Second Impressions Digest – D.Gray-man Hallow, Cheer Danshi!!, Amaama to Inazuma

D.Gray-man Hallow – 02

We’re already getting to that point in the season when the blogging choices are starting to assert themselves in difficult fashion.  It’s a strong one, certainly in terms of numbers, and I’m still not sure yet whether my nostalgic affection for D.Gray-man is enough to punch Hallow’s ticket.  It’s off to a pretty good start, but even back in the day (eight years ago!) I always felt this series was a bit inconsistent.

This arc seems to center around “Phantom Thief G” – who is, in reality, a little boy named Timothy from an orphanage, whose father was a master criminal and seems to have made him swallow Innocence in order to hide the evidence of his own crimes.  As a result the boy is able to control the minds of others, which he uses in a sort of Robin Hood strategy to steal money for the orphanage.  But of course the source of that power being what it is, Timothy draws the attention of both the Exorcists and the Akuma, both of whom arrive in the midst of Phantom Thief G’s latest heist.

This is all perfectly fine storytelling, but I kind of wonder how vital this stuff is when you consider there’s only one cour to work with this time.  It also strikes me that we’ve zoomed past Cross Marian’s death shockingly quickly, considering what a towering presence he was throughout the first anime.  Shouldn’t Allen be more devastated than he is?  And shouldn’t we be spending more time looking closely at what happened to Marian before moving on to another narrative track?  I’m not sure, I’m just asking – but it’s definitely going to be a couple of weeks before I can decide whether I’m sufficiently vested in D.Gray-man Hallow to blog it.

 

Cheer Danshi!!

Cheer Danshi!! certainly isn’t the slickest show you’ll find – it’s a bit unkempt, both in terms of narrative and production values.  I probably won’t blog it but I am rather fond of it, because it’s quite genuine and absurdly unpretentious.  It’s also tackling a fairly unusual and uncomfortable premise for a mainstream anime without making a complete meal out of it, which can only be a good thing.

A good general rule of thumb for high school and college is if you can get guys to think they’ll get girls by joining your club (or band) you’ll get new members.  And the cheerleading club manages to poach two of them from the tennis club, Hasegawa Gen and Souichirou Suzuki.  They also scoop up Toono Kouji, an overweight first-year looking to make a change in his life and physical condition.  I would imagine it’s fairly difficult to get guys to join a cheerleading club, so to see it happen for basically realistic reasons is refreshing.  And since the club needs 7 members to perform officially (and 16 to enter competitions) none of these recruitments can come too soon.  The two tennis guys even bring the virtue of being good athletes with some tumbling skills.

There’s nothing too spellbinding going on here, but Cheer Danshi!! is fairly fun.  Sugita-san is completely hamming it up, and it’s always interesting seeing characters try and do something that’s not the social norm.  This show is working, for now at least, as a relaxing change-of-pace that doesn’t demand too much from the audience.

 

Amaama to Inazuma – 02

Sorry guys, but this is way too one note for me.  if you’re going to build a show around a very young child’s cuteness, the ice you’re skating on is very thin indeed.  And while Amaama to Inazuma is pleasant enough, I just don’t get a whole lot out of it except Tsumugi (and Kotori, for that matter) mugging for the camera.  That’s a shame, too, because I really love food and cooking and shows about them – just not this one.

The other element that bothers me about this series is it seems to be building towards something between Kotori and Kouhei, and that would be an unfortunate choice (not because of their ages so much but their positions).  There might be something interesting in the back-story behind a nearly-extinct homestyle restaurant and a chef’s daughter who’s afraid of knives, but I don’t get the sense we’ll be seeing much of it – Amaama to Inazuma seems content to harvest the low-hanging fruit.  It’s just not my bag, and there’s not much to gain by pretending otherwise.

 

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11 comments

  1. s

    hmmm i dont know; in regards to amaama to inazuma, maybe the “something” you feel building between kouhei and Kotori is more of a familial bond and not romance considering the girl’s circumstances (i dont think romance is going to happen….at least not yet considering their position and legal reasons); but hey i get ya. Besides, you had other reasons why you dont think this show is your cup of tea and that makes sense although this series is more about fleshing out the characters through cooking so it’s not entirely one note….at least not to the point where you cant take something away from the series.

    I argued on another blogging site that i think the narrative could have created more potential in its storytelling had Kotori been a 21 year old girl in her third year of college or something. It would have been nice to see a story based on what it means to come to terms with dealing with “adult realities” like juggling school and work, worrying about your future occupation, or finances for that matter. It would be nice to see how a more mature co-protaginist (without having too close to kouhei’s age) manages to handle all that and how she interacts with both tsumugi and kouhei with such a background. it would be nice to see her have a more mature outlook on life and how she relates to kouhei because she herself is venturing into the adult world. Plus, it would make more sense when and if kouhei ever confided in her about his own emotional and occupational problems. I think it would allow for more dynamism in the story so that it wouldnt feel one note to some people; plus, if viewers did want to ship kotori and kouhei, they could do so without feeling too icky about it.

  2. I’m assuming D.Grayman is planning on multiple seasons. There is a wealth of manga left. I’m liking this new season and E2 was very good. I also enjoy the other 2 series here. Amaama just seems to be a lonely teenager and a lonely father that can’t cook. I doubt they will go down the road of romance. More likely they will fall into a father/daughter relationship.

  3. J

    Any possibility of a digest for Cheer Danshi and D.Gray-man considering they seem to be the only Tuesday shows you’re watching? You seem to like them well enough, just maybe not enough for a full post. Just spitballing though, and I kind of miss digests.

  4. Yes, that’s definitely on the table. Digests are good and bad, but I’m fine with doing them if the schedule is conducive to it.

  5. J

    Was thinking earlier about how much more I like Cheer Danshi than I expected to (Naturally, it seems to be getting pretty overlooked, even by the kind of female fanbase that sometimes gets into shows like this) and I realized that part of the reason why is that it just has a very unique quality to it that you don’t see that often in anime. Funnily enough, though the genres are completely different the first show I thought of to compare it to was Argevollen, which I always thought was criminally underrated.

    Obviously Argevollen wouldn’t have been the first show to do that kind of thing but everything about Cheer Boys is just so low-key and grounded – it doesn’t really look great most of the time, it pretty much has no pandering or character designs that would overtly appeal to the niche buying audience, all of the characters actually act like real human beings instead of weird anime tropes, and it just has this pretty endearing and genuine quality to it.

    So I’m impressed with it because it surprises the hell out of me that an anime with a premise like this wouldn’t just fall into pretty substanceless stuff with shoved in subtext and the kind of pandering that shows with an all male cast tend to have, and that show might not even necessarily be bad but I am much more happy that we got this instead. I figure the reason is that it’s actually based on a (Not light) novel but I’m still glad something like this got made.

  6. I don’t fundamentally disagree with any of that, and Argevollen is actually a good call – I see some of the same laid-back approach in both shows. It is more or less free of the kind of pandering you might expect in a show like this (which is why it’s not likely to sell). There are some elements I find a bit predictable, but apart from that I think it’s pretty solid from a narrative standpoint.

  7. s

    I agree. I’m still suprised that some of the pass-bys are part of the main cast and show up before being introduced. Spotting them in the crowd was really gratifying. Nice touch! I hope the show isn’t underrated!

  8. Haven’t seen Argevollen, but I agree with everything you said there. Love the show so far. While I honestly kind of feel it’s a better fit as live drama, both in terms of typical audience appreciation and completely grounded set-up, in the end I’m also glad this is an anime. More variety is always good.

  9. R

    Agreed (Cheer Danshi!!) and agreed (Amaama to Inazuma).

    Cheer Danshi!! surprised me by how refreshing and genuine it is. By the way, what’s with having double exclamation marks in a show’s title (Haikyuu!!, Working!!)?

    As for Amaama to Inazuma, I’m disappointed. Shows about parents or single parents are so rare that I want to like this show, but Tsumugi is just too much for me to take — her being cute for cuteness sake is just too manipulative. I’d rather rematch Usage Drop instead. Think that I’d give it one more episode before concluding.

  10. Out of the three, I’d say that my favorite is D Gray Man, I still have a lot of affection for it for how dark it took certain story elements in the first season. Cheer Boys is a close second, but I can’t shake the feeling that the series was made checking all the boxes for Fujoshi.

    Are you still watching Fukigen na Mononokoen?

  11. Yes, it’s modestly entertaining – I’m just not quite into it enough to add it to an already flush calendar for blogging.

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