Winter 2020 – First Impressions – Part II

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Well, here we are the second (and final) batch of first impressions for this season…  and it’s a really mixed bunch.  Some good, some… not so much.  You know the drill by now, hit the jump 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, strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.

BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense
(Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.)

That title is sure a mouthful isn’t it?  (checks)  Yep, it’s adapted from a light novel.  No surprise.

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What was a surprise was just how charming it was, despite being on the simple-minded side…  I loved Maple’s naivete and how much she enjoyed just playing around.  (And the playful adventure among the growth of her powers stands in sharp contrast to Rimuru’s in Slime Datta Ken.)  I think the greatest danger this show faces going forward is losing that sense of innocence.  Or over doing it…  Going to be a hard balance to strike.

Status: Mostly generic, but fun – but I grinned out loud at several misadventures.

Hatena Illusion

Hatena Illusion - the Master Thief.png

It’s hard to tell about about Illusion.  One on hand, we have a fairly generic tsundere romance.  (Well, not quite a romance because it’s being driven by a third party.)  On the other, there’s deeper hints…  Momma and Poppa don’t appear to be merely stage magicians, maybe their magic is real?  And what’s up with Kana’s mahou shoujo style transformation into Hatena – the master thief?  I don’t think she’s imagining things.

Despite the rough and generic spots, I find myself curious to know the answer to these mysteries.  Isn’t that was a premiere episode is supposed to do?  So, I guess you could call it a success in that respect.

Status: Tentative keeper.

If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die (Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu)

If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die.png
This is one seriously creepy show.  And I don’t mean that in any kind of good way at all.

‘Bad’ fans (creepers, stalkers, whatever) have occasionally popped up before in idol anime, but they’re always a side character.  A problem that occupies an episode and then goes away.  Budokan tells the entire story from the point of view of one such obsessive creeper.  That she’s a girl doesn’t make it any better…  Very believably, Maina (the stalkee) wants as little as possible to do with Eripyo (the stalker).

Where will the show go?  There’s two hints dropped…  Towards the end of the show, Eripyo gets a (very) tiny glimmer of self-awareness.  That what she’s doing might not be helpful or healthy.  This is good.  At the very end, in a sort of epilogue, Maina makes the whole thing out to be her fault.  This is not good, she is not responsible for Eripyo’s behavior in any way, shape, or form.

There appears to be a budding romance here, but it’s off to a very unhealthy start.

Status: Against my better judgement, provisional keeper.  Probably should be on three episode probation.

Infinite Dendrogram

That was…  painfully bad.  Take all the worst parts of all the generic inside-a-game anime you’ve ever seen, combine them in a single episode, and you’d barely scratch the surface of how horribly bad Dendogram’s crudely finger-painted-by-numbers premiere was.

Infinite Dendrogram.png

A gung-ho bear armed with a mini-gun is the show’s only saving grace.  And it isn’t enough to make me endure a second episode of this mess.

Status:  Dropped with extreme prejudice.

Smile Down the Runway (Runway de Waratte)

Smiling Down the Runway.png
Probably the best way to describe Runway is “generic but workmanlike”.  It’s not bad per se, it just has very little to recommend it.  Chiyuki (MC-chan) has a dream, and is unswerving in pursuing it…  She’s also more than a tad self centered, entitled, and wee bit arrogant.  On the flip side, they do give us hints that she’s self aware enough to recognize these traits – and not care because they’re in service of her dream.  Ikuto (MC-kun) is basically colorless and self-effacing, so I can’t really say much about him. (So far.)  This may be one of those anime where we’ve got to let the picture develop a bit more before rending judgement.

Status: Provisional keeper.  On probation under the three episode rule.

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So, caught up through Friday (USA PST) that I intend to watch with the exception of Railgun T.  (I have to wait for my wife to get home from work to watch.  So, no spoilers!)  I’m curious about Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It / Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shitemita, but I’m waiting to see other reviews before diving in.  (And there are other premieres coming…  and I’m already getting a full schedule.)

Since the first 2nd episode aired today, I think this will be the last of the First Impressions posts.  I think I’ll be back Wednesday(ish) with the first weekly post.  My schedule doesn’t really have any breaks in it, so I’ll be awfully late on something…  I just have to decide what.

So, what have you watched?  What do you think so far?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

3 thoughts on “Winter 2020 – First Impressions – Part II”

  1. I haven’t seen Runway yet, so I can’t say anything about that.

    I was fine with Infinite Dendrogram, but it’s forgettable, and defending the show is too much effort.

    Hatena Illusion I find equal parts charming and annoying – I’ll see which part lessens with further episodes.

    The defensebuild show is really cute. Every single person so far was nice, the character designs are cute, the colours are pretty… It’s a perfect feelgood show.

    Budokan… This is a little complicated. You’ll probably know that I’m not fond at all of obsessive idol fan culture, and that that’s why I dropped Wake Up Girls from the beginning. And yet here I am, moderately enjoying the show. It feels consistent with every documentary or interview I’ve ever seen on the topic, but excising the excesses. I think this show knows that fun culture is based on an illusion, and that most fans know that it’s based on an illusion, so it’s basically an indulgence. I’d have to re-watch the show to see what you mean about Maina blaming herself; I totally missed that. I’m not quite sure how to see the relationship between our two protagonists here. I definitely don’t expect the show to address any bad side-effects. I think it’s simply a show by geeks for geeks; a fandom fantasy, with a very “intense” fan (so you can feel better about yourself), who’s nevertheless not possessive (so you can chuckle about excess without much remorse). To really be able to tell why I actually liked the premiere, I’d have to re-watch it, and I didn’t like it enough for that. The way Eripyo’s and Maina’s relationship evolves will make or break the show.

    Also, the “love” show dropped three episodes all at once. Mood-wise, I’d say it’s a cross between Kaguya sama and Wotakoi, which is an odd mix. They have a bear mascot explain science once an episode, but they don’t do a very good job, I think. Most of the jokes about science make sense, but very, very simplistic – so the show would probably work better if they were highschoolers rather than adult professionals. The cast is rounded out by a girl-next-door straightman, a troll genius, and an otaku. It’s perfectly fun but nothing outstanding. After three episodes, I’ve settled in comfortably with the show. I like it, but it’s not must-see. Personally, I found the second episode of Asteroid utterly dull, so I’d probably suggest replacing it with this.

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    1. Sorry for the late reply… had a bit of a lazy weekend.

      The defensebuild show is really cute. Every single person so far was nice, the character designs are cute, the colours are pretty… It’s a perfect feelgood show.

      Spot on. It’s just fun.

      I’d have to re-watch the show to see what you mean about Maina blaming herself; I totally missed that.

      It’s right there at the very end where Maina is looking at Eripyo’s picture. Kinda blink and you’ll miss it. I think I can forgive the show if they end up with a healthy relationship.

      Personally, I found the second episode of Asteroid utterly dull, so I’d probably suggest replacing it with this.

      The general idea was good, but the execution was lacking. Even CGDCT needs a minimum standard of competency, and Asteroid is starting to fall short.

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      1. While I’m here, I totally forgot to recommend Hanako kun. To my shame, I only remembered it when Animefeminist told me it’s directed by Masaomi Andou, which I didn’t know (but should have guessed from the trademark manga-panel style). It’s a fairly straightforward be-careful-what-you-wish-for show, but other many other shows it feels a little more hopeful. Visually, it’s very interesting, too. Worth a look.

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