First Impressions: Winter 2016 – Part 2
Okay moving on – can’t say I’m massive fan of the majority of these, but whatever.
- Divine Gate
- Koukaku no Pandora (Pandora in the Crimson Shell)
- Sekkou Boys
- GATE S2
- Oshiete! Galko-chan
- Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
- Dagashi Kashi
- Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation
Well this was much angstier than I was prepared for. I came here expecting a superpowered, multicoloured romp and ended up with a tale of parental neglect, depression and murder……what? It is especially confusing given the highly stylised, gamey look of the show and all the superpowered teenagers. Somehow I doubt Divine Gate will dive further into Aoto’s bleak past beyond maybe bringing his brother back as an antagonist or something, so I’m fully expecting the series to shift gears into a more typical shounen adventure, but this was certainly an attention grabbing opening episode.
I’m not sure if I’ll stick with Divine Gate – I did like the visual style of the show, but there is no real escaping its game roots since it feels all style and not much substance. I’m going to give it another couple of episodes before I decide.
Koukaku no Pandora (Pandora in the Crimson Shell)
Robot loli’s sticking their hands in crotch-hatches aside, this was a really strange feeling episode. The style and comedy felt super dated in a strange way, and while that was kind of refreshing it was also all sorts of “not my thing”. Kokaku no Pandora has all these weird fetishy things going on with the nekomimi, meidos and doll joints, but somehow manages to avoid feeling too skeevy (I’m not entirely sure how it managed that) since it has quite a lot of comedy. It it a very odd kind of show. I’m certainly not interested in watching any more myself, but I’m sure it will appeal to some.
Former art-school student sick of being forced to draw sculptures, joins entertainment agency as a talent manger and ends up stuck with the newest idol unit made up of classical sculptures voiced by some top-class seiyuu. This short is fecking weird. And brilliant. And weird. There isn’t much to it, but I kind of admire how they’ve made inanimate objects so full of character purely from lighting and voice-work.
I’m going to love watching this.
Well we start off the new season with an abused bunny girl being raped and it just continues on from there, peppering the episode with manipulative politicking, one-sided firefights and redlight district prostitutes……why did I watch the first season of this show again?
I suppose they wanted to kick the new season off with some more sensational material, but I just found it all very unsavoury and don’t think I’m really up for watching more of the show if it’s going to continue in this sensational manner.
Well this short didn’t turn out anything like I expected. Instead of a show about girls with vastly different interests chatting over tea and cake about nothing in particular, instead we get a show about girls with vastly different interests talking about boobs, butts and pubic hair! Also slut shaming.
Well it was different, but there is no way I’m watching more of it.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Well this was by a clear mile the best episode of the new season, and I don’t think anything else will come anywhere near to beating it to that cravat. This was double length episode, which was apparently an edited version of the OVA that came out last year (and never got subtitled), so it does benefit from having more time to introduce the characters and setting. But even with that advantage the pacing was a bit choppy in this episode since it isn’t really clear how much time is being covered – but that is a very minor criticism of an otherwise wonderful episode.
I was really impressed that they opted to put in an entire rakugo performance, but I’m so pleased they did. I was concerned that the very subtle art of rakugo performance would go entirely over my head since I don’t understand Japanese, but so much of the storytelling is in the body language and vocal tone of the performer, that it easy to appreciate the skill involved even if some of the nuance of the story is lost in translation.
This series will be a real test of the skill of the seiyuu and animators, but so far they look to be more than up to the challenge – Akira Ishida, Tomokazu Seki and Yuu Kobayashi all turn in stellar performances. Studio DEEN may not have the best reputation, but they’ve put out such a gorgeous show here – the details in the period backgrounds, the expressive body language and atmospheric lighting all make this show the best looking of the season so far.
I am so excited for the rest of this show, I’m already completely invested in the characters personal drama. What a stunning opening episode!
As far as bog standard romcom’s go Dagashi Kashi is a pretty good example. It’s got a nice balance of quirky and cute and is good for light viewing and a giggle. The dad and the sweets obsessed oujo-sama are what really make the show (although I did also get a giggle out of the put-upon MC-kun being called ‘coconuts’).
The show isn’t going to stun you with its animation quality, but it is at least consistent looking (still don’t like the way the eyes are drawn though), and the voice acting is good. If you’re looking for a decent romcom to fill some time with this season, this is probably your best bet. I’ll probably not bother with any more of it myself though.
Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation
Hello video game advertisement! They couldn’t even be bothered to set the entire show in the game, instead we just watch the characters attending Sega Branded Highschool play the game themselves…..fascinating. This episode was just following our perfectly bland MC about as he goes about his daily life being perfectly adequate at everything but not especially talented at anything. Until he logs into the titular MMORPG though – who would be surprised to learn he’s super talented at gaming!?
This bored me to tears, I can’t see what anyone would get out of watching this show unless you’re already clued into the game it’s selling. Dropped.