I had to walk to BART in the rain this morning, and guess what? I had to walk back home from BART in the rain as well. It looks like it’s going to rain all day and all night. God knows the state could use it, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to catch a cold at this rate. Nevertheless, the show goes on. Here are some more winter anime first impressions for ya.
The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! Ep. 1: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck…
Before even watching the episode, I quickly scanned the comments on Crunchyroll. I’m almost 99% positive that I won’t enjoy this show, but I wanted to get the lay of the land, so to speak. Someone said something like, “I was delighted to see no sketchy lewd jokes! Even that scene at his house was done very well and not over-sexualized.” Oh boy, here we go. I’ll just present the notes I took as I watched the episode:
— Do you have to dress like that in order to play shogi?
— The main character, despite being only a teenager, supposedly holds the highest title in shogi. I really know nothing about the game, so I have no clue if any of this is accurate. I don’t really care either. I’ve never really been into any of the competitive board games out there. I can count on one hand all the times I’ve played chess.
— Skipping school for shogi sounds like a terrible idea. Even Michael Jordan finished high school.
— Great, a little girl has suddenly appeared outta nowhere. How did she even get into his apartment?
— The girl claims that the main character had made a promise to her before his big match last year, but he can’t even remember her in the first place.
— She’s only 9 for Christ’s sake. And he’s only 16. Imagine if you bumped everyone’s ages up ten years. Imagine that.
— Why has shogi gotten so popular lately? I don’t remember hearing anything about it up until recently, then all of a sudden, it’s in countless stories after stories. Even Persona 5 had a shogi-playing girl that you could date (not my type).
— The little girl appears to be some sort of shogi savant. She only recently started playing the game, and she can already give the main character a hard time. Someone will always surpass us. The next generation will always build on what we’ve accomplished. That’s life. It always seems like sour grapes to me when old legends refuse to acknowledge that the current generation can easily best them. I’m a Lakers fan, but even I would have to admit that current Warriors team would handily defeat the ’01 Lakers in a 7-game series.
— A 9 year old that can also cook for the main character. Isn’t that convenient.
— God, why do we have to watch her bathe herself? She’s 9.
— So another girl shows up, because she apparently has a match scheduled with the main character. He can’t exactly let her in because he currently has a naked NINE-YEAR-OLD in his bathroom. Eventually, the little girl comes out butt-naked and makes the situation even worse by oddly demanding the main character to look her straight in the eye. Great. Just great.
— Not “overly-sexualized” my ass. Any sexual joke about a 9-year-old is already overly-sexualized. Full stop. Shit’s not complicated.
— Anyways, I’m out. If I’m not gonna watch the one supposedly good shogi anime, why bother watching the shitty one?
3-gatsu no Lion has always been recommended to me, but something about it seems unappealing. There’s also the fact that it’s an ongoing series with a ton of episodes already under its belt, so it’s not something I want to jump into right now (or possibly ever). It also doesn’t help that I didn’t like Honey and Clover very much. That was such a long time ago, though. I wonder if my opinion of Honey and Clover would be different now. Well, I wouldn’t bet it on it, but you never know. I used to like The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi at one point, after all.
Just a quick word on a couple of shows. Speaking of which, I might actually bring back the ol “Everything Else” feature from way back to briefly mention shows that I don’t particularly want to cover extensively. But I digress…
I also took a glimpse at the first episode of Basilisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls. First, even a show about badass ninjas primarily features kids. Lots of them, too. The show is full of violence and bloodletting, though. I’m not sure how I feel about watching kids being killed and all that. Plus, the ninja powers feel gimmicky. Some kid can control creepy crawlies. Another kid can literally separate his eyes from his body. I don’t find any of it cool or badass; it’s all just kinda lame.
Even better, the main two characters appear to be siblings destined to continue their bloodline by becoming a couple? Then some old guy says something about a parent getting involved. Ugh.
By the time we see some guy being pursued in the heavy rain, I’ve already lost interest in the story.
I’m not exactly a fan of the art direction either. The show also likes to do this thing where it freezes on a single frame with a flourish. For example, we’ll go from something like this to… whatever this is:
I might take a quick peek next week to see what’s going on, but Basilisk definitely won’t be getting its own weekly post on this blog. It’s just not my type of show.
The last anime I saw today was Karakai Jozu No Takagi-san. Nishikata and Takagi have some primo real estate: not only do they sit in the back row, they’re also in one of the corners. You’d think that’s enough to satisfy any middle schooler. Unfortunately, Nishikata seems to get flustered easily, and Takagi is all too willing to tease him. It’d be nice if he could ever score a few wins now and again, but I have the feeling she’ll always have the upper hand.
The kids’ antics are cute, I guess. But beyond that, there’s not much else to talk about. Again, I’m surprised that yet another winter anime didn’t turn out to be a TV short. This show doesn’t seem like it has much going for it, and yet, I’m kinda charmed by it. I know, I know… after the last two shows, Takagi-san probably looks like prime grade anime. In reality, it’s yet another light-hearted, no-thought-required, slice-of-life anime series. But if you really think about it, this is the only premise of the three that makes sense. Young shogi champion, young ninjas, or young love — which would you pick? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s staid and not particularly original, but whatever.
Like Basilisk, I’ll keep an eye on Takagi-san for now, but I wouldn’t quite say I necessarily recommend it. I just think it’s better than the other two shows here.
Man, I need to eat something that’ll warm me up. Maybe Thai curry…
You made the right calls on these anime. Good to know what to avoid. Usagi Drop does something similar in the manga, but they stopped the anime in time. Also: anime based on shogi or other games go through surges. There’s a 70 ep. anime about Go about 10 years ago. Maybe longer, actually, called Hikaru no Go. It was sort of interesting, but I eventually found a lot of shounen jump repitition and got bored around the time it ends.
BART sucks. So dirty. You have my sympathy. I hope the job you’re riding to pays well. And if its a college, that the degree is worth money when you’re done.
Let’s just say I make enough to live like a prince in the midwest, but I choose to be a pauper in the SF bay area.
I do not understand the cliché of the protagonist with amnesia as it was with love hina until nisekoi does not remember anything about the girl who was so special for him, but here he is even more foolish because it was a year ago of that event.
Sean, have you watched the first Basilisk anime before checking out this sequel? If you have, I might’ve missed your article on it.
The Watercolor freeze-frame is a thing from 80s & 90s anime, btw. It’s a classic way to dramatize a stopping point.
No. Besides, I don’t write a post for everything I watch.
Too bad. It’s a pretty good brutal martial art action show. Though, if you already dislike the “powers of the ninjas” in this sequel, you’ll probably dislike the prequel too. I actually think their powers being weirdly awesome befitting of shinobi in past times that will use almost anything they can use as weapons (even mutant abilities, haha) instead of the traditional misconception of description of masked ninjas clad in all-black getups and throwing stars everywhere. Spying is also a big-enough thing in Basilisk series which I like. You know, the core point of being a ninja that many anime & manga ignore?
Loli Comes in Like a Lion! The idea is comic! The show (ahem) sure targets a very specific audience…
The annoying loli: so much evil in a small body! Well done anyways, it vividly reminded me the torments I suffered when I was in Nishikata’s shoes, so I’ll never watch this again!
Incestous ninjas: cheese on the cake! Not gonna watch it but I look forward at your posts to discover how far the clan will dare to push their “noble” intentions!
The new shogi anime was shit, and I’d recommend against 3-gatsu no lion, because SHAFT. Seriously, they ruin everything they make.
I tried watching a couple of episodes of 3-gatsu, but the constant SHAFT camera pans (every 10 seconds or so) and totally fucked up pacing made it difficult to feel anything but annoyed….