First Impression – Mekakucity Actors

Don’t look away.

Finally, I have time to write this. I’m a huge fan of Jin (as I’ll ramble on about later), so this is the anime I’ve been looking forward to the most in Spring. Kyo should be joining me with this series eventually (Kara no Kyokai lives on!), but she’s currently on vacation. Anyways, on to the the first episode.

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To be fair, if you had a room like that, would you want to leave?

This episode was more of a character introduction than anything. So far, we have Ene, Shintaro, and a few other people who haven’t really been introduced yet. Ene (no, sorry, that’s not really Hatsune Miku) is pretty… loud. She has her moments (like her threatening Shintaro with his porn file), but Shintaro really must have his hands full with her personality. As for Shintaro, he’s the HikiNEET of the story. …Not that they really explained it, but he’s been stuck in that room for about 2 years. He wasn’t really a NEET for long in the episode though. The reason behind him becoming one also won’t be explained for a while.  As for the handful of other characters introduced, Kano displayed that he kind of has issues. Kido (the girl in the purple)’s voice is just too perfect. The HanaKana character didn’t even have any lines. So the next episode will be more character introductions.

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I didn’t expect them to put so much emphasis and mystery surrounding Ayano (the red scarf girl) in the first episode. I suppose she’s important for connecting certain things, but they’re introducing her with absolutely no intention on clearing up who she actually is. …Though they didn’t really properly introduce anyone, did they? I think they might have mentioned Ene’s name once and Shintaro is pretty much only known as “master”. It’s interesting that they’re saving the introductions for now. The characters aren’t known by names, but how they act.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about SHAFT perpetually making the same anime over and over again, but think about it for a moment. Half of the episode was some guy yelling at his computer/phone. If not for the SHAFT-ness, what would there be to look at? Bringing up the manga, the story was… kind of boring in comparison to how the songs/videos on nico would lead one to believe how the plot goes. I really believe that the typical SHAFT animations help things if they’re going to spend half the episode having people talk to one another. It’s better than nothing.

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Lesson of the episode: Leaving your iPhone unplugged is letting the terrorists win.

Er, if you thought the episode was slow,  the story does get more interesting. Some of the character’s parts are more interesting than others. This was more of an introduction than anything, and the next episode will fall into that too. …Episode 4 is the one titled “Kagerou Days” (Daze?), so anyone who’s listened to the song knows what that most likely means. Shintaro’s story (or at least this introduction one) is definitely less despair ridden than what the plot sometimes goes into. Actually, the plot gets more depressing as time goes on. The character interactions should be good though (probably). Though that all depends on how the script and such for the anime was written.

Since the episode was named after the song Jinzou Enemy, I guess that makes this the “episode of turning away your eyes”? Not that we’re on that route. It’s interesting that they’re naming the episodes after the song titles. …Though that’s how the manga went, and it’s definitely easier than coming up with new, original titles. Yeah, I’m a huge fan of the original creator of the Kagerou (Mekakucity?) Project, Jin. Words cannot describe how happy I am that he had a hand in creating (what I assume will be) the OP to the anime. …It sounds a bit weird after hearing him use Miku and IA for pretty much everything, but it’s not a bad thing. His music just sounds kind of odd with MARiA’s lower voice. I suppose it’s also nice that Jin finally got to name the series what he originally wanted to. Mekakucity was supposed to be the original name of the project, but Kagerou was infinitely more popular, so Jin kind of just… gave up on that.

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Suddenly, abstract art.

As for watching the original videos and whatnot, they’re pretty spoilerish. Even the one this episode was named after has things that haven’t happened yet and it probably wouldn’t make much sense anyways, since some events haven’t been explained. The anime/manga/novels are what tie the songs together, so they don’t really form a straight storyline alone. It’s interesting music though. …If maybe a bit high pitched sometimes.

Oh! And the fairytale-ish story at the end of the episode was pretty important for explaining a certain character. Her story will be plot relevant eventually (er, actually, it’s always plot relevant, but they’ll tie it in properly later). The animation at that part fits the story really well too, even if it’s pretty much just like some of the animation in Madoka.

Say what you want, I’m happy with the amount of SHAFT in this anime. I don’t have any complaints about the story, seiyuu or anything, really. …Okay, the story is a little slow at the moment, but that’s just to start things off. The plot should get increasingly… er, I don’t want to say “darker” (I wouldn’t say that this is quite Higurashi, Elfen Lied or Shin Sekai Yori or anything), but there’s some okay, a lot of death involved. The eye powers that you saw this episode aren’t all good things all the time. …This story is kind of hard to explain without spoiling a lot of things, but I’m really fond of it, if that means anything.

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Next up is Kisaragi Attention!

About

University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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35 Responses to “First Impression – Mekakucity Actors”

  1. Highway says:

    I’m a major complainer of the amount of Shaft-y-ness in this series. I don’t think it’s something interesting to look at, I think it’s becoming laziness. We don’t want to bother coming up with new visuals, so we’ll show the same tower with horns on it, we’ll show the same letterboxed city with power lines and telephone wires, we’ll show the same everything. To be honest, I was never super enamored with the style in the first place, so when it gets thoroughly overused like this, it’s really problematic. I think my first thought was “Now I know why Shaft hasn’t done two shows at the same time: So you don’t get tired of their schtick.”

    But really, it felt not like this was a Shaft show, but that this was pretty much an *exact copy* of Monogatari. I mean, [email protected] felt like a Shaft show, but it didn’t repeatedly go to the well like this show did. Shinbou has made plenty of shows that have enough of a different look. That this one didn’t do *anything* different is a sad indictment, imo.

    • Karakuri says:

      I am and will probably always be a fan of SHAFT’s animation. So no complaints here. Really, so many anime studios do the exact same thing almost every time. Just look at Kyoani.

      • Highway says:

        I dunno, there’s signature style things (and sometimes KyoAni does that too much) and then there’s complete setting reuse, which is what this seemed like to me. It wasn’t Monogatari ‘vibes’ it was “Monogatari with different voices”.

        • Foshizzel says:

          Studios like JC Staff they do a lot of shots of the back alleys of buildings we see it in Index, Railgun, Shana and Witch Craft Works it all feels like the same city with all their shows.

          As far as Shaft goes yeah I know they do a lot of copy paste in most of their shows, but I look at that as a style choice much like the overuse of head tilts and strange backgrounds like in Nisekoi.

    • thorgriim says:

      I personal Like SHAFT’s style though I wouldn’t say it’s great either because I do agree that’s it’s a lazy,and ya it does feel like Monogatari with different voices haha. for me it’s artistic and somewhat fancy, and well.. completely different style out there. but i wont deny that its alot copy and paste and overused.

  2. JapanInspired says:

    After watching the PV’s I somehow had a feeling that the anime was going to be pretty bad. But still being a huge fan of Kagerou Project, couldnt wait for the subs and watched the episode RAW.
    Oh boy, thank god I was wrong. The 1st episode was amaaaaazing.
    It’s so different from the books and manga. And I like that you can enjoy it even though you know the story pretty well.
    And it gives such a huge Bakemonogatari feeling.
    The animation is so crisp and beautiful, I couldnt not think about that.
    And the Seiyuu’s are doing a great job.
    It’s a pleasure to watch.
    Cant wait for the next episode!

    I have no idea if they’ll have time for animating the moment when Show ▼

    But I would love to see that.

    • Karakuri says:

      Really? My excitement grew with every PV since I thought they got the seiyuu spot on. I mean, Kano and Kido’s are perfect as far as I’m concerned. But yes! I’m happy that things are going well.

      I want to see that part too! Show ▼

      • JapanInspired says:

        I dont know why I thought that this could be bad XP

        Show ▼

  3. Foshizzel says:

    I know nothing of Mekakucity but damn the animation was great so a huge thanks to Shaft for doing what they do best! Style <3

    Ene was such a fun character to watch and give her a goofy voice provided by Asumi Kana and I am sold!

    • Karakuri says:

      Ahaha I figured you’d like Ene, Fosh. xD

    • BlackBriar says:

      There was no hiding that Nyaruko voice of hers.

      • akagami says:

        I was wondering why the voice sounded a tad familiar… now I know.

        • BlackBriar says:

          If you saw Strike the Blood, it was Kana Asumi voicing Kojou and Yukina’s daughter from the future, Reina Akatsuki. Asumi was using her Nyaruko voice for that character as well.

          • Foshizzel says:

            Yeah that was a great role for her as well! She actually got to fight again like Nyaruko xDD

          • akagami says:

            I didn’t notice it as much in that role, probably because it was more of a daughter-parent situation than a servant-master type.

      • thorgriim says:

        Totally like hearing and watching Ene, made the episode even more awesome and now for some reason I find myself falling in love with Kana Asumi more than before.. maybe because she in so much this season haha, though soon she will be in everything like that other kana =P

        And ya I sorta want an Ene for my pc.. or a shinobu hmm…haha

  4. akagami says:

    I like Shaft’s style, so it doesn’t really bother me at all.

    The first episode didn’t cover much ground, but it’s interesting enough that I’ll follow it for now.

    From the description I had read I thought Ene had disappeared due to something being broken so that’s why I thought he had to go out… but it ended up being his keyboard, lol. Don’t you have spares (but then again I personally have 2 computers + 1 laptop, on top of other’s computers, so I got extras lying around)?

    I missed that end card!!! I like!

    • Karakuri says:

      Same here.

      Ahaha descriptions can be misleading. I’m wondering how he got through 2 years of sitting in his room like that without any keyboard mishaps.

      I think this is the first anime I’ve seen that had 2 end cards. Though the Kisaragi Attention end card wasn’t as good as the one I put on the post.

      • akagami says:

        I finally upgraded to a mechanical keyboard, and was like “omg, where have you been all my life?” It was like when I discovered the joy of dual monitors.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Love at first sight? 😉

          • akagami says:

            Not quite, I was in the “that looks so pointless and is a waste of money” camp, until I tried it and turned into a believer.

            • BlackBriar says:

              So it was an “eye of the beholder” moment.

            • akagami says:

              Hmm, more like if you use the computer more than a little, it makes life a little more comfortable and convenient. If you’re a casual user than the benefits aren’t really as noticeable.

              Dual screens is awesome for multi-tasking. You never need to alt-tab again. Mechanical keyboards just make typing so smooth it’s like gravy. But if you don’t type a lot than it’s a waste, yes.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’m wondering how he got through 2 years of sitting in his room like that without any keyboard mishaps.

        It was sheer dumb luck that finally ran out on him. It was time to head back into reality.

  5. Overcooled says:

    I completely forgot that this was done by SHAFT, but a few minutes in I realized it was SHAFT. I mean, it’s impossible not to tell based on their signature style. I think they do a really good job at making lengthy dialogues/monologues visually interesting, so I’m pretty pleased that they’re doing this too. They’re making it work.

    I didn’t expect this to be so good! Maybe I was just wary after Black Rock Shooter bombed so badly…

    • Karakuri says:

      …I’d be worried for you if you didn’t notice that this was SHAFT. xD I like SHAFT waaay better than still shots of two people talking, so it’s a plus.

      Yes! This isn’t Black Rock Shooter! xD …Or hopefully it won’t be. In a comment below, I was informed that this is slightly a different story from the ones I know. Though it’s still by Jin, so we should be okay (probably).

    • thorgriim says:

      I think they do a really good job at making lengthy dialogues/monologues visually interesting, so I’m pretty pleased that they’re doing this too. They’re making it work.

      I couldn’t agree with you more!

      • BlackBriar says:

        Well, Shaft has gotten years of practice with animating the Monogatari Series since Bakemonogatari in 2009.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    My interest in checking this show out grew the more character PVs were being broadcast, so the hype was steadily increasing. The first thought after seeing the episode came to this: Monogatari + Dararara!!= Mekakucity Actors.

    I always have to keep in mind these series are usually adaptations from manga. And it’s because I rarely read the manga that I’m not very flustered with what’s shown in the episode since there isn’t any incentive to make comparisons. And I’m prone to make those, one way or another (Between various series, to be specific). In my opinion, it was an acceptable startup episode though being slow. SHAFT’s signature animation style couldn’t be hidden even if someone’s life depended on it. With such similarities as the building designs and head tilts. Not to mention the entirety was dialogue heavy.

    One of these days, there should be some kind of documentary that explains how NEETs/shut-ins are able to bankroll themselves to maintain their isolationist lifestyle. How Shintaro managed to evade contact with the outside world for two full years is beyond me. Ene may be loud but she’s fun and gets points for causing waves in Shintaro’s life. Plus, having Kana Asumi as her seiyuu makes a perfect fit.

    • d-LaN says:

      Correction, it has been stated that Mekakucity Actors will have original story written by Jin (he also wrote the songs and the LNs/manga). I also heard LN readers saying that the manga and the LN diverge at some point. I have yet to read finish the first LN so I can’t confirm this.

      As for where Shintaro get his $$$ and his house, I’m pretty sure the next episode should answer that given what his sister is working as.

      • Karakuri says:

        Oh, see I had no idea that this was going to have an original story. …Though I assume that the key points will be the same. I didn’t know that the LNs diverged either. …I attempted to read the first one in Japanese at some point, but I’m really lazy and I wasn’t THAT motivated, so I can’t confirm that either.

    • Karakuri says:

      Er, I wouldn’t quite say that this is like Drrr! In that anime, everyone kind of did their own thing and the stories sometimes converged. In this one, I’d say there’s just a bit more of a team effort.

      As for the NEET thing, what d-LaN said.

  7. skylion says:

    I don’t mind the Shaft re-use, it comes down to how story and character come across. This one was a bit snoozy for me. I enjoyed Ene’s general pranky nature, but just was not enthused by the MC’s NEET tendencies.

    I hear the second episode gets better, so I will catch up and make a better judgement.

    • BlackBriar says:

      The second episode features a completely different character, though.

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