Yes, I included this commercial for a reason. You know what to do.
Binbogami! ga! – 01
I came into this one with pretty low expectations, but I got quite a few laughs out of the premiere of Binbogami!. The headline seiyuu is of course Hanazawa Kana, who plays Sakura Ichiko, a girl so awash in good luck that the Gods of Misfortune are convinced she must be leeching it from everyone she encounters in the mortal world. But the breakout performance is by Uchiyama Yumi as Momiji, the one they send to Earth to rectify the situation. HanaKana is fine in delivering one of her classic yandere/deredere hybrid performances, but Uchiyama-san is really, really funny here as the bitter, snarky and morose Momiji.
If anything this could be this season’s Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (well, it has the exclamation point). It’s loud, silly, full of fanservice and otaku meta-humor – hell, even the character designs look sort of similar. The delivery is machine-gun fast, one gag after the other with lots of deformed faces, and it worked often enough to be entertaining. I don’t know how well it’ll hold up over a full cour – in fact, I found myself tiring of the style someone even by the second half of the premiere – but it’s worth a second look. As well, there are several interesting names in the cast we still haven’t met – Shimono Hiro, Tomatsu Haruka, Uchiyama Kouki (related to Yumi, I wonder?) – and hopefully they’ll add some new comic elements to keep things fresh. The series obviously comes from one of Sunrise’s second-tier studios, but so far the visual presentation is perfectly adequate.
Moyashimon Returns – 01
There’s undeniably something agreeably weird about Moyashimon. I think it’s probable that only a Shinto country like Japan, so obsessed with the anthropomorphization of everything under the sun, would come up with a series about talking bacterium. But a manga, anime and live-action later, here we are with the second anime series and the first NoitaminA sequel in quite a while.
I feel as if I should love this show, given my fondness for weird and intellectual anime, but somehow it never gets past “sort of like”. The germs are undeniably cute (and not in a super-creepy way like the fairies in Jinrui) and in concept, it’s a great idea. But the jokes usually get no better than a chuckle out of me, and the frequent interruptions for science lectures from the bugs or
Zoiberg Itsuki-sensei eventually begin to wear on me. It’s a cast full of oddballs, and the conceit that the anime-required normal guy at the center – Sawaki Tadayasu – is actually the really weird one in the group because he can talk to the bugs – is a clever one. And it does make me laugh sometimes – just not all that hard, or quite as often as I’d like.
Fans of the original series may be a trifle miffed that the look of the show is a bit different this time, with Higuchi Satomi having taken over as character designer and the series overall having a brighter look that’s a little softer around the edges. And Yuuki Kei is certainly in full girl mode this time, rather aggressively so – but apart from that, the first episode didn’t feel a whole lot different to me than the first season. With the source material to draw on and the same director there’s little reason to suspect major shifts in tone or content, even if the visuals have fermented a little. For an easy to enjoy and relaxing series that gives you a few laughs and a few science and history lessons along the way, you could do a whole lot worse – for me, I’ll definitely watch but whether I blog will depend on how many of the other Thursday series (and there are quite a lot of them) make the cut.