That was, uh, weird. It felt like a mishmash of different genres with varying degrees of levity. A cold opening with characters speaking only English, an atmosphere and magic that brought to mind last season’s Taboo Tattoo, The Vatican (!??), and magical girls. And that was just the first scene. Later we got schoolgirls being schoolgirls, horny dads and other dads doing detective things. The episode ended with some fabulous action and some not-so-fabulous father-daughter groping. Yeeeeeah, I understand it if people choose not to pick this show up because of that last one.
And it was as inconsistent visually as it was inconsistent atmospherically. The character designs ranged from “Discount Space Dandy” to “Hey, these girls look suspiciously similar to the characters in Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume”, and the animation quality, while mostly not very impressive, looked very good in parts of the action scene at the end of the episode. Unfortunately, though, I have a feeling this show will end up a visual repetition of Rolling Girls in that the art will take a nosedive after a few episodes at most. Ok, that’s actually just speculation on my part, but we’ll have to see.
Verdict: Weird, occasionally gross, occasionally interesting, will check out a few more episodes.
I’m happy to report that my fears about the visuals due to the studio being different were mostly unfounded. Sure, it has a slightly different look compared to the first 4 seasons, but after watching for a few minutes I realised that I don’t actually care about that very much. More importantly, the character designs are all the same, and Hiroshi Kamiya as Takashi Natsume just brings unconditional joy to my heart, regardless of how he looks. Yeah, I think I’m going to continue to love this show a lot.
As for my worry about it being more like Seasons 3 and 4 than the first two seasons, that is probably going to be the case, at least judging by the focus on family in the first episode of Season 5. However, considering I really enjoyed this episode in a way that I didn’t with most of the episodes in Seasons 3 and 4, maybe the fact that it’s similar doesn’t matter that much. Maybe the fact that it’s been over 2 years since I watched the first 4 seasons was enough to completely refresh my enjoyment. So yeah, I probably have nothing to worry about.
Verdict: It’s Natsume and I love it. Definitely finishing.