What (Else) I Watched Today: Sakura Wars the Animation and more

Here are the other three shows I’m not too excited about.

Sakura Wars the Animation

Our story takes place in an alternate universe where these girls have to pull double duty: mecha-piloting soldiers to defend the nation against demonic threats and stage performers akin to the Takarazuka Revue to lift everyone’s spirits. In fact, they’re called the Imperial Combat Revue, and every major nation has an equivalent division. Well, almost all of them. Moscow had one until they were attacked by an unknown enemy. The lone survivor is a young girl named Klara, who is now in Japan’s custody. The mystery concerning her circumstances appear to be the main thrust of the plot. The episode begins with two different women fighting over Klara before the good guys finally intervene. One of the women just so happens to be a scantily-clad demon. Wouldn’t you freeze in such an outfit? Well, maybe demons can’t get cold…

In any case, the first episode has a lot to cover. There’s action, there’s singing, and of course, a blow-by introduction to the main cast. Seijuro, the male protagonist, is incredibly bland at the moment, and he’ll probably always stay bland. After all, I believe that you assume his perspective if you play the video game. So y’know, can’t make him too spicy. Then we have Sakura, the eponymous heroine. For now, she seems pretty typical: hardworking, kind, and perhaps a bit air-headed. Right off the bat, she’s quite enamored with Seijuro. For instance, she lights up whenever he enters the room. Then later in the episode, before Sakura’s even had the chance to change out of her stage costume, she tries to hold Seijuro to his promise. Before he had left on his mission, he said he would take her out shopping or to an amusement park. In other words, a date. Well, in her mind at least. I just hope we don’t end up with yet another dude who is oblivious to the painfully obvious feelings of the girls around him. As for the rest of the cast, they haven’t quite left a strong enough impression for me to comment on them.

What do I think about the show? I think I don’t want to watch it… yet. The timing is a bit unfortunate for the West. In Japan, the video game has been out since December, but I won’t get to play it until the end of this month. By then, four episodes of the anime will have aired. I wonder how much of the game those four episodes will spoil. I mean, I guess it’s not too bad. It won’t ruin the entire game for me. Plus, anime adaptations usually have to stick to the main story and the main story only. This was the case with every Persona adaptations, and I doubt Sakura Wars will be any different. If someone wants to experience all of the side stories, they’ll likely have to play the game. Still, I’ll have to see how I feel next week. There are other shows to watch, and I’m not super keen on Sakura Wars‘ 3-D look.

Bungo to Alchemist – Shinpan no Haguruma

So in this series, classic Japanese authors are hotties who must do all that they can in order to save their equally classic literature from being destroyed by… The Taints. For example, this episode features Dazai’s “Run, Melos!” What’s the best way to ruin this short story? Well, maybe Melos decided to drink too much mead, so he’s unable to make it back in time to save his friend. Or maybe he’s too chicken to cross a dangerous river. Or maybe he just flat-out decides to betray Selinuntius at the very end. Every time the story tries to deviate, however, our hero is there to make things right… until, of course, the bad guys get fed up and just start attacking. That’s when the anime devolves into subpar action. I personally don’t need a twist to appreciate “Run, Melos!”, but I can’t speak for everyone. If retelling the short story through the use of a bishie (or several) is how we get people to revisit Dazai’s classic, then hey, do what you gotta do. But when Akutagawa freaking Ryūnosuke whips out a sword and starts fighting the tyrant king Dionysus who then turns into a hulkin’ minotaur, that’s my cue to get up and leave. Sorry, but no thanks.

Nami yo Kiitekure

It’s kinda funny that the show’s description is almost exactly what you get in the second half of this episode. One night, Minare finds herself ranting to a random man at the bar about her recent breakup. Without her permission, the man records said rant and plays it on the radio the next day. So our heroine storms out of her restaurant job and into the station. She tries to stop the recording, but ends up doing a talk show anyways. Again, this is just the second half of the episode. The first half, on the other hand, gives us a glimpse of Minare’s future career as a radio show host. She can’t just read and answer questions from her listeners. Nope, she also has to pretend that she’s fighting a bear. Why? Beats the hell out of me. I guess it makes the format more interesting and exciting to listen to, but I just find it distracting. If this is the sort of “zany” scenarios that our heroine will find herself in, it certainly didn’t manage to hook me in. I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I listened to a radio station. It’s all about podcasts nowadays, and even then, I don’t listen to them all that much. I like “Castle Super Beast” or the ones about creepy stories like “Radio Rental.” But other than that, I’m just not a podcast guy, and I certainly wouldn’t be a radio talk show guy either. Minare handing out advice by herself isn’t my cup of tea, nor do I really care about her views on men and relationships. But eh, I had a feeling going in that Nami yo Kiitekure probably wasn’t for me, and this episode didn’t do anything to change my mind.

So yeah… other than Listeners, I don’t really see anything else that I feel like blogging on Fridays. Hopefully, Appare-Ranman! is decent, ’cause I doubt season four of Shokugeki no Soma is gonna save the day.

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