Fall 2014: Other Shows Roundup 1

So here are some things I’ve watched that I didn’t feel needed dedicated posts, mostly because I don’t have nearly as many words to say about them. I haven’t watched everything this season, I’m ignoring sequels like Log Horizon 2 because I never finished the first season (not because it was horrible, mind you.) and other stuff I either haven’t gotten around to, or it doesn’t look like my thing. Oh, and there’s one show by Sunrise that doesn’t exist, it’s weird.

Garo! Episodes 1+2

Garo started out fairly strong with the first episode, a dark fantasy type affair with a really awesome fight scene and well written, and well directed exposition. Unfortunately the second episode was a step downwards from my perspective. There’s nothing hugely wrong with the production- it just doesn’t feel as strong as it could be. The writing is good and remained good in episode 2, there doesn’t seem to be anything glaringly off about the plot. The answer could be that its generic, which wouldn’t be completely unfair (evil vizier that betrays the king, causing the noble prince and the chosen commoner to join forces? Shocker!) but my answer would be the directing, and maybe the music. There simply isn’t any punch to any of the dialogue or the cinematography. It shows stuff because that’s the context, but for the most part, the second episode felt mostly lifeless. Oh well. The action is pretty good though… at least, on a technical level. The choreography isn’t as good as, say, Fate/Stay Night, but the set pieces and the designs of the horrors tend to make that less of a problem. It’s also true that it’s animated well, you can tell what’s going on and it just looks… good, but again, the directing lacks weight as far as I’m concerned. The issue might be more complex than that, I might just be trying to pin the blame so to speak, so I’ll give this another episode or two, so I can figure out what my problem with the show is.

Oh noooo we'reeee spiniiiiiiing slooooowly...

The Fruit of Grisaia Episodes 1+2

On the surface, this show doesn’t look like anything more than your standard harem anime. But this anime has a key factor that, for me, makes it worth watching regardless of quality- pretentiousness. At the very least, when the show wants to be serious, it seems to want to be taken seriously. It does this very rarely however, except scenes where the show points out “SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!” Such as the end of the first episode are clear standouts. This school is HIDING SOMETHING, our protagonist has A DARK PAST and all the girls are likely closet psychopaths.

As for the rest of the show… it’s well animated and directed. Some of the humour works for me, even if unintentional, and I’m genuinely curious to see where the show could go. Mostly because a train wreck is always fun. The lead is also fairly interesting, mostly in his hyper competence, not just in his intelligence and his physical ability, but in the way he interacts with these girls who otherwise fit all the usual stereotypes. The emptiness of this six student school is well conveyed, the set up is interesting, it’s executed fairly well. None of that will likely be enough to make something like this good, (could use less panty shots, for one on the checklist.) but I’m enjoying my time with the show right now.

No really I'm serious. Screw this show, I'm going to audition as stunt double in Akame Ga Kill

Gugure! Kokkuri-San Episodes 1+2

The first episode was really good. It was funny and also very poignant, and I felt that almost all aspects of the production worked well. The second episode kept up the humour, it also had a poignant scene of its own (though not quite as strong) unfortunately the second episode also introduced Inugami, a dog spirit whose obsession with Kohina is… too unsettling for even Kokkuri’s self awareness to save. The best part of the humour is how it builds off of the character’s inherent loneliness. Kohina lives alone (although she is somewhere around 8 years old?) and refers to herself as a doll. She honestly puts Rei Ayanami to shame in that regard. It’s implied that this is a self defence mechanism for her loneliness. The fox spirit she summons, Kokkuri, is also lonely since he hasn’t been worshiped to for a long time, and has no friends otherwise. The way their two, completely opposite personalities play off of each other is a real treat as Kokkuri desperately tries to break Kohina’s shell. Inugami is a dog spirit, also lonely due to how he was abandoned. As a result, he’s a character who, in theory, fits with the pair quite well. Unfortunately, his creepiness dragged the episode down for me somewhat. While similar jokes are made at Kokkuri’s expense, as he also seems a bit too concerned with Kohina’s well being, the first episode had her call the police on him for far less than Inugami gets away with, not to mention he has far purer intentions. Inugami, however, is very much your typical stalker. I absolutely recommend this show, but Inugami’s character may have been a miscalculation on the writer’s part.

The show's genuinely poignant philosophy in a nutshell.

Inou Battle in Everyday Life Episode 1+2

This show is more charming than funny, although its charm is a fair bit different to Kokkuri-San’s. There’s a general optimism and pleasantness to the show about regular school kids gaining super powers and deciding to simply have fun with them that makes it enjoyable to watch, even when most of the humour mostly comes up a miss for me. The first episode was funnier than the second, largely due to how it mocked some shonen and harem tropes, whereas the second episode was a largely straight-faced rom-com misunderstanding that really grated on me. Until the ending, where he had to confess his misunderstanding to Kudou. The last few minutes of the episode played themselves straight, but the tedious and grating episode thankfully redeemed itself thanks to some solid writing and character interaction. I’m not sure where the show is going, honestly, because it could either continue as a standard highschool comedy or become more shonen-like when the villain foreshadowed at the end of the first episode decides to make an appearance. The direction the series takes will likely hinge upon weather his involvement will be a short arc or the backbone of the entire plot. Hopefully, it will be a fun watch either way, though personally speaking the shonen route would be more appealing to me, though of course the characters are more important than the overt genre trappings. Fingers crossed I guess?

Everyone is sick to death of the MC, except they actually love him.

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