Piano no Mori First Impressions (1-4): Catching up on other stuff

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I’m pretty late to the game on this series, but I finally decided to give it a shot. The focus on piano competitions reminds me a lot of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, but the tone seems significantly lighter. I’d say the atmosphere and the characters remind me a lot of the competition you’d find in “sports-ish” series.

The main characters seem fairly standard, but I think they work. I like the idea of Kai being pushed into taking the piano seriously by a rival. He and Shuuhei have a pretty pleasant relationship despite their rivalry, and I’m actually kinda rooting for Shuuhei to find his own way to get ahead. It would be refreshing if he was more than just the diligent scholar type.

The first episode actually put me off with the piano in the forest. I like where the series goes after the first episode, but the seemingly supernatural aspect of the piano really stood out like a sore thumb for me. I’m quite glad that the series has shifted towards treating that piano as a symbolic tool.

Moving forward to the first competition itself, I quite liked how the competition showcased the three different characters with different stories playing the same piece. Especially with Kai, I could really hear the change in his style when he started playing himself.

This kind of piano snob drama was really predictable. It kinda bums me out, but I guess it’s meant to set the stage for Kai’s eventual growth. I’m pretty curious to see where this series goes after putting it off for so long.

Black Clover First Impressions (1): Volume is important

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I’ve heard a lot of praise for the manga, but I’m not completely convinced by this first episode yet. Let’s start with the obvious. Asta isn’t exactly the most unique protagonist ever, the seemingly powerless individual in a world of magic harboring a hidden power. He also seems to suffer from perpetual shout voice. I might have been okay with the volume if he wasn’t also randomly elongating his speech as well. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

As I said before, this story revolves around a world of magic. How do we know it’s a world of magic? Well, there’s a very helpful and colorful glow around anything affected by magic…except when there isn’t. I might just be getting excessively nitpicky as usual, but I guess I hoped there was some explanation behind that. The simplest one would have been that magic from a grimoire glows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either.

Same deal with the magic academy and the arrogance of the nobles. That’s pretty standard.

I’m not really sure what happened with this scene. Maybe the CG chains were a hint, but this scene seemed pretty strange in black and red. Some cheap form of censorship to make the scene look more grim, perhaps?

Finally, I want to talk about this whole thing with the “magic-detecting chains”. First off, it’s pretty contrived for an extra ability. But more importantly, why exactly does that work so well on Asta? We’ve seen him maintain hope pretty well in this episode, so it seems odd that he would believe the words of a complete stranger so easily, especially an admitted thief. Perhaps there’s something here about affirming the thing you already suspected in your mind but refused to accept?

So, I could use a little help here. I know there’s a lot of hype surrounding this series, so I’m assuming I should at least give it a little more time to prove itself. The clover stuff seemed okay, and I’m admittedly curious about Yuno’s pendant. What exactly was I missing?