Seiren – 01
I certainly didn’t dislike Amagami SS, though as a whole it was nothing special. It was one of the better examples (especially the first season) of the omnibus romance format that was all the rage for VN adaptations for a while. Also it featured Morishima Haruka, one of my all-time anime crushes, and that can’t be a bad thing. So when Seiren came down the pike I didn’t think much about it, but when I saw the PV this week it did remind me that I sort of liked the original series.
Things have shifted over to Studio Gokumi (does AIC even exist anymore?) but Amagami SS+ Plus director Kobayashi Tomoki provides some continuity (he’s very experienced and quite good, having Sola among other shows on his resume). And things feel pretty much like a third season of Amagami, though most of the names have changed. The new MC is an underachieving plain yogurt named Kamita Shouichi. His best friend and literature tutor is Nanasaki Ikuo, who’s of course the younger brother of one of the original heroines Nanasaki Ai. Shouichi has an older sister too, though I don’t remember Tomoe from the original show. Their relationship is actually the best part of the premiere for me – it’s very natural and rather sweet.
As for the heroines, in Amagami fashion they all make cameos in the setup episode, though it seems like Tsuneki Hikari (Karakai Jouzu no Tsuneki-san) makes the biggest first impression. She loves to tease the boy she likes in classic elementary-middle school style, and it’s obvious she likes Shouichi (though to be fair, he’s one of those boys who gets teased by pretty much every girl). None of the motivations for the other girls are really clear yet, but we get a decent sense of who Shouichi is for a first episode, and Ikuo seems like an actual character in his own right rather than a prop.
It’s all fine, very pleasant, nothing too exciting – I suppose we’ll see how interesting the romance side is, and that will decide things. But one of the things I rather like about Amagami is that while it certainly trades in gender stereotypes and objectification sometimes, it never gets too mean about it by anime standards. Both the boys and girls are people and there’s some genuine affection between them, and on the whole that makes the franchise rather more likeable than most of its kind.
Fuuka – 01
That may be the fastest I’ve ever dropped a series. Less than two minutes – it’s close.
Listen, I’ve seen worse (barely) than the intro to Fuuka. But here’s the thing that struck me: what does it say about a series that this is how it chooses to introduce itself? Sure, it’d likely get better – and probably even suck me in a little. But what do I want to persevere for? What’s eventually going to happen with a Seo series, even if I decide to stick it out? I’ll hate it sooner or later anyway and my bucket list if full of things I’d rather be doing (including re-watching anime I actually like). So fuck this.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 01
This was certainly more pleasant than Fuuka, though that’s a pretty low bar. Demi-chan wasn’t really on my radar but a couple of folks recommended I check it out, and I watch most first eps anyway. I guess I was hoping it might turn out to be this season’s Flying Witch for me, but I didn’t find it anywhere near that charming.
Basically this strikes me as a cute demi-human girls doing cute things” show – which is fine, if that’s your thing. It’s cute and not too obnoxious but I don’t see anything here to differentiate it from the thousands (it just seems that way) of clones out there apart from the hook – I mean, all the male students are movable mannequins and all the girls talk in hyper-self aware kawaii slang and there’s implied yuri all over the place. Does it really matter if some of them carry their head around on a pillow? Also, having just watched Ao no Exorcist it’s stark reminder that production budgets seem to vary more with A-1 than any other production house – they run the gamut from platinum to tin.
About that “hook” though, let me just get this off my chest. In case you think the world was created in 2007 or something, please realize that this specific premise has already been done – Petopeto-san did it far, far better, with a balanced cast and infinitely more social awareness. I’m trying to find some way Demi-chan isn’t a blatant ripoff of that show, but so far I haven’t had any luck.