Mahoujin Guru Guru 2017 – 01
I don’t really know anything about this old gag manga, which already had an anime adaptation all the way back in 1994-1995. But I saw a few moments of it the Production I.G. panel at Anime Expo, and it looks like it might be good for a few laughs so I thought I’d check it out.
I think that expectation was pretty on-point. This premiere is funny enough, even knowing nothing about the Mahoujin Guru Guru manga or the first series. It’s very silly and just ecchi enough to appeal to older kids and nostalgia-seeking adults. The 8-bit conceit is amusing, and the animation from I.G. is quite good considering the context. I won’t be blogging it but I’ll watch it as long as it makes me laugh.
Koi to Uso – 01/02
OK, do I know what’s going on with those eyes? No. Are these kids cave fish? Are they aliens? I have no idea. Is it distracting? Yes. Am I going to ask any more questions in this post? No.
To be honest, I sort of forgot I’d included Koi to Uso in the season preview (barely), so I let the premiere slide last week. Having watched the first two episodes now, I can say that my impressions are modestly positive, at least in some respects. There’s way too much tropiness here (especially the hitting and “Baka!” inanity) and the art and animation are nothing special. But the cast is solid and the premise is actually sort of interesting. That is to say, it’s an alternate Japan where 40 years ago, the government decided to combat the declining birth rate by forcing everyone into an arranged marriage when they turn 16.
Of course, in the real world the population decline (and general decline of interest in sex and marriage among the young, especially males) is a huge problem for Japan. And as much as modern folks would like to pretend arranged marriage is barbaric, there are positives to it. So this isn’t an uninteresting topic to explore – especially when you consider that many 15 year-olds are in love with someone, as the protagonist Nejima is with childhood crush Takasaki (it’s mutual). As an aside, I would imagine this system to be quite the motivator to hook up with whoever you like before you hit 16 – but sadly for Nejima, he doesn’t confess until about 11:55 on the night before his 16th birthday.
Nejima is likeable enough, as so are Takasaki and the assigned wife Sanada (apart from the hitting). The thing is, I don’t know whether Koi to Uso is mostly interesting in exploring this odd situation with some sensitivity, or simply using it as a pretext for a bunch of animanga cliche. If it’s the former I think this show has a chance to be pretty decent, but at this point I’d say the jury is still very much out on that.