And we’re back! Let’s not waste any time and jump straight into these first impressions.
Puraore! Pride of Orange
Manaka is a cute girl doing cute things! Whether it’s at the sewing club or appearing on TV to advertise her family’s inn, she’s a kid living her youth to its fullest. Then she learns that the local ice rink is holding trail lessons for ice hockey and along with her friends decides to check them out. Could this be the beginning of a whole new passion? Coincidentally the manager of the local team has been putting together a plan to make ice hockey super popular, she’s going to combine ice hockey with an idol group! And what’s this? Six girls just signed up to the trail? Perfect! That being said, I’m still really dubious about this whole ‘dancing on ice’ plan and I think the girls will be too, when they find out about it.
Is this the only ice hockey anime? I know there are a metric tonne of sports anime out there, but this is the only ice hockey one I can think of, which just feels odd. Then again I have no idea how popular ice hockey is in Japan, I’m guessing not very much by the fact this anime is resorting to combining ice hockey with a bunch of cute girls dancing around to try and attract in audiences. And, yes, I’m going to keep harping on about this whole putting on performances after a match idea, which is just ridiculous. I’ve seen the ‘Dancing on Ice’ show we have here in the UK, I know just how dangerous performing on ice like that can be, and you want these girls to do that after exhausting themselves with a competitive sport? Are you insane?! Yes, it’ll really make ice hockey popular when you’ve got six girls lying on the ice, unconscious, with their heads split open! Okay I need to stop picking at that particular thread because it’s just driving me crazy, and aside from that inane premise this isn’t a bad show. It’s a little generic and formulaic and the girls are the usual range of personalities you get in these kind of shows, but it’s not doing anything overtly terrible. It’s cute, which is probably exactly what it wants to be. Check it out if you’re interested, but I’m taking my skates off for this one.
Memempu has spent her whole life living underground in one of the many human colonies. She’s a smart kid, so smart in fact that she’s already graduated college and she’s got a dream, literally. She keeps seeing the same place in her dreams and she’s determined to find it, even if it means crossing the dangerous ‘Labyrinth’ all by herself. This, naturally, makes her father Gagumber very nervous and no matter how hard he tries he just can’t get her to stop. When monsters break into the colony it’s do or die time and Gagumber makes a decision. If he can’t stop his daughter from going on this suicidal quest, he’ll just have to go with her! So begins this father/daughter duo’s journey into the unknown!
This show is a lot of fun, providing you can put up with the main characters. That feels like more of an insult than I mean it to be, because I do genuinely like both Memempu and Gagumber, but even I have to admit they’re a bit…extra. They’re both deeply flawed characters and while that’s great for potential character development, it does mean you have to deal with them in their base state for at least the start of the series. Memempu is really, really smart, and the trouble is that she knows it, but she doesn’t yet have the experience to understand that knowing a lot doesn’t mean you know everything. Gagumber is a typical lazy dad stereotype, but his main problem is he’s trying to treat his daughter like a little kid when she’s clearly not. He lays down the law without bothering to explain his reasoning and it would solve so many of his problems if he just took the time to talk through his thought process. As I said there’s a lot of potential for character growth here and I hope the series is going to take the time to develop them. The rest of the show is just a fun, bombastic mecha show and I’m looking forward to where this series is taking us.
The Faraway Paladin
In a city that lies in ruins, populated by undead demons, there lives a single human child. His name is Will and he has spent most of his life in the care of a skeletal warrior, a mummified priestess and a ghostly sorcerer. The three love him as if he were their own, even if they refuse to tell him how it is he came to be living in a place like this. Will is growing up fast though, picking up skills and knowledge from his non-living family and before any of them know it it’s time for his coming of age. Is Will ready to step out into the living world? Or will he become another undead resident of this forgotten city?
I’ll give you all fair warning right now, if you haven’t checked out this series yet it’s what I would class as a slow burn and I genuinely love it for that. Too many series feel like they rush through the set up because they’re terrified you’ll leave the second your attention wanders. This series on the other hand, it has the sheer confidence to just do things at its own pace. Three episodes in and we’re still in what feels like the prologue of the story. There’s no major action scenes, no great mystery outside of a couple of story hooks, it’s just the characters sitting around, letting us get to know them. I know that might sound boring and be a turn off for some people, but I beg you to give this series a chance. I’m invested in Will and his relationships with his undead family and I feel like I have a fuller understanding of this world than in most fantasy series. I don’t want these peaceful days with Will and the gang to end, but the cliffhanger at the end of episode three has already told me that’s exactly what’s about to happen. This show definitely needs checking out.
Digimon Ghost Game
Holograms, a new technology that have become a lot more prevalent in recent years. Of course every new technology has its teething troubles, in this case there are widespread rumours of bizarre creatures appearing in said holograms. Alongside the increasing reports of strange accidents and injuries its enough to make people think something supernatural is going on. When Hiro decides to investigate the latest story of a ‘Hologram Ghost’ he isn’t prepared for how much his life is about to change. Suddenly he’s partnered with this creature who calls itself a Digimon and learns his father didn’t just vanished, but was sucked into some place called the ‘Digital World’. With very little information to go on it’s up to Hiro and Gammamon to track down other Digimon, stop them causing havoc and maybe, just maybe, figure out what’s going on around here!
After the crushing disappointment that was Digimon Adventure 2020, it’s so good to have a Digimon series that reminds why I love this franchise so much. Seriously I’m getting Tamer vibes from this series and that is a very good sign considering that’s my favourite Digimon series alongside the original Adventure. This is a show that isn’t afraid to take it’s time, letting us get to know the characters and get a good feel for this new setting, all the while setting up things for later in the background. It also helps the horror aesthetic that the series is going for, there’s been some genuinely creepy moments so far and set ups that wouldn’t feel out of place in a real horror movie. Fancy being mummified and hung up in a basement until you fade into nothing? How about a strange scribble appearing on one of your digital photos and then whatever was scribbled on starts to go out of control or just vanish entirely! There’s some real moments of panic and dread and it really builds up the tension without having the stakes being ridiculously high. I’m loving this series so far, if you haven’t checked this out already then you really need to!
That’s it for the first impressions. Next week we’re back to regular reviews and it’s time to go Plus Ultra as Deku and the gang go on a World Heroes’ Mission! Don’t forget the popcorn.
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.