether or not I end up keeping it on my weekly watch-list.