As you can tell, we’re not picking up a lot of shows this season. There just isn’t much to choose from for yuri fans (yet again), and I don’t want to force it and watch anime that I know doesn’t interest me. Still, the show must go on, so here are our First Impressions of the few shows that we are beginning to watch~
It wasn’t that long ago that I reviewed the Battle Athletes OVA from the late nineties. I thought it was meh, but it did deliver some yuri, so of course I’m going to be interested in this revival, even though it has a whole new cast of characters and a mediocre (at best) studio involved. Even though I’ve only seen the original OVA and not the TV anime, the one thing that kept popping into my mind while watching the first episode of ReSTART! was how much I preferred the 90s anime over this.
The visuals are pretty bad, but you could see that coming from the PVs, so no one should be that surprised. Same thing can be said about the fanservice, since that’s what the studio does best, but the characters in this first episode didn’t make the best first impression on me. Kanata seems like one of those genki girls that’s just too enthusiastic and nice. Helping that girl that fell while competing on the mountain? That’s just way too altruistic for me, and it’s already bothered me more than the OVA ever did.
The OVA also had weird futuristic competitions, and I’m hoping this season will have more things like that and less things like climbing mountains. The story seems mostly similar, with a girl heading to University Satellite to try to become the Cosmo Beauty. Compared to the OVA, I’m not feeling the characters as of yet, and all us yuri fans got was Kanata kissing her little sis on the forehead before leaving home. I’m worried that this revival won’t have the same yuri undertones its predecessor did, and instead will focus on the competitions and the butt shots. We’ll have to see about that, but the first episode did practically nothing to restore my faith in this project. I hope I end up being wrong…
From my understanding, Blue Reflection Ray isn’t a straight adaptation of the game, though I’m not sure that’s a good thing or a bad thing, since I didn’t even know about the game until a few weeks ago. Either way, it wasn’t like Blue Reflection was a pure yuri game or anything, so my yuri expectations for Ray are on shaky ground. This season looks really lackluster for yuri fans, so some subtext wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if that’s all we got. I’m trying to lower my expectations, since I think people are assuming there’ll be at least some yuri in this show (a lot of magical girl anime do have some), and seeing how close some of the girls were made me think that this could end up being the yuriest anime of the season. It could also ultimately amount to nothing, but there seems to be yuri potential…
Anyway, this episode seemed pretty interesting to me, from a story standpoint. We have magical girls with rings, and some of those girls seem to have cruel intentions, and then there’s this whole time-stopping thing. I don’t know what’s going on, but I thought it was all fairly entertaining. Something that did kind of irk me was the shading on the characters. It looks odd and almost like bruises at times. Aside from that, I like that the art style is a bit different than your typical magical girl anime. I initially wasn’t so sure about it, yet I think it’s grown on me. MAL has this listed with 24 episodes, and it’ll be interesting to see if this anime can make the most of it. I’m cautiously optimistic but still not expecting anything too grand.
I love it when an anime can capture your attention in the first few minutes of the first episode. It makes you want to keep watching, and that’s exactly what happened with Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, which is a lousy title, but this first episode seemed really interesting to me. So this is the first project that Wit Studio is working on after passing on the final season of Shingeki no Kyojin, so that’s another feather in this show’s cap. This anime isn’t an adaptation of another work, but even though the story is original, it should still be somewhat familiar to fans of sci-fi.
The story centers around the relationship between humans and AIs, and as we’ve seen for a while now, this moral dilemma regarding robot ethics is something that doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. Like Steins;Gate, these “change the future” type of sci-fi stories like we see in this show can often be very entertaining, and this first episode of Vivy got off to a good start and did a good job of explaining the situation at hand. Preventing the robot apocalypse is a super dramatic storyline, and it doesn’t hurt that this appears to be a pretty good-looking show, so I think this show has quite a lot going for it. It’s really early, but I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Vivy end up being one of the best anime of the season, and given how lackluster the spring season looks to be for yuri fans, really good non-yuri shows are going to have to carry it for me.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Zombieland Saga turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises in recent memory, so I’m thrilled that that it’s back for another season. The first episode continued the story of idol group Franchouchou and their quest to revive Saga prefecture, but it seems they’ve fallen on hard times, and no one has fallen harder than Kotaro. Even as a drunken mess, Mamoru Miyano is still as over-the-top as ever, so I’m sure he’ll remain one of the best reasons to watch this show. As for the girls, they were all on the same page and working hard in this first episode, though it’s safe to assume there’ll be more internal strife, which is what led to some of season one’s best moments.
The first season had character episodes where we got to see the backstories of most of the girls, pre-zombification, and a few of them were actually quite touching. I wonder if there’ll be more attempts at serious storytelling for this season, but I’m thinking this season might finally shed more light on Kotaro, and that would be very welcome. I don’t know how this season is going to top the wacky hijinx from season one (like the rap battle), but I think it’s a safe assumption that Zombieland Saga: Revenge will be one of the better anime of the season.