Summer 2013: First episodes - part 1

Another season, another load of anime to watch. I haven't researched this season in advance at all thoroughly so I'm expecting a very mixed bag. I do have high hopes for a couple of the series I happen to know are coming however, so if only those ones are good and the rest are dross then at least I can get on with catching-up on my backlog...

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou

Or the originally titled 'Dog & Scissors'. Claiming to be a "nonsense comical mystery", which is always promising, in the beginning the show follows a book-obsessed high school boy with no character traits whatsoever apart from the fact that he loves reading. I say "in the beginning" because within eight or so minutes of the episode starting this boy is shot and killed in an attempted robbery of the cafe that he happened to be in. All is well though because he is reincarnated (or something, it's a mystery...) as a cute little dog. Soon after he encounters a woman who is able to read his tiny doggy mind and she takes him under her roof. And who should this woman turn out to be? Why, his favourite author of course! Hijinks ensue, or at least that's the idea.

So why is it called 'Dog & Scissors'? Well it seems that author lady is randomly proficient at using scissors as a weapon and carries them around in a sheath (this is becoming a bit of a theme these days somehow), randomly threatening our puppy protagonist with death on occasion. As far as the first episode goes it was relatively entertaining, and the content shown in the opening implies that the show could be going to fun and interesting places. The comedy was decent enough, and I'm getting Cuticle Detective vibes - protagonist is essentially a dog, it's got that bizarre lightning-speed comedy and it claims to be a mystery - so it could turn out pretty good. I'm hoping this show will be a mainstay for me this season as my traditional meaningless bit of fun series but we'll have to see if it will consistently deliver.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi

Or "The Sunday Without God". I'm going to give you the plot summary that's up on MAL because I found it rather amusing:
God abandoned the world on Sunday. As a result, nobody in the world can die or reproduce. A little girl, Ai, is the gravekeeper for a village. She has prepared 47 graves for the eventual deaths of every member of the village. Later, a boy who identifies himself as "Hampnie Hambart, the 'Man-eating Toy'" which is coincidentally the name that Ai's mother left behind as the name of her father, arrives in the village and slaughters everybody. Just what is going on?"
JUST WHAT IS GOING ON?! Essentially in the first episode we see the village burden little Ai with intense physical labour day after day, then on the day that she finally finishes digging graves for every person in the village some randomer shows up and kills all of them - blowing off their heads so that they don't come back as weird undead things because, as mentioned previously, no one dies in the traditional sense.

It was a pretty weird watch I have to say. Partly because the world is so hard on this poor little girl - not only has she been forced to dig graves for as long as she can remember, but then this guy appears out of nowhere (with the "name of her father" no less) and slaughters everyone she's ever known or loved, traumatises her thoroughly and informs her that she's been living a lie and that the one thing she takes pride in is a sham. Oh, and he punts her across the village square. Seriously. But at the same time he's got grey hair, red eyes, a black trench coat and he's packing guns so it's hard not to take his side. We still don't know what it is actual "gravekeepers" really do yet, which I'm interested to find out, so I'm probably going to keep watching for now. Disappointingly though the art is as if it was produced quite a few years back.

Gifuu Doudou!!: Kanetsugu to Keiji

Manly men doing manly things, namely drinking sake and chopping stuff up. Set in the Sengoku era with Naoe Kanetsugu and Maeda Keiji as the best of friends recalling all of their manly adventures together. In the first episode we see Keiji almost topple a house for the sake of a really contrived life-lesson and play the biwa for an extended period of time while Kanetsugu looks on.

Can't say that the first episode was particularly exciting, however it is the Sengoku period which is always fun and Keiji and Kanetsugu often tend to be portrayed in an interesting fashion so I may have to stick around and see how it goes for a while. However it does have a style that really grates on me in that the main samurai characters are all gigantic and appear to have been chiselled out of solid rock, but ah well.

Brothers Conflict
Reverse harem alert! I thought I'd stay clear of this one, but after taking a quick look at the cast list - featuring Ono Daisuke, a hefty portion of the Kuroko no Basuke lineup and just generally all-star seiyuu - I thought I'd have a look at the first episode. After all, Amnesia wasn't too bad I guess. Then this was one of the opening frames:
so I didn't have the highest hopes. As is typical of the first episodes of these series time was spent introducing each of the potential romantic interests, in this case the protagonist's array of new brothers, each of them desirable in their own way (presumably). We've got a lawyer, a hairdresser, an idol, a basketball player, a monk of all things; the list goes on. Our protagonist is struck by a convenient fever, allowing her to be taken care of by her new "family". Oh, and there's an annoying squirrel that only she can communicate with by the looks of things.

Now I'm aware that I'm in no position to be judging this show, being of the male persuasion, but I can't see it being of top-tier quality. I imagine there will be a lot for fangirls to squee over, even putting aside the voice cast, but it seems wholly unoriginal and more than a little messed-up given the family situation...

Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club

In my mind 'Free!' is just Kuroko no Basuke with swimming. Just as Kuroko made basketball epic, so too must Free make swimming epic - just watch the opening and tell me they haven't done so. The show follows a group of childhood swimming friends (apparently that's a thing) who, after going their separate ways, reunite in high school and are ready to do battle (swimmingly) with their compatriot who went off to Australia and turned evil. The group start the series by developing a penchant for trespassing on private property.

Now it would be asking a lot for this series to match up to the divine Kuroko in my books, but I have to say I had hopes and I still have them after watching the first episode so that's saying something. As one would hope the sequences in the water are beautifully done, and the characters are already likeable and memorable. Some have labelled the main character Nanase (pictured above) as a typical tsundere chap, but I'm getting good vibes from his little "At 10 you're a prodigy, at 15 you're a genius and at 20 you're an ordinary person" mantra. Plus that gleam he gets in his eye when he's told he'll be able to swim is so endearing. Also I could swear I saw at least two female characters in this episode. I didn't sign up for this.

And that's it for part 1! I'm going to be out for the next few days so hopefully the season won't run away from me with too many releases.

See you in part 2,

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