I’ve read a few tweets from bigger names proclaiming this anime season to be pretty slacking compared to past. I can’t really agree or disagree since I tossed the past year out, but 2-3 weeks after the start of this season, I remembered I was doing this season and got to downloading everything I was going to look into. And of the first three shows I’ve watched, Demi-chan wa Kataritai, eIDLIVE, and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, so far, good start. One is about monster girls, another is about space police, and the last is about a dragon maid living with a female software developer. Mainstream weebs and their need for ONE PIECE or some shit. I am a minimalist weeb. I enjoy the simple stuff. Keep going.
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
“Here be dragons.”
I wrote in my preview that I expected nothing but cute and funny. What I got instead was a decent chunk of software development jabs beneath a creamy layer of D-FOR-DRAGONS maid dragon and her electric-sapping kid dragon with what I assume will be more dragons cramming themselves into Kobayashi’s otherwise meaningful existence I know all too well, minus the binge drinking and conversations about maid outfits.
I think what I am surprised more by is that this is a KyoAni entry in this season. My experience with KyoAni shows has taught me that they usually either go for some kind of cerebral affair that always comes up short. But after Amagi Brilliant Park and Hibike! Euphonium rather did it for me in the technical execution and sweet feels for my old elementary school brass days, it seems like they’re making a better effort to put forth something that can just rest on its premise without going super-crazy. I say “seems like” only because I’ve been absent the last year. I say “rest on its premise” because for a show like Maid Dragon to be good, all it has to do is two things:
1. Never change Kobayashi’s character, that of a aloof, dulled software developer who has resigned to her fate of having to do six people’s work because senior developers are pompous assholes, and is prone to drinking and uncontrollable outbursts about Victorian maids with her otaku co-worker.
2. Create situational comedy out of the dragons interacting with the human world
Being KyoAni, they will probably try to insert some kind of plot midway through, like how Tooru ended up with a sword in her, or why she came into the human world. I’m prepared for that second-layer story inevitability, but I really could just be okay with a quiet slice-of-life show about various bumbling dragon-girls interacting with a single office worker of the IT persuasion. It’s a far better sell than the usual bumbling dumbshit male leads we get that end up with stupid sexy dragon girls to form a harem before becoming some alternate-world hero. I just hope I can survive to the end of this show before seeing at least one CLASS or CONTAINER joke about four dragons in a flat together. Devs, don’t disappoint me.
- “I’m secretly an otaku” – I won’t lie, I am interested in Takiya’s character within the workplace construct. I’ve never hid my weeb status from my current or past IT jobs, and it hasn’t really done me much harm considering my team is mostly made up of gamers, weebs, and other nerd interests. But even then, I have few people I really interact with on the same level about weeb interests since few people do what I am doing here, watching fresh shows or writing about them. When I talk weeb shop with most people, I get whatever was on Crunchyroll, or popular shows from years ago like SAO. That is why I tend to talk shop on Twitter, because Anitwitter has the people who “get me, and stuff”. So I am interested to see if Takiya will just be a sidekick foil for Kobayashi’s lust for maids, or actually matter to the show. To quote the big space heads, SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.
- D, for Dragon – The fanservice element here is obviously Tooru’s dragonballs, but I then have to question, why does our poor female lead not have some assets there to work with? I mean, I suppose the sweaters and work shirts could be obfuscating a later reveal, or it serves to fuel a little boob-envy, but man, it’s not often we get a female lead harem here. Show her some love. Never let it be said I wasn’t an equal-opportunity-size-advocate.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai
“Not quite the Interview with a Vampire you might’ve expected.”
Having read most of the Monster Musume manga years before the anime was made, I was already familiar with Japan’s somewhat interesting affair with otherworldly and standard-fare creatures and monsters, and their efforts to “moe-ify” them. Demi is no different in that regard, putting us in a school with a swoll looking biology teacher interested in writing a thesis on “demi-humans”. However, they’ve only identified four so far, vampires, dullahan, a snow woman, and succubus. That comes in the form of a hyper-active and smug-cheeky vampire girl, a shy but lovestruck headless girl, a snow woman, and a succubus math teacher trying to keep her powers in check so as to not be a sex offender.
Given how the premise is Takahashi interviewing demi-humans for his work, I had this weird thought that this series would be more interesting if it were done up sort of how The Office was, in that interview-room format in-between scenes with constant fourth-wall breaking moments. I’m often surprised anime never thinks to play around with some of the current and former American sitcom formats, because it would make for some interesting anime.
Still, Demi covers the bases in decent characters in a decent plot without overreaching. But I’m more interested to see when Satou breaks down and goes FULL SUCC on someone. I mean, you know you want to see it.
- Dullahan head and body mechanics – Monster Musume’s dullahan seemed to suggest that the head could be put on the body and still operated somewhat normally, but here, Kyouko is shown as always having her head in her hands, or sitting nearby as she does work. The second episode demonstrates even how it can be separated pretty far away but still maintain complete control and feeling. Not even Headless Nixon and Agnes in Futurama had it that good.
“Good cop. Bad cop. Bad Angel cop.”
I tend to have a more cautious approach with Studio Pierrot shows, after all, they’ve been the force behind the most popular shounen shows in the past twenty years that weren’t Dragonball. But, they’ve also had their hands in some good older gems like Tokyo Underground. Despite its somewhat cheesy premise and obvious hamfisting in areas, I was curious to see if it would present a fresh take on what the Tenchi Muyo franchise sort of tried to do with Tenchi GXP but didn’t.
Suffice to say, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It has great touches and a solid universe base, being a space police organization of various creatures and persuasions, but the characters themselves are somewhat lackluster. Chuuta is super-awkward and the whole “talks-to-self-but-SECRET-ALIEN” bit felt too forced. For Nanoha, having the magic ferret up and appear and set her up for a future in Space Military simply felt like a call-to-arms. Here, we’re using the good ol’ SPECIAL ALIENS MUST MEAN HE IS A WIZARD approach, and I fear that will set him up for being Police Jesus with plot armor thicker than Freedom Gundam in the middle of Destiny.
But, the monster-a-week format (presumably), the much more pragmatic and practical Sonokata to keep our hero from ever being self-confident, and the eventual introduction of more student police, might keep this show balanced enough to make me enjoy just that simple “doing space things”. I guess I can’t quite put my finger on what it bugging me about this show yet. Guess I’ll need to watch more to figure it out.
- Angel Sonokata – But why?
- Chuuta is a Trill – I shouldn’t be surprised that they’re going down the route of symbiotic being rather than a random space alien just chilling with his homie for his entire life. But it also begs the question as to the validity of Chuuta’s memories. In Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Jadzia Dax had several instances where she had to confront the memories of her past hosts. I wonder if Chuuta is seeing memories of his alien friend but they have been altered to appear as his own. I think this was also the subject of a Voyager episode, but in that case it was a parasite that altered memories of every host it passed. I never expect anime to account for western science fiction plots, but hey, worth dreaming.
I have plenty more to chew through, so stay tuned.