Jujutsu Kaisen – 03
It looks like Jujutsu Kaisen is going to be a pretty major hit, judging by the spike in manga sales this month. We’ll see how big, but on some level I can understand it. It’s a a shounen that knows how to press the buttons in the proper order and doesn’t do anything egregiously wrong, and the anime has a generally agreeable level of production quality. Derivative as hell, yes, but the more uncertain the world is the more consumers crave the reassurance of familiar products.
Above and beyond that, I haven’t really seen anything that stands out with this show, frankly. Kugisaki Nobara sort of does but not in a good way. At this point I would say her level of obnoxiousness stops just short of “deal-breaker”, but she’s yet another very cliched element and Jujutsu Kaisen needs more or those like a jellyfish needs new shoes. Her first few minutes on-screen had me fearing it would be worse, to be honest, but she improved marginally over the course of the episode.
The Tokyo segments were modestly amusing, and this week’s curse plot was engaging enough. I would have to say I find Noblesse to be more winning overall and its cast stronger at this stage, but Jujutsu Kaisen certainly looks better and is generally more polished. That’s decidedly strange, given that this series is MAPPA and Noblesse is Production I.G., but 2020 has turned the world of anime upside-down just as it has the world in general. I’ll put Jujutsu Kaisen on the bubble for now, but the fourth episode is probably going to tell the tale one way or the other.
Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken – 03
I’ll likely watch Dai no Daibouken for a couple more episodes at least, but there’s not enough here for me to cover it. So far at least this is not a series with a lot of subtext or character depth – it’s just a pleasant kids’ adventure yarn. Those can be fun and this one is – somewhat – but it doesn’t seem to have that extra layer of something that would set it apart. It does have Sakurai Takahiro now, but most of these sorts of shows seem to so that’s not too much of a distinction…
Taisou Zamurai – 02
In addition to generally not being very good, I think Taisou Zamurai is founded on a faulty premise. On what planet is a second-rate gymnast who’s never won a gold medal going to be the headline of every news broadcast and hounded by reporters because of a botched retirement? To be blunt, the world just doesn’t care that much.
This series is just a generally unfortunate (floor) exercise, if you ask me. It falls off the beam immediately by being a transparent imitator of Yuri on Ice. But YoI, for all its flaws, runs rings around Taisou Zamurai. If you’re going to try to cash in on another’s show’s success you’d better at least be on the same level quality-wise. But those bars are uneven, it’s not even close – by its first quadruple Salchow Yuri on Ice vaults over this series. Taisou isn’t especially funny, convincing, or emotionally engaging. It’s just a shoddy attempt to cash in on the flavor of the week, and that’s a recipe for disappointment.
And for God’s sake, somebody stuff that damn bird.