Monday, April 16, 2018

[New][April 2018] Kakruiyo - Bed & Breakfast for Spirits (Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi)

Well, isn't that a pretty set-piece.

Last Seen: 3

Summary: One of Aoi's earliest memories, is of a kind Ayakashi saving her life. Having been able to see them for as long as she can remember, her mother ends up abandoning her, and she's left to fend for herself, and starve. This is when an Ayakashi appears before her. Thanks to the Ayakashi's kindness, Aoi survives, to be found and adopted by her grandfather, who can also see Ayakashi. He teaches her how to survive on her own, live quietly and avoid trouble with them. She grows up peacefully, until the day her grandfather passes away... and an Oni comes to take her as his bride for a debt of her grandfathers! With her grandfathers name signed on the contract naming her as collateral!

First Impression: Much better than I was expecting.

My Opinion: The anime industry is nothing if not demonically-contracted to jump on the bandwagon of anything with even mild success, so when I first saw this show I just assumed it was bandwagon 'copy, paste, repaint, and sell'-class material based on Konohana Kitan since it sounded so similar. In just one episode though, it proved me quite wrong. There is, after all, nothing wrong with innovating on a previously existing idea. The problem is just that a lot of people in a lot of industries read 'innovating' as, 'reselling the same old crap with a new paint-job'.

Where as Konohana is as shallow as it can possibly get, and focuses on cute'sy feel-goods, this show quickly sets out to prove it has a bit more depth. How much, will remain to be seen in future episodes, but it looks promising to me so far.
(Get your torches and pitchforks ready, and brush up on your angry mob tactics, I'm certainly far more 'willing to believe' than is wise).

Just in the first episode we have a fair touch more grounding depressive events, with child abandonment and debt-collection. More importantly, none of the characters feel 'trope'-y, yet, even by the third episode. Which is quite impressive honestly, since this show seems to be peeling cards off of Natsume Yuujinchou, Konohana Kitan, and more than a few rom-coms in its future I'm sure. If for no other reason than the main character running around asking for a job, and then when one is actually offered without her asking, she acts surprised. I didn't like that part, she had been a rather strong character until then. Besides that however, the show isn't really pushing all. As a matter of fact, it's waaay in the background as it focuses on Aoi getting her bearings in this sudden upset in her life of being plunged into the Hidden Realm.

As it continues on, it fixes up right nicely. The main character has the right balance of being utterly mystified by all of the unheard of things she's surrounded by, but at the same time, since she's been dealing with Ayakashi since she was young, and she's now already an adult, she acts like she should, I feel. She barely even blinks when the Oni talks about enjoying eating humans and is more annoyed by how happy he seems to be to point it out all the time, and she doesn't jump at every little new thing and character that comes on screen. I like that. She's acting like she actually is a mature adult. I think that's something I miss in most anime: competent level-headed characters. The show is looking great so far.

On the topic of looks though...something about the animation Like walking around in a room that has been tilted 1 degree off from being level. I can't quite put my finger on why I think something seems out of place with the animation. Could just be a random impulsive feeling, but I'm here to right my opinion and inform the masses, so may as well mention it.

All together, this is a lovely little show so far, and I'm looking forward to it from week to week. Not quite worth a full recommendation yet, as nothing huge or especially interesting is going on, but I believe it's worth most peoples time to try it. Nothing seems ready to crash and burn, and that's actually kind of rare lately. Maybe I'm just not watching enough anime, or have had bad luck picking out shows, but a lot of shows have had shaky starts lately. Well that's my opinion, so may it serve you well.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

[Ended] Alice & Zouroku - Fast climax, slow and steady pan out

Shh, too lazy to take a screenshot.

My Opinion: This show was absolutely and undeniably fantastic. For the first half. After that, it's a roll of the dice and anyone's game. It's not mediocre or bad by any stretch, but by comparison it definitely isn't as strong of an impression or impressive. It EXPLODES right out of the gate with the best it has to offer, and then everything after that just seems a bit dull by comparison.

This one is very much a 'come for the fight, stay for the characters'. Which is to say, if you didn't fall in love with one of the main characters right away, after the main climax is over literally when I wrote the first post for this show at episode 5-6, you don't really have a strong reason to keep watching, because it's more or less just those characters, living their lives. Very much a clean fit into the 'slice of life' genre.

Personally, I absolutely adore the character Zouroku, and surprisingly, I did like Alice as well. Normally I find the overly eager and rambunctious little girl characters aggravating and in need of a good lecturing and grounding, but uh...Zouroku kind of handles that perfectly so. It ends up being fantastic watching Alice try her best, and Zouroku guiding her down the right path.

Impartial Opinion: If you immediately dislike one of the two and half main characters, you have basically no reason to watch past episode 5 or 6. Everything after that mid-show climax is just a slice of life of the old man and a little girl living their lives getting used to each other. Yes, more trouble crops up, but it pans out far less spectacularly than the first half. Zouroku is the punchline, so I liked it anyway, but that may not fly for everyone else.

I still maintain this shows solid:

 under the provision that it extends only as far as that mid-show climax. After you see that, everything else is up to your own personal taste.

Naturally this show gets a rating of  Good.

Honestly, I shouldn't have been surprised that they couldn't maintain that level of excitement. It was still a let down however, so no Great for this one.

If I'm perfectly honest, I think the thing that miffs me the most is that Zouroku takes a backseat in the second half for no other reason than he is separated from Alice. While the story is fine and interesting, and I don't really fault them for doing that, I can't deny that the lifeblood of this show is those two interacting together, and I absolutely love Zouroku to pieces and everything he does in the show. Perhaps if he had a stronger presence in the second half, I would have felt better about it.
[aside end]