Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 6

Leader of the non-rebellion.

Episode 6

There’s definitely something seriously wrong with Nanako’s family, particularly her father. I mean, I get he’s playing the overprotective daddy trope but how on earth could you reach the conclusion that Nanako is rebelling. And why is that his biggest issue with his daughter when she never actually speaks. Surely that’s of greater concern than whether or not she’s becoming a thug.

I did like the lead in this week with the club president and Eiji sharing pictures of their pets. One thing that I always find weird in any kind of show is when someone has a pet rabbit. Given it is illegal to own rabbits where I live and they are considered an invasive pest, the idea of keeping one as a pet just strikes me as bizarre. More or less like owning a pet cane-toad.

The moments with Eiji, his sister and Nanako at the park are cute but that’s about it in terms of what you can say about it Unless you want to get into the repeated rabbit poo joke that just seemed there to fill run time as it was pretty much nothing.

With the majority of the episode focusing in on Nanako’s father freaking out about his potentially ‘rebellious’ child though there just wasn’t enough cute going on to off-set it. And while we did resolve the issue at the end and everything ends with a sparkling smile, there’s just too much that doesn’t sit right. I think I prefer this anime when it focuses on the school stuff and it is rare for me to say that.

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Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 5

Cute nonsense without substance.

Fortune telling girl could have been cool. Could have been…

Episode 5

The art girl is already old news and doesn’t actually appear in the episode at all. Instead, the senpai from their club directs Nanako and Eiji to a psychic who can apparently make accurate predictions.

I mean someone who wears their hair like this because a fortune teller told them to wear different hairstyles is clearly someone you should trust for advice.

What follows are a series of date-ish sequences for Nanako and Eiji that are pretty cute but there’s not a lot of substance here. I mean, billiards jokes about sticks and holes aside, there’s really nothing going on in this episode.

It would have been nice to have gotten more from the fortune telling girl herself who realises she got her first prediction for the pair wrong because she used the wrong kanji for Eiji’s name. As she follows them around it would have been nice to learn anything about her but the episode just doesn’t get into it.

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Ultimately this is just light fluff and while Eiji and Nanako remain one of the cuter not-quite-a-couple anime characters I’ve seen for awhile I’m not entirely sure that’s enough for an entire season and this episode really starts to show the lack of other content in this series.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 3 + 4

Everybody has their problems.

Episode 3

Yeah, three episodes in and I’m already struggling with this one. Bocchi isn’t exactly a character I can rally behind. In week one her rampant insecurity worked well enough but in episode three it is just this side of obnoxious as she fears her friends will ditch her after one day absent. The lack of trust she places in the others in actually her single biggest hurdle in terms of actually being friends and I have to wonder why either of them are putting up with it to be honest. That string of texts she sends them is just this side of psychotic.

Throw in the teacher who is just a complete failure of an educator who runs in fear from her own student, and one who has done nothing to warrant such a reaction, and all and all this episode delivers everything that could go wrong with the set up and little to off-set it that might be charming. I wouldn’t even waste the time screen-capping the teacher because she’s just such a useless character and one who adds nothing to what is fast becoming a fairly uninteresting viewing experience.

In terms of what the episode does, we don’t really learn anything new about anyone or introduce a new character this week. Rather we have Bocchi trying to strengthen ties with her two existing friends by wanting to walk home with them, and that segues to her inviting them over which leads into her being sick and away from school. It is simple set up situation and milk it for laughs, but the laughs are fairly short in supply and I’m just not sure what to make of the section where she dresses in a bear costume.

While this isn’t yet a deal breaker, at three episodes in I’d have to say this isn’t an anime I’m going to go out of my way to recommend. It just doesn’t have anything more than its premise and it is already becoming stale so early in the season. Stretching the episodes to full length was probably part of the issue and this one would probably remain more charming as a short.

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Episode 4

It’s hard to know, outside of the overly long run time of each episode, where Hitoribocchi goes wrong. Or rather, whether it is getting anything actually wrong or if the sum of its parts just can’t collectively be all that entertaining. Bocchi continues to be a problematic protagonist having melt downs just trying to cross the road because she can’t greet the crossing guard but she also continues to try to make friends. That basic premise isn’t overly wrong, but this is neither exaggerated enough to be over the top and amusing, nor dealt with seriously enough to be actually dramatic.

The end result is something that feels like a slice of life with occasional punch lines, but mostly just lacks weight both in narrative and character development.

Of course, the exchange student who came to Japan to meet ninjas doesn’t help us take this anymore seriously. Part of me wonders if the real punch line here is that everyone in the class is actually completely dysfunctional individually. It seems weird that no one had noticed that this blonde girl was so ninja obsessed prior to this episode given she isn’t exactly going out of her way to hide it.

The second half of this episode which consists of ‘ninja training’ falls pretty flat no matter how you want to look at it and I definitely found myself checking the clock to see how much more needed to be endured before the end.

Part of me is curious about whether Bocchi will complete the task of befriending everyone, though at the rate she’s going that seems almost impossible. Otherwise though there is little to keep someone watching this series. If you are after school comedy there are better offers. If you are after slice of life or friendship stories there’s definitely better. Hitoribocchi just hasn’t put anything on the table yet that makes it something that needs to be watched.

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Tsurune Episode 14

More of the same but just a little different.

Well the boys are back in another episode of Tsurune. This one took me by surprise when it appeared out of the blue on the Crunchyroll line up, though I guess if I paid more attention to release announcements I’d have known it was coming. Still, an additional episode is fraught with potential to be trite, pandering, or just plain pointless and while there isn’t a lot of point here, one could arguably say that Tsurune has always been more about the journey than the destination.

Tsuruen Episode 14

One clear difference here is the sheer amount of focus on the rival team with the boys from both schools heavily interacting after an idol was supposed to be shot at Masaki’s temple. Still, where I originally groaned at the premise as I thought it would be a cheap excuse to have idols running around a show they have no real business being in, Tsurune once again proved that it knows how to stick with what it does best.

The outcome, the idol shooting at the temple, is more or less extraneous to the episode as the episode is about the interactions between the different boys from the two schools. Shu and Minato have both grown, but so have all the other characters, including the previously almost insufferable twins. The end result is a pleasant and calm viewing experience occasionally broken up by smaller comedic moments that have varying degrees of success. I did like the photo op of all the boys in servant shirts though.

Tsurune Episode 14 - Servant Shirts

As with most extra episodes, there’s not a lot of point if you haven’t watched the series. These interactions are only pleasurable if you have pre-existing knowledge of the group and where they’ve come from.

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I will say though that episode 14 is nowhere near as pretty as previous episode. The shooting isn’t accompanied by wind or leaves, the direction, while function, is fairly ordinary, and the sound track isn’t exactly doing much. While I really loved the aesthetics of the season, and while this works, it is just nowhere near the same level.

Okay, Masaki is still gorgeous.

Still, for those who watched and loved Tsurune this is an extra treat with an episode springing from nowhere to give us some more Kyudo fun.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 1 + 2

Shy, lonely girl seeks friendship.

Hitoribocchi Episode 1 - Bocchi

Episode 1

When something is based on a 4-koma manga my expectations are not exactly high which is probably why I found the first episode of Hitoribocchi actually kind of pleasant. Unlike Watamote which seemed to have a similar kind of set up, this one lacks the negativity and general mean spiritedness I found in the first episodes of that series which ultimately made me walk away. Mostly, I just didn’t find it particularly amusing and found the main character fairly obnoxious. Hitoribocchi gives us the socially anxious girl who is still at heart kind of sweet and earnestly tries, which makes her infinitely more sympathetic and also makes the comedy actually more amusing when she tries and botches her attempts at avoiding making friends and then her attempts at making a friend.

Bocchi strategy planning - Episode 1 - HItoribocchi

That said, there is little chance of this one becoming a must watch for me given the sickly sweet subject matter and the apparent general lack of substance. Sure, social anxiety is a great issue, but generally speaking you don’t overcome it just by wanting to and usually the girl who gives you the nickname ‘barf’ after you’ve thrown up during self-introductions doesn’t end up being a sweetie who will look beyond your short-comings and play nice anyway. It’s all too sweet and simple to have much messaging behind it other than keeping a promise is apparently enough of an incentive to move mountains in anime.

Hitoribocchi Episode 1

But it doesn’t really need it. What’s presented in episode one is light and fluffy but works. While we could look for more, it isn’t necessary, and with the set up firmly established and 27 more classmates to befriend we’ve certainly got enough content ahead of us for the remainder of the season. All that matters now is whether they can keep this feeling fresh week after week.

Hitoribocchi summons the motivation of anime protagonist promise to a friend – it must not be broken.

Visuals and music work well enough but aren’t exactly doing much more than they need to. Colour scheme and character designs as well are all workable but pretty average for the subject matter. If you want a safe bet for an average anime, Hitoribocchi would be mine after episode one. It isn’t exactly going out on a limb but seems content to deliver what it is with reasonable competence and that should make for an enjoyable season.

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Episode 2

At the rate of one new friend an episode, Bocchi has her work cut out for her if she’s ever going to fulfil her promise. Episode 2 of Hitoribocchi throws Bocchi a problem with Nako, her first friend in the class, that is mediated and ultimately resolved with the assistance of the class vice-president who turns out to be a girl with issues of her own.

Nako from Hitoribocchi Episode 2

Once again we get a cute enough episode, told largely through flash back as Bocchi tries to figure out why Nako is mad at her. During the sequence, I couldn’t help but feel the two main characters are fairly inexpressive during most of their exchanges. Sure we get particular shots where they have great facial expressions or their eyes are quite emotive, but the stretches in-between have them looking decidedly blank even when it feels like there should be some kind of expression.

Hitoribocchi Episode 2

It is a fairly mild complaint and given the anime isn’t exactly trying to sell itself on its visuals it isn’t really all that note-worthy, but it does make it harder to empathise with the characters when they don’t seem to be taking their own dialogue seriously.

The subject matter still works though like with episode one, it doesn’t feel like this anime is going to dig-deep into the issues of social anxiety but is merely using Bocchi’s general shyness as a plot device for the set ups in each sequence. It works but isn’t offering much that hasn’t been seen before and nor is it exactly profound.

However, for a fairly light-hearted affair with the promise of some entertaining character interactions, Hitoribocchi is doing enough and episode 2 has pretty much established that the tone in episode one wasn’t a one off but is the standard we should expect for the series. I’m not expecting much other than some pleasant and easy viewing from this one but it would be nice if at some point it did dig a bit more into these characters.

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Senryuu Shoujo Review Episodes 1 + 2

Poetry and cute shy characters

Episode 1

This is another short form anime (there seem to be a few this season) based on a 4-koma manga. With 12 minutes to get its set up complete, episode one surprisingly manages a decently sweet slice of life, school club style anime opening establishing the two lead characters, the club president and a general tone that is kind of cute and kind of makes you smile but isn’t exactly laugh out loud funny and doesn’t seem to be trying to be.

Admittedly, Nanako, the main character, may become a little tiresome given her gimmick is she literally doesn’t speak but simply writes her thoughts in poems, but the supporting cast made up for it and seem to tolerate her quirk while at the same time they are aware that she has an issue.

Busujima Eiji, as the misunderstood thug who has joined the literature club was fairly entertaining. He hasn’t exactly broken out of the mould at this point but there’s something pretty cute about his character and when paired with Nanako the dynamic worked well in this first episode.

Art and animation are average and the music is pretty forgettable, but all and all, there have been worse opening acts. Senryuu Shoujo has so far managed its poetry gimmick well enough bringing it into the narrative without it feeling too forced and the end result is pleasant and easy to watch. While not a particularly memorable first episode, this one might well be a relaxing watch for the season depending on how it develops from here.

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Episode 2

Relaxing is probably the best description of Senryuu Shoujo though it might be a little charitable when empty is a possibly better description. This episode starts with Eiji seeking to overcome his issue where people think he is a thug, has a turn mid-episode when he makes an off-hand comment to Nanako about her gaining weight, and ends with Nanako training with Eiji’s ‘big-sis’ in order to slim down. Aside from the oft repeated messaging that girls shouldn’t eat and should be slim, there’s little substance to the episode though that doesn’t actually stop it from being enjoyable.

The poetry continues this week and I was right about Nanako’s gimmick getting a little tiresome. While the odd poem thrown into general conversation is amusing, her inability to communicate without poems is actually a little stifling to watch and began to feel more forced in this second episode. Who knows if they can make this work through a whole season.

Again, it is the supporting cast and the introduction of Eiji’s so-called ‘big-sister’ that keeps things light and moving Also, the chemistry between Eiji and Nanako is pretty solid. That said, this is hardly a must watch and works as passing entertainment but is also easily skippable.

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Fruits Basket 2019 First Impressions

It’s finally getting a reboot, but has it delivered on fan expectations?

Another remake of a classic and like previous ones (the Sailor Moon reboot and the Cardcaptor continuation), I cannot help but be excited while at the same time feeling a little wary about what the results might be this time around. I’m pleased to say that episode one retains all the charm of the original anime series, with superior character designs and animation in general, and it even toned down the silliness of the fan club. So, you could say so far so good.

Fruits Basket - The Prince's Fan Club

In point of fact, it is a gorgeous first episode. Very screen capable as it introduces the core cast and establishes their base line relationships. The music and sound should also be applauded as being very affective and overall this is a first episode that manages to deliver for anyone who is already a fan of the franchise and has been wanting to see the reboot.

Fruits Basket - Tohru and Hanajima

What it perhaps doesn’t do so well is have any real hook for those new to the story. The happy girl down on her luck is a trope seen many times (even before the original Fruits Basket anime) and Honda Tohru here works well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within this first episode, nor pitiable enough to invoke any kind of empathy. Instead she’s very much just being set up in her role which those who know the story will anticipate her growth and development but those who don’t will simply see a fairly standard and maybe not-so-interesting lead character.

Fruits Basket - Honda Tohru

Likewise the mystery of the Soma’s is established here and I’m very keen to see this version of the anime as the original really dropped the ball here (leaving me with a read the manga conclusion which I certainly did but I’d love to see the story actually play out in anime). But again, I’m not certain this first episode really does justice to where this story will go.

Fruits Basket - Yuki and the rats

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Is a beautiful but by-the-numbers opening necessarily a bad thing?

Not really. It was a wonderfully pleasant introduction to the series and the conclusion with the ‘reveal’ for the handful of people who didn’t know all works quite well. However, most of my excitement here is still coming from my general anticipation of what is coming rather than what was delivered in episode one. Everything here works but it isn’t anything exceptional.

Fruits Basket - Honda and her mother.

Here’s hoping this adaptation grows into the charming and emotional experience this story could easily become and at this stage I’m still very optimistic. I did however take a lot of screen caps because it is really good looking.

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