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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fall 2017 Anime First Impressions:

Black Clover:  Empty calories.  A generic shonen jump story where an underdog becomes the overdog via hard work and never giving up.  We've heard this unrealistic story a million times, but the world is actually based on nature, not nurture, so no loser who works hard will ever beat a winner since birth.  Denying reality doesn't make it any less real.  To make matters worse, this particular underdog only wants to become an overdog for cheap, materialistic reasons -- wealth, admiration, women.  He wants to be showered with all the worldly pleasures so he figures he has to work his way to the top to get them, is this really a role model for young boys to follow?  I guess it's better than lying, cheating and stealing but is that all there is to life, impressing women so they'll get into bed with you?  Never treating any goal in life as an end in itself, but just a means to an end, that end being sex with a woman?

Worst of all, every single line of dialogue by our pleasure hound of a hero is spoken in a monotone full out yell.  It's painful to even listen to him, and it's so stupid.  No one behaves like that.  Learn some freaking manners already.

The shonen action niche is all full up.  After Naruto, Dragon Ball, One Piece, Bleach, Fairy Tail and Rurouni Kenshin, what need do we have of loser copycats like Black Clover?  They should just abandon this genre entirely and try stories in a different field.  There's no point producing a strictly inferior version of something else.  Fail.

Juuni Taisen:  Hunter x Hunter crossed with Danganronpa.  Mindless bloody action.  The show has a high budget and lots of potential, but it wastes it all with a spirit of amoral nihilism.  Why should I care who wins this fight?  Everyone involved is a monster.  It's just a blood festival.  Rokka no Yuusha was so much better.  I wish they'd do a second season of that series. . .  Fail.

Konohana Kitan:  A series that relies entirely on its visuals.  Animal ears and tails for all the girls, beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom, kimonos everywhere, lots of hot spring bathing scenes, lots of blushing, a beautiful full moon bigger than anything you'd see on Earth, etc, etc.  I was blown over by how good looking everything and everyone was, but how long can such an effect last?  Can you really do a 12 episode season of basically 'look how pretty we are?'  Well, it's certainly enough for now.  Pass.

Just Because:  I don't think the male characters in this series are realistic.  It feels like whoever wrote them isn't a boy and doesn't understand boys.  But oh well.  There's nothing particularly offensive about this show.  Just a bland school life drama like many others.  It didn't give me any reasons to keep watching, though, either.  Fail.

Dies Irae:  Ludicrously over the top nonsense.  What if Nazi Germany were inhabited by monsters who took over the world with weird superpowers?  What if all the monsters were insane?  Wouldn't that be awesome?  No, no it wouldn't.  It would just be stupid.  Fail.

Net-juu no Susume:  MMO's just aren't the way this anime portrays.  Why would a group of people sit around a table and chat while drinking with game avatars?  You don't actually get to taste what you're 'drinking.'  Obviously avatars don't have voices, if you want to hear the voice of another player you have to use a special extra service like skype or something, and then you would get the voice of the actual player (ie the reversed sexes that fuels this story would be exposed immediately.)  The game would never send you on a quest at level one to kill a boss that requires level 10.

Everything is more streamlined and utilitarian.  People are focused on playing the game, not interacting with other people or the environment.  If you do join a guild it isn't to chat, it's to clear raids at max level.

It's questionable how this guy manages to keep the facade of a proper girl at all times in the first place.  Is he gay?  Even so, you would think that gay guys act completely different from straight girls, so how does he do it?  Every word he says, every gesture and facial expression he makes, is so feminine in game.  Real men who play women in MMO's don't act feminine on top of it, they just like looking at pretty female characters all day, just like men who choose to play Cammy or Chun Li in Street Fighter.  This is an unrealistic portrayal of gender swappers.  I have no complaint with the idea behind this show -- a boy and a girl meet online while playing opposite sexes and think they're a girl and a boy.  But they don't seem to have anyone in the project who's actually played an MMO and knows what the hell they're talking about.  Fail.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou:  This feels less like an anime and more like an art project.  It has no plot.  Since the world is already over, there are no goals left to pursue.  There's no point living, so life is just satisfying various needs like hunger.  The crappy character designs don't help any.  It feels like a five year old could draw these girls.  I was actually thinking of giving all of this a pass, though, until one of the girls pointed her gun at the other and threatened to kill her.  The last two girls on Earth and one is willing to shoot the other and live all alone from then on?  That's not something allowable even in jest.  What if the gun had gone off by some accident?  That left such a bad feeling in my mouth nothing could wash it out.  Fail.

Blend S:  A surprisingly good new show.  This season's dark horse?  It feels like Working! is back but with a new cast.  The waitresses are really good at their tropes, the humor in these segments are the best, when you ordinarily would think this is where the writers would phone in and just do something basic and unmemorable.  So long as the jokes remain popping this show will stay good, so hopefully they manage to keep the formula fresh every ep.  Pass.

Mahoutsukai no Yome:  I wanted to like this series, since it's so famous and popular, but it's just another wish-fulfillment shoujo story.  It throws in everything that could possibly appeal to girls -- a normal girl who could have come from anywhere is swept off her feet (literally) by a rich, powerful, famous mage (read: prince charming) who has eyes only for her.  Sometimes he's dominant towards her and treats her like a bondage slave, but other times he's really nice and caring, and at other times he encourages her to be her best as a working woman and fulfill her career goals.  The housework is done by maidservants so she never has to do any chores.  Between tight hugs and effortlessly lifting her onto his shoulders he whispers sweet nothings about love and marriage into her ears.

As a guy, this world is just too blindingly sappy for me to enter.  If this were truly good art, it would have broadened its appeal to both sexes, not just targeted one narrow niche demographic.  50 Shades of Grey, Beauty and the Beast, and Twilight, move over; there's a new Queen Bee in town.  Fail.

Imouto Sae Ireba ii:  This had a great start, a hilarious hyperbole of the imouto craze.  However, it quickly descended from that comic high and turned into just vulgarity.  Majikoi had a character a lot like Nayu, Miyako, but she was always respectful towards the boy she was trying to seduce.  I don't get the sense that's true this time around, and it's really grating as a result.  Oh well, there are enough positive aspects to the show in other fields that Nayu's existence can be overlooked.  But it doesn't look like this show will ever break out of the merely watchable category.  A major disappointment considering this is by the same author as Haganai.  Pass.

Animegataris:  The only truly promising new show of the fall season.  This episode was hilarious and heartwarming throughout, with excellent art accompanying a budding friendship and a titanic serving of character-driven humor.  The fact that it's about anime is also a plus, because anime is the best thing on Earth.  My only complaint is the stupid cat and everything cat-related.  The show would have been perfect without the magical angle, but I guess we're stuck with this surreal plot twist and just have to go with it.  Even with this fault, Animegataris has a good chance of making it as a great anime, the only show with a chance this fall.  Pass.

In summation:

Here's the good anime that's currently airing this season and is worth at least a try, in the order of how exciting each episode is week to week (not in the order of how good the series is overall, which would favor older series too much):

1.  Love Live! Sunshine! S2
2.  Animegataris
3.  Dragon Ball Super
4.  UQ Holder
5.  Blend S
6.  Fate/Apocrypha
7.  One Piece
8.  Imouto Sae Ireba ii
9.  Bolt
10.  Konohana Kitan
11.  Kira Kira Precure a la mode
12.  Idolm@ster Side-M

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