Winter 2017 – Week 2: First Impressions (Part 2)

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Almost all of the anime premieres of this season have come and gone and I sure by now all you seasonal  anime watchers have more or less solidified the things you’ll be watching for the next couple months. I’ve just about nailed down the shows that I’m planning on following this season and it’s not a whole lot. Since last week I’ve picked up a lot more shows (relative to the number I picked up last week), but the total still comes out to be a far less than in past seasons. It’s a little disappointing but at least this’ll give me some time to go and watch/re-watch some of the older stuff I’ve been planning to get to.

But enough blabbering, let’s run down the shows I managed to get through in the last seven days.

Premieres:

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

ACCA spends a good portion of its introductory episode establishing its world. The political situation in ACCA not something that I can say interest me, however the characters and general narrative of the show make up for it in spades. I’m a fan of mystery stories, but not of ultra-violence or horror. In anime, these things usually come hand-in-hand, so I was pleasantly surprised to see signs of a mystery-style plot in the generally tame atmosphere of ACCA.

There were a lot of other little things I enjoyed in this first episode: the show sports one sweet OP, I liked the aesthetic and characters in the show, and of course, not 30 seconds into the episode, my ears were greeted with the lovely voice of Aoi Yuuki. I’m looking forward to seeing where Madhouse can take this series, but it certainly seems promising.

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Fuuka (1-3)

Oh Fuuka. I really didn’t expect anything from this show. As a reader of the source material, I knew what I was getting into from the start so I was prepared for the worst. However, to my surprise, the first couple episodes were not as bad as I thought they’d be. The team behind this adaptation seemed to work their hardest to try and make Seo Kouji’s story presentable. The music was solid and voice acting was great and this made the character interactions feel more natural, despite the incredibly quick pace and unnatural circumstances that plague this genre. Although I did have some problems with the animation, the problems I had with the show largely came from the source material. And of course, It wouldn’t be an impressions post without mentioning Saori Hayami’s great performance as Koyuki – you go girl.

I’ll probably continue watching to see the inevitable train wreck near the end, but who knows, I might find some better way of spending my time.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

There seems to be a lot of comedy, slice of life anime this season huh. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is another entry into the genre, animated by KyoAni – a studio that is not unfamiliar with the territory. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect going into the series. All of the pure comedies that KyoAni has made rubbed me the wrong way so I was a little cautious going into this one. As I expected, Maid Dragon’s first episode was funny some of the time, but a lot of the jokes seemed to fall flat for me.

What I did like about the episode, was the small moment near the end with Touru’s nightmare. Given the lack of any real development of the characters, I felt weirdly sympathetic towards her and her past. This made the scene that followed a lot better for me. That being said, the aesthetic and tone of the series doesn’t seem to lend itself very well to these kinds of moments, so it did feel a little out of place. I do hope that KyoAni adds in these little moments here and there to help us get a little more invested in the characters.

I’m a fan of this genre so I’ll stick with it for now, but I’m feeling a little overloaded with all these comedy shows… So we’ll have to see.

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KonoSuba 2

AND ANOTHER ONE. KonoSuba is back and looking worse than ever! I’m not crazy right? This first episode, in terms of art and animation, seems to look a whole lot worse than in the first season. Not that it really matters with this kind of show, but it does feel a little disappointing.

Looks aside, KonoSuba seems to have remained relatively the same, writing-wise. The jokes were funny, the voice acting was great, and the characters were as terrible as ever. This episode was largely a recap/reset for the series. With Kazuma’s somewhat random arrest, the gang got together to try and clear his name while reminiscing about events past. The trial ending with Kazuma and crew losing all of the wealth that they had gained in the previous season.

KonoSuba was very KonoSuba this episode, who would’ve guessed. I still love the series, even with the drop in quality visually and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

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Scum’s Wish

There’s a lot of words that I can use to describe Scum’s Wish: chilling, horrifying, heartbreaking, human. I finally watched Scum’s Wish a couple days after it initially aired following a glowing recommendation from a couple of my friends. They said that it was relatable, a little messed up, and more importantly – the most interesting show of the season. And I’d be inclined to agree. I’ve been pretty bad about not giving the synopses of shows in these impressions posts (and I still haven’t done it), but in this case I would recommend Scum’s Wish to anyone who hasn’t watched it to go in blind. But be warned, it’s pretty NSFW.

The main conflict of the show could have been executed horribly – the author and staff could have easily framed the situation in such a way to ridicule or condemn the behavior of the characters, but they didn’t. Scum’s Wish showed a lot of empathy for the characters and got us right into the thoughts and emotions of these two very broken people.

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The show in general was executed pretty well, the aesthetic matched the feel of the show and really built the right atmosphere when the episode’s climatic scene came along. The music was great all the way through and in particular, the opening and ending themes were some of the best of the season. Chika Anzai’s performance (voice of Reina from Sound! Euphonium) as Hanabi really made the scenes with Mugi (Nobunaga Shimazaki, voice of Haru from Free!) feel natural. The two have a kind of chemistry that makes me hopeful for their futures (both the actors’ and the characters’).

I did have some minor complaints about the show. There were a couple pure comedy moments that felt really, really, out of place. I know that they were there to lighten the mood, but it felt extremely intrusive and unnecessary, especially given that they did use low-key humor in some of the scenes with the main pair. As well, the manga-frame-style transitions felt a little out of place. These transitions happened a little too frequently in the show and distracted from the experience.

Other than that, Scum’s Wish really took me for a ride and I’m looking forward to more. I thought that it’d just be morbid curiosity that would keep me watching, but execution of the show has got me hooked and won’t let go. I can’t see a happy ending with this, but I’ll remain hopeful. Either way, I can’t wait for the next one.

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Continuations:

Interviews with Monster Girls

Demi-chan had a pretty disappointing episode this week. This week’s episode focused on Machi’s crush on Takahashi-sensei – a topic that is weird for some and seriously uncomfortable for others. As a reader of the source, I knew ahead of time what would happen so I was mostly okay with it. I knew that it wasn’t going to go anywhere and it seemed harmless enough, but it still felt a little weird. Even if we disregard the subject matter, this episode seemed a lot weaker than the first.

Episode one focused less on overt comedy (in the latter half at least) and relied more on the atmosphere and characters to move the story forward. This episode definitely leaned more towards the jokes than the atmosphere. And even more than this, the first episode of the show didn’t talk explicitly about the internal conflicts and feelings of the girls, it showed rather than told. But this changed immediately at the start of episode two with Machi talking to Takahashi about her insecurities with her classmates. I guess I was expecting that these kinds of conversations would come later with some build-up or would be a little less explicit.

I’m looking forward to Demi-chan, but with it stumbling on the second episode I’m a little worried.

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Gabriel Drop-out

In a strange turn of events, Gabriel Drop-out pulled a reverse Demi-chan. This second episode threw the brakes on the joke train and dialed down the number of jokes per minute down to a digestible amount. The pacing and density of the episode felt a lot better this time around and this definitely made it more enjoyable.

Although there is something a little concerning about the series. The show seems to be a little mean-spirited and this makes the character bashing pretty uncomfortable. Early in the episode we see that Satania is eating alone and the two main girls invite her to eat with them. We’re not told why she’s eating alone, but we can assume that her chunnibyou-like tendencies probably alienated her from the rest of the class. I was a little saddened by this, but the show didn’t seem to be. Satania from point in the episode was the butt of a lot of the jokes. She did claim some accidental retribution in the middle of the episode, but that scene felt more like a switch of character bashing rather than anything else.

Hopefully Gabriel Drop-out will take a page from Maid Dragon’s book and give us something to keep us invested in the characters, but that seems highly unlikely.

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And that’s it for this week! Boy that a lot of work. I made the mistake of not writing immediately after watching the episode, so I may not have mistaken some things or left stuff out. I’ll continue this as far as I can go, but this was tiring enough to do. I do want to write something every week so that I don’t have a long gap between posts, but only the future will tell what that something is.

Anyways here’s wonderwall my current watching list in order of favorites:

  1. Scum’s Wish
  2. KonoSuba 2
  3. Interviews with Monster Girls
  4. ACCA
  5. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  6. Gabriel Drop-out
  7. Fuuka

Thanks for reading, and until next time!

Carriage.

2 thoughts on “Winter 2017 – Week 2: First Impressions (Part 2)

  1. This season was supposed to be one to catch up on backlog for me…
    But now I’ve already checked out the first episode of Demi-chan, and I’m interested in checking out Scum’s Wish, on top of LWA and the continuing 3gatsu and Rakugo.
    This is already equal to the number of anime I followed in the excellent Fall season: Eupho, FlipFlap, YOI, 3gatsu, Fune wo Amu, as well as dropping Girlish Number and Classicaloid.
    Something needs to be dropped.
    Might give Demi-chan and Scum’s wish the 3-episode treatment then. Still have some backlog to burn through.

    Like

    • Haha. I used to average about 10-12 shows at the start of each season, dropping down to about 5-7 near the end.
      It’s not a show for everybody but hopefully you’ll like Scum’s wish. Good luck with the backlog!

      Like

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