First Impressions Digest – Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, Fate/Apocrypha

And so the Sisyphean attempt to keep up begins…

Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou – 01

This one wasn’t in the season preview (it was the last show I cut), but a couple of trusted commenters advised me to keep an eye on it,  And based on one episode, looks like they were right.

Youkai Apartment is based on a light novel with a manga in-between, but you wouldn’t necessarily assume that from the premiere which – for lack of a better word – is very “manga-like”.  It’s also a pretty old-school anime in terms of look and tone, and that works pretty well with the material.  It concerns an orphan boy named Yuushi who’s just finished middle school and is desperate to move out on his own and stop being a burden on his aunt and uncle (and apparently bullying cousin, who I’ll guess has a crush on him).  He plans to go to a business high school with a dorm, but it (in)conveniently burns down, forcing him to find an apartment.  And when it comes to apartments, one lesson every kid needs to learn is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,

I liked this premiere a lot – it had a jaunty, easy way about it.  Yuushi’s best friend is apparently going to be a major player (he sings the ED and is played by Nakamura Yuuichi).  The oddballs in the apartment are all played by big names (like Sawashiro and Ishida), and the youkai “tenants” seem like an entertaining bunch.  It’s only one episode but the early returns are pretty positive for me – I’ll certainly keep an eye on this one.

 

Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu – 01

I’m reviewing a “Fate” show and a ufotable show in the post, and they’re different series – go figure.  Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu was one of the last survivors to make the preview, but I would say this premiere exceeded expectations.  Yeah, it’s an otome game adaptation about a bunch of anthropomorphized bishounen blades – but this series and that earlier Touken Ranbu anime are worlds apart.

It’s easy to forget just how tremendous the production values of ufotable shows can be, but at their best (and the popularity of this franchise should mean a big budget) they’re among the best.  In fact I would argue that in terms of really good CGI and integrating it seamlessly, ufotable is the best among the mainly-TV animation studios.  This premiere doesn’t just look good – it looks great.  The movement is phenomenal, the backgrounds are gorgeous, and all the classic ufo touches are present (has there ever been a studio that could depict a shower of sparks so beautifully?).

I’m not going to declare buy-in on the story, but this series definitely seems more plot-driven than “Hanmaru”.  It’s presented as a straight-up battle between the heroic swords and their leader, Saniwa (unseen for most of the episode) and an army of time-travelers intent on changing history.  How much staying power that will have I don’t know, but it certainly makes for an interesting first episode.  The cast is strong here as well (Kimura Ryouhei especially stands out).

 

Fate/Apocrypha – 01

Fate/Apocrypha was another of the last series on the bubble when I wrote the preview, and ended on the outside looking in.  I’ve more or less decided to give up on the “Fate” franchise, mainly on the grounds that to me it’s basically a collection of VN tropes trying to pass itself off as something deep and meaningful.  It was only in Gen Urobuchi’s hands that the mythology occasionally succeeded in that pretense, but even his version jumped the shark pretty hard in the end.

One thing these shows have in common, though, is that they usually start out in fairly engaging fashion.  And this one, an alternate take featuring a special 7 vs. 7 grail war, is no exception.  This version is A-1 Pictures and it’s clear they have the budget to give this their “A” treatment – the premiere looks great. It’s also nicely-paced and pretty eloquent in setting up the premise.

I’ve been burned by Fate series too many times to give “Apocrypha” much chance to keep me hooked in, but I can only judge it based on its first episode – and it’s a very good one.  Maybe this will be the iteration that will break the pattern.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

7 comments

  1. M

    Youkai Apato: I like the manga. Will probably stick to that. Might come back to the anime once it catches up.

    Token Rambeef: Too much men. No thanks.

    Fate Whatever: They milk this crap as much as two other series I despise – SuzuYakYak Harumi and and BlahBlahgatari – and it’s always the same anyway, so no.

  2. Z

    Apato is on my list. It’s a pretty well trodden idea, but it was a pleasant enough first episode.

    Bishi-sword-bros and the Fate Series have never really been my thing, but if you keep enjoying either of those I will probably give them a try in a couple weeks.

  3. S

    Youkai Apartment reminded me of the other bargain bin Natsume series from last year, Morose Mononokean, except much more tolerable, since it doesn’t punish us with having to listen to Yuki Kaji like in Mononokean. The show is… competent, I guess? But just kind of… there. The main character, plot, and voice cast are pretty generic (can Nakamura, Ishida, and Sawashiro please stop voicing every character they voice the same exact way?) and it was pretty bland looking. It seemed like a wasted opportunity, as the house the main character moved into was supposed to be some creepy haunted house, but it just looked like a relatively nice house with a big black cloud hanging over it, and then all of the youkai themselves were just blah looking. Youkai designs have the opportunity to be really cool and creative looking, yet they completely dropped the ball here.

    Touken Ranbu isn’t an otome game, since you called it one; it’s one of those browser games where you collect characters and stuff, not with any sort of otome aspects. A lot of people unfamiliar with it seem to think it’s either otome or BL, and it’s neither.
    I usually find that ufotable is a bit overrated in terms of visuals and tend to overdo the filters and photography aspects on some of their shows, but Touken Ranbu really looked fantastic. It’s pretty rare to see an anime where the characters are actually moving for the entire episode (not flapping mouths on stationary heads for 5 minutes, etc.), plus the backgrounds and framing were really nice. It adds a lot to the atmosphere of the scenes to actually have character animation and such. What was unfortunate about the visuals was how the really pretty looking OP was ruined by Soma Saito being unable to sing a single note on key (and having a seiyuu OP did not fit the tone of the show or the OP itself at all). I had war flashbacks to Hiro Shimono screaming the Kabuki-bu OP last season (and the Youkai Apartment ED).
    Hopefully the next episode will get more into the story and characters, because most of the characters used in this adaptation are pretty cool, unlike in Hanamaru, the Touken Ranbu series from last year, where they gave all the screen time to the most annoying and boring characters and the show was pretty much insufferable most of the time, since it was mostly little boys running around screaming and crap. The only funny episode of Hanamaru was Izuminokami Kanesada’s episode, who is the main character of Katsugeki, and is probably one of the more entertaining Ryouhei Kimura characters (though saying a character of his is entertaining is like saying the grass is green). So hopefully they will write him well in Katsugeki and the next episode has more than just fancy action scenes. But we’ll see… The visuals and Kimura are more than enough to make the show worth watching for me, but I hope it actually ends up being good.

    And I must just be sick of Fate crap, because I was falling asleep watching Apocrypha. What made the show even worse for me was that Waver was a character in it, and seeing him just made me want to see Fate/Zero’s Rider again, rather than all of the boring high school characters in this. I don’t know, I feel like Fate/Zero actually had some decent characters, whereas the other Fate series are filled with fanservice girls and self-insert boys who order around random blobs that claim to be Heracles, Medusa, etc., despite having basically nothing to do with the myth, history, etc. they come from other than the name.

  4. R

    Thanks Enzo for taking the time out from your super busy schedule this week to review Youkai Apartment. It wasn’t in my radar either, but we had a long weekend, so I gave it a try…liked the old-school feel, the cast and the chemistry. Yes — it’s only the premiere, so we will see how the staff will bring out the potentials in this show, but so far I’m liking it.

    I also checked out Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. Agreed — it’s visually impressive. And agreed — love watching shows when Kimura Ryouhei plays a major role…I think Kimura Ryouhei is a very diverse seiyuu who can act, but he’s quite underutilized…

    I didn’t check out Fate/Apocrypha…tired of it already, but maybe I will give the premiere a try…

  5. O

    Of these 3 shows, I’ll probably give Youkai Apartment the biggest chance, although I’ll keep my eye on the Fate series simply because of Waver. I really liked his development in Fate/Zero, so I’m interested where his character will go from here.

  6. G

    I really enjoyed Youkai Apartment as well. Gonna be following this one for sure this season. I’m a sucker for Youkai shows since Wagaya no Oniriasama days.

  7. Man, that show was really underrated. I hardly heard anybody mention it when it aired, much less nowadays.

Leave a Comment