Summer 2018 – First Impressions (Part I)

Aoi and Hinata view the night scenery from atop Mt Tsukuba.

The new season has arrived, and (so far) it’s looking pretty darn good.  Four keepers, one drop – not a bad batting average at all.  Hit the break, and let’s run ’em down!
The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics, and strikethrough marks dropped shows.

Chio’s School Road / Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro Ep 1

Actually, pretty funny.  Not really laugh-out-loud funny, but a steady stream of chuckles and grins.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  There was two segments to the ep, and that was just enough to wring the maximum fun out of each segment and bring it home before it wore out.

Status: Keeper.

Encouragement of Climb 3 / Yama no Susume 3 EP 2

I should have expected the first ep to something of a re-cap/introduction, after all it’s been four years since our mountain climbing quartet has graced our screens.  Literally, four years – the second season aired in Summer 2014.  Even so, my review/first impression can be summed up as “it’s so good to be home”.  I don’t think I really need to say more.

Aoi and Hinata view the night scenery from atop Mt Tsukuba.
Yama no Susume S3E1
If you haven’t watched Yama no Susume, I think you can grasp the basics if you watch the first season (currently streaming on Crunchyroll).  In fact, I recommend you do…  If you liked Yuru Camp, I suspect you’ll also like Yama no Susume.

Status:  If you know me, you wouldn’t have to ask.  KEEPER!

Hanebado! EP 1

First premiere of the Summer 2018 season, and seriously…  I think I’m in love.  Hanebado is almost as if Euphonium and Scorching Ping Pong Girls got together and had a love child.  Seriously intense, the first ep establishes some strong characters and potential conflicts.  The new coach though…  Something of a doofus-almost-pervert.  He reminds me way too strongly of Trainer-san in last season’s Uma Musume.  I hope to hell they tone that down going forward, as he’s a weak point in an otherwise well done cast.

My other big worry is the animation quality – outstanding here in the first ep, and I hope like hell they can keep it up.  No matter what else, I suspect Hanebado will live or die based on whether or not they can keep the action scenes so fluid.

Some folks have made a great deal of the fanservice-y bits, and I have to disagree somewhat.  Though it could be turned down a bit, none of it was gratuitous.

Status: Strong keeper.

Harukana Receive EP 1

In my Summer 2014 Preview, I expressed concern where on the spectrum between “fanservice” and “actual sports anime” Harukana would end up…  I have to say the jury is still out.  There was a bit of gratuitous at the start, and maybe some of the action could have been framed a little better…  But then, doing so might have been less dramatic and eye-catching no matter how the characters were dressed.  If you have girls in bikinis, you can only do so much after all.

So, what else do we have here?  A slightly air headed but very enthusiastic newbie, and it’s hinted she’ll be an outstanding player.  (Hell, we all know how these shows work…  will be an outstanding player.)  Her partner, the Girl Who Quit – she used to be good but under mysterious circumstances no longer plays and is now going to be dragged back in.  On the other side of the net, the tsundere dominant player (and former rival of the Girl Who Quit)…  and her mostly colorless partner.  (Said partner mostly being there to ignite the fantasies of the yuri shippers and to occasionally chide the tsundere.)

Harukana Recieve
Even though she’s colorless – she’s still a Serious Player.

Yeah, pretty much a checklist of the required character types for a bog standard sports anime.  The plot doesn’t vary too much from that either.  But, nothing actually wrong with that, it could still be fun.

Status: Provisional keeper under the “sure, why not” category.

 

Island

Just…  too much weirdness.  When the third mysterious girl in budding harem made her appearance, I was done.

Status: Dropped without the faintest shred of regret.

=========

And there you have it…  Look for part II next week, and I’ll round-up the last of the premieres in my first weekly post the week after.  About the 18th or so?  It looks like Wednesday will again be a good day for my weekly post.

No, don’t ask about the season review.  Just Don’t.

9 thoughts on “Summer 2018 – First Impressions (Part I)”

  1. I decided to start with Yama no Susume without finishing season 2 first, so I was a little lost with the first episode. The episode explained too much of what I know, and too little of what I don’t (though I have a good idea of happened, the emotional connection isn’t there). I’m not as much a fan of the show as you are (or I’d definitely have finished the show as it aired; I don’t remember why I quit – it wasn’t that I didn’t like it). In any case, I don’t expect to have trouble going on from here.

    Hanebado was a pretty good premier, but I felt too much focus on drama. The show hasn’t yet demonstrated how good it is with breather stuff, and if it goes on that pacing the whole season, I’ll fall by the wayside from sheer exhaustion (there’s a small chance that it makes up for lack of breather stuff with sheer suspense, but I’m not seeing it). Solid show, though.

    I haven’t seen Harukana Reicieve yet, prioritising Satsuriku no Tenshi instead. It’s totally messed up, which I expected, and it has the crazy-eye hyperbole I dislike (which I feared), but its art direction is gorgeous, and as messed up as the show is, they seem to fill my minimum of respect for trauma. And the set-up is more interesting than I thought. It’s going to be the Mirai-Nikki type of show, so not for everyone. But it looks really, really good.

    I like Chio-chan a lot. The humour works excellently for me, and I find the show has a stand-out soundtrack that elevates pretty much every scene, especially when nothing much happens. Good mood-setter.

    I actually liked Island, mostly. Like so much lately, it feels like an anachronism, something that might have aired 5 -10 years ago. A typical harem VN. Even the voice actresses feel like a throwback – Kana Asumi and Yukari Tamura tend to get different roles these days (well, maybe not Kana Asumi). It’s not going near the top is this season, but it’s comfortable fare. Sort of like a Key-inspired show, with more ecchi and less sentimentality.

    Other than that, I’ve watched the Demon Lord Isekai show, which is… incredibly ecchi, and also uninspired, and Shichisei no Subaru which is mildly interesting, but nothing outstanding. Feels a little like Sword Art Online meets Ano Hana. It’s got the potential to get better as it builds up its story (because it relies on accrued familiarity for its appeal), but I’m not holding my breath. It’s still leagues better than that Demon Lord show…

    Oh, and Banana Fish is okay, too. Not sure it’ll end up my kind of show, but I’m not ruling it out. Definitely intrigued, though. The thousand Musketeers are all dull, but the 100 Princes seem to be okay – no recommendation, either way.

    I also watched the Kaiji spin-off, and have no idea what to do with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I forgot to mention that in my Chio-Chan review. The music was pretty well done.

      Shichisei no Subaru, I dunno. I’m kinda getting burned out on generic isekai type shows. I’ll watch your reviews with interest!

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  2. I think “It’s good to be home” perfectly summed up how I felt about YnS – aside from the expected recappiness, it didn’t feel like four years had passed since the last season at all. It felt like the production team and the voice actors all just picked up right where they left off. And needless to say I enjoyed every bit of it.

    I enjoyed Harukana Receive, for the most part. I had a few issues with it, but what I really liked is that it established pretty quickly that Haruka, for all her cheery demeanor, has a serious competitive streak. There’s a great quote from Joe Montana where he said, “I’m convinced the only thing that separates champions is the individual’s competitive drive. The people who survive and then flourish are the ones who love to compete.” That’s the kind of attitude that separates elite athletes from the rest of us scrubs, and it’s obvious that Narumi has that attitude – that wasn’t just a friendly game to her, she was playing to win. So when Haruka admitted that she still wanted to challenge Narumi’s team again, even after finding out they were elite level opponents, that right there did more than anything else to legitimize the series for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When it comes to Yama no Susume, I think we’d have to search long and hard to find any fundamental disagreement between us. :)

      I may have been a bit harsh and thus misleading in my comments on Harakuna. I certainly think it’s going to be a fun watch, I just don’t expect for it to rise above average. On reflection, much depends on where on the airheadcompetent Haruka ends up. She’s shading to the left ATM, but may move up…

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  3. Matt actually convinced me to pick up Island so I think I’m going to.

    Chio’s – Wasn’t amazing but I have the sneaking suspension that this one will ramp over time and get more out there as it goes. Keeping it.

    Hanebado! – Was decent for the first episode. I didn’t feel it as strongly as you did but I do want to see where it is going. Based on what you said in part 2, I have some reservations. Tentative keep.

    Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa – You know that I don’t like Kaiji that much so why torture myself with this? The humor is very Kaiji but it half works for me. Mostly an obligatory watch for me.

    Satsuriku no Tenshi – I’m interested a least. J.C. Staff is helming this one so at the very least it will have some interesting shot composition and pretty animation. The first episode seemed to be the whole first chapter of the game its based on (out of 4) so not sure how it will turn out. I’ll watch it anyway though.

    Stuff I want to see but haven’t yet:

    -Aguu: Tensai Ningyou
    -Banana Fish
    -Hataraku Saibou
    -Island (obviously)
    -Happy Sugar Life

    Obligatory watch but not excited about it:

    -Overlord 3 because S2 was pretty awful

    Not sure how many of these I’ll actually keep, I don’t really drop stuff, but I’m not super excited about this season like time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yah, this is a pretty weak season overall… But then we’ve all said that a ton of times! But this time, I have to wonder if it’s more true than usual.

      I am not even tempted to go further with Island. I’ve seen a couple of positive reviews, and they seem to gain their positivity by pretending the negative parts don’t exist.

      The second ep of Hanebado! wasn’t bad per se, just unfocused and rushed. There’s a lot of room to recover yet, so I’m crossing my fingers.

      Liked by 1 person

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