Where are all the good animu? Tell me, and I’ll spare your life…
Well, thankfully these next three titles sorta made up for the disaster of the last few entries I watched. As a matter of fact, all three of the following shows in this preview post weren’t in my original viewing schedule; they were subsequently added after I read some rather positive impression on them. The other shows that are on my list, apparently, won’t be airing until later this week. So instead of waiting it out, I decided to check out what all the buzz was about — and boy, was I glad I didn’t miss out on these shows. Not that they’re instant sells or anything like that; but they DID give me a little more hope for this season.
So for this entry, we’ve got flying girls, crafty negotiators, and pseudo-monarchs. Yeah, I always come up with such weird adjectives. Anyway, let’s DO THIS!
I think I glossed over this title because its premise was basically another isekai show. If you aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s something that probably once started with .hack//Sign, and has eventually evolved into a whole sub-genre that explores protagonists finding themselves extracted from their world into one of fantasy. The whole concept actually goes further back than .hack//Sign, but has seen a resurgence as of late due to the success of titles like Sword Art Online. There have been several iterations on the whole setup, creating some monstrosities like Re:ZERO and whatnot — which is why I honestly find shows that dabble on the premise just another excuse to milk the cash cow whilst interest is still there.
But upon closer inspection, Re:CREATORS is produced by studio TROYCA, and directed by Ei Aoki, who is best known for Aldnoah.Zero. Now that show, I really liked… except for the ending. But after watching the first episode of Re:CREATORS, it’s pretty clear to me that I’ll be embracing the show’s premise not for the sake of it trying to mix things up a little by bringing the fantasy characters to the real world — rather, I’ll be enjoying it thanks to the highly competent staff over at TROYCA.
Because as it stands, this first episode has the making for something legitimately exciting. There’s a good sense of visual space that doesn’t rely on overt narration, and the action is both upbeat and consistent with its execution. Even the use of comedy to relieve the tension is pretty darn effective. Overall, it’s a very promising show that seems both unoriginal (hey, another isekai show… whoopdeedoo), yet at the same time highly intriguing. If Ei Aoki was able to prove that Mecha-Intergalactic-Space-War Dramas could still be a relevant genre in 2014, then I’ll give him the chance to prove the same for the Isekai genre. Don’t let me down, Aoki. Initial Rating: 8/10
KADO: The Right Answer
This show kinda threw me for a loop. The pre-premier episode dubbed “episode 0” was a traditionally animated episode that basically gave some background on our main protagonist, Shindou — an astute bureaucrat that serves as a negotiator for several departments of the local government. Come the end of this episode, however, and we’re rudely shifted to cold CGI models and a space invasion.
Not exactly what I was expecting, but whatever. I’m honestly not one to complain about the use of CGI for animation (heck, I tolerated an entire season of BBK/BRNK), but coming from Toei Animation Studios — the same people who brought us the fully CG-animated feature film Expelled from Paradise — I was expecting quite a bit more. If anything, the character models still felt cold, and outside of any generic facial expressions, things more often than not ended up looking plain weird. Like Dr. Shinawa’s painfully awkward facial animation that is supposed to make her look “cute”.
But ignore the visuals and you have what is basically a very engaging sci-fi drama/suspense. It does an excellent job of hooking you in, and actually follows a very logical set of steps to guide you through the events without overwhelming you with too much technobabble — a common misstep for shows of this sort of nature. Framing things in a bureaucratic setting also gave it a more grounded feel that highlights the show’s inclination more towards suspense. So as a page-turner, it’s definitely up to snuff. Nothing too amazing, and yet not bad at all. I’ll be sure to continue watching this just to see what’s up. Initial Rating: 8/10
A very common description I’ve seen about this show is that it’s like a mash up between Hanasaku Iroha and Shirobako. Now that’s an interesting way to describe a show, and true enough it pretty much is something like that. The story talks about a certain Koharu and her dream to make it big in the city, only to be met with failed job applications one after the other. When all hope seems to be lost, she gets a chance to work as a model for an obscure rural county’s tourism board. One event leads to another until she eventually finds herself staying there for a year to help increase the town’s reputation as a tourist destination.
As obscure as the plot sounds, the presentation of the story is both easy to follow albeit ridiculous on the same vein. It’s a strange marriage of concepts that works thanks to the lovability of its cast. And I think this is in part due to the excellent animation cues coming from P.A. Studios. These guys are pretty much my underdog studio at this point, since I really, really like their work, but they haven’t faired all too well over the past few season. Otherwise, this show will need a bit of work if it wants to stand on the same ground as Hanasaku Iroha, but I think it’s making enough ground to stand as a potentially endearing show about how we go about pursuing our dreams in the least likely of places. Initial Rating: 7.5/10
Whew, I think I’ll end the previews here, since the next bunch of shows won’t be airing until much later. Stay tuned for a quick recap of all the previews, and hopefully after that, some more weekly thoughts. Until next time, Ciao!
I didn’t know what I expected with Kado but I ended up really enjoying it. Hopefully it continues well.
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Indeed. It has a strange way of reeling you in. I’d like to see more of Shindo’s negotiation skills, too.
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P. A. Works is an interesting case. They really had a golden age after Angel Beats’ success. Hanasaku Iroha was perhaps their best production to date. With Charlotte I thought they’ve reinvented themselves, but they keep creating hit or miss series where most of them is hit or miss. I can’t really explain why this studio has such issues. Perhaps staff changes or they want to take on too much at once.
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I know what you mean. Every time they dabble outside of the slice-of-life genre, they seem to struggle — like what happened with Kuromukuro. I don’t think it’s really a case of the source material, it’s just in the manner of execution. And yet their new house style is somewhat refreshing. I really hope Sakura Quest will work out for them this time around.