Monday Blues: Summer ’16, Week 1

Bananya - 0101

So many shows to watch, so little time. Thankfully, today’s a national holiday, and I get to waste it by watching anime! 

Amaama to Inazuma Ep. 1

Amaama to Inazuma

Hm, another show about a young, handsome man trying to raise a cute, energetic little girl. I hope this one doesn’t also end with him marrying her when she gets older. Either way, I won’t be sticking around to find out. These slice-of-life shows do nothing for me, but I did at least finish the first episode. One thing caught my attention: just as our father-daughter duo are leaving their apartment in the morning, the anime cuts to a picture of the deceased mother. I might have been interested in watching an anime about two young adults learning how to be parents for the first time, learning how to divvy up their household duties equally, learning how to find time for themselves as a couple in spite of their kid, so on and so forth. But just the father alone with his daughter? Alright, been there, done that. Then he befriends one of his female students? Yeah, okay, I’ll pass. I just don’t understand the need to replace the mother with a young high school girl. It’s kind of off-putting, especially with her blushing over and over. And really, even as an Asian person, I would never eat a plain bowl of rice.

Days Ep. 1

Days - 0101

As generic as they come. Not only that, it’s just the first week and the animation is already ass. I’m really disappointed by MAPPA. They’re not infallible, but I expected something a little more than yet another sniveling, tryhard kid who will overcome all odds through pluck and determination. The sniveling part is the worst, too. It’s the same reason I had so much trouble getting into My Hero Academia.

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Endride Ep. 12 & 13

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This anime’s story is not complicated enough to require a flashback episode. Hell, I don’t think any show requires a flashback episode. So what have we been missing out on? Delzaine’s dead, Babel’s defunct, who knows if Tiger dude is still alive, and nobody has a clue what to do next, because we’re too busy airing flashbacks in an anime that was already crammed to the brim with flashbacks. What a waste of time.

Hatsukoi Monster Ep. 1

Hatsukoi Monster - 0101

I like to imagine that Kanade is really in his mid-twenties, and he’s just been held back repeatedly. It makes the show a lot funnier in my mind. And honestly, the comedy bits almost redeem Hatsukoi Monster. Almost. There’s something surreal about a bunch of manchildren running around, talking about their wieners. And this would only work if you’re cognizant of anime’s penchant for infantilizing its characters, especially its female characters. A good portion of the first episode almost resembles a tongue-in-cheek parody of harem anime romance. If what we have here is disgusting, then why isn’t it also disgusting when a 13-year-old schoolgirl with large breasts falls in love with the prototypical harem lead? Unfortunately, Hatsukoi Monster loses all credibility and gets creepy real quick whenever the romance side comes into play. Yes, unfortunately, romance is still in the equation. I can’t tell if the target audience’s hearts are supposed to melt whenever Kanade does something stereotypically gallant. Personally, the thought of a fifth grader sweeping a high school girl off her feet kinda makes me want to throw up, but maybe that’s the genius of the show. I just can’t tell after one episode. This is where people who have read the manga will chime in and tell me that there’s nothing redeemable about the story, but we’ll see. In the meantime, mind the (age) gap, people. Mind the (age) gap.

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Kuromukuro Ep. 11 & 12

Kuromukuro - 1101

Wow, would you look at the size of that onigiri. There’s a onigiri shop near my work. I think it’s called Onigilly, and I kinda want to try it. Maybe tomorrow. Anyway, I still plan on blogging this show regularly. I’m not going to relegate it to the Monday Blues permanently or anything. Schedule-wise and energy-wise, the past few weeks have just been impacted. Kuromukuro has excellent timing anyway, since I doubt I would’ve had much to say about Yukina’s training camp. It was actually a pretty fun episode to watch; it got me to laugh a couple times. There just isn’t really much here to write about about. Ken and Yukina are growing closer, Sophie’s demeanor has soften considerably, and we still know nothing about the enemy. I don’t mind a light-hearted episode every now and then. It’s good to give the audience a breather. I just hope they don’t drag the Efidolg thing out too long. It’s starting to get annoying.

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Taboo Tattoo Ep. 1

Taboo Tattoo - 0105

Let’s see, we have a bland protagonist with a strong sense of justice (his name is literally Justice), a mysterious girl with a silly name, a childhood friend who dotes on the hero like a mother, and… hm, what else? Oh yeah, characters manifest their special anime super powers through the latest gimmick. You gotta have a gimmick. You just gotta if you intend to stand out from the crowd of like-minded anime series. Otherwise, this would just be another generic action show with perhaps some harem elements sprinkled throughout. This time, the gimmick comes in the form of tattoos. And I don’t really know if this is going to be a harem or not, but the huge cast of girls with giant breasts bolted onto their chests isn’t a good sign. But we’ll see, we’ll see. I’m always tempering my expectations with anime, though.

The rest of Taboo Tattoo’s premise doesn’t really have anything going for it either. America and some made-up Asian nation are about to come to blows. As a result, the former has developed these special tattoos as a way to give them the upper edge over their enemies. Again, the tattoos give you special powers in addition to enhancing your physical attributes. Yawn. Somehow, the tattoos are stolen, and our hero Seigi gets his hands on one when he saved a homeless man from a bunch of street punks. This makes him a surveillance target for Izzy, the aforementioned mysterious girl. Although she looks to be the same age as Seigi, she’s actually an American lieutenant sent here on a mission to recover the stolen tattoos. For an American, she’s dressed like Saber from the Fate series. Maybe it’s just me, but the OP and ED hints at a girl who even kinda looks like Rin. Anyway…

Because JC Staff is heading up this adaptation, the animation is actually kinda decent. For the very first episode, at least, the action scenes seem pretty fluid to my untrained eyes. Maybe someone with a more discerning taste can tell me why the animation is actually bad, but what I’ve seen so far looks alright. It’s the story that’s the problem. There’s nothing exciting about it nor its characters. Granted, it’s just the first episode, and it’s done nothing but set the stage, but even then, the show should at least hint at narrative’s general direction. I’m also not a big fan of the anime’s current tone. It’s this mix of serious and silly that I’ve never been a fan of; I had the same criticism for Bungou Stray Dogs, but to Taboo Tattoo’s credit, it feels a little more serious by comparison. Ah well. This is probably just another throwaway show for the Monday Blues, I guess.

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Tales of Zestiria the X Ep. 1

Tales of Zestiria the X - 0101

Geez, what high production values for a Tales adaptation. But even to this day, I’m not sure if I’m completely sold on ufotable’s heavy reliance on CGI. The animation looks clean and sharp overall, but the 3-D aspects stick out just a little too much for my liking. Anyway, I’ve never played Zestiria, and I have no intention to. At the moment, the Steam version of the game is still sitting at $49.99, which is way too much for what looks like yet another mediocre JRPG. How can I call it mediocre when I’ve never even played it? I dunno, let’s just call it a hunch. Tales games haven’t impressed me in a long time, and honestly, I’m really quite surprised Zestiria even sold well enough to warrant an anime adaptation. The last time I read anything about the game, there was some controversy about a bait-and-switch regarding the story’s primary heroine. I’m not going to get into it here to avoid spoilers, and honestly, when I read about the issue at the time, I couldn’t really see what the big deal was.

Like most Tales games, there’s a great calamity threatening the land, and we gotta do something about it. Again, I haven’t played the game, but the Tales series tends to follow a pretty strict formula. There is almost always a strapping young lad to save the world, but then again, that’s true of most JRPGs. I hear the next Tales game will buck that trend, but in any case, just to keep us on our toes, ufotable opts to focus on Alisha in this prologue. We don’t even meet the hero in this opening episode. Personally, I find the narrative a bit disjointed. Something about a mist. First, Alisha sends Clemm to the nearby village of Griel to report on any health problems, then a professor follows her. Finally, Alisha herself decides to retrieve Clemm personally. She runs into a couple bizarre figures along the way, but more importantly, the dark mist eventually turns into a major disaster. Griel is turned into ruins, and her friends are dead. Yeesh, that’s rather dark.

If ufotable can avoid overburdening this adaptation with scenes of people just standing around in a room and talking my ears off, then maybe I can enjoy it after all. As always, the studio does action well. But even in this opening episode, I see signs of ufotable’s bad habits rearing their ugly heads. Exposition is of course important to any story, and I don’t want to rehash that debate all over again. It’s just ufotable as a specific brand of exposition that really gets on my nerves. Anyways, I heard Zestiria features a bromance instead of a romance. How exciting.

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Ugh, I can’t write anymore. I’ve watched enough anime for one day. I’ll be back tomorrow night with more quick impressions. Tomorrow’s post will also wrap up Netoge no Yoma wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta and Seisen Cerberus.

16 thoughts on “Monday Blues: Summer ’16, Week 1

  1. sonicsenryaku

    I know you were sort of being facetious about someone pointing out taboo tatoo’s animation flaws but this show looks like jc staff’s b-team worked on it, almost as if jc staff had finished the first two eps about 2 weeks before the airdate, which is usually the case for a lot of anime. You can tell by the limited background work, the reliance on panning shots and the like. The animation however is pretty economic though and that’s the best way to describe it. It knows when to get fluid and when to conserve, what angles to use, and how to use the 3d camera to create the illusion of dynamic animation in some scenes where it may be lacking. The fight between seigi and izzy is a good example of the production team focusing their efforts at the right scene. it also helps that the fight choreography is pretty tight and the sound direction in the fight scenes give the battles this “crunch” that is missing in your average action anime.

      1. DZVW

        Really? I think it’s pretty bad. I can’t stop cringing whenever the characters talk to each other, and none of the characters piqued my interest. Typical Key I guess.

        1. elior1

          the only character i cringing most of the times is kotori becouse she completly imbesile. i say imbesille becouse calling her idiot will be shame to all the idiots heroines

      2. Roy2

        I thought Kotori was okay. Derpy, comedic commentary from her seemed amusing. I thought Lucia’s introduction was awful. Geez, the scriptwriter completely butchered her introduction. Who in the world would go up to people they know and say their full name and position in class? That felt so unnatural and cringey,

  2. Jona

    Alisha lost her co protag role to another girl and assumed role of quintessential romantic interest to a guy. Must admit the bromance wasn’t bad at all, unexpected(because all I knew about that game before going in was the heroine controversy) but not bad. It was a funny situation to me, but I didn’t find her good enough of a character to care in the end. Maybe the anime will make her better. I really hope this prologue was a one time thing and they don’t overindulge in the exposition. It looks so pretty I’d hate to start falling asleep to it.

    If taboo tattoo can continue that action I’ll stick with it but they could not make the fate inspired designs more obvious.

  3. zztop

    If you rewatch Ep 8 of Kuromukuro, there’s a scene where Kennosuke’s remembering when the Washiba Castle was still intact (the princess is in a palanquin). At the start on his right hand side you can see Sadakoro Saito/Fusnarnie in a kimono and topknot hairstyle.

    It would lend support to the theory’s that Fusnarnie (and the other Efidolg ) is some kind of parasite alien possessing the body of the real Sadakoro Saito to get around (similar to the Magius from Valvrave the Liberator). It would account for how Fusnarnie seemed to have no knowledge of who or what Saito was when Kennosuke was confronting him. 

    1. E Minor Post author

      These theories don’t really reveal anything particularly interesting about the characters or the story’s subtext, so I don’t pay them any attention. They’re just standard plot noise.

  4. Thatoneguywhoreallylikespotatoes

    Will you write about Kuromukuro episode 13 or will you also do like you did here and cover both 13 and 14 in one post?

      1. Thatoneguywhoreallylikespotatoes

        Where do you watch it, because where I watch it it has been subbed since 4 days ago

        1. Thatoneguywhoreallylikespotatoes

          Lol I didn’t even know Netflix had the show, it was an anonymous guy who made the subs earlier than the usual group

  5. ez

    I think this shows headed down the steep one way track to the slums.
    Not very promising future ahead captain moesucks.


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