After the entertaining trash fire that is Kakegurui and the conceptual whimsy of Ekoda-chan, I thought I could use a bit of a break. Here are two of the mellower and more conventional shows airing this season.
Meiji Tokyo Renka
It’s difficult to imagine a reverse-harem isekai title that could be more run-of-the-mill than Meiji Tokyo Renka. From the generic heroine and cliché ‘historical’ outfits of the bishounen-filled cast to the slightly below average production values and completely forgettable music, everything about the show all but screams mediocre. In other words, it’s exactly the type of thing anyone would probably expect given the premise and source material.
On the plus side, that means there’s nothing offensive or creepy here. The boys tend to be pretty touchy-feely, sure, but it’s all seemingly innocent enough and clearly not intended to be read as predatory. Some of the material is even vaguely entertaining – while the first couple of minutes almost fool the viewer into thinking this is going to be a relatively serious and overly angsty kind of show, most of the rest of the episode is actually much more light-hearted and/or comedy-driven. Heck, MC-chan (whose name I’ve already forgotten) might even turn out to have a personality that goes deeper than her ability to see ghosts and her extreme fondness for roast beef. Now wouldn’t that be something?? On the other hand, I very much doubt there’ll be any surprises here of any kind. Viewers who don’t particularly care for sparkly-sparkly romance and reverse-harems will likely spend this episode in a state of acute boredom, and viewers who do will probably find Meiji Tokyo Renka perfectly serviceable, albeit still unoriginal. As is no doubt obvious from that description, it’s not my cup of tea. But hey, there’s nothing objectively terrible about it either – Diabolik Lovers it certainly ain’t – so if that sounds more up your alley then by all means, you should jump right in.
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue./My Roommate is a Cat
This is a) pretty cute and b) not at all like She and Her Cat, just in case anyone was wondering. I’m sure plenty of people will make the reference, and I can see why given the premise. Beyond both starring a cat though, these two shows actually have very little in common with each other; personally I see no real point in comparing them.
I don’t necessarily think Doukyonin is going to be a show that’s especially deep or profound, but watching the opening episode is a perfectly nice experience, and depending on your love of cats and/or cute furry creatures in general, this could well end up being the sweetest title of the season. It’s primarily lighthearted and low-key comedic rather than quietly introspective or melancholic (despite one flashback that, as a cat lover myself, does break my heart a little), with the narrative split between cat and human point of view. The latter takes up the first two-thirds, if not a bit more of the episode, while Haru takes over the last few scenes to rehash the same major events from cat-perspective. I wouldn’t particularly mind if the whole series took this sort of format, although there are evidently a good number of supporting characters, so it may be that future episodes aren’t quite as laid back as this one is in terms of general pacing.
From a more technical standpoint, Doukyonin seems competent enough, if not exactly high-budget. The art style is soft and uncomplicated, with more attention paid to the feel rather than the details (particularly in terms of the backgrounds), while the overall colour palette is mostly bright and breezy. As for the music, I honestly don’t find it in the least memorable, but then again, I didn’t really expect to be. Basically, I think the visuals and sound exist primarily to further the atmosphere rather than add anything extra to the production quality itself – and that’s totally fine, as I don’t get the impression Doukyonin is actively trying for more than that. In any case, I think I’ll be quite happy to stick around for the entire show. It feels like the kind of thing that would be perfect to just sit back and relax to after work, and I could certainly use one of those.