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Winter 2015: First Impressions – Tokyo Ghoul 2, Saekano Heroine no Sodatekata and Assassination Classroom

January 9, 2015

winter anime smallAnother batch of shows, and another few shows to fire on the dropped pile.  Time for man eating monsters, fandom-pandering tripe and wannabe child assassins – Tokyo Ghoul √A, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend and Assassination Classroom.

Tokyo Ghoul √A

I have to say that I was really looking forward to this season since the final episode of s1 gave us a taste of how good Tokyo Ghoul can be.  However I found this first episode of s2 lacking.  Kaneki is the emotional core of the series and this episode really didn’t spend enough time focused on him – instead we get a whole lot of little snippets of how the side characters are fairing in the fight with Aogiri Tree.  It doesn’t really do much to draw you back into the world or give you much reason to care what’s going on.

Also the outcome of the battle is completely different to how it ended in the manga, so this season is definitely going off into AU territory, but it appears that the original mangaka has been credited with the story so I’m not really super worried (especially given how the manga ended with one of the worst cliffhangers ever).  Regardless I’m interested to see how the anime does things.

In terms of production I wasn’t overly impressed with the rather lacklustre OP we’ve gotten this time – it is super boring and has a rather dull song to boot, what a massive disappointment after the rather beautiful visuals and music we got in S1.  There was no real flair in the direction during the actual episode either – kind of felt like they were just rushing through things to get the fight ended ASAP.  It was all rather by-the-numbers with just enough effort put in to avoid things looking half-assed.  Again a bit of a disappointment given how good the final episode of S1 was.

Despite the rather uninspired start I am still very interested in Tokyo Ghoul and I’m definitely keeping it on – just hope it picks up next week.

Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata)

Well this week we got the teaser for this series – an “Episode 00” to give us an indication of what we’re in for with this latest A-1 Pictures x Noitamina show. And I for one have had enough – there is no way I’m watching any more of this gimmicky show.  Just because you are hyper aware of anime tropes and keep referencing them, does not really disguise the fact you are yet another shitty harem fanservice show with an otaku self-insert male lead Saekano!  I suppose I can say that at least there is some attempt being made here to be different, but the show is just too smug about itself and that immediately turns me off.  I mean it has a cast that are spouting lines that most self-proclaimed anime critics tend to come out with, but these are cute girls who are in varying stages of undress throughout the episode.  The fanservicey visuals have absolutely nothing to do with the dialogue and the show just feels shallow as a result.

On the plus side at least this time I can say “at least it looks pretty”, because A1-Pictures are pretty good at churning out glossy looking, but soulless, shows at this stage.  It is a polished looking product, but it does make me weep a bit to think something this gimmicky and shallow is airing in Noitamina – truly we can no longer use that timeslot as a gauge for quality.

I won’t be picking up the main series after this episode.

Assassination Classroom

This was okay.  The premise seems pretty straightforward and primed for wacky assassination fun, but there was just something missing to hook me in.  I think it may actually be the character design that’s not really doing much for me – because I am exceptionally shallow about these things.  I do like the idea of a bunch of kids being trained to assassinate a weird tentacle monster capable of destroying the earth, but who wants to play at being a school teacher for some reason, while said tentacle monster simultaneously ends up being the best teacher the kids have ever had.  There is loads of potential in that set-up, but it is also prime for becoming super repetitive and boring.

As I said I’m not massively keen on the character design, and it is clear there isn’t a giant budget for this show.  It does try to do as much as possible with its meagre funds, but there is no hiding the cost cutting in the backgrounds and animation.  On the upside, the cast is pretty decent – enjoyed Jun Fukuyama as Koro-sensei, he nails the quicksilver mood changes.

So not really a terrible show, but not really great either.  I’m not watching more since I have more than enough on my watching list right now, but I may go back to the series at some stage if I hear good things.

 

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