Summer Time Render

Summer Time Render is an anime that looked all good and dandy on paper and was supposed to be right up my alley. A finished story told in mere 25 episodes, with the pretty standard now but still exciting key idea about time-rewinding, that simultaneously offered a fresh twist on who the opponents of the main characters are. The concept of the Shadows and shadow sickness was fresh enough to keep me invested during the first 10 or so episodes. Truth to be told though, the only two reasons I continued to watch the second half of the show were inertia and the lack of competition.

The first half of the anime is a pretty solid thriller. You have to guess whether this or that person is actually a Shadow and whether he or she already was one at some particular point before; Subaru Shinpei, armed with the knowledge from the previous loop, is trying to get a better outcome for everyone… fun stuff, really! Not groundbreaking but fun. The second part went full EoE though. It became much, much, much more action-oriented and kinda lost those thriller vibes, I don’t think that I had a feeling that I was about to see something unexpected during the last 10 or so episodes. The anime still would throw some facts and rules about the Shadows at you here and there, but I had already lost interest and really didn’t care whether these rules made any sense, so it was difficult to me to appreciate the brains and spunk the heroes demonstrated exploiting those rules in the face of adversity. Also, speaking of characters, surprisingly enough the cast turned out to be pretty bland. You’d think that 25 episodes should be enough to make you care for at least some of them but somehow all the people in Summer Timer Render ended up being nothing more than bunch of walking bullet point lists (“I’m a grumpy but actually nice old dude, whose wife is a Shadow”, “I’m a writer sharing the body with my long-dead twin brother”, “I’m your normal main character”), with no real personality, who didn’t give a single reason to sympathize with them.

Overall, I’d say that Summer Time Render is a disappointment. It’s not bad but it’s just sad that it had all the potential to become a good action-thriller, the one that you maybe won’t watch again any time soon but still will remember (something like Mirai Nikki comes to mind), but instead ended up being a drag.

Spy x Family

I’m not going to write much about it. The first season of Spy x Family is a good anime, that did everything right. It’s funny enough, has likeable characters and its animation is flawless. It wasn’t my favorite show of the season, but it never felt underwhelming. Spy x Family plays safe everywhere and honestly, it’s an ideal anime for… anyone, even for people who don’t usually watch Japanese cartoons. Considering its hmm fairly minimalistic approach to the plot I’m skeptical about next seasons, because my guess is that they’ll be filled with fillers Anya’s school activities mixed with an occasional Lloyd’s mission. Or maybe we’ll finally get to see Yor at work? The authors can drag this for years and years and I’m not sure how exciting it’ll be to hear “Waku-waku” or something about peanuts for the hundredth time.

There’s certainly an upside in this anime’s popularity though. I’m super happy that more people will get familiar with Hayami Saori, Yor’s seyuu. First of all, she’s Emma in Trails of Cold Steel. More importantly though, she has such a unique voice! Usually it’s very difficult for me to recognize the voice actor/actress, even those I really like — perhaps it means that Amamiya Sora, Mitsuishi Kotono, Hayashibara Megumi, Takahashi Rie, Chiwa Saito and others do a great job — but there’s a few seyuu such as Omigawa Chiaki or Hayami-san, whose voices you can’t mistake for others, it’s always a pleasure to watch an anime with them =) Hopefully we’ll have more scenes with Yor in the second season.

I don’t have too much to write about Aharen-san but just want to make a couple of notes in the case one day I’ll need to remember why this show was good =)

The two main characters confessed and started going on in the end of the anime! A rare and always welcoming development.

The running gags with Raido being JD and coming up with another bizarre idea of why Aharen-san is doing what she’s doing. “Wait, does it mean that actually Aharen-san is into death metal?!”, “Wait, does it mean that Aharen-san wants to conquer the world as a pop-idol?!”

Paripi Koumei

Chan chan a chiki chiki ban ban… I mean it’s good to get another P.A. Works anime =) Yeah, even though I always complain about their shows I still look forward to watching every new one, because who knows, maybe it’ll be another Shirobako.

For what it’s worth, Paripi Koumei is (sadly) not Shirobako. It’s another isekai (apparently we don’t have enough of them), this time in the reversed format — Kongming, the famous strategist from the Three Kingdoms period, is resurrected in modern Tokyo. The plot is straight as an arrow: he bumps into an aspiring singer Eiko, is completely charmed by her voice and becomes her tactician/producer. We get to see about 3.5 Eiko’s performances, she becomes slightly more popular and then there’s a rivalry against an all-girls band wearing very chiki-chiki-ban-ban costumes Azalea. Yet Eiko shows that dedication to music (and having a genius on your side) is more important than revealing outfits, even the evil Azalea’s producer understands the error of his ways, everybody hugs, the end, see you in the second season. This naive story manages sometimes to become even more My Little Pony-esque, like in the last episode when the Azalea’s producer simply forgives Kongming for, basically, stealing the likes they’re hunting for from his band. Oh well.

The interesting thing about Paripi Koumei is that despite being objectively an average anime it was still fun to watch. It’s very lighthearted; the main character, Kongming, is ridiculous, in a good way; some of the supporting cast members are great, like the bar owner or Kabe’s high-school friend who got him into rap. I just wish this show had more to offer in terms of the plot and character development.

And of course I have to add this =)