1-Minute Anime Previews
This time around, the reviews are only based on a 2nd-episode impression (save for 1 show), but hopefully it’ll give you a good enough gleam of what you might want to pick up. Perhaps I’ll do a follow up later during season’s end.
Net-Juu no Susume - Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Genre: MMO, slice of life, romance(???)
Summary: A 30-year old white-collar office lady (Morioka Morika) decides to quit her job and live the self-gratifying life of an “elite” NEET. Finding that her old user account on an MMO has been deleted due to inactivity, she picks up a new one called Fruits de Mer, but this time as a male avatar (Hayashi). Off to a rough start on her new adventure with much difficulty, she runs into the cute and helpful player, Lily, who both supports and introduces Morika to “her” guild. As the players immerse themselves into the game, they take the opportunity to express themselves further as someone else.
Commentary: First off, I have to say, of all the chuunibyou-inducing usernames she crossed out, Morioka decides to go with Hayashi of all things, which is essentially a pun on her name…XD…(t/n: Mori and Hayashi both mean forest). Honestly, off to a fun start with decently likeable characters, a relaxing direction, and some very relatable content. A good portion of my enjoyment definitely stems from the very well-suited Noto Mamiko playing a rather niche but likeable lead for the MMO-genre. So far things seem promising. Worth hanging on to.
Kino no Tabi ~ The Beautiful World ~
Genre: fantasy, philosophy, adventure
Summary: Episodic tales of a lone traveller and her talking motorcycle, visiting as many new strange and interesting places as she can while staying only just 3-days at a time before setting off once more. What circumstances will await Kino at the next town?
Commentary: Absolutely solid production qualities. Modern, crisp, and perhaps a bit more compact than its predecessor TV series thus far. Nagi Yanagi is also quite a nice follow-up choice to the retired Shimokawa Mikuni for opening theme. Though the era has changed, a nostalgic essence lingers. I’m actually re-watching the old series right now to get a refresher, but apparently there will be very few overlapping episodes in this new adaptation. My only complaint really would be the lead voice acting. Aoi is…well, growing on me, but I find that she sometimes goes several octaves too high or accidentally drops the acting altogether. Saitou Souma for Hermes though is a major disappointment (the worst role I’ve ever heard him in to date). But perhaps with time, they’ll both grove into the role a little better. In any case, I doubt most viewers will really notice much. Other than that, it’s going good so far. Very beautiful, sometimes disturbing, serene stories that gets you thinking.
Genre: action, fantasy
Summary: A battle royal between twelve very experienced combatants named after animals of the Zodiac. Last one standing gets any wish imaginable granted to them.
Commentary: Really more of a glamorous action show thus far (can’t say I’m really into NisiOisin’s works; though I do love Nakamura Hikaru’s designs). The story is linear, and while the animation is very engaging, the quality does dip a little bit here and there. In-between the vibrant combat scenes though, someone is always doing some seriously long inner-monologue. It almost seems like the pattern for a death flag at this point. Oh well; an action-flick is precisely why I picked it up, and it certainly delivers. And, who knows…maybe next episode, it might throw a surprise my way.
Genre: slife of life, comedy
Summary: Sweet and polite Maika has some killer sharp-glint to her eyes and often runs into trouble expressing herself on account of them. But in order to find independence and pay for her own expenses to study abroad, she acquires a job at a “dere” maid-cafe (Cafe Stile), where the waitresses are given certain attributes…and in Maika’s case, that attribute is “extreme sadist”!
Commentary: Not too sure if I find it all that amusing as the gags do get repetitive, but it does have some good moments. Watching this though, sometimes reminds me of the late Fujiwara Cocoa on a couple of points, and it’s a bit heart-breaking. Thus far, Blend S has yet to go the extra mile, but nonetheless, I think this shows caters to a certain taste and is relatively enjoyable enough. Just not sure if I’d keep it in the long run, personally.
Genre: slice of kemonomimi-life
Summary: Kokohana-tei is a hot spring hotel located in an inn town between our world and the otherworldly, where many patrons stop by to enjoy its atmosphere. The story centers around the lives of several adorable fox-spirits who work there.
Commentary: I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one yet. It has some cute moments but also some serious slow dips…but…but…the aesthetics. I’m weak to fox girls. Perhaps it might be a nice relaxer for a tea break. Interestingly though, and this is quite out there, but Yuzu and Satsuki have a similar kind of character relationship you’d find in a young shounen manga (between the rival and the protagonist). It caught me a little off guard.
Kekkai Sensen S2
Genre: action, comedy, sci-fi-fantasy
Commentary: First of all I have to say I’ve never been so absolutely delighted for a change in staff. Like, thank god. First season was a decision-making mess. The pacing for S2 thus far is great. Still sleek and fast paced, but far less arduous and much more true to the essence of the series. There are no more weird, far-off pan shots where it’s hard tell what is being drawn, fewer shaky scene-changes and pretentious soliloquy, and best of all…gone with that tacky, borderline-nonsensical narrative featuring two very inconsequential characters (…whom if you completely removed, would actually just be manga content). My major gripe over Black & White was…not only was their narrative insubstantial, it actually replaced and condensed the screen time of many major characters and important story points, all the while failing to fit themselves into Nightow’s world. Not to mention S1 staff flopped a ton of my favourite jokes. — So finally…this is now the kind of whimsical and otherworldly Kekkai Sensen I fell in love with. I’m not saying the manga was perfect, nor is sticking more rigidly to source material automatically a better choice, but for a series of this kind of flavour, dramatic narrative is perhaps not all that necessary. But if there were to be, I’d like it kept in Nightow’s style. Welcome back in action, KKSS.
Genre: parody, meta-comedy
Summary: Rapid-fire chit chats between characters who are really into anime.
Commentary: Definitely a show that’s a little too fast-paced for me to keep up with on the first watch-through. It’s as if someone was making a YouTube segment on every anime trope there is and condensed it into a half-hour episode. Personally, not something I would recommend; but is definitely something I might keep watching out of guilt-pleasure. It’s a little fun to try and guess which series they might be referencing.
Elegant Youkai Apartment Life
Genre: slice of life, supernatural-fantasy
Summary: When 16-year old Inaba Yuushi lost his parents 3 years ago, he was taken in by his Uncle’s family. However, with family life feeling a little strained, he no longer wishes to be a burden on his relatives and is determined to move out and into his new school’s dormitory. Unfortunately for him—a fire burned it down. At a loss for what to do, Yuushi is eventually led by a mysterious force into renting a room in a unique apartment for dirt cheap. Little did he know…the apartment is home to both human and supernatural creatures alike. Thus, Yuushi’s life becomes entangled in this new and strange world.
Commentary: Not quite what I expected it to be when I picked it up. It was neither ghost-busting, nor Natsume-esque. Rather, it’s far less mysterious and far more casual than it appears to be. However, I’m already 16 episodes in, and am still thoroughly enjoying Youkai Apartment as my tea-time show (in all its slashy-glory). Overall, the show seldom goes beyond being merely pleasant, with the biggest highlight being Kuri’s episode, but there is a slow and budding potential being built, and I oddly don’t mind just keeping it on the side for the long run. It’s heart-warming and often gets me thinking about life.
On an amended note; Bahamut S2 really roller-coaster dipped at the end there, so that’s my commentary on that; but soap-opera of a plot mess aside, it was still pretty entertaining.