Musings and Reflections – Autumn 2016 Week 2

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 1)

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    Just as expected from Shaft, it was a fairly entertaining episode that definitely hooked me. Sure, there have been better starts but the artstyle alone carries a lot of weight, making Sangatsu probably the best looking show I’ve seen this season. However, not all the looks deserve a praise – character designs, to be more specific, their lips, especially when characters are not smiling, look very weird, grumpy and a bit off-putting.  I guess it kind of works with Rei who may deliberately look and behave more elderly than the actual Grandpa in the show because of his internal struggles but I doubt the girls should have the same characteristic. Anyway, that’s probably a little quirk of the show that will just have to be overlooked. The set up may not be the most exciting one but so far it piqued my interest with not that common theme of playing shogi. The relationship between Rei and the girls will probably remain on a level of slice of life with some drama added (and not omitting some comedy that worked surprisingly well). Overall it just looks to be a decent and pretty entertaining anime. Good.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Ep. 2)

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    That was a typical good episode of the show. Even if the quality of the visuals isn’t a thing to talk about, the story just had that special something that manages to tug at one’s heartstrings. It wasn’t something extraordinary but you just can’t not feel some compassion towards the little youkai, especially when the encounter between the man and the youkai proved to mean so much to her and so little to him. This in the context of the show reassures once again how different humans and youkai are, but looking deeper, youkai are people, too or, to put the idea in different words, many youkai of the series can be thought of as humans that are slightly different from the society. Thinking about the episode, it tries to say that you never know how much impact a single gesture or word can have on anyone and it’s those precious moments when two persons tune up together that should be cherished. By the way, in the manuals how to hit on girls a new technique named “Natsume: inquire about the health of her grandpa” should be included.

Yuri!!! on Ice (Ep. 2)

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    It’s probably not unexpected but the show still feels very fresh. I think the mood of the story onwards will resemble this episode a lot more than the first one – this right balance of various character quirks, some humor (even as with the first episode some of it wasn’t the funniest thing ever) and generally slice of life atmosphere can carry the show for a long time and keep everything fairly exciting. The pacing also must be mentioned among the positives – everything just keeps happening in a way that doesn’t let you be bored but at the same time persistently pushes the story forward. Character animation remains one of the strongest points since that adds a lot to the realism (bodies moving with enough inertia for example is just a joy to watch) and thus balances the comedy scenes. Having two characters that are basically the opposites in every possible aspect and getting them to compete for the same goal is a very wise way of ensuring character growth and just the movement of the story. Well, everything probably sounds more positive than it should but on the other hand, Yuri!!! on Ice deserves it justly.

Fune wo Amu (Ep. 1)

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    You probably couldn’t get more niche in anime than thinking up a story about making a dictionary. Nonetheless, the episode was surprisingly enjoyable. Yes, the animation wasn’t always the best I’ve seen and certainly could have used more FPS but otherwise at first glance such a boring theme did get me interested. One of the best aspects of the show looks to be the soundtrack. Yoshihiro Ike who has worked on Karas and Ergo Proxy just knows how enhance the atmosphere, how to accompany certain scenes and what to do when the music becomes the main focus. Also I was simply amazed how many brilliant Vas the show managed to get – listening to Maaya Sakamoto (Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai), Hiroshi Kamiya (Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou) and Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith in Berserk) is just a feast for ears. Clearly, that’s just a lot of potential and the visuals may be the limiting factor for the realization of all the possibilities but so far Fune wo Amu certainly and deservedly piqued my interest.

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