The first couple of shows have already aired, but I’m only just recovering from a heavy winter viewing schedule and 26 straight episodes of Cowboy Bebop (Yes, I only watched it now — and yes, now I understand why everyone loves it). But with a torrent of new shows comes a similarly large deluge of reactions. Wondering what this season has to offer? Then read on!
(This post contains the first few shows that I’ve watched. Stay tuned for the remaining episodes in a follow up post!)
Kumamiko ~Girl meets Bear~
So the Japanese Calvin & Hobbes turns out to be just a tad too risqué in its premiere episode. Essentially about a shrine girl and her misadventures with a certain talking bear, the show is based on a four-panel gag comic of the same name. The art is gorgeous and the characters are ridiculously cute, but the comedy that is supposed to be the focus of the show feels a little stilted, having a noticeable Japanese-centric focus in its timing and general orientation.
For the Japanophile, however, there are a lot of cultural quips that are fun to spot. Apart from the obvious shrine maiden (miko) getup, there are also Ainu glyphs embroidered into Machi’s clothes. Ukiyo-e styled “shunga” panels are used to portray the eroticism of Yoshio’s story, and even the ending theme utilizes axonometric projections that are characteristic of Eastern art.
But that’s the art. The content of this episode, on the other hand, borders repulsive. Sexualizing a 14-year old and having a pre-pubescent kid scream out “sexual harassment!” might be a little too much to stomach for the conservative viewer, so it goes without saying that this show requires a little viewer discretion. And that’s a shame for something so deceivingly cute. I’m giving the show another chance, but if it focuses too much on these disturbing little jabs, then I might drop it to save myself the hassle of being called a pedophile.
Initial rating: 6.5/10
It’s funny for me to be watching a show like this coming from a country where there is little to no respect for people riding motorcycles, simply because the same show no respect for other motorists, either. But if anime is going to hijack the concept of motorbikes with their signature acts of “moefication”, then fuggit, I’m checking it out.
Bakuon!! is just that — “cute girls doing cute things” — but this show decided to use a main character that looks like a rehashed version of Yui from K-ON!, who is coincidentally just as clueless and hapless without the help of a composed little sister. Its difficult to engage with a comedy that constantly makes you wonder whether or not the show can offer anything more than underaged girls riding oversized motorcycles.
And the comedy tends to be a little raunchy, utilizing double entendres and camera shots that focus on jiggling boobs or inadvertent boob grabs. The show even goes to the extent of having the main character, Hane, literally “communicate” with the training bike she’s using. Thankfully, all the bike talks about is what it feels like to have a man’s crotch in your face or how to release the break handle as you would fondle a man’s you-know-what…
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting in this show, but whatever it was, it’ll have to take a step back for this season.
Initial rating: 5/10
We didn’t really have much to work with for this show, but its first episode pretty much left us with that — nothing to work with.
No, I take that back. It dumped a boatload of characters on top of us, then shuffled its way through a ridiculous scrimmage of dialogue that felt like the entire show was trying its darned hardest to say either “these guys are freaks” or “know them now, because they’re gonna be dead later!”
I’m not really a fan of thriller, but if this is what it takes to make a thriller story interesting, then they might as well be writing a comedy. The characters feel as ridiculous as they are inherently over-made, accompanied by a musical score that felt contrived and overly dramatic.
But who knows, maybe the show is intentionally doing this to spite the viewer. It will really depend now on what they decide to do with these characters and how the thriller aspects will unfold. This is procedural stuff when you think about it, but as a first episode, it isn’t really a great start.
Initial rating: 6/10
Things might seem a little dismal at this point, but don’t worry — there were some pretty good shows, too! In the next update, I’ll be sharing my initial thoughts on Asterisk War 2nd Cour, Marcoss Delta, and the much awaited My Hero Academia. Look forward to it!