Oh, anime. What happened? We had such a good thing going over the summer. Then, you changed. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore. I’d say we need to spend some time apart, but I just can’t seem to quit you.
On a more serious note, when I decided to blog about anime, at the urging of my manager, in order to build a space for myself ahead of my first novel coming out, I got pretty excited about it. We had Ore Monogotari. We had Snow White With The Red Hair. We had Overlord. We had freaking Gakkou Gurashi! It was a wonderful time to be diving into anime blogging.
The thing that made it exciting was that anime is something I am really passionate about. It was something I could talk about that had nothing to do with my novel. It was fun, interesting, and made me excited to write blog posts.
Seriously, you can only write so many posts about a novel that doesn’t have a firm release date yet. Even I could get tired of talking about it after a week, and I wrote the damn thing!
Sadly, that bliss filled summer season came to an end, and the fall season reared its fan service laden head. As much as I’d love to say there was an anime that jumped out of the gate by being truly fascinating, so far, it’s been a load of blah.
Well, not a load of. There’s a couple promising shows. One that I am seriously thinking of doing weekly recaps on. Which one, you probably aren’t asking? Well, follow me, into a world of… something.
Set in an alternate universe version of Japan, round about the 1960’s or so, Concrete Revolution asks the question, what if everything was real? Superheroes, aliens, ghosts, mythical creatures, gods, all of it. Everything. Out there, fighting to protect humanity, destroy it, or enslave it.
Based on the first episode, the answer to that question is a resounding WTF.
It’s not that the animation is kind of odd. If it was just that, it would be fine. It’s that the story told in the first episode makes precious little sense, as it jumps back and forth in time, telling the story of how a witch joined the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, while at the same time telling the story of her hunting down her former mentor from the Bureau.
Oh, and there’s a giant alien who has Godzilla like battles with other giant aliens, and a car that turns into a horse mecha, and a little… egg… thing that hangs out in the witches cleavage, for some reason. She does get a magical girl transformation scene, that goes on for freaking ever, though, so there’s that.
Whatever Concrete Revolution is trying to do, it really needs to try and do it better. For me, watching it was akin to discovering what an acid trip must feel like.
On the whole, Comet Lucifer is interesting, at least enough I want to watch the next episode. Most of the reason it works is that it does a decent job of setting up the main protagonist, Sougo, as well as the other characters he interacts with. There’s enough characterization to make them seem like people, without giving us too much information.
Why the military seems to be looking for the girl in the feather dress is also an enticing enough mystery, as is the weird mecha that showed up at the end, seemingly summoned by Feather Dress Girl as a defense mechanism. All of it ties together into an episode that is easy to understand, follow, like, and encourage the viewer to return to next week..
Yet, I can’t help but feel as if this is going to end up being disappointing. I can’t say why, but I can’t shake the feeling that some how, they are gonna drop the ball. I guess we’ll see. For now, I’m cautiously optimistic about this one.
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
Right away, I want to say that I am aware this is a reimagining of another series, also called Utawarerumono, as well as admit that I have not seen the original series. It was on my watch list for a while, and I had planned to check it out, when I saw this on the new series list, and decided to wait so I’d have an unbiased view of it.
The show kicks off with a man in what looks like hospital clothes waking up in a snow covered wilderness with no memories at all. He is soon rescued by a woman with cat ears and a tail, who decides to be his guardian, and take responsibility for him as he struggles to find his way in a world where even his own identity is a mystery to him.
There were a couple of things that made me want to give this one high marks. The main character is genuinely interesting, both for his lack of memories, and what we as the viewer can figure out about him from the way he reacts to things around him. Basically, he’s lazy, and not very heroic. This sets him apart enough from the rest of the fall seasons offerings to pique my interest.
Then there’s the cat girl who saved him. Unlike the other female leads we’ve had so far this season, she’s actually reasonable and handles both his amnesia and his cultural missteps with a fair dose of understanding for his situation. She doesn’t fly off the handle and try to kill him over a misunderstanding is what I’m saying.
At the moment, the series intrigues me enough, I’m thinking of recapping it each week. Which for what we’ve gotten so far, is really saying something about its quality.
There’s several shorts series premiering this season as well, and most of them have managed to be more interesting than the full length shows I’ve seen so far. Just to give a quick run down, here they are.
A scientist searches for the origin of mysterious creatures that begin to appear and attack people. With an average episode length of about seven minutes, and a very distinctive animation style, this one jumped out as must watch early on. While it’s too short to really do a proper recap of each week, it’s well worth your time to check it out, just for the atmosphere, and honestly intriguing mystery of the creatures.
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!
Told in three minute episodes, the series follows 14 year old Komori as she struggles to tell people no to anything. Be it helping out with every after school club at once, or holding it while other girls use the bathroom ahead of her, Komori just can’t help but help people. Even when her friends try to give her tips on how to avoid getting asked for help, it doesn’t work, resulting in some genuinely funny bits.
One thing about this show I like already, despite the mild fan service, is that Komori is really tall for a 14 year old. Yet, no one makes a deal out of it. Everyone likes her for who she is, and asks her for help because she honestly gives it. It’s a nice little subtext, and actually a pretty funny little show.
Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
Revolving around a hot springs fairy who fell asleep for many years, and awoke to discover that her powers had waned to the point she can only appear as a child, the first episode had some pretty good laughs, and yet more of the fall seasons now trademark fan service.
The show itself is cute, and the plot actually kind of interesting, while managing to clock in at only two minutes long. Worth a look, if for no other reason than to watch the other two characters try to figure out if this kid is really a spirit, or just nuts.
That’s it for now. There was one other short series, Kowabon, and two full series, Valkyrie Drive, and Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai, that I’m hoping to check out, but none of them look like shows I’d be blogging about, so I’ll save them for a part three to this first glance.
I may still tackle Utawarerumono, though, as of all the fall season offerings so far, it’s the only one that really got and held my interest, while making me think they could actually deliver a series worth talking about.