Kyoukai no Rinne – RIN-NE
I’ve been told by many people that this show feels like it was made in the ‘90s. I haven’t seen enough shows from that era to know if it’s true or not, but I’ll take their word for it, because this show feels different. The storytelling style feels very old. The show starts with a girl, who later turns out to be the main character, having some kind of unexplained spiritual experience. Then a narrator tells us about some lore, which is expanded upon later, but not really explained. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Anyway, the main character can see ghosts, which gives her a special relationship with Rinne, a brooding but sort of silly guy with magic powers. Turns out he exorcises ghosts. And that’s how the “friendship” between the two begins. Actually, that kind of reminds me of Noragami. That’s a plus in my book.
I was also told that the characters are always basically the same in everything written by Rumiko Takahashi, the creator of the manga the show is based on. I’m completely unfamiliar with her other stuff, so this isn’t a problem for me. I actually like the characters. Rinne’s self-deprecating and deadpan demeanour is funny, while the main character is refreshingly level-headed. The overarching gag of the episode is the fact that magic powers cost money and Rinne is poor. This gets less funny over the course of the episode, but it’s not bad. Oh, and the ED is a Benny Hill-esque chase scene, which somehow fits the show perfectly.
Verdict: Surprisingly charming and funny.
Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku – Mikagura School Suite
Wow, that title is quite a mouthful. As is the show. It starts with what I’m guessing is a flash-forward that is not explained. Then we see the main character, Eruna, trying to be funny by being a generic otaku who lusts excessively over fictional girls. The fact that she herself is a girl is irrelevant, because this has nothing to do with romance. And a few minutes later, her cousin, who wants to marry her(obviously), says “Two girls can’t get married”. Yep, that’s about the level of seriousness that this show bothers with. Oh, and that was presented as a joke. I didn’t laugh. Eruna’s lusting over girls is occasionally cute and funny, sure, but what’s the point of having yuri elements if the show rejects everything else about the genre?
Eruna’s cousin then invites her to take the entrance exam to the same high school he goes to, and this is where it all goes off the rails. The high school has a magical flying creature like in magical girl shows. It also has a club hierarchy where different school clubs fight, in battle shounen-style, over who gets to have the nicest rooms and eat the nicest food. This is all told in a very short period of time, and it overwhelmed me. The show is trying to do way too many things at once, and none of them are working. I don’t care about the shounen battles or the characters or the school, and especially not about the magical creature.
Verdict: Cute, funny, confusing, boring.
Will Hiroyuki Imaishi save anime once again? Oh, it’s not him? Could’ve fooled me. It feels like his style, especially the comedic bits. Some of the jokes, such as the one girl running backwards to get something she forgot, were actually really funny. Speaking of visual jokes, those would not be possible without animators and animation directors who really know what they’re doing, and the show has those in spades(I assume, because I didn’t really look at the credits). The animation during the action scenes is gorgeous, and some of the reaction faces look pretty funny. When it comes to the story and plot, Punchline is impressive in quite a novel way. The gist of it is that the fate of the world is dictated by very video game-like mechanics, and it’s the main character’s job to use these mechanics to make sure the world doesn’t literally explode. This is probably my favourite story so far this season.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with this. Firstly, the mechanics are apparently so complex that the show requires someone to explain everything clearly. This role falls to a magical flying spirit cat, who may very well be my least favourite character so far this season. It’s painfully unfunny and the exposition feels very jarring. The fact that the cat acknowledges the boringness of this doesn’t help, but it does segue nicely to the next issue: Genre awareness. The writers apparently thought that genre awareness is both funny and excuses any and all half-hearted and ham-fisted usage of tropes. Which this show does constantly. There is one scene, the transformation scene, when the genre awareness could be funny, but it’s soured by all the other winks and nudges before and after. I could mention the fact that the entire show revolves around a pun(punchline – panty line), but I don’t even think the panties are the problem. Now they’re just the sour cherry on top of the bitter cake.
Verdict: Somewhere, something went wrong.