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First Impressions: Autumn 2015 – Part 4

October 10, 2015

autumnanimeSo I started a new job on Tuesday, which has sort of wiped all of my time off the face of the planet……hence being massively behind all of a sudden.  I am trying to catch up but these impressions will probably be shorter as a result.

Anyway next I had had a look at:

  • Star-Mu – High School Star Musical
  • JK Meshi
  • Ame-iro Cocoa – Welcome to Rainy Colour!
  • Osomatsu-san
  • Kowabon
  • Dance with Devils
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note
  • Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation

High School Star Musical - 01Star-mu – High School Star Musical

So this was a show.  I wasn’t really expecting anything from Star-mu when I went into it as the PV looked pretty uninspired and the character designs are quite bland.  But wow.  This episode was a special experience!  From the moment we watched a purple-haired high-school boy dance about in the rain and spontaneously sprout metaphorical black angel wings, through the impromptu student council musical number (complete with dance number & swirling cherry blossoms) to the wonderful audition process and random character song PV that was stuck in for no apparent reason – Star-mu had me entertained.

Star-mu isn’t as flamboyant and pretty as something like Uta-Pri (which is the obvious comparison), but was nearly as much fun.  It also feels much more like a BL series given the complete absence of a female lead and the way our genki main boy kept stumbling into various examples of bishie stereotypes, which to be honest just makes me enjoy it more really.  Star-mu also doesn’t really seem like it is going to take itself seriously, while also being quite sincere about producing an entertaining series (and getting out as many character songs as possible from the talented cast of seiyuu).  Definitely picked up – very pleasantly surprised by how fun this was.

 

JK Meshi! - 01JK Meshi!

This was a short that I didn’t even hear about until after I’d published my Autumn preview………and I think there is a good reason for that.  This was terrible.  Really poorly animated and utterly pointless – the first few minutes were just completely random rubbish about stuff like the French Revolution!  And then the girls had some sort of tomato miso soup thing – the end. JK Meshi! kind of feels like it is just a training exercise with very little effort put in.  Dropped.

 

Ame-iro Cocoa - Rainy Color e Youkoso! - 01 Ame-iro Cocoa – Rainy Color e Youkoso!

Well this harmless, ugly little short is back and the cast seems to have doubled going by the OP.  The animation has also improved a bit, which is nice.  But yeah, this is more of the same unremarkable s’life of coffee shop life that takes no time to watch.  Nothing new here, but I’m watching it anyway.

 

Osomatsu-san - 01Osomatsu-san!

This is a series I skipped previewing because it was a revival of an old 60s show that I had no interest in.  But then I heard about the opening episode on Twitter and had to have a look myself – and I’m glad I did!  The opening episode is back to back parodies of modern anime as the characters stuggled to reinvent themselves in a desperate bid at being relevant.  Everything up to and including, Attack on Titan, Kuroko’s Basketball, Haikyuu!!, Yowamushi Pedal, UtaPri, Love Live!, Sailor Moon and Ouran Host Club, was covered and it really worked well since the seiyuu involved are all intimately acquainted with the majority of shows they were aping.

The whole thing was a big in-joke and I really enjoyed it.  The animation was actually really on-point throughout too, which weirdly made the Uta-Pri style concert scene look better than some of the similar scenes in Uta-Pri S3!  So yes this was a very surprising, very entertaining episode with a lot of effort put into it (the OP & ED were also fantastic), however it isn’t a good indicator of what the rest of the series will be like.  I enjoyed the episode on a stand alone basis, so won’t be back to watch the series proper, but yeah, good job on an attention grabbing première episode Osomatsu-san!

 

Kowabon - 01Kowabon

Well this is the other short horror show airing this season, and I wasn’t as interested in this as in Kagiwani.  It’s entirely rotoscoped, so does have the uncanny edge to it just from visuals alone, and the acting is quite realistic, but there was just nothing really unnerving about the actual episode.  I’m going to check out the next episode, but have a feeling that this just exists as a vehicle for the idols who are starring in the show.

 

Dance with Devils - 01Dance With Devils

Dance with Devils made me very happy.  I had incredibly low expectations for this simple because its coming from Rejet (Diabolik Lovers) and Brains Base (Amnesia) and the promo materials didn’t really promise much.  However this opening episode was great – it’s a musical!  From the weird Latin chanting and excellent English in the opening scene, to the heroine’s “I’m an ordinary girl walking to school” song and the Student councils “hello, we’re hot demons!” introduction song, I enjoyed the hell out of this opening episode.

It also helps that the main girl isn’t a spineless stand-in character – she has actual agency, stands up for herself, seems pretty capable and has a productive, realistic relationship with her working mother!  It’s pretty sad when I get so excited about having a reverse harem lead be an actual character, but it is way too common for these girls to be soulless doormats.

The subject matter is as ridiculous as expected – the student council are demons!  The student body contains devil-worshippers!  The heroine is targeted in relation to a mysterious grimoire! – but there is way more effort being put in than I expected.  Definitely keeping Dance with Devils on, very pleased this seems more fun than I initially expected.

 

Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note - 01Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note

This short is clearly targeted at a younger demographic and it is pretty harmless.  Basically we have our quirky bunch of kids thrown together in a cram-school and they start solving mysteries using their special talents.  It’s fine but I’m not interested in watching more.

 

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru - 01 Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru)

I have very mixed feelings about this show.  It has elements I really like – it looks decent, has an adult female who isn’t overly sexualised, a drunk or constantly bemoaning her single-status and an engaging approach to its mystery element, but it also has elements I really don’t like – Sakurako’s requiring a teenage boy as a minder, the odd choice to introduce some characters boobs first, and the choppy use of filters.

I get the feeling they’re going for with the quirky genius and the straight-laced side-kick, but it isn’t really working for Sakurako-san at the moment.  They don’t explain why she puts up with Shotarou or how they even ended up spending time together…..which makes their relationship feel a bit off and unnatural.  I mean xxxHOLiC has a similar set up with the teenaged Watanuki looking after a much older Yuuko when she’s acting like a petulant child, and being in awe of her when she’s in powerful witch mode, but the balance is right in xxxHOLiC where it just feels a bit slapdash in Sakurako-san.  Maybe things will improve once they explain their relationship a bit?

Otherwise I was pretty ambvilent towards this opening episode.  It didn’t really do much that would put me off, but didn’t really do anything that made me super keen to get the next episode either.  I’m going to give it another episode anyway, just to see if it fleshes things out a bit more, because I do like the idea of a show staring a forensic osteologist solving murder mysteries.

 

 

8 Comments leave one →
  1. A Day Without Me permalink
    October 10, 2015 3:44 pm

    Regarding Sakurako versus Yuuko – I think the difference is that had it been Yuuko who wanted to keep something that the police wished to take away, she wouldn’t’ve thrown a tantrum but would’ve handled the situation coolly. When Yuuko does behave more selfishly, too, it feels like how an adult would, and there’s always this sense of her being in full command of what is going on. Sakurako just felt like she was being a spoiled, bratty eight year old.

    • October 10, 2015 3:51 pm

      Yes! That’s it – I couldn’t quite figure out why it felt odd to me. But yeah, when Yuuko chucks a strop it’s more like she’s really teasing and playing around, whereas Sakurako just legit feels like a child being bratty and demanding.

  2. October 10, 2015 4:29 pm

    I’ll add that Sakurako-san’s problem so far is that the first episode felt less like an opportunity to characterize the cast and more of a vehicle to show them off. That mystery got what, three minutes of screentime? And what did it accomplish? Nothing other than Sakurako may be a living machine.

    • October 11, 2015 11:34 am

      Definitely not the best way to go about selling your show’s premise really.

  3. October 11, 2015 12:37 am

    I feel much the same way you did about the first episode of Sakurako. The visuals (as well as the soundtrack, incidentally) struck me as being a bit off in some way, but more to the point, the weird sexual tension between Sakurako and Shoutarou felt a little creepy. The scene where she’s explaining to him about a particular bone in the skull was actually really well-directed for the most part, and I probably would have really enjoyed it… if she hadn’t been straddling him at the same time and purposefully rubbing her finger over his face afterwards.

    Also, thank goodness someone recommended Osomatsu-san to me! I wouldn’t have watched it either – the synopsis just made it sound like some random, retro kids show – but that premiere was so good! I have no idea where the show is going to go, but even if it turns out to be absolute crap from here (and I sure hope it doesn’t), that first episode alone has made it worth it for me.

    • October 11, 2015 11:38 am

      Yeah I could have done without the uncomfortable tension between Sakurako & Shoutarou – it was completely unnecessary and put a sour note on the cooler aspect of Sakurako showing off her specialist knowledge.

      I think even if Osomatsu-san reverts to a more traditional style series, it will still be pretty cool to watch. There’s a ton of effort being put into the production, it looks like a show that the staff really want to do their best with.

  4. October 11, 2015 4:16 am

    I watched the first episode of Sakurako-san and the only thing I genuinely liked is the visuals (which is still has its own problems since the first part of that episode is too bright). Sakurako is an interesting character but the way the series portrayed her felt cold and distant for me. Not to mention the formulaic mystery format of the premiere.

    Uhm.. at least, it isn’t boring? I don’t know.

    Yes. I am going to pick Osomatsu and Star Mu.

    • October 11, 2015 11:41 am

      The visuals in Sakurako-san were a bit all over the place. Some over use of filters, some weird camera angles, over saturation in places, the characters not quite gelling with the backgrounds in others…….just felt like there were some issues to be ironed out. Over all it looks pretty nice though, and there is enough to interest me in checking out another episode at least…..so there is that.

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