|Yeah really, it was the “birthday” of the three heroines of the Prisma Illya franchise this July 20th. I think I bring that point up to illustrate the fact that I’m not only not blogging full time this season, but it’s the first Summer since I joined Metanorn, that I won’t be able to blog of that show, cause there’s nothing there to blog? Coincidence?! Yes. Yes it is. But this is, as the title implies, a few slices of the season, so don’t expect full posts for these shows. Heck, some of them are only getting sentences from me.|
Knights’ & Magic
Goodness, you cannot kill the beast that is the isekai genre. So long as the imagination reigns, the narrative of escape to another world will always be a large and figurative destination. The past decade or more of anime has shown that as a certain collection of tropes get popular, those tropes will continue to happen in great big old gloopy trends – even if that particular collection is giving long time fans a great deal of fatigue. How much more can you really say with the metaphor? “Oh, I was secretly awesome all along, all I had to do was die and go to another world as my reward?”
Knights’ & Magic, however, is not the show that’s going to anything different. It’s way to breezy and way to easy, and it exists in a world after RE: Zero. It’s early yet, but it looks like it’s built on pure gamified escapism. It’s just kinda there in comparison to other stuff in the genre. The main character learns things because that’s what he is supposed to do, not because there is any compelling reason for him to do so. There is almost no tension or drama or drama as a result, and characterization for what it, is flat. Still, I do love the basic idea and the design, and it’s not exactly something that will tax me melon. I really like seeing the evolution of magic as an actual science that can be explored and innovated on. That’ a good metaphor regardless of the genre it finds itself in, and that’s what I’m watching if for.
But the only reason I even bring this show up is that with the competitive streaming we’ve seen over the past couple of years, everything that is so very very old will become very very new to a new crop of fans. I’m actually quite fine with that. If anything I hope that the past decade or so has given studios the chance to refine their techniques, and present the best they can to long time and new time fans alike. So yeah, this genre, the idol genre, and all the combinations of CGDCTs, etc. can and will keep on keepin’ on.
OK! So what happens when that world that is being escaped to is our plain and boring old Earth. Stupid Earth, it doesn’t even have wizards. Well, we rather do have them, it just depends on where you look and the definition that you give to magic. For most folk, I think the fine art of cookery might as well be magic. Don’t know how to hold a magic wand the right way? Well, I’m willing to bet that out a good sized sample, most don’t even know how to use a chef’s knife the right way either. But for all that counts, it’s the food that gets to the soul of this outing, and there is definitely something magical and warm about the restaurant in another world.
Out of the episodes I’ve watched the overwhelming focus is on food, so everyone is seeing the same thing I am, right? But there are other places that manage to keep my attention as well. First, it may seem like such an obvious plot point that the simplicity cannot be anything other than what it clearly states that it is. The Special Plot Point Magic Door that only appears at weekly intervals. Much like Gate, this gives that fantasy world a bottleneck so to speak, so we don’t get overwhelmed with these strangers. But this establishes a central and key point that Isekai Shokudou is trying to convey. Food is something that does more than just provide fuel for the body and mind. These dishes are something to appreciate.
But even more than that, the guests also manage to spell out a point that their sheer Koufuku Graffiti and Shokugeki no Souma-like foodgasms don’t really transcribe. I get the feeling that the restaurant in an oasis of sorts among the chaos in their lives. From our perspective, the other world they come from doesn’t have much of a peace dividend, and it’s still taking shape from the chaos that spawned it. So we see a unique yet unified point of view from the patron that had to stop to devour each and every shrimp even though he had urgent business back in his world, to the dragon that cannot seem to do without a pot of stew every week, to the wheat merchant that is part of a long and productive chain of providing good ingredients for sustenance and pleasure and soul. Plus you really can make every single dish they offer. Bon appetit!
It’s good to see one of my favorite shows return for a second outing. I think Doga Kobo would be foolish to not secure a second series of New Game. It was a very well made show first time out, and the response was a complete success in terms of sales all across the board. I think that it was able to rise above its expectations of, “like Shirobako only for games” by using games as a set of figurative language tools. New Game is about Aoba’s slow but steady progression into the adult work of slow and steady progress. We don’t always lead the most exciting of lives, but the hard work and time we’ve invested does pay handsomely in the long run.
I’ve enjoyed !! from its opening scenes to all the progress it has made from that point on. Aoba comes in with the expectation that she will be honoured as a Senpai just by simply being at Eagle Jump longer than any prospective new hire. They burst that bubble rather quick in quite a few ways. I especially like how they reintroduce us to Yagami, perfectly happy to provide fanservice, and to point out that she really hasn’t changed all that much – the grand way we see her every episode. I remarked while blogging for the show last year that they couldn’t do that every time without devaluing it, and I’m glad to see they didn’t do it every episode. Since it didn’t happen the second time this time around, they’re really ready to push the envelope. Or the sleeping bag.
By having the both of them collaborate, we’ve opened the show up to something beautiful By breaking down the creative process, we see that they are going into that series of starts and stops and revaluations along with renewed work ethic and approach. But for that I’ll just point out Marina’s awesome take on the matter.
…and the rest!
Centaur no Nayami/// It’s as light and as fluffy as you would expect from the PV material. But as a school life show it somehow seems a bit dimmer compared to similar fare. Demi-chan packs more punch with it’s characters being unique among “normal” humans, and Monster Musume mines a completely different territory.
Tenshi no 3P!/// It seems that Project No. 9 cannot stay away from the loli characters. If you had enough of them with Ro-Kyu-Bu then this shouldn’t even be on your radar. It has a much derpier premise than even that show, and so far the characters aren’t even standing out as much. Feel a bit like a step down, actually. You don’t have to watch it.
Aho Girl/// Just watch. It’s a short, it’s silly, and it’s good old brain damaged fun.
Tsurezure Children/// Short and sweet little vignettes about hooking up, failing to hook up, not even trying to hook up, and other such tragedies. Watch it.
Gamers!/// At the outset, it’s a club show, only it’s not. It’s another romance show, and it’s quite good. It’s mostly about unrequited love and what happens after that. Watch it.
…and well, in all honesty, it looks like that’s it for me. To be sure, I’m watching many other shows. This was just a brief look at a few of them. There are some shows on the schedule that ended up being made of pure nope, and since I really didn’t watch much of them, I don’t really have anything to say about them beyond, “not my thing”. So with that in mind, I hope everyone is enjoying the season and I’ll see you around. Please feel free to comment.