So we’re already into the second week of Spring anime! After all those First Impressions posts (which I kinda fell down on towards the end… there’s so much stuff and I got sick halfway through the first week!) I already feel exhausted. To keep myself from watching too much stuff, I need to be more picky about what I will and will not continue. I’ve already dropped a handful of series that showed promise in their first episode due to not delivering fast enough, and I expect that to continue over the next couple of weeks. For brevity, I haven’t included anything where only the first episode is out, because I have already covered those in excruciating detail!
So, what second episodes have I watched this week? What did I love, what was just okay, and which series have I had to ultimately say goodbye to? See below to find out!
Kakuriyo ~Bed and Breakfast for Spirits~
This week we start to learn more about both the inn’s inhabitants and some of their important ayakashi guests. We are introduced to Kasuga, the adorable shape-shifting tanuki, but more importantly we meet Matsuba, the leader of the Tengu, who is one of my favourite characters so far. One of the aspects of the premiere I enjoyed the most was the fact that Aoi is very capable of standing up for herself and sticking to her convictions, so I’m pleased that this trend has continued. It also seems like Ginji, the nine-tailed fox, is becoming quite protective of her and I’m curious to see if this will evolve into a romantic connection as the story continues. Still, if I was Aoi I probably would have taken Matsuba up on his offer to marry one of his sons. He seems like a pretty chill guy to hang out with.
Unfortunately, the visual execution hasn’t improved. This episode looked particularly bland, with no pretty scenery to distract us this time, and the animation is very basic. Even the food didn’t look that great, which is extra disappointing because I love looking at food! The plot isn’t quite interesting enough for me to stick with the show long term if it looks this bad. With so many good shows coming out this season, being pleasant isn’t enough to cut it and after the next episode I might have to reassess whether Kakuriyo is worth my time.
For those wondering, the fan that was given to Aoi comes up in Japanese folklore. In the story “The Tengu’s Fan” it is described as a magic fan that can shrink or grow noses, and in other tales it is also able to stir up great winds. I expect we’ll see Chekov’s Fan in action in the future!
Space Battleship Tiramisu
Although the latest episode didn’t quite live up to the fantastic premiere, there was still plenty of fun to be had. The stronger of the two halves is the story about Subaru adopting a stray Space Chihuahua which, within minutes, grows far too large to even fit inside his beloved cockpit. When threatened with a court martial for trying to sneak a dog onto the battleship Subaru has a hilarious “you’re not my dad!” reaction, but even he has to admit that his life with his beloved Bitsy just isn’t going to work out.
The second segment, where the motherly mechanic takes pity on Subaru for being an orphan and tries to make his precious cockpit more homely, is significantly weaker. There are still a few laughs to be had but ultimately it’s just him getting mad about his stuff being moved which isn’t as delightfully over the top as his usual problems. Not every sketch can be a winner!
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These
I wish I didn’t feel the need to dunk on this show as much as I do, but episode two confirmed all of my fears about the new adaptation. They were never going to do the story justice with just twelve episodes followed by three films, I understand that, but what irks me so much is that they’re wasting what little time they have on weird adaptation choices that seem to be trying to ape the structure of the original anime. They then seem to realise halfway through the episode that they don’t actually have time to do that, but by that point the damage is done and they have to cut out information that is actually important due to their leisurely introduction of Reinhard, Yang and the whole Battle of Astarte.
I covered a lot more of my feelings regarding the show in this week’s episode review, so I’ll stop ranting here before I get carried away. Suffice to say, I’ll be keeping up with this show and writing about it so that I can compare it to the source material and previous adaptation. Hopefully by doing so I’ll encourage people to try out either of those instead!
Tokyo Ghoul: re
Following on from the manga rather than the incredibly disappointing second series of Tokyo Ghoul has done wonders for the story. It will be a little confusing for anime viewers for now, but I reckon that in a couple more episodes it will have righted itself and people will be happy to go along with it.
The second episode of Tokyo Ghoul: re doubled down on everything I loved from the first: it gave us more insight into the new members of the cast, balanced its more heavy content with some light-hearted moments, and treated us to some hefty cameos from the old group. It also raises many questions as to what’s been going on in the two year break. Will those answers be worth the wait? I sure hope so. In the meantime, I can’t wait to feel really sad as they ruin Haise/Kaneki’s life all over again.
For a more in depth write up of the latest Tokyo Ghoul: re, you can check out my post over here.
Real Girl (dropped, 2/12)
It’s a shame that Real Girl came out in the same season as both Tada Never Falls In Love and Love is Hard For An Otaku, because it only highlighted how weak both the production values and the characters are in this show. With the amount of good anime that’s come out this season there just isn’t time for me to continue with this one.
Knowing going in that Real Girl was being animated by the same studio that produced the walking disaster that was Marchen Maedchen last season meant that the deterioration in quality in the second episode alone was pretty easy to predict. In this episode there were a noticeable amount of off model shots, and the moment the camera moved away from any character’s face and had to show a full body, they turned into indistinguishable noodle limbed doodles rather than actual people. There were some noticeable issues with the characters’ faces in many scenes too, which is unfortunate.
The characters still lack charm, and the problems that Iroha and Tsutsui are facing when it comes to their relationship are the usual tired shoujo cliches, only he’s even whingier about it than normal and they seem incapable of having a conversation.
If you’re in any way interested in the actual plot of Real Girl, then I would recommend picking up the manga rather than watching the anime for the nicer looking art alone. The entire series has had an official English release, so you may want to check that out instead.
Tada Never Falls In Love
Despite moving to a more safe, cliche high school setting, Tada Never Falls In Love still retains the charm of the first episode. This time we get to see the rest of the photography club, and the seven of them hold a photography challenge to see which of the two teams can take the nicest picture when the others are trying to run away. It’s a great set up for us to learn more about the characters and how they interact, and makes for a great sequence with plenty of fun sight gags.
We’re introduced to three extra characters this time, and I really appreciate that even the comedy relief pervert character manages to be charming. Although I don’t love it when he’s being mildly creepy towards the girls, it doesn’t happen that often and his commitment to his obsession with one particular gravure idol along with his intense personality leads to some fun comedy. One of my favourite scenes in the episode is when Teresa tries to relate his obsession with his favourite gravure idol to her obsession with j-dramas, understanding his niche interest by comparison to her own (“Basically, she’s the Rainbow Shogun of the gravure idol world, huh?”) It’s super charming, and I love that instead of writing him off as creepy and going for a basic, “what a perv, he collects pin-ups and gravure idol merch” joke she’s just pleased for him that he’s so enthused about his interests.
So far, Tada Never Falls In Love is a great time. If you’ve had a long day and you need cheering up, this anime will totally do that for you. For now it’s most akin to a long, cosy hug with some gentle comedy, although some shots from the opening do hint that there could be drama to come.
Also, I’d just like to point out that the opening song is performed by Masayoshi Ooishi, who also sang the opening for Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. Yet another link!
Megalobox (dropped, 2/13)
I really wanted to like Megalobox. The animation is fantastic, the classic anime aesthetic is incredibly cool, and the music is nothing but back to back jams. But, ultimately, I find it too hard to care about the actual boxing. It’s not a sport I’m interested in, and I don’t find it enjoyable to watch. It’s weird, I’d be fine watching two dudes punch each other or have a big sword fight in a fantasy show, or even something moderately more realistic like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but when they’re in a ring just absolutely whaling on each other I’m like “Ooh, sweetie, that looks dangerous, someone could get hurt.” It makes no sense, but it’s a big hurdle to overcome!
So although I’m dropping it here, Megalobox is by no means a bad show. If you can handle the no holds barred fighting elements, like sports, or are able to overlook that to appreciate the craft that goes into each episode, then by all means give this a watch! It’s just not for me.
How could I not love this? It’s the closest to a Yakuza anime that we’re ever gonna get, and I’m pretty okay with that. The latest episode delivers more wacky hijinx and a lot of heart, with Hina and Nitta both realising how much they’ve come to care about each other. The deadpan, matter of fact humour still hasn’t gotten old for me, and I’m not sure it will so long as it continues to be this well executed. If you haven’t given this one a go already, please check it out.
For a more in depth write up of the latest Hinamatsuri, you can check out my post over here.
My Hero Academia S3
After last week’s disappointing recap extravaganza, this week’s episode signals a return to form for My Hero Academia. However, the fact that they have a fight early on where each member of the class uses their power to neutralise an enemy they encounter in the forest makes the fact that they had a two to three minute segment last episode dedicated to reminding us of their powers seem even more superfluous.
But, gripes about last week aside, this episode does a good job of establishing the new challenges that the group will be facing. Their summer camp is no walk in the park and they will have plenty of tough battles ahead of them before their time there is over. We get some fun moments with the gang, although as usual Mineta undermines the fun dynamic by being creepy. Luckily Iida (aka the best boy) calls him out on it which is at least something. I still wish Mineta wasn’t around in the first place, and every episode where he isn’t featured is automatically a better episode for me.
Darling in the Franxx
We dive straight into this week’s episode with the aftermath of Hiro’s realisation of his and Zero Two’s prior relationship. Unfortunately for her, Ichigo also chooses this moment to bring up the information she learned last week about Zero Two killing all her pilots, then basically tries to bar Zero Two from any involvement with any members of the squad.
The thing is, getting rid of Zero Two still won’t help Hiro in the slightest. Without her, he cannot pilot, and then what’s left for him? Children who cannot pilot don’t seem to last long, nor do they get to join the sterile world of the adults. Ichigo’s attempts to keep Zero Two and Hiro apart are still motivated more by a selfish desire to keep Hiro by her side, instead of allowing him to be his own person despite the potential danger that he could be exposed to.
But by the time that Ichigo finally comes around and lets Zero Two go to see Hiro, he has already escaped to go and find her. The resulting rampage only pushes the two of them further apart. With the pair set to be separated, I’m interested to see where the series is going to go next.
Persona 5 The Animation
After breaking their way out of the dungeons of Kamoshida’s Palace, Ren and Ryuji finally make it to school, but the two are not content to ignore what happened that morning. Later on the pair head back to the castle, meet
a cat Morgana, and Ryuji awakens to his Persona for the first time. With this extra fire power, will the three of them be able to put an end to Kamoshida’s reign of terror?
Thanks to this anime I started replaying Persona 5, so I have to be thankful, but I also have to ask why it would do this to me. I have a job. I have things to do. I have other games to play! Please free me from these shackles…
It’s unfortunate but understandable that this episode doesn’t quite measure up to the visual spectacle of the first. The bulk of this episode is set at the school which doesn’t give quite as many opportunities for Ishihama’s usual flair to run riot. The highlight is definitely the awakening of Ryuji’s persona, but even that isn’t quite as strong as Ren’s awakening in the previous episode.
The pacing is still fast, but ultimately not a problem. I can see wanting to rush this part of the story to get to the good stuff. I do hope that it will slow down just a bit once more of the cast has assembled so that we can enjoy some of the more goofy moments, but only time will tell on that front. I do think it’s interesting that they decided to show Suzui’s assault. Maybe they wanted to make sure we hated Kamoshida just as much as we did in the game, but they had less time to cram in all his horrible moments so they went for a shortcut.
On a final note, I just want to say that I still can’t get used to Ryuji’s Japanese voice. Don’t get me wrong, Mamoru Miyano’s a great voice actor, but he definitely gets typecast and this character just doesn’t fit his usual mould. I know I’m used to the English voices (where Ryuji’s voice actor Max Mittelman does an amazing job), but Ryuji’s voice in particular is distracting and taking me out of the experience a bit.
Cute High Earth Defense Club HAPPY KISS!
Sure, it doesn’t quite hit the high notes that last week’s episode did, but the latest HAPPY KISS! was still fun. We learned about how the student council met their stoic animal prince, and a guy who hates having cute lunches turns into a monster, turning everybody in his path into a strange, cute lunch box themed tombstone. I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t go the route that the first series did, where the characters’ faces are blurred out to everybody but themselves, because it means that both factions immediately know who they’re fighting against, but it’s a small nitpick overall.
Kyotaro is definitely still the standout character with the lion’s share of the jokes, and the rest of the Magic Knights have yet to really carve out their own personalities. The old cast did this best during their downtime rather than in the actual battles, so hopefully we’ll get some time out of costume next episode to get to know the group and their dynamic a bit better. Once the new cast are better established I should start missing the old cast a bit less. I wonder what they’re up to now?
What have you guys watched this week? There are so many good shows this season that it’s hard to cut down on what to watch, so I’m curious what other people are sticking with and what they’ve had to leave by the wayside.