Well, well, we’ve finally come to the end of all the premieres. It feels like it’s been a quite a while since the season kicked off, what with Amagi Brilliant Park and the Ghibli series getting orphaned and YuYuYu having a really late premiere. However, it’s all over now and the time of separating the wheat (keepers) from the chaff (drops) has come! All of the impression below are based on the first episodes only.
Better Than Expected: Ore Twintails, YuYuYu
Twintails: Okay, so I went into Trinity Seven expecting harem nonsense. Got it. I went into Twintails expecting the same thing as when I went into T7 and Twintails responded by shattering my expectations. This is a clever show guys. It’s stupid, but it’s clever. I cannot express how much I appreciate that Twintails knows its premise is absurd, commits fully to it, and then just runs with it sans any sort of “Oh ho ho, look how silly we are.” I’m sure you could also probably find some interesting gender roles stuff (actually kind of interested to see what they do with the genderbending thematically, if anything) in MCs transformation into a twintailed girl. Yup, I really just wrote that. Cheers to this show. An easy keeper for now until I get bored, knocked T7 out of the schedule.
YuYuYu: Apparently I wasn’t paying enough attention to the summaries or the secrecy around the show before it aired, because when YuYuYu turned into a mahou shoujo in the middle of the first episode, I was surprised and pleased. I was fine with what I thought I was getting—a CGDCT show with some magic thrown in—but this has surpassed my expectations. This is the same director as did Arpeggio of Blue Steel, which had some great fight scenes and is still the best CGI show I’ve seen, and YuYuYu so far has held up in both action and CGI with its double episode premiere. Like I said, I’m pretty thrilled with this so far. I’m sure YuYuYu will be pulling Madoka comparisons all the way through, but I’m guessing from the natural way they integrate jokes into the action and drama that it’ll have a lighter tone all the way through. Keeping and excited.
Weaker Than Expected: Your Lie in April
I’m very much ambivalent about Your Lie in April after the first episode, which really isn’t a very good thing for a show I had pretty high expectations for going in due to noise about the manga and my own personal hopes for it. It looks incredibly pretty, I’m a huge fan of the character designs, the music (J-pop and classical and pigeon-summoning alike) was really good, the dialogue felt natural, but then…a lot of the most important stuff—you know, like the characters and the story—just didn’t all hit home for me. The tragic backstory is overused, yes, but Your Lie in April looks like it wants to rely heavily on it and that worries me. Kousei’s relationship with his now deceased mother intellectually makes sense to me, but it felt clumsy to me, even with the chilling image of a beat-up child making promises to his mother. I’m just worried that this is all going to fall apart. Hesitant.
Why Can’t You Suck?: Amagi Brilliant Park
There were times I was totally engaged. There were times I was totally disengaged. There were times I laughed and times jokes just dropped dead before my eyes. It also looks great. That’s a pretty good summary of Amagi Brilliant Park‘s first episode for me, and it’s pretty frustrating to have yet another show on my plate that is neither an obvious keeper nor an obvious drop. There are some elements of the show that I really like, nothing I hate, but a fair bit of stuff that just sits in the middle without eliciting a strong reaction from me either way. For a hook episode, there wasn’t much of an actual hook—just jokes, a stoic female lead (minus Kagari Ayaka’s fire witch powers, typical KyoAni visuals, and generally solid execution. But what sets it apart from the pack, besides it being a KyoAni show? If this was an A-1 Pictures adaptation, would I still be debating whether or not to watch the next episode? I dunno what to do with this show. It’d be easier if it was just terrible.
Dropped: Donten ni Warau, Ronja
Donten ni Warau: As much as I like the way Dogokobo does comedy visually, it just doesn’t fit with the story here. I do think this is more on the source material than the studio, which apparently can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a serious show or a comedy show. I’m not saying you can’t do both—many shows have done so in the past—but these two elements needs to be better integrated for them to work, and they don’t in Donten. I’m also not a fan of the viewpoint character chosen, Soramaru—he’s just too angst in a bad way for me (Kajii Yuki doesn’t help on that front). Overall, though, I was just underwhelmed by the show in an already packed season. Dropped.
Sanzoku no Musume Ronja: Studio Ghibli’s TV anime for the season definitely has the Ghibli feel, despite the CGI.—it’s relaxed, with lighthearted banter flowing freely, and a bit of ominous foreshadowing on the side. The problem, at least for me, is that all those elements feel like they’d be much better suited for a film than a TV series. A film has the luxury of being able to present a concentrated aesthetic experience as a way to draw in the audience; a TV series has to get me to come back a week later. From what I saw in the first episode of Ronja, it doesn’t quite have the tension or sense of direction I need to get me to come back a week later, even on a Saturday that’s really light for me this season. Dropped.