Second Impressions Digest – World Trigger, Sora no Method, Gugure! Kokkuri-san

World Trigger - 02 -8 Sora no Method - 02 -9 Kokkuri-san - 02 -15

Beware of dog.

World Trigger – 02
World Trigger - 02 -1 World Trigger - 02 -2 World Trigger - 02 -3
World Trigger - 02 -4 World Trigger - 02 -5 World Trigger - 02 -6
World Trigger - 02 -7 World Trigger - 02 -9 World Trigger - 02 -10
World Trigger - 02 -11 World Trigger - 02 -12 World Trigger - 02 -13
World Trigger - 02 -14 World Trigger - 02 -15 World Trigger - 02 -16
World Trigger - 02 -17 World Trigger - 02 -18 World Trigger - 02 -20

It seems as if World Trigger has become pretty much a universal punching bag since its premiere, but I must confess I rather like it.  I certainly won’t deny that the animation and background detail is mediocre at best, but ultimately I can live with that if the story and characters can hold my interest (and in any event I’ll still take chintz traditional animation like this over grisly CGI like we got in Kingdom).  And so far, my interest is held.

As best I can make out, World Trigger is about as elementally shounen as it’s possible to be.  But even if it connects the dots, it does so in an entertaining way.  I quite like Kuga’s deadpan alien routine, and Osamu is about as perfect a fit for Kaji Yuuki’s limited range as I’ve seen since Yozakura Quartet.  And while the basic premise of neighbours and humans in-conflict is nothing groundbreaking, it’s quite straightforward and very serviceable as a shounen setup.
In addition to all that, there is just a little more here.  Kuga has quite an interesting way of looking at the world, and mangaka Ashihara Daisuke is clearly using him as a way to discreetly comment on Japanese society.  “Rules make society work.  They don’t protect you.”  It’s actually a rather thought-provoking statement for all its simplicity (or perhaps because of it) even if it does potentially open the door to a somewhat unsettling philosophical direction for the series (we’ll see).  What we’re seeing is Kuga looking at our world through fresh eyes and pointing out all the things we accept as normal but are actually rather illogical.  That’s a very old dramatic device but one that can be used to great effect if handled well – and so far I think World Trigger is handling it pretty well.

Sora no Method – 02

Sora no Method - 02 -1 Sora no Method - 02 -2 Sora no Method - 02 -3
Sora no Method - 02 -4 Sora no Method - 02 -5 Sora no Method - 02 -6
Sora no Method - 02 -7 Sora no Method - 02 -8 Sora no Method - 02 -10
Sora no Method - 02 -11 Sora no Method - 02 -12 Sora no Method - 02 -14
Sora no Method - 02 -15 Sora no Method - 02 -16 Sora no Method - 02 -17


I don’t think this is going to work for me.

I’m trying to give Sora no Method every chance in the world based on my respect for Hisaya Naoki as a writer, but it’s a steep hill to climb.  It’s certainly not awful, but so far seems so abjectly a moe-pandering series that I’m having a tough time getting past it.  Back in his day Hisaya was something of a pace-setter for moe but he managed to cut it with considerable subtlety and pathos, but the vibe with this series is that an already moe-centric writer kicked it up to eleven to try and keep up with the times.  Unless Episode 3 really grabs me, I’m going to have to call it a day.

Gugure! Kokkuri-san – 02

Kokkuri-san - 02 -1 Kokkuri-san - 02 -2 Kokkuri-san - 02 -3
Kokkuri-san - 02 -4 Kokkuri-san - 02 -5 Kokkuri-san - 02 -6
Kokkuri-san - 02 -7 Kokkuri-san - 02 -8 Kokkuri-san - 02 -9
Kokkuri-san - 02 -10 Kokkuri-san - 02 -12 Kokkuri-san - 02 -13
Kokkuri-san - 02 -14 Kokkuri-san - 02 -16 Kokkuri-san - 02 -17
Kokkuri-san - 02 -18 Kokkuri-san - 02 -19 Kokkuri-san - 02 -20
Kokkuri-san - 02 -21 Kokkuri-san - 02 -22 Kokkuri-san - 02 -23
Kokkuri-san - 02 -24 Kokkuri-san - 02 -25 Kokkuri-san - 02 -26


Funny is funny, and Gugure! Kokkuri-san is funny.  It’s one of the sillier shows I’ve seen in a long time, but that’s certainly not always a ticket to success.  Happily most of the jokes work, and the sterling performances by the cast certainly don’t hurt.

This episode makes it pretty clear that there aren’t many boundaries with the humor in this series, with jokes about perverts and little girls having sex and characters turned into ground meat (how do you get an Inugami out of a blender?  With a straw, of course).  That character is Inugami (Sakurai Takahiro as a male, Saitou Chiwa as a female) who’s not only a dog spirit who contracts with and eventually consumes its master, but Kohina’s personal stalker.  This naturally sets up quite a rivalry with Kokkuri-san, though both of them temporarily find common ground when a cat wanders into the temple.  This gag is an example of how the roles of dog and cat lovers are reversed in America and Japan – in the former it’s we cat people that have to suffer through dogs getting all the press, but in Japan cats are definitely top dog.  I knew when I saw that the cat food section at the suupa was bigger than the dog food section that this was the place for me.

There are several other highly successful comic bits in this episode, starting with Kokkuri-san’s doomed attempts to teach Kohina to smile, which induces her facial features falling off and store window breakage.  More than specific jokes, though, what makes the show work as well as it does is the offbeat and tragicomic tone of the banter between the characters.  I wonder, though, whether the weirdness of the premise is eventually going to be delved into.  A grade-schooler living alone is weird enough, but the fact that it’s inescapably a temple she’s living in makes me highly suspicious that something darker is going on here.  I don’t know if this is the sort of series that would go there, but it would certainly lend itself to some interesting possibilities.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

10 comments

  1. K

    It may seem cats are more popular in Japan but apparently there are still more dog owners there.

  2. And there are more pet cats than dogs in the U.S.. But dogs are culturally more revered there, just as cats are here. It's more than a question of numbers.

  3. K

    No there are more dog owners in the US as well. There might be more pet cats but I expect that has something to do with the fact that you are more likely to see someone with multiple cats than multiple dogs. Not sure how this specific statistic compares with Japan.

    Hey I'm a cat lover myself I just think contrary to observation I really question if dogs are really second favorite pet in Japan. Saying cats are more popular in other respects may be true.

  4. C

    I told myself halfway through this episode that if I see Kuga's =3= face again or if more generic thugs show up to antagonize the MCs, I'll give up on the show. Probably at least three faces later and then after who knows how many bullies, I just gave up. And I have a very high tolerance for shounens (I've kept up with One Piece and Fairy Tail this whole time)

  5. R

    Both World Trigger and Sora no Method aren't really for me, but Kokkuri-san is. I also like Kohina's yes sign when she distracts, diverts and shifts the conversation with Kokkuri-san. There's re just tons of comedic moments in this show. Not all of them make me laugh out loud but definitely giggle — it's a nice show to add to the mix.

  6. H

    Not sure on Kokkuri-san. It feels like it's missing a strong backbone to get it off the ground.

  7. R

    I dunno. If you get past through all the moe, (which do Sora no Method is actually very interesting story-wise. Character-wise, I have yet to see the cast bloom.

  8. H

    That's a mountain of moe to get past.

  9. R

    I guess I am already immune to moe that it really dind't bother me as much as I though it would. But I must say, Yuzuki's antics are just downright childish and somewhat annoying.

  10. H

    Don't blame ya, man. Moe permeates just about everything these days. Unfortunately it's stopped me from checking out some otherwise decent looking series (Shirobako for one).

    Ended up watching some prisma illya 2wei with a bunch of friends some time ago, and must admit I enjoyed the baking episode quite a bit.

Leave a Comment