Spring 2018 – First Impressions (Part II)

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Well, the next batch of first impressions is finally here!  Hit the jump, and let’s see what the season has to offer.

The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics, and strikethrough marks dropped shows.

Cutie Honey Universe

Fanservice… Over-the-top action…  Ham-and-cheese character acting…  Somewhat bizarre characters… Incompetent villains…  That’s the Cutie Honey formula in a nutshell, and with one exception Universe delivered and then some.  The exception of course was the fanservice.  Other than a segment at the end it was mostly tame (even by modern standards) nudge-and-wink homages to the original.

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Still, it was fun so long as you turned your brain off and didn’t think too hard about what you were watching.  Honestly, there’s nothing particularly wrong with that.  Don’t expect much of a review each week on this one.

Status: Guilty pleasure keeper.

Gurazeni: Money Pitch

Too short on action for a sports anime, lacking in characterization for a character drama.  Long on repetitive internal monologues about the protagonist’s financial situation and worries…

It’s also formatted in a way I’m coming to loathe:  two short stories making up one full length episode.  This isn’t always bad, but here they’re treated mostly as standalone segments and repeat a good chunk of the setup material.  That’s just lazy and points to a certain lack of attention to detail in adaptation.

Nah.  I’m done here.

Status:  Dropped.

Hinamatsuri

Until I started doing some background research to write this review, I hadn’t realized that Hinamatsuri had an actual meaning (beyond the character’s name)…  Hina is a type of doll, and matsuri means “festival”.  Together, Hinamatsuri refers to the traditional “Dolls day” (now Girls Day).  More information here, here, and here.

Even if Hina isn’t actually a living doll of some short…  She certainly has been raised as a thing, and not a person.  But she’s also bright enough to grasp the difference between how she was treated in the past and how Yoshifumi treats her.  Whatever she actually was and is, she’s a person now.  (Though she’s not at all certain about how human interactions work.)  Either way, we’ve all seen the mistreated living weapon thing before and here it’s handled no worse than usual.

Yoshifumi, I can’t get a handle on.  He flips erratically between being a more-or-less normal person – and being a hard ass yakuza fighter.  By the end of the ep he’s starting to question the latter.

My only real issue is that Hinamatsuri can’t quite decide if it wants to be a drama, or a comedy.  It waffles over the issue, and the two sides are a poor fit.

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Did anyone else note that the weapon wielded by the redhead in the “three years later” segment was essentially Hina herself in the form of a crude doll?  I’m really curious what that means.

Status:  Keeper.

My Hero Academia 3

As expected, a re-cap episode…  It was pretty easy to figure out why Mineta was so eager to use the pool, but fortunately they didn’t dwell on that aspect.  Also Kudos though for not being a pure clip show, they at least tried to establish a narrative.

I did like how the final race between Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki was interrupted.  Somehow it seemed fitting to avoid a Final Battle right in the first/recap ep.  Plenty of chances for those three to butt heads over the next 23 episodes.

Status:  Keeper  (Did you really have to ask?)

My Sweet Tyrant

I’m…  not sure how much I care for this.  It’s a little icky/squicky and appears to be a one trick pony.

Status: On notice under the Three-Episode Rule.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

I’m not really wowed here.  The episode spent way too much time on the minutiae of the battle, and not nearly enough time on the characters.  For all it’s flaws in characterization, SAO at least had characterization.  LLENN, notionally the main character here, spent most of the time being moved about by M-san like a living chess piece.  On flipside, we know LLENN has confidence issues…  But IMO, its poor form for an anime to rely on external material for the audience to have a handle on what’s seen on-screen.  That’s doubly true of an original work.  Yes, though it’s set in an existing universe, it’s an original work in that there’s no previously published story material on these characters.

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But then there’s Bunny Kirito leaping out of a suitcase and going all level clearing badass on a team of professional soldiers.  Overpowered main characters and all, that’s the SAO we all know and love.  (Or loathe, as the case may be.)  When the action finally starts, it delivers.  (Disclaimer:  I “borrowed” the term “Bunny Kirito” from Iblessall.  I suspect I’ll be using it a great deal.)

Maybe now that all the setup is finished, things will get better overall.  I certainly hope so.

Status: Keeper.

Tada Never Falls in Love

There’s really not much to say about Tada-kun.  So far we have a bog standard setup and a fairly common cast of characters and little else.  The execution is deft, and the comedy mostly well-timed, and that’s pretty much what stands out.  On the other hand, the Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun team is on the job, and that turned out pretty well despite an unpromising start.

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So…  More latitude than usual, especially as it appears this will be a moderately light season.  (It looks like it’ll settle out to about 10 shows.)  Plus, with a photographer main character I may get a Photography in Anime feature out of the deal.

Status: Keeper.

=========

So, here’s where I stand:

– My schedule page is up to date.

– With the few remaining premieres, this will be the last pure first impressions post for this season.

– Keeping in mind that I have a weekly social night on Tuesday, so shows I’m watching with my wife slip to Wednesday evening and end up a week behind for Wednesday posts… At least for the next couple of weeks, it looks like the best day for my weekly post will be Wednesday.  After Star Blazers end it’s run, I may move to Friday.  The big drivers there will be whether Real GirlTada-kun, and.or Hisone to Masotan need timely coverage.

– There won’t really be enough material for a Wednesday post this week, but I’ll keep a running entry and either push it out when there’s enough material or the Wednesday after next (4/18).  Whichever comes first.

– My much belated Winter 2018 Season Review should be out Mon or Tues.

So, all that being said – what do you think of this batch, or any other shows that have premiered so far?

9 thoughts on “Spring 2018 – First Impressions (Part II)”

  1. I wasn’t overly thrilled with SAO Alternative. I happen to really love SAO and was kind of looking forward to this and while it was okay, it really was like watching someone play a shooter rather than actually setting up much in the way of characters or story in this episode. I really wanted a little more from it. Not that I’ll drop it, just would have liked a slightly more impressive opening.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts so far on the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to watch Cutie Honey Universe in a moment. I haven’t seen the original (I think), so I don’t know whether there’s much point for me. We’ll see how well it stands on its own. (I enjoyed ep1 of Megalo Box, for example.)

    Gurazeni is incredibly dull for someone with no interested in either making money, or baseball. My cynical self says its asking for sympathy for the poor proffessional sports players, who have to make all their money in a few years. (Which is a huge deal in 3rd World Countries, where many see this as their only opportunity, but few can succeed.) So in addition to being bored, I was also mildly put off. I probably wouldn’t have been put off, if the show was entertaining, but as things stand…

    Hinamatsuri is my favourite premiere so far. I have no problem with the mix of drama and comedy; goes well together for me. The show looks better than I thought it would from the PV. Or maybe I was just in the mood?

    I’m not watching SAO, and after the recap I’m wondering whether I’ll be watching season 3 of MHA. It’s not good to make the choice after a re-cap episode, but Sunday is usually pretty packed and the longer I watch, the less the good elements stand out, and the more the bad come to the fore. I might just drop it.

    Akkun to Kanojo (I hate the English title) was meh. Not sure there’ll be more for me.

    And finally, save yourself the trouble of checking out Mahou Shoujo Site and read a review instead. This is pure suffering porn with nothing else in it. I read the reviews and thought it can’t be that bad. Oh, silly me. Silly, silly me.

    So far, my top picks for season are:

    (1) Hinamatsuri
    (2) Tada-kun
    (3) Megalo Box
    (4) Gegege no Kitarou
    (5) Comic Girls

    (4) and (5) are pretty much on a level, and (unless I’m forgetting something) everything else I’ve seen is decent at best. This does not account for winter spill-over. I have very high expectations for Hisone to Masotan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the more I hear the more I think I’m just gonna skip Mahou Shoujo Site.

      For me Hinamatsuri is up there, but that’s more because the season looks like it’s going to be pretty thin than any inherent quality.

      I have, had, high expectations for Hisone… but Netflix picked up it which means we won’t see it until June.

      BTW, I’ve picked up HiDive this season and am planning on hitting Action Cheer Fruits and Hakumei and Mikochi, any other recommendations?

      Like

      1. That’s pretty much the most important shows I can remember HiDive. I can’t really browse their catalogue, since around here that’s… limited.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I love both these shows. Hakumei to Mikochi was pretty well received – not really widely watched, but I feel it got the respect it reserved. It’s definitely the better show with a really well executed directorial concept. Action Heroine Cheer Fruits has a really strong premier and continues in that vein, but very rarely reaches that height again and never for a complete episode. But the characters, for all the limited time they have, are well individuated, and Mikan really is a hero, stepping up when she feels she needs to.

            I hope you enjoy these shows. I’d love it if Cheer Fruits would get some more recognition – it was mostly ignored as far as I remember (what little reviews I read were generally positive).

            Liked by 1 person

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