Ah, the old three-episode rule. I don’t know if three episodes is always enough (or even too much, sometimes) to decide whether an anime is worth watching. But now that I’m three episodes into just about everything on my watch-list this season, I can certainly say that I’ve changed my opinion on a few of those shows.
First up is ‘Midnight Occult Civil Servants/Mayonaka No Occult Koumuin’. Actually, I’m four episodes in to that one now, and while ep 3 did have me wondering if I’d misjudged it, ep 4 has given me a whole new insight into the world in which it’s set. Seeing the crew doing the rounds to check up on various Anothers in Shinjuku gave me an impression of a world much like the setting of ‘American Gods’. We’re not just dealing with traditional Japanese yokai and demons here – instead we have a whole host of spirits and gods from around the world, who’ve crossed the seas to Japan at various key points in history. The episode mostly glossed over the details, but something about this concept really fascinates me. I hope it’s something that becomes a feature, because I’m curious to know how the society the Anothers have established works with spirits from different cultures, as well as how those ‘foreign’ spirits have settled themselves into contemporary Japan.
It’s a shame this show doesn’t have more detailed character design or better looking animation – I know the look of it has put a few people off, as it isn’t as visually appealing as a lot of other shows airing this season. But if you’re willing to look past that, then I think this show has the potential to tell some worthwhile stories. And even if it does prove to be a bit of a slow-burner, much like ‘The Morose Mononokean’ I think it can build up to something deeper and darker than the Romeo and Juliet-style hi-jinks of the first episode.
On the other hand, ‘Fairy Gone’ is starting to slow a little in terms of appeal. We’re essentially being introduced, episode-by-episode, to the various factions all seeking the McGuffin that is the Black Fairy Tome. Having so many characters to keep track of can be difficult. ‘Golden Kamuy’ managed to pull it off by allowing us to care about a lot of characters who would otherwise be purely unlikable in a less well-crafted show. So far, I’m not certain that ‘Fairy Gone’ is managing the task so adeptly. I want to care about Marlya, but we’re only getting glimpses into her relationship with Veronica, and I don’t feel I know much about Free at all.
I want to feel involved with this show, but I worry that it’s in danger of losing its audience too soon by having too many characters and too little reason to care about them.
Having re-watched episode three of ‘One Punch Man 2’, I do feel like I judged it a little too harshly at first. What held my interest in this story, both the show and the manga, was largely the humour – the contrast between the blasé Saitama and the heroes who take themselves a little too seriously. That’s definitely still there, and perhaps we just have to accept the new team settling into how they handle a show established by other people with different methods. I still laughed when the show wanted me to laugh, and I still cared about Mumen Rider during his run-in with Garo (those noises as his head hit the pavement were heart-wrenching), and Saitama’s first meeting with Garo played out with exactly the right amount of bathos. The heart of the story hasn’t been lost yet, so I’m not going to give up hope.
Finally, ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba’ feels like it’s returned to the more serious tone of the first episode. We seem to be into the real meat of the story now, with Tanjiro actually slaying demons instead of training. The multi-armed demon was suitably scary and felt like a real threat, although the fight did feel like it ended a little too easily. I’m hoping that teamwork becomes more of a thing as the story progresses, because so far none of these potential trainees seem interested in working together.
The animation still looks good, although there was less to be amazed by in this episode – maybe I’m just used to how good it looks, or maybe there was less to show off with this episode. The water effects look interesting and don’t clash too much with the more realistic background animation. It’ll be interesting to see how Tanjiro’s style compares with the other characters we’re meant to meet later in the season.
In non-anime viewing news, I’m five episodes into the second season of ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’, and loving it as much as I did the first season. I have a longer post planned for it, because I have many Thoughts, but first I need to finish episodes six and seven (why Netflix only have seven episodes, I don’t know yet, and Internet reactions show that the season feels like there ought to be more, so we shall have to wait and see).
Remember that I’m still hoping to share and showcase fanworks by other Fans Of A Certain Age – please see my call for submissions if you have work you want to be featured.