Summer 2018 – Week 1 / First Impressions (Part II)

Four more premiers, three keepers and one drop, plus the second episodes of two of my favorites this season.  All this and more after the jump!

Mt Fuji - the site of a major arc in Yama no Susume's second season.
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.

Asobi Asobase Ep 1

I…  Think this was supposed to be funny.  I guess it was, in spots.  But it was also just too weird for words in spots, and I found none of the characters likeable or interesting.

Dropped without a backwards glance.

Cells at Work / Hataraku Saibou Ep 1

It’s Red Blood Cell AE-3803’s first day at work…  And not only does she get repeatedly lost, but she’s also being pursued by Pneumococcus – an evil bacteria intent on eating her.  If not for White Blood Cell U-1446’s dogged pursuit of Pneumococcus, she’d have been doomed.  That’s pretty much the plot in a nutshell.

Not at all unusual for a main character, AE-3803 is also something of a ditz.  This means she has to have a ton of stuff explained to her, and thus to us in the audience.  The scriptwriters don’t seem to have heard about “show, don’t tell”.  On the other hand, the show airs at 8AM (Japan time) on a Saturday, which leads me to think this is aimed at kids and the rules for that audience are different.


The animation is well done, and the character designs are interesting…  But I don’t know how long I’ll stick around.  Just doesn’t seem to be enough meat to hold my attention long.

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

(No screenshots and a shorter entry because once again Crunchy’s web player is borked.)

I found myself chuckling all through this ep…  And actually, I find that better than occasional big laughs.  I loved the heck out of Chio’s internal monologues and her screwball views of the world.  Folks, this one is a keeper.

Encouragement of Climb 3 / Yama no Susume 3 Ep 2

This was…  an example of the type of episode Encouragement has never handled all that well.  Despite the nice character moments, the teaching elements of the ep got a bit preachy.

Encouragement of Climb - Kaede

It was nice to see Kaede return the stage as the group’s steady older sister / mentor / senpai.  Despite the clumsy way the educational aspects are often handled, having her explain it to the other girls is (IMO) way better than the narrator in Laid Back Camp.  This scene also reminded us that though it’s been four long years for us, barely six months have passed for the girls since Aoi and Hinata reconnected on the first day of school.

Mt Fuji - the site of a major arc in Yama no Susume's second season.

Kinda sorta on topic, or at least strongly related given that Mt Fuji played a huge role in Encouragement of Climb‘s second season…  Last week I was watching a special on NHK about the springs and watercourses fed by snowmelt from Mt Fuji.  (It can be seen online at – Mt. Fuji Aqua Journey, actually pretty interesting.)  What caught my eye was this scene in the opening – if you look close, you can see the mountain climbing trails and routes going up the mountainside.  What I assume is the main trail is obvious just to the right of center, but you can see several more if you click on the image and view it full size.

Hanebado! Ep 2

(No screenshots because once again Crunchy’s web player is borked.)

This week focused on Nagisa, but everything was so packed I’m not sure I followed it.  I can see that nobody credits her skill because of her height.  I can see how that leads her to overcompensate by being a hard ass and self centered.  I can see how that leads to her using the most powerful strokes she can summon…  But the whole solving her problems in a single practice session with the coach kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.  That just seemed a bit cheap.

She also seems to have someone in her past, some kind of rival?  And they made it pretty clear that she will soon play a role in the story.  Too much, too fast.  We’ve barely even gotten the basics of our characters established.

Speaking of too fast…  Ayano has joined the Badminton club.  But they never explain how or why she did so despite her extreme reluctance to doing so in the first ep.  It just kinda happened.  Is she a main character or not?

After a strong first ep, Hanebado is stumbling badly.  Adaptation problems maybe?

Harukana Receive

Ok…  No episode this week, but some further thoughts.  I may have been a bit harsh on it last week.  I’ve read a lot of other folks thoughts, both cheering and jeering, over the past week – and my attitude towards the show has improved.  Yeah, it’s still got a lot of generic bits and tropes, but it also has a great deal of possibility.  At this stage, the girls are largely one-note, but from simple basics great possibilities arise.

Music Girls / Ongaku Shoujo Ep 1

(No screenies because Crunchyroll’s web player is borked.)

Not the strongest premiere ever…  The episode revolves around Hanako, who has never actually lived in Japan (despite her name) and doesn’t seem to know anything of substance about idols or idol culture.  (In fact, she somehow has them confused with chibi kaiju.  That may be important later on.)  By accident, she gets swept up in, and becomes the sole contestant in, some kind of idol contest… (By this point in the ep, I’m bored and checking the time, not a good sign.)  And as the credits roll, we get the sole twist of interest:  While she’s genius level at picking up and performing choreography, she can’t sing for sh*t.  In fact, she has a horrible singing voice.

Other than that, Music Girls has something everyone knows I loathe: a huge, huge cast (11 other idols!) all thrown at us in the first ep.  The character designs are cute, but other than that they’re all almost instantly forgettable.  But credit where credit is due, to the extent it was animated the group’s performance was actually animated rather than CGI.

I think I’m going to stick with it an episode or two just to see if they do anything interesting with the twist.  Other than that, I hold faint hope based on the writing quality to date.

======

Because of the lengthy premier period, I’ve decided to go ahead and start my week count…  It’s over a week until the last premiere, and waiting will leave me badly out of sync.

Screenshot (694) crop.png

I’ve gotten some weird spam comments – but this one takes the cake!  I don’t even understand what they’re trying to accomplish.

Anyhow, what’s your thoughts on my thoughts?  On this week’s shows?  Drop a comment and let me know!

7 thoughts on “Summer 2018 – Week 1 / First Impressions (Part II)”

  1. Asobi Asobase felt like Seiji Kishi (director) channeling Shinbou, and the result was odd, but coherent. Better than I feard it would be. I’m going to stick with it.

    I didn’t have any problems with ep2 of Hanebado, and it’s likely going to be one of this season’s top shows for me. Why did Ayano join? I assumed it’s a sort-of unspoken we-join-a-club-together promise (not once they actually made, but one Ayano still somehow feels bound by) with her friend, who decided to be manager. As for Nagisa’s problem? Not sure it’s resolved, but something’s been stewing and this episode had three disparate elements: her friend potentially letting her win (I’m not convinced, it’s possible she didn’t but she also knows denying it is pointless and doesn’t know what to say), the former club member saying something about how she used to be jealous about Nagisa’s love for badminton (an unexpected turn in a situation that had more impact on Nagisa on account of the surprise), and only then the manager. It’s not unprepared, and I’m also not sure the problem is overcome so much as having come into focus enough to be able tackle it. I can only say this about the show, because it has convinced me it’s subtle enough for that to be a possibility. Clearly, disappointment is possible.

    Ongaku Shoujo: better than expected, but still not sure I’ll stick with it. I like huge casts, so that’s actually a plus for me (they’re good with group chemistry, which makes individual members establish themselves even out of focus – a must for huge casts). It also has good comedic timing. On the other hand it’s just about avarage in any other aspect, and I don’t really have a single character I like. A few more episodes, sure. How long? Who knows?

    Chio-chan was great.

    Cells at Work was fine, but I have little to say. (Leukemia = Zombie apocalypse? Kidding.)

    Oh, and I’m fine with Jasshin-chan Dropkick. It’s the gothy, gory moe show based around a Roadrunner/Coyote dynamic). “The evening was red and I couldn’t tell whether it was Jasshin’s distributed insides or the setting sun.” (Approximate quote of the hyper-nervous angel, while looking away from the carnage.) This is so not your show, if I gauge your taste correctly, but it may be mine. (It’s the sort of show that either grows on you, or grows stale on you. Too early to tell which.)

    Sunoharasou no Kanrinrin is a show of constant in-your-face boob-nonsense (a great word I picked up from animefeminst.com), but as far as ecchi goes, this is actually pretty innocent. Too early to tell what the joke/touching ratio’s going to be, but the jokes aren’t funny and omnipresent. The only reason I’m not dropping it right away is Shin Oonuma’s flair for visuals, which I usually love (was absent in Deathmarch for some reason, but it’s back in full force, here).

    Watched some other shows, too – nothing notable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re:Hanebado

      I can only say this about the show, because it has convinced me it’s subtle enough for that to be a possibility.

      At the end of the first ep, I’d have strongly agreed with you. The lack of subtlety in the second ep, because of how much they tried to pack in, is what makes me question. They’ve got room and time to right the ship and recover though, so I’m crossing my fingers.

      Ongaku Shoujo: better than expected, but still not sure I’ll stick with it. I like huge casts, so that’s actually a plus for me

      It’s not that I dislike large casts, it’s that I dislike them hitting me like a tidal wave in the first ep. (It’s a very specific dislike!)

      Jasshin-chan Dropkick. This is so not your show, if I gauge your taste correctly

      You do. I wasn’t even tempted to check it out.

      Like

  2. While the story was pretty routine, I was more curious about the animation side of YnS ep 2, since compared to ep 1, which looked like a typical modern anime episode, ep 2 seemed like it was a lot more uniquely stylized, and not always in a way that appealed to me. I wondered if it was one of those “single animator” episodes that season 2 occasionally gave us, and when I did a little digging it turns out it was, though I’m not at all familiar with the animator that kVin said was behind this one. At first I wondered if it was the same guy who did the firefly episode of s2, but I ended up being way wrong on that guess.

    Really enjoyed ep 2 of Harukana – I said a couple of weeks ago that the make-or-break for me would be how seriously it treated the sport, and I’m very happy with how it’s handled that so far. I never played beach so I never had to do the flag-diving drills, but those receiving and spike drills took me straight back to my after-school practices at the gym – those are like volleyball training 101 right there, probably the same the world over. The outcome of the match once again felt believable for the players’ skill levels, just like last week, and I like all four of these characters even more after this episode, too. If it keeps this up, it’s going to turn into something I’ll really look forward to watching every weekend.

    On a whim, I also checked out Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs today. I know that’s way outside your strike zone, but I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to, in spite of the inevitable/predictable “dumb harem comedy” shenanigans. The two central leads were a lot more likeable than most of their ilk in those types of shows, and there was a certain warmth and charm to the overall episode that I appreciated. But in the end, harem slapstick and fanservice is still harem slapstick and fanservice, even if it’s packaged better than usual, so it’s hard to imagine myself watching a whole season of it. Amusingly, the VA who plays Yuuna is the same VA who plays Narumi in Harukana, and you couldn’t imagine two more different personalities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m… not sure I entirely liked YnS‘s animation style in this ep. On one hand, it was gorgeous and well done… But the characters (esp Aoi) kept drifting off model. But, as I said, I don’t care as much for this type of ep so that may have biased me.

      I think I’m going to have a lot to say about Harkuna‘s 2nd ep in next week’s review… So I kinda don’t want to spoil it here. :) May I quote part of your comments above?

      Yuuna was low on my low priority “if I have time” list… Mostly because I enjoyed the not dissimilar Invaders of the Rokujyouma!? and the idea of a personified hot spring like Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan. But I think I’ve enough to watch this season, and none of the reviews I’ve seen are convincing me otherwise. Most reviewers I respect reached the same conclusions as you “competent enough, but yeah – the fanservice”.

      I keep meaning to do some kind of VA feature featuring those kinds of observations… But I never seem to have time to do the research. Too dang many projects and irons in the fire.

      Like

      1. Yeah, that was exactly it – too many scenes where the characters looked off to me. And I’m one of those people where most of the time I don’t even notice when characters are off-model, so when it’s that blatant that even I’m picking up on it, well there you go. And yet, kVin said that the entire series was actually completely finished before the season started (in a rarity for anime), so given that, I can only assume it’s just this animator’s specific style, rather than a “lack of polish because they were rushing to finish” thing like it usually is.

        And of course, feel free to quote whatever you like!

        Liked by 1 person

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