First up is Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha. This is one of those shows where the main character is overpowered right out of the gate. Why is Anos Voldigoad so strong? Because he is the reincarnation of the infamous demon king from 2,000 years ago. So basically, we get to watch him steamroll over everyone in this episode without breaking a sweat. At one point, he kills a guy by snapping his fingers, then brings the guy back to life just to kill him again. Clearly, our demon lord is not very gentle. Maybe if a hero from 2,000 years ago has also reincarnated (or is perhaps still alive for some reason), Anos might need to put in a little more effort. But for now, the real challenge isn’t on the battlefield. Rather, the real challenge is with his interpersonal relationships. Our protagonist is very dismayed to see that his own descendants have allowed the bonds between them to deteriorate. Even family members aren’t very close anymore. And like almost every anime that has ever featured an academy, we have the same tired class conflict. So yeah, Anos’ll have to do something about that. Maybe organize some team bonding exercises. Y’know, sit around the campfire and roasts some marshmallows. Unfortunately, the very school he founded 2000 years ago has gone and deemed him a Misfit… whatever that means.
Yeah, this was a pretty boring episode. There must be people who love this shit. After all, someone is buying these light novels. Someone then has to look at the sales numbers for said light novels and proceed to greenlight these insipid anime adaptations. But it’s just not for me. I couldn’t help but yawn throughout the episode. The only time I found myself somewhat amused by the story was when Anos’s family revealed that he is only one month old. His mother gave birth to him just a short while ago, and he has rapidly aged into a healthy teenage boy. But why stop there? Why not continue aging? Because high school, duh. We can’t go to school if we’re an adult. We can’t hit on teenage girls if we’re an adult (who, by the way, displays almost no personality whatsoever in this episode). We can’t beat up mean ol’ school bullies as an adult. And just like that, any inkling of interest I might have had has quickly dissipated. All I can do is make up my own canon. I like to believe that Mahouka S2 was delayed, because Tatsuya got intimidated by Anos. Between two overpowered dorks, one has to be superior, right? And poor emotionless Tatsuya wouldn’t want the reincarnated demon lord to steal his sister away. But the real culprit is probably the coronavirus. Even Mr. Taurus Silver can’t stop a pandemic.
Fire Force S2 Ep. 1
So I’m not really gonna talk about the first episode, because the truth is that I don’t have much to say about it. Since it is the first episode of a new season, it does the customary shounen thing, i.e. reintroduce everyone and their powers. As a result, a giant Inferno attacks the city, and it can only be brought down by having each member of the team perform their role. He can do this, she can do that, then that guy over there does this, so on and so forth. Whatever. Then afterwards, we have a goofy subplot where the men in the 8th have to pose for a nude photo, because that’s just what firefighters do. But hey, if you need something to chase all of the Tamaki fanservice, here’s some anime man-meat for your pleasure.
I guess I should talk about how I got into this series. I saw that the second season was gonna air in the summer, so I decided on a whim to get myself caught up so I would have yet another potential show to blog about. The problem is that I “watched” the first season while going through the postgame grind in Xenoblade Chronicles DE. I also “watched” the dub because it meant I didn’t have to keep my eyeball on the show 100% of the time. Needless to say, I didn’t really get the authentic Fire Force experience. Hey, I just gotta put that disclaimer out there. I won’t claim to be a Fire Force expert by any means. So what are my general impressions of the first season? Well, first off, I felt that the characters were wholly unremarkable. I don’t think anyone really stood out to me other than Arthur’s somewhat Don Quixote-ish personality. Then we have Tamaki, who is apparently a walking lewd machine. I kinda feel sorry for her, but apparently, she finished second in the character popularity poll. Oh well. As for everyone else? Kinda forgettable.
The only thing that really piques my interest — the sole factor in convincing to keep going — is what I learned through wiki-diving. Yeah, yeah, I encountered spoilers as a result of doing this, but without the proper context for said spoilers, they’re meaningless to me anyways. Oooh, Shinra hits Iris at one point. What could this mean? Well, as of now, it means nothing to me. But enough about that. Let’s get back to the one thing about the story that is somewhat interesting to me. So there’s just this twisted, hellish-looking dimension full of doppelgangers? And people turn into these demonic Infernos whenever said doppelgangers try to encroach on the real world? And maybe the Evangelist wants to replace Earth with this alternate dimension? That’s sort of interesting. I kinda want to see where this goes. And to be fair, watching Shinra’s mother forcibly shift her horns down to cover her eyes was a pretty cool moment. Ah, but there’s the rub.
At its core, this is still a shounen series full of high adrenaline battle scenes. This is also a story about Shinra finding his new family (the 8th), recovering his old family (saving Sho and possibly his mother if she’s still out there somewhere), and coming into his own as a super hero. And who knows? Maybe we’ll tease a multiple possible romances along the way to fan the shipper wars. And all of that would be fine if this was my first shounen series. But instead, I just see this tasty morsel dangling in front of me (the whole Adolla stuff) that I can’t reach — not without wading through all the typical shounen plot developments. Like it or not, I’m gonna have to pretend to give a shit about generic shounen hero number 395493 if I want to see the rest of the story. Plus, the mystery surrounding the Evangelist might be intriguing, but the rest of the White-Clad goons are kinda lame.
I started paying more and more attention to the show as season one reached its climax, and I couldn’t help but chuckle as the trip into the netherworld predictably played itself out. The group gets split up (of course), so we get to watch everyone take their turns overcoming an opponent on their own. This ultimately leads up to the main character’s showdown against the designated villain of the arc. It’s such a shounen thing. It really is. I couldn’t help but be reminded of how all of the good guys in My Hero Academia also got split up during the Shie Hassaikai Raid. You get one episode. Now you get an episode. Okay, now it’s your turn! Then when it’s finally time for Shinra to shine, let’s make it a multi-episode affair! It just felt like yet another example of these series playing it safe. Sure, the formula works, but it’s so stale.
But who knows? Maybe now that I have to consume the show in bite-size chunks instead of one long marathon, maybe I’ll naturally become more invested in the cast and their personal stories.