Off to the races once more!
As a reminder, I watch every licensed premiere and do at least a brief writeup about them. I’ll do full meet ‘n’ greets for shows that caught my interest enough to warrant it. Everything else gets a blurb explaining what I liked, didn’t like, and why the show might not or didn’t make the cut.
The fall deluge of new shows has begun, and despite that exciting tag line, it’s been more like a five-car pileup than a “race” at this point. I like to include at least one full meet ‘n’ greet in each of these, and it took a whole lotta panning before I found one. Hit the jump for a flicker of potential, a half-naked doctor, and a pile of light novel nope.
Original Series: Directed by Nakayama Atsushi (Absolute Duo) and Kikuchi Yasuhito (Infinite Stratos); written by Nomura Yoichi (Eureka Seven, Darker Than Black)
Streaming On: Crunchyroll (click here for a list of regions)
In a Sentence: Young miner Sogo and his friends stumble upon a rare strain of the crystal, Giftium, as well as the feathered girl sleeping within it.
How was it? A bit confusing, but competently directed and with the potential for plenty of future story lines.
Comet Lucifer had one of those premieres that’s difficult to judge because a lot was introduced and very little fully explained. After the deluge of awkward exposition I had to handle from the other shows this weekend, I was frankly relieved to find a series that trusted its audience enough to throw us into the world and let us work out what’s going on as we go. Whether it can make good on that trust remains to be seen, but I’m willing to come back and find out.
For now, we’ve got multiple characters and plot points in the air. A planet called “Gift” and the Giftium crystals buried within it. A government/military organization mining for red Giftium and a protagonist doing the same. A girl trying to escape an arranged marriage and a fiancee determined to see the wedding through. A sleeping feathered girl who came from a crystal and seems to have the power to summon a mecha of some sort. Again, I couldn’t tell you where this is going, if the story will hold up, or if the characters will prove compelling, but so far there’s nothing to hate and a lot to pique my interest. Comet Lucifer, you have my attention.
On the Fence
Young Black Jack
Based on a manga that is, in turn, based on Osamu Tezuka’s classic Black Jack manga, this is the story of a genius maverick medical student in the late 1960s and his miracle surgeries. I’m familiar with Black Jack, though I haven’t seen more than a handful of episodes something like a decade ago, but the series is newbie-friendly, using a young female intern as a perspective character to help introduce the story.
The premiere is absurd, full of self-serious melodrama, exceedingly detailed abs and pecs, Christ imagery, and dubious medical procedures. I laughed a lot, and I don’t think I was supposed to. Even so, I wouldn’t say I disliked it—it’s entertaining in its sincerity, and the historical setting is an inherently interesting one. It didn’t quite earn a full meet ‘n’ greet, but depending on how the rest of the season shakes out, I might come back to it.
Lance ‘N Masques
A checklist of cute girls and a boy raised as a knight given to overblown chivalric speeches, it’s the kind of premise that leaves a bad taste in the mouth right from the get-go, but mostly? It’s just boring. The director makes some attempts at bouncy animation and framing, but the dialogue and characters are so bland that all the chibis in the world can’t make them amusing or endearing. I bailed at the 10-minute mark when my eyelids started to droop.
The first five minutes are a masterclass in how not to write organic world-building, and the next five feature even more awkward exposition, this time in the form of a clunky conversation interspersed with voyeuristic shots of a girl taking a shower. Then my video froze and I took that as a sign from the anime gods to move on to something with actual competent writing. Heavy object too heavy. Dropped.
The Asterisk War (Gakusen Toshi Asterisk)
Supernatural school stories are a dime a dozen in the anime world these days, as are series that begin with the hapless male protagonist accidentally stumbling upon the main girl/love interest in her underwear, her freaking out, and the two duking it out in some kind of superpowered battle. Combine all that, add some accidental groping, and you’ve got the most formulaic and least likable series on the market. I’m out.
Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan)
See above. No, seriously. They’re basically the same damn show. The male protag has a little more personality and the female love interest is a little more insufferable, but supernatural school? student battle system? dude meeting girl in her underwear and girl freaking out about it? Check, check, and check. I wasn’t kidding about that “formulaic” bit, y’know.