This season certainly has no shortage of shorts, and so far they seem a fairly interesting group. Sekko Boys came in with one of the sillier premises around – an idol group composed of four marble statues. But then the idol industry is so utterly inane and venal that there could hardly be a more apt subject for a little mockery.
The hook here is kind of clever – the young art school graduate whose first gig is to be the idols’ manager has a seething hatred of sculptures after having been forced to draw and pain them relentlessly through an art school education determined to pound every gram of individuality out of her. And the idols are (of course) played by FukuJun, Ono Daisuke, Tachibana Shinnosuke and Sugita Tomokazu. And of course they play them as exact avatars of real-life Japanese boy band tropes.
Is all this funny? Yeah, pretty much – but I’m glad it’s seven minutes, because I don’t think there’s enough here to sustain episodes three times that long. I’ll be tuning in for now, because there’s a spark of intelligence in the writing here which suggests Sekkou Boys knows exactly what it’s doing.
Divine Gate – 01
At first glance Divine Gate seems like a rather odd stylistic fit for Studio Pierrot – at the very least I don’t remember them doing too many shows in this vein in recent years. But they’ve enlisted an A-list director here in Abe Noriyuki (Kuroshitsuji, Arslan Senki) and that, paired with Pierrot’s impressive rack record over the past couple of years, makes this series a subject of interest despite what appears to be a pretty generic premise.
After one episode, the generic nature of the premise seems to be what stands out more than the director or the studio – though Abe does his usual fine job of making the most of what he’s given. Divine Gate really does play as something we’ve seen many, many times over executed a little better than usual. A future where teens with superhuman abilities are called upon to save the world, a moody protagonist with a tragic family history, gates to other worlds? It may be that the original elements of this game adaptation will reveal themselves in coming weeks, but what shows up in the premiere is pretty standard stuff.
So what you’ve got here are kids named after colors (which seem to reflect elements like fire and water), a kind of esper academy, and a guy named Aoto (Saitou Soma) who acts as a sort of rogue vigilante and pretends the rumors that he killed his parents are true (though they’re apparently not). The cast is full of instantly recognizable big-name seiyuu and while they’re all fine, that does add to the air of “been there, done that” which permeates the premiere.
I’m not convinced Divine Gate isn’t going to turn into something more than it seems, and the talent behind it is strong enough that if it does, the series should have the potential to be genuinely interesting. So far, though, not much stands out and I’d have to say it’s a dicey proposition whether I blog another episode.