Fall 2021 – Week 1 & 2 / First Impressions Part II

Yuuki Yuuna - Great Mankai

Late….  sorry…  But there’s a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s just hit the jump and get right to it.  There’s a LOT to talk about.

The shows that I’m 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.

Blue Period

Episodes 1-2

Yaguchi is one interesting dude…  He’s a delinquent, or at least puts on one hell of a show of being one.  But he’s also a pretty serious student.  And when he discovers art, he puts aside all pretense (and pretty much everything else) and pursues it with monomaniacal focus.

I also like how he uses art as something of a springboard to communication…  Was he pretty taciturn before?  I almost get the feeling he and his mother didn’t speak much before.  The first interaction we see is her telling him they can’t afford to pay for college.

Interesting.

Blue Period

And boy do I understand this…  As something of an artist myself (through my photography), this show is saying a lot to me.  Things I have a hard time expressing myself.

I’ve been seeing a lot of comments here and there about how folks don’t like or understand the protagonist.  For my part, I don’t think liking a protagonist is a prerequisite for liking the show…  One isn’t a proxy for the other.  You should however at least find the setup interesting.  As to the second, it’s the first episode folks.  Do you really expect the series to put all it’s cards on the table in the first twenty odd minutes?  That’s certainly possible for simpler shows, but it would rob more complex shows and characters of their whole point for existing.

I’m satisfied to let things simmer for a while.

Status: Keeper

Also check out: Watch or Drop? Is Blue Period Worth Watching? over at 100 Word Anime for Karandi’s take.

Let’s Make a Mug Too 2

Yakunara Mug Cup Mo: Niban Kama  (Let’s Make a Mug too: Second Kiln)
Episode 2

Naoko gets in an argument with her mother and comes over and sleeps at Himeno’s.  They reminisce about their childhood.

0.o  That’s it, that’s the episode.  Kinda of odd for this series because so far it hasn’t done a lot of “lets randomly hang with friends” type of stuff.

Episode 3

Another odd episode…  the centerpiece is a foreigner being inspired to visit by Himena’s art – and deciding to move to town after seeing it.

I think after this,  Mug is going into the “watched but not reviewed” category.

Lupin III: Part VI

Episode 1

My first Lupin…  Running out of time here, but I loved the hell out of the first episode.

My Senpai is Annoying

Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi
Episode 1

I expected a workplace comedy, maybe an inversion of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! with the senpai in the gremlin role.  But what we got was more of a mix of workplace/romantic comedy/drama.  Pick one from column A, one from column B and somewhere in the episode there’s at least one scene that fits.

That being said, I’m liking the characters…  particularly Takeda-san, who seems to be acting more like an older brother than a senpai.  So long as they don’t go too far down the “but she’s a loli” route I think this one may be going places.

Status: Keeper

SELECTION PROJECT

Episode 2

The predicted twist did in fact materialize…  Seira is (by her own volition) out of the running and Suzune (MC-chan) is in.  But it was nice that they spent some time establishing her character and didn’t simply resort to truck-kun or one of his kin.  I don’t quite buy her motivation, but whatever.  This episode was really about Suzune and her lack of confidence in herself and meek acceptance of whatever shore the tides of fate wash her up upon.  In a well written show, that would bite her in the butt at some point in the future.  It’s too early to tell if this is actually a well written show.

The number of stock characters doesn’t raise my confidence much though.  (Of course the Hokkaido representative was raised on a farm and has a country accent…)

Episode 3

Much introduction of characters and scenario setting…  And the show went exactly where I wished it hadn’t.  The primary antagonist is the little sister of the dead main inspiration (and first winner of the Selection Project.)

Taisho Otome Fairy Tale

Taisho Otome Otogibanashi
Episodes 1-2

The Taisho period (1912-1926CE) is one you don’t hear much about…  It was brief, and is overshadowed by the preceding Meiji and following early Showa period.  That being said, I’m not really entirely sure why this is set in the Taisho era.  

Why?  Because at the bottom of, it’s pretty much a bog standard “opposites attract” romance.  Everything else is pretty much window dressing.  It’s not helped by the fact that so far it can’t decide if it’s going to a comedy, a romance, or take a more dramatic course.  There’s bits and pieces of all three, but they’re uncomfortably intermingled.

Status: Tentative keeper.

The aquatope on white sand

Shiroi Suna no Aquatope
Episode 14

Nope, we didn’t get the tale of the last six months from Fuuka’s point of view…  So why did she abandon Tokyo and the path to stardom a second time to return to Okinawa?

sorrynotsorry  I’ve been listening to a lot of Madness lately (they’re a favorite of mine) and this song really does belong here…  Maybe it’s not love, but there’s something going on for certain.  But Fuuka didn’t volunteer and nobody asked.

And I don’t think Kukuru appreciates the opportunity she’s been given – even with her experience, a pretty big position for someone just out of high school.

And just putting this Checkov’s Gun on the mantelpiece:  Tingara is Very, Very Corporate – and also Very Dysfunctional, and not just in the belief that the former employees of Gama Gama are forming a faction.  There’s conflict in the wind…

Episode 15

And… now we’re at the heart of Corporate Tingara.  And the more laid back ex-employees of Gama Gama aren’t fitting in all that well.  Except Kukuru – who seems bound and determined to fit in, do her best, and make Tingara a success.

Aquatope - Tingara corporate

But what price will she pay?  Don’t know yet, but I suspect the bill is going to be staggering.

But speaking of corporate…  Some nice touches here and there suggesting that many of the employees aren’t just drones.  They strongly believe in what they’re doing for sea life.

Yuki Yuna Is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Dai Mankai no Shou
Episodes 2-3

I have been trying for two weeks to shape my thoughts on this series into a coherent whole – and am failing utterly.  So, we’re going to go for the ol’ run it down by the bullet points method.

= I am still unclear as to when the main action of this episode takes place…  I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere after the first season.  But some things put it closer to the first if not overlapping, and others seem to be close to S2/P2 if not overlapping.

Yuuki Yuuna - Great Mankai

= Which basically means I don’t understand WTF is going on and how this series fits into the larger scheme.

= The Taisha seriously lacks people skills.  They should be able to convince the Sentinels that even though they’re second string, they’re still important.  But… they’re not even trying.  Their only messaging seems to be “shut up and do your job and don’t ask questions.”  Which is actually more-or-less consistent with their history.  But it shouldn’t it be pretty straightforward to motivate girls who want to be heroes?

= But also some of the unwillingness on the girl’s part could also be an indicator of why they weren’t chosen as heroes.

= The CGI for the Sentinels seriously sucks ass.  CGI, at least as used in anime, is not ready for the prime time.

(Wing, I know you’re deep into the Yuuki Yuuna metaverse, non spoiler explanations would be welcome!)

=========

Been a crazy two weeks, and I apologize for the delay.  This season is going to be hard to cover because all eight shows basically drop on Fri and Sat.  That’s a big hunk o’ work to face Monday morning.

But hopefully from here out, I’ll get this out by Wednesday.  I’ll be way late to the discourse on a couple of shows, but so it goes.

=========

Anyhow, over to you!  Drop a comment and let’s chat about this week’s anime or anything else you want to talk about!

9 thoughts on “Fall 2021 – Week 1 & 2 / First Impressions Part II”

  1. I’m not sure what to say about Blue Period. It has great scenes (loved the one with mum), and characterisation makes perfect sense for me. It’s one of those shows where I tend to like the side characters the best (like the sempai and the club adviser). I tend to enjoy the episodes when they come, but I’m not really actively looking forward to the show. (I’ve seen three episodes so far.) It is really good about the art; I’m not really that much of a visual guy, but the show really helps me articulate things a little. The advice the main character gets is interesting, and it works because he’s a hard worker instead of driven by instinct. That allows for natural art talk that’s accessible for an outsider like me. More on this when you’re talking about ep3 (if I remember).

    @Mug: Yeah, watched but not reviewed is tailor-made for shows like this. There’s not much to say, is there? That’s not a negative, though. I quite like the show. More than season 1, so far, actually.

    @Lupin: I’ve seen a few, but I don’t remember which ones. It’s never been among my favourites, but I did quite enjoy them occasionally. I’m not watching this incarnation, though. I feel like I’ve seen enough.

    @Selection Project: I was actually afraid that would be Seira’s decision (in a “surely, they won’t…” kind of way); they’ve telegraphed it. And, yeah, not fond of the direction the show is going. It’s a competent show, but extremely cookie cutter. The only thing I’m not used to seeing is a mash up of cat girl and ojou sama that actually works. She stands out, for me.

    @Taishou: It’s cute, and I actually like their dynamic. As for why it’s set in the Taishou era? I don’t know. They do need to address the girl’s situation; the set-up isn’t great if it’s just a postive-girl-heal-grouchy-soul type of story.

    @Aquatope: I like the change in setting, actually. I’ve little else to say, though. It’s a nice show to watch every week.

    Also: Ranking of Kings is great. It feels very oldschool, but not outdated. Everyone should at least try it; you don’t see much like this these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Mug: Exactly. It doesn’t mean the show is bad, just that it’s not the type of show that needs deep thinking or significant comment.

      @Blue Period: The side characters are pretty well done, so I can easily see that. It’s not quite to Eupho levels, but there’s not really any “tropes with a face”, characters that are just ticking off a ticky box. The MC is helped by having some level of natural talent and latent skill… No matter what people tell you, hard work only amplifies what you’ve already got.

      @Selection: Yeah, it’s going down a well worn groove… So far, it’s only workmanlike at best. My hopes for a decent idol show look like they’re going to be dashed.

      @Taisho: You’re far from the only one to have noted the problematic aspects of Yuzuki’s situation.

      Like

  2. Hi, I’m back! Will have to catch up on your other posts later, I’m typing this up on the side while I’m at work right now.

    Unfortunately, not having HiDive I’m not able to watch this season – planning to grab it as soon as it comes out on Blu-Ray, next year or whenever that is. But what I’ve been able to gather from lurking on the YuYu subreddit is that it sounds like they’ve been adapting the material from the Kusunoki Mebuki is a Hero LN, which introduced the Sentinels as a parallel story to S1 involving hero candidates who ultimately weren’t chosen to be heroes. Mebuki, the LN’s POV character, was the other leading candidate to replace Gin and was very upset about losing out to Karin. Without seeing it I can’t point to any specifics (or any changes that have been made from the LN material to the anime adaptation), but time-wise that would place the material in these episodes either concurrent with or immediately after S1, and before the “Hero Arc” half of S2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the late reply…

      I’d gathered what you said (about what was adapted)… But I’d hoped for your insight as to what the heck is going on. I know a lot of people are fans of KuMeYu, but the anime is (to me) doing a pretty poor job of selling it. I kinda get the feeling it’s being rushed to get the this week’s ep (which I’ll talk about in this week’s post, tomorrow or Thursday).

      Like

    2. Also, I loved seeing the younger version of Best Girl – but now there’s a timeline oddity. She’s shown with a henshin phone (I forget the in-world name) right after being selected… Unless she was selected right before being dispatched (rather than right after Gin’s death), why was she late to the party?

      On the other hand, I can see why she might be selected “late”… The Taisha are borderline feckin’ incompetent at being a (para?) military organization. Except when they’re hyper competent as the plot requires…

      Like

  3. Selection Project: Yes the execution is pretty mundane and they never fail to let an idol trope pass them by but I feel there is a good story there struggling to get out. A story about how cut throat and exploitative the reality TV format is the girls find themselves living and performing in. A show which feeds off their distress and anxiety about being cut and on the division the show’s format creates among them. Will Selection Project strip away its veneer of idol good nature and how shining resolves all problems to examine what is underlying the show the reality TV contest the girls must perform in? Probably not I think but I admire them at least showing us a glimpse of that side of the idol world.

    Oh and has anyone “PuraOre: Pride of Orange” yet? It’s this season’s one and only sports anime and its about… Ice Hockey. Ice Hockey isn’t big in Japan I gather, and from what I’ve seen so far the show isn’t going to change that either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Selection Project: Yes the execution is pretty mundane and they never fail to let an idol trope pass them by but I feel there is a good story there struggling to get out.

      Spot on! But I don’t think they’re going to go any further down that road than they have… It’s part of a multimedia project and that means they’re going for $$$. The average idol fan isn’t interested in social criticism. Which is a damm shame, because you could address that and still tell a good story. (Case-in-point: The first season of Wake Up Girls!.

      re: PuraOre: Pride of Orange I had half a mind to check it out, but the early reviews of the premiere ep kinda killed what little interest I had. Which is a shame, I think the last decent girl’s sports show I watched was Harukana Receive. Well, not counting Chihayafuru S3. Not that karuta isn’t a sport, more that it’s unfair to compare anything else to Chihayafuru.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My one rule of sports anime is never judge them too much on the first or even the second episode as they are more often than not just set up episodes. PuraOre gets its basic set up done in the first two episodes but it’s a bit mundane and by the numbers with the best lines and most of the character dynamism going to the girls’ scheming coach Yoko and her long suffering assistant So. There are more players to come and an entire senior team we’ve barely seen yet. It’s a twelve episode run so they better get a move on or they will end up in the usual rush to end the season that twelve episode sports anime usually end up in. PureOre isn’t execrable (I’ve seen worse) and if you keep your expectations relatively low, it’s kind of enjoyable in twenty minute doses.

        Harukana Receive was pretty good too I thought. I think Major 2nd Season 2 was a much better recent show but they had 24 episodes (A better format for sports anime generally). Major 2nd S.2 has great character development, dynamic action, a sizeable budget (I suspect), polished execution, and takes the usual sporting shonen stereotype in an interesting and different direction. And in Mutsuko Sakura it’s got the best female lead character I’ve in a sporting anime for years. It’s a show that deserves way more love than it got when it was released at the height of the initial Covid outbreak last year. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) :D

        PS: i think it is possible to watch the second season as a stand alone show. There are carryover characters from Season 1 but I think its structured well enough to be understandable without watching season 1 – Not there is anything wrong with season 1 – but its about grade school little league and somewhat less interesting (and a little over-wrought) as a result.

        Liked by 1 person

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