So I’ve recently been digging through the anime watchlists I’ve created on VRV (a service that combines the Crunchyroll and Hi-Dive catalogues — a nice one to have, though their streaming player could not possibly be more garbage) and Funimation (which somehow has an even worse player, but they have licensed some series I know I want to watch, so not much choice there) and I felt like writing about some first impressions of series I’ve gotten based on their first episodes alone so far. I have to give the credit for this idea to pix1001 over at Shoot the Rookie, however, and also my apologies for borrowing (i.e. stealing) it. But please head over there for better posts about anime than you’ll ever read here.
In numerical/alphabetical order for once:
This series aired just last year, but it totally passed me by. However, a post about it on another WP blog that I now can’t find got me interested in it (but if I do find that post, I’ll link to it here later.) In its first episode, the musically talented but angst-filled and unsociable high school student Miu Takigawa is approached by a major studio and offered a chance to join a new idol group. But she and her seven new idol colleagues are confused when they’re told they don’t have to audition for their roles. They’re even more confused when they’re taken to the massive state-of-the-art headquarters built specifically for their training, which includes an entity simply called “the Wall” that issues orders to the studio that, for some reason, they absolutely have to follow to the letter — starting with the strange name for their new idol group, 22/7.
I like weird stuff like this, and this first episode was definitely intriguing. On the other hand, I’ve been burned by anime series before that promise a whole lot and then write themselves into corners that they can’t get out of without making a mess of everything. I hope that’s not the case this time. If it isn’t, I’m even willing to put up with some more angst and extra-anime-style speeches about how humanity is full of scum and liars etc. that we got from Miu in this first episode. To be fair, I’ve heard how screwed up the idol scene can be, so maybe this show is going to be a take on that. In any case, 22/7 has my attention, and I’ll keep going with it to see where it takes me.
Shifting over to something very different in tone, a currently airing very short comedy based on a four-panel comic series based on a fanservice-filled mobile game. I might have mentioned here that I’ve played Azur Lane during my time in gacha hell, the latter of two mobile games that take World War II-era warships and turn them all into cute girls. I know, big surprise. To its credit, the game’s rates aren’t as bad as other gacha games’ from what I can tell, but it’s still the work of Satan like all gachas are.
There’s a more dramatic-looking main series featured over on Funimation (because yeah, the game does have a plot to it) but Slow Ahead! is just a comedy, also filled with fanservice if that’s not obvious from looking at the poster. This is really just dessert for Azur Lane players who want to see the four starter destroyer girls getting into crazy situations along with their many shipgirl friends and colleagues. Each episode is only seven or eight minutes long so far, so it’s a quick watch, but I’d say not worth it unless you’re into this game already since none of the references will make sense otherwise. If I keep watching this, I probably won’t have anything else to write about it, so that’s the review I guess. It seems all right for what it is. (Edit: I just checked out the 4koma, specifically Chapter 49 that came up at random, and hooh. Akagi and Kaga in a public bath and that’s all I need to say. I’m a fan of those busty fox ladies. Maybe I’ll just read the comic.)
Oh look, another anime series filled with cute girls, what a surprise AK is watching it. Yeah yeah I know. But I feel like I’m automatically extra-critical of stuff like this for that very reason. You can’t just throw some girls in frilly maid costumes at me and expect my brain to shut down, you know?
Fortunately, Blend S is actually good, or at least the first episode is. Maika Sakuranomiya (the protagonist, holding the cake, left) is a student who’s desperate for a part-time job so she can finance her own study-abroad trip without relying on her family. However, she’s turned down everywhere because of the inadvertently scary look in her eyes she gets when she’s stressed or worried; not exactly ideal for any customer service job. But there’s one place where she fits right in: a café that employs waitresses based on character type themes like tsundere and little sister — and the manager thinks Maika is perfect to fill the new “sadist” role.
This is a wacky, fast-paced comedy based on another four-panel comic. I’m not always a fan of that kind of stuff; when it’s done wrong it can just turn into an irritating mess for me, but thankfully I’m really liking Blend S so far. It’s pretty amusing to see the extremely polite, demure Maika doing her best to give her customers what they want by treating them like shit against her every instinct. The manager Dino seems like he might get kind of annoying in the future (is it a stereotype in Japan that Italian guys are crazy and overly emotional? I guess that is a stereotype here in the US too somewhat) but so far I really like how the characters fit together, and I’ll definitely be continuing this series.
And that’s it for now. The fact that I only went in alphanumeric order from 22 to B is probably just a coincidence, but I still do have a very long list of anime series to check out, and more recommendations are always appreciated. Or maybe you think the title I gave this feature is bad or clunky, in which case please let me know about that too and I might try to think of a better one.
In any case, I hope you liked this break from the usual. Maybe I’ll write more of these in the future. Next up, though, I’ll be taking a look at a series I actually finished watching. Until then!