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!! 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.