Well, folks, most stimulcast shows (besides BanG Dream!) have pumped out at least six episodes by now so I reckon it’s time for another Midseason Musings post! I’ll be talking about my feelings and impressions in regards to this season’s shows. How do they stack up?
(Spoilers in this post)
In my opinion, a lot of the shows I’m currently watching can be enjoyed without thinking too hard. Just turn off your brain and laugh at the silly girls and gags.
Gabriel DropOut (up to episode 6)
Premises: an angel, who was an honor student in Angel School, comes down to earth and ends up turning into a lazy and mean otaku.
The whole point of the show is that the angels are shown to be depraved girls when they really should be more, well, angelic and pleasant. Meanwhile, the demons are either terrible at being insideous and celebrate over successively completing petty misdemeanors or are better at being upright and wholesome compared to the angels.
Gabriel DropOut refuses to stray too far from this ironic situation, so similiar gags and set-ups are constantly reused. To be fair, though, the gags also include a fair amount of wordplay or references that could easily be missed by negligent observers (or lost in translation).
Gabriel herself is an unlikable main character who has no ambitions and very few redeemable qualities (acts of kindness do happen but are rare occassions). Perhaps having a jerk as a main character is supposed to differentiate the show from other slice-of-life shows, but it only serves to make me feel exasperated.
And maybe there’s a post to be written about how otaku are portrayed in various series.
Be that as it may, most of the side characters could all be considered more interesting than the namsake character to some degree. Your mileage may vary in regard to this statement.
In my opinion, Gabriel DropOut is best watched for laughs and for memefaces (you can thank Satania and Gabriel). No plot, no problem? Maybe a problem for some viewers.
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (up to episode 6)
Premises: Kobayashi, an office lady with deadfish eyes, manages to earn the affections of Tohru, a dragon. In order to stay with her beloved Kobayashi, Tohru offers to become Kobayashi’s maid.
The series starts off slowly and Kobayashi’s behavior towards Tohru is initially off-putting. However, Maidragon picks up steam starting from episode two with the introduction of the most adorable loli of this season, Kanna. Kobayashi also starts treating Tohru better (as long as alcohol is not involved) even though the romantic developments remain one-sided.
The characters as a whole are charming and are steadily increasing with each episode. One issue viewers may have with the show is that the entire cast has yet to be introduced as of episode six, but viewers should also keep in mind that it’s better to gradually bring in new names and faces so it’s not overwhelming. Furthermore, the show seems determined to give each character love so the newly-introduced-characters won’t end up hogging all the screentime.
While the show currently does not have an obvious and overarching plot, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid does have little life lessons that are tucked away. They’re not exactly world-changing morals, but they do require a bit of thought and observation to appreciate. It’s possible that Maidragon will continue with these small messages until the very end so we’re just left with just bits and pieces with no substantial meaning. But, at the end of the day, the series is a slice-of-life and that wouldn’t be a terrible way to conclude the series.
Expect comforting and soothing moments which pay homage to the slice-of-life genre in general to pop up. Also expect a fair amount of fanservice such as bouncing, oversized boobs. The animation so far has been very solid, especially during the occassional battle scenes.
In my opinion, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid is an enjoyable slice-of-life with endearing characters and cute life lessons. There’s (currently) a lack of a plot, however, and the lessons may not deliver as much depth as desired.
Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu (up to episode 6)
Premises: Five biking newbies form a highschool biking club.
Similiar to Long Riders! (a biking show which aired last season), Minami is defined by sluggish pacing – which is preferrable to sloppy rushing! Still, people who can’t stand slow shows should definitely stay away.
While the backgrounds are pretty, the main characters are rather boring in terms of both design and personality. Then again, I have the tendency to become more interested in side characters in many series (and in Minami, I’m liking Shiki-sensei and Korone). Viewers do get to learn a lot about bicycles from the show itself and the little live-action segment which happens after the ED, at least
In my opinion, Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu is a slow-paced show that doesn’t offer anything truly special aside from teaching viewers things about bikes.
Schoolgirl Strikers – Animation Channel (up to episode 6)
Premises: Highschool girls form five-member teams in order to fight off monsters that apparently are dangerous (but have posed no threat to anyone outside of episode one).
Schoolgirl Strikers is, at its heart, a comedy show. Turn off your brain and enjoy watching these one-note, quirky girls crack jokes, get into ridiculous situations, and basically stomp on the enemy “O’bil / Obli / Oburi.” There’s no real tension to be found during these battles since the main team either handily handles them or gets bailed out by a stronger team without fail.
I believe that the only thing that can spice the show up is if they actually explore the cause and reasoning behind a main character’s amnesia. So far the other characters have brought it up every so often and an suspicious side character (who is apparently connected to her loss of memories according to the OP) has been sneaking around, but there has been no real development. Now that the season is halfway done, perhaps we’ll get some actual plot.
Also, let it be known that there’s a copious amount of fanservice in this show since every single episode has at least one shower scene. The animation in general is all over the place and can alternate between being servicable and downright horrid. It’s clear that the girls can’t help but eye other girls, so yuri fans unite?
In my opinion, Schoolgirl Strikers – Animation Channel is a show you definitely watch and (try to) enjoy without thinking. Maybe SGS will be different from other “cute girls doing cute things” shows once the amnesia arc gets rolling, but so far there’s little reason to watch the show unless you want to laugh, enjoy cute but one-dimensional highschool girls, and watch lackluster battle scenes.
Urara Meirochou (up to episode 6)
Premises: Four 15 year-old girls enter the town of Meirochou in order to become urara, or fortune tellers.
Yet another “cute girls doing cute things” series. Fanservice is nothing new for these types of show, but some people, including myself, are irked with how often these young girls flash their bellies. The gags are also aimed at a younger audience and can cause viewers to feel old when the jokes inevitably don’t click. The girls are not just one-note characters, at least, which is demonstrated week after week (since the second half of all episodes tend to focus on a specific character).
Nevertheless, the art style is incredibly cute. And the show does have a solid direction (the girls all want to become top-ranked urara, but Chiya believes doing so will help her find her missing mother). However, we have only seen Chiya, Kon, Koume, and Nono mess around with each other and through activities so far.
In my opinion, Urara Meirochou is the cutest show in this season. However, the fanservice is excessive (considering that the characters are so young) and the lack of progession despite the characters having a goal causes me to fear that the show will conclude while claiming, “And the girls’ journey continues…”
BanG Dream! (up to episode 4)
Premises: Five highschool girls form a band.
Most of the girls are, like the main characters in Schoolgirl Strikers, amusing yet flat. We’ve got an optimistic and energetic girl, a lonely tsundere, a quiet wallflower, a blunt guitar fanatic, and a girl who has issues with bands. The last two are the only ones who aren’t carbon copies of typical character archetypes.
I get that band shows / idol shows / sport club shows usually show how the group is formed, but Kasumi’s approach to grabbing members doesn’t sit well with me. She persuades lonely Arisa to do what she wants by offering to be Arisa’s friend… only for Kasumi to not really keep her promises to Arisa in a later episode. It almost feels like she only cares about her own dreams and is hoping her enthusiasm will convince the others to join.
The direction of the show from here on out is going to depend on how Saaya and Tae, the last two girls who have yet to join and who are playing hard-to-get, are recruited into the band. Will it take several episodes for them to be convinced? Will their own issues actually be solved or will they be putting them aside for Kasumi’s selfish dream? I doubt it, to be honest.
I’m also surprised that this show is going to be 2-cour. Perhaps Kasumi will learn how to play guitar by then. Everyone else seems to know how to play their instruments, at least.
In my opinion, BanG Dream! is yet another show that you can enjoy without thinking. If you’re a fan of unoriginal drama and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” this show might (?) appeal to you. It’s just another show that’s a dime a dozen so far, however.
Idol Jihen (up to episode 6)
Premises: Several teenage girls are elected by the people to become idol dietwomen, politician idols who try their best to reverse Japan’s stagnation.
I can’t really recommend this show. Nearly every episode follows the same formula: Natsuki meets several idol dietwomen from a different political party, some politician who isn’t an idol dietwomen causes some sort of petty trouble or grievance, Natsuki teams up with her new friends, and then the idol dietwomen win (usually through the power of unrememberable insert songs). Obviously this will change, especially considering how Natsuki has now met every girl who’s dancing with her during the OP, but most viewers have already checked out by now.
The opposing politicians are laughable in how pathetic they are, the show is poorly animated, and the characters are consistently off-model (their noses are smaller than beauty marks). I can’t stress enough that Idol Jihen is not worth your time.
In my opinion, Idol Jihen is a bland and uninspired idol show. If you really want to watch an idol show on Sundays, then I would highly recommend you pick up Love Live! (and Love Live! Sunshine!!) instead.
Nyanko Days (up to episode 6)
Premises: A shy girl with three pet cats, who are actually talking mini-girls in this setting, befriends a popular rich girl with a “cat” of her own.
…it’s an animated short and each short only takes 2 minutes to watch. The characters are cute, but that’s literally it.
Perhaps the OP can cheer you up if you’re having a bad day should you play it on loop. Then again, you might die from the excessive cuteness before that actually happens.
I also learned that some people in real life take inspiration from this show in regards to pet play.
In my opinion, Nyanko Days can be safely avoided. If you’re in the mood for thoughtless diabetes, go for it?