Anime, you know just how to kiss and make up with me. I forgive you. Let’s not fight again.
I say that, but we all know when winter rolls around, it’ll be the same thing all over again. Anime is such a fickle lover.
For my last look at the new fall season, I’ve tackled three shows, and one short, coming out with a much better experience than what we started with. Apparently, saving the best for last is also a thing in Japan. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to go with for this.
Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru
Now here’s a show that clearly knows what it wants to do, and how it wants to do it. Which, apparently, is to tackle the concept of a modern day Sherlock Holmes if he were a woman with an obsession for bones, and Watson was a high school student.
The basics are well laid out in the first episode. Sakurako is a brilliant, if socially ignorant expert in the field of osteology, which is the study of bones. She’s all but obsessed with them, really, and spends most of her time either looking for bones, or rebuilding skeletons of any and every animal she can. Shoutaro, her teenage Watson, and apparently the grandson of Sakurako’s housekeeper, gets dragged along on her little trips to hunt for bones, which often leads the two into murder investigations.
Since brilliance often comes with some form of social dysfunction in fiction, and real life, Sarurako may be able to look at a body and determine just how they died, spotting minute details even trained police officers overlook, she tends to offer up her findings in the least polite manner possible, hence my comparison to Sherlock Holmes, at least, the modern day version played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
The show is beautifully animated, and Sarurako passes one big test I have, namely that as a lead, she isn’t overly likable. It’s absurd that female leads always have to be likable, and she most certainly is not. She’s rude, gruff, and seems to get a form of enjoyment out of making others uncomfortable. In other words, she breaks a lot of rules, and I like that. She’s interesting, without being morbid or cruel.
How well the show manages to live up to its premise remains to be seen, but there’s a lot of potential here, and I’d definitely say this is one to watch.
Subete Ga F Ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
What I can say is the animation is very well done, and the music is awesome. The entire first episode is spent introducing us to the characters, and giving us their relationship, as well as establishing a brilliant, yet possibly homicidal scientist that I’m not sure yet how fits in to the story.
For that matter, I’m not sure what the story even is.
A scientist named Saikawa, who has befriended the daughter of his former mentor, a young woman named Moe, and is obsessed with the questions of life, is eager to meet another scientist by the name of Dr. Magata, who earned her doctorate when she was only eleven years old. She has retired from public life after apparently murdering her family, though she maintains that a doll did it.
Moe had a chance to meet with Dr. Magata via video conference, but the woman was every bit as brilliant and cagey as her reputation suggested. Saikawa wants to meet her, however, so Moe arranges for the group of scientists Saikawa works with to take their annual retreat on the island where Dr. Magata’s lab is hidden.
This pretty much sums up the first episode. While I have no idea what the show is even going to be about, I am deeply intrigued, not just by Saikawa and his almost hipster approach to life, but Dr. Magata and her story of a doll murdering her parents. It’s kind of clever what they’ve done with this one, already. I don’t know if this is going to be a mystery, or turn into a horror story, or what, but I want to find out. That’s just how well constructed the first episode is.
Definitely check this one out. It has the potential to be a sleeper hit.
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai
Set in a world where magics and witches are real, the 35th Test Platoon of the Anti Magic Academy is trying to give it all they’ve got to become Inquisitors. Sadly, they all suck, at least until a demoted Inquisitor is assigned, changing everything.
This show could be good. I mean, it could be really good. The animation is amazing. The music if incredible. The backdrop and world building are great. Why, then, they chose to bury all of that under so much fan service it could choke a horse is beyond me.
Even worse, why they stuck to the same story beats we’ve already seen several times this season. Failure of a male lead trying to prove his worth? Check. Antagonistic to the point of insufferable female lead? Check. Assortment of goofy secondary characters? Check. Walking in on a half naked girl? Check. The oddly perfect fall and grab a boob gag? Check.
These things are all so wildly out of place, they actually drag down what would otherwise be an excellent show. Which is the thing. They feel out of place. Like they were stuck in just to have them in. They don’t make sense next to literally everything else that happens in the show.
The failure of a male lead isn’t really a failure at all. In a world of guns and magic, he is so skilled with a blade he can actually deflect bullets with it, and even cut them in half! That is not what I call a failure. For no apparent reason, though, he can only do this when he’s angry. I get that the underdog character is a big deal, especially this season, but this guy is the worst possible representation of that ever. He’s actually so good with a sword, he makes people with guns look stupid for bringing a gun to a sword fight! Let him be good! Don’t shove him off into the failure box just to be like everything else!
Ugh. What a waste of potential. Check it out if you want, just be warned, the characters are being shoved into boxes they don’t fit in for no apparent reason at all.
A short series, meaning the episode length is only a couple of minutes, Kowabon is of the horror genre, the premise based on the idea that the prevalence of technology allows something to watch us. Done with rotoscope animation, its got a strong The Ring vibe to it. Maybe a better example would be Pulse, but its too soon to really tell.
The first episode doesn’t give us a lot to go on for how the show will go, but what it does offer does manage to actually be somewhat frightening. The idea that there could be something, rolling around through the wi fi, just waiting for a chance to not only terrify, but kill, is certainly conveyed decently with the first episode.
While it is somewhat predictable, there’s at least a bit of a sneaky little twist in there that manages to make for a decent enough horror short. I’m curious to see how well they manage to continue this one, and if there is going to be a central theme to it. Time will tell on that front, but for now, if you like shows with a bit of teeth to them, give it a try. Might get a little tingle down the old spine out of you.
Which brings me to the end of my fall season premier reviews. These aren’t all the shows that started up, just the ones I had hoped would be good. While almost all of them ended up being disappointing, we did still get a couple of gems out of them. Two I am trying to decide between recapping each week.
Hell, I may end up doing both. Guess we’ll see soon enough, won’t we?