Hey. I’ve been out-of-action here on Otaku Theater for the last three months, so I’ve had to get back into the habit of loading up all the streaming services each week all over again for all my shows. Typically, every Fall season has some shows that are especially noteworthy and/or ones that the studios hype up the most in the whole year. However, the pandemic has meant shows that were originally planned for Spring and Summer have now ended up here in the Fall, and there are way more to choose from than normal. I plan to cover more than a few shows, even if some fail the 3-episode rule and I drop them. Here in Otaku Theater however, I’ll be looking at the three seasonal shows that have interested me the most.
Assault Lily: Bouquet Episode 1
Even before Assault Lily: Bouquet started airing, there were some complications. We learned that Amazon Prime had bagged the show weeks before it was due to air, but only a couple of days before the debut episode was due to come out, Amazon decided to pull out altogether, leaving Funimation to come in and get exclusivity. This clearly goes to show how much Amazon really care about new anime coming out.
But let’s let the first episode speak for itself. In short, it is everything I had expected it to be. Our main protagonist Riri is as petite as we thought she would be, the show is as colorful and animated as we expected, and we’re treated with some “will-they-won’t-they” character couplings already, as well as an unusual amount of thigh shots. I was way off when it came to Yuyu though. I dove into the show expecting her to be uber-moody all the time, but as we see in Riri’s flashback, there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye. Though we said the same about Homura, did we not? Oh and I was totally wrong when it came to the third main character Kaede Johan Nouvelle as well. I was expecting her to be this senpai-like person watching over the rest of the class, when in fact she is almost on the same level as Riri is. She may be able to activate her CHARM and handle herself in a fight, but all in all, she is an absolute dork, and I love her already.
I do have some reservations though. Even with the outstanding animation and these epic fight scenes in this opening episode, there hasn’t been a lot that has grabbed me outside of our three main characters, and them being a part of this dressed-up military academy in the middle of a forest. The long list of secondary characters only have seconds of screen time, and we know next to nothing about these ‘Huge’ enemies they all face. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun here; this is only the first episode after all, and there’ll be a lot of ground to cover, but despite these reservations, I’m still looking forward to what’ll come next.
I’ve spoken a bit about what I like to call the ‘new guard’ coming in at SHAFT and taking over shows, both here and on my own anime blog. This is something that would be inevitable, right? Of course great anime visionaries don’t last forever, and so new people need to fill their shoes when they retire. And here in Assault Lily: Bouquet, we see how ex-Kyoto Animation Keita Nagahara has made their mark; being brought in as assistant series director, we get shots that look like they came from a high-quality Kyoani show. As someone who has followed SHAFT for over a decade, some cuts in the show look very different from what I’ve known them for. SHAFT fans like me have all noticed that the studio is at a bit of a low point right now. Magia Record didn’t get the reception they were hoping for (and yet despite that, a second season has been greenlit), and with their much-hyped Fate/Extra: Last Encore going straight to Netflix, it didn’t get that much exposure in the West. I’ve still to make an opinion on one of their next shows, Luminous Witches, which if you know the World Witches franchise, has a very ridiculous plot.
Assault Lily: Bouquet will still be living in the shadow of Madoka Magica here, and I think we still need to see a lot more, so we don’t all immediately think that our main character, that just so happens to have a Madoka Kaname aura about her, is going to be this great savior of humanity. I have faith though, as I really enjoyed this first episode, and it has left me wanting a lot more. Maybe this ‘new guard’ can bring some energy back into this esteemed studio.
Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You Episode 1
Another show that comes out pretty early, and I had a lot of high hopes for this, even if this was a ‘Crunchyroll Original’ show. Justin later told me that it was only called this because Crunchyroll had invested an amount of money in it…and so I feel like a total idiot for thinking that they were going to branch out into making their own shows. Anyway…
I’m just going to come out and say it: I was not entirely impressed by this opening episode of Tonikawa on first watch. Nasa Yuzaki came across as someone extremely impulsive. I was also expecting him to be, as an adult, someone with at least some level of maturity. As well as this, Tsukasa’s mysterious aura was a little off-putting at times. Sure enough, the circumstances of their first meeting and eventual marriage are bizarre as it is, but on first watch it just felt a little too uncomfortable. Which is why I felt it was necessary to re-watch this episode, and it indeed changed my opinion.
From what I understand, the Tonikawa manga was a take on the author’s own married life, and that there’s a running joke that this manga is essentially him bragging about his wonderful wife (seiyuu Asano Masumi), and how great his new life as a husband is. I also understand that this first episode actually covered about 4 chapters, so it was no wonder that I felt a little off-putted here on first watch. Here’s hoping that future episodes will have a much slower pace to them then. Saying that though, the fact that episode 1 covers a lot is a bit of a representation on how chaotic and wild Nasa and Tsukasa’s first meeting was.
Would you chase after the girl of your dreams after being hit by a truck, with several broken bones (and still standing), and losing copious amounts of blood? Well it seems that Nasa wanted to. On the first watch, I saw this whole scene as a little ridiculous, but as I look back, and decided to look at the show with a less dramatic point-of-view, this was actually rather fun. Nasa became an impulsive overachiever when he discovers people make fun of his name. The characters of his name are written as ‘Hoshizora’ (or ‘starry sky’), but are actually pronounced as ‘Nasa’. As an anime-only person, I don’t know if this will end up as a running joke, but I get the feeling that it will, whether he likes it or not. Although I thought it was rather nice/interesting how Tsukasa has not had a giggle over his name…yet; even after leaving the marriage registration office, she makes a comment on the space race of the 1960s between the United States and the Soviet Union.
As I say, I needed a second watch to get to like Tonikawa, so despite this being a show I was looking forward to, I worry that future episodes might need second watches too for me to get to like them. Tsukasa’s mysterious aura has meant that, so far, she has been a rather closed and shut-off person. Now that they are officially going out/married, perhaps she can open up some more. They are already at the level of hand-holding and first-name calling, so what’s more in store for these two?
Adachi & Shimamura won’t be starting until this coming Friday, so coverage of that show won’t begin until next week. In the meantime, however, we have my out-of-season show to discuss…
BNA – Brand New Animal Episode 1
I get an excuse to watch this show finally; a show I’ve been unintentionally avoiding. And after this first episode, I kind of feel stupid for neglecting it…kind of.
In this first episode, we get to watch our main protagonist Michiru make the very perilous journey to Anima City, a place created for ‘beastmen’ to act like a sanctuary or Eden, leaving them to live their own lives away from the humans. While we’re not given that much in the way of character development here in episode 1, what we do see is the growing hostility on the part of humans, who see beastmen as savages who need to be exterminated. Michiru just happens to arrive as the anniversary of the city takes place…only for it to be stopped by criminal beastmen hired by humans to trash the party. There’ll be more to come, and this so-called paradise for the beastmen clearly is not all it seems. I’m sure that, in the next episode, we’ll get to learn more about how Michiru came to be a tanuki-human in the first place.
There is one lingering question here; not just in this first episode, but for the show as a whole. Was BNA made to reflect current affairs right now? Well whether it was intended to be or not, the darker side of human life is emerging now, and we all seem too busy tearing each other apart to see some kind of sense. I see some anime folk already calling BNA a harsh critique of far-right ideology and anti-multiculturalism. Eh…I was really hoping to avoid talking about politics when it came to this show. Before I even started it, I knew that it was going to raise issues like this. Well, I’ll try not to touch on those things here on Otaku Theater; it’s all about anime here after all. But if you have watched this too, even you can’t escape the fact that this show is an incredibly political one, and not all about a cute furry girl trying to survive in a new environment.
This is a cool-looking show so far, and I think Netflix bagged a good one here. Oh, and I will carry on saying that there’s a really bright future for Trigger. It’s good that they won’t be known by the anime consensus just for Kill La Kill and Darling in the Franxx. Little Witch Academia became my top show for 2017 after all, and I really loved SSSS.Gridman and Space Patrol Luluco, and that’s not to mention the other short show Turning Girls (made entirely by the female staff of Trigger) that’s not talked about so much but is still incredibly hilarious to watch. Trigger haven’t really said that much about any shows planned in the future, but then again they always were very quiet. In the end, the question is, will the final episode be another space fight, like it happened in so many other Trigger shows?
I think these three months away from the column have been a part of the reason why I had these mixed feelings of these opening episodes; going back to regularly watching seasonal anime again has thrown me off a little, and perhaps I need to be a little kinder and more understanding. We’ll see though, and these shows I picked might well end up being on that top 5 of 2020 list after all.
But what about you? We have a lot of shows in this Fall season, so what were the ones that grabbed you? Are all these franchises that are returning going to dominate you this season? Do you think BNA is too political? Feel free to hit that like button and air your opinions in the comments below!