Kuromukuro First Impressions

Kurmukuro has been on Netflix for awhile and I’ve been eyeing it off but hadn’t bothered to start it. Recently, I read a review about the show and finally curiosity got the better of me. The reason I hadn’t tried it prior was because it has a samurai in it (and I’m not a big fan of samurais) and it is a mecha anime (and those are always hit and miss for me).

So going in hopeful but at the same time cautious, Kuromukuro actually gives off a reasonable first impression. There’s some action, there’s some high school drama, there’s some comedy that works well enough even if its predictable, and the overall premise is kind of interesting even if in these first few episodes I’m still not really sure what the villains are trying to do or why (I hope we find out later).

The story mostly follows Yukina who is your normal, average high-school girl (except that her mother is the director of a UN research facility). She hasn’t really got a sensible goal for her future, she suffers from feelings of inadequacy due to a highly accomplished mother and she also has father issues that I’m hoping will be dealt with sooner or later. Anyway, she’s at her mother’s lab when some unknown enemy drops out of space and somehow she opens a box that contains the samurai who or course can pilot the artefact mecha that’s in the basement of the research lab. Yukina is dragged along and gets injected with something that makes her the copilot of said mecha.

The whole thing might devolve into the standard cliches and tropes but the first few episodes were energetic enough and interesting enough to make me want to continue this show. A few obvious criticisms are the use of high schoolers as pilots (there are trained adult pilots as well so why are you letting a high schooler pilot a giant robot?). Then there is the walking animations in the first two episodes. Particularly the girls. Its just wrong. Watching them is weird because they aren’t moving right. This seems to be improving as the show progresses but it was honestly creepy in episode 1 watching them descend a flight of stairs.

Anyway, there are two seasons of this with 26 episodes total so I’m going to chip away at it while I wait for the new season of shows to begin. I’ll do a series review when I get to the end.


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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid First Impressions

Overview:

Tohru is a dragon who shows up to be Miss Kobayashi’s maid after some drunken incident in the mountains. Only, as a dragon, Tohru’s understanding of how to be a maid is a just a bit off.

Review:

I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t enjoy this first episode. It’s perfectly functional as a show and I’m sure some people would find it adorable but I just found the voices grating and the interactions between the characters pretty dull. It is a shame because I’ve been kind of curious about this one, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing to watch it. Probably the most fun I had during this episode was when the robbers came to the apartment but that lasted about a minute and while it was funny, I just don’t think a show has lasting appeal whtn a minor joke mid-episode is the highlight for you.


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OneRoom First Impressions

Overview:

You are the protagonist. Be prepared to feel creepy.

Review:

Honestly, I didn’t make it through the four minutes of this first episode. The deal with you being the protagonist is fine, even if it leads to bumpy camera as ‘you’ move around. What isn’t so fine is the lingering camera shot on the girls skirt, the sweeping shot up her body, and the return lingering shot on her chest. They put you in the place of the protagonist and then got you to feel like you were ogling your new high school neighbour. That I probably would have still finished the episode after except, they then break the illusion that the camera is from your point of view by giving you a low angle shot from behind said neighbour suggestively tilting up her skirt. Seriously, if even the people who made this aren’t actually invested in the ‘you are the protagonist’ line then I’m out. Because unless you suddenly, mid-converation, walked around the girl and crouched down behind her, that shot had no point existing.

OneRoom is available on Crunchyroll.


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Piacevole First Impressions

Overview:

High school student starts part time job at an Italian restaurant.

Review:

For a four minute episode this is kind of a reasonable set-up and cute enough but like most short anime it just doesn’t do much to grab me. The premise isn’t interesting enough to hang around for, none of the characters really distinguished themselves in any way, and a food shot for the episode isn’t enough to make me sit through another four minute episode. That said, there’s plenty of first episodes worse than this out there so if you are looking for something relatively benign this might be your cup of tea.

Piacevole is available on Crunchyroll.


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Zetman First Impressions

Overview:

There are two forces in the world: the Zet, who are entrusted with the survival of humanity, and the Alphas, who have chosen an extreme form of justice. In a certain city, Jin lives under a bridge with an old man, struggling to pay off debts. He carries the destiny of humanity’s survival. Kouga lives on a hill and stands to inherit vast wealth. In his admiration for heroes, he seeks out the meaning of justice.

– AnimeLab

First Impressions:

Normally I don’t copy and paste overviews but this one I feel needed to be because from what I’ve seen in the first two episodes, it is pretty misleading. We might get to a point where we have Zet and Alphas as two forces but really what we have in episodes 1 and 2 are some kids going through trauma and then kids all grown up but life is still pretty traumatic.

That said, I’m not disliking this. I found it while scrolling through recently added stuff on AnimeLab and apparently this came out in 2013 (I’d never heard of it) and the write up was enough to get me to start it. We’ve got secret labs and experiments, shady dealings, a weird mark on some kid’s hand, an overly justice minded friend, and so far a lot of violence so two episodes in and while this isn’t amazingly compelling its definitely watchable so I intend to carry on.

The opening theme is ridiculously catchy. It isn’t good and as a song it is actually dreadful, but it really is catchy.

Right now I have a lot of questions about this show. Particularly around the whole Alphas thing mentioned in the overview because so far haven’t seen anything to do with that. It will be interesting to see where this story goes and whether we continue the pattern of everyone who meets Jin getting attacked because to be honest that could get old fast. Still, there’s enough potential here for a good story.

If you’ve seen Zetman I’d love to know your thoughts and I’ll do a full review after I’m done viewing.


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Hunter x Hunter First Impressions

Okay, calling this a first impression is probably misleading given I did watch some of the original anime series (though where and when I do not remember). However, I’m picking up the 2011 version for the first time and at this point I intend to finish it.

First Impressions

I think I’m going to spend a lot of the first few episodes confused because it is similar to what I remember of the original but not the same so my brain keeps trying to reconcile the two memories and is failing to do so. However, given I didn’t watch much of the other series I’m pretty sure I’ll get over this eventually.

So far while I enjoyed the set up in this episode that was essentially all we got was set up and introductions. I didn’t really get a sense of danger or particularly care about anyone on the boat so the storm had very little impact. The other issue I found was that Gon is really way too up-beat (sorry, I shouldn’t dislike characters for being happy but honestly I just wanted someone to puncture some of his enthusiasm).

All and all though, this seems like it will be a nice action/adventure story and so many people have told me to watch it and it will be nice to clear it from my watch list so I’m going to keep going for now and see how far I get.

 

Haikyuu! First Impressions

Okay, so this anime has been recommended to me almost 50,000 times at this point so I figured given I have run out of shows from Autumn 2016 that I have access to and any desire to watch now was a good time to try the first episode of this.

First Impressions

The first 7 – 10 minutes of this I was wondering why I was putting myself through this. This is a sports anime in every sense fo the word and while I’ve come across a few sports anime recently I haven’t minded most of them have been very character focussed. Add to that my severe distaste for Volleyball as a sport (pretty much my only real experience with this game involves broken fingers – fortunately not mine – and casual games that are more aerial ping pong than volleyball) and I was more or less ready to call it on this.

And then…

I’m not sure if it is Hinata’s tenacity or the fact that they introduce Kageyama who kind of balances out Hinata’s over the top enthusiasm but the second half of this is kind of engaging.

Haikyu1b.JPG

All and all, for a first episode we’ve established two characters and it managed to make me curious about how their relationship will develop now that they are at the same school so while I’m not doing somersaults about this I’m actually looking forward to watching a few more episodes and hoping that the characters get fleshed out a bit more.

Blade and Soul First Impressions

Overview:

Alka, a member of the sword clan, is on the run and trying to find the woman who killed her master so she can follow some code that may or may not involve killing the person responsible (they are maddeningly non-specific on that aspect).

First Impressions:

Okay, so I’ve kind of watched about half of this series before I’ve bothered to do first impressions but that’s okay. I still have about 7 episodes to go so plenty of things can change before I do my final review.

Firstly, I received this as part of my last Hanabee Mystery Box so I’m actually enjoying it enough for the price I actually paid for it.

Secondly, apparently I’d started this anime before (possibly on Crunchyroll but maybe somewhere else), though it took until the third episode before anything happened that jogged my memory that I’d seen it before (and amazingly enough it was the stupid armour the ‘Pleasure Gang’ were wearing that tipped my memory.

That said, given I didn’t finish the series the first time I watched it, and given even as I remembered that I’d started it before and dropped it I started thinking about all the things wrong with the series, my first impressions aren’t great.

Certainly, this show is watchable (provided the outfits on some of those girls don’t make you flee but you can figure that out from the art work). The biggest complaint I would have is actually Alka. She’s an incredibly boring protagonist and no one else has really stuck around long enough to leave much of an impression. Plus the show has this nasty tendency to introduce characters only to kill one of them off in a totally preventable manner but have Alka and other strong fighters just stand around and let it happen. That’s when the highly overpowered villain isn’t just turning people into red mist.

I am going to finish this because despite that complaint I’ve actually found a lot to enjoy. It’s ridiculous and the story is moving incredibly slowly (which is probably a good thing given there doesn’t seem to be much story) and the characters are all kind of caricatures rather than people but it’s the kind of ridiculous that is mostly relaxing to watch and if Alka develops some sort of personality it would almost be recommendable as a binge watch on a rainy weekend.

So that’s my first impression of this series and as I said it still has time to actually go somewhere or do something amazing.

Before I finish I’m going to add in one more major complaint. The guy who follows around the girl who either serves or is manipulating the villain (yeah, I’ve paid a lot of attention to names here). He only talks in grunts and seems less articulate than Chewbacca from Star Wars and yet the girl responds to his various noises as if he’s an ace conversationalist.

Magi: Adventure of Sinbad First Impressions

Okay, I’ll admit, I still haven’t done a rewatch or a review of season 2 of Magi even though I promised that awhile back (here’s my review of season 1) but I was flicking through Netflix and couldn’t resist watching the first two episodes of Adventure of Sinbad so here are my first impressions of this series.

In honesty, I wasn’t such a huge fan of the Magi story in general. It was fun following Aladdin and Alibaba but that was about it and there were a lot of cringe worthy moments. And Sinbad was definitely not my favourite character. It was one of those shows that seemed like it should be a lot more fun than it was. That said, I enjoyed it enough that I watched both seasons (even though I’ve only reviewed one) and have now decided to look at this prequel(ish) show that picks up on how Sinbad got to be so incredibly overpowered.

Turns out he was born that way.

I kid you not. First moments of the first episode, the kid is born and every magically sensitive person on the planet reels. Mystery solved.

Maybe I’m just cynical but that seems like it might be shooting your own plot in the foot before you even get started. My issue with prequels is we already know how they have to end because eventually you have to align this story with the existing narrative. So Sinbad was never going to be in mortal danger because he was alive and kicking in Magi. Now we don’t even have the luxury of seeing him as a kind of hopeless loser who manages to overcome that because he’s just born special. A lot of my desire to watch this kind of went up in smoke at that point and I was less than five minutes in.

I’m kind of glad I kept watching, because I like Sinbad far more as a character than I ever did Alibaba (at least in this prequel). As a fourteen year old, Sinbad is remarkably like Alibaba, and yet not quite as annoying and he hasn’t ever hit the same level of rock-bottom pathetic that Alibaba seemed to default to (but we’re only in episode 2 so who knows what is to come).

The animation style and the weird chibi reaction things remain and otherwise its all just more Magi. So if you liked the original (even if you are super critical of it but deep down you know you loved it) this might be worth the watch. For me, I’m going to drop in on it every now and then (and if nothing else comes out this season I’ll probably finish this sooner rather than later).

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club First Impressions

Overview:

Guys who used to swim together are swimming together. Kind of.

First Impressions:

I put off watching this series despite repeatedly being told “you have to watch it”. However, I recently caved in and gave episode 1 a go. I don’t know if I’m pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the first episode or annoyed that I’m falling in line with the hype that has endlessly surrounded this series. While I’m not thinking this series is going to become my favourite ever (not even close), I liked the characters and enjoyed learning a bit of their history and watching them go about their high school lives.

My issue will be that I’ve seen a thousand reviews, memes, AMV’s, etc, etc, etc, around this series so actually a lot of the scenes I’ve seen before, just not in any kind of order. Still, I’m going to watch a bit more and see how I go with this one.