Hey, I’m back.
I had to step back from Otaku Theater because of real-life stuff, it didn’t seem to keep me away from covering some anime here though, as I ended up rewatching Escaflowne. The last time I had watched that show would have been when I was in college, and as I’m more of a seasonal and new anime follower, catching up on a classic was…actually kind of cool.
The Fall season is typically a season in the year where studios like to bring out shows they are especially proud of, but as we all know, this pandemic has really put a spanner in the works of all their schedules. In this Fall season alone, Haikyuu!!, Mahouka, Strike Witches, Is This Order a Rabbit?, Osomatsu-san, and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? are all getting new seasons or new arcs. And not just that – people are also desperate for December to come so they can catch the final season of Attack on Titan.
A few others did catch my eye (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina, Dropout Fruit Tart, The Day I Became a God, Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls), but I don’t quite think I have the energy to review…*counts*…10 shows this season anymore, and that’s not counting all the other 2020 shows I missed out on and have penciled into my diary. Besides, I’m pretty sure you guys don’t want this column to be too long, I had to narrow those shows down a little for Otaku Theater:
Assault Lily: Bouquet
Begins: Friday. October. 02
(Available on Amazon Video)
In the near future, the human race faces extinction from an enemy simply known as ‘Huge’. A weapon has been created to fend off the Huge though: Counter Huge Arms, or CHARM, but this weapon has higher synchronization with teenage girls (of course it does…), and so military academies (Gardens) are formed to make teenage girls into ‘Lilies’.
Assault Lily: Bouquet is a part of a mixed media project also containing stage plays and figurines. This story revolves (for the most part) around Riri Hitotsuyunagi and the girls around her who are all determined to become Lilies. Now Hitotsuyunagi is going to be a long name for me to remember when I review this, so she’ll just be Riri here. The show ended up being delayed thanks to the pandemic; it was due to be released in the summer season. What adds to my curiosity in this is how the show is being made by what I like to call the ‘new guard’ at the SHAFT studio. Past people are taking a step back (both VAs and production staff) and letting new people take on this show. I recently made a post about my concerns on the new direction SHAFT is going on now on my personal blog Anime Solstice; check it out here.
But what is even more interesting is how Amazon decided to bag Assault Lily: Bouquet so quickly, instead of Crunchyroll who has a long history of licensing SHAFT shows. I know a lot of people have their own opinions on Amazon’s interests in anime, but I’m just grateful that this is coming to the West at all; whether its translation will be decent or not is something I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see.
I’m a bit concerned though; does Assault Lily: Bouquet give off Madoka Magica vibes? It may feature a cute main protagonist with short pink hair, a cutesy voice and a noble cause, as well as a moody dark-haired other main protagonist, but who knows if the show will end up going down some dark and surreal path. Heck, it even has a senpai-like character (Kaede Johan Nouvelle – the long & dark red-haired girl in all the PVs) who has an air of Mami Tomoe about her, however some Assault Lily franchise fans have already told me that Kaede won’t be meeting the same tragic end as Mami did…but whether the script writers at SHAFT will follow that rule is anyone’s guess. So I picked this one show that may or may not trigger some memories of an anime fan I used to be – memories I’d rather forget. But Assault Lily: Bouquet just looks way too fascinating to me, and so I just can’t turn it down. Then again I did say the same thing about Madoka Magica…
So, what else is there?
Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You
Studio: Seven Arcs
Begins: Saturday. October. 03
(Available on Crunchyroll)
A ‘Crunchyroll Original’ show. This format (is that even the right word to call this?) is something Crunchyroll have been doing for a while now, and I still haven’t quite understood it yet, considering another studio (Seven Arcs) is producing it. Maybe you guys can help me out on that one. I also noticed this show was especially hyped up at the Virtual Crunchyroll Expo a couple of months back, and since it is the first ‘Crunchyroll Original’ that has peaked my interest, I might as well see what all the hype was about.
One day, Nasa Yuzaki meets a beautiful girl named Tsukasa. He has always wanted the typical high school life, so having a girlfriend is something he longs for, but then Nasa is hit by a car on the day of his entrance exams. When Tsukasa nurses him back to health, he confesses to her, and she agrees to be his girlfriend…on the condition that he marry her first.
Sounds like a bit of an atypical slice-of-life comedy/drama plot idea to me, but like Assault Lily: Bouquet, this looks too fascinating for me to ignore. Despite me saying these things about the plot, Tonikawa doesn’t really look like the kind of show that would be full of crude jokes or paint the male lead as some kind of pervert or pathetic loser. A good portion of the show, if not nearly all of it, takes place after they graduated from high school, meaning they’ll have at least some level of maturity. Which raises the question: why would Tsukasa do this? We get the impression that she has genuine feelings for him, but to jump forward a few hurdles like this at such a young age just seems a little weird…unless there’s some bizarre reasoning for it or some ulterior motive. I guess that’s what has gotten me so interested in this.
Tonikawa is originally a manga…a long-running one, at that. Since I’m not as much of a manga follower, like the others here at OASG are, I pretty much have no idea on what else the plot is about, or what this adaptation will bring to us. While all the big franchises will take a center stage this season, I’m predicting that Tonikawa will be a show that all the ‘hip kids’ will be talking about; one of those shows that isn’t one of the big franchises but still widely watched. There’s also the matter of social media to think about. Precisely because this is a ‘Crunchyroll Original’ show, that means that all of Crunchyroll’s social media accounts will be full to the brim with trailers, videos and screenshots of the show. They will be plugging this ’til the end of the earth, that much is guaranteed.
I originally thought only one slice-of-life show would do me this season; oh, how wrong I always seem to be. A Fall season just would not be complete without at least one yuribait show.
Adachi & Shimamura
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Begins: Thursday. October. 08
(Available on Funimation)
Sakura Adachi has begun to skip classes, and spends her time in the gym loft. There she meets fellow truant Hougetsu Shimamura, and the two immediately become good friends. While the two waste the days away talking about TV shows, cooking, music, and playing ping-pong, Adachi soon begins to have dreams of kissing her, and gets extremely nervous and a little frightened about it all, since she believes that these thoughts aren’t something you’d do with just a friend.
I had heard that Adachi & Shimamura had been a long-running light novel and manga, and that it has since become pretty popular in the yuri-worshipping community. Looking at this plot and watching the PVs, I think I can understand why: because the story seems a little more realistic than some other yuri stories. The relationship the two have and the romance they build is something that runs very slowly, and isn’t rushed at all. Here, this isn’t a case of ‘love at first sight’; Adachi starts to have these thoughts of kissing Shimamura, but is both worried at what she would react if she actually did it, and interested to know if she feels the same way too.
With this adaptation coming out, and with Funimation snapping it up straight away, the story of Adachi & Shimamura will get a lot more attention, and I myself am interested to know how all corners of the anime community will react to a yuri show that doesn’t go on a ‘love at first sight’ format like some other popular yuri shows have done…shows like Bloom Into You, Sakura Trick and Aoi Hana.
The summer season this year had been rather slow, and was pretty dominated by big franchise sequel seasons that I don’t really enjoy or follow. I’m looking forward to what the Fall season is going to bring us, even if we won’t be able to escape the franchises that every anime fan seems to like. Now I know there are a lot of other shows coming that I won’t be following, like the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni remake, and Dogakobo’s moody-looking Ikebukuro West Gate Park. There’s the new season of Mahouka coming too, but the OASG overlords won’t let me massacre that for the column. I will be massacring it for sure, just in my own time.
Last but not least, what did you guys choose to be my out-of-season show to watch?
BNA – Brand New Animal
(Available on Netflix)
I never got the opportunity to catch this when it aired, or when it arrived on Netflix for the first time, so thanks for picking this so I can catch it now.
Michiru Kagemori lived a regular life, until somehow she turned into a tanuki-human. Forced to run away, she retreats to Anima City: a place where fellow humanoid animals (or Beastmen) can live in peace and be themselves. Meeting Shirou Ogami along the way, the two investigate how and why she suddenly turned into a tanuki-human in the first place, only to end up being caught in something much more complicated and sinister…something that will change the face of Anima City and all its inhabitants.
I kicked myself for missing this when it originally aired in the Spring season; I suppose one good thing out of that is that the entire season is available on Netflix right now, and it was something they were pretty quick to translate and bring to the West. This could perhaps be a sign that anime studios are beginning to take Netflix’s interests in anime more seriously, and not dismiss them as the money-hungry villains the anime community seems to enjoy painting them as.
The last two shows that made top of my top 5 of the year were both Netflix exclusives (Dragon Pilot: Hisone & Masotan for 2018, and Carole & Tuesday for 2019). I’ve yet to see what BNA will bring, but considering I already have two great 2020 shows fighting to be my top show of 2020 (Eizouken and Kaguya-sama season 2), let’s just see if this will make it three-in-a-row for Netflix for me.
Hey, going back to that long list of other Fall shows of mine, maybe one day I will end up watching all of them some time. I mean, we’re all still stuck here in our homes, right? This is a prime chance for some binge-watching.
How about you? What are your Fall 2020 picks? Do you think Assault Lily: Bouquet is just Madoka Magica 2.0? Are you as curious about the slow-building romance in Adachi & Shimamura as I am? Do you think I should watch 10 shows all at once? Will you also be tearing season 2 of Mahouka to shreds like I plan to? Feel free to hit that like button and air your opinions in the comments below!
And umm…yeah, we are still in the midst of a pandemic somehow, so remember to keep good hygiene, and wear a mask when out.