Anime Taste Testing: Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara, Sword Art Online Alicization

Sword Art Online Alicization
I love me some fantasy, but the more a genre appeals to me, the pickier I tend to be about it. Let’s see how these next two shows fared in that regard.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara/Irodoku – The World in Colors
Score: 5/10

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara

I would probably have liked this opening a lot better if the scripting actually made sense. I know that sounds harsh, but I honestly spend a lot of the episode alternatively laughing in confused disbelief or laughing just because it was funny, even though the anime itself was clearly taking itself 110% seriously. That strikes me as one of the show’s biggest problems actually – pretty much every word coming out of the main character’s mouth (or inside her head, as there’s a lot of inner monologuing going on here) is treated as though it’s incredibly deep and profound, when in reality it’s as trite as it gets. On top of that, when the characters do speak to one another (not with, definitely to), it’s as though they’re all hearing something a bit different than what’s actually being spoken – none of their lines seem to quite match up, and the result feels like a badly translated light novel playing out on screen.

That’s a shame, because it ruins what otherwise has the potential to be an interesting setup, where magic exists as an inherent part of society not only in the future but also in the present. Since I have a major weakness for alternate universe-style stories, I would definitely have been on board were it not for the writing dragging nearly everything else down with it. The other big plus the series has going for it is the artwork. I’m not really into most of the character designs, especially the MC’s, but the backgrounds are delightfully detailed and strikingly colourful, which more than makes up for this. I won’t be watching any more of Irozuku myself, but I can certainly see why others might, and I wish those people happy viewing.

Sword Art Online: Alicization
Score: 5.5/10

Sword Art Online Alicization

I tend to dislike overlong premieres, especially when they still fail to really go anywhere (usually because they’re too busy throwing exposition in your face), and even more so when those same premieres are sequels. At that point, you just have to conclude the writing’s bad – after all, how much time can you actually use up yet produce nothing much to show for it, even when an audience should presumably already know enough of what’s going on to make sense of things without being spoonfed? But hey, nobody ever accused Sword Art Online of being subtle, so that’s all par for the course. In all fairness, this opening episode, drawn out and awkwardly paced as it is, actually does a fairly okay job establishing itself, and without relying too much on viewer knowledge of SAO’s previous instalments to make sense at that (er, in terms of plot that is, not actual logic).

Indeed, if I had to sum up this premiere in any one word, it would probably be something like ‘workmanlike’. It does its job – no more, no less – and it does so with a certain amount of competence, if not exactly inspired storytelling. This is mirrored in the artwork and animation, which is tidy, consistent, and honestly a bit sterile. The earlier, more ‘anime-like’ art of the first couple of seasons may have been less fluid, but it was at least it had some flavour, whereas now, if I hadn’t already known what I was watching, I probably would’ve assumed this was an Ufotable production. In fact, that about goes for the rest of this episode as a whole. Make of that what you will.

Question of the post: Did either of these premieres appeal to you more than they did to me, and if so, why?

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12 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara, Sword Art Online Alicization

  1. On SAO Alicization, I’ve heard the anime style is meant to mirror the SAO Ordinal Scale movie, likely to give it that form of grandeur. I’ll assume you haven’t watched the (original story) movie, but its ending foreshadows Alicization, and the ED sequence also shows off a movie character too.

    Alicization’s scheduled for 4-cours – 20+ eps now and another 20+ later on – to cover all 10 light novel volumes spanning this arc. There’s a lot of overjoyed passionate fans, saying this’ll give the perfect pacing for the anime to do justice to the source, which they claim is The Best of the SAO arcs. (That said, there are reservations about the pacing getting a bit slow at times to fit all the detail in.)

    4-cours is surprisingly generous, considering most titles tend to be stingier with their episode counts. I suppose it shows how beloved the franchise is with a good chunk of the fandom both local and overseas.

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    • Yeah, I’m just not a fan enough of the series to have watched the movie, though I did scroll through some shots. I heard from some fellow bloggers that it was pretty atrocious.

      4 cours, wow. I don’t know if I have the patience for that, but we’ll see. SAO is incredibly popular in its native country – in fact, the reason why I first started watching back when it began airing in 2012 is because so many of my junior high school students, both boys and girls, were heavily into it.

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      • On the movie, I did hear some comments/reviews praising Ordinal Scale, although I think they were SAO lovers. In fact, I think the fandom (at least in the West) is heavily polarized on SAO – you get as many passionate haters as you do lovers.

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        • To be honest, I personally would probably not have been a fan of the movie regardless of where I stand on the SAO franchise as a whole. I tend to watch only anime movies that are completely standalone productions, such as Ghibli films and others of that ilk. Very rarely do I like anime movies directly connected to already existing shows, even if I happen to like said show.

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  2. I liked the first episode of Irozuku, but had my misgivings. I’m not exactly sure what it was that bothered me, so I’m not exactly sure whether I agree with you on the dialogue or not. My impression, though, is that he dialogue is relatively unimportant to the story telling. You get some key-information out of it, and the rest is falvour. It did remind me a little of galsslip, but it didn’t have anything like the chicken nonsense.

    (Note: I didn’t think Glasslip was bad. But I did think it had the problem you pointed out for Irozuku, and this show did remind me of that show, so I might actually be agreeing with you to some extent, without having noticed the particulars? I’m not sure I’m making much sense here, but I find this interesting. Being too earnest about nonsense is, I think, a trait of many PA Works shows. It can get in the way [e.g. Nagi no Asukara], or it can fit [e.g. Hanasaku Iroha]. It’d be interesting to look at PA Works under this angle. For example, I think Umamusume worked because of they managed to balance this trait with a light touch. When that balance doesn’t work you get a silly try-hard show – e.g. Another. I suppose I’m rambling about PA Works because I like the studio. I actually like the studio more than I usually expect to like their shows, which is fairly unique for me.)

    ***

    I have abandoned SAO after the first few minutes of season 2 reminded me of what I found annyoing in season 1, but not very much about what I liked. I’m occasionally tempted to try another installment, but whatever interest I might have in Alicization had disappeared when I heard this was going to run for a year.

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    • Another thing that bothered me about Irozuku, which I avoided putting in because I thought my complaints were getting long enough already, was the actions of some of its characters. Oh, Hitomi is depressed? I guess rather than talk about it, the best thing to do would be to suddenly send her several decades back in time without preparing her for anything or getting her consent. Oh, some girls saw a stranger sneaking out of their male friend’s window? Don’t call said friend, don’t call the police, just take a video to share around on social media and then gossip about whether the friend may have sexually assaulted her or not. ??? I was just sort of lost tbh.

      Yeah, I really don’t think I have it in me to watch that many more episodes of SAO without going stir crazy.

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      • Grandmother’s behaviour was rather strange, and it’s true that there’s a long list of anime that treats trauma with all-you-need-is-love (ai rather than koi). So who knows. I assume Grandma quite literally knows what she’s doing, because she’s been there? It’s possible that without her, she wouldn’t meet Grandfather, and protagonist wouldn’t even be alive? Anything’s possible at that time.

        The friends? I thought they were just sending the video to someone who knows that boy better, and were trying to figure out what’s going on before they bring it up to him. I can’t see friends calling the police before checking with the guy himself. People in anime hate nothing more than cause others undue trouble. (Of course, if they actually published that video, that’d be a different matter. My impression was they sent it to a particular person; they named her?)

        I do agree, though, that there’s a lot of potential to mess up the premise, and since it’s PA Works, it can go either way.

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        • I may have to re-watch that part just to be sure, as it’s quite possible I’m misremembering. But from what I recall, it seemed to me like the friends were planning to take the video, put it up on some unspecified social media site, and see if anyone could identify her – this several hours before anyone actually bothered to phone or meet up with their guy friend to confirm whether the stranger was either a thief or someone doing the ‘walk of shame’.

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          • To be honest, I’m not sure I remember that very well either. I do remember doing a double-take there, as the subs were somewhat inconclusive. They definitely didn’t check with the guy himself until much later, though. That’s how I remember it, too.

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  3. I’m a fan of SAO so even though there were a whole bunch of things I put in my review of the first episode that weren’t great, I still had a lot of fun watching. As long as that feeling of fun continues, I’m pretty much signed up for the season.
    Irozuku isn’t available for me so while I’ve seen some positive reviews of it and am curious, I don’t really know much about it.

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    • I enjoyed a lot of the first season of SAO, despite my criticism of some of the more egregious issues (largely centering around fanservice and how shittily female characters are treated in general). My enthusiasm steadily waned after that though, and I now have about as much patience for the franchise as I do for just any other. I do think SAO has become something of a whipping boy for the anime fandom at large, but I also can’t really defend it against people quite rightly pointing out many of the same issues I have with plenty of other shows of its ilk – particularly those based on light novels that pander primarily to a young male audience.

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  4. Pingback: Anime Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week: October 19, 2018 | Lesley's Anime and Manga Corner

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