Summer 2017 Season Wrap: Love and Lies, Re:CREATORS, & Fastest Finger First

I didn’t realize it then, but the first part of this season wrap came out on the official first day of autumn, the best time of year. I’ll be right over here, patting myself on the back, for being on top of this season’s shows and reviewing them in a timely manner. We continue here with three more shows, one of which ended far too early.

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

Koi to Uso

Love and Lies is an interesting show in that it presents one idea while pursuing the ideals of another. The entire premise of this story hinges on government-arranged marriages from as early as the age of sixteen. Once you are notified of your match, you are obligated to do all that you can to bring the marriage to fruition and, hopefully, procreate. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person; chances are you likely do not. Unions are chosen based on statistical data gathered from every little detail of your life, from vague notions of your personality to the hard facts of your place and direction in life. These government marriages have shown favorable results not only in the country’s birth rate, but also in public acceptance. The vast majority of people we see in the show not only go along with the orders, but even look forward to it. Gone are the days of loneliness, or those of insecurity in trying to get someone to give you a chance.

Yukari’s role as someone who finds himself caught between a long-time crush, his arranged wife, and a friendship that will never be sanctioned for more is meant to challenge the system. And, for the most part, we do see him wavering between the reciprocated affections of Misaki, and Ririna’s curious naivete. The battle becomes one of true love: can it only be found through self discovery, or can it be nurtured into reality?

Unfortunately, the answer does not get fulfilled at the end. If anything, you’ll sit there afterward in shock at how little we moved forward. The setting was interesting, but ultimately did not result in satisfaction. My personal wish to see a possible future for Yukari’s best friend, Nisaka, also hits a dead end. While I enjoyed parts of the show, namely those spent on Ririna, the story’s lack of forward movement makes it impossible for me to recommend it to anyone. Koi to Uso plays much like any typical high school romance drama—excited, uncertain, jealous, hopeful, and teetering on yet another cliffhanger.

Rating: 0 dango

Re:CREATORS

I’ll be honest, when I first started Re:Creators, I fully expected to drop it after a few episodes. Yet somehow I made it past the usual three, then halfway through the first cours, and then I couldn’t stop. I had to know how this story about stories would end. The idea that seemed too ridiculous to maintain charged through to the finish with an actual ending.

A large part of what made me so skeptical of this show was its amalgamation of characters from various genres and mediums. Not only did they mix science fiction, fantasy, and romance, but also included anime, video games, and fan art as sources. Personalities clashed among the heroes and their creators. This work felt like someone’s idea of a prank, or perhaps a multi-franchise fighting game with clear winners and losers. Meteora, Altair, and Magane all seem overpowered, especially when compared to an adult dating sim girl like Hoshikawa.

The pacing also threw me off, at times fast forwarding through clashes in too short time frames, or extending repetitive dialogue at the most crucial moments. The entire series itself is a couple weeks short of a normal-length, two cours anime, ending at 22 episodes instead of 24 or 25. Despite being shorter than expected, the ending still went through multiple power ups before taking the most obvious, though least likely to be successful, path. I kept thinking we were about to hit the finale.

Regardless of the mish mash of characters and stumbling, there’s a lot to like about Re:Creators. As we’re all lovers of stories, it makes sense that an anime about writers and artists would resonate with viewers. We can imagine ourselves as fans, or even creators, fueling the appearance of the heroes. Experiencing the show’s Elimination Chamber Festival had me itching to get back to my own novel; surely no response to my writing can be as terrible as world destruction!

Rating: 0 dango

Nana Maru San Batsu

7O3X won’t win any awards in art or originality, but it more than makes up for them with careful writing and spirit. This anime appealed to me in a way that the best competitive shows do; it not only introduced me to something new, but also invited me to experience the learning process in an organic way. It’s possible to puzzle out quiz answers along with the players. Unlike shows like Saki where understanding mahjong is not integral to enjoying the show, or Kakegurui where seeing the cheats and tactics of each gamble is impossible, we both understand the various aspects of Quiz Bowl and can play along with the characters.

It pains me to include Fastest Finger First, also known as 7O3X, in this season wrap, because that means it’s really over. As wonderful as it was to learn about Quiz Bowl along with Koshiyama, I wasn’t satisfied with where we ended the story. The informal meet used to close out the series felt like the first step of what should have been a long journey. Perhaps I feel this way because more popular sports anime tend to run with longer episodes and cover multiple matches leading up to the dream that is nationals. Even single cours shows tend to have higher stakes, like the semi-final match of a regional, if not national, tournament. 7O3X chokes us off right when the need to see more is at its greatest, and I’m almost certain that we will not be getting a sequel any time soon, if ever. Despite this, I’m glad that this show was even brought to the screen since it encourages me to seek out the still ongoing source material.

Rating: 1 dango

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8 thoughts on “Summer 2017 Season Wrap: Love and Lies, Re:CREATORS, & Fastest Finger First

  1. I was actually very captivated by Koi to Uso. I really enjoyed speculating about the Yukari system, and I loved thinking about the implications of such a system, and the conditions that it would require for success. And I think I have to disagree with you, in that there was significant character development, even if there wasn’t the ending that I might have initially wanted. Yukari and Ririna both learned quite a lot about what it means to grow and fall in love, even as they were both convinced that they needed to stay on the initial course they set. Convinced by their heads that they needed to keep going the same way, I liked the way they eventually ended up confronting their own growing feelings for each other.

    It was definitely a show that ended halfway through the story, with something that’s not a particularly satisfying closure in its own right, I think that it was good that Ririna and Yukari both realized that their feelings for each other were grown larger than just a connection by government notice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy watching this show and speculating on the possibility of such a system, especially in our own country. I hope my critique of the show doesn’t mislead people to thinking I didn’t like it!

      That’s true that the three main characters grew in their understanding of themselves and their relationships with others, even if I disliked the lack of a final outcome. As dissatisfying as I found it, I did feel a kind of resolution to their decision to stand together at the end.

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      • I was actually a little disappointed that my conspiracy theories got shot down mostly through it just being stupid crap, like Shuu meddling and sending out the fake notice to Yukari. But the story didn’t let let us off the hook with what Misaki’s reasons for never getting a Notice are. I’d like to get to that point to find out why she’s so sure she’ll never get one. It feels like she wasn’t saying “I’ll get a notice, but I’ll never love that person.” It still seems like there was some sort of bureaucratic reason that she’s being excluded from the system, especially since the two agents were going to talk to her. I also am interested in what the system would do with Nisaka, who definitely seems to be more attracted to Yukari. It would seem to be in the best interests of the system to match gay people as well in happy unions, rather than with a less successful chance in a straight marriage.

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        • Somewhere I read a theory that it was Misaki and Nisaka who were paired at one point, but due to their disinterest in one another, especially in Nisaka’s case, that the two are now exempt from the system. They do seem to have a history with one another based on the way they react to each other from the very beginning, but I originally figured that to be an understanding of their mutual feelings towards Yukari.

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          • I’d thought of that, but I don’t really like that theory because it would seem to undermine the credibility of the whole system. It also doesn’t explain why Misaki would want to be exempt from the system, although maybe you can explain that by teenage stupidity as far as being infatuated with Yukari, while at the same time she wants him to be with someone else (seriously, that whole Japanese “I am just happy being near the person I like forever” thing is eye-rolly).

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  2. After Made in Abyss and Sakura Quest I have Re;Creators and Bahamut 2 planned. Despite all the Summer shows I’ve picked to review I’m STILL NOT DONE with my Summer schedule. Better get it done with soon so I can FINALLY go back to my other planned review schedule.

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