First Impressions: Prince of Stride, Haruchika, and Musaigen no Phantom World

winter season

I really don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so I’m aiming to blog maybe just 7 to 10 shows this season. This means I’ll have to pare down the list of this season’s shows by quite a bit. Let’s start off by taking a quick look at a few of them…


Prince of Stride: Alternative

Prince of Stride 0101

The first episode is a retread of what I’m sure any typical anime viewer has probably seen countless of times before: X Club is all but forgotten, but a couple of our plucky protagonists can save it! Oh yes, they can! All they have to do is recruit that super talented dude who was no doubt born to do X. B…but wait, of all the sports clubs out there, X is the one he doesn’t want to join! Why not? Is it because of a painful past? GOD WHY CANT HE JUST ACCEPT HIS FATE?

Anyway, X this time happens to be running. It used to be swimming. It used to be a lot of things. This time around, it’s running. No wait, that’s too dull. That’s not sexy enough. Let me look in the thesaurus for a cool, sexy word. Ah, there we go: Stride. Also, they throw in some half-parkour at the end of the first episode… and… and… and there’s always that cute female character who wants to be the club manager, because she just admires X, which is now running, and… I’m fucking bored already. Next show, please.


Haruchika

Oh damn it, it’s a show about yet another dying school club. Fuck this sh–…

Haruchika 0101

Wow, that is one glossy-looking character. Who ever animated this pretty much dipped her in a bath of lacquer. Ah, of course, it’s P.A. Works. At this point, I was about to say “Next!” and move onto the next show, but then we have these bloody musical notes scrawled onto a blackboard?

Haruchika 0102

Sadly, it’s just paint. And the female protagonist really annoys me with her, “I want to be a girly girl now! Stop reminding me that I used to be a tomboy as a kid!” I’m sure these identity crises are commonplace among young teenagers, and they are just trying to find themselves in the turbulent years of high school, but it doesn’t interest me whatsoever. The other protagonist, some cherubic-looking french horn player, insists on leaving the ominous musical notes up, because golly gee, Batman, it might be a cipher! But c’mon, just take a picture on your cell and move on. It was at this point that the mystery lost its grip on me. I just didn’t really care anymore, and the characters are too flat to keep my interest. Next.


Musaigen no Phantom World

“For example,” the main character explains, “entities thought fictitious till now could appear before us in our reality.” Ah, hm, interesting. Tell me more.

Musaigen no Phantom World - 0101

i don't know what i expected

It’s also interesting how easy it is to tell who does what. One look at this girl, and you can just tell that this is a KyoAni production:

Musaigen no Phantom World - 0102

Is it a good thing or a bad thing to have a signature look to your anime? I dunno. It depends on your point of view, I suppose. The bigger issue, rather, is that this is not one of KyoAni’s more ambitious projects. Tonally, it feels more in line with some of their more fanservice-y, harem-y forays in recent history, so I’m kind of predisposed to disliking the show already. You want more Isuzu Sento? Have some more Isuzu Sento. It’s just that her name is Mai now, but don’t worry about her bust size. We made sure to keep that the same.

And check out the wall next to the main character in this screenshot:

Musaigen no Phantom World - 0104

It looks even worse in motion; it looks like something out of a video game. But is this really an oversight by a studio like KyoAni? Who knows. People often like to take the simplest explanation, and leave it at that. But there’s a layer of artificiality in the setting of Musaigen no Phantom World. They say phantoms are hallucinations from the brain, and it would kinda make sense that for these young kids, video games or anything that references them would be on the brain. So who’s to say that the ugly wall isn’t just the same thing but in a more subtler way that makes the audience question whether or not it’s a mistake on KyoAni’s part?

But crucially, I’m still bored. If our hallucinations can come to life, then you would expect to see some fucked up shit, right? People who are  going through some tough times would spawn phantoms that are unbelievably scary. After all, there’s no limit to human pain and suffering. Like what, you ask? I mean, I don’t want to sit here and list all the atrocities that might just be happening right next door. Use your imagination. People get abused every single day. And if anything, it seems to me that those hallucinations would come to life and attack us physically the way they already afflict their victims mentally.

But unless KyoAni trolls the audience, the show seems destined for a very light-hearted feel. As such, there’s no strong emotional core to what I’m watching. Some cute girls are battling phantoms by doing semi-ecchi stuff — as much as we can get away with on TV — and, as always, we have the obligatory main character just so the predominantly male audience can have someone to identify with. Then to cap everything off, we get all preachy by pretending to pay our respects to the everyday things in life like utility poles. Good fucking god. One with nature and all that shit. And to really appease the utility poles, you have to bounce your tits rhythmically. No, really.

So I guess if you don’t mind some cheap moralizing, and really just want to watch a bunch of breast gags, just tune in every week. I’m going to say… next.


Alright, I’ve hit a thousand words. Yes, I know there are plenty more shows to watch. But c’mon, it’s my first time back in months. Let’s take it easy. I’ll be back later today. Promise.

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13 thoughts on “First Impressions: Prince of Stride, Haruchika, and Musaigen no Phantom World”

  1. Yaaay you’re back :’). Anyway part one means you want us to choose at least one anime from the first three. Definitely drop haruchika, what a snooze fest. After the blood appeared i continued watching too but stopped as soon as the it was revealed that it was red paint. What a joke. I think stride is probably the best of the three the kyoani one just gets on my nerves but i guess it could provide some material for y to make funny comments.

    So i guess i’m saying you should choose stride and if you can follow the kyoani one too.

  2. Hey, welcome back! I’ve only watched ERASED so far. Thought it had a strong premiere, it seems to be a supernatural thriller with overarching themes of disillusionment/dissatisfaction with life. It also used some pretty unconventional shot angles (unconventional for anime, I suppose), and I enjoyed the dialogue between the character and his mother, it almost felt believable to me. Do check that one out!

  3. It’s awesome to see you back.

    So, is Prince of Ten– I mean, Stride basically Free! without water? Pretty boys with athletic bodies (which they totally going to showcase who are we kidding), who have this niche ability that gives them an edge to win the Inter-State High Tournament. I’m looking at YOU Haikyu!!… What is this, some RPG shit?
    Sports anime exist in this weird limbo of apathy for me. On one hand, they’re as formulaic as harem shows with the same number and uses of cliche, but on the other hand, they don’t really do anything that make my eyeballs do a 360 in their sockets. At least sports anime have the common theme of pushing to achieve a better version of oneself rather than… how many accidental boob-grabs and nude walk-ins MC can rack up before the finale.
    The last sports anime that I had some fun with was Yowamushi Pedal, and even then that show hit all the checkboxes of Generic Sports Anime. There was a second cycling anime that came out around the same time, which I thought was kind of odd.

    So one character massages different areas of her breasts to do her power. Oh, yeah this is going to be a quality show. *cue montage of breast shots with optional boing-boing effects* KyoAni Same-Facing is probably the least groan worthy part for Phantom World.

    High school? Sure, why not grind the dead horse into dust? Kids who probably have a hard time remembering to do homework will totally do great with fighting spirits. I guess fighting spirits adds more excitement, along with shots of breast rubbing? Yeah, you know, that ancient ritual of fondling your own tits to appease the spirits? That old Celtic trick. Just the possibility of a battle harem shtick is enough to put me off.

    Mushishi is the best supernatural anime when it comes to spirits and such. The tragic and melancholy tone of both the visuals and writing, with Ginko dealing with supernatural cases the way a doctor does with a patient. Just sublime.
    Instead we get some high-octane fan-servicing, gag-reel, schizophrenically bright battle anime, with again, Same-Facing. Wat. Why.

  4. The two good shows so far are Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Both much quieter and more mature stories than the rest so far.

    Divine Gate’s first episode is so bad it’s good, but with these kinds of shows you never know when it’ll be actually bad or just bland for the rest of its run.

    That’s all I can really suggest of this season so far. Welcome back.

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