Winter 2018 First Impressions (Part I)

And the new season is well underway!  Two solid standout shows, one meh, one drop…

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Which shows are which?  Hit the jump and see!
The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.  Question marks denote shows not watched yet (during the premiere weeks), and strike through marks dropped shows.

A place further than the Universe

This is going to be one of those shows…  I absolutely love it to pieces, but once again have a hard time articulating why.

The basic story is simple enough…  Tamaki wants to expand her horizons, to do something, but can’t find the energy to actually go through with her plans because she’s afraid of change.  Her total lack of energy and motivation can be seen in her room – which is a chaotic mess.  Through a series of odd coincidences (really the only weak part of the episode) she meets Shirase – a girl with a driving burning passion.  This is best describe as an unmoving object meets an irresistible force, Tamaki cleans and straightens her room, casts caution to the wind, and joins in the adventure.

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But what really sells me is the execution…   Other than the aforementioned odd coincidences the story flows easily and naturally.  We’re not just told of Tamaki’s personality, it’s carefully drawn as well.   But the change isn’t immediate and complete (nor should it be), she still retains her old fears even as she’s trying to conquer them.

Shirase on the other hand, remains something of an enigma…  Her reasons for travelling to Antarctica are simple enough, but lack articulation.  Which kinda makes sense, what person her age can articulate such things clearly?  She’s off on a journey of self discovery, and we’re invited along for the ride.

Status: Can’t wait for next week – what discoveries await? 

iDOLISH7

A new idol group is formed, with an equally new and inexperienced manager…  Haven’t we heard this before?

Though there was some originality in color choice, iDOLISH7 is largely a harmless paint-by-numbers iDOLM@STER clone.  This isn’t really surprising, as it’s also based on a raising game – only with boys instead of girls.  The idols are bland stereotypes, and the manager a colorless trope.  And the end of the double length premiere, I pretty much felt nothing about the show one way or the other.

There’s nothing really offensive about it, but nothing particularly attractive either.  With this looking to potentially be another crowded season, there’s no particular reason to keep it on the list.

Status: Dropped.  No regrets.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles

But I’m not entirely certain I love Ms. Koizumi…  Seriously, what kind of show puts the titular character practically in the background?  And then makes her the unlikeable object of the main character’s unrequited affection?

So far, other than being standoffish, her only defining characterization is her love of ramen, and her (geek level) deep knowledge of the same.  The show pauses at several points to show off her knowledge and to impart her wisdom to the audience.  The pauses are actually annoying as they break what little narrative pace the show has.

The first ep consisted of three segments, and gives rise to the suspicion that it might work better as a short.

I can’t say that I’m really fond of the show, but I can’t say I actually hate it either.  It might work if the two main characters ever start actually interacting.

Status: Awaiting developments.

Yuru Camp

This was…  much, much better than expected.  I expected a slow paced show and a slow paced first episode, I didn’t expect such incredible detail and acting.  Mostly it’s a slow, quiet show, but it’s filled with standout little moments…  We learn about that characters through their actions and interactions, not exposition.

I love the contrast between the calm, self-assured, and capable Rin against the genki good-hearted ditz Nadeshiko.

Like farther than the Universe this is a hard show to articulate what makes it stand out.   But trust me, it’s simply, quietly, good.  Imagine Tsuki ga Kirei, only as an iyashikei/CGDCT/slice-of-life show.  Yeah, that sounds odd to me too, but that the closest I can come to describing how it makes me feel.

My favorite sequence from the show:

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The look on Nadeshiko’s face when Rin points out that she can see…

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Mt Fuji in the moonlight.

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The look on Rin’s face, basking in Nadeshiko’s joy and maybe realizing that the little weirdo that crashed her quiet camp just might be a kindred spirit.

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Also, the scene of Nadeshiko enjoying the heck out of some cup noodles…  There’s a ton of food shows that need to go over this scene frame by frame.

Anyhow, as you can see the animation is outstanding, and the character designs are cute as hell.  What you can’t hear is how good the music direction is.

If Yuru Camp wasn’t on your watch list…  it should be.  Just check out the first ep, and you’ll be hooked.

Four shows down, more to come!  Drop me a line and let me know how your season is going so far!

10 thoughts on “Winter 2018 First Impressions (Part I)”

  1. I’m not surprised to see iDOLISH7 dropped. Were idol shows ever a thing for you to watch? I’m barely starting to get into the genre myself. lol. looking forward to the rest of your impressions since I haven’t done much research on this season myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a huge fan of the idol genre! I just have no patience with subpar versions… especially since this season looks to be busy. Not just seasonal shows, but I also have the Yamato 2199 group watch posts on top of that.

      I do a little research, but I also tend to check out practically anything that catches my eye.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not quite as fond of Universe as you, but it was an excellent episode, nonetheless. There are those little moments, like the girls taking a picture of Mt. Fuji with the bald guy getting into the picture, and then the friend reciving the picture and chuckling about it. It’s stuffed with things like that. Other than that, it’s a very competent show, but not really special so far. A lot depends on how things develop. Compared to Yuzu Camp, I think the way the narrative developes is a lot more important, so the first episode is not quite conclusive yet. For me, the show could turn out excellent, but it could also flatline out. A lot depends on how the main pair’s relationship plays out, and how the others fit in.

    Yuzu Camp, on the other hand, is less ambitious, but – IMO – more accomplished. After setting the mood with a flash-forward, they turn genre expectations on their head and don’t start with the newbie ditz (as almost all such shows, including Universe, do). Instead, they start with the terse girl, whose experienced and goes camping off-season, because she prefers the quiet. But only a few minutes in, she communicates via her phone with a friend, which shows that she’s not a loner who’ll need to learn to get along with others. This is important, because the clear camping-with-others-is-fun message that’s likely going to come up with the futur is relativised. Since they don’t have the newbie point of view, though, they need some other method to bring specialised knowledge in. They opt for voice-over (also voicing those “pine cones”), which worked well enough for me but is also something I wouldn’t miss. The outfits are excellent. They absolutely look like something you’d be wearing. And the soundtrack is excellent. This is far and above my favourite premiere so far.

    Koizumi was fine with me, but I’m not sure it has staying power. Looks like a lesser companion piece to Dagashi Kashi, if you ask me. Agree with most of what you said, and have little to add.

    Seen a few more; some you’ll cover, some you probably won’t, but nothing outsanding yet. If you can find it, check out the cooking show with the Fate/Stay Night characters. It’s suprisingly fun. (I don’t like Fate/Stay Night and haven’t finished any of the Ufo-table shows. I did finish the original one, but wish I hadn’t.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice points on Yuru Camp… The narrator really cheesed me off, took me right out of the show. Really the one bad part.

      Feel free to discuss anything that’s premiered up to Thurs eve PST. (Wens evening your time if I get everything right…)

      Which cooking show is that?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought Universe would be amazing and the first episode definitely was. The characters were relateable and didn’t follow the classic CGDCT trope. Everyone seemed distinct so far and believable. I wrongly assumed that this would be the best cute girl anime, but Yuru Camp looks beautiful.

    It’s calm and cozy, which works here. It’s not meant to be as ambitious as Universe, but it still made me want to watch it.

    I’m disappointed by the Ramen show. I think being a full length anime ruins its charm, since the manga is quite cute (even though it’s not really the best thing in the world).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Universe and Camp both have had strong premiers…. But both will be difficult to follow up on, crossing my fingers!

      Yeah, Ramen is on pace for an early drop.

      Welcome to the Lounge, thanks for stopping by and hope to see more of you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m writing on Yuru Camp△ and Slow Start, plus Violet Evergarden, which means I’m watching these ones for sure. As for other shows, I’ll probably solidify my list of shows once I’ve seen a bit more to them.

    Like

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