First Impressions- Spring 2020 Anime (Part 2)

It’s time for week two of the Spring 2020 anime premieres and there’s still plenty of stuff left to check out. So far the season’s off to a pretty decent start but there’s plenty of room for more promising titles, or piles of trash so let’s see what lies in store. (Sorry I couldn’t come up with an intro that was a little more creative)

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 .

———————————————————————————————————

Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle

Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle!

Synopsis: In the developed city of Gatepia close to the Gate, citizens gain access to Kirakuri, an energy fundamental to their way of life and to humanity. But there’s competition in Gatepia, as thousands of corporations seek to become the strongest and obtain the most Kirakuri. Minato, the newest president of Kibo Company, is looking to make it big by hiring the best employees to become the greatest fantasy adventuring company ever!

First Impressions: Mobage adaptions are about as inescapable as isekais so you can always count on getting at least one or two every season and this is here to fill that void. The basic setup here involves a world where there are endless dungeons to explore and dungeon crawling has literally been made into a 9-5 office jon. That’s where our hero comes in as following the passing of his father, he’s asked by his employees to take over his company and lead them in battle. If this sounds like a potentially neat idea for a fantasy premise or at least a parody of one, I’m sorry to say it’s not nearly as interesting as that description implies. Like a lot of mobage adaptions, this feels very much like it was built for people who have already played the game, and while it does at least have the sense to explain the mechanics of how dungeon crawling works in this universe, it all feels pretty by the numbers, with our lead being kinda boring, and his employees all generally filling your standard ensemble of anime sterotypes with the only really interesting gag being that one of them may or may not have a bloodthirsty monster in their bag. The actual dungeon crawling comes off as a little too sacchrine to be engaing either, and I was only about 10 minutes in before I started wondering when the episode would be over. Like most mobage things, this was perfectly harmless, and I’m sure people who’ve actually played the original game might enjoy it, but I’m kinda struggling to even find much to say about it, so that doesn’t really speak well to how much it engaged me. Maybe next time one of these will grab me

Rating: Bad

Glepnir

Gleipnir

Synopsis: Shuichi Kagaya an ordinary high school kid in a boring little town. But when a beautiful classmate is caught in a warehouse fire, he discovers a mysterious power: He can transform into a furry dog with an oversized revolver and a zipper down his back. He saves the girl’s life, sharing his secret with her. But she’s searching for the sister who killed her family, and she doesn’t care how degrading it gets: She will use Shuichi to accomplish her mission…

First Impressions: I know quite a few folks on anitwitter who were excited for this one, but I didn’t know too much other about it other than that it’s apparently pretty horny. It’s very much that, going by the first episode, but I’m not quite sure if I could tell you what the rest of it is. The premiere follows a high school student named Kagaya who seems pretty normal, but is hiding a big secret: his body can transform intoa giant monster that resembles a stuffed mascot. Since he has no idea how he got this power, he tries to keep it on the downlow, but when he uses his powers to save a classmate named Claire, and the animal instincts of his beast form get a little…grabby, she blackmails him into following her around for reasons that aren’t yet clear. Also it seems that Kagaya isn’t the only one around who can transform, and the ability seems to have something to do with some mysterious gold coins that are floating around. That was quite a mouthful, but about all you need to know about this show is that it’s really, REALLY weird. Kagaya’s powers are weird, tying them to his teen hormones is weird, and this whole gosh dang premise is weird, and I’m honestly not sure what to make of this. It seems like something that could be your run-of-the-mill ultraviolent and sex-charged edgefest, but even with how horny the show gets with everything about Claire it seems a little too bizarre even for that, and I have no idea where this is going or what it’s goals are. All that said, I’d sure as heck be lying if I said I wasn’t at least interested because this premiere didn’t leave me with nearly enough to form a solid opinion on the show. It could either be really fascinating, or just the latest in edgelord branded nonsense, and both outcomes seem possible right now, so I feel like I need at least one more episode to form a picture of it. I know that was a lot of rambling, but I guess the point here is…go watch Glepinr I guess? I have no idea what it is, but if nothing else, I can probably guarantee you, you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Rating: ???

Princess Connect! Re: Dive

Princess Connect! Re:Dive

Synopsis: In the beautiful land of Astraea where a gentle breeze blows, a young man named Yuuki awakens with no memory of his past. There he encounters a guide who has sworn to care for him—Kokkoro, a lovely swordswoman who’s always feeling peckish—Pecorine, and a cat-eared sorceress with a prickly attitude—Karyl. Led by fate, these four come together to form the “Gourmet Guild.” 

First Impressions: And here we have mobage adaption #2, or at least I’m assuming it is because it seemed a little too beign to be anything else. This one involves our MC-kun falling from the sky and waking up to find himself being waited on and and foot by a mysterious girl who says she’s here to serve him. I kinda immediately rolled my eyes around this point, but by far the most amusing thing about this is that MC-kun has amnesia, and not typical anime amnesia, but is basically just a helpless infant, which considering how often the reverse tends to happen, got a good chuckle or two out me, as we see MC-kun trying to eat coins because he doesn’t know what money is, or frequently getting carried off by hungry wolves because he can’t defend himself. Sadly that all wasn’t quite funny enough to take away from how saccharine and low stakes the rest of it is, and by the time we got to the revelation that he’s something called a Princess Knight and is presumably destined to unite a bunch of pretty girls to his harem (starting with one who spends nearly the entire episode not realizing two dudes were trying to swipe her sword) I’d already kinda lost interest. If there’s any other positives here, it’s that the show certainly looks good, and while the character designs are kinda generic, there’s some pretty good battle animation towards the end of it, and it’s pretty plesant to look at overall. Once again though, I don’t really have a lot of patience for these mobage adaptions if they’re gonna remain low stakes and mostly built on the assumption you’re already into the game they’re based on so this looks like another easy skip.

Rating: Bad

Shironeko Project: ZERO Chronicle

Shironeko Project: Zero Chronicle

Synopsis: The series follows a young adventurer who hails from the Astora Isle, who joins up with a man named Kyle, and the two set out together. After meeting a curious talking white cat and a mysterious young girl, the whole crew uncovers an island in the sky–where Kyle falls into darkness.

First Impressions: Now we’re at mobage adaption #3 but to this one’s credit, it does a much better job at disgusing itself. This one takes place in a world divided among two races with one called the Blacks being ruled by the King of Darkness, and the other being the Whites being ruled by the Queen of Light. If this sounds super on the nose to you, you’re not alone and I can assure you pretty much the entire episode carries that same level of energy. Our nameless protagonist hails from the land of darkness and after an encounter with a powerful knight, he’s given the opportunity to try ascending to the throne and take over the mantle of the King of Darkness so he can bring peace to all. That motivation is all well and good, but the lead up to this felt like it was trying to be edgy for edgy’s sake and none of the writing in the rest of the episode did much to convince me it’ll do anything interesting. On the flip side of things the folks in the kindom of light come off as even blander. and while I’m certain some kind of star-crossed romance will form between our edgy protagonist and the Queen of Light, I can’t say I have any interest in seeing how it gets there. It gets tiring repeating the same point about these mobage adaptions feeling kinda empty to anyone not familar with the source material, and again I give props that this one disguised itself with enough edge that I thought it was based on a light novel at first, but it didn’t have enough to grab me in the end, so it looks like I’m 0-3 on interesting mobage shows this season.

Rating: Bad

Shadowverse

Shadowverse

Synopsis: While attending Tensei Academy, Hiiro Ryugasaki ends up acquiring a mysterious smartphone. It comes installed with the popular card game, Shadowverse! Meeting new rivals, facing major tournaments, forging bonds with friends… Shadowverse leads Hiiro to all sorts of new experiences, all that serve to “evolve” him…

First Impressions: It’s time to move on to mobage adaptions to card game adaptions. Okay well I’m pretty sure there is technically a mobile game for this, but it’s presumably closer to how a typical TCG functions so that’s how I’m seeing it. Anyway, I was sorta curious about this both because Shadowverse the game has been around for awhile and I’ve always wondered how it played, and also because I’m a 10-year old at heart and I’m perfectly fine with watching shiny toy commercials if they do a good job of drawing me in. Sadly Shadoverse was lacking on both accounts. The formula for the premiere follows just about every toy based anime cliche you’ve seen before with our lead Hiro dreaming of being able to play the game someday until he happens upon a mysterious smartphone and gets the chance to battle against a skilled player after said player defeats his childhood friend in a card duel and steals her cellphone as a prize. That last bit kinda soured me right away as did Hiro inevitably winning his first battle despite not having ever played the game before, but I could maybe get past that had the episode done one simple thing: explained how the card game works. Sadly it doesn’t do that, and while I guess they’re functioning under the assumption enough people already play the game that they don’t need to do that, this is still being marketed towards kids as a way to further push the game, so doing at least that much seems like a no-brainer. Since I could barely follow what was happening in the game, and the show had kinda lost me everywhere else, there wasn’t really anything for me to latch onto. It certainly looks nice at least, and a little more polished than the footage I’ve seen of the newest Yu-Gi-Oh series, but this doesn’t look like it’ll satisfy my toy show itch quite like I thought it would, so I’ll probably just wait and hold out for that to get simulcasted instead.

Rating: Bad

The Millionare Detective- Balance: UNLIMITED

The Millionaire Detective - Balance:Unlimited

Synopsis: Follows the incredibly wealthy Daisuke Kanbe who audaciously solves cases in unconventional ways. Kanbe is assigned to the “Modern Crimes Task Unit” — a unit created to keep problematic officers away from others. There, Kanbe becomes partners with Katou.

First Impressions: This show wasn’t super high on my radar, but bishonen detective shows can be fun when they’re done well, and all the trailers looked kinda interesting so I was sorta curious about. Boy I sure wasn’t expecting what I actually saw. So the basic setup here is extremely straightforward. A former elite detective named Katou is on a case to stop a potential bombing, and in the process he has a run in with a bored billionare named Daisuke who turns out to be his new boss. It seems like it would be pretty standard for a buddy cop show, and in a lot of ways it is, but what I sure didn’t anticipate was…basically everything about Daisuke. From the second he shows up on screen the show wants to tell you that Daisuke is far too cool and smooth for the likes of this earth, and even his theme song (which blares literally EVERY SINGLE TIME HE DOES ANYTHING) feels like something out of a James Bond movie, and it’s just so amazingly ridiculous I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face. The whole gimmick of a character with more money than god certainly isn’t new, but the way Daisuke uses his money to do everything from intentionally causing car crashes that he can pay double reperations for, to literally buying out a bridge to stop a pair of would-be robbers, he feels more like a character out of a Saturday morning cartoon than an anime, but that’s also my aesthetic, so I’m totally down with that. Speaking of the robbers, they were also a pretty good part of the characters, as they had the kind of wannabee Bonny and Clyde energy that almost made me want to see them succeed so I’m glad they weren’t blown to smithreens when Daisuke almost pushed them off a bridge (it’s really hard to keep a straight face while typing any of this). As much as the over-the-top nature of basically everything in this premiere is the primary appeal, it certainly helps that the show looks pretty good doing it, and while it certainly isn’t the slickest looking production from Cloverworks, it nails the cop aesthetic where it needs to, and the 3DCG for the cars isn’t too obnoxious. About my only potential hangup is that I kinda don’t care about Katou yet so I don’t know how well he’ll bounce of Daisuke when they start working together, but everything about Daisuke is so…Daisuke that even if the show doesn’t strike the right balance for a buddy cop comedy, I can still watch it just for him. Since humor is subjective I don’t know if this’ll be everyone’s cup of tea but I had a stupid grin on my face almost the whole way through this, and you bet your bottom dollar I’ll be watching every week

Rating: Excellent

APPARE-RANMAN

Appare-Ranman!

Synopsis: The socially awkward yet genius engineer, Appare Sorano, and the wise but cowardly samurai, Kosame Isshiki, find themselves aimlessly drifting in the sea between Japan and America. In order to earn enough money to get back home, the duo enters a trans-American race in their own steam-powered car. Rivals, bandits, and other trials await them on this race from Los Angeles to New York.

First Impressions: And rounding out my impressions, we have an original project that’s kinda been on my radar ever since it’s been announced. PA Works’s original productions have gradually gotten stranger with time, and it’s hard to imagine getting any stranger than a racing anime that takes place the early 20th century. And when I say racing, I mean racing that looks like it might be shooting to be the anime equivalent to Wacky Races for anyone old enough to remember Dick Dastardly beyond the recent memes for the upcoming Scooby-Doo movie. It’s an odd premise to be sure, but it’s also one that’s pretty much my brand, and I’m happy to say it seems like it might live up to that potential. I say might, because while the first few minutes tease the eventual big race, most of the premiere flashes back to how this all started as we’re introduced to our two leads Appare and Kosame. Appare is an eccentric inventor from a merchant family who dreams of doing the impossible but is lacking in social graces, while Kosame is a bit of an everyman who just wants to get by comfortably until he’s dragged head first into Appare’s shenanigans. It’s a pretty familar dynamic, and the show hasn’t particularly sold me on either character yet, but they have some pretty decent chemistry together, and while nothing they did over the course of the episode had me rolling, I was at least entertained the whole way through. Thankfully it doesn’t seem like we’lln have to wait all the way till the last few episodes for the actual race, because this one ends with our duo ending up on the shores of the U.S. after Appare goes on the lam, and it seems like we’ll get introduced to the rest of the cast pretty quickly. The show also looks pretty polished, as is usually the case with PA Works, and while there’s a little corner cutting here and there, it has a lot of immediate visual appeal, and the 3DCG for the cars seems decent enough that the eventual racing should be pretty fun when we get to that. I’ll admit I’m more interested in the potential of this show than anything that was necessairly in the premiere beyond the first 2 minutes, but those first two minutes seemed close enough to what I wanted that I’m willing to bet on this show reaching it’s potential, and if wacky anime racing seems like something you might be into, I’d say this looks like it may be well worth a shot.

Rating: Good


And that’s it for my impressions this time. All in all this looks like a pretty solid season. There’s some promising looking titles, and even the lame stuff wasn’t particularly bad outside of the typical blandness that comes with mobage adaptions. There’s a decent amount of variety too, and it looks like one of those seasons where no matter what your tastes are, you’ll probably find at least one thing to sink your teeth into (unless you’re a shonen fan in which case your only dish is Season 5 of Food Wars which is being served to you way past it’s expiration date). Of course with the virus affecting things worldwide, it’s anyone’s guess how well these shows will hold throughout the season, or if some of them will even finish at all, but hopefully things work out as well as they can. In the meantime, I hope everyone stays safe, and until next time, stay animated.

<-Part 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *