First Impressions- Spring 2020 Anime (Part 1)

So normally I’d talk about how nice it is to get away from the cold of winter and finally soak up some warmer weather, but I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to tell you how much everything sucks right now, and I hope all of you are staying as safe as you can. In the meantime, while we’re all holed up at home, waiting for this whole virus situation to be over, we might as well try and escape reality with some new anime. Since I frankly don’t have much else to do in the meantime, the odds are slightly higher I might get around to more stuff than I normally would, but I’d also like to avoid burning myself out, so we’ll see what happens. Now that my rambling’s done, I guess it’s time to kick this off

Ratings Scale

Bad: Stay away far away from this one.  Not worth watching

Decent: Has some okay elements to it. Might be worth giving a  couple of episodes to see how it goes

Good: Fairly solid show. Should be worth keeping up with for now

Great: Really good show. Definitely worth seeing if you get the chance

Excellent: Really outstanding show. Absolutely worth following .

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Tower Of God

Tower of God

Synopsis: Fame. Glory. Power. Anything in your wildest dreams is possible when you reach the top of the Tower of God. Those lucky enough to be chosen by the tower ascend each floor in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, but to succeed, they must complete dangerous and deadly tests along the way. But there are others who can enter the structure on their own free will; these “irregulars” are feared by many and are said to leave chaos and change in their wake. Twenty-Fifth Baam is one such irregular who begins to climb the Tower of God in hopes of reuniting with his childhood friend Rachel, but as he soon discovers, this perilous path will put him in the crosshairs of fierce competitors, untrustworthy rivals and terrifying monsters, and he might not make it out alive…

First Impressions: So this is probably one of the most anticipated things of the season for a lot of folks, and it certainly seems to be the show that Crunchyroll is banking on to carry them through the season, since the original web comic is pretty popular. Personally though, it’s been at least somewhere around a decade since I skimmed through it, and I recall literally nothing about it, so I basically went into this blind and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what to think of it. The most immediately stricking thing about the show (aside from having the Crunchyroll and Webtoon logos blaring through the credits, signifying how much the former banked on this) is the visual style, which from everything, I’ve heard was made to resemble the earliest parts of the webcomic. It’s certainly a unique look, and it very much gives the show a comic like vibe in a way that I haven’t seen a lot of other productions do, but in execution the visuals are kinda a mixed bag. The backgrounds look pretty neat, and rough pencil-like outlines work really well for some of the monster designs, but as far as the human characters go, it makes them all look weirdly flat, and while that’s not too off-putting on it’s own, there’s not a whole ton in the way of fluid animation either, so there are points where it feels a few steps away from being a motion comic. Strange as the artstyle is though, the actual plot is even stranger as the show immediately dumps us into the titular tower, and we’re given more in the way of clunky wordbuilding than we are characters as we don’t really know too much about our lead Ban beyond his desire to find a girl named Rachel who once saved him from some mysterious circumstances and may or may not have made her way to the top of the tower. All of this seems it would make the show a hard pass, but as awkwardly pieced together as all of it is, there’s also something about it that has me kinda curious where it’s headed, and I’m equally curious how much mileage the show will be able to get out of it’s artstyle without going totally off the rails. I can’t say this premiere won me over, but I probably will watch at least a little more of this, so on that end, so I guess for the time being, I’m onboard.

Rating: Decent

Tamayomi: The Baseball Girls

Tamayomi

Synopsis: Yomi Takeda is a pitcher who, after a failed attempt at climbing the ladder in a junior high baseball tournament, vows off the sport when she heads to high school. But after reuniting with her childhood friend Tamaki Yamazaki (the only one to ever catch her special “Magic Throw”), the two head back to the sport once again.

First Impressions: It’s time for another round of cute girls doing cute things, this time with baseball. That was about the only thing I knew about the show going into this, well that and the potential of some yuri-baiting and…yeah it was basically that. This premiere follows a girl named Tama who used to be an ace pitcher on a baseball team, but hung up her hat after middle school until meeting a pair of enthusiastic twins and being reunited with her childhood friend Yomi, who happens to be an excellent catcher, reignites her passion for the game. Annndd…that’s basically the whole premiere. It reminds me quite a bit of Cinderella Nine from a few seasons back, and much like that show it kinda wavers between whether it wants to be an actual sports drama or moe fluff. Thankfully it seems to have a slightly tighter handle on that than Cinderella Nine did, and the sport antics take emphasis, but unfortunently it’s not super compelling on that end. While Tama’s plight concerning the fact that she had to hold back from using her full capabilities in middle school because no one could catch her pitches was at least kind of interesting, that whole hangup is resolved by the end of the episode, which already paints a bad sign that this isn’t going to have any long term stakes, which is kind of a death sentence for a sports drama. Adding onto that, the show is pretty poorly animated, and while it isn’t super wonky looking, it’s already cutting a lot of corners which means there isn’t likely to be much in the way of spectacle. This certainly isn’t a bad show, and I nothing about it really bothered me, but even as I’m sitting here typing this, it’s already starting to fade from my memory which isn’t exactly the best sign. Maybe I’ll give it another episode if the rest of the season is really slow, but right now I’m leaning towards a no.

Rating: Decent

The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me?

The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me?

Synopsis: Shingo Ichinomiya, a 25-year-old man working at a firm company, while thinking of tomorrow’s busy working day, goes to sleep. However, when he woke up, he found himself in a room unknown to him and realized that he is inside a 6-years-old body, taking over his body and mind. He soon learns from the memories of the boy that the boy was born as the youngest child of a poor noble family living in a back country. Having no administrative skill, he can’t do anything to manage the vast land his family has. Fortunately, he is blessed with a very rare talent, the talent of magic. Unfortunately, while his talent could bring prosperity to his family, in his situation it only brought disaster. This is the story of the boy, Wendelin Von Benno Baumeister, opening his own path in a harsh world.

First Impressions: Well folks, it’s time for another round of isekai bingo so let’s see let’s what we can check off here. MC-kun is a boring salaryman who gets reincarnated into another world? Check. MC-kun is in a world where magic exists, and he’s a super special magic user more powerful than god? Check. MC-kun has a harem of pretty girls? Check. Congratulations we’ve already hit bingo and all of this was established before I got even halfway through this premiere. Long story short, this was really boring, and if you’ve seen literally any isekai involving reincarnation, then you’ve pretty much seen everything this has to offer. The main “gimmick” here is of course in the title, where MC-kun gets reincarnated into a poor noble family and is the youngest of eight brothers, but that’s clearly just an excuse for MC-kun to be overpowered and beloved by all, and it matters so little to those endgoals that at least half of MC-kun’s older brothers have the same generic background character designs and are promptly written out of the show before the end of the episode so you can be sure all the focus will be on MC-kun where it should be. In someways, it’s a shame, because an isekai where the protagonist actually DID have a bunch of brothers to compete with, and needed to prove himself and carve out his own identity could at least be mildly interesting, but that’s far too ambitious for this show’s standards, and even for an extremely run of the mill isekai, I struggled to stay awake through the whole premiere. There are certainly worse things out there, but unless you’re really desperate for a new isekai, or looking for a cure to your insomnia, I’d recommend kicking this to the curb.

Rating: *zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

Kakushigoto

Kakushigoto

Synopsis: Single father Kakushi Goto has a secret. He’s a top-selling artist of popular erotic manga, but his impressionable young daughter, Hime, can never find out! Now he’s having to bend over backwards just to keep her inquisitive little mind from discovering what he does for a living. A father-daughter tale of love and laughter.

First Impressions: While I can’t say I was highly anticipating this, it was at least kinda on my radar for this season because it’s original author is the madman behind the cult classic, Sayonara Zetsubo-sensei. Zetsubo-sensei was a pretty wild black comedy in its heyday, and while this show looks like it’ll be a lot lighter in tone, I’m happy to say that the comedy is just as sharp. Much like Zetsubo-sensei, this series seems like it’ll revolve around one primary joke, the joke here being that the main character Kakushi is an author who is desperate to make sure his young daughter Hime never finds out he draws raunchy manga. While it seems like something that could easily get old, the show’s already proven it knows how to get a lot of mileage out of it’s humor, and everything from Kakushi putting on a suit everday to maintain the ruse, even though he prefers to draw in casual clothes, and and a gag about Starbucks patrons being hipster monsters got a lot of good laughs out of me, and made the whole episode go by like a breeze. The visual direction and editing for the comedy helps to play a pretty good part in landing the gags, and while it doesn’t look as wild as the best parts of Zetsubo-sensei, it does give a pretty unique identity of it’s own. Funny as it all is, everything here is brought home by the fact that Kakushi and Hime’s dynamic is totally adorable, and while I’m not a parent, I can definently sympathize with him wanting to keep his hobbies away from his family, and it helps in making the humor here relatable. I don’t know how much momentum the show will have after this, but it’s certainly the best of the premieres I’ve seen so far for this season, and if you’re in the mood for a cute comedy, this may be right up your alley.

Rating: Great

Sakura Wars: The Animation

Sakura Wars the Animation

Synopsis: Set in 1940, it’s been 10 years since the great demon invasions, and the World Luxury Operatic Federation has designed a tournament for all to participate in! So how will that work with another impending demonic war? 

First Impressions: I don’t really know too much about Sakura Wars other than that it’s a video game franchise that has been around for pretty much forever, and that the most recent entry had the character designs for the girls done by Tite Kubo of Bleach fame. What I ended up watching was…certainly a video game commercial I guess. The most immediately striking thing about this is that’s done entirely in 3DCG which despite having seen vast improvements thanks to productions like Beastars, is still generally not the best mark of quality when it comes to anime productions. As far as this goes, the character models actually come pretty close to the anime cel-shading look that so many similar shows have tried and failed to pull off and the designs for the girls are all pretty cute. Sadly that’s about all I really have to say about this show because the rest of it was a bunch of nonsense that I imagine is only really going to make sense to you if you’ve actually played the game this is based on and I haven’t. About all I really gathered from the premiere is that the girls are part of a revue theatre that doubles as some kind of miltary organization and they’re tasked with looking after a little girl who holds some big mystery. There’s not really a whole lot in the way of explination, and it doesn’t help that the actual combat portion of the show was weirdly where the 3DCG looked the shoddiest, since there was a lot of notable corner cutting in how some of the shots were framed and while it’s far from the worst I’ve seen done with 3DCG on that, it certainly didn’t help to maintain my interest. This is yet another premiere where nothing here stood out as particularly awful, and maybe if it was a 2D production, Kubo’s character designs might have convinced me to maybe give it another episode, but I’m currently not seeing a whole lot of reason to stick with this. Hey, maybe I’ll try out the actual game instead.

Rating: Decent

Listeners

Listeners

Synopsis: In a world where the entire idea of music vanishes from existence, Echo Rec is a young teen who comes across μ, a girl who, oddly enough, has an auxiliary port on her body. Together, they’ll work to rock the foundation of society and bring music back to the world.

First Impressions: This was one of the handful of things that was on my general radar for this season, both because the aesthetic seemed interesting and also because it’s an anime original project helmed by Dai Sato. Dai Sato has been around the block for a long time, and he’s the primary force behind the beloved mecha classic Eureka Seven so he’s certainly capable of some great work, but he’s also worked on stuff like Dai Shogun, which in addition to being a horny mess of a show, is quite literally the single worst animated TV series I’ve ever laid eyes on, so it’s always a coin toss as to which version of Dai Sato we’re gonna get. Thankfully he seems to be a lot closer to his E7 game than his Dai Shogun game, and this premiere has all the hallmarks of a mid 00’s mecha anime. Our hero Echo is a young man from a junkyard town who dreams of exploring the world, but is also content with living his life out quietly until an amnesiac girl named Myu comes crashing into his life, and she turns out to be a player, the only beings capable of wielding giant robots called Equipment and fighting against monsters called the Earless. What follows is pretty straightforward, as the inevitable arrival of an Earless convinces Echo that he wants more to his life after all, and he and Myu start on a journey to explore the world. Cliche as a lot of this is, these are cliches I haven’t really seen done this way in a long time since these kinds of anime original productions seemed to have largely gone out of fashion, and mecha especially had pretty much zero pull in the 2010’s so seeing a new one that isn’t Gundam related is kind of a shock. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for this sort of thing since I’ve certainly consumed plenty of this kind of mecha show in my day, and Eureka Seven in particular was rock solid, so if this ends up coming even halfway near that level of quality it could make for a fun ride. I’ll admit I’m basing a lot of my opinions here on optimism more than anything, since there’s any number of ways this could turn out to be disappointing or boring, but I’ve really missed these kinds of productions so I’m rooting for it to be fun, and I’ll certainly be tuning into it until it gives me a reason not to

Rating: Good

Wave, Listen to Me!

Wave, Listen to Me!

Synopsis: The stage is Sapporo, Hokkaido. One night, our heroine, Minare Koda, spills her heartbroken woes to a radio station worker she meets while out drinking one night. The next day, she hears a recording of her pitiful grumbling being played live over the air. Minare storms into the station in a rage, only to then be duped by the station director into doing an impromptu talk show explaining her harsh dialogue. With just one recording, the many eccentric facets of Minare’s life begin to pull every which direction as she falls ever deeper into the world of radio.

First Impressions: This is another one I was kinda curious about, both because I’ve seen the original manga floating around in Crunchyroll’s manga catalog for years, and also because it looks to be a comedy about working adults which is sadly kind of a rarity in anime. The story follows a young woman named Minare who after getting into a drunken ramble over a breakup with her boyfriend, ends up getting dragged into the world of radio, and becomes a talk show host. If that premise sounds kinda weird, the show very much is, and it doesn’t help that it starts in media res with Minare already working on the show, and imagining a scenario where she finds herself face to face with a giant bear, before eventually cycling back to tell us how this all started. I can’t say I didn’t get a kick out of it though, and while the show wasn’t ball-busting levels of funny, Minare’s maniac energy is almost impossible not to laugh at, and her struggles with work and relationships feels down to earth enough to be relatable. Even more than her antics though, what really stood to me was the production from Sunrise, and that the episode had some pretty zany animation to match how wild MInare’s personality is, right down to actually going all out on Minare’s imaginary bear fight. Needless to say I was pretty happy with this one, and while I don’t know if the animation quality will hold the whole way through, the comedy certain seems sharp enough to compensate, and if you’re looking for one that’s a little more adult this season, it looks like it’ll be one heck of a time.

Rating: Great

Arte

Arte

Synopsis: 16th century Firenze, Italy. One girl, One ARTistic ambition!The birthplace of the renaissance era, where art is thriving. In one small corner of this vast city, one sheltered girl’s journey begins. She dreams of becoming an artist, an impossible career for a girl born into a noble family. In those days, art was an exclusively male profession, with woman facing strong discrimination. In spite of these challenges, Arte perseveres with hard work and a positive attitude!

First Impressions: While they can sometimes be hit or miss when it comes to the actual execution, period pieces are almost always something that I’m at least a little curious about so I did kinda wonder what I was going to get here. As it turns out, this is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The story follows a young noble girl named Arte who dreams of making a living as an artist, and after her father passes away, desperately seeks out an apprenticeship before finding the only person who will take her on in the form of a scruffy looking man named Leo. Leo of course isn’t really interested in taking her on, as women were shunned from the arts during the times of the Rennasaince, and dealing with a spoiled little noble girl specifically seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth for him. Of course Arte is much scrappier than he realizes, and she eventually wins him over. There isn’t too much here you haven’t seen in other period pieces about women trying to work their way through male-dominated professions, but thankfully the execution here is solid enough to outshine the cliches. Arte comes off as almost immediately likeable both in her energetic personality, and her determimation to live her life the way she wants to, and while she might seem a little too naieve about the latter, she’s far more aware of how difficult that’s going to be than it first seems, and it makes it easy to root for her. Leo also seems like he’ll work as a good counterbalance to her, as he struggled through poverty to get where he is, and it makes his initial dislike of Arte pretty understandable, and I’m kinda curious to see how their relationship will develop as master and apprentice. Visually the show also looks pretty adequate for a period piece if not totally amazing, and it seems like it’ll be a modest enough production to probably hold steady the whole way through, This premiere was very much a “what you see, is what you get” kinda deal, but that’s not always a bad thing, and this was pleasant enough that I’m eager to see where it’s headed in the coming weeks

Rating: Good

My Next Live as a Villaness: All Roads Lead to Doom!

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Synopsis: Wealthy heiress Katarina Claes is hit in the head with a rock and recovers the memories of her past life. It turns out the world she lives in is the world of the game Fortune Lover, an otome game she was obsessed with in her past life… but she’s been cast as the villain character who tries to foil the protagonist’s romances! The best ending the game has for Katarina is exile, and the worst, death! She’ll have to find a way to avoid triggering the flags of doom, and make her own happy future! The misunderstanding-based screwball love comedy now begins!

First Impressions: I wasn’t super excited for this one, but I’ve been hearing good things about it for awhile so I was really curious to check it out. While isekai stories about characters being reincarnated are pretty much a dime a dozen, isekai with female leads are something of a rarity, or at least compared to the 90’s when that was pretty much the norm so this at least had my attention for that alone, and so far it’s off to a good start. Rather than starting us, at the very beginning of her getting isekai-d the story starts with our heroine Katarina living out a lavish lifestyle as a young noble girl until she hits her head and remembers her past life. From there she slowly pieces together that she’s in an otome game, and that she’s the villaness whose destined to someday get upstaged by the heroine and subsequently exiled or murdered. The setup to that puncline is pretty solid, and from there Katarina spends the remainder of the episode doing her darndest to avoid anything that’ll trigger the game routes that lead to her demise, whether it’s getting engaged to the main pretty boy, or making sure her adopted brother has a happy childhood so he doesn’t grow up to hate her and subsequently get her killed. Unfortunently for her, Katarina is none too bright, and her attempts to save herself tend to backfire more often than not, and to a hilarious result. It’s a pretty good comedy setup, but it’s also one that could get old fast if there wasn’t more to it, so it helps that Katarina is as good-hearted as she is stupid, and seeing her stumble into doing the right thing in the end makes it easy to root for her. It’s possible the show end up squeezing but so much out of its premise, but I had a pretty fun time with it. and if this premiere is any indication, this looks like it’ll more than live up to its reputation

Rating: Great

Sing “Yesterday” For Me

Sing "Yesterday" for Me

Synopsis: Rikuo has graduated from college, but has zero ambition or direction and works in a convenience store. A strange high-school dropout, Haru, keeps coming around with her pet crow. Rikuo still has a crush on his senior Shinako, who is beginning a teaching career, and who shows up in the store one day. Rikuo’s relationships with the girls, and his feelings about his life, keep changing as the story evolves, bringing in other important characters—Rikuo’s co-worker, the coworker’s sister, and a childhood friend of Shinako’s, etc.

First Impressions: I didn’t really know anything about this going in other than that it was a drama centered around and young adult characters, and given that again, this kinda thing is rarer in anime than it probably should be, it’s a genre I’m always eager to check out. Having said all that, I wasn’t expecting this to be as painfully relatable as it is. The series follows a young man named Rikuo, who after graduating college, finds himself drifting by working a part-time job because he has no serious aspirations for the future, and doesn’t see much point in pushing himself towards a serious career if he’s not passionate about anything. His world changes when a mysterious high school girl named Haru starts hanging around him, and he’s reunited with his college crush Shinako. While Rikuo is content to sit by and let his crush go unrequited, Hana’s cheerful attitude convinces him to try taking a chance on asking Shinako out. Unsurprisingly, he ends up getting rejected, but he finds out that he has more in common with Haru than he thinks since like him, she’s the kind of person who’s gotten through life by pretending to be more passionate about it than she actually is, and has the same kind of self-loathing. As a guy who has, and still is kinda drifting through life without purpose, everything about Rikuo’s character felt instantly relatable, and his line towards the end of the show, about attempting to problems that dominate his life only to see that othing really changed afterwards is a sentiment I’ve found myself echoing more times than I’d care to admit. Haru also seems pretty interesting so far, and while the show is maybe a little too casual about how she comes onto Rikuo, it doesn’t seem like it’ll head down any potentially creepy territory. The show also looks pretty good, as is generally expected of Dogakobo productions, and while it looks a little more reserved than some of their comedies, it has a strong atmosphere that really matches the dour mood of the show. This looks like it might be a bit of a slow burn, so it may not be for everyone, but this is probably the closest to home an anime premise has ever really hit for me, and while I don’t know exactly where it’s headed, it looks like it’ll be the drama to beat for the season.

Rating: Excellent

Gal and Dino

Gal & Dino

Synopsis: After a night of drinking, Kaede wakes up realizing that in her drunken daze she had brought an unexpected guest home—a dinosaur! Kaede just goes with the flow and accepts her new living situation. Now she navigates her daily life while eating, watching TV, and shopping with her prehistoric roommate. Together, the duo enjoys each other’s company as they take on whatever the day brings.

First Impressions: I uh…wasn’t sure what I was gonna get with this, but I was sorta curious about it, because with a title like Gal and Dinosaur how could I not be. After sitting through the premiere I can safely say I watched a show about a gyaru and a dinosaur. That’s it. Much in the same in the same vein as 2018’s Pop Team Epic, the punchline here is that there isn’t really one, and the joke is entirely in how it plays with your expectations and subverts them. The Pop Team Epic comparison mostly stems from the fact that this is also a series being adapted by the folks at Kamikaze Douga, and this has a lot of the same staff. That can definently be seen in the show’s visual style as it’s also a mixed media production, and switches between limited 2D animation, 3DCG, puppetry, and even an extended live-action segment for the entire second half of the episode. It’s very bizarre to say the least, and that weirdness kept my attention pretty much the whole way through. However, while Pop Team’s subversive humor was aided by how utterly bonkers it was, Gal and Dinosaur is a lot more relaxed and subdued so if you’re here expecting a second season of PTE, this definently isn’t that, and I imagine it’ll disappoint some folks. But if the brand of weird I just described to you, seems like something you’d be curious about, I’d certainly say it’s worth seeing at least once. I dunno if this’ll hold my attention quite in the same way PTE did, but I certainly couldn’t look away from it. so I guess it succeeded

Rating: ???

Digimon Adventure:

Digimon Adventure:

Synopsis: It’s the year 2020. The Network has become something humans can no longer do without in their daily lives. But what humans don’t know is that on the other side of the Network is the Digital World, a realm of light and darkness. Nor are they aware of the Digimon who live there. Fifth grader Taichi Yagami’s mother and little sister Hikari went to Shibuya, and now they’re aboard a runaway train. Taichi hurries to Shibuya to save his mother and sister, but the instant he heads toward the station platform… a strange phenomenon befalls the DigiDestined, and Taichi goes to the Digital World!

First Impressions: With the exception of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh (and even then I kinda associate Pokemon more with the games) there aren’t really a lot of anime from my childhood that stuck with me quite like the Digimon franchise did. While it wore the skin of a toy commercial and very much was one, it also had a lot of heart to it, and the way the original eight kids dealt with their own individual struggles and grew past them over the course of their long journey in the original anime is a story that holds up even now. So when it was announced that Toei was going to straight up reboot the franchise from the beginning, this easily became the thing I was anticipating the most this season, but I wasn’t totally sure what we were going to get. On the one hand this show is coming fresh of Toei’s latest reboot of GeGeGe no Kitaro, which initially seemed liked it was going to be a relatively laid back kids show about weekly ghost hunting shenanigans, only to end up having some pretty powerful allegories for race relations, enviornmentalism, war, and how easy it is for society to demonize groups who don’t fit in with the norms, and since this Digimon reboot shares some of the same staff, that gives it some serious potential. On the other hand, this reboot is also coming off of the Digimon Adventure Tri films which started off promising, only to end up being an absolute mess, and while I’ve heard from some folks in Japan that the recent Last Evolution movie is a significant improvement and a much better send off to that timeline, it’s hard not to be a little skeptical of Toei going for such an obvious cash grab. After the first episode though, my feelings are mostly leaning towards optimism.

Given that the first Digimon Adventure anime is pretty well known, even in the west, I was curious how they were going to make it fresh, and the answer seems to be piling on the mysteries. Instead of immediately pulling the kids into the Digital World, this starts off with a series of mysterious cyber attacks, and our protagonist Taichi (or Tai for all you 20-somethings like me who grew up with the dub) getting dragged into the middle of them before learning that they’re the work of creatures called Digimon who secretly exist on the net. For reasons not yet explained, Taichi has a connection to one of them named Agumon, and together they must work to put an end to the cyber attacks before they lead to a potential nuclear holocaust (yeah I’m not kidding). Those are some pretty high stakes to start a new iteration of a kids’ show with, but while this all seems like it would be a lot to digest, the general direction of the episode does a good job of easing us into the setting, and making the audience naturally curious about everything. While I certainly had my share of skepticism that this was going to play it safe going in, by the end of the episode, I was extremely curious where this would be headed, and that the episode doesn’t end with Taichi and Agumon having completely shut down the cyber attacks soothes my fears that this was going to be more episodic that the original anime was. The atmosphere of the premiere also benefits from the fact that this is probably the best a Digimon TV series has ever looked. As much love as I have for the franchise, it was never exactly a smorgous board of animation, even for the recent films, but this has some pretty neat action cuts, and while I doubt every episode is going to look this good, if it can stay at even half that level of quality, it’d certainly be an improvement over how the original series looked. If I have one serious hangup about this premiere, it’s mainly nostalgia-based in that I liked Digimon Adventure as an ensemble show, and in addition to most of the other kids not properly appearing in this episode besides Koushiro/Izzy, the OP and ED theme songs have me worried that most of the focus is going to be on Taichi and Yamato/Matt, which would be a shame since the other kids are just as great. Still, that’s a worry for the future, and for right now, this is off to a pretty solid start, and whether you’re an old fan of the franchise, or coming into it for the first time, I think there’s enough here to grab your attention.

Rating: Great

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