Posted by SuperMario on 8 July 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

Short Synopsis: A coming-of-age of five high school girls curious about sex and all the awkward and beautiful things that come along with it. 

Mario’s review:

Now, that’s more like it. When you reach a certain age you get into an awkward phase where everything and anything would link you to sexual reference and Araburu so far understands it completely. The fact that it doesn’t make light of this issue, at the same time still manages to squeeze humor out of it, is something of an achievement. Mari Okada is in total command of her story here, although I must note that her works are always better in the beginning than when she wraps it up. What I enjoy the most out of this premiere is how brutally honest it feels, when our female cast gets swept away by hormones and where they find themselves in one embarrassing situation after the next. The scene where our main Kazusa catches her friend in the act is where this episode best delivers its theme of adolescent awkwardness, but Okada has a tendency to go overblown and we also get that in the form of club president’s sudden outburst. The art is also pleasing with round facial designs and soft outlines, which totally works for the show’s benefit. I don’t know how the show will go from here but at least this first episode stands apart by addressing the genuinely honest adolescent experience of coming to terms with their own sexual urges, in a medium where we have plenty of this but rarely dare to dig down deep enough.

Potential: 85%

Armitage’s review:

Yup. No Middle ground here. You are either gonna love this or hate it. Considering it’s an adaptation of a Mari Okada manga, it’s no surprise either. For me personally, the premiere of O Maidens in their Savage Season resonated resoundingly. It’s the kind of story that never sees the light of day, especially in anime. A story brave enough to comment about the hush-hush parts of our society and which dares to go to places only portrayed in other anime for cheap laughs. Yes, to tackle the elephant in the room, this story is about five high school girls and their curiosity about sex. Now, in less able hands, the delicate nature of the subject matter would have led the story to come off as cringy or even exploitative. However, Okada-sensei treats it with utmost care and maturity. These girls are going through puberty. Their bodies are changing drastically and they feel like losing control over it. Sex, which is always an enigma, seems like it’s staring in the face for Kazusa and the other members of the Literature group. One day, they are discussing the one thing they would like to do before dying and one of the girls, Niina, the prettiest in the school, says, ‘Sex’. And that’s what the central hook of this story seems to be. 

The character designs too stand out really well, fleshing out each character’s personality and their quirks. The cast’s chemistry already seems pretty great but it will only improve in coming episodes. The one thing that I feel some people might pinpoint as off-putting is the humor. But I think it is integral for this story to not come off as too heavy or preachy. This episode portrays incidences that tackle bullying, a girl exploring online sex-chat sites (which serves as a harsh reminder of the lack of sex education in teens) and a scene involving a girl walking in on another person masturbating. The latter was such a delicate moment to portray because it’s a tightrope. Even the slightest of missteps and the entire scene would have lost its impact. Yet, it is again handled with such maturity that it almost feels real. The awkwardness, the reluctance to make eye-contact, the shock, the over-reaction. All of it. Sure, moments later, a little humor is infused but that’s only to provide the audience with a sense of ease. And that’s what I liked the most about this show. How it knows that the themes to be explored are going to be uncomfortable. But it wants to tell a story that’s important and necessary. And for that, you can’t help but admire it.             

Potential: 95%

Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files: “Rail Zeppelin” Grace Note

Short Synopsis: After the events of Fourth Grail War, Waver purchases the El-Melloi class and eventually becomes its Lord.

Lenlo’s review:

I have to say, this first episode of El-Melloi works a lot better than the episode 0 introduction we got prior. For one, Waver and Iskander’s relationship was easily my favorite part of Fate/Zero. So I love that El-Melloi is putting so much focus on that. How it shaped Wavers character, his motivations moving forward, how it turned him into who he is for this series. Parts of it are fanservice no doubt, but it’s fanservice I love. Not the usual ecchi variety. El-Melloi also seems to be taking a much more interesting approach to combat. With Waver focusing on winning the war, not necessarily the battle. Knowing he doesn’t have to fight every battle with brute force, etc. It’s the kind of battles I enjoy, knowing there is more to it than increasingly large lazer beams and such. Story wise, El-Melloi is also avoiding one of my biggest problems with the Fate franchise with this focus. That being the sheer ridiculousness/minutiae of parts of its lore, like all of the Alter’s and how every historical figure is just another Saber. El-Melloi instead focuses more deeply on the world surrounding the Grail Wars. All things considered, if your like me and you enjoy the concept of the Fate series more than Nasu’s actual writing, and don’t mind less shounen-ey kind of show, El-Melloi seems like it will be right up our alley.

Potential: 80%

Mario’s review:

This Fate spin-off starts off on a pretty strong note. In a way, this premiere works better as a prologue than the episode 00 did, where this episode focuses entirely on filling the gap on Waver Velvet from when he was after the Fourth Holy Grail War until the present and the pact he makes with Reines as a true successor of this El Melloi family. With that focus, while we don’t have any “case” this week (which I believe to be the show’s true format), we get plenty of backstory from Velvet and the chemistry between him and other characters. It’s a solid trick since this episode successfully establishes Velvet as a compelling character who is in the middle of his own personal crisis. He has an intriguing goal the way he’s still struggling with self-worth provide plenty room for character development as the show goes on. It’s also a neat choice to call back some of the key events in Fate/Zero, although I am not sure if non-Fate/Zero watchers can pick up the details. All in all, this series has the right ingredients for a solid package (at least so far): a main character worth caring for, intriguing side characters that help expanding the Fate world, but until next week should we see if the cases Waver is dealing with are worth it or not.

Potential: 60%

Helghast’s review:

For those who are weary of the Fate franchise going down the route of magical girl spinoffs, gacha game adaptations and confusing extra stories, Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files is a refreshing return to its core narrative. Serving as more of a sequel than anything else to the excellent Fate/Zero, it’s going to follow Waver Velvet, survivor of the fourth Holy Grail War, as he grows into the shoes of his former mentor and teacher of Kayneth. The first episode certainly does an excellent in setting up his progression from being separated from Iskander to being a major player within the Mage Association with all the callbacks to Fate/Zero and its pivotal moments for our main characters. Now, instead of powerful historical servants smashing into each other, I’m excited to see an in-depth look into the politics and inner workings of The Clock Tower that other series have only shown small glimpses of. 

Studio TROYCA, who animated Re:Creators and Sakurako-san, is more than up to the task of making a well-produced show as its look something ufotable would produce minus the crazy special effects and shovel face character designs. Even Yuki Kajiura is back to score the music and that is a good sign that this just might be a show to add in the essential viewing of Fate instead of being another piece of waifu bloatware. 

Potential: 80%

Naka no Hito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]

Short Synopsis: A group of Let’s Players are sucked into a video game, and can only escape once they hit 100 million views.

Amun’s review:

“Trapped in a game world” is kind of an older brother to the standard rebirth Isekai genre – in both cases, worlds and characters are make or break for the show.  Naka no Hito Genome does neither well in the first episode. This looks like a poor man’s Danganronpa, which to me was fairly low on the tier list to begin with. The flaws start with the underlying characters – somehow we have managed to find an archetype less enjoyable than normal shut-in gamers – then move on to the animation (what are those background effects?), choppy direction, and generally sloppy storytelling.  I’m really not that interested in sitting through each character’s back story followed by a nonsensical, poorly animated big baddie with an ambiguous cliffhanger. I might give this another episode to change my mind, but this one is probably a pass from me.

Potential: 10%

Wooper’s review:

Trapped-in-a-video-game series are a dime a dozen. Without fail, the main draw of the genre is the virtual worlds themselves, so it hardly matters how the characters get there. Maybe some malevolent puppet master traps them in a VR session, or maybe they die and their souls wander into the digital realm. Or maybe they sneeze so hard that they end up inside a game, as is the case in Naka no Hito Genome. Sure, that moment may have been preceded by a mysterious email promising to spirit them away, but the most important thing is that the main character closed his eyes to sneeze, then woke up in a virtual world. Things only got stupider from there, with a llama-masked teacher explaining the rules of the game in a shoehorned classroom setting. The show strikes out in terms of characters and visuals, as well. The bargain bin designs and bizarre black streaks peppered throughout the exterior scenes had me scratching my head regarding the appeal of this series. As far as I can tell, the only reason to try Naka no Hito would be that you dream of your favorite IRL Let’s Play person getting sucked into a game. If that’s you, please watch this so I don’t have to.

Potential: 10%

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    For some reason, I get the feeling that O Maidens was what Mari Okada wanted AnoHana to be like before her ideas got railroaded in favor of the show we actually got. I remember there being an Anime News Network article mentioning that she originally wanted Anohana to be about teens’ sexual awakenings.

    Oh, and if you think Okada’s works are melodramatic, I dare you to read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Her melodrama puts Okada’s to shame, and NOT in a good way. Also, having read it, I can tell you its a terrible book.

  2. Avatar Masky says:

    Waith, Genome is about being trapped in video game?

    …Huh, I read the manga and I thought it was just some island where laws of physic gets broken somehow when they play the game. Them being in video game makes more sense xD

    (I probably missed a line or scan was badly translated or something)

    Anyhoo, wouldn’t call it Danganronpa because its not about killing off the cast members

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