Random First Impressions: Doukyonin wa Hiza, Pastel Memories

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More new shows are coming out, and I’ve been checking a decent number of them out. I’m on the fence about both of these shows, so I’m just going to talk about them together.

Subaru loses his parents in a bus accident

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atame no Ue First Impressions

For the most part, this show seems like it could be a decent, lighthearted story of a man and his cat. It starts out as a straightforward concept, showcasing the main character, Subaru Mikazuki, as a fairly typical loner type who decides to take in a random cat he finds. But then, it flips things around by showing the same events from the perspective of the cat, which is nice. So far, the cat doesn’t seem particularly annoying, so I guess I don’t have much of a problem with it.

Subaru hates crowded places

I don’t mind that Subaru has the awkward, shy personality, but the series gives him a kind of one-note personality trait that I don’t really like. Basically, he hates when people spoil stories for him, because it apparently stops him from using his imagination to wonder where the story goes. I’m not a fan of how much it defines his character, and I just don’t generally like that trait on its own. Nothing about knowing what’s canon should stop you from thinking about what could be, as far as I’m concerned.

Subaru passes out from exhaustion

Also, this guy eats cat food. I guess we’re just going to ignore that part.

The cat is very confused

I think the show has the potential to set up a decent story of development. From this first episode, we get this clear understanding that the cat and Subaru are thinking on completely different wavelengths, so it might be interesting to see them start to understand each other. I’m still not sure how long I’ll keep watching, but that’s my general hope for the series.

Boredom is dangerous

Pastel Memories First Impressions

This was one heck of a strange premiere, enough to make me wonder if it was secretly the sequel to some show I didn’t know. I suppose it’s a game adaptation, so there’s probably some background information I’m missing. That being said, I felt like I was being led along by this episode. Effectively, the entire episode is devoted to finding some volumes of a particular manga, but it ends by completely breaking out a supernatural elements that’s presumably central to the series.

Random Caligula poster

I should have run as soon as I saw the Caligula poster…

Finding old manga

Hey, I guess this show is good for referencing series I know. That’s something.

The real plot is revealed

This series is a video game adaptation, and it really wants you to know it. My main problem with this kind of development is that it trivializes the first episode. The events of the episode feel artificial, since it seems like the next episode will explain the real premise. Am I being nuts? I just get that sense.

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Yakusoku no Neverland First Impressions (1): And suddenly…

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Emma is coming for you

Well, I can’t really pretend to be surprised by the content of the episode since I knew it going in. That being said, this adaptation seemed pretty solid to me, with interesting visual representations and music. I do like the concept of the series as a whole, with the idea of a happy orphanage for kids holding some dark secret. Honestly, I think part of what turned me off from the manga was that the uncertain nature of manga release made me question whether I could handle the constant tension that’s inherent to a story like this. Perhaps it makes more sense in anime, which tends to have more defined time constraints.

An intense game of tag

I do like how the episode puts emphasis on the game of tag, though, since it’s such an innocent game on its own. This scene gains a lot more weight given the comparison at the end, and the constantly ticking clock is a valid representation of the central opposing factor in the show. The scene serves a great dual purpose of setting an early tone that is light while representing the harsh truth.

The fence is really low

Given the nature of kids, it’s hard to believe that no one has jumped this fence before. These kids are eleven years old, right? That’s a long time to notice something.

No one who leaves ever writes

As always, it’s fun to see these kinds of hints when you’re watching a scene for the second time. This conversation is pretty suspicious even on its own, and it’s fun to see how much the episode emphasizes the fact that Conny isn’t one of the brightest kids. I think it’s a testament to how well the episode builds itself to its reveal, dropping hints while keeping the tone light.

Conny leaves to be with her foster family

Honestly, I find it pretty funny that the orphans who leave to meet their “foster families” end up going in the dark. You’d think that this sort of event suits the break of dawn or something.

Making sure the shipment is right

I can’t remember what kinds of creatures these guys were, but I’m not sure I was ever convinced in the manga that they were especially important. Sure, they’re the entire reason for the system that’s in place, but it feels like they could have been anything. Shock factor?

Mama finds the bunny

The way the music abruptly cut out at this scene was amazing.

Golden Kamuy Final Episode (24): Changing sides again and again

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Sugimoto shows Nopperabu the dagger

I know better than to expect resolution from this series, so I thoroughly enjoyed this finale. I think the shifting alliances in this series are cool to watch, and I liked how Nopperabu was handled. It’s kind of sad to see Asirpa separate from Sugimoto, but it should be funny to watch how Sugimoto interacts with the 7th. As always, the many funny moments in this episode were spectacular.

Inudou can't bear the shame of his brother

Inudou’s story wasn’t too bad for how quick it was. I like that this show gives stories to the side characters, even if they’re doomed to die.

Nopperabu's plans are revealed

I do find the contrast between Sugimoto and Wilk interesting as a father figures for Asirpa. Wilk has great expectations for her, while Sugimoto just wants to keep her safe. I’d say both are valid, but they play out in very different ways. It’s too bad Wilk ends up being shot, but it wasn’t totally unexpected.

Kiroranke signals to Ogata

Kiroranke finally gets his story revealed, and it actually makes a lot of sense. It sounded like he just wants the Ainu to fight back against the other cultures that threaten them. It’s an extreme stance, but not an unreasonable one. It makes him an interesting faction.

Sugimoto and Tsurumi are brain damage pals

I like watching Sugimoto play the field in this extended war for the gold. He has his own motivations and has no issue allying with whoever is convenient. From the perspective of the audience, it gives us a good chance to look at the characters on each side.

Sugimoto knows that Ogata shot him

The big question for me in this episode was what Ogata’s motivations were. We’ve seen that he’s generally emotionless, so he could just be a mercenary for hire. I think it would be more fun if he had some kind of personal reason to join Kiroranke, though. Maybe I just missed something.

Sugimoto's brains are infecting people

I loved this joke about eating Sugimoto’s brains and inheriting his obsession with Asirpa.

Final Score: 7/10

Always enjoyable and funny to watch. This show is always surprisingly ridiculous for how serious it wants to be. I felt like the second half built upon the first half and took it to an even more absurd level, which ended up being totally fine.

Fall 2018 Grab Bag Week 11: Merc Storia, Akanesasu Shoujo

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Since I’ll be travelling today, I’m doing things a bit out of order.

Forna is very shocked

Merc Storia Episode 9

This show has had some surprisingly entertaining stories, even if I still think it’s a bit too childish. The story before this one, with the father who reconnects with his estranged daughter by interacting with his inner child was a nice, heartwarming story. I didn’t mind the story about the Divas either, but I personally would have preferred if the story went just a little bit further. Also, I’m glad the show managed to not be annoying when the characters randomly broke out into song.

Selena under pressure as a Diva

The part that I felt was missing was some kind of justification for Selena. The story doesn’t have the best message if she truly was as shallow as Voicia believed she was. The initial scene in this episode seemed to suggest that Selena felt pressured to take on that particular persona because of the expectations she faced as a Diva. Personally, I think that could have made more sense for the story.

Selena is afraid that Antel hates her

Other than that, I think the story worked as the typical mutual romance plagued with misunderstandings. Even if she didn’t end up doing much, I thought Forna was an incredibly entertaining character to watch, especially when she interacted with Selena.

The gang wonders if Asuka is okay

Akanesasu Shoujo Episode 10

It’s been a while since I talked about this show. Honestly, I haven’t really felt much for the show, so I’ve been slow to keep up with it. The individual stories for the side characters were okay for character growth, but I didn’t think the alternate realities were too intriguing. For example, the Wild West world could have looked into how we view justice, but most of that flew out the window the minute the judge was revealed to be a Clutter.

Chloe wonders if Asuka might be better off not moping

As the series builds towards its finale, the main story seems like it could be interesting. The loss of Seriousuka was kind of a bummer, but the whole thing with the King of Twilight might have something to it. Getting to see Seriousuka’s world was a nice way of seeing the stakes, and I’m curious about the fact that the twilight seems to freeze people in time. There might be some Kyuubey-esque grand plan behind it.

Takumi wishes to go back to his world

I think the funniest part of this episode is the fact that Takumi ends up having a more reasonable outlook than Asuka does.

The Emissary of Twilight reveals herself

Given that the Emissary of Twilight is revealed to be Asuka, I’m feeling good about my theory that the missing brother is the King. It bothers me that the Emissary is a child, though. It could indicate that the two siblings faced some trauma in their original world that led to them hatching a childish plot to change the world.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 9: A valiant effort

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Shou offers to take Hitomi out

This…was kind of a weird episode. As always, I like how the episode used its scene to “show” more of what it was doing, but I think maybe the melodrama was a bit much for my taste. Hey, props to Shou for actually making a move, but I’m getting a little tired of watching the rift between him and Asagi. I’m curious to see how their relationship will get resolved, since I find it hard to come up with a solution that doesn’t make Asagi seem like consolation.

Shou consults with Yuito before going out with Hitomi

It’s nice of Shou to come clean with Yuito about going out with Hitomi, but I think this scene is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing Shou with Asagi in the end. If he truly had some clue about her feelings for him, it feels like he’s being pretty cruel to talk to Yuito about the date thing and not Asagi. Maybe it’s just a “bro” relationship thing with Yuito, but it still seems weird to me.

Shou takes Hitomi to his favorite spot

I think it’s a nice touch that we’re shown so many scene with Hitomi and Shou together, and Shou is looking at Hitomi for most of them. Meanwhile, Hitomi’s usually focused on something else entirely.

The class is curious about Hitomi's confession conversation

I like this scene for injecting a lighthearted moment into the drama. I always appreciate that kind of shift in tone, and this one feels pretty natural.

Yuito messes up at work

I also liked seeing Yuito screw up at work when he hears about how distressed Hitomi is. The episode isn’t super obvious about it, and Chigusa doesn’t tease him for his mistake. It’s a simple scene to show how he feels about Hitomi.

Asagi talks things over with Hitomi

This scene between Asagi and Hitomi also had some good moments. Overall, it’s a painful experience for Asagi, but I do like the fact that she figures out what’s going on between Hitomi and Shou by seeing the picture of Shou’s spot in Hitomi’s phone.

Hitomi responds to Shou

I know it would never happen, but the way Hitomi responds to Shou at the end almost made it sound like she’d agree to go out with him. But I guess there’s no time in the show for something like that. Maybe I was just getting the wrong impression…the translation in this episode was a bit sketchy.

Asagi admits her feelings for Shou to Hitomi

Being Asagi is suffering.

Release the Spyce Episode 8: Making new friends

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Hatsume and Theresia face off

This week’s episode was hard to watch. It seemed like it had a lot of good things going on, but the pacing was just too erratic to keep focus. The episode tried to continue the story with Theresia, introduce and resolve Goe’s self-esteem issues from the previous episode, introduce a completely new character, and introduce some friction between Yuki and Momo. As a result, most of these developments felt like they didn’t get the setup they deserved, starting with the very beginning of the episode. Theresia and Hatsume face off for some reason, and the poison Theresia drank a couple of episodes back is removed without an issue.

Obligatory beach episode happens

Random montage is random. I suppose this is the obligatory beach episode…somehow.

Viking ignores the girls

Honestly, I thought that Ouka was a pretty good character. Her self-isolation made sense given how she was forced to do, and the way she got excited about Vikings was surprisingly charming. However, introducing her and resolving her story within the span of a single episode makes me think that she’s never going to show up again.

Ouka shows off her helmet

Okay, there’s technically no evidence that Vikings actually used horned helmets (because they’re not actually that useful in battle). Evidence suggests that the notion of the horned Viking helmet actually came from later stories about the Vikings, and a real Viking would likely know that. But hey, this series takes a lot of liberties with history (especially with that “spies” and “spice” etymology thing), so it could once again just be part of this world’s setting.

Shisa agent talks about Ouka's situation

To be fair, I think the best foreshadowing in this episode was the whole thing with Ouka’s grandfather. This scene clearly suggests that the grandfather is the captured doctor. In a later scene, Ouka describes her failed attempt to save him, but an old man who is clearly her grandfather is shown standing over her. I’m okay with that type of subversion and foreshadowing.

Yuki plays with the selfie stick

There’s something hilarious about watching Yuki, the most serious spy, instinctively using a selfie stick as a weapon.

Goe faces off again Ouka

Goe’s story in this episode was actually fine as well, but I wish that her story was more closely related to the rest of the episode. It makes sense that she would be afraid to fight or use Spyce after going on a drug-induced rampage in the previous episode, and it makes more sense that she would be able to overcome it with the help of a friend. Maybe there’s something about betraying your friends that links her to Ouka, but I honestly didn’t see it.

Also, the fact that Goe succeeds in befriending Ouka once again makes me think that Hatsume’s own attempt with Theresia will fail. Goe even goes so far as to say that Hatsume will surely succeed at the end of the episode. That has to be a flag.

Yuki lectures Momo

I’m really not sure about this scene. Is it meant to show that Yuki actually cares for Momo more than she lets on? Is it actually meant to be a moment of rationality? It doesn’t seem to fit with everything else Yuki has been teaching Momo. Add in the fact that Yuki notices that the Spyce is less effective for her in this episode, and I have to once again bring up the idea that Yuki is being set up to die soon.

Golden Kamuy Episode 18: Even more feels

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Main characters standing on some rocks

I can’t even be upset about the random tangent in this episode, because I just enjoyed Tanigaki’s story so much. The redemption of his friend, Kenkichi, wasn’t too hard to predict, but I really liked the fact that they used the kanemochi as a constant device throughout the story. This episode was truly a great introduction for Tanigaki as he prepares to officially join the main group. I look forward to seeing more of him.

Granny prepares for burial

This was a weirdly somber moment in the present day. Perhaps it was meant to set the tone for Tanigaki’s story, but I was surprised to see it. To be honest, the lost of the granny character doesn’t mean too much to me, as sad as it might be to say that.

Kenichi figures out the secret ingredient Tanigaki uses

The culturally educational bits in this series are still my favorite moments. Even if it’s a small thing, the fact that the kanemochi was such a reliable food source in Tanigaki’s family tradition is just interesting.

Tanigaki blames Kenichi for the death of his mother

This story was a decent representation of a man consumed by revenge. I thought it was cool that Tanigaki realized after the fact how much he focused on Kenkichi, even blaming him for other misfortune in Tanigaki’s life.

Kenkichi recognizes the walnuts in the kanemochi

This was such a great moment for Tanigaki. Food has been such a big focus in this series, so it was great to see the kanemochi save the day in a situation where Kenkichi could no longer see or hear. It makes the scene even more impactful, and keeps the kanemochi as the central theme.

Tanigaki and his group find the other main characters

So, Tanigaki somehow managed to find everyone else. I’m curious to see how his story impacts his interactions with everyone else. I thought the bit about finding his role was a good setup, so maybe that will play into how he moves forward.

Double Decker! Doug and Kirill Episode 8: The perils of prom

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Maxine cuts her hair

I thought that having an episode that was a lot more like a typical police drama was cool, but the culprit for this episode was way too obvious. And while the reveal with Maxine’s past was surprising, I felt like this episode was kind of missing its punchline, which is what this series excels at. That being said, Maxine’s past was interesting, and I still thought this episode wasn’t bad.

Robot talking about Maxine's past

Thinking back on it, this scene was very clearly playing on typical expectations. But when you really consider the type of show this was, it seems pretty ridiculous to think that Maxine would join the police out of pure spite. It’s actually a decent choice for an extended joke.

Maxine cuts her hair

This episode had a weird pace to it. I almost feel like Hannah didn’t get much time at all. She was clearly meant to be a character we would expect to mirror Maxine, but she pretty much disappears after she’s attacked.

Yuri just wants to talk about drugs

Yuri was really effective as a support character in this episode. That being said, she may want to rethink this statement.

Camilla comforting Elle

Yeah, this scene wasn’t hiding the fact that Camilla was the culprit at all. The way she said this was just way too creepy. Do I just watch too many police dramas? That might also be a possible explanation.

Camilla worried about the prom

You know, this episode introduced the concept of overdosing on Anthem, and Maxine also had a “IV” in her eye when she confronted the transformed Camilla. Doug treated the distinction as obvious, but it still would have been nice to know why the distinction was supposed to be important.

Release the Spyce Episode 6: New allies and enemies?

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Bad guys looking at a screen

There were certainly some strange moments in this episode, but I liked a decent amount of it. I especially thought it was cool that the main characters immediately acknowledge how suspicious Theresia’s transfer was, and Hatsume accepts the conclusion without making a big fuss out of it. Momo seemed to step things up in this episode, which is nice to see, but I got the sense that she kind of fizzled a bit.

Hatsume making friends with Byakko

Part of me wonders if Hatsume’s relationship with Byakko is meant to suggest that she’ll fail to make amends with Theresia. Honestly, the overwhelming majority of the evidence suggests the opposite, since Theresia is on a clear path to redemption, but it just doesn’t sit well with me if Hatsume just befriends everyone.

Young Theresia learns about betrayal

This scene was hard to watch for me. This line was so unbearably obvious that it almost didn’t feel worth mentioning. Yeah, I get that Theresia was a child, so she probably wouldn’t understand that Hatsume wouldn’t have control of the conversation until after her ransom was paid. Either way, this isn’t the most interesting backstory.

Hatsume and Katrina talk about traitors

This conversation really throws a wrench in the traitor idea. Katrina was one of my initial suspects for traitor since she’s so far removed from the rest of the group, but it seems weird for her to call attention to it. Maybe she wants to gauge the group’s suspicious, but it’s still drawing attention to a conversation no one was having. Of course, Hatsume could also be the traitor, so who knows?

Momo and Goe arrive

I was somewhat disappointed in this scene. Momo seems to correctly deduce that something is off with Theresia, so she forces her way into the situation to give Theresia less room to move. That was a great move which shows Momo proactively contributing to the group, so it’s nice to see. It just…doesn’t really go anywhere. Momo ends up siding with Theresia later, so it almost seems like the scene is leading up to a lick later. The scene felt a bit wasted to me.

Theresia gets upset with Hatsume

Theresia, you’re kind of showing your hand pretty early. The group was already suspicious of her, so her animosity towards Hatsume should be a big flag, right?

Big bad covered in blood

So…why did we need to hide this woman’s face again? Do we even know who she is? Based on the sword she uses and her apparent connection with Tsukikage, I would guess that she’s the agent who used the sword before Momo, but I’m not sure that gets us much.

SSSS.Gridman Episode 6: That was a surprising amount of information

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People standing around next to a river

I don’t really have a problem with going through an episode without Gridman, but is it wrong of me to say that some of the revelations in this episode were kind of boring? I might have unrealistic expectations, but I was looking forward to the moment when the main characters figure out that Akane’s the one behind the kaiju attacks. Having a random character appear definitely deepens mystery in the series, but having her tell Yuuta about Akane is pretty disappointing. Still, I don’t mind waiting to see where things go, since I like this idea that the city might be a lie.

Yuuta wondering if Akane is on to him

I got excited when I saw this scene, but it seemed to show that Yuuta was putting the pieces together. He was starting to suspect that Akane still had memories before the resets. I mentioned an earlier hint from Akane which he could have picked up on as well, so I wanted to see him figure it out.

Rikka gives a sandwich to Anti

We might be okay since the episode ends with Yuuta finding out who Anti is, but I got a bit worried watching this scene. It almost seemed like Anti existed just to force a love triangle with Rikka.

Rikka notices how Anti smells

I tend to focus on the little things, so I’d say my favorite part of the episode was the mirroring between Anti and the mystery kaiju. I don’t have a guess about what it’s supposed to mean yet, but I thought it was cool that Rikka and Hibiki both take their respective kaijus to the same place, eat the same food, and have the same “it stinks” reaction.

Yuuta talks to a kaiju on a train

I liked how the episode tried to build this mystery about the city itself, starting with the kaiju’s suggestion that nothing exists outside of the city. Although the kaiju later states flatly that the city is created by Akane, I do respect how the mystery is built up to that point.

Akane talks with Shou

Akane’s conversation with Shou makes me wonder if she’d be more normal if she could have met someone like Shou earlier. Is that what it was getting at?

Girl talking in front of a screen

These animations were pretty hilarious. I was surprised to hear that Akane was the one repairing the world. I had been led to believe that it was Gridman doing it. There’s always the possibility of a crazy reveal…maybe Akane’s behind Gridman too? Anyway, I’m not a big fan of just having a character appear to tell Yuuta everything. Even if it gives us information about the setting, it doesn’t feel very satisfying to me to learn it like that. I think it’s because the information felt like a guarded secret before, and it was simply given away.

Akane with the mastermind standing behind her

This…really isn’t that surprising. It’s almost too obvious, if I had to comment on it.

Kaiju talking about herself

Is this statement meant to suggest that the battle between the Gridman Alliance and Akane is actually just a representation of a larger battle between two ancient kaiju? Depending on how things play out, that could be interesting.