Posted on 4 November 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San

This. This is what I was asking for, and it delivered. This episode finally starts to create a distinct voice for itself by not adding to the hodgepodge of comedic styles this show already had, opting for a slow, drawn-out humor rather than the experimentation this show seemed to be doing with these past four episodes. It’s finally good to see this show starting to show some consistency, at least in the style of comedy it’s trying to go for.

Besides that, the part about the bully in Kohina’s school was mind-numbingly dull. I don’t see the jokes about the flower working for a Westerner with no prior knowledge of the context behind Japanese flowers, so the first half of this episode was very painful to sit through. However, I wouldn’t fault this on the show by any means, and I’m sure I would have appreciated it far better than I did had I known.

Let me talk about gender-bending real quick. Often, it’s over-used as fan service of the lowest degree and is one of the worst things a writer can do without giving the proper context. In addition, the explanations given for such gender-swaps are usually so contrived and idiotic that I can’t help but wonder who these shows were supposed to pander to. Even if one has a gender-bend fetish, wouldn’t they want their material being handled with all proper respect? Just like fan service, even gender-bending stories are proper in the right context- and in this spectrum, Gugugure! Kokkuri-San handles gender-bending excellently. Not only is the reason for sex-changes perfect for this story (they’re all spirits/gods, so they’re genderless), it’s handled in such a way that the fan service is covert/almost entirely nonexistent. Chiefly, Inugami. He may only be a side character, but he remains one of the most interesting character next to Shigaraki thanks to this ability. The character interactions change dynamically with Shigaraki when Inugami turns into a female this episode, and this was easily the second highlight of this episode, which was pretty damn funny.

I really started to enjoy this episode after the first half of the episode, as Kokkuri-San and Inugami enroll in Kohina’s school under cover, allowing for more character development for Kohina whilst getting some genuinely good laughs in.The school setting this episode seems to introduce dynamicism  to the plot by expanding the scope of the character interactions- now, not only do we get to see Kohina interact with the spirits, we also get to see how Kohina, the spirits, and the classmates all mingle simultaneously.

If this show keeps going at this pace, it can finally polish itself to become a really great series, possibly better than Barakamon.

Posted on 28 October 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San

By now, I have a general idea of how the writers are going to go forward with this show. This show continues to jump the gun without setting up a clear voice for itself while pulling off some genuinely fun comedy, creating this weird combination that is somewhat off-putting yet fairly enticing.

However, this episode has its share of very dull/odd moments, which just serves to prove my point about this show’s lack of consistency in both humor and voice. When Kokkuri-san follows Kohina to school, we’re introduced (no spoilers) to a particular character we would never expect to see in a story based around Japanese folklore- this was something one would expect out of Nichijou. While the show is self-aware and points that out itself, it doesn’t change the fact that up to this point, it did not do a single thing to lead us to believe that this show was anything like a surreal comedy. While the previous episodes certainly did contain a lot of absurd humor, it was within the confines of its limited comedic spectra and therefore had zero buildup to what we got. If they’d only played with surrealist humor from the beginning, I’m sure that I could have fully appreciated parts of this episode a lot better.

The inconsistencies aside, that scene and the other parts of the episode were pretty damn funny for what they were. They introduce us to two brand new characters this episode, and Shigaraki in particular is a welcome addition to the mix. He brings a much more believable serious tone to the show, and this episode puts much effort into his character development by putting a spin on his personality that doesn’t shy away from adding a touch of dark humor through his “philanthropist” work. I really appreciate how the writers caught me by surprise just when I began rolling my eyes- because for a moment, the show looked like it was approaching the typical “mischievous person who is actually a good person” route with the character near the middle of the show.

Outside the main highlights of the episode, it was also nice to actually get some insight into Kohina’s character besides her usual static personality by showing how she behaves in her school environment. This show doesn’t take enough time to develop Kohina’s character, which isn’t a problem as long as it makes the interpersonal relationships interesting, which it does very well: That’s where this show excels in, and it’s been solid so far solely based on that- almost to a fault, since the writers are ignoring important elements of writing and comedy.

On a tangent, it’s a bit too late to mention this, but the soundtrack is very nice to listen to and complements the show very well. The opening song is still terribly annoying to listen to, but the ending is pretty nice and an overall pleasant listen. If anything, this show has charm. They played the opening of this show as the ending song in the first episode, but oh well.

If you like chibi animal mascots and something to kill time with (because face it, every season has a day in the week with crappy anime), I reckon that this show is perfect for it so far.

 

Posted on 20 October 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San

This show has a great cast, but some chinks in the armor are starting to appear in the comedy.

So far, this anime seems to lack a consistent tone, which shows through just how hit-and-miss the comedy is. It attempts to mix elements of light and dark comedy along with slice-of-life and tries to excel in all three of them, but, it feels cheap and under-delivered at times. These past three episodes were definitely good, but they suffer from some minor problems in the show’s overall comedic voice that keep it from its full potential.

I was really wondering how the creators would go forward with the show, and while the show does indeed have plenty of good laughs (especially Inugami), the inconsistency is a definite negative and a big reason for my exponentially increasing lack of interest. While comedies don’t need to concentrate so much as delivering the comedic elements well, an irresolute show like Kokkuri-San needs to find focus if it doesn’t want to devolve into a confusing mix of numerous comedic elements.

However as I stated earlier, this episode was generally funny and chock full of premium meme material. As for the acting, Kokkuri-San aside, the voices were charismatic and added a level of quirkiness to most of the cast. This show really knows how to handle its characters well; you can see the ship-worthy relationship between Inugami and Kokkuri-san continue to grow as they get to know each other better as rivals for Kohina. It was completely awesome to see Inugami’s gender-bend ability not being overused as fan service here, although I don’t know how far that’ll hold moving forward. Yes, this shows just how little faith I (along with most others) have in gender bending.

The point is, this show has problems that can easily go away once it finds a clear comedic voice for itself. Both the characters and production are excellently done, so give credit where it is due, because I remain fairly interested in this show.

Posted on 14 October 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San


Now, TMS Entertainment is a studio that covers a wide range of different shows, and over the years, I’ve known that they can make good shows-but they just weren’t making them like they used to. However, I can safely say that it is different with this one. Despite their most recent failures like The Pilot’s Love Song, Yowamushi Pedal ( which I actually liked the first 2 episodes of), and SeHa Girl, it’s a good thing that they managed to pull off a comedy series like Kokkuri-San well enough to keep me interested.

The point is, this episode was funny. What makes Gugure! Kokkuri-San enjoyable so far are the interpersonal relationships between all of our characters, and this episode had a lot of that, by introducing us to yet another interesting person from Japanese folklore. Unlike the first episode, which was a rather mixed bag, this episode was far superior in terms of comedy, and the animation brings it out really well. This anime was directed by Yoshimasa Hiraike, director of the first season of Wagnaria, so no wonder this show was executed so well this far.

The dark humor really works in this series, and finally, it’s about time we got another one. Now, don’t get me wrong, this show isn’t dark enough to be considered a true dark comedy, but hell, it’s been too long since Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei and I need my dark humor fix. It’s a very nice way of bringing out the heavier tone that a premise based on the children’s game this show is based on brings along, while managing to stay humorous and putting a twist on folklore in a way that isn’t annoying as f*ck. That’s how you turn your Japanese folklore into comedy.

Posted on 9 October 2014 with categories: Gugure! Kokkuri-San, Parasyte, Shingeki no Bahamut, Some Quick First Impressions

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a bounty hunter.
Impressions: This show gets how to make a first episode, Keiichi Satou does a superb job in introducing us to the world of Mistarcia. The various character introductions are just as well done, and the 17th Century Spain-like setting really sets the tone for the anime. The anime borrows the styles of some of my favorite Westerns and swashbuckler films, like Ivanhoe, True Grit, Three Musketeers, and The Master of Ballantrae, which I cannot praise enough for having the balls to do. This episode showed me that the series knows how to borrow those styles correctly, and as a fan of 20th Century Westerns & swashbucklers myself, I appreciated the homage. On top of that, this series really knows that it’s an anime, and you can see a lot of personality in the characters which I thought that even some Westerns lacked. This episode had a lot of things happen in 20 minutes or so, but it knows how to pace itself relatively well, using that time in the most optimal manner to show as much personality in the characters as it possibly could.  Lastly, I feel like I have to mention the soundtrack, which is yet another great homage to my favorite Spanish films from the 50’s and 70’s.

ED: A nice listen.

Potential: 90%

Parasyte

Short Synopsis: Our lead character’s right hand becomes sentient
Impressions: Okay, the marketing department really did this anime injustice; the trailer for this show sucked and pretty much failed to garner much interest (aside from fans of the manga/people who pay attention to these things). However, who cares? The first episode was great, and despite the complaints pouring in from the raging idiots about the “modernized” character designs, the animation and art were very solid. Other than that, I just need to see that the creators know what they’re doing going forward. The episode had it’s problems, but at the same time, I saw clear efforts on the part of Kenichi Shimuzu  in making this story resonate with today’s audiences to the best of his budget. Both the pacing & character introductions were very well done, succeeding without having to put in much dialogue between the characters themselves-which ultimately allowed tons of things to happen in just one episode. It’s quite a shame, really, that this sub-genre of horror (with the exception being the works of Junji Ito) hasn’t been done very well since 95′, because it’s still pretty much uncharted territory at this point. Hell, there is real potential here.

OP: Not really my kind of song.

ED: Safe

Potential: 85%

 

Gugure! Kokkuri-san

Short Synopsis: Our lead character summons Kokkuri-san.
Impressions: Okay, so this show knows how to use the comedic formula, a pleasant surprise after being months without a decent comedy since Spring. Regardless, I  have to point out the fact that this appears to be one of those comedies that are VERY hit-or-miss. I’ve read about people on forums being put off by it’s deadpan humor and the shortage of background music-which I found rather appealing, because the anime quickly sets the tone for itself within the first half of the episode. Unlike the manga, which is rather episodic in nature as all 4koma tend to be, the anime manages to keep itself from appearing too episodic, smoothly transitioning between one deadpan comedy sequence to the next. So in that sense, I was relatively pleased; the episode is largely consistent in it’s humor. Really, the only faults I can find is that it is rather boring at times, and the jokes are occasionally under delivered, leaving these uncomfortable moments when I’m trying to figure out if I was supposed to have laughed or not . For what it is worth though, the episode is fairly solid, and it might turn out to be a relatively strong comedy…But I do worry about the jokes drying up, although that’s likely an unnecessary concern, seeing how there are much more characters yet to be introduced.

ED: Bit annoying, actually.

Potential: 70%

 

Cross Ange

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is yet another Princess.
Impressions: Of course, what a great impression to make, starting off your main character’s introduction with fan service. The episode starts off with a terrible cg battle, then takes a few steps back in the timeline to fully introduce our heroine, who is yet another princess. Frankly, after the Martian princess from Aldnoah Zero, I don’t think I can stomach yet another heroine who’s a princess. Basically, the main character is painfully uninteresting, and the “twist” is so damn stereotypical that I cannot take it seriously. Who are these people? How does Ange not figure out she cannot use magic until she’s f*king 16 years old?! The entire episode’s climax revolves around the fact that Ange realizes that she cannot use magic and is therefore a Norma (a person who cannot use magic), which is why a coupe even occurs. So for the last 16 years, she herself does not figure out that she cannot use magic, while a goddamn baby gets discovered to be a Norma in the middle of the street? The only positive aspect I can squeeze out this episode is that it had dragons in it for a few seconds. Nothing else.

OP: Embarrassingly bad

ED: Generic, nothing worth noting.

Potential: 20%

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