Egao no Daika First Impressions (1): Literally protecting that smile

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Joshua acts cool

Well, I’m happy to see that this series went for the dystopia-like setup I was hoping to see. It looks like the story revolves around two nations at war, a typical “empire vs. kingdom” setup. We’re only introduced to the kingdom in the first episode, ruled by the young princess Yuuki. Yuuki largely leads a peaceful life as the ruler, but there seems to be more to it. The first episode overall was pretty interesting, but I did have some issues with how the exposition for the world was handled.

Yuuki sticks the landing

The episode kind of gave me a bad first impression for the weirdest reasons. I know it’s nitpicking, but it was weird to see repeated angles of the same scene, such as when Yuuki is first introduced and when she stumbles on the way to the podium. I thought it was jarring and interrupted the flow of the scene, but maybe that’s just me. Also, I get that Yuuki is supposed to know little about the outside world, but I find it odd that the opening emphasizes her age.

Apparently, there's a new type of chrars

The episode also had the annoying flood of technobabble that you’d expect from a sci-fi show with a unique setting. While that itself isn’t a huge deal, I wasn’t a fan of how the information was finally relayed. We get some spiel about how chrars are some kind of special ore that is significant…for some reason. Additionally, the scene itself is two military officers talking, people who really should know this information already.

The children are happy...probably

With that out of the way, I do think that the series had its strong points. For example, I do like the mystery that is being built around Yuuki, a hidden truth that is being kept from her. When I first saw this scene, I remember thinking that the kids in the city had a dead look in their eyes for some reason. If you think about it in the context of lying to keep Yuuki happy, I think it’s more interesting, since the citizens could all be brainwashed or artificial.

Yuuki is pressed about her knowledge of the country

This scene also could have a dual meaning in the light of the overall ruse. At face value, it’s a subordinate checking the capabilities of her ruler. However, it could also be a sincere question, to make sure that the princess is still in the dark.

The mock battle happens in Tokyo

Given that the opening of the episode speaks of “distant planets”, where exactly are we? Calling out Tokyo by name suggests that this is really just Earth, but it’s hard to say. Perhaps, it’s just meant to be a metaphorical distance. Either way, I’m hoping this “simulation” was actually real, since the soldiers seemed to react so strongly when Yuuki started blowing up the environment.

Time to check out what's happening with the Empire

Based on the opening animation and the synopsis, it seems like we’re still missing half of the setup for this series. That aside, I definitely thought that the scene with the stuffed animal heavily suggested that Joshua was going to die.

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Yagate Kimi ni Naru Review: Some consistent, relaxing romance

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Yuu is upset

I’ll be honest. I didn’t talk too much about this series as it was airing because it felt pretty low-key to me. It’s not a show that goes to great lengths to be flashy, despite the insane attention to visual details in the animation itself. However, it is a show that has a clear character dynamic that it executes well. The main character, Yuu Koito, is a girl searching to understand the feeling of love. She meets Toukko Nanami, who seems to share her plight, but Touko instead falls for Yuu and confess to her.

Yuu doesn't fall in love

A large part of why I thought the show was a pleasant viewing experience is the fact that it doesn’t shove its yuri component in my face. While it’s certainly a factor in Yuu and Touko’s relationship, there’s no constant reminder of how forbidden or taboo the love is (as you might see in a show like Citrus). While it’s probably true that the relationship between the two girls would cause uproar if it was made public, it wasn’t a constant source of drama driving events forward.

Yuu feels nothing

Yuu, as a character, was surprisingly relatable for me. While she shows the empathy of a kind person, she approaches her feelings with a sense of rationality that can hold her back. As the series progresses, we see her start to take more chances to learn more about herself and the love she’s trying to find.

Touko knows what she wants

On the other side, Touko isn’t such a simple character herself. While she gives off the initial appearance of the typical model student, we learn that there’s more to that personality as she opens up to Yuu. It becomes a bigger decision point for her, as she also tries to discover who she really is, rather who she believes she is.

The stage play won't be easy

Unfortunately, the story is forced to stop at a bit of a weird point, given its relatively slow pacing and the unfortunate consequence of being an adaptation. It’s sad to see so much time devoted to setting up the all-important student council stage play only to have series end before it can be resolved. It’s not really fair of me point it out, but it did leave me wanting more. Maybe I should just read the manga, right?

Don't say you hate things Yuu likes

I’d love to go more in detail about the visual appeal of the series, but I’m, as always, woefully underqualified to do so. I will say, though, that it doesn’t take too much training to notice how much effort goes into every scene. The show is pleasing to look at, keeps a mellow atmosphere without pushing the drama to unrealistic levels, and delivers interesting characters who feel oddly realistic.

Overall Score: 8/10

Fall 2018 Grab Bag Week 12: Yagate Kimi ni Naru

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The student council makes curry together

It feels weird to talk about this show for the first time right as it’s get close to its ending, but I’m not really in a mood to comment on Sword Art Online. For the most part, I’ve generally stuck this series on kind of a middle-level. I think it’s interesting because of how it seems to truly explore character thoughts and motivations (rather than using generic, flowery language like other romances), but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about it. The series does look great, though.

Former student council member talks about Touko's sister

That being said, I do like the general idea of personas in this series, especially with the recent episode’s shift to exploring the assumptions we’ve had about Touko’s sister. Even without having younger siblings, I’m sure it’s not hard to understand the desire to project the appearance of reliability to someone who looks up to you, so it’s a nice development.

Touko's sister seemed capable because of the efforts of others

If anything, this episode made it sound a lot more like Touko’s sister was actually a bit opportunistic, having gained a positive image as the hard-working student council president purely through the support of her friends. I’m actually quite curious to see how this affects Touko’s view of herself and her sister, since it seems to shatter a lot of her preconceptions.

Touko is nothing like her sister

Still, part of me wonders if Touko has always secretly known this about her sister. In an earlier episode, Yuu was trying to find out about Touko’s sister, only to find that many of the records related to her had disappeared. At the time, it was suggested that Touko was the reason behind it, so it’s possible that she already had an idea.

Controlling yourself in bed

To take a step back, the recent episodes haven’t focused as much on Yuu, but she’s part of the primary focus in the series. I wanted to note that I find her intriguing as a character. She seems to take an analytical approach to “love” as an emotion she doesn’t understand, and I find that cool.