One of my pet peeves in anime is how not in sync some walking animation is with the background, which immediately shows it’s two separate layers rather than one coherent picture.
Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou
Unremarkable is probably the best way to say it. As the title suggested, it’s about an apartment that’s full of yokai, and an unfortunate highschooler who stumbled into the said complex. The first episode is quite predictable without any major twists, and somehow the rather dated character design took away from the relaxing tone it’s trying to invoke. Everything about it is so unremarkable that I can’t help but wonder if this is a deliberate bait and switch waiting to happen. It’s not bad, and I could see this being a comfortable show once the mood is right, but as of right now everything is just so mundane. The visual, the sound, the story, and even the jokes if there was any. The only highlight occurs in the credit when you see the likes of Joseph/DIO/Yoshikage voiced the birds instead of more important characters.
Hype Level: 2/5
Koi to Uso
If those gigantic eyes aren’t an immediate giveaway, this show feels a lot like a shoujo “love trumps all external barriers” romance within the first episode. The idea of government controlled marriage is a really lazy and artificial way to present external resistance, while giving a lot of justification for potential NTR scenarios. This is what this entire first episode feels like, the “overly naive and bad at being cutesy happy ending” set up in your typical NTR stories. Yes there’s confession and kiss already, but with that come on this early obviously it won’t be the focus. Not once was I excited about their relationship, since the shallow and tropey buildup didn’t gave me any interest in them, and so far the characters are both really embarrassing as well. That said, barring some personal discomfort in the facial design, it does look decent with clean and vibrant lines and colours.
Hype Level: 3/5
I had the biggest silly grin on my face throughout this first episode. It’s amazing how a simple comfy twist on a well established fantasy genre can bring some really nice feeling to the set up. I would imagine most of the story content will be about the adventurers and powerful figures as they reached the restaurant and the tales they told there. At the same time it’s unfortunate that the food themselves don’t elicit hunger, after our expectation of the standard has been raised so high up in recent years. The first episode was really calm, yet there are a few character nuances that brought a smile to my face. Everything looks clean and smooth here, which further enhances the atmosphere. While it may not be extremely eye-catching in its art for an iyashikei series, there’s enough potential in its setup for it to be a nice show. People tend to relax when having good food, and it’s during these unwinding moments that allows colourful characters to shine. This isn’t Dungeon Meshi, far from it. However it can still shine in its own way.
Hype Level: 4/5
Nana Maru san batsu
Sometimes I just can’t help but wonder if they can ever run out of different activities to focus on. For something that could easily be as engaging as Chihayafuru in terms of speed and knowledge show off, this first episode failed to fire on any cylinders. The way it tried to build tension on those fast finger quiz contests is just so cookie-cutter, and without suitable hype music they just feel deflated. The biggest culprit being the atrocious voice acting from the female lead that just drags down the entire episode with it. I seriously don’t expect anything to improve later on. It’s not completely horrendous and does have some nice premise to play with, but the execution shown in the first episode just left a lot to be desired.
Hype Level: 2/5
Compared to a certain swimming anime, this one feels a lot more focused on the club aspect. The first episode is an odd mashup between the fate of diving club, recollection on the first diving breakthrough, sport aspiration, and this lingering oddball romance (non-)issue. There’s a certain carefree attitude hidden behind the sluggish behaviour, and if done well the tone of the rest of this show could feel swifter now with a clearer goal and focus than this first episode. When it displays the diving segments, the animation is smooth but not quite spectacular enough to catch my attention, and so far it hasn’t yet gone into the technical side much either. Without either there to capture imagination, I didn’t feel any thrill watching this new topic of sports. I have a feeling that this first episode doesn’t really do the series justice if it’s to be improved later on. That said, there’s one character that annoys the **** out of me throughout the second half with retarded attempts at jokes.
Hype Level: 3/5
For a highschool light romantic drama, this is rather unassuming. Instead of the convenient store being the focus, it is presented more as a focal points for all those little relationship stories. It’s another series that can easily be a typical live action drama without any hitch. The scenarios aren’t anything memorable, but with so many relationships being teased it would be surprising to not find one that you may like, so the issue is whether the other ones are downsides or just intermissions. The way they teased the episode title may make it become a one year story with 12 episodes each representing a month, so there is going to be some distance covered. The art is dull, and there are bad character placements once again in this one. The character design leans more toward the prettyboy/girl live action look without going too far out. I don’t think there will be any big surprises here, so this should be a safe bet for a comfy romance series if anything.
Hype Level: 3/5
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
Calling it weird would do it a disservice, because it’s just so absurd and bizarre. Live action tokusatsu replacing the typical school idol formula, and somehow with less shitty insert songs it felt somewhat more genuine. On top of that the OP is done in a truly remastered 80s anime style. It’s extremely awkward, but when it goes for the emotional scenes they all happen to work wonderfully. In some way, it reminds me of the shoddy nature of the early episodes of Samurai Flamenco before that escalates to greater things. It’s embarrassing, yet quite earnest. Unfortunately though, the animation bugs me a tonne throughout this episode with its awkward loop and horrendous placements. The voice acting wasn’t too flash either, which detracts from the experience. The set up is hokey, the characters pretty shallow at the moment, and what they are doing is so low budget and fake. It shouldn’t work at all, but somehow it just clicked with me. Now the important question is, will they be able to maintain this for the next 3 months? Will this be the Locodol version of Samumenco?
Hype Level: 4/5
Saiyuuki Reload Blast
It’s been ages since I watched the last Saiyuuki series, and by the time I watch this first episode all I remembered are the basic concept and the base characteristics of the main quartet. 4 pretty boys, with 3 being the retainers of the last one, on a roadtrip to the west on a car. The mini “conflict” presented in this episode is rather shallow and heavy-handed, but as a trigger for the character reactions to the said conflict it managed to remind us of the established characterisations nicely. Overall it looks clean and smooth, again without being too spectacular, with the character design not deviating much from what I remembered from years back. It is just that reminiscent of the early 2000s style, but itself was one of the more stylish series back then so they still hold up really well. While I don’t really have much expectations on the story onward, it does feel really nostalgic to be seeing those 4 again. That said, I’m not sure how long the said nostalgia will last if the story doesn’t improve soon.
Verdict: Banking on Nostalgia at the moment
Retarded. This show is retarded. 4x3min shorts combined into a 12mins episode. Aoi Yuuki going berserk, Sugita going full tsukkomi, things are the best when the voice actors can just act their natural self. On top of that, Angela singing crazy songs again. This is infuriating and hilarious at the same time in ways that I didn’t know was possible, to the point that those violent acts actually feel cathartic. As postnote, my head got stuck with this banana song right after.
Verdict: Banana banana banana terracotta pie
Another cute multi-pairing romance, with this one more heavy on the comedy and the cute interactions. With the short format, every little vignette feels quite punchy and to the point. It didn’t waste any time trying to smooth out transition, and instead just leave it as 4 individual mini-stories. It feels quite lively and some pairs progress faster than others. This entire thing is just too sweet.
Verdict: loved it
Compare to Koi to Uso, this one feels a lot more twisted, a lot more sadistic. From the start we get a clear impression that the character relationship is a total mess. It’s titillating, yet somewhat overwhelmed by this haunting tone as well. Like a certain polarising show from the Winter Season, this 10 min short can really go anywhere depending on the quality of the writing.
Verdict: Mana Transferring in Process
- 1/5: N/A
- 2/5: Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou, Nana Maru san batsu
- 3/5: Koi to Uso, DIVE!!, Konbini Kareshi
- 4/5: Isekai Shokudou, Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
- 5/5: N/A
As you may have noticed, this batch is full of romance series. Before I spin my narrative into how everything is about love for something, it’s surprising how the sincere effort in AHCF stood out the most. I love it so much when a series came out of nowhere and surprised me.