Spring 2012: First Impressions (Fate/Zero S2, Mysterious Girlfriend X & Kuroko’s Basketball)
Three posts in one day? What is this witchcraft!? I actually just really needed to watch something decent to restore my faith in the anime industry – so now we have battling heroes, drooling girls and serious sports…….Fate/Zero S2, Mysterious Girlfriend X and Kuroko’s Basketball.
Since Fate/Zero was a massive troll and hit pause right before it started what should have been it’s mid-season climatic battle, season two presses the play button again and we’re right back into the action. And it was glorious. Sure Caster’s giant squid monster could have been a bit more threatening, as it is it seems more like a behemoth that is difficult to kill rather than a terrifying threat, but Caster was never really the draw of this series. Rather it’s watching the other servants & masters fighting around the chaos Caster causes that is what really made me excited about this episode. Highlight had to be Gil’s fabulous gold UFO Vs Berserker’s hijacked fighter jet – awesome!
Production quality is still as good as it ever was and I really liked the new Kalafina OP. The new ED is also great, although the animation suggests that the focus of this half of the story is going to switch more to Kiritsugu……which I suppose I should have expected since Saber is meant to be the main character. I do hope that Rider, Waver & Gil get more screen time though – they are easily the best characters.
Excited to have Fate/Zero back – lets hope the Grail War continues to thrill.
Mysterious Girlfriend X (Nazo no Kanojo X)
I’m pretty impressed with how well this show has turned out – rather than the generic romcom it could have been, they’ve stuck close to the manga material and given us the kooky story I was hoping for. All the usual elements are here, but there is just enough of a spin put on things to make this a very entertaining watch. The whole drool element is presented in a fascinatingly squicky manner – so much attention is paid to making that drool as gloopy as possible – it’s slightly nauseating, but at the same time you can’t help but watch. The characters are also interesting – the male lead is pretty bland, but he’s very earnest in his blandness, and he was never going to be able to match up to the quirkiness of Urabe – she is a wonderful character, refreshingly different from most female leads, yet still somewhat believable. The whole episode just has this great atmosphere to it – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
The direction and animation are a large part of why I enjoyed this episode so much. The director is also doing Space Bros this season, but he doesn’t seem to be favouring one show over the other. Things are presented in a visually interesting manner in this show – I particularly liked the dream sequences and the dated feel to the character designs. The voice acting is natural sounding – no helium fueled performances or excessive shouting, just natural flowing conversations in a normal tone. The music is nicely done – although I’m not overly fussed on the ED.
Mysterious Girlfriend X just feels like something a bit different, and I really like that – will be keeping on.
Kuroko’s Basketball (Kuroko no Basuke)
Okay shounen sports anime time! I actually really enjoyed this – which is kind of unsurprising given my innate weakness for shounen shows (and their tendency to be filled with BL shipping opportunities). It was a fairly run of the mill opening episode, but introduced the characters and set up the aim of the show well – nice to have the characters be fairly grounded and their abilities aren’t too exaggerated, which is always a potential issue with sports anime (looking at you Prince of Tennis). The set up here is simple, our main character is pretty remarkable in his unremarkableness, and he’s brilliant at getting the ball to where it needs to be to make his team shine – the story will emphasis the importance of working as a team and not judging a book by it’s cover……and also there will be tons of BL undertones. And I shall enjoy it!
There isn’t much directorial flair on display in this episode, it’s very simply but competently animated and presented. Voice acting is fine, and I liked the music choices and the OP (not fussed on the ED).
Keeping this on, but I do hope that it doesn’t drag on and on – about 26 episodes would be perfect for this show.