Anime roundup 7/8/2021: Something Old, Something New

Peach Boy Riverside premiere – The princess Salterine Alderake, or Sally, is a traveller looking for a mysterious boy named Mikoto. She does not find him, but she finds a new travelling companion in rabbit-like Frau, and a new power that lets her fight ogres.

Not much background has been given yet, but Mikoto is eventually explained to be Momotarō, the boy born from a peach who went on to kill the ogres infesting Japan. It is implied that Sally was born in a similar way and is similarly destined. She hasn’t had her chance yet, though, because by feeding Frau and protecting her from suspicious humans, she has earned Frau’s help in her fight, and Frau is pretty good at taking down monsters herself.

Nothing brilliant here, but Sally and Frau are a likeable enough pair of heroes.

International streams: Crunchyroll (worldwide except Asia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

Scarlet Nexus premiere – A new class of psychics has just graduated to start fighting Earth’s newest enemies, the brain-eating Others. The class includes Yuito Sumeragi, younger son of the leader of his country, and Kasane Randall, who bears a striking resemblance to the woman who saved Yuito from death when he was a small child.

Scarlet Nexus is very much like a hundred other video game adaptations. Bizarre-looking invaders appear from nowhere at plot-convenient moments to be zapped by our heroes with a variety of easily categorizable powers, and dissolve into nothing. Scarlet Nexus does have one up on others of its kind in that it has already implicitly promised to actually come up with an explanation of where the Others came from, but that’s the only thing it has going for it.

International streams: Funimation (Americas, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

Remake Our Life! premiere – Burned out after a series of hopeless game-developing gigs, Hashiba Kyōya lands at his parents’ house yet again, wondering what his life would have been like if he’d followed his passion and gone to art school instead of studying economics— especially since he would have been there alongside some of the most famous artists of his generation. Suddenly, miraculously, he finds himself ten years in the past, at the moment when he chose which college to go to, and decides to find out.

Remake Our Life! studiously recreates all the details of life in 2006, from flip phones to the correct generation of PlayStation (PS2). It also contains jokes straight out of 2006 light novels, like the girl so unaware of social conventions that Kyōya finds her napping in his futon with her and then manages to escalate the situation to make it even more compromising when his housemates show up.

This premiere also commits the sin of surrounding its hero with far more interesting people. Kyōya himself is completely free of personality or interests, while his classmates are eccentrics, geniuses, eccentric geniuses, and then there’s the guy apparently going to art school to become a ninja. Even after a double-length premiere, I can’t find any reason to spend any more time with Kyōya.

International streams: Crunchyroll (worldwide except Asia); Shahiid Anime (Middle East, North Africa); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

The Duke of Death and His Maid premiere – The young heir to a dukedom has been cursed so that anything he touches wilts and dies. Exiled to the family’s country villa, attended by only a maid and a butler, he tries to make the best of it. Except the maid is determined to make his life interesting.

Alice, the maid, is very attracted to the Duke of Death and wants him to know about it. Constantly. If she isn’t flashing him, she’s leaning too close to him for comfort, trying to hand-feed him, and so forth. That’s just about the whole episode: Alice is sexy at the unnamed young man, he gets flustered and asks her to stop doing that, and in the next scene she’s at it again.

The routine of extremely cringey teasing is eventually broken up by a visit from the Duke’s childhood friend, who is clearly freaked out by the Duke’s death-dealing power and leaves him more depressed than he was before. In addition to failing at friendship, his visit provides a showcase for a severe mismatch between the art style this is being adapted from and the CGI being used to render the animation.

I guess there’s probably a certain sort of romance fan who’ll enjoy this, but most of you should just avoid it.

International streams: Funimation (Americas, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Wakanim (Francosphere, Scandinavia, German-speaking Europe, Russia); Shahiid Anime (Middle East, North Africa); Aniplus Asia (SE Asia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan); bilibili (China)

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom premiere – Unable to make its latest tribute payment to a more powerful neighbor, the kingdom of Elfrieden is down to one option: invoke the ancient ritual which summons a hero from another world and send the hero as tribute instead. The summoned hero, Sōma Kazuya, fresh from a study session with a copy of The Prince, has other ideas. In no time at all, he’s going to reorganize the country, put it on a more secure financial footing, and have it show everyone who’s boss.

You know how this ought to go, but this is a light-novel power fantasy, so instead the king betroths his daughter to Kazuya and then abdicates in his favor. Although technically a medieval fantasy setting, Elfrieden is blessed with bureaucratic institutions much more appropriate to the modern world, so Kazuya has no trouble at all selling off a bunch of the crown jewels, converting those into the latest tribute payment, and setting about his reorganization with stacks of paperwork.

At least this hasn’t turned into one of the awful revenge fantasies that we see more and more in the light-novel adaptation space, but it’s still a story where everything has been arranged just so for the hero to awesome his way through it.

International streams: Funimation (Americas, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Anime on Demand (Germany); Shahiid Anime (Middle East, North Africa); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan); bilibili (China)

The Case Study of Vanitas premiere – A young vampire named Noé is urged by his teacher to seek out a mysterious book, said to corrupt vampires, last known to be in the possession of a vampire named Vanitas. But on his way to Paris, the book comes to him— wielded by a human, and being used to remove corruption.

This is solidly in gaslamp fantasy territory, with most of the action taking place aboard a fantastical lighter-than-air craft made possible by some magical material. The setting is somewhere at the tail of the 1800s or the early 1900s, going by the clothing and the presence of the Eiffel Tower in the credit sequences.

There is a lot of setup hinted at here, from the way magic works to the structures for dealing with the existence of vampires, but for the show is content to give us little glimpses of it, and serve up some action to get things going. Noé, and the man who calls himself the heir to Vanitas, are both engaging characters, and this premiere as a whole has a sense of fun which is missing in most of the othe summer premieres so far. This is one to watch more of.

International streams: Funimation (Americas, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Wakanim (Francosphere, Scandinavia, German-speaking Europe, Russia); Shahiid Anime (Middle East, North Africa); Aniplus Asia (SE Asia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU premiere – Ryūgū Rena has a seemingly charming life in a quiet village with her friends, but it’s falling apart. Her parents have divorced, her father is drinking and spending far too much money at a hostess club, and she is still haunted by a breakdown that happened when she moved away from home.

The question at the end of the GOU season was whether there was enough story left to carry an entire additional season of Higurashi. It has been answered by SOTSU going back to retell the events of the first season from a new viewpoint. What we see here is an alternate version of the first couple episodes of GOU, filling in the machinations of the villain and the additional drama in Rena’s life so that the shocking events that concluded the first arc can now be fully explained.

There’s enough new information to make this worth viewing if you were still interested in the story by the end of GOU. This is definitely not the place to start if you’re new to the franchise, though.

International streams: Funimation (Americas, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Wakanim (Francosphere, Scandinavia, German-speaking Europe, Russia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

Getter Robo Arc premiere – A curiously strong young man named Takuma and his precognitive hacker friend need to get into a highly protected base. Their plan is to intercept a highly advanced fighting robot when its pilot is disabled, kick alien butt, and thus make their way into the good graces of the people running the base.

Do you yearn for the days before Neon Genesis Evangelion made everything complicated, when giant robots were just giant robots and fighting in them meant nothing more than finding new ways to punch your enemy really hard? Then Getter Robo Arc is here for you, looking, acting, and sounding like it has just dropped through a wormhole from the 1970s.

In fact, this is an adaptation of the final entry in a manga series that began in 1974. It brings with it the downsides of jumping into a long-running franchise near its end— there’s a certain amount of jargon that no one feels a need to explain, and Takuma is apparently the son of someone famous from previous installments— but on the other hand, as an old-fashioned mecha show, it’s not like you’re going to necessarily understand everything if you enjoy the action.

International streams: HIDIVE (Americas, UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Spain Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa); Shahiid Anime (Middle East, North Africa); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan)

Those are all the premieres for now, and we’ll be back next week with a new batch. Now we need to tie off a couple of loose ends from previous seasons. Spoilers ahoy!

Shadows House finale – In a last-minute scramble, Emilico is freed, all the children escape, and Edward’s devious plot is revealed. Summoned before Lord Grandfather, Edward is let off with a warning, which makes the whole thing feel kind of pointless.

Everything is reset to where it was two and a half episodes ago, with Edward’s unusual techniques under the watchful eye of the the third-floor crowd and the children about to fully join the society of Shadows House. The kidnapping plot does nothing to change things or advance the story, other than providing a hint that Shirley isn’t gone completely.

I still say this should have just ended a bit early, but it’s still worth checking out.

(FunimationAnimeLabWakanimBahamut Anime Crazy)

Wonder Egg Priority finale – Even as Ai and her group of friends all turn away from each other, she learns that the whole fighting business did do some good, as her and Rika’s friends pop back into existence. But the price is the loss of their friendship, and an endless cycle of more fighting.

It’s a disappointment to learn that Wonder Egg Priority‘s promised one-hour extravaganza of a finale is actually half recap, but even more so when the new material doubles down on its worse choices. The early episodes presented it as a sympathetic look at the struggles of middle-school girls, but this finale comes down firmly with the opinion that teenage girls are the problem and adult men are the real victims.

So Acca and Ura-Acca, who created the villainess through their hubris and then followed up with the system that requires Ai to keep fighting, suffer exactly zero consequences for their actions. Mr. Sawaki is still seen as a misunderstood nice guy for painting one of his students as a hot lady, and Koito is revealed to be an evil predator who ruins the lives of her teachers. Ai loses all her friends, has to change schools, is locked in an endless cycle of violence, but she’s excited about it for now, so, happy ending?

As a work of visual art, this show has been stunning. From a writing perspective, it’s a different kind of stunning. I can’t blame anyone for getting hooked on the first few episodes of this, but I’ll feel obligated to warn them that it’s headed for a bad place.


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