Spring 2017 First Ep Impressions – Part 2

This is where I ramble about the current status of the new season and complain about the backlog and apologise for the lateness. On another note, this batch is fantastic.

Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism

It’s not the most innovative setup, having a team of combat experienced girls as “heads” of the discipline department to fight the one new male protagonist. Yet at the same time this setup just flows so well over here, with just enough carefree behaviour from the protagonist to keep things trucking along. It feels like a free flowing story with emphasis on the fighting, and the premise is giving a decent platform to it. Some odd choices of possible humour, but that quickly resolves to more of a lead into exposition. There’s good use of mid range shots and technique nameplates during the action sequences. They portrayed the technicality of the fighting style well without boggle down onto it too much. The clashes all feel satisfying and demonstrated the weight and speed to the viewers. I also really like the OP with its use of oriental music and quick satisfying cuts. So far the characterisation and interactions feel quite good even if it’s not high level writing. If it’s just a means to showcase lots of those different fighting styles then I’m fine with it.

Hype Level: 4/5


Clockwork Planet

Bland combat, inconsistent character art, detailed gears, interesting music and sound design, really stupid dialogue and plot so far. It just feels like the studio just doesn’t pay attention to this show as much as it should. The protagonist’s quirk is handed to you like a brick thrown, and all the other characters are shallow and uninteresting so far. When the initial setting is of a clockwork one, it’s a shame that it’s still resorting to the tiring modern urban layout instead of cyberpunk aesthetics. While I do like the presentation during the windup sequence, it’s not good enough to compensate for the other low quality content around it. Having said that, the music is really fun to listen to. It says something when the most memorable scene is a pointless fanservice one.

Hype Level: 2/5


Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

This show relies too much on the chibi bishi gags that I feel like it would be a lot more interesting if it’s an all girl cast. The lineup is unabashedly ticking through the checklist of the usual bishonen tropes. The actual delivery of the skits have decent timing, but they mostly revolve around how the douche is actually a nice guy, to the point of sickening. On the flipside, the teacher/student interactions were decently done despite not feeling magical about the progression. The episode itself doesn’t look polished either, being really rough around the edges, dull colors, and a severe lack of stylistic direction. It’s quite dull overall really. It’s a safe setup that gives plenty of rooms for feel-good character story, but to me it just ticks off plenty of warning signs without having any magic to convince me otherwise. Could still be good later on, but not enthralled at all right now.

Hype Level: 2/5


Renai Bouken

When the premise is this stupid and absurd, the best way to approach it is the machinegun approach. The twists and turns come fast and swift, and it just doesn’t let up in this first episode. While graphically speaking it doesn’t look flash at all, there’s enough little touches in the storyboard and visual gags to make up for it. It’s just so fun when one major character flips her appearance completely, and the added dynamism enhances the visual comedy by quite a lot. After the initial slow start it just exploded from half way through, and I can’t stop laughing since. Yes it will be a light harem comedy similar to Seto no Hanayome, and I would love for more of that. The only concern is of it front-loading all the jokes early, and that it relies on the novelty of the character comedy. However with the setup established in this episode, there still plenty of room for it to manoeuvre itself in. Funniest new show so far for sure.

Hype Level: 4/5


Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records

Battle harem? Battle harem. We are entering a phase where the stories are basically self aware of the tropes it’s doing, and this show is no exception. The behaviour of the protagonist is so peculiar that I have a great suspicion of putting up an act, but for unknown reason so far. There are plenty of mysteries surrounding this pathetic protagonist, but it has yet to give us a reason to care about him so far. Having the protagonist as a teacher does also give a different platform for interaction with other characters. I love the editing in the first half where they juxtapose the scenes from the councillor’s room and the classroom for comedy. It’s fairly self-deprecating humour overall, but at the same time it means there isn’t a sense of satisfaction at the end of the episode. Could turn out interesting based on those questions laid out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it retreads the usual route later on. Will observe ep 2 to monitor changes.

Hype Level: 3/5


Sakura Quest

Unfortunately for me, the introduction of this episode is just “too real for me”, to the point that I feel a somewhat unwarranted attachment to the show straight up. Luckily for me, the colourful energetic support cast makes this one an easy series to latch onto. It’s yet another tourism focused show on a remote town, with the rebuilding as a main theme. Its whimsical nature just adds to its own charm, and its silliness makes it swift and light throughout. It’s unavoidable to compare it with Shirobako, especially in the similarity in design of the protagonist, but this one starts out small with hopefully more buildup in the subsequent episodes. It’s another show that’s farcical yet adorable, and the final sentimental moment gave it enough weight to the absurd setup. It’s not too serious at the moment, and that’s what I really like about it.

Hype Level: 4/5


Sakurada Reset

I sometimes really like thrillers, just by how much they engage you and grab your attention without letting go. Going into this show blind means I was rather surprised by the turn of events. Yes this isn’t a romance, but more akin to a supernatural mystery with clearly established rules straight up. With two damaged protagonists that felt really detached, it feels like the show is holding off some cards from the viewers. I quite like the altruism vs hypocrisy discussion that establishes the character theme early. With 2-cour material for 7 LN volumes, there are plenty of time to build up those characters. The muted colours, subdued animation and that timely string instrument at the moment of climax also add to the feeling of unease. I’m really excited after that final bombshell, and how this story utilises the established rules to maximise the drama.

Hype Level: 5/5


Tsuki ga Kirei

There’s this stream of warmth throughout this entire episode as we follow two young kids slowly fall in love with each other. It’s so innocent and pure that I just want to hug them both if not cheer for them. Things are going slow so far, but there’s enough evidence that progress is being made. I did get a chuckle in a particular scene where the character wants to show off. The calm voice acting, soft piano score and with the visual style shared great similarity with Hourou Musuko, they all add onto the overall gentle atmosphere of the show itself. However the differences in shading method made the CGI crowds stand out a lot more alongside the pastel art style, but those are used fairly sparingly in the crowded school scenes. I just love the liberal use of white outline highlights on the characters. This is really soothing and devoid of cynicism, and I have this massive grin on my face throughout. The LINE sponsorship is fairly blatant though, but that just makes it more amusing.

Hype Level: 5/5


The IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Theaters

Composed Takumin. Agitated Takumin. Excited Takumin. Berserk Takumin. Satisfied Takumin. I love this show.


Summary

  1. (N/A)
  2. Clockwork Planet, Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine
  3. Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records
  4. Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, Sakura Quest
  5. Sakurada Reset, Tsuki ga Kirei

Second batch in, and already 2 more shows that I’m extremely excited about. This season is going to be so fun.

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