Summer 2014 – First Impressions (Part 4)

yama_no_susume_2-01-kokona-hinata-aoi-kaede-comedy-camping-tent-sleeping_bags-laughingThis post reviews: Yama no Susume Second Season, Majimoji Rurumo, Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?, and Tokyo ESP.

Although Psycho-Pass is returning this summer with an extended version, combining two episodes together and running for 11 episodes before Psycho-Pass 2 this autumn, I think I’ll be giving the series a pass. After giving the first extended episode a try and not noticing anything new or substantially different, I think I can invest my time better by watching 2 new anime rather than the hour-long episodes of Psycho-Pass. I am hoping that some observant fan out there will catalogue the difference, redraws and any new material here, but I’m not going to spend 11 hours rewatching an anime when I’m already crunched for time and trying to juggle a dozen new shows. Instead, I’ll just wait patiently and see if there’s anything worthwhile from it or not.

 

Watching:

Yama no Susume Second Season

yama_no_susume_2-01-kaede-aoi-hinata-kokona-camping-tent-pajamas-talking-happy-moeThe first reason why I am writing about Yama no Susume here when I skipped over all the previous sequels, continuations, re-adaptations and whatnot, is because the structure and dynamic of Yama no Susume is completely different between this second season and the original. The first series had 12 episodes of 3 minutes each for a total run-time of 36 minutes. This new season is features episodes that are much, much longer and there are twice as many episodes, meaning this season is roughly 360 minutes or 10 times more Yama no Susume than the original Yama no Susume. This is like getting 10 sequels of Yama no Susume! And because of the extended run-time for each episode, the anime has a different style than before – being able to accomplish more with each episode and being able to provide depth in specific areas or topics where it couldn’t before. The second reason why I’m writing about Yama no Susume here is because I absolutely loved the first season and feel the exact same way after watching the first episode of this sequel. And that’s always a good reason… right?

Yeah, of course it is. But back to the subject at hand, the second season of Yama no Susume is great. The one major flaw I had with the original is that the episodes were too short and that the anime really could never expand on its topics to build a base of knowledge on mountaineering and camping or to develop the characters and their stories. Now, with quarter-hour long episodes, we see that Yama no Susume is able to do complete subjects in detail and even provide time to explore the four mountain-climbing girls. The anime still has the same charm and amusement as the original shorts, along with the same super-moe art style. I found this episode to be more enjoyable than any from the original series, which did well for a short anime series, so don’t be surprised if this quickly becomes one of my favorite this season.

yama_no_susume_2-01-hinata-aoi-tent-camping-happy-accomplishment-dekita! yama_no_susume_2-01-aoi-kokona-cooking-pot-apron-happy-clapping-cute

 

Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?

rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-01-sanae-ghost-spirit-flame-happy-fang-moe-totally_not_nanana-Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? might not be heavy on having a wholesome story or noteworthy characters, but that’s not really the point of this anime. Instead, Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? is a harem comedy that tries to fit as many anime clichés as it can into one episode. It pretty much takes all the random harem backstory for all the special ghosts/magical girls/aliens/whatever and puts it into one show. I often critize anime for being unoriginal, derivative or direct copies of more popular franchises, but this is what Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? wants, and Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? knows just how silly and stupid it is. The fact that it’s making fun of itself and it knows that it’s making fun of itself is what allows the anime to be amusing and ultimately enjoyable. If it wanted to be a good, serious harem romance (wait, is there such a thing?) it wouldn’t be concerning itself with wacky characters, their zany backstories, and making fun of everyone as soon as they appear. The whole point of this is to laugh at all that stuff. But yes, the comedy anime does have some flaws, particularly on how well it’ll hold up for the duration of the season. Often times, these self-aware and critical anime often become the monsters they’re making fun of, and I am weary of Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? becoming the lame, ecchi harem comedy that it was poking fun at in this first episode. If not, I’m wondering how much material this premise can bestow since it seems as though most of the humor was used up in this first episode. I can see the anime going around and trying to resolve the issues of each girl and trying to save the apartment for Satomi, but the fact that this has 15 volumes of light novels already leads me to believe the story won’t be short and predictable. Nevertheless, I did find myself laughing and smiling at this first episode and am interested to see just how well this comedy performs. I’m not expecting this anime to perform any miracles or have a genuine story or anything value, but I am assuming this will keep me entertained for the next 11 weeks.

rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-01-ruth-theia-ruthkhania_nye_pardomshiha-theiamillia_gre_fortorthe-aliens-princess-attendant rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-01-yurika-magical_girl-witch-broom-twintails-shy-timid-scared-cute

 

Tokyo ESP

tokyo_esp-01-rinka-white_girl-shiroi_shoujo-heroine-protagonistTokyo ESP probably had the most intriguing first episode of any of the anime this season. Without knowing much about the story, the characters or the style of the anime, I found Tokyo ESP to be rousing, remarkable, and rewarding. I’ve always been a fan of shows where various people have superhuman abilities, such as Needless and Darker than Black, so to be reminded of those familiar anime while watching Tokyo ESP is a definite plus. The serious nature of the anime, evidenced by the character designs, the gore, and the plot thus far, does help give the anime some weight in its story and its characters. The art and animation are adequate for this type of anime, without having any faults but never being too impressive. The first episode did well in establishing the setting and laying the foundations for the series to build off of, but it’s hard to predict what the rest of the anime will be like since the main character and her gang were absent for all but the end of the first episode. I’m not sure what the rest of the anime will be like, but I do know I’ll be watching this anime to find out. Yes, I often put shows like this in the Undecided category until I can confirm my expectations and know what to expect, but Tokyo ESP was among the upper-half of anime this season and proved enough to rationalize keeping it after just one episode.

tokyo_esp-01-minami-antagonist-villain-teleporter-superhuman_powers-winter_coat tokyo_esp-01-murasaki-glowing_eyes-glasses-psychic-vision

 

Undecided:

Nothing for this post, which means the last anime is…

 

Dropped:

Majimoji Rurumo

majimoji_rurumo-01-rurumo-chiro-witch-black_cat-giant_hat-cute-silent-moeWhat’s most remarkable about Majimoji Rurumo’s first episode is you can absolutely tell what material was from the debut and where the manga’s story began. That is to say, the entire first half of the episode was based on a one-shot (one chapter long manga) the mangaka originally wrote and probably won an award for. Because so many people liked it (barf), a mangazine probably wanted him to continue the story, so he came up with the second half of episode one and what will be the remainder of this season. It’s plain to see how different the two halves were, not only in terms of the story, but in terms of the background characters, the school setting and even how Rurumo’s magic works. Hell, Chiro was never explicitly mentioned in the first half and now we know he’s Rurumo’s familiar and can even talk. So you can tell right from the start that this anime originates from a one-shot and was probably never designed to be a long-running manga or anime, and that observing this stark contrast is a guarantee of a poor adaptation or poor directing. Or at least that’s how I see it.

But besides that critique, there’s not much for me to like about Majimoji Rurumo. Unlike Rokujouma before, this anime takes itself too seriously, especially with the perverted male lead and the innocent and naïve magical witch girl. The characters are simple and shallow, meaning there’s little opportunity for these characters to grow or mature as the series develops. And yes, having a perverted male character like Kouta is a huge negative. The comedy was abysmal, too. I fail to see the obsession with comedy derived from girls not wearing their underwear (which was the main joke twice in this first episode), but maybe there’s one or two people in Japan that can’t get enough of this monotonous rehashed material. Maybe this show caters to them. All I know is that this show is not for me. And though I’ve seen enough to justify dropping it after just one episode, I am curious how the anime will sustain itself for the duration of the series. The opening sequence did promise a throng of characters, so it doesn’t look like poor Rurumo will be stuck with Kouta for 11 more episodes. Couple that with the fact that this was originally a one-shot, too, meaning the original premise was for this to be a stand-alone story with just Kouta and Rurumo. I might keep an eye out for what others are saying about this series, but I can’t find enough motivation to continue watching this anime after how disappointing and frustrating this first episode was.

majimoji_rurumo-01-rurumo-witch-riding_broom-roses-beautiful-cute-moe majimoji_rurumo-01-rurumo's_panties-apples-print-pink-sparkling

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