Phanfone (that has to be one of the strangest typhoon names ever) continues to bear down on Japan, my sisters continue to run me ragged, my body continues to expunge the unsightly residue of a weeklong cold, but like a river the new anime season rolls inexorably on. No rest for the weary, indeed.
First up here is World Trigger, a Toei adaptation of a Weekly Shounen Jump manga. And while the animation is clearly low-budget (not the massive terrible CGI kind, but the off-model and lacking background detail kind) I rather liked it. I was surprised by how much it plays like a boy’s own adventure kind of show – this is clearly a kids series, or at least plays like one so far – but in a cheeky and offbeat way that works well for me.
There’s good pedigree here – director of Outlaw Star Mitsuru Hongo, and legendary composer Kawai Kenji – and the premiere is well-paced and weaves in the exposition pretty well. The nominal lead appears to be covert BORDER agent and 9th-grader Mikumu Osamu (Kaji Yuuki) but the more interesting character is Kuga Yuuma (Muranaka Tomo), the diminutive white-haired boy who comes from the other dimension where terrifying beasts called “Neighbors” have been streaming through and terrorizing the residents of Mikado. Yuuma is an odd-duck, a stoic and snarky badass who doesn’t even take names after he kicks butt.
I have major concerns here – the budget, the fact that the source manga is less than two years old – and it’s too early to know if the plot is really going to command my attention. But the premiere was a pretty entertaining 22 minutes and I’m certainly on-board for at least one more week.
Magic Kaito – 01
The history of Aoyama Gosho’s Magic Kaitou is certainly an odd-one. Detective Conan is obviously Aoyama-sensei’s top dog, and Kaitou seems to only get new material every few years or so. But Conan’s little brother (and sometimes crossover partner) is fairly popular, and has accumulated enough material over the decades to prompt an earlier anime series and now this 24-episode entry.
I’ve tried several times to “get” Conan over the years, and I’ve never quite figured out the massive appeal. And I wouldn’t say the phantom thief genre is among my favorites, though there are exceptions (like D.N. Angel). That said, as with World Trigger I found this premiere to be pretty entertaining. The production values are a sight better, that’s for sure, and like it’s protagonist KKaito Kuorba (the irrepressible Yamaguchi Kappei) the show has a good deal of flair and flourish.
Kappei-san isn’t the only veteran in the cast – also on-board are Miyamo Mamoru, Hazama Michio, Ikeda Shuuichi, Kitamura Eri, Ishizuka Unshou, Tomizawa Michie, and Yukino Satsuke among others. This is an old-school anime with an old-school cast, with no ambition to be anything else – it airs at dinnertime on Saturday nights and is clearly meant to be watched by the entire family. Don’t dismiss it too easily, though – the premiere at least is quite well-directed and occasionally quite funny. I liked it better than any ep of Detective Conan that I’ve seen, for what that’s worth. I don’t know how strong a blogging candidate it is, but strictly as an entertaining Magic Kaitou is off to a solid start.