Spring 2021 – First Impressions!


A little later than I intended… All because Steam had The Sims 4 on sale and I spent waaay too much time over the last couple of days playing it. Anyhow, I did watch a raft load of premiers and it’s time to chat about them. Hit the jump, let’s run ’em down!

The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italicsstrikethrough marks dropped shows.

My Hero Academia Season 5 Episodes 1-2

Not much to say on Episode 1.  It was the the (by now) pretty much standard for this series OVA/recap/setup episode.

Episode 2…  Quite a few moving parts.

My Hero Academia - Todoroki - Nice Burn, err, scar(Sick burn there Todoroki, pun entirely intentional.)

– Kudos to the mangaka and the series for handling Endeavor’s arc with a great deal of reality and sensitivity.  It’s not over just because he regrets his past and vows to do better.  He’s got a lot of work ahead of him!  And did you notice he’s not always enflame and in his hero outfit?  Indicative of his injuries or of his new leaf?

– What’s up with Hawks?  And Dabi?

– It looks like this arc will also delve into the mystery that is One For All.  We got our first peek at it’s origins.  And how they’re tied up with All For One.

Fruits Basket: The Final Episode 1

I will not be sympathetic to Akito…  I will not be sympathetic to Akito…  I will not be sympathetic to Akito…

But, damm, it’s so tempting to be.  Raised as (Sohma) royalty and abused?  Like so many other Sohma children they’ve suffered badly at the hands of their parents.  And top of that, Ren (like so many Sohma’s) is a monster in her own right.

Over on the other side of the house, it was nice to see Tohru get some quality time with her friends.  And Kyo, will you just admit your feelings already?

Mashiro no Oto Episode 1
Those Snow White Notes

Probably the strongest opening episode I’ve seen so far.  (Though Super Cub comes close.)  And they packed a ton into it – almost enough to have been half a cour.

Snow White Note - Setsu makes musicWhat comes next?  Got me.  Setsu thinks he’s lost his sound, but it’s there.  It comes out.  But it’s not clear why, and why he still thinks he’s lost it.

Sadly, Yuna, the best character so far, has been put on a bus train and appears to be gone from the show.  I’m hoping that’s not a harbinger of things to come.  You need change and growth, personally and as a series, but you need a certain amount of consistency among the chaos too.

Strong keeper

Koikimo Episodes 1-2
Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui

The first episode wasn’t too awful…  But it wasn’t all that good either.  With the second episode, it was pretty clear that the show was going to be a one trick pony.  And we weren’t enjoying that trick.

Dropped at 2 episodes.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episodes 1-2

OK, that wasn’t half bad…  It would have been pretty good if it weren’t for some serious drawbacks.  First, that d_mm talking bear.  He’s a jerk and I’m already weary of his nonsense.  I also fear that he’s a walking deus ex machina what with all his “probability calculating” and knowledge of future events.  The second, oh lord, all the exposition.  Hopefully now that the show is underway, we’re done with that.

I’m also concerned about the whole “fixing the future” plotline…  They’ve already changed the future.  If they depend on that d_mm bear to constantly recalculate, that’s going to get real old, real fast.

Vivy -Fluorite Eye's Song- Season 1 Episode 2 - the missionVivy tells that d_mm bear how she’s going to live.  Dum vivimus vivamus!  (While we live, let us LIVE!)

Vivy herself, she’s the show’s bright spot.  Though she has a pre-programmed mission (“make everyone happy though singing”), she has sufficient self awareness and latitude to re-interpret the routes to accomplishing her mission.  And she’s no lackey to that d_mm bear.  She’s willful, and boneheaded, and does things her own way.  If the show loses that, there goes it’s heart.

So, in summary…  Vivy could be Really Good.  All the parts are there for it to do so.  But there’s a lot of slippery patches and bad spots already visible too.  It won’t take many missteps to go horribly wrong. 

But let’s wait a few weeks and see what happens – for the moment, keeper.

Dragon, Ie wo Kau
Dragon Goes House-Hunting

It’s heart was in the right place…  But it just couldn’t make it work.  Too many trips to the same well, wooden acting, and quite often minimal animation.  I really think it might have worked better as a short, that way the repetition might not have sucked so badly.

Dropped – the first this season.

Sayonara Watashi no Cramer Episode 1
Farewell, My Dear Cramer

Honestly, I want to like this show…  But it’s not an easy road as the first episode was so awfully paced.  (And the animation quality/character design isn’t so great to make up for it.)

That being said, the general plot isn’t awful even if there are too many moving parts.  Maybe the whole “stars at a new school with a crap team” thing is a bit on the generic side…  But first impressions of the characters aren’t that bad, and we’ve got a new coach coming.

Yeah, this sort of is damming with faint praise.  My wife has dropped the show, and I’m ambivalent about it at best.

Keeper with reservations.

Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway
Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikosei wo Hirou. Episode 1

I don’t think I can judge Higehiro on the basis of one episode.  The characters are strong, the plot possibilities interesting…  And so far they’ve avoided the problematic elements that plagued Koikimo.   But we’re really just at the tipping point from setup to plot.

There’s a lot of ugly in Sayu’s past…  Not just whatever drove her to run away, but the experiences she’s had over the past six months.  Hopefully the show will dive into those.

Keeper

Let’s Make a Mug Too Episode 1
Yakunara Mug Cup Mo

So far, generic CGDCT/school club.  There’s hints and shadows of some possible deeper plot elements, but they may or may not follow up on them.  I’m not expecting much here as the anime is basically an advertisement to attract tourists to Tajimi city.  (Which, in real life, is actually known for pottery.) 

Keeper.

Super Cub Episode 1

Super Cub - that moment of revalationFairly simple and straightforward setup episode…  But very well executed. As our character’s world expands, there’s inevitably going to be a tonal shift.  But so long as they can maintain the quality established so far, I’m all in.

I told my wife about this after I’d watched it, and she reminded me she’s wanted to watch it too…  So I sat down and rewatched it alongside her.  That says a lot I think.

Keeper

=========

Well, there you have it – what I’ve watched so far and what I thought of it.

My schedule page is up-to-date, and I’m caught up watching through Thursday. What have you seen so far? Anything noteable? Anything you dropped?

Hit the comment section and let me know your thoughts!

15 thoughts on “Spring 2021 – First Impressions!”

  1. So far the anime I have tried have been pretty good or at least have potential. For most anime this season I am waiting for 3 episodes to be out before I give them a taste test, but of the first episodes I have tried Mars Red and Fruits Basket Final Season have so far been my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Other than Fruits Basket, I’m on binge mode from last season. Got a load to get through. I don’t think I have any of the other shows you tried out on my to-watch list as of yet.

    Remember, Akito pushed Rin out of a window and kept Yuki in a dark room. It’s fine to hate her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, for a binge watcher, Fruits represents a real dilemma… As I said on your blog (I think), avoiding spoilers for the next twelve weeks would be a real challenge.

      I don’t think it’s impossible to be sympathetic towards and hate a character at the same time. (Love the sinner, hate the sin?) But it’s hard to maintain a true fury hate and be sympathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, I just closed the wrong tab after a nearly finished reply. Well, nothing too important.

    I love the sound-direction in Mashiro no Oto: from the crunchy snow to the muzak of the city. It’s a good backdrop to the shamisen sounds, and the music part is great. The drama is good. Not fond of the plot-driver aunts.

    Higehiro’s probably my favourite new show, but I’m not fond of the skeeve shots. I put them down towards characterisation during the show, but they had to re-use one for the ending card. I wonder how Gotou takes the rumours that he’s got a girlfriend now; that’s got to be weird considering the change came on the heels of her turning him down. I like the characters. I’m a little wary about very conventional gender roles this seems to promote (maincharacter what’s wondering what’s the problem if she’s cute and can do chores felt a little weird). Not perfect, but very enjoyable. Feels genuine.

    I thought Super Cub was called “Super Club” until I clicked play on the episode. I know more about highschool anime than bikes. This might be the first non-sports-combination (motor- or other) biking anime I’ll finish. Great sense of mood from start to finish. Too much 3D effects for my taste, though. Otherwise the visuals are great.

    Mug reminds me most of the board-game show from a couple of seasons back. I thought Dad’s reaction was a great character moment.

    Vivy and Cramer are… okay so far? I dislike the main character of Cramer, but I adore the twin-tail girl. Vivy… I’m telling you now, the bear’s trying to engineer the uprising. (Or not. Who knows?)

    Fruits Basket is Fruits Basket. Touru’s friends are the best.

    Two notable shows, both coming out of left field:

    Godzilla Singular Point: I’ve never liked a godzilla anime before, but it’s just such a love letter to those dorky kaiju movies. It’s still unmistakably anime, but it hits all the right beats, down to the soundtrack. Only downside is CGI monsters, but – oh well. I’m having fun.

    Odd Taxi: Odd show. It definitely does his own thing. It feels like a fan of Shirokuma Café makes an anime version of an inner-city weirdo film co-directed by Martin Scorsese and Jim Jarmush. Or not. I’m not even sure what really goes on. What you don’t see seems as important as what you do see. But I’m totally drawn in.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. re: Super Cub

      Too much 3D effects for my taste, though.

      Yeah, there were some good uses, but some awful ones too… And they really broke the immersion. But other than that, solid from beginning to end.

      re:Mug

      Mug reminds me most of the board-game show from a couple of seasons back.

      It’s certainly cut from the same cloth. But there’s a bit more pathos involved with the mother and all. It’s certainly a wait and see show.

      re:Mashiro no Oto
      If you liked the sound in the 1st ep, wait till you see the 2nd…

      Plot driver aunts though? I’m not getting it.

      Like

      1. @Plot-driver aunts: I didn’t like our protag’s mum’s sudden appearance (for some reason I thought she was his aunt) in time for a change in the mood.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick anything up this season, but I’ve watched two premieres so far and they’re both keepers.

    I’ve always had a weakness for “found family” type stories, so after I read ANN’s first impressions on Higehiro and saw that it had some substance to it I decided to check it out. So far so good, and if it stays on this path it’s established so far then I think I’ll enjoy it, but the fact that the ad copy is promoting it as a “rom-com” has me feeling cautious still. I tried doing a little research to find out if it’s going to get skeevy later, but it doesn’t seem like many English speakers have read the novels because I couldn’t get any info. If the romance part involves the women at work and the comedy part is something like him trying to hide or explain away his houseguest, then cool. But if it feels like it’s going…other places…then I doubt I’ll stick around.

    I also apparently have a weakness for biker girl anime, because here’s another one and here I am giving it a try again (I think the only one to come out in the last decade that I HAVEN’T at least taken for a test drive was Two Car). Super Cub is just plain good, though. Rather minimalist presentation in terms of sound and dialogue, but personally I like that style of cinema, and the visuals communicated Koguma’s loneliness and depression very effectively (the fact that she doesn’t even blink when the shop owner tells her three people have already died riding her bike kinda says it all). As you said, I doubt it’s going to keep this tone the entire season, but I am very curious to see where it goes from here.

    The only other new series I want to try out is “To Your Eternity,” but we still have to wait a few more days for that one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. re:Higehiro
      Yeah, there’s a lot of ways for it to go wrong… But there were no signs in the first ep, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I probably have a higher tolerance than most for age-gap because there’s a similar gap (8 years!) between my wife and I. She was only two weeks out of high school when we met…

      I think the only one to come out in the last decade that I HAVEN’T at least taken for a test drive was Two Car

      I watched that and dropped it. You didn’t miss anything as it was largely a cheap yuri bait series.

      The minimalist style especially worked because… well, Koguma’s world is pretty minimalist.

      Like

  5. Still thinking about what to watch.
    Seems like Mashiro no Oto looks promising, though some find it too crammed and visually uninteresting.
    Do you think Super Cub might fill the void Yuru Camp left?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems like Mashiro no Oto looks promising, though some find it too crammed and visually uninteresting.

      Can’t disagree with either point… But the characterization is making it worth it. The 2nd ep really worked on that front.

      Do you think Super Cub might fill the void Yuru Camp left?

      I suspect not.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I’ve caught up with a few new episodes now and these are my thoughts. My favorite was probably Super Cub. Really nicely set and for the most part well animated and with a really nice soundtrack, Super Cub ticked all my boxes for a keeper. I’m wondering though where it’s going to go however. Koguma’s second hand Honda Super Cub has had it’s three previous owners die riding it (Which might explain its price). Is this Super Cub the scooter version of Christine? Or are we motoring off to a nice high school girl meets new friends slice of life? Only time will tell I guess.

    I enjoyed Odd Taxi a lot too. I’m really interested in seeing where it goes next.

    I liked the first episode of Sayonara Watashi no Cramer (Farewell My Dear Cramer). First episodes of sports anime are often a bit underwhelming as they often have to introduce a wide range of characters, particularly if they have a one season run (I think generally sports anime do better with 25 episode runs), which it kind of managed okay. I’ve seen worse. The other reason for me to watch it is that it is a Lidenfilms production, an anime production company whose work I have a lot of respect for.

    The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent first episode had a really nice feel and managed to get a fair amount of information to the viewer about its world without feeling like an info dump. Its an Isekai but so far the premise is working and its worth a watch.

    Talking of Isekai, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord 2 is airing this season and is satisfying my dark urge to enjoy lowbrow harem humor.

    Battle Athletes Victory ReSTART! first episode was messy with plot gaps appearing within five minutes of it starting. It’s animation style reminds of the Nanoha franchise which I liked so I might watch it for a few episodes and see if it improves.

    Blue Reflection Ray seems to be magical girl fare which hasn’t really revealed what it is about yet. The animation style is kind of interesting but I want to see more before I pass judgement. The story editing in the first episode was somewhat convoluted and messy and I hope that improves in future episodes.

    Mars Red was nicely animated but the drama didn’t work for me really. It’s supposedly poignant conclusion didn’t move me. The whole episode just seemed workmanlike to me.

    Don’t Toy With Me Miss Nagatoro (Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san) is just dire. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out was kind of funny wasn’t it? Well lets make a show about a loud sexualized first year high school girl teasing a nerd! I lasted ten minutes into episode one and dropped it for all eternity.

    Full Dive RPG etc etc etc is a gamer harem comedy which almost funny but not quite. Maybe it will get better. I’ll need to see more before I give it a final judgement.

    Looking at that list, I’ve been busy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Busy indeed! Meanwhile, I’m over here trying to cut back!

      re: Sayonara Watashi no Cramer (Farewell My Dear Cramer)

      I liked the first episode of Sayonara Watashi no Cramer (Farewell My Dear Cramer).

      I like the premise, I just wasn’t fond of the execution on a number of levels. I’ll be back for more, my fingers crossed.

      Other than that, doesn’t look like we have anything in common this season, but I’ll be watching your commentary because there’s a couple of probable’s on your list.

      Like

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