Panning the Stream: ERASED, Prince of Stride, Haruchika, Phantom World

On your mark, get set, stream!

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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.

And into the new season we go! While it’s not what I’d call a dazzling start by any stretch, there’s still one standout and some solid middle-ground potential, too. Oh, and KyoAni animating a lot of bouncing boobs. Mustn’t forget that.

Hit the jump for sleuthing, striding, and servicing. More or less in that order.

ERASED (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi)

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Studio: A-1 Pictures
Based On: The manga by Kei Sanbe (Kamiyadori, Hozuki Island)
Streaming On: Crunchyroll (click here for a list of regions)

In a Sentence: Struggling manga artist Satoru’s ability to (accidentally) jump backwards in time may help him solve a half-forgotten mystery from his past.

How was it? A great start to what could be a fascinating story.

Overall
Erased was one of two new series that pinged on my radar when I was skimming titles the other day, and this premiere does not disappoint. It’s nearly impossible to talk about without spoiling something, yet for such an eventful first episode it never felt rushed. The characters are well-articulated through their actions and conversations, the magical realism is smoothly integrated into the world, and it builds to a couple of major events that throw us right into the meat of the story and made me immediately want to watch the next episode.

I’m still not clear what kind of show this is going to be—whether it will slant more towards crime drama/mystery or quiet character study—and the answer to that will likely affect my overall enjoyment quite a bit. But with a premiere this start-to-finish polished and a final hook that good, I’m more than willing to give this one three episodes to see where it wants to take me.

On the Fence

Prince of Stride: Alternative

An adaptation of a visual novel (VN) dating sim about a boys parkour club and their girl manager? Well, okay, then. I wasn’t sure about this one while watching it, but I find myself thinking back on it with a lot of fondness. The characters aren’t gripping but they don’t slot into easy “types” right away either, and while the script followed an expected pattern, I enjoyed the execution both in terms of art style and direction. The race at the end was genuinely exciting, too, and nicely animated as per Madhouse Studio standards.

VN adaptations tend to have serious issues with character depth and/or plot fluidity, and I could certainly see that happening here. But I have a soft spot for sports series, so while I’m not quite ready to give it the seal of approval, I’m willing to come back for at least one more to see if it can build those few sparks into a proper fire.

Haruchika (Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru)

I like this one more on paper than I do in practice. A band club, a sequence of mysteries, and two childhood friends (one boy, one girl) crushing on their band teacher sounds like it’d be a fun, maybe even refreshing experience, but the execution is just so…uninspired, I suppose, with no visual flare or energy. I usually dig the P.A. Works aesthetic, but the character designs on this one are clunky to the point of annoying (those damned multicolored eyes) and the animation is stiff and the expressions bland. I’ll give it another episode out of respect for the studio and the concept, but I can’t promise more than that.

And The KyoAni Show

Myriad Colors Phantom World (Musaigen no Phantom World)

If you follow anifolks on Twitter at all then you likely heard about how Kyoto Animation (of Haruhi and Euphonium fame) put their talent to work adapting a fanservice-laden Magic Boy in Magic High School novel. Because that hasn’t been done to death yet.

I’d be lying if I said I hated it—the main trio have good chemistry when they’re not trapped in clunky exposition or tired cliches, the phantom conflict carried a whiff of melancholy that I quite liked, and the fanservice is so over-the-top that it’s actually kinda funny—but that doesn’t mean I loved it, either. If high school fantasyservice stuff is your thing, you could do a whole lot worse than this one. But I doubt I’ll be back for more.

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5 thoughts on “Panning the Stream: ERASED, Prince of Stride, Haruchika, Phantom World

  1. Phantom world I think is one that is really going to need the Rule of Three before judging. The idea is neat and I like the characters and the world. Mai’s martial arts while done in a Fanservicy way I gather does have some basis in Elemental mysticism, in that different forms of Chi gather in different internal organs.

    Water = Kidney, Metal = Lungs, Wood = Liver, Fire = Heart, Earth = Spleen.

    The thing I find with a lot of 1st episodes is they often try too hard to show you everything. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s very off putting. Now that they set their base Phantom World might settle down a bit, or it might get worse who knows.

    If you are up for a 3 minute anime give Ojisan and Marshmellows a try. It’s pretty cute and fun

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  2. AvidFan says:

    The manga for ERASED managed to integrate mystery and character drama fairly well, with a nice focus on platonic relationships of a type not often shown in animanga. There’s a good shot you’ll like the final product, assuming the staff stay on point and there’s no anime-original ending.

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  3. Erased and SGRS are the two anime I’ll recommend to my wife this season, as both seem fantastic and right in her interests. Active raid feels like bubblegum crises, dominion tank police, Appleseed, or any of those cheesy early 90s mecha cop shows. I’ll give it a go but expect little, so can’t really be disappointed. Norn 9 i kinda liked but it’s going to have to work hard to keep things interesting.

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