Hibike! Euphonium – Sound! Euphonium
Ah, KyoAni, I had missed thee. Not that I hated Amagi, but this is obviously written by a different person. The characters don’t feel outrageously novel or unique, but they’re also no carbon copies of K-On characters. In fact, it feels like they’ve taken special care to use the strongest elements from their other shows without making it too obvious. The childhood friend is Mochizou from Tamako Market because of how casual he is, but he’s not as shy. The male teacher is one of the boys from Free!(mainly Makoto) in how passionate he is, but the difference in role is obvious. The female characters are more difficult to place, but there are influences from Hyouka, K-On and Tamako Market. Not to take away from the author of the novel the show is based on, of course, but I’m sure the writers of the show did at least something to the characters.
As expected of KyoAni, the show was a feast for the eyes. That said, some of the stylistic choices didn’t really click with me, like the overly shiny cheeks and the excessive filters. In addition, I didn’t feel that hooked by it. It might just be that the story is slow to get going, but still… aside from the opening scene, it felt a bit too clinical for me. I still liked it, though. At the very least I appreciate it for not being actively annoying.
Verdict: Not mind-blowing, but a very safe bet.
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu – The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato-chan
The more I watched of this, the more I realised it wasn’t, and would never be, Haruhi. The biggest difference is naturally Nagato herself, both in terms of personality and character design. I actually prefer this Nagato to her original counterpart, so I guess that’s fine. The second noticeable difference is Kyon, who sounds the same as always, but has a different personality. He feels like he belongs in Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, not Haruhi. Not to even mention the fact that he looks completely different. The characters that have changed the least are Asakura and Tsuruya, which is a good thing, because they actually really fit in this show.
So, aside from the characters, why is this show different from Haruhi? Well, it’s hard to put my finger on it without making it seem really trivial, but I guess it’s because of the lack of Haruhi(See, that sounds really trivial). Even if Haruhi was present, though, I think she show would still be fundamentally different because there is no “aside from the characters” when it comes to the original show. Well, in any case, I actually liked Yuki-chan in a way that is different from why I liked Haruhi. I liked Haruhi because of Kyon, but Yuki-chan has funny situations, reaction faces and stuff like that. It’s a completely different thing, but it’s still fun.
Verdict: It will never be Haruhi, but it’s pretty fun.
Ore Monogatari!! – My Story
This show is a combination of my high school fantasies of love, my dark fantasies and my actual high school life. I’m about the same size as Takeo, so I can really relate to some of the stuff in the show. Actually, no. I can relate to the idea of being different because I’m tall, but I’m not a huge fan of how the show chooses to present it. The bit about the ogre and the jokes about Takeo being able to scare off – and if necessary, punch – creeps are power fantasies to the highest degree. It doesn’t work like that in real life. If a big guy makes a threatening gesture or even mentions violence while talking, people get scared. And not just strangers. Scaring your friends is easier than it seems at first glance. And if you actually use force, there are no sparkles of admiration. People just back off.
What I did like about the show was the fact that Takeo has a regular friend, Suna. Takeo and Suna don’t fight, which I really appreciated. Takeo is envious of Suna’s luck with girls, but he doesn’t get angry over it. And Suna isn’t afraid of Takeo, even though he knows what he’s physically capable off. I hope the show focuses on this friendship instead of making jokes about Takeo being intimidating. And I hope the punch was just a one-time thing to introduce Yamato. Because violence solves no problems, and the threat of it is almost as bad.
Verdict: Love the characters. The jokes, not so much.
Houkago no Pleiades – Afterschool Pleiades
School. Magical Girls. A mysterious loner. A hobby that the story, themes and symbols can be based around. Yeah, the original OVA series wasn’t exactly the most original thing ever. The most unusual thing about the show is the thing it’s named after: The Pleiades constellation, known in Japanese as Subaru, which is the name of the main character and also of the automobile company that sponsored the OVA. The references that were caused by this were hilariously unsubtle. The doors in the school are opened by car keys, and the magical girls’ brooms make engine noises. What else is there to say? If that sounds funny, go watch the OVA.
Why am I talking about the OVA? Mainly because the first episode of the TV show is basically the same as the beginning of the OVA, but there are a few other reasons. First of all, the characters are completely uninspired. They’re cute and inoffensive, yes, but their personalities and the conflicts that follow feel empty and hollow. Secondly, the story did nothing for me. I saw the exact same thing last season in Rolling Girls, and the overarching story was the worst thing about that show. The OVA was 24 minutes long, and even it had some boring bits. I honestly can’t see why anyone thought it would be a good idea to extend it into a 13-episode series.
Verdict: Seeing the OVA was enough for me. This is not worth the time.