Autumn 2013: First Impressions – Yowamushi Pedal and Tokyo Ravens
Yay shounen sports anime! And this one is off to a much better start than Ace of Diamond thankfully. Yowamushi Pedal has the basic sports anime formula down – atypical character with unpolished potential in whatever sport joins established team/club and training/competition entertainment ensues. In this case our lead character is a massive otaku who bikes 45km to and from Akihabara to save precious money for more otaku goods, and like most geeks has absolutely no desire to deal with any sports clubs. I can’t say I much like the lead character, he’s a bit weak and not all that memorable, but the side characters definitely seem interesting. This first episode ticked all the right boxes and progressed in a solid, well balanced manner – definitely off to an excellent start.
In terms of production there is some CG on the cycling scenes, but it’s not glaringly obvious and actually works pretty well. The character designs may not be Kuroko no Basuke levels of bishie-ness, but they are at least visually interesting with lots of variety. The voice acting is also great, and the OP & ED work well. Definitely keeping this on for the time being, it has lots of potential to be great.
While hardly bad, this first episode wasn’t exactly thrilling. I did like how they set the world up, giving us glimpses of the way things are without info-dumping excessively. But there is no getting away from the fact that this is well worn ground and nothing about Tokyo Ravens really felt new or fresh to me. In the shows defence it does put some effort into giving the characters a bit of depth before launching them into the action, but it is standard stuff accompanied by a metric ton of blushing. The only thing that was really memorable is that this is the first show this season with an actual kiss in it – we’ve had loads of ecchi fanservice, but this is the first kiss!
The production is decent, (but the blushing was really odd looking most of the time) and the voice acting is actually really good. I also quite liked the OP & ED, but ultimately Tokyo Ravens is rather forgettable. A better first episode than Strike the Blood, but I’m still not motivated to keep this on – dropped.