Spring Season 2015: Initial Impressions – Sound! Euphonium, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU S2 & Denpa Kyoushi

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Sound! Euphonium

[HorribleSubs] Hibike! Euphonium - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.43_[2015.04.11_21.27.58]

A wild fan-favourite character appears!

I imagine most people have long since made up their minds about the slice-of-life afterschool club shows Kyoani puts out, and Sound! Euphonium isn’t going to change that. I’m generally on their good side, so long as they don’t veer too far into dumb idiocy and melodrama, a la Love, Chuunibyo and Other Delusions, or inconsequential sappy blushing nonsense like Tamako Market (the tv series at least).

At this point you can do just as good a job describing the show by comparing it to other works the studio has put out, which is a little great time saver. So yeah, on the surface Sound! Euphonium is a music-based club show like K-on, centred on a failing bunch of misfits (Amagi Brilliant Park), but with an actual competitive focus and interest in the subject matter and characters, a la Free. The character designs and colour palettes are straight out of Beyond the Boundary, but the setting is far more low key and mundane in the vein of Hyouka.

Did that make any sense? No? Ok look, we’re talking about a generally serious, character-driven story, loosely structured like a sports show, that’s using the best part from many of the studio’s previous works. It’s Kyoani, so there’ll probably be a fair amount of blushing and inconsequential, if extravagantly animated, scenes, so if you can’t handle that then get the hell out of dodge. That said, I do appreciate that the series genuinely seems to have done its research regarding the brass instruments, providing a lot of useful little titbits for the uninitiated out there (cough; me). I know K-on initially did the same so I don’t want to tempt fate, but everything in the first episode indicated that the music and personal development will be the key focus. As long as it is, I’ll happily give it a try.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!/S2

[HorribleSubs] Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru Zoku - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.31_[2015.04.11_21.33.01]

Well, it’s a new season and a new school year, so what better time than to reintroduce to us to the cast all over agai- wait what, that doesn’t actually happen? Honestly, I should have expected SNAFU to actually treat its audience with enough respect and intelligence to remember the events of the first season (or least be able to use Wikipedia) and launch off exactly where it ended.

Not that I didn’t have major fears coming into it. In the two years since the original adaptation ended, the franchise has moved from Brain’s Base, who, while hardly in their heyday anymore (see Spice & Wolf, Durarara S1, Princess Jellyfish, Penguindrum), is still competent, to Studio Feel, home of such classy adaptations as KissXSis, Yosuga no Sora, Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father!, and So, I Can’t Play H! The director has also changed from the guy behind Gatchaman Crowds and Daily Lives of High School Boys to the person who made all those crappy Minami-Ke sequels nobody liked. I was in all honestly ready to come rushing in screaming blue murder over how pretty much the only decent school-based light novel adaptation out there had been butchered, but no, this exactly how I remember it, only with actually better animation (Yukino’s redesign aside)

I plan to write about why I think the show deserves to be seen as more than a simple rom-com, at some point in the future, otherwise I’d be here all day waxing lyrical about the cast. As such, I’ll just say that it still has the same great dialogue, witty humour and intelligent & entertaining, if ultimately flawed and naïve characters. Also, misleading title aside, any hints of romance are still secondary to the plot, if even there at all (I personally find the relationship between Hachiman and Yukino mostly platonic), while the fanservice is pretty much non-existent. There’s still the odd character that makes the show seem more generic than it is (the exaggerated chuunibyou kid, the effeminate boy; the source of some great jokes but also pretty one-dimensional, and most noticeably, Hachiman’s sister), but these are all relatively small blips in what is a legitimately great show. If you missed it the first time round then I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving the first season a try.

Denpa Kyoushi

[HorribleSubs] Denpa Kyoushi - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.57_[2015.04.11_21.33.51]

In which we find a directionless otaku, who, regardless of having genius levels of intelligence towards pretty much any subject you can imagine, would rather hide away from the world; an understandable position, considering he has a face that looks like a third-rate Hisashi Hirai design, and a sister who’s basically a budget-range Kirino. He’s then forced to take up a teaching position at a local school, befriending some wannabe idol.

Despite hands-down winning the award for the most ugly-looking show this season (I’m pretty sure everyone at A-1 Pictures not ‘lucky’ enough to work on KimiUso or Aldnoah Zero have turned into a bunch of Hiraokas from Shirobako), I initially wasn’t overly negative towards Denpa Kyoushi while watching it. I didn’t think it was good, in fact it was one of the most lame, half-assed productions I’d seen for a while, but the premise was fine, while everything was presented in such a bouncy manner that I began to feel a sort of underdog sympathy towards the show, like it was a red-headed stepchild that just wanted to be loved. At the very least, it wasn’t throwing tits in my face every 30 seconds under the guise of entertainment. I could happily half watch it during games of Triple Triad in Final Fantasy XIV

It wasn’t until the episode was over and I actually thought back on what I’d just watched that it began to sink in. Wait, did those girls actually just bully the wannabe idol into drinking water laced with chalk? Did they then put her personal details on a voyeur site so she could potentially get raped, only to be saved by the main character? Did the main character actually teach the bullies a lesson by pretending to do the exact same thing to them? There’s some really unpleasant material in this show, wrapped up in a fairly light-hearted manner, serving little-to-no point other than being a wish-fulfilment vehicle to portray the otaku lead as amazing in every way. This episode has the entire female cast serve as nothing more than tools to achieve this, using the fear of sexual assault and doxxing as its weapons of choice.

So yeah, I retract my earlier opinion. Fuck this show.

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7 thoughts on “Spring Season 2015: Initial Impressions – Sound! Euphonium, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU S2 & Denpa Kyoushi

  1. I am convinced at this point that A-1 Pictures is a conspiracy that was specifically designed to hurt either me or all anime fans around the world. Either way, I have to bandage myself up every time they put out something new.

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    • I used to view A-1 as a studio that at could least try, even if most of their shows had bland visuals/presentation and the tendency to completely fall apart (cough Occult Academy, Tsuritama, Fractale etc. etc, etc). I think around the time Shinsekai Yori utterly bombed we began to see them truly stop giving a shit and just churn out any old nonsense (Galilei Donna, Vividred, Nanana) in-between the guaranteed big sellers like SAO. They’ve never been good, but I always had hope that hiring a few decent writers would turn their fortune around. It looks like they gave up the fight before that happened.

      That’s possibly nothing but upbeat optimism on my part; after all, accepting that they’re perfectly happy with the writing in their shows would be a more devastating admission.

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  2. SNAFU S2 and GTO wana-bee are definitely two shows I will follow. The move from Brains Base to feel. and have Railgun designs was definitely jarring but Hatchiman is still the Hatchiman I remember and ready to rub some of his attitude in my viewer face.
    Another HS romcom I want to light a candle to is Yamada and Seven something. Scamp already gave it a green light with a side note that it’s for the teens in us. Boy do I have a teen inside me that wants to come out. Please wait while I flush.
    But really, feel. animated kissxsis and that is a testament to the boundaries that they are willing to break. I hope that they will push those boundaries in the right directions.

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    • Yukino aside (she looks far more confused and out of her element, than the stubbornly in control person I remember), I didn’t have a major issue with the redesigns in SNAFU S2 and I’m normally the kind of person that most complains about things like that (I think I’m the only person I know that preferred the character designs in Haganai S1). Most of them were generally in keeping with the first season. At least was it wasn’t on Nagato Yuki-chan or Moyashimon S2 levels of awful. Urgh!

      I’ll reserve judgement for Seven Deadly Sins. From what I’ve heard I doubt it’ll be up my street, but I’m always happy to be proven wrong.

      As for Feel, pushing boundaries is fine and all, but I’d rather it serve an actual point and overall message other than saying, “hey guys, check out these fetishes!”

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