Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin
If I had to describe this premiere in just one word, it would probably be ‘plain’. There are plenty of urban fantasy titles out there, and the synopses always sound like a lot of fun. However, they rarely actually manage to execute the story in such a way as to make it as captivating as it sounds on paper. Something about the OP and opening shots of Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin put me a bit in mind of Durarara (if of course it was set in Shinjuku rather than the much more down-at-heel Ikebukuro), yet the plot felt strangely basic and lackluster – almost a filler-like episode I would have expected somewhere around the midway mark as some kind of tension breaker. I didn’t hate it, but I did feel quite underwhelmed.
Neither was I overly impressed with the character designs, background art, or animation, all of which struck me as very bland and underdeveloped. It’s as though little imagination or effort went into the worldbuilding or other details from the start, which I would have found more disappointing if I cared enough to begin with. I guess fortunately (?) for me, I don’t, so ‘meh’ is about the strongest reaction I can muster for this one. Viewers who prefer their urban fantasies more relaxed and slower-paced might have better luck though.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from Shoumetsu Toshi, but it certainly wasn’t this level of boredom. I actually breathed a sigh of relief when the episode ended – not because it was so bad as to be offensive, but because I was having serious problems paying attention by somewhere around the halfway mark. The premiere seemed very much as though it was trying extremely hard to be mysterious – and in the process, made me feel not only bemused but also utterly disinterested in any message it might have been attempting to convey. You can’t force ambience, and I think this is where Shoumetsu Toshi’s biggest problem ultimately lies.
It also looks surprisingly cheap. Madhouse is always a bit hit and miss, especially these days, but I feel like I can nearly always count on them to make their shows at least look competent. Despite the fairly bright colour palette though, Shoumetsu Toshi looks unappealingly flat and bland, and the music is forgettable to boot. Like Mayonaka, this also get a resounding ‘meh’ from me.
Question of the post: What were your thoughts on Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin and/or Shoumetsu Toshi? Are they actually as boring as I asserted, or am I just old and cynical?