Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated Into a Total Fantasy Knockout premiere – Jingūji and Tachibana have been best friends since they were kids. Tachibana has always gotten all the girls but preferred the company of males; Jingūji always lost whoever he had a crush on to Tachibana. Now in their thirties, both are still single. One night, Jingūji makes a drunken wish to turn into a pretty young woman who gets all the attention. A passing goddess promptly grants the wish, drops the two of them into a fantasy world, and leaves them to fight both the Dark Lord and their new attraction to each other.
Despite the yawning chasms of transphobia and homophobia lurking under that premise, this actually hasn’t fallen into them… much… yet. One gets the impression Tachibana always had eyes for Jingūji, and now is grappling with the unexpected possibility that he might actually be straight, or at least bi. It doesn’t feel like there’s going to be a sophisticated exploration of identity here, though, and Jingūji’s transformation was just a new spin on activating the romance trope where the leads feel they must absolutely resist any romantic feelings to drag the plot out.
So this isn’t too bad, but that premise, and the generic fantasy world. Though we do get one bit of inspired monster design.
She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man premiere – The player behind Danblf the wizard on the VRMMO Ark Earth Online is very, very into roleplaying. Even with his friends, he hardly breaks character. So it’s disconcerting when he’s suddenly transformed into a young woman…
…or at least we imagine it is, but at that point the soundtrack switches to all music as the new Danblf wakes up in a field, goes into town, and goes shopping. It’s like there was some terrible electronic accident behind the scenes and several minutes of sound were deleted and hastily replaced with music. Up until that point, the episode is a tedious walkthrough of Danblf’s life, showing that he’s super-high-level and people think he’s cool.
I guess I’ll never know much about what Danblf’s player thinks of the transformation, but it doesn’t seem like a great loss. I am very curious what happened during production, though.
International streams: Funimation (North America, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); bilibili (China, SE Asia); Sushiroll (Indonesia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan); Laftel (South Korea); meWATCH (Singapore)
The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt premiere – Prince Wein has to take over running the kingdom while his father is ill, and can’t wait to be done with it. He tries to do just the bare minimum, but somehow this involves getting sucked into a border skirmish, then winning it, then going on with an all-out war. And all the while his generals keep thinking he’s the greatest.
If you thought light-novel competence porn was annoying, here comes an even more annoying spin on it: the protagonist who succeeds at everything, and then whines about his success. Wein just can’t get away from his own genius and so the viewer is treated to long internal monologues about it. Also, in case you were wondering, this is yet another standard-issue generic fantasy world. Skip this even harder than you would skip the two shows above.
International streams: Funimation (North America, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand); Wakanim (Francosphere, Scandinavia, German-speaking Europe, Russia); bilibili (China, SE Asia); Sushiroll (Indonesia); Bahamut Anime Crazy (Taiwan); meWATCH (Singapore)
And that does it for the season premieres! Now to take a look at second episodes and returning shows to set the lineup.
Attack on Titan #76-77 – Attack on Titan picks right back up where it left off, as Marleyan forces, Zeke’s volunteers, Jaegerists, and Scouts all come together for one final clash. Despite everything, Zeke and Eren are finally about to meet, and which point everyone will find out whether Eren was serious or not about ending the Eldian people once and for all.
Eren’s old friends have decided to help things along and trust that Eren won’t be sterlizing them all; they can only hope that he’ll just unleash the doomsday weapon which has been lurking in the Walls for a century. Gabi and Falco, finally reunited, have placed their own trust in Zeke, that he won’t use the Beast Titan’s roar if they know that Falco will be turned into a Titan along with the Paradisians. Given how much has been sacrificed along the way, I’m guessing that Zeke will decide one more bit of collateral damage won’t make a difference and will roar anyway.
The one person who’s happy at this point is Yelena. The people who invaded her homeland are getting their comeuppance, and she doesn’t seem to mind too much that it comes at the cost of many Paradisian lives.
For those who have no idea what any of this is about, definitely go back and watch the earlier seasons, because this one is staying in the lineup.
Ranking of Kings #12-13 – Miranjo invites her gang of newly freed criminals to do whatever they like, which, being a bunch of notorious criminals, turns out to be attacking whoever is handy. In short order they have killed Miranjo’s servants, started murdering each other, and a few of them later decide to fight Apeas for the mirror. Only one actually makes it out of the castle to terrorize the populace as Miranjo seems to have planned.
That one is Ouken, and he promptly runs into the Underworld soldiers bringing Bojji and Kage back home. This seems like the perfect time for Bojji to put his training to use, if only it weren’t for a flashback to Despa insisting that under no circumstances must Bojji be allowed to do the obvious thing. Why is not explained, but it may have something to do with Ouken’s curious reaction to Hiling’s power. When she tries to blind him, he acts like the light has harmed him more than intended. Between that and his own healing ability, is it possible that demon mask isn’t just a mask, but a warning that he’s truly a demon?
We learn a bit more about Bojji’s mother here. She really is dead, and Miranjo is probably to blame. Bosse explains in a flashback that giants will inevitably die out since giant women can only give birth once. So Miranjo arranged for the first queen’s death, allowing Bosse to remarry and have the son whose body Miranjo could put Bosse in to cheat whatever was killing Bosse.
That flashback has a curious little throwaway line that might turn out to be important. Bosse says the giants will die out “like the gods”. Are the gods dead, still dying out, and is that what Miranjo is aiming to be?
Tokyo 24th Ward #2 – The business with the train recedes into the background for a while as new concerns catch the attention of the people of the 24th. It’s almost time for the big local food festival, where Itadaki will be going up against its biggest rival! Which just happens to part of the shopping mall built on the ruins left after the fire that killed Asumi!
With RGB reunited, this episode is instead a profile of Mari, the friend who always felt like she was playing second fiddle to Asumi. Asumi did things and had ideas, and Mari was just along for the ride. Mari has just as much guilt as anyone about not being able to stop Asumi, and even keeps footage of the ruined school on her phone to depress herself with.
The school, it turns out, was already closed due to Japan’s ongoing demographic decline. Instead, RGB and friends had turned it into an art colony, until, it is heavily implied, evil corporate gangster interests saw to it that the fire happened. That’s a very simplistic story compared to everything that happened last episode, and I can’t help but think that there is more to it.
Sabikui Bisco #2 – Bisco the Man-Eater is revealed as an insanely strong youth travelling across Japan with his mentor to find something called the Rust Eater before the old man succumbs to Rust. He’s great with a bow as well, but no good with medicine, so to find a doctor to patch up his friend, he relies on the totally reliable reviews of three terrified people who all point him to Milo. To be fair, Milo does save patch both Jabi and Bisco up, so five stars for him on Future Dystopian Yelp, I guess.
After trying to establish a run-of-the-mill urban dystopia last time, Sabikui Bisco leans into the things that make it unique this time and comes off much better for it. Why bother even drawing a grim cityscape when you have gastropod aircraft and giant riding crabs and hippos carrying machine guns to show off? It sounds like Bisco is only stopping in Imihama briefly, but with several of the characters in Imihama featured in the opening credit sequence, it seems like they’ll be part of the plot for a while, maybe pursuing him.
Anyway, with this now on much firmer ground, it’s worth keeping on watching.
Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department #2 – Tōka winds up taking her first business trip when she has to fill in for her boss at the last minute, and then it’s back to the monster-making grind. The boss has a great new idea, but after weeks of interdepartmental bickering, it’s changed beyond recognition.
The first half fills in some critical information about how the evil organizations of the world even function. Agastia is a huge conglomerate, it turns out, with many pieces making totally normal consumer products. Presumably that revenue subsidizes the monster-building and world-taking-over parts of the company. Its sister organization in Fukuoka recruits test users through the same channels that perfectly normal companies get their focus groups from.
In the second half, even the monster development department is subjected to totally normal business pressures, from practical obstacles to competing visions about what Agastia should even build. Thus a mighty lighting-shooting bird mech becomes the floofy chicken we’ve seen in the opening credits, and later, Tōka’s new coworker.
Aside from one cynical joke about harassment, the show is still treating Wolfie fairly well. With that in mind, I think we can keep looking forward to Miss Kuroitsu and its shout-outs to local heroes every week.
So there we go! In a season which looked like it had slim pickings, we’ve managed to fill out the maximum of five shows to keep following through the end of March.