Yes, yes it is. Welcome to Death City, Tsugumi.
|Hey, lvlln here back to blogging after a season-long hiatus. Unfortunately I couldn’t return in time for the first impressions post, but going forward I’ll be taking over this show from my able mates Fosh, OC, Kara, and Skylion. I watched the main series a few years ago and loved it to death, filler ending and all, but I do know to temper my expectations as this series is very explicitly Not! going to be like that one.|
Anya’s clearly just jealous she wasn’t invited to yuri bondage night.
Maybe it’s premature to say just 2 episodes in, but I’m starting to feel that this show has a pacing problem, one that I’m having a hard time putting my finger on. In the 45 or so minutes of the show so far, we’ve seen Tsugumi enter DWMA in Death City, Nevada, meet some classmates, find her dorm, and get a part time job. What vast ground it covered in the span of half of a feature-length film!
Well, that’s not being fair to Soul Eather Not!, since that’s not really everything that’s happened. We had a couple cool cameos from main series heroine Maka Albarn and a fight with bullies in the 1st episode, and we had a creepy and violent encounter with the dorm witch and some of Anya’s back story in this one. Such events have injected enough excitement into the episodes that they were almost never boring.
Yet I can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. Maybe it’s that the characters have been flat. The bullies in the 1st episode were far too comically evil to take seriously; they may as well have been cardboard cutouts with Post-It notes on their faces saying “needlessly mean-spirited character to challenge the protagonists so they get to know each other (and maybe believe more in themselves).” The main characters themselves aren’t all too intriguing either. Tsugumi is our heroine of course, the 1st among equals like Maka among the trio of Meisters in the main series, but what reason is there to root for her other than that she’s the designated protagonist, and she has a positive and bouncy but self doubting personality that’s oh so moe? And don’t get me started about her issues with her chest size. I can’t say Meme has left much of an impression on me either, outside of her sleep-martial-arts demonstration in this episode.
It was short, but this action scene was directed very well, with great animation supporting it. I hope to see more such scenes in the future.
Anya (I keep mis-typing that as Yayoi despite never having seen an episode of Precure in my life)’s given us more to chew on thanks to her flashback and shopping spree this episode. Certainly this thread has huge potential, but so far it’s been nothing but cliches. Things like having every hour of her life controlled at home, her finding fascination in mundane aspects of commoner life, or her lack of care or skill managing small amounts of money. Oh, and she’s quite clearly a classic tsundere for Tsugumi. I’ve been slowly falling in love with Saori Hayami in the last year, and she’s done a fine job with her Mamiko Noto voice as Anya, but she’s not enough to carry the character.
Speaking of voice actors, I’ve enjoyed relative newbie Haruka Chisuga‘s Tsugumi quite a bit. She captures the character’s earnest but unsure energy very well, like a child trying to keep her balance walking on a narrow ledge. More than anything, it feels like she’s channeling Hibiki Tachibana from
SapphoSymphogear, a role played by Aoi Yuuki, voice of co-protagonist Meme in this show. Yuuki is an industry vet despite being a little younger than Chisuga, and I’m sure her performance will be great when it comes time for Meme to shine. I’m pleased as ever hearing Chiwa Saito in her brief appearance as savior/extortionist Kim Diehl. I know Kim was in the main series, but my memory of her is nonexistent, and I’m hoping she will have a recurring role rather than just a cameo, just to hear more of Saito.
Loved Kim’s entrance here. And the short pink hair gives her a passing resemblance to my personal favorite anime character.
This episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t enthralling either. I’m just desperately waiting for something to latch onto so that I can feel invested in these girls. Comparing a 51 episode shonen with a 12 episode school comedy probably isn’t kosher, but Soul Eater proper had a goofy and exciting start that demanded attention, very much unlike this series. And just between you and me, I had gotten the impression from the 4 or so pages of the Soul Eater Not! manga I read that this was an alternate universe story with Maka doing cute things rather than a side story within the same universe, so I may be a bit disappointed that I have to watch 3 whole new cute girls doing cute things. Well, let’s be honest here, I’m mostly disappointed that Chiaki Omigawa will be – at best – a recurring character instead of the main character whose voice I’ll get to hear constantly. Oh well. It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for these new cute girls to do cute things that will make me fall for them, like Maka doing badass things that made me fall for her.