This is going to be the surprise upset of the season…
As the title reveals, although I finished the seasonal posts having basically decided Ankoku Hakaishin (A Destructive God Sits Next to Me) was the shoo-in for the final open position – having already solidly chosen Eizouken, ID: Invaded and Magia Record before it – I chose Uchitama for the final spot.
Ankoku Hakaishin is the most consistent in getting me to laugh (so it’s the lowest-risk choice, which is why I was going to pick it). Its major problem is that it’s quite similar to Iruma-kun, which already holds a position, because it’s a straight man playing off a bunch of weirdoes with the occasional greatness (see: German suplex). The two also have a tendency to dip into heart-warming territory to change things up and while Ankoku Hakaishin does a great Animal Crossing parody and unintentionally (?) has a girl that looks like she wandered out of Aikatsu, Iruma-kun has far more backing it – namely, the entire season’s leg up it has against its competition.
The aesthetic is on-point and the ED basically summons Ranpo Kitan to 2020. Let me tell you that.
Hanako-kun probably shows the most promise outside being a comedy, since it has Nene’s romantic shenanigans as well as the inventive way it plays with the supernatural element with the apparitions. However, as a comedy, it’s clearly still trying to get to the same heights – it might even be argued to be rushing on that front. The biggest problem I have with it is that it does a fake-out next-episode segment to buy time for the real one, although episode 2 explains that Nene does these fakeout segments because she’s the one spreading the rumours to save the (good) apparitions…or, at least, that’s how I took it.
I still find Momo and Bull’s one-sided romance weird and somewhat unpalatable – as Bull himself points out in the second episode, it’s a romance between a cat and a dog and a dog can’t suddenly become a cat.
However, its comedy became stronger because I realised I actually really liked Bull’s personality and character design as a “human”, even if his chuuni shtick is duplicated with Hanadori and co. in Ankoku Hakaishin and, even worse, the doggo only stops his chuuni habits when facing Momo, in which case he becomes lovestruck.
In exchange for that, I’ve decided this is the anime with the biggest “mood swings” of the three – it pivots somewhere between heartwarming, comedic and occasionally sad. The segmented nature of the show means you can’t predict which emotions you’ll get, so it’s the choice with the highest risk but also highest reward if the chosen emotion/s land (such as payoff for the “Solitary God of Destruction” intro teased over the 2 episodes). However, it is mostly comedic, surprisingly not that soothing for an (arguable?) SoL and not very sad.
Aside from that, two other major factors in making me choose it are the strategic use of animal vs. “human” forms – a mother cat is depicted at one point with babies at her side and she’s not shown in “human” form, but on the other hand Bull’s “human” form, with the rose petals around him, is what makes the aforementioned intro so great – and the Japanese-themed ED for episode 2, which not only demonstrates the visual prowess of the MAPPA x Lapin Track duo (even moreso than the rest of the anime, you could say!) but also has manservice. Lots and lots of manservice…and if you’ve been around here for a while, you know I can’t win against that.
Sidebar: As an example of how the animal vs. “human” forms thing works for humour, there’s a segment in episode 2 which is just weirdness – namely, two of the dogs discuss boobs and nipples, mostly cat/dog ones, while a cat chases a butterfly. You know the characters are dogs (+ 1 cat) and no one ever comments on the cat’s shenanigans, so it goes from “ew, ecchi!” to “LOL, how absurd is this show?!”. It has to be seen to be believed, so I’m not going to reveal everything about it, but suffice to say it’s very silly…
…not to mention I never thought I’d get Ume talking about boobs, much less Ume voicing a dog who is talking about them.
So there you have it. If Eizouken, ID: Invaded and Magia Record don’t work out (I expect that they will), then I know my backup choices will be good enough…which is something I don’t think I’ve said, ever.
So if you’re watching all 3 anime (or just 1 or 2), then do you agree with what I’ve said? There’s no such decision as a bad decision in this case…
except if I end up regretting my other choices enough that I have to switch for my own sanity’s sake.