Posted by SuperMario on 9 July 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Vinland Saga

Short Synopsis: For a thousand years, the Vikings have made quite a name and reputation for themselves as the strongest families with a thirst for violence. Thorfinn, the son of one of the Vikings’ greatest warriors, spends his boyhood in a battlefield enhancing his skills in his adventure to satisfy his desire for vengeance.

Lenlo’s review:

This is it Wit, this is everything I wanted. Sure I could nitpick that the CGI isn’t perfect 100% of the time. Or that the OP by Survive Said the Prophet isn’t my style of music. But you know what, I don’t care. Everything else is gold for me. From the downright stunning background art, to the great soundtrack and stellar character designs. These detailed designs and backgrounds don’t get in the way of animation either. Wit knows when to focus on what aspects, and I love it. The VA’s don’t always match what was in my head while reading either, but I will chalk that up to vikings speaking Japanese. As is though, Wit have proven themselves with this opening 3 episodes. Going so far as to alter the chapter order to better fit an anime format. This is the kind of adaptation everyone wants. Constructive changes, rather than destructive ones, showing they know and care about the source material. If Wit can keep this up throughout the next 21 episodes, this is easily my AotS, with this being the best premiere in a while for me. The hardest part will be the 3 week break between now and the next episode. My body is ready Wit. Don’t let me down.

Potential: All the %. Infinity %.

Armitage’s review:

Studio Wit has been on a roll lately. With the recently concluded season 3 of Attack on Titan, they already surpassed all expectations fans of that manga would have had from the anime. Yup, they knocked that one right out of the park and then some. But it seems like they aren’t satisfied by just patting themselves on the back. Enter Vinland Saga. A manga, epic in every sense of the word, widely considered as unadaptable because of its godly art (which might arguably be second best only to Vagabond, in the entire medium). A solid adaptation seemed like a herculean task. And what do Wit do with it? Well, they knock it out of the park again! There’s so much to like about this adaptation as a fan of the manga. The lush backgrounds, the choreography of the fight scenes, the impeccable sound design, the choice of the (inevitably japanese) seiyuus. Oh, and did I mention we have best OP and ED of the season? Yup. It’s all here. And it all, somehow, just clicks together so beautifully. For anime only viewers, I can’t sell this enough. It’s one of the most gripping tales of revenge, hope, history and loss, told with a real flair for the epic, by Yukimura-sensei. The kind we rarely come across, anime or otherwise. If you have to watch only one anime this season, make it this one.      

Potential: 100% is selling this short.

Helghast’s review:

Unlike some of the writers here, I’m going into this blind so I don’t have any expectations other than its reputation of it being an epic saga set in the age of the Vikings. With each and every one of their previous shows being well-animated, Studio Wit doesn’t disappoint at all by showing off their trademark rotating action sequence in the first five minutes. From that point on, the action dials down to ease us into a world where ruthlessness and violence is the way of life for the people of nordic countries. So often in anime, violence is used a means to be edgy but it suits Vinland Saga just fine as it doesn’t even bother to tone it down while being historically accurate. If you are disillusioned with how infrequent the Berserk manga updates or its terrible anime counterpart, Vinland Saga is a perfect choice to scratch that itch with its faithful adaptation, a bombastic OP and another great ED from Aimer which I’m sure that fans will love. I can see why they decided to release three episodes in a row in order to capitalize on the hype by quickly reaching the crux of the prologue without rushing the pacing and dragging out from week to week. However, this bold strategy is also a double-edged sword as now we wait for a painful three weeks to see how it all it plays out for Thors and his son, Thorfinn.   

Potential: 85%

Re:Stage! Dream Days

Short Synopsis: A girl transfers to a new school and joins an Idol club.

Lenlo’s review:

If nothing else, Dream Days is clearly the superior idol show between the two I watched for this post. It looked good, the art was clean and the animation better than I had expected. In particular the 2D animated dance sequence that is normally relegated to 3D CGI for Idols. There were also some clever shots and scene decisions made. Such as the OP switcheroo into an actual character introduction that caught me off guard. The worst I can say about Dream Days is that it simply isn’t my kind of show. It was never going to appeal to me because it was a quintessential Idol show. If that’s not your cup of tea, turn back now. However based on what I have watched, I feel comfortable saying its a good fit for anyone who enjoys the genre. Everything it needs to be successful is there. It’s just not my kind of show.

Potential: 25%

Mario’s review:

I give it 20% for animating the dance routine in hand-drawn style, and another 5% for occasionally beautiful shot composition (just look at the second screenshot), otherwise we have a fairly generic set-up of what would be a right-on-average idol show. As it is the case now in almost every idol show, when you get to the performance part, the disastrous CG models stand out in a bad way. Re:Stage (a little sister of Re:Zero and a daughter of Re:Life and maybe distant cousin of Re:Creators) reminds us once and again that it is much more effective when you stick with the traditional hand-drawn. The story department, however, is pretty much formulaic so far. We have lead girl gets introduced to her new school, to her new club and suddenly she can dance very well because “my body just moves by its own”. Fans of idol show will have lots to like it, as the characters are fun to watch and from the ED it looks like 3 more (some of them already appear in the background) will join the club and so far it does make some attempt of fleshing out the main lead. For those who aren’t fond of idol shows or CGDCT there’s not much to see here.

Potential: 25%

Ensemble Stars!

Short Synopsis: A group of low-ranking male students at an idol academy aim to overthrow its draconian student council.

Wooper’s review:

You know, I reserved a tiny spark of hope for this project coming into it. I’ve never seen a good bishounen idol series, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay bad forever. Unfortunately, Ensemble Stars won’t be the one to snap the genre’s losing streak, as it’s prone to all the same cliches as the rest. The female lead has only two lines of dialogue that aren’t “Huh?” or “Eh?” or parroting something the boys have said. The guys are all super cute, but their sparkly appearances are wasted on stock character types: genki boy, bookworm boy, loner boy, macho boy, etc. There’s no hint anywhere in the series that they’ve lived outside of this school, so the whole production feels one-dimensional. The plot is a familiar mash-up of idol aspirations and student council machinations that left me struggling to care. Only the visuals have any polish, and it’s limited to one combat sequence and a handful of poses. Look forward to those moments only if you’re a fan of idol boys – otherwise, skip this show.

Potential: 5%

Lenlo’s review:

For anyone that has read almost anything I have written on this site, I am sure my opinion on this show is already known. It’s an idol show without even the eye-candy. That’s a rather rude thing to say, but I don’t like Idol Shows inherently, and I find their sole purpose is to put cute girls on a screen in skimpy Idol outfits. It’s a fanservice genre to the end. Ensemble doesn’t even give me that. Instead throwing generic stock male characters into a room, giving them a VA with a decent singing voice. Ensemble is, at its core, a generic anime made for a generic game. That David Production is somehow producing Fire Force in the same season as this confounds me to no end. This is a hard pass for me. The first episode alone was almost impossible to get through.

Potential: 0%

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