So we’re beginning to repeat the cycle.
Man, it feels like forever since I had my first article here and bam! I am already on my first year of blogging. This fudanshi dude is still unknown in the realm of ani-blogging (not that I care) but I am happy I lasted this long. So to my (few) readers, I’ll be on your care again this year.
Now to Winter 2017. Am I the only one who is a tad unenthusiastic this season? I mean, there’s the return of the ever excellent Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinnjuu and the reliable Sangatsu no Lion, but the new shows (sans Monster Girls) need more spice to keep me going. My overall assessment with this batch is relatively meh, but I will reserve my final judgment when I see the entirety of my watch list.
Oh, by the way – I will watch more than what I should (again) and maybe that’s a good thing. I opted to watch 16 shows in Winter 2017. Here’s to me hoping to find gems in this (rather) barren time.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
Okay – the competition’s over, we already have the best show. I am done.
Seriously, the much-awaited second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is now here and it certainly did not disappoint. I find recaps really boring and breaking the fourth wall irritating, but it seems Yotaro (now Sukeroku) can do no wrong. Perhaps it’s his amused stance in this dreary story, the recap feels like it was written by a genki tumblr fanatic delivered through rakugo performance. Boy, the first five minutes was pure delight to the eyes and ears.
The episode exactly did what Sound! Euphonium 2 present last season. Reacquaint us with the main characters, and slip some interesting subplots along the way. Yotaro is very much like Sukeroku but much more emphatic. He speaks before the thinks, and that normally results in candid remarks. The man respects the elegance of Yakumo’s rakugo, but thinks it has to change to cope with the (cruel) time.
Ironically, I spent twenty minutes smiling at this heartwarming opener. We know the first season is the definition of heavy drama, but I guess Yotaro is the sunshine kid who lights a room despite the sadness of the events before his timeline. Moreover, the anime gods granted my wish and Konatsu and Yotaro really became a thing! Oh Gosh – I literally squeak in delight the moment I learned the two will be married soon. I know, they only appeared together for two episodes last season but their chemistry was more than enough when we saw them. Yotaro admitted it might not be romantic (understandable since he is an idiot), but that familial love is darn pulling my heart strings. Yes – that was my personal highlight in that episode.
Then to the intellectual part of the show. We are reminded that rakugo is a dying art form and Yakumo is actually okay with that dying with him. He seemed to inherit the seventh generation’s stubbornness of not changing rakugo at all. On the other hand, Yotaro thinks rakugo is a medium for communicating empathy, and he’s right. Nozarashi delivered various emotions in me last season – color me hyped again. The dude even thinks new rakugo pieces should be delivered, and that idea came from Higuchi-sensei. He was there in the first season and it was actually genius to see him play a major part this time.
TL;DR – Yotaro serves as a breath of fresh air in the dreary storyline of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. I know it will be dark sooner or later, but this cold and dark series can also show empathy.
Sangatsu no Lion
Sangatsu no Lion is back, and is still bipolar as ever. I am really (really) immersed with Rei’s realization that being alone is lonely now that he experienced the kindness of Akari’s family. Then striking (although repeated) visuals and the loud volume came after, and these complimented the chaos he feels inside. Lastly, we were thrown into his will to win the next matches. At least Sangatsu no Lion is kind enough to tell us he is suffering a slump in his shogi matches.
Then – AWFUL JOKES GALORE! I swear to God I was like Rei when he’s begging his opponent to stop cracking jokes, only that I am pleading for the comedy to stop for about a quarter of this show. New interesting subplots ensue, and color me shocked that even Rei can show uncontrollable anger. On a totally unrelated note, is he, like, in love with his foster sister?
Another great thought is the analogy of kotatsu and Rei’s circumstances. We know kotatsu is used to warm Japanese folks during winter but you are not advised to sleep there. Or else you want to catch cold or something. Rei thinks Akari’s home is warm (it really is) but he’s back to his usual cold place once he goes home. That said, it’s nice to have a comforting place once in a while but this will dull you later if you stay for too long. Even Rei realizes this fact.
Yes – Also, I got used with Sangatsu’s dual nature so I will watch this until the end.
PS: The new OP is the holy offspring of Honey and Clover’s first and second opening. That was tasty.
Interviews with Monster Girls
Once upon a time, the Japanese government in Ajin finally passed a law creating demi-humans equal to that of humans. In the near future, we were shown what will happen if that show finally found peace and was sprinkled with moe.
You know, there’s always a show that I initially avoid only to find out I missed a good one. KonoSuba and Grimgar were these shows last Winter and Konobi was the quiet keeper last Summer 2016. If I didn’t listen to the glowing reviews, I might have totally ignored Monster Girls.
Before you go scream Monster Musume-lite, this is more of Azumanga Daioh only with cute monster girls. Boy, this series is partly lovely, sad and a whole lot of funny in the first episode. Hikari is the single reason why this episode was a success, but Takahashi-sensei also served as a good partner in their combination.
Meanwhile, Machi (the dullahan) provided enough meat to show demi-humans still encounter difficulties in their daily lives. I mean, that scared (or disgusted) look in her classmate’s face is one painful thing to be honest. It’s as if she felt isolated but not for long – since Hikari understands her circumstances. The show can explore that later, but at least give us a signal where we will expect drama.
Ao No Exorcist
This is a cheat since I only watched Ao no Exorcist last 2014 so I still remember the events in the series. Man, the fillers mar this otherwise fine shounen series. The ending of the first season was godawful but this opener corrected that huge mistake. Please forget that arc happened – onegaishimasu. Hence, it’s refreshing to know that the long-awaited sequel will follow the manga more religiously.
However, the episode was a little too serious in terms of presentation. I remember Ao no Exorcist as a goofy show which has Rin as the lovable lead and Yukio as his stern brother. I guess that remains here but his group of friends are really unpleasant to look at. Ugh. Oh – A-1 is getting its own groove in terms of cinematic visuals. ERASED, (yes it’s now a year), had awesome artwork and animation and it seems like Monster Girls and this are also getting the blessing from the animators. Delicious.
Sorry, I can’t muster to write much with the following series. Probably it’s due to my low expectations that were not even met. Ugh.
Fuuka’s opening episode totally did not induce anything positive for me except that the titular character is annoying and Haruna is your doormat male lead. Probably this is marketed to the male demographic given the gratuitous (but misplaced) fanservice here and there. My head’s confused what to think of it. One moment I had this thought of placing Fuuka as a coming of age series and my other head (lol) wants to do ecchi things with Maya-neesan.
White Album 2 is also an eroge but was able to present itself with dignity right from the very start. Episode 2 is a whole lot better but we’re talking about first episode impressions in this post. That’s all.
Masamune-kun no Revenge
It is totally serious for my taste, just like I predicted in my Winter 2017 previews. Man, you got a whole lot of ridiculous premise to work on and I wonder why it played the straightforward route. The characters are scum and KonoSuba made its totally unlikable characters lovable because it does not take the plot seriously.
I will like it more IF it becomes a pure romance, and not the romantic comedy/drama it forces us to buy.
Yes, another week, another filler-ish episode of Classicaloid. This show remains partly fun but color me wanting for some meaty plot exploration since we’re already halfway the series!
I will write for the second part of my impressions next week and that includes nine shows. Hmm? I pray to kamisamas Kuzu no Honkai will be a good adaptation. That’s all.