The girls are excited to be getting some practical quest experience from the guild and while at first I wasn’t overly excited (the story about the horned gorilla put me to sleep as much as the rest of Seira’s party), this episode actually managed to be pretty cute and charming. I don’t want to make assumptions, but Mao’s absence was conspicuous and as her plots, plans and laugh have been one of my least favourite parts of the show it now seems that the anime is significantly better without her presence.
While the episode is largely built around the ongoing gag of the characters getting the quest of finding a cat multiple days in a row, they manage to keep this fairly entertaining without lingering. By the time they finally get a non-cat finding quest they are actually surprised, but then they run into a young girl who has lost a cat and they go right back to searching for cats.
It is all just a bit of pastel coloured silliness but the bouncing dialogue between the girls, the short fight sequences, and the scene changes work well enough to keep this episode moving along. I definitely enjoyed it more this week than last though I don’t know that all that much happened.
Realistically, this anime still isn’t really something I’d rush to recommend or watch in the future, but if the episodes remained like this it could be some pleasant fluff for the season.
Unrestrained Power Fantasy Involving 1 Guy, 12 Girls, and 1 Tanuki
Every season there is that one anime that I know I’m not going to like, that it isn’t my genre or there’s an annoying character or idea, and yet there’s something about it that manages to catch my attention and I’m unable to just walk away. After watching 12 episodes of this, I’m convinced that I need to learn to drop shows early on even if there is that small carrot of potential. Conception was that title in the Autumn 2018 season
I’ll admit, I watched this through to the end when other shows were dropped along the way. So it isn’t unwatchable. But that is more because of the sheer weirdness of some of what happens. And I’m not just talking about the premise of Itsuki having to make children with 12 maidens and that changing to 13 before the end in order to save a fantasy world.
Conception does a couple of things right. Things that make viewing a poorly scripted, comedy that relies heavily on innuendo and smut jokes to carry episode, something that still seems to hint at being better than it actually is.
One thing it manages is pacing. Just when the comedy elements or the dating the star maiden parts became a little too much, this anime would dangle the story about the labyrinth and fighting the impurities in front of the viewer. By cycling through the different aspects of the show and making sure they never stayed absent too long, no matter what drew a viewer to the anime, just when they got to a point where they might drop it that part of the story would come back.
The other thing that saved this anime from a complete drop is that despite the premise and the incredibly borderline visuals, Itsuki technically doesn’t actually have sex (on screen) with the maidens (maybe Mana, not sure). It is probably just as well given the age of some of these characters and just how weird that would be for all the maidens to happily get along, but the anime does everything but actual sex and it sure implies intimacy so for some people there will still be more than enough reason to walk away.
However, these minor positives can’t overcome the overwhelming negatives that this series is carrying with it.
Because there are 12/13 girls to be seduced and only 12 episodes, we barely get to meet some of these girls that Itsuki seems to woo some of them in an instant. The few that get a whole episode devoted to them are interesting enough but they essentially get seduced, go through the ‘ritual’, produce a child and then they more or less get forgotten outside of group shots.
There’s a lot of fourth wall breaking ‘comedy’. Some of it is kind of amusing but most of it is the eye-roll worthy kind of humour where the writing seems to think it is more clever than it is. The episode that more or less spoofed ‘The Bachelor’ really was the low point for me though if the humour hits than it might work better for you.
Itsuki himself is about as bland a protagonist as any isekai power fantasy protagonist. Though, he seems even more dense at times. His acceptance of his role, or Mana’s advice, and the way he just plays whatever role is currently assigned means his own personality is pretty much absent for the vast majority of the series. He’s very clearly a blank-slate waiting for self-insert.
But, the worst part of this anime goes straight to Mana as a character. Wow, I don’t know how many times I wished death on her during my episode reviews. She most definitely gets the title for the single worst character and most annoying creature of the entirety of 2018.
All and all, I really regret not dropping this. It wasn’t really a genre I am fond of and the small elements that could have been interesting just didn’t get enough time or development to really deliver. While I won’t say this is the worst anime ever, and it isn’t even my worst anime of 2018, it is an anime that you would have to be a very specific audience to enjoy and for everyone else you’d be better off steering clear.
Well, seems the annoying narration at the start is there to stay but I kind of raised my issues with that last week so moving on. We also have the character introductions again and I realised just how much this series was leaning of Kaguya’s social status for a lot of the jokes and set-ups, but again its a comedy so we’ll just move on. Still, between opening narration, OP and character introductions that’s a chunk of episode time eaten before the first of the three segments even starts so I’m just wondering how sustainable this story is given even with that it felt like the second skit dragged a little.
Focusing on the three sections of episode though the first one was the best of the three. Featuring the President getting a phone and then trading Line addresses with Yuu was actually a pretty good set up. Admittedly, some people may find the punch line hilarious but mostly I just found the conclusion a little eye-roll worthy because it just felt like there was no way Shinomiya would have missed that point. Still, visually, this first skit was the most interesting and the characters were at their sharpest and best.
The following two sections both had good moments. The argument about whether to go to the mountains or the beach for summer vacation seems fairly innocuous and turning it into a high stakes battle actually worked very well in terms of humour. While the proceeding argument ended up taking too long and felt like the punch line was deliberately held off just too far for me to stay full invested, it was still reasonable. However, the visuals here lent more toward girls in swim suits and wasn’t as creative or interesting as the previous section which meant the argument unfolding had to hold the section.
Finally, the President was approached for love advice and this was the section I found the weakest and ultimately I didn’t find much about it funny or entertaining. Though I’ll admit watching Shinomiya blush after Shirogane wall slammed the door she was standing behind was pretty cute.
This show remains a real mixed bag for me. There’s some impressive visuals and direction at times and some of the exchanges are very clever and amusing. However, there’s also a lot that really falls flat for me and this episode toward the end really felt like it was dragging. I’m also really concerned about the ability of this anime to keep this concept fresh at three scenarios an episode for a whole season. I guess we’ll see how it goes.
We’re back with the second week of Yomu’s amazing collaboration and this week we have more fun themes to pick from. I decided to focus on scenes outside the art room thinking there’d only be a couple given I’ve been busier this week and then I watched the episode. Well, almost all of it takes place outside the art room. On the other hand, I enjoyed this episode significantly more than episode one so there’s a plus. Allow me now to walk you through This Art Club Has a Problem Episode 2: Scenes Outside of the Art Room.
We begin our episode with an exterior shot of the school (I assume) before we transition to a long corridor lined with windows and four girls walking side by side toward us.
In another story I might think this was some kind of show of power the way the girls spread themselves across the entire walkway but here with all the glass, reflections, and general drab colour going on in this scene, they mostly look tiny and insignificant. When we zoom in on their conversation in which one of Usami’s friends gives her a false horoscope, that impression is more of less confirmed.
As to why the corridor needs to be so long or we needed this long shot of the girls, I’m really not entirely certain.
There is a transition in between where we see what happens inside the art room, but our next external to the art room scene involves Usami reaching the end of that hallway, bidding her friends goodbye and then eyeing off the clearly acting suspiciously Uchimaki.
With no clue what has transpired inside the room Usami is puzzled by his behaviour but also impatient to get inside the room. The exchange between the two is therefore brief but it does yield this corridor shot where we realise that speaking characters are not the only people who exist in this school, and that every hallway is equally drab as the one we started in.
Again some stuff happens inside the art room but the outcome of that is we end up at some sort of exhibit where Uchimaki’s art work is on display as it has been awarded second place in some competition. Usami is annoyed that it got a place and Uchimaki is upset that it only got second. The President is just kind of there, an ongoing theme for his appearances.
What should be noted though is that the exhibit is as poorly attended as the school seems to be and equally drab in its choice of colour scheme.
And so ends the first of three stories that will be told in this episode.
The second story begins again with an exterior shot of Usami’s house (again, I guess) before we transition to seeing her in bed and discussing Uchimaki with her friend. We don’t get much of a view of the room though what we do see of it implies there’s a lot of books stacked about and that the bed is really too narrow for the two girls to be sharing it.
The friend ultimately manages to get Usami talking about why she likes Uchimaki and we go into an extended flashback of a mission the two went on to buy paint. How extended? Well the friend falls asleep before it is over. Kind of a shame really given it was a fairly good story.
The basic outline goes that Uchimaki used all the paint to produce waifus and so Usami and Uchimaki had to go buy paint supplies. Naturally, in anime world, that means Uchimaki carries all the supplies and complains about their weight despite there being only two fairly thin bags in his hands, and Usami makes dated comments about gender roles (okay, that might have been a little catty).
While they are walking we transition to a sunset scene, because why not, and then we get to the crux of the story. A mother beseeches them to find her missing child and the two set off on a search and rescue operation.
Actually, finding the child isn’t as difficult as convincing the child they are actually there to help her, not aided by a masked primary schooler who turns the conversation weird. Anyway, Uchimaki draws a picture of the girls mother to reassure her that they are going to help her find her mother and off they go. We transition back to Usami’s bedroom and the sleeping friend and so the second story ends.
The third and final story involves Usami turning down a confession while his senpai’s from the art club do the worst tree impersonations ever. I did like how they drew a tree in between Uchimaki and the girl who confessed as it really helped to make it clear there was a gap between them and that this was not going to be a successful confession.
While I am a little baffled as to how the girl didn’t notice the two hiding behind the bush, this scene was otherwise pretty straight forward, though I am curious as to the overall layout of the school and whether or not this takes place anywhere near the art room.
With that I’m done with episode 2 and I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of scenes that are not in the art room. Remember to go to Yomu’s site to check out other entries or get on board and join in.
We see to be swimming in stories that take place after a final battle in recent times, though here’s a twist… they went back in time to before they beat the villain and the villain has gone back to but remembers that final battle. It all sounds kind of cool and fun and then we realise it is a slice of life story featuring a quartet of cute girls with the demon being transformed into a loli teacher for whatever reason.
If we find out at the end that the only reason the heroes get strong enough to defeat the demon lord is because the demon lord was the one who trained them (though technically she’s trying to get them expelled), I’m probably going to be really annoyed at this.
All and all though, the first episode is pleasant. The characters are cute without becoming annoying and so far we haven’t had any random boob groping or the like (though we did get some ear nibbling and sleep talk plus the outfits of a couple of these girls are reminiscent of the uniforms in Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor).
What might get annoying is the demon as the loli teacher. While she has the potential to be quite interesting as the only one aware of the time travel and what happened when the heroes confronted the demon lord, so far she’s kind of petty and pathetic and her schemes are transparent and juvenile. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to like here but she’s certainly the weakest link for me so far.
While I’m not 100% sold on this one if it comes down to a choice this season of watching this or Ueno-San I will definitely pick this without hesitation.
Warning: Minor rant in-coming. You can skip to the review in the third paragraph if you don’t want to deal with my personal hang-ups.
I watched the opening narration of this anime and was left feeling kind of annoyed. The narrator spouting that tired garbage about love being a competition and that someone will be dominant in a relationship and the other submissive. Utter and complete dribble spouted without context over still and panning shots of high school students as though this idea applies to everyone and all relationships. And that was really the part that made it as annoying as it was. They were generalising their statements to encompass all relationships.
Clearly though, I watched the whole episode or I wouldn’t be reviewing it. I firmly believe you could take the scissors to the entire opening narration without actually harming the anime in any meaningful way and we can get rid of that completely ridiculous (at best – potentially harmful more likely) generalisation. However when we actually get on with the specific case this anime is looking at, with two of the single most petty characters in all existence who kind of like each other (or maybe like the idea of the other) but won’t confess because whoever confesses first will lose, the end result isn’t that bad.
Because clearly ending up in an actual relationship rather than a stand-off should be considered a loss. Okay, I’m not going to try to work my way through the mine-field of horrible ideas about romance this anime has in it. I’m actually just going to go with the obvious, this is a work of fiction and these are characters. So the only question left would be, is it entertaining?
To which the answer would be: surprisingly, yes. Very. For a comedy based around an idea I find fairly repulsive that got off on the wrong foot before it even started around characters I find to be really unpleasant human beings, I actually really had fun by the time this ended.
The episode presents three scenarios where the two leads essentially try to manoeuvre the other into confessing their love and the set ups and the way the situations play out are quite innovative and interesting. The exaggeration of the character reactions as they feel they are losing the upper hand works well, as do their smug expressions when they think they are going to win. While the narrator remains an intrusive presence at times, at others they provide fairly needed insight, and the inner monologues of the characters thinking through their actions are amusing.
It works. I just don’t know that I’d be describing this as a romance of any description (even a comedic one) given even if these two end up together I’m not going to find that overly romantic. Probably more tragic that these two manipulators would then be trapped by their own pride in a self-destructive relationship.
A slice of life/comedy? My favourite. (Please note: sarcasm.)
Actually, given I enjoyed Barakamon and Poco’s Udon World, both of which this one kind of reminds me of (though with quite a lot less impact), My Roommate is a Cat’s first episode actually kind of worked for me. I didn’t mind Subaru as the socially awkward writer who brings home a kitten on a whim and a flash of inspiration and I certainly could see my own cat in the kitten as it tried to make sure Subaru was alright (okay, my cat never gave me a bowl of cat biscuits but it certainly brings me grass-hoppers and she knows when I’m sick and stays with me).
However, there isn’t a lot more to this first episode other than meeting the writer, who may annoy some viewers as he is a bit blunt and rude at times to his editor, and meeting the cat. There’s a few other characters such as the editor and I’m guessing the childhood friend (though friend may be the wrong name for it), however their impact in this first episode is pretty minimal.
The one part of the story that was a little unexpected was seeing the sequence from the cat’s point of view but that only added a little tiny bit to the episode, and to be honest we probably could have figured out most of that narration without it actually being narrated to us by the cat.
So, this one I kind of enjoyed for a relaxing watch but there’s not a huge amount to recommend it. Everything about it is decent enough, and the OP is incredibly catchy and probably my favourite part about the show so far. Still, it’s got an anime cat in it that is absolutely adorable and it didn’t annoy me, so this one will stay on my watch list for now.