Musings and Reflections – Spring 2016 Week 1

     Generally I don’t particularly like anime episode reviews as I think it’s not right to pass a judgement on something that has yet a chance of changing for better or worse, though more times than not some early episodes set the tone for the whole show so strictly that changing the mood or style usually backfires with more viewers lost than gained. Still, I think some remarks left about specific events or just neat ideas may prove useful later as through the whole 3 months of the season many details become forgotten. Also, it’s really interesting to see later on how the characters made their first impressions and how general opinion about the show changed through all the weeks. Considering all that, I’ll just try to write some random (or not) thoughts about some anime that I decided to watch as it airs.

     Well, to be frank I somehow remain a stubborn completionist, even if there were times when one anime or another managed to bore me almost to ditching it. Yet, I tend to finish what I started, so some serious filtering goes through my mind before each new season. Because of that, I decided to wait and see what will become of such shows as Mayoiga (30 characters sound like a sure path (or worse – trainwreck) of uncharacterization or thoughtless killing) or Boku no Hero Academia (I had my fill of superheros for now because of One Punch Man and Concrete Revolutio). That doesn’t mean that the shows are not that good but I just don’t plan to get involved unless they (and some others) prove to be something really special. So, let’s get started.

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Joker Game (Ep. 1)

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     Production I.G usually means business and this time it wasn’t an exception. Actually this show probably was the first one that I decided to watch this season and so far I’ve got very few complaints about it. Historical spy thriller always sounds impressive and the execution wasn’t dragging it down for sure. It might be difficult to portray everything with historical accuracy and remain right morally as Japan in the period of WW2 as a nation wasn’t the most peaceful and blameless. Also, it’s not that conventional to see someone look at all spies with contempt and accuse them of cowardice as usually they are portrayed as either complete heroes or villains. The suspense was building up steadily the whole episode so next time looks to be interesting. The art tends to avoid bright colors and it fits the atmosphere. The American guy stands out in that aspect – generally more bluish tones make him truly look like a foreigner, like a person who doesn’t really belong there. The only real drawback that I could spot was uncharacterization – even Sakuma who looks to be the protagonist wasn’t given much chance to show himself, not to mention all the spy guys. Yes, they don’t know each other’s true identity but I hope there will be some developments in this area. Now we just get 8 dudes that the audience simply doesn’t care about. If this changes, Joker Game would be a very solid show. For now everything is just building up, but it seems to have lots of potential.

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Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Ep. 1)

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     Even I haven’t watched Attack on Titan yet (I’ll definitely will be doing that in due time), some minor footage seen is enough to confirm what everyone is talking about – this is the same show, only with trains and zombies. What grabs the eye first is the art which is gorgeous without a doubt. Well, some things are more gorgeous than others and I could definitely see that the two girls whose faces were given especial polishing won’t die for many an episode. The other thing probably is the graphic violence. Well, what did you expect of zombies anyway, even if they decide to run or walk slowly depending on the dramatic circumstances? The spreading of zombie-virus and trying to stop it certainly looks convenient and not that realistic but oh well, what realism can be expected when zombies are roaming everywhere? Apart from that, the show is actually a real fun. The story is yet to be established but the setting is already pretty clear with its steampunk-ish post apocalyptic atmosphere and with some medieval Japanese seasoning. For now everything looks great and it’s only up to Wit Studio to maintain the quality (the visuals alone would probably make this show at least watchable) and tell a compelling story.

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Sakamoto desu ga? (Ep. 1)

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     I’m already familiar with the manga so this show hasn’t surprised me yet. Basically this episode was just an elaboration of one simple statement – ‘Sakamoto is cool. Deal with it’. The show doesn’t try to tell a story, it just plays with different scenarios to make Sakamoto even more cool. Well, I got to admit that the results are quite unexpected and therefore comedic. The humor may be hit or miss but I find it maybe not hilarious but amusing enough to keep watching and not complaining about the time I spent doing it. The animation isn’t an achievement but just works fine to be able to convey the stories of the sketches. Basically if you liked this episode it’s pretty much safe to say that you will probably like the rest of them, even if there will be some a bit longer stories involved. For me it will just be that random laid-back show that can be watched without much thinking just to get some smiles.

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     So that’s it for now. I’ll probably add one or two shows to this section next time. Some others that are already airing also may catch my eye, but I’ll probably stick to no more than, say, 5 or 6. So yeah. Have a nice day!

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