Spring 2020 First Impressions: Turning the Tide

 

No Guns Life has been postponed because COVID-19…this list is currently in progress and subject to change for the same reason. Welp, it’s times like this which are why I have the priority list.

  1. The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me?
  2. Kakushigoto
  3. Listeners
  4. Bakarina
  5. Bungou to Alchemist

  6. Wave, Listen to Me!

  7. Sing Yesterday for Me

  8. Arte

  9. Fruits Basket s2

  10. Princess Connect (not on preview list, but seems to be getting good reviews)
  11. Millionaire Detective
  12. Appare Ranman
  13. Kitsutsuki Tantei Dokoro

…and so the only hard part of this is picking 5 anime out of these (excluding Idolish7). It’s slim pickings for sure in comparison to other seasons, but there should be some gems in there…

Page jumps


Bungou to Alchemist

Guys, I might be able to see the future…Touken Ranbu, Hypnosis Mic, this: anything I find early turns to commercial gold in Japan!

…Okay, that’s a bit of a joke, and I don’t remember details from this game as much as fellow DMM Games series Touken Ranbu‘s, but (like that series) now I can have my boys from this series legally without having to wrestle with a VPN. The problem is I don’t remember which boys were the ones I relied on (outside maybe Oda Sakunosuke, who may have been my starter in the same way Kashuu was in Touken Ranbu), so I’ll see if I can remember anyone outside Akutagawa, who’s basically the face of the series (and whose hair antennae annoy me a bit).

The approach they took for the story was interesting. I specifically remember not getting my head around all the things you needed to do in the game, so seeing that it was “jumping into books to purify them” is…a bit random. 

Notes:

  • Dazai is apparently a Rare Boi, to the point where I never once saw him in the game.
  • This panel style reminds me of Masahiro Ando, he of Astra and Hanako-kun. This is not directed by him, though.

  • “Just an author, ” Akutagawa says as he swings his sword. (LOL!)

  • At least you know this is more accurate to the real author than BSD’s Dazai, because at least this Dazai is upfront about his morphine usage. (On the other hand, BSD Dazai is suicidal, which is also true about the real guy.)

  • Well, the segment at the end was cute. It’s like a sukima from Mairimashita! Iruma-kun.

  • Of course, they choose the Minotaur for the Greek-themed story. There’s no maze though…

  • I’m not 100% familiar with Run, Melos as I am with No Longer Human or The Setting Sun (the latter of which I found an English copy of at the library before coronavirus set in), but my attachment to vague memories of the game probably gives me more of a leg up than anyone else in the English-speaking world who watched it…Also, because I’m predictable, I just really like the look of Kafuu Nagai, who I found when I was trying to make a visual for a post.    

..

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Wave, Listen to Me!

Woot! Aside from the CGI, which is less than stellar but used sparingly, this could be the “adult woes” work that fills the prestigious gap left behind by Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Previous possibilities for that gap, such as ACCA and Kado, left me wanting.

Even if there is no (real) wrestling of bears, it’s full of Minare’s hometown references, so I’m going to be googling a lot – I think that’s a good thing, actually, since most anime don’t focus on places outside large urban centres (so mostly Tokyo, Osaka and/or Kyoto) and this is Hokkaido.

Notes:

  • Referring to this as “Wave” makes me think of the Miike Snow song that was tearing up the charts in 2012…(2011 – 2013 was when I started getting into the music that fills my Spotify, to the point where I can name you a bunch of songs that released then without really thinking about it.) …great, now I have Paddling Out, by the same artist, in my head. Thanks a lot, me
  • Minare supposedly starts at Mt. Sapporo to wrestle the bear, the “Naruto” guy she references is apparently a Bulgarian rikishi (a sumo wrestler – not unheard of, since I’ve heard of Mongolian sumo wrestlers before) whose name is Kotooushuu Katsunori (琴欧洲 勝紀, hence the bear going, “琴欧洲?”), the Demi Moore movie seems to be this one (or at least, Minare watches a horror movie with that name on it) and the baseball player is Shota Ono. Minare fed me a lot of clues on what to look for while I search, so I’m thankful for that.
  • Apparently “smart balance wheel” is one of those skateboard or scooter-like things with two wheels and they’re also called a “mini Segway”.

  • I want to make a “video killed the radio star” joke, but then I’ll remember The Reflection and I’ll feel bad for myself…
  • Interestingly, the subs I was using – Funimation subs, most likely – had something interesting going on. One time Minare mentions a koibito (lover) and it’s translated to “partner”. In the next-ep preview, she refers to an otoko (man) in roughly the same context and again, it becomes “partner”. The subs are not wrong, per se, but I don’t know if this is meant to be an agenda, random choice that had to be consistent or based on future manga developments, since I’ve never read the source manga.

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Sing Yesterday for Me

The sense of aimlessness that Rikuo is experiencing…even without COVID-19, I’d still feel that #Relatability to my core. “Lost opportunity” is probably a big theme for me and that only increases with current circumstances.

My only real worry about this is the possible dangling of a harem…(see Monogatari note below) 

Notes:

  • For some reason, this reminds me of Monogatari. I think it might be because Haru kind of looks like Suruga Kanbaru (who I don’t know anything about because I’ve only read the 1st LN) and to my knowledge, young girls pining after, or otherwise acting vaguely romantically towards, teens is a bit of an…unfortunate trend…in that series (even if at least one of those “young girls” – Shinobu – is much older than she looks because she’s a vampire). 
  • This makes me laugh more than Kakushigoto. That’s bad for that and good for this. One of the reasons why was that gasp Rikuo makes at one point, which I (unintentionally…?) found hilarious.
  • I wanted to use the “finally, some good f***ing food” Gordon Ramsay meme because I don’t normally take to romances, and on a more relevant note there’s the whole “Haru and Kansuke beg for bento boxes” scene, but in the end I abstained from doing so…Make of that what you will.
  • Update: This is based on a manga from 1999. So that’s why I felt like it was giving me Saiyuki Reload Blast-style throwback vibes!

..

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Arte

Arte is a fairly straightforward work – I took a peek at its first chapter through this Silent Manga Audition page, and it reveals the first episode is exactly like the first chapter. It almost has a Runway de Waratte-style feel to it – namely, it has a female protagonist working on what might be (today) considered a feminine profession, but she acts like a (stereotypical male) shonen protagonist.

Quick searching reveals Arte is seinen, from Monthly Comic Zenon, but Runway is shonen, from Weekly Shonen Magazine. It also reminds me of Nike from Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, but that has more of a romantic bent (and that’s from Hana to Yume, so it’s shoujo anyway).

Comparisons aside, this reminds me of the path I forged for myself before I found it too difficult and abandoned it…now I’m left with what I love and only that. In short: it’s good. It’s very good, in fact.

Notes:

  • …You’re wondering why I’ve never mentioned having watched Runway before? I watched the first episode with my anime club a few weeks ago. To be honest, I’m not interested in fashion (and I’m vaguely creeped out by Chiyuki’s smile), but Chiyuki’s spirit is what got my attention.
  • Rumour has it this series is based on a historical character, so it’s got a bit to live up to there.


RankingsSince I only need 5 new shows this season, the threshold is higher…(Wow, this season has a lot of good women. 2020 in general has had a much better ratio of women to men than I usually do, which I noticed when I regularly started voting in weekly Anime Trending polls.) …hey, I’m going to try something this time – all bold stuff below is a new entrant or a change in the ranks. Tell me if it’s useful.

RankingsSince I only need 5 new shows this season, the threshold is higher…(Wow, this season has a lot of good women. 2020 in general has had a much better ratio of women to men than I usually do, which I noticed when I regularly started voting in weekly Anime Trending polls.) …hey, I’m going to try something this time – all bold stuff below is a new entrant or a change in the ranks. Tell me if it’s useful.

Watching:

  • Idolish7 s2 (2 eps, already holds a position) – Apparently ep. 5 and onwards is delayed due to COVID-19, so I might even need a 7th show as a bailout measure…
  • Arte (1 ep)
  • Bakarina (1 ep)
  • Yesterday wo Utatte (1 ep)
  • Wave (1 ep)
  • Bungou to Alchemist (1 ep) – If all I’m sticking around 8th Son for is really 1 magician, this should be more than enough guys for me.
  • 8th Son (1 ep)
  • Listeners (1 ep)
  • Kakushigoto (1 ep) – Kakushigoto didn’t make me laugh much and it’s a comedy, which is why it ranks so low.

  • So how’s your experience with these shows? Did I skip anything good? (For a refresher, see the anticipated anime list here.)


    So how’s your experience with these shows? Did I skip anything good? (For a refresher, see the anticipated anime list here.)

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