10 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Summer 2017 Anime First Impressions: Princess Principal, My Girlfriend is a Gal, Gamers

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A quick reminder that the new anime from this season you should be watching is Made in Abyss.

Final batch of first impressions from this season for me. Turned out it has been an all right season with a couple of interesting anime that I am petrified will all go careering off a cliff any day now and ruin everything, so instead I will have to watch more full CG hard sci-fi TV anime, underwatched OVAs and overwatched sequels since that’s been my anime palette lately.

Princess Principal

IMG_0584I had a sneaking suspicion this might turn out pretty good and turns out I am a clever and intelligent person because I was right. Throw a bunch of reasonably talented staff on an anime original property then back it up with Kaijura hitting the Latin chanting button on key Casio keyboard and you’ve got yourself an anime. My thinking behind the creation of this is they wanted some cool Victorian steampunk spy thriller but weren’t allowed make it unless all the characters were cute girls. I don’t really have a problem with it if that’s what it takes to allow people get to make these cool stories, even if it can result in limited characters sometimes, but I can’t help think it’s not really a good idea. It feels very narrow-minded, only looking at a narrow subsection of the otaku audience when international streaming numbers is a bigger factor in an anime success nowadays and cute girls can sometimes be a larger turnoff than draw. The kind of western fan who wants a cyberpunk thriller isn’t normally going to be the same fan who wants cute girls.

Anyway, Princess Principal is cool. It’s kinda silly, but takes itself seriously enough that you end up laughing along with it while still caring, with its tea-drinking ninja schoolgirls and incredible top-hat, cape-wearing main character. She’s actually a legitimately interesting character in her own right, and I was taken aback by the final moment of episode one with the “are you going to kill me” line with her response. It demonstrates the show is smarter than its silly appearance might have you believe, and that’s a promising early sign. It’s well animated too, has its own clear look (barrage of cute girls aside) and it all kinda works within its own rules.

My Girlfriend is a Gal

IMG_0582Do you miss the days of Green Green and Eiken? Are your anime protagonists not pedophilic and misogynistic enough for you to connect with? Well have we got the anime for you! It’s written from what feels like the perspective of a man identifies as an Involuntary Celibate, or incel, a term I only learned about today and discovered a whole new frightening subculture. It has all the creepy side of young men who feel obliged to sex but can’t understand why those bitches won’t give it to them when they’re such a Nice Guy. We really want these pure, innocent girls who barely know about sex and we can dominate and OK we admit it we want to fuck actual children. But since that’s illegal we’ll instead find some dirty slut bitch and beg them for sex since we can’t afford those sex robots.

In my head I can see how you might write something that, while not exactly good, is at least amusing and sexy in a semi-wish fulfillment way. Teenage boy has no luck with ladies so decides fuck it I’ll go to the girl who hikes her skirt up the whole way and ask her out because I’ve got nothing to lose and I heard she does the sex or something? Then it turns out she’s so amused by his innocent ways that she agrees for the sole purpose of teasing him, leading into a sexy romantic comedy based around being blue-balled repeatedly. All right it’s not going to win any awards but I could see it working. But in basically every instance this show could take a bad turn, it took it. Also can we please talk for a second about Japan’s desire to fuck children? Let’s leave aside the legality of it, the basic idea here is these men want a woman who has no agency of her own, which is such an inherently fucked up way to view women in general.

I can’t wait to watch more.

Gamers

IMG_0583Well it’s a better anime about pro gaming than that awful Chinese one from last season people tried to convince me was good, in that it shows the pro gamer not to be an unrelenting awesome badass who is just the best, but instead an anti-social arse who flames you because why aren’t you killing the Pharah as Soldier you suck I’m playing DPS now go play Lucio or something. The story is a pretty innocent, typical high school club story in which gormless male lead gets invited to club by cute girl which leads to hijinks as things don’t turn out as perfectly as they seem.

It’s a bit better than your average show since it almost seems to be subtlety taking the piss out of the genre. Whenever the happy violin music popped us as his dream of joining the club started to come true, our main character would proceed to gloriously shoot himself in the foot and play phone games instead because he’s a filthy casual who probably only plays quick play. I feel it needs to lean into that aspect of it more rather than playing it seriously because otherwise its too much boring club activity for too small a joke payoff. But that’s probably my personal bias kicking in as in reality I feel it’s way more a Happy Club Time Anime than what I want from it.

Everything Else

IMG_0586And that’s it from me. I watched a couple of other stuff, but don’t have enough strong thoughts to write full posts. To keep it short, Centaur’s Daily Life was way more sedate in a boring way than I was hoping for which led to me struggling to pay attention. Vatican Miracle Examiner had a surprisingly good mystery story that was let down by maybe the worst directing of any anime so far this season. I don’t think the director knows you can have static shots as every shot is PANNING! Aho Girl feels way more like abusive husband simulator than I anticipated which made me uncomfortable. 18if gets an award for trying really hard but we here at The Cart Driver Dot Com don’t go to the school of participation awards. Finally, Convenience Store Boyfriends might be even worse than Girlfriend is a Gal except it was so boring I actually can’t remember what happened in it so I can’t write a review. I’m pretty sure one guy slept with another guy because he doesn’t have a home but then he cheated on his new boyfriend by fucking a convenience store?

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10 Comments

  1. Sauce?
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    “It feels very narrow-minded, only looking at a narrow subsection of the otaku audience when international streaming numbers is a bigger factor in an anime success nowadays”

    Isn’t this a huge myth? I was under the impression that merchandising and BD/DVD sales are king.

    • AH
      Posted July 19, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      It depends on the property. Not all shows have the same business model. Just as well, I don’t think “cute girls” is as much of a turn off these days, even outside of Japan. Especially not when the girls are actually, well, doing something rather than drinking tea!

  2. DarkEnergy
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised there’s no “WHAT’S WITH ALL THE INCEST JAPAN?” tag. Does Scamp not tag posts anymore?

    I never heard of Involuntary Celibate before. That is some fucked up shit. With Japan’s declining birthrate, I wonder if incel culture will creep into anime. What do you think?

    #MadeInAbyssIsBestAnimeOfSummer2017

  3. Pete
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    “The kind of western fan who wants a cyberpunk thriller isn’t normally going to be the same fan who wants cute girls.” They might assume everyone who watches anime has become used to it and will just ignore them making the spies school girls. Which to a degree is true except there are plenty peope who only watch anime from time to time and so don’t have to get used to its idiosyncrasies.

    Ah Incels, there is a reddit sub too if you feel masochistic.

  4. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “To keep it short, Centaur’s Daily Life was way more sedate in a boring way than I was hoping for which led to me struggling to pay attention.”

    As it turns out, it is so also because they skipped the first chapter of the manga, in which centaur girl talks to her friends about how she doesn’t feel like going out with guys because she’s afraid her vagina looks funny and they show each other’s vagina and then she feels reassured through the power of friendship (and vaginas). Not making this up. Still managed to be quite dull, and frankly when you can’t make a story about human-animal chimeras living in a dystopian society that has forgone human rights for the sake of absolute equality interesting you really are doing something wrong.

  5. Joren
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    >Aho Girl feels way more like abusive husband simulator than I anticipated which made me uncomfortable.

    That’s an interesting way to interpret it, but pretty one sided I feel. In episode 3 she literally handcuffs and sexually abuses him, in addition to the sexual harassment in earlier episodes. With it being a silly comedy and both characters inflicting cartoon violence on each other I don’t think there’s much merit to politicizing it.

  6. Ken
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    It appears that the theme du jour for this season is GAMES. We have Gamers, New Game+, Kakegurui (gambling games), Nana Maru San Batsu (quiz show games), and possibly Fate Apocrypha (because Dracula is constantly playing chess).

  7. Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    games looks quite nice to have a look,
    I haven;t started yet but I’ll go for it now

  8. Varyn
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    God I hope that unironic complete pedo sidekick character from the Gal show gets hit by a fucking bus, I don’t think I’ve ever hated such a small character so much.

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