Winter 2019 Premieres – Part I

Well, here we are again…  A new season, filled with hopes and dreams!  Let’s open the door and take a look!

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The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika

Watching the episode proper…  something just seemed off, for lack of a better word.  What’s really going on with this Princess?  She kinda gets bullied around, but she also bullies and interferes with stuff and doesn’t get called on it.  She’s kinda slow and incompetent at some stuff, but inexplicably really competent at other stuff.  None of this makes sense.

The Price of Smiles.png

Now, I admit the post-credit stinger does put a different spin on things…  But it doesn’t explain all the dichotomies.  I’m curious to see how/if they resolve them.  Maybe the second ep will flesh out things a bit.

Also of concern, there were several spots where the character animation went all wonky for a cut or two.  Seems to me that the Princess, the star of the show, would get a little more attention and care.

Status: Holding short of the drop line.

Pastel Memories

Just like Price of Smiles, the whole episode was something less than a proper introduction and more like a massive troll.  Making things worse, it wasn’t even good trolling – just boring.  No significant drama, almost no real world building, and a huge cast mostly tropish and primarily differentiated by hair styles and bust size.

The character animation was just odd.  It looked kinda 3d-ish without actually being 3-d.

And then there’s the last moment cliffhanger…  Which made no damn sense and was largely disconnected from the events of the episode.

Status: Unless there’s a sharp uptick in narrative quality, it’s going to be gone after the second episode.

Real Girl / 3D Kanojo S2

The first season started with some strong potential…  But ended up squandering it by trading those ideas in on a succession of romantic drama staples.  I couldn’t even finish the first episode of the 2nd season.  It strongly reminded me of everything I didn’t like about the 1st…  Only with lower animation quality, bad storyboarding, and phoned in voice acting.

Seriously, that’s three anime in a row with questionable design or execution of its animation…  What’s up with that?

Status:  Couldn’t even make it through the full ep – dropped.

Dorodo

Wasn’t on my radar, but some of the reviews have been…  interesting.

Status: Watching the buzz with interest.

My Roommate is a Cat / Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue

My Roomate is a Cat.png
Stop me if you’ve seen this one before:  A misanthropic introvert finds an unlikely friend and his life starts to change…  Yeah, we’ve all seen that one before.  And it’s workmanlike execution doesn’t make it much more attractive.  The only mildly interesting part was when we were rewatching the events of the episode through the eyes of the as-yet unnamed cat.

Status:  If my wife likes it, probably will continue watching…  If she doesn’t, and it doesn’t show at least a spark of originality, probably not.

The Promised Neverland / Yakusoku no Neverland

Hoo….  boy.  I had guessed from the tone of the promotional material that this wasn’t going to be all sweetness-and-light…  But I didn’t really expect that.  I didn’t expect it to go so relentlessly dark right in the first episode.

Seriously, I don’t even know what to say.

Status:  On hold?  Horror is not normally my bag, but the execution was darned slick and the bastards made me care.  I can’t watch.  I can’t not watch.

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There you have it!  The batch of premiers is in the can…  Not a promising lot so far, but the season is young.

What have you seen so far and what did you think?

19 thoughts on “Winter 2019 Premieres – Part I”

  1. Oof~ that’s what I was afraid of about ‘The Promised Neverland’ that it was going to be relentlessly dark from the onset unlike say ‘Made In Abyss’ which I felt progressed naturally towards the darkness. It’s on my watch list but I’m still unsure…

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    1. Suspense/horror is (in my experience) very much a YMMV thing… But suspense isn’t really my bag either, so I guess it doesn’t matter much. :) My wife just finished the ep and thought it pretty good, so I’ll stick it out for at least a little bit. Most seasons I try to watch something that’s outside of my comfort zone.

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  2. Price of Smiles: I’m in, but not excited. It’s okay. We haven’t met the second main character, yet (according to the opening). I suspect her to be the princess of the other country, and if we’re getting a story about two naive rulers trying to get their countries to stop fighting that might be interesting. Wish it was in a show that inspires more confidence, though.

    Pastel Memories: So they were trolling? I didn’t get that far, as I was just bored.

    Real Girl 2: Fun fact: in my memory I was confusing this with Wotakoi, and there was this moment of incomprehension and then the moment of “Yeah, that existed.” I’m in. I’m slightly more positive than you are, and I need what I can get this season (not so much on my list). If that particular day is filling up, though, it might be among the first to go.

    Dororo: Among the best premiers this season. Great animation (e.g. the slightly but not completely odd movement of the main character, born without limbs, are a good example), good direction (creepy, not needlessly graphic, but also not holding back – a balancing act that succeeded pretty well), and a child character who, while being abused by grown ups, is actively asking for it through his behaviour. This is going to be one of the season’s heavy hitters.

    My Roommate is a Cat: Yeah, this is pretty standard fair, but ornaments are so my thing. I love cats, and I love writing books, and they’re both cartoonified just enough to keep it light, but not so much that it feels fake. It may not be one of the season’s best, but it’s going to be one of my seasonal favourites. I find the cat adorable, and the writer relatable (to a point; the loner attitude is a tad overdone), so I’m just going to squeal at the show each season.

    Promised Neverland: The story looks interesting and characterisation is stellar. The direction, though, is less my thing. There’s this shot of Emma lying on her bed, revealing the number tatoo, and I’m thinking, well that’s a good way to introduce that element actually, and then a couple of minutes later the camera lingers on the number for much too long (did the kids in the back see it, too? It’s important!). The direction is often like that. Subtelty undermined by a sledge hammer follow-up. The big exception being the shot of the caretaker removing the drawing. I guess they’ll want to keep the mindset of the caretakers for later? I’m overall positive about it, but it could have been better. Worst aspect: the camera. The speed at which it pans, and the way it takes in foreground vs. background has potential to make this show motion sickness central of the season. I hope not; I’m sufficiently invested in the show that I want to watch it, and if it gets worse I won’t be able to.

    Surprisingly, one of my favourite premiers so far is a bog standard reverse harem: Meiji Tokyo Renkay. There’s nothing at all special about the concept, but the pacing, music, art style and light touch make it extremely fun watch. The main character, at this point, has the potential to go the general doormat route, but she’s still in the confusion stage and could also become interesting in her own right. And the plot segues are more subtly and naturally introduced than in Promised Neverland. Definitely for fans of genre, and maybe for some others as well. Thumbs up.

    I was also watching Kemuir Kusa and was getting distinct Kemono Friends vibes. Turns out it’s the same director. Interesting, considering all the noise about him being removed from KF2, and it airing this season. It’s an engaging premier, and I’m definitely rooting for the director, but then I’m not sure I want this to become a trademark style. (Well, it works, so it could be worse. But… CGI.) I’m not sure how to feel about this. Confused.

    And the second stealth even this season is W’z turning out to be Handshakers 2. Thank god I stumbled across a warning ahead of the time, or I’d have checked it out. Headaches and nausea averted.

    Oh and finally: If you didn’t watch Mob Psycho 100, catch up with season 1, and then watch season 2. The premier episode of this starts out reminding you that it’s technically great, and then the story sets in and it reminds you that it’s simply the best “overpowered character” story out there. The way things evolve have the messiness of life to them, and yet someone’s written this. It’s hard to believe that this comes from the same guy who did One Punch Man. There’s nothing like a season 2 to hammer home the point of greatness. I’m not kidding.

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    1. re:Price of Smiles It does have potential, but it’s a little shy on the execution… So I’m in for at least a little bit to get a feel for where it goes.

      re:Dororo I’ll keep an eye on your comments then…. Wouldn’t be the first time you’ve talked me into watching a show that I wasn’t interested in that turned out to be good. Though in this instance, it’s more a case of waiting to be convinced. As you and others whose tastes I’m familiar with weigh in, it’s looking more and more like I need to get on it.

      W’z was on the edge of my radar, but as they earl returns came in… it moved into the “not a chance” category. I’m just not a fan of that animation style.

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    1. To be fair, an anime doesn’t have to be original to be worth watching. It just has to have interesting characters, decent writing, and decent execution… There’s any number of CGDCT shows that stand as testament to that. Cat falls a little short in all three respects. My wife likes it, so I’ll probably keep watching. (Shared experience can elevate even mediocre shows – though we’ve learned we need to be careful of egging each other on in watching pure crap.)

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  3. So far I’ve only watched Dororo’s premiere – we watched that at anime club on Tuesday. I liked it – felt like a throwback (no surprise, given its roots) to older-style anime shows I’ve enjoyed. Being on Amazon instead of CR will make it harder for me to keep up, and if I end up not finishing it that will probably be why, but as it stands I intend to tune back in next week.

    Still planning to check out: Promised Neverland, and Quintessential Quintuplets. Based on Nick’s preview guide impressions I might give Girly Air Force a shot too, but there isn’t too much this season that I’m really excited about. Which is fine, since it means more time for Fate/marathoning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t recall if you care for horror, so I can’t comment either way. I checked out Quintuplets and GAF, and they’ll be in the next 2019 Winter Premier post… Probably tomorrow (Fri, it’s only 10 mins away as I type) or Sat depending on how many shows I get through tomorrow. Haven’t checked the calendar yet.

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      1. Atmospheric, “creeping dread,” worm-its-way-inside-your-head kind of horror, yes. Cheap jump scares, body horror/mutilation, and buckets of gore, no. That’s why I’m interested to try this one, since it sounds more like the type that falls on my side of the spectrum.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m having a hard time judging my reaction to The Promised Neverland. As a dad, the “kid in danger” thing immediately fires my protective instincts. And wow, do those kids ever need protection! So I don’t know if I thought it was well-executed, or it just new how to push my buttons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t you also say that knowing to push those buttons reveals a certain sophistication in execution? Would the danger have hit as hard if it weren’t so carefully built up?

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  5. @Egao no Daika #1: Fell asleep in the middle. Granted, was late at night but still not a good sign for me. Probably need to re-watch #1 before #2.

    @3D Kanojo Real Girl #13: Agreed, reminds me a little too much of the stuff I didn’t like about the first season. Glad to see Armin (whoops, Itou) getting some development. Willing to stick with it for another episode or two.

    @Dororo #1: Always up for a modern Tezuka re-imagining, though the quality of some recent efforts gives me pause (Atom: The Beginning, I’m looking at you). This one looks good so far, though. Keeper.

    @Yakusoku no Neverland #1: My “way-too-early” AotS frontrunner. Pushes all the right buttons for me. Would have been even better if some of the online synopses hadn’t spoiled the end-of-first-episode twist.

    Series not in your list:
    @Boogiepop wa Warawanai #1: Not feeling it yet, but going to stick with it for now based on reputation.

    @Ueno-san wa Bukiyou! #1: Could be this season’s Asobi Asobase, or could be total crap. #1 was closer to the former. Short episodes, so it’s not too big an investment of time to find out. Keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah.. found your other comment. Thought both were on Pt II.

      re:Atom the Beginning Aye… I was intensely disappointed too. But that one wasn’t pure Tezuka, he was only a contributor. (Which I found odd.)

      re:Neverland You’re not the only one making that call. If it continues with it’s current pacing, it very well could be…

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