The fall season has certainly started off with some stellar graphics and animation, with the following five setting some great examples. I was also caught a bit off guard by their airing since I was focused on wrapping up my summer season final thoughts (still in progress as I’m waiting on some final episodes). I’m pretty positive that at least four of the five described here are on my watching list, with only one of them still undecided.
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume
Here we have the second installment of the Squid Girl franchise, one of which I have been highly anticipating. I’m a big fan of Ika Musume, and have been since the first episode of the first season. I’ve always been enamored with the ocean and all things in it, so her agenda fits right in with mine. Of course, her complete lack of capability in both invasion and in protecting the ocean makes for some great comedic skits.
This second season looks to be no different, as this first episode follows right in the footsteps of the prior, yet manages to still feel fresh (a lesson for BakaTest2, perhaps). It was fun seeing her antics with the ocean-side staff and visitors, as usual, but one of my favorite jokes this time around was the scene where she watched a television drama showcasing an unsuccessful alien invasion. Instead of cheering on Earth’s defense, as any normal person would, she’s horrified at the alien’s loss. It’s a perfect way to re-introduce her intentions which so oppose those of humanity. She reaffirms that there is always another way of looking at something, if but in a silly and colorful light. Something I do appreciate this time around, though, is that the subbers I’ve decided to follow have opted out on including “~degeso” each time she says it.
I’m a bit of a Saber fangirl, though I readily admit that Fate/stay night definitely has its flaws, and many of them. While I greatly enjoyed the whole idea of the story and its characters, I found the overall plot full of holes and questionable actions. Well, it looks like this prequel is more than ready to step up the pace and present us with a prequel fully capable of filling in the blanks, as well as standing alone in its own right. The gorgeous graphics are a visual delight and a heck of a lot of absent information is given to us right at the start, a pleasure after the initial confusion in the first season. There is, however, quite a lot of dialogue in this 40-minute episode, and I’m curious to see how much dialogue will be used in following episodes. It can be a bit wearing on the viewer, all this talky-talk, but if executed cleverly, I don’t think I’ll mind.
Two things really stood out to me after watching this: the re-introduction of old ideas/old characters now young, and the slot of players for the fourth Grail War.
Since I’ve seen and liked the first season, I couldn’t help but grin in delight every time I recognized one of its characters, now much younger, more idealistic, and even innocent. Little Rin and Sakura saddened the joy a good deal, but Ilya’s consummation and birth was a great way to open up this prequel. I even liked seeing Kirei, as much as I hated his character. The visual of seeing him in discussion with Tokiomi and Risei, the two circling around him forming a clock face, created quite an impact. Of all the participants in the fourth Grail War, Kirei is the only one who ends up with the most knowledge and experience; he almost seems unmoving in the flow of time. The other aspect that I greatly enjoyed about this first episode was the introduction of Masters. For the large part, they are all mature adults. This is refreshing given the fact that the majority of Masters in F/SN were students. We do have a (college?) student in the mix, but he seems to know what he’s doing, at least more so than Shirou did. Even more anticipating is the mix-up of Masters and Servants, which mostly differ from their descendents’ match-ups. Fate/Zero stands at the forefront of my anime for this season, and I hope that it stays there.
Here we have, yet again, another sequel season, also in the comedic s’life slot. Working’!! definitely sits below Shinryaku!? in terms of anticipation and general liking, but I enjoyed the first season well enough to watch this second one. It took me a long time to forgive Working!! for its horrendous repetition of gags, particularly ones involving Inami, but there were genuine moments of laughter. I wasn’t too pleased to see more Inami jokes in the first episode of the sequel, but they were short enough for me to “Okay” the watching of the overall anime. We’ll see if my decision changes after a couple more episodes.
All-in-all, a great part of why I like this show is its setting. As is evident by the title of this blog, I love food, and although food isn’t really showcased in Working’!!, I do get to see some excellent parfaits. I also have some experience working in the food industry as a server, so again, it’s fun to see situations with which I’m familiar. Call it nostalgia, if you like. And despite me disliking a couple of the main cast (INAMI, INAMI, INAMI, sometimes Yamada), I do enjoy the humor of the others, for the most part, mainly that of Kyouko, Jun, and Souma–the older ones of the group, I guess? Kyouko’s fixation on treats and general “Who cares” attitude is familiar, *cough*, and I can’t help but love the kitchen guys’ sarcastic humor and bullying.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
Shichika of Katanagatari? Nope, that’s Daimon Kaito of the newly airing Phi Brain. Though I love the premise of this show, I have a feeling that it also caters to a younger crowd with its shonen-style characters and lessons of the joy in intellectual puzzles. Here kids–brain stimulation is fun! Despite these misgivings, I do tend to like shows like these that center on mysteries and riddles. They harken to my innate genius. *cough again*
Phi Brain does seem like it will end up being a little bit adventure, a little bit mystery, and perhaps a tad romantic. Nonoha’s surprising ability for memorization shows that she will most likely embark on many of Kaito’s puzzle adventures. She may even save his life or solve a riddle for him, proving to Kaito that he is not the complete and untouchable genius that he seems to think he is in this first episode. Nonoha’s the touch of humility every arrogant person desperately needs. As for what I make of the dramatic ending, yes, Sunrise is once again trying to infuse “AMAZING?!?!” reactions with their over dramatic revelations and forced tension (remember Sacred Seven). I’m not so much annoyed by it as much as I am amused. Kaito is more genius than Einstein?! That is so cool! /sarcasm
C³ – CubexCursedxCurious
And here we are at last at the show for which I teeter. To watch, or not to watch? I do give it kudos for the very, very pretty visuals, which are highly pigmented and covered with a bit of a muted glow. I can’t help but smile that the VA for Fear also voiced Togame, one of my favorite girls of 2010. I’m on the fence about this show due in large part to its set-up: mysterious, magical girl with unrealistic and quirky personality appears out of nowhere in bland boy A’s life. She reminds me a lot, visually, of Eri from Denpa Onna with her blue hair and over-sized white shirt. But, once again, the graphics grab me (thank you, SIlver Link), as does the creative notion of a human manifestation from the negative emotion that is “fear.” It makes me think a little of Pandora’s box, with all those negative elements trapped in a box together with Hope. The connection is magnified since Fear arrives at Haruaki’s home in the form of a futuristic-looking cube. The humor is well interspersed as well, one of my favorite scenes being where she attempts to “clean up” the house.
On top of the generic set-up, there are also a couple of aspects that are sending me warning flashes about running away while I still can, including all the panty shots and the mystery of Fear’s female clothing later on in the episode. As any reader of my blog knows, I’m not too into fan service, so of course these panty shots jump out at me. Honestly, whose butt has those shiny spots, anyways? But, I sort of forgave the fan service due to the exemplary graphics used in its making. I was also wondering where in the heck Fear found her female get up later on when she decides to leave the house and go wandering. I could surmise that she had it packed somewhere with her when she assumed the cube form, but then that doesn’t explain her nudity earlier on. Inexplicable costume designs! And it doesn’t make sense to me why a bunch of strangers in the shopping district would give her the time of day after she rudely tells them to leave her alone. Little kid though she may appear, I don’t see actual people being so kind and ignoring her behavior. Let’s hope more holes, next time in the form of plot or character, don’t show up.
Let’s get together and Nyan-nyan together, too!