Summer 2019 – First Impressions – Part II

Fire Force - the Infernal emerges
Following up with more premieres and first impressions, and a look at how solid (or not) this season looks to be.  Ready or not, here it is – hit the jump and let’s dive right in!

The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italicsstrikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.

Dr. Stone

Since they sit on the production committee…  Crunchy has been loudly beating the hype drum for Dr. Stone.  Frankly, it failed to live up to the hype.  But, to be fair, I can’t think of many (if any) shows that would survive an honest comparison to such hype.  So, I’m not going to try.

Dr Stone - brains and brawn
Taken on it’s own merits, there’s not much to celebrate or complain about.  The first episode was all about setup and introducing the brain-brawn pair of central characters.  Largely one-note at the moment, I guess they’re both likable enough.  The world building is…  interesting.  One huge plot hole (or plot point, we just don’t know yet) – why birds and then humans?  Were the birds a trial run by whoever or whatever is behind the events?

I suspect it’s going to take a few episodes for Dr. Stone to really gain traction, so I’m in a wait and see mode.

Fire Force

Fire Force - the Infernal emerges.png

Hands down the most visually impressive premiere.  Fire in particular writhes and breathes like a living being.  (A simple screenshot does not do it justice.)  But is there more than that?

Not so much…  Behind the stunning visuals is the structure of what appears to be a bog standard hardcore shonen.  Hmm…  OK, there’s not actually anything wrong with that.  (I generally calibrate my expectations by genre.)  The big question is whether it can take those staple parts and stock tropes and actually produce anything useful and interesting with them.  Fire Force will be a two cour series, and that’s a lot of time to fill without wearing out it’s welcome.

For the moment, I’m in.

Granbelm

Had only been on the edge of my radar until Bless brought it to my attention…

Granbelm - envision it!

Like many mecha anime, GRANBELM’s ARMANOX mechs are operated by dramatic gestures and screaming vocalizations by their pilot.

And now I’m having a “what they heck did I just watch” moment.  Magical Girls?  Mecha?  Both in one show?  WTF?  Nothing like I’ve ever seen before.  What I have seen before, and seems to be in the offing, is a Battle Royale.  (AKA “There can be only one”.)  If that’s true, we’ve likely already met our winner – the frightened MC-chan.  If that’s the course they’re taking, they’re going to have to beat Magical Girl Raising Project, and that’s not going to  be easy.  (Especially since so far there isn’t much to distinguish between the various combatants.)

Of course, trying to project ahead is a bit unfair.  We got some exposition, and a ton of hot mecha-on-mecha action, but we don’t really know much yet.  By that standard it’s probably unfair to have much of an opinion.

What do I know?  That Granbelm has certainly caught my attention.  It’s left me not only with questions, but with at least a moderate desire to know the answers.  (And to see how the cliffhanger pans out…  dang, there seem to be a lot of them this season!)  For the moment, I’m in.

Re:Stage! Dream Days

I’m on the fence here…  Large part of the first episode were pretty much paint-by-numbers.  Others, such as the stealth idol club, were at least kinda inventive.  So it’s not really clear where they’re going from here.  Will invention win out?  Or will the comfortable paint-by numbers approach rule the day?

ReStage Dream Days.png
Dream Days is decent enough (other than the… odd character design with their disturbingly large heads) that I’m willing to stick around and find out.  And yeah, as any long term reader knows, I have a bad habit of giving idol shows way more leeway than I do to other genres.

Cop Craft 

Cop Craft - fighting for justice.png
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  An ordinary cop gets an unusual (and/or unwanted) partner and they set out to solve crime(s)….  Yeah, we’ve all heard that before, a gazillion times.  At least this time it’s a (serious?) drama rather than a comedy.  Seen those too many times across the years.

Packed with character and world building, neither too far off the well beaten path, the first episode ended with a cliffhanger…  OK, I’ll be back next week.  So far, there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary here, but nothing particularly annoying either.

Side note:  I chuckled when someone on Twitter called it Law & Order: Special Faeries Unit.

I do have to say, I’m loving the stylin’ jazzy OP.  The only one so far that sticks in my head.

I had originally tagged Cop Craft as a “me” show, but my wife decided to check it out after perusing a list of this season’s streams and decided she was in too.  So, now it’s a “we” show.

Hensuki

Certainly the dullest and flattest entry I’ve watched this season…  And probably would rank high among the dullest and flattest ever.  Honestly, I’m not certain why I didn’t drop it straight off or why I’m not dropping it now.  MC-kun is every colorless Everyman self-insert ever, and the girls are all painfully bland stereotypes.  (There’s even the requisite imouto.)

I should just cut my losses and drop it now…

=========

Overall assessment of the season…  Well, First Impressions are like Opening Day in baseball.  Everyone is batting 1.000, and nobody (or at least not many) has had much of a change to disappoint yet.  Even so, I’m going out on a limb and saying this is the strongest opening showing that I’ve seen in a couple of years.

=========

I’ve been actively avoiding watching The Ones Within and Arifureta…  And I guess that says a lot.  The initial reviews aren’t promising, so unless I hear buzz otherwise I’m not planning on watching them.

There’s a few more shows to premiere, but I’ll cover them with my regular coverage.  Crossing my fingers that A Certain Scientific Accelerator gets a legal stream.  My schedule page has been updated with what I’m watching…  (And man, Fridays are packed!)  but I’m undecided as to when the weekly post will be coming out.

And I think I’m still in semi-staycation mode for the foreseeable future.  August, I’ll be busy as all get out with the County Fair.

So, your thoughts on these shows?  Or anything else that’s premiered to date?  (If it’s not listed here or in First Impressions Part 1, I’m not planning on watching.)  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

8 thoughts on “Summer 2019 – First Impressions – Part II”

  1. I’m still waiting on the second season of DanMachi to kick off but Astra Lost in Space is so far my pick of the new shows. Still, there’s quite a few new shows that I’m kind of excited about after watching their first episodes so this season looks like it is going to be pretty busy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. @Dr. Stone: Why birds first? That’s something I can easily ask in world. It’s a setting mystery for me. What bothers me more is that you find so many intact birds with wings spread. The one we actually see being found landed on a bush, so that’s sort of plausible, but if you turn to stone midflight with wings spread out and then plummet… Yeah, at the very least your wings will be damaged.

    I’m also not quite sure what happens: are they encased in stone? What we’ve seen suggests this, but then how could they survive so long and not even experience things like muscle atrophy? I hope they have an explation, but I fear they don’t. Beyond that it was mostly just… I’d have said boring, but that’s not quite true. When I watch this show with a sort of absent-mindedness it’s entertaining enough.

    @Fire Force: Yeah, it’s pretty, and yeah it’s pretty standard shounen fare. I like it; I click with it. But I have nothing to say; not really.

    @Granbelm: Most of the episode was taken up by fighting. I was mildly more interested in the first half, but I already forgot what actually happened in it. I’m out. I might opt back in if I hear really good things about this one, but I’m not hopeful.

    @Re:Stage: Undecided. I was moderately charmed, and I like the club captain. Beyond that ti was nothing special.

    @Cop Craft: Very nearly didn’t watch it, but it was better than I thought it would be. Good enough? I don’t know yet. Potential in both directions.

    @Hensuki: was soft of, kind of okay for me, but not really compelling. Don’t know.

    @Arifureta: It’s pretty bad. Add to that that I’m sort of tired of wengeful weak physical fighters getting stronger and going over board. Not for me. Actually, I hated the premier.

    @Genome: I can’t recommend it, but there’s some cute absurdist imagery in this one. We’ll see how far I get.

    I’d say you’re fine skipping them both.

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  3. re: Dr. Stone

    I’m also not quite sure what happens: are they encased in stone? What we’ve seen suggests this, but then how could they survive so long and not even experience things like muscle atrophy?

    Some are encased in stone, but the broken ones are plainly stone through-and-through. So, yeah, there’s a lot to explain (or ignore). Gonna give ’em a few eps yet.

    Re:Cop Craft
    Yeah, not a lot of hints which direction it’s going to go… Like Dr. Stone, it’s going to take a few eps.

    Really, despite the strong start, that seems to be a common theme this season. “Ah, we’ll have to wait and see.” For my money, I don’t know if that’s better or worse than something obviously bad in the first ep. But that may be coming from knowing I have a Very Bad Habit of sticking with stuff I shoulda dropped long after I shoulda dropped it.

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  4. Here’s what my summer looks like.

    First group, will watch: DanMachi 2, Lord El-Melloi Case Files

    Second group, interested if I have the time: Astra, O Maidens

    That said, I’ve made a vow to myself that I’m not going to watch any new shows until I’m completely caught up on Fruits Basket first. On my normal pace with that show I probably need two more nights to catch up, but of course tonight’s out since it’s Euphonium movie night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Been too busy for Fruits or just not a priority?

      Movie night for us too. Which is probably about as surprising as the sun rising in the morning. :)

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      1. Back from the movie, and definitely looking forward to your thoughts!

        I like Fruits Basket a lot. I’ve enjoyed it every time I sat down with it. The only problem is that in the leisure time activities category, priority 1, 2, and 3 for me is always Fate/Grand Order, and whenever that game launches another event or campaign that sucks me into playing for two hours a night, that’s time I can’t use to watch anything new. Because I can’t grind a mobile game and watch anime at the same time unless it’s a show I don’t have to totally focus on, which either means something with an English dub that I’ve already seen before, or something I’m not really enjoying that much anyway. Fruits Basket is neither of those.

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        1. Plugging away (with little success, insomnia last night) on a post on the movie.

          Ah, deep in a game. I grok that… It’s been a struggle to not dive into the reborn City Of Heroes. If I were to walk the streets of Paragon City, or once more fly in it’s skies… You guys might not see me again for weeks or months.

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