And the premieres just keep rolling! Presenting the second batch, and an early (and maybe only) contender for AOTS. Hit the jump and see if you agree!
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.
It’s hard to judge Arte on it’s own merits when quite by happenstance I’m in the middle of rewatching Shirayuki-hime. Both feature strong women trying to escape the strictures of their social classes… Both cut their hair in the first episode to symbolize their rejection of convention. (TV Tropes covers this under Important Haircut.) They even use almost the same verbiage to describe their aspirations. There’s a significant difference in their aspirations though… Arte seeks to stand independent of any man. Shirayuki seeks to stand independently and equally beside her man.
There are differences though. Arte doesn’t luck almost immediately into encountering a strong and supportive patron. She has to exert herself and settle for the first person to not reject her outright. Leo first attempts to reject her, but once he gets over that he doesn’t seem inclined to treat her any different than any other apprentice. He might be a love interest in the future, but for the moment they’re simply Master and apprentice.
In the same vein, being an herbalist was a means to an end for Shirayuki… But Arte seems more dedicated to art as a standalone goal in and of itself.
Status: Moderate keeper. Probably only so long as it doesn’t become actively annoying.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta…)
Otome Game turned out to be unexpectedly charming… Based on a game within a light novel, my expectations were low and I didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly so much.
Much of that comes from Katarina being played straight as a determined character trying to avoid her predestined death… They’re also already showing us that Fate isn’t so easily deflected. She mucks up and then has to try and fix her own mistakes on top of undoing whatever wrong was “written in the stars”. With only a handful of routes, they’re going to have to work hard to fill out the allotted episodes without getting boring or repetitious.
It’s not all kittens and puppies though, a couple of things do bother me. First is the “interior meeting” gag… That can be easily overused, and it’s verging on it already. Most of that comes from the fast pacing and I’m having a hard time remembering which voice is which archetype.
The second is I’m having a hard time buying Katarina’s conversion. No, not from spoiled princess (which most everyone in her new life is ignoring anyhow). Rather, from socially isolated otaku to outgoing angel. Hopefully they’ll address that as the opportunity for reflection and character growth is massive.
Status: Moderate keeper.
Nami yo Kiite Kure (Wave, Listen to Me!)
Update from First Impressions – Part I: My wife watched it, and pronounced it to be “like riding a roller coaster”. She enjoyed it, and Wave has been promoted from a “me” show to a “we” show.
Shachou, Battle no Jikan desu! (Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle!)
In other words, Shachibato is an anime based on a mobile game that basically consists of watching what I imagine are the game’s first cutscene, its tutorial, and the introductory mission all play out as straightforwardly as possible.
James said it so much better than I ever could. Like most of us I’ve seen a ton of game based anime, but even so Shachibato! stands out due to it’s sheer lack of ambition. Right after the show ended I was looking up VA’s, and I could only remember the characters by their hair color and style. MC-kun was kinda memorable (mostly by lack of time passing), but the side characters were just immediately forgettable.
When the show was over, I was thinking I might give it an episode or two more… But by the cold light of the next day’s dawn I don’t think so. While’s there’s nothing outright offensive or bothersome, there’s also nothing attractive, memorable, or notable.
Status: Huh? I actually watched this? I forgot. Now that I remember – dropped.
Sing “Yesterday” for Me (Yesterday wo Utatte)
Ever had a show that just blew you away in the first episode? For me – Yesterday was just such a show. It’s hard to explain why, but I’m going to take a stab anyhow…
For starters, it’s clearly an adult drama. And the adults… well, they’re actually adults rather than college student and they’re facing adult problems. Rikou is already world weary despite being relatively young, and feels like less of himself because he’s living a very floating and directionless life. He doesn’t have anything he wants to do, and feels no particular urge to seek one out. By contrast, Shinako seems to have it all together, and despite the hints that she (at least in the past) carried a torch for Rikou… I suspect there’s something else that’s brought her back “home”. (To the haunts of their student days, which Rikou has never left.)
Haru is the problematic character, so far seemingly air dropped into the story to kick Rikou in his metaphorical butt and get the story rolling. There’s really no connection between her and others beyond random chance.
Another thing that wowed me was the quality of the animation… Imagine if Just Because and Welcome to the NHK! had a love child and then sent that child to prep school. Yesterday is that child. There’s a ton of story told in the backgrounds and settings, and most importantly in the subtle expressive of the characters and their body language.
Lastly, there’s the writing… Very dense, but in a good way. Alongside the animation, it’s very firmly in the “show, don’t tell” mode. Of course, it’s all but impossible to avoid some exposition, but it’s deftly handled in the narrative rather than set apart from actual story.
Yeah, dense character driven drama… smack in my wheelhouse. I’m in love.
Bless also wrote up Episode 1, and you should definitely check it out.
Status: Best premiere of the season, pretty much the only AOTS candidate. Why do you ask?
That wraps up the premiers to date. With the exception of Fruits Basket, I’m caught up will all that I intend to watch through Mon (PST USA), so anything else that’s aired is fair game.
There’s three shows left on my radar (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax, Appare-Ranman!, and Diary of our Days at the Breakwater) that will premiere this week… I don’t know yet if they’ll go into a premiere post of their own or be rolled into a regular post next week. I don’t know which day the regular post will appear on as I haven’t really worked out my schedule yet… But one way or another, regular posting will return with Week 2 coverage sometime next week.
What do you think of these shows? What do you think I’m missing out on among other shows? Drop a comment and let’s chat!