A Princess in Pursuit of Her Hero

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 5 Review

For all that Endro has been pleasant enough over the opening episodes, this episode drew me right into this story. It isn’t that it does anything particularly unique as it is very much playing on the Princess tropes in introducing a new character, but it is doing it in such a way that it makes this anime really feel like it has its own ideas and a tone it really wants to set.

Endro Episode 5 Princess Rona

Plenty of anime have a Princess who believes she will marry a hero or has a hero and a Princess fall in love. The hero being a female didn’t deter the Princess in the least and that was kind of interesting as the Princess clearly forced her way into Yuusha’s life and then threw an entire festival to raise the status of the hero. While there are some good laughs here it is also clear that this anime isn’t going to blink away from the idea of two characters of the same sex falling in love. It takes this head on.

Endro Episode 5 Princess gushing over hero

And that is admirable in itself but they follow it up with actual character development for the Princess in the same episode. She goes from being infatuated with Yuusha because she is the hero to actually seeing Yuusha as a person and liking her even more. The whole episode is just good fun but it is full of so many little moments that raise questions, make a point, or just stick out as interesting that it is difficult to really talk about the episode without doing a scene by scene break down given the overall plot is Princess shows up and throws festival, hero saves things when they go wrong.

Endro Episode 5 Princess and Mao

I will say that Mao was really good this episode. She’s a character I haven’t really liked previously but her role this week was very well used and the hints the Princess is dropping that she knows who Mao is are interesting as I wonder where they are taking that plot line. All and all, while I haven’t been fully behind this anime, this episode took some excellent steps and getting me drawn in to the story.

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THAT TIME I GOT REINCARNATED AS A SLIME B2 WALL SCROLL: MILIM (RE-RUN)
	THAT TIME I GOT REINCARNATED AS A SLIME B2 WALL SCROLL: MILIM (RE-RUN)

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They Went On Vacation And Somehow Saved The World

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 4 Review

It really does seem contradictory to have a fantasy/adventure story about a hero who wants to defeat a demon lord and then have it run more or less as a cute girls doing cute things slice of life anime. The mix really shouldn’t work. And while I will admit I find some of the sitting around while the characters have ditsy conversations a little dull, for the most part this anime is actually managing to balance these elements fairly well.

Endro Episode 4 Finding Shells

Episode 4 is a good example of Endro getting it right. The girls are about to go on Summer vacation in the fairly standard cliche of let’s get the cute cast of girls to the beach. However, to mix in with the basic premise while there they have summer homework which is to investigate the monsters. What follows is a nice mix of finding and discussing monsters while engaging in all the usual beach shenanigans including dealing with a monster that multiplies watermelons when struck with a sword.

There’s nothing overly deep in any of it but its kind of good fun and while the pastel colour palette isn’t really to my taste, I will admit it kind of perfectly suits the atmosphere of the story being constructed here.

Endro Episode 4 The Hero's Party
How many anime can you say “defeat the evil god and save the mackerelmen” in?

The second half turns more into a hero’s quest though with an Endro twist. The girls go fishing and catch a mackeralman and he begs them to help save the other mackeralmen who have been enslaved by an evil god. What follows is a pretty cute quest. While they do tell us the god is plotting to destroy the world, it is all just kind of low stakes fun and the girls breeze through it fairly easily as normal but somehow this doesn’t turn out boring. I think it is the dynamic between the girls working very well to keep even the most ordinary of sequences feeling a little bit fresh.

Endro Episode 4 Mao

Once again, Mao was in low visibility and I can’t help but think the story is better because of it. The last two episodes have definitely improved my view of this anime and while this isn’t going to become a personal favourite I can definitely see this being fun just to crash on the couch to when tired.

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JUMP FORCE
JUMP FORCE

Friday’s Feature: March of the Bland Romances

As the first episodes of the Winter anime march before us pretty much every ani-blogger has been giving their first impressions and a lot of these have been negative. While there are a couple of shows winning people over for the most part people who watch a lot of anime have been universally eye-rolling at some of the shows coming out this season. A small number of people will take this as a sign that the anime industry is dead argument has some grounds whereas the rest of us will simply rearrange our schedules, dig out some titles from our watch lists, and wait for the next season because there is always another season coming.

Rather than look at the state of the industry, or all of the titles that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of sampling this week, I want to look just at the romantic comedies. Specifically I want to look at Seiren, Fuuka and Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (and yes, Masamune-Kun’s revenge is described as a romance and a comedy on MAL).

While the three shows are quite different, they all have one thing in common and that is that they aren’t particularly exciting or at least their first episode wasn’t particularly good. Okay, that and for some reason they all seem to follow the male protagonist rather than the female lead.

Seiren is perhaps the worst offender of the three in regard to having a fairly dull first episode. Admittedly MAL simple says it’s genre is ‘school’ and by that they’ve nailed it. We follow a high schooler about as her goes to school and interacts with people. However, that isn’t really exciting. The high school students in question don’t have a great deal of personality and aren’t really memorable in their own right. Other than his friend, who I only remember because he seemed like the only character with sense in his head, none of the other characters really had any kind of impact.

Seiren.jpg

This show has no particular gimmick unveiled in its first episode (though the Crunchyroll write up would says that “this campus romantic comedy…depicts his pure relationship with three different heroines” leading us to believe that they are hoping that the multiple heroines will be the gimmick). But if that is the cast then surely during the first episode we should have at least met three strong contenders for a romantic lead role and unfortunately we haven’t. The one girl in the class who sits on his desk is probably going to be one but really, other than being a little bit bossy, she hasn’t demonstrated much of a memorable personality and she has zero romantic chemistry with the lead so that possibility doesn’t really entice.

And while a show lacking a gimmick isn’t exactly a death sentence, what else could this story do? Romantic comedies are generally formulaic in design so they either need a clever setting, a gimmick of some sort, or really strong and memorable characters with excellent chemistry to sell their story. Seiren has none of these things. This doesn’t make this story bad but it does make it excessively bland.

Moving on to Fuuka we see this show attempt the comedy aspect of the romantic comedy by delving into some of the worst clichés anime has to offer. Girl runs into guy, guy sees her pants, girl smacks him into the middle of next week (in this case after breaking his phone), this sequence is repeated only the next time the phone goes off the roof, guy attempts to save girl (though in this case she doesn’t need it), boy has only sisters who meddle in his life or dominate him, etc, etc. Some of it is kind of amusing when they play the cliché and then change out the ending but mostly it kind of misses the mark. But, at least it is making some sort of effort.

Fuuka.jpg

After establishing the two characters and literally running them into one another, what develops over the first two episodes is a kind of friendship that might be able to develop into a romance (though the guy really needs to make her pay for the damage to his phone). The two characters actually do play off each other quite well. We then also have the other girl, the childhood friend who is now an idol and is clearly holding a torch for Yuu. This definitely gives us hints of conflict or some sort of emotional decision that will need to be made later on though it is impossible to know whether anything will come of this.

Despite having characters who are slightly more memorable and actual chemistry, this show is still fairly bland and this point. It’s checking off the clichés and while it is putting its own spin on some others are just played as they always are and the characters aren’t quite strong enough to make up for the deficit in original story-telling. So yes, more interesting than Seiren, but that show didn’t set the bar all that high.

Lastly we have Masamune-Kun’s Revenge. While I have an issue with even considering anything romantic could evolve from these mean spirited characters, I’ll overlook that and just assume that after pretending to like the girl to win her affections, Masamune-Kun may develop something of a conscience. Otherwise, this show has no business claiming romance as a genre.

Masamune.jpg

Masamune-Kun’s Revenge has a gimmick. The guy was rejected by the girl when they were young and now he is out to get even. That’s memorable and it allows clear establishment of character for the protagonist (even if that character is horrible). So why did this first episode feel so bland?

I know from reading the impressions of others, that some people really enjoyed this. They found there to be some genuinely clever moments and I’ll admit that when the story focussed on Masamune-Kun and his actively seeking revenge (information gathering, plotting, spying) there were some interesting moments. However everything else is more or less forgettable. The loli-mother and the younger sister barely have enough personality between them to make a whole character. I kind of felt the only reason the sister was there at all was so the mother had someone to comment to and so that someone could voice the audience’s disgust at the main character preening in front of the mirror. The classmates all seem like they are desperately trying to have individual personalities but none have quite succeeded. Essentially the school has guys who are desperate to be rejected by a complete cow of a female lead, and girls who are either non-entitites or are followers of the female lead. It doesn’t really draw you into the world of these characters nor does it feel like a fairly believable setting.

While I’m not a die-hard romance fan I do enjoy a good romance story or romantic comedy. However, Winter 2017 has currently served up these three bland contenders and to be honest I’m kind of sad that not one of them is really grabbing me. I’ll probably watch Fuuka through (unless the panty-shots do me in, which is a possibility) but I’m not holding my breath that it will amaze.

kimi_ni_todoke_season_2-11-sawako-kazehaya-ayane-chizuru-ryu-everyone-cast

Anyway, if I really get stuck for romance I can always marathon Kimi ni Todoke. That has enough sickly sweet in it to forget about any of these shows.


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Seiren Episode 1

Overview:

Shoichi is a highschool boy who doesn’t know what to do with his future. That’s all I got from this. According to Crunchyroll it is meant to be a romantic comedy but I’m just not seeing it.

Review:

I was so incredibly bored while watching this episode. I thought Schoolgirl Strikers was dull but that was before I got to this. At least Schoolgirl Strikers has weird monsters and occasional (albeit terrible) fight sequences to break up the monotony. There’s nothing wrong with following around a high schooler as they do high school like things. A large chunk of anime does exactly that. However, the main character is dull, the friends he encounters are equally bland, and so far the calling the girls generic would be an insult to all the generic girls in the world that still manage to be more interesting than this. Unless you particularly like no tension as students prep for exams or beetles, probably not worth the time. I’m very unlikely to watch another episode of this.

Seiren is available on Crunchyroll.


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