Winter 2020 – First Impressions – Part I

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! - YAY!
What is it they say…  New Year, New Me?  Meh, not so much.  Still the same ol’ me, tendency to procrastinate and all.  But we do have a bunch of new anime coming down the pike, and that means it’s time to hit the jump and take a look at the first batch of premiers!

Asteroid in Love (Koisuru Asteroid)

Asteroid in Love.png

As it stands Asteroid is…  pretty generic.  School clubs, problems with school clubs, childhood promises, we’ve all seen it all before.  The only thing that really stands out is the thin strand of yuri running through the show.  It’s not prominent enough though that I think it will be a major plot point.  I suspect the series will be more about friendship than anything else.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  It just puts the show firmly in the “mostly harmless moe/CGDCT” category.  Which is just fine.

Status:  No high expectations.  Watchable.  Keeper.

Darwin’s Game

It’s a bad sign when I start getting bored and wondering just how much more I have to endure before the episode is over…  Seriously, they padded the heck out of the first half of the episode with tons of repetition and re-emphasis of what they had already shown and told us.

How do I know it was the first half?  Because when MC-kun reached the warehouse, I paused to see if this was the cliffhanger or if we had more to endure.  We indeed had more to endure because the freakin’ episode was only half over!  At that point, I could take no more and pulled the eject handle.

Status: Darwin’s Game is the first drop of the season and the year.  Nothing I’ve read by other reviewers leads me to believe this was in any way a mistake.

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasuna!)

First year high schooler Midori Asakusa loves anime so much, she insists that “concept is everything” in animation. Though she draws a variety of ideas in her sketchbook, she hasn’t taken the first step to creating anime, insisting that she can’t do it alone. The producer-type Sayaka Kanamori is the first to notice Asakusa’s genius. Then, when it becomes clear that their classmate, charismatic fashion model Tsubame Mizusaki, really wants to be an animator, they create an animation club to realize the “ultimate world” that exists in their minds.

Source: Anime Planet.

Shows about creators usually get a look see from me…  The description didn’t sound like much, so I didn’t expect much.  For the first twenty odd minutes it was decent and interesting enough.  Then this happened…

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! - YAY!
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! - Greatest World

And I’m hopelessly in love…  What a genius way to show what happens when two creators perfectly heterodyne!  And did anyone else catch the progression of the animation in the imaginary worlds?  From stick figures in Midori’s childhood, to storyboards when she and Tsubame began working together, to fully realized at the end?  Beautiful!

Yeah, I’m gushing here because it’s pretty rare that a show so neatly upends expectations in it’s first episode.  There’s a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with it.

Nick points out something I didn’t realize until I went back and re-watched that portion of the episode.

Speaking of re-watching…  My wife asked if I’d seen anything interesting so far, and I recommended that she check out Eizouken.  I pretty much rewatched the episode right along with her, which is pretty rare.  And the show got promoted immediately from a “me” show to a “we” show.

Status:  Solid keeper.  Highly anticipating the second episode.

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Gaiden (Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story)

Magia Record.png

Screenshot courtesy of Xenodude because I can’t figure out how to take screenies on Funimation w/o their dang controls appearing on the screen.

And now, the elephant in the room.  Magia Record.  Madoka.

I’m not sure what to say or think here.  I am intrigued, but I am also a little saddened by loss of sense of wonder.  It’s not like we don’t know the deal here.  The series plays on this by diving right in with little in the way of backstory, simply assuming the viewer is familiar with the original series.  Does this say they won’t wander far from the path?  Or are the setting us up for a Fall?  The latter would have to be seriously different because we already know how this story ends.  (Presuming that it’s set before the Redemption, which they haven’t made entirely clear.)  On the other hand, there’s no lightheartedness to be found here.  They do respect the viewer that much.

It’s not like Magia Record didn’t leave us with a number of mysteries…  It’s just that so far, they all seems a little contrived and not all that compelling.  That so many were tossed at us in a single episode just leaves me feeling a little lost.  What’s important here?  They made it hard to tell, and being Madoka we’re conditioned to expect important.

Status: I’m in, but with reservations.  I’m interested, but waiting for the ‘hook’ to set.

Room Camp (Heya Camp△)

Room Camp - Stamp Rally.png
Basically, a longer version of the short skits that were at the end of the full episodes of the original series.  Much faster and more frenetic than I expected, but enjoyable all the same.

Lest this be mistaken for damming with faint praise let me be clear…  The camping girls are back!  Who wouldn’t be, couldn’t be happy about that?  I certainly am.

Status:  As it’s a short, my wife and I are thinking about watching before she goes to work each Monday morning – what higher praise could you ask for?

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Continuing from last season, will pick up reviews when weekly coverage returns:
Chihayafuru 3, My Hero Academia.  Except for today’s episode of Chihayafuru, I’m caught up on both.

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And there you have it…  I watched all the premieres I intend to watch through Tues (USA – PST), so anything not on this list is fair game.  What have you watched?  What do you think so far?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

4 thoughts on “Winter 2020 – First Impressions – Part I”

  1. Completely agreed on Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasuna!, Heya Camp, and Koisuru Asteroid.

    Made it through Darwin’s Game #1, will probably apply the 3-episode rule.

    Surprised that Somali to Mori no Kamisama didn’t make your list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Surprised that Somali to Mori no Kamisama didn’t make your list.

      I read the synopsis, and it didn’t seem like anything that I’d enjoy. The reviews have been mixed, but they have caught my interest – so it’s on my “keep an eye on” list. (Kind of a reverse “3-episode rule” as it were.)

      Like

  2. I had pretty much the same reaction to Asteroid in Love. It’s fine. The youri is a common subtext anyway, so it didn’t really stand out. It’s a little less submerged than usual, that’s all. What caught my interest was that they’re teaming up with the geology club. That actually dominated the social dynamics of the club in a fairly natural way and wasn’t something I expected. That’s what gives the most hope for the show.

    And, yeah, I dropped Darwin’s Game by the time the guy registered for the game. It was just that dull.

    Keep Your Hands off Eizouken is no doubt my anime of the season so far. It can trigger my motion sickness (e.g. the dragonfly craft), and I have to keep my eyes closed during the opening. That’s where I’d have dropped a lesser show. But any sort of headache is worth it. It’s just that good. (Yeah, the progression in the art styles was great.)

    Madoka spin-off. The nostalgia is a two-edged sword, here. It works on me, but it also triggers my cynical cash-in frame of mind, and after the third movie I’m not in a generous mood. However, there are some very good shots here, and some nice mysteries. Also, we don’t really know what will happen, as this could be playing in any of Homura’s bad ends, or even post Rebellion(?). The new music blends well with what they re-used. The question how much of its own identity will the show have (it will have to break away from its parent to convince me), and whether it’ll pull a Steins;Gate 0 and be initially great before going off the rails. I’m not nearly as negative inside as I sound in this post, though. I’m actually looking forward to more.

    Room Camp was fun, and it’s good to see those dorks again, but it looks like it’s going to be show with little Rin and camping, so it’s more an appetizer for season 2 than anything (I haven’t heard of a season 2, but I can’t imagine them making something like this if a second season isn’t coming.)

    I’d say Somali is the second best premier of the season so far. I’d say the best thing about is the stunning backgrounds, and Daisuke Ono does a wonderful golem. The core of the show is this rather unusual father/daughter relationship, and they’re playing for all the cuteness they can extract (I find Somali a little overbearing at times), but there’s a real sense of danger there, without many overt threats. With golem’s understated response to the actual danger (no scolding, just functional comments to the effect of the danger; no frustration either) downplays the threat. That’s an interesting dynamic. It’s hard to say how this will play out, but it’s got a lot of potential, and if much of it remains untapped you still get a very cute and very pretty and slightly melancholy show. Solid recommendation.

    I also liked Seton Gakuen!, a fast-paced comedy, but probably not the kind you’d like. And Pet is moderately interesting, but goes cookie-cutter dark in a way that leaves me more fatigued than interested. I’ll cautious plough on for any potential there might be, but I’m not optimistic. Oh, and Orphen at times looks so retro, that I occasionally thought I watched the turn-of-the-millenium show instead (but the CGI and smoother outlines of the non-CGI are dead giveaway). I think that’s all I’ve seen so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. re: Room Camp

      I haven’t heard of a season 2, but I can’t imagine them making something like this if a second season isn’t coming.

      Yes, a second season is in the works. (There’s also been several OVAs, but I haven’t been able to track them down.) I’d like to see more Rin (and Ena and Chikuwa), but I’m perfectly happy watching this trio derp their way through the stamp rally.

      Re: Somali

      I’ll be watching your comments with interest then!

      Re: Madoka

      I can’t disagree that a certain amount of skepticism is warranted. There’s glimmers and gleams of progress, but fool’s gold or the McCoy? Too early to tell. And it’s always hard to approach sequels/spin offs/side stories with a completely open mind… That’s just natural.

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