Thursday, May 10, 2018

[New][April 2018] Wotaku: Koi wa Muzukashii

Rathian! That's a Rathian! He's hunting a Rathian!
I got the reference!
*quiet mental squee*

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Narumi Momose makes a sudden job change, when the secret she was trying to keep gets discovered: that she's an Otaku, specifically a Yaoi(AKA Boy's Love) fangirl. At her new company, she bumps into someone she was friends with in middle school, Hirotaka Nifuji: An unabashed Gamer Otaku, who immediately blows the secret she swore she was going to keep this time, by asking if she's going to Comiket, right in front of two of her coworkers!

First Impression: Expected pure gags, got a surprisingly grounded romcom.

My Opinion: This was a surprise. I was giving it a shot mostly because it was in a list of 'anime you should watch this season' and it wasn't an outright reject. Once I started it up, I really enjoyed it, the humors on point, but...there's just one problem. In case the massive amount of weeb'anese in the summary I wrote up there didn't give it away, this show is basically founded on the idea that the people watching either are otaku themselves, or are familiar enough with them from watching anime to get all the jokes. It seems like all of the humor for this one is based on getting all of the in-jokes the characters are throwing at each other from otaku culture.

For point of reference: I kept getting hitched on all of the shots they were showing of Hirotaka playing his hunter. Which I immediately identified by the sounds, before they even showed it on screen for the first time, since I've been up to the roots of my hair deep, in Monster Hunter World which just recently released.

Specifically I kept eyeballing all of the monsters he was fighting to see if I recognized them, or if they were monsters only in the old Monster Hunter games, because that's what the cuts are, actual footage of an older copy of monster hunter! I just found that so ridiculously charming...which then immediately had me wondering if maybe I shouldn't be slightly concerned with how much it felt like I was looking in a mirror...

Well in short, that's the feeling I get from this one. If you're familiar with Otaku culture, one way or the other, this show's worth your time to check out. The comedy isn't over the top ridiculous, and the 'romance/drama' is all...rather level headed and mature, like the show's actually taking that part of itself seriously. The Otaku part always seems to be cracking a joke, but whenever they flip the coin, things aren't serious business serious, but much more level-headed than I'm used to expecting from this kind of setup. It's all very refreshing after the recent frog march of low-tier stuff like 'Another World Smartphone' and 'Black Clover' that have come out recently. Stuff that feels like it's hot off the clone stamp machine, y'know? Nothing particularly original about them.

No recommendation just yet, this one didn't have me in stitches like Hinamatsuri did, but that could just be a matter of time. "I can't understand what my Husband is saying" was the last time a setup like this was great in my opinion, and it took a few episodes for that show to grow on me too. (that may have just been the short-show format though, if I'm completely honest).

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

[New][April 2018] HINAMATSURI

Someone stick a fork in me, I'm done. I'm dieing over here.

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: Nitta Yoshifumi is a yakuza, living surrounded by his beloved pots in his home in Ashigawa. But one day, a girl arrives in a strange object, and uses her telekinetic powers to force Nitta to allow her to live with him, putting an end to his leisurely lifestyle. Her powers can come in handy for his yakuza business... but he also runs the risk of her using them on him! Not to mention, if she doesn't use her powers regularly, she will eventually go berserk and destroy everything around her. So their life living together begins...

First Impression: It's COMEDY GOLD PEOPLE!

My Opinion: I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. Comedy is always a roll of the dice, but this one hit a natural 20 with me. It contains so many dangerously over done tropes, but it's using all of them in such a fresh way, and the jokes are on point. I think perhaps because it relies more on situational comedy, rather than outright slapstick or gags.

The show has a serious tone running under it, which helps hold it all together, and keeps it feeling like its moving forward instead of just wasting time spinning its wheels in one place. That's kind of how I felt about Alice and Zouroku after it's big mid-season climax, like it gave everything it had, and then was just finding ways to kill time. Even though you could tell the story was still trying, it was just over-saturated with comedy, so nothing felt like it had any weight or feeling to it anymore.

Here meanwhile, this show reminds me a great deal of Kobayshi's Dragon Maid. Comedy is obviously the center, but the show has a serious side when it wants to, without feeling like it's deliberately trying to be edgy. Ah, the word I'm looking for is 'Mature'. When the show is being serious, it feels very mature, instead of like something that fell out of a teenagers edge-lord fantasy notebook.

It's only two episodes in, and I swear it felt like I had watched four episodes already. Part of that is because the story arcs were actually divided 2 per episode, but think about that for a second. I had just consumed 4 half-episode time-sized stories, but I still felt like I had watched four full-length ones, because they had that much weight and impact to them, in both comedy and honest story.

I think a lot of it can be attributed to one of the main characters, Hina, being the right balance of the apathetic/empty character trope. The show does a good job of framing it that she previously was a hollow vessel, but unlike how a lot of shows seem to think that's an end unto itself, (It's not by the way, that makes the most boring characters ever), she's already growing out of it nicely, if with comedic effect awkwardness. The bar scene in episode two killed me, all the way through, I actually had to be told I could be heard laughing from all the way outside the house.

Needless to say, this show gets a 100% pure

for comedy gold that's right on point. You should absolutely try it, see if the humor tickles your fancy.