I’ll cover the two Nobunaga shows and Buddy Complex in another post tomorrow.
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Nisekoi Ep. 1: Keep your love locked down
Episode summary: When Chitoge vaults over a wall to get to class in a hurry, she accidentally knees Raku in the face. As a result, they’ve been butting heads ever since. This fateful incident also caused Raku to lose his most prized possession: a locket given to him by an unknown girl from his childhood (of course). Naturally, he tries to hold Chitoge responsible, forcing her to help him look for it. During a futile search effort, a big argument sends two on separate ways, but unbeknownst to Raku, Chitoge had been searching the locket by herself. Eventually, he gets his dumb locket and all is well… until his father, a yakuza gang leader, tells Raku that he has to play pretend-boyfriend with a rival gang leader’s daughter in order to avoid further bloodshed between the two gangs. To nobody’s surprise, the girl turns out to be Chitoge. Meanwhile, Kosaki, one of Raku’s classmates, wonders if she has the key to Raku’s locket.
Thoughts: Aaaaah, I took too much time summarizing that episode. As for what I really think about the show, I think I like it as much as I can reasonably expect to like it. Honestly, what is wrong with these characters that none of them can remember whether or not they made that promise with Raku in the past? The guy’s not blameless either. How can you yearn for true love when you can’t remember the actual fucking girl that gave you the locket? Rather, let’s make a big deal out of the symbol itself and not what the symbol symbolizes. Good idea. So no, it’s not exactly a very intelligent anime. It’s not exactly a very original anime either. You mean Chitoge’s the hot-tempered tsunderekko and Kosaki’s the demure childhood friend. Wow, that’s pretty much every goddamn romantic comedy anime ever. And despite being a Shaft anime, the studio isn’t bringing anything new to the table. The visual gimmicks you saw in the previous Shaft series of old? They’re here too and they don’t exactly add anything to the narrative. Nisekoi‘s only claim to fame is that it’s slightly more visually interesting than your average romcom.
But the most damning fact of all is how the manga is still ongoing. For an anime with a romantic plot to have an ongoing manga series behind it, it is very likely that nothing will be resolved by the end of the season. Of course, there’s going to be at least one major conflict, and the end of the anime series will address it. Naturally, Raku and Chitoge will end up being closer than ever at the resolution of said conflict, but do I really think the guy will end up picking any of the girls to be his girlfriend? Will that locket ever be unlocked? Who the hell gave keys to all the girls anyway? No, we probably won’t get the answer to any of these questions. There’s a miniscule chance that Shaft goes with an anime original ending in which the guy does pick one of the girls, but I doubt it. Why end the story prematurely when Shaft can just make more sequels to milk the ongoing manga series until everyone’s just sick and tired of that adaptation.
So with all that being said, why do I even imply that I like it a slight bit? Because it’s okay. It’s just romcom fluff that won’t really have any impact either way. But y’know what would be really funny? If every single key managed to unlocked Raku’s locket. Well, it would be a twist on the ol’ “master key, master lock” bullshit anyway.
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Wizard Barristers – Benmashi Cecil Ep. 1: I’ll see you in magic court!
Episode summary: We follow Sudo Cecil and her new life as the youngest wizard barrister ever, aka a defense attorney for magic users. On her way to her new job, an explosion rocks a nearby bank. When Cecil hurries her way there, she finds out that the bank robbers have already been subdued by another magic user, but said magic user is now also a suspect. Cecil immediately volunteers to defend the poor sap. While she investigates this particular case, our heroine also takes the time to visit someone (it would appear to be her mom or something) in a maximum-ish security prison for wizards. And last but not least, Cecil finds herself being attacked by a bunch of wizards under the command of some unknown and unseen villain.
Thoughts: Wow, no appeals process or anything in the world of Wizard Barristers. If the judge sentences you to death, you just fucking eat it right then and there in the middle of the courthouse. I also have to wonder about the onlookers and how they’re not even phased by it. Must be a strange, twisted culture…. Anyway, doesn’t it seem like Umetsu Yasuomi’s anime always feature bubbly but ditzy heroines? Okay, maybe not Kite, but for everything else he’s done, it sure does seem like this is the case. Then again, the guy hasn’t exactly had a giant body of work. There’s just something very familiar about Cecil. In general, I think the character designs are somewhat distracting, but it’s not the biggest problem Wizard Barristers has going for it. Rather, I have a problem with the show’s pacing.
The plot just seems to be all over the place. Cecil’s first case isn’t very interesting by itself even though the anime tries its hardest to act like a procedural drama. For a twenty minute episode, that’s kind of a problem. Which is why, I think, the show squeezed in all these extra bits at the end like Cecil paying someone a visit at a prison, only to then be attacked shortly afterward. The pacing, as you can see, is very ADD. It’s as if the director said, “Oh shit, they might forget that this is a show about wizards. Let’s just have the heroine create a metal golem out of nowhere.” It’d be one thing if the appearance of the metal golem led to an excitingly choreographed fight scene, but nope. The episode then abruptly comes to a close. Oh well, can’t say I’m too excited for next week’s episode.