14 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Fall 2016 Anime First Impressions: March Comes In Like a Lion, Girlish Number, Kiss Him Not Me, The Great Passage

3-gatsu-no-lion-01-large-31Someone disappears into a background of shoujo flowers, only to burst out of them again complete with petals cascading off their body. You know, I still kinda like Shaft.

Last batch for now, seeing as I’ve already started my secondary project of watching all the anime from this year I missed out on due to moving/classes/work/Overwatch. Seems like it’s been a pretty good season so far.  A few disappointments, most notably All Out, but most of what I had pinned some hopes on have delivered.

March Comes in Like a Lion

3-gatsu-no-lion-01-large-02This may be a controversial opinion, but I liked this a lot more than what I read of the manga. OK some of my issues remain, such it not really having a hook early on and little idea as to what the story is even supposed to be about. But it turns out I still totally have a thing for the way Shinbo directs anime. The entire opening sequence with the use of silence and colour was fantastic. Plus all the little visual comedic gags were genuinely funny, and the choice to give the cats whiny voices was inspired. Since about 2009-ish Shinbo seems to have been able to translate his directorial style into actually telling the story rather than its own sake. My problem more often has been crappy and/or pedophillic source material.

As for the story itself, I do remain unconvinced. I like some of the character dynamics they’re setting up and how things came to be, but gosh darn does it move slowly. I guess Shinbo couldn’t be enticed into speeding up the pacing with the adaptation. Granted the story is constructed to be deliberately slow-paced, but that can still be a touch boring sometimes to slog through, especially when you have no idea what this is supposed to be leading up to. Perhaps it’s something that makes more sense as the story progresses? Either way, I’m in for the long haul.

Girlish Number

girlish-number-01-large-06Girlish Number is a lot like Shirobako in the sense that it’s a no-holds-barred look at the anime industry and what goes on behind the scenes. However where as Shirobako took an occasional cynical viewpoint but was one ultimately of hope and belief, Girlish Number amps that cynicism up twenty times over. It’s full of people muttering under their breath about how stupid the voice acting industry is, bitching about their co-workers, and making a mockery of the thought process that goes into creating an anime. It’s as though half of the cast is the people in that meeting in Shirobako about which voice actors should star in their upcoming anime.

It’s somewhat refreshing and I certainly enjoy the trend of there being more anime like Shirobako, although I will also admit I am not quite yet sold on it. Some of the characters. particularly the sweet voiced friend of our main character, feel weirdly out of place. So too do the character designs and general cutesy aesthetic. You could argue that it’s supposed to be ironic, but doing something ironically has the same impact as doing something not ironically so I’m not buying that. But so far I like what it’s doing and am entertaining the thought process of watching this anime production collapse. The one in show that is, not Girlish Number itself. Although that would be the ultimate meta joke.

Kiss Him Not Me

watashi-ga-motete-dousunda-01-large-22I really do hate this thing. It’s gone from “hey this is all right” to “fire this accursed thing into the sun” in my mind since I read the manga, and the anime only amplifies those feelings. Which is a shame because it still has good things about it. The main character remains thoroughly entertaining with her wild fantasies and fujo-face whenever she sees two guys. However I just hate the setup for this story so much. Hey girls, starve yourself half to death and somehow you won’t turn out a gaunt, skeletal figure but instead a buxom beautiful woman. All the hot guys will fall for you now too.

The guys are such fucking bland boring twats too, being all these gormless fuckfaces who apparently all want to bone the main girl, which is itself a weird message. Take up anorexia and all those guys who wouldn’t look twice at you are now raring to go, and you’re supposed to be happy about this. The fact that her voice goes from pudgy grumble to dainty petal makes it even dumber. It’s not even about fat-shaming, although that’s certainly part of it. Being fit for the sake of your health and possible improvement for your romantic life is all fine and dandy, but not through the methods ascribed here. I know some people will claim don’t take comedy too seriously, but I say no! Comedy is serious business! Watamote is the anime of the decade and you are all wrong now go away.

The Great Passage


While watching The Great Passage I had two realisations: That its subject matter of building a dictionary is one I find incredibly tedious as it gets down into the nitty-gritty of exact definitions that I find quite boring, and that it actually did a great job of making me somewhat interested in that subject. The moment that kind of did it for me was the main character, when quizzed about the definition of “right”, asked whether they meant the direction or political affiliation, then proceeded to logically cancel out what other ways of defining it don’t work. It demonstrated that the show in question knew its own subject material and had a way to convey how the character’s thought processes went without them feeling like weird leaps in logic.

It did make me think what a tough job the translators will probably have with this. The wording is exacting on a completely different level to even the likes of the Monogatari series. There are turns of phrase that don’t exactly translate word-for-word between languages that in other anime you could just translate the closest meaning. But with this you have to use the exact word because of the subject matter. It makes me respect what kind of job the translators have….which makes me sad that nobody is going to watch it as it’s on Amazon where it hasn’t been advertised and nobody is going to search it out because it’s not some big hyped thing like Kabaneri was.

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  1. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted October 20, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    “Hey girls, starve yourself half to death and somehow you won’t turn out a gaunt, skeletal figure but instead a buxom beautiful woman. All the hot guys will fall for you now too.”

    I may not understand something, but am I the only person who thinks that the ‘comedy’ bit is supposed to be exactly in the blatant absurdity of this very concept? Or should I worry that Kenny teaches kids it’s fine to let your friend who wears a hoodie die gruesomely, he’ll come back to life and be a-okay the next day?

  2. Shikamaru
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I have been 2 weeks without eating anything because I didn’t have money and I didn’t lose a single kilogram. It’s not that easy to lose weight. Trust me, I know. Okay, I had money, but I spend it all on booze. Dark times.

    I only watched the first episode, but her reactions were always really funny. I like fujoshi humor.

    I don’t remember if I said this, but I coudldn’t watch Watamote when it aired. I was depressed and that anime was really depressing so I only became more depresssed. About 1 year later I watched it and that time I enjoyed it. I laughed, but I felt really horrible after laughing.

    What if the anime ended with Tomoko having a meltdown and getting a kitchen knife and the she slices her wrists. Depression is not funny. I’m happy that most people don’t take it so seriously and can laugh and have fun while watching it. I just personally can’t do it. I apologize.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted October 21, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I’ve had a very similar experience with “Welcome to the NHK”, had to drop it because it was becoming too hard to watch. Probably would have happened the same with “Watamote” had I not watched it later on in my life. But I have to say I don’t think it was making fun of depression; rather, IMO it was the work of someone who went through those very tribulations and was venting out by retelling them in comedic form. It’s supposed if anything to help people put in perspective their ordeal; the comedy is the inherent silliness of your own depression-induced mental gymnastics and how absurd they look from the outside. In that sense, seeing these things from an external point of view might be therapeutic. Of course it won’t work for everyone and probably not if you’re in the middle of a crisis. It’s more of a ‘vaccine’ than a ‘cure’, you can’t give it when you already are sick.

      • Shikamaru
        Posted October 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        I watched Welcome to the NHK when I was 17 and I was really happy back then. I didn’t have depression. I didn’t drink booze all the time. I had lots of great friends. I loved living.

        It was still really hard to watch some of the darker parts. Like the suicide attempt when they went to that island. Hell I can laugh at suicide humor. Why? Because I don’t personally know anyone who commited suicide. I can laugh at incest humor or even pedophile humor because once again I don’t know anyone who had those horrible things happening to them. Depression humor is the one thing that I just can’t handle.

        Now that I have had VERY similiar problems that Sato had in NHK I can’t laugh at it anymore. Even that small part where Sato writes that story for a video game(I think) and that guy who sees that text laughs at him is hard to watch. Everytime I hear laughter I think people are laughing at me. Because there’s nothing good about me. It’s normal that people laugh at me. One person laughing at you can DESTROY you mentally. As stupid as that may sound.

        Don’t take this reply too seriously. My life is actually pretty good right now. I have friends. Great friends who support me. Tomoko doesn’t have any friends and neither did Sato. Not a SINGLE one. That’s the most depressing thing that can happen to a human being.

      • Gan_HOPE326
        Posted October 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Ah, yeah, I got it. Back when I watched Welcome to the NHK I had friends – for the first time in my life, I’d add – but the bit that really got me was the romantic frustration (since I was barely able to talk to girls). On the other hand I watched Watamote later, together with my girlfriend, so that was a much lighter experience – still, whenever I recognised my past self in Tomoko I shuddered a little. Now I’m actually a bit worse off – I work abroad and basically have almost no friends any more as everyone keeps moving around and there’s never enough stability to form a solid group. But I’m not into as much of a slump as it used to be so I can stand it better. Anyway I wouldn’t blame the show for joking on these things – it’s a perfectly good way of coping with them, in fact. Perhaps not for everyone but hey, that’s what tastes are.

  3. limbopunk
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink


  4. Canary Paint
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Sorry… Off-topic… I was checking your blog progressively less, getting anxious about how to choose this season’s anime without having Scamp’s New Season Cheat Sheet and then found, lo and behold, the new season breakdown!!!

    But I was still checking less often than normal… And I gloriously find new season first impressions!!! Thank you!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I’m trying to write more frequently here again. Doing all right so far this season

  5. Leo
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting my bachelor degree in mathematics this year, and in maths we have to be really precise and careful about everything we define, to make sure there is no ambiguity or inconsistency. So seeing the main character of The Great Passage do basically that when defining words sort of gave me new respect for people who make dictionaries, for whatever that’s worth.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Huh, that’s a legitimately interesting take on it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Krim
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    For some reason I cannot find The Great Passage on Amazon no matter how hard I look. I have a Prime account, and tried searching by the English title, the Japanese title, and just browsing the animation and prime streaming exclusives categories. Nothing! All I can find is the live action version. I’m so confused and irritated. (Maybe a region lock, I’m in the US?)

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately it’s not streaming in the US (yeah I know), but if you have an Amazon Prime account for the UK or for Germany then if you log into them you can watch it.

      Yeah. I know.

      • Krim
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Ugh, just my luck. Well, I guess it gives me a taste of what my German friends complain about all the time getting locked out of US youtube videos.

  7. Posted October 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been really enjoying Shirobako although it kinda slowed down a little for a few episodes due to the deadline stress being long-winded but I’ve been enjoying the concept, so I’ll be checking out Girlish Number. This is such an awesome site. Kiss Him, Not Me looked really cringy. It’s been popping up all over the place and on Crunchyroll. I almost feel compelled to watch it now.

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