Posted by SuperWooper on 11 January 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Yakusoku no Neverland

Short Synopsis: As an old friend leaves, two kids begin to realize the truth about their orphanage.

Aidan’s review:
Well this knocked it right out of the park. Clearly the best first episode of the season so far with a banger of an opening and a ending episode hook sure to nab anyone checking this out. The episode itself does a good job of laying out the characters and their particular gimmicks as well as alluding to small details and having are rather unnerving atmosphere. You know that something isn’t right here but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what. Also props for not resorting to narration to explain what the setting was and instead showing enough for the viewer to figure things out by themselves. I originally pinned Boogiepop as my contender for season winner but sadly due to direction that ended up going wrong. This one the other hand is getting the care and attention it deserves so I can at least say that if you are not watching this in this season, you probably should be.
Potential: 90%

Lenlo’s review:
You know, I was really worried that I had ruined this series for myself by reading up on the manga. I can say now that even with the foreknowledge of what will happen, Neverland will hit its mark. It did a fantastic job of slowly ratcheting up the unease throughout the episode. Starting with children joking about eating each other. Games of tag and strategy. A creepy fence, to no one sending back their letters until a little girl gets walked out under a haunting tune. Slowly but surely Neverland ticked the dial forward scene by scene to really nail the ending, and nail that it did. The animation, camera angles and haunting yet hopeful vocals all blended perfectly, on to smash cut mid song. Fantastic. As Aidan said, Neverland did a great job laying out the setting and characters without a word of exposition, even managing to layout the central conflict and how it is mental rather than physical. As far as I am concerned, Neverland is a must watch of the season, of which I can only count 2 others.
Potential: 95%

 

Kemurikusa

Short Synopsis: A group of red-haired girls search for water and fight robotic bugs on a ruined island in the middle of nowhere.

Mario’s review:
This is basically a spiritual successor of Kemono Friends, in a season where the actual Kemono Friends sequel also airs. A near-apocalyptic settings where our cast fighting against Bugs? Check. A human appeared out of nowhere who doesn’t know why he got there? Check. Cute anthropomorphic/ non human designs? Check? Abandoned bus? Check. On that vein I’m mildly curious on how this one will go. I regard the settings in Kemono Friends where it hints that they might live within a dead world its greatest strength, so I’m more than happy to see this one further explores on that theme. The characters are hit-or-miss at the moment. I don’t mind the main cast (even the quadruplets), but the moment that human boy hits the screen everything goes for more cliche path. Of course he will become some needed brain in the group, right? It doesn’t help either that the dialogue is’t that great. The visual remains dark and grim so far, and the CG aesthetic could take some time to get used to. At the end of the day I don’t mind these shortcomings. Despite its inconsistency in both characters and story, it could offer something interesting and different than what we normally get these days.
Potential: 40%

Wooper’s review:
Kemurikusa is a mess. Its story is unclear, its would-be cute characters come off as stilted instead, and its CG visuals are incompetent. There’s a moment early in this episode where a character dips her hand into a pool of water, and it looks more like it’s phasing through a cement floor. The cast’s modeled walk cycles clash terribly with their dull, blue-gray environment, and the action scenes are handicapped by their limited range of motion. What else could you expect, though, given the look of director Tatsuki’s previous work? I’m in no mood to explain his past success by overpraising this new series, but there are a couple things about it that you might like: a watery N64-era soundtrack with a mysterious vibe, clone quadruplets in maid outfits, the sense of being totally lost as an audience member. That last one is where I struggled most with this premiere, because while I’m not a fan of needless exposition, I also need a reason to come back each week, and a story that seems to be set nowhere in particular isn’t going to provide that for me. Kemono Friends was a smash hit in Japan, but I have my doubts about Kemurikusa’s viability, especially since there’s no lovestruck penguin to provide a bunch of free publicity this time around.
Potential: 10%

 

Kakegurui xx

Short Synopsis: By the magic of Gambling God, heirs from powerful gambling families all attend this high school to fight against our main character.

Mario’s review:
This new season of Kakegurui starts off on a strong note. Its production is noticeably more polished than ever (the OP is a visual highlight, for example), and it successfully establishes the cores of Kakegurui in this premiere. The game they play this week, for example, ups its stake to an insane level. But saying that, embracing its core isn’t necessary brings out all its good aspects. There’s often the case the whoever challenges our lead girl has some sorts of “cheat” and the moments they spell out their advantages it loses all the thrills for me. Secondly, it has a totally useless recap (with the song from first season’s OP so at least there was something I can still enjoy) that in no way the new audience would understand anything except for “stuffs happened in the past”. It also introduces a whole new set of opponents that pretty much set what this second season will be about. I’m not sure if I will follow this second season, given I’m not that fond with the first, but this episode’s production is something I need to give praise for.
Potential: 40%

Wooper’s review:
Hey, it’s more Kakegurui. This episode had more lens flare and color filters than ever, thanks to the jarring music video/recap they inserted midway through the proceedings. And check out the simulated shaky cam movement during the latter portion of the guillotine game, which feels about as natural as the show’s premise. Kakegurui packs in plenty of detail where it counts, but these production techniques really snapped my strings during this episode. These gripes are personal, though; if you’ve already seen the first season, you should know whether it’s worth the trip to your favorite torrent site to get the sequel. If not, this episode actually works as a decent jumping-off point. Gambling Chicks isn’t much more complicated than, “Insane girl out-gambles student council every week,” and the closing scene spoon-feeds us the names and appearances of all Yumeko’s future opponents. I don’t feel as though Kakegurui’s simple format lives up to the ‘psychological’ tag it often receives, but if you’re down with the show’s concept, you’ll probably have a good time.
Potential: 50%

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