And we’re back! You can check out last week’s first impressions HERE. I’m currently melting into a puddle at the foot of my desk, today’s been one of the hottest days I can remember in the UK, so let’s skip the preamble and get on with it. What have we got this week?
Re:Zero-Starting Life in Another World Season 2
After dying multiple times, Subaru and his friends finally managed to take down the White Whale and put a stop to the machinations of the Sin Archbishop of Sloth. Of course this is Subaru, life’s perpetual punching bag, sometimes for good reason, and the good times don’t last long. Rem is attacked by more Sin Archbishops and Subaru is shocked to learn that no one, not even Emilia, can remember who she is. Not even Subaru’s ability to reset things can put this right, leaving Subaru with only one option, to leave things as they are and hope he can find a way to put things right in the future. Roswaal may have the answer, but first they have to find him in the mysterious Sanctuary, where Subaru is invited to a tea party with a witch…
Re:Zero is back and I didn’t realise how much I’d missed this show until the new season started. It’s been quite a while since I’ve caught up with Subaru and the gang and I’m ashamed to admit that I’d almost forgotten just how much I enjoy this series (you can check out my review of the first season HERE). Subaru is just such a fascinating character to me, and while these first three episodes let us enjoy how far he’s come, the next episode looks set to delve even deeper into our tortured protagonist. I can’t wait! Fair warning though, I’d rewatch the first season before starting on this second one because it drops us right back into the action with barely a second to breath. It’ll be great when you’ve binge watching both seasons at a later date, but when there’s a few years between seasons it’s a bit of a hurdle. Still that’s my only complaint so far, so I’d say we’re off to an excellent start.
Humanity has been driven to the verge edge of extinction (again), under attack by strange creatures known as Gadoll their only hope lies in the moving fortress of Deca-Dence. The majority of humans live inside it as ‘Tankers’ working to maintain the city and the population, however those with the skills can go out to fight the Gadoll, they are known as the ‘Gears’. Natsume has always dreamed of becoming a Gear, but between her amputated arm and the system’s refusal to acknowledge her she doesn’t stand much of a chance, at least not until she convinces former Gear Kaburagi to train her. However the post-apocalypse isn’t everything it appears to be, there’s something Kaburagi isn’t telling her. There’s a bug in this system…
Okay, I may joke about this being yet another post-apocalypse series, but honestly, excluding 2nd seasons and stuff that started airing last season, this is my favourite show so far. I love the designs of both the human characters and the Gadoll, Natsume is such a bundle of loveable fun and Pipe is just disgustingly adorable, as well as adorably disgusting if that makes any sense. I love the mid-air battles, zooming around in zero gravity and I can’t wait to see more of them in the coming episodes. My only real criticism so far is with how the show chooses to give away its secrets too early. The revelation behind what’s actually going on is a good one, and makes sense of the clues we were getting in the first episode, but I can’t help feeling it would have had more impact if it came halfway through the series instead of the second episode. That’s just a personal preference though and I’m looking forward to where this series is going to take us.
Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice
Protagonist (that’s what I’m going to call her since this show fails to provide an actual name for the character), is the president of a failing production company. Their one show, ‘Miracle Finder’, is about finding the supernatural and offering explanations for the unexplainable, but with plummeting viewing figures and the threat of no more funding, can they even keep that going? That’s when Protagonist stumbles across a new mystery, Evolvers, people with special powers whether that be warping space, slowing down time or even controlling the very wind, they’re out there and they may be closer than Protagonist thinks! These people could be just the story she’s looking for to save her company, and the ones she’s met so far are all pretty photogenic, though I’m sure that’s of interest to no one…
Complaints first! Okay, I’ve seen some self-insert characters in my time, but really? You’re not even going to give this poor girl a name? And, yes, I’m going to stick to calling her Protagonist because if this show can’t be bothered to flip through a list of names, why should I?! I can’t even call her a character because, well, she’s not. She looks like the base avatar from an RPG and she even comes with the ‘Dad missing after investigating some sort of shady organisation’ back story that’s so popular with lazy writers. And look, I know, this is some sort of game adaptation and I’d bet money that that’s how it is in the game. But this isn’t a game, it’s an anime and it bugs me to no end when I a character doesn’t have a name! Deep breath. With all that being said, I still kind of like her, somehow. Part of me wants to put it down to the voice actresses’ performance as she manages to fill the character with enough life and emotional range to make me believe she’s at least close to a real person. That and she’s just the right mix of gutsy, sweet and oblivious to be kinda charming. Production wise the show actually looks pretty good, even if all the main love interests have generic pretty boy face. On paper I should hate this show, and I do hate parts of it, but there’s something that I just can’t put my finger. I find myself liking it despite myself, maybe I’m just a sucker for people with powers, or maybe there’s something else I can’t name yet. I guess we’ll see.
Samurai vs. mutant monsters in 2030! A virus has spread across the globe, transforming people into bizarre creatures known as Gibia, only a few humans still remain and while they work to create a vaccine, the odds aren’t looking good. That is until two strangers arrive in Japan from the most unlikely of places, the past! When Kanzaki Sensui, a samurai, and Sanada Kenroku, a ninja, where exiled from Japan they never expected that they’d be sent so far away! Stumbling into a nightmare future, they may be humanities last hope against the gibia. With their deadly skills and a few modern accessories, they’re more than a match for the monsters, but just one sting and it’s all over.
Grab your popcorn, pretend the CGI is better than it is and prepare yourself to be whisked away by a series that really should have come out in the late 80s/early 90s. I mean samurai vs. monsters in the future is just one of those ideas that I can see coming out in the ultra-violent days of anime past, and it probably would have been better served back then. As it is the show is an awkward, shambling mess, the animation is stilted and lifeless, the writing is effortless trash and the CGI is some of the worst I have seen in a long while. I’m sure the people working on this series are trying their best, but…look this series will be over soon, they can move on to other projects and never have to mention this again. I’m talking about this series like it’s the worst thing ever, but it’s really not. If you switch your brain off and just consume, it’s a perfectly serviceable waste of time. The one good thing I can point to in this series is the soundtrack, it’s rock mixed with classical Japanese instruments and I could honestly listen to it all day. Try this one if you want, but don’t expect anything from it.
That’s it for the first impressions. We’ve had some good, we’ve had some bad, but more importantly we’ve got more anime and I will always appreciate that. Next week back to regular reviews!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.