I’m still trying to feel things out, gauging whether or not any of these shows could keep my interest for the next three months. I have a handful of shows that I’ll definitely follow all the way to the end of the season, but I’ll keep doing these multi-anime posts until I’m all caught up.
Mahoutsukai no Yome Ep. 1
I’m pretty sketched out, dudes. Once again, we have a tiny, waifish girl paired with a ginormous man who sounds like he’s well into this 40s. He’s also very… “assertive.” That’s putting it nicely. Elias tells Chise to stand tall, but one of the first things he does is tug her by her chain-link leash. Right off the bat, I’m cringing. He then refers to her as a puppy, which is just a fitting pet name, don’t you think? It even comes with a torrent of patronizing head pats. I would do a shot of whiskey every time she gets a head pat until the end of the series, but I fear for my liver. After buying another human being, Elias whisks his purchase away to an idyllic and rustic home on the outskirts of London, where he forcefully bathes her against her wishes. Isn’t that what we do with dogs, though? Sure. At the same time, however, I also wouldn’t marry my puppy. Yes, by the end of the episode, the mage reveals to the former slave girl that she is to become his bride. Yeah…
So what’s going on here? Why would anyone in Chise’s position accept this treatment? Well, the line of consent is super murky here. Chise is technically okay with all of this, but that’s a bit misleading. It’s like having to choose between being shot in the leg or being shot in the head. Yes, I’d much rather like to live, thank you very much. But could you please not shoot me at all? But that’s the predicament that Chise finds herself in. After all, the poor girl willingly sold herself to slavery. Her previous life sucked so much, everything else must necessarily be roses by comparison. So the girl doesn’t mind the fact that she may very well be nothing more than a toy to her newfound benefactor. And even though being stripped naked might be traumatizing to any other person — male or female — Chise suffers nothing more than a bratty whimper of defeat here. She’s loyal to Elias simply because he calls her family and gives her a home. The sense of belonging is what makes the line of consent so murky.
Let me go on a bit of a tangent. Third world countries are suddenly facing accelerating obesity rates thanks to the proliferation of both fast food and junk food. In Brazil, Nestle seems to have dug its claws into the community. Likewise, lots of Ghanaians find themselves eating at KFC more than three times a week. Some of them even go every single day. When an older lady died due to health issues related to her high blood pressure, what did they serve at her funeral? Fried chicken. Now, fried chicken’s not fucking good for you. You know it. I know it. Deep down, these people know it too. But you know what’s worse than fried chicken everyday? Not having food. So I get it. Again, when faced with being shot in the leg or in the head, nobody would opt for the latter. But there’s a problem when Yum! Brands, KFC’s parent company, shamelessly claim that fried chicken can be part of a healthy diet:
When asked if it is unhealthy for people to eat fried chicken often, Kimberly Morgan, a KFC spokeswoman in Plano, Texas, said, “At KFC, we’re proud of our world famous, freshly in-store prepared fried chicken and believe it can be enjoyed as a part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.”
I don’t know much about Chise’s backstory yet. I just get the sense that it sucks. So to be clear, the poor girl clinging to any sort of happiness that she can find isn’t what’s sketching me out. Rather, I find it off-putting that anyone can frame Elias’s behavior in a positive light. It certainly feels as though that’s the direction that we’re headed, though. Chise’s new situation is not good. It’s unequivocally not. It’s comparatively better than what she had previously, but again, I’d rather not get shot in the head, y’know. Don’t get it twisted.
As a quick aside, I think the OP and ED are decent.
Code Realize – Sousei no Himegimi Ep. 1
Oh look, another show set in and around London. It’s also yet another show about a girl with little to no self-esteem. On the one hand, Cardia’s early relationship with Arsene Lupin (he’s also here to steal hearts) doesn’t bug me as much as the one between Chise and Elias. On the other hand, Cardia seems kinda dumb, and that’s putting it lightly. She has two gimmicks. First, her touch can cause almost anything to rot or dissolve. Luckily, her clothes is made out of Special Stuff™, so the poor girl never has to walk around naked. Likewise, her hair is impervious to her matter-destroying inclinations. We wouldn’t her to be bald, would we? I mean, low self-esteem is A-OK, but bald? Um hello, we have beauty standards to conform to! Last but not least, the stuff that’s floating around in the air doesn’t react with her skin whatsoever… I guess that’s stuff is fine, too. After all, it’s anime. If you don’t see it, clearly it doesn’t exist! Cardia also assures us that she can safely sleep in any regular bed as long as she lies on her back. What if she tosses and turns in her bed? Never. She sleeps like a log.
Why am I going on and on about Cardia’s melty powers? ‘Cause it’s really the only thing worth talking about. Her second gimmick are the family jewels on her breasts. Literally on her breasts. They’re also known as the Holo-whatsit… I can’t be assed to learn its proper name, because I don’t care, and you don’t either. All we need to know is that baddies are after them. This is why Arsene Lupin and his crew of equally hot boys have gone to such lengths in order to wrest Cardia away from the shadowy powers lurking behind the British government. But nothing here remotely interests me nor do I really care all that much about Cardia herself. Again, beyond her gimmick, she has little to offer, and the rest of the anime seems to follow suit. As much as it might sketch me out, I’ll likely blog Mahoutsukai no Yome all the way to the end of the season, because at least it seems interesting. Nothing is worse than being completely dull and unremarkable.
Dies Irae Ep. 0
Yeah, uh, I kinda drifted off halfway through. The cold opening kinda caught my attention with the over-the-top floating palace-thingy made out of skeletons. But it was all downhill from there. Too many faces talking about God knows what. Some individuals started fighting midway through the episode, but by then, I had already given up on the idea of pretending I gave a shit. Yeah, I’m not going to follow this week in and week out. Other industrious bloggers can take up this responsibility instead. More importantly, I need to stop taking anime recommendations from Twitter.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond Ep. 1
Like the first season, the second run of Kekkai Sensen appears to have a great soundtrack. I usually just tune out the background music in other shows. Well, most of it anyway. The little that I do hear is quickly forgotten as soon as the episode is over. It may as well not be there… which is completely not true at all. If a show literally lacks background music, the absence would be all too conspicuous. The viewing experience feels empty even if the missing music would’ve just been forgotten anyway. Oh well. Enough about that. My point is that Kekkai Sensen has music I actually don’t mind listening to. It actually has music that I can kinda recall even after I’ve stopped bothering with anime for the rest of the day.
I just wish I could say the same about the story. Kekkai Sensen is not a bad anime. It’s a fun treat. The show’s full of energy, and I’m never bored. None of the characters are really obnoxious, and visually, it’s a huge step up from the average series. Nothing mind-blowing, but Bones has actually put effort into the framing and composition of every single scene. But despite all of that, nothing plotwise ever lingers when a Kekkai Sensen episode is all said and done. It’s not an anime that makes you look back and ruminate, which is a shame. I’ll enjoy watching the second season as much as the first one, but I doubt I’ll have much to say about it.
Kino’s Journey (2017) Ep. 1
Yeah, I wasn’t excited about this series going into the fall season, and the first episode doesn’t change my mind. First, the animation is competent, but uninspiring. There’s not much to look at. Scenes are composed rather straightforwardly, and I found the whole thing visually dull. With that out of the way, I bet I’ll catch some flak for my next point of criticism.
The story is arguing semantics. Kino visits a country where killing is not prohibited, but as we come to find out, it’s also not permitted. Um, okay. So instead of The Law stopping bad guys in their tracks, the people will take matters into their own hands and fulfill this civic need. But the problem is that I don’t trust the general public to mete out punishment, especially when death is a probable outcome. Oh, we’re not just talking about any plain ol’ death, mind you. We’re talking about an old man publicly executing a man in broad daylight. Even putting aside the fact that this is heinously barbaric — I mean, what do the parents tell the kids? “Hey guys, we’re gonna gut a motherfucker, so keep yourselves indoor until we’re done” — why should I trust this society not to collapse under the weight of its own mob mentality?
The fact is, murder is not strictly prohibited in any country. We just don’t trust any Joe Schmoe to carry it out (this may or may not be the case depending on where you’re from). But don’t kid yourself. If someone poses a serious enough threat, certain individuals are more than permitted to take a life. This is the truth in practically every sovereign nation on this planet. The problem, however, is that we can’t even trust our law enforcement officials to perform these duties correctly. So I’m supposed to turn around and believe that the general public — our very own friends and neighbors — can do the same job but better? C’mon, would you trust me with a man’s life? Nevertheless, Kino rides off after his brief 3-day stay. He bumps into a man who wishes to settle down somewhere safe to which our hero cheerfully remarks that he knows just the place. I guess they do assemble a mean stack of crepes.
Alright, that’s enough for tonight. More impressions tomorrow until I’ve seen anything worth watching at least once. Let me know what I’ve missed that you really, really think I should really cover. Note: I will not watch anything with idols.