The next batch of premieres… Just Because!, URAHARA, and Confessions of an MMO Junkie.
No big excited blurb this time… Not because I’m not excited about any of these shows, but because this is the second post I’ve written today and I’m tired.
Let’s hit the jump and take a look at the shows!
Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.
Whoever set up the scenario for Just Because made some interesting choices. It’s set in high school, but the protagonists are third years rather than the more usual first years. First years are certainly going through a transformative period, but third years are casting off their childhood and facing the uncertainty of their adult futures. Eita, the central character, is both an insider of sorts and an outsider of sorts. He knew many of the rest of the main cast, four years ago in middle school… But after living in another town, he’s transferred back to the school most of them went to just in time for winter break. He spends a good part of the episode texting with a friend from his old school (I assume), but also begins to reconnect with an older friend from his middle school in the episodes latter half.
All of that took a while to figure out because the episode, especially the first half, is pretty busy. The camera slides restlessly from one scene to another as they establish the main cast (and it’s a good sized one) and give us some hints as to their character, nature, and relationships. I’m still not entirely sure which of the characters are going to be main and which peripheral. Yeah, I hammer a lot on the issue of cast size… but for me, handling a large cast gracefully is a hallmark of a well written and directed show. Just Because is slightly to the good side, but could slide pretty easily.
I also wrote a lengthy bit on Ena and her cameras and photography – that grew long enough that I promoted to it’s own post: Photography in anime – Just Because! Episode 1
All in all though, worth watching despite the slight wobbliness in the first episode. It’s a slow burn to start with, but really brings it all together in the back half. There’s the bones of some interesting storytelling. Of course, it could also hop on the train to Genericsville… Only time will tell.
Verdict: Fingers crossed, keeper.
Every so often, an anime comes along that leaves you sitting there slack-jawed in awe and wondering – what the H*LL were they thinking?
URAHARA is just such an anime.
The animation, mostly flat and static, seemed straight out of a college animation project. The color palette was garish. The voice acting largely flat, amateurish, and ill directed. Maybe they were going for a send-up of the magical girl genre, but the ‘plot’ was mostly a hot mess and felt like bad fanfic straight out of a high schooler’s notebook. (And I’m not even going to try to guess which ones were the self insert…)
The best part was the ending credits… Because that meant the show was over and I was released from the torture and go work on cleaning the kitchen.
Seriously, I can’t fathom what they were thinking. Was the amateur hour light novel that Crunchyroll published in the manga section actually that popular? Or did one of the creators have incriminating evidence on some higher up at Crunchy? I find it hard to believe that somebody sober and in full possession of their senses actually thought this was a good idea. The only thing I can imagine (and the timing of the announcement is right) is somebody decided to ride the waves generated by Flip Flappers. Sadly, they wiped out.
Crunchyroll’s much vaunted first foray into anime production is a complete flop.
I hadn’t originally intended to watch this… I read (most of) the ‘light novel’ published on Crunchy, and many problems were obvious there. But someone (and they know who they are) urged me to because they were interested in seeing if it was something I’d cover. Someone, if we ever meet in real life, you owe me a stiff drink.
Over at the Lily Garden, Remy manages to find the one part of the anime that doesn’t actually suck.
Verdict: Dropped without a hint of regret. And it will haunt my nightmares for months to come.
Confessions of an MMO Junkie
They made a bit of an odd choice here… The protagonist is an adult female. And while she’s a NEET (though not hikikomori), that’s a deliberate choice on her part rather than something that “just happened”. They never do quite explain why she’s made that choice, I expect it to be part of the plot line going forward.
They did go to some lengths to show Moriko IRL. Though she has escapist fantasies, she hasn’t lost track of the difference. (Though she doesn’t seem to care as much for the real world as the virtual one.)
I had to laugh a little as she was creating her (male) character… She had a list of very “MMO Like” names, but ended up choosing a plain everyday name. It was always funny to wander around low level areas and see newbs with names like “Mighty Killer Deathlord”. In some games I played, if name changes were easily had, experienced players would often start with a generic name and change it to something more ‘fierce’ one they’d leveled up appropriately.
There were several other bits of gamer humor, but not so much that non gamers would feel left out. In fact, I don’t think you don’t need much in the way of gamer knowledge to enjoy the show. (No more than I’d expect the average person to know anyhow.) Other than the repeated death-and-resurrection gag near the end, they didn’t push it.
It was a bit generic overall, but not offensively so. It certainly wasn’t the trope laden And you thought there was never a girl online. So, I think I’m going to give it a chance.
OK, that’s this batch done. The next set of premiers (Girl’s Last Tour, Kino’s Journey, and YuuYuuYuu) are all shows the both of us are watching so I can’t watch them until my lovely wife gets home. I’ll try and get them written up tonight because there’s a number of monster premiers tomorrow.