Summer 2016 – First Impressions (Part 1)

Then that’s it. Welcome Summer 2016!

I won’t group the shows as GREAT, ALMOST THERE, DECENT and EH? in the meantime as I state my impressions to these first episodes. Come next week to see the second part plus the initial rankings. Nonetheless, I will be really happy if the quality of the remaining shows this season is as good as these. It looks like I won’t have to dread about the Summer curse this time, isn’t it? Welp. That’s too early to tell though.

Let’s start?

Seriously, protect this smile!
Seriously, protect this smile!

There was so much going on in the lovely premiere of orange a.k.a. the time travel series of Summer 2016. I honestly think it succeeded instilling regret, youthful innocence and their budding romance by interpolating scenarios from the present and the past. I guess orange is somehow effective in introducing its characters as I was able to remember them all in one go. Moreover, the bouncy soundtrack and the montage of still images complimented the rushed feelings of their high school selves. I find it refreshing that orange tries to avoid some shoujo tropes as such the case of fairly non-eventful introduction of Kakeru. This is now kind of ironic that I enjoy peaceful first days of their high school as countless shows tried to well, make our leads be the outcast. Characterization-wise, I guess future episodes will flesh them more as Naho is the only one getting layers of development (but that’s a good sign because it’s just the first episode!). Kakeru, on the other hand, is the prince in damsel she has to save. Yet hey, I find the gender reversal really cute.  Other characters are nice, except for Azusa who borders on being annoying and fun.

Now, to the supernatural element of orange. I honestly loved the time travel element was used as something to reach the end, but is apparently unobtrusive to overall flow of the episode. I sighed when Naho didn’t follow the first warning of her adult self but smirked when she finally decided to pinch the ball. Lastly, thank God for keeping a consistent tone throughout this episode. I hope it won’t be like ERASED where the present time was given too much emphasis since it pretty much established its main goal. However, I sincerely hope it will be like Kayo’s arc minus the dullness of Satoru’s character or the apparent meh-ness of its mystery. The visuals are good but there are some weird directional choices that either left me dizzy or questioning if that’s the best way to present a scene. Scratch that, as this was a minor nitpicking to this otherwise excellent episode.

TL; DR – I am sucker for series whose central theme is regret and redemption so orange qualifies as GREAT when I rank them next weekend.

If you are not entertained by Souma's antics, these reactions faces should do.
If you are not entertained by Souma’s antics, these reactions faces should do.

Then there’s Shokugeki no Souma Season 2 bringing all its flairs right on the first episode. Thankfully, there are no lengthy (and unnecessary) recaps about the first season so we got the start of Autumn Election Tournament right away. I simply miss Souma’s brand of bravado whenever he starts cooking to induce orgasms err… impress the judges of the Shokugeki as well as his competitor that time. I know I said before that competition based shows aren’t my cup of tea anymore but thank God Alice-Souma fight felt like it only lasted for a while yet it ate about 15 minutes in reality. Well, I do not think it will go further than an entertaining show but it does what it sets to do.

That hurts.
That hurts.

Days is also surprisingly good, borrowing the time tested premise of two boys meet to join a sports club later on. Nothing is new but I would like to commend that we finally got a setting where the sport they want to present is already good at it. Moreover, I get some Haikyuu! vibes from the show which is always a good thing. The comedy is spot on too (the horrible soccer performance of our lead and the slapstick comedy hit my funny bones). I was just glad that these types of shows still exist, it felt like Days belong to anime series aired circa early 2000s.

To my major complaint – I am not a fan of the bishie blond. I do not know but he stood out too much in this episode. Well, he is not annoying or a Gary Stu. It’s just that his looks puts a rift in the balance of good natured fun and the perseverance of our lead in this episode. Apart from the good reputation of their school, nothing else is new in Days. It’s a good premiere but I have seen this before.

Sure, that was the main point of ReLIFE experiment, isn't it?
Sure, that was the main point of ReLIFE experiment, isn’t it?

ReLIFE is good when it touches bits about the hikikomori lifestyle and the downfall of a certain man in fitting in the society. Yet I was instantly turned off by some of the jokes and reached its nadir when Arata thought of befriending high school girls are now legal because he went back to his younger self. I really really hoped for ReLIFE to take some deep jabs about the hikikomori lifestyle but we got this mostly goofy episode. Grr. That aside, there are bits of what I need to find in this case for me to watch the next one. I was pleasantly surprised by the nice attitude of these high school kids to Arata. Same with orange, there are no dramatic first day of high school scenes aside from the fact that our lovable NEET forgot his pencil case. That’s it. His interaction with the supporter is also interesting and poses some serious thoughts on how Arata will improve his lifestyle over a year, but I think that was just an afterthought. Well, it also does not help the fact I am annoyed with the latter.

Then let’s focus on the jokes as they can be hit or miss in general. I honestly think the reaction faces kind of made these tolerable to an extent. Yet I might not be the right person to experience these as I was painfully reminded of Plastic Memories’ dull humor. The production values are subpar too but is not enough to distract you from appreciating this episode. Maybe it’s the result of releasing all episodes in one go? Yeah, that must be it.

Uhh. I am sure a double length episode is not necessary.
Uhh. I am asking whether a double length episode is necessary.

Uhh… I also watched Rewrite today and I do not know if that is good, bad or simply weird. Visually, it looks good, as expected from 8-bit but they have to work on CG monsters because that looked darn ugly. The soundtrack is also spot-on, as if I was playing a VN when I watch this episode. The characters are stock copies from Key shows too. We got a bully protagonist, his sidekick, the girl who is always on his side (why does she remind me of Kanon so much), some moe girls and the mystery girl.

I guess it did its best in setting up the atmosphere but color me clueless on Rewrite’s main premise aside from the fact that Kotarou is chased by a moe girl who has killer ribbons. The jokes are undeniably Key too – but the effectiveness is another matter to be honest. Maybe it’s my familiarity with them that some only left me smiling but darn the fujoshi jokes that made me laugh. Yep. Yoshino x Kotarou is the couple of the season, you know. The midparts are also meh, I think I resisted an urge to fall asleep with the milquetoast classroom scenario they had to play for God knows why. Oh, when our male lead took one of the girls to a tour – what’s the meaning of that scenario? The introduction of the other moe also left me wondering as to how Rewrite will utilize them in a span of 13 episodes – assuming there is no second cour for this VN adaptation.

Fortunately, I think Rewrite will be plot based as opposed to other Key titles that relies on waterworks to be good. I don’t know how its story will go but I am interested to the path it will take.

PS: What the heck is Kotarou’s accelerator? I know I still haven’t rewatched this episode but I thought that went out of nowhere.

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