Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 2

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (Ep. 1) 

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      It’s an interesting feeling I got from this episode – everything is portrayed cheerful enough – lots of bright colors, people eating cakes and stuff at 10 o’clock, but there is also a feel of suspense, of something not being quite right. I would’ve expected something more spectacular out of a Madhouse production in terms of animation and backgrounds, but everything is kept to the minimum, and quite a stylish minimum at that. Jean’s never more open than half-closed eyelids make him rather emotionless, but as the first case showed, he’s quite efficient at his work. I wonder if he’ll be as efficient finding out that the white-haired guy is a villain and there’s something shady brewing on. I don’t know if it was a good idea to flood the viewers with a ton of characters who might not be that important from the very start, but only time will tell what was right. It looks like it won’t be a visually very exceptional show and its enjoyment will more or less depend on the characters and the fulfillment of the police-mystery-drama kind of story. Well, you have me intrigued a bit. Props for that. The only rather absurd thing was the exposition introduced by the ridiculous “as you know,…”.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (Ep. 1)

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      Contrary to my initial thoughts, I quite liked the episode. Starting from the good things, the animation (when it happens) remains one of the stronger aspects, giving enough unexpected sakuga moments or inventive cuts. Megumin’s explosions with that impact frame were as beautiful as ever. The idea to have all of Kazuma’s sins accounted during a trial works as a genius way to remind everyone about the events of the first season without giving a straight and boring recap. Actually, it needn’t be viewed as a recap – KonoSuba always knew how to tie various elements of the story together so that any event might be influenced by something that happened before, and that’s some strong world-building. Yet, I don’t quite appreciate the story. It again feels that everything happens because the author tinkered it this way and not because the story was so tightly knit so that it couldn’t have gone any other way by itself. The idea of using a polygraph certainly made moments for jokes (that were amusing), but I don’t think everything should have gone to the court as I doubt the authorities would have done anything once Kazuma started shouting “I didn’t do the right thing and I’m worthy of an execution” and the polygraph started dinging like mad. But of course he didn’t think of that. The OP looks as good as the first one, with the same mindset of telling a random story of endless failing and an ultimate success by the unlikely heroes.

Kuzu no Honkai (Ep. 1)

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Certainly the episode didn’t attempt to save the anime, but it was good enough to keep me intrigued, even if I know the source material fairly well. Probably the biggest difference between Kuzu no Honkai and any other anime with romance in mind is getting things develop further than your generic romcom usually does. Holding hands and a kiss at best is not the line Lerche shies away to cross and go far over it, and I think that generally it’s a very healthy thing for the industry. How the story will get developed remains to be seen, but so far it’s got potential. There’s little sakuga, but the backgrounds paired with the appropriate colors give very airy and romantic atmosphere with hints that it’s not going to keep normal. Character designs are to my liking, especially the eyes, and the voice of Chika Anzai as Hanabi is nothing more I could’ve asked. The OST also started very strong. To think about it, there isn’t much that makes this show exceptional. The major point being the story, rather an attempt to look at things from a more mature angle gives hope but still it’s very easy to break this story with lack of subtlety. But for now the future is bright. Not for Hanabi and friends – for us viewers.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 2) 

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     It’ very nice to finally see that Yotaro is more than just a guy with unlimited optimism and not enough thought not to undertake as desperate measures as he did. Developing the fact that he has been in a prison, and apparently was worthy of it, is a very good way to start adding more layers to so far not that multidimensional character. I’m quite surprised that Konatsu actually agreed to marry Yotaro. Well, she, and especially her son will need stability and that’s probably the best choice regardless of her own feelings. As Yotaro is bothered by his past, Konatsu also has some skeletons in her closet, and more information about her child’s father may strongly affect all the family. Yakumo, whose problems so far concerned primarily the future of rakugo, will have to somehow deal with the writer. Every character has some things in their past that they wish to escape but as Yakumo said, they need to face their sins. These words are said also by Yakumo to himself, as Sukeruku’s ghost isn’t likely to have left. So yeah, many interesting conflicting situations are being set up and the next episode (and all the others) can’t come soon enough. Concerning the OP, Yakumo’s really determined to reject all the help everyone tries to offer and that segment with Sukeroku opening his robes was truly great. Because of that as well as that candle I think the show will end with Yakumo’s death.

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 13) 

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      Recap in a letterbox format is still a recap, albeit kinda sweet, but the fact will not change. It probably was Shaft’s way of distributing resources so that Smith-san would receive some character animation (that actually wasn’t the best I’ve seen) and to console everyone because of struggling production. Sure, it was quite amusing to see how Smith eats. His movements did add some details to his character, but was it worth the time? I don’t think so. If you want me to feel something for him when he battles Gotou, I need something more than a little breakfast scene straight before the big event. And up until now Smith being a guy used only for some comedy doesn’t help either. Just please – if you want to make a likable supporting character, start from the very start and don’t throw all the characteristics at the last moment with the intention that I’ll suddenly start caring about him. But again, the breakfast scene wasn’t bad, especially with the music accompanying it. Also the track during Smith’s match built the suspense in a right way. Again, not that it was really necessary since everyone knew that Rei will have undoubtedly face Gotou himself. Rei’s match featured some nice effects and during the latter half our protagonist looked unsettled about his chances which isn’t that frequent thing to see, which is nice. Once again, not that it matters. He’s the protagonist. He has to face the villain.

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 2) 

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      Looks like some alcohol shared can make quite hostile people friends, and maybe even more. I guess the transformation of Sergei from a self-righteous guy into a subdued follower was rather quick, but in terms of storytelling inevitable since now those “good” knights opposing “bad” knights make the conflict far more massive than a random guy with some merchants (even though they are something more than that) versus everyone else. Seeing Shirayuki almost lose her composure wasn’t the most expected sight to see, and as her friend seems to have turned into a demon of sorts, it will be far harder for her to deal with it. Another conflict is about to happen between Shirayuki and Sorey because of that tornado made by her personal Mr. Wind Seraph. All these things were a nice preparation for the future events, and as the assassination of the bishop from the previous episode remains fairly relevant, the story looks to have enough material to keep things interesting. On a slightly unrelated note – do you expect me to believe that a random pit opened in a random place after a random explosion just exactly in an empty confined platform covered with only grass that stands there for no reason at all (well, not the grass, the platform)? By the way, where’s Alisha?

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 2) 

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    With the conversation between Akko and Diana in the diner it’s become very obvious that the TV series attempts to be a remake of the original film, only greatly expanding things. Similarities with Harry Potter are even more obvious when you think that an antagonist (for now) is a white-haired person from a wealthy and established family with some attitude. I was quite surprised that in the very episode she appeared Diana understood that there are things she better not play with and that some people may do better than her, but everything was left quite open. Still, I doubt that the way everything is unfolding Diana will manage to oppose Akko for more than say 2 episodes before some real antagonist arrives, for example that dude from the OP. But for now the show seems very comfortable telling little side stories and becoming more familiar with the surroundings while introducing the characters. It shouldn’t be long until the other 3 supporting girls will make an appearance. In the ED Ursula is very friendly with the main trio, but I think her involvement will be postponed until a villain, that Akko has no way of dealing with alone, will appear. Ursula may probe Akko a bit for now but even now she would really profit from some of the outgoing energy Akko has, which, quite comically, may have come at least partly form Shiny Chariot herself. The scene where Akko tried to do magic so hard that a little tree on her head shed a leaf was hilarious.

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 0

     After a bit of a breather from weekly anime again comes a new season with renewed hopes, expectations and worries. It’s a really difficult task to choose which shows deserve your time, especially for such completionists like me. At least for me it’s not the easiest task to guess from bare premises (that often doesn’t say anything useful), staff members and one or two PVs if an anime will prove to be good. If not for the wish to keep up with the community I doubt if I would at all watch anime as it airs – too much gamble and sadly too little chances of success. Nevertheless, here I am, thinking about the new season. For some time I thought that it may be better to restrict myself to 2 or 3 shows at most, after finding the good ones according to the impressions of other people. Yet, it turns out that Winter 2017 will provide way more second seasons of stuff that I may not be head over heals for but nevertheless am willing to try. So yeah, what does the next season have in store?

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen

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    Definitely the anime I’m the most excited about. The first part of Rakugo was my favorite of the last year so it’s a no-brainer that I stick to it till the very end. The path to this second season was paved from the very first episode of the first season, and while it ended wrapping everything it attempted well, it’ll be even more interesting to watch how the story unfolds when there’s no doubt about the premise and the characters that should be central to the story. I hope it again proves to be a masterfully woven character drama it has been. Well, just watch the first season, if you haven’t already and I think you won’t be disappointed with that one as well as with what we are about to get.

3-gatsu no Lion

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     Probably no need to elaborate. It’s even not a second season but a direct continuation from a previous one. I don’t think we’ll see anything exceptional – there have been anime that are far more interesting and occasional glimpses of quality for me feel rather sparse compared to the whole package of everything that 3-gatsu offers. I’m just curious how everything will end, but everything else isn’t that fascinating anymore.  Well, unless getting some nice wallpapers is also a reason to stick around. Thanks for that, Shaft.

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017)

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     Again a show that I found I’m not the most qualified person to watch – having played the game seems to be sort of compulsory to get the most rewarding experience. As a person who still hasn’t past his stage of adoration of ufotable even when the era of adapting Type-Moon stuff almost ended I’m looking forward to see what Unlimited Budget Works will produce this time. ufotable’s later works don’t look that inspired but even the sheer curiosity of the capabilities of CG makes the show interesting enough – at the very start of the first season the disconnection between 3D and 2D was very jarring and towards the end it was greatly improved, but the possibilities are still here. I don’t care very much for the story (apart from the wish to see more Shirayuki) but you never know what’s going to happen. I just hope if there will be no random Berseria promotion arcs.

Little Witch Academia

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     One of a few original shows that still managed to get the green light and also being made by studio Trigger automatically qualifies as something worth noticing, yet knowing what this project began from makes me really enthusiastic, almost as much as I’m hyped for Rakugo. I’ve only recently discovered the appeal of Trigger and after everything that was done in the films of LWA, I can do nothing but eagerly wait for the TV series. Of course there’s a huge question if the writers will be able to capture the same spirit and, more importantly, to retain it for the whole season, as the second film suffered from being not as condensed as the first one, and it was only not even an hour long itself. There’s also a risk to stray too much in the territory of uninteresting characters, lots of tropes and just plain unoriginality. But for now let’s keep excited and remember that at least the art should definitely remain top tier no matter what.

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

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     The show I know the least about and I’m not even sure if I should watch it. Probably going to wait for some impressions on the first episode. Despite the premise which says very little indeed about what the anime will be about, some names of the people attached to the project make the show quite compelling. The original manga author Natsume Ono has also drawn Saraiya Goyou about which I have heard only good things, though sadly it still remains in my watchlist for an indefinite amount of time. Madhouse by itself suggests not the worst things to be expected, and the director Shingo Natsume only by his direction (and huge book of friends, haha) of One Punch Man deserves attention. Yes, basing the expectations only on people involved might not be the best way of judging yet unaired anime but unless it proves to be otherwise, this show might be quite good.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2

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     I remember when at first last year everyone just didn’t pay any attention to “another RPG world” anime, yet after a time started praising KonoSuba sometimes even as the best of the year. Well, I tried watching it and yes, some parts were funny, but especially towards the end it started to lose its charm, as much as it actually got. Anyway, as with other sequels, I’m a bit interested to see if anything unexpected will happen, though I don’t have any high hopes. And, well, some jokes were truly good. As well as the amazing ED.

Kuzu no Honkai

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     And, last but not least, the third anime I’m mostly interested in. I’ve read the manga as far as it goes and quite liked it. It may not be the world masterpiece but to some degree it tries to delve into that fascinating territory that Oyasumi Punpun magnificently explored. And right here lies the biggest problem – the show is advertised as a normal one, but it’s just not possible to keep true to the source material and don’t get dangerously near the borderland to abundant ecchi. Sure, the creators may try to avoid that but the sexuality of the characters and its complications are one of the key elements that drive the story so unless Lerche goes all out, it may become a very undermining disappointment. The complete censorship wouldn’t work and on the other hand it’s really easy to lose all the subtlety. Anyway, the character designs are just gorgeous. And, as the manga approaches its end, we may receive a complete and fulfilling story. So yeah, that’s a gamble but I’m willing to take it.

      And that’s all I’m mildly or more interested in for the already started season, that may be called the season of second seasons. It just looks that if you aren’t already familiar with many shows to be aired, you don’t have much space to construct your watchlist – the amount of possibly decent shows isn’t astronomical at all. But let’s hope for a good season!